Friday, March 23, 2007

An Anarchist Analysis of Venezuela


(My apologies for this translation, this is the best I can do with my limited knowledge of Spanish.)

We could, and can pass, a long period of time, months, and years internalized in revolutionary theory that promulgates the revolution and social transformation, reading infinite amounts of authors, thinkers, idealists. We have been called on to review primitive humanity, Jesus Christ, Marx, Bakunin... magic, doctrines and physics, finally to write a theory which nevertheless is still not a recipe for revolution. It had taken over our lives and to commit this failure, we necessarily had too much of this.

It happens, when a minimal part of that education, or common sense, allows you to recognize the enemy, "Capitalism" as that which is damaging the common existence of humanity and of nature, that does not allow the existence of freedom and equality. When aware of this and desiring the total destruction of Capitalism (that many conceptualize as Satan, imperialism, neoliberalism, fascismo, monarchy... and the thousand and one ways in which it manifests) and to raise up equality and freedom, we struggle in the manner and methods that are in the most pure essence of these elements, we are anarchists, communists, Christian socialists etc... And simply as Sub-commandante Marcos commented, "we are ordinary women and men, elders and children and, to say, rebellious, and nonconformist."

The doctrines and orthodoxies have affected us profoundly, they have entailed years of knowing who to aim at, but discussing it rather than doing it. This has taken many years, in search of an absolute truth (the way to aim) while the shots fired at the enemy are very few, and inequality and slavery continues developing and making its rounds.

What happens when that ideological education, that common sense and those ordinary people called rebels, and the people, happen to rise, crying out for change? There are some who supported by that awakening, prevailed upon or called upon by those same people to govern, governing well, badly,average, but they awaken to this, resolved to be detached from the capitalist vices, but this one. (that of governing? LG)

With this introduction to the case of Venezuela, the reason for the arrival of Chávez to government, is same that I take for the presidency of Evo Morales, Rafael Correa and others, and to enlighten people to the main cause for the formation of these governments in Latin America and the Caribbean. "So far" perhaps because the people decided, the Indigenous People, the exploited, the working farmers etc... It was not the best decision in all the cases but a step, nonetheless. Now roused up, and perhaps not absolved of errors or desperate conduct, but a people ready to decide on the changes necessary to transform the system that kills them, exploits them, enslaves them, even knowing these changes will not be complete for their generation.

But we can affirm there exists a social outcry, anarchist, Communist, populist, Christian... in its pure essence by part of the people although they do not recognize it nor give importance to place it in these connotations. But they are clear, they want equality and the freedom, with justice in the workplace, a life of dignity, health care within one's reach and a liberatory education.

We return to the case of Venezuela, recognizing that we have Hugo Chávez as president, a man calling for the construction once and for all of a new model of social relations, one that is noncapitalist. But for Chávez to genuinely realize these actions? It is not really a work of Chávez, who is an individual, a single person cannot make the revolution whether they want to or not, but nevertheless we can respond, that sometimes he has not done this, but on many other occasions YES, he has, and we must recognize this too.

Recognizing this, along side the popular rising and with the iron-bound idea we anarchists promulgate, that the revolution is carried to the finish from the bottom up, what is our function? To follow a false anarchist orthodoxy and to move away from the social process? To sit and write articles about how much we we hate this government? To criticize for the sake of criticizing? NOOOOOOO........ This represents true stupidity, hypocritical, deceitful, and petit bourgeois! Even when they say they believe in equality and freedom, they follow seated in their chairs criticizing for its own sake, as though utopia descends from above by the work and grace of the spirit. This is anarchism I ask? This action is communist? or Socialist? I ask...

We must come down to earth, be critical, but constructive of a process that exists and though not absolved of errors, a process involving the participation of the base community. Where the struggle is daily of destruction and construction of the new paths to social development, where we are called on to confront the old enemies and the new ones which are born, and to unlearn those years where we originated under capitalism.

To face the historical moment, and if we organize the people, and if the state through Chávez opens the spaces for transformation, as in several cases WE TOOK IT, if in others he closes them, WE OPENED IT, and in others we create IT, where it does not exist. We must be the builders of that project and to face this situation which permeates the region.

Much exists already, but there is much to do, so many elements implied in this transformation, that now is the time to unite with those elements (health, education, work, culture, housing) We we have been lucky so far, that we are not called upon to be hidden in a mountain with a gun, or receiving attacks of invading airplanes, nor American soldiers telling us what to do. It is clear, that moments exist in which force is necessary, but at the moment we have the opportunity to take a pencil and to teach literacy in the poor neighborhoods, to prepare artistic and cultural activities and to present/display them the plaza, to participate together with the farmers in taking the land, with workers in occupying the work places, etc...

What happens from here on is the responsibility of the people, as anarchists we cannot separate ourselves from what happens here. To promote and wait for failure, soon to leave as prophets with clean hands, is merely a bourgeois attitude. If there will be tears, we will cry together, if there will be sacrifices, we will be part of them, if there is failure, we will fail, but of one thing we will be safe: at least we tried, and we will try.

We do not care if they excommunicate us, we believe they are the pseudo-intellectuals of anarchism, and those who support us are campesinas, obreras, and students. The struggle is long and extensive. Here is where our duty is to cling to anarchist principles, those of solidarity and mutual aid.

Anarchists now more than ever, must eliminate capitalism and class society! Popular power, power to all, power to create freedom and equality!


Blogger Rhinoceruz said...

Hugo Chavez is not a saint, some political anlisys have found a correlation between the metohdologies used by this president and Alvaro Uribe, the president of my country Colombia.
what defines a true citizen in a society is the methods he use to achieve a goal, socialism as proposed by Chaves is very anti anarchist specially because he tends to use violence and coertion.
Violence is just a last resource as old anarchists like proudhon and Godwin would say, state violence is present in capitalism and communism .
ideology is not important and is no excuse, one must not try to impose and even less to say that the one one thinks is the best. As a good example there is a new movement in colombia called I.R.A (insumission, rebellion and anticapitalism) they pretend to change things by using violence and force, the language they use is also violent and agressive and as i see things violence only breeds violence... we must then ask ourselves if there is need to use violence instead of education to achieve a true revolution.
excuse y english it's been a while last time i used it.

10:40 AM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

Your English is fine. A damn sight better than my Spanish. No, I don't think Chavez is any kind of anarchist, for sure. Nor do the three different factions of the Venezuelan anarchist movement. Chavez is basically a social democrat, but of a new type. The old heavily statist social democracy is dead and most soc dems, lacking any imagination have moved to accept neo-liberal corporate capitalism in its entirety. If you want neither the corporate state or old fashioned statism, you are forced to look towards cooperatives, measure of decentralization and worker-input. This is what Chavez appears to be doing. I should add that this is also ideologically in keeping with the populist tradition of Latin America. What the Chavista movement is providing is an opening, and we should push that opening as far as possible, to turmn a guided reform into a mass revolution. As for violence, of course all states, even social democracies are based on it. I agree that anarchists should minimize its use, but I don't know how you would do that with a regime that is run by death squads and narco-trafficantes like Uribe's.

8:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I agree that the socialism in Venezuela has headed in a more decentralized and democratic direction there are indications that Chavez wants to seize power for himself. He said recently that anyone who voted no on the referendum to allow him to serve unlimited terms was a traitor. Some media outlets have been shut down. Not all of them he needs to keep an appearance of free speech for now.

We need to learn from history. State socialists will yield to the anarchist desires of the masses at first but then they will consolidate power. In the Soviet Union workers controlled the factories as soviets at first and the soviets federated to run the government, but then the Bolsheviks seized power and turned these soviets into rubber stamps. If Chavez becomes dictator the same thing will happen in Venezuela. The cooperatives and worker-input will exist only in theory and they will really make their decisions based on fear, fear that Chavez might not like their decisions.

Venezuela's best hope would be to continue socialism but replace Chavez. This is possible. Many Venezuelans who plan to vote no are strong supporters of the socialist movement but know that Bolivar himself said that it is dangerous to give any leader too much power. They can continue with democratic socialism and their new Constitution but give someone else a chance at the helm. The election is today I think I hope it turns out that way.

1:09 AM  
Blogger bathmate said...

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1:38 PM  

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