Death of Chavez

July 2024 Forums General discussion Death of Chavez

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    The problem is, that even his internal politics were what we'd consider anti-socialist, in as much as it was predicated on the beneficent state distributing the wealth (and expecting support, in a gift relation) rather than emancipating the working class to support itself (saving, perhaps, the modest land reforms).So, the evidence is that hero-worship and state power still dominate the ideology of the left.  He was a good example of an extreme leftist, but certainly not of socialism.The national-patriotic ideology also drove his foriegn relations: he could have behaved in a counter-hegemonic fashion without allying with authoritarian leaders (although, that may indicate that if he could have got away with it, he may have ruled as a dictator, or if necessary).  Certainly, he attempted to get himself exempted from term limits…

    steve colborn

    Lets be clear, workers, wholly, or in part, benefitted from the Chavez regime. Would they have been worse off with the usual suspects being in power? undoubtedly. While not being a reformist myself, everyone must accept the reality. If you do not YMS, you are, and sorry for the language, pissing against the wind!. Steve.


    Yes in Venezuela workers gained from Chavez and that has not been overlooked, even some workers in the USA received direct benefits from Chavez in the shape of heating oil,  but do we simply ignore the diplomatic and moral support he offered to dictators?. (he may have wished to extend his terms as president but he put the constitutional change to a fair vote and I would not call him a dictator) Our responsibility as world socialists is not to defend sectional or national interests of some workers but to promote the interests of the workers of the world. At times that will be pissing into the wind but won't be the first or last time that the WSM argues an unpopular proposition and takes a principled stand. We stand with Iranian workers, we stand with Libyan workers against their avowed enemies and supposed allies. Chavez offered succour to tyrants. It is indeed a difficult task to highlight this to people sympathetic to his anti-poverty programmes and his anti-imperialism. At least, in Chavez's favour, he never gave those dictators troops and armaments as far as i know something our own political leaders have repeatedly done.    Hopefully, in my opinion , his legacy as Ed and Janet has pointed out will be the confidence that Venezuelan workers have acquired under Chavez to resist these gains being rescinded. 

    steve colborn

    All I can say, is answer your last paragraph in the affirmative Alan. When workers, wherever resist, it is to OUR class benefit, when they resist in a class conscious way, it is better still, nay the pinnacle of what we fight for. Steve.

    steve colborn

    Pity I am forced, by necessity, to fight and resist, outside of a party, I thought my HOME for 31 years. A sorry day indeed but a necessary one. Steve. PS a really sad day and state of affairs.

    steve colborn

    I will, as a class conscious and moreover, self-aware worker, fight the immoderation, bias and as I see it, duplicitous nature of the SPGB, in the same way I fight against Capitalism. With all the intellectual and logical arguments at my disposal.. Steve.


    The question isn't so much, to my mind whether the workers benefitted, but whether they benefitted as workers, or as clients of a potlatching state (  The indications are that the regional trends suggest Venezeula did reduce poverty faster than neighbouring countries, and that is a good thing.  But, whether the overall politics of Chavez and Chavezismo are overall more harmful in the medium term is a serious matter to consider.


    Actually, this week's Weekly Worker more or less nails it…

    Nick Rogers wrote:
    Similarly, the prominent Trotskyist, Stalin Pérez Borges, who entered the PSUV and formed the Socialist Tide tendency, has reported on the lack of space to organise at the grassroots of a party that is very hierarchical. Recent nominations of candidates for governorships and mayoralties have been handed down by fiat by the PSUV leadership.The problem is that a ‘revolutionary’ project that does not empower the working class will end up returning power to the only other class that can rule in modern society – the capitalist class.

    That's the key.  For all he encouraged land reform (along a regulated homesteading basis, albeit), the latifundia are still, AFAIK, largely intact…


    Just to blow our own trumpet rather than credit the CPGB our blog SOYMB wrote"Contrary to some claims made by Leftists, from the very outset of his populist rule Chavez has pursued a mostly heterodox political "revolution". While at times the government has allowed for so-called "participatory democracy", such measures have more often than not been cancelled out by centralising tendencies at the top and the perils of charismatic leadership. Chavez has only gone so far with his "Bolivarian Revolution"."The blog also quotes a member of the Socialist Tide ""Roberto Lopez, a member of the leftist Marea Socialista (Socialist Tide) current of Venezuela’s ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela writes :"The means of avoiding this will always be through the strength of the popular movement led by a truly revolutionary program. This cannot rely on small and tiny groups or tendencies that exist within or outside the PSUV…we must try out all means for exercising democracy and achieving the broadest possible consensus for allowing unity of action throughout the country."What is interesting is that he confirms the Socialist Party case that one of the things needed for a successful transformation of society is the necessity for  majority support.  


    I have been following Hugo Chavez and his movement since he started in one of the Political Forum that took  place in Brazil. He is only a new version of Argentinean Peronism, and the so called Socialism of the XXI ( Created by a German Professor in Mexico ) is a new version of Soviet state capitalism.  Some Latin American left wingers called his movement as: Caribbean Peronism The first article written by the Socialist Party described him and his movement in a very appropriate way up to the point, and that is what he was: A left wing reformist, and not a revolutionary socialist, who used Fidel Castro fame in order to obtain the support of the Latin American left wingers, in the same way that Leonel Fernandez from the Dominican Republic used  the shadow of Juan Bosh and Joaquin Balaguer  in order to create his own fame, and to perpetuate himself and his gangs for more than 16 years, using a party which gave classes of Marxism to the members of the base while the leadership was practicing capitalism.  The Unified Socialist Party of Venezuela was able to obtain millions of members in a few months, proportionally they had more members than the Bolshevik Party. Trotskyite and Stalinists were unified in the same party Karl Marx did describe Simon Bolivar what he really  was: A slave driver and a political opportunist, and the so called Bolivarian revolution, it is not a workers revolution, it is just a revolution of one sector of the Latin American bourgeois in order to break away from the influence and the domination of the US capitalist class.They could have called their movement the Louverturian revolution, in honor to the black Jacobins of Haiti, and the anti-slavery leader named Toussaint Louverture. and instead of using the writing of Bolivar, they could have used the writing of CLR James who was the man  that used the expression of Black Jacobin Whatever reforms were obtained by the workers in Venezuela,  they were also obtained in enormous quantity by the workers of Argentina during the presidency of Domingo Peron,  and he was an anti-communist, and all the type of expropriation taken placed in Venezuela  also took  placed in the Dominican Republic during the dictatorship of Rafael L Trujillo, he did the same things done by the Bolsheviks and he was a lackey of the US capitalist class. Right wingers and left wingers are able to provide reforms to the workers to keep them attached to the carriage of capitalism, and now in some places the capitalist are wearing the masks of socialism like in Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay The merit of Chavez and his movement is,  about  bringing again  to discussion on  socialism ( or the word socialism  which was a capital sin for many years ) although it is in a very distorted manner, because it has been mixed with bourgeois nationalism and patriotism. Ironically, the only person who spoke about a society without monetary system was Ernesto Guevara and he was the director of the Central Bank of Cuba At the very beginning of his political career Chavez  did recommend the reading of the works of Marx, Engels, Trotsky, Gramsci, and Lenin, works that probably he did not read either, and his speeches were more about patriotism than about socialism, and he spoke more about anti-imperialism, anti-liberalism,  than about anti-capitalism.They did reject American imperialism, but they became allied of the Russian capitalists, the same thing done by Fidel Castro in Cuba, who switched  from one imperial master for another imperial master, and he was dressed up as a communist by the Kruscheviites, having declared himself previously  as an anti-communist, and a bourgeois liberal His followers can call him whatever they want, but he can not be considered as a socialist-communist, and at the end he became a catholic after he expelled some protestants preachers accused of being agents of the CIA, and after he attacked the church because they were their political enemies and allied of the US imperialism. Now his followers wanted to turn him into a saint, in the same that Saint Ernesto Che Guevara was declared a saint in Bolivia. The legacy left by Chavez will be used by Maduro like Stalin did with Lenin and created an hybrid named: Marxism-Leninism.As it was written on SOYMB: A Moses will take you  to the promised land, but another Moses might also take you out of the promised land, and that new Moses is Maduro, who probably, would be the next president of Venezuela,  and will win the elections with a great majority of supporters, and he does not look so immature, and  he looks more radical than Chavez,  He  was not a military men,  he was a bus driver, who know pretty well the thinking and the feelings of the Venezuelan, and he was the one who went to the streets with many workers in order to ask for the reversal of the coup d'tat that overthrew Chavez 

    mcolome1 wrote:
    Karl Marx did describe Simon Bolivar what he really  was: A slave driver and a political opportunist,.

    I didn't know this before: that Marx had written something about Bolivar and that he was highly critical of him. We should make more use of this to counter the claim that you can be both a "Marxist" and a "Bolivarian".An internet search brings up this as the article Marx wrote criticising Bolivar's "Bonapartism":, an interesting commentary on it by Hal Draper, written in 1968:

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