RE: [OPE] Venezuela again[MESSAGE NOT SCANNED]

From: Paul Cockshott <>
Date: Wed Jan 28 2009 - 19:02:58 EST

Whilst not doubting the leaders like Chavez and Castro are heroic figures who are on the side
of the masses in their respective countries, I think one should be very wary of a political strategy
that depends excessively on such figures.
The problem with Petras analysis is that he still associates democracy with elections.
If you have a constitution with a head of state who exerts considerable power, and if you have
elections to that head of state position, it becomes vital to the left to hold onto the
few exceptional and charismatic figures that they have available to them. This is because
elections to high office tend to favour those from the upper ranks of society. An outsider
can only break in where he appears to have exceptional personal merit like Chavez or Obama.
The left in Venezuela seem to doubt that they have another figure of Chavez stature.
The answer though should not be to simply dismiss the objections raised to term limits, since
once a constitutional change is in place, Chavez will not be the only president able to take
advantage of re-election. There may be future ones less to your likeing who can exploit the
same provision. Better by far to abolish the position of personal head of state, and instead
select by lot from among the voters each year an executive committee of 50 to fulfill the current functions of the head of state.
Paul Cockshott
Dept of Computing Science
University of Glasgow
+44 141 330 1629


From: on behalf of
Sent: Wed 1/28/2009 1:21 PM
To: Outline on Political Economy mailing list
Subject: [OPE] Venezuela again[MESSAGE NOT SCANNED]

A very important political event will take place in Venezuela next Feb,15:
a constitutional referendum to allow the indefinite re-election of the
President. James Petras has produced an important analysis of this event,
of which I quote the first paragraph and the conclusion. I don't agree
with his interpretation of the nature of Chavez' regime, but I think his
analysis of the political meaning of the referendum and of the importance
its approval is essentially correct.

Article at

First paraghaph:

"On February 15, 2009, Venezuelan voters will go to the polls in order to
vote on a constitutional referendum, which would allow for the indefinite
re-election of the President. The vote on the constitutional amendment has
raised fundamental questions about the relation between electoral politics
and democracy. The proposed constitutional change, and specifically the
constitutional amendment allowing for the indefinite re-election of the
President requires an examination of two basic concepts: electoral systems
and democracy. The distinction between these two concepts dominates the
political conflict between the supporters (pro-Chavez) and opponents
(anti-Chavez) of the amendment."


With the onset of the world recession/depression, the collapse of the
neo-liberal model and the incapacity of capitalist economists to offer any
viable alternative, there is all the more reason to re-elect President
Chavez who backs a socialist, publicly directed and controlled economy,
which protects and promotes the domestic market and productive system.

At a time of Israel's genocidal war, backed by the US and at a time when
newly-elected Obama doubles military spending and troops for wars in
Afghanistan, Iraq and possibly Iran, the world looks to President Chavez
as the world's foremost humanitarian leader, the outstanding defender of
freedom, peace and self-determination. The approval of the re-election
amendment is not only a vote for Venezuelan democracy but equally a vote
in defense of the billions of oppressed Third World people who regard
President Chavez as their principled leader: The only President who
refuses to support Bush-Obama's imperial 'war on terror'. The only
President who ousted Israel's ambassador in righteous repudiation of
Israel's genocidal assault on the people of Gaza.

Much more is at stake on February 15, 2009 than a constitutional amendment
and the re-election of a president. With the outcome rides the future of
democracy and socialism in Venezuela and the hopes and aspirations of
hundreds of millions who look to President Chavez as an example in their
revolutionary struggle to overthrow militarists and depression-racked
capitalist states. January 8, 2009

>> In what way is this relevant?
>> What new processes did he contribute to inventing?
> Paul C:
> What Soros, or any capitalist, buys ownership in a firm they thereby
> have a role in firm decision-making and that includes the types of
> technologies which will be bought or developed by the firm. His
> 'contribution' is his money - without which the process of invention
> couldn't continue.
> It is relevant to your claim that Soros is parasitic and Ford was
> not.
> In solidarity, Jerry
> _______________________________________________
> ope mailing list

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Received on Wed Jan 28 19:08:04 2009

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