RE: [OPE] Venezuela is the most democratic country in Latin America

Date: Thu Feb 19 2009 - 09:21:14 EST

>> Jerry wrote: "You think it's less democratic to LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE who
> > is to be the next president in Venezuela?"
> So you would be in favor of a similar measure being introduced in the US?
You mean a proposal to eliminate term limits for the President and members of
Congress? Oh, yeah, that's right: there are no term limits in the US for members
of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Only a handful of States have
term limits on Governors and members of state legislatures. Only a handful of
cities in the US have term limits on Mayors and other elected representatives.
There isn't a term limit for the Vice-President of the US either. And the term limit
(2 terms) for the President is relatively recent - in 1951 it became the 22nd
Amendment to the US Constitution.
In answer to your question, probably not. But, I'd want to first ask who is
in favor of and opposed to the proposal. Were you in favor of term limits when they
were cynically proposed in the 1990's by the Republican Party in their "Contract
with America"? I was fairly indifferent to the question because I understood that
if term limits were to become the law in states and cities across the nation it wouldn't
necessarily benefit the working class _and_ it wouldn't accomplish what it said
its purpose was - to eliminate corruption.
In real politics, you have to be aware of the use of code words. For instance,
those who said that they were in favor of "states rights" were really in favor of
perpetuating slavery; those who said they were opposed to "forced busing" were
really opposed to desegregation; those who say that they are "pro-life" ... well,
you get the idea.
In my view, the opponents of eliminating term limits in Venezuela were not
in the slightest bit concerned with preserving some democratic practice.
That was just a ruse. They were SOLELY motivated by a desire to ensure
that Hugo Chavez couldn't again be elected President.
Is it (responding to Dave Z) a weakness of the Bolivarian movement that their
movement has come to be so identified with an individual (Chavez)? Yes, I think it is.
This is a weakness that is common in just about all revolutionary movements. Do I
need to recall all of the revolutions in modern history to make this point?
The "Si" vote will allow the revolutionary process in Venezuela to move forward.
It has already been a great boost to revolutionary spirits there and a crushing
blow for the "Opposition" which has left most of them without hope for a return
to the "Fourth Republic". The "Si" vote is being viewed by the people as a
referendum on the agenda of building socialism in Venezuela. Chavez himself
couldn't have been clearer about the meaning of the vote: immediately after
the results were known, he gave a speech on the balcony of the Miraflores
Presidential Palace to the large crowd of working people and poor in which
he said that an immediate task was "Revolutionary Re-Launch" (this was the
last of the "3 Rs": "Revision, Rectification, Revolutionary Re-Launch") and that:
"This path doesn't have any other name, this path is called socialism, I
want to ratify my commitment to socialism and I want everyone to strengthen
the march towards the construction of ... socialist democracy".
> > "The story that you asked about concerned protests by workers after
> > over 7,000 workers were fired by Mayor Ledemza, a member of the 'opposition'.
> > I agree that these mass firings, opposed by the Chavistas, is bad news."
> And the reason these workers were hired in the first place - they are not important?
The reason - according to whom? You can believe the workers themselves and
their unions or you can take the word of a reactionary Mayor. *This* is my biggest
gripe with those who are anti-Chavez but who claim to be to his "Left".
*Almost without exception*, these people (many of whom ironically refer to
themselves as "anti-authoritarians") accept *uncritically* the narrative of events
put forward by the right wing in Venezuela and the US government. So long as the
"news" seems to confirm their suspicions about Chavez, they uncritically
accept the reactionary propaganda. It is thus not the Bolivarians and their
supporters who have been uncritical (anyone who has followed the development
of the PSUV knows that there are some very sharp divisions within that party
and there have been many outspoken criticisms of Chavez and his policies)
but these "leftists" who have in practice fallen hook, line, and sinker for the
reactionary anti-Chavez propaganda.
In solidarity, Jerry

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Received on Thu Feb 19 09:24:37 2009

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