[Marxism] Chavez re-elected

Stuart Munckton stuartmunckton at gmail.com
Mon Oct 8 19:59:28 MDT 2012

The article starts with this statement:

*"Hugo Chavez has been re-elected as president of Venezuela with just under
55 percent of the total vote—the lowest since he first took the presidency
in 1998 writes Mike Gonzalez in Socialist
Actually, the percentage is lower, but it was still the highest vote for
Chavez ever numerically. He got more than 7.4 million votes. In 2006, he
received 7.3 million -- at the time, the highest number of votes for Chavez
ever, though it fell short of the revolution's very optimistic goal of 10
million votes.

However, the vote for the opposition rose from around 4 million to about
6.1 million -- a drastic rise. Far from less support for Chavez, there was
an increase in the ability of the counterrevolutionary forces to mobilise

Partly, the resources used (as Gonzalez says), partly the fact (not
insignificant) that Capriles pitched left. He insisted he supported the
social missions, but wanted to make them better, playing to concerns over
problems with them.

But no doubt, as Gonzales says, it reflects frustrations with the process,
leading less conscious sections, or those who previously abstained
(possibly in hostility to an opposition closely identified with
coup-plotters and neoliberalism -- Capriles is both a neoliberal and
Washington-backed coup-plotter abut worked overtime to try and hide that
fact) to be more willing to support the opposition.

The problem is less exactly what Gonzales says, but what he doesn't -- what
he leaves out. he is also right to highlight some of the real problems,
contradictions and limitations. And anyone with eyes open can see a
struggle to resolve these is essential for the revolution to advance -- and
if it can't make gains in these areas, it will risk defeats.

However, the framework in which these struggles will take place will be
over the platform that has just been endorsed by a decisive majority. This
is the six year plan -- 2013-19, a 39 page document drawn up in the months
before the poll, discussed and debated in popular organisations and
communities. It sets out a series of radical transition measures to
significantly deepen attacks on power of capital and open transition to

You can read a great summary of the plan in this Venezuela Analysis
article<http://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/7091>. The
problem is not this plan, but the m=popular movement and institutions are
almost certainyl still too weak to win real gains on this, however as a
result of the elections there is the mandate and momentum to wage that

The struggle within the Bolivarian camp between the actual needs of the
urban poor and workers and the interests and practices of a bureaucratic
and often corrupt sector out to defend its interests will be over seeking
to push ahead with these plans that have been widely debated and discussed
and now endorsed by a popular vote. (The "boli bourgeoisei" or "bureaucrats
in red shirts", an often diverse and hetergenous sector that can wield a
lot of power in the Chavista camp).

A great example of this is the struggle for workers' control int eh heavy
industry sector in Guyana. This is drawn out by Ewan Robertson's long and
detailed discussion of this complex struggle at Venezuela
Plan Guyana, which includes big advances in workers' control, was drawn up
by elected worker reps and accepted and endorsed by Chavez at a meeting in
which he insisted the managers and government reps had to accept workers'

The struggle to implement this, the struggle for workers' control has been
bound up with implementing other revolutionary features of the plan. That
is, it is the old managers and others, such as forces tied to right-wing
Chavista govenor of Bolivar, with vested interests that block moves to end
deals to sell cheap raw materials to multinationals and instead reorientate
production to the internal market to meet Venezuelan needs (such as the
desperate need for housing materials to meet the goals of millions of new
homes to solve the housing crisis).

It is the workers  who seek to push this over the resistance of the
managers and other sectors, and the failure of the managers and others to
do it is one of the key driving forces of struggle for workers' control.

So it will be over the revolution;s program just adopted by popular vote
 more generally (which includes workers' control and deepening popular

What is misses is that it is not as simple as "masses from below" versus
government and Chavista leaders, but that the government itself is often
mixed in its role and that, as the key leader, Chavez's role is, with real
contradictions and limitations, to push the process forward, to support and
encourage the struggle from below.

There is a live struggle by a mass movement riven with contradictions, that
has achieved a huge amount and has just received a decisive mandate
(through a vote that reveals some dangerous weaknesses at the same time) to
drastically deepen this process of change.


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