[Marxism] chavez, trotsky, etc

michael a. lebowitz mlebowit at sfu.ca
Wed Dec 8 08:42:19 MST 2004

David Walters wrote:I don't read into Chavez's comment anything too 
grandiose, just a sort of
practical honesty by someone trying to change the fundemental way society in
his country has treated the masses. Above all, Chavez is very objective about
Trotsky, sees something in the internationalist aspects of Trotsky's Permanent
Revolution that is worth raising in order to back up his own assertions, and
understanding, of the international political economy that Venezuela finds
itself in. I think it's good he's reading Trotsky and hope he can learn 
from it.

Chavez has worked closely with several international Trotskyist currents. He
has a personal relationship with Alan Woods (this is the current that Celia
Hart actually joined) and attended meetings internationally from his 
current. I
think that's all good.
         David's point about the practical honesty of Chavez at this point 
is key. There is no question in my mind that he is sincerely trying to 
transform the society. (Whether anyone else in the government is as 
committed, however, is moot.)It is important to understand that to this end 
Chavez is reading everything, (devouring would be a better word---although 
when he has time is a mystery!). The point he made about Permanent 
Revolution was specifically about the need for international revolution and 
the impossibility of advancing alone (a point which cuts both ways 
politically); for him, this point is consistent with his stress on 
Bolivar,ALBA, Latin American integration, a South-South alliance, etc. To 
the extent he picks up more from reading Trotsky is all fine-- better, I 
think, than his recent citing of neo-structuralist import-substitution 
people like Osvaldo Sunkel. At the recent international meeting, he was 
fulsome with praise of Theotonio Dos Santos (who had an interview in a 
local paper) and invited him to work with the new minister of finance.
         As for Chavez's close work with 'several international Trotskyist 
currents', I'd say this is mythology. Sure, he's met with Woods-- he meets 
with many international visitors (some would suggest, indiscriminately-- 
eg., Don King), and he has read some or parts of books that Woods gave him 
(and referred to some metaphors there at least once). But, there is no sign 
that this means anything-- certainly there is no contact with the local 
representatives of Woods' tendency (who are doing good work in supporting 
workers in an attempted take-over here). Far, far more significant is Fidel.
         in solidarity,

Michael A. Lebowitz

Professor Emeritus

Economics Department

Simon Fraser University

Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6

Currently based in Venezuela. Can be reached at

Residencias Anauco Suites

Departamento 601

Parque Central, Zona Postal 1010, Oficina 1

Caracas, Venezuela

(58-212) 573-4111

fax: (58-212) 573-7724

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