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

From: John Holloway (johnholloway@PRODIGY.NET.MX)
Date: Mon May 23 2005 - 19:08:00 EDT

> Michael,
>     In my mail of this morning, I should have said how much I appreciated your
> comments on Venezuela and how interesting I found them.
>     John
> 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
> state.'
>         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'.
>         cheers,
>         michael
> 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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