[Marxism] Chavez was right [was: RE: Chávez and Holocaust indifference]

S. Artesian sartesian at earthlink.net
Mon Sep 28 08:17:52 MDT 2009

LW:  I actually do think that the unity of "Third World" countries is 
something to

  One should remember also that both Iran and Venezuela were among the
five founding members of OPEC [Organization of Petroleum Exporting
Countries] in 1960, the cartel of "Third World" countries trying to break 
control of the "Seven Sisters", i.e. the oil trusts of imperialist 
countries, over
the world petroleum market.

Pretty hilarious, no?  OPEC in 1960, not to mention 1973, was an 
anti-imperialist attempt to break the control of the oil trusts?  Sure it 
was, and shame on everyone for not realizing how anti-imperialist the Shah 
was back then.  And Betancourt, who after all, instituted the 50-50 tax. 
And Carlos Andres Gomez, too. Hey, how about the Faisals? Don't forget them. 
If only we had realized how truly nationalist, anti-imperialist those guys 
were.... hell, there would be no need for a revolution.

And how has OPEC functioned, in fact, in history?  As an anti-imperialist 
bloc, even in 1973?  Or as the agent, the stalking horse, the whip of the 
bourgeoisie in general, and the US bourgeoisie in particular?  Let's look at 
the record, as is often said.  1968-69, rate of return in the US oil 
industry tanks, inflation accelerates, recession follows.  1971 OPEC starts 
to flex a little bit of its anti-imperialist muscle.  1973 OPEC flexes all 
its anti-imperialist muscle and what happens?  Rate of return for the oil 
majors recovers.  That's one helluva of breaking the control of the oil 

And then... and then, well steep recession 1974-75, and then the recycling 
during the recovery of all those petro-dollars into US banks and from US 
banks into-- why into the governments of 3rd world countries, who amass 
debt, and then... and then the 2nd OPEC shock, and another boost for the oil 
trusts, but not for the third world countries, which, in the ensuing 
recession get caught with lots of debt and little money to pay it, thus 
inaugurating the "lost decade" in Latin America.

And then.... well with continued overproduction, the price of oil collapses, 
and so does the Mexican economy, dependent as it was on oil revenues.  OK, 
OPEC claims its victim.  Is it an oil major?  Does the compensated 
nationalization of  the Arab-American Oil Company, Aramco, bring Standard 
Oil/Exxon to its knees?  Not hardly.  OPEC brings a 3rd world oil producer 
to its knees.

And then... another price collapse in 85-86, undertaken by the Saudis at the 
behest of the US, cripples... an oil trust?  Not exactly.  A 3rd world 
country?  Not exactly. A 2nd world country?  Exactly, the USSR.  That's some 
anti-imperialism going on.

And then... after the price collapse of 1998, who comes to the rescue of the 
oil trusts and their single digit rates of return?  Why, look up in the sky, 
it's a bird, it's a plan, no... it's SuperOilman.  It's our friendly OPEC, 
announcing production cuts to get the price up,  and when that temporary 
measure loses its power, what do we get then?  The invasion of Iraq.

If OPEC didn't exist, the bourgeoisie would have had to invent it.  OPEC did 
exist, and the bourgeoisie still had to invent it.

And on another point,  Nestor gives a stirring, impassioned defense of 
Chavez based on...basically on a loyalty to "developmentalism," that somehow 
Chavez, bonapartist or not,  is a national democratic, vaguely socializing 
character who is "sternly" creating the means of production in Venezuela. 
Oh, bullshit.  If creating the means of production in Venezuela is somehow a 
goal, in and of itself, divorced from the social relations surrounding such 
development, then we ought to tip our hats to the aforementioned Gomez, 
inducting him into the pantheon of national, vaguely revolutionary heroes.

There is no meaningful development of means of production separate and apart 
from the social relations of production.  There is no "independent" 
"national" development of the means of production in less developed 
countries separate and apart from the world markets, from the circuits of 
international capital, without an unvague social revolution.  What makes 
Chavez different, so far, is not his fidelity to "national development," is 
in fact probably not Chavez himself at all,   but the strong egalitarianism, 
the strong social, class movement in Venezuela, which if it is to be 
successful, will be forced to confront in every less vague terms, capital as 
capital, not as "development."

And thus we can  that the single "terrain" on which we judge Chavez and his 
"friends," his relationship with Iran, is not whether it strengthen his 
efforts at "sternly" creating the means of production, but where it 
strengthens, domestically and internationally, that class movement.

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