Saturday, November 24

¡Si, Con Chavez, Con la Reforma!

Now that the privledged upper class students who surrounded pro-chavez students in Caracas' university of social work recieved the reaction they asked for from pro-chavez workers who obviously will not tolerate an attempt at another 2002-style coup and will defend the gains of the revolution that has pulled hundreds of thousands if not millions out of poverty and given the people power. Now that the corporate media uproar against Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution to a opposition instigated situation has calmed down here, I think its important to analyize what's going on in Venezuela and why every one who wants to see a world without poverty, exploitation, and oppression needs to show solidarity with the Revolution in Venezuela.

The biggest question people have to be asking is what are these reforms which people are ready to violently fight back to defend?

1.) Institutionalization and switch of Federal money from bureacratic state & local governors to the Communal Councils. After Chavez's initial election and even before leading up to the 1998 election, councils and groupings started to form in Venezuela all over the countries. When Mao Tse-tung, leader of the Chinese Revolution, said "A Single Spark can light a prarie fire" he wasn't kidding. What started off as a few councils to support Chavez have ignited into nationwide people's cells of power in almost every neighborhood where people decide how to use funding for their communities and how to rule collectively. The constitutional reforms being voted on December 2nd will increase funding to these bodies where everyone can join in and excercise their power. Critics claim that taking money away from the local governments and giving them to these community councils is dictatorial because these councils are a base of support for the Bolivarian Revolution. The truth is that the state governments are bureacratic and remnant of the old order. Ruling class corporate sponsored politicians are in charge in the state governments while its the people who are in charge in the communal councils. Critics in the US corporate media are simply scared of real people's democracy being legitimized in Venezuela because it means that the same type of corporations which fund these news outlets are gonna be losing power in Venezuela. Everyone who believes in real democracy needs to support this reform

2.) Lowering the amount of hours in the work day from eight to six. Venezuela has alredy garunteed all its people pensions, raised the minumum wage to the highest in the region and in general taken big steps to protect working people's rights. Lowering the amount of hours in the work day is another big step. It means working people will have more time to relax, spend time with their family, and in general enjoy life. This reform in particular has scared the US government and corporate media because it represents everything the US government stands against. People's rights? Worker's rights? This means that US corporations in Venezuela will be less profitable and more humane, something corporations are modeled to be the polar opposite of. This reform is an example of Venezuelan workers taking their country out of US corporate hands and Venezuelan robberbaron hands and putting it into their own.

3.) Lowering the voting age from 18 to 16. The prospect of a larger amount of youth and young people getting involved in the political process is a scary thought to the rulers of the US because the youth have always been the ones who are ready to change shit, they are the most progressive sector of society and they have the longest time to live in this world of any other sector of the population, thus logically they will vote based on what they think is the best for humanity in the long term rather than what's gonna get them lower taxes and out of paying for things like young peoples pensions and education like the older generations tend to vote based on. In any case this is a very democratic no matter what because its simply allowing more of the Venezuelan population into the political process. Not suprisingly, US corporate media tries its best to ignore this part of the new reforms and continues to call Chavez a evil dictator.

4.) Abolishing Term Limits. As you can probably imagine the US corporate media jumped like heroin fiend at this part of this reform using it as alledged proof that Chavez is the evil dictator ready to destroy the world and create a breeding ground for terrorism in Venezuela. What the corporate media ignored however, was the fact that countries deemd "beacons of democracy and liberty" throughout Europe have no term limits! Also the US itself has no term limits in its house and many states have no term limits for their governors. On the contrary, have no term limits is more democratic. The Bolivarian Revolution has a bold leader, so why should he go if the people don't want him too?

5.) Nationalize the Central Bank. The last major reform being proposed is taking the central bank out of the hands of the rich and wealthy bankers and putting it in the hand of the people so that any surplus value made will go to funding people's needs like healthcare and education rather than a new yacht or golf course for some banker. The corporate media reports this as Chavez the dictator taking control of the bank, but the truth is that it is not Chavez who will benefit from this, it is the working people of Venezuela.

In Summation, all progressive people need to stand with these reforms despite the widespread campaign by corporate media to spread disinformation about them. Anyone who supports real democracy should be behind Venezuela's Socialist process going on right now. It's because of this that I encourage everyone in the New York City Area to come out at 1 PM on December 1st to the Venezuelan Consulate located on 7 East 51st Street (between 5th Ave. and Madison Ave.) You can take the E, the V, or the 6 train. The ANSWER Coalition along with other organizations are calling for a emergency picket in support of the reforms which will be voted on the next day. Bring your friends, bring family, and be loud!


Dave Marlow said...

You make a lot of good points here. I actually have not heard any criticism in the U.S. about the lowered voting ages. To do so would be the anti-Chavistas shooting themselves in the foot, given the recent surge of student-led opposition (still a minority, however).

What is interesting about the term limits is that besides the European analogy which you pointed out, the U.S. had no term limits until the 21st amendment, which was met with much controversy. All Presidents through F. Roosevelt had no term limits and theoretically could have been elected for life.

Imagine the outcry at calling FDR a dictator, even though he ran (and we elected) for three terms? How is that any different?

Perhaps the most telling example is Colombia. A decade or so back the Colombian government made the same reform. Even though paramilitary murders, state-sponsored terrorism, curtailment of human rights and due process, and fraudulent elections are present in Colombia, the reform barely made A12 of some papers. On television, it warranted little more than a passing mention. We would be foolish to expect otherwise. The rules are always different when it's a country valuable to corporate interests.

Why have we not heard about Mushareef's bloody regime until now? He simply outlived his usefulness.

I agree with you, wholeheartedly. In a world where corporate interests dictate public opinion, at home and abroad, we ought to be every more vigilant in spreading the good word: democracy is alive and well in Venezuela.

blackstone said...

Speaking of the US media reminds me of Manufacturing Consent by Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman.

First presented in their 1988 book Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, the propaganda model views the private media as businesses selling a product — readers and audiences (rather than news) — to other businesses (advertisers). The theory postulates five general classes of "filters" that determine the type of news that is presented in news media. These five are:

1. Ownership of the medium
2. Medium's funding sources
3. Sourcing
4. Flak
5. Anti-communist ideology

The first three are generally regarded by the authors as being the most important.

Although the model was based mainly on the characterization of United States media, Chomsky and Herman believe the theory is equally applicable to any country that shares the basic economic structure and organizing principles which the model postulates as the cause of media biases.

5, was anti-communism in the cold war days and now 5 is usually anti-terrorism but when that doesn't do the trick, they can rely on old anti-communist sentiment already established in the US.

Renegade Eye said...

Full time in Venezuela, is I believe 42 hours a week.

The opposition claims democracy is the main issue. It covers up the fear of the real issues, as lowering the work week hours.

At Drudge he says Chavez is losing the election. My blog team member JP, was an observer of the presidential elections. They are free and open.

Phil BC said...

Re: Venezuela, there was a debate at my organisation's annual rally/weekend school last weekend. You can read a report about it here:

Just scroll down until you come to Socialism 2007.

Compadre Joaquin said...

Chavez is the best thing that happend in south america for a really long time. I completly support him on everything he does. I hope that other countries will join him in his fight against imperialism and I hope that people will realise that we can't keep living this way anymore. The time for change has come.
Searching for speeches on youtube I have found horrible comments against our comrades. People treating Evo Morales of "dirty fucking indian", people saying that they should have exterminated them when they had the chance. This gets me mad, to know that all of the comments were insulting Chavez and Evo. People encouraging Uribe (columbian bastard president).
All this made me realise that we will have to fight harder if we want to make this change.
The battle will be long and devastating but once done, prosperity awaits for everyone.

blackstone said...

anyway, i thought this article broke down things nicely.