[Marxism] re Query on Vzla

michael a. lebowitz mlebowit at sfu.ca
Fri Sep 15 12:56:59 MDT 2006

    * Subject: [Marxism] Query on Venezuela
    * From: "D OC" <<mailto:donaloc%40hotmail.com>donaloc at hotmail.com>
    * Date: Fri, 15 Sep 2006 14:07:46 +0000
D OC wrote:
It seems that the Bolivarian movement is well on the way to enabling 
mass participation in Venezuela. Now seems to be a good time to begin 
to study of how this was achieved with the aim of drawing lessons from it.

As such, I was wondering if comrades could identify sources of 
information and analysis on the following:

(a) Exactly how Chavez went about creating massive participation in Venezuela

(b) Opposition to participatory democratic structures

Just a brief note. It is premature to conclude that structures being 
created that will realise the promises in the Bolivarian Constitution 
for a protagonistic (rather than representative) democracy will be 
controlled by the masses from below rather than through party and 
clientalistic domination. Certainly, the new communal councils, 
supported strongly by Chavez and about which there will be many 
interesting stories to recount, offer an incredible potential for the 
development of a new form of state. But, there will be much struggle 
ahead yet. In the concluding chapter of my 'Build it Now: Socialism 
for the 21st Century' (now available from Monthly Review Press), I wrote:

             The same orientation resists development of real 
decision-making power in the communal councils. Here, however, there 
is an additional element besides the fear of losing control over 
economic decisions. Among both existing state office-holders and 
apparatchiks of the Chavist parties, there is some resistance to a 
shift downward in power because it reduces the ability to distribute 
jobs and largess from above (thereby affecting traditional forms of 
electioneering and corruption).
             The economic revolution, in short, has begun in 
Venezuela but the political revolution (which began dramatically with 
the new constitution but requires the transformation of the state 
into one in which power comes from below) and the cultural revolution 
(which calls for a serious assault on the continuing patterns of 
corruption and clientalism) lag well behind. Without advances in 
these two other sides, the Bolivarian Revolution cannot help but be deformed.

         in solidarity,
Michael A. Lebowitz
Professor Emeritus
Economics Department
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6

Currently based in Venezuela. Can be reached at
Residencias Anauco Suites
Departamento 601
Parque Central, Zona Postal 1010, Oficina 1
Caracas, Venezuela
(58-212) 573-4111
fax: (58-212) 573-7724

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