The Socialist Ideal Smeared Again

By Osmel Ramirez Alvarez

Leaders of the new Constituent Assembly in Venezuela.

HAVANA TIMES — Events in Venezuela are truly a cause for concern. A political party, with a socialist name, is clinging onto power with ruses, rather than mass popular support. The desire to implement socialist policies should never undermine the principle of strict compliance to the people’s will which is expressed via democratic channels.

A politician or political organization stop being socialist and become anything but this, when they become something like Marti’s “Socialists in meeting rooms”, who he called opportunists who take advantage of “a just ideal” to “satisfy their longing for glory and power.”

When Chavez died, Chavism had already showed signs of being at a standstill and a failure, even though it still wasn’t in obvious decline. Presumably because it didn’t understand that the old school class struggle doesn’t fit in with current times and that there are other prospects now.

If you just take a look at how polarized this country has always been, just like Cuba, it becomes clear that this was never a project “for everyone and the wellbeing of everyone.” Financial goals weren’t met, rather economic crisis, shortages and inflation were a reality.

Of course the capitalist class didn’t cooperate on the whole and it rather took advantage of the chaotic situation which is created when you want to enforce a utopia. It’s logical, not questionable. But far from recognizing its failures, Chavism is hiding behind them blaming its adversaries.

Clearly, Maduro doesn’t have Chavez’s political talent, nor his aura of popular leader. The majority of Venezuelans prefer to believe that he is the one to blame for the crisis because he is incompetent, so they can continue to worship Chavez. The truth though is that this isn’t a crisis of Maduro’s government, but of Chavez’s itself. Chavez passed away just in time, and he passed away without seeing his project lose the support of the masses. Maduro picked up the rotten fruit.

What has the government’s reaction been in the face of losing popular support and an economic, social and political crisis?

  • Instead of recognizing their mistakes, they are blaming their adversaries for everything.
  • After oil prices dropped and the ensuing financial shortfall, it continues to have an unsustainable social budget which is sinking the economy deeper and deeper into depression, because of mere populist politicking.
  • They are reinforcing the illegal and anti-democratic civilian-military union, submitting the National Army to one political party, which needs to defend the Constitution and the leaders and the party that the people choose, no matter what their stripes, unconditionally.
  • If people within government institutions choose their adversaries in mass, they say that the population was mistaken and they don’t respect the people by then not recognizing the institution, like what is happening with Venezuela’s National Assembly.
  • They are constantly violating the Constitution; decimating the separation of powers, establishing alliances with other powers who are subjected to the President; avoiding a recall referendum which is a key element of the democracy conceived by Chavez’s political system; and now calling for a Constituent Assembly without consulting the sovereign people, where only they have participated and are a minority in Venezuela.

This elected Constituent Assembly from one political group (the government), by just 41% of the population who voted and in the middle of an all-out war against the Government, isn’t valid. This percentage of voters could be convincing if the rest had abstained out of voter apathy.

But that wasn’t the case: they refused to take part in the election because they believed it to be illegal, out of protest, because they wanted a referendum beforehand to legitimize the election. And they stayed out on the streets protesting, where 10 people died on the day of the election. Within this context, the Constituent Assembly isn’t for peace, it’s for war.

If Maduro had allowed the National Electoral Council to work as it should, independently, and it had proceeded with a recall referendum, the more than 100 people who died in recent months would still be alive.

If Maduro had left this Parliament to work in peace, playing his political game from his position, but respecting the Constitution and democracy, Venezuela wouldn’t be the social volcano it is today. “Peace is respecting other people’s rights,” what a shame we didn’t follow the wise Juarez!

Real socialists don’t want political power so they can become tyrants, nor do they want it to disrespect the people when they feel like it. Whoever isn’t a sincere democrat, isn’t a real socialist. In any case, they are an opportunist, a radicalist or a tyrant disguised as a socialist.

Once again, this noble ideal of social justice has been smeared, which puts the just struggle for a better world in danger. Right now, because of these radicalists and opportunists, people are more afraid of socialism than they are of neoliberalism, and this can be seen in election results worldwide.

With these huge mistakes, which are so unfortunate and damaging, it’s only the sneaky capitalist dictatorship that is benefitting. The more mistakes we make, the further we are away from winning over “all the justice” we can.