Thursday, 6 March 2008
Venezuela & Chavez
The Weekly Worker claims a unique position on the basis of the majority of the “leftist commentators” who have provided commentary upon a fairly limited section of the ‘progressive’ reforms within the proposed constitutional amendments, at the expense of those which sought to consolidate the arguably substantial power base of the Venezuelan leader (Chavez Suffers Major Constitutional Setback). The WW is quite right to note the absence of an engagement precisely on the ‘democratic deficit’ apparent within the proposed reforms of the Venezuelan constitution.
The role of Marxists on this basis is clear: to understand the nature of Venezuelan presidency and on this basis draw necessarily correct conclusions. Related to this point, Nick Rogers is right to highlight the need for an independent Working Class voice.
In reference to the ability to cultivate such a voice, it is perhaps worth making explicit the fact that “tying the working class and its organizations to bourgeois ruler serves to impede independent working-class struggle”. Related to this point, the need to “establishing the class independence of the proletariat from all wings of the bourgeoisie—no matter how “progressive” or “anti-imperialist” their proclamations  remains readily apparent during this process, alongside the role of a revolutionary, internationalist workers party through which this aim may be realised.
The potential for the consolidated power of a bourgeois ruler to in turn be used against an independent working class force may been noted in reference to the fact that “the presidency – no matter who occupies it – remains an institution of the bourgeois state which be it said revolutionaries are in favour of totally abolishing not strengthening”  as Workers Power have rightly suggested.
Despite this Workers Power curiously criticise the “modesty” of the proposed reforms for not abolishing the “the 1999 constitution's protection of private ownership of the land, the factories, the banks, the media etc”. Such an approach of course ignores that such provision would be unlikely to be destroyed precisely because these remain intrinsic to the nature of Chavez’s bourgeois political project. The role of Marxists during this process is not to challenge the ‘immodesty’ of such leaders but to instead turn to those organised forces able to play a progressive role within the region, precisely by ‘sweeping away’ the bourgeoisie regime.