Friday, January 19, 2007

No More Mr Democracy Guy

Hugo Chavez gets ability to rule by decree for 18 months from legislature. A dangerous step indeed but do we need to break some eggs to make the omelet?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Certainly, powerful private forces representing a tiny number of economic elites have enormously disproportionate power in any society, and they use it to rig the whole game in their favor. Venezuela is obviously no exception. Truly revolutionary changes require a thorough destruction of that kind of private power. Even the word "ruthless" comes to mind as a good description of the attitude sometimes necessary for that revolution. Yes, omlettes are tasty, and eggs need to be broken to make them.

Yet, I don't understand why a parliament, or more locally, workers' councils, couldn't break those eggs (and even throw in a few mushrooms and some spinach?!) Why must it be Chavez and Chavez alone, not even his party or a coalition of left parties that do this?

The whining about authoritarianism from the former rulers rings pretty hollow -- they love authoritarianism when they're in charge. They are the authorities over of vast concentrations of private economic power resting in viciously authoritarian institutions and guaranteed by the state. They would have no qualms in setting up there own authoritarian government and in fact have tried already.

But this is what we expect of them. Why must "revolutionaries" do the same? Is it not one of the core values of socialism of whatever type that working people have control over the fruits of their labor. Isn't it part of the point to dissolve those massive concentrations of power? The state is a site of that kind of power, too; therefore, control over it, especially as it introduces revolutionary change in other realms, should be radically democratic. Isn't state power, as excercised by capitalists, one of those eggs to be broken?

This news is not terribly surprising, but very disappointing to me. As Freddy Perelman put it 30 years ago, they are taking management of the society out of the hands of businesspeople and putting in the hands of the cops! If authoritarianism is the issue, I think we can basically forget about the so-called "opposition" in Venezuela -- the kind funded by US "democracy" aid. They want to maintain all sorts of authoritarian institutions for even worse ends than Chavez.

It seems to me that the alternatives must come from within the left in Venezuela. This should be a struggle over tactics and I would be less nervous if someone could point out a strong revolutionary left opposition to these particular tactics within Venezuela. Do you know any? Or places from which they would arise? I suspect Chavez would crush such an opposition and the revolution will begin to seriously devour its own.