Saturday, March 23, 2013

Socialists on Chavez

When Venezuela's Hugo Chavez died, conservatives and libertarians cheered while Democrats mourned. But with so many on America's right decrying Chavez as a socialist, what did the actual self-proclaimed socialists think of him?

Not much. The Socialist Equality Party newsletter, available online at the Bellingham Politics and Economics blog, has this to say about him:
Chavez's nationalist rhetoric, his government's diversion of revenues from the country's protracted oil bonanza to pay for social assistance programs and its forging of extensive economic ties to China earned him the hatred of both Washington and a fascistic ruling class layer in Venezuela. They did not, however--as both he and his pseudo-left supporters claimed--represent a path to socialism.

Chavez was a bourgeois nationalist, whose government rested firmly on the military from which he came and which continues to serve as the crucial arbiter in the affairs of the Venezuelan state.
Both the share of the country's economy controlled by the private sector and the portion of national income going to employers as opposed to labor were greater under Chavez than before he took office. An entire new ruling class layer--dubbed the boliburguesia-- was spawned by chavismo, growing rich off of government contracts, corruption and financial speculation.
 While I'm a bit late for commentary on Chavez, I found this interesting, as it is not the first time I've found the Socialist Equality Party agreeing with the conservative mainstream...

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