Re: [OPE] Special TV report on Venezuela (epistemological and scientific questions)

From: <>
Date: Tue Dec 09 2008 - 02:44:30 EST


as long as I do not attack or insult anybody personally I am entitled to express my opinion. I think this is legitimate thing to do and it is in fact the precondition for being part of a discussion list/group whatever.

You may call it dogmatism or whatever you like (see below). I think I am old enough to know where to spend my time and where not. So I do not need any paternalistic suggestions about what I have to do. If other members of the list think that I am destractive and no longer wanted on the list I will leave it.
With regard to Venezuela. You seem to miss that it is not me who artificially (by exaggerating the situation) tries to radicalise things. It seems to me that it is the situation that is so radical there that it puts permanently the question of "defeat" or "victory" on the agenda. In fact it is not me who says there is no "middle ground" between government and opposition in Venezuela. If you read carefully the sentence you quoted below you will see that I am refering to the BBC report that says that the situation id so radical in Venezuela and again it is the report that puts the question of defeat or victory on the agenda (see the concluding remark of the report). What I am saying therefore is that we must recognise the reality and try to find ways to change it. This is in fact from my point of view the only scietific political position.

As to epistemological background of my political position: I think you are too quick=2
0to call my position dogmatic (I guess you mean by this *not scientific*) whithout trying to understand epistemological and scientific background of that position.  But I think my position is epistemologically well-founded and scietifically sanctioned. Philosophy and all sciences have to do with reality, though they may differ in what way they are related to the reality. In the history of philosophy and sciences there are mainly three postion about how to recognise and conserve or change the reality.

First, idealist positions. Idealist positions usually ignore the reality and develop an ideal situation. This can be conservative (Plato) or progressive (Th. More). Second, then we have positivist positions. Positivist usually remain merely descrptive. They do not account for change. This position may be  traced back to Aristotle. I ignore those sceptical positions because they are in one way or another positivist. They usually deny in various ways the posibility of knowledge and therefore action. This distinction is very alive in particular in social and political sciences (see positivism debate). Third, the last epistemological position tries to account for the reality, that is, to recognise it as it is (realism) and then to look for the ways and forces to change the reality. This last position I ascribe to Smith and Marx.

So let me please apply this to our debate on Venezuela:  I said the report says that there is no middle ground in Venezuela. You are either for Chavez or for the opposition. So I say I=2
0agree with this description of the situation in venezuela. Therefore, I say, epistemologically speaking, we must recognise the reality in Venezuela. It is a situation of either-or. So far any politician from the opposition would agree with me because to be able to act they must recognise the reality too. But there comes the crucial difference: while the people from the opposition want to conserve this, if you like, dogmatic situation, I suggest that we must support Chavez and all other parties and groups who try jointly establish socialism. In other words they are crtical and therefore try to overcome the dogmatic situation of either-or by changing it. To be dogmatic in relation to Venezuela is to be on the side of the opposition. To be on the side of progressive forces there means to be critical and since I support progressive forces there I am very well entitled to qualify my position to be critical. So where to put the theoretically (but only theoretically) possible third position that denies to recognise the reality in Venezuela? I guess you and anyother on the list who disqualified my position as *not scientific* or "dogmatic" have to apologise.
Kind regards,

-----Ursprüngliche Mitteilung-----
Von: Dave Zachariah <>
An: Outline on Political Economy mailing list <>
Verschickt: Mo., 8. Dez. 2008, 0:09
Thema: Re: [OPE] Special TV report on Venezuela

on 2008-12-07 16:17 wrote: 
> As the report says there is no middle ground in Venezuela.
You are > either for people's power as presented by Chavez or for the opposition.  
Dogan, with such a position I cannot understand why you should waste time on a *discussion* list. There would be nothing needed to discuss or analyse about the developments in Venezuela, only to *debate* in which you try to defeat your opponent. There are forums to do so, but in my mind OPE-L is not one of them. 
In my opinion you expressed the type of dogmatism that over and over again destroys any form of unity within the Left. 
//Dave Z 
ope mailing list

AOL eMail auf Ihrem Handy! Ab sofort können Sie auch unterwegs Ihre AOL email abrufen. Registrieren Sie sich jetzt kostenlos.

ope mailing list
Received on Tue Dec 9 02:47:53 2008

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Wed Dec 31 2008 - 00:00:05 EST