Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Venezuelan Election

The PSUV, Unified Socialist Party of Venezuela, headed by Hugo Chavez gained 58% of the election, winning 17 of 23 governorships. The spin that the corporate media, and sadly the CBC, is putting on this is to trumpet the gains that the right-wing opposition made. Funny isn't it? Harper gets 38% and is a winner, Chavez 58% and is a loser. But it is going to be harder than ever for US propaganda to deem Hugo a dictator, since this is the second election in a year, the right-wing won the first and made slight gains in the second.

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


Blogger Graeme said...

PBS' "Frontline," which I used to have a bit of respect for, is running an anti-Chavez documentary today. I have yet to watch it, but reports are it is ridiculously one-sided.

I agree with your assessment. The solution is empowering local councils in order to skip the bureaucratic city, state, and even federal officials. Chavez has to make a choice, he can't play both sides. He's either a revolutionary, or another fucking wish washing social democrat.

2:18 PM  
Blogger Frank Partisan said...

Really good post.

The elections went better for the PSUV than I thought. The number of voters, made up for their 2007 loss, while the opposition lost 300,000 votes.

As for term limits, in 4 years Venezuela will either be Allende's Chile or a socialist country.

2:54 PM  
Blogger Frank Partisan said...

The PSUV people who lost, were the right side of the party.

2:55 PM  
Blogger Balls of Steel said...

Well said, Larry. But please, can you change the color scheme of your blog? That bold yellow type on top of dark blue is really hard to read. It hurts my eyes. Black type on a light background would be much easier!

4:02 PM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

Sorry about the color scheme, but Blogspot wasn't working properly, the day I posted it. Also I don't know how to change the background color...

7:12 PM  
Blogger Balls of Steel said...

I'm not sure how you'd change the background color without editing the HTML directly or changing the template. If you want to edit the HTML, you can go to the "Layout" section and then click "Edit HTML". Background color would be under the "body" tag. That six-digit code (example: #000000) is the color.

The white type in the comments looks find to me, though; I don't think you need to change the background. If you changed the body text to white and got rid of the bold, that would probably work just fine. You can do that by going to "Fonts and Colors" and changing the "text color" (first in the bar there) and then "text font" (further down). I doubt that there would be a need to change the background color if you just changed the text. Just debolding it might be enough; I don't know. Maybe experiment a bit and see what works best?

Brings me back to the days when I did web/graphic design for money...I hope this helps.

9:26 PM  
Blogger Frank Partisan said...

See this.

11:06 PM  
Blogger Frank Partisan said...

I used to have a black background with white print. That really hurt the eyes.

I used to change templates almost weekly.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

Thanks Belinsky. In my latest posting I have used white lettering without the bold, and I will keep that format

10:48 AM  

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