[Marxism] FW: A new political situation in Latin America: What lies ahead?
lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Jan 4 06:50:48 MST 2016
On 12/27/15 9:25 AM, Richard Fidler via Marxism wrote:
> 'Venezuela defines the future of the progressive cycle'
> - An interview with Claudio Katz
The interview with Katz is both on Links and on MRZine. I urge comrades
to read it because it is a subtle critique of the Bolivarian Revolution
from a fairly orthodox Trotskyist viewpoint. Katz was a long-time member
of Partido Obrero in Argentina who resigned because of political
differences some years ago. To his credit, he faults the PO for its
"catastrophism". As comrades, especially those who spent time in the
American SWP, this is an illness endemic to the Trotskyist movement.
Although Katz states that "Chavismo rescued the socialist project", the
interview implicitly draws attention to its shortcomings:
"It is very important, I think, in any discussion about whether or not
the progressive cycle has ended to look not only at the governments but
also at what is going on below. Many writers tend to assess a cycle in
terms of who is exercising the executive power. But that is only one
element. The cycle originated with popular rebellion and what defines
the relations of force is popular rebellions. The process over the last
decade was novel because, through a partial redistribution of resource
rents, many governments developed welfarist networks and consumption
patterns that moderated social struggles. That is one of the
explanations for why we have not had rebellions since 2004."
A partial redistribution of resource rents, many governments developed
welfarist networks and consumption patterns that moderated social
struggles? Well, I suppose so. People who benefit from "welfarist
networks" tend to rebel less against the government.
Katz pins his hopes on the left Chavistas returning to a more orthodox
"To sustain the radicalization, communal power is needed. Venezuela now
has legislation, a structure, adopted laws, that provide for
administering the country with a new form of communal organization --
from below and from above, with distinct authorities, in which democracy
is a reality and popular power is not confined to being a set of
defensive institutions. It is a decisive architecture for contending
with the parliament of the Right. If Maduro and the Venezuelan
leadership want to rescue the Bolivarian process, this is the time for
By communal power, Katz is obviously conjuring up images of Paris in
1871 or Russia in 1917. I am rather doubtful that the communes in
Venezuela have the same dynamics. From what I have seen, they were
funded by the government to the tune of billions of dollars. But
revolutionary communes come into existence as a last resort when the
masses feel like the government no longer serves their interests. Time
will tell whether the Venezuelan communes will take on that aspect but I
am doubtful given the overall electoral dynamics of Venezuelan socialism.
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