The Left Must Watch Venezuela Closely…

Hugo Chavez is gravely ill. It is likely he will no longer be president of Venezuela. Are there individuals who can replace him? Is the radical grassroots ready to accelerate the building of power from below? Regardless of the state of the Venezuelan left, the Venezualan right and the U.S. are probably doing some rapid-fire strategic simulations right now to figure out how they want to destabilize things.

I understand the critiques of Chavez and the Venezuelan process from the left, especially from anarchists. So much of it is well-founded. However, despite all the immense contradictions, there is no other country where bottom-up participatory socialist ideas have such a strong cultural and intellectual hegemony…even if the institutional reality hasn’t matched the ideals. There are millions of Venezualans who actively discuss and attempt to build bottom-up popular power in their communities. Millions is a big number. If that process is crushed or degenerates into either violence or pure apathy, what a huge setback for the global left.

All of us have a stake in this. Anti-authoritarians, specifically, have a stake in aggressively supporting and advocating for the radical grassroots positions that will emerge in the absence of Chavez. Are you watching? Are you paying attention? Anarchists, if you ignore this because you hate Chavez, you are missing something of global, historic significance…a process that needs speeding up, but which is in danger of ending.

Also, check this out by George Ciccariello-Maher, Dual Power in the Venezuelan Revolution.

Currently Reading:

-Dispersing Power by Raul Zibechi