Re: [OPE] Venezuela and the right-wing opponents of democracy

From: <>
Date: Fri Sep 26 2008 - 04:05:07 EDT

 Paul, I suggest looking back to the debates among socialists after the October revolution.
Unlike so-called Austrian socialist Clara Zetkin develops arguments why the revolutionary changes must be supported unconditionally in the transition time.



-----Original Message-----
From: Paul Cockshott <>
To: Outline on Political Economy mailing list <>; Outline on Political Economy mailing list <>
Sent: Fri, 26 Sep 2008 9:41
Subject: RE: [OPE] Venezuela and the right-wing opponents of democracy

My own ideas on democracy do not coincide with those of Alexandro, since

I am against elections and favour lotteries and plebiscites. However, in the light of

20th century experience we should not close our eyes to processes which

could lead to one party rule. In my view, the answer though is to move

to a more democratic constitution which it is harder for the right

to make use of. In this context the Chavez government obviously made

considerable progress. I was however not convinced by the attempt

to remove term limits in the last referendum.

Paul Cockshott

Dept of Computing Science

University of Glasgow

+44 141 330 1629

-----Original Message-----

From: on behalf of Alejandro Agafonow

Sent: Fri 9/26/2008 8:08 AM

To: Outline on Political Economy mailing list

Subject: Re: [OPE] Venezuela and the right-wing opponents of democr

1) Jerry: "Then you shouldn't use expressions like "left-wing dictatorship".

should you?"

I referred to Castro and Cuba when using the expression "left-wing dictatorship", not Venezuela.

2) Jerry: "It might help if a proposal made by Marx and Engels in _The

Communist Manifesto_ was made the official policy in Venezuela: "confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels"."

Of course I disagree. Socialism has a lot to do concerning the revision of its ideas about property. Fortunately some avan-garde currents started to do so.

3) Jerry: "Even Jimmy Carter said the elections were fair and free, didn't he?"

Yes, but the Center Carter only certifies elections in a specific point of the time, that when the ballot is carried out. I think that UNDP's index of democracy has a broader perspective considering the handicaps in a longer period of time.

Nevertheless, the more serious and plain threaten to democracy under Chávez is the recent ban of opposition leaders.

Regards,A. Agafonow

----- Mensaje original ----


Para: Outline on Political Economy mailing list <>

Enviado: jueves, 25 de septiembre, 2008 15:39:17

Asunto: RE: [OPE] Venezuela and the right-wing opponents of democracy

> Venezuela doesn't have a dictatorship. yet.

Hi Alejandro:

Then you shouldn't use expressions like "left-wing dictatorship".

should you?

I agree that it is legitimate to fear the=2
0coming of a dictatorship

in Venezuela - after all, wasn't it just last week that 'opposition'

military officers were caught planning the assassination of Chavez?

Then, there was the experience of the 2002 coup which - had it

been successful - would have _surely_ brought into power a brutal


In the presence of such threats (not merely to Chavez and the Bolivarians

but to the nation - especially the working class and the poor) one has to be

on-guard, vigilent, and resolute.

If there is a failing of Chave in this regard, it is that he has been _too_

accomodating to the opposition - in the name of 'forgiveness' and

national reconciliation.

_Surely_, you would agree with that policy as a deterrant? Yes?

>  But it certainly stops to fully fulfill the minimal elements that define

> an electoral democracy: 1) right to vote, 2) fair elections, 3) free elections

> and 4) elected public offices. When does Venezuela stop to fulfill these

> requirements?

Even Jimmy Carter said the elections were fair and free, didn't he?

All of the chatter about lack of democracy is disingenuous, imo:

had the opposition won the election, _then_ they would have said

it was fair, but they denounced it as 'undemocratic' _simply_  because

they lost.  _Please_ understand this - the opposition is _not_  democratic!

They want to _overthrow_ democracy!!!  This was _proven_ in the 2002

coup and in their=2
0actions (including, illegal plots) since.

> This minimal definition of "electoral democracy" has to be the departure for

> Socialists, and build upon it more complex models of economic democracy.

The "minimal definition" of democracy for socialists must be majority rule.

This means (since they are the overwhelming majority) that the working

class and the poor must rule.

In solidarity, Jerry


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