'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Monday, September 25, 2006

A Thug Speaks, Again 

UPDATE: Charlie Hardy, an American expatriate who lives in Caracas, observed the following response to Chavez's speech:

I watched Chavez's speech in the office of a public building. The secretaries were all cheering Chavez as he spoke the words.

Here is the link for the rest of Charlie's perspective about the speech that emphasizes how much of the rest of the world views the US.

INITIAL POST: Chavez elaborates on his UN speech in this interview with Tim Padgett of Time:

TIME: Why do you attack President George W. Bush with such jolting language?

CHAVEZ: I believe words have great weight, and I want people to know exactly what I mean. I'm not attacking President Bush; I'm simply counterattacking. Bush has been attacking the world, and not just with words--with bombs. When I say these things I believe I'm speaking for many people, because they too believe this moment is our opportunity to stop the threat of a U.S. empire that uses the U.N. to justify its aggression against half the world. In Bush's speech to the U.N., he sounded as if he wants to be master of the world. I changed my original speech after reading his.

TIME: But doesn't your rhetoric--referring to Bush, for example, as an "alcoholic"--risk alienating potential allies?

CHAVEZ: First of all, Bush has called me worse: tyrant, populist dictator, drug trafficker, to name a few. I was simply telling a truth that people should know about this President, a man with gigantic power.

Chavez specifically describes the evolution of his thought in light of the hubris of the United States in the mid-1990s, as it, through the International Monetary Fund, ruthlessly imposed structural adjustment plans throughout the Americas, and, indeed the world:

TIME: You said recently that you believe the "Bolívar Doctrine is finally replacing the Monroe Doctrine" on your watch. Why?

CHAVEZ: For two centuries in this hemisphere we've experienced a confrontation between two theses--America's Monroe Doctrine, which says the U.S. should exercise hegemony over all the other republics, and the doctrine of Simón Bolívar, which envisioned a great South American republic as a counterbalance. Bush has spread the Monroe thesis globally, to make the U.S. the police of the world--if you're not with us, he says, you're against us. We're simply doing the same now with the Bolívar thesis--a doctrine of more equality and autonomy among nations, more equilibrium of power.

TIME: What's the difference between your "socialism for the 21st century" and past attempts to fix the region's economic inequality?

CHAVEZ: When I was released from prison [in 1994] and began my political life, I naively took as a reference point Tony Blair's proposal for a "third way" between capitalism and socialism--capitalism with a human face. Not anymore. After seeing the failure of Washington-backed capitalist reforms in Latin America, I no longer think a third way is possible. Capitalism is the way of the devil and exploitation, of the kind of misery and inequality that destroys social values. If you really look at things through the eyes of Jesus Christ--who I think was the first socialist--only socialism can really create a genuine society.

It is this refusal to accept direction from the United States and its G-8 allies that earned Chavez the honor of being described as an everyday thug by Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Like Samson in the temple, Chavez repudiated the edifice of neoliberal technical and financial assistance as it has evolved in institutions created by United States, Europe and Japan, since the end of World War II.

While the trial of Saddam Hussein goes on and on, with the trial of O. J. Simpson now looking like an example of judicial efficiency by comparison, Chavez indicted, tried and convicted an engrained model of global social control in about half an hour. With the rise in commodity prices, including, but not limited to, oil and natural gas, empowering him, and the leaders of other developing countries, Chavez publicly shattered the chains of a debtor/creditor relationship that has required that they remain subservient to the United States, so subservient, in fact, that any public pronouncements other than obsequious gratitude are received as the most grave insults.

Poor Nancy. Upon seeing Chavez's speech, she must have experienced an overwhelming visceral sensation of abject fear as if discovering that the residents of San Francisco housing projects like Sunnydale were now financially and politically independent. Conservatives may ruthlessly exploit the peoples of the developing world, but it is liberals like Pelosi that must rationalize their abuse as an inevitable aspect of global economics so as to justify a privileged position as the intermediary of their grievances. Chavez pretty much said, I don't need you, anymore, I can speak and act for myself.

Faced with such an assertiveness, predictably received quite favorably by people all over the world, especially among people of color, Pelosi stared into an abyss of irrelevancy, feeeling herself disappear as if Dorothy had thrown water on her. Only a thug could do such a terrible thing, just as the only solution to rulers like Chavez and Ahmanijedad is military force, because only the use of such force constitutes an effective example of discipline to keep others in line.

It brings to mind the need to execute rebellious slaves like Nat Turner, because, after all, if we do not make an example of them, others might join the resistance. It is an insight into the times in which we live that Turner was hung for actually organizing a violent uprising against slavery, but rulers like Chavez and Ahmanijedad face threats from the US, as well as covert operations, for merely opposing US policy.

According to wikipedia, Turner was skinned, beheaded and quartered, with body parts kept by whites as souvenirs. One can grotesquely imagine US special forces turning Chavez's corpse over to the Venezuelan elite for similar treatment. Times have changed, however, and the price of regime change in Venezuela, as in Iran, is nothing less than the collapse of the American empire, and its transformation into a pariah state. But are Bush and the neo-conservatives alarmed about such a prospect, or have they been incorrigibly seduced by the allure of self-destruction?

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