Re: [OPE] Venezuela and Human Rights Watch

From: Dave Zachariah <>
Date: Fri Sep 26 2008 - 07:45:11 EDT

I'm more in agreement with Alejandro's point. If we are committed to
socialist principles we should express our support for the progressive
developments in Venezuela, but equally openly criticize regressive actions
if they are reported and not brush them aside simply by pointing at the
progressive developments. That would be a betrayal of socialist principles.

Hugo Chavez's fraternization with anti-socialists as Vladimir Putin and
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a worrying example when anti-imperialism is put above
international socialism. (My suspicion is that many, if not most, leftists
today are commitment to the ideology of anti-imperialism rather than
international socialism.)

The point that Paul C raises about monarchies is crucial in my opinion. One
must ask whether the progressive developments in Venezuela (a) could have
come this far and (b) could continue, without the person Chavez as a central
figure. If the answer is no to (b) the situation is unstable.

//Dave Z

2008/9/26 <>

> Dear All,
> I am very suspicious about this human right stuff. When I used to work in a
> big industrial plantation there was an experienced
> worker. He always used to say it is as simple as this: there are classes
> that suppressed and there are classes that suppress.
> It is a permanent struggle that takes between them. The suppressed fight
> for emancipation and suppressor try to keep them under their domination. In
> this fight every means is involved including violence as history shows. So
> instead moralizing the issue we have to understand the very logic of this
> battle for dead and life. Where do the intellectual stand in this permanent
> fight?
> Curious enough, why did all these self-appointed human right organisations
> never paid attention to the situation of workers, minorities, the poor and
> so on in Venezuela? Have they something at stake to lose by the political
> and economic changes aimed by the Chavez and his supporters? If yes, as I
> thing they have, then, their human right will be violated, very well so, if
> "the great body of people" "who come and go without names" (to use Adam
> Smith's expressions) get their human right realised. Carry on Chavezs, carry
> on Castros, carry on all human emancipators.
> Regards,
> Dogan
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Paula <>
> To: Outline on Political Economy mailing list <>
> Sent: Fri, 26 Sep 2008 2:12
> Subject: Re: [OPE] Venezuela and Human Rights Watch
> Alejandro was not misrepresenting anyone, but responding to Paul B's
> suggestion that I need to 'study' the situation in Venezuela before
> 'expressing very abstract and unclear notions of freedoms and rights'.
> Alejandro was simply pointing out that many critics of Chavez know more
> about Venezuela than Paul himself does, and that therefore Paul does not
> have an argument here.
> In any case I was not expressing any abstract notions, but raising a very
> concrete example (I agree with Paul - this is the way to learn more
> about Venezuela). My example was the case of the 18,000 oil workers sacked
> after the 2002 strike. And I also mentioned, very concretely, that this case
> was investigated by the ILO. The ILO apparently concluded that 'the mass
> dismissal of thousands of workers and refusal to rehire them constituted
> reprisals in violation of international law'.
> The comments and material posted here about the right-wing opposition in
> Venezuela, the attempts to destabilize the Chavez regime, the economic
> experiments, etc, are beside the point. We are trying to establish whether
> or not there have been human rights violations under Chavez. It seems to me
> that the sacking of these workers was a violation of their labor (and
> therefore human) rights. Would you agree?
> If Chavez supporters feel that it's OK to violate human rights for a
> specific reason, then they should honestly say so, and explain what
> that reason is. If they respond to uncomfortable facts with expulsions and
> ad-hominem attacks, they will only confirm the worst suspicions about the
> regime.
> Paula
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Received on Fri Sep 26 07:48:10 2008

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