[A-List] Chávez arms community groups as he anticipates U.S. invasion
tal at interlynx.net
Thu Apr 26 13:55:01 MDT 2007
...Almost needless to say, the author must be considered as 'witness for the
> ChÃ¡vez arms community groups as he anticipates US invasion
> By Alfonso Daniels in Caracas, Sunday Telegraph
> Last Updated: 6:47am BSTÂ 24/04/2007
> A dozen people gather inside a rudimentary, two-story brick house in
> the most dangerous of all the slums that ring the Venezuelan capital,
> President ChÃ¡vez is arming community groups
> They talk excitedly about plans to repair crumbling walls, clear sewage
> help local enterprises. It is the business of civic leaders everywhere --
> this gathering is also the vanguard of Leftist president Hugo ChÃ¡vez's
> 21st-century "socialist revolution".
> By the time they have been trained and armed, they will also be ready to
> defend Venezuela against outside interference, including the US invasion
> that Mr.
> ChÃ¡vez says he expects.
> "El Comandante (Mr ChÃ¡vez) told us to create communal groups and to
> problems ourselves," said Lenny Guerrero, 35, to nods of assent from
> others in
> the room. "Some government officials came here to help us create the
> Power will now rest with the people."
> On Mr ChÃ¡vez's order, 17,000 communal councils have now been set up
> the country, and an estimated Â£1 billion earmarked to fund them. As the
> slogan, "Build power from below", proclaims, their stated purpose is to
> promote grass-roots democracy and hand power directly to the people - in
> the urban poor who make up the bulk of his most fervent supporters.
> But as well as grappling with the grim conditions in slums such as Catia,
> members of these voluntary groups will constitute a nationwide militia,
> in Cuban-style tactics for both guerrilla warfare and counter-insurgency.
> Gen Alberto Mueller, an advisor to Mr ChÃ¡vez, told The Sunday Telegraph:
> "Some communal groups have already received military training. They'll
> train in
> their own neighbourhoods and will be equipped with any arms - guns,
> knifes - the community can provide. We have a right to defend ourselves,
> the UK has, and be sure we'll do it."
> The move has caused alarm among Mr ChÃ¡vez's critics, who claim the groups
> will be used to repress internal dissent. They point out that, unlike
> military reservists, the communal councils come under Mr ChÃ¡vez's direct
> control, including the appointments of their oversight committees and
> of funding.
> They are being created in tandem with plans to expand Venezuela's military
> reserve fivefold, from about 200,000 people to one million - a move Mr
> has introduced in the belief that his sworn foe America is planning some
> kind of
> military intervention.
> Tensions with Washington and the West are likely to escalate further next
> month, when the ChÃ¡vez government plans to begin taking control of the
> European and American-owned oil fields in Venezuela - a move ordered by
> presidential decree in February.
> The communal councils project is being overseen by David Velasquez, a
> communist who is the president's new "minister of the popular power for
> and social development".
> Although the favoured blueprint for the scheme is the Paris Commune of
> under which socialism briefly reigned in the French capital, critics say
> it is
> more reminiscent of "mini-Soviets", which will be used to monopolise
> Venezuelan local politics. (See Below R.S.)
> Emilio Grateron, an opposition councillor from the rich Chacao area,
> that communal councils which did not toe the ChÃ¡vez line were usually
> permission to set up. "When we went to the ministry to set them up, they
> us our political affiliation. When they saw we're not Chavistas they
> say no, but flooded us with requests until you feel like giving up," he
> Luis Enrique Lander, a sociologist at the Central University of Venezuela,
> said that some official regulatory committee members were pushing for
> "non-Chavista" groups to be denied acceptance and funding.
> Ironically the new communal council in Catia has been devoting its energy
> fighting the expansion of the nearby Fabricio Ojeda industrial complex,
> is built with state oil money and which the ChÃ¡vez administration
> portrays as
> an example of its new socialist co-operative model. Local residents are
> sceptical of promises to resettle them in better conditions.
> Information appearing on telegraph.co.uk is the copyright of Telegraph
> Group Limited and must not be reproduced in any medium without licence.
> the full copyright statement see Copyright
> In his April 1918 writings, Lenin defined the character of soviet
> organization. He wrote:
> "The Socialist character of the Soviet democracy that is, of proletarian
> democracy in its concrete particular application insists first in this:
> that the
> electorate comprises the toiling and exploited masses???that the
> bourgeoisie is
> excluded. Second in this: that all bureaucratic formalities and
> limitations of
> elections are done away with???that the masses themselves determine the
> and the time of elections and with complete freedom of recall of elected
> officials. Third, that the best possible mass organization of the vanguard
> of the
> toilers of the industrial proletariat???is formed, enabling them to direct
> exploited masses, to attract them to active participation in political
> life, to
> train them politically through their own experience, that in this way a
> beginning has been made for the first time actually to get the whole
> population to
> learn how to manage and to begin managing.
> "Such are the principal distinctive features of the democracy which is
> tried in Russia and which is a higher type of democracy, which breaks away
> from bourgeois distortion, and which is a transition to socialist
> democracy and
> to conditions which will mean the beginning of the end of the state.
> "Of course, the chaotic petty bourgeois disorganization (which will
> inevitably manifest itself in one or another degree during every
> revolution, and which in our revolution, on account of the petty bourgeois
> character of
> the country, its backwardness, and the consequences of the reactionary
> manifests itself with special strength), cannot but leave its mark on the
> "We must work unceasingly to develop the organization of the Soviets and
> Soviet rule. There is a petty bourgeois tendency to turn the members of
> Soviets into 'parliamentarians' or, on the other hand, into bureaucrats.
> This should
> be combated by attracting all members of the Soviet to practical
> participation in management. The departments of the Soviets are turning in
> many places
> into organs which gradually merge with the commissariats. Our aim is to
> every member of the poor classes to practical participation in the
> and the different steps leading toward this end (the more diverse the
> should be carefully registered, studied, systematized, verified on broader
> experiences, and legalized.
> "It is our object to obtain the free performance of state obligations by
> every toiler after he is through with his eight-hour session of productive
> The transition toward this end is especially difficult, but only this
> transition will secure the definite realization of socialism. . . .
> "The outcome of struggle with the bureaucratic distortion of the Soviet
> organizations is assured by the firm bond between the Soviets and the
> people (in
> the sense of the exploited toilers), by the flexibility and elasticity of
> bond. The bourgeois parliaments even in the most democratic capitalist
> republics are never looked upon by the poor as 'their' institutions. But
> the Soviets
> are for the masses of the workers and peasants, 'their own,' and not alien
> institutions. . . .
> "This proximity of the Soviets to the toiling people creates special forms
> recall and other methods of control by the masses which should now be
> developed with special diligence. For instance the councils of popular
> deserve the fullest sympathy and support as periodical conferences of the
> electors and their delegates to discuss and to control the activity of the
> Soviet authorities of the particular region.
> "Nothing could be more foolish than turning the Soviets into something
> settled and self-sufficient The more firmly we now have to advocate a
> merciless and
> firm rule and dictatorship of individuals for definite processes of work
> during certain periods of purely executive functions, the more diverse
> should be
> the forms and means of mass control in order to paralyze the very
> possibility of
> distorting the Soviet rule, in order repeatedly and tirelessly to remove
> wild grass of bureaucratism." (V. I. Lenin, "The Soviets at Work," New
> The Rand School of Social Science, 1919, page 39. Not the Stalinist
> of V. I. Lenin???sThe Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government found at
> Lenin saw the soviets as the means to combat the bureaucratic deformations
> that existed in 1918. He also explained that the soviets were the
> champions of
> the people and a key means for the education of the population on the
> of the day.
> To strengthen the Venezuelan revolution, Venezuela should be patterned on
> workers' council (or soviet) form of democracy established by the October
> Revolution -- the communal groups shouted be transformed into such a
> model. (The
> New England Town Meeting Form of government was very similar.)
> This is the opposite of what the Stalinists imposed throughout Eastern
> and the former Soviet Union.
> This email was sent as a service by Roland Sheppard.
> My website is http://web.mac.com/rolandgarret.
> Read my book, The View From The Painter's Ladder is available at
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