Wednesday, March 06, 2013



Hugo Chavez is dead.  

Here's the deal while I couldn't help but enjoy Chavez as he tweaked the nose of the USA and I will not deny that he did a lot of good things for the people of his country, I was never a huge fan of the guy or the way he went about business.  Yes, he was better then what has been, but that shouldn't always be the bar.  Chavez was a populist and that was it, folks.

Chavez was not building a communist future for his people, such building can only be done by those people, not by some leader in a red beret who "fights" imperialism by hanging with the likes of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  Chavez was not actually dismantling capitalism, he was busy building his own petrol populist regime and his own legend.

Chavez also was far from interested in smashing the state.  Instead, he was strengthening it.  Reforms he made, but he did not get rid of the old structures.  The old continued to exist and is not gone.

The problem with the style of "building" of Hugo Chavez is aptly demonstrated by the lack of a clear future now that he is dead.  How many of you can tell me right now, without googling it, who is running Venezuela, what individual, what party, who.  Answering simply, well, the Vice President will not be accepted.

Not knowing would be fine if it were because Venezuela was being run by the working people of Venezuela, but it is not.

No, I am not celebrating his death.  The future is too unclear.  The possibility of a reactionary coup too great.  But that is the deal and it is the deal because when a movement is built around a "leader" or a vanguard, when the leader is gone, the movement is a mess.  But that isn't the only problem or even the biggest problem.  That would be reserved for the fact that when one man or one vanguard party is at the top of the heap "acting" on behalf of "the people" then you can pretty much be absolutely sure that "the people" are not the working people, but rather at best some mishmash of classes with their own competing interests, or worse yet, the bourgeois or the petty bourgeois class acting in their own particular interest.  In fact, the Bolivarian revolution itself was certainly divided by class.  

Today, the leaders of the USA are happy to see Chavez dead.  He was a thorn in their side to be sure, but he was no threat to the Empire itself.  Today is a dangerous time for the poor and working people of Venezuela.  It is also a time of possibilities never before seen.

Marx was right.  Only the working class can emancipate the working class.  During the struggles that brought Chavez to power and during the years of the Chavez "revolution" the working people of Venezuela have become more conscious of themselves.  That is where the hope lies.

The following is from

Chávez' death: Neither in mourning nor celebration, time for social struggles to become autonomous!

Chávez' death: Neither in mourning nor celebration, time for social struggles to become autonomous!
When an illness becomes serious, when medical attention becomes a vehicle for myopic, politically motivated decisions and when a patient becomes drunk with power, it can only end this way. The strongman has died, and in so doing, he has initiated a substantial shift in the Venezuelan political landscape.

What used to be the regime’s greatest strength has suddenly turned into its defining weakness: it was all Chávez, and, without him, the only solution is to fabricate an absolute commitment to his memory and his plans for succession. The government’s true fragility can now be seen, a government which tried to demonstrate its “popular, socialist” character via a grotesque personality cult, a practice that has now been reduced to the empty invocation of spirits. The deceased himself is to blame for this outcome as the secrecy around his illness was propelled by the same motivations as the extreme centralisation of power around him, while the lack of ideological coherence amongst his followers has left them scrapping for crumbs. The high-level “rojo-rojito” [chavista red] bureaucrats and the upper echelons of the military are best placed to benefit, as they negotiate impunity for their various misdemeanours and corruptions.

For the right-wing and social democratic opposition, the new situation finds them unable to overcome their losses of the presidential elections of October 7 and the regionals of December 16, offering a “yuppy populism” which promises voters that they will maintain and fine-tune the clientelist tools of governmental power which were so useful to Chavez. This accommodation assumes the belief that a fortuitous metastasis has brought them within reach of the power that their greed, mistakes, laziness and incompetence had kept them away from, power they will wield with similar stupidity and greed as the Chavista bolibourgeoisie.

The backdrop to this load of petty opportunism – from both the Gran Polo Patriótico [the Chavista coalition] and the Mesa de Unidad Democrática [the opposition coalition] – is Venezuela, a country that faces its own problems: out of control inflation, rising unemployment and precarious jobs, the devaluation of the currency, shocking personal insecurity, crises in electricity and water provision, education and health systems in decline, a housing shortage, obsolete – or incomplete – public works, a demagogic approach which pays attention to only the most extreme scarcities experienced by the most desperate people... a whole host of other problems which are equally disastrous.

These issues are not the central concern of the two gangs in competition for Miraflores [the President palace/seat] and the oil booty. Our collective response must be to not relent to their blackmail: support at the ballot box in exchange for ‘solutions’ that either never materialise or are ludicrously inadequate. Now is the time to overpower the rotten powers that be and build – from below – a real democracy of equality, social justice and freedom. We must unleash the generalised anger caused by our suffering, and convert it into autonomous social struggles, self-managed and extensive. We must spell out for the politicians in power that we don’t need them, neither as intermediaries nor as gracious givers of what we ourselves can construct – united and from the base – without any need for “clean hands” or “red berets”.

EL LIBERTARIO Editorial Collective - @pelibertario -

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