Re(2): What the is going on in Venezuela?

Nestor Miguel Gorojovsky nestor at
Mon Aug 2 17:04:13 MDT 1999

El  2 Aug 99 a las 14:10, Jim Monaghan nos dice(n):

> I would regard Chavez as similar to Cardenas or the early
> DeValera period in Ireland.

I do not know that much about the history of the Irish
Republic (to my shame) in order to establish a comparison
with De Valera. As to Cardenas, there are some not unimportant
remarks to do.

1. Cardenas in fact revitalized a decaying revolution that
was risking run out of fuel and oxygen. He had a wave to
ride already made, so to say, and his historic merit is to
have boosted it. Chavez is making his own wave.

2. Cardenas enjoyed a more interesting international
landscape, albeit under the reactionary political
conditions of the 30s (here in Argentina we use to refer to
the 30s as the "Decada Infame", that is the Infamous
Decade, which name should probably be attached to the whole
international scene). The existence of the Soviet Union
made a great difference. Chavez will have to manage in a
darker scenario, and as for what can be seen, he is doing

3. Cardenas had behind him a long history of peasant
struggle against the landowners, which is not exactly the
case with Venezuela. Chavez will be forced to deploy an
agrarian reform (which he has already announced as one of
his goals for the Constituyente) _in order to begin to
carry the revolution to the countryside_.

> He is defying Imperialism and
> is in practice opening a path for the workes movement. Any
> extension od democracy that allows the formation of class
> struggle workers formations is to be welcomed. I would
> think that it is important that these formations retain
> their independence vis a vis Chavez.

Yes, we agree. Now, the conundrum is: what do you mean,
retaining independence when you have an open opportunity to
take hold of particular areas of state power? How can one
do the second but preserving the first? It is not easy. And
Chavez's openness seems to give way to something more than
mere temptations. Particularly because, as you say, Jim,

> But more importantly
> at this stage they break the tweddledum/dee stranglehold
> of the main bourgeois parties.

Only that they are not "bourgeois" even though they deserve
the support of the (oh, language is so limited!)
"bourgeoisie" of Venezuela. In order to be more precise, we
should speak of petty-bourgeois or, at most, entrepreneur
parties which develop a policy of submission to
imperialism. If parties are defined not only by their
social composition but for the material contents of their
ideologies (see Marx in The 18th Brummaire), then these
were never _bourgeois_ parties in the sense that they never
engaged in a policy that would consistently foster a
bourgeois revolution in Venezuela, the first task of which
should have been immediate eviction of American
corporations of the country and a land reform.

These comments nonwithstanding, I like your example:

> Imagine the effect in the USA if say a Jesse Jackson stood
> as an independent canidate opposed to both the democrats
> and the republicans.Through this fissure independent
> formations of the workingclass and oppressed nationalities
> would escape the trap of so-called "practical" politics
> which leads to lesser evilism.

though I think that Chavez is objectivelly to the left of
Jackson. His proposition of land reform is the semicolonial
equivalent of outright nationalization and socialization of
land in the USA.

> Ther are different Bonapartes. Peron mark one was
> different to Peron mark two.

Yes to the first, not so much to the second sentence. Peron
was solid to his national bourgeois bonapartist project to
the last day. The "two Perones" myth was concocted by the
radicalized national petty bourgeois of the 70s to explain
why the same Peron from whom they expected to receive
socialism came here with a bourgeois policy. There were
two, three and more Argentinas in the period. But only one
Peron. In fact, this is the reason for much of our tragedy:
the national bourgeois straitjacket could not be broken
from within Peronism, which was national bourgeois by

> Trotsky would have critically
> supported Cardenas vis a vis AmericaN Imperialism.

He did, in fact. Perhaps Carlos Rebello can give us full

> In order for Chavez stated aims to succeed and not
> collapse it has to go beyond  any limits and take up
> Socialist demands. Reforms that stop will be reversed and
> the fate of say the Bolivian revolution will come to pass.

This sounds to Trotskyist sacred lines, but I agree to the
point. Witness Argentina, with the "San Martinian" reforms
of Peronism. The (musically despicable by the way) "Marcha
Peronista" includes a stanza that runs

"Because that Great Argentina
that San Martin dreamt of
is the effective reality
that we owe to Peron"

(BTW: talk of cult of personality!)


More information about the Marxism mailing list