Militant on Chavez

Macdonald Stainsby mstainsby at
Mon Oct 4 04:23:56 MDT 1999

>From "The Militant". There was some discussion awhile back as to what the
"line" of Barnes's group would be. Here is a chunk , the rest is at

Chávez attacks traditional parties, consolidates his regime in Venezuela  
{back page} 
Relying on deep popular resentment against the parties that dominated
Venezuela's political scene for decades, President Hugo Chávez has taken
further steps to consolidate his regime. Under the banner of fighting
corruption and addressing the social crisis, the Venezuelan president has
aimed his first blows at Congress and the courts — moves that have won him
wide popularity despite the economic recession that has hit the South
American nation.

On August 30 the newly established Constituent Assembly, originally charged
with rewriting the constitution, took away the powers of the existing
Congress, dominated by the two former ruling parties. Chávez has asked the
assembly, made up overwhelmingly of members of his Fifth Republic Movement,
to present a draft constitution by the end of October. Earlier in August,
the new body also took over the functions of Venezuela's judiciary.

Hugo Chávez's rise to political prominence is the product of the extreme
social crisis and turmoil, the discrediting of all the traditional bourgeois
institutions, and the lack of working-class leadership that has marked
Venezuela over the past two decades.  

Chávez: product of social crisis

Chávez is a classic Bonapartist politician — a figure who, in times of sharp
crisis, presents himself as the "man of destiny" who can stand above social
classes and the muck of traditional politics to rescue the nation and bring
social peace, even at the expense of parliamentary democracy. Such figures,
who are often tied to sections of the military, especially the elite forces,
try to whip up popular consent through occasional plebiscites and
referendums. The job of the Bonapartist leader, however, is to stabilize the
rule of the dominant social layer — in this case the Venezuelan capitalist

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