Re: [OPE] Unified Socialist Party of Venezuela internal ballot.

From: Alejandro Agafonow (
Date: Tue Mar 11 2008 - 05:28:52 EDT

Political parties are necessary because a direct democracy is impossible in a large society. The problem here is that there are not democratic mechanisms inside the Venezuelan socialist party (Of course, you don’t have it also inside Popular Party, the conservative party of Spain).
By themselves, mechanisms like “consultation with battalion members” and “congress delegates propositions” that Levy referred to are doubtfully democratic, but when you practice them in Iberoamerica (Latin-American, Portugal and Spain), their transparency becomes even doubtful.
Unfortunately we have in these countries a corporative culture that subordinate merit and other criteria of justice to cronyism, plutocracy and patronage. Even Spain, despite its economic and democratic advancements thanks to European Union, has many social institutions corrupted by these practices. 
And you can not expect but an increase of this corruption in Venezuela whose polyarchal institutions, that where a case of study in the 70’s and 80’s due to its exceptionalism, have been erased by Chavism.
Alejandro Agafonow

----- Mensaje original ----
De: Paul Cockshott <>
Para: Outline on Political Economy mailing list <>
Enviado: lunes, 10 de marzo, 2008 23:41:49
Asunto: RE: [OPE] Unified Socialist Party of Venezuela internal ballot.

I think that this process that Gerry describes perfectly sumarises the undemocratic
nature of pyramidal elections. No system is more suited to dominance by a party elite
than this. The 'democracy' here is no more than it is in all electoral systems, a
means of legitimising an elite. Here we see the same process that created the party
state of the Bolesheviks.

Paul Cockshott
Dept of Computing Science
University of Glasgow
+44 141 330 1629

-----Original Message-----
From: on behalf of GERALD LEVY
Sent: Mon 3/10/2008 10:25 AM
Subject: Re: [OPE] Unified Socialist Party of Venezuela internal ballot.

Alejandro A:

I question the meaning that you attach to the numbers. 

Who are the 87,000 people who chose the provisional executive?
Aren't they, if I recall correctly, composed of 7 _elected_ people from 
each of around 12,000 battalions? (NB: the 5 million member figure 
for party membership was never a serious # and certainly doesn't 
represent 'registered party members'.)

Where did the 69 names come from? If I understood the process
correctly,  everyone of the 1600 congress delegates proposed 3 names - 
hopefully, in consultation with battalion members. Of course, many of 
the delegates proposed many of the same names - especially the better 
known and respected Bolivarians. Nothing wrong with that. 

None of this sounds undemocratic, especially recalling that there will 
be general elections for public offices in which candidates from other 
parties and individuals who don't belong to or represent parties will 

In solidarity, Jerry

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