[Marxism] Fidel, Chávez, NEP

Nestor Gorojovsky nestorgoro at fibertel.com.ar
Tue Jul 25 18:53:07 MDT 2006

Respuesta a:"Marxism Digest, Vol 33, Issue 73"
Enviado por:marxism-request at lists.econ.utah.edu
Con fecha:25 Jul 2006, a las 15:43

> > Maybe neither Chávez, nor Fidel, are Communists.  And I am not
> > joking.
> A while ago, I got an interview with Heinz Dieterich via Paul Buhle
> and published it: "In my view, one can only do today in Venezuela what
> Lenin did in the New Economic Policy" (Carsten Schiefer, "Weighty
> Alternatives for Latin America: Discussion with Heinz Dieterich,"
> <http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/schiefer070206.html>).

Heinz is quite right, although I find his view somehow static.  A NEP-
like politics (not a NEP, because a NEP requires that full state 
power be in the hands of the revolutionary bloc) is a good definition 
of what is taking place, at a very slow pace, in Vnzl and Bolivia.

At the same time, however, the _old_ social classes are still with 
us, something that had disappeared when Lenin launched NEP.  If you 
can imagine a NEP with the Putilov factory still in Putilov's hands, 
the old Czarist agrarian lords owning their estates, and an 
intervention of foreign (imperialist) capitalists at every nook and 
corner of the economy, with the permanent danger of conspirations and 
even murder of leaders, then you can guess what is it we can begin to 
do here.

At the same time, the main source of power, that is the psichological 
strength of the masses, slowly puts up with the necessities of the 

This is the balance:  we still cannot strike the central blows 
against our enemies, but they cannot strike any blow on us.  Thus, we 
advance towards the exit door with the care of a hostage when the 
guard is half asleep (this is not my metaphor, it's someone else's, 
but I find it excellent so that I make it mine).

And of course there are the very different situations in each 
country.  It needs imagination to drive a revolution ahead under 
these conditions.  And cultural and symbolic struggle may be most 

In Córdoba, the most revolutionary thing that happened was to listen 
to Lula saying in a public event and as Brazilian President that this 
that was taking place was a "revolution", and immediately afterwards, 
as if scared at his words or maybe because he would expect a 
revolution to be something greater, he corrected himself: "a small 
revolution".  I mean, the declaration itself is unimportant.  What is 
important is that _by this utterance, and probably without realizing 
what he had done, he put the world "revolution" on the agenda again_. 
I can say "revolution" a million thrillion times, all of us can say 
"revolution" twice a minute for months and years, Fidel may say it a 
thousand times, Chávez may say it two thousand times, but this will 
not put it on the agenda.  It gets there, however, when a mild Prez 
such as Lula does.

Another example:  Brazil has no relation with Bolivar's struggles.  
There were a few Brazilians with Bolívar, and one of them, the 
Pernambucan Abreu e Lima, was a general (Abreu e Lima was an 
introducer of socialism in Brazil, by the way).  But that was almost 
all.  Then, what did Chávez do?  He financed a Rio Mardi Gras group 
to stage a Bolivarian show, and this group won last year's contest!  
Thus, he put Bolívar in the heart of every Brazilian with a single 

Yesterday, for example, something new and revolutionary has happened 
that won't make the headlines:  the Río Santiago shipyard (largest in 
Latin America, Arg, state-built and state-owned but paralyzed when 
the neolibs discovered they couldn't sell it out --because of 
apposition of the Arg Navy, yes the same guys who killed and 
disappeared so many here!) began to produce the first of a series of 
tankers for the Vnzlan oil company.  The name of the ship will be 
"Eva Perón", breaking the usual line in Vnzla, which was to name them 
after their Miss Universe winners.  This is a message both for 
Venezuelans and Argentineans.

These gestures build a goal worth fighting for.  And in the meantime, 
the material foundations begin to be laid for a South American bank, 
a South American energy network, trade agreements that elliminate 
dollars in inter-South-American transactions, etc., etc. 

For anyone in the First World, these may sound pitiable bourgeois 
things to do, which depends on whether you look at the bottle as half 
full or half empty.  Any serious Marxist, however, should see in this 
bottle an ongoing process of recovery of revo consciousness in masses 
of countries that are very painfully beginning to gain some small 
measure of control on themselves.

So that, when I say that "maybe neither Fidel nor Chávez are 
Communists" I am not criticizing them.  A true Communist is the 
person who does what has to be done, in the concrete situation, to 
advance the general movement towards socialism.

Este correo lo ha enviado
Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
nestorgoro at fibertel.com.ar
[No necesariamente es su autor]
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"La patria tiene que ser la dignidad arriba y el regocijo abajo".
Aparicio Saravia
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