[OPE-L] a comment on John's answers

From: michael a. lebowitz (mlebowit@SFU.CA)
Date: Sun May 22 2005 - 00:13:36 EDT

Just one quick final point, John.
         I had said:
5) I suggest to you that you cannot be consistent with your book and not be
an opponent of the Bolivarian Revolution.

    And, you responded in your last note, 'I have already said several
times that I support the upsurge of revolutionary struggle in Venezuela.'

         My first impression when I quickly glanced over your last answer
was to conclude that in practice, in the concrete, that you weren't
consistent with your book and that, in practice, we weren't that far apart.
Ie., that statements in your book like 'to struggle through the state is to
become involved in the active process of defeating yourself', that the
state is the 'assassin of hope', etc were not to be taken too seriously in
practice. After all, there you were, indicating your recent support for
Lopez Obrador (rather than saying 'out with them all!) and admitting that
you might decide to vote for him; noting that (rather than worry about, in
my words, reinforcing 'illusions about the "state paradigm"') you would
have supported the Bolivarian Constitution at the time insofar it was 'much
more democratic than the previous one'; and, that you would not oppose the
decentralising aspects of that constitution (on the grounds, in my words,
'that the state by any other name is still capital'). In short, I was
surprised, and I thought, 'hey, do those people in eg., Argentina who were
so active in turning away from the idea of taking state power know this?
         But, before writing this, I looked back over your answer and saw
that I hadn't read it carefully enough. Eg., on the Bolivarian
Constitution, you say 'At the same time, a constitution always has the
purpose of demarcating the state from society, of consolidating the state
as an institution, and in that sense I would oppose it.'
         Further, on the question of decentralisation, you went on to say:
'Generally state decentralisation is an attempt to strengthen the state as
         I would say it did strengthen the state-- not a state over and
above people but the Venezuelan state nevertheless, given the dissolution
of the state as state (ie., its collapse) that seemed to be occurring.
         So, I come back to my original statement, now concluding that you
really didn't move very far from the position of your book. However, I do
need to take into account your profession of support for the Bolivarian
revolution. Indeed, I do accept the possibility that you can be consistent
with your book and yet not be an opponent of the revolution--- after all,
you are large, you 'contain multitudes'.

ps. the last reference is from Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself'.
Michael A. Lebowitz
Professor Emeritus
Economics Department
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6

Currently based in Venezuela. Can be reached at
Residencias Anauco Suites
Departamento 601
Parque Central, Zona Postal 1010, Oficina 1
Caracas, Venezuela
(58-212) 573-4111
fax: (58-212) 573-7724

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