Chavez lost that referendum

104 posts / 0 new
Last post
juozokas's picture
juozokas
Offline
Joined: 5-11-07
Dec 3 2007 02:19
Chavez lost that referendum

Yeah

http://story.malaysiasun.com/index.php/ct/9/cid/b8de8e630faf3631/id/305644/cs/1/

Admin - thread renamed from "Chavez won that referendum"

MJ's picture
MJ
Offline
Joined: 5-01-06
Dec 3 2007 04:06
Quote:
Presidential terms are lengthened from six to seven years. Terms limits are eliminated, allowing the president to run for re-election indefinitely.

neutral

Quote:
The president is granted control over the Central Bank, which previously had autonomy. The president is also granted authority to set monetary policy and administer international reserves.

neutral

Quote:
The official workday is reduced from eight hours to six hours.

great

Quote:
The minimum voting age is reduced from 18 to 16.

good

Quote:
Creation of a fund to pay social security benefits for the first time to workers in the informal economy, such as maids and street vendors, who make up an estimated 45 percent of the labor force.

great

Quote:
The president may declare a state of emergency for an unlimited period, as long as "the causes that motivated it remain." During this period various constitutional rights "may be restricted or suspended temporarily," a change that critics warn would let the government detain citizens without charges and censor the news media. Certain rights are maintained at all times, including the right to legal defense.

terrible

Quote:
Raises the percentage of the electorate needed to petition for referendums. For a recall referendum on the president or another elected official, signatures are needed from 30 percent of voters instead of the current 20 percent. For a referendum on the constitution, 25 percent is needed, also up from 20 percent.

bad

Quote:
Popular participation in government "for the construction of a Socialist Democracy." Chavez calls it a new "geometry of power" aimed at greater self-government through neighborhood-based communal and worker councils.

good

Quote:
A socio-economic system based on "socialist, anti-imperialist principles" and promoting "humanistic values of cooperation and the preponderance of common interests above the individual."

good

Quote:
Large land estates, or latifundia, are prohibited. A government agrarian reform has already turned over more than 2.5 million acres of arable land to poor farmers on the grounds it was underused or that owners lacked adequate titles.

great

Quote:
The state may provisionally occupy property slated for expropriation before a court has ruled.

neutral

Quote:
Creates three new classes of property in addition to private and state property. Social property belongs to the people as a whole and may either be held on their behalf by the state, or assigned to people of a determined area by the state. Collective property is common and assigned to a particular group, such as a communal council. Mixed property would exist as combinations of social, collective, state and private property.

good

Quote:
A territorial reorganization of the country. The president, with approval by a majority of the National Assembly, may establish federal territories, municipalities, provinces, cities and other jurisdictions. The president appoints and can remove leaders of these new jurisdictions. Opponents say Chavez could use these powers to change voting districts and eliminate elected offices held by opponents. Chavez denies it, saying the changes would improve government efficiency. Chavez says he would appoint regional vice presidents, which would apparently have more power than state governors, to decentralize and focus on local needs.

neutral

Quote:
Financing of "associations with political aims" is to be regulated by law. Foreign funding is prohibited for such groups. Critics warn this could be used to strangle human rights groups and other non-governmental organizations.

terrible

pgh2a
Offline
Joined: 9-12-06
Dec 3 2007 05:42

The workers can still vote for the 6-hour day with their feet on Friday.

EdmontonWobbly's picture
EdmontonWobbly
Offline
Joined: 25-03-06
Dec 3 2007 06:18

Hmm interesting. The thing is pgh is that they have played played up the constitution card so much, and their strategy has been so dependant on a charismatic leader that this is a very serious blow. As well much of the workers movement's emphasis in Venezuela has been channeled into political avenues, switching gears to that sort of mass direct action- while adviseable may be dificult. Also doing so would open them up to criticisms of behaving in an anti democratic manner, as the 6 hour day was a major referendum issue.

I'm curious how differently things would have gone if they had tossed out all of the 'terribles' that MJ listed along with the removal of term limits, which is also pretty crummy in my opinion, and had run the referendum just on the 6 hour day. Of course the reason they were bundled together is pretty telling of what brand of populism we are talking about here. I mean its not an accident that a bunch of very popular reforms for the working class were packaged in with others that were entirely political in nature.

But hey I'm just the son of the north american upper class, so if you excuse me I'm going to go for a drive in my Jaguar.

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Dec 3 2007 10:28
MJ wrote:
Quote:
Presidential terms are lengthened from six to seven years. Terms limits are eliminated, allowing the president to run for re-election indefinitely.

neutral

You really think that's "neutral"?

I think it's a pretty shocking indictment that the majority would vote no to this despite the massive concessions to workers packaged in with it. Not that I expect it'd give his 3 cheerleaders on libcom a second's thought mind...

juozokas's picture
juozokas
Offline
Joined: 5-11-07
Dec 3 2007 12:02

John is right, this was pretty damn sneaky... no on second thought it was just blatantl!! If you vote no on the political reforms then you lose out on the awesome things like 6-hour day and benefits. If it was me voting I would have voted yes because the positives far outweigh the negatives.

MJ's picture
MJ
Offline
Joined: 5-01-06
Dec 3 2007 13:09

Why should the working class care about term limits? confused

Tacks's picture
Tacks
Offline
Joined: 8-11-05
Dec 3 2007 13:15
MJ wrote:
Why should the working class care about term limits? confused

indeed.

Tacks's picture
Tacks
Offline
Joined: 8-11-05
Dec 3 2007 13:24
Quote:
Popular participation in government "for the construction of a Socialist Democracy." Chavez calls it a new "geometry of power" aimed at greater self-government through neighborhood-based communal and worker councils.

Possinbly subterfuge. The bolivarian circles have meant to be going on for ages, what evidence that they are taking over local areas as opposed to being a network for local chavistas is there? Or perhaps compare the extension of the kilitary to the effort put into these local councils?

But fucking huge changes in venezuela have been going on, no doubt. I met another weeping gringo's to see that.

"all this land used to be mine, from that mountain to that mountain. Now the chavistas have let people set up shacks and grow crops on it. My only concern is for the wildlife."

ha ha ha.

juozokas's picture
juozokas
Offline
Joined: 5-11-07
Dec 3 2007 13:41
Tacks wrote:
"all this land used to be mine, from that mountain to that mountain. Now the chavistas have let people set up shacks and grow crops on it. My only concern is for the wildlife."

ha ha ha.

lol!

anarchol
Offline
Joined: 22-09-04
Dec 3 2007 13:51

Six hour day?

Man, I'd accept a lot of politican bullshit to get that...

juozokas's picture
juozokas
Offline
Joined: 5-11-07
Dec 3 2007 14:02

Wait... he didn't win it! I apologise but as you can see from the link in the first post they were reporting it as a win. I am pretty surprised that they have knocked back 6-hour day but look @ the folks it says in the article who voted against it (churchies, students, business groups, etc.). Look at the people in the photo with the 'NO' signs.

http://www.theage.com.au/news/world/chavez-power-bid-rejected-by-people/2007/12/03/1196530574299.html

juozokas's picture
juozokas
Offline
Joined: 5-11-07
Dec 3 2007 14:04

Can an admin please change the title of this thread too now? How big is the middle-class in Venezuala and is this their doing? What is people's analysis of this result? Is this representative of working-class attitudes towards Chavez and politics? It would be cool to have someone from Venezuala chime in on this.

Tacks's picture
Tacks
Offline
Joined: 8-11-05
Dec 3 2007 14:49

middle class is a vague political term i think.... perhaps be a bit more specific?

i can't believe he lost! That's insane.

Tacks's picture
Tacks
Offline
Joined: 8-11-05
Dec 3 2007 14:51
juozokas wrote:
Wait... he didn't win it! I apologise but as you can see from the link in the first post they were reporting it as a win. I am pretty surprised that they have knocked back 6-hour day but look @ the folks it says in the article who voted against it (churchies, students, business groups, etc.). Look at the people in the photo with the 'NO' signs.

http://www.theage.com.au/news/world/chavez-power-bid-rejected-by-people/2007/12/03/1196530574299.html

That is the most biased article i have read on anything for years grin

don't trust it for fucking beans mate.

Tacks's picture
Tacks
Offline
Joined: 8-11-05
Dec 3 2007 14:59
Quote:
"I thank you and I congratulate you," Chávez said calmly, referring to his opponents. "I recognise the decision a people have made." Turning to supporters, some of whom were weeping, he added: "Don't feel sad."

that ole chavez charisma.

Quote:
The conciliatory tone was a sharp contrast to his campaign rhetoric, which denounced his opponents as "fascists", "traitors" and "mental retards".

err!

Quote:
Three months ago an opposition victory seemed unthinkable, but a loose coalition of students, small political parties and the Catholic church gained traction.

Aha!

Quote:
Chávez's formidable state-backed electoral machine mobilised hardcore supporters but struggled to combat the apathy and disillusion of softer chavistas. A turnout of 55%, low by Venezuelan standards, showed that many stayed home. "Abstention defeated us," said the president. "It's a lesson for us."

wow. So the question is not 'why didn't he win this by a landslide' but indeed 'why didn't 45% of the population give a fuck?'

The IFA section in Venezuela might have something to say, though i have ansty suspicion they might be celebrating the result.

XaViER
Offline
Joined: 18-03-07
Dec 3 2007 15:03

This "Popular participation" is just a propaganda. As you can see in article 11, Chavez wanted to get almost total power on all levels of the State:

“The President of the Republic may decree Special Military Regions for strategic and defense ends, anywhere in the territory and other geographical spaces of the Republic. He may as well decree Special Authorities in situations of contingency, natural disasters, etc.”

So he could rule in every piece of Venezuela without asking anybody.

In article 16 Chavez gets power to appoint and remove local authorities directly. There are many things like this. The direct democracy, popular power in spite of this are just Public Relations "blah blah blah".

So this is why many of the working class ppl where against or abstained (45% abstention in Venezuela, which is very very low in comparison with last presidential elections), because they didn't want to wake up in another Castro-like "socialist dictatorship".

here you can read all amendments in english:
http://constitutional-reform-venezuela.blogspot.com/2007/09/original-and-modified-text-of.html

Tacks's picture
Tacks
Offline
Joined: 8-11-05
Dec 3 2007 15:18

tbh, your guess is as good as mine from over in poland.

XaViER
Offline
Joined: 18-03-07
Dec 3 2007 15:35

This is not guess: I can read. This "reform" was shit in a nice box. Only an idiot or sadomasochist would vote "Yes". But fortunately Venezuelan ppl are not.

jonnyflash
Offline
Joined: 14-01-07
Dec 3 2007 16:44
Quote:
Presidential terms are lengthened from six to seven years. Terms limits are eliminated, allowing the president to run for re-election indefinitely.

That's what we have in Canada, what they have in Australia. The key word was "re-election". As in they still have to get voted in, rather than having any type of comic-book cold-war style authoritarian totalitarianism power.

The Bolivarian movement lost by a hair:
the margin on the first block of reforms (there were 2 things to vote on on the voting cards), the ones proposed by the Chavez group, lost by 0.3%, that is, less than half a percentage point. The second block (proposed by the parlaiment) lost by about one percent. In all, about 125,000 additional votes would have been needed in order to pass the reforms.

Chavez has been quoted that reformers should be happy to lose, rather than deal with the internal instability that would have occurred had the reformers won by a tiny fraction of a percentage point.

With abstention at 45%, the turnout was proportionately greater than many national elections in developed countries. The fact that just under half the voters voted for reforms leading towards democratic "socialism for the 21st century" represents a huge victory in itself, and a barometer of where where Venezuelans are at, where revolutionaries need to focus in the future.

I suspect the full equal legal recognition and protection of homosexuals was a tough to promote in that strongly christian country. An recently intercepted CIA memo stated that 8 million dollars had been spent by one agency in just the 30 days preceding the referendum. I've heard of color brochures explaining that small business would be expropriated, and children would be taken away by the state if the reforms passed.
In that intercepted memo, the CIA claimed they had managed to reduce the total of expected pro-reform voters by 6%, but still felt they would lose in their intervention aims.
So this result was a surprise to all sides.

Tacks's picture
Tacks
Offline
Joined: 8-11-05
Dec 3 2007 17:03
XaViER wrote:
This is not guess: I can read. This "reform" was shit in a nice box. Only an idiot or sadomasochist would vote "Yes". But fortunately Venezuelan ppl are not.

oh come on! You can tell me exactly why the working class of venezuela acted as it did, from poland?

The reforms were NOT shit in a nice box. It was a move to autocracy combined with social reforms - i e state socialism, towards cuba as you have identified. Thats is not 'shit in a nice box'.

jonnyflash
Offline
Joined: 14-01-07
Dec 3 2007 17:04
Quote:
This "Popular participation" is just a propaganda. As you can see in article 11, Chavez wanted to get almost total power on all levels of the State:
“The President of the Republic may decree Special Military Regions for strategic and defense ends, anywhere in the territory and other geographical spaces of the Republic. He may as well decree Special Authorities in situations of contingency, natural disasters, etc.”
So he could rule in every piece of Venezuela without asking anybody.

Xavier, Canada, most of the parlaimentary and dare I say all the republics in the world have this type of law on the books. What with all the 2002 coup plotters still running round free, and the corporate media still allowed to diss the Bolivarian movement every minute of every hour in national bradcasts, it's pretty hard to allege that anyone was trying to get :almost total power on all levels of the State".

Tacks's picture
Tacks
Offline
Joined: 8-11-05
Dec 3 2007 17:07

jonnyflash....

just no.

jonnyflash
Offline
Joined: 14-01-07
Dec 3 2007 17:21
Quote:
It was a move to autocracy combined with social reforms - i e state socialism, towards cuba as you have identified

Tacks, there was no move toward autocracy, unless you would portray Canada and Australia and other parlaimentary liberal universal-suffrage democracies as autocratic.
This was a move toward decentralization. The decentralization of state functions down to the local and regional levels (communal councils), where projects can be tailored to suit specific and contingent conditions, and reflect local and regional needs. The whole point was to constitutionally decentralize and democratize the system so much that it would be beyond the control of the elite minority of politically skilled people that thrive off of inequality and the disaffection of the masses.

This was not a referendum on adopting democratic centralism, Cuba's political format.
The co-existence of types of communal property with private property sought by the reformers does not coincide with Cuba's complete socialization of private property.

jonnyflash
Offline
Joined: 14-01-07
Dec 3 2007 17:26
Quote:
The one paradoxical victory here is that Chavez and his government have made the dictator narrative from a panicking corporate press a pretty tough sell. - Stan Goff

(my emphasis added)

jonnyflash
Offline
Joined: 14-01-07
Dec 3 2007 17:32

people who wanna actually hear from people on the ground (lots in engrish too) in Venezuela can listen now to

http://radiovenezuelaenvivo.blogspot.com/

jonnyflash
Offline
Joined: 14-01-07
Dec 3 2007 17:33

Some more context from ma man Stan at Feral Scholar:

Quote:
Here is the important thing to understand about Venezuela. The Bolivarian struggle for Venezuela is not between the privileged white stratum (and Venezuela’s is a hugely racist dominant class) and the masses, except superficially. The opposition to Chavismo inside Venezuela has always been comprador opposition… a subset of US imperial power. The enemy of the sovereignty of the Venezuelan people is the United States of America’s government and the class it represents.

Chavez is leading a struggle — one that has not shown even a sign of dictatorship — against imperial power in Venezuela. This is a national struggle… and it is driven by a sense of urgency.

Right now, the special circumstance of Venezuela, with its oil bringing in development capital at an astronomical rate, and having a hammer lock on enough of the US oil import fraction to give it some cover, is one where either they make the most of this advantage to consolidate the changes they can, or they see the window close, and watch every advance get frittered away through US-directed “managed democracy.”

There is little doubt from this old Latin America hand that every part of this referendum has a specific strategic purpose… and it is not to turn Chavez into the next Peron.

This is not the ideal time for the Chavistas, and they know it. They survived the last coup because they outwitted the US… and none of this has anything to do with Chavez’ ego. They need to go deeper and wider with the popular democratic programs, the people need to be further integrated into microdemocracy, the cultural revolution that has accompanied this process needs another decade…. but it’s not there.

Twenty different events could slam the door on the transient advantages Venezuela now has vis-a-vis the US… and its colonial surrogate class inside Venezuela. If every item (which I believe to be strategic) in this composite referendum were submitted to another oportunity for the NED to pump millions more into creating a result, the process could go on for years, while the US maneuvered its way back into control over Venezuela’s future, and tried to halt the tenuous continental drift of Latin America out from under US hegemony… which is being led now by the Bolivarian process.

This is not some replay of the 20th Century. And regardless of what any American thinks of the referendum, we have a moral obligation to oppose any US coup-plotting in Venezuela. I have been directly involved in one too many Southcom intelligence summary briefings in my past life to believe the US is not at war against any independence in Latin America… or that the coup plots being reported now are not very real.

[Panama 1981, Guatemala 1983, El Salvador 1985, Peru 1991, Panama 1991, Honduras 1991, Venezuela 1992, Colombia 1992, Haiti 1994… why would a US soldier spend so much time in these places?]

Smash Rich Bastards
Offline
Joined: 24-03-06
Dec 3 2007 17:38

Chavez has conceeded to the opposition but there's all sorts of concern in the news over how the radical wing of the pro-Chavez movement is going to react. Should be interesting.

jonnyflash
Offline
Joined: 14-01-07
Dec 3 2007 17:40

Shazaaang! Jonny is out of the taxi, awaiting the libcom backlash for his defence of a social movement that is actually advancing in the material world, and now back to my 15 page paper due in 6 hours. Shazaam. Flame away, but when you flame, flame your best - remember that this time is special: you are flaming for the Anglo-American empire by helping to triangulate their biggest enemy.

Devrim's picture
Devrim
Offline
Joined: 15-07-06
Dec 3 2007 17:52

Jonny, the first question that comes to my mind is why if 'the Bolivarian revolution' is doing so much for the working class, and the poor, they didn't turn out to support it.
Devrim

juozokas's picture
juozokas
Offline
Joined: 5-11-07
Dec 3 2007 17:56

Yes that is a good question!