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

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Causes and Consequences of Venezuelan Election Results

Click here to access article by Tamara Pearson from Telesur.

Bad news for all progressive people in South America and the world who have been fans of the "Bolivarian Revolution". This setback on top of the right-wing victory in Argentina in October, which I totally missed, is rather foreboding. Of course the Kirchner governments never pretended to be revolutionary, their policies only represented social-democratic efforts to salvage capitalism after the economic disaster of 1998-2002

I, too, was initially attracted to the "Bolivarian Revolution" and traveled to that country in late 2005 to find out more about it (see this, this, and this). I was rather disappointed or, at least, not terribly impressed as I was with the Nicaraguan Revolution of the Sandinistas during a similar trip in 1983. Perhaps that was why the US made such aggressive efforts to destabilize it by illegally hiring and training the mercenary army of the Contras who carried out terrorist operations against Nicaraguan clinics, schools, and other social projects.

The author tries to put a positive spin on the results in these two elections:
The consequences are serious, but do not necessarily mark the end. Despite its financial resources and support from international powers and elites, the opposition has not been strategic or intelligent and won't be strategic with this new power. .... Nevertheless, two such losses will no doubt cause some regional demotivation among progressives and have a significant impact on Latin American integration bodies.