[OPE] important development in venezuela

From: <glevy@pratt.edu>
Date: Sat May 23 2009 - 19:33:45 EDT

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

Subject: important development in venezuela
"michael a. lebowitz" <mlebowit@sfu.ca>
Date: Sat,
May 23, 2009 3:36 pm

I wrote the following on Thursday night to friends temporarily
Venezuela who missed seeing (either in person or on tv) the
event described:
> A pretty unbelievable event this afternoon and
evening [just ended].
> There was a conference [in the industrial
complex of Ciudad Guyana] on
> the socialist transformation of
basic industry... with workers tables
> from the industries
[steel, aluminum, etc]. Chavez spoke initially to
> them by
satellite from taking over some gas works in the east and then
came to hear reports from the workers tables. Incredibly militant
> reports [10 tables] demanding workers control, getting rid of
> capitalist managers, nationalise capitalist firms in the area, work

> with communal councils, etc. One after another, same story,
with some
> variations [attack mafia]. Great cheers from all
there. Chavez sat
> there [accompanied by a number of
ministers].... clapping politely.
> [NB, one guy got up and
quoted Maniero at the beginning of his reports
> to say we are
all equals here.] Then Chavez spoke at the end. Began
> slowly--
looked like he was treading water, thanking folks by name,
saying generalities and then suddenly it was Chavez Unleashed---
> calling for workers control, naming companies to be taken over,
> calling for managers to be elected. Yes, we are all equals here. I

> agree with what you have said-- how can you not have all the

> information about your companies and make the decisions? We
have tried
> things that failed before because we didn't have the
protagonism of
> the workers. We have to go forward now.
Revolutions go in steps. It is
> Guyana's turn. You have to lead.
And show the petroleum workers. Let
> them compete with you.
Well, you have to imagine the ecstasy in the
> room--- people
leaping up and cheering, chanting, hi-fiving, breaking
> at one
point into singing the national anthem, crying...Then Chavez
talked about we have to plan the transition and do it so we don't have
> anarchy with different groups of workers wanting different things.

You may have read some reports of this meeting---
stressing that
Chavez has announced the nationalisation of firms in
the area to create
an integrated industrial complex. What you would
miss from that is the
most important part--- the reaction of the
workers. You can see that
from a video of a portion of Chavez's
remarks that is now available
http://www.aporrea.org/actualidad/n134881.html . Even if you
understand no Spanish at all, you will understand the workers. You'll

still miss something absolutely essential, though. Chavez's comments

came after the reports from those worktables. And if all you get to
is Chavez's remarks, you can get the impression that they come
nowhere, that they are gifts from above--- rather than a
response to the
workers in report after report. If the whole meeting
were available, you
would see why Chavez could say there, "Me
siento contento, porque veo,
palpo y siento el rugido de la clase
obrera. Cuando ruge la clase obrera
la burgues?a tiembla."

in solidarity,

Michael A. Lebowitz 
Professor Emeritus 
Economics Department 
Simon Fraser University 
Burnaby, B.C.,
Canada V5A 1S6 
Director, Programme in 'Transformative Practice
and Human Development' 
Centro Internacional Miranda, P.H. 
Residencias Anauco Suites, Parque Central, final Av. Bolivar 
Caracas, Venezuela 
fax: 0212 5768274/0212 5777231 
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Received on Sat May 23 19:35:38 2009

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