[News] Popular power in Latin America

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Mon Jul 13 13:24:44 EDT 2009

Popular power in Latin America -- Inventing in order to not make errors

July 12th 2009, by Marta Harnecker

I. Introduction

1. Eighteen years have passed since April 1991, 
when I had the privilege of being invited to the 
VIII Gallega Week of Philosophy [in Spain], 
organised every year by the Aula Castelao de 
Filosofía. It was a difficult time for left 
forces inLatin America and the world. It was less 
than two years after the Berlin Wll had 
collapsed-which meant the beginning of the 
disintegration of socialism in Eastern Europe-and 
the Soviet Union was falling into the abyss, 
which ended with its disappearance at the end of 
that year. Deprived of its necessary rearguard, 
the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua was 
defeated in the February 1990 elections, and the 
guerrilla movements of Central Americawere forced to demobilise.

2. It was a difficult situation for the Latin 
American left-which had learnt much during the 
previous decade. If anyone of you had listened to 
my speech back then, you will remember that I 
referred to the errors of the left in the 1960s 
and 1970s, and the lessons learnt during the 1980s.

3. I want to mention here only two factors which 
enormously influenced the maturation of the left: 
the pedagogical vision of Brazilian Paulo Freire, 
who gave impetus to a significant movement of 
popular education in a number of our countries, 
that clashed with the classical concept of the 
left parties of that era who tended to consider 
themselves the bearers of the truth; and feminist 
ideas that placed an emphasis on respect for 
differences and rejection of authoritarianism.

4. Today the situation is very different, and 
that's what I want to refer to in this talk.

II. Latin America today

Latin America -- pioneer in the rejection of neoliberalism

5. Latin America was the first region where 
neoliberal policies were imposed. Chile, my 
country, served as a testing ground before the 
government of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher 
applied them in the United Kingdom. But it was 
also the first region in the world where a 
process of rejection of these policies emerged; a 
rejection of policies which had only served to 
increase poverty, deepen social inequalities, 
destroy the environment and weaken the working 
class and popular movements in general.

6. It was here that the first revolutionary wave 
occurred after the fall of socialism in Eastern 
Europe and the Soviet Union. After more than two 
decades of suffering, a new hope began to emerge.

The emergence of left governments

7. We saw the emergence of left governments, more 
or less committed to the struggle of the people. 
Let's recall that in 1998, when Chavez triumphed 
in Venezuela, this country was a solitary island 
in the middle of a sea of neoliberalism across 
the whole continent. But, soon after, in 2000, 
Ricardo Lagos triumphed in Chile; in 2002, Luis 
Inacio Lula da Silva in Brazil; in 2003, Nestor 
Kirchner in Argentina; in 2005, Tabare Vazquez in 
Uruguay; in 2006, Michelle Bachelet in Chile, Evo 
Morales in Bolivia, Rafael Correa in Ecuador, 
Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua and Cristina Fernandez 
in Argentina; in 2008, Fernando Lugo in Paraguay; 
and recently, in March 2009, Mauricio Funes in El Salvador.

Candidates from left parties

8. For the first time in the history of Latin 
America-and with the crisis of the neoliberal 
model as a backdrop - candidates from left 
parties were able to win elections by raising the 
anti-neoliberal flag in the greater part of the countries of the region.

Popular movements: the great protagonists

Emerge out of the crisis of the legitimacy of neoliberalism

9. It wasn't the political parties that were in 
the vanguard of the fight against neoliberalism, 
but on the contrary, it was the popular 
movements. These movements emerged out of the 
framework of the crisis of legitimacy of the 
neoliberal model and its political institutions, 
and originated from the dynamics present in their 
community or local organisation.

10. They were very pluralistic movements, where 
components of liberation theology, revolutionary 
nationalism, Marxism, indigenism and anarchism coexisted.

Old and new social movements

11. In this resistance struggle, together with 
the old movements, especially the peasants and 
indigenous movements, new social movements arose, 
such as those in Bolivia fighting against the 
privatisation of water (the water war) and for 
the recuperation of control over gas (the gas 
war); the piqueteros in Argentina, made up of 
small business owners, workers, unemployed, 
professionals, pensioners, etc.; indebted Mexican 
farmers; Chilean high-school students, referred 
to as "the penguins"; ecological movements; the 
movement of impoverished workers; the movements 
against neoliberal globalisation. The middle 
classes also appeared on the political scene: 
health workers in El Salvador, the caceroleros 
(saucepan protesters) in Argentina, among others.

12. The traditional workers' movement, hit hard 
by the application of neoliberal economic 
measures, didn't appear, except in rare 
exceptions, on the front line of the political scene.

 From mere resistance to questioning power

13. These movements initially rejected politics 
and politicians, but as they advanced in the 
process of struggle, they shifted from an 
apolitical approach of mere resistance to 
neoliberalism, to an increasing political 
approach of questioning the established power, 
reaching the point, in cases such as those of the 
MAS (Movimiento Al Socialismo) in Bolivia and 
Pachakutic in Ecuador, of building their own political instruments.

Neoliberalism consolidated and neoliberalism on the path to consolidation

14. With the exception of Chile, where the 
neoliberal counterrevolution triumphed 
completely, installing legal reforms in the 
country that justified neoliberal politics, and 
where the privatisation drive destroyed a large 
part of the industrial sector that had been 
previously nationalised by Allende, in all the 
other countries, this system was unable to fully 
consolidate itself, thanks to the resistance of the people.

Two paths: refoundation of neoliberalism or 
advance towards an alternative project

15. Faced with this crisis of the neoliberal 
model, today sharpened by the world capitalist 
economic crisis, there are only two paths: or the 
refoundation of neoliberalism or the advancement 
towards an alternative project, based not on the 
logic of profit but on a humanist and 
solidarity-based logic that enables a process of 
economic development in our region that favours 
the great national majorities, and not the elites.

Correlation of forces in Latin America

16. Latin America is going through a new phase; a 
new correlation of forces. The situation that 
existed in 1998, when Chavez won, has radically changed.

It is possible to limit foreign interference

17. A new factor of the last ten years 
(1998-2008) is the formation of a correlation of 
forces in Latin America, that -as Valter Pomar[1] 
[1] says-allows limits to be placed on foreign 
interference, helps avoid coup d'etats (against 
Chavez and Evo Morales, for example) and foreign 
invasions and makes policies of economic blockade 
unviable, such as those that played an important 
role in the right-wing strategy against the 
government of Allende in Chile, and which continue to affect Cuba.

US cannot achieve its objectives

18. Although the correlation of forces continue 
to be immensely favourable to the imperialist 
project, there exist other signs that the US 
government does not have absolute domination over 
the region, such as the overwhelming failure of 
the war in Iraq and its incapacity to impose the 
Free Trade Agreement in Latin America (FTAA). We 
also know that it has had to limit itself to 
bilateral trade agreements with only some 
countries. Moreover, despite its immense control 
over the media, left candidates willing to oppose 
US policy have triumphed throughout the entire region.

Greater independence of political processes

19. The existence of this more favourable 
correlation of forces in the Latin American 
subcontinent creates "better conditions for each 
national process to follow its own course." A 
sign of this new correlation of forces are the 
meetings of Latin American and Caribbean heads of 
state without the presence of the United States 
and with the presence of heroic Cuba, 
marginalised up until only a few months ago.

Neoliberalism loses legitimacy in Latin America

20. Furthermore, although we cannot say that the 
neoliberal model has been surpassed, we can at 
least say that there are very few who are willing 
to defend it nowadays, because it has lost 
legitimacy by demonstrating its incapacity to 
resolve the principal problems of our peoples.

Structural contradictions of capitalism are more visible.

21. Additionally, it is difficult to deny that 
structural contradictions exist in the current 
stage of capitalist development: every day we can 
see more clearly that the agriculture industry is 
unsustainable, that energy use based on petroleum 
is being rapidly exhausted, that natural 
resources are finite, and that despite the 
international hegemony of capital, it does not 
have a national development project, and this 
affects its hegemony at the local level.

Discrediting of bourgeois liberal democracy

22. Moreover, in our countries, there exists a 
crisis of the model of bourgeois democracy; the 
people no longer have confidence in this form of 
government. This political system has not been 
able to resolve the serious problems of our 
peoples. Every day, the people are less and less 
willing to accept the enormous gap between voters and the elected.

Latinobarómetro poll

23. According to Latinobarómetro - a poll carried 
out in our countries - the level of satisfaction 
with democracy inLatin America in 1998, at the 
time when Hugo Chavez won, was only 37% on 
average, and even less in Venezuela(35%). In some 
of our countries, there were people who yearn for 
the dictatorships of the past because there was 
more order, more efficiency back then. Up until 
2007, the average level in Latin America has 
remained at 37%, while in comparison, the level 
for Venezuela increased to 59%. In these 9 years, 
Venezuela had converted itself into the country 
in Latin America with the second highest degree 
of satisfaction with democracy, according to this measure.

24. There also exists a crisis of traditional 
political parties. People have developed a huge 
scepticism towards politics and politicians.

Advance in the level of consciousness of our people

25. This situation opens up a more favourable 
perspective for the working class and for the 
popular movements more generally. There is a 
change in the level of consciousness of the 
people, which has happened very rapidly.

26. The successive electoral victories of 
candidates who have put forward anti-neoliberal 
programs have signified a political victory for 
our peoples. This has put on the table a debate 
over alternatives to neoliberalism.

Increased military presence in the region

27. While more countries aim to break the 
umbilical cord that ties them to the United 
States, the Pentagon is making more effort to 
strengthen its military presence in the subcontinent.

28. One expression of this is the multilateral 
military exercises that are carrying out each 
year with the objective of training troops in the region.

29. Moreover, they are increasing their 
endeavours to create US military bases in our 
countries. Overall, there are already 14 military 
bases which threaten Latin America and the 
Caribbean. The most well-known are: the Tres 
Esquinas base, in Colombia, where a further two 
exist; Iquitos, in Peru; Manta, in Ecuador; 
Palmerola, in Honduras; Comalapa, in El Salvador; 
Reina Beatriz, in the island of Aruba; Liberia, 
in Costa Rica. Nevertheless, each day there is 
more resistance to these military installations, 
as is the case with the peoples of Brazil 
andArgentina against the Alcantara base in 
Brazil; and to prevent the Southern Command 
installing a base in Misiones, in the so-called 
Triple Frontier, the point where Argentina 
touches with Paraguay and Brazil. We also 
shouldn't forget the heroic and successful fight 
of the Puerto Rican people against the US base on the island of Vieques.

30. The plan for economic and political 
domination, which takes as its point of departure 
the military supremacy of the United States, is 
also directed at watching over and controlling 
the dynamic of the popular movements of the 
region, trying to prevent the emergence of 
national forces which confront the policies of 
domination and vassalage. Their intelligence 
networks are expanding throughout our countries.

31. That is why, when Hugo Chavez demands that 
the United States respect our sovereignty, he is 
not inventing a problem, he is making known a 
reality, and he is not alone in this fight; he is 
interpreting a very deep sentiment, that is 
generalised among our people. Will Obama be 
capable of understanding this? And if he does 
manage to understand it, will he have a 
sufficient correlation of forces to allow him to 
apply a policy of respect for the sovereignty of 
our countries? History will tell us.

Left governments

Three common characteristics of these governments

32. We said at the start that the greater part of 
Latin American countries are today governed by 
presidents democratically elected and supported 
by left forces. These governments, in spite of 
being very different from one another, have at 
least three common programmatic points: the fight 
for social equality, political democracy and national sovereignty.

Electoral triumphs, but less capacity to manoeuvre

33. But before analysing these governments and 
seeing their potentials, I would like as to stop 
for a moment and look at the limits that apply 
today to those that attain the presidency of republics in our region.

The media supremacy of the opposition

34. "Today, more than ever, we must confront not 
only the apparatus of political coercion of the 
dominant classes but also its hegemony over 
important popular sectors, its cultural hegemony 
over society, the ideological subordination of 
the dominated classes [...]" [2] [2]

35. The influence of the media is such that it 
has achieved a situation where broad popular 
sectors accept without qualms the capitalist 
hegemony of the process. Repression is less 
necessary than previously for the reproduction of 
the system. That is why the statement by Noam 
Chomsky is so valid, when he maintains that 
propaganda is as necessary to bourgeois democracy 
as repression was to the totalitarian state.[3] [3]

36. The same author has said that the reactionary 
forces of the world always accept the democratic 
game as long as they can "domesticate the anxious 
herd," controlling the media in order to 
"fabricate consensus". The imperialist power and 
right-wing forces know this all too well. In all 
our countries, the weapons of media bombardment 
in the hands of the opposition are immensely more 
powerful than those which our governments count on.

Restricted democracies: big decisions made outside of parliaments

37. But this is not all, let's recall that 
democratic regimes that emerged after periods of 
dictatorship in the Southern Cone of America, and 
which later expanded throughout our entire 
subcontinent, are what some writers have called 
"restricted" or "guided democracies".

38. While the voting population has increased 
enormously in our countries over the last 
decades, and it is becoming harder each day to 
carry out fraudulent elections, paradoxically 
this has not resulted in a broadening out of the 
democratic system, because the greater part of 
the important decisions are not adopted by 
parliaments but rather by entities that escape 
its control: the large international financial 
agencies (IMF, World Bank), autonomous central 
banks, huge transnational corporations and 
national security organisations. Today, it would 
appear that the dominant groups are more willing 
to tolerate the victory of left candidates, 
because each day they have less real 
possibilities of modifying the ruling order.

Consumerism: the credit card person

39. Another element favouring "governability" is 
consumerism. The culture transmitted by the mass 
media is not a culture of solidarity but a 
culture which promotes consumerism. People are 
not content to live in accordance with their 
income, but rather live in debt and because of 
this they need to maintain a stable job - 
something which each day becomes scarcer - in 
order to be able to cover their economic commitments.

40. At the level of the masses, they have 
succeeded in converting the superfluous into a 
necessity and by doing so and promoting the 
purchasing of goods on credit. They have created, 
as Tomas Moulian calls it, a new mechanism of domestication.[4] [4]

41. This massive indebtedness not only serves to 
maintain or broaden the internal market but also 
operates as a device for social integration,[5] 
[5] like an invisible chain. It is necessary to 
ensure your job and achieve goals that allow you 
to move up the professional ladder in order to 
achieve new opportunities for consumption: buy 
your own house, car, and, more recently, sound 
equipment, the latest model television.

Characteristics and correlation of forces

Different classifications

42. These governments referred to as being "from 
the left" are very different from one another, 
and for this reason there is an abundance of 
classifications. Some analysts divide the 
governments of Latin America into three blocs: 
governments which promote free trade such as 
Colombia, Mexico and the majority of Central 
American governments; social democratic 
governments which aim to balance liberalism with 
social policies such as Chile, Brazil and 
Uruguay, referred to by ex-Mexican Foreign 
Minister Jorge Castañeda as the "good left"; and 
anti-imperialist governments, that adopt measures 
of social and economic protectionism in the face 
of the US, such as Venezuela, Bolivia and 
Ecuador, what Castaneda describes as the "bad 
left." The US intellectual James Petras considers 
these latter governments to be part of the 
pragmatic left, in contrast to the sole example 
of the radical left, which is the FARC 
(Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia).

Taking into account the correlation of forces

43. We believe that it is necessary to be careful 
when classifying left governments in the region. 
In order to be able to judge them by what they 
do, we have to be very clear about what they 
cannot do, not because of lack of willpower but 
because of objective limitations. For that, we 
must take as our starting point a correct 
analysis of the correlation of forces-internally 
and internationally-in which they are immersed, 
something which the most radical left sectors 
often overlook, demanding the adoption of more 
drastic measures on the part of these 
governments, and often using the Venezuelan 
government as an example, which counts on 
immensely favourable economic conditions; ones 
that probably no other revolutionary process has 
had. Only by analysing the correlation of forces 
can we tell what these governments can and cannot do.

Correlation of forces: Chavez and Lula

44. Let's think, for example, about the 
government of Luis Inacio da Silva, better known 
as Lula, in Brazil. Although the candidate of the 
Workers' Party in Brazil won the 2002 
presidential elections with more electoral 
support than even that of Chavez in 1998, one 
must not forget that these results were the 
product of a broad policy of alliances, which was 
necessary to win in the ballot boxes, and even 
more necessary to be able to govern the country. 
We should remember that his party was and remains 
a minority in both houses of the legislative 
power and that, although the party controlled and 
continues controlling an important number of 
mayors and a significant number of state 
governors, it is a minority in this terrain at 
the national level. To that, we must add that 
Brazil depends to a large extent on international 
finance capital, which Venezuela, with its 
enormous oil income, doesn't. Moreover, Lula does 
not count on the massive support of the armed 
forces which Chavez has, and who defines his 
political process as a peaceful, but armed 
process. That is why we agree with the statement 
of Valter Pomar, who heads the international 
affairs department of the Workers' Party, when he 
says that "there does not exist a correlation of 
forces, institutional mechanisms and an economic 
situation" that could allow the Brazilian 
government "to operate in a manner similar to the 
Venezuelan government"[6] [6] although he 
recognises that the government of Lula could do 
more than it is currently doing.

How to overcome these limitations

New integration of the region

45. To overcome these limitations, we must make 
more relevant each day the ideas of Bolivar in 
regards to the necessity of the unification of 
our countries. Isolated, we will achieve very 
little, united we will make them respect us and 
find economic, political and cultural solutions 
that each day make us less dependent on the world power blocs.

Constituent assemblies

46. Furthermore, faced with this situation of 
restricted democracy, it is fundamental that we 
strive to modify the inherited rules of the game, 
convoking constituent assemblies to elaborate new 
constitutions, as the governments of Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia have done.

Changing the correlation of forces

The art of politics

47. Here I want to remind us of the concept of 
politics that I put forward in my book "The left 
on the threshold of the 21st century: making 
possible the impossible." There, I stated that 
the art of politics is to make possible the 
impossible, not through sheer volunteerism but by 
engaging in the construction of our own forces, 
that is, changing the correlation of forces in 
order to allow us to make possible in the future, 
what appears to be impossible today.

Constructing a social force

48. For that, we must abandon the idea that to 
construct a political force we must concentrate 
on winning spaces in institutions. On the 
contrary, to construct political force, we must construct a social force.

49. Therefore, our governments ought to be very 
clear that they need to construct a social force 
and carry out national and international policies 
that allow them to change the current 
correlations of forces in order for them to make 
possible tomorrow what appears impossible today.

Governments in dispute

50. Our governments are governments in dispute, 
between forces that really want a transformation 
of this society and those that believe there is 
no alternative but to subordinate ourselves to 
the demands of international finance capital. 
These leaders have to understand that their 
future will depend to a large extent on the 
capacity that the popular movements have to 
organise, grow and transform themselves into a 
decisive pressure force that can tip the scales 
in favour of the progressive forces. Only in this 
way can the stated programmatic commitment be implemented.

Our people should be frontline actors

51. Left or progressive Latin American leaders 
need to understand - as I think the presidents of 
Venezuela and Bolivia have understood very well - 
that they need an organised, politicised people 
who apply pressure in order to make the process 
advance and are capable of fighting the errors 
and deviations that keep on arising along the 
way. They have to understand that our people must 
be front line actors, and not limited to the second line.

A great platform that can cohere all forces

52. One way to achieve the creation of a 
favourable correlation of forces is by 
elaborating a program of struggle or a platform 
of accumulation for the period, that fills the 
role of an instrument that can cohere together 
all the social and political sectors of the 
country that are willing to go beyond the 
capitalist, neoliberal model. A platform of this 
type will allow the deployment of a whole number 
of new alliances that can help create a huge 
social bloc of support for the government, and 
isolate the recalcitrant opposition.

53. We must try to create spaces for the coming 
together or convergence of all these sectors, 
preserving the uniqueness of each social or 
political actor, that allows them to take up 
common tasks that strengthen the fight for the 
consolidation of the alternative society that we want to construct.

A political instrument suitable for the new challenges

54. I think that in order to achieve our 
objectives it is also fundamental to change the 
political culture we have inherited and create or 
reconstruct a political instrument suited to the 
society that we want to build and that allows us 
to respond to the challenges that confront us in this new century.

Origins of the errors: the Kautsky thesis

55. I recalled at the beginning of this 
conference that in my intervention in 1991, I had 
referred to the errors of the left from the ‘60s 
and ‘70s and the lessons learnt in the ‘80s. All 
of this was collected and systematised in my 
book: "The left on the threshold of the 21st 
century: Making possible the impossible," written 
in 1999. Here I want to once again take up the 
theme of the errors and develop some ideas of 
what the political instrument should be like in 
order to face the challenges of the coming century.

56. Some years later-in 2006-I arrived at the 
conclusion that these errors and deviations 
originated from the Leninist thesis, taken from 
Kautsky, regarding the necessity of importing 
theory (Marxism) into the workers' movement, in 
order for them to obtain class consciousness.[7] 
[7] But who owns the theory, who is the bearer of 
the truth? Is it the party or the party 
intellectuals? What is the principal function of 
the party? To train up cadre, introduce theory, 
and hold cadre schools. This is where the 
deviation of the enlightened vanguard, of the 
party that leads, of the social movement as the 
transmission belt for the party, come from.

Political instrument and revolutionary practice

57. What is missing from this picture? 
Revolutionary practice. This vision doesn't take 
into account the role that Marx attributes to 
social practice in the formation of working class consciousness.

58. The German thinker maintains that "it is only 
through experience that the masses move from the 
economic to the political, through the 
simultaneous modification of circumstances and 
themselves. The process of consciousness-raising 
is rooted in revolutionary practice. And it is 
through this that the class in itself is 
transformed into a class for itself."[8] [8]

59. For her part, Rosa Luxemburg speaks of "the 
living political school, by the fight and in the 
fight."[9] [9] You cannot learn everything from 
pamphlets, it is necessary to carry out a process 
of learning through practice.

60. The struggle not only contributes "to clarify 
the minds of the workers, their way of seeing the 
world, but it also transforms them internally, it 
creates in them the sensation that united, with 
other workers, they can transform themselves into 
a force that can go on to obtain victories 
against the bosses, and can go on conquering 
other things. In the struggle they acquire 
self-esteem, they feel more and more capable of 
achieving their objectives; they transform 
themselves more and more into the subjects of the 
process in which they are inserted."[10] [10]

61. If we take as our starting point the thesis 
that revolutionary practice is essential for the 
emancipation of the workers, and for the popular 
movement in general, the political instrument 
that we construct has to be consistent with this 
thesis and we have to change our form of conceiving of politics.

Characteristics of a political instrument 
thinking from the practical point of view

Taking advantage or creating situations that 
allow us to learn through experience

62. Instead of putting emphasis on introducing 
theory into the workers' movement, in worrying 
especially about theoretical formation, we ought 
to be very creative in taking advantage of or 
creating situations that allow people to learn 
through practice. We have to be very attentive to 
the different forms of expression of social 
discontent with regards to the current oppressive 
system and to the initiatives and forms of 
struggle that are generated from this;promoting 
spaces of convergence between all the social 
sectors and popular initiatives who feel affected 
by the present situation and trying to discover, 
together with the social movement, the spaces and 
forms of confrontation which will allow this 
movement to being to understand that in order to 
overcome the bad things, it is essential to unite 
and build a social force capable of confronting 
the current system of domination.

Great respect for the popular movement

63. "If we think that the practical experience of 
struggle is fundamental for raising popular 
consciousness, our political instrument has to 
express a great respect for the popular movement. 
It has to contribute to its autonomous 
development, leaving behind all attempts at 
manipulation. It has to be based on the idea that 
political cadres are not the only ones who have 
ideas and proposals, and that, on the contrary, 
the popular movement has much to offer, because 
in its daily practice of struggle, it learns 
lessons, discovers ways forwards, finds answers, 
invents methods, that can be very enriching."[11] [11]

Not military cadres but popular educators

64. The political instrument cannot be made up of 
cadres with a military mentality, accustomed to 
the method of "obey and command," nor by populist 
demagogues who think that it is a matter of 
leading a gaggle of sheep. "Political cadres, 
fundamentally, have to be popular educators, 
capable of harnessing all the wisdom that exists 
within the people-both that which comes from its 
cultural traditions and the struggle, as well as 
that acquired in the daily struggle to 
survive-through the fusion of this popular wisdom 
with the more global knowledge that the political 
organisation can contribute."[12] [12]

Criteria for judging the performance of left governments

65. If we take into account the considerations 
expressed previously, rather than classifying the 
Latin American governments as has been done, what 
we ought to do is try to judge their performance 
in accordance with certain criteria, always 
taking into account the correlation of forces 
under which they must operate. We should not look 
so much at the rhythm with which they advance 
towards the objective which they have proposed 
for themselves; the important thing is to 
determine the direction in which the process is 
headed, given that the rhythm will depend, to a 
great extent, on how they overcome the obstacles 
which they find in their path.

66. I think that if we analyse the attitude these 
governments have on issues such as those that we 
will highlight soon, we might be able to make a 
more objective judgement of where these governments are heading.

Attitude to neoliberalism and capitalism in general

67. What is their attitude towards neoliberalism 
and, more generally, capitalism?

68. Do they unmask the logic of capital, do they 
attack it ideologically, using the state to weaken it?

69. Do they diminish the gap between the richest 
and the poorest people; are they giving this last 
group more access to education and health?

Attitude towards the inherited institutions

70. Do they undertake constituent processes to 
change the rules of the institutional game, 
knowing that the inherited neoliberal state 
apparatus is a strong obstacle in advancing 
towards the construction of a different society?

71. Do they make an effort to increase electoral 
enrolment, taking into account that the poorest 
sectors are generally not on the electoral roll?

Attitude towards economic and human development

72. Do they propose themselves the task of 
satisfying human needs above that of capital growth?

73. Do they understand that human development can 
not be achieved with a purely paternalistic state 
that resolves problems by transforming people 
into beggars, but rather that this can only be 
achieved through practice and therefore encourage 
the creation of spaces where people can play an active role?

Attitude to national sovereignty

74. Do they reject foreign military intervention: 
military bases, humiliating treaties....?

75. Do they recuperate sovereignty over natural resources?

76. Do they advance in finding resolutions to the 
problem of the media hegemony, which until now 
has been in the hands of conservative forces?

77. Do they foster the recuperation of national cultural traditions?

Attitude towards the role of women

78. Do they respect and stimulate an active role for women?

Attitude towards discrimination of all types

79. Do they advance towards the elimination of 
all discrimination (sex, ethnicity, religion, etc)?

Attitude towards the means of production

80. Do they continue to advance further in the 
direct of social property over the means of 
production and increasing active worker participation in the work place?

Attitude to popular activism

81. Do they mobilise the workers and people in 
general in order to carry out certain measures 
and increase their abilities and power?

82. Do they understand the necessity of an 
organised, politicised people, capable of 
bringing pressure to bear in order to weaken the 
inherited state apparatus and in this way drive 
forward the process of transformations being proposed?

83. Do they understand that our people must be 
front line actors and not relegated to the second line?

84. Do they listen to and give voice to the 
people? Do they understand that they can rely on 
them to fight the errors and deviations that come up along the way?

85. Do they give them resources and call on them 
to exercise social control over the process?

86. In summary, are they contributing to the 
creation of a popular subject that is 
increasingly playing a more protagonistic role 
and assuming the responsibilities of government?

Advancing from the state towards the communist horizon

87. I believe that these ideas have been enriched 
by the reflections on this issue made by Alvaro 
Garcia Linera, the vice president of Bolivia. He 
asked, how can we advance towards what he calls 
the "communist horizon, taking the state as our 
starting point"[13] [13] if the cultural and 
economic conditions that serve as a basis for 
this advancement do not exist. He replies that 
there are three ways of doing so: 1) stimulating 
the autonomous organisation of society; 2) 
broadening out the working class base and the 
autonomy of the working class movement; and 3) 
harnessing forms of communitarian economy. The 
Bolivian politician insists that all this must be 
done without trying to control the movements and 
popular organisations from the state, because 
"nobody can replace a society in motion."[14] [14]

III. Venezuela and socialism of the 21st century

88. Have there been advanced made towards this 
horizon visualised by the Bolivian Vice 
President? We think that important steps have 
been made, especially in Venezuela.

A different socialism

89. While Alvaro Garcia Linera speaks of the 
communist horizon, Hugo Chavez talks of socialism of the 21st century.

90. In his speech at the closing ceremony of the 
World Social Forum, in February 2005, in Porto 
Alegre, Brazil, the Venezuelan president publicly 
outlined for the first time[15] [15] that his 
project was to go beyond capitalism and build 
socialism, although he immediately clarified that 
he was not trying "to revert to state capitalism" 
because if this occurred, it would fall "into the 
same perversion as the Soviet Union."

91. The Bolivarian leader is very clear on the 
fact that we must differentiate between the 
socialism which he is proposing and Soviet 
socialism. He criticises the "stalinist 
deviation" of the party that "ended up being an 
anti-democratic party..[...] The slogan "All 
power to the soviets!" ended by transforming 
itself in reality into "All power to the party!" 
This explains why at the time of the fall of the 
Soviet Union, the workers did not come out onto 
the streets to defend it."[16] [16]

92. 92. The term "socialism of the 21st century" 
was coined in the search to differentiate it from 
the errors and deviations of so-called real 
socialism of the 20th century in the Soviet Union 
and the countries of Eastern Europe. It 
highlights as fundamental elements of this 
socialism: "economic transformation," 
"participatory and protagonistic democracy in 
politics" and "the socialist ethic. The love, 
solidarity, equality among men, women, among everybody [...]"[17] [17]

93. For Chavez, socialism has to be an 
essentially democratic regime, adapted to each national reality.

94. It is a matter of creating a new system of 
production and consumption, a system that has to 
be constructed from the popular bases, "with the 
participation of the communities, through 
communal organisations, cooperatives, 
self-management and other such methods...", "a 
communal system of production and consumption."

95. The Bolivarian leader insists on the active 
participation of the people, but this is nothing 
new, this is part of the origins of the Bolivarian process itself.

The Bolivarian constitution and popular participation

96. The constitution approved by the Constituent 
Assembly in 1999, already put an emphasis on 
popular participation in public affairs, and it 
was stressed that this protagonism was the 
guarantee to full development, as much for the 
individual as for the collective. Although there 
are various articles in the Constitution that 
refer to this theme, probably the most complete 
is Article 62, which highlights the form in which 
this development will be achieved. There it says 
that the "participation of the people in forming, 
carrying out and controlling the management of 
public affairs is the necessary way of achieving 
the involvement to ensure their complete 
development, both individual and collective," 
highlighting the fact that it is "the obligation 
of the state and duty of society to facilitate 
the generation of the conditions most favorable 
for this to be practiced."[18] [18] Moreover, 
Article 70 highlights other forms that allow the 
people to develop "their capacities and skills": 
"self management, cooperatives of all types, 
democratic planning, participatory budgets at all levels of society."

97. In the area of local territorial 
participation there has been an insistence on 
carrying out a participatory diagnosis, 
participatory budget and social auditing. 
Initially, the legal figure of the Local Council 
of Public Planning (CLPP) were created at the 
municipal level, with institutional 
representation (mayors, councillors and members 
of the parish committees[19] [19]) and community 
representatives to carry out these tasks. It is 
important to note that the representation of the 
communities had more weight than the institution 
(51% versus 49%), reflecting a clear political 
will to stimulate the protagonism of the communities.

98. But this would have remained mere words if 
suitable spaces had not been created for the 
participatory processes. For this reason, his 
initiative to create communal councils and later, 
his proposal to create workers councils, and 
student and peasant councils, to go on and form a 
truly popular power, is so important.

Communal councils

99. One of the most revolutionary ideas of the 
Bolivarian government was the push to create 
communal councils, a form of autonomous 
organisation from the grassroots of society.

Forerunners to the community councils

The platoons

100. This initiative has its forerunner the 
organisational form that enabled Chavez's 
electoral triumph in the 2004 referendum, when 
the opposition questioned his hold on the 
presidency. At that time, the Bolivarian leader, 
who did not have a political party capable of 
fulfilling the demands of the process, and 
knowing that it was necessary to win with a wide 
margin so that nobody could doubt the results, 
invented a formula of popular organisation that 
allowed the commitment of all ordinary citizens 
who sympathised with him to participate as 
activists in the electoral process aimed at 
winning the greatest possible number of votes 
against the proposal raised by the sectors of the political opposition.

101. In this way, the idea emerged of creating 
small nuclei of sympathisers across the length 
and breadth of the country. Units were formed by 
groups of 10 people, and each one of them had as 
their task to work with 10 more people, carrying 
out house-to-house visits, to try and convince 
those families of the necessity of defeating the opposition referendum.

102. Therefore, each platoon was responsible for 
working with 100 voters. If an electoral area had 
for example, 2000 voters, then 20 battalions had 
to be formed, that is, it was necessary to 
organise 200 patrollers who divided amongst 
themselves the work of convincing 2000 voters. 
Chavez's idea was that every single family would be visited.

103. This original proposal allowed hundreds of 
thousands of sympathisers to incorporate 
themselves into a concrete political task, 
independent of the existence or not of a party 
leadership in the electoral area.

104. "Many people, emotionally committed to the 
process, but until then inactive, had their first 
organisational and political experience. 
Thousands of anonymous individuals contributed 
their grain of sand. So did leaders who were 
capable of leaving to one side their parochial 
and personal projects, in order to work very 
closely with the grassroots in achieving a single 
objective: that the NO would win."[20] [20]

105. Thanks to this tactic, the Venezuelan 
opposition suffered its third great defeat in 
their attempt to put an end to the government of 
President Chavez. The NO vote won by about 2 
million votes, representing an enormous support 
base for the revolutionary process and a factor 
which influenced the further advance of the process.

The search to consolidate the advance made in the level of organisation

106. They had to look for a way to not squander 
the advance made in popular organisation. In the 
beginning, they thought of transforming the 
electoral platoons into social platoons, 
nevertheless, afterwards, they saw the necessity 
of differentiating political-electoral 
organisations from that of citizen participation, 
and in that search, the idea of creating communal 
councils emerged, a territorial organisation 
never before seen in Latin America due to its 
small scale: between 200-400 families in densely 
populated urban zones, between 50-100 families in 
rural areas, and even fewer number of families in 
the isolated zones, fundamentally in the indigenous zones.

Participation in small groups

107. The idea was to encourage citizen 
participation as much as possible in small groups 
to facilitate the protagonism of those present, 
making them feel comfortable and uninhibited.

108. This conclusion was arrived at after much 
debate and the examination of successful 
experiences of community organisation like the 
urban land committees (CTU)-some 200 families who 
are organising to fight for the registration of 
ownership of land - and health committees-some 
150 families who come together with the objective 
of supporting doctors in the most disadvantaged communities.

109. Making an approximate calculation, in 
Venezuela, which has about 26 million 
inhabitants, there are about 52,000 communities, 
if we understand community to mean a group of 
various families who live in a specific, 
geographical space, who know each other and can 
easily relate, who can meet without depending on 
transport and who, of course, share a common 
history, use the same public services and share 
similar problems, both socio-economic and urban.

110. Each one of these communities had to elect a 
body that would play the role of a community 
government. This body was called the communal council.


111. The communal councils are made by of 
individuals elected in their respective 
communities in citizens' assemblies. Venezuelan 
militants refuse, with reason, to use the term 
representative to describe these individuals 
because of the negative connotations that this 
term has acquired in the bourgeois representative 
system. Candidates only approach their 
communities during elections, promising "all the 
gold in the world," and then, after being 
elected, are never seen again. That is why they 
have looked for a different term: vocero or 
vocera (spokesperson), which comes from voice; 
when these people lose the confidence of their 
neighbours, they stop being the voice of the 
community and have to and should be recalled.

112. Historically, there have been other attempts 
to create a non-bourgeois alternative to the 
system of political representation, where elected 
representatives are not detached from their 
electoral base and, on the contrary, maintain an intimate link to it.

113. This system was put into practice at the 
time of the Paris Commune in 1871, during the 
first years of the Russian revolution, in the 
Italy of Antonio Gramsci, in Yugoslavia during 
the war of national liberation and afterwards in 
the period of the socialist revolution.

114. Referring to the experience of the Paris 
Commune, Marx outlined the following: "The rural 
communes of each district would administer their 
collective affairs through an assembly of 
delegates in the capital of the corresponding 
district and these assemblies would in turn send 
deputies to the National Assembly of Delegates in 
Paris, with the understanding that all the 
delegates could be recalled at any moment and 
they would find themselves obligated by the 
‘mandat imperatif' (imperial mandate) of their voters."[21] [21]

115. For Marx, the Paris Commune, with its 
delegate system, had great significance because 
he saw in it the germ of a new state that would 
replace the bourgeois state, given that it 
transcended classic political representation.

116. The aim of the delegate system or of 
spokespersons is to abolish the classic figure of 
political representation and ensure a direct 
relation between voters and the process of decision-making at all levels.

117. The personal and direct participation of 
workers and citizens in the decision-making 
process concerning social, communal and general 
affairs is not only socially impossible, 
especially if we take into consideration the size 
of our huge cities, but it is also very difficult 
to make a reality technically. For this reason, 
the figure of the delegate or spokesperson has 
arisen historically, to act as a bridge between 
their respective grassroots communities 
(neighbourhood, workplace and interested groups 
or issues-based groups) and the bodies that 
exercise government at the different levels.

Community council: the first stage of the new political system

118. In this way, a system of government, which 
functions through the assembly of delegates or spokespersons, is constituted.

119. This system, although it only unites an 
assembly of a selection of persons and not the 
masses, can, and should be, a much more 
democratic mechanism than the assembly system 
(mass assemblies). In the latter, everything is 
supposedly decided by direct democracy right 
there in the meeting; in the first, there are 
fewer participants but they bring items already 
studied to propose and discuss; their 
participation is much more reflexive and is much 
less open to manipulation than in the huge amorphous mass assemblies.

120. This system is not only different from the 
bourgeois-democratic system of political 
representation but it also seeks to ensure that 
the workers, the organised people, that is, the 
majority of people, and not the elites, are the 
one who exercise power and participate in the management of public affairs.

121. They are not given a free mandate by voters, 
as occurs in the bourgeois system of 
representation, instead the voters are the ones 
who have to furnish guidelines; but neither do 
they receive an imperative mandate: their vote 
cannot be predetermined. They are not a type of 
robot, who receives messages and transmits them; 
instead they are responsible and creative individuals.

122. They have to be active and creative 
individuals during the process, both in the 
formulation of the viewpoints of the voters and 
in the bonds they establish with other delegates 
and in making decisions in the assemblies.

123. They have to be capable of negotiating and 
conciliating. It is not uncommon in this process 
for a spokesperson to be convinced that a certain 
public work for another community is much more 
urgent than the one their community is asking 
for: for example, resolving a problem of 
contamination produced by waste water instead of 
painting the school in their community, and they 
end up voting for such a project over their own. 
However, if they want to continue being a 
spokesperson, they have to return to their 
community and explain and try to convince them of 
the reasons why they should prioritise the others demand instead of theirs.

124. If the voters do not feel represented by 
their spokespersons, or they are not convinced of 
the correctness of the situation, they can and 
should revoke them, because they have ceased being their voice.

Resources transferred directly to the communal councils

125. The other quite particular element of the 
Venezuelan process had been the transfer of 
resources from the central government directly to 
the communal councils. Concerned that the money 
that the state delivers to the governors and the 
mayors was not reaching the communities, 
President Chavez decided to set up a fund to 
deliver money directly to the communities, 
subject to the organisation of these into 
communal councils and their presentation of a 
project. Although the measure could have lent 
itself to economist deviations, which occurred in 
some cases, we can not deny that it had a very 
positive effects. Firstly, the government gained 
credibility, people saw that the promises were 
being fulfilled; secondly, and most importantly, 
the people began to gain confidence in 
themselves, they felt listened to, they saw that 
they could improve their living conditions, and 
ensure that the money would last longer, with the 
active participation of the community in the development of public works.

Popular power is not limited to the communal councils

126. In the beginning, they only spoke of 
community councils in Venezuela, that is, of 
organisations of a geographical type, but in 
recent times, some have been putting forward the 
proposition that these are only one of the 
components of popular power, given that power 
rests with the organised people, not only in the 
places where they live but also in the 
workplaces, study centres and also in regards to 
areas of interest or issues (health, education, gender etc.)

Workers' councils

127. It is fundamental that the people not only 
be organised geographically, but also in 
workplaces given that the socialist society that 
we want to construct, as opposed to previous 
societies, is essentially a society of workers, 
where nobody will live off the work of others, 
but instead everyone will contribute in one way 
or another to creating and distributing social wealth.

128. In order to be heard and participate in the 
decision-making process in their workplaces, the 
workers should organise themselves not only to 
defend their most immediate interests in their 
respective companies, a fundamental function of 
the trade unions, but to elevate-as Gramsci 
said-their condition of simple wage earner to that of "producer."

129. As wage earners, their aim is to negotiate a 
better price for the product that they can sell, 
which is their labour power. As "producers", the 
workers have to be able to have an opinion and 
suggest ideas about the way in which society 
should move forward in a more efficient and 
useful manner, the direction of their factory or 
of the service where they are working; but not 
only that, they should be interested also in 
discussing and taking initiatives so that the 
products or services which they generate respond 
more to the needs of the people that they are 
made for. Therefore, it will be very important 
that their voice is heard in discussions about 
local or national plans relating to their area of work.

130. According to Gramsci, the "worker can only 
conceive of himself as a producer if he considers 
himself an inseparable part of the entire system 
of work which is summed up in the manufactured 
product; only if they experience the unity of the 
industrial process that requires the 
collaboration of the labourer, the qualified 
worker, the administrative employer, the 
engineer, the technical director."[22] [22]

131. That is why, when we speak of workers' 
councils we are thinking of organisations which 
represent all workers in their workplace: both 
the workers that directly labour on the raw 
material, those who intervene by facilitating the 
transport of this material to the machines, 
looking after the functioning and maintenance of 
these, ordering or directing the processes of 
production at different levels, that is, all the 
members of collective work in each centre, 
whether or not they are affiliated to the trade 
union in that company. The same thing should 
occur with workers in a particular service: for 
example workers' council in the health sector 
should incorporate not only doctors but also 
nurses, laboratory technicians, administration 
and maintenance workers, representatives of clients, among others.[23] [23]

132. But workers councils should not only be 
organised in production or service companies, 
especially if we are dealing with a country like 
Venezuela, where there exists a large number of 
workers who still work in an artisan fashion such 
as fishermen, small peasants, tailors, and actual 
artisans, or the huge number of self-employed 
workers or who work in the informal economy, 
which exists especially in the more urban zones. 
All of them should organize their respective councils.

Thematic councils

133. Lastly, there should be what we call 
thematic councils: that is, those that group 
together people with a certain interest or issue 
of concern. For example, women's organisations, 
students, youth, older people, the disabled; 
groups defending the environment, against racial 
discrimination and over questions of gender; 
organisations which group people around issues 
such as health, education, sports, culture and many others.

The communes: constructing a new political system

134. But this popular power, this system of 
participation and popular direct protagonism, 
cannot be limited to these experiences on a small 
scale, instead they have to transcend the 
community, the factory, they have to encompass 
broader levels of local power, until they reach 
power on a national scale; the same should occur 
in the factory: as well as workers' councils 
according to workshop or section, there should be 
workers' councils organised by company, by industry, etc.

135. These diverse expressions of popular power 
should allow for the participation of citizens in 
all the processes of decision-making in all 
communal and general affairs that concern human 
life in society, and because of this it is 
necessary to establish some form of delegation of 
power that does not reproduce the limitations and 
deformations that gave origins to the classical 
bourgeoisie political representation system.

Direct and indirect democracy through a system of spokespersons

136. In summary, it's a matter of constituting an 
original political system of popular power or of 
self-government that combines direct democracy on 
the small-scale with an entire system of 
assemblies of spokespersons at different levels, 
which should be elected, and should orientate and 
control the different organs of government.

Towards a definition of the commune

137. At the first level, which is above the 
communal council in this system, will be what is 
called the commune, that is, "a territory in 
where a variety of communities co-exist, that 
share historical-cultural traditions, problems, 
aspirations and a common economic vocations, 
which use the same services, which have the 
conditions to be self-sustainable and 
self-governable and who's communities are willing 
to come behind a common project constructed in a 
participatory and constantly evaluated manner, 
suitable to the new circumstances which are being created."[24] [24]

Economic self-sustainability with a socialist orientation

138. The commune has to reach the point of being 
self-sustainable. It has to achieve sufficient 
funds of its own to make it less depend on 
external resources and it should therefore carry 
out productive activities or services in its 
territories to allow it to obtain an important 
part of the resources to satisfy its own necessities and defray its expenses.

139. Each commune should move in the direction of 
the construction of a communal system of 
production and consumption with the participation 
of the communities, through the community 
organisations, cooperatives, socially-owned 
businesses with a socialist orientation, 
processes of fair trade, and many other 
innovative forms that point in the direction of 
the creation of that new model of production, as 
an expression of power and popular control over production.

140. Obviously, one of the key structural axes of 
the commune will be the units of production or 
services of communal or state property.

Enterprises of communal social property

141. Each commune should aim to set up companies 
of communal property that employ labour from the 
local area and produce goods and services for 
enjoyment or communal use: bakery, market, 
communal transport company, water distribution 
company, a plant for filling liquid gas 
cylinders, service station, among others.

A process of participatory planning to formulate a develpment plan

142. To carry out these activities it will be 
very important to carry out a process of 
participatory planning that leads to the 
formulation of a Development Plan for the 
Commune, according to the characteristics, 
necessities and interests of that area, to create 
goods and services through a system of 
articulation between the activities of the 
primary sector, the transformation of these and 
other primary materials and the commercialisation 
of production with the aim of generating a surplus.

Communal government

143. Moreover, we have to advance towards the 
establishment of communal self-government. The 
municipal council should begin to transfer an 
important part of the functions of government and 
the handling of public affairs to the communes, 
all of which were previously its functions.[25] 
[25] The mayor's office should preserve in his 
hands only those functions which due to their 
more general or complex character, justify that choice.

144. The commune should ensure the material and 
spiritual conditions to allow its productive 
development and the satisfaction of material, 
social, cultural and other collective necessities 
of its inhabitants. For this, it should work 
towards and bring together all its forces toward 
the functioning of a plan of communal 
development, elaborated in a participatory fashion.

145. Each commune should form a communal 
parliament or communal legislative power, which 
is a space where the inhabitants of the commune, 
who could be referred to as comuneros and 
comuneras, are able to make decisions. This 
parliament would be made up of spokespersons from 
the different communal councils, workers councils 
and thematic councils situated in the area and 
willing to participate in the construction of the 
commune, and would represent nothing less than 
the Assembly of Popular Power of the Commune.

146. In the future, the Assembly of Popular Power 
of the Commune should establish the government of 
the commune, forming the apparatus and 
organisations which allows for the assumption of 
the tasks which derive from the competencies that 
have been transferred to them.

147. This body should elect people to occupy 
positions in each of the remaining four state 
powers recognised by the Bolivarian Constitution: 
the executive, judicial, moral and electoral 
power. These public servants should be 
accountable and recallable if it is considered 
that they do not fulfil the mandate for which they were elected.

Council for communal planning and technical room

148. The commune should count on a council of 
communal planning which should promote a process 
of participatory planning at the beginning of 
each period of government to elaborate a 
pluri-annual plan of strategic development of the 
commune, as well as annual plans. Plans that 
should be inserted into the strategic development 
plan of the nation and the rest of the local 
plans which, in turn, should nourish these plans 
with its proposals and projects.

The communal bank

149. The commune should also count on a financial 
entity or communal bank which receives all the funds that it administers.

150. The national government should guarantee a 
fund designed for communes, governed by the 
principle of equity. The communes more lacking in 
resources and historically neglected by the state 
should receive more funds than the rest.

Social control over the government

151. An efficient, social control should exist 
over the functioning of government, facilitating 
means and mechanisms which allow organised 
citizens to judge the quality of the services 
provided and have the power to facilitate the 
sacking of those officials whose performance has 
been questioned by a sufficient number of citizens.

Transparency: its central characteristic

152. The central characteristic of this communal 
government should be its transparency: public 
announcement of the resources on which it will 
count on to implement the annual plan, 
accountability regarding income and expenditure; 
public competition to recruit public servants; 
public tendering to grant contracts under social 
control of the commune; in general, open books 
regarding all activities; signs at each 
construction site informing the cost of the 
project, the business or community responsible 
for the job, the timetable for the work, etc.

Decentralisation which strengthens the state

153. The process of construction of communes 
implies bringing forward a process of 
decentralisation of competencies and resources in 
a way that is planned and within a national 
development plan that favours popular activism, 
which allows the revolutionary subject to mature, 
learning through practice and, in doing so, 
strengthening instead of weakening the central 
state. Why does it make it stronger? Because 
there will be better local results, greater 
citizen satisfaction, better instruments to fight 
against corruption, and all the governors and 
mayors-whether they are with the process or 
not-will be subjected to popular control.

[1] [26]. Valter Pomar, La linea del Ecuador, 
article on 13 December 2008. Pomar is the head of 
the International Department of the Workers' Party in Brazil.

[2]. Carlos Ruiz, La centralidad de la política 
en la acción revolucionaria, Santiago de Chile, 1998, (unpublished).

[3] [27]. See: Noam Chomsky, El control de los 
medios de comunicación, in Cómo nos venden la 
moto, Ed. Icaria, Barcelona1996, p.16. The term 
"fabricating consensus" is used by Walter Lippman 
in Public Opinion, Allen and Unwin, London, 1932, 
and cited by Chomsky in op. cit. p.10; this 
author also has a book titled: Manufacturing Consent.

[4] [28]. T. Moulián, Chile actual, anatomía de 
un mito, Ed. Arcis/LOM, Santiago de Chile, 1997, op.cit. p. 105.

[5] [29]. Op.cit. p. 121.

[6]. Valter Pomar, La linea del Ecuador, December 3, 2008.

[7] [30]. What Kautsky proposed was somewhat 
different: that socialist consciousness was 
something introduced in the proletarian class 
struggle from outside and not something that 
arose spontaneously out of the struggle [bold 
inserted by Marta Harnecker]. As I explain in my 
book Reconstructing the left there are three 
types of consciousness in the working class: 
spontaneous or naive consciousness, class 
consciousness and enlightened class consciousness 
or socialist consciousness, which is what Kautsky 
was referring. This last one is only reached 
through a scientific knowledge of how capitalism 
functions. (This book was written in 2006, has 
various editions and was published by Siglo XXI, 
México 2008. On this issue see Part II, Chapter 
4. "The theory underlying this conception of the party" pp.77-88).

[8] [31]. Marx, Misère de la philosophie, Ed. 
Sociales, Paris, 1968, pp.177-178.

[9] [32]. Grève de masses, parti, et syndicats, 
François Maspero, Paris, 1968, p.30.

[10] [33]. M. Harnecker, Reconstructing the Left, 
Op.cit. paragraphs 245 and 246, p.83.

[11] [34]. Op.cit. paragraph 354, p.114.

[12] [35]. Op.cit. paragraph 364, p.117.

[13] [36]. I would prefer saying taking the government as our starting point.

[14] [37]. Op.cit. p.151.

[15] [38]. Despite the fact that in his 
intervention in the Teresa Carreno theatre in 
Caracas, during the Conference of Intellectuals 
and Artists in Defence of Humanity, which took 
place at the end of November and beginning of 
December, 2004, he had already raised the issue.

[16] [39]. Hugo Chávez, El discurso de la unidad, 
The Teresa Carreno Cultural Complex, Rios Reyna 
Room, December 15, 2006, pp.32-33.

[17] [40]. Op.cit. p.41.

[18] [41]. The New Constitution of the Bolivarian 
Republic of Venezuela, Chapter IV: Political 
rights and the Popular Referendum, The First 
Section: political rights. Official Gazette, 30 
December, 1999, Caracas, Venezuela.

[19] [42]. In Venezuela, the municipalities are divided into parishes.

[20] [43]. Marta Harnecker, Los desafíos post 
referendo, 25 September 2004, article presented 
as a report in the International Meeting; 
Civilisation or Barbarism, Portugal, 28 September 
2004, and published in English in Monthly Review, 
Volume 56, number 6, November 2004.

[21] [44] Karl Marx, The Civil War in France, 
page 71. The text continues in the following way: 
The small but important functions which would 
still remain for a central government would not 
be done away with, as it has been said, 
intentionally falsifyingthe truth, but would be 
carried out by representatives from the Commune, 
who thanks to this condition, would be strictly responsible.

[22] [45]. Antonio Gramsci, "Sindicatos y 
consejos", in Consejos de fábrica y estado en la 
clase obrera, Ed. Roca, México, 1973, p. 37.

Translated by Coral Wynter and Federico Fuentes

[1] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftn1
[2] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftn2
[3] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftn3
[4] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftn4
[5] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftn5
[6] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftn6
[7] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftn7
[8] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftn8
[9] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftn9
[10] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftn10
[11] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftn11
[12] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftn12
[13] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftn13
[14] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftn14
[15] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftn15
[16] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftn16
[17] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftn17
[18] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftn18
[19] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftn19
[20] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftn20
[21] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftn21
[22] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftn22
[23] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftn23
[24] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftn24
[25] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftn25
[26] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftnref1
[27] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftnref3
[28] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftnref4
[29] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftnref5
[30] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftnref7
[31] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftnref8
[32] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftnref9
[33] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftnref10
[34] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftnref11
[35] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftnref12
[36] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftnref13
[37] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftnref14
[38] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftnref15
[39] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftnref16
[40] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftnref17
[41] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftnref18
[42] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftnref19
[43] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftnref20
[44] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftnref21
[45] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4619#_ftnref22

Source URL (retrieved on Jul 13 2009 - 13:22): 

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