[Marxism] RE: Is the Bolivarian Revolution A Marxist Revolution?

Josh Saxe joshsaxe at gmail.com
Fri Aug 26 01:48:18 MDT 2005

First of all, to Junaid, Romulo Betancourt didn't nationalize the oil
in Venezuela, Perez did in 1976, which I believe I raised in an email
a few weeks ago before I left for Venezuela.  I still think important
comparisons can be drawn between the domestic social program of the
70's Perez government and Chavez.

Thanks to Javier and Junaid for their contributions, and Javier in
particular for his answers to many of Junaid's contributions - Javier
doesn't write often but spent many many hours in political discussions
with the CNV workers and speaks from more experience in this
discussion than perhaps anyone else on this list.

Junaid wrote:
"What is the advantage of nationalization if at present much of
the state sector is still bureacratic? How the hell do you actually
create a democratically planned economy? Is it really feasible for
Venezuela to simply delink from the world economy? To make socialism in
one country?"

I agree with what Javier wrote - there is nationalization from the top
down, and then there is nationalization the workers undertake while
calling for "control obrero" - something happening in the country as
we speak.  It makes sense for the CMR militants to be involved in
trying to widen and deepen this process.  It makes sense because it is
an example to Venezuela and the world that workers don't need bosses
and because it positively effects the consciousness of millions of
people in Venezuela (imagine being able to respond to a contact's view
that workers can't run the society with a concrete example in your
country of workers running their own workplace!).

I never called for immediate outright nationalization of the
Venezuelan economy in any of my emails.  I never called for immediate
North Korea style delinking from the world economy (Cuba is not
delinked, by the way).  When the old ruling classes are destroyed
economically and socially is a tactical question in every revolution. 
What sections of the old state machinery to destroy immediately, and
when to take power, have been tactical questions.  The fundamental,
unchanging problem is to create a movement deeply rooted in the
population that sees a proletarian dictatorship, the exportation of
the revolution, and the eventual complete defeat of the old ruling
classes as its singular goal.  There are groups that seek to create
such a movement in Venezuela, it's from their perspective that I view
the situation there, and the questions that are interesting to me are
- what are the opportunities the situation there presents to them ...?
 What are the dangers?  What are the possible outcomes to the
struggles between classes, conflicting strata of classes, and the
various state sectors going in the country right now and how do these
relate to the possibilities for social revolution there?  The Chavista
movement doesn't have a culture of asking these questions.  But it
seems as if there is the potential for building a militant wing of it
that does.

Let's recall that the Venezuelan capitalist state apparatus is still
there and Chavez sits at the head of it.  That to walk around a
Venezuelan city is to walk around a capitalist metropolis in a
dependent country, with all the mountains of poverty, hunger,
prostitution, people digging through trash, homelessness, drug
addiction, menial labor, and raw and explicit exploitation.  That the
ruling classes are still just that, the _ruling classes_, that
Chavez's social programs are funded more from oil wealth than from
deductions from their daily robbery of the population.  This is not a
proletarian dictatorship, Chavez is a bourgeois president of a
capitalist society, maybe an honest one, maybe even slowly drifting
towards revolutionary socialism, but still just that - a president of
a capitalist state.  So then to start over, where does that leave us
in relation to the goal of a proletarian state power that could back,
with armed force, a social revolution in Venezuela and export that
revolution around the world?


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