[Marxism] "Before we had a boss. Now we are the bosses" - Venezuelan co-ops expand

dwalters at marxists.org dwalters at marxists.org
Wed Aug 23 05:27:26 MDT 2006

It's kind of funny who the discussion  turns when the majority of N. Americans
are asleep. Of course, I'm working grave yard last night makes me 12 hours out
from NY!

Now this is a really fascinating discussion. It's also very concrete since the
*exact* same debate is going on in Venezuela today among various sectors of the
Revolution, most notably the gov't, the co-operatives, and of course, the UNT,
already quoted here.

I think in terms of the Lenin quote...again, something people are failing to
make note of...while we can argue that Venezuela is going through a rather
long, drawn out, and mostly peaceful revolution the Lenin piece was written 2
years into the NEP and 5 or so years after October. We're talking about the a
discussion on co-operatives where the commanding heights of the economy are
nationalized, under workers control, governed by a workers state.

So Venezuela has passed these 'criteria' yet, it's still a capitalist country
and thus concern of the co-operative movement is heightened there.

There are two aspects it seems, of the co-operative movement. I'm hoping M.
Liebowitz who is on this list and lives in Caracas can comment on this as well.
One aspect is bringing informal aspects of the economy into a more regulated,
and capitalized sector formally as part of the national economic plans. It is
done capitalistically in the sense that loans are given with interest (low
interest), enterprises as espected to compete in the market, with each other,
and turn a profit, to sustain itself within the parameters of capitalism.

The other part is the conversion of nationalized industries *into*
co-operatives, essentially making formally state industry into capitalist free
enterprises with joint ownership by the workers. This is the plan Lula has
tried to implement and propose in Brazil in that country's occupied factories:
"NO to nationalization, YES to co-operatives". This means workers can fire each
other, divide up profits, compete, and so on. So, the unions in both countries
have raised objections to this and/or been discussing it at every level.

It is all VERY controversial.


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