Left on the Move Left on the Move Left on the Move

State of exception: from heroic story to grotesque farce [VENEZUELA]

Carlos Carcione – Marea Socialista

“Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. Caussidière for Danton, Louis Blanc for Robespierre, the Montagne of 1848 to 1851 for the Montagne of 1793 to 1795, the nephew for the uncle…”.  Karl Marx, The 18h Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte

The threatening sanction of the emergency decree is perhaps the unveiling of a huge parody. Leaning on a “socialist” lexicon varnished speech, which seeks to show continuity with the Chavez government while there is only breach with him, President Nicolas Maduro has just given another step on the path to the wiping out of the Bolivarian process as we met in these two decades.

The participatory democracy, novel forms of property, unrestricted guarantee to human rights, social and political rights that had been established, made the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela a progressive roadmap from which President Chavez never moved away.

This Constitution expressed a project, perfectible indeed, but emancipatory. It was about the dream of completing political independence, achieving economic sovereignty and building social justice. A political revolution in a democratic framework. Today that project is agonizing.

With 2323 Decree, the authoritarian temptation that has been showing for months that the government headship is facing a thin edge of an extraordinary measure, which by imposing itself in full extent repeals, in fact, guarantees and constitutional rights and suppresses the republic as a form of government. Through the decree the government has declared loudly their desire to transform a democratic political regime, in a classic Bonapartist one: totalitarian, reactionary and repressive.

The complex political, economic and social situation the country goes through has entered, from that decree on, in a time of acute turbulence that can lead to unpredictable events. We are witnessing the deepening conflict for power between two political leaders, both the PSUV and the MUD, which long ago have been far from the needs of citizens. This is the dispute over control of the distribution of income. In that dispute the people is a simple and suffered spectator who pays the consequences.

Since the goal is unmentionable, the decree in its preamble abounds in generalities. It denounces all kinds of alleged attacks to the executive. Not only the opposition and the Assembly are accused of openly converting the intentions of its leaders into evidence, but suggests that anyone within their own “rows” who dissents, questions, criticizes or makes alternative proposals would have the “vile” objective of overthrowing the government. Moreover, the decree´s articles do not specify which rights and guarantees could be suspended, design for the solution of the problems that it mentions, a police character state, masked as “people power”, with the function of “monitoring” assigned by CLAP and Community Councils.

Meanwhile it still does not address the root causes of the economic crisis. The previous economic emergency decree was a failure. A few data illustrate what we say: The annualized inflation for 2015 was around 200%, annually measured, reached 514% on March 2016, regardless of April´s price hike that according to Hinterenlaces´ “Petare” indicator exceeded 24% increase in prices the last 15 days of that month. When food and medicine shortages last December reached around 60%, by March this year the shortage reaches 75% on food and 80% on medicines.

There is still a fact that explains the current situation: the reduction in imports will be higher; according to Minister Perez Abad what would be used for imports of essential products this year would barely reach $ 15.000 MM which means a reduction of about 70% compared to 2013. While between last year and this so far, payments on foreign debt, according to President Maduro laments totaled $ 30.000 MM.

Over all entrepreneurs´s maneuvers we condemn, the base of the internal supply shortages and high prices is in this policy: All dollars entering the country are going to pay the foreign debt, and if there is something left it goes to food and medicine. It is the “productive” economy that unblushingly announces Perez Abad, against which the people in queues have already started to rebel daily. The most serious is that with the decree, the government intends to force Armed Forces to break their bolivarian tradition and defend a miserable policy against the people.

But what concentrates the document cynicism is evident concerning the relation to Arco Mineiro and the environmental conservation issue. While in one of the paragraphs of the articles indiscriminate felling of forests is questioned, other line of deepening the dry predator extractivismo Motor Miner not only destroys forests and life but turn to stone and dust 22% of it is ratified National territory. The inconsistency of the argument is such that it is visible when comparing a natural phenomenon, predictable, such as the Child, with the predatory consequences caused mining to supply water and electricity.

Moreover, the accusation of a permanent coup d’etat against the executive which has no foundation according to MG Cliver Alcalá, it only seeks to justify the decree and gives way to an indiscriminate repression. In any case, what is being said is that the government considers, without mentioning it, that the only action visible today for the people to evaluate your term and decide over its continuation as put by the recall referendum, is a subversive instrument making it equal to guarimbas. It thus rejects one of the most advanced democratic instruments in our constitution. It breaks off the legacy of Chavez’s most complete instrumental work.

By assimilating the implementation of the recall with the dismissal of Dilma Rousseff and the output of PT government, the leadership of PSUV bares all the fallacy of his speech. If the events in Brazil were a parliamentary “coup” forcing a constitutional clause to illegality, the recall referendum is not an “option” as intended by the government, is a civil right that the State through the CNE has the duty to facilitate, as ordered very explicitly by the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

Intending to override that right, the headship of the government and the PSUV acts in the same way as Brazilian parliamentarians who forced Dilma’s exit. And even worse, because in our case, with the revocatory referendum the constituent power, the sovereign is the people of Venezuela who evaluates and decides. It is not about a right to the dome of the MUD being violated. It is about the denial of the right to the Venezuelan people to ultimately evaluate and decide with their vote if the president continues or is revoked.

The old Marx, analyzing the coup that overthrew the Republic and led to the assumption of Napoleon’s nephew as emperor, wrote at the beginning of his work “The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte” the phrase that headed this text. The relevance of that image to relate it to the current situation in Venezuela, is given by the red thread that runs through the decree presented by the ruling nomenklatura: it converts the heroic and hopeful story with which Chavez expressed the desire for independence, sovereignty and justice from a whole people, into its opposite, a grotesque farce to impose permanence, no matter how, of a government with a corrupt leadership today questioned by most of the country. The difference of the current situation to that analyzed by Marx is that headships have, with the sanction of the decree, stepped forward further away from popular support and leaves them suspended in the air. True bolivarianos, sincere Chavistas, democratic, irreverent and libertarian socialists, that people who are blood and nerves of the revolutionary process is facing a dilemma, supporting the ignominious decree or raising theis voices for the unrestricted defense of guarantees and rights of the Constitution.

A new page to support and build new alternatives in Latin America and the world, defending the power of the workers and people against the 1% of the rich and privileged, and a society without exploitation.

Writing office

  • Pedro Fuentes
  • Bernardo Corrêa
  • Charles Rosa
  • Clara Baeder