Wednesday, March 17, 2010

For the Fifth International

Written by Alan Woods
Wednesday, 17 March 2010



The call issued by President Chavez to set up a new revolutionary international, the Fifth International, has provoked a passionate discussion in the ranks of the workers’ movement in Latin America and on a world scale. It is impossible for Marxists to remain indifferent to this question. What attitude should we take towards it?

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RENEGADE EYE

15 comments:

sonia said...

Marxism is internationalist, or it is nothing.

Almost true. But it would be more precise to say: "Marxism is internationalist, or it is Nazism".

The Venezuelan revolution represents a mortal danger for the ruling classes throughout the Americas.

Absolutely true, but not just for "the ruling classes". For the working classes too. Workers in Venezuela are exploited far worse than workers in United States.

Imperialism is hell-bent on putting an end to the revolutionary process that is taking place in Latin America.

Unfortunately, that is not true. It wasn't even true under George W.Bush (who couldn't care less about Venezuela as long as Chavez was selling him the oil). And Obama didn't change Bush's policies at all.

The crushing domination of the world market is the most decisive fact of our epoch. Not a single country, no matter how big and powerful—not the USA, not China, not Russia—can stand apart from the mighty pull of the world market. This was, in fact, part of the reason for the collapse of the USSR.

Absolutely true. But Venezuela cannot stand apart from the mighty pull of the world market neither. They are not even able to build a single thermal power plant. Their entire electric grill is collapsing and it's not all El Nino's fault (neighboring countries are suffering from droughts too, but they don't have blackouts).

of course, it will be very romantic to organize the Fifth International meeting under candlelights....

The Pagan Temple said...

Chavez had the opportunity to improve conditions in Venezuela and build it up to a respectable position of a modern nation. He had ample support and resources to do so. Instead, he has run it into the ground with his policies. And now he wants to organize a Fifth International, presumably for the purpose of encouraging others to follow his example.

He should wear a clown nose to match his beret the next time he appears in public to speak, which will probably be any second now no matter when you read this.

You probably won't be able to read it in Venezuela, though, after so long, since he is wanting to clamp down on the internet. No doubt he will too, all the while blaming it on provocations from those rabble-rousing oligarchs from inside Venezuela spreading their lies.

If Chavez ever tires of being a socialist dictator, he can come here and try his hand at stand-up comedy, because he sure is a joke.

Renegade Eye said...

Sonia: Almost true. But it would be more precise to say: "Marxism is internationalist, or it is Nazism".

Absolutely wrong. Stalinism is based on nationalized property, while Nazism is pro capitalist. Hitler never even nationalized the arms industry. Hitler believed small business nonsense, and "anti-monopoly" demagoguery. What do small businesses aspire to?

Trotsky called Stalin a "national socialist."

Unfortunately, that is not true. It wasn't even true under George W.Bush (who couldn't care less about Venezuela as long as Chavez was selling him the oil). And Obama didn't change Bush's policies at all.

You seem to have forgotten 2002 in Venezuela. As for Obama he has started provocative placement of US troops in Colombia. The Honduran Coup was on Obama's watch.

Absolutely true. But Venezuela cannot stand apart from the mighty pull of the world market neither. They are not even able to build a single thermal power plant. Their entire electric grill is collapsing and it's not all El Nino's fault (neighboring countries are suffering from droughts too, but they don't have blackouts).

of course, it will be very romantic to organize the Fifth International meeting under candlelights....


Venezuela is a capitalist country, with the economy under the oligarchy.

Chavez does have to act.

Pagan: If you win dozens of democratic elections, you are a dictator. If you expand computer access to the poor, you are suppressing the internet.

sonia said...

Ren,

You seem to have forgotten 2002 in Venezuela. As for Obama he has started provocative placement of US troops in Colombia. The Honduran Coup was on Obama's watch.

US didn't lift a finger to help anti-Chavez forces in 2002. Sure, Bush would have been happy if they won on their own. But he didn't do anything himself.

It's Colombians who are asking for US troops because they are scared that Chavez will invade them. And they are using the drug war situation to force Obama, who otherwise wouldn't interfere.

The Honduran "coup" was 100% Honduran (and Costa Rican). Deep down, Obama wasn't against it, but he didn't do a thing to actively help it.

The Pagan Temple said...

Even if there were certain elements of the CIA involved in the 2002 coup attempt (which I don't accede), that should not be read as an involvement by the Bush Administration. As we have seen numerous times, the CIA and Bush oftentimes were at odds, acting in conflict with each other. The Valerie Plame incident is a sterling example of this, particularly the events which lead up to the so-called "Plamegate" scandal. Even that, the leaking of the name, blamed on Bush's inner circle, was actually the responsibility of a high-ranking state department official-Richard Armitage-directly under Colin Powell, people who were more at odds with Bush policy than even the CIA (a Democratic Party institution at its core, going all the way back to its founding by Truman).

Bottom line, the CIA and Bush did not see eye to eye on most things, to say the least-interrogation policies and techniques notwithstanding. Bush seniors involvement with them (which is also greatly exaggerated) does not translate to the Shrub.

There is no evidence for Bush's involvement in this, and so far as I know, precious little involvement if any by the CIA. They were probably there, watching, like they always do, and gathering information, like they play at doing. They are not what they are cut out to be. They are not James Bond. Hell, they would do good to match up to Maxwell Smart.

Venezuelans had high hopes for Chavez. Many of them still doubtless maintain those hopes. That doesn't mean those hopes are based on any kind of reality. The proof is in the pudding. Or maybe I should say in this case, the scarcity of it.

Expanding internet access is one thing. Limiting the type of information that is freely available on the web is an entirely different matter. China has widespread internet access too.

Nevin said...

2 points:

I believe US Empire is definitely hell bent to destroy Chavez and his followers such as Evo Morales. And why would anyone even think otherwise. Remember when Reagan said, South America is our back yard... now their little "backyard" wants to break away piece by piece. First it's Venezuela then it's Bolivia... and surely others will follow.

US Empire is fighting on many fronts and doesn't want to deal with South America right now. If they can crush the "revolution", they will...

The only thing that worries me a little is that, Chavez maybe the revolutionary guy for the working class in Venezuela but is he really setting any institutions so that his revolution will continue. OR with his death his revolution will wither away and die..?

Renegade Eye said...

Nevin: It used to that Venezuelans, put all their faith in Chavez. It's not like that now. The time Chavez lost the constitutional change election, people realized the revolution was up to them.

Sonia: Obama had surrogates as Lanny Davis actively helping the junta.

Honduras is the definition of a banana republic. They don't do anything on their own. Even Zelaya agreed to every US term.

Obama easily could have strangled the junta, by stopping aid.

Bush and Obama are overextended in Iraq and Afghanistan, to stop Chavez.

Another thing in Chavez's favor, is he is popular.

Like when Che' said create "two three many Vietnams," that was because the Vietnam War saved Cuba from being invaded.

Pagan: I've dealt with enough rightist Venezuelans, to know they have plenty of internet access. I've never heard thay accusation before.

I never said the CIA was directly involved with coup. They are involved with the NGOs that actively work for regime change in Venezuela as National Endowment for Democracy.

To say the Bush administration were not involved in the coup is naive at best.

The Bush White House admitted it had discussions with coup leaders. CIA documents show the US knew about the coup in advance.

sonia said...

Ren,

Obama easily could have strangled the junta, by stopping aid.,

First of all, it wasn't a "junta". They deposed Zelaya legally.

And Obama DID impose the sanctions on the anti-Zelaya government. Those sanctions didn't work. They made Zelaya look like the pawn of outside forces (Americans, Brazilians, etc.) and destroyed his credibility in Honduras.

Another thing in Chavez's favor, is he is popular.,

Not "another", but "the only"...

He is popular, because he stands up to foreigners. If Washington was smart enough to publicly embrace him, maybe he would lose that popularity... It worked with Zelaya...

The Pagan Temple said...

Of course the CIA knew what was going on, I pretty much said as much. That's their job, in part, to keep abreast of what's going on, to what extent they can, in situations that might tend to foster regional instability. I'm not saying they weren't involved either, perhaps they were, and maybe Bush approved of the coup. I'm just saying, we don't know what the extent of their involvement was. I tend to think not much, because they would be adverse to anything that might cause instability in the region, especially involving a trading partner as important as Venezuela, due to the oil.

That being said, sure, I can promise you they would have loved to see Chavez overthrown and replaced by a more right-wing government, the question is, how much were they willing to contribute to make that happen? I doubt very much, aside from an advisory capacity, certainly not arms or tactical support, or even money. Again, I could be wrong, but the nature of these things is such its just impossible to know without finding a paper trail, or somebody willing to blow the whistle.

You really do yourself a disservice with this constant harping on Honduran juntas and coups. Nobody but the Left is buying that crock of shit. Zelaya was deposed legally, by the courts. The military simply enforced the courts edicts. He tried to push through an unconstitutional referendum. The origins of the constitution are irrelevant. He made a power play and he lost. That simple. Had he succeeded, that might arguably have been considered a coup. It at the least would have been an unconstitutional usurpation of power, however "democratic" the means it might have come about. Democracy isn't always a good thing. You need look no further than Gaza for proof of that.

The Pagan Temple said...

Put another way, democracy in and of itself is useless if there are no safeguards to prevent mob rule inspired by populist demagoguery. That's what the whole concept of balance of power and minority rights are all about. That's what constitutional safeguards are supposed to represent. For somebody to complain about an unconstitutional usurpation of power attempt being put down by legal means according to the nations constitution, and to further call the legal edict of the courts a coup, is beyond absurd.

Larry Gambone said...

Anyway, enough of dealing with the Chavez-haters and let's deal with the question at hand - a new international. It can't be too narrow in scope or it will degenerate into a sectarian outfit, or become totally corrupted like the 2and Int. On the other hand it can't be so loose that it takes any damned thing.Should involve all groups who are 1. non-sectarian 2. favor socialism as workers management 3. favor popular power or workers councils

The Pagan Temple said...

Back when I was a little kid growing up I used to belong to a group like that. We were pretty progressive for our age too. We even let girls join.

sonia said...

Larry,

Should involve all groups who are 1. non-sectarian 2. favor socialism as workers management 3. favor popular power or workers councils

Great idea. This way, your "Fifth International" congress will be able to meet in a phone booth...

I have a different idea. Fifth International should involve all groups that are:

1. Interested in improving the living conditions of actual workers, and therefore are willing to first organize revolutions in those countries where those conditions are the worst. (i.e. revolutions in North Korea before South Korea, Venezuela before United States, Iran before Saudi Arabia, Libya before Morocco, etc.)

2. Interested in promoting free exchange of ideas, and therefore are willing to first organize revolutions in those countries where there is least freedom of speech. (i.e. revolutions in Cuba before United States, China before Taiwan, etc.)

Renegade Eye said...

Sonia: More precisely there was a coup. Using the army to ship out the president in the middle of the night, is as Bonapartist as can be.

Zelaya is an accident of history. Not at all a conscious revolutionary. He showed Trotsky's theory of permanent revolution correct. The capitalist class in a semi-colonial country, has too weak a capitalist class to adopt democratic reforms.

Chavez's popularity come from his reforms. It's unprecedented for any country to be on a brink of revolution or counterrevolution for so darn long.

Cuba is getting better about freedom of speech. There are discussions happening about after Fidel. I don't know if Cuba would be part of a communist international. China is out of the question.

Pagan: Zelaya is popular in Honduras. The large voter abstention showed that.

The CIA in Venezuela works through NGOs as NED.

Larry G: The new international depends on what program it adopts, and who leads it. Whatever happens the IMT, will try to influence it.

I'm having a hard time to find real information.

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