[Marxism] NYT: Chávez Again Seeks to End Term Limits

Joaquin Bustelo jbustelo at gmail.com
Wed Dec 3 13:06:34 MST 2008

Steven L. Robinson: "In the context of the US, where the major parties
design the electoral system so as to assure their leading figures remain in
power forever through gerrymandering, ballot access restrictions, etc, term
limits have some benefit in that they at least force a rotation of
personnel. In California, at least, this has resulted in the election of
individuals  more liberal or to the left of those that would have held the
positions had there been no term limits."

In other words, in the U.S., they help the major parties to continue
gerrymandering, restricting ballot access, and so on through largely
illusory changes of faces in high places.

As for Steven's other questions: 

"It is undemocratic that 30 year olds can't run for President of the US?"

"Or that Californians can't elect New Yorkers to Congress?" Of course.

"It is conceivable that a workers government might impose term limits on its
officials as a guard against bureacratism or the creation of an
authoritarian personality cult." All other things being equal, I would
suspect proponents of the measure of bureaucratism. The essence of
bureaucratic degeneration is driving the masses out of the political arena.
"Automatic" mechanisms to guard against bureaucratism not only would be
ineffective, but might be counterproductive in this sense.

As for the "cult of personality," that's a completely bullshit, euphemistic
concept created by Khruschev and their ilk in the 1950's to try to slough
off onto Stalin, by then safely dead, responsibility for everything that
happened rather than presenting it honestly as the result of bonapartist
rule on behalf of the interests of the bureaucracy. At the same time, by
official condemnation of "cults of personality," the Soviet bureaucracy
collectively sought to give itself some protection against the arbitrary
despotism by those who came after Stalin. 

Genuinely popular revolutionary leaders need no officially-sanctioned leader
cults to maintain their standing among the masses.


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