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Venezuela: ‘Can a country have a revolutionary state and a capitalist economy?’-- Interview with Steve Ellner

Steve Ellner.

Steve Ellner interviewed by Professor Evaristo Marcano for Aporrea.org; translated by Steve Ellner

April 22, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, with permission of the author -- At various moments in the interview with Steve Ellner, I welcomed the explanations that he offered in response to my questions. I most identified with the idea of the state as developed by Nicos Poulantzas in which in addition to, and beyond, being an object of a given class, the state is conceived of as a type of mirror that takes in and reflects the nation’s social dynamic. According to this conception, the state is a relation of forces that grows and changes in accordance with the capacity to mobilise each social force. The thesis makes much practical sense in the context of the current process taking place in Venezuela.

A comradely response to Mike Gonzalez’s 'Letters from Venezuela'

Example of Chavista graffiti in an area where Dan Gent was living in Merida. The opposition barricades are way down the road, where you will not find any of this graffiti. 

See also "Federico Fuentes replies to Mike Gonzalez". For more discussion on developments in Venezuela, click HERE.]

April 11, 2014 -- RS21 -- Dan Gent, writes from Venezuela having witnessed the events surrounding the opposition riots. It is offered as a comradely response to Mike Gonzalez’s "Letters from Venezuela". This piece was originally published on the Comrade Markin blog, where there are more photos that Dan has taken in Venezuela. Dan was a participant in the most recent solidarity brigade organised by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network.

* * *

Michael Lebowitz: Venezuela's economic problems; Trans-Pacific Partnership an imperialist assault

[For more articles by or about Michael Lebowitz, click HERE. For more on Venezuela, click HERE.] 

April 4, 2014 -- Newsclick -- Michael Lebowitz, a Canadian economist who has written extensively on Latin America and is a former resident in Venezuela, talks to Newsclick on the economic problems facing Venezuela and the recent protests there.

He says these protests have been orchestrated by right-wing forces that want to get rid of the left-wing government. They are happening in rich neighbourhoods; the poor are not participating.

Saying that these protests will not go very far and will fizzle out, Lebowitz points out that there is an underlying serious economic problem that did not originate with President Nicholas Maduro and have been building for quite a while.

Lebowitz says the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement is an international assault on the people and it can be countered only by an international response.

Venezuela: el racismo desvergonzado de la contrarrevolución

El gobierno revolucionario de Chavez invertió 300 millones de dolares en la construcción del metrocable. El metrocable elimina horas de la subida y bajada que normalmente la gente hacia a pie para llegar al trabajo, la escuela, centros de saludo, y otros sitios importantes. Beneficia a miles de habitantes de San Agustín, la mayoría de ellos siendo afro-descendientes.

[English at "Venezuela: Racism and the counter-revolution".]

Por Arlene Eisen

6 abril 2014 -- Sinpermiso.info -- Los grandes medios de comunicación, aquí y en Venezuela, han triunfado ampliamente dando un rostro democrático al movimiento racista, esencialmente fascista, de las calles en Venezuela. Coaliciones tradicionalmente antirracistas han ignorado Venezuela. Es hora de ser solidarios con la mayoría del pueblo venezolano.

Caracas, última hora de la mañana del pasado 12 de febrero. Desde el restaurante del hotel situado en una esquina de la Plaza Venezuela podemos oír los cantos, pero hay demasiado barullo para entender. ¿Qué dicen? ¿Maduro Salida, Maduro/burro salida, o qué? Desde la ventana vemos a las gentes, casi todos blancos sonrientes bajando por la calle para sumarsea la enorme manifestación antigobierno que dio el tiro de salida a las presentes revueltas en Venezuela.

Federico Fuentes: ¿Cogestión es Revolución? Workers' participation during the first Chávez administration (1999-2006)

For more on Venezuela, click HERE.

By Federico Fuentes

April 12, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Attempts to analyse Venezuela's experiments in cogestión (generally translated as "co-management") during the first Hugo Chávez administration (1999-2006) have tended to centre on form rather than content. Almost all have concluded that the government ultimately abandoned cogestión, and with its support for workers' participation.

However, rather than focusing on pre-established models or comparisons with historical experiences, the development of cogestión can be better understood as the product of a complex interaction between competing visions within the government and workers' movement in the broader context of attempting to create a uniquely Venezuelan model of socialism.

At the heart of these debates were the issues of ownership, production and distribution. The end result of all this was that by early 2007, cogestión came to resemble something quite different to its initial conception, that is: a mechanism for co-governance in the economic sphere and a necessary means by which to ensure integral human development.

Costa Rica: Rout of the status quo

Luis Guillermo Solis.

By Elena Zeledon, San Jose, Costa Rica

April 8, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The election of Luis Guillermo Solis on April 6 as president of Costa Rica, with 77% of the votes, represents the end of an historcal period and opens the door to unprecedented opportunities for the left.

Solis, representing the Citizens Action Party (PAC), crushed the remnants of the Party of National Liberation (PLN), a party that he once served as general secretary.

Nicolás Maduro in 'New York Times': 'A call for peace'

The following article appeared as an op-ed in the April 2, edition of the New York Times. It is reproduced at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal in interests of solidarity.

* * *

By Nicolás Maduro, president of Venezuela.

April 2, 2014 -- New York Times, CARACAS, Venezuela — The recent protests in Venezuela have made international headlines. Much of the foreign media coverage has distorted the reality of my country and the facts surrounding the events.

Venezuelans are proud of our democracy. We have built a participatory democratic movement from the grass roots that has ensured that both power and resources are equitably distributed among our people.

Venezuela: Racism and the counter-revolution

Chavez’ revolutionary government spent $300 million to build a futuristic funicular [cable car]. It eliminates hours of climbing on foot up and down treacherous mountain sides to reach jobs, schools, health clinics and other vital destinations. It benefits tens of thousands of shack dwellers of San Agustin—most of whom are African descendants.

By Arlene Eisen

March 27, 2014 -- Venezuelanalysis.com -- It’s late morning in Caracas, February 12, 2014. From the restaurant inside the hotel around the corner from Plaza Venezuela we can hear chanting, but it’s too muffled to understand. Are they yelling “Maduro Salida” or “Maduro/burro Salida”[1] or something else? From the window, we can see people, almost all smiling white people, streaming down the street to join the first huge anti-government demonstration that signalled the onset of the current outrages in Venezuela.

'Venezuela se respeta/Respect Venezuela': Behind the economic war on the Bolivarian Revolution

By Venezuela's Ministry of People’s Power

March 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The passing away of Venezuela's President Comandante Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías, the top leader of the Bolivarian Revolution, on March 5, 2013, was perceived by Venezuelan people as an irreparable loss, one of historical dimensions.

During 14 years, President Chávez led Venezuela along a victorious political process that pursued the recovery of the nation’s dignity and the construction of social justice. The affectionate warrior who with his accurate words guided Venezuelans through the transition between two centuries, and despite big obstacles, was able to take society to an upper level regarding satisfaction of people’s needs...

In the middle of the grief ...,Venezuela's people decided to keep on walking the revolutionary way and elected Nicolás Maduro as their president on April 14, 2013.

But one day after the presidential elections, opposition supporters of the candidate Henrique Capriles took to the streets complying with his call to drain their repressed anger, and spread death and destruction in opposition bastions governed by right wing’s mayors.

El Salvador: (Video) On the spot report on election day, March 9; FMLN wins

See "El Salvador: FMLN wins presidency; right wing trying to steal election" for more detail.

March 22, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In the first round of El Salvador's 2014 presidential election the FMLN candidate Salvador Ceren had a clear win over the runner-up, Norman Quiroga of the right-wing ARENA party. However he fell just short of the 50%+ required to be declared president. With the smaller parties dropping out there was a run-off between Ceren and Quijano on Sunday, March 9. Here is video of the voting process and an interview by Warwick Fry with Juan Campos, who travelled from Australia as an official observer. The FMLN's Salvador Ceren was victorious, much to the great delight of tens of thousands of Salvadoreans (below).

(Updated March 14) El Salvador: FMLN wins presidency; right wing trying to steal election

FMLN presidential candidate Salvador Sanchez Ceren.

March 13, 2014 -- Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador -- Just after 1:30 am this morning, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal announced the final count from the Sunday, March 9 election, giving a decisive victory to the leftist FMLN party over right-wing ARENA (50.11% to 49.89%).

Over the past three days, ARENA has tried (almost) every trick in the book to prevent the FMLN’s Salvador Sánchez Cerén from being named president –- from calling on the armed forces to defend their false “victory” to initiating legal measures to annul the entire election.

Ultraconservative US allies of ARENA –- like Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen –- are already backing ARENA’s attempted electoral sabotage.

Though the State Department has shown public support for the Tribunal, we need more voices in Congress weighing in on the side of democracy, reinforcing the State Department’s position and keeping ARENA politically isolated from international support.

With ARENA’s legal challenges to the election still pending, the next few days will be critical to ensuring that Sánchez Cerén can take his rightful place as the next president of El Salvador on June 1.

Venezuela: (Updated March 17) Asia-Pacific socialists pledge continuing solidarity with revolution

If your organisation would like to sign this statement, please email: international@socialist-alliance.org

March 11, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Socialists in Asia-Pacific pledge support for Venezuela’s socialist revolution, a year after Chavez’s death.

March 5 marked one year since the death of Venezuela's president and revolutionary Hugo Chavez. An outspoken fighter for the oppressed in Venezuela and Latin America, the loss of Chavez is still felt keenly by socialists and anti-imperialists globally.

But the Bolivarian revolution that Chavez led is a mass movement of millions of people that lives on in the barrios and workplaces in Venezuela. This process, led by the government of President Nicolas Maduro, is facing fresh attacks by right-wing forces backed by the United States.

The recent violent protests by a minority that has repeatedly been defeated at the ballot box has caused widespread destruction and terror. Along with at least 20 deaths and hundreds of injuries, public buildings and government-run, pro-poor social missions have been attacked by opposition protesters, at the estimated cost of up to 10 million bolivars.

The international media has presented this fascist violence as a peaceful democracy struggle that has been repressed by a dictatorial Maduro government. This turns reality on its head.

Video: Tariq Ali presents the inaugural Hugo Chavez Memorial Lecture

Tariq Ali presents the inaugural Hugo Chavez Memorial Lecture in London (part 1).

March 10, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Venezuela Solidarity Campaign in Britain on February 20, 2014, sponsored the inaugural Hugo Chavez Memorial Lecture in London. The speaker was internationally renowned Marxist author Tariq Ali. Parts 2-4 below.

Violenze in Venezuela: miti e fatti

venezuela-protests-feb_-24-2014

 

[English at https://www.greenleft.org.au/node/56008]

di Federico Fuentes – 6 marzo 2014

Di seguito l’attivista della Rete di Solidarietà Australia-Venezuela, Federico Fuentes, offre risposte a domande comuni sui recenti avvenimenti in Venezuela. Ai fatti chiave è fatto riferimento in larga parte attingendo a canali mediatici che non possono essere identificati come filo-governativi.

I recenti disordini in Venezuela sono dovuti alla repressione governativa di proteste pacifiche?

Venezuela: A year after Chávez

The late Hugo Chavez with Nicolas Maduro (right).

By Martin Marinos

February 26, 2014 -- LeftEast -- Almost a year has passed since the death of Hugo Chávez on March 5, 2013. Arguably this has been the most difficult one for the Bolivarian Revolution. Many people, both on the left and the right expressed doubt that there could be Chavismo without Chávez. Perhaps a year is still too short of a period to assess the situation after Chávez’s passing.

Yet, the dynamic developments over the past twelve months call for some preliminary remarks. Through an analysis of the key events during the year, this piece advances the argument that despite the ongoing violent protest in Venezuela, the left has emerged stronger out of the crisis precipitated by the death of Chávez. In addition, the new president Nicolás Maduro has reconnected with his base and has shown a unique style and vision that have earned him admiration from his supporters and contempt from the opposition.

Federico Fuentes replies to Mike Gonzalez's 'Is Venezuela burning?'

Right-wing protesters.

By Federico Fuentes

February 26, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- I have had a few people ask me what I think of the recent article by Mike Gonzalez ("Is Venezuela burning"), regarding events in Venezuela.

Putting aside the fact he can't even get the name right of the oil minster (Rafael Ramirez, not Rodriguez), here are three things that are wrong with the article.

1) Gonzalez writes: “It is no secret that behind the façade of unity, there is a struggle for power between extremely wealthy and influential groups within government — a struggle that began to intensify in the months before Chavez’s death.”

If this was no secret, then surely there would be a mountain of evidence to prove this. But Mike Gonzalez offers none. A more serious analysis would indicate the opposite: that despite the narrow election victory by Nicolás Maduro in April 2013, the immediately wave of opposition violence and campaign around “fraud”, the ongoing economic war against the government, the municipal elections and the most recent events, there has been no visible signs of fractures in the government.

Eva Golinger: 'Don't be fooled by what most media outlets are telling you about protests in Venezuela'

February 22, 2014 -- The Real News -- Gregory Wilpert discusses the right-wing protests and their goal overthrowing the progressive gains of the Bolivarian Revolution.

For more on Venezuela, click HERE.

By Eva Golinger

February 21, 2014 -- Postcard from the Revolution via Venezuelanalysis.com -- For those of you unfamiliar with Venezuelan issues, don’t let the title of this article fool you. The revolution referred to is not what most media outlets are showing taking place today in Caracas, with protesters calling for the ouster of Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro. The revolution that is here to stay is the Bolivarian Revolution, which began in 1998 when Hugo Chavez was first elected president and has subsequently transformed the mega oil-producing country into a socially focused, progressive country with a grassroots government.

The demonstrations taking place over the past few days in Venezuela are attempts to undermine and destroy that transformation in order to return power to the hands of the elite who ruled previously for more than 40 years.

Venezuela: Coups, media and stalemates -- what the violent right-wing protests mean

Thousands of Chavistas marched through central Merida on February 12. Chants condemned the recent spate of right-wing violence and called for support for Nicolas Maduro. (Ryan Mallett-Outtrim/Venezuelanalysis).

By Ryan Mallett-Outtrim, Ewan Robertson and Tamara Pearson

February 14, 2014 -- Venezuelanalysis.com -- Venezuelanalysis.com’s staff writers offer their insights on the violent protests that have been occurring in the country: the opposition’s strategy, how the media have reacted and the implications of the protests for the Bolivarian Revolution.

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