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From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sun, 17 Aug 2003 09:10:56 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
News about and of interest to anarchists
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The web site of the Organización Revolucionaria Anarquista (ORA) of Argentina
<orajar.cjb.net> has recently posted a Spanish language text "The dilemma
for Chávez: jumping from populism to open class struggle", authored by
the Comisión de Enlace Internacional of the ORA. We feel compelled tomake some
comments because the text, which in our understanding analyzes the Venezuelan
situation from a point of view more akin to Marxism than to Anarchism,
contains affirmations we think erroneous regarding the situation we ´re living here.
Reading the document (no small feat given the numerous errors of syntax,
composition and spelling) the use of Marxist terminology common to the
Latin American left is evident; it is precisely that language and that way of
understanding things that have had such a significant role in the long
history of failures, errors and betrayals that has punctuated the journey of
that political current in and out of our continent. It is suspicious that an
Anarchist group publish a document with references to "open class
struggle" but it doesn´t stop there, further on the reader finds orthodox
Marxist and even Leninist expressions. Thus, it claims that the text is the
result of a "materialist analysis of History"; Bush is described as somebody
who "exploits a healthy proletarian nationalism"; it prescribes that the
courses of action to be followed by revolutionary Venezuelans range from
"emphasizing the development of class contradictions" to self-appointing
as the "proletarian and revolutionary managers of change"; or else it
recommends "to nationalize and expropriate" the assets of the Venezuelan
bourgeoisie, in a way suggesting this would be the task of some
self-proclaimed revolutionary State.

If we emphasize the Marxist flavor so evident in this document, it is not to
take on the role of the defender of an impossible and unwanted libertarian
orthodoxy, but because we understand that it is precisely Anarchism (in
Latin America and elsewhere) that offers radically different options, both
in action and in theory, that evade the impassable chasm where Marxism
has fallen and that with its economic determinism and its schematic vision
of History set down the foundations for the disastrous fraud that has
capped the political performance of Social Democracy and Leninism at the
end of the XX century. We don´t deny that as written from a Marxist
viewpoint there might be elements of partial usefulness to anarchists in
understanding social conflicts, but that can´t lead us to assume criteria
diametrically opposite to the libertarian ideal of social revolution (like that
of becoming the "proletarian and revolutionary managers of change") that
have already tragically shown where they lead.

Besides the aforementioned, there are certain details in the
characterization of the Venezuelan situation that, to our understanding,
imply false and confusing appreciations. Bundling the opposition to
Chávez under the dogmatic label of "imperialist pro-coup front
with a fascist discourse" is, to put it mildly, an
oversimplification that brings one to fundamental errors when defining
one´s attitude to that opposition and to the government; equally simplistic
is the observation that opposition acts under "Yankee coverture", which
contradicts the complaints of the Coordinadora Democrática (group of
the regime´s formal opposition) about how little attention they get in
Washington and about the pro-Chavism of the last three gringo
ambassadors. When the text speaks of the "give away plan" of the
country´s riches that the opposition would be willing to execute and which
demands getting rid of the current government, it ignores the fact that
already the Chávez administration has taken important steps along that
line such as the concession of the Delta Platform in the eastern coast, one
of Venezuela´s main natural gas reserves, given for 30 years to 6 European
and North American oil transnationals under the most favorable terms.

To those who, like us, live near Chavism´s circus with no bread, it is
surprising that it be qualified as a movement "solidly composed of the
impoverished layers of the Venezuelan working class", when it is perfectly
obvious that it is a political force that lacks a solid organizational structure
as well as a political project worthy of its name, because its real pillars are
the still strong demagogic charisma of Chávez, the manipulation of the
state´s resources and the back up of the armed forces. About the latter,
the text avers that there is a difference between the high officialdom
favorable to the opposition and the troops inclined to Chavism, yet another
simplification that ignores the success of Chavism in getting rid of or neutralizing
any dissent among officer´s ranks, who have been turned into a sort of "government´s
party" that fill important management areas and key command positions
throughout the governmental machinery, with obvious political and economical
advantages for themselves, reinforcing their complicity with the current regime.
Lastly, another tell-tale sign of the ignorance of the country´s reality is when it
calls for "retaking the CTV (Confederation of Venezuelan Workers) and
the labor and popular organizations" when the truth is that in Venezuela´s
history the political parties have been the precursors and builders of the
social organization, so that the CTV and most other popular organizations
have always been under their control, rendering useless to the people the
exhortation to recover that which they never had, because what is needed
is to build new structures for self-management and direct action.

We conclude by inviting the writers of this document to debate what they
expound versus what on this topic we have at the El Libertario´s web site
<www.nodo50.org/ellibertario> and Samizdata <samizdata.host.sk>. We are not
saying that only the Venezuelan anarchists have exclusive rights to
interpret what happens here, or that in our writings there is the anarchist
truth about this issue, but we are saying that we have tried hard to
elaborate with intellectual honesty the interpretations and positions of our
circumstances from a libertarian socialist ideal, and so we are open to a
reasoned and respectful discussion about the points of view we uphold.

[Translation by Luis]

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