We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
The need to radicalise the Bolivarian Revolution – interview with Jorge Martín
Martin confirms my own impressions of the rather pretentious Bolivarian Revolution that Hugo Chavez spoke so frequently and passionately about. It is easy for others in foreign lands to be critical of leaders of socialist revolutions, so I tried to retain an open mind about the Chavistas and their leadership.
However after a trip to Venezuela in December of 2005, I returned home with a feeling that the so-called revolution would not be able to establish socialism by pretending to empower the base of workers and peasants organized in communal councils. (See my commentaries here, here, and here) Martin reinforces all my doubts about its original authenticity. It seems that cultural traditions promote a strong tendency to follow old patterns even among revolutionaries. I am referring to clientelism and caudilloism that is so prevalent throughout South America.
However because the vast majority of Venezuelans know that they will be far worse off under a pro-capitalist government, they might have sufficient energy to move against their capitalist foes by nationalizing large industries. Then we would likely see a repeat of the Syrian conflict, and that may be the precise reason why Hugo Chavez was so cautious.