Revolutionary Wisdom on Venezuala and more

From: Paul Zarembka (zarembka@BUFFALO.EDU)
Date: Mon Sep 13 2004 - 16:43:05 EDT

I think there is a lot of wisdom in this article, coming out of the
States, not only on Venezuela and resource providers, but revolutionary
work generally.

Paul Z.

Vol.21-Neoliberalism in Crisis, Accumulation, and Rosa Luxemburg's Legacy
RESEARCH IN POLITICAL ECONOMY, Zarembka/Soederberg, eds, Elsevier Science

Chris Herz: Toward a defensive strategy

Following the clear and decisive victory of President Chavez Frias in the
late recall election, Venezuelan authorities must consider how best to
form some sort of relationship with the United States. Obviously this is a
very difficult problem; one which has the Bolivarian government and its
officials on the horns of a real dilemma.

For one thing, the more the government seeks to carry forward its reform
and reconstruction process, bringing in the millions of dispossessed and
marginalized the more their policy is at cross-purposes with the dominant
paradigm of corporatism and rigid class exclusion demanded by Washington.
For another even the most modest and necessary elements of a national
defense policy will be used by the US side to show the Bolivarian movement
as hostile, even a danger to the USA.

From the imperial capital it seems clear enough that the Venezuelan side
should just accept the fact that nothing short of a complete capitulation
to the ideas of US President George W. Bush and his corporatist regime
would be enough to relax the pressures on the Bolivarian government. Only
the absolute betrayal of their own core constituencies, as done here by
our own Democratic Party will suffice to reduce the fundamental hostility
of all major US institutions to what the Venezuelan government is trying
to do.

After all, in education, land reform, and health care the Bolivarians are
attempting to make real progress in areas closed to access by millions of
US citizens themselves. The example is simply not to be tolerated.

Washington is determined that the best uses of Venezuelan resources are
the enrichment of a narrow class of corporate owners and the few
Venezuelan subordinates necessary to create a veneer of national
proprietorship over these resources. They will insist that all your
trading be done with ever-depreciating dollars. And all surplus value be
shipped North along with the oil.

    There is no basis, then, for a reciprocal relationship based on
equality and respectful diplomacy. There is no basis even for an healthy
commercial relationship, considering the massive trade and public deficits
now structural to the US economy.

Washington is prepared to mouth polite diplomatic phrases until, and only
until such time as sufficient ground forces become available to credibly
threaten Venezuela. At that time, when either we have expanded the US Army
or until it is withdrawn from its failed Iraq adventure the mailed fist of
coercion will emerge from the velvet glove of sweet reason.

There can be no other long-term relationship between this empire and its
resource providers.

For these reasons we constantly urge a serious look at the defensive
problem faced by the Venezuelan side in any conflict situation. A conflict
which will first be economic and political, as it is right now. But a
conflict which will escalate surely, unless defensive measure are quickly
taken to the military level.

The economic and political aspects of defense are best dealt with by the
proposed expansion of the pace and scope of Bolivarian reform. An effort
to strengthen the economic basis of all classes and sectors of society --
not merely the ownership and managerial sectors -- must conduce to the
social and economic cohesion necessary to any healthy nation and now so
sadly lacking here in the imperial homeland itself. A people seeing rapid
and real improvement in both their own lives and in their national
standards are a people who will defend their leadership and their nation.
President Hugo Chavez Frias has already clearly stated this need. Fine.
But this policy must be executed without delay or limit.

Second is a purely military level of preparation. Even if a vastly
expanded territorial army is never needed for actual military operations,
the reason will be that it exists -- the cost of occupation and overthrow
of the Bolivarian government will have been rendered prohibitive to the
empire. This is the incredible example being shown the whole world by the
Iraqis today.

An official of the US Department of Energy, over the weekend told me that
to the posted price of oil, the US taxpayer is now bearing a burden of
somewhere between US$75-100 in direct and indirect military costs. That is
to say, Iraqi oil costs us here as much as $100 more than oil purchased on
the open market from any other source! I am not going to mention this
man's name for the obvious reasons.

Let us just mention that here in the USA the ban on military type
semi-automatic weapons will expire tonight at midnight. Never before the
Iraq mess did I believe the claims of gun-enthusiasts that an armed
citizenry were really necessary to the defense of the country. In the
light of what a rag-tag bunch of Iraqis have done to the most powerful
military power on Earth I must confess that I was wholly and completely
wrong. I am now having to concede that the domination of all the formerly
liberal Western societies and the corruption of their governments by a
narrow class of corporate elitists means that the Independence of
resource-rich, but unarmed peoples cannot be guaranteed by any means other
than the determination of their own citizens. I cannot imagine any
imprudence greater than for the leadership of any such country to ignore
this clear and compelling lesson.

Because US society is now riven by intractable class division, as is
natural for any imperial power, its population has become divided on just
about any issues. Its politics are ever more irrational and surreal. And
no one can doubt its descent into the shadows of history. Let this not
happen to the new Venezuela.

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