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

Monday, March 07, 2011

Chavez and the Arab Revolution (Part 2) 

As Louis Proyect states with precision, you can't simply put a minus where the ruling class puts a plus:

The struggle in the Arab world is for democratic rights. That trumps any diplomatic deal struck between Venezuela and Libya. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels first came into prominence as activists in the revolutionary upsurge of 1848 that sought to abolish feudal despotism. The ground had to be cleared for battles between the working class and the bourgeoisie. To hasten that showdown it was necessary to fight for a democratic republic with full rights for working people, including the right to form trade unions, to vote and to assemble peacefully. That is exactly the same kinds of battles taking place in the Arab world today and those on the left who oppose it through malicious propaganda are serving the counter-revolution.

In regard to Chavez, Proyect states that the more he obfuscates, the worse it will get for him. I'm more pessimistic, and believe that the damage may already be irreversible.

Or, to put it more bluntly, as As'ad Abukhalil did last Thursday:

I just can't stomach those leftists who stood with Saddam, and who are standing today with Qadhdhafi. There is nothing leftist about those two reprehensible tyrants. Those two tyrants are very similar, as I argue in my Al-Akhbar article for this coming Saturday. They both were unpopular and charismatic and suffering from an acute case of Nasser's syndrome. They both wanted to be intellectuals and novelists. Tariq Aziz tells that Saddam was sending him his last novel manuscript a day before the US invaded his country. There are tyrants with talents and neither of the two were. At least Stalin was really well-tread and wrote very well (he wrote his own books too), while Mao was really smart and wrote good poetry. You can't even compare the aphorisms of Mao to the drivel of the two lousy tyrants. Oh, and I never treated the clown, Chavez as a leftist. I view him more as a clown in the same league with Sa'ib `Urayqat but with different momentary politics.

Personally, I don't consider Chavez a clown, as a close reading of my post on this subject last week indicates, as well as others about him and Venezuela that I have presented here over the years. There is much about him that is praiseworthy, with his speech in opposition to the US invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001 being one of the bravest acts by a political figure in recent memory, but he is displaying a dogged refusal to recognize that world events no longer confirm to his Manichean, post 9/11, post April 2002 coup perspective about the perils of US imperialism. He is revealing himself as an example of precisely what Proyect deplores, putting a minus where the ruling class puts a plus. As one of the most important creations of a left culture that developed over several decades in South America, he is risking the future maginalization of it through his support for Gaddafi, which is more important than whether he reveals himself to be a clown or not.

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