[Marxism] Re: Ecuador Protesters are Optimistic over Oil Deal

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Wed Aug 24 07:14:54 MDT 2005

Josh writes:
Fred says Chavez is giving oil to the Ecuadoran government to help
them grant those striking against them concessions.  What the ...?!? 
I'm sorry but that's pretty ridiculous.  Chavez is scabbing on a
popular struggle in Ecuador, one doesn't have to be in South America
to recognize that.

Josh, you are one of the few people on the list who has the excuse, as
well as the advantage, of youth, and I appreciate that.

First of all, I did not make any comment at all about WHY Chavez is
giving the oil.  I notice that what followed in Ecuador seemed to be the
release of prisoners, the opening of negotiations, and a degree of
optimism among the strikers. 

And certainly Chavez's move makes it easier for the government to decide
to use more of its oil wealth at home rather than pouring  it all into
the desperate search for hard currency by a country which does not have
its own currency -- it uses the dollar.

According to Prensa Latina, Chavez expressed the view that there was
imperialist manipulation or provocation involved in the strike, but
Prensa Latina did not quote him.  I am getting used to political lineups
in Ecuador being very complicated and unclear, partly because of the
desperation of the national situation and partly

And the savagery of imperialist pressure on Ecuador -- which is not only
debt-ridden and a US base but doesn't have its own currency -- really
does push every conflict toward civil war under conditions where no
genuinely positive resolution is readily available. I think Venezuela's
move does ease the pressure a bit.

All I can say is that my read is that anything that gives the Latin
American countries more leeway to resist imperialist pressures
ultimately strengthens the position of the working class and peasantry
even more than it helps the bourgeoisie. I think greater Latin American
economic integration definitely falls into this category.

I don't see too much sign that the people of Ecuador consider the oil
shipments to be a savage blow or a stab in the back. From what I can see
so far, not even the strike leaders are saying this.  Do you have
reports of this? Have you seen denunciations of Chavez's "scabbing." (I
recognize that at this point you have more direct experience of Latin
America than I do -- I am not well-traveled to put it mildly -- and that
you may know things about the Ecuadoran situation that are missing from
my rough picture of it.0

One certainly doesn't need to be in South America to recognize Chavez as
"scabbing."  No, in fact, I suspect it helps not to be there.  Whether
it is Brazil or Argentina, Venezuela or Cuba, the US far left standpoint
tends to skew developments in the Latin American class struggles in a
direction where "class" trumps "national interest" every time, something
that does not happen at all consistently in the actual class struggles
in the region.

I hope you are  thinking about writing  a report on what the Cubans at
the youth congress in Caracas thought about the Venezuelan revolution.

Thank you again for the report on the world youth festival.  A real
milestone for the list.
Fred Feldman

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