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

From: Paul Cockshott (
Date: Tue Mar 11 2008 - 18:54:03 EDT

Gerry wrote

So, the members of 12,000 battalions of Bolivarian socialists don't
know what democracy looks like but you do? _That_ sounds 
elitist to me.

Gerry, since neither of us has canvassed opinion in those 12000 battalions
you are in no position to say whether they were all happy with the procedure
or not. For you to merely assume that they all were, is just a rhetorical
ruse on your part.

The serious point is whether this sort of election process is inherently
aristocratic and restrictive of popular participation.

What you have operating here is the classic form of tiered indirect election
that has historically favoured the formation of oligarchies within parties
of the labour movement.

Each layer or elections acts as a sort of filter. Through the first layer
go the local activists, through the second layer go the nationally prominent
figures. What you get formed thereby is a sort of revolutionary aristocracy,
in the original sense of the word aristocracy -- rule by the best.
The activists are 'better' than the 5 million rank and file members, since
everyone can see that the, the activists, have worked longer and harder
for the cause. The prominent national leaders are 'better' than the local
activists, because they have more leadership experience, are better speakers
etc. But the process of chosing the 'best' people is itself contrary to
democracy because it ensures that the leadership is socially distinct from
the masses it claims to represent. If you were to do a survey of the 
social composition of the 69, you would find that they were significantly
different from the 5 million rank and file. They, the 69, are likely to

a) contain more than 50% men
b) contain more people with a higher educational level than the rank and file
c) contain people whose current monthly income is higher than that of the
   rank and file

Dietrich has observed that there is currently the formation of a new political
class at the top of the Bolivarian movement, a group who owe their economic
livelihood to their political position. This is the start of the same process
that has occured in previous revolutionary regimes and which had been criticised
by  a Djilas or a Trotsky.

>> Here we see the same process that created the party
>> state of the Bolsheviks.
>No. Other parties and individuals have not been denied the right 
>to be on the ballot in a general election.  

True enough, but the only rights that are guaranteed by this are those
of the property owning classes who can still stand conservative candidates.
This right enjoyed by the bourgeois parties does nothing to secure
control over the Bolivarian movement by the rank and file.
Paul Cockshott
Dept of Computing Science
University of Glasgow
+44 141 330 1629
> Here we see the same process that created the party
> state of the Bolsheviks.
No. Other parties and individuals have not been denied the right 
to be on the ballot in a general election.  
In solidarity, Jerry

ope mailing list

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Mon Mar 31 2008 - 00:00:14 EDT