[Marxism] Ultraleft counter-revolutionaries in Venezuela

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Nov 29 09:50:09 MST 2007

On November 24th the Wall Street Journal ran an article that was highly 
flattering to Stalin–Ivan Stalin González, that is. Stalin (he prefers 
being called by this name) is the leader of the privileged university 
students who are on the front-lines opposing the proposed constitutional 
reforms that would make the government more directly accountable to the 
people beginning with an end to term limits.

Stalin’s background would be familiar to those who run into his 
counterparts in the radical movement in their own countries:

"Mr. Chávez’s description also hardly fits Mr. González. The 
27-year-old, sixth-year law student grew up in a poor household that 
dreamed of a Communist Venezuela. His father, a print-machine operator, 
was a high-ranking member of the Bandera Roja, or Red Flag, a hard-line 
Marxist-Leninist party that maintained a guerrilla force until as 
recently as the mid-1990s. Its members revered Josef Stalin as well as 
Albania’s xenophobic Enver Hoxha. As a boy, Mr. González remembers 
packing off to marches with his sisters, Dolores Engels and Ilyich, 
named in honor of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.

"As a young man, Mr. González burnished his leftist credentials, joining 
Marxist youth groups and following his father into the Bandera Roja. He 
traveled to Socialist youth conferences in Latin America."

(The WSJ article can only be read in its entirety by googling “Ivan 
Stalin Gonzalez” through google/news.)

Hugo Chávez described Bandera Roja thusly:

"Groups like them appear to have given themselves the holy mission of 
proclaiming themselves to be the only revolutionaries on the planet, or 
at any rate in this territory. And those who don’t follow their dogmas 
are not considered genuine revolutionaries."

Unlike miserable ultraleft sectarians like Bandera Roja, the Marxists 
who have helped to elect Hugo Chávez do not see themselves on any such 
“holy mission.” Indeed, it is the absence of such self-aggrandizement 
that has so disoriented much of the left outside of Venezuela, at least 
those sectors of the left that still clutch to “vanguardist” illusions. 
While most of them are not nearly as bad as Bandera Roja, they still see 
Hugo Chávez as an impediment to the True Revolution that is gathering 
momentum at the grass roots level. In this scenario, the only thing that 
can save Venezuela is some kind of latter-day version of the Soviets in 
1917 and a working-class revolutionary party to lead them toward a 
seizure of power. While Chávez’s government is a decent social 
democratic alternative to the neoliberal solution that the US would 
prefer, it falls short of their ideals–the operative word being ideal.


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