Re: [OPE-L] Query to John Holloway: What's your position on the Bolivarian revolution?

From: Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM
Date: Thu May 12 2005 - 08:55:51 EDT

>          Do you support the arguments that John H. made in his book?
>          I regard them as erroneous, a very negative political influence
> and as demonstrably refuted by events in Venezuela.

Michael L,

Do I agree with _all_ of the arguments in his book?  No.  But, I am
sympathetic to many of his claims, especially as they relate to the
need to struggle against and surpass authoritarian forms of organization
and develop new forms of social organization, including the construction
(where possible) of autonomous anti-capitalist spaces. I also agree with
him that capital and the state are linked to each other and that, as a
consequence, there must be struggles against both capital and the state.

I don't agree that events in Venezuela have "demonstrably refuted"
his argument.  To begin with (as you have emphasized), events in
Venezuela are rapidly changing and complex.  I think the jury is still
out about what the events there have demonstrated or "refuted".
I am also leery about drawing conclusions regarding a social
perspective on struggle based on only 1 historical experience:
the struggle in Venezuela might be, in some significant ways,  an
exceptional case. To claim therefore that John's perspective has
been refuted by events in Venezuela makes about as much sense to
me now as a claim that events in Hungary in March, 1919 "refuted"
Marx's proposition that the bourgeoisie will not voluntarily and
peacefully hand-over power to the working class.

As you know, I have been supportive of the Bolivarian Revolution.
But, I think there are dangers which need to be discussed,
confronted and overcome.  One such danger that I mentioned previously
is the extent to which for many the revolution has become identified
with Chavez.   You will recall what I told you about the (professionally
printed and expensive color) placards which read:  "CHAVEZ _IS_ THE
PEOPLE!".    To repeat a question that I asked you before (in a
post on May 2): is this a popular slogan in Venezuela?

Another point:  I think that the way in which much of the Left has
addressed this question -- by counter-posing  the experience of the
Bolivarian  revolutionary process in Venezuela to the struggles of
Zapatistas in Chiapas -- is dangerous and divisive.   Both
movements are under attack by imperialism; neither one represents a
universal "model"  for revolutionary change which should be uncritically
adopted in all other nations;  both movements should be supported.

When John says (to paraphrase) that he will go to Venezuela, in large
part, to listen and to learn,  I think he should be commended.

In solidarity, Jerry

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