Socialism by Teodoro Petkoff in Tal Cual
Chavez placed in orbit his concept of “socialism for the XXIst. Century”, after
a number of years of his frenetic political relationship with Cuba, he could
not help but awaken in some Venezuelans-including many of his supporters among
the common people-the strong apprehension that his idea about the matter approximates
to what exists in Cuba. When the everyday Venezuelan hears the word “socialism”
he inevitably associates the term with Cuba
and with the USSR and not
Nobody knows better the negative weight of the anti-communist prejudices than
the democratic people on the left and how much it costs to dissipate the
equating that many people make between totalitarian dictatorships like the
soviet and the Cuban ones and socialism. .
if in a game of word associations you say “socialism”, the other responds
without thinking “Cuba”.
with its long life-time dictatorship, which has already lasted 46 years and
with its overwhelming economic and social failure, no longer gets anyone enthusiastic
about it. Nobody in good mental health, unless he is a fanatic that does not reason,
could look to Cuba
for a project for social change of an advanced nature. In fact, Chavez himself has
been forced, once in a while, to say that neither the USSR nor Cuba are models to be copied. But
words can do little in the face of facts and what is being perceived is that
the relationship with the island is so close that it seems that it is in Cuba that Chavez
is thinking when he speaks of “socialism”.
But as if
this was not enough, in his most recent speeches he is adding fuel to the fire,
when he gets involved in the rugged paths of socio-economic digressions. As if
the famous polemic in Cuba, between “moral incentives” and “material incentives“
for the workers, as mechanisms to stimulate production, had not been resolved
by reality, in favor of those like, against those like Che Guevara, held that
need for the second option. Chavez now pretends that members of coops forget
about earnings, because “production can not become part of the mercantile
bloodstream” but that earnings have to be devoted to pay society back, “even
with donations”. If these criteria whose ingenious faith matches well the ignorance
that they are impregnated with, imposed themselves, coops would go straight to
bankruptcy and the ruin of its members.
Chavez complains about collective bargaining and of those union leaders “ that
are looking for a few bucks” as well as the exaggerated salary demands of the
state companies, he suggests the idea (of which Lenin laughed at in his time)
that the working class, that is revolutionary in itself, can not have contradictions
with his state employer and that in the name of the revolution, unions should
represent the state and not the workers. “XXIst Century socialism“ supposes
then, as far as we can see, the elimination of autonomous unions and the
absolute subordination of the workers movement to the designs of the state, the
Government and the party. That is the way it was in the USSR that is the way it is in Cuba and, is that what Chavez is proposing for Venezuela?
There are reasons
to be concerned. Will the pro-Chavez union leaders of the UNT reflect on this?