[Marxism] What’s Really Happening in Venezuela? » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Feb 18 10:02:03 MST 2014

They are playing a dirty and dangerous game. If the term fascism is 
abstracted from the accidental features of its historical manifestations 
and used more broadly to identify a movement that captures sectors of 
the middle and working class for a pro-imperialist project – a movement 
that is often racist and always willing to disregard democratic results 
– then President Maduro is correct in calling the key actors on 
Wednesday fascists. Yet for this very reason the President is himself 
embarking on a dangerous game. His idea of attracting right-wing but 
more democratically-inclined forces (such as the media magnate Gustavo 
Cisneros) to his side brings with it two very serious dangers.

The first of these is that – along with Maduro’s pet project of 
cultivating celebrity allies – this new move is likely to confuse his 
political bases. Second and just as important, “democratic imperialisms” 
and “democratic right-wingers” are extremely treacherous allies in the 
struggle against fascism. History has shown that the democratic 
bourgeoisie is as effective as a curse in the fight against the violent 
members of its own class; a curse can deal veritable death blows – 
Voltaire reminds us – when accompanied by a sufficient amount of arsenic 
(i.e. working class effort). It is clear that Maduro wants to be a 
“normal” president: a president who inaugurates monuments, attends 
religious services, and appears with the First Lady Cilia Flores. 
Similarly, he wants to imitate Chávez in his last years when after many 
hard-won battles the initiator of the Bolivarian process had the 
opposition thoroughly in check. All this is understandable. But having 
the opposition under control is not inherited with the Presidential 
sash, and Maduro’s wish to be a “normal” president indicates a grave 
misunderstanding of his historical moment.


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