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

Why Chavez Won BIG! A Comparison Between the Presidential Elections in the U.S. and Venezu

by Mark Vorpahl Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012 at 1:39 AM
portland@workerscompass.org

U.S. workers and those who are unemployed are frequently told that the current presidential elections are among the most important in this country’s history. With continuing high unemployment and underemployment, declining wages, and looming massive cuts to social programs that help workers, such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, we are at a grave point regarding the direction of this country. However, the policies of both presidential candidates and their parties have perpetuated the devastating effects of the Great Recession for workers. Wall Street, the banks, the corporations, and the wealthy have been the beneficiaries of these policies while the only thing workers have received has been more sacrifices.

In the U.S. presidential elections we are not seeing two competing visions over the direction of the country. Rather, we are witnessing a fight over tactics among big business politicians about how most effectively to sell the corporate agenda to the public and continue the one-sided class war against workers. These elections will not be any kind of game changer. They are a symptom of domination of the 1% over the political and economic system. Voting workers are being asked to pick their poison and have little enthusiasm for this choice.

What a sharp contrast the U.S. presidential elections are to those in Venezuela. Not only are Venezuelans being told that the results of the contest between President Chavez and his challenger, Henrique Capriles, were among the most important in this nation’s history, they felt it in their bones from their own experience.

For decades Venezuela had been dominated by a two party system to provide an illusion of choice, though each party’s policies were guided by the interests of a tiny few oligarchs who sucked up the wealth created by labor for themselves. Such a set-up cannot be maintained forever. After the Caracazo economic uprising in 1989 that was crushed with the death of thousands but followed by ongoing grass roots organizing, the game rules were thrown to the wind with the successful election of Chavez in 1998. Rather than work within the political machine, he ran against both parties and the oligarchs behind them, while leaning on Venezuela’s popular movements for support.

Since then, there has been an evolving struggle. On the one hand Venezuela’s 1% has attempted to overthrow, defeat, and sabotage Chavez. On the other hand the active mass resistance of the people has opposed returning to the way things were before 1998. A clear class line has emerged in this process, and Chavez has increasingly relied on supporting the efforts of workers and the poor to organize their own power over the direction of the country. Capriles, on the other hand, is a representative of the economic elite who want to regain their political control.

What have been the results of this process in contrast to what is happening in the U.S.?

In Venezuela, under Chavez, the privatization of its oil industry has been reversed and when some large private companies have been found to be unable or unwilling to fulfill social needs, the government has taken them over for the benefit of the people. In contrast, when Wall Street’s greed plunged the U.S. into an economic crisis, it was showered with trillions of taxpayer dollars in the form of bailouts and loans while workers were left to suffer the consequences.

According to studies by the U.N.’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Venezuela ranks first in a list of 12 Latin American countries that have reduced inequalities amongst their members.

In contrast, in the U.S., according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), between the years 2003 – 2005, 0 billion in pre-tax dollars was shifted from the bottom 95 percent to the top 5 percent, costing the bottom 95 percent households ,660 each. While there was a drop in inequality for a short time after the stock market crash as a result of depleted stock portfolios, it has again accelerated. Since 2010, the top 1% has captured 93 percent of income gains.

When Chavez was first elected president, unemployment was 16.1 percent. Today it has been reduced to 6.5 percent with one of the highest minimum wages in Latin America and food stipends. In contrast, in the U.S., 23 million remain unemployed or underemployed while the minimum wage has dramatically fallen behind the cost of living.

In Venezuela extreme poverty has shrunk from 21 percent in 1999, to 6.9 percent today. For the United States, the movement is in just the opposite direction. According to the Census Bureau last year another 2.6 million Americans fell below the official poverty line on top of the 46.2 million already there. This resulted in the highest number of citizens in poverty since the Census Bureau started tracking the figure 52 years ago.

Millions of U.S. families have been kicked onto the streets because of the high rate of forecloses. There are no foreclosures in Venezuela. In fact, the money that used to go into the pockets of its wealthy elite is now being used to build hundreds of thousands of dignified homes for those in need.

By most indexes, including education and health care, the direction of Venezuela and the U.S. could not be more opposite in regards to what social forces are benefiting from the government’s policies, the few ultra-wealthy big business owners or the vast majority composed largely of workers.

The difference is not primarily a result of the character of Chavez or Obama. It is because in Venezuela the grassroots and worker organizations have taken the political lead with their ceaseless organizing and mass activity for their own interests. Chavez has supported this effort and opened up doors to its further development by redirecting the wealth of Venezuela’s economy away from the 1% towards empowering the nation’s vast majority.

This difference in priorities is also reflected in how campaigns are conducted in Venezuela and the U.S. For instance, last Friday, October 5, up to 3 million jubilant Chavez supporters filled the streets of Caracas in the build-up to the elections on Sunday. This turnout was achieved, in large part, by neighborhood, work place, union and other grass root group organizers talking person-to-person within their networks to get the maximum numbers to the event. It was said that the barrios in Caracas’s heavily populated hills were empty as participants flowed down to the mobilization. There have been several other massive outpourings across the country as election day approached. Notably, the rallies in support of Capriles had only a small fraction of the numbers who braved the tropical heat and rain showers to support President Chavez.

In the U.S., the turnout achieved in support of Chavez is unthinkable for either Obama or Romney. While a few thousand may show up to hear them speak, most people are passive and alienated by the campaign process, since they see their standard of living drop no matter which party is in power. The bulk of campaign efforts are fueled by big money buying up advertising time rather than by community links.

Whereas in the U.S. the presidential elections are business as usual, in Venezuela they mark an important milestone whether the country will continue its process towards “21st Century Socialism” or go in reverse. That is, what is at stake is whether Venezuela will complete a transition where both the political and economic systems are democratically controlled by workers for the sake of society as a whole, or whether the oligarchy will get the upper hand, dismantle — most likely with physical force — the grass roots organizations that have been built, turn the nationalized companies back to their original owners, and run the economy for the benefit of a few capitalists’ profits.

The truth is that Venezuela remains a capitalist country. The old reactionary oligarchy still has a grip on the reins of the economy, though the popular movements have managed to grab a significant hold with Chavez’s aid and numerous industry nationalizations. Either one class or the other will prevail in this struggle. As long as the outcome of the revolutionary process in Venezuela remains at a midway point, the fulfillment of its promise remains uncertain. Nevertheless, even with the worst outcome, its gains will not be easily reversed and its example will provide great lessons for the future.

For all of its imperfections, and there are many, the revolutionary process in Venezuela is a beacon for workers’ struggles internationally. When Europe and the U.S. are cutting away at social programs that benefit workers in the name of austerity, and good jobs remain hard to come by, if not impossible to get, the revolutionary process in Venezuela shows that there is an alternative to this road to ruin.

Each nation’s path to this alternative will be different as a result of its own particular circumstances. Nevertheless, this process will be marked by the fulfillment of definite requirements. The first is a united workers-led social movement independent of the capitalist politicians. Without this in Venezuela there would be no Chavez, no potential example of 21st Century Socialism, or any of the reforms under his presidency.

In the U.S., such an independent social movement has yet to develop that can activate and unite the majority, though there have been important attempts in this direction such as “Occupy Wall Street.” Consequently, the political machinery and its corporate policies remain those of our own oligarchy as the current presidential elections demonstrate. This is a passing episode, however, as our economic elite continue to prepare the foundation for inevitable revolt by the people.

Report this post as:

Local News

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

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A13 12:39AM

lausd whistle blower A11 6:58AM

Website Upgrade A10 10:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 8:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 6:58PM

Change Links April 2018 A01 6:27PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Paraphysique de psychosomatique S22 6:58AM

Chuck Grassley: Women Abusing, Animal Murdering, Illegal War Supporting Criminal S22 2:58AM

Finance Capitalism and the Digital Economy S21 4:45PM

Muselières syndicales, muselières patronales S21 7:19AM

Jeff Bezos, Amazon, The Washington Post, Whole Foods, Etc S21 2:50AM

Why Choose Nut Milk Over Cows' Milk S21 1:01AM

Antrhopocène, le grand effondrement S19 9:53AM

Creative Destruction Hack Diamonds Windows/iOS/Android - Creative Destruction Generator S19 12:51AM

Abolir l'économie S18 11:18AM

The Dictatorship of Corporations S17 5:26PM

18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting S17 3:13PM

Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue S15 6:51AM

Creative Destruction Hack Mod Generator S15 3:49AM

Shopping du bashing S14 8:42AM

After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again S13 8:28PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen S12 9:30PM

Probabilités de fin d'humanité S12 6:49AM

Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW S11 2:57AM

Propagande de virus, virus de propagande S10 7:34AM

Steer clear of work morality! S09 12:10PM

Sweatshop Lodge Ceremony Continues in US Fed Prisons Led by Inmates S08 6:17PM

Paraphysique de l'origami S08 7:11AM

The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally! S06 11:23PM

August 2018 Honduras Coup update S06 12:28PM

Du réussissement putréfié S06 10:55AM

Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges S06 6:14AM

Log S06 4:25AM

Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts S05 8:29AM

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