[Marxism] Jorge Martin (Woods tendency) and Hugo Chavez

michael a. lebowitz mlebowit at sfu.ca
Sun Jun 6 18:06:42 MDT 2004

         Fred Feldman has indicated that he disagrees with the line of 
Jorge Martin re the decision to fight the referendum in Venezuela. I share 
Fred's view and think that the perspective of the Trotskyist tendency that 
Martin represents (the old UK Militant/Ted Grant/Alan Woods group) on the 
Bolivarian process demonstrates its commitment to revolution in the 
abstract. Its argument for rejecting the results of the sign-up campaign 
for a referendum is consistent with its repeated calls for immediate 
nationalisation of the banks and monopolies, its dismissals of strategic 
concerns about US imperialism (since the latter is already opposed and 
plotting against the revolution), its assurances that the masses of Latin 
America will rise up in support of Venezuela and its criticisms of un-named 
reformists and moderates in the Chavist camp who are holding back the 
revolution. (These latter presumably include Chavez's 'little finger' 
which, according to Alan Woods, needed only to be lifted in April 2002 to 
crush all the reactionaries and to bring the working class to power 
         However, I disagree with Fred's criticism of the distribution of 
Martin's article in the US and elsewhere. The fact is that this group has 
taken a very important initiative in calling for support of the Venezuelan 
process against US imperialism; it stands out in this respect because other 
tendencies have been silent. To criticise them for advancing their own 
political position in the course of supporting Venezuela seem to be a bit 
confused--- the real point is to go thou and do likewise.
         Happily, Chavez has again demonstrated that, although he is not 
part of a 'revolutionary marxist current', he has a far better sense of the 
revolutionary process than the tendency that Martin represents. Rather than 
reject the Electoral Council decision that the signatures to trigger a 
recall referendum were present, Chavez today told a massive demonstration 
that this would be a referendum 'ratificatorio'--- a mandate on the 
education, health and social programmes of the revolution, that it would 
give the people a choice as to whether they want to continue forward or to 
go back, and he called for this new war to be conducted by a new commando, 
composed of groups of 5 organised in the barrios, the workplaces--- ie., to 
organise directly at the base, etc. The opportunity to deepen the 
revolution is obvious. The revolution advances.
         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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