Venezuela's international tensions

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Gergar12:
I argue we should as the US take advantage of this by taking in refugees from Venezuela and neighboring Columbia & brain draining the Maduro Gov't of talented professionals, and in particular smart young people.

As for regime change, this will cause blowback, as much as I think Maduro is a horrible economic manager, and a generally horrible human being, I don't think invading a South American country with lots of jungles is a good idea.

Let China lend Venezuela lots of money, at least it's not our money being wasted.

Yeah, just impose our will on the rest of the world. Why not? Heaven knows the business interests that control our government need more power and wealth.

Seanchaidh:

tstorm823:
No, the opposition party boycotted the elections, because the last time they did well in the elections, their other branches of government declared the Assembly in contempt and effectively invented a new legislature to replace them. Just cause you're a communist, doesn't mean you have to support every communist.

No examination of why that might have happened, though, right? Just vague, context-free justifications for the opposition's sour grapes.

https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/14118
https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/14162

"There are two options: either a move toward fascism or a growing popular movement, which is what the Chavista period represented in Venezuela."

You found a communist that thinks that everything is either communism or fascism. Congratulations! That's a silly view, and is an offensive excuse to ignore an entire elected assembly.

tstorm823:

Seanchaidh:

tstorm823:
No, the opposition party boycotted the elections, because the last time they did well in the elections, their other branches of government declared the Assembly in contempt and effectively invented a new legislature to replace them. Just cause you're a communist, doesn't mean you have to support every communist.

No examination of why that might have happened, though, right? Just vague, context-free justifications for the opposition's sour grapes.

https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/14118
https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/14162

"There are two options: either a move toward fascism or a growing popular movement, which is what the Chavista period represented in Venezuela."

You found a communist that thinks that everything is either communism or fascism. Congratulations! That's a silly view, and is an offensive excuse to ignore an entire elected assembly.

Venezuela's right-wing opposition pretty well resemble Hitler's brownshirts and tends to threaten voters with violence (which is a substantial reason why the national assembly has the composition that it has) but go on.

tstorm823:

Dreiko:
Regime change is bad, dictators are also bad. Arguing about which is worse misses the point. I think Maduro is a horrible guy but it's his countrymen's responsibility to unseat him. We shouldn't interfere. If lack of democracy was a reason to invade someone then we should have been invaded already cause Trump didn't win the popular vote by at least 3 million votes which is anti-democratic. I doubt people would be fine if that happened.

Would you suggest that the proper recourse is millions of the country's people taking to the streets in protest of the president and in support of the legislative body moving to unseat him while offering him amnesty in return for him stepping down peacefully? Could we perhaps support that?

I worry that our "support", even if innocent, will be seen as more of an encroachment in their autonomy. It's literally what people are crying about Russia doing to us in the last elections. We shouldn't be doing it to other countries, no matter the motives.

If you wanna support it do so as an individual but the government has no jurisdiction in their affairs.

Seanchaidh:

Venezuela's right-wing opposition pretty well resemble Hitler's brownshirts and tends to threaten voters with violence (which is a substantial reason why the national assembly has the composition that it has) but go on.

My google-fu is failing me here. I'm seeing literally nothing to justify your statement. I actually found an article on the website you used earlier where the author was complaining that CNN wouldn't publish a piece claiming their voting system was flawless. That's kind of the opposite of what you're saying.

Dreiko:

I worry that our "support", even if innocent, will be seen as more of an encroachment in their autonomy. It's literally what people are crying about Russia doing to us in the last elections. We shouldn't be doing it to other countries, no matter the motives.

If you wanna support it do so as an individual but the government has no jurisdiction in their affairs.

There's a lot of people here talking about violent coups and military invasions as if that's just inevitable. The countries that are taking a side are doing so in as much as there are two parties claiming rightful control of Venezuela, and anyone who intends to have diplomatic relations with the country has to figure out which party the relationship is with. The statements may be a bit pushy, but the only alternative to picking a side is going "well, we're not talking to either of you until you sort it out." And that's just piling one more hardship onto a nation already in a bit of trouble.

tstorm823:

There's a lot of people here talking about violent coups and military invasions as if that's just inevitable. The countries that are taking a side are doing so in as much as there are two parties claiming rightful control of Venezuela, and anyone who intends to have diplomatic relations with the country has to figure out which party the relationship is with. The statements may be a bit pushy, but the only alternative to picking a side is going "well, we're not talking to either of you until you sort it out." And that's just piling one more hardship onto a nation already in a bit of trouble.

Yes, and that's the least bad option. Otherwise, whoever loses will forever perceive the current government as a US puppet and will not recognize its legitimacy. This is what happened before Iran went all theocratic too.

It's best they sort it out themselves for the long run.

Socialism in Venezuela has finally reached its end-stage.

No doubt, it will be bloody and awful, and sadly I doubt anyone will learn from the whole experience.

The Lunatic:
sadly I doubt anyone will learn from the whole experience.

The lesson to learn here is "Be wary of the US leadership", but please, continue banging on about how socialism was the cause of Venezuela's current situation.

Another set of perspectives

tstorm823:

Seanchaidh:

Venezuela's right-wing opposition pretty well resemble Hitler's brownshirts and tends to threaten voters with violence (which is a substantial reason why the national assembly has the composition that it has) but go on.

My google-fu is failing me here. I'm seeing literally nothing to justify your statement. I actually found an article on the website you used earlier where the author was complaining that CNN wouldn't publish a piece claiming their voting system was flawless. That's kind of the opposite of what you're saying.

It is? Suppression of the vote by threat of violence isn't exactly a part of the 'voting system', is it?

https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/13492

Between April and July this year Venezuela was rocked by opposition-backed violent protests aimed at unseating Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. At least 125 people were killed in the unrest. In 2014, scores of people were also killed in a similar bout of opposition backed street violence, while in 2002 former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was temporarily removed from office in an opposition and US-backed coup.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/enezuela-protest-set-on-fire-pro-government-supporter-death-toll-economy-supplies-a7748691.html

Footage of the man being set alight was broadcasted on state television and the man, identified as Orlando Figuera, 21, has been treated in hospital for severe burns and several stab wounds...

According to reports, about 100 people, who were participating in anti-Maduro protests in Caracas, surrounded Mr Figuera, doused him in gasoline and set him alight in Plaza Altamira in the east of the country?s capital.

Images from the scene showed him running near naked with flames from his back.

That sort of thing just kind of happens, though, right?

https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/13128

tstorm823:

There's a lot of people here talking about violent coups and military invasions as if that's just inevitable. The countries that are taking a side are doing so in as much as there are two parties claiming rightful control of Venezuela, and anyone who intends to have diplomatic relations with the country has to figure out which party the relationship is with. The statements may be a bit pushy, but the only alternative to picking a side is going "well, we're not talking to either of you until you sort it out." And that's just piling one more hardship onto a nation already in a bit of trouble.

I agree. When there's a country with this sort of internal dispute, it's not necessarily a problem for other countries to make it clear which side they come down on. It's certainly distinct from direct interference with troops, black ops, or financial or military support for the opposition, etc.

On the other hand, I'm sure that the US government has been intentionally encouraging resistance to Chavez and Maduro for a long time. I'm also very strongly inclined to believe it has been interfering through covert operations, because that's just what the US government does.

Seanchaidh:
Another set of perspectives

It is? Suppression of the vote by threat of violence isn't exactly a part of the 'voting system', is it?

https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/13492

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/enezuela-protest-set-on-fire-pro-government-supporter-death-toll-economy-supplies-a7748691.html

That sort of thing just kind of happens, though, right?

https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/13128

All of those are about protests, not intimidating people at the polls. And all of them talk about dozens of people dying, but most of those people are the opposition protesters.

In what way does "they protested and during it they attacked one guy and caused a couple car crashes while someone else went to their protests and shot into the crowd" support the idea that they're trying to threaten voters?

So while people will bash the US intentions towards Venezuela, remember China and Russia have been in that country. Neither of them cared to send any medical or food aid to the country but only fighter jets and road projects. The US on the other had sent the USS Comfort and for better tried to assist people in medical need. Yes, it was a PR stunt, but when people cannot buy food, dealing with death squads as well inflation do you think they really care. So if the opposition takes hold or not that is for the Venezuelan people to finally decide with or without backing, the situation cannot clearly continue.

The Lunatic:
Socialism in Venezuela has finally reached its end-stage.

No doubt, it will be bloody and awful, and sadly I doubt anyone will learn from the whole experience.

A person that remembers when long bread lines were an actual thing. Sadly no, micromanagement of economy really does not work.

tstorm823:

Seanchaidh:
Another set of perspectives

It is? Suppression of the vote by threat of violence isn't exactly a part of the 'voting system', is it?

https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/13492

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/enezuela-protest-set-on-fire-pro-government-supporter-death-toll-economy-supplies-a7748691.html

That sort of thing just kind of happens, though, right?

https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/13128

All of those are about protests, not intimidating people at the polls. And all of them talk about dozens of people dying, but most of those people are the opposition protesters.

In what way does "they protested and during it they attacked one guy and caused a couple car crashes while someone else went to their protests and shot into the crowd" support the idea that they're trying to threaten voters?

Venezuela is a place where political protests result in lynchings of Chavistas. What the fuck do you think it's like at the polls?

Western media has a ubiquitous history of really incredible bias to the point of apparently deliberate deception when it comes to Venezuela. It is indeed difficult to find English sources that accurately describe what happens on the ground, especially in text.

Seanchaidh:

Venezuela is a place where political protests result in lynchings of Chavistas. What the fuck do you think it's like at the polls?

Western media has a ubiquitous history of really incredible bias to the point of apparently deliberate deception when it comes to Venezuela. It is indeed difficult to find English sources that accurately describe what happens on the ground, especially in text.

But you keep linking me articles saying the voting methods are flawless and the turnout (at least before boycotts) is incredibly high.

tstorm823:

Seanchaidh:

Venezuela is a place where political protests result in lynchings of Chavistas. What the fuck do you think it's like at the polls?

Western media has a ubiquitous history of really incredible bias to the point of apparently deliberate deception when it comes to Venezuela. It is indeed difficult to find English sources that accurately describe what happens on the ground, especially in text.

But you keep linking me articles saying the voting methods are flawless and the turnout (at least before boycotts) is incredibly high.

That doesn't mean that targeted voter suppression isn't occurring. Perpetrated by people like this (shown in attached 'sensitive' video):

Seanchaidh:

Venezuela is a place where political protests result in lynchings of Chavistas. What the fuck do you think it's like at the polls?.

Tone it down. O_o

OT: This is a Noob's question: Was Maduro's pillaging of the Venezuelan economy genuinely Socialist?

I ask because it seems more of a Kleptocratic move in Socialist robes.

Basement Cat:

Seanchaidh:

Venezuela is a place where political protests result in lynchings of Chavistas. What the fuck do you think it's like at the polls?.

Tone it down. O_o

OT: This is a Noob's question: Was Maduro's pillaging of the Venezuelan economy genuinely Socialist?

I ask because it seems more of a Kleptocratic move in Socialist robes.

There wasn't a pillaging and what did happen wasn't terribly socialist either. Chavez nationalized a large amount of oil production and then fired a number of the skilled workers (many/most/all depending on who you ask of whom were resistant to the new situation) that managed that oil production, leading to spills and other issues due to lack of expertise among their replacements. The oil fields were not liberated into the hands of the workers; the state was the employer. So there was a transition from private capitalism to state capitalism (in oil, anyway). The antagonism between the state and the workers it employed underlines pretty well that it wasn't socialism or communism that was going on. It was, on the other hand, anti-imperialist: the expropriated oil production was managed by overseas companies-- Chavez asserted Venezuela's right to control its own natural resources.

Maduro has confiscated some things from large companies that were hoarding goods and exacerbating shortages (food, toiletries, and in at least one case, toys, which the government then distributed to children-- which was reported in US media as taking toys FROM children because of course it was). Socialism/capitalism isn't terribly relevant to that question; people lacked needed goods that the private market was not providing and so the state stepped in.

One thing that has really screwed Venezuela up is the inability enforced by the United States and its allies for the Venezuelan government to engage in various financial transactions overseas, including the sale of its debt. Naturally, this can lead to inflation.

Basement Cat:

OT: This is a Noob's question: Was Maduro's pillaging of the Venezuelan economy genuinely Socialist?

I ask because it seems more of a Kleptocratic move in Socialist robes.

Pillaging suggests that Maduro and cronies have vastly enriched themselves at the expense of their state and people. This seems to me extremely unclear - corruption certainly exists, but it's certainly nothing like places in sub-Saharan Africa such as Zimbabwe or Equatorial Guinea where dictators are (US dollar) billionaires funnelling wealth into their private pockets as their people toil in abject poverty. I'd actually suggest the Venezualan opposition are more of a problem in that regard than Chavez/Maduro.

The problem is more that various policies of nationalisation and regulation, plus obstructionism by Venezualan industrialist elites have severely hampered Venezuala's industry, oil included. The obstructionism matters, because some of these people were deliberately harming the economy in order to bring Chaves/Maduro into disrepute. Chavez/Maduro responded with appropriations and mass firings to try to get the industries moving again. These caused new sets of problems, but the fact remains they weren't carried out just for the sake of dumb socialist ideology or self-aggrandisement.

Whilst oil was expensive and flowing, Chavez/Maduro could overcome these problems. Now it's not, the wheels are falling off and Maduro isn't prepared to face the necessary work to undo the damage, falling back instead on the ages-old tactic of authoritarian suppression.

But this guy Guaido is himself just the new face of the same old Venezualan elites. He won't just undo the more ill-advised economic policies of Chavez and Maduro, he'll undo the education, health and social provisions for the poor to return Venezuala right back to the pre-Chavez era, where the elites made sure the economy worked for them, and sod everyone else. Given how ruinous a state Venezuala is currently returning to the old days will probably be an improvement overall in immediate quality of life, but there will be babies thrown out with bathwater in terms of loss of developmental opportunities for many poorer and idigenous Venezualans.

Basement Cat:

OT: This is a Noob's question: Was Maduro's pillaging of the Venezuelan economy genuinely Socialist?

I ask because it seems more of a Kleptocratic move in Socialist robes.

The problems in Venezuela don't stem from socialism, they stem from a combination of corruption and the economic problems that occur regardless of what your system of government is, but I would say socialism is an exacerbating factor. When you share the wealth, everyone rises together, and when that wealth disintegrates, everyone falls together, and when everyone is falling, there's nobody to catch you. Letting people fall while others succeed may seem cruel and unfair, but when you tie everyone together in enforced fairness, it only takes one anchor to sink everyone. Socialism I don't think is ever the anchor that drags people down. Socialism is the rope that binds a nation economically, natural hardships and corruption are the anchors.

Like, there were influences inside and outside Venezuela that hurt the oil economy there, but even if it hadn't tanked, it's doomed to eventually. The world is trying to push away from oil entirely, there's a strong possibility demand for oil is going to plummet in a few decades. As long as they were propping up their social spending with the oil industry, they were destined to lose that eventually.

US intervention in Venezuela on behalf of the interests of capital has finally reached its end-stage.

No doubt, it will be bloody and awful, and sadly I doubt anyone will learn from the whole experience.

tstorm823:
The problems in Venezuela don't stem from socialism, they stem from a combination of corruption and the economic problems that occur regardless of what your system of government is, but I would say socialism is an exacerbating factor. When you share the wealth, everyone rises together, and when that wealth disintegrates, everyone falls together

The problem that all this over-simplified arguing over whether or not it's all socialism's fault is, none of you talk about Norway. Norway is by any measure highly socialist, has the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world, and it's all built on oil money.

The difference between Norway and Venezuela? Comes down to a slightly less developed starting position, more shenanigans and piss poor management. Government system has little to do with it. You can fuck up running any government if you try hard enough.

But that said, I'd still rather have a system where everyone falls together over the current in vogue system where the people who got rich taking the gambles that fucked everything up are the only ones who don't have to suffer.

tstorm823:

Like, there were influences inside and outside Venezuela that hurt the oil economy there, but even if it hadn't tanked, it's doomed to eventually. The world is trying to push away from oil entirely, there's a strong possibility demand for oil is going to plummet in a few decades. As long as they were propping up their social spending with the oil industry, they were destined to lose that eventually.

Arguably, exactly the correct thing to do is use oil money to boost social and economic development whilst its there. Educate and support the populace to develop a more skilled and advanced workforce capable of supporting more advanced (higher wage) industry. But it's absolutely crucial to keep the rest of the economy in good condition. Venezuala is in ways a classic victim of the "resource curse", where the natural resource(s) crowds out and weakens all other forms of production.

Other countries like Saudi Arabia are trying this - although to what extent you can really have a knowledge economy in a country half full of archaic religious fundamentalists and where half the population is economically and politically excluded is questionable.

Catnip1024:

The problem that all this over-simplified arguing over whether or not it's all socialism's fault is, none of you talk about Norway. Norway is by any measure highly socialist, has the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world, and it's all built on oil money.

The difference between Norway and Venezuela? Comes down to a slightly less developed starting position, more shenanigans and piss poor management. Government system has little to do with it. You can fuck up running any government if you try hard enough.

I mean, the question was whether that problem behavior was socialism, and despite being 3 largely different perspectives, everyone responding agreed that Venezuela wasn't tanked by socialism. I guess technically none of us mentioned Norway, but I don't think that's a fault in our responses if we all agree the specific system of government isn't the cause of their issues.

Agema:

Arguably, exactly the correct thing to do is use oil money to boost social and economic development whilst its there. Educate and support the populace to develop a more skilled and advanced workforce capable of supporting more advanced (higher wage) industry. But it's absolutely crucial to keep the rest of the economy in good condition. Venezuala is in ways a classic victim of the "resource curse", where the natural resource(s) crowds out and weakens all other forms of production.

Other countries like Saudi Arabia are trying this - although to what extent you can really have a knowledge economy in a country half full of archaic religious fundamentalists and where half the population is economically and politically excluded is questionable.

In an ideal planned economy, you'd predict issues and prepare for them that way. In an un-ideal planned economy, your nation goes down the hole. I'd say, at least for the time being, that's a high risk high reward gamble that I'm not particularly fond of. I prefer the unplanned "everybody do what you think is best" method, with the "just don't let people starve to death" caveat.

Saudi Arabia is weird, and I wouldn't be totally surprised if they made the transition, just because honestly who knows what the real cultural currents are there. There were a bunch of different cultures conquered and absorbed in the unification of Saudi Arabia, there very well could be incredibly different viewpoints alive over there being obscured by the ruling family's positions while they whisper "Davos in the Desert" into the prince's ear. Then again, those whispers could be "kill all the journalists", so it could go either way.

Catnip1024:
The problem that all this over-simplified arguing over whether or not it's all socialism's fault is, none of you talk about Norway. Norway is by any measure highly socialist, has the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world, and it's all built on oil money.

Norway is not particularly socialist, certainly compared to Venezuala under Maduro, Cuba, or any of the old Eastern bloc countries until ~1990. Norway, like other Scandinavian countries with the so-called "Nordic model" economy, is a fundamentally free market, capitalist country with strong private ownership. It might have a higher level of government ownership of industry and stronger welfare compared to the likes of the USA and UK, but that by no means makes it socialist.

Agema:
Norway is not particularly socialist, certainly compared to Venezuala under Maduro, Cuba, or any of the old Eastern bloc countries until ~1990. Norway, like other Scandinavian countries with the so-called "Nordic model" economy, is a fundamentally free market, capitalist country with strong private ownership. It might have a higher level of government ownership of industry and stronger welfare compared to the likes of the USA and UK, but that by no means makes it socialist.

So at what point do you say something starts qualifying as socialist? It's a spectrum, and one with Norway waaaay to the left of the current US, so it's still a reasonable example to use.

tstorm823:

Basement Cat:

OT: This is a Noob's question: Was Maduro's pillaging of the Venezuelan economy genuinely Socialist?

I ask because it seems more of a Kleptocratic move in Socialist robes.

The problems in Venezuela don't stem from socialism, they stem from a combination of corruption and the economic problems that occur regardless of what your system of government is, but I would say socialism is an exacerbating factor. When you share the wealth, everyone rises together, and when that wealth disintegrates, everyone falls together, and when everyone is falling, there's nobody to catch you. Letting people fall while others succeed may seem cruel and unfair, but when you tie everyone together in enforced fairness, it only takes one anchor to sink everyone. Socialism I don't think is ever the anchor that drags people down. Socialism is the rope that binds a nation economically, natural hardships and corruption are the anchors.

I'm confused by the metaphor. This sounds like deliberate sacrifice to keep the already powerful afloat. What's the point, so the people that don't fail immediately have bodies to fall on? More to the question, what stops the guillotines when the people we let fall get fed up with it?

Here's the thing about deliberately cruel systems: they invite revolution.

tstorm823:

Like, there were influences inside and outside Venezuela that hurt the oil economy there, but even if it hadn't tanked, it's doomed to eventually. The world is trying to push away from oil entirely, there's a strong possibility demand for oil is going to plummet in a few decades. As long as they were propping up their social spending with the oil industry, they were destined to lose that eventually.

Destiny isn't a thing. There were forces inside and outside Venezuela that hurt their economy deliberately. The fact that they couldn't withstand that isn't a point in favor of capitalism given that capitalists were the ones trying to break it.

But then, "socialism is doomed to fail if enough large and powerful capitalist countries sabotage it" doesn't look as good on a bumper sticker.

Catnip1024:
So at what point do you say something starts qualifying as socialist? It's a spectrum, and one with Norway waaaay to the left of the current US, so it's still a reasonable example to use.

Norway qualifies as social democratic. Social democracy is considered a form of socialism, but the lightest.

When you describe it as "highly" socialist, this can be misleading because that sort of qualifier implies strong adherence to socialist principles. But the core belief of socialism is ownership of the means of production by the workers (historically chiefly manifested as either state ownership and worker co-operatives): it is hard to imagine a system could be described as very socialist where the economy fundamentally rests on capitalist ownership and profit motive.

Agema:

Catnip1024:
So at what point do you say something starts qualifying as socialist? It's a spectrum, and one with Norway waaaay to the left of the current US, so it's still a reasonable example to use.

Norway qualifies as social democratic. Social democracy is considered a form of socialism, but the lightest.

When you describe it as "highly" socialist, this can be misleading because that sort of qualifier implies strong adherence to socialist principles. But the core belief of socialism is ownership of the means of production by the workers (historically chiefly manifested as either state ownership and worker co-operatives): it is hard to imagine a system could be described as very socialist where the economy fundamentally rests on capitalist ownership and profit motive.

Now if only Norway truly went a step beyond, cast out the career political caste and adopted a trade federation model with a federal work guarantee and it can progress to a true ideal of political agency over mere class consciousness designs.

Agema:

Catnip1024:
So at what point do you say something starts qualifying as socialist? It's a spectrum, and one with Norway waaaay to the left of the current US, so it's still a reasonable example to use.

Norway qualifies as social democratic. Social democracy is considered a form of socialism, but the lightest.

When you describe it as "highly" socialist, this can be misleading because that sort of qualifier implies strong adherence to socialist principles. But the core belief of socialism is ownership of the means of production by the workers (historically chiefly manifested as either state ownership and worker co-operatives): it is hard to imagine a system could be described as very socialist where the economy fundamentally rests on capitalist ownership and profit motive.

The vast majority of Venezuela's economy is privately owned, still; it would likely function better if it were some variety of socialism that was more revolutionary. Instead, due to what one might think of as its prevarication, it deals with both foreign interference and domestic capital strikes; this is one instance where I think the Soviet model (at least its earlier part; the flowering of the central bureaucracy is not something I think would be all that helpful) would have worked better, but that's really easy for me to say not being there and not having to deal with the politics of it, instead just looking at the economics. Trying to implement the Soviet model instead of the Bolivarian one would have (yet) more pushback from rich countries, and yet more committed resistance from capital domestically. But it would also put the means of production into the hands of people who actually want the project to succeed.

That being said, the fact that the people defeated the U.S.-backed coup in 2002 and restored Chavez to power suggests that Chavez had an accurate understanding of the political situation, which is basically what any political leader has to have. That limitation on political power is why socialism is better done from the bottom up than the top down. Socialists should focus their political efforts on making their systems of government more democratic which, you may note, was one of the stated aims of Venezuela's Constituent Assembly and why Venezuela's voting system at the very least was (less clear that it still is, though it may be) substantially better than that of the United States.

Seanchaidh:

That being said, the fact that the people defeated the U.S.-backed coup in 2002 and restored Chavez to power suggests that Chavez had an accurate understanding of the political situation, which is basically what any political leader has to have. That limitation on political power is why socialism is better done from the bottom up than the top down. Socialists should focus their political efforts on making their systems of government more democratic which, you may note, was one of the stated aims of Venezuela's Constituent Assembly and why Venezuela's voting system at the very least was (less clear that it still is, though it may be) substantially better than that of the United States.

There is no democracy with a system dedicated and built upon the proliferation of current productive forces that maintain the manufactured class consciousness relationship of exploited and the exploiter. If you want democratic process you need to reorietate productive forces to the structuralist foundations upon which to build true consensus and political agency of the people. There is no real movement of political power without understanding the churning gears of commerce. Where, specifically, to arrest them and force political change.

The foundations of political revolution. A society does not structurally change before its productive forces that maintain it. Slavery did not end because 'we have '''democracy''' now'.

'Grassroots' is fine and all, but it's little better than manpower for the fight. Anything less is capitulation. People with pretty prose and even heaped with accolades would yet admonish it, and yet still keep slaves. A St. Bonaventure was canonized on the part basis of his writings on natural law that slavery, even punitive, was morally wrong ... and yet it would not stop even his fellow Christians being enslaved even by Christian nations.

Democracy is an impotent, imaginary friend of the exploited for as long as that superstructure maintains that relationship, no matter how many politicians with pretty words. The career political class will always be the truest enemy of 'democracy' in all its incarnations imaginable, from crony-capitalist American republicanism to even a Norway's social democracy... Something the people will have no option but to fight assuming they do not wish to see their people in chains.

Addendum_Forthcoming:

Seanchaidh:

That being said, the fact that the people defeated the U.S.-backed coup in 2002 and restored Chavez to power suggests that Chavez had an accurate understanding of the political situation, which is basically what any political leader has to have. That limitation on political power is why socialism is better done from the bottom up than the top down. Socialists should focus their political efforts on making their systems of government more democratic which, you may note, was one of the stated aims of Venezuela's Constituent Assembly and why Venezuela's voting system at the very least was (less clear that it still is, though it may be) substantially better than that of the United States.

There is no democracy with a system dedicated and built upon the proliferation of current productive forces that maintain the manufactured class consciousness relationship of exploited and the exploiter. If you want democratic process you need to reorietate productive forces to the structuralist foundations upon which to build true consensus and political agency of the people. There is no real movement of political power without understanding the churning gears of commerce. Where, specifically, to arrest them and force political change.

Yes, but you don't necessarily get all that with just a change in regime with supposedly 'socialist' aims. The problem with a revolutionary top-down approach is that the means are disjoint with the ends; the structure of a military organization (necessary for the seizure of power) is (at least typically) undemocratic and the leaders of such an organization have pressure to remain undemocratic if not for their own sake than that of their key supporters; they must reward loyalty with power and there are very few (and no reliable) ways of doing that that are not basically undemocratic if the starting point is not democratic. It's easy to justify this by saying that, well, the people are not yet sufficiently organized or aware-- the task is to make them so, not to override them until they know better.

Addendum_Forthcoming:
The foundations of political revolution. A society does not structurally change before its productive forces that maintain it. Slavery did not end because 'we have '''democracy''' now'.

True.

Addendum_Forthcoming:
'Grassroots' is fine and all, but it's little better than manpower for the fight. Anything less is capitulation. People with pretty prose and even heaped with accolades would yet admonish it, and yet still keep slaves. A St. Bonaventure was canonized on the part basis of his writings on natural law that slavery, even punitive, was morally wrong ... and yet it would not stop even his fellow Christians being enslaved even by Christian nations.

Democracy is an impotent, imaginary friend of the exploited for as long as that superstructure maintains that relationship, no matter how many politicians with pretty words. The career political class will always be the truest enemy of 'democracy' in all its incarnations imaginable, from crony-capitalist American republicanism to even a Norway's social democracy... Something the people will have no option but to fight assuming they do not wish to see their people in chains.

The transcendental approach is to build a socialist economy within the bourgeois democracy-- to build what you might call 'dual power'; to direct efforts at achieving workplace democracy in as many workplaces as possible by striking until such is won (likely with a settlement overseen by the government), building worker self-directed enterprises, and avoiding the pitfalls that allowed FDR's New Deal to save capitalism and then be undone (with socialists and communists subsequently purged from the public life of the United States). All of that can be aided by a friendly government, but the primary task should be to sidestep the influence of money over politics as much as it can be so that such a friendly government is possible. If it can be done without a full-blown revolutionary war, so much the better; we should expect some violent reaction from the capitalists (as we see in Venezuela right now, for example). And socialists should be prepared for it. But if military organization and regimentation can be avoided, especially as it relates to the leadership of the movement more generally, then it should be. Putting a movement in the hands of military leaders, even if only for a short time, is a gamble at best. The people need to be the driving force.

altnameJag:

I'm confused by the metaphor. This sounds like deliberate sacrifice to keep the already powerful afloat. What's the point, so the people that don't fail immediately have bodies to fall on? More to the question, what stops the guillotines when the people we let fall get fed up with it?

That's because, in spite of this thread being a clear and obvious example of it, you're not imagining real adversity. Like, I'm quite happy I live where I do and not in Venezuela at the moment, but even Maduro, the "already powerful" there, is not in a position I want. The whole ship is sinking at the moment. Like, had the United States been an nation of nationalized industries and expanded social spending for the last century, there might have been higher living standards for the poorest people, but only if the government enacting these things didn't collapse during the Dustbowl Famine.

Destiny isn't a thing. There were forces inside and outside Venezuela that hurt their economy deliberately. The fact that they couldn't withstand that isn't a point in favor of capitalism given that capitalists were the ones trying to break it.

But then, "socialism is doomed to fail if enough large and powerful capitalist countries sabotage it" doesn't look as good on a bumper sticker.

Capitalists sabotaged Venezuela by what? Buying their oil? Not buying their oil? I understand nations can tank other nations' economies relative to what they could be by messing with trade, but when you're referring to a country that paid for 90% of it's government by selling oil to foreign powers, it's not capitalism's fault they failed, it's to capitalism's credit that they managed to do well in the first place.

tstorm823:

Here's the thing about deliberately cruel systems: they invite revolution.

Ah, so you agree that there is a need for a revolution against capitalism. Now we are getting somewhere!

BreakfastMan:

tstorm823:

Here's the thing about deliberately cruel systems: they invite revolution.

Ah, so you agree that there is a need for a revolution against capitalism. Now we are getting somewhere!

Lol, whoops. Thanks for the heads up.

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