Thursday, February 26, 2009

fuck THAT guy! 

A really nice critique of Chavismo from the left.:

What do you think of this argument that “despite everything, these régimes are better than what there was before”?

I. - Solidarity is something that has to develop among communities of workers, based on their own desires. But if everything is run according to a state-imposed agenda, collective needs are not met, only those determined from on high. Look at the so-called grassroots organisations the régime talks about so much and which are often portrayed as “People’s Power” or even “the Fifth Estate”. The organisations have always been dependent on the state. After the 1989 caracazo we saw an independent current among community organisations, but as we have said, these same organisations have been incorporated into the new state and have become vehicles of the Chavista project. Abandoning their autonomy in order to strengthen a so-called revolutionary government, they legitimise their stance by saying “but now things are going to get better!”. All this expresses a number of failings. People have to understand that they can organise independently of the state. But there is an enormous political polarisation which dominates all these activities: you are with Chavismo or against it. The Chavista grassroots organisations against the oppositionist ones. The new communal councils should, in principle, represent the communities who elect them. But in reality there are Chavista ones where there is no place for critics and anti-Chavista ones where Chavistas are not allowed. The form of these councils is determined by the state. So where are the real, concrete interests of collectives represented?

M. - For my part, I am not afraid to say that living standards have not improved; people are living in ever worse conditions. This despite the fact that Venezuela now has the highest GNP per capita in Latin America, a figure comparable to some European countries. The working classes rely on the help the government gives them. Of course, the existence of health centres in the barrios is a good thing, when they’re running. But in this country the situation of poor women, in particular as regards childbirth, is deteriorating. The public health system is in a disastrous state. Venezuelan prisons reproduce societal violence to the extent that they are among the most violent on the continent. In 2007 alone there were 427 deaths in jails, out of a prison population of 20,000. This aggravation of social problems is the expression of a social fragmentation which our famous “revolutionary process” does nothing to combat. On the contrary, it reinforces individualist attitudes. We are told that we are building “21st century socialism” and yet what we see is an increased number of shopping centres. Luxury car sales have never been so strong… All this shows the flowering of values which have nothing to do with the attitudes socialists have expressed throughout history. To conclude: there are slogans and propaganda, but this does not correspond with the concrete results and is not related to the means actually used. The Chávez government disposes of enormous financial means thanks to its oil wealth, and also has immense political capital. So all the official discourse can to explain the lack of results is that one little word: imperialism….

As for Barry's speech yesterday, I got nothin' much. Keynsianism, WIN! The bullshit about "ending the war", FAIL! The American exceptionalism and all the necessary pieties that go with these sorts of spectacles are pretty hard to stomach even when they are in complete sentences. Hearing how world-historically awesome we are when we are so world-historically fuxxored doesn't inspire me, it makes me feel like everyone's gone mad.

But great. Whatever cheers you up. Thanks to spellbinding oratory the polloi are becalmed in their pitchfork sharpening and looking forward to putting shoulders to the grindstone to prove they're no quitters! Polls are up! Marvelous. As always Obama treads lightly around true accountability.

As a side note, I was also surprised to learn that dropping out of high-school constitutes treason.

Normally, I look to Al G for some perspective and corrective to my jerking knee, but I'm finding his response just doesn't do it for me.

I suppose you can snipe wonkishly about his healthcare, energy and education plans. (Well, you may be able to, I can't. I'm too busy with my shitty wage job (just got a pay cut!) to educate myself properly about it.) And I'm sure that some of these programs will make real people's real lives a bit better. Again though, restoring our national preeminence, using different fuels, but in the same amount to do the same shit, and reorganizing education and health care to better restore the international competitiveness of 'Mercan capitalism just doesn't get me misty.

Although Kunstler is creepy and reactionary on many things, I think he put it well:

Among the questions that disturb the sleep of many casual observers is how come Mr. O doesn't get that the conventional process of economic growth -- based, as it was, on industrial expansion via revolving credit in a cheap-energy-resource era -- is over, and why does he keep invoking it at the podium? Dear Mr. President, you are presiding over an epochal contraction, not a pause in the growth epic. Your assignment is to manage that contraction in a way that does not lead to world war, civil disorder or both.

More "bold" please.


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