[Marxism] Re: Ecuador Protesters are Optimistic over Oil Deal
rrubinelli at earthlink.net
Thu Aug 25 11:36:13 MDT 2005
First, I don't thinK Fred has answered the single most important question, "Which Side Are You On?"
Are you on the side of the workers who have seized the fields, whose demands are "obviously just" ?
Or are you on the side of giving aid to a bourgeois government which will use the aid to pay its
international debt at the expense of the workers; which sent the military into to protect the international,
and national, bourgeoisie's property?
But we don't get the simple answer. Instead we get more distortion, obfuscation, ideological posturing,
and the age-old, or is that old-age? slurs, about ultra leftism betrayal, blahblahblah.
Fred objects to "rosy?" OK, how about "optimistic" since optimism is what the article claims to find.
Rosy and optimistic are generally considered synonyms when applied to evaluation of conditions and
Here's what Fred said: "The oil deal with Venezuela gives the government a
little more room to maneuver with Washington, and also may make it a bit easier for the masses to make
Now that could be called optimistic, or rosy. And it could also be called nonsense, since the room to
maneuver is being established at bayonet point.
I for one have never accused Chavez of betrayal, because the social struggle in Venezuela, and Ecuador,
and Bolivia is not the product of, nor embodied in any single individual. Conflicting forces are at work in
Venezuela, as in every social struggle, Chavez represents some of the forces at some times, but the
core of the struggle, and its real strength is in those class-based organizations of workers and poor. At
a certain point those organizations will have to step forward in opposition to other forces, independent of
the government to complete the transformation of Venezuela, if the struggle is to be successful. Chavez
may or may not welcome, embrace, enhance that stepping forward. Other forces may or
may not welcome also that independent movement. Betrayal is precisely not the issuee.
Yes the discussion is the continuation of previous discussions, and as in previous discussions Fred resorts
to gross exaggeration and distortion. Question: why is "rosy" unacceptable as a substitute for "optimistic,"
but Fred is comfortable with misrepresenting an assertion that the Bolivarian revolution failed 180 years
ago to emancipate the indigenous peoples as identical to calling Bolivar "a big fat fraud"? How does
criticizing the current "Bolivarian Revolution," if confined to limits of "continental integration," without
class struggle against the bourgeoisie, national as well as national, become the "Great Betrayal"?
And I think the answer is obvious: You can take the guy out the SWP, you can't take the SWP out of
of the guy.
We, or Fred, or others, those who think Chavez embodies the future, the path forward,
might want to come to grips with Chavez's speech in which he likens the current strike in Ecuador to
PDVSA strike in 2002. I think that's a pretty incredible, inaccurate, and near slanderous depiction of
both events. The PDVSA actions were not a strike so much as a lockout by the managerial and technical
staff of the company, taken in response to progressive measures of the government. The actions of
in Ecuador are actions of the workers, seizing bourgeois property after years of deprivation, destruction,
declining living standards, and degradation of environment and social infrastructure.
Now regarding the oil aid to Ecuador. First and foremost, it is aid given to the Ecuadorean and international
bourgeoisie to maintain export earnings, exports to the US. Are workers supposed to support such aid,
based on a fear that failure to meet "contractual obligations," will precipitate the wrath of the international
bourgeoisie, and jeopardize the "manueverability" of a their national bourgeoisie? Those who endorse
such a position ought to complete their "work" so to speak, and jettison any pretenses at Marxism,
Secondly, the offer of oil in kind from Venezuela needs to be examined. Venezuela's daily production is
approx 2.6 million barrels, and we are talking about an increase of between 8 and 10% daily, and overnight.
Unless Venezuela reduces its exports somewhere (1.4 million barrel/day go to the US), or has significant
stockpiles above ground of oil, the ability to deliver the promised oil has to be questioned.
So before everybody gets so excited about this grand gesture, let's see the details-- the sources for
the diversion, and the logistical means for delivering the oil to Petroecuador, etc.
And grand and empty gesture it may be.
Venezuela may purchase such oil on the market, may subsidize Ecuador's purchase of such oil, may even
release stockpiles-- all of which should serve to confirm that what is really going on is a real over-
production of oil, but that's a whole other debate.
But what is clear is that this offer to the Ecuadorean government serves to strengthen it in its con-
frontation with the oil workers.
If Fred or anybody wants to review the limits, and the failures, of the Bolivarian revolutions of the 19th
century to establish "modern" conditions of bourgeois production in city and countryside, to emancipate
the indigenous people from the hacienda, encomienda, and similar systems of indentured labor,
and to even abolish slavery, I am more than willing to undertake that discussion. But let's be clear,
we are talking about social struggles, not a matter of personal appearance or integrity of Bolivar himself.
And the question still is: Which side are you on? The side that supports a government using
the military against the workers' seizure of bourgeois property; or the workers seizing that property?
From: "acpollack2 at juno.com" <acpollack2 at juno.com>
Sent: Aug 25, 2005 10:58 AM
To: marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu
Subject: Re: [Marxism] Re: Ecuador Protesters are Optimistic over Oil Deal
Fred asks all the right questions (of which only one is below
because of our snipping rules).
More information about the Marxism