[Marxism] Venezuela

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Dec 10 09:32:24 MST 2012

On 12/10/12 10:52 AM, audradavid at aol.com wrote:
> Is there anyone here who truly believes that the existing government of Venezuela is a socialist government and the society is headed towards socialism?

In 1918 Lenin gave a speech that included this: "the complete victory of 
the socialist revolution in one country alone is inconceivable and 
demands the most active co-operation of at least several advanced 
countries, which do not include Russia."

That was a Russia that had immense resources and territory, as well as 
the solidarity of massive workers parties all over the world. If it was 
impossible for socialism to be built in the USSR, how could Venezuela 
possibly succeed under far more difficult circumstances?

In my view, the Bolivarian revolution is an important nationalist 
struggle that represents working people and peasant determination to 
have a state that is on their side. Despite all the problems in 
Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia, the governments act on their behalf most 
of the time. What we know from studying Latin American history is that 
Uncle Sam is always committed to subverting such movements--from Arbenz 
in Guatemala to Peron in Argentina. Our stance should be solidarity with 
these movements and governments while remaining skeptical about the 
possibility that a "new Cuba" could emerge.

Cuba emerged out of conditions not likely to be repeated any time soon:

1. The existence of the USSR with a bureaucracy that was far more 
willing and capable of providing material aid than any time in its history.

2. The geographical reality of Cuba that insulated it to some degree 
from the counter-revolution (as opposed to the more porous Nicaragua.)

3. A deep upsurge of revolutionary movements all over the world, from 
Algeria to Vietnam, led by secular-minded figures influenced to one 
degree or another by socialism.

If those conditions are not to be replicated any time soon, we have to 
be realistic. I suspect that in the next 20 years or so we will see a 
return to the "classic" profile of revolutionary socialism that Marx 
wrote about in the mid-1800s. That was a period of capitalism's bloody 
birth. We are now entering a period of its death throes--as Leon Trotsky 
once put it. Now, more than ever, we need a worldwide revolutionary 
movement that dispenses with the small proprietor mentality of the 
sects. Whether that happens or not is of course an open question but we 
should work as hard as possible to make it succeed.

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