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

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Venezuela on the verge of a social explosion?

Click here to access article by Jorge Martin from In Defense of Marxism (a British Trotskyist website).
The Maduro government has been careful to maintain the loyalty of the army top brass, by giving them a stake in the economy (through companies like CAMIMPEG and AfgroFANB), and by appointing military officers to run state-owned companies (from PDVSA to Aceites Diana), where they have been notoriously inefficient and corrupt, and more recently by raising the wages of the top officers.
Martin has been following events in Venezuela for quite some time, and he has always argued that the Venezuelan Bolivarian revolution did not go far enough. On my visit to that country in late 2005, I left with the very same impression. One factor in retarding the left's progress toward an authentic revolution is the psychological residue of capitalist influence throughout the country. This phenomenon is precisely what Caitlin Johnstone warned about in yesterday's post ("old patterns of fear and greed and need to control which are constantly used to manipulate us", and I might add, for us as well indoctrinated subjects, to control and manipulate others while striving for "success").

Maduro and previous administrations under Chavez appointed bureaucrats and military officers who had the necessary skills to run government offices, but they were so infected by capitalist norms of behavior that they often reverted to old patterns of behavior. Chavez saw the need to educate ordinary people and promoted free education through the college level. This was a good policy, but was it enough?

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