Organize for Venezuela

Venezuela is a nightmare for the Capitalist world. It has spearheaded Latin America’s emergence from literally centuries of subordination to the U.S. regarding media, economic policies, culture, and international relations and that alone is a killable offense in the eyes of Washington. Indeed far lesser offense than that can provoke American power to engage in mass murder, as earlier in Nicaragua, not to mention Granada, as but two of many examples.

Or consider Indochina. Millions of souls were dispatched from this earth with bombs, napalm, bullets, and starvation. The Reason? Vietnam too was a nightmare for American elites. Vietnam’s example said to the world of poor and weak nations, you who are exploited by market madness – be like us and you can extricate yourselves and take over your own destiny. That was of course a killable offense, and so off to war we went. The threat of a good example – which is to say of a country extricating from imperial domination by the U.S. – needed to be thwarted. American presidents, one after another, endeavored to prevent Vietnam’s extrication, or, failing that, to show that the price of extrication was too high for countries to emulate. Use anything that flies to kill anything that moves. No country, will lightly risk that.

Truth be told, at no time did the U.S. believe, I think, that even a fully successful Vietnamese revolution was going to be a good example for the people of France, Italy, or Australia, much less the U.S. They realized, however, that successful extrication would say plenty to the people of Thailand, Egypt, and even Chile, perhaps, or Indonesia, and, egad, maybe even India or, worst case, Japan. That prospect was nightmare material. Unleash the bombs. And more bombs, and more.

Two things, at least, differ greatly now. First, to the good, it is harder to unleash the bombs – at least in certain parts of the world and on a scale sufficient to the task. The U.S. faces constraints at home, not least because of the incredible courage of the Vietnamese fostering anti war and anti imperial understanding around the world, but also because of changes in power balances all over.

Second, also good, but very scary, in truth Venezuela is far more of a danger to the masters of war and purveyors of greed than Vietnam ever was. Vietnam had considerable Tungston but Venezuela has a whole lot of oil. More important, Venezuela is far better integrated into its local sector of the world, with growing connections of great scope throughout Latin America, than Vietnam was in Asia, so the good example of extrication threatens to spread more easily in Venezuela’s case. And perhaps most of all, Venezuela’s trajectory exceeds just escaping U.S. domination. Venezuela has been trying and to some degree succeeding, in becoming a good example for everyone, everywhere, regarding domestic innovations. That is, Venezuela has been trying, and to some degree succeeding, in moving institution by institution, toward real public participation – toward enriched democracy and even self management for its populace – and toward revamping economics, kinship, and culture to attain growing levels of equity, justice, and solidarity. This is hugely unpardonable. This rot could spread even to Detroit. Councils? Communes? Imagine Washington contemplating that. They are seeking to build WHAT? This must be made invisible. This must be reversed.

Of course media lies like crazy to keep it all invisible. If they didn’t, the public would understand that the Bolivarian movement hasn’t trampled democracy but expanded it – hasn’t trampled equitable distribution but promoted it – hasn’t diminished dignity but enlarged it. In that case the public would examine the reality rather than media falsehoods, and following that examination, the good example, the dangerous example, could spread. And what a receptive audience is emerging in Southern Europe! Better do something more, quick, to stop this before it gets completely out of hand.

So the U.S. media keeps lying about Venezuela to hold things in check, and the U.S. government and corporate elites worldwide keep trying to stall and reverse the trends by squeezing economically. And then they even try to overthrow the Venezuelan government as a step toward repressing its social movements and annihilating its good example. But whenever coups fall short, which is sad from the point of view of the masters of war, these sadistic devils do not waste time weeping. No, they continue to try to polarize the Venezuelan public, to try to scare them, to try to intimidate them, to try to economically cajole them, and to try to ensure that around the world everyone thinks it is all the Bolivarians’ fault, until Venezuelans, desperate, make choices that will undermine their prospects of being a really threatening example, such as centralizing authority, utilizing force, etc.

U.S. tactics, in other words, are not narrow and simpleminded, nor do they have an expiration date. The masters of war certainly like to win big in a swooping violent thrust – yes, thank you, some serious incineration of our foes would be nice, they might say. It would be particularly good for war contractors. Even more so, it would hopefully shock and awe the confidence out of those who might want to get uppity. So they certainly try bombs whenever they think those can work, but if the balance of forces precludes that – as so far it has and as I suspect it will continue to in Venezuela – then they will try and try again to engineer a coup. They will do this by supporting thuggish allies within Venezuela, by spreading tools of violence to favored thugs, and, even more so and most importantly, as once in Chile to overthrow Allende, by pummeling the society with economic deprivation and blaming the ensuing immensely hurtful dislocations on the Bolivarians, of course, so that the broad public will grow tired, grow depressed, and become more easily subdued. That is what current, recent, and past U.S. policy in the new Venezuela have been about.

Will the elephant that is U.S. authoritarian power win the day, week, month, year? Or will a fledgling path to better outcomes persist, grow more wise, and spread farther? It is a world historic question. And the U.S. masters of war, even more so than the Bolivarians, understand that on one side is the Venezuelan good example  threatening to inspire world wide change, whereas on the other side is fear and imposed obedience hoping to subvert world wide desires until people feel, again, that there is just no alternative so they must give in because if they don’t Uncle Sam will destroy them.

Given the above, and given the emergence of steadily growing resistance – Greece, Spain, Rojava, Latin America – even to a degree Italy, France, and the U.S. too – Venezuela’s future, and I suspect it is no exaggeration to say the world’s future, is currently at play in the conflict.

So: Venezuela versus the U.S. Whose side are you on?


  1. avatar
    john Mulligan July 31, 2015 12:59 am 

    I find this article disturbing,

    If the U.S started imprisoning protesters and opposition leaders, I am sure Michael, you would document that fact. Under Chavez, of course, a judge was imprisoned, later to be put under house arrest by Chavez, the reason? She freed a prisoner who was remanded, all this was in line with the Bolivarian constitution, he then called her a ” bandit”, which has been documented by people like Chomsky.

    It appears to me, this disregard for people’s rights is only in line with neo-liberalism. Only ideology appears to matter now; people are just in a Kafkaesque cesspit, with nobody coming to their defence. If Venezuela is the threat of the good example, those imprisoned innocents in Venezuela must be concurring with that statement.

  2. Lary Fuku February 16, 2015 2:38 am 

    To all who think there are positive developments in Venezuela – could you kindly spell out exactly what they are and if you could provide some numbers/stats like: amount of local food produces by coops, be growth in commune farming or oil production…

    otherwise it’s just a ideological bul..it right

    See if you can follow this: the point that you missed is that having democratic elections is not a sufficient condition for a democracy, and definitely not sufficient reason for any reasonable person to be “pro” something. Otherwise you, just like Bush 2nd would declare Iraq war and their gov a success since they had dem elections.

    ” I certainly don’t put Bush 2 on the same level as Hitler” – I see you have trouble with logic – grouping things by a category (in this case both Hitler and Bush were democratically elected) does not imply they are the same in any other category.

    I hope my last question at least made you pause for a second before your ideologically kneejerk response kicked in

    Were you chaperoned during the trip by Chavista people by any chance during the trip? cause sounds a bit odd that you seem to have met majority of people who are upbeat about things – when based at the very least on results of Maduro’s elections themselves there ‘s about half the people who don’t like the situation.

    • avatar
      James Wilson February 17, 2015 10:02 am 

      Lary, my point was an indirect way of saying I was for the Bolivarian gov in Venezuela, which would be to say for Venezuela and not the US as per Michael’s question. I was not saying I was for anyone elevated to power via elections. You took me far too literally. It was contextual and related to Michael’s article, along with the history of the Chavista government being constantly under threat from outside its borders, as if the government didn’t have a majority of support or ‘mandate’, particularly from the poorer sector and even though the political procedure of elections within Venezuela is pretty much the same as in other supposed democratic countries like the US. (Waning support for a leader does not always correlate with that for the party although often it can). In fact, even better and more above board than in the US where you usually only get a majority out of approx 50% of the population voting in a government, sometimes fraudulently! And further, no-one would countenance a coup plot or the same sort of sanctions, pressure and economic manipulation as is constantly applied to Venezuela since Chavez got in (and anywhere else a nation votes in a party that doesn’t tow the US line) against or towards the US, even if its own financial wizards saw fit to destroy not just their own, but the world economy, only seven years ago, for which millions are still paying the penalty – mainly the poor. I thought the rest of my post and references to Chilé would have made my position clear. My bad.

      Of course elections don’t equal democracy, and I never said they did nor was it my intention to suggest such, but a right wing conservative pro US pro private tyranny and capitalist government would be even further from it and human decency, no matter what ‘stats’ or ‘evidence’ you may throw up against the current Venezuelan government to try and prove otherwise.

      Can’t be bothered getting into an intellectual slug fest with you as I would probably lose! I merely want to say that your Hitler/Bush dichotomy wasn’t a logical conclusion to draw at all really, it seems it was simply a chance at a cheap shot as was your more than repugnant gas chamber remark. Further my remark regarding Bush was merely to hint that it was unnecessary to include him to make your point which was really just a red herring. You could have thrown in every single government ever elected but you went for ‘badness’ I guess to ‘prove’ my naive, fickle, uncaring callousness. However I reckon Clinton would have been a better choice than Bush 2. He was a Democrat so supposedly more on the side of goodness rather than badness, yet very much badness is what he delivered. Bush was just doing what comes naturally for any self serving Republican (both parties being pro business not pro human decency). I am still unsure as to what you believe or whose side you are on Lary, because the side of human decency is most definitely not a primary concern, or a concern at all, of pro US pro capitalist pro private tyranny governments. Human decency does not come into calculations within market capitalism and certainly isn’t the outcome of some “invisible hand” lifting all boats!

      It would be interesting to see where you get your information from, your stats and evidence for your position, which is still a little vague although I could hazard a good guess I suppose, because you seem to be quite certain as to what is really going on in Venezuela and the likes of myself, Michael Albert, Michael and others do not. Sounds like a battle of wits more than anything – you know the real truth while Michael Albert and others just don’t. You’re an individual making true objective observations while the rest of us are deceived by collective group think. Like the climate sceptic who holds their head up high believing they are taking the truly scientific doubting intellectually objective and rational position of the autonomous individual free from the sheep like cultish and religious behaviour of those who have been deceived into believing in anthropogenic climate change by over a miserly 90% of the scientific community. The fools.

      I hope your concern for human decency is a real one, which I have no reason to doubt, because often, the poor and wretched bewildered herd who have been battered from pillar to post all their lives are willing to endure short term hardships for long term gains. If the PSUV withers, crumbles or compromises because it has been, as Dave points out elsewhere, ‘dancing with the devil’, then let’s hope they can pick up the pieces, get their act together and get back on the a true Bolivarian track because the alternative is a far more deceptive and devilish beast. Surely you’d agree if you truly believe in human decency.

  3. avatar
    David Jones February 16, 2015 2:28 am 

    Maybe we can agree we need an expanded, more radical notion of democracy, on Venezuela was working towards? We also might agree this bold experiment ( I have seen it first hand) was predicated on oil production, a shaky foundation at best. And global capital will do what it can to undermine the “model” using currency, investment, sabotage. And Maduro is no Chavez, when it comes to charisma.
    The fact is, the right wing will also be unable to govern and things will get worse before they get better.

  4. avatar
    Michael February 15, 2015 12:06 pm 

    As I read Michael Albert’s article it seemed especially reasonable to me. The fact that it aroused such emotional interchange says something, not about Michael’s comments, but about the emotional minefield that Venezuela causes. I traveled from Buenos Aires, where I lived, to Caracas, simply to see first hand what I had been reading about for some time. I talked to many at random on the street, in cafes, sometimes in a few homes. What I discovered were people who were much more reasonable than I might find in the U.S. on some controversial subject. People were thoughtful but obviously positive about changes taking place. Was everything light and giddy? No. But people obviously thought something very important, promising, and good was going on. Furthermore, visiting a couple of clinics, schools, and talking to people under tents from the government helping people with things as diverse as food and obtaining essential identity documents impressed me in positive ways. I know the U.S. government and the upper class in Caracas, at least sectors, are opposed to the immense changes that have taken place and are continuing to take place. I hope this country continues to succeed, even under tough circumstances. More than a hope, it seems a profound necessity for all of us wherever we live.

  5. Lary Fuku February 15, 2015 4:42 am 

    As any decent human being i am on a side of the mother who can’t get dypers for her baby, for patients who suffer and die because they can’t get ordinarry drugs that they need that are readily available just across the border, for elderly who has to stand in line for hours for a chance to buy milk, bread or toilet paper…

    … Whose side are you on?

    • avatar
      James Wilson February 15, 2015 6:51 am 

      I’m on the side of a democratically elected government that a majority of the populace voted for Lary. And while there may indeed be glaringly obvious problems of an economic nature, not all of which are just the result of an ‘inept’ socialist government, as the private tyranny mainstream media would like everyone to think (because that is what they do), it would seem the majority of those who have endured greater hardships over decades brought on by pro US, private tyranny governments and the ravages of capitalism for the few, because it always and only ever is, have decided that the 21st century socialism of the PSUV delivers benefits that outweigh the costs. I certainly hope that your concern for the old, the infirm, the poor and wretched and mothers continues, if a pro US private tyranny government is democratically returned to power. Remember Lary, this is how ‘representative democracy’ works. Elections, where the people vote in who they want, as imperfect as it is. Perhaps the majority of the poor, from the slums, from those communities that now have better access to education and health, to communal participatory democratic decision making, will decide to return the Bolivarian government, much to your and other’s disgust. But then, it’s not about you. Similar kinds of economic ‘games’ were played and utilised to destabilise a democratically elected government in Chilé, before ‘They’, decided to blow the ‘pain in the arse’ off the face of the earth and disappear his supporters by the thousands, only to replace Allende with the family friendly Pinochet. But I’m really just paraphrasing Michael’s article now.

      Really, for you to frame the issue as a choice between ‘human decency’ or not, is deceptive and as arrogantly misleading as any of the plethora of private tyranny mainstream media who use similar methods to undermine and destroy the Bolivarian revolution. The only real moral choice is for the Bolivarian revolution, as the US, private tyranny mainstream media, private tyrannies in general and capitalism has NEVER EVER been about human decency.

      Smile everyone, democracy the US way! I don’t think so.

      • avatar
        James Wilson February 15, 2015 7:06 am 

        Actually Lary, I apologise, your framing the issue as being a choice between human decency or not is actually correct, BECAUSE the alternative on offer, a pro US, pro private tyranny, pro capitalist government has in fact NEVER EVER been about human decency. So the choice is clear. I really meant to point out that you, along with the private tyranny mainstream media, taking the moral high ground and claiming the side of human decency, is deceptive and arrogantly misleading.

        But you Lary, will no doubt disagree.

      • Lary Fuku February 15, 2015 7:29 am 

        so you are pro Hitler and pro Bush (2nd) then – since they were both democratically elected. I guess you feel that those who think Maduro’s is not doing a good job (>70% of population) would be better off in gas chambers anyway right?

        Albert writes: “Venezuela has been trying and to some degree succeeding, in becoming a good example for everyone, everywhere, regarding domestic innovations”

        – I mean how delusional one has to be to think that any country would look now at Venezuela and think “wow, wish we could be just like them” – long lines and no food – great, where do I sign up!

        Million dollar question – why with all that “success” in building communes – NONE of them are able to do a simple thing as produce enough milk (or anything for that matter) for Venezuelans?

        • avatar
          James Wilson February 15, 2015 8:08 am 

          Lary, if I follow your ‘logic’ correctly, you are either not in favour of ‘democratic’ elections, as in the US, England, France, Greece, Australia, New Zealand, Germany etc., or you too would be pro Hitler. I certainly don’t put Bush 2 on the same level as Hitler. Whether or not the figure of >70% is accurate or not, if a majority of voters prefer the policies of the PSUV, regardless of whether Maduro is doing a good job, then so be it. Your guess about the way I feel about those who don’t like Maduro is more than repugnant and says more about yourself than anything else, as do your ridiculously illogical and pathetic opening remarks.

  6. avatar
    Michael Albert February 14, 2015 2:03 pm 

    Not sure I understand your question?

    • avatar
      James Wilson February 14, 2015 11:05 pm 

      I was making a joke really, having only recently read Paul Street’s article on false dichotomies and here I am being asked to choose between two sides where the choice is fairly obvious. A ‘ true’ dichotomy?

  7. avatar
    James Wilson February 14, 2015 9:35 am 

    That’s NOT a false dichotomy, is it???

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