Chavez veers left, talks expropriation

Jose G. Perez jgperez at
Sat Jun 9 20:50:28 MDT 2001

I think that developments are now showing that the election of Chávez was,
as Fidel said in his visit to Venezuela shortly after the event, something
like Cuba's July 26. Not yet the victory that puts power in the hands of the
revolutionary forces, and certainly not the consolidation of the revolution,
but the beginning of a GENUINE revolution, the event that set the stage for
the process to unfold..

Inevitably, the measures taken by Chávez to clean up the government and
defend Venezuela's national sovereignty, like putting a stop to Venezuela
being Washington's pliant tool and number one scab in OPEC, have led to a
growing CLASS polarization in that country, with the priviledged classes
adopting an ever-more-openly anti-national stance and the working people
rallying to the defence of Chávez and his project.

How quickly this polarization will develop, no one can foretell, although,
clearly, the basic class camps have taken shape. But we do know from prior
experience that such a stage in a revolutionary process can last years, but
not indefinitely. And as the dynamic of a sharpening class struggle sets in,
suddenly the motor of historical development will be thrown into high gear,
and what from the perspective of June could look like a task that in the
best of circumstances will take years, by the end of the year will have
begun receding into history, thanks to the decisive intervention of the
laboring masses under a decided leadership that defends its interests.

That is what happened in Cuba in the year 1960.

But this may not yet be Venezuela's 1960. Before 1960, in Cuba there was
1959. And the decisive issue then was not yet the conscious expropriation of
the capitalists as a class, but justice for the campesinos, the agrarian
reform. From what little can be gleaned from press reports, it seems "just"
an agrarian reform is now what is on the agenda.

I put the "just" in quotes because, although I do not have even a passing
acquaintance with the class structure of the Venezuelan countryside, I would
be surprised, indeed, astonished, if such a reform did not lead directly to
an open and irreconcilable life-and-death struggle with the entire
Venezuelan capitalist class.

We cannot, of course, offer money-back guarantees. But there has been enough
experience now for us to be able to say that the comrades of the Venezuelan
Communist Party are undoubtedly taking a correct, revolutionary stance in
supporting President Chavez. On this, I'm with Nikita Khruschev, who I will
admit is my favorite Stalinist, and who famously said he did not know if
Fidel was a Communist, but he did know he (Nikita) was a Fidelista.

As for the rest of us, those outside Venezuela, our main job now is to
prepare ourselves for the coming international battle over the Bolivarian
revolution. There is going to be a political and ideological --at least--
war all over the Americas over the Venezuelan revolution. We need to begin
arming ourselves with the facts and history of the country, follow closely
the enemy propaganda, and prepare to defend the people of Venezuela, and
their president and government, against imperialist attempts to slander
them, isolate them politically, meddle in their internal affairs, and occupy
them militarily.

As for the revolution's "lack" of an ideology as this stage, we should not
worry overmuch. Bolívar IS  an "ideology" -- even if the scribblers of
imperialist press agencies are too ignorant to recognize the reality that
sits two inches in front of their nose. We can expect an incredible amount
of ideological diversionism and drivel from these worthies and their elder
brethren in academia before the dust settles from the revolutionary tornado
that is now taking shape in Venezuela.

And at the other end of the stage that appears to be beginning now --the
stage where the question of property takes center stage in the revolutionary
process-- we will be able to look back and say what Ché said about Cuba in
1960. And that is that if the revolution could be considered Marxist, that
would be because the working people of the country has rediscovered, in and
through their own experiences and struggles, the road pointed out by Marx.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Barry Stoller" <bstoller at>
To: <marxism at>
Sent: Saturday, June 09, 2001 6:08 PM
Subject: Chavez veers left, talks expropriation

Reuters. 9 June 2001. Venezuela's Chavez Declares Revolutionary

CARACAS -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Saturday he would
not shrink from adopting emergency powers if necessary, and urged
supporters to unite behind him in a justice-seeking, anti-imperialist


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