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

From: Alejandro Agafonow (alejandro_agafonow@yahoo.es)
Date: Thu Mar 13 2008 - 05:57:43 EDT

I’m sorry; instead of “auto-generable” I wanted to say “self-generable”. The first one is Spanglish.
In my criterion it is not possible to conceive all principles of a democracy from the discussions and negotiations in the ranks. Democracy is not “self-generable” from democratic participation and negotiation.
This is not possible at least for two reasons:
1) Preferences are intransitive in large human groups. Therefore, must be a principle generated out of negotiation that guarantees the respect of an inalienable kernel of rights for minorities. Nazi regime is the best example of the destruction of democracy from its crude operative rules.
2) Discussions and negotiations can not be fully reasonable in real world. That is, people tend to take advantage of privileged information to turn the negotiation over their own favour. A reasonable negotiation only can be run if it were possible to have a “veil of ignorance” upon the parties to negotiation.
The above reasons inevitable carry us to the necessity of thinking at least part of democratic principles out of participation and negotiation in the ranks. This is inevitable if we want to protect democracy.
Kind regards,
Alejandro Agafonow

----- Mensaje original ----
De: GERALD LEVY <gerald_a_levy@msn.com>
Para: Outline on Political Economy mailing list <ope@lists.csuchico.edu>
Enviado: miércoles, 12 de marzo, 2008 15:00:26
Asunto: RE: [OPE] Unified Socialist Party of Venezuela internal ballot.

Hi Paul C,  Dave Z, and Alejandro A:

The point remains that the form that decision-making takes 
should not be imposed by an aristocracy but should grow 
organically out of the praxis of a social movement. Whatever
the merits are of a form of direct democracy within a social-political 
formation, the question of which form of governance should be 
decided by those who are engaged in the movement themselves. 
Another important point is this: a shift to a form of direct democracy 
first requires a period of discussion and a shift in conception among the 
revolutionaries. "Representative" forms of decision-making where the
"best" are chosen as leaders is the widely accepted _practice_ of
the Left and a change to something else requires a protracted period
of political discussion so that activists themselves can decide 
what direction they should go in terms of the form of internal 
There is in all revolutions a danger of a Thermidorian reaction.
So, I would not dismiss as entirely unfounded the fear that Paul
C has of a bureaucratic elite emerging in Venezuela. However, I 
don't think that privileged bureaucracies _necessarily_ develop
because of the form of representative decision-making.  There
are, for instance, safeguards that can be built into a body 
(if there is a will to do so) to prevent bureaucratization.
I want to again call your attention to the end of the
article I sent:
        "This board is tentative and will last one year. It is
          hoped that for next year's elections  is achieved
          build the necessary structure to ensure that all
          the bases should be able to vote directly for
          candidates in elections in the first degree"
Thus, the board is 'tentative' and there is the explicit 
recognition by all that they want to move more towards 
a more democratic model.  
Revolutions do not fall fully formed from the sky. They are
a process - a process of 'learning by doing'.  If you support the
principle of self-determination, then you should support their
right to make their own decisions and learn from their 
own successes and mistakes. Nothing that the Bolivarians 
have done, imo, is worthy of condemnation and I am not 
comfortable with the idea that we should from afar be dictating 
to them the tactics that they should follow.
In solidarity, Jerry

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