Friday, October 15, 2010

World Perspectives: Venezuela

This is from the World Perspectives Document of the International Marxist Tendency. It was passed a few months ago, and reflects its general outlook.

Over the past decade on more than one occasion the workers could have taken power in Venezuela. The problem is a problem of leadership. Chavez is a very courageous and honest man, but he is proceeding empirically, improvising, making up a programme as he goes along. He is trying to balance between the working class and the bourgeoisie. And that cannot be maintained.

Lenin explained that politics is concentrated economics. Chavez was able to make concessions, reforms, the social missions, etc., for quite along time because of the economic situation. The high price of oil allowed him to do this. But that is finished. The price of oil has fallen dramatically, although it has now recovered a little. Inflation is at about 30%. Therefore there has been a fall in real wages. Many of the welfare schemes are being scaled back and unemployment
is increasing.



Bi-Centennial_celbrations_2There is no doubt that the Venezuelan workers still remain loyal to Chavez, but there is also no doubt whatsoever that many workers, even dedicated Chavistas, are getting impatient. They are asking: what sort of a Revolution is this? What sort of Socialism is this? Are we going to solve these problems or not? The threat of counterrevolution has not disappeared. The counterrevolutionary opposition is preparing a new offensive to win a majority in the National Assembly in 2010. If they succeed, or if they win a sufficiently large number of seats, the way will be open for a new counterrevolutionary offensive.

The most striking fact about the Venezuelan revolution is the inability of the imperialists to intervene directly. In the past, they would have sent in the Marines to overthrow Chavez. But they have been unable to intervene directly.

In the same way, British imperialism was compelled to relinquish direct military-bureaucratic control of its colonies, because of the high cost, both financial and political, of attempting to do so. Similarly, the cost of the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan has stretched US resources. A direct military action against Venezuela therefore seems to be ruled out until it has withdrawn from these countries. However, this does not exclude a proxy intervention by Colombia sponsored by the USA, which has waged a constant campaign to undermine, isolate and destroy the Bolivarian Revolution. The defeat of the coup in 2002 was brought about by the intervention of the masses.

Washington is manoeuvring with Uribe to threaten Venezuela. The agreement under which Colombia granted the United States access to up to seven military bases was an act of aggression directed against the Venezuelan Revolution. The external threat from Colombia is very real. But far more serious is the threat from within. The bourgeoisie still holds in its hands key points in the economy. Ten banks still control 70% of the country’s financial activity. Most of the land remains in the hands of the big landowners, while 70% of the food is imported (along with inflation). Above all, the state remains in the hands of the counterrevolutionary bureaucracy. After more than a decade, there are signs of tiredness and disappointment in the masses. This is the most dangerous element in the equation.

At the First Extraordinary Congress of the PSUV Chavez admitted these things and stated that “socialism had not yet been achieved.” He called for the total elimination of capitalism, for the arming of the people and a workers’ militia. All this is necessary, but if this remains on the level of speeches, it will lead nowhere. The fact is that the bureaucracy is systematically undermining the Revolution from within. The movement towards workers’ control is being systematically sabotaged, and workers who attempt to fight the bureaucracy are coming under attack, as we saw in the case of Mitsubishi. This situation is producing a ferment of discontent and disillusionment that is the biggest danger of all. If this mood is expressed in apathy and abstention in the legislative elections, the scene will be set for a counteroffensive of the right.

In Venezuela the working class broke with the bourgeois parties and threw itself, on the basis of Chavez’s appeal, into the attempt to build its own party, a class party, the PSUV. This party, whose future is not yet decided, is being born in the middle of a revolution, and the masses take it as an attempt to build what we call an independent workers’ party.

The PSUV is born, in a confused way, with the impulse of the class, and in its midst there is a struggle between those who want to build a class party, without bosses, and those who would like to see the PSUV just as a party of order, representing their own wishes as a clique and the capitalist order. The main task of the Marxists in the Venezuelan revolution is to help in achieving a most positive outcome of this struggle, becoming a Marxist fraction of this party and building it energetically, helping its most serious elements to win a majority of the party, expel the bureaucrats and deepen the proletarian revolution which is taking place.

We must pay much more attention to our work in this Party, which is at the centre of the problem of the Revolution. We must admit frankly that the leadership of the Venezuelan section has not paid sufficient attention to this work, and as a result we have missed many opportunities. This is a very serious error, which must be rectified immediately. Trade union work is very important, but it must be given a political expression. Our work with the occupied factories remains a key question, but it will be completely sterile if it is not linked to the fight to transform the PSUV.

The Venezuela Marxists must combine theoretical firmness with the necessary tactical flexibility, always stressing the role of the Bolivarian movement and the PSUV. If we work correctly in the next couple of years, the foundation will be laid for a mass left wing opposition within the PSUV, in which we will participate, fertilizing it with the ideas of Marxism. This is the only way in which we can build a mass Marxist current in Venezuela, as the first step towards a future mass revolutionary Marxist Party.

RENEGADE EYE

35 comments:

James Bloodworth said...

Unfortunately Chavez has become a Fidelista statist who views Cuba as a "sea of happiness" and, perhaps more worryingly, as some kind of model to be emulated.

That ties in with his increasing persecution of journalists - he recently branded the spreading of criticism over the Internet "terrorism".

These are not right-wing criticisms; I am a leftist myself.
I will defend Chavez against the slanders of the US government; but I don't think he can see beyond the failed state-socialist model of the 20th century - I see no signs of real worker's control.

In all probability, if he continues along his current trajectory, he will either have to go down the Cuban route of greater repression and control of everyday life, or he will lose power.

rosswolfe said...

Thanks for posting this. Though I am somewhat more pessimistic about the prospects of Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution, I am definitely interested in learning about the IMT's position on it. I will post something more substantial once I get a chance to go back over it a little more closely.

Renegade Eye said...

James: Thank you for visiting, and I will be adding your blog to my blogroll.

There are quite a few differences between Cuba and Venezuela.

Cuba headed in a direction at one time, to being in transition to socialism. Alone it could never be socialist, it can be a state in transition.

The Communist Party hasn't had a national conference in over a decade. Cuba is one party. Venezuela has many parties.

Venezuela has the most sophisticated election equipment in the world. They are fair and more than monitored.

Workers control in Venezuela has highs and lows. Even if it did, with the vast majority of the economy in the hands of the oligarchy, it won't amount to much.

Chavez freed the coup plotters.

Cuba has a nationalized economy, with a Bonapartist government. Same as most third world countries.

Ross: I look forward to your remarks.

Slave Revolt said...

Well, the weight of history and colonial and comprador relations still aheres to the current senerio.

As Chavez often says, the old is still present and the new is being born.

Bolivarismo is a mythos that is more cogent than Marxist dogma to move people power forward.

As far as the media is concerned: what give the corporations the right to promulgate disinformation?

Becoming food independent is a necessity, just as worker control of the means of production.

This is a process. But some intellectuals in the parasite states seem to look at this as either/or, and they will scream about totalitarianism if oligarch media is appropriated for the people.

This is a path that resembles European social democracy more than the Marxist utopia that some intellectuals hope for, but this has to be done within the real constraints that prevail.
T
Among Western intellectuals, the demand for purism, and the attendant hypocrisies of their analysis, are in keeping with the usual patterns of hegemony.

Venezuela being an oil economy is an impediment in some ways: cheap energy leads to lazy thinking. The failures of US and British capitalism, and it's moribund spirit in these times signal decline. Indeed, as the dominant paradigm decays, imperialism will also defame and undermine any resistance or independent models. The fact that the Venezuelan economy is largely in the hands of oligarchy makes the situation drought with perpetual peril.

Larry Gambone said...

In order to survive the Bolivarian revolution must ruthlessly suppress the oligarchy and its supporters. This must be done not out of some Platonic form of "authoritarianism" hovering in the heavens waiting to materialize, but out of a need to survive. If you don't crush reaction, you end up like Allende. Revolutionaries engaging in self-defense is no more coercive than someone disarming a mugger trying to hold them up. If and when the Bolivarian revolution becomes authoritarian, it would be if it repressed other revolutionary currents, not reactionaries. A libertarian socialist revolution entails maximum freedom for all revolutionary tendencies (those that favor popular power) and suppression of counter-revolution - those tendencies that favor restoration of capitalism and the re-centralization of power.

My problem with Chavez is not that he is "dictatorial" as both capitalist and sectarian media portray, but he is social democratic when it comes to power. He thinks that he can establish socialism all the while giving the enemy carte blanche. You can't. He needs to shut down the right wing media, suppress the counter revolutionary parties and round up those who object.

Larry Gambone said...

I should add that ruthless suppression of counter-revolutionaries is not in the least inconsistent with class struggle anarchism. Anarchists in the Mexican, Russia and Spanish revolutions did not allow the class enemy to do what they wanted. Indeed, they shot them...

The Pagan Temple said...

"He needs to shut down the right wing media, suppress the counter revolutionary parties and round up those who object."

"I should add that ruthless suppression of counter-revolutionaries is not in the least inconsistent with class struggle anarchism. Anarchists in the Mexican, Russia and Spanish revolutions did not allow the class enemy to do what they wanted. Indeed, they shot them..."

I know its not going to happen, but I wish the Tea Party would lift a page from this notebook when they come into power, and round up and shoot a few of the more treasonous liberal Democrats, such as Henry Waxman, Raoul Grijalva, John Kerry, Dennis Kucinich, and Barbara Boxer-just to name a few.

Never mind due process, a good old fashioned kangaroo court would suffice quite nicely. Then we can go after the Code Pink and George Soros crowd.

Ah, good times, a return to the days when parents could take their children to a good old fashioned public hanging, and after the main event, point to the hanging bodies of the executed criminals and say, "that's what happens to traitors" while they pass around the fried chicken and lemonade.

The Sentinel said...

The problem is Larry, how is all of this suppressing, ruthlessness and shooting going to lead to a better place for all?

Well, at least for the ones who haven’t been ruthlessly suppressed and / or shot already?

So basically everyone must conform or die? Obey or be murdered? That is your message?

All sounds rather hellish and distinctly fascist to me. Not quite the brotherhood of man.

And no one has ever really explained why revolutions are ever a necessity in a democracy in the first place.

Larry Gambone said...

Britain had two revolutions, 1640 and 1689,and both involved killing. Revolutions are form of war and the more peaceful or violent they are depends upon a great number of factors. It would be nice if the dominator classes would agree to be voted out of power, no one would be happier than I - but they don't. They will kill as many of us as it takes to maintain their power over us. Hence, we must suppress them as a simple matter of self defense. If you are going to have a revolution you have to be aware of this reality. If you don't, you end up like Allende - well intentioned, kindly, but dead.

But don't worry, in the UK and almost everywhere else, we are eons away from a revolution...

Larry Gambone said...

Revolutions also occur, not because some group wants one, but because the old system is incapable of change through the regular processes. The best way to stave off revolution would be continuous gradual social change that improves the lot of the ordinary person. (ie social democracy) But the capitalist system, for reasons I won't go into, has closed off that option and has been systematically undermining the previous reforms and institutionalizing methods of preventing any future reform. Thus, they are making revolutionary change the only option, unless we wish to continue to sink into "Third World" conditions. However, the working population has yet to realize this, so don't worry about revolution in the UK...

Larry Gambone said...

I hope you realize, Sentinel, that it isn't my choice, and if I had a choice, it wouldn't be this. I am only stating what the situation is.

Revolutions, with all the violence, have improved the situation, think of the English revolutions, the American Revolution, the French Revolution improved the lot of the peasantry, the Costa Rica Revolution of 1948 installed a stable social democracy etc...

The Sentinel said...

Larry, you still haven’t explained why revolution is ever needed in a democracy: Where people are free to vote for any party or system they want, without ever needing recourse to violence, murder and ruthless suppression.

As for sinking into “Third World” conditions, no action is surer to do this then to not only import the Third World enmasse into a First World homeland, but to tell the First World populace that the culture and methodologies of the Third World immigrants are equal, or better, then the culture and methodologies of their own First World populace – and that the Third World immigrants must be forced into jobs and positions of authority over that First World populace by way of racial discrimination against that countries First World populace.

Or “positive discrimination / Affirmative action” in today’s Orwellian parlance.

And no action is surer to seriously lower the wages and living standards of a First World populace then to import enmasse, what Marx described as a ‘reserve army of labour’ willing to work for far, far less money then the First World working class, for far, far longer hours in far, far worse conditions.

Indeed no action is surer to ferment the seeds of inter-ethnic and inter-cultural conflict then to voluntarily balkanize a First World nation with substantial numbers that support Third World ideologies and practices that are diametrically opposed to all values that the First World populace holds dear and that has propelled them to First World status in the first place.

That is the real challenge we face. And it is that challenge that will determine the fate of this planet.

Not some untried economic pure theory that must involve the mass murder of tens, or hundreds of millions to impose – and that has already cost the lives of 110, 000, 000 innocent people in its pursuit so far.

Gert said...

Larry is right of course: the oligarchs and their cronies will never voluntarily cede power, it needs to be wrestled from them, largely in self defense and by force by the revolutionaries. Unchecked, laissez faire capitalism will destroy us all, possibly itself.

On a slightly lower level, this is a clear lesson that can be drawn from the worldwide bank bail out: bad behaviour has been rewarded by reinstating zeroes on a balance sheet, while the general public is presented with 'austerity measures', i.e. the real bill (which will not likely lead to a speedy economic recovery). Large amounts of people in many Western counties, whether they be left or right, are venting their anger over this. But Larry is right that we're still eons away from any meaningful, forceful change...

The '110,000,000 million' that Sentinel is referring to were not the victims of a real revolution, rather they were the victims of a new oligarchy: the USSR very quickly slided into a deeply conservative bureaucracy intent on keeping its own privileges, just like a capitalist oligarchy... The Khmerh Rouge on the other hand was simply a basket case to which the terms 'left' or 'right' do not really apply...

Renegade Eye said...

Slave Revolt: Chavez is standing in the middle of the street. There is one truck coming at him representing the oligarchy, the other people. He believes in hybrid ideas, and scenarios of side by side. Dangerous path.

I agree with your concluding paragraph. The bureaucrats are threatened by real revolution. These people gain by the impasse.

Larry G: Damn that mugger analogy is good.

I agree with your assessment. I would add it's not impossible that revolution could bypass Chavez.

Pagan: That's what it would be like with the Tea Party in power.

They openly carry guns at Obama rallies.

Sentinel: Larry explained well what I think.

If people believe their needs are being met by government, and it's democratic and responsive, the question of revolution is mute. There are certain moments in history, when things break down.

Both government breakdown and revolutions are processes, not really events.

Gert: I agree about the bailout.

I'm not interested in mind reading.

The Sentinel said...

The 110, 000, 000 million innocent men, women and children murdered so far – the biggest human slaughter in the history of the world by the way, seeing as no one here seems to be at all phased by it – was entirely the product of revolution.

It occurred after people decided that they were infallible – on par with God, because as we know, all men are fallible – and violently supplanted the status quo and imposed their own ideology without the consent of the majority, without ever asking the consent of the majority and indeed in complete contempt of the consent or well being of the majority.

Hence the astronomical murder rate.

That is what has already happened in pursuit of this murderous totalitarian, anti-reality, anti-human and anti-human nature unworkable, unproven and unwanted theoretical dogma and of course, that is precisely what will happen again, and again, as people like yourselves pursue it once more.

But of course, you have the right qualifications, in that you too believe yourselves to be infallible and above all other men, and therefore not only divinely entitled to impose your will upon the world, whether they like it or not, but to remove all those who oppose it.

For their own good, of course.

The Pagan Temple said...

I just learned something about communists I never knew before. They have no sense of irony.

Renegade Eye said...

Gert: Don't ever direct any comment to or about Sentinel on this blog.

Larry Gambone said...

The vast majority of deaths during Stalinist regimes were due to policies rather than directly rounding up and shooting people. These policies included using people as slave labour and others that caused famines. If you apply the same to capitalism - the effect of policies rather than direct murder you get: 20 million children dying each year due to malnutrition and lack of potable water - problems easily fixed by about 10% of the amount squandered by the military budgets, tens of millions whose lives have been shortened by the 1980-90s debt crisis, the collapse of the USSR etc, and of course the interminable wars that have also taken millions of lives.

The point being that any system where the working people are not in charge, any system where a dominator group, cast or class is in power is murderous.

Larry Gambone said...

We have plenty of irony, Pagan, its just that we chose to ignore you...

The Sentinel said...

Oh come on Larry, are you seriously going to try and justify the deliberate murder of well over 100,000,000 people – and you wonder why no one votes for you?! Why you need to stage these ‘revolutions’ in the first place?!

But you are wrong anyway because besides the hundreds of thousands – millions most likely - directly murdered, the term you are looking for is Democide: That is a governmental premeditated killing of a person in cold blood, or causing the death of a person through reckless and wanton disregard for their life. Thus, a government incarcerating people in a prison under such deadly conditions that they die in a few years is murder by the state—democide.

And obviously, extrajudicial executions, death by torture, government massacres, and all genocidal killing is murder.

So while Stalin still appears to be the poster for mass-murder – including the biggest genocide the world has ever seen – it was in fact Mao who piped him to the macabre post in unimaginable barbarity by murdering an estimated 2, 000, 000 more innocent men, women and children.

So whilst the USSR destroyed an estimated 61, 000 , 000 innocent people, and Stalin’s contribution was around 43, 000, 000 of those – Mao managed to murder a horrifying 45, 000, 000 people in his “great leap forward” – which means that this recent educated estimate may well have pushed the actual murder toll of Socialists from 110, 000, 000 to nearer 150, 000, 000.

News Report

And as you can see in this table, it was far from just the USSR and China involved in this orgy of violence.

Table 1

And this table compares these Socialist crimes against known world totals of the same crimes, and as you can see, they were by far the worst murderers over the entire world combined in all bar one area.

Table 2

And your old friends Lenin and Trotsky are hardly blame free: They organised the secret police and the Gulags, as well murdering at least 10’s of thousands of fellow workers whose unions and striking was no longer comradely and revolutionary but now an act of treason.

Now, don’t try telling me that even in your wildest stretch that “capitalism” has forced anyone into Gulags, murdered workers USSR style, indeed murdered anyone Socialist style, not to mention carried out the worlds biggest genocide along with tortures, show trails…

In fact Larry, when I talk of the Socialists who have committed these crimes, I can identify every one of them by government and by name.

Can you do the same with ‘Capitalism’?

sonia said...

Larry,

In order to survive the Bolivarian revolution must ruthlessly suppress the oligarchy and its supporters.

That is true. And because it's true, revolutions will ALWAYS fail. Either by being too weak and allowing Pinochets to kill them from the outside. Or by being too strong and allowing Stalins to take them over from the inside.

Either way, they fail.

rosswolfe said...

The article is correct in recognizing the odd fact that there has been no direct intervention by U.S. military forces to depose Chavez, and that this fact is probably due to its troop commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ironically, however, I would say that a large part of Chavez's popularity in the first place owes to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and the high oil prices that resulted from it. Venezuela made a killing selling its oil around the world (though primarily to the U.S.) from 2004 onward. Since the price of oil has fallen and restabilized overall, Venezuela's relative advantage has disappeared. This is unfortunate for its government's social programs and the people who benefited from them, but it is a painful reality of living in a world still dominated by the capitalist mode of production.

I appreciate the article's realism when it comes to appraising Chavez's call for a workers' militia, and the bureaucratic deformations undermining the goals of the Revolution. However, I doubt Chavez's sincerity when it comes to his policies toward the working class, especially since his regime has systematically denied union autonomy and effectively broken up many attempts to organize on that basis.

Still, even if Chavez is truly dedicated to revolutionizing Venezuelan society on the basis of Marxist politics and economics, I personally think that his attempt is doomed in the absence of a viable international working class movement in the most advanced industrial-technological nations. Without successful revolutions in the most concentrated centers of world capitalism, Venezuela can become no more than another isolated state-centric quasi-socialist regime, which usually tend to drift toward authoritarianism.

This is just my opinion, though.

The Pagan Temple said...

Personally I think the American Revolution was a howling success, but that's just me.

As for the Russian Revolution, you have to look at that in context. You can say it was a failure and you could be right, but that all depends on what Lenin's original intention really was. Who knows? Just because he didn't personally like Stalin doesn't mean his history would have been any better had he lived longer, or if someone else had taken power. It might have been appreciably less bloody, but the overall setup might well, and probably would have, remained basically the same. Personally, I think things went pretty much according to plan.

You could make a case the necessity of instituting the NEP is proof of failure, but then again, that depends on how you define success and failure. There are always going to be problems and periods of adjustment.

rosswolfe said...

The Russian Revolution was ultimately a failure, but it remains the closest attempt by far of any of the attempts to overcome capitalism and transform society to date. The revolution may have finally prevailed in most of the territories of the former Russian empire, but throughout the rest of Europe the forces of reaction and imperialism prevailed. Nevertheless, this was a point at which there were numerous incredibly strong and organized working class revolutionary parties in all of the most advanced industrial-technological nations: Germany, Russia, France, Italy, and to some extent England and the United States.

Of course, the reason it must be judged a failure in the final analysis is that the revolution failed to be what all of the leading Bolsheviks understood it had to be -- a world revolution. With the betrayal of European Social-Democracy, the Freikorps' murder of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebkneckt, the collapse of the shortlived Hungarian Communist state at the hands of the Romanians, and the defeat of the Bavarian Soviet in Germany, the hopes of achieving a radical social revolution in the heart of capitalism remained unfulfilled. Germany ended up adopting parliamentary democracy, and the officers' revolt in France never spread to the general populace. Karl Radek's attempt to launch a second German revolution in 1923 through Bulgaria was a disaster. After 1924-1926, as Trotskii's power within the party slowly waned, the Soviet Union's commitment to internationalism waned, until finally Stalin ended any lingering hope of world revolution by turning to "socialism in one country."

The Pagan Temple said...

Every flower starts from a single seed, bulb, or spore. If socialism can't work in one country, there's no reason to think it would work any better on an international level.

I'll even take it a step further, socialism in one country would probably be more likely to succeed than capitalism in one country. It depends on the available resources.

In other words, capitalism can only succeed, in the long term, where there's room for growth and expansion. Otherwise, after so long there will be market disruptions and collapses, and you will have a return to a somewhat feudal state.

But the fact that capitalism has succeeded in the short term under such limitations as national borders means that the system is viable, so long as there is a potential for eventual market expansion.

The idea that something has to start out on an international level before it has any chance of success is only a tacit admission that it is not viable to begin with. Whatever is the flaw in the system that makes it likely to fail on a regional level can only serve to insure that it will eventually fail on the broader stage.

The Sentinel said...

"The Russian Revolution was ultimately a failure, but it remains the closest attempt by far of any of the attempts to overcome capitalism and transform society to date"

It didn’t fail to show us what a demented ideology Marx created and just how power corrupts and ultimate power corrupts absolutely though – a horrifying reminder for us all, and an indelible memory and reminder for the wise never to allow it to happen again.

And it only changed society for the worse - and it had to murder 61, 000, 000 of its own people to affect that horrendous change.

Socialist countries are always noted for their massive border protection – but not keep people out you understand, but purely to keep their own people in.

And that pretty much says all we need to know.

rosswolfe said...

^Wow, now I see why everyone ignores this guy.

haha

Larry Gambone said...

I am not apologizing for Stalinist atrocities, Sentinel, just pointing out that like capitalism, the vast majority of these deaths were the result of policy and not a matter of gathering people up and shooting them. Capitalist policies kill tens of millions every year, and thus apologists for capitalism have no right to make out like they are morally superior to the Stalinists. Nor did I even get into capitalism's origins, only dealing with present day capitalism. If you deal with its early period of primitive accumulation you are talking about the slave trade and the genocidal conquest of the Americas. The point being - which you have missed - that all dominator systems, whether they call themselves capitalist, communist, fascist or whatever, are grounded and perpetuated by cruelty and murder and the way to stop this cruelty and murder is to democratize society at all levels to minimize the impact of the sociopaths who seek domination over the rest of us.

The Sentinel said...

rosswolfe,

Well, actually they don’t ignore me, mate. You wouldn’t know that though, only having been here five minutes, so how you present that as a fact is quite revealing really.

The silence only comes when they don’t have any real answers or sane excuses to reality, as you clearly don’t either.

Even zealots find it hard to justify 150, 000 , 000 murdered innocent men, women and children.

”haha”


Larry,,

It’s been quite clearly demonstrated that Stalin wasn’t even the worst Socialist mass-murderer by any means.

And that your two friends, Lenin and Trotsky were up to their neck in the blood and corpses of the workers they murdered. And that they formed the secret police that carried out all of the later atrocities - including the biggest genocide the world has ever seen – not to mention the Gulags too.

And there are the other Socialist regimes in that chart.

So let’s no pretend, as you clearly want to, that you can pin it all on Stalin. That is far, far from the truth. And you know it.

And the other problem is that I told you I can name every socialist regime and even person behind the biggest mass-murders and oppression in human history – and challenged you do the same for “capitalists”.

But you seem unable to. Why is that, Larry?

Who are these “capitalists”, Larry. And show me the Gulags, the genocide and the 150, 000, 000 strong Democide they have left behind them in the name of ideology.

And finally, let’s not use strawmen: I haven’t “apologised” for anyone or anything.

You have done that, actually. For mass-murder.

Larry Gambone said...

Stalinist is the generic term we use for all dictatorships stemming from the post-Lenin/Trotsky Communist Parties. You may not agree, but that is how we use the term, it is not limited to Stalin, but is an ideology.

I stand by my claim, that capitalism is even more murderous than Stalinism. But I give up. I can't seem to make you see what I am saying and don't have the time to continue trying to do so.

Larry Gambone said...

By the way, Sentinel, that "apologists for capitalism" was not aimed at you. I know you are not some "free market" fetishist. ( this is the line they use to apologize for the crimes of the system they support.)

The Sentinel said...

Fair enough Larry.

And as I have said many times in the past, I am firmly from working class roots.

(Another reason I despise those who purport to be “revolutionaries” but are nothing more then spoiled champagne socialists, as epitomized by the so-called UK Labour party – the vast majority haven’t ever done a days Labour in their lives and never will; they know nothing of the working class.)

I was born and raised in an area of London that relied upon the docks for a living and that was taken away from us for no real reason at all, plunging the whole area into destitution and as close to poverty as it gets in the western world.

I know what it is to be hungry, desperate, depressed and isolated - and from the earliest age.

I watched hard, proud men - my father included - stand around in their hundreds and often thousands to see if they could get picked for the small handful of 4 or 5 daily jobs near the end of the dock era. The vast majority went home empty handed, and those who were lucky enough to work had half their days pay taken by the foreman and could say nothing.

The effects lasted for nearly a generation and I went into the army at age 17 for a variety of reasons – a good one being that there was no work.

I have nothing in common with capitalists or people that you would no doubt identify as my class enemy but through sheer hard work and determination I am in a professional (civilian) career and a lifestyle as far removed as possible from my childhood.

If you want something in this life, you need to work for it – not be handed it. That is unsustainable. Under your system, my journey just would not have been possible.

Whilst – as again I have said many times here – I support some socialist policies I will never support the forcible implementation of purely theoretical ideology that can only be imposed by oppression and totalitarianism – and has only ever been forced upon a populace by these methods: Resulting in the orgy of violence and murder I describe above.

We don’t live in a utopia and we never will. We are human beings: Fallible, corrupt, greedy, petty and flawed.

Democracy is the best answer to our governance and future.

CB said...

The socialist nirvana cannot materialize and all attempts to press it will result in the insane rationalization of violence. People are not bees, they will only support institutions that serve their interests and the one size fits all Utopianism, egalitarianism fails definitionally to meet that standard. Hence, a systematic and constant repression must be enforced which defeats the claims that inspired the action.

The so called contradictions of "capitalism" are far more prevalent in Marxist formulations be they anarchist, Trotskyist, Stalinist, Maoist, Bolivarian or whatever the flavor of the month is and they are too dependent on static definitions of class that don't exist without a repressive overlay of coercion (too much government). A true revolution honestly addresses the root of discontent, not some contrived dialectic based on envy or avarice.

The Sentinel said...

CB,

Well said.

A very astute and concise analysis.

CB said...

Let's say we can magically avoid the violence and coercion to get to the pre-conditions for successful implementation of the blissful Marxist existence. Will the proletariat effectively manage the resources? What feedback mechanism will the "workers" rely upon to meet the material needs of the masses?

Following their revolution, Mexico outlawed private property rights in vast expanses of the country. The "ejido" system allowed anyone to have use of the land as they saw fit. What happened? Well, without an incentive to improve and maintain the land, formerly arable land is now desert. This is the same phenomenon currently occurring in Nigeria. There is plenty of arable land but because the government doesn't secure private property rights and routinely takes the benefit of what has been produced, the land lays dormant. Why would anyone invest the sweat and capital needed to produce a crop when it can't be recouped?

Venezuela has run out of eggs, chickens, beef and car parts. Why? Chavez imposed cost controls to benefit the poor of the country. Shortages of these resources and others are perfectly explainable - Marxist refer to it as "hoarding." It's really simpler than the sinister label Utopians assign to this behavior. If it costs you X to produce a dozen eggs and the government says you can only charge X-y, then why would any producer voluntarily lose money to produce eggs? What has happened to Venezuelan oil production?

This line of thinking is so flawed it can't get out of it's own way.