[Marxism] The Chávez Hypothesis: Vicissitudes of a Strategic Project (Chris Gilbert)

Nick Fredman nick.j.fredman at gmail.com
Sat May 20 07:15:59 MDT 2017

On Sat, 20 May 2017 at 3:48 am, Louis Proyect via Marxism <
marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote

> Not sure I want to reply to Gilbert but I find the notion of communes in
> Venezuela troubling. Were they supposed to be an expression of dual
> power? When the government in power has created them, it sounds much
> more like a single power. I haven't been paying close attention to
> Venezuela since Maduro took over. To some extent that has to do with
> Chavismo support for Assad that makes the notions of 21st century
> socialism sound hollow.

The best general way to understand and assess the Latin American left
governments and attempts to set up communes and workers control isn't in
terms of dual power but in terms of the Comintern's 1920s discussion of
workers governments, i.e. possible left governments within a capitalist
state and economy that could, particularly if pushed by revolutionaries,
intervene in the class struggle on the side of working people. Clearly a
situation that's only possible in particular contexts and clearly a
contradictory situation that can't last for ever one way or another, but
that's no reason to not use a possible weapon. If the Venezuelan example is
having big problems possibly due to a combination of their errors and a
very difficult objective situation, in Bolivia things seem to be going
better, in terms of the government still being an effective weapon in the
class struggle:

Bolivia: New law could allow workers to take over closed companies

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Bolivian government has proposed a bill that would allow workers to
take over the private companies they work at if they go bankrupt, and
convert them into “social companies” to stimulate production and address
unemployment, Pagina Siete reported on May 16.

The government justified the measure as part of the state's duty to protect
labour rights and generate job opportunities while improving the productive
apparatus of the country.

The Creation of Social Companies Bill was handed to the Bolivian National
Assembly for debate.

The measure applies in the cases of bankruptcy, but also liquidation or
unjustified abandonment, in accordance with the Commercial Code, but only
if the company is part of the private sector.

In that case, workers who are still active employees and willing to take it
over can present their request to a judge. They may be required to invest
in the company's social capital to keep it going.

If the company's debts exceed its available capital, then it will be paid
with the employer's personal resources, in accordance with Article 1335 of
the Civil Code.

Historically one of South America's poorest and most unstable countries,
Bolivia has enjoyed economic growth and political stability under President
Evo Morales, the country’s first Indigenous leader.

Its economy has tripled in size, while investment in social and productive
projects has doubled in the 11 years since Morales was first elected

[Reprinted from TeleSUR English.]


Also I think it's wrong to make Syria an acid test anywhere, but it's
particularly incongruous to bring up now with regard to the Venezuelan
leadership, which for a long time has had a bad line on a number of
international issues including the genocidal treatment of the Sri Lankan
government towards the Tamil people.

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