Monday, January 29, 2007

Chavez: “Capitalism must be transcended”

Redacted from an article by Alan Woods

In Jan, 2005, Venezuelan President Chavez gave a speech at the Gigantinho Stadium at the closing session of the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil. In this speech, President Chavez gave further indications of the direction in which the Bolivarian Revolution is moving. This speech, reported in (Caracas, Jan 30, 2005), deserves to be studied by every conscious worker and revolutionary youth.

The Bolivarian Revolution started out as a national democratic revolution, aimed at freeing the people of Venezuela from the rule of a corrupt and degenerate oligarchy that acted as the local agency of imperialism.

The recent nationalisation of Venepal and decree on agrarian reform marked a clear turn of the Revolution in the direction of a decisive confrontation with its enemies.

U.S. imperialism is not invincible.

The aim of the Bolivarian Revolution is to spread to every country in Latin America – and beyond.

The satellite TV network TeleSur, “which will allow us to tell our people’s reality in our own words.”

“We must start talking again about equality. The U.S. government talks about freedom and liberty, but never about equality.

The U.S. people, with whom we share dreams and ideals, must free themselves... A country of heroes, dreamers, and fighters, the people of Martin Luther King, and Cesar Chavez.”

He paid tribute to the cooperation with Cuba, which, along with several Central American countries, receives Venezuelan oil at below market prices, in exchange for assistance in healthcare, education, agriculture and other areas. And that Venezuela has used a Cuban literacy method approved by UNESCO that has allowed more than 1.3 million Venezuelans learn how to read and write. He said Venezuela is using Cuban vaccines, which now allow poor children to be vaccinated against diseases such as hepatitis.

“When imperialism feels weak, it resorts to brute force. The attacks on Venezuela are a sign of weakness, ideological weakness. Nowadays almost nobody defends neoliberalism. Up until three years ago, just Fidel [Castro] and I raised those criticisms at Presidential meetings. We felt lonely, as if we infiltrated those meetings.”

“Just look at the internal repression inside the United States, the Patriot Act, which is a repressive law against U.S. citizens.

“because the peoples are not going to accept in peace impositions such as neoliberalism or such as colonialism.”
“Capitalism must be transcended”

the need to pass from the national democratic tasks to the socialist transformation of society:

It is necessary to transcend capitalism. But capitalism can’t be transcended from within capitalism itself, but through socialism, true socialism, with equality and justice. But I’m also convinced that it is possible to do it under democracy, but not in the type of democracy being imposed from Washington,” Chavez said.

To succeed it makes deep inroads on private property, unless it takes the decisive step of expropriating the landlords, bankers and capitalists.

“We have to re-invent socialism. It can’t be the kind of socialism that we saw in the Soviet Union, but it will emerge as we develop new systems that are built on cooperation, not competition,” he added.

“It is impossible, within the framework of the capitalist system to solve the grave problems of poverty of the majority of the world’s population. a new type of socialism, a humanist one, which puts humans and not machines or the state ahead of everything.

Socialism is democratic or it is nothing. From the very beginning, the control and administration of industry, society and the state must be in the hands of the working class itself. That is the only way to prevent the formation of a bureaucracy – that abominable cancer on the body of the workers’ state – and to ensure that the masses are actively identified with the Revolution from the start. The active participation of the masses is the first rule of socialism.

Che’s methods are not applicable. “That thesis of one, two, or three Vietnams, did not work, Che’s aim of spreading the Revolution to Latin America was correct and necessary. But unfortunately the tactic he adopted was mistaken.

the tactic of guerrilla war has led to one defeat after another in Latin America. The Cuban Revolution took the US imperialists by surprise. But they learned the lessons and applied them. As a result, every time a “foco” appeared, they immediately crushed it before it could develop further – as we saw with the tragic fate of Che Guevara in Bolivia.

But it makes little sense in Latin America where the big majority of the population lives in towns and cities.

The great advantage of the Venezuelan Revolution is that it is a mainly urban revolution (though with important support in the peasantry) based on the active movement of the masses, in particular the working class and its natural allies, the urban poor, the unemployed, the revolutionary youth, the women and the progressive intelligentsia.

Parliamentary and extra-parliamentary struggle

Pay careful attention to the parliamentary struggle. Skilfully combined democratic slogans with the economic and social demands of the proletariat, linking them to the idea of taking power. That is the only way to build a mass base, to mobilise the masses and thus to create the objective conditions for a revolutionary overturn. There is no other way.

The Bolivarian Revolution began on the electoral plane and has dealt one blow after another against the counterrevolutionaries, By this means it has rallied the masses behind it. It is a dialectical law that the struggle in parliament must eventually be resolved outside parliament. Reformists and parliamentary cretins do not understand this. That is why they always lead the movement to defeat – as in Chile. If the pro-bourgeois reformist wing of the Bolivarian Movement wins, the same fate awaits the people of Venezuela.

However, the pro-bourgeois and reformist elements have not yet won. The masses are pressing from below. The workers demand nationalisation of the factories, the peasants want to put an end to landlordism. The Revolution has not ended, as the reformists claim. It has scarcely begun!

mobilising, inspiring and organising millions of oppressed people who were never organised before. That is a tremendous achievement!

The masses in Venezuela have developed a very keen sense of democracy. They will not tolerate bureaucracy and autocratic methods. This is the greatest guarantee against the danger of a future totalitarian state. It will be impossible (or at least very difficult) to impose a Stalinist dictatorship under such conditions.

quoted by the great Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky, that “each revolution needs the whip of the counterrevolution to advance.” He listed actions by the opposition and the U.S. government to drive him out of power. “But we resisted, and now have gone onto the offensive. We recovered our oil industry... In 2004, from the oil industry budget we utilized $4 billion in social investments, education, health, micro-credits, scholarships, and housing, aimed at the poorest of the poor, what neoliberals call waste of money. But that is not a waste of money because it is aimed at empowering the poor so that they can defeat poverty.” He added that “that money before stayed out of Venezuela or just benefited the rich.”

“privatisation is a neoliberal and imperialist plan. Health can’t be privatised because it is a fundamental human right, nor can education, water, electricity and other public services. They can’t be surrendered to private capital that denies the people from their rights.” It is necessary to fight against privatisation. But the real solution is to establish a genuine socialist plan of production under the democratic control and administration of the working class.

The only really reliable point of support for the Bolivarian Revolution is the millions of oppressed workers and peasants of Latin America and the Labour Movement of the whole world. If it shows that it is capable of taking the decisive step of breaking the stranglehold of Capital and ending capitalist slavery once and for all, that passive sympathy will be immediately transformed into militant action. US imperialism would be paralysed and unable to intervene because it would be faced with uprisings everywhere – and a mass movement inside its own borders.

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