Re: [OPE] Venezuela is the most democratic country in Latin America

From: Paula <>
Date: Thu Mar 05 2009 - 19:26:40 EST

Jerry: "Paula, I guess you weren't expecting anyone on the list to read that article or remember
what exactly was being challenged."

On the contrary; you asked me for non-bourgeois sources that would support my skepticism, and as everyone here knows my skepticism predates that story in the Washington Post. So I am presenting you with a different source and a different story. What now? Should we disbelieve one source because it's bourgeois but believe the other because it's proletarian? Two legs bad and four legs good?

It's best to be skeptical regarding all claims, those of the right and those of the left. But being skeptical does not mean dismissing reports - rather it means taking them seriously enough to investigate them further, if we can.

"I guess the fired workers and their unions are also a "bourgeois source", right?"

Trade unions often have close links with employers and/or with the state, sometimes of an ideological, sometimes even of a formal nature. Consider, for example, British unions' relations with the state through the Labor Party. It wouldn't be unusual if a similar thing was happening with Venezuelan unions - we would have to look into it.

 "As for the claim that Chavez "represents" Venezuelan capital, you're going to get quite an argument from *capital itself*"

There's no such thing as 'capital itself'. There are many capitals and they don't always have the same interests.

"What _specific_ faction of the bourgeoisie does Chavez represent (note the emphasis on specific), including *who* are the principal figures in that faction and *what capital do they own and control*?"

State capital - a specific example is PDVSA, which according to a source quoted by Wikipedia is the second largest company in Latin America. Its current president is also the Minister for Energy and Oil.

""Actually, Paul Z, anti-Stalinists on the Left were, for the most part, very careful about _which_ sources they accepted ...They_certainly_ didn't _rely_ on the bourgeois press for info."

We all rely on bourgeois sources for information, not only the press but also books and the official statistics we quote in our papers. What we should say is that we don't rely exclusively on these sources, since we add in our own judgment, previously acquired knowledge and experience, and perhaps (though not necessarily) alternative sources of information. But the key point here is that the bourgeois press, in spite of its bias, was correct about the USSR in at least some respects and on at least some occasions, and the same may be true about its coverage of Venezuela.


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Received on Thu Mar 5 19:28:32 2009

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