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

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@STANFORD.EDU)
Date: Wed Dec 31 2003 - 13:41:38 EST

Dear Paul,

You write:

>Indeed the articles try not only to show the machinations of imperialism,
>the comprador bourgeoisie etc but the real dificulties that the government
>has is managing a capitalist economy, and imdeed the welcoming of foreign
>investment by it.

right. And in part because his disruption of the state oil company
has led to the need for it. Is he a neo-liberal in Bolivar's clothes?

>Nowhere is the ' idea that OPEC, with the coopration of Chavez,
>set the price of oil' to be found in an absolute form.

But Chavez does declare that he will end Venezuela's role as biggest
scab of OPEC and thereby ensure the high price of oil on which a
successful rentier state is dependent. His rhetoric reflects simple
minded demagogic views about the workings of the global oil market.

>However we know that
>US has always attempted to destroy any   rentier arrangement....

Actually even though Cyrus debunked this leftist mythology, many
still do believe that the US orchestrated the 4x of oil prices in the
70s. So it is not widely accepted that the US has always attempted to
destroy any rentier arrangement. Moreover, the US destabilization of
Iraq suggests more than anything that the US wanted to reduce the
supply of oil so as to bolster the rentier arrangements in Saudi
Arabia and keep the price of oil within that $20-30 band.  I don't
think this was in any way the intent of the US, but it seems more
likely than the US attempting to destroy rentier arrangments.

>there has
>always been a battle between Rent and Profit  over surplus value.
>I do not know what you mean by the phrase that discussing such a battle
>' is simply simple-minded and wrong', it is an historical reality.
>As far as your 18,000 'workers' are concerned they were nothing more than
>the wealthy, high paid managers, saboteurs ( workers were actually killed by
>the Chamber of Commerce gang when trying to work, and active sabotage
>of equipment took place), plus the labour aristocrats etc...

This is simply untrue. The unions in general have not been
enthusiastic about Chavez; the steel workers were on the fence, from
what I can make out.
Not all the protestors against Chavez have been racists and the
wealthy, though they have spear headed opposition.  There has been
leftist opposition as well, though Richard Gott simply ignores it in
his accounts. Steven Ellner has been more balanced.

>There is a split in the working class  created by imperialism and this has
>be understood....otherwise you'll soon be weeping sympathetically over
>the activities of the AFL-CIO!

The labor aristocracy concept in my opinion should be more narrowly
used; it applies to very few workers. I have already discussed this
with David Yaffe who has opined that US foreign policy is conducted
in the interests of preserving a substantial mass of US workers as
labor aristocrats.


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