[Marxism] Re: (Marxism) Alan Woods in Venezuela)

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Sat May 1 05:47:28 MDT 2004

I think the discussion on Alan Woods in Venezuela is taking on a too
defensive tone, a somewhat sectarian one.  The significant thing here is
what has changed, not what has not changed.  A sectarian Trotskyist
group has, for whatever reason and with whatever illusions, to take on
the Venezuelan revolution as a project, and has furthermore recognized
that President Chavez is part of the revolution, a leader of the
revolution, and a pretty outstanding human being.  This is progress.  We
don't have to defend our general standpoints against it. Actually, the
response of Chavez to this movement in a revolutionary direction and
concrete aid to a revolutionary struggle has been the right one:
enthusiasm and encouragement, without any "irony" or humor at Woods'
expense at all.  
For instance, I don't think there was anything ironic in Chavez's
statement in response to Woods' gift of a couple books from his
tendency.  Chavez doesn't know whether the books are good or bad but he
is glad of the opportunity to learn whatever they have to teach.  And
frankly, I don't know whether the books Woods gave him are good, bad, or
a mixed bag because I haven't seen them, let alone read them, and
neither have most members of the list.
The points about the group's bad politics are important, but there has
been a positive development on Venezuela and maybe that will lead to
rethinking in other areas. Let's hope so.
In responding to such developments, I don't think we should start from
generalizations about "Leninist" parties or our own favored schemas for
"party-building" etcetera.  Woods may start from that but most of us
should be getting past it or working on getting past it.
I think Chavez had the politically right response to Woods' overture,
not just for fighters in Venezuela but anywhere.  Our starting point is
the struggle, not the "competition."
Fred Feldman

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