[News] In Praise of Chavismo

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Dec 8 16:15:01 EST 2015

  In Praise of Chavismo

By Ociel Alí Lopez- Kalé Blog, December 8th 2015

1. The fact that nearly 7 million Chavistas went out today to support 
the government is an amazing reality. With the government unable to 
confront the economic war, a self-obfuscating communication strategy, a 
leadership that is totally bureaucratized and isolated, what happened 
today is a show of strength by the Chavista grassroots.

2. Now, that this was not enough to ensure electoral victory is an 
obvious political fact that could only have been ignored due to the 
leadership’s machine-worship [/maquinolatría/, literally: machinolatry] 
on all levels. Their speeches were hollow, arrogant masters of the 
meta-narratives whose collapse prevented them from seeing the political 
alienation that has led them astray. Chavismo’s electoral campaign 
merely revealed all the weaknesses of its proto-leaders, incapable of 
winning a single vote by themselves.

3. Now is not the moment for blame. Nicolás is not the only one 
responsible. This hegemonic decline could already be seen clearly when 
Chávez was in command. If he were alive, he would probably be witnessing 
a new setback as well, although we certainly couldn’t imagine the 
economic inaction that began even before his death. There were many R’s 
[“rectification, revision, relaunching”] and the results were really 

4. But beyond who is responsible, what is in sight today, for the first 
time, is not Chavismo, but the neo-opposition. An opposition that faces 
the difficult challenge of unifying within itself everyone from the 
racist ultra-right to the “reflexive Chavistas” that today chose to 
punish the government by not only abstaining but even by voting for the 
MUD. Let’s focus on understanding this subject: there are many within 
the opposition today who voted for Chavismo in the last elections. Will 
they stay there or return to Chavismo, like the 7% of the electorate 
that voted against Chávez in 2010 but returned in 2012? That’s what 
politics is for.

5. But no one should fool themselves. That “reflexive Chavismo” that 
abstained or voted for the opposition today is nothing less than proof 
that those votes in favor of the opposition were in no way a vote /for/, 
but a vote /against/. And let’s not lie to ourselves: there are plenty 
of reasons to vote against. But moreover, it is a torrential vote that 
can return to Chavismo if the opposition shows itself incapable of 
maintaining the unity of racist groups who will try to impose their 
agenda and a popular vote that will soon demand the economic 
improvements promised by the opposition’s campaign.

6. The central error has been not confronting economic malaise in a 
statesmanlike way. The narrative of the “economic war” today lost the 
legitimacy it had at the time of the Dakaso [when Maduro took over the 
electronics chain Daka, for illegal price gouging]. The few months that 
remain before the opposition calls a referendum to recall [Nicolás 
Maduro] should be dedicated exclusively to shedding light on the 
economic situation, although this is hardly a taboo subject in official 
speeches at present—not as taboo as those responsible for the economic 
situation, who have not faced the consequences, and who nobody knows why 
they still have their positions. Without economic /auctoritas/, there 
will be no confidence in this government, which will collapse without 
even putting up a fight.

7. In the current moment, with the ball in the opposition’s court, we 
will see what subjects they put on the public agenda. If the only points 
they put on the agenda are to finish off the government, sabotage it, 
free Leopoldo [López] and rush into a recall referendum, the torrential 
vote of the opposition might dissipate and return to Chavismo. And the 
opposition also appears to lack any plan to escape from the economic 
crisis, and is now also jointly responsible for it.

8. On the contrary, if Chavismo focuses on efficient leaders and 
proposes to the country a legislative, but above all a political agenda, 
that prioritizes economic and productive decisions and the defense of 
social policies, then Chavismo will have the best chance of winning the 
recall referendum that we will face in 2016. But if an injured 
government only focuses on “taking out” the people who “got them,” then 
it will simply be condemned to remain a minority, or worse still to 
disappear from the political map.

9. If one thing is clear, it’s that the Venezuelan people don’t want any 
more empty talk. Chávez could shoot the shit and it worked for him—but 
the people see right through everyone else. The people want serious 
leaders, statespeople, not people making bad jokes, or political 
operatives repeating empty speeches, or empty words. Neither Maduro nor 
[Diosdado] Cabello seem to point in that direction—their previous scares 
did not train them for it. The tragedy of the present won’t help them if 
the Chavista people do not undertake an excruciating process of 
interpellation, in which their positions as leaders are obviously under 
a “state of suspicion.” Will they be able to reinvent themselves?

10. The leadership needs to understand well the people’s contempt for 
politicking. Any claim to “seize the streets” will not be recognized by 
the people unless they can understand why. That is, unless the 
opposition implements measures that lead to popular rejection. 
Cohabitation implies a political maturity that neither leaders of the 
government nor the opposition have. The most serious will end up 
winning, and when we say serious, we mean a leader that can tell the 
country how to get out of the crisis, not tells them that the other one 
is worse.

11. What has died in the country is political debate as an ideological 
debate about “great fundamental truths.” Politics has been defeated by 
the economy. The politics that emerged since 2010, according to which I 
am bad but the other is worse, doesn’t work for Chavismo. There has not 
been a single piece of legislation during the last three legislative 
periods that is so “worth it” that we might think we have lost 
something. What is lost was already lost since the Assembly lost its 
ability to do politics, to legislate and control, to confront the vices 
developing in national politics.

12. The thesis of mediatic impotence continues to ring true. Getting rid 
of RCTV and Globovisión didn’t matter. And it doesn’t matter if we have 
dozens of public media outlets that no one wants to watch. Buying print 
media doesn’t matter. Politics is not in the media, and much less in 
those media. This is something that Chavismo understood from the 
beginning but which was forgotten by a leadership that believed that 
they could govern through bad television programs. The public media are 
an embarrassment for Chavismo, and that’s why people prefer the private 
media. Something like this happened to politics on December 6th. The 
discourse of loyalty, patriotism, the new man, was trapped by a lack of 
certainty in the economic future, and this, far from implying 
disloyalty, implies instead the reflexivity of the popular world. We 
will need to grasp it if we want to keep up the fight.

/Translated by George Ciccariello-Maher. Originally published at Kalé: 

/Ociel Alí López is a Venezuelan writer, blogger, lecturer at the UCV in 
sociology and communication and co-founder of Avila TV./

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