Monday, August 30, 2004

Two Articles on Venezuela

Frontline of India reports on Chavez's success at the polls in August. Citing the outcome of the referendum as completing a hat-trick in Chavez's defeat of the opposition, Frontline also carries a commentary that roots for Chavez as one of the premiere statesmen of the Third World that we have today. Incidentally, Chavez was supposed to be the guest of honour at the Indian Republic Day Celebrations in 2003, but was held back due to the serious crisis engendered by the oil lock-out.

As the commentary makes clear, little will change in the US's position on Venezuela whether Bush or Kerry is elected. Both intend to continue maintaining the US's hegemony over Latin America, which has found it
most serious contemporary challenge in a resurgent Bolivarian Venezuela. That's why Chavez is so important as he restores dignity to Latin America's black and indigenous masses and inspires them for the struggle ahead against the 500-year-old tyranny of imperialism and colonialism.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

"Traitor's Flinch and Coward's Sneer"

For some time, I have monitored the rants of several well known, ostensibly leftist commentators who have taken a hard right turn in recent years. I have been grappling for an apt metaphor for the turnaround of such individuals like Christopher Hitchens, Todd Gitlin, and Marc Cooper who have all written for the Nation and other weeklies, and it struck me that their viciousness towards their own friends is similar to the crowds that cried for Barabbas instead of Jesus in front of Pointius Pilate. While Hitchens has tried to liken his left bashing to the works of George Orwell, he is closer to the likes of David Horowitz, whose Trotskyist sectarianism easily led to extreme right wing views in the service of Empire. (Then again, what can you expect from a guy who gives a book length treatment to bashing Mother Teresa, titling the book Missionary Position of all things?)

It goes without saying that there must be a special place in hell reserved for those who use their rhetorical and polemical skills to attack their colleagues as opposed to speak truth to power. Beyond treason, there betrayal is cowardly and self-serving, if not downright anti-human and often quite racist in their dismissal and denigration of any popular movement. However, their corrosive cynicism and bitter diatribes are dangerous in that they lend much valued credibility to the right, even though they are fundamentally based on personal grudges and vendettas. Constructive criticism is always welcome, but they vindictively aim for the jugular to close off any discussion and hope about alternative visions of the future, locking and framing the debate to suit their own sense of self-righteousness and pompous self-importance. Moreover, they can get away with irresponsible punditry as they belong to no movement but their own chattering class of elitists and intellectual snobs.

Ah, but we have the hard luck to be afflicted by their likes for some time to come. It seems that 20 pieces of silver still go very far these days. Here's an article by Herman that describes this depressing phenomenon.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Bolivar's Return

It's been a long long time since I last updated this blog. I have been rather occupied with travels and finishing thesis work over the summer. However, I wanted to share the following -- recently, I've kept close watch on events in Venezuela (particularly events around the historic referendum), and in my meanderings came across the following fantastic film:

Bolivarian Venezuela: the people and their struggle in the Fourth World War

This is a new 76 minute documentary which analyses Venezuela?s Bolivarian Revolution as part of the world movement against capitalist globalization. The film follows the evolution of the popular movement from the "El Caracazo" revolt in Feb 1989 until the massive mobilisations that restored their elected government 48 hours after a US-supported military coup in April 2002. It's an incredibly powerful and moving film with rich historical footage and constant commentary by people on the street about their feelings and support for what they see as their revolution and the fruits of their hard won shift from so-called representative democracy into participatory democracy.

It's available for download in 7 sections in mp4 format at indymedia (UK).

If you have high speed DSL, it shouldn't take long at all. I believe the Revolution Will Not Be Televised is also available for download from http:/, but I'm not sure.

Also check out the following articles:

The Importance of Hugo Chávez

Venezuela and the International Left

Needless to say, the events unfolding in Venezuela are incredible. People are on the move once more, and Latin America has once again a champion for continental revolution. Unfortunately, Kerry's policies on Latin America differ little from Bush, thus the struggle against Yanqui Imperialism looks set to continue whatever happens this November.

It thus seems certain that hope and change won't come from the North, but trickle up from the South where the real struggles are shaping tomorrow. Already plans are being laid to hold a global day of solidarity with the Bolivarian Process and the emerging Pachamerican (Indigenous Americas) Revolution on October 12th, reclaiming Columbus Day for Indigenous Resistance across the Americas.

Hasta la Victoria Siempre!
Viva Chavez!