VENEZUELA and the World 3.
Some little reflections – Feb 4, 2019:
It is necessary to understand that the conflict in Venezuela manifests a war between classes, not between factions of the one class, as in elections in “normal” bourgeois democracies.. The victor will not be inclined to give the other side a chance to come back into power “at the next election”.
We cannot expect the Chavistas to play by “normal” bourgeois electoral rules while the other side tries coups, economic sabotage, actively supports a foreign state’s economic sanctions, takes tens of millions from a hostile foreign state, attempts presidential assassination, and kills pro govt activists, while also owning all the private media. Some expect the so-called liberal democratic rules of the game to be applied – but by one side only. And what will be the result if the Venezuelan Bolivarian movement plays to lose and is defeated. Just remember two names: Pinochet and Suharto.
All out class war for a state based one class or the other has usually been resolved militarily, through a revolutionary war (Russia, China, Vietnam, Cuba) or counter-revolutionary violence (Indonesia, Chile). Uniquely, in the case of Venezuela, neither war nor a counter-revolution has yet occurred, even 20 years on.
My guess is that the Chavistas are constrained to show restraint towards the capitalist class, avoiding escalation to a military confrontation, because of one main factor: the threat of military destruction. Libya showed that the US was willing to see a country go to hell as long as oil could still flow. The US is now threatening military intervention – but to militarise a class war in Venezuela will run the risk of it spreading beyond national borders.
Besides this constraint, the Venezuealan Bolivarians have been constrained by the objective limits of a 3rd world economy – and a 3rd world economy under siege and with no Soviet Union to protect or aid it, only valiant and principled little Cuba. When Chavez became President in 1998, the GDP had already fallen back to 1963 levels. Corruption, including in the oil sector, was endemic. Immediately on Chavez’s election US and local capitalist economic sabotage began.
Underpinning this is the reality of a 3rd world economy in an imperialist world economy. The achievements of the Chavez government in improving economic conditions in these circumstances between 1998 and when oil prices started to fall in 2013 was extremely impressive. Declining oil prices in a country 90% dependent on oil for foreign exchange hit the economy hard, all worsened by ongoing economic sabotage from within and without. From August 2017, the sabotage became even more savage with intensified US economic sanctions.
The Chavista government, like the governments of all 3rd world countries, most of whom are still pro-capitalist, did not have the financial capacity (capital) or access to technology (monopolised by imperialist countries) to embark on any significant program of diversified industrialisation. This has not occurred anywhere by a medium sized poor country, let alone by an anti-capitalist government under siege, still consolidating itself.
The recent 2018 presidential elections showed the current government had the active support of 6 million Venezuelans, mostly from among the poor. The demonstrations over the last few days shows that this 6 million will still struggle, struggle to win more to their side. More elections may figure in the evolution of this struggle, but we should all note that any such new election processes, should they occur, will be part of a struggle where one side, since the beginning, from at least 2002, has resorted to coups, economic sabotage, political collaboration with a hostile foreign power (much deeper than anything D. Trump may have been involved in), among other “non rules of the game” practices.
Only recognise the Maduro government!
Demand the end of economic sanctions against the Venezuealan people and state!
No to any U.S. military intervention!