Thursday April, 27th. I rush into the office after several days off due to protests and Metro closures. The National Assembly calls an open session in Parque Miranda (not a march) and I suppose that our Metro Stations might not be shut down today and my students will be able to get to class. We haven’t met and our schedule is starting to look utopia.

As I set things up for my last lecture on Marx’s analysis of capitalism, I take a few minutes to look through the news and an exotic TT grabs my attention: “class consciousness”. Of course I click. And I find this article written by former vice-president and presidential yerno Jorge Arreaza: “Hoy más que nunca: conciencia de clase.”

Private property hasn’t disappeared either: we just have new owners.

The post sets out a simple summary of Karl Marx’s definitions of social class and then tries to explain how Venezuela’s bourgeoisie ruled until 1999, in a political and legal system designed to enforce a set of unfair economic relations that ensured that wealth could be monopolized by a small elite. This changed when Hugo Chávez was elected: the bourgeoisie lost its political power and the working class started building new political institutions and slowly began to transform economic relations.

The Venezuelan bourgeoisie, Arreaza argues, has a strong social consciousness and therefore fights to maintain its privileges. The struggle now takes place on different battlegrounds, and the most important one is online: digital media and web 2.0. There is no way to make the interests of the working class compatible with those of the bourgeoisie but, according to Arreaza, Venezuela’s working class’ consciousness needs to be strengthened to sustain the Bolivarian revolution.

Many criticisms could be levelled here. Maybe Mr Arreaza would do well to read contemporary academic Marxists discussing class and social consciousness in our times, but perhaps that’s too much to ask. Let’s begin from Marx’s own concepts and ask: who is the ruling class today? Is it the working class?

Every attempt since 1999 to promote “social property,” such as cooperatives or enterprises based on worker’s co-management, has failed. Many businesses have been nationalized, but state property does not mean the end of social classes, as shown by sociological research on social stratification within the USSR.

Of course, private property hasn’t disappeared either: we just have new owners, usually dubbed bolichicos and boliburgueses. Venezuela’s working class is still facing great deprivation and injustice, and las misiones haven’t changed our social situation, however much government propaganda tries to say they do. The idea that, today, the workers are the ruling class doesn’t stand up to a bit of critical scrutiny.

… According to Arreaza, Venezuela’s working class’ consciousness needs to be strengthened to sustain the Bolivarian revolution.

The truth is that the PSUV elite is our new ruling class: a motley crew picked out of what Marx would’ve called the petite bourgeoisie that spent the 80s and 90s as leftist academics, full-time rabblerousers, disgruntled military officers and small-time bureaucrats, educated on the public dime and now mixing a voracious apetite for public resources with a pathological contempt with those who dissent.

This class controls our means of production, has set a political system to sustain its privileges, also enforced by our armed forces. What’s shocking is Arreaza’s lack of self-awareness as he writes about the miseries of the old regime and…unwittingly presents an almost perfect definition of the current one:

Unas Fuerzas Armadas que actuaban como ejército de ocupación, para proteger los privilegios de los pocos y reprimir a las grandes mayorías, que reclamaban su parte de esa riqueza, riqueza que ellos producían, y que también reclamaban los derechos sociales que les eran negados permanentemente.

An armed force that acted like an occupying army, to protect the privileges of the few and repress the broad majority which clamored for its share of the wealth, of wealth they produced, and that also clamored for social rights that were permanently denied to them.

For many years, left wing discourse has been an important political resource for this new ruling class. But, reading Arreaza, I couldn’t help but think back to Manuel Caballero‘s classic take on this:

(…) el conservatismo, el establishment, el status quo, o si se prefiere, la derecha, no necesita precisiones ni definiciones, y poco importa que la ubiquen a la izquierda o a la derecha si con eso logra disimular que donde en realidad está es arriba.

Conservatism, the Establishment and the status quo or, if you prefer, the right wing, doesn’t need precisions or definitions, it hardly matters whether you situate it on the left or the right, just as long as you’re able to conceal its real location: up on top.

67 COMMENTS

  1. “The truth is that the PSUV elite is our new ruling class: a motley crew picked out of what Marx would’ve called the petite bourgeoisie that spent the 80s and 90s as leftist academics, full-time rabblerousers, disgruntled military officers and small-time bureaucrats, educated on the public dime and now mixing a voracious apetite for public resources with a pathological contempt with those who dissent.”

    Sssssshhhhh….you are giving away yhe dirty secret of communism….

  2. Even though this author (?) is entitld to her opinion, all she has done is write a screed of opposition fairy tales while displaying her instrinsic cerebral amoebas of socail racism.

    • Bullshit. What are you going to try to convince of now, that chavismo is a uniter and not a divider?

      As for the rest of her theme, Godgiven Hair recently held a pep rally in our humble pueblo. Hundreds of his band of traveling groupies followed him here. We go without running water while his apologists all drive brand new late model cars.

      That detail was not lost on the locals.

    • Nobody cares what you think about the credentials of an author that has obviously triggered you deeply in your doctrine. I live you with this, no matter how hard you try it doesn’t stop being the truth of our present reality.
      “The truth is that the PSUV elite is our new ruling class: a motley crew picked out of what Marx would’ve called the petite bourgeoisie that spent the 80s and 90s as leftist academics, full-time rabblerousers, disgruntled military officers and small-time bureaucrats, educated on the public dime and now mixing a voracious apetite for public resources with a pathological contempt with those who dissent.”

  3. Lissette, you surely know a lot about real life in the Soviet Union but I would recommend Robert Service’s book A History on Modern Russia.
    The sheer amount of details is amazing. The top blokes lived incredibly well, starting from Lenin as long as he had some health, and used such words as bourgeoisie to taint their enemies before going to worse.
    Still, the chutzpah of chavismo is really incredible.
    I am still annoyed very few opposition leaders manage to use this in their discourse against the regime.
    How come even third rank officials in Venezuela need to have more bodyguards than the minister of interior of Germany or Spain? How come their children are not born in the public hospitals they are so proud of?
    I was born in a public hospital during the IV Republic.
    I suppose one reason is some people like Allup might have rabo de paja…others are just too scared to use rhetorical means that really would hurt the Cabello and Chavez clans.

    I think we need to have an enormous march with just one very specific theme: chavista corruption and chavista elite. In that march there should be at least 100 persons in charge of designing posters and flyers and puppets representing nepotism and corruption affairs involving the Chavez clan, 100 people doing the same thing with the Maduro, 100 with the Cabello group and so on.
    We should go into big detail. The march should not touch any other single subject. Just talk about the corrupt, filthy elite that is destroying Venezuela and that pretends to be revolutionary when it is just a bunch of putrid pashas.

  4. Since in Venezuela most of the wealth came from the oil industry which was controlled by the state which distributed it in ways that generously favoured its followers and rewarded its partisans be they middle class or humble class or whatever but specially those closest to the ruling political circle the marxist classical division of an all powerful propertied upper class and a poor happless exploited working class is woefully naive and inapplicable. even if melodramatically romantic!!

    To begin with the hardest working have always been the middle class understood as that type of people who are forward looking , concern themselves about the future of their children , and see the production of wealth not just as a means to sattisfy their immediate consumer cravings but as a way to create a stable state of secure comfort for their families, and moreover as those who seek the improvement of their lives through thrift, investment and their childrens education ….!! Maybe 25% of the total population . To be middle class ( bourgeois) or marginal class is more defined by a persons ethos and mentality ( and the results thereof) than by how much money people get to make ….!!

    Also Venezuela’s oil wealth and populist philosophy of govt for years have created a middle class linked to peoples access to govt jobs and subsidized education and other forms of state largesse ( ultimately tied to their political loyalties) which allowed lots of people of humble origin to climb the social ladder without having to create any wealth at all, to intermarry with the better off and to develop a middle class ethos ..!!

    So the nice tidy simplistic epic marxist classification of society divided into the class of the power full traditionally wealthy capitalist class and the hard working exploited proletariat who with their labour created all the wealth , is more a childs tale than a historical reality …..!!

    Who rules now is defined by peoples politics and personal connections and willingness to be useful to the regimes goals not by their social origin , most people in power now are middle class origin with a spattering of people on the borderline between the lower middle class and the less favoured classes who made good during the years of most generous populist distribution …….,

    • Of course, it is simplistic to state there are only two opposed social classes, even from a marxist framework. But even from this point of view, it cannot be proved that working class is now ruling.

      • Maybe the important thing is not the precise social origin of the people who rule but whom they believe themselves to represent as rulers , thus if when they rule they see themselves as the embodiment of ‘the people’ then it is ‘the people’ who rule ……!!

        • It is not only about where the people come from, but what role are they playing. They are the new owners, what they say or believe is just ideology. Or so a marxist would say

  5. Under Communism everyone is equal, some are just more equal than others.

    Venezuela is not ruled by the rich or the poor. Venezuela is ruled by criminals.
    No different than Stalin, Mao, Castro or so many other tyrants that have lived well while the people suffered.

    No different than the dictators that loot their countries treasuries for personal gain, use the military as the occupying force and oppress any opposition.

    Eventually these corrupt bastards will end up on the scrap heap of history. Along with the histories of all the other brutal regimes that people refuse to learn from and continue to allow their successors to come to power.

    Venezuela will again be free. I truly hope that the people cherish their freedom, never again allow a tyrant to buy their support with the crumbs of the public purse wile they steal the remainder and teach their children to cherish liberty and democracy and to protect it with their lives.

    I am an American. The debate regarding gun control has been front and center in our country for many years. Thomas Jefferson wrote in defense of personal firearm ownership that “The tree of liberty from time to time needs to be fertilized with the blood of tyrants and patriots.”

    Sadly, just like so many other dictatorships that I have witnessed in my lifetime, the oppressors are the only people with the firearms. The people with the guns are in control.

    When basic human rights are denied to one, they are not guaranteed to anybody.

    Your cause is just. Your struggle is the struggle of all people everywhere in this world that support the right of people to decide their own destiny, live without fear, be safe in their homes and in public and to breathe free.

    I think I speak for everyone that cherishes these values when I say,

    Soy venezolano!! Viva Venezuela!!

  6. Correct me if I’m wrong but Marx’s Capital has a very short chapter on class (I think less than a page) and doesnt says much, right?

    • The chapter about social classes is the last of Capital’s third book and it was unfinished. So, this concept has to be tracked in all his writings. Without a formal definition, there has been different interpretations among marxist authors. But the basic role of property in class definition has been widely accepted in this view.

  7. Due to the power of the military today the class that predominates is the lower-middle class, since most graduates from the Military are derived from these social strata. The young from these homes tend to prefer the military because is the path of least resistance, compared to medicine, law or Engineering. Many of these youngsters are socially resented, such as the case with CChavez, and this explains the hatred he was able to instill in the poor against the “rich” (the middle-middle class)
    However, there is a lot of the middlke-middle class and upper classes involved in chavismo, for opportunistic reasons, bolichicos, decadent aristocrats a la chaderton, people without ethics who have flourished under all dictatorships in Venezuela, a la Rangel padre, Rangel hijo and Rangel nieto (papi-papi).
    If we had to define it, I think this has been a “revolution” of the lower-middle class. , as you can read in APORREA. The poor have been silent witnesses and limited themselves to extend their hand.
    However, it is just to add that , in my experience as a social activist during the 1990’s, many members of the lower-middle class are the best citizens that can be found.

  8. I think a major problem with socialism is that it can easily be abused. How does it happen, almost with exception, that the leaders of socialism become so wealthy. Castro was by far the wealthiest person in Cuba but in the literature about his reign there is little mention of wealth. The same is true for so many others. Kim Jung Un is by far the wealthiest person in North Korea. Does anyone think that Mao and Stalin finished their careeres without obtaining great wealth. And it is not just the top people. Their supporters all acquire great wealth. It is true that they usually provide free education and decent healthcare but they do this by severely underpaying the workers. The workers receive very little and the leaders who gained their positions promising paradise to the lower classes are the ones who truly profit and they sustain themselves in power through the rhetoric of class resentment. So, who are the wealthy in Venezuela, who are the winnets under Chavismo. Is it perhaps the heirs of Chavez and the Maduro family or is it tbe folks who live in poverty on the hillsides of Caracas? The hypocrisy of socialism and the dismissal of that hypocrisy by the true believers amazes me. It is a perpetual ponzi scheme where activists profit on the backs of the underclass. Having said that democratic socialism, should you pursue that after the Chavistas are toppled is far preferable to the fascist socialism you now have.

    • The major problem with socialism is that it needs unfettered access to other people’s money. Once that’s used up, it collapses.

    • I doubt if either Stalin or Mao acquired a great deal of personal property or cash. They did not need to, as they had total control of the state and all its resources. AIUI, in the USSR, personal wealth was possible, but among the nomenklatura it was considered “infra dig”; it was taken as a sign that the person was not secure in his political power, the true font of luxuries and privileges.

      Also, Stalin and Mao I think had greater confidence in the ultimate triumph of Communism, and felt little need to “hedge” with foreign bank accounts and such. They (and some of their cronies) probably accumulated millions, but that was small compared to the billions pocketed by chavistas, Putin’s cronies (siloviki), Mexican PRIistas, even late Brezhnevites and Castroites.

      • indeed. I have just written about that, that is the main reason why I doubt Chavistas will accept democracy at all now. I remember very well the conditions that existed in Poland, Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union. None of the high officials there commanded so much hatred and had to lose so much from losing power as Chavista honchos, none. Just try to imagine life for Diosdado or Maduro after they lose power. Where? The best places for them would be something like Costa Rica or Uruguay. Possible? I do not know

        • Right you are, Mr Kepler. What Venezuelan would care to live in Russia? Or China?

          Their only guaranteed impunity is to stay in power in Venezuela. They will fight like a junkyard dog, to the death, to hold on to the bitter end

  9. Lissette, your definition of Venezuela’s new ruling class is brilliant/spot-on, as the “PSUV elite…a motley crew….” Poor ignorant/indocrinated Arreaza’s “working class” demanding their fair share of “la riqueza” that they “produced”, is only they wanting their fair share of something they did not produce–the oil mana del cielo que ha caido a Venezuela por casi un siglo. The one common denominator of Venezuelan ruling classes historically is that they are parasitic, be they Spanish Colonial overseers, Venezuelan military (always key, ruling, either from the top, or behind the scenes), or the 40 years’ democratic cogollos that got so fat/happy that, starting with Caldera’s pacification/social-political inclusion of the Communists, they couldn’t see the Communist infiltration of the Military, which ended democratic reign in Venezuela, to the Country’s chagrin….

    • That is an interesting discussion: do we have a rentist ruling class? I guess we do. And our political conflict could be read as the struggle to control our oil rent. And the people, the rest of us, just trying to build a democracy. Not an easy task, by the way

      • Ms Gonzalez, once again you have gone to the very heart of the matter, a rentist ruling class struggling to control your oil wealth, the sine qua non of which is the state has to own the oil and better yet control the day to day operations. Add a dash of class resentment rhetoric voiced by activists and voilla, you have the necessary ingredients for a socialist dictatorship

      • and what do you think about Diosdado’s constant references to the oligarchy wanting to do this or that? He definitely does not know the meaning of oligarchy or counts on it that his followers ignore it

      • Lissette, excellent, once again–and, now, the dilemma–how do “the rest of us, just trying to build a democracy” succeed, when we are a better-educated/better-off minority, who understand ideologically the benefits of true/unfettered democracy, and the 80-90% rest downscale/under-educated/poorer Venezuelans, the ruled class, don’t understand these benefits, which in developed countries are fought for politically, since most of their populations are stakeholders in the results of democracy/democratic elections, since they pay taxes (in the U. S., about 50% of middle income is paid for federal/state/property/municipal/sales taxes). More than 50% of Venezuelans are in the informal economy, paying no income taxes, and the salaried minority pay only a little on their low salaries. Very few Venezuelans pay state/property/municipal taxes. Venezuelans do pay VAT sales/excise taxes, but these are invisible, as are the horrific taxes represented by generalized Government corruption (currency/commissions/extortion/et. al.). The vast majority Venezuelan “ruled class” do not see themselves as stakeholders in democracy, since they have no skin in the game, but rather are more inclined to be grateful for the crumbs the rent-seeking rulers occasionally drop their way (subsidized food/Misiones/Govt. employment for little work/ etc.). Your local CLAP distributor even calls your subsidized paid food bolsa a “beneficio”. of your friendly autocrat/Govt. Of course, the answer long-term is education, but this is currently being subverted by new Chavista Communist texts in public schools, and, you know what Keynes said about the long term….

  10. You’ve put your finger on a central fraud perpetrated by the populist government that became the dictatorship that we know today: that it is a leftist revolutionary movement.

    Caballero, who knew as much about communism and Marx as anyone ever did, saw this early on. He was not fooled. He did not fall into anti communist derangement syndrome, which may in fact have have helped the perpetration of it, but saw the fraud clearly. And understanding that little secret was the key to his demystification of the famous Hugo Chavez charisma: it was the charisma, not of Fidel triumphantly entering Havana with his battle tested revolutionaries, but the charisma of a common charlatan: the hero of the Museo Militar, as Caballero called him.

    The regime has total power and yet: there is private property, conspicuous luxury consumption, private health care, private schools, most mass transit is private, extensive private security, private insurance, private banks, to name a few examples of how after all this time under so called socialism, Venezuela looks little like a socialist or communist country.

    Kepler is right when he observes that communist countries were in reality ruled by small, privileged elites ( I say ‘were’, because they have mostly disappeared: communism is essentially dead, though the battle against it lives on for internet warriors).

    But Venezuela’s new elite is different. They are like the post soviet Russia elite, the post opening of China elite, a new class of American plutocrat elites, not like what came before. They are rent seekers, through and through. They have hardly an idea in their heads outside the goal of their self enrichment. They have given up on harnessing the productive forces of their people to build some idea of a grandiose utopia over which they rule, and are focused instead on the smaller, but similarly destructive task of manipulating the system to make themselves more wealthy.

    And yes, as Marx understood very well, they use ideology (including religion) as a tool of social control. So for example, we are told that Venezuela is a socialist revolution, and not knowing any better, both the revolutionaries and their adversaries accept as truth that Venezuela is a battleground of left versus right. Rather than look a little deeper to understand that the framing of this left versus right conflict is in fact the ideological cover for theft and it’s institutionalized forms, pure and simple.

    So the Chavez sisters do not look like your old communist elites: the old grizzled men reviewing the troops on the Kremlin wall, or in Pyongyang, or the last survivors of the Cuban revolution with their tired rituals and communist slogans. Their difference is both stylistic and substantive. They have nothing whatsoever to do with communism. The new Venezuelan elites are as Marx put it about Napoleon’s successor, tragedy repeating itself as farce.

    • “So for example, we are told that Venezuela is a socialist revolution, and not knowing any better, both the revolutionaries and their adversaries accept as truth that Venezuela is a battleground of left versus right. Rather than look a little deeper to understand that the framing of this left versus right conflict is in fact the ideological cover for theft and it’s institutionalized forms, pure and simple.” I believe the same!

    • Brilliant! The battle is not between left and right. It is up and down.

      Those who control the state apparatus, its security state, and the oligarchs who pull their strings must be exposed.

      Global populism must follow this path and not be dragged back down into this left-right culture war.

      The objective for the “elite”, “ruling classes” or better yet: “kakistocracy” (government of the worst, least qualified or most unscrupulous citizens) is to keep us fighting among each other while they drink their champagne and laugh in 5 star resorts (and in the case of the boliburguesas: 18 year old imported whiskey lol). Classic divide and conquer regardless and stupid people still keep falling for this over and over again…Time to wake up and start calling out their bullshit and it starts by not falling into their ideological traps.

  11. chavismo is a bunch of swindlers, thugs, muggers and criminals who were just waiting for a chance to get their greasy paws into Venezuela’s vaults to plunder them, making up a pile of nonsensical excuses to justify their crimes, and ironically becoming the real verson of those same excuses.

  12. Marxism was a bunch of convoluted lies, false, unsustainable, and now obsolete. It has been used by a bunch of Crooks in many countries to gain power and get filthy rich.

    The new rulers of Venezuela are just a bunch of spineless Thieves, also filthy rich, but uneducated, unprepared for office, unprofessional, inept. Sure, many of these crooks in power come from lower classes
    in this criminal narco-regime. But is that good? Is there any form of meritocracy, talent, or special aptitudes? Ask Delcy or Cabello or Tarek or Maduro or any other ruling Chavista.

    Ideally, the ruling class in any country should be the Elite. The better Educated, with highest moral values, vast professional experience and specific expertise in certain jobs.

    If they happen to come from the higher social classes, upper-middle or even the rich (as in the USA now), so be it. As long as they are the best,, most qualified. A Harvard educated Leopoldo is better than a Capriles, and certainly a bus driver, high school dropout like Maduro.

    The Elite should govern. The brightest, smartest, with most experience, best education. A Meritocracy.

    In Vzla the ruling class is now made of low-class, uneducated, unprofessional, with no experience, dumb, incompetent,, unprepared, spineless Thieves. Lower-middle class bandits. Thus the ineptitude, massive corruption and the national disaster.

  13. Lissette, I’m curious to know if you ever mention to your students that Marxism in all its forms murdered over 100 million people in the last 100 years, enslaved billions of people, destroyed countless lives, and destroyed uncountable prosperity? Do you remind your students that Marxism is the single most destructive force in the world today? Do you ever tell them that Marxism is the power vehicle of choice for the most brutal and corrupt despots, tyrants and kleptocrats in history? Please advise.

        • CP-

          Careful, you touched a nerve… next you will get banned for speaking another truth.

          Then they will call you a facist and a capitalist cronie and post photoshop’d pics of you on instagram and make it seem like you and Hitler were twins.

        • I’ll tell you who is worse, utterly idiotic keyboard warriors whose ignorance is only matched by their rudeness.

          • I asked some simple questions and received no answers. I leave it to each of you to say what you are. What Lissette does not say reveals everything.

            There’s no place for politeness when discussing Marxism. Do you say I should be polite to those who advocate my slavery? Establishment mouthpieces blithely push the most hateful ideology ever and expect no push-back. We should shout them down at every opportunity (at minimum).

        • I don’t teach history, but social theory. There are other courses where they discuss 20th Century revolutions and their terrible results from every point of view. I teach Marx in a course about 19th social thinkers that founded sociology. I focus on the questions Marx proposed and are still debated among sociologists: are there social classes?; Class conflict is real?; What factors impulse social change?; is culture dependent on economic relations?; et cetera. I guess you didn’t read the article I suggested above where I discuss this subject. I am not a marxist nor a revolutionary, but those questions Marx put into social theory, whether you like it or not.

  14. “As I set things up for my last lecture on Marx’s analysis of capitalism…”

    Please tell me you are joking. You lecture about MARX?

    You say, “Maybe Mr Arreaza would do well to read contemporary academic Marxists discussing class and social consciousness in our times, but perhaps that’s too much to ask.”

    Lissette, are you freaking kidding me? I read your post a couple times, and I have missed the point before, but it seems to me that you give Marx credit for something positive, if only he is interpreted correctly. Did he have influence, as you say in the comments? Yes, he did, but so does influenza.

    Marx’s so called theories are poor philosophy, as I hope you know, and the practice of those theories have spilled and continue to spill innocent blood, prodigiously, lavishly. And you know this! And you, and the readers of your post on CC seem to be okay including Marx in a rational discussion about Venezuela.

    Threadbare Marxism. Demonstrably deadly Marxism. The injected bacillus that killed millions, MILLIONS, and that continues to kill. (Yes, Lenin was a bacillus, and I borrowed from Churchill)

    If I mis-read your post, forgive and enlighten me.

    J

  15. What happens to Chavez’s daughters or anyone else who has pilfered Venezuelan wealth? UN appointments = diplomatic immunity/above the law, but is there any recourse???

    • There is one recourse to recover all the money…strap them to a board, and feed them into a woodchipper….FEET FIRST…tell them they can live, or keep the money…but not both at the same time…gruesome, but effective

      • I won’t even give them the option, just strip them from all the money they stole and lock their asses in the INOF for the next 30 years.

  16. Lissette, nice piece. And hardly a “screed” because it was so short (bite me, Arturo, and bone up on “the English” por fav.). And yes, IMO, Marxism can be posited as both “a method for social analysis and a political/economical guide.” But for me, the most glaring and telling point about the Chavistas is how they handle power, as though the ghosts of the old conquering Spaniards has invaded them like a possession. Simply put, Chavez set up his government based on a military model with him as the Commanding Officer. A Commanding Officer does not negotiate. He gives direct orders, and the troops (everyone) are only troops so long as they blindly obey. Otherwise they are deserters and traitors. Enter Maduro, when the style of government hardened from giving orders to dictating (al la dictator) every rule of engagement to everyone world wide. If you so much at suggested a challenge to a Chavista edict, you were “meddling,” or a right wing stooge, currying to Washington. Note harebrained Delcy, who simply cannot be told anything, and when forced into having to negotiate (can no longer dictate terms with impunity), she simply withdraws the nation from the roundtable.

    This kind of dictatorship is constitutionally incapable of ANY modicum of compromise or negotiating or bargaining when it come to power or having absolute control of the nation’s wealth. And as it goes with governments in crisis, the more rigid their stance, the more violently they break apart.

    In a word, Chavez made a power play, and went after it in absolute terms. Maduro followed suite, but lacked the means, wherewithal and vision to sustain it ever over the short haul. Soon as the money totally runs out (defaulting on the next round of bond payments is probably unavoidable) there will be a power vacuum. Who will fill it?

  17. Whenever I read articles like this that claim “If only we had more Marxism fine better”, I get a little less sympathetic for the people in VZ.

    You get exactly the gunmint you deserve.

    And what is most sickening (or laughable) is that euphoric slaves such as this are teaching at Universities.

    Maybe Maduro and Chavez are/were perfect for these snowflakes? Time will tell.

    • The point, however, that Chavistas are not Marxists but rather political self seeking opportunists seems convincing to me. And I have no problem with Marxists or any other group competing in the public market of ideas as long as the process is open and democratic. And I would be and am sympathetic to Marxists blighted by this Chavista government.

      • Marxism always ends like this. Why should you feel sympathy for those that commit suicide? Its the people who have no ability to vote and are jailed for their thoughts (albiet “Marxism-lite”) that are truely suffering.

        The author talks about “class” and other talk about corruption. It is simply levels of evil when you get down to it. The elites in VZ knew how to game the system BETTER when Marxism took hold.

        The pure stupidity of arguing that government handouts can create a sustainable middle class is what I find so silly. When nearly 1/2 (or more!) jobs are working for the gubmint, you no longer have a democracy. You have a perpetual welfare state.

        This is not a hard concept. They money to pay people has to come from some place and at some point, its going to run out.

        Not all ideas are equal, so the argument that they belong in a “marketplace of ideas” is kinda strange. Should slavering make a comeback? Theres an idea… a really bad one… does it deserve to be promoted equally? The only thing missing from the “marketplace of ideas” at this point is for someone to start blaming the joooz. Thats always a favorite pastime of the leftists.

  18. Ideologies are supposed to be motivated by peoples noble craving for the establishment of a perfectly just and prosperous social order , where all can live full and happy lives , but actually what subliminally motivates people to profess them passionately and pugnaciously is to feel grandly romantically superior about themselves by creating a righteously proud self image which has them assumme the role of heroic vengeful all powerful warriors fighting a demonized foe …!!

    The goodies that come with power is something which can HELP motivate their partisan passions but ultimately what really fanatizes them is the love of Power and the histrionic profession of their HERO-TIC passions before the eyes of the world ………, Ideologies if taken at face value dont tell the true story of how they come to transform people into monsters of conceit , who are capable of any abuse or crime or self delusion in order to play the moral Superman roles that so delight them …..!!

    Marx pretended that his interpretations were not ideological because they represented a truly scientific endevour , boloney !! Most ideologies arent just farcical ways of giving doctrinal vindication to ones economic class interests but also ways of sattifying peoples passion for cartering to their ideologically laced conceits !!
    ,

    • “Most ideologies arent just farcical ways of giving doctrinal vindication to ones economic class interests but also ways of sattifying peoples passion for cartering to their ideologically laced conceits !!”

      Bill, the first part of your proposition is of course pure Marx:

      “The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships, the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas.” (badly translated from: The German Ideology)

      The second part of your proposition, that ideology satisfies people’s passion for their ideologically laced conceits is, I respectfully point out, a tautology. If ideology exists to satisfy our hunger for ideology, it is a phenomenon which can only be explained with reference to itself. The doctrine of the infallibility of the Pope, for example, can only be explained with reference to the belief in the Pope’s infallibility. It cannot be explained in terms of material or power relationships.

      You see where that gets us, in terms of reasoned explanations about why people think the things they do?

      Others would say, however, if you want to explain why people hold the ideas they do, reproduce and propagate the ideas they do, a useful form of analysis is to look to their material circumstances and the relationship between those ideas and those material circumstances. Is that a radical idea? Is that nonsense? I don’t think so. I suggest that you, as a thinking person, do this kind of analysis every day. It is like breathing. It was not always so.

      While Marxism as a political movement is dead, and Marx is by no means the end all and be all of modern thinking and analysis (when I was in school, I think Nietzsche and Freud jointly held that title, Marxists being by then a little too certain and a little too earnest for most peoples’ taste), and Marx himself was heavily indebted to people that came before him, modern people who think are all, in their small ways, indebted to Marx.

      Sure. An ideology was built around none other than Marx. How do we account for that? Well, we could do worse than to set aside our fears and our prejudices, and start by looking at what Marx had to say, and then look at the evidence. Look at the picture of the two Chavez sisters. At the risk of promoting Marx’s ideas, I ask you: does that picture tell us anything about the ideology behind Chavismo? Is Chavismo just catering to the conceits of the population for spectacle and feeling special and all those things you talk about, or does it serve some deeper function? I put it to you that Chavismo is a means as you say, of “giving doctrinal vindication to ones economic class interests”. It is not simply spectacle for the sake of spectacle, however much people may think that poor, uneducated Venezuelans are captivated by spectacle. Chavismo as an ideology, is a tool. It is a tool in the hands of these two daughters of the “socialist revolution”.

      • I guess I wasnt clear in what I was trying to say , I dont concede that Marxs contention that people develop high falutting omniexplanatory interpretative discourses ( dont call them ideologies…. that only muddles the thinking .. word carries too much baggage and mental garbage) in order to justify and vindicate their class interests be they economic or political ……instead they do so because they yearn for something grandiose epic and romantic to feed their HEROTIC conceits, the purported goody goody goals of the discourse be dammed ……., what goads their self conceit ?? the aquisition accumulation and wielding of absolute Power , in ways that eponimously and apocalyptically express that power via grand acts of violence against an enemy they love to despise and loathe …..and to do so while posing as pure valiant saintly heroes …….The ideas are intrinsically worthless , what matters is the use they make of them to arouse certain narcissistic passions which they feel glorify their identity…..

        This is true not only of the Chavista version of Marxism ( there are believe me many others) but of the body of ‘ideas’ that feed the fanatism of radical islam , fascism and many other so called ‘ideologies’. Why raise the point?? , because most people are naive in taking at face value the doctrinal inspiration of these discourses and forgetting the true subliminal motivations that make people profess the sordid sinister delusional passions they give rise to. OR they think that all people are interested in is the venal rewards that people get from the wielding of manic power and or in collaborating with it. !!

        We are being tormented not just by some so called ideology but by the use some loathful people make of their purported but farcical ‘convictions’ to raise their vanity to a level that makes them power mad and delusional, to become the wolves of other men !!

  19. Regretfully I see the conversation has left out what IMO is a key factor, about who is the ruling class really!

    All the Venezuelan chavistas, be it marxists or plain criminals organized to pillage all that is worth anything in the land, are not self driven. There is a higher order of control that drives all this layer of players.

    IMO again, Venezuela is a puppet state, and all its front men are there just to distract and confuse. The real power is a nomenklatur made up of military, and cuban interests profiteering on running sown the state.

    Aided by powerful geopolitic interests of China, and Russia, Iran and shiite beachheads, and international drug inc.

    Big oil and South American neighbours waiting for their turn.

    No one with nationalist interests in mind would be running a nation down int oblivion as this regime is doing.

  20. Poor Venezuela, the largest oil reserves of any country on the planet, but corruption, greed and ego centricism have ruined a once thriving South American nation. It seems that is the case with most South American countries today save Chile who has embraced capitalism and nationalism to the benefit of all her citizens. Throw the commies out, revive a sense of national pride, sacrifice for your fellow citizens and build a new economy based on investment and hard work. It’s your only hope.

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