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Title: comprador vs. national bourgeoisie


AndreiMazenov - May 26, 2008 08:25 PM (GMT)
Who are the "comprador" bourgeoisie in countries under imperialist oppression? How do they differe from the "national" bourgeoisie? Why are the "national" bourgeoisie allies of the third-world proletariat and how do the proletariat deal with them?

Jaroslav O. - May 27, 2008 06:17 PM (GMT)
Some partial answers, but mainly further questions...

Well comprador bourgeoisie is the running dogs of imperialism, they are like middle managers for the imperialists who are the real boss, but they get a nice salary for this job. Also like any supervisor in the plantation system they are quite brutal.

The comprador bourgeoisie is also known as bureaucrat bourgeoisie. (Right? Or is it just that these often overlap?) This term is because they are in control of the government bureaucracy.

The national bourgeoisie on the other hand is interested in more-or-less independent development of the national capitalist economy. Especially in the modern era they tend to be very small in economic might, compared to the comprador capitalists.

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'Comprador' is Spanish for 'buyer'. Therefore I do not understand this term at all. Usually such people are called sell-outs or vendidos, since they sell the country to the imperialists. What are they buying?

There is a <a href="http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comprador">French wikipedia article here</a>, which I machine-translated since I don't speak French, but it seems to say that since 'comprador' can refer to a trader in general (a buyer &/or a seller), it is that this class is more into intertwining with the global capitalist market, whereas national bourgeoisie is more independent.

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Please see my separate post (in a couple minutes) about the term 'third-world'.

AndreiMazenov - May 27, 2008 09:21 PM (GMT)
Do you think you could provide some examples of what jobs a comprador would have and what jobs a national boozie would have?

Like, I can see Kai Fu Lee, the CEO and President of Google China being comprador, but who/what would be an example of a national bourgeois position? Maybe like, CEO of Inca Kola?

Jaroslav O. - May 28, 2008 06:22 PM (GMT)
Well one thing to note is that these are social categories, & can't always be reduced down to individual level (though sometimes they can). For example, a retired proletarian who now owns a little neighbourhood cafe: are they a proletarian or a petit bourgeois? And of course one that I've heard come up a lot by communists, often similar to the 'white guilt' thing: is somebody from a middle strata family who's worked proletarian jobs for 3 decades proletarian now? There are lots of borderline examples anybody can come up with.

Basically the dividing line, to me, is that national bourgeoisie is enriching itself exclusively, whereas comprador bourgeoisie is mainly enriching some foreign imperialist bourgeoisie (but taking a cut for itself too). And in terms of politics & policy, the comprador bourgeoisie is just following the orders of imperialists (whether direct, or applied through carrot & stick measures by IMF etc); whereas the national bourgeoisie is genuinely interested in independent economic development of the country.

China is a perfect example of all this. There was a partial bourgeois revolution in 1911 (Sun Yat-sen). Then the nationals & compradores fought amongst themselves, the compradores (Chiang Kai-shek) won. Then there was a new democratic revolution in 1949 in which the nationals took part, some of the individual members of this class being won over to communism, some just siding with the winner for self-preservation, some having a misunderstanding of what communism really is in the first place. Then there was a counterrevolution in 1976, where the bourgeoisie took over. Which bourgeoisie was this? Not the compradores, they all left (again talking about the social group here, not necessarily all individuals). Not the old nationals either; something else happened. There was a new bourgeoisie which was a merger of the old nationals & a new class arising from the capitalist elements of socialism (which is a transition, & thus a mix of, capitalism & communism). This new bourgeoisie is a national bourgeoisie. And we see how as the years have passed, China is more & more becoming an imperial power itself (albeit a weak one, not top dog like US). China does have lots of private companies, but still it is mainly state-capitalist. So this national bourgeoisie is not just CEOs, but ministers & generals & whatnot too.

That seems all neat & tidy, but you can quickly point out difficult spots. Like, China is also still a subject to imperialism to a huge degree, just look at the sweatshops & countless other things.

I like to think of these things (national bourgeoisie, comprador bourgeoisie, proletariat, etc etc) as social forces, much like physical forces. Y'know, there can be a single object which is causing multiple forces. China only has one ruling class. Is this a national bourgeoisie or a comprador bourgeoisie? The answer is 'yes'.

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But, to answer your direct question, no the CEO of Inca Kola today is not a national bourgeois, because the company is 60% owned by Coca-Cola. But the CEO of Inca Kola in the 1930s, when it was still independent, yes. (Based on my limited knowledge.)

An example of a national bourgeois in an oppressed country would be CEO of Hyundai Group (nitpicky sidenote: proper spelling would be 'Hyeon-dae'). Overall, Korea is an oppressed country but their national bourgeoisie is quite strong economically. Despite this strength, the comprador bourgeoisie's politics are in command, as is easily evident through looking at IMF, US military bases, etc etc. Of course this is a huge over-simplification of the situation. And I really don't think Hyundai is a potential ally of the Korean revolution.

* * *

That last point relates back to what I raised on the other thread, about straight to socialism vs new democracy stage, etc. What was the early USSR's NEP? Going to the physics metaphor, I'd categorise it as socialists causing a national bourgeois force (& then stopping it later) -- as opposed to uniting with national bourgeois itself, relying on them to produce that force.

... so blah blah blah, gotta go now...




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