The Venezuelan Election
Like it or not, the Chavistas remain firmly in the camp of social democracy, as much as the US State Department and knee pad wearing liberals everywhere, would like to claim otherwise. But for me, this is a problem. Why? US and corporate-backed right-wing parties, with the corporate media at their side, undermine progressive governments, creating situations where they are thrown out of office. The right takes power and attacks the gains the people have made. All these reactionary measures are tarted up as "reforms". This see-saw has to stop, our rights and freedoms must be made permanent. The problem is, social democracy, not only allows this see-saw to occur, but sees the possibility of reactionaries taking power as an essential part of democracy.
No, I don't favour dictatorship. A dictatorship leads only to bureaucracy, paranoia and corruption. In seeking to protect the people from the oligarchs and CIA bum buddies, a dictatorship disempowers the people even more than a healthy social democracy.
What then is the alternative, one that is democratic and prevents the enemy from rolling back social progress? Certainly democratization of the media is necessary, but that would only be a small step in the right direction.
First off the oligarchy, its wannabees, its hired hounds and shills, religious fanatics and all-round haters, make up a fairly small minority of the population. There is another sector of the population that does not identify with the oligarchy, yet is not particularly conscious or educated, and will if suitable media campaigns are constructed support the forces of reaction. This sector, on the ground, that is, in the neighborhoods or the workplace, tends to work in its own interest and not that of reaction. It is only within the field of party politics or ideology that it acts otherwise. At the level of the workplace or neighborhood class trumps ideology and prejudice. (I should add, if this weren't the case, neighborhood associations and trade unions would be almost non-existent) Aside from a tiny fanatical minority, neighbors, no matter what religion or ideology, stand shoulder to shoulder against threats to their community. Trade union members are a cross section of the work force and when a strike is called both socialist and non-socialist workers stand side by side.
The solution then is to increase the amount of democracy in society, to bring it down to the local level and thus allow class interest to pre-dominate over acquired prejudices and ideologies. The basic political units should be neighborhood and work place councils, which are federated together and elect delegates to the higher levels of government. This will tend to reduce oligarchy's support to its own core, making it impossible for it to re-take power legally.
(I know that the PSUV has introduced neighborhood councils, but the government still runs on the old hierarchical system of representative government, favored by social democracy the world over.)
For More information on the election outcome see Jame Petras' article at
and Patrick Larsen's at http://www.marxist.com/venezuela-first-balance-sheet-elections.htm