[Marxism] Reply to 'Venezuela, Country of Parallels'
carlwebb at gmail.com
Fri Aug 26 09:30:53 MDT 2005
ZNet | Venezuela
Reply to 'Country of Parallels'
by Jonathan Nack; May 28, 2005
[NOTE: This is a reply from a reader to America Vera-Zavala's article,
'Venezuela, Country of Parallels']
Hello Ms. Vera-Zavala,
I appreciate your thoughtful column, and like your analysis of how the
revolution in Venezuela is building new parallel institutions.
However, having recently returned from covering the pro-government and
opposition May Day marches in Caracas for Epicenter News Service (see
www.EastBayNews.org), I must take issue with a number of major points
which you make.
First, the political situation is no longer in turmoil, but is
actually very stable. The opposition no longer represents a dire
threat to the revolution. They have played all their major cards and
lost every round decisively. The U.S. has no viable options to pursue
a regime change. The opposition is in complete disarray and the
coalition of revolutionary parties which comprise the government is
not in upheaval, but maintaining an astonishingly high level unity in
action. The armed forces are now completely in the hands of the
revolutionaries and the troops are mainly from low income Venezuelans
who overwhelmingly support the government.
The very fact that there are 8 revolutionary parties in the coalition
government is something your article ignores. This coalition includes
revolutionary parties which reflect most every major radical Left
tendency in Venezuela, including the Communist Party of Venezuela, two
Trotskyist parties (Movement Towards Socialism and Patria Para Todos),
and the Socialist Party of Venezuela. Christian socialists, indigenous
revolutionaries and other non-Marxist revolutionaries are also part of
the Alliance for Change. The junior parties in the government
coalition have many members in key government positions. For example,
the Venezuelan Ambassador to the U.S. in Washington, D.C. is a
In addition to the 8 parties formally in the coalition government,
there are literally dozens of smaller revolutionary Left organizations
which support the revolutionary government. One of the most common
slogans written on walls all over Caracas was the initials of one of
the very many revolutionary Left organizations under which is written
"con Chavez." This is a critical point in understanding the nature of
the Bolivarian Revolution, and a point which in my experience almost
all U.S. leftists are completely ignorant of. It is very important to
educate the U.S. Left on the critical importance of revolutionary
pluralism in Venezuela.
While much of your critique of the MVR and Pres. Chavez is worthy of
consideration, you have missed the point that it is Pres. Chavez and
the MVR which is key to maintaining the revolutionary coalition
government. If Pres. Chavez and the MVR wasn't committed to
maintaining this unity, it wouldn't exist, because the MVR and Pres.
Chavez could refuse to cooperate with the other parties in forming a
joint list of revolutionary candidates for elections and could simply
decide to dominate the elections and the government on their own. The
fact that neither Pres. Chavez nor MVR has sought this is proof that
there must be an ideological and political commitment to revolutionary
In an interview I did with the National General Secretary of Patria
Para Todos, Juan Albornoz, I asked how critical the unity of the
revolutionary Left parties has been? Mr. Albornoz replied that it has
been everything. That for decades the revolutionary Left fought with
each other and made little progress. Since the formation of the
Alliance for Change, the revolutionary Left has focused on unity in
action rather than their differences. "Now, we only win, we never
lose," said Mr. Albornoz.
While your point about many politicians continuing to reflect the old
style of bourgeois politics, including careerism, patriarchy, and
corruption, is correct, but it is hardly surprising and not nearly as
important as the changes which have occurred in electoral politics,
and the impact the revolution has had in reshaping politics.
The biggest change of all is that low income and poor workers have
been mobilized, organized, educated, and empowered to such an extent
that the mass revolutionary movement has now become the driving force
of this revolution. This can easily be witnessed at the grassroots
level. In dozens of interviews with workers randomly selected out of
the pro-government May Day march organized by the UNT, I found the
lower income workers to be impressively articulate about what the
revolution is about, how socialism and other revolutionary policies
are improving their lives in concrete ways, and how and the
government, now belongs to them. The mood of the marchers was pure
jubilation, a celebration of 6 years of victories over their ruling
class and U.S. imperialism and the power they now know they possess.
Finally, your article seems to want the reader to believe that Pres.
Chavez and the MVR are insufficiently revolutionary and the masses are
becoming impatient with them. While I'm sure there are many Venezuelan
Left activists who might agree with your analysis, it is absolutely
not true of the masses. Pres. Chavez's popularity is at an all-time
high (a recent poll showed Pres. Chavez's approval rating at over 70
percent). An overwhelming majority of low paid workers will tell you
right off with passion of how they love Pres. Chavez, how he is such a
good man, how they are sure that he seeks nothing for himself, and how
he is their President - the first to do anything for them. A common
expression, which I heard repeatedly from workers, is that Pres.
Chavez is so brave, he has four balls.
Pres. Chavez has been consistently underestimated by the U.S. Left, as
has the Bolivarian Revolution. This is disrespect. It's time for this
Jonathan Nack Managing Editor, ENS
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