[Marxism] Hugo Chavez is an innocent man!

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sat Nov 25 21:19:50 MST 2006

A lie travels halfway around the world while the truth is putting its
boots on. I think it was Mark Twain who said that. One has to wonder
why Louis Proyect keeps on posting this completely undocumented

Tariq Ali is an important person on the revolutionary political left
in the United Kingdom. But Hugo Chavez Frias is the elected president
of Venezuela. Millions of workers in Venezuela follow Hugo Chavez.
His views hold more political weight in the world today than do the
views of Tariq Ali. What is the point of arguing about what someone
else says Tariq Ali might say about what Hugo Chavez supposedly

So here we have this same unsubstantiated allegation being reposted
on yet another occasions. Then there is Carlos Petroni. His completely
unsubstantiated allegation doesn't even have a DATE, nor is it 
documented in any way! Yet it's posted here as if it were a fact:

I've never made any claims about what Hugo Chavez is thinking. I've
no idea what goes on in his head, but he is a person whose views are
extensively documented as he is a head of state who speaks widely for
attribution. There are reliable books filled with Chavez's words for
attibution: by Richard Gott, by Aleida Guevara, by Marta Harnecker
and others. The facts are there to see.

Why individuals and groups seem so determined to keep spreading
allegations about what Chavez is supposed to have maybe said to
someone at some point is something which only those who keep posting
the material will have to answer. They and and certainly do speak for

There is an entire wing of the political left, a which which
describes itself as Marxist, which seems to be in business spreading
these unsubstantiated claims. The Spartacists are quite open about
this. The Socialist Workers Party of the United States is more
circumspect about it. Perhaps the best example of the organized
trends which peddle this material is Socialist Action, the San
Francisco-based Trotskyist party which is on an international
campaign to express their lack of confidence in Chavez, Evo Morales
and other progressive leaders in Latin America.

Socialist Action may have one hundred or so members on this earth,
and it may be headquartered in that proletarian center of San
Francisco, yet it wages WORLD-WIDE war against Chavez, Evo Morales,
Lula and others. Let's take a look at how Socialist Action does this.
A peek at Socialist Action's attitude toward Chavez can help us to
see where this relentless war against people like Chavez can end up
for even the sincerest of people:


"How should revolutionists respond to the current electoral shift to
the left in Latin America? 
"none of these populist candidates and parties is either consistently
socialist or based on the organization and education of the working
class to take power. And therefore they pose the danger of deflecting
or dissipating the mass radicalization that has been developing.

"That includes the Hugo Chavez regime in Venezuela,
"we do not give them political confidence and therefore do not call
for a vote for them in elections to determine the political
leadership of the countries concerned. A long and tragic history of
failed reformist experiments in Latin America demonstrates the
dangers of relying on such figures and political formations.
"There is hope that the present process of radicalization will lead to
a real change in the situation of the poor masses and that of the
countries dominated by imperialism. But significant change will only
happen when the masses in these countries become dissatisfied with
populist rhetoric and half-way measures and refuse to be diverted
from the perspective of independent organization and socialist

"Therefore, revolutionary socialists have no interest in fostering
illusions in politicians who have no such revolutionary perspectives."

FULL: http://www.socialistaction.org/editors9.htm

There's no reason not to discuss, debate and argue what leaders of
the revolutionary struggles in Latin America or anywhere do or say.
No one is above comment or criticism. But let's base such discussions
on what they really actually say and really do and not on what less
influential people who don't even speak their languages claim to say
that they think that they think. Meaningful discussions should be
based on facts, not on unsubstantiated allegations of what someone
says someone thinks.

Walter Lippmann
Los Angeles, Califfornia

I haven't heard Doug's interview with Tariq yet, but this is what Doug said:

According to Tariq Ali, Chavez says that this is not an era of
revolution, so all they can accomplish right now are left social
democratic reforms. Anything stronger would be, as the Leninists used
to say, adventurist. I think he's right. There's neither popular
support or a welcoming international environment for the overturning
of property relations, and anyone who tried it would be quickly destroyed.


You can also listen to the interview here: 

Like I say, this could just be Tariq's version of what Chavez told 
him. But I am far more interested in what Tariq has to say since my 
immediate concern is with the Marxist intelligentsia rather than with 
Latin American presidents who are mainly involved with the affairs of 
state than with theorizing about socialism--not that Chavez does not 
do this on occasion.

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