Debate and discussion - Venezuela: Chavez good or bad?

Submitted by Anon on 12 August, 2004 - 2:54

The article in Solidarity 3/54, 'Socialist Appeal woos Hugo Chavez' has made me wonder what Workers' Liberty is actually about.

Your article makes Alan Woods sound like a cross between Uriah Heap and Tony Blair. Fortunately for the Marxist movement he is neither of these things. Alan Woods' perspective on this issue is well thought-out and sensible to those of us living in the real world.

To build on what you have available is a sound revolutionary tactic. With the absence of a mass Marxist movement, it makes sense for the Marxists to form cadres in the workers' parties and movements. This is already reaping success in the area.

If we follow your argument, we must distance ourselves from Chavez because he is not Marxist. We should plant our flag and expect workers to rally to it in their thousands.

We have seen how successful that tactic is ourselves. Only by working alongside the workers in their own environment and in their own movements can we win trust and build cadres to form the mass party of workers.

Rick Grogan

Rick says "it makes sense for the Marxists to form cadres in the workers' parties and movements" - I agree. Though I'm loath to offer precise tactical advice from an armchair thousands of miles away, I do think Marxists in Venezuela should work in the newly emerging trade unions (the UNT) and probably in the Bolivarian community organisations as well.

But what politics should the Marxists argue for? The politics Alan Woods advocates for Venezuela sow illusions in Hugo Chavez and disarm the Venezuelan workers, who face both the old elites (backed by the US) and Chavez's Bolivarian government. After some public flattery, Woods has written sycophantic eulogies of Chavez and garnished his Bolivarian politics with 'Marxist' phrases. Frankly, I find it revolting that he behaves in that way towards the head of a bourgeois state.

Instead, I think Marxists should tell the truth about Chavez and preach distrust in him. We should argue that Venezuelan workers should rely on their own strength in the unions and build their own workers' party. In other words, we advocate an independent working class line. Venezuelan workers need third camp Marxism, not recycled Grantite reformism.

Paul Hampton

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