“No Trump, No Maduro, No War: Socialists Should Take a Stand on Venezuela” by Charles Davis”

Courtesy the BBC

There are a number of different perspectives regarding the current situation in Venezuela within the Coalition for Peace, Revolution, and Social Justice, and so we have chosen six articles that reflect that diversity in perspectives. This is part 6/6, written by Charles Davis. Originally published on The Daily Beast on 21 February 2019.

Donald J. Trump, the oppressively dim president of these United States, was elected by a majority of white people who cast ballots but only a minority of the popular vote, and only then with the actively solicited help of a foreign intelligence service. His closest allies are gaudy authoritarians who murder their critics without so much as a plausible cover story. He does not, one must conclude, give half a goddamn about democracy—not in the United States, not in Saudi Arabia and certainly not in Venezuela, where his point person is a man, Elliot Abrams, whose obituary will include the term “right-wing death squads.”

It is an obvious point, but one necessary to make in a world where implausible statements from an incoherent president are still treated with legitimacy by a class of reporters and pundits trained to show undue respect to those who wield power, corporate or political and nowadays both. Trump cares about Venezuelans, whom his government routinely deports, about as much as he cares about his own children, which is not to say “a lot.” If he cared about corrupt elites ignoring the opposition-held legislature on their way to bankrupting a country for profit, he would resign, or at least hand back the $500,000 he received from the Venezuelan state for a party on his inauguration.

It is good and just to be an irritant on this point, but it is equally important that it not be the only one that is made. When Trump talks about democracy and poverty in Venezuela unconvincingly, what he says that is discernible is not necessarily wrong; the former is indeed lacking, in Caracas and Washington, and the latter abundant. As in the imperial core, the Venezuelan government has usurped its constitutional authority. I know, in part, because I was paid by it, working as an editor at the state-sponsored teleSUR, based in Ecuador, a former sponsor (its governing social democrats recently withdrew).

In late 2015, when the opposition coalition won the National Assembly with 56 percent of the vote, the expectation was that my employer would go down with the dethroned ruling party—the expectation being that legislatures, not presidents, determine spending priorities. And the opposition did not like us.

That did not happen. Maduro, instead, claimed the authority to pass budgets by executive fiat—in the U.S. democracy, presidents declare a “national emergency” to do that—helping preserve the delicate balance of power that has led the military, enriched by smuggling and the self-inflicted currency exchange system that fuels it, to stick with his administration. He then created an extralegal body, called a Constituent Assembly, that has the purported power to rewrite all laws.

Filled with party loyalists, the assembly was declared illegal by Venezuela’s attorney general, Luisa Ortega Díaz, who had been appointed by Hugo Chavez in 2007; she was forced to flee the country, another Chavista labeled a right-wing plotter by a government that has betrayed the poor. Maduro then won a presidential election, after banning his leading opponents, in a vote that, according to the United Nations, “does not in any way fulfill minimal conditions for free and credible elections.”

The international left, then, should have taken notice and—supporters of Maduro or not—urged against the dismantling of democracy, and walking back from the precipice; friendship is not telling a drunk comrade that they are a great driver and thus ceding the moral high ground to the cop that pulls them over.

It is also true that the Venezuelan government, not the U.S., is largely responsible for the state of the Venezuelan economy.

Continue reading ““No Trump, No Maduro, No War: Socialists Should Take a Stand on Venezuela” by Charles Davis””

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“In support of a democratic solution, by and for the Venezuelan people” by Mediapart

Locals come to the store to get their groceries. Cash used to buy the food, is on a daily basis, becoming more devalued. Douglas Hook/Al Jazeera

There are a number of different perspectives regarding the current situation in Venezuela within the Coalition for Peace, Revolution, and Social Justice, and so we have chosen six articles that reflect that diversity in perspectives. This is part 4/6. Originally published on Mediapart on 29 January 2019.

Venezuela is experiencing an unprecedented crisis, which has been gradually worsening in recent years, to the point of dramatically affecting all aspects of the life of a nation. The collapse of public services, the collapse of the oil industry and the extraordinary fall of GDP, hyperinflation, the vertiginous increase of poverty, the migration of millions of people define this crisis, among other factors. Political unrest has escalated to very dangerous levels, undermining the constitutional state, the framework of social coexistence and the health of institutions. The country’s population is in a state of absolute vulnerability.

The Government of Nicolás Maduro has advanced towards authoritarianism, suppressing de facto numerous forms of popular participation that had been established since the beginning of the Bolivarian process. Repression has increased in the face of numerous protests and demonstrations of social discontent; the government has hijacked the electoral route as a collective decision-making mechanism and has proved intransigent in the goal of holding on to power at any cost; Maduro has ruled outside the Constitution, applying a permanent state of exception. Meanwhile, extractivism is deepening and economic adjustment policies which favor transnational corporations are implemented, with a negative impact on society and nature.

In parallel, the extremist sectors of the opposition bloc that managed to lead different mobilizations, have prompted several calls for a forced and radical ousting of the Maduro government (in 2014 and 2017), which generated very serious violent confrontations and attacks on infrastructure. This has further contributed to the strangulation of the everyday lives of millions of people, and had a severe impact on the framework of peaceful coexistence.

Additionally, in the context of the growth and alignment of the political right in Latin America, foreign intervention has intensified. In the first place, the Government of the United States has assumed a much more aggressive position toward Venezuela since 2015, through Executive Orders, threatening statements, creation of regional and international lobbies against the Maduro Government and economic sanctions which have impacted the national economy. Other international actors such as China and Russia also have significantly influenced the course of events according to their own expansionist interest, and their economic and energy appetites, configuring an extremely tense geopolitical situation.

Continue reading ““In support of a democratic solution, by and for the Venezuelan people” by Mediapart”

Solidaridad con el Pueblo Nicaragüense en su Lucha contra el Régimen Ortegüense

Por Rocio López, en nombre de la Coalición hacia la Paz, Revolución, y Justicia Social (CPRSJ, por sus siglas en inglés)

Protestas-en-Masaya-Nicaragua.-EFE
Protestas en Masaya, Nicaragua. Courtesía EFE

Nosotros, militantes de la izquierda anticapitalista internacionalista, expresamos nuestra solidaridad con el pueblo nicaragüense en esta época de represión tras su sublevación en contra de la austeridad y la injusticia. Les han asesinado a más de 300 personas desde que empezó el movimiento de protesta en abril del 2018. Los francotiradores les han disparado a los manifestantes estudiantiles mientras que ocupaban las universidades, y les mataron a 15 personas que estaban llorando a sus hijos asesinados por el Estado. Les quemaron vivos a los integrantes de una familia entera que les habían denegado la entrada a un grupo de francotiradores que se querían instalar para disparar en contra de los manifestantes. Se les han despedido a varios médicos en los hospitales públicos tras haberles dado tratamiento a los disidentes heridos. De manera paralela, las autoridades les han coaccionado a algunas familias, exigiéndoles que firmen en contra de su derecho a quejarse para recibir los cadáveres de sus seres queridos. Las violaciones de derechos humanos en esta época tan brutal sí se han documentado bien a través de los grupos locales e internacionales.

El ex-presidente izquierdista de Uruguay, José Mujica, igual ha comentado que Ortega tiene la responsabilidad por la violencia, mientras que hasta el hermano propio de Ortega, el ex-dirigente del ejército nicaragüense, le ha exigido que disuelva los grupos paramilitares que están asaltándoles a los manifestantes, y que se responsabilice por la violencia estatal.

Hay que aclarar que Ortega volvió al poder en 2006 a través de una plataforma anti-mujer en alianza con los conservadores de la Iglesia Católica hacia mantener la prohibición total en contra del aborto. Nicaragua sigue siendo uno de los últimos países del mundo en cual todavía se prohíbe el aborto en caso de que el embarazo amenace la vida de la madre. En 2016 el gobierno ortegüense clausuró las estaciones especiales de policías administradas por mujeres que cubrían casos de la violencia en contra de las mujeres. Zoilamerica Ortega Murillo, la hijastra de Ortega, quien vive ahora en Costa Rica por su seguridad, le ha acusado por varios años a Ortega por haberla violado sexualmente cuando era niña, así que no es sorprendente considerar que Ortega permitiera más impunidad en cuanto a la violencia feminicida.

Les apoyamos a las numerosas revolucionarias sandinistas que han resistido al régimen oportunista de Ortega, y a los 70 por ciento de los nicaragüenses que quieren que renuncie. Ellos siguen la gran tradición nicaragüense de la lucha masiva en contra del despotismo.

Si desea Ud. respaldar este comunicado, osea al nivel individual o colectivo, favor de dejar su información en la sección de comentarios abajo, o escriba a cprsj@protonmail.com o @PaxRevSocJust en Tuiter.

Solidarity with the Nicaraguan People Against the Ortega Regime

by Rocio Lopez, for the CPRSJ

Protestas-en-Masaya-Nicaragua.-EFE
Protests in Masaya, Nicaragua. Courtesy EFE

We, members of the internationalist anticapitalist Left, stand in solidarity with the Nicaraguan people during this time of repression following their uprising against austerity and injustice.

More than 300 people have been killed since a protest movement began in April 2018. Snipers have attacked student protesters occupying universities—and killed 15 people attending a march led by mothers mourning children killed by the state; members of a family were burned alive when they refused to let snipers use their home to shoot protesters. Doctors at public hospitals who have treated wounded protesters have also been fired, while families have been forced to sign away their right to file complaints against police to get their loved ones’ bodies back. The human rights violations in this period of brutality have been well-documented by local and international groups.

Former leftist president of Uruguay, José Mujica, has also noted that Ortega is responsible for this violence, while Ortega’s own brother, the former head of the Nicaraguan military, has called for him to disband the paramilitary forces attacking protesters and to take responsibility for the state-sponsored killings.

It is worth noting that Ortega came back to power in 2006 on an anti-woman platform in alliance with conservatives in the Catholic church to maintain a complete ban on abortion. Nicaragua is one of the few places in the world where abortion is still banned in cases of danger to the mother’s life. In 2016 Ortega’s government closed down special police stations run by women that handled cases of violence against women. Zoilamerica Ortega Murillo, Ortega’s stepdaughter, who now lives in Costa Rica for her safety, has long accused Ortega of molesting her when she was a child and so it is of little surprise that Ortega would allow impunity for violence against women.

We stand with the great many famous Sandinista revolutionaries who have stood up against Ortega’s opportunistic regime and with the 70 percent of Nicaraguans who want him to resign. They continue Nicaragua’s great tradition of mass struggle against dictatorship.

If you wish to endorse this statement either on an individual or collective level, please leave your information in the comments section or write to cprsj@protonmail.com or @PaxRevSocJust on Twitter.

Javier Sethness, “Communalist, Autonomous, and Indigenous Movements in Latin America: Concrete Hope for an Alternative to Capitalism”

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Javier Sethness, Black Rose/Rosa Negra Anarchist Federation

Comments presented at the July 14 launch of the Coalition for Peace, Revolution and Social Justice at a public meeting at the Westside Peace Center, Culver City

Communalism: relating to the community or Commune; referring to communal or popular power; also collectivism

Autonomy: resisting the State and capital

Indigenous: Native, non-mestizo; most oppressed

“Concrete hope”: Ernst Bloch, The Principle of Hopeconcrete utopia

  • “concrete” here in its Hegelian sense as con crescere, a dialectical growing together of tendencies and latencies
  • The struggle for liberation is a constant effort to realize “the Not-Yet-Become, towards viable possibilities of the light”

 

The following is an excerpt from the introduction to Angel Cappelletti’s Anarchism in Latin America, forthcoming from AK Press. Reproduced with permission.

 

The environmentalist and ecological movements in Latin America have produced their own martyrs, including Chico Mendes and Berta Cáceres, as well as Mariano Abarca and Bernardo Vásquez Sánchez, anti-mining organizers from Chiapas and Oaxaca, respectively, together with countless others. Indeed, ecologists and land-defenders have been singled out for repression at the hands of States and private interests in Latin America, with hundreds of organizers killed annually in the past few years. The severity of such suppression reflects the fears of the ruling classes regarding the potential for autonomous indigenous, communalist, and anarchist movements engaging in radical ecological praxis: recovering and communizing the land, expropriating the expropriators, employing agroecology, abolishing or at least minimizing alienated labor, completely redistributing wealth and resources, redesigning the cities for collective living and sustainability, overthrowing pollution and productivism, halting economic growth, delineating biosphere reserves, and equilibrating the overall relationship between humanity and nature.

Continue reading “Javier Sethness, “Communalist, Autonomous, and Indigenous Movements in Latin America: Concrete Hope for an Alternative to Capitalism””