Re: (OPE-L) Re: Paresh Chattopadhyay 'Capital, The Progenitor of Socialism'

From: michael a. lebowitz (mlebowit@SFU.CA)
Date: Tue Dec 23 2003 - 14:37:37 EST

At 14:11 23/12/2003, rakesh wrote:

>Why not say that Chavez's faux populism is covering up not only his
>suppression of worker rights (he fired 18,000 ! workers--which seems
>like a capitalist downsizing to me) but also his defacto
>privatization of the oil industry, in particular his seemingly having
>handed over the most profitable parts of the business to foreign
>investors? Aren't the kinds of royalties that he is trying to impose
>difficult to assess and easy for foreign investors to manipulate? And
>what about these preferential taxes and incentives for private
>investors. It's also difficult for me to understand why Marxists are
>making the distribution of rent between foreign capitalists and an
>authoritarian state one of the cutting edges of world revolution.
>What is the source of the rent that Chavez hopes to capture?

Hi rakesh,
         I guess I understand your answer to my first question before. How
about the second one now?

>>>(1) What do you propose that revolutionaries in
>>>Venezuela do?
>>>                 (2) What do you propose that revolutionaries in Cuba do?


P.S. I'd love to know your sources. Eg., the 'fired' workers were the
managers and white collar workers (i.e., highly trained technicians) of the
state-owned oil company, PDVSA,  who went out at the beginning of last
December in a political strike in conjunction with the Business
Federation's attempt to bring down the government. The coup having failed,
this was the next try--- an attempt to cut off all government revenue and
to bring the government down (something assumed to take a few weeks, ie a
Christmas present for the capitalist opposition); blue collar workers kept
working, and now have representatives on the board of directors and are
organising workers councils throughout PDVSA operations. As for Chavez's
'defacto privatization of the oil industry', every bit of information I've
seen is that PDVSA was effectively privatised (see, eg. Bernard Mommer's
chapter, 'Subversive Oil' in Steve Ellner's book on Venezuelan Politics and
Juan Carlos Boue's Oxford thesis from 1997), and that it is now under
Chavez in the process of renationalisation (with the criticisms from a few
people on the left-- who are friends-- being that it is not happening fast
enough). But you obviously have different sources of information.

Michael A. Lebowitz
Professor Emeritus
Economics Department
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6
Office Fax:   (604) 291-5944
Home:   Phone (604) 689-9510

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