venezuela, Kronstadt, Bolshevism, etc.

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@STANFORD.EDU)
Date: Fri May 21 2004 - 19:12:41 EDT

Michael Lebowitz wrote:

>Unfortunately, I was 'cut off' Ope-l and could not respond sooner.

Soon enough. Moreover, delayed response does not indicate failure; it
may if we were performing the debate live in front of an audience but
surely that ancient  rule (actually explicit in ancient Indian logic
books) cannot be applied to this medium.

>         You are so knowledgeable about Venezuela.

No, Michael, I am not. I am also not a Trotskyist fascist agent of
imperialism or--as the once anarcho "moderator" had it--"an apologist
for imperialism". I must admit that this sentence reads not as a
flame but as an elementary school taunt. Though you should have
written it this way: "So you are SOOOO knowlegeable about Venezuela,
are YOU?"

>Perhaps you can explain why there is no mention in this article (or
>in the more informed one on 7 May on by Jonah
>Gindin, who was there during the strike) of opposition by SUTISS,
>the union, to the Chavez government.

This article says that SUTISS members attempted to break the
employer's lock out which was meant to weaken Chavez. So in practice
they seem anti employer, not anti Chavez.

>What do you know that they don't know... and vice versa?

This is too cryptic. What should I know?

>         As it happens, there are many errors in this report.

But you don't deny that Chavez called on the National Guard to shoot
at the strikers. Gindin himself said on 7th May: "The National Guard
has been called in to Sidor, allegedly to protect the installation
from worker-saboteurs. However, their role has also clearly been one
of intimidation.  At 9am on April 29th the National Guard opened fire
on striking workers with rubber bullets and tear-gas (the company
that makes the rubber bullets used is photo).
According to Acarigua "Gen. Nieves of CORE 8 has converted the
National Guard into strike breakers that are favoring the company and
this cannot be.  This is not their function.  They can't be partial
to a transnational [over the workers at Sidor]."

Gindin hoped that Chavez would express support for workers short of
nationalization. Chavez seems only to have had them shot at.

>  The strike was poorly conceived (in terms of timing, planning, and
>initial demands-- as opposed to those which emerged in the course of

and this distinguishes it from which strike in history?

>  was of debatable legality (which has, as a result, produced a claim
>by the company against the Chavez government for losses because it
>did not declare it illegal)

legality. Ah. Haven't thought through Pashukanis, have you? I would
think that if one wanted to complete the book on wage labor, one
would have studied (perhaps first and foremost) the changing forms of
the legal mediation of the class struggle. A less philosophical, more
institutional approach perhaps, but that to my mind is as great a gap
as there is in Marx's work on wage labor (see Karl Klare's anti
Marxist, critical legal theoretic analysis of collective bargaining
in The Politics of Law, ed David Kairys).  So the law...that's what
you are concerned about!  Wildcats are illegal in the US; so are
secondary boycotts. I would hope that the US National Guard is not
called on to handle such dastardly transgressors!

>  and may have weakened the union (in contrast to its previous struggles).

So Chavez had them shot at to make the union stronger?

>  See Gindin's article (venezuelan workers strike vs neo-liberalism),
>which raises the issue, eg, of the link between the strike and the
>contest for governor of the state

oh so the strike was not over workers' issues (though it appears to
be to those who are SOOO knowledgeable and Gindin too) but an anti
Chavez ploy (is this what an apologist for imperialist can't
see--that you are either for Chavez or the Yanquis?)? Is that the

Which brings us back to Kronstadt,the Bolsheviks and
Bettelheim/Ranganayakamma/Chattopadyay's (or Luxemburg's--hi Paul
Z!--or Mattick's) political analysis, no?

Are we coming full circle?

>  (currently controlled by an anti-chavist who has been talking about
>secession) --- although there's much he doesn't include.

Again cryptic. What does he not include?


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