Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Thu Sep 26 10:40:26 MDT 2002

>The situation is different in Venezuela in
>that the leader of the military is a leftwing
>nationalist who says he advocates a major
>transformation in the society while he's
>holding elective office obtained through
>a bourgeois democratic election. There
>was no democratic election process in
>Cuba, so the revolution there took the
>extra-legal form that it had to take.
>This seems quite a unique situation, so,
>as I've suggested previously, for those
>of us who are not present in or who do
>not know much about Venezuela (like
>myself, for starters), study and caution
>are good places to begin.
>Walter Lippmann

Because Chavez has been slandered so frequently by our own alma mater,
there is a tendency to reject the notion that he is some kind of
Bonapartist. The American SWP obviously uses this term in order to
stigmatize him from an ultraleft perspective. That being said, there are
some grounds for understanding him in this context. According to Steve
Ellner ("The Radical Potential of Chavismo in Venezuela", Latin American
Perspectives, Sept. 2002), Chavez enjoyed cordial relations early on with
the Argentinian Norberto Ceresole, who is the author of more than a dozen
books on politics. "Declaring that democracy in Latin America had failed,
Ceresole traveled to Venezuela after the 1998 elections in an effort to
propagate the model of a strongman-led government underpinned by the armed
forces in the tradition of Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser." I think the reason
that Chavez looks so novel to us today is that we have been through a
period of such deep reaction that Nasserite or Peronista figures are hard
to come by. But through the 1930s through the 1950s, they weren't. I just
printed out Ellner's article and will probably have more to say.

Louis Proyect

PLEASE clip all extraneous text before replying to a message.

More information about the Marxism mailing list