Re: [OPE-L] response to John Holloway

From: Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM
Date: Mon May 16 2005 - 19:50:03 EDT

[Previously I wrote:]
> >Don't you think that the situation in Venezuela is exceptional?  Surely,
> >you wouldn't suggest that the path to revolution in other countries in
> >Latin America or elsewhere is through the election of a radical
> >democratic military leader?
> >There is no one path to revolution.
[Michael L responded:]
> Presumably. But, I don't know if that makes the situation in Venezuela
> 'exceptional' (unless you mean every country is an exception-- ie., there
> are no generalisations that can be made).


No, I didn't mean that every country is an exception (although a good
case could be made that all socialist revolutions to date have developed
under exceptional, country- and historically-specific, circumstances).

What is exceptional about the situation in Venezuela?

Well, let's see.  A career army officer turned radical democrat runs
for office and gets elected largely with the support of the poor and
working class.   Except for him being someone from the military,
that's not too exceptional (although, the Venezuelan military  itself
may be exceptional in important ways).  When they discover that they
can't legally remove him from office, the right-wing -- with the support of
US imperialism -- stage a coup.  His supporters mobilize, take to the
streets, and put him back in power.  That's pretty exceptional, isn't it?
It was exceptional that the coup leaders didn't kill him when they had
a chance.  He's one exceptionally lucky hombre in that respect.
As his opponents both internally and externally organize
against the democratic revolution (the Bolivarian revolution) he
takes increasingly more radical steps including arming the people
to defend the revolution,  pushing for workers' control (so far, on a very
limited basis in the public sector),  encouraging the beginnings of land
reform, etc.   Instead of caving into the pressure from imperialism as so
many other leaders in Latin America and elsewhere have done,  he seeks
international solidarity and expresses solidarity with anti-globalization
struggles (at Porto Allegre and at other venues), attempts to build regional
trade alliances (in Latin America and possibly elsewhere), and claims that
his country will become socialist.  Alongside his radicalization, the people
themselves are increasingly radicalized and gain confidence and they push
him forward and vice versa.

Sound right?  I'm sorry, but I don't see this group of conditions
and circumstances developing in other nations.

There have certainly over the years been a lot of radical democratic
(and/or social democratic) leaders in Latin America who have been
elected to power.  Where else has that resulted in the turn of
events that we see in Venezuela?    All one has to do is to look
at other countries in LA today to see examples of how the people
have been betrayed by their  "progressive"  leaders once the latter
had state power.  Instead of  consistently challenging imperialism, they
almost always end up capitulating to it and  eventually selling-out the
working class and the poor.

You wouldn't actually tell people in other countries that they should
vote for a career military officer turned radical democrat in the _hope_
that s/he will eventually become a revolutionary socialist?  Even
Chavez himself didn't realize that he would eventually become a
socialist when he was first elected.

In short,  almost _everything_ about the Venezuelan experience is
exceptional.  To think that these exceptional circumstances can occur in
other countries is a fantasy, imo.

In solidarity, Jerry

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed May 18 2005 - 00:00:01 EDT