Letter-writer criticizes the Militant's stance on Chavez

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Sun Aug 18 06:10:43 MDT 2002

The following letter appeared in the August 26 Militant.  It indicates that
some readers are noticing the contradiction between the facts described in
the Militant's news coverage and the assessment in the same coverage that
Chavez is just another "capitalist politician" and  has made "a turn to the
right" since the coup.  However,  I  have a different view than the
letter-writer, Theodore Jones, on a couple of points.

Jones supports what he calls "Chavez's attempt to reign in the CTV"
(Venezuela Workers Federation).  The fact is that the attempt to
legislatively remove the leadership of the CTV (even though it was approved
by a substantial majority in a fairly conducted referendum)strengthened the
ability of the CTV leaders to pass their campaign against Chavez and in
support of the imperialists and Venezuelan bosses as an attempt to defend
workers' rights to organize independently of government control.

The CTV officialdom serves the interests of  capitalism and imperialism in
much the same way as the officialdom of most legal unions in Cuba did before
the revolution (and as the union bureaucracy in the United States, taken as
a whole, does as well). There is no reason to believe, based on what we know
about him,  that Chavez's intentions in proposing this legislation were
reactionary (although I could not similarly vouch for all figures in his
government at that time), but the legislation was ineffective and
strengthened the hand of reaction.

"The slow pace of change in Venezuela is a major part of what has kept him
and the Bolivarian Republic alive to this point, facing as they do almost
alone the might of the world sole superpower,"  Jones wrote. I  think the
author is focusing on the less significant side of what is happening.  While
victory is far from assured and gigantic hurdles remain to be cleared,
Venezuela is showing that the status of the United States as "sole
superpower" has not made it fundamentally more difficult for a deepgoing
revolution  to take place given broad enough popular mobilization and
leaders willing to foster rather than obstruct it. (Because of the
importance of the leadership question, we must assume that a second coup
attempt will seek to quickly murder Chavez.)

The slow pace of change has basically stemmed from the fact  that the state
and government machinery in Venezuela are still subordinate to the
imperialists and Venezuelan capitalists, despite the election of a president
who relies on the support of the workers and peasants.  It is only since the
mass upsurge foiled the April coup  that the scale of  popular mobilization
has begun to reach the point of posing the practical possibility of
revolutionary social and political changes in the interests of the workers,
peasants, .and the Venezuelan nation.

It is this possibility that the increasingly desperate reactionary forces,
including the CTV  bureaucracy, are attempting to crush as they move toward
attempting a second coup.
Fred Feldman

Letter to Militant

On Venezuela
I have found your coverage on Venezuela excellent and informative. I believe
I disagree with your dislike of Chávez's attempt to reign in the CTV
[Venezuelan Workers Federation] and your overall analysis of Chávez.

The CTV is an organization that represents the Venezuelan capitalist class.
It has succeeded over the years in fooling a certain portion of the
relatively well-off Venezuelan working class on this point, but after its
support of the bosses' strike there really can be no doubt in the mind of a
politically educated viewer. The wholesale recall of its leadership
attempted by Chávez would have been an enormous step forward for the
Venezuelan working class.

Hugo Chávez is not a reactionary and his labor policy is not and has never
been reactionary. The slow pace of change in Venezuela is a major part of
what has kept him and the Bolivarian Republic alive to this point, facing as
they do almost alone the might of the world sole superpower.
Theodore Jones
by e-mail

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