Chávez' death: Neither in mourning nor celebration, time for social struggles to become autonomous!

Chávez' death: Neither in mourning nor celebration, time for social struggles to become autonomous!

When an illness becomes serious, when medical attention becomes a vehicle for myopic, politically motivated decisions and when a patient becomes drunk with power, it can only end this way. The strongman has died, and in so doing, he has initiated a substantial shift in the Venezuelan political landscape.

What used to be the regime’s greatest strength has suddenly turned into its defining weakness: it was all Chávez, and, without him, the only solution is to fabricate an absolute commitment to his memory and his plans for succession. The government’s true fragility can now be seen, a government which tried to demonstrate its “popular, socialist” character via a grotesque personality cult, a practice that has now been reduced to the empty invocation of spirits. The deceased himself is to blame for this outcome as the secrecy around his illness was propelled by the same motivations as the extreme centralisation of power around him, while the lack of ideological coherence amongst his followers has left them scrapping for crumbs. The high-level “rojo-rojito” [chavista red] bureaucrats and the upper echelons of the military are best placed to benefit, as they negotiate impunity for their various misdemeanours and corruptions.

For the right-wing and social democratic opposition, the new situation finds them unable to overcome their losses of the presidential elections of October 7 and the regionals of December 16, offering a “yuppy populism” which promises voters that they will maintain and fine-tune the clientelist tools of governmental power which were so useful to Chavez. This accommodation assumes the belief that a fortuitous metastasis has brought them within reach of the power that their greed, mistakes, laziness and incompetence had kept them away from, power they will wield with similar stupidity and greed as the Chavista bolibourgeoisie.
The backdrop to this load of petty opportunism – from both the Gran Polo Patriótico [the Chavista coalition] and the Mesa de Unidad Democrática [the opposition coalition] – is Venezuela, a country that faces its own problems: out of control inflation, rising unemployment and precarious jobs, the devaluation of the currency, shocking personal insecurity, crises in electricity and water provision, education and health systems in decline, a housing shortage, obsolete – or incomplete – public works, a demagogic approach which pays attention to only the most extreme scarcities experienced by the most desperate people... a whole host of other problems which are equally disastrous.

These issues are not the central concern of the two gangs in competition for Miraflores [the President palace/seat] and the oil booty. Our collective response must be to not relent to their blackmail: support at the ballot box in exchange for ‘solutions’ that either never materialise or are ludicrously inadequate. Now is the time to overpower the rotten powers that be and build – from below – a real democracy of equality, social justice and freedom. We must unleash the generalised anger caused by our suffering, and convert it into autonomous social struggles, self-managed and extensive. We must spell out for the politicians in power that we don’t need them, neither as intermediaries nor as gracious givers of what we ourselves can construct – united and from the base – without any need for “clean hands” or “red berets”.

EL LIBERTARIO Editorial Collective - @pelibertario -

Posted By

Caiman del Barrio
Mar 5 2013 23:27


  • We must spell out for the politicians in power that we don’t need them, neither as intermediaries nor as gracious givers of what we ourselves can construct – united and from the base – without any need for “clean hands” or “red berets”

Attached files


Mar 6 2013 20:35


Mar 6 2013 14:34

"Crumbs" to the poor?

What You Won’t Hear About Hugo #Chavez in the Establishment Press By JOHN E. JONES ,

Why is Hugo Chavez called a Dictator?
by Rania Khalek on March 5, 2013

Caiman del Barrio
Mar 6 2013 23:15

Meanwhile, an actual social activist was murdered, probably by chavista goons, a couple of days ago:

Mar 7 2013 00:14
NannerNannerNannerNannerNanner wrote:

I'm really love-hate with a lot of your comments a lot of the time, nanners. I wish you would have left this one up till I could actually sit down and read the whole the thing. I got to read the the first paragraph before rushing to work, and I think I hated it, or was confused. But I was looking forward to reading the rest as you usually give us something salvageable or even pretty good, imo.

Mar 7 2013 00:22

I've been quite surprised by a few people who should have known better sooking about Chavez on my Facebook feed.

Mar 7 2013 03:01
Laborbund wrote:
hey... there was a post here...

First of all, I was pretty shocked by the death of Hugo Chavez. While it's perfectly reasonable to hate politicians, I believe Hugo Chavez represented the long overdue death of a very old type of politicking - social democracy

I wrote, in pretty melodramatic fashion on reflection, that the death of Hugo Chavez represented the "absolute last page of history" as Venezuala under Chavez, despite everything, was on a trajectory to "[social] justice".

I say that he was a social reformer who's principles ran up against the expectations of a decadent elite used to wrenching the people dry, and I assert that Chavez mobilized the working classes to defend his ruler - I say that the role of all of these grand social programs was not tether an agitated populace to a welfare state but to tether the people to Chavez himself. (In what I hope is prophetic, I say that Chavez's establishment of civil society, which was integral to protecting his reign from a completely parasitical bourgeoisie, has created a "united" poor and that shits gon' go nuts in the next year or so)

And finally, I say that, with the death of Chavez, social democracy is finally dead and an entire epoch of history is over. I say that neoliberalism has been dominating history since its' ostensible "end" (Fukuyama, you know) but also say that the future is unwritten.

I don't think I said anything I disagree with. The reason I got rid of it wasn't because five people read it and was like "this is terrible", It was because it was like 11 when I should have been at 3. I got rid of it because I could pretty much detect that CNN currently gives more of a shit about Chavez than libcom does. I found the comment was so cartoonish and theatrical when the current consensus seems to be an aggressive "meh".

I think it was great, basically, but that the tone was apocalyptic when it should have been "well that sure was a thing huh". I agree with everything I wrote in it, I just got rid of it because people didn't see much of anything in thebsituation. I was under the assumption that this was going to be like a 15 page comment thread and that going full Jünger was appropriate.

If you can wayback and see the comment I wrote, more power to ya! I only deleted it because it was way to dramatic for the discussion being generated, which is just not there.

Mar 7 2013 03:46
Mar 7 2013 10:33

Libertarian reflections on the death of Hugo Chávez

The Venezuelan people are not the same as they were under the Fourth Republic. They are more politicized and organized. They are aware of how much they have gained in recent years and, therefore, of what can be lost. Neo-liberalism and its champions are no longer the political centre, which has shifted markedly to the left. The axis on which the public agenda turns is no longer the same - this can be seen in the fact that even the opposition candidate, a rich kid with a clearly right-wing past, had to dress up for the occasion as a social democrat and compared himself with Lula in order not to obtain ridiculous results at the polls.

The best cadres of the Bolivarian process are among those from below who helped to trigger everything, its greatest asset are these mixed-race people, rebellious, creative, who express themselves in a multitude of ways, inside and outside the "Chavista" structures, in the Corriente Revolucionaria Bolívar y Zamora, in the poor townships, in the alternative media, in the class-struggle trade unions, in the people in arms, in the struggle for public spaces, for the oil surplus, for national sovereignty, for culture, water, land, for health, for a decent life and Popular Power. With or without Chávez they will go on, because the struggle of the Venezuelan people did not begin or end with his death.

Edit: this image would seem to show a red and black flag (directly above Chavez' head).

Mar 7 2013 10:09

Contradictory legacy of Hugo Chávez (WW4 Report)

How revolutionary is the Bolivarian Revolution? There has been no forcible upheaval of Venezuela's traditional oligarchy, but a gradual imposing of discipline over it. And the (admittedly small) left opposition has warned of a new boli-bourgeoisie, or "Bolivarian bourgeoisie," around the state industries and loyal sectors. Chávez's program was (and is) populist and anti-imperialist, but his "21st century socialism" looked a lot more like 20th century corporatism. And by that we don't mean rule by the big corporations, as the term is too frequently used today, but the older definition: a system characterized by "incorporation" of popular institutions such as trade unions and mass organizations into the apparatus of the state or ruling party. This system entails populist content to the reigning program, but also an ethic of class collaboration rather than class struggle.

Mar 7 2013 11:48

Then in July 2006 Chávez visited Iran Khodro, the biggest car and vehicle manufacturing plant in the Middle East. The Iran Khodro workers had heard many positive things about Chávez and were excited to meet him in person. To begin with the workers were pleasantly surprised at the President of a country shaking hands with workers and even kissing them on the cheek. They were about read out a statement in his honour, welcoming this revolutionary leader to their factory. But before they could read it Chávez began praising Ahmadinejad, calling him his brother, calling the Iranian regime a revolutionary government and so on. The workers were totally disgusted by him. They tore up the statement and left the hall.

Mar 7 2013 22:52

An interesting critical analysis by Sergio Lopez of the background to, and early phase, of Chavez 'Bolivarian Revolution' including the 'contradictory' function of the various 'missions' can be seen in two parts here:

It seems that some things may have improved and some have got worse since that was written but it is not too difficult to trace a certain continuity with subsequent years up to the present.

Mar 8 2013 10:27

Statement from the Uruguayan Anarchist Federation (Google translated).

Edit: Statement from Alternative Libertaire (ditto)

Mar 8 2013 14:53

thanks to everyone for the links, this thread is a resource.

Mar 24 2013 22:26
May 27 2013 07:18

You mention problems with inflation, unemployment, electricity and water provision, education and health systems, housing, and public works, yet you do not inform your readers that all of these things were even worse before Chavez was first elected – in some cases significantly worse.

He deserves a bit more credit than this article gives him.