Mark Weisbrot, co-writer of “South of the Border” debunks BBC interviewer here.
I shouldn’t be surprised that this British interviewer sounded like just as much of a hack as your typical American talking head, but I was.
Comment by Karl Friedrich — June 23, 2010 @ 8:59 pm
Jeez, what was with all the racist neo-nazi posts that were here a second ago?
Comment by Desmond — June 24, 2010 @ 1:04 pm
The racist neo-nazi posts are made by someone with severe mental problems. He is a 38 year old bed-wetter named Iggy who lives in his parent’s basement.
Comment by louisproyect — June 24, 2010 @ 1:28 pm
Isn’t it great to hear a world leader talk so openly about socialism? Let us hope this guy can create the sort of society where the considerable advances achieved so far cannot be easily undone. And let us hope that a united Latin America can begin to emerge and a united anti imperialsim grows ever stronger.
Comment by James — June 24, 2010 @ 4:32 pm
The character of a bourgeois government isn’t determined by the personal character of its members, but by its organic function in bourgeois society. The government of the modern state is essentially an organization of class domination, the regular functioning of which is one of the conditions of existence of the class state. With the entry of a socialist into the government, and class domination continuing to exist, the bourgeois government doesn’t transform itself into a socialist government, but a socialist transforms himself into a bourgeois minister. The social reforms that a minister who is a friend of the workers can realize have nothing, in themselves, of socialist; they are socialist only insofar as they are obtained through class struggle. But coming from a minister, social reforms can’t have the character of the proletarian class, but solely the character of the bourgeois class, for the minister, by the post he occupies, attaches himself to that class by all the functions of a bourgeois, militarist government. While in parliament, or on the municipal council, we obtain useful reforms by combating the bourgeois government, while occupying a ministerial post we arrive at the same reforms by supporting the bourgeois state. The entry of a socialist into a bourgeois government is not, as it is thought, a partial conquest of the bourgeois state by the socialists, but a partial conquest of the socialist party by the bourgeois state. – Luxembourg
Comment by The Idiot — June 25, 2010 @ 8:39 am
The problem with the idiots position is that it is too negative. Chavez talking about socialism will get people thinking about what that means, it will begin a debate, get people reading left wing authors, listen to left wing views. Make left wing ideas more accessible to the people. It has to be better than what went before, doesn’t it?
Comment by James — June 25, 2010 @ 8:52 am
I don’t usually care for the Idiot’s comments, but this quote from Luxemburg is exactly right.
James, “too negative”? Magical thinking didn’t do Salvador Allende much good either.
Comment by ish — June 25, 2010 @ 2:55 pm
You can’t let history weigh you down.
The idiot wishes to propose that Chavez is a defeat for socialism rather than an advance, hence the quote “The entry of a socialist into a bourgeois government is not, as it is thought, a partial conquest of the bourgeois state by the socialists, but a partial conquest of the socialist party by the bourgeois state”.
This is ridiculous, isn’t it?
Comment by James — June 25, 2010 @ 5:04 pm
Well I don’t think the word is out yet on whether Chavez is a defeat for socialism or not. True or not most people in the US view him as yet another dictator so yay! socialism=dictatorship! What The Idiot actually seems to be saying is that the discussion of Chavez and socialism seems to always leave out discussion of the class nature of the Venezuelan state. And being no Chavez expert I’m not diving too deep into those waters but the answer sure isn’t obvious to me and the things I learned back in Leninism 101.
But sure, let’s all send positive energy to Chavez and I’m sure that work!
Comment by ish — June 25, 2010 @ 5:21 pm
True or not most people in the US view him as yet another dictator so yay! socialism=dictatorship!
Um ish I dont know what your doing here, Chavez has been democratically elected a number of times. It is media li3es which have created this impression of Chavez the despot, something that would be done to any regime capitalist or socialist which bucks the status quo. Until we shut the propaganda machine down noone even Karl Marx resurrected will get a fair hearing.
Comment by SGuy — June 25, 2010 @ 7:05 pm
It is ridiculous in the context of Latin America today vis-a-vis US Imperialism’s superpower status insofar as when Rosa was writing the proletariat were on an unprecedented class conscious upswing on a world stage, whereas the bourgeoisie were in retreat from their disaterous First imperialist war. Today you’re lucky to find workers with even trade union consciousness.
Comment by Karl Friedrich — June 25, 2010 @ 7:58 pm
Sguy I didn’t say Chavez was a dictator. I said only that most people here think he is. He is clearly not. That he is not a dictator, however, does not, in my mind, prove that he is actually transforming social relations.
Karl, so now I’m not sure I understand where you’re coming from. If I was in Venezuela I would certainly vote for Chavez… but is supporting Chavez a good idea because he says he is a socialist or because capitalism is actually being ended there?
Comment by ish — June 25, 2010 @ 8:23 pm
I support Chavez for the same reason I supported the Sandinistas. Even though the Sandinistas took power through armed struggle and Chavez was elected, he’s probably at this juncture nationalized more private property than the Sandinistas ever did. Of course it’s no utopia but should it be considered a workers’ state? That’s a good question. Not technically but it’s at least as much of a workers’ state as Nicaragua was under the Sandinistas.
Comment by Karl Friedrich — June 25, 2010 @ 9:23 pm
Chavez is not a minister, he’s the president, and his movement–surely more proletarian/plebeian than (petty) bourgeois, and socialist rather than social democratic–isn’t part of the government, it IS the government (and more than the government).
Comment by Alex — June 26, 2010 @ 12:47 am
Alex & Karl, so all that Leninist stuff about smashing the state, revolution not reform, that means nothing? I mean that as a serious question.
Comment by ish — June 26, 2010 @ 1:33 am
I’m not satisfied with Chavez, his government, and his movement (and I’m not Venezuelan), but they’re moving in the right direction, and I find them inspiring rather than disappointing.
Comment by Alex — June 26, 2010 @ 2:27 am
Karl’s answer to a lack of working class consciousness is to support military officers who take the reins of bourgeois states and declare it socialism.
Comment by The Idiot — June 27, 2010 @ 3:44 pm
Whereas the Idiot’s answer to a lack of working class consciousness is to erect puritanical constructs of political correctness based on century old quotes from Rosa Luxembourg instead of building on the progressive significance of events in the real world under actually existing conditions of imperialist war, capitalist convulsion, and the stampeding petite bourgeoisie.
Comment by Karl Friedrich — June 27, 2010 @ 5:46 pm
Is working class consciousness not being built and expressed in Venezuela today, including by Chavez? It seems to me that it is. (And Chavez is a better symbol of it than Prince Myshkin.)
Comment by Alex — June 28, 2010 @ 1:10 am
It’s always refreshing to see President Chavez telling it like it is to the apologists of imperialism, and demonstrating once more that he is full possession of genuine, true cojones. Notice how absurd it seems to refer to the United States as an imperialist nation. It is! ¡Viva la revolución bolivariana!
Comment by Francisco — July 7, 2010 @ 10:29 pm
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