"transitions to democracy" have been a key policy of US
imperialism to prevent the upswing of proletarian revolution, as a
way of offsetting the decline of its hegemony after its defeat in
Vietnam. It encompasses a number of developments on the world arena
since the mid- 1970s. The recent success of Mexico's "negotiated
transition" is the most recent instance of this. This article
is intended to deal with the nature of such transitions, their significance
and their scope.
democratic revolutions or democratic counter-revolutions?
and analyse the "transitions to democracy" from the angle
of the proletarian revolution, we should first deal with a methodological
issue. To that end, we should start from the definitions made by Leon
Trotsky in the 1930s, when analysing a complex issue in the imperialist
epoch i.e. the nature of revolutions against "dictatorial"
regimes in the imperialist countries, such as Fascism and Nazism-the
by-product of a declining capitalist system.
when discussing with Italian Marxists in Mussolini's Italy:
"With regards to the 'anti-Fascist revolution', the Italian question
is more than ever deeply related to the fundamental problems of world
Communism i.e. the so-called theory of permanent revolution (...)All
this points out to the problem of the 'transitional' period in Italy.
In the very first place we should clearly answer: a transition, from
where to where? A transitional period from the bourgeois (or 'popular')
revolution to proletarian revolution is one thing. A transitional
period from Fascist dictatorship to proletarian dictatorship is quite
another thing. If we contemplate the first viewpoint, the first question
that arises is that of bourgeois revolution, and it all just boils
down to determining the role of the proletariat in it. The question
of the transitional period to the proletarian revolution will come
up only after this. If we take up the second view, then there is this
whole series of battles, upheavals, changing situations, sudden shifts,
which make up the different stages of proletarian revolution as a
whole. The process may well go through a lot of stages. But in no
case will result in a bourgeois revolution or else that strange hybrid,
the so-called 'popular' revolution.(...) Does that mean that Italy
will not become again, for some time, a parliamentary state or a 'democratic
republic'? I believe -and I think that we totally agree on this -
that that possibility is not at all ruled out. However, it will not
be the outcome of a bourgeois revolution but rather the abortion of
a stillborn proletarian revolution, one that is not yet mature enough...
If a deep revolutionary crisis breaks out and mass battles are fought
but the proletarian vanguard does not seize power, it is likely that
the bourgeoisie will restore its domination on a 'democratic' basis".
As we see, Trotsky did not rule out the transition to a bourgeois
democratic regime. Nevertheless, he called this transition "the
abortion of proletarian revolution". Certainly, this is what
happened at the end of World War II after the betrayal of anti-Fascist
revolution by the Communist Party that nurtured imperialist democracy
e.g. in Italy, France or Greece.
By the end of World War I, Trotsky said, referring to the emergence
of the Weimar Republic in Germany, "(...) As for the German revolution
in 1918, it is very clear that it was not the democratic culmination
of a bourgeois revolution, but rather a proletarian revolution beheaded
by Social Democracy, or to put it more accurately, a bourgeois counter-revolution
disguised, after the victory of the proletariat, in pseudo-democratic
forms under the circumstances."
This conception remains today fully valid to analyse the various kinds
of "transitions to democracy" that were set up in the wake
of the demise of "authoritarian" regimes -to which Marxists
brand "Bonapartists". The latter encompassed a number of
various regimes, such as the old one-party Stalinist systems in the
Soviet sphere; "personalist" dictatorships as that of Franco
in Spain or Salazar-Caetano in Portugal in the weaker imperialist
countries; or the military dictatorships like those in South America.
Following Trotsky's method, we say that none of these transitions
was the result of a victorious revolution, but rather its derailment
This policy was first undertaken by the mid-1970s in Portugal, Spain
and Greece, was later to be implemented in some semicolonial countries
in the 1980s, and also the deformed and degenerated worker states.
It became more and more the main thrust of imperialist policies in
this period. The various kinds of such policy shall be called "democratic
Contrariwise, American right-wing political commentators like Samuel
P. Huntington, have claimed-in a book pusblished two after the downfall
of the Berlin Wall- these transitions are "The third wave of
democratisation at the end of the 20th century". Huntington says:
"The third wave of democratisation in the modern world began
in a not very convincing and unwilling way, 25 minutes after midnight,
on Tuesday 25th April 1974 in Lisbon, Portugal... The April 25th coup
was the remarkable beginning of a world-wide movement towards democracies
(…) During the following 15 years, this democratic wave swept through
the whole world; nearly thirty countries have gone over from authoritarianism
to democracy" .
Huntington operates with a "procedural" notion of democracy,
one characterised by the "selection of leaders through competitive
elections by the people they govern".
From a radically different viewpoint, various radical organisations,
including some of those claiming allegiance to Trotskyism , hold that
a wave of democratic revolutions is sweeping across the world.
Such non-dialectical approach leads them to mistake a "democratic
revolution" with its very opposite, a "democratic counter-revolution".
In Mexico, this was dressed up as the victory and legitimisation of
the "negotiated transition to democracy", sponsored by the
PRI-PAN-PRD, in the elections on July 2nd, a policy aimed at preventing
the revolutionary overthrow of the PRI regime.
Thus, they end up beautifying imperialist policies from the left,
when these can only bring about increasingly decaying bourgeois democratic
Such policy gained a new lease of life as a defensive backlash implemented
by American imperialism after the defeat in the Vietnam war, and made
its debut during the aborted Portuguese revolution. It became an increasingly
offensive weapon, and even became a pre-emptive tool against the independent
mobilisation of the masses against bankrupt authoritarian regimes.
This represents the culmination of US imperialism's foreign policy,
and its use of the banner of "democracy" all along the 20th
century to disguise its own rapacious nature, and also cover up the
worst crimes against the masses worldwide. This feature has been the
hallmark of US imperialism, ever since its birth, its hegemony and
right through to its decline -one related to the particular conditions
of its development.
Trotsky claims that: "In its very essence, US Imperialism is
mercilessly tough, predatory -in the whole sense of the world- and
criminal. However, due to the specific conditions of its development,
it has the chance to disguise itself in the robe of pacifism. It does
not do so in the way the parvenu imperialists from the Old World do,
where everything is clear. Due to the specific conditions of the US's
development, its bourgeoisie and its government, this pacifistic mask
seems to be adhered to the imperialist face in such a way that it
ca not be torn up."
Thus, at the beginning of the century, the US arose as an imperialist
power using the banner of democracy, as it was clear in Woodrow Wilson's
"Fourteen Points" after World War I . During World War II,
the US fought for world hegemony with rival imperialist powers such
as Germany and Japan, a struggle depicted as a one between "democracy"
and Fascism. In the post-war years, the US played the card of formal
"decolonisation" so as to undermine the old European powers.
The campaign against the totalitarian regimes in the East was the
ideological justification for the "Cold War". It was used
as a prop to consolidate its hegemony, bringing both its sphere of
influence and its own proletariat under control -as during McCarthy's
anti-Communist hysteria- while supporting dictatorships like Suharto's
in Indonesia. During the last 25 years -when the US share of the world's
GNP has went from 50 down to nearly 30 %- the "democratic counter-revolution"
policy is the way US imperialism tries to buttress the historical
decline of its hegemony.
Such policy was made possible in the post-war period by buying-off
the counter-revolutionary leaderships in the working class and mass
movements -the Stalinist bureaucracy and its system of states in particular,
the Communist and Social Democratic parties and, last but not least,
the bourgeois and petty-bourgeois nationalist leaderships in the semicolonial
world. It was the role played by them -as we shall see below- that
enabled imperialism to recover from defeat in Vietnam and then launch
a counter-offensive from the 1980s onwards.
2. The Vietnamese
Revolution: a Pyrrhic victory for the mass movement.
The US's defeat
in Vietnam revealed its great weakness to successfully deal with world
revolution. The heroic resistance of the masses in Vietnam along with
the mass protests in the US demanding all troops be withdrawn brought
the most murderous war machine ever to a standstill, thus bringing
about the first military defeat of American imperialism. The Vietnamese
victory was the climax of the workers' and people's upswing begun
in France in May 1968 -anticipated by the 1967 anti-war protests in
the US itself. This rising tide swept through the semicolonial countries,
the deformed and degenerated workers' states right through the imperialist
countries, thus opening up the first major crisis of the Yalta/Potsdam
Order . This also nourished the first post-war revolution in an imperialist
country, the 1974-75 Portuguese revolution that could have massively
boosted the workers' and people's upswing, by taking advantage of
the beleaguered US power. It is surprising that this balance of forces
-by and large favourable for the mass movement- is overlooked by many
radical intellectuals and organisations. For instance, James Petras
sees the onset of the neoliberal offensive in a series of defeats
inaugurated by Suharto's bloody coup, which crushed the Indonesian
revolution in 1965. Thus, he glosses over the fact that US imperialism
was to suffer the most serious defeat ever just ten years later. Such
approach is intended to downplay the responsibility of the Stalinist
leaderships, and petty-bourgeois nationalists in this dramatic turn-about
of the class struggle.
Unlike the victorious Russian Revolution in 1917 -which boosted the
morale and the strength of the workers' and mass movements all over
the world, the triumph of the Vietnamese Revolution and its extension
to the rest of Indochina (Laos and Cambodia) were turned, almost immediately,
into its opposite, i.e. an additional demoralising factor for the
working class the world over. It was the most Pyrrhic revolutionary
victory of the whole post-war period. Far from ushering in a phase
of heightened class struggle worldwide, it paradoxically saw the prelude,
a few years later, of the "neoliberal offensive".
This can be explained by the following developments:
Firstly, the extremely deformed character of the worker states that
were led from their very beginning by reactionary and ultra-nationalist
Stalinist bureaucracies. This led to major internal disasters, like
the murder of millions of peasants under the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia,
and fratricidal wars like those of China-Vietnam and then Vietnam-Cambodia.
Thus, the victorious Russian Revolution nurtured a revolutionary vanguard
that founded dozens of young Communist Parties, and then the Third
International in 1919 as the chief of staff of world revolution, whereas,
the Vietnamese victory just deepened the crisis of revolutionary leadership
of the proletariat.
Secondly, this outcome was compounded by the betrayal of leaderships
of various political strands - the Communist Parties in particular-
of the largest working class upswing since the end of WW2. These revolutionary
developments laid new milestones of revolutionary subjectivity, like
the Chilean cordones, the coordinadoras in Argentina, the Popular
Assembly in Bolivia. Furthermore, this was expressed in the radicalisation
of ample layers of workers, students and other popular sectors, not
only in the semicolonies but in the main advanced countries as well
- May 1968 in France, the "Hot Autumn" in Italy 1969, the
Prague Spring of 1968 in the Soviet area of influence, etc. All counter-revolutionary
apparatuses were overtly opposed to this revolutionary workers' movement
in the making. Their class collaboration policies led to a series
of defeats and derailments that hit the mass movement very hard.
Thirdly, these leaderships actively prevented the revolution in the
semicolonies from coming together with that in metropolitan countries
-as we shall see below.
Thus, by defeating proletarian revolution -through derailment in the
imperialist countries and bloody repression in South America- imperialism
was able to turn the tables, turning its weakness in a relative strategic
strength. Let us point out, in passing, that this development gave
the lie to the Beijing-based bureaucracy's view claiming that imperialism
was a "colossus with clay feet"- a very fashionable view
back in the 70s. No matter such overoptimistic "view", the
defeat of this revolutionary rehearsal by the working class brought
about a massive setback for the workers' conquests -gained through
decades of fight.
This enabled imperialism not only to hold the reins of power, but
to launch the so-called "neo-liberal" offensive, one that
went hand in hand with the policy of "democratic counter-revolution".
3. The Portuguese
revolution strangled: "democratic counter-revolution" comes
The policy of
"democratic counter-revolution" first came into play when
the proletarian revolution in Portugal was derailed and defused back
in 1974 - a revolution quite similar to that of Russia in February
1917. As a result of their counter-revolutionary intervention in the
Portuguese colonies of Angola and Mozambique, the armed forces were
in disarray and completely worn-out. Part of the officers and non-commissioned
officers created and rallied around the MAF (Movement of the Armed
Forces), leading the April coup against Caetano's dictatorship.
Huntington's recollection of the events is poignant: "During
the following eighteen months of the April coup, Portugal was a twister.
MFA officers split up in conservative, moderate and Marxist factions
that fought each other… Six provisional governments succeeded each
other, and the following administration had less authority than its
predecessor. New coups and counter-coups were staged. Workers and
peasants went on strike, demonstrated and took over the factories,
the farms and the means of communication … The revolutionary outburst
in Portugal was similar in many aspects to that of Russia 1917, Caetano
being Nicholas II, the April coup the February revolution, the dominant
groups in the MFA as the Bolsheviks, similar economic upheavals and
popular uprisings , even Kornilov's conspiracy found an equivalent
in the defeated attempted coup of the right wing led by Gen. Espinola,
in March 1975. That resemblance did not go unnoticed for clever commentators.
In September 1974, Mario Soares, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of
the Provisional Government and leader of the Portuguese Socialist
Party met with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in Washington. Kissinger
rebuked Soares and other moderate leaders for not doing enough to
prevent a Marxist-Leninist dictatorship from seizing power.
-You are like Kerensky…, I believe in your sincerity, but you are
being naïve -said Kissinger to Soares.
-That's true, and I don't want to be like Kerensky -replied Soares.
-Nor did Kerensky -Kissinger replied back.
Portugal, however, followed a path other than Russia. The Kerenskies
won. Democracy was victorious. Soares became the Prime Minister and
later on the President."
The European bourgeoisie -particularly the German bosses through Social
Democracy-, along with US Imperialism -which had supported the Portuguese
dictatorship for years- expropriated the democratic aspirations of
the masses, using these as a weapon to hold back both the revolutionary
process and the self-organisation of the fighting masses. Soares led
the bourgeois counter-offensive against the workers' and tenants'
commissions that arose at the peak of the mass resistance against
the failed coup of Espinola on March 11. But unlike Kornilov's failure
in Russia, which resulted in Bolshevism gaining the majority in the
soviets as a prelude to the October uprising, the leadership of the
MFA and the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP), -no matter Huntington's
parallel- were both a hindrance for the victory of the revolution.
The PCP, in collusion with sectors of the MFA, staged a "left"
military putsch that enabled Soares to defuse the revolutionary process
and set up a lasting Social Democratic government.
The success of the democratic counter-revolution in Portugal shows,
as Trotsky put it, that: "…Fascism is by no means at all the
only instrument of the bourgeoisie for fighting against the revolutionary
masses… In the absence of a strong revolutionary party of the proletariat,
a combination of pseudo-reforms, radical speeches, yet more radical
gestures and repression may render more real services to the bourgeoisie
than Fascism itself"
The aborted Portuguese revolution became a victory for imperialism
which helped the latter to turn the tables in its favour, both in
Europe and worldwide.
The key lessons drawn from this imperialist victory dictated this
very policy of democratic counter-revolution was to be implemented
in the face of the revolutionary upswing in Spain after Franco's death
in 1975 -itself influenced by the Portuguese events. These aborted
revolutions, although did not finish off the world upswing that had
started in 1968 -as shown by the victorious Nicaraguan and Iranian
revolutions in 1979- did, however, defuse proletarian revolution in
the imperialist heartlands.
The Sandinista revolution, which took place in the backyard of US
imperialism, spread through to El Salvador, and the Iranian revolution,
which shattered a key counter-revolutionary arrangement in the Middle
East- both broke to pieces the regional status quo. However, they
failed to link up to the strongholds of the world proletariat in the
imperialist heartlands. This, along the nature of the leaderships
at the head of those revolutions -a petty-bourgeois nationalist clique
in the first place, and a section of the Islamic clergy in the second-
eventually led to their later failure, thus enabling imperialism to
keep those strategic areas under its grip.
4. Democratic counter-revolution: a defensive tactics turns into
an offensive strategy.
In the early days
of the democratic counter-revolution, imperialism resorted to it as
a defensive tactics due to its extreme weakness in the wake of the
defeat in Vietnam. However, it increasingly became a strategic offensive
weapon against the mass movement during the 1980s. Such development
took place against the background of the first major global-scale
economic crisis ever, which put an end to the post-war boom.
Thus, the so-called neoliberal offensive -a bourgeois backlash in
response to that global economic crisis that eroded major conquests
of the mass movement- came hand in hand with the democratic counter-revolution.
Both the imperialist democracies and some bourgeois democratic régimes
in the semicolonial world were instrumental in implementing such counter-offensive
against the masses.
The Carter administration resorted to the banner of "human rights"
and "democracy" to push ahead with its foreign affairs agenda.
Later on, under Reagan it became a cover-up for political, economic
and even military counter-offensive against the masses in the advanced
countries, the semicolonies and the deformed/degenerated worker states
We can see this shift in imperialist politics in Henry Kissinger's
book "Diplomacy": "For Carter human rights were the
basis of his foreign policy, and he promoted them so aggressively
among the US allies, that even his calls for righteousness occasionally
threatened internal cohesion. Reagan and his advisers took one step
further, using the human rights agenda as a weapon for overthrowing
Communism and democratising the Soviet Union, and therefore as a key
for a pacific world". Such world-encompassing policy means, according
to Kissinger, that "the US would not passively wait for free
institutions to spring up, nor would they restrain themselves to resist
direct threats to their security. Instead, they would actively promote
democracy, rewarding those countries fulfilling those ideals and punishing
those that did not (even in those cases when they did not entail a
challenge or a threat for the US). Thus, Reagan's team turn the goals
of the early Bolsheviks upside down: the democratic values, not those
of the Communist Manifesto would be the wave of the future. And Reagan's
team acted coherently, exerting pressure on Pinochet's régime
in Chile, the authoritarian Marcos régime in the Philippines
supporting reform; the first one was forced to accept a referendum
and free elections, in which he was replaced; the latter was overthrown
with the aid of the US". In this case, the US marines intervened
to help strengthen Cory Aquino's government, which resulted in the
beheading of the revolution.
It is surprising how naïve the left is with regards to the "transitions
to democracy" -given how the shrewdest policy-makers of imperialism
regard such policy.
We should also emphasize that the banner of "democracy"
so aggressively resorted to by US imperialism went along with low-intensity
wars such as that in Southern Africa and punitive defeats, such as
Jaruzelsky's coup d'état in 1981 aimed against a revolution
that nourished Solidarnosc in Poland. To these we should add the defeat
of Argentina in the Malvinas war at the hands of Anglo-Saxon imperialism.
Such counter-revolutionary victories resulted in a renewed "imperial
might" over the semicolonial world, and also nurtured bureaucratic-restorationist
forces in the East. They also boosted the policy "democratic
counter-revolution". Thus, the military coup in Poland crushed
the left-wing within Solidarnosc, while moderate wing was preserved,
along with the overt meddling of the Church. This process culminated
in the "round table agreements" in 1989 between Jaruzelsky
and Walessa. The "transitions to democracy" in South America
are another point in case. These range from the less-controlled Argentine
transition, to the Chilean "transition from above".
5. The Stalinist
bureaucracy's last commitments to world imperialism.
of Solidarnosc in Poland, the heightened imperialist pressure through
Reagan's "Star Wars", and imperialism's use of the banner
of democracy as a weapon against the USSR are to account for Gorbachev's
Perestroika and Glasnost. The latter were an attempt at a self-reform
of the CPSU in order to prevent events like the Polish revolution
from happening in Soviet soil. Gorbachev pursued these goals at home,
while helping imperialism abroad to push ahead with "democratic
counter-revolution" to defuse "regional conflicts"
in the hope of getting investments from the West. Such were the aims
of the Gorbachev/Reagan summits, culminating in the last counter-revolutionary
commitments of the Stalinist bureaucracy to world imperialism.
Thus, Stalinism in Central America -through its regional agent, Fidel
Castro- prevented the Nicaraguan revolution from spreading abroad
-a policy expressed in his notorious "Nicaragua must not become
a new Cuba"- and also put down the Central American revolution
by a series of pacts like those of Contadora in 1984 and later on
Esquípulas in 1987.
The ongoing black revolution in South Africa, which had peaked in
the 1980s, was led to the blind alley of negotiation by the leadership
of Mandela's African National Congress (ANC), which granted the white
bourgeoisie's economic rule and its state apparatus in return of a
few concessions. In the Iceland summit of 1986 between Reagan and
Gorbachev, the latter committed himself to cut down on financial aid
to "client" states and proxy leaderships in the Third World,
namely the ANC. The New York Agreement in 1988 between the USSR, Cuba,
the US and South Africa finished the Angola war. In that summit, the
USSR made clear she was no longer willing to support the ANC's armed
However, despite the concessions to imperialism, the weakened Soviet
bureaucracy could not prevent the masses from overthrowing the CPSU-based
The emerging revolutionary developments against the Stalinist régimes
in 1989-91 -an embryonic political revolution- were soon derailed.
In a nutshell, a democratic counter-revolution was the shape that
the advance of social counter-revolution took on, with the establishment
of governments, and later on, regimes pushing ahead with capitalist
restoration. The previous Glasnost/Perestroika policy contributed
to this, and although it could not prevent the CPSU from collapsing
in the USSR itself, it did, however, succeed in legitimising people
like Yeltsin, who were essential for leading the mass protests to
a blind alley.
In more general terms, such outcome is not only to be explained away
by the harmful effects of decades of Stalinist rule on the mass movement's
consciousness and organisation, but also because of an unfavourable
balance of forces as result of a whole series of counter-revolutionary
defeats and detours through the decade.
6. The failure
of "Communism" and the victory of "the market &
The inroads of
social counter-revolution in a democratic disguise in Russia nourished
the view that the market and democracy were "universal models".
That was the highest point of an imperialist offensive disguised in
democratic robes, aimed at keeping its domination of the world. Such
was the main thrust of Clinton's foreign policy, based on the alleged
fact -as the think-tank Stratfor puts it- that "societies currently
democratised will tend to defend market reforms as much as human rights.
Democracy, human rights and market reforms are mutually reinforcing
concepts." This fallacious imperialist propaganda underpinned
the US neoliberal offensive during the first half of 1990s, which
was also boosted by its victory in Iraq. The liberalisation of the
local economies, privatisation, the deregulation of the labour market
and many other measures were all pushed under the banner of the fight
against the corruption of semi-colonial, resulting in a massive offensive
against the masses worldwide. Such is the background of the mean bourgeois
democratic regimes coming out of these transitions during this period,
which turned out to be more and more hollow, grudgingly giving away
reforms and concessions in a piecemeal fashion, ever since this policy
came to life in the Portuguese revolution. Haiti is a point in case,
showing the meanness of it. In 1994, the US, restored Jean Bertrand
Aristide as the elected Haitian president -after being ousted by a
US-backed coup in 1991- by resorting to the marine corps. He was just
a façade for a new American protectorate, a puppet that was
to implement a neoliberal agenda.
kinds of transitions.
classifies the different kinds of democratic transitions by focusing
on the external features of them. While analysing them as a uniform
wave, it hides their diversity, which reflects different balance of
forces between the classes and also the role played by the leaderships
of the mass movement.
From our point of view, we can chart three general kinds of transitions.
Of course, they can not be considered as "pure" types, but
they rather combine different features, and also blend between them.
We call them "transitions in the wake of derailed revolutions",
"post counter-revolutionary transitions" -those coming in
the wake of crushing defeats of the mass movement- and "democratic
transitions as a weapon of capitalist restoration"
In this article we will only refer to the first two ones -transitions
in capitalist countries. That is why the third type of transitions
-which involve the former USSR and Eastern Europe- will not be dealt
A) Transitions in the wake of derailed revolutions.
As we said earlier,
the success of the bourgeois policy applied in Portugal was an example
of how a revolution can be choked due to the role of counter-revolutionary
leaderships. This weapon was ever since used by imperialism to prevent
the revolutionary demise of various régimes and also avoid
overtly revolutionary upheavals. It was all about preventing a re-run
of Portugal. The best example of these kinds of transitions is post-Franco
Spain in the 1970s and South Africa in the 1980s. The cross-class
policy of the Spanish CP and Social Democracy in the first case, and
the ANC in the latter led to a derailment of these revolutionary developments
via pseudo-reforms that kept the core of the bourgeois regime alive
B) Post Counter-revolutionary
The best example
of this kind of transitions took place in Latin America's Southern
Cone, where the workers' and popular revolutionary upswing was defeated
through counter-revolutionary coups that resulted in tens of thousands
murdered, missing and exiled. In the case of the bloody Pinochet coup,
it brought about a historical defeat for the Chilean workers' movement,
which had taken important steps towards class independence in the
form of the industrial cordones. In Argentina, Gen. Videla's dictatorship
annihilated the best elements of a generation of workers, students
and people's fighters that took part in great events such as the Cordobazo,
Villazo, the Coordinadoras." After such bloody defeats came "the
return of democracy" in the 80s, as in Argentina, where the dictatorship
was hanging from a thread after the defeat in Malvinas. Likewise,
Uruguay and Brazil were also on their way back to democracy. The Chilean
repressive regime remained relatively intact, encapsulated by a restricted
bourgeois democratic régime, relying on the strength of the
previous Pinochet régime which granted immunity for the armed
In stark contrast
with the post-war boom, when economic growth both in the imperialist
countries and some prosperous semicolonies made room to buy off broader
sectors of the mass movement, thus boosting political and social stability,
today's economic offensive tends to undermine the basis of the social
pacts. No matter the different tempo in the imperialist countries
and the semicolonies, chronic unemployment, polarisation in the middle
classes between better off layers and an impoverished majority, the
inability of capital to give major concessions for improving the living
standards of the masses are all factors set to undermine the foundations
of bourgeois-democratic regimes.
This results in a tendency to the decomposition of these régimes,
even in their more formal features. Bourgeois sociology regards reality
as a dichotomy contradiction between "democracy and dictatorship",
deliberately covering up its class nature, and also the tendency at
work in these regimes to incorporate more and more Bonapartistic features.
Moreover, bourgeois democracies in the semicolonies were born out
of a "pact of impunity" for the stalwarts of the previous
dictatorial regimes. The foundational pacts of these republics included
The Economist's advice in 1987 for the new "democracies"
regarding their attitude towards the military when it said "forget
the sins of the past, or at least do not embark in punishing them.".
That was exactly the inspiration for the "Due Obedience &
Full Stop" act and the pardons in Argentina -absolving the military
of their past crimes. The same applies to the "Navy Club Pact"
in Uruguay 1984, and so on. Likewise, the apartheid executioners in
South Africa were absolved just for "telling the truth"
about their past atrocities. Reconciliation with former repressors
is a generalised policy right from beginning of these "democracies",
showing its degraded nature.
Such decomposition is also manifested in the surrender of all political
parties-conservative and "progressive" ones alike- to the
diktats of the bourgeoisie, becoming the managers of the businesses
of big capital, which in turn turns the electoral contest in a farce.
On top of this come the increasingly shameful bankrolling of candidates
by big business, the increasing power of the "lobby groups"
on MPs, the marketing of candidates as mere objects of consumption,
are some of the main features of a tendency at work both in rich countries
and semicolonies. The latter have also witnessed the frequent use
of presidential decrees; the introduction of non-elected officials
that take decisions affecting the destiny of millions -e.g. negotiations
with the IMF. The mechanism of re-election is also a way for holding
to power, even writing off the alternation in power.
As Perry Anderson says in his book, discussing against Fukuyama: "Today
democracy covers reigns supreme in more territories than ever before.
But it also turns out to be weaker, as if the more universal it turns,
the less real content it harbours. The US are a paramount example:
a society in which less than 50 % vote, 90 % of congressmen are re-elected
and a position is held because of the millions it yields. In Japan,
money is even more important, and there is not even a nominal party
alternation. In France, the assembly has been reduced to a nuisance.
Britain does not even have a written Constitution. In the recent-born
democracies in Poland and Hungary, electoral apathy and cynicism are
even above US levels: less than 25 % of voters took part in recent
elections. Fukuyama does not suggest anywhere there is any possibility
to improve in a significant way this sad scenario." These words
written in 1992 remain valid through and through after a decade of
"neoliberal" offensive against the masses. After 9 years
of economic growth, the US electoral process point in the same direction.
The ever-increasing decomposition of "democratic" forms
is tearing off the veil of "bourgeois democracy as the best robe
for capital", appearing instead, in the eyes of the masses, as
a "democracy for the rich".
9. Why some
semi-colonies have endured long-lasting bourgeois democratic regimes?
the outbreak of WW II, while bourgeois democracies were overrun by
Fascist regimes in most European countries, Trotsky said: "Only
rich nations can afford democratic regimes". The increasingly
unequal distribution of global wealth between the semi-colonies and
the imperialist heartlands; the take over of large multinational companies
in the semi-colonies exploiting cheap labour in pursue of super-profits;
the royalties paid for imperialist concerns; the increasingly suffocating
weight of the foreign debt in all semi-colonial countries; the exploitation
of immigrant labour in the developed countries themselves, all are
instruments used by imperialism to keep its privileges and give imperial
democracies an enhanced base of stability.
Trotsky also held that in backward countries -which make most of the
planet- "the weakness of the national bourgeoisie, the lack of
governmental traditions in small communities, the pressure of foreign
capitalism and the relatively fast growth of the proletariat undermine
the basis of any kind of stable democratic regime". These definitions
have been valid for the whole seventy years elapsed ever since they
were written. The unstable position of bourgeois democratic regimes
in the semicolonies has nourished different types of a sui-generis
bonapartism that have been the rule of bourgeois domination. On one
hand, we see those relying on the mass movement for support against
imperialist pressure, namely Cárdenas in Mexico in the 1930s
and later on Gen. Perón's government in Argentina, or else
the late 1960s-early 1970s Torres régime in Bolivia and Velazco
Alvarado in Peru, etc. On the other hand, there are those cases in
which such regimes are forthright instruments of finance capital,
in the shape of a police dictatorship, namely in Argentina the 1955
coup, Onganía's coup in 1966 and Videla's in 1976. Banzer's
coup in Bolivia is another point in case, etc.
However, the last 15 years have actually seen the emergence of bourgeois
democratic regimes in Latin American and Asian countries such as Korea.
Therefore, Trotsky's analysis might appear to be flawed. Moreover,
many of these regimes have settled in and enjoy a relative stability,
namely Argentina, where this type of regime has lasted for over 17
years. Why have these bourgeois democratic forms lasted for so long?
The retreat of the labour movement in the wake of previous defeats
-the bloody coups in the Latin American Southern Cone-, along with
neo-liberalism's subsequent attacks that atomised its ranks and weakened
its forces -thus bringing about a "crisis of subjectivity"
in the working class movement- and the nefarious role of the official
leaderships of the mass movement have all played in the hands of the
bourgeoisie in these countries, which could now afford to resort to
ever-decomposing democratic forms for keeping its domination.
This provided the background and the cement for a wide unity of the
bourgeoisie, rallied around the imperialist plan, in a reflection
of the closer intermingling between the native bourgeoisies and imperialist
capital, which gave a relatively more solid stability to these regimes
-all these while the working class had walked off the scene for a
This situation is periodically reinforced by means of economic upheavals
such as sky-rocketing inflation, mass unemployment, a steady attack
on labour conquests, etc, which capital resorts to for terrorising
the working class.
In the case of Southeast Asia, the class structure of the main countries
in the region, such as Korea and Thailand, has changed dramatically.
These countries used to have an overwhelmingly rural population, but
then became industrialised countries with a broad -and in many cases
mostly- urban population with a strong working class and a new middle
class. Such development was a result of the international economic
crisis of the mid-1970s, after which these countries became centres
for the accumulation of capital for world capitalism. This partial
development of the productive forces there resulted in significant
changes in the class structure, bringing about an increased economic
and social mobility. The "authoritarian" forms of government
became more and more of a hindrance to preserve the domination of
the ruling elites, being replaced for bourgeois democratic forms -in
a pre-emptive way- to channel the aspirations of the new social actors,
which expressed themselves in democratic mobilisations and demands.
An additional element that gave such regimes in the semi-colonial
world a longer lease of life was their transformation into the so-called
"emerging markets" in the early 1990s -a development encompassing
some of the countries we are referring to. This boosted the growth
of a privileged middle class layer that became the social base of
these regimes. In clear contrast with the old middle class, this social
layer lives off the crumbs coming from the increased imperialist take-over
and constitutes the main foundation for these decomposing democracies.
The elements pointed above explain the reasons why bourgeois democratic
forms have in many cases spread beyond the richest nations, becoming
-under these conditions- the most efficient way of keeping bourgeois
10. A declining
The early 1990s
saw the collapse of the USSR and Eastern Europe -the heyday of the
"third wave of democratisation"- which sparked off an ideological
backlash claiming "the victory of democracy and market".
However, right at the turn of the new century, the initial frenzy
is dying out.
The failure of the reformist attempt at the restoration of capitalism
in the former USSR and the worsened global economic crisis since 1997
have started to undermine the foundations of the economic onslaught
disguised in "democratic" clothes. Thus, the effectiveness
of the policy of "democratic counter-revolutionary" seems
to be wearing thin.
The 1999 imperialist intervention in Kosovo exposed the crisis of
the humanitarian mumbojumbo used by imperialism to cover up its military
operations for a whole decade.
The tendency to the ever-increasing decomposition of democracy and
the monopolies' increasing meddling in every aspect of social life
have brought to life vanguard movements question their rule, this
time in the imperialist countries themselves, as it happened in Seattle
The big hindrances blocking the advance of restoration have provoked
the rise of a Great Russian bonapartism that showed its aggressive
ugly face in Chechnya. The Indonesian transition, the by-product both
of the economic collapse and the revolutionary events that ousted
Suharto has proved to be very unstable -finding it still hard to settle
in-, the exact opposite of other semi-colonies, namely the hitherto
"successful" and "peaceful" Mexican transition
from the crisis-ridden PRI regime to the presidency of Fox.
In this sense, Mexico is undergoing a late transition. As opposed
to the domino effect sweeping Latin America in the early 80s, the
present background hinders its settlement. This can already be seen
in the instability-ridden regimes in the North Andean region of South
America swept by recurrent mass uprisings, thus weakening those regimes
to the utmost. This has led to several governmental reshuffles in
Ecuador, overt civil war and increasing US imperialist intervention
in Colombia, mass uprisings and state of siege in Bolivia, together
with the efforts of Fujimori's reactionary bonapartism to hold on
to power, which has fuelled mass protests on the very day he took
office, resulting in six people killed. Last but not least, the populist-type
bonapartism of Chávez in Venezuela is another reflection of
Thus, the "neoliberal model" has come up against recurrent
uprisings by sectors of the Latin American mass movement, highlighting
a tendency -not yet apparent in the strongest countries, aggravated
in the weakest links- to the exhaustion of bourgeois democracy.
If such tendency has already expressed itself in some political developments
and currently unstable regimes, what might happen if the world economic
crisis deepens with a "slowdown" of the US economy in the
next few years? This would certainly write off one of the factors
ameliorating the tensions running through the regimes in the 1990s.
They managed to alleviate their crisis with the help of a rapidly
growing US economy (namely Mexico after the 'Tequila' crisis). An
aggravation in economic conditions, with increasing tensions in the
international state system and the rise of overt class struggle will
all the more wear out the leverage of bourgeois democracy. To this
we should the beleaguered position of all misleaderships, the demise
of the world Stalinist apparatus among them, and the shift to the
right of all union and reformist leaderships, all of them instrumental
in providing a bulwark against those tensions.
These elements will hasten the rotting of bourgeois democracy and
will force the world bourgeoisie to resort to more efficient weapons
-such as bonapartism or bigfrontism in case of a mass upsurge-, rather
than the policy of "democratic deception" that has rendered
so many fruits to imperialism during the last 25 years.
Spain: His Majesty's Communists and Socialists.
In 1975, the moribund
Franco regime was cornered. Spanish capitalism was shattered by major
upheavals, a result of the world crisis. Workers fights were on the
rise; Franco's death opened up a crisis around his succession. The
bourgeoisie was mired in a deep leadership crisis, torn between the
die-hard "bunker" -staunch Franco partisans- and the upswing
of the mass movement. The recession was a big hindrance when it came
to making any significant economic measure. Thus, the leaderships
of the Spanish Socialist Worker Party (PSOE) and the Spanish Communist
Party (PCE)(*) enabled both the King Juan Carlos and Suárez
-a former official in the Franco regime- make the transition from
Franco regimen to parliamentary democracy keeping both the army -Franco's
repressive apparatus- and the monarchy as two mainstays of the new
regime. Thus, the reform of Franco's regime would proceed in two acts.
First, by bringing in political reform and then by signing the Moncloa's
Pact -October 1977- by means of which both the PSOE and the PCE agreed
to an agenda of austerity. The Spanish case shows the key role played
by reformist leaderships and their class-collaboration politics for
granting bourgeois régime's survival, amid a widespread economic
crisis and a mass upsurge. The hasty pace of a three year-long transition
showed these elements in clear light.
(*) The mass struggles
forced them to make some adjustments, but both sides -the Suárez
government and the reformist PSOE and PCE- ducked from waging an overt
struggle in order to save the bourgeois régime. In every critical
moment, both PSOE and PCE went for a class-collaboration policy. In
September 1976 most opposition parties rallied in the "democratic
opposition". The bureaucratic leaderships tried to atomise the
wave of strikes that spread by late 1976. Through direct negotiations
with Suárez, PCE and PSOE allowed for the first political victory
of the monarchy with the referendum on the reform laws in December
1976. The UCD -Suárez's party- won the majority in the June
1977 elections, thus strengthening the government's position. Nevertheless,
the turnover reflected the heightening of proletarian mobilisations;
in the large industrial centres, the workers' parties -drove underground
during Franco's rule- gained an overwhelming majority. In the autumn
of 1977 the wave of strikes peaked. Then, achieving a "social
pact" became the top priority for the bourgeoisie. The bureaucratic
leaderships agreed to and then signed the Moncloa Pact in 1977.
a black figure to preserve white power.
As we said before,
a similar policy was implemented in the 1980s in order to prevent
the victory of black revolution. The mobilisation and militancy of
the black working class had grown to the point that it could no longer
be kept at bay just by repression -thus threatening the white bourgeoisie's
rule (**). US imperialism had noticed the time for change had come,
thus pressing De Klerk's government and other representatives of the
white ruling class into accepting some kind of concessions -i.e. a
largely restrained "government of the (black) majority".
The agreement reached between De Klerk and the African National Congress
(ANC) leadership dictated the formation of a government with representatives
of all political parties, headed by Mandela. But restrictions would
remain in place until the 1999 elections. The ANC leadership, especially
Mandela, accepted to make an agreement with the white ruling class
in exchange for a place for themselves into it. They granted the bourgeoisie
that no fundamental change would take place. Meanwhile, the ANC leaders
committed themselves to the implementation of the austerity drives
dictated by white big business, and granted that no action would be
taken against the executioners of the old regime, etc. In other words,
they caved in all along the way in exchange for cosmetic reforms of
the apartheid -otherwise the transition could have never proceeded.
(**) Zach de Beer, chairman of the Anglo American corporation, foreseeing
this threat in 1986, warned: "All of us understand that the years
of the apartheid have drove many blacks into rejection of both the
economic and political system. But we just can't let the child of
free enterprise be thrown away with the dirty water of apartheid"
(Financial Times, 10/6/1986)
Bipartisanship and the salvage of the Armed Forces.
a revival of workers fights and middle class unrest, both of which
undermined the social foundations of the dictatorship. The military
defeat in the Malvinas War at the hands of the UK-USA imperialist
coalition brought about its collapse. A revolutionary crisis thus
burst into the open, which was rapidly defused by Gen. Bignone's interim
government. This relied for support upon the so-called Multipartidaria
-a political alliance formed by all opposition parties, including
the Communist Party. The final act of this deviation came a year and
a half later at the October 1983 elections. Raúl Alfonsín,
the leader of the Radical Party -a party that overtly supported Videla's
coup- was elected president. This outcome was greatly influenced by
the lasting sequels of the previous defeat endured by the Argentine
working class on one hand, and the pacifist mood nourished by the
imperialist triumph in the war on the other -which reinforced the
country's submission. The dual crisis of the armed forces -for their
role in the repression and the military defeat- led to the incarceration
of the former military rulers and repressors in the first years, and
fuelled military pronouncements and mobilisations against the genocide
alike. The peronist-radical bipartisan regime manoeuvered by bringing
in legislation that eventually ended in total impunity for the military
guilty of genocide.
Chile: an "Armoured"
In Chile, the
transition proceeded along the lines of Pinochet's 1980 Constitution.
This granted a continuing military power in the civilian government,
a fact expressed in the continuity of Pinochet as head of the army,
the existence of non-elected senators -actually appointed by the armed
forces- who blocked any constitutional changes -among others. This
bonapartist domination came after the defeat of the 1983-86 struggle
against the dictatorship, which had fuelled several workers' strikes,
national protests, etc. Its defeat compounded the appalling consequences
of the crack-down in the 1970s. The discontent with the régime
was later channelled to the 1988 referendum for "Yes" or
"No" on the continuity of Pinochet's rule, which legitimised
the 1980 Constitution. The defeat of the "yes" vote inaugurated
the presidency of Christian Democrat Patricio Aylwin, thus ushering
in a cycle of Concertación governments, which built upon the
economic "achievements" of Pinochet's dictatorial regime
and consecrated the impunity for the military.
latest "achievement" of the democratic transitions.
The triumph of
the Mexican transition has a more preventive character, for it is
not the result of a democratic deprivation of a mass rise. Thus, all
along its development, it combined elements of the other transitions
we have already studied. The first trials of self-reform of the PRI
régime come from the mid-1970s, without a historical defeat
on the back of the masses, but as a consequence of the student rise
that ended up in the Tlatelolco massacre. It speeds up hand in hand
with Imperialist penetration during the Lamadrid government. Electoral
fraud in 1988 marks the failure of this first self-reform trial and
the rise of a mass democratic movement. Only the treacherous nature
of Cuahutémoc Cárdenas' PRD enables a deeply delegitimised
régime to survive with the settlement of the Salinas government.
However, the peasant uprising of 1994 sustained on a broad solidarity
movement with Chiapas in major towns, and then the Tequila crisis
forces the régime to take a preventive policy standing on the
PRD and the EZLN as its left wing. In the beginning as a new self-reform
trial of the PRI régime and later on as in 1997 -together with
the victory of C. Cárdenas as Mexico City mayor- as an "accorded
transition to democracy" of the PRI together with the PAN and
the PRD. Economic recovery and the lack of a mass rise (***) turns
the transition to the right as the victory of Vicente Fox of the PAN
(a conservative party) shows. All along this process the US played
an essential role that can be compared -in a certain extent- to the
Bonaparte-like role of King Juan Carlos in the Spanish "transition".
Nevertheless, despite its preventive character, the huge tasks it
will have to face for consolidating itself resemble, in some aspects,
the Russian transition. From a structural point of view and due to
their genesis, both in Mexico and the ex USSR it is necessary to dismantle
a huge bureaucratic control structure that submits mass organisations
which sustained the PRI régime over decades. Nonetheless there
are a lot of differences between both cases, since in one case a social
counter-revolution has to be carried out and the other case is about
consolidating the domination of the Mexican bourgeoisie on the basis
of a more stable bourgeois régime. The legitimisation of the
"accorded transition" is a big step forward.
(***) The strike of the students of the UNAM (National Autonomous
University of Mexico) that lasted over a year was the only serious
trial -in a radical sense- that confronted the "accorded transition".
The poisonous attacks of its agents, from rightist V. Fox to centre-leftist
PRD and even the Subcomandante Marcos together with the organic intelligentsia
of the régime, show that the struggle of the General Council
of Strike (CGH) of the UNAM students had the capability to question
the reactionary nature of this transition. Support of the strike in
parts of the working class, large democratic demonstrations against
repression shows that this process advanced the major contradictions
that the new Fox government will have to face.
Trotsky, The Permanent Revolution.
2. In his book The Third Wave Huntington points that "the most
important modern formulation of this concept of democracy was Joseph
Schumpeter's in 1942. In his first study 'Socialism, Capitalism and
Democracy' Schumpeter accounts the handicaps of what he calls the
"classic theory of democracy" that explains democracy in
terms of "the people´s will" (source) and "the
common good" (target). Efficiently tumbling these prefaces Schumpeter
advances what he calls 'another theory of democracy'. The 'democratic
methodology -he says- is the institutional agreement for reaching
political decisions in which individuals exercise the power of deciding
through a contest by means of the people's vote'. Soon after World
War II... an increasing number of theoreticians supported the concept
of procedimental democracy, in Schumpeter's form. Near 1970, the debate
was over and Schumpeter had won". As we can see, nothing has
changed in the conceptualisation of democracy, a hundred years after
the definitions of Max Weber, the father of bourgeois sociology (see
Imperialismo y degradación de la democracia burguesa in the
current issue of EI).
3. The Socialist Workers Movement of Argentina (MST -affiliated to
the UIT) in their journal Alternativa Socialista of June 5th, 2000,
regarding the latest elections in Mexico heralds "good and bad
news": on one hand "... the people's rebellion ended up
with the reign of the PRI" but on the other hand "a pro-US,
rightist candidate won". As for Mexican Socialist Worker Party
(POS -member of the LIT) in its after-election issue of El Socialista
blushlessly states: "Labastida (candidate of the PRI) defeated;
a democratic revolution triumphed". "It's a democratic revolution
because the most important decision, that's who's the president of
the Republic was grabbed from the president that leaves the office
and the people took it in its hands. On July 2nd, Mexicans became
no longer the subjects of the president-emperor but citizens. This
turn is a historical change, as important as the triumphant revolt
of Madero ninety years ago".
4. This characterisation stands on Nahuel Moreno's theorisation on
the necessity of a "democratic revolution" against "authoritarian"
régimes as a first step for socialist revolution. I.e. a revolution
in the political régime, keeping the social foundations of
the bourgeois state. Moving out of the theory of permanent revolution
and changing it for theories that are alien to Marxism like the "theory
of democratic revolution" inevitably leads to adaptation to bourgeois
democracy, separating the struggle for structural and formal democratic
demands from the prospect of socialist revolution. Those that do not
discern a bourgeois democratic régime from Fascism on the basis
that they are both forms of the dictatorship of capital are falling
in far-leftism. But those that sustain that , as a first step for
socialist revolution there have to be carried out revolutions in the
political régime of the bourgeoisie are close to reformism.
They make the opposite mistake of those that resemble democracy and
Fascism but seeing them as two irreconcilable régimes. This
conception relates them to bourgeois sociology, not accounting states
for their class character but for their "procedures." Then,
essential distinctions is not between bourgeois and proletarian states
but between "totalitarian" and "democratic" states.
This is the common core of the odd coincidence between Huntington,
who sees a "third wave of democratisation" and these currents
that see an "uninterrupted advance of democratic revolution".
5. Leon Trotsky, On Europe and the United States.
6. They promised universal welfare, the reign of peace, the right
of nations to self-determination, punishment for criminals like the
Kaiser and reward for the righteous, etc.
7. The agreements of Yalta and Potsdam parcelled the world into influence
areas, between the Kremlin bureaucracy and US Imperialism. Framed
in counter-revolutionary collaboration, the "cold war" was
the politics of US Imperialism for restraining its domination and
play its established role.
8. It did not give place to a radicalised vanguard, as for example
in mostly in Latin America after the triumph of the Cuban revolution
or a as a reflection of the Chinese cultural revolution in 1967. The
existing Trotskyist currents, though strengthened during the early
years of the mass rise, did not make a real revolutionary alternative
to the official leaderships of the worker movement.
9. Though strategically US Imperialism successfully tackled the consequences
of this defeat, it hasn't yet resolved the "Vietnam syndrome":
i.e. its reluctance to deploy land troops for its counter-revolutionary
operations, as the privileged tactics of air fighting shows, as in
the latest Balkans war.
10. Even the CIA after its prominent role in the bloody Pinochet coup
in Chile, and with strong criticisms inside the US, was used by president
Gerald Ford as a necessary instrument for saving the "Portuguese
11. Leon Trotsky, Germany, the key of the international situation,
November 26th 1931.
12. In the first case, Sandinism assisted in the rebuilding of the
régime, ending up pacifically surrendering power to pro-imperialist
bourgeois government of Violeta Chamorro in 1990. In the second case
it replaced the old régime, under the flags of religious fundamentalism,
consolidating a reactionary theocratic régime. Both results
were aided by the Imperialist policy of supporting the contras in
Nicaragua and promoting the fratricidal Iran-Iraq war that bled both
countries for 8 years.
13. The strength of this Imperialist politics lied in the joining
the US of the main counter-revolutionary performers, namely the European
Union and the Vatican among the Imperialist countries.
14. Though this "apostle of democracy" tried to respond
to the Iranian revolution with the rescue of hostages inside the American
embassy in Teheran, this operation failed when helicopters fell down.
15. The so-called "second cold war" in the 1980s during
the Reagan government had a more offensive character than in immediate
post-war, since the US more and more directly interfered in the Soviet-dominated
16. This is the case of Angola and Mozambique, both Portuguese colonies
that achieved independence in 1975 and were drowned in civil wars
due to South African and US intervention.
17. See EI no. 8 and 15.
18. James Petras, criticising the bourgeois view calls these régimes
"electoral neo-authoritarian régimes", "neo
because it has differences with the past, but it also has features
we could clearly identify as authoritarian... Different from old authoritarianism
since there are elections, individual rights, but not affecting the
patterns and structures of power and decision" (Democracy and
capitalism. Democratic transition or neo-authoritarianism).
19. The Economist, Aug-29-1987.
20. Pacto del Club Naval.
21. See Entre Seattle y las elecciones presidenciales in this issue.
Trotsky, Trade unions in the epoch of decay of Imperialism.