Sandinista Communism and Rural Nicaragua

By Janusz Bugajski | Go to book overview
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Sandinismo: The Levers of Control

The Sandinistas' agrarian and ethnic policies cannot be evaluated without surveying the mechanisms of political and social control the FSLN has imposed on Nicaraguan society as a whole during the past decade. The Sandinistas' professed long-term objective is the construction of a Leninist party-state and a loosely defined "socialist mode of production." In the words of Orlando Nunez and Roger Burbach, the "political revolution" was merely the seizure of power by a revolutionary vanguard; "the 'social revolution' is the subsequent transformation of society and the effort to build a socialist order."1 The FSLN realized the limitations on rapid communization arising from Nicaragua's economic underdevelopment and geopolitical placement, as well as the initial weakness of the government in conducting such a task; it thus decided to maintain its "class alliances" while focusing on extending its political controls over both state and society.

The Frente denied that Nicaragua had to pass through advanced capitalist development before embarking on socialism. In its estimation the countries of Latin America were already incorporated as exploited dependencies in the world capitalist system, though internally they exhibited many features of precapitalism. The FSLN had a historic


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