There are a few leftist and some right wing people trying to manipulate leftists here in the US to support right-wing protesters in Venezuela. They claim that those of us on the left can’t ignore the many people who take part in these protests.
It is easy for someone to see a protest, complete with students who are bravely facing down police, to look as if students are pushing for progressive and democratic change. But many of us remember the first few elections when Hugo Chávez won with the support of Venezuela’s poor and working class. The US and CIA helped that country’s elites to organized a “people power protest” against his government and when that failed they tried an actual coup that failed.
All these people failed to get the change they wanted and this was good for those of us who are against US hegemony and for the poor and working class in that country. Then Chávez died and his enemies in the US and in his own country hoped they could vote out Nicolás Maduro, his inexperienced successor, to restore right wing prestige and US honor to this South American country. They lost again—an election—get it! Not a dictatorship, but a genuine bourgeois election. This whole scenario reminds me of Salvador Allende, who was a Marxist who got elected president in Chile—an election—get it? I kept up on events in that country and Allende followed all the rules. I heard the same garbage from the US press then as I have heard now. But today there seems to be a trend of anarchist and so called libertarian leftists who seem be believe that any protest deserves their support as long as they are “anti-government” or at best “anti-authoritarian.”
Well the US, under President Richard Nixon, focused heavily on bringing down Allende, with the help of protesting middle-class people. When US style democracy finally triumphed in Chile, what they got was a murderous dictator Augusto Pinochet. He didn’t allow protest and he tried to liquidate all the Marxists alive in Chile. He did a good job.
Democracy does not mean simply an election. If that were the case, I could join the Republican Party here in Kansas. We have election, with two whole parties. The Republicans have full control of Kansas and the Democratic Party tries to pick up the political crumbs. This “democracy” gave us leaders who pander to our business leaders and constantly take away working people’s rights, such as education funding. They have led a relentless and vicious attack on poor people. So how is this democracy? If an election just means one class has the authority to oppress the other—I DON’T NEED IT.
If an election and a free press does not mean progress and a government that will make life better for people—I don’t have any need for it. Also, the ruling class of Venezuela is not dead and continues to try and sabotage the economy—some of that is what we call “rule or ruin.”
As for a free press—we have one and all it does is parrot the government’s line on foreign affairs. Can anyone really tell there is an anti-war movement in the US? By reading out main stream press? I haven’t seen it. So I’m all for a real independent press. Too bad we lack that here in the US.
In the comments to the article I posted below, somebody wrote in “we can read.” Really? Because this guy apparently hasn’t read any history books lately.
So to those libertarians or anarchists who write to left wing sites, such as Kasama Project—you are NOT leftists. At best you are terribly misguided revolutionary wannabees. What you are selling we already have here in Kansas and elsewhere and I’m not interested in it.
Don’t be fooled by the sight of protests in Venezuela: this time the anti-democratic villains are not in government but in the US-backed opposition.
I’ve been away for the past week so I wasn’t able to write anything on the unfolding turmoil in Venezuela, but I’ve been following the situation closely and in recent days have grown increasingly frustrated with (a) the total lack of balanced reporting on Venezuela in the international media, including left-liberal publications like The Guardian; (b) the seeming ease with which comrades on the libertarian left ignore the events in Venezuela as if it were somehow “irrelevant” to our cause, simply because we’re not supposed to have any close ideological affinity with chavismo; and (c) the ill-informed basis on which many activists and even several major movement pages have taken the side of the protesters against the government, unquestioningly sharing the propaganda of the right-wing opposition and echoing dangerously superficial and wrongheaded interpretations about the protests. I intend to write more on this later, but here are some initial reflections:
1. Just because there’s people in the streets doesn’t mean they’re on our side. We live in the era of the protester, and violent protest has become a media spectacle par excellence. In the wake of Tahrir and Occupy, we have been conditioned to automatically feel sympathy for all men and women taking to the streets and facing down lines of riot police. Now there’s a YouTube clip floating around the web of a Venezuelan girl with an obnoxious upper-class American accent recounting the story of Venezuela’s heroic student uprising against an “illegitimate government”. At first sight, the video — which garnered over 2 million views so far — seems to neatly fit the narrative of the global uprisings. But anyone who cares to do some fact-checking or background research will quickly discover that the protests in Venezuela are rather different from Occupy or the Chilean student movement.
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