[Marxism] Re Class Struggle, Unions and Onions

robert montgomery ilyenkova at gmail.com
Thu Apr 6 18:40:09 MDT 2006

As I was working in the library stacks at my job in Boston  I
overheard the following loud discussion between an ESL tutor doing a
placement assessment, and an elderly, obviously middle class
Venezuelan woman:

Venezuelan woman (VW): You can't go out in the streets!!

ESL: Why is that?

VW: THey will steal your jewelry!!!

ESL: Who will-- criminals?

VW: Oh yes, they are criminals!

ESL: And what,  the police just don't crack down?

VW: No, no, no! The police allow it. They work for the government.
It's terrible these illiterate people will steal anything you have.

ESL: Are you saying that Chavez, he's president right, Hugo Chavez is
allowing this?

VW: He is behind it! Listen to me. There are Cuban men, men with guns
where this goes on. They are there to protect the hoodlums.

ESL: Uh-huh. But who are these hoodlums?

VW: They are the scum; the illiterates; the slum people who support Chavez.

ESL: So you think that Chavez is trying to terrify the middle class
people in Caracas?

VW: I don't know how to call it but only that they are trying to steal
from us everything.

I don't think this needs much unpacking. The "Venezuelan woman" has
fled to Boston and is working on her English, while expostulating to
her ESL navigator a tale of red perfidy and the unleashing of the
dangerous classes by a would be Castro. Anybody see the excellent
Cuban documentary (which seems to have disappeared) The Battle of
Chile? Remember the bourgeois and petit bourgeois hysterics with their
gold cigarette lighters wailing about Soviet tanks? National
revolution? Of course. Class against class? Of course as well. Is this
too abstract?

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