Re: [OPE] Venezuela and Human Rights Watch

From: paul bullock <>
Date: Fri Sep 26 2008 - 19:14:12 EDT


I don't want to prolong this , but it is certain that very many counterrevolutionaries have some idea of details of struggle that their opponents might not have, but the issue here is how the multiplicity of 'facts' / events/ responses are constructed and used, ie in whose interests they are interpreted. Thus many 'loyalists', (actually proto fascists) in northern ireland 'know' a lot more about the streets of the north than those living in the south of ireland who demand the abolition of the division of Ireland. This doesn't make the loyalists somehow 'right' as far as the interests of all the great majority of Irish people, including themselves. If I allowed your statement that 'that many critics of Chavez know more about Venezuela than Paul himself does, and that therefore Paul does not have an argument here'.. then given that somewhere there is always someone who knows more than each of us about some topic or other, we would never discuss anything, or be allowed to have an argument.

With respect to the oil Lockout in Venezuela I find it astonishing that anyone ...other than the managerial, and generally highly paid technicians and their political promotors who locked the gates, closed the machinery, threatened to blow up (an act of terrorism) a huge oil tanker in harbour after kidnapping it, killed 2 workers who attempted to keep pumps open, wielded the many plant gates together to stop all the other workers actually working!!! ..... as part of an attempt to bring down a democratically elected government, can be teated as if they were some kind of harmless group of 'workers' striking for a pay rise! All of these employees broke their contracts of employment, which had been drawn up by the old PDVSA and were quite generous. The aim was to complete the privatisation of PDVSA against the interests of the whole country. No doubt you think the abstract and empty cry of 'human rights' can disguise the criminal intentions of managers who thought only of their bonuses, status, and future as US oil corporation employees.... managers that were prepared to stop fuel and so electricity supplies and so close schools, hospitals, destroy refridgeration capacity and disrupt food supplies and so on on a massive scale... billions of dollars.. to destroy an elected government with a huge majority. I don't know of ANY country where such behaviour would have NOT been treated as criminal!!!

Incidentally many of these 'managers' are eg now in Canada working on the Tar Sands or elsewhere... whilst the economy in Venezuela has grown consistently so as to have provided alternative employment to all of these 'workers'. They certainly arn't suffering. Finally, I imagine from your comment that you completely disagree with Lenin's assessment of the split in the working classes resulting from imperialism, and its political consequences?

Paul B.

----- Original Message -----
  From: Paula
  To: Outline on Political Economy mailing list
  Sent: Friday, September 26, 2008 1:12 AM
  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.



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Received on Fri Sep 26 19:21:00 2008

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