[Marxism] Re: Hugo Chavez is an innocent man

michael a. lebowitz mlebowit at sfu.ca
Sun Nov 26 12:10:19 MST 2006

Chavez has just concluded speaking now... I 
think. Yup, fireworks. I'm back from wandering 
around to a number of the different gathering 
areas (Avenida Bolivar, where he is speaking 
being only one), street parties on many corners, 
etc in the western part of this divided city. I 
have no idea how many people have been out there 
but the streets and metro are rojo, rojito. 
There's been music and partying outside my hotel 
by a large crowd while the speech was pumped in. 
Music is now louder--- I think it began about 4am 
(probably folks who arrived by bus then). Here's 
a link to some images: 

         As for what Chavez stands for, rather 
than quote off-the record stroking (and provide 
my own), here are two items-- the first from his 
public comments a little while ago before an 
overwhelmingly hostile international press, and 
the second from his current opponent:

1. From Green Left Weekly (17 November)
Green Left Weekly was fortunate to be chosen to 
ask one of the questions. GLW asked about the 
next step in building “socialism of the 21st 
century”, which Chavez declared in January 2005 
to be the goal of the Bolivarian revolution, 
assuming he wins the December 3 presidential 
election, as polls suggest he will comfortably. 
Chavez responded that the emphasis would be 
placed on “socialist ethics”. He said this would 
emphasise solidarity as opposed to hollow 
individualism and consumerism. Another important 
element would be the creation of socialist 
democracy. This, explained Chavez, involved the 
consolidation of “participatory, popular, and protagonist democracy”.

Next, it would involve the creation of a 
socialist economic model, with the emphasis on 
self-management, cooperatives or joint 
worker-state co-managed workplaces. The 
government has been working on this for the last 
eight years, building a bridge between the old 
capitalist economic relations and the future socialist system.

According to Chavez, Venezuela’s effort to create 
socialism had its own, original, indigenous and 
“Bolivarian” model. It would have little to do 
with the model of Soviet Russia, which the 
Russian people had not been prepared to defend. 
Chavez also called it “Indo-American socialism”, 
explaining that indigenous peoples of the 
Americas already practiced a form of socialism 
that would have to be recovered. Finally, it is 
not a model that would be imposed on Venezuela 
from above, but is to be constructed by Venezuelans themselves.

2. From Manuel Rosales (yesterday's rally in 
Caracas-- quoted in venezuelanalysis.com):

Rosales stated that Chavez’s call for “Socialism 
of the 21st Century”, is trying to “put an end to 
Professional sports
 where there’s no possibility 
of the true development of sports talent in 
Venezuela.” “That is socialism or Castro 
communism of the 21st Century,” said Rosales.

Rosales also declared that Socialism of the 21st 
Century is “to control the life of the 
Venezuelans, tell them what to eat, how much to 
eat, how to study, so that we all depend on the 
 to give our riches to other countries for 
political and ideological activities
brainwash the children in their schools, to speak 
to them of Castro Communism, of war, of violence 
and to enroll the youth in military service to 
prepare them for a war in other countries, so 
that they spill their blood in foreign lands for 
wars that we don’t understand or agree with
[Chavez] will be president for his whole life, 
until he dies like Fidel Castro, unlimited 
 so that no one is owner of anything, 
because they don’t believe in private property
that those who are poor, it doesn’t matter if 
they are poor
 but the important thing is that 
they believe in Socialism of the 21st Century
Castro communism, the Cubanization of Venezuela, 
and that’s why the people are in the streets, 
because the people don’t want this, they want 
modernity, democracy, new democracy, social 
justice, and for all of us live in peace.”

                 in solidarity with the process 
here (but you can see my criticisms and concerns 
in Build it Now and in recent interviews in Green 
Left Weekly and the Socialist Worker),
Michael A. Lebowitz
Professor Emeritus
Economics Department
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6

Currently based in Venezuela.
Can be reached at
Residencias Anauco Suites
Departamento 601
Parque Central, Zona Postal 1010, Oficina 1
Caracas, Venezuela
(58-212) 573-6333, 571-1520, 571-3820 (or hotel cell: 0412-200-7540)
fax: (58-212) 573-7724

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