28 November 2008

Paradoxes of the Venezuela Verdict

By José Steinsleger

Paradox Number One: The Bolivarians and the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) which obtained 17 of the 22 gubernatorial posts and 81% of the mayoralties in the regional elections, are disheartened because the anti-Chavistas understood that democracy (or what they understand of it) cannot be defended from Miami. The PSUV regained two governorships, stacked up five and a half million votes and the percentage of Opposition votes fell by 10% compared to the past elections.

Paradox Number Two: The “democracy without adjectives” (prized sophism of the oligarchic-imperialist control) suffered another setback in Venezuela. For the twelfth time, the government of Hugo Chavez had the luxury of celebrating clean elections in which everyone participated, including the political forces looking to destabilise it.

Paradox Number Three: Both paradoxes (forgive the repetition) represent a powerful thermometer to know, with relative accuracy, what one and the other band have: a people with profound sentiment for the country, and a society that, as Marx said in the prologue of the first volume of The Capital, “… in the rich countries is the mirror of their own future”.

A recurring and exasperating error of the classist left: the Bolivarian revolution only has projects, programmes and proposals for the former. Not bad. The problem is that if a social revolution turns its back on the middle classes, and only to support “the masses”, it’s the neck that gets the rope… the counter-revolution… that is in march in Venezuela is directed by a Right still disorganised but that has started to rehearse a strategy of power distinct from the imbecile coup of 2002.

It’s hard to understand why in a world where the media are the real “weapons of mass destruction” Chavez’s government has mistaken the concepts of information and communication with ideology and propaganda. Is it surprising then that the first home runs and goals for the Opposition start from here? It is incredible that with enormous economic resources, and the country has pioneered the debate on a new global information order, the Bolivarian revolution lacks a national daily…

Is there a need for a permanent revolution? Could be… Nothing is permanent… In matters of social revolution, historical experience suggests that more than the economic or the political, the real psychological state of the people, cultural levels, sentiments and emotions of the people have to be included.

Aspects in which the hegemonic media work with a perverse professional excellence and bias… It is time that the anti-capitalist Left rechecks, “from below” and “from above”, if the sociological reference points of twentieth century Europe (in particular its ideological puritanism) square with the “twenty-first century socialism”. Going forward anti-Chavism will redouble its efforts to maintain that there is a “dictatorship” in Venezuela, or that a democratic system governed by rules doesn’t exist, rules which they defend.

It is not so bad that a leader speaks too much. A leader should speak and speak lots. Although, if he gives space to other leaders, the revolution will thank him. To speak less is to demonstrate that all leadership is circumstantial and so that the people understand better why strategic electoral bastions were lost…

Touch wood but in case Chavez is assassinated (option with which the empire and the “democratic” Opposition keep flirting), directing the political process of social emancipation will fall on the Bolivarian leadership for which civic-popular organisations, political discipline and effective communication will become urgent.


Source: La Jornada

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