[OPE-L:8612] Re: Re: Venezuela: the way forward?

From: michael a. lebowitz (mlebowit@sfu.ca)
Date: Fri Mar 14 2003 - 10:27:59 EST

At 08:00 14/03/2003 -0500, jerry wrote:
>Re Rakesh's [8608]:
> > More Mommer on Venezuela:
> > http://www.members.partisan.net/sds/sds00703.html
>Mommer's claim that the PDVSA has become a "state within
>a state"  is very consistent with the suggestion that there is dual
>power in Venezuela.

Rakesh, that chapter by mommer is very valuable! Thanks. He's invited to 
the April solidarity conference, and I hope I'll get a chance to meet him 
while I'm here now. (Staying at least another week--- lots to do plus there 
are serious electricity blackouts in Havana that would make it difficult to 
work there.)
         I don't know if this is what is meant by dual power--- what you 
had was effectively private capital in the oil industry (despite nominal 
state ownership) and a state subject to that. Sounds pretty familiar. Since 
then PDVSA has been retaken by Chavez--- the old executives are out.

>Re Mike L's [8606]:
>Thanks for the sources from Marta.
>The creation and arming of workers' and peasants' councils
>seems a logical next step, but that in itself would create an
>alternative, independent power structure within the country.
>So far the majority of the military has supported Chavez --
>but this can not be depended upon.  But, would Chavez himself
>feel threatened by the existence of independent, armed councils
>of communities of  the poor?

There's a bit of unrealism re this next logical step-- a hint of a formula. 
Suffice it to say that at the moment the Bolivarian circles are armed (and 
the rich areas are also--- and doing para-military training in anticipation 
of attacks by the poor) and that a number of enterprises recently have been 
turned into cooperatives by their workers. (One I heard about was the 
Sheridan Hotel at the airport.) A very fluid situation. As for Chavez, 
every Sunday he broadcasts to the nation on his 'hello President' programme 
and calls upon the people to take initiatives. Armed councils ready to 
defend the Constitution would not be a threat to Chavez.

>One difference, perhaps, to the situation in Chile in 1973 is that
>the size of the social layers who are opposed to the government
>is greater in Venezuela.

Can't say. I think the barrel of a gun is pretty important here.
         in solidarity,

>In solidarity, Jerry

Michael A. Lebowitz
Professor Emeritus
Economics Department
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6

Currently based in Cuba. Can be reached via:

Michael Lebowitz
Calle 13 No. 504 ent. D y E, Vedado, La Habana, Cuba
Codigo Postal 10 4000
(537) 33 30 75 or 832  21 54
telefax: (537) 33 30 75

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