[Marxism] Woods and Venezuela, misc

dave.walters at comcast.net dave.walters at comcast.net
Thu Jun 19 17:35:50 MDT 2008

I'm glad Walter posted these excerpts from Alan Woods trip to Venezuela.
 I work closely with members of their SF Branch in Hands Off Venezuela
 work and Cyntha McKinney support. It is always a pleasure to do so.

I think it's important that the excerpt Walter noted contains this phrase "enabling" that 
Woods suggest could be used to get socialism "overnight". This is something that 
is *peculuriar* to the methodology developed by Militant Labour back 4 decades where 
they argued that should a Labour Party, lead by their current, achieve majority status, 
that such a LP lead gov't could use the Enabling Act to nationalize the commanding 
heights of the economy and effect a dictatorship of the proletariat based on the use 
of their parlamentary majority. It is...unique in the post-WWII period that such a current 
that claims to be Trotskyist would see the revolution unfolding in this way.

[I would insert here that I agree 100% with Walter that the IMT is noted for NOT talking about
Cuba and the role it plays in the region, not to mention even a general analysis' about Cuba...strange
that there seems to be next to nothing uttered on this topic]

Thus, Woods takes this same method to Venezuela and argues that by fiat Chavez 
could accomplish something similiar, more or less. I'm thinking that the comparison 
is being made, but unstated, with Fidel Castro's "pronucimiento" in 1961 or so that 
Cuba's revolution was socialist.

I think that Woods is overly simplifying matters and is confusing, as well, the limited...
and they are limited, places where nationalization is demanded and the actual 
destruction of the Venezuelan capitalist state. The mobilizations in Cuba had a much, 
much higher level of implantation on farms, refinaries, distilliaries and factories. On 
the other hand, Venezuela has a much larger and industrialized working class cleary 
ready for more drastic measures. That Chavez has pledged to maintain this knife-edge 
between socialism and capitalism has been ongoing because of the ability of the gov't 
to maintain the social-services and budgetary needs of the programs his gov't has instituted. 
This is why in comparison to Bolivia, Morales is much worse off, not to mention the many 
factors Morales is facing in the distingration of Bolivia by oligarchical elements. In both 
cases, however, I *veer* to Wood's sentiment in that this knife edge approach is not going 
to last and both countries will have to go one way or another...this "50 years of capitalism" 
is utter bullshit unless on sees a huge reversal of the revolutions in both countries. 

The biggest danger is frustration at the pase of owership of the factories, farms and mines 
in both countries. This frustration we saw bear fruit in the failure of the referendum in V
enezuela. The referendum was for Chavez to lose, and he did. His reaction, however, 
was stirling and politically savy, an excellent response. But the overall issue of the course 
of the revolution is quite serious. The reason I like Chavez, from afar, is that he's recently 
come down on the side of workers such as the steel plant and in the cement industry. He 
almost LOST them, and I'm sure Fred and Jorge both explain this from their respective 
articles on the sutation. The kind of equivacation Chavez showed toward demands for 
nationalization is very problamatical and it doesn't really make him any friends except 
among the diplomatic corp and among people like Lula and Kirshner who are always 
counsaled him to go slow. The same "types" did the same with Allende.


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