Sunday, December 03, 2006

Venezuelans going to the polls

Well, in Venezuela 16 million people will be voting today and the polling stations will shut at 8pm GMT.There has been a glut of articles and posts on Venezuela and Chavez. I wasn’t gonna contribute but then I thought, oh go then why not, so here’s my tuppence h’alfpenny on the political situation.

Thanks to Liam’s blog there’s an interesting debate about Permanent Revolution’s position on Chavez. I was also reading a piece written in Solidarity (AWL) by Martin Thomas. Funnily enough, I disagree with both positions put forward but for quite different reasons.

The AWL think that all politics can be reduced to a basic sort of class politics as understood in the countries of the imperialist heartland, such as Britain. It is not possible for the ordinary people of Venezuela, whether workers or peasants, to do simple trade union work etc. At some stage they will need to deal with the jackboot of imperialism and the effects that it has on the politics of their society. This is where Chavez has got it at least partly right and the AWL have got it totally wrong.

Chavez and the movement around him are the start of a process that has the potential of to develop into a revolution. I would guess that all revolutionary processes will start like this…including when it happens in Britain in the 35th century.

PR are kinda quibbling in their article, presumably for their own ultra left reasons. It is a bit strange that a current called “Permanent Revolution” fails to understand that there is a political process underway that needs defending.

The online magazine IVP is closer to the mark in that it understands that the process in Venezuela needs to be deepened and the opportunity that exists to build organisations based on the activity of the masses needs to be taken. Criticising Chavez from the sidelines for being a petit bourgeois nationalist is to miss the point entirely. Perhaps Chavez is this or something similar. Certainly if he sticks to the politics of being the President things will be driven to a political dead end. This does not have to be so though. If the masses take the opportunity that they have to organise this will mean that things will open up into a very exciting situation indeed.

Part of doing this though will be to defend the process as it is from its enemies, this (sorry Permanent Revolution) will mean defending Chavez from Rosales and from those both inside and outside of Venezuela who will be looking to defeat Chavez and all the positive things he represents.

Viva la revolucion!

Btw: check out the blog from the Hands off Venezuela campaign