imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Venezuela’s Social Movements: Autonomy’s Difficult Path

by El Libertario, Venezuela Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011 at 8:40 PM
ellibertario@nodo50.org

* On November 2010, in the Spanish city of Cordoba, during the celebrations of the Centennial of the historical anarcho-syndicalist union, the Confederacion Nacional del Trabajo (CNT), a Round Table discussion about Latin America’s social movements took place. A representative of El Libertario was present and delivered the following report.

Venezuela’s Social...
4portadasliber.jpgygay6c.jpg, image/jpeg, 368x428

- Social Struggles in the XX Century

The modern history of social struggles in Venezuela is associated with the across-the-board transformation of the country brought about by large-scale oil exploitation beginning in the 1920s. This became evident after the death of Dictator J.V. Gomez, who ruled Venezuela with an iron fist from 1908 until December 1935. His demise was the signal for the appearance in the socio-political sphere of diverse collectively-organized actors, recently formed and until then repressed by the dictatorship. These consisted mostly of workers’ unions and student associations, but they also included feminist, cultural, peasant, educational, and professional associations.

Since that time (the end of the 1930s through the 1950s), these social movements encountered many difficulties in their struggle for autonomy. On the one hand, during this period the role of the State, as the local administrator of oil capitalism, was consolidated and became more complex. Varying degrees of access to oil-generated income via the state were what principally determined the formation of the social classes that defined that period: bourgeoisie, middle class, proletariat. The State became the great promoter, financier, and producer of the innovations capitalism demands, so it was not interested in alternative modernizing options that arose autonomously out of the social movements. Consequently, it used all the methods available to it to suppress them, mainly through the populist sharing of the crumbs, but sometimes through brutal repression. Those years also witnessed infighting for the control of the State between the armed forces - the classic governmental overseer in the history of our country, and the political parties (especially the social-democratic AD -Accion Democratica, but also the Christian Democrat COPEI, the liberal URD and the Communist Party of Venezuela). Although these parties were born after the emergence of the social organizations, they soon came to control them, by turning social activism into party militancy and relegating the organizations to a subordinate role, their struggles subject to the “party line.” An expression of this was their dominant and unique evolution within the trade union movement from the 1940s until at least the decade of the 80s.

After 1983 the oil economy model that had supported the Pact of Punto Fijo entered into crisis, along with the machinery of bipartisan domestication of the social movements. In addition, transnational powers demanded that the state adopt neoliberal economic prescriptions while restricting populist clientele practices (the distribution of government revenues to undercut discontent). In this context, gaps in the country’s social and political fabric were created that allowed for the reappearance of significant autonomous social actions, not subordinate to the traditional political parties. This occurred in previously existing organizations as well as in the new social movements: ecological, neighborhood, indigenous, feminist, GLBT groups, to mention only a few. The most dramatic indicator of how much things had changed was the spontaneous popular revolt known as “El Caracazo” (2/27/1989). This was the most powerful manifestation of social discontent in our country’s history, which the authoritarian power could only respond to with bloody repression.

- The Social Movements’ Labyrinth

As bipartisan control over the social movements declined, those in real power needed a replacement, which they found in Hugo Chavez, the leader of the failed military coup of February 4, 1992. Popular anger at the country’s situation generated sympathy for the attempted coup, despite a lack of clarity in its leaders’ program, and in its aftermath, messianic mirages in favor of Chavez soon appeared. After serving time in prison, Chavez was pardoned in 1994 and became a presidential candidate, with support from among the bourgeoisie and the transnational corporations, as well as from the majority of the social movements and their activists, whose demands he promised to heed if he won the elections.

Chavez took office in February 1999, and from then until mid-2007 occurred a period during which his relationship with the social movements might be described as “guardedly hopeful.” The latter clung to their illusions in him, postponing time and again their agenda for struggle, and subordinating their own demands to those imposed from above, which aimed at consolidating Chavez’s power. The results of numerous elections expressed the “people’s faith in the process.” The social-democrats and the right-wing opposition had similar perspectives: “First let’s get rid of Chavez, then we will look at everything else.” The star-struck social activists accepted that the State would determine their methods and objectives, thus mortgaging the relative autonomy of action they had won in the previous decade. To this must be added the fact that, thanks to the rise in oil prices, the State once again had large resources to finance its cronies, now armed with leftist verbiage.

From the last months of 2007 till today, many signs have emerged indicating that the honeymoon between the Chavista government and the social antagonists may be a thing of the past. In contrast to previous years of apparent sharp political confrontation but actual demobilization of the social struggles, now collective economic and social demands, silent for so long, are manifesting themselves with increasing force. The State’s use of part of its oil revenues to pay off its clients has been limited not only by the fall in the price of “black gold” but also by the corruption, incompetence, and incoherence of the current government, which is but an unredeemed and bloated version of previous ones. As a result, it is harder for Chavism to exert control over the social movements, which simultaneously show signs of no longer buying the pale offers of electoral opposition.

To confirm what we’ve said, we invite you to look at the statistics on social conflict in Venezuela in the yearly reports of the NGO PROVEA (www.derechos.org.ve), which we consider to be a complete and trustworthy source. For reasons of space it is not possible to repeat those figures here, but they confirm that under the so-called “Socialism of the XXI Century” of Hugo Chavez lies a situation that is similar to that of Latin America’s neoliberal right-wing regimes.

- Shattered Hopes and the Criminalization of Protest

The PROVEA reports confirm that, today, the struggle for the autonomy of the social movements in Venezuela is faced with a growing criminalization of the movements’ activities. This criminalization is fertilized in the judicial sphere with a renovated arsenal of instruments to legalize repression, in the political sphere, with loud accusations from the seat of power that slander all protest as “a move in favor of a coup and imperialism,” and in the everyday social realm, with efforts to make Chávez’s social base the first to denounce and suppress dissident action, which has brought us para-militarism and “para-repression”.

Despite this, instances of autonomous social struggle continue to appear in the most diverse places:

The workers’ struggles of Ferrominera, SIDOR, of the retired CANTV workers, and the various struggles in the industrial region of Aragua; the struggles of indigenous people, such as those of the Yukpas in the Sierra of Perija. The evictions and occupations demanding the right to housing throughout the country; the many protests against the failures and overall scarcity of public services; the sustained anger, both in and outside the prisons, against the barbaric penal system; the clamor of those victimized by the violently repressive apparatus, as exemplified in the Committee of Victims Against Impunity in the State of Lara; in gender struggles, the work done by Casa de la Mujer Juana Ramirez in Maracay; the student protests that suffer judicial persecution that concedes nothing in the way of viciousness to that of the days of the Pact of Punto Fijo.

Meanwhile, the peasants receive promises and alms if they “behave” but get beaten by thugs and the cops if they don’t.

El Libertario - in both its print and on-line versions (Web & Blog) - details these instances and many others.

Were there, are there, or will there ever be positive perspectives for the social movements in what so-called “Bolivarian Socialism” has to offer? We can only answer NO, since any advance will be negated by the caudillista impositions of an authoritarian regime, under which social activism is forced to bow before the sponsorship, ideology, and control by the State along with sheepish submission to demagogic promises whose successful execution depends on bureaucratic paternalism; with the growing corruption and inefficiency that infect the official sector and its subordinate social organizations; with the socialist agenda converted into a ruse for policies that serve the transnational corporations; and the rise of the “bolibourgeoisie,” born and nurtured in the shadow of monstrous governmental corruption. The free and full development of the social movements can only come about if they break with the tutelage that Chavism has exerted over them, while not falling into the hands of the neoliberal right or the social-democracy. The social movements need to articulate ideas and plans of action that emerge out of their own, autonomous activities, in the heat of struggle and informed by the goals that constitute their very reason for being, as shown by the many hopeful signs revealed in the social protests mentioned above.

In these years, we at El Libertario have taken the difficult task of unmasking the debilitating illusions created by the State, Capital and their allies, some with the socialist governmental mask and others with the pseudo-democratic masks of the social-democratic and right-wing opposition. With persistence, we are opening roads for the enthusiastic building of autonomy for the social movements, where we struggle to gain space for direct action, self-management, and mutual aid that we, as anarchists, promote.

(For readers who do not understand Spanish, there are over 60 original texts available in English at El Libertario, www.nodo50.org/ellibertario, as well as a good number of articles in French, German, Italian and Portuguese)

El Libertario // ellibertario@nodo50.org

www.nodo50.org/ellibertario - periodicoellibertario.blogspot.com

Report this post as:

Local News

Why Should California Choose De Leon Over Feinstein? O10 9:55PM

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Paraphysique du microcosme macrocosme O15 6:44AM

September 2018 Honduras coup update O15 3:31AM

The Nation Unites Against Brian Kemp, Most Racist Secretary of State in US O14 7:34AM

The Nation Unites Against Brian Kemp, Most Racist Secretary of State in US O14 7:23AM

Paraphysique de l'ubérisation O13 7:56AM

22 Ways Trump Has Increased US Deficit By 4 to 5 Trillion Dollars O12 10:34PM

Debunking Some Anti-Prop 10 Propaganda O12 6:56AM

Plus d'hôpitaux, à bas les aéros O12 6:38AM

When Banana Ruled (documentary) O11 3:00AM

Outstanding Report By RAMOLA D &Dr.Tomo Shibata O10 9:17PM

Dark Clouds Gather on Horizon for Financial System, Warns International Monetary Fund O10 1:51PM

Fbi pure evil & immorality O10 5:39AM

Reality Check: Palestinian-Israeli Coexistence is a Big Lie O09 7:40PM

Voiceless Animals: 2018 Candidates They Oppose O09 7:01PM

IMF Lowers Global Growth Projections and Raises Concerns of Financial Crisis O09 3:27PM

Canitie, l'inhumanité vieillit O09 7:13AM

L'anarchie en quelques exemples O07 6:50AM

100 Ways GOP Have Stolen Elections Since 1876 O06 12:03AM

Proximospective de l'univocité réifiée O05 6:27AM

“Kava-no!!!” O04 6:42PM

Trump & Palestine vs. Genesis, Rashi & The Land of Israel O03 6:29PM

The Criminality of the Elites O03 11:35AM

Business de l'inhumanitaire O03 7:51AM

Marriage Rape/Date Rape Highest Rapes O02 2:59PM

Women I Know Get Raped - Too Many Times To Count! O02 2:55PM

Women In USA Have Stockholm Syndrom O02 2:50PM

Shooting Drill's Are Political Actual Shootings O02 2:47PM

Dr. Ford's Father Works With CIA O02 2:44PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy