venezuela and working class life

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a.t.
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Sep 3 2011 19:38
venezuela and working class life

In arguments with electoral socialists I see the argument that Chavez has increased working class living standards thrown about as a supposed refutation to the communists and anarchists who oppose the use of parliamentary state power.

Anyone know the truth of the matter, have standards improved? is this down to 'bolivarianism'? and how would you answer this argument?

thanks

Spassmaschine
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Sep 4 2011 02:20

There were a couple of interesting articles from the group "Friends of the Classless Society", published in Internationalist Perspective a year or two ago, that looked in detail at these, and other questions.

http://internationalist-perspective.org/IP/ip-archive/ip_51-52_venezuela.html
http://internationalist-perspective.org/IP/ip-archive/ip_53_venezuela.html

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jef costello
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Sep 4 2011 07:35

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/20/worlds-tallest-squat-caracas-venezuela

bastarx
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Sep 4 2011 07:46

I don't think the main argument against electoralism is that it can't occasionally deliver higher living standards but rather that it can't deliver communism.

LBird
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Sep 4 2011 08:10
Peter wrote:
I don't think the main argument against electoralism is that it can't occasionally deliver higher living standards but rather that it can't deliver communism.

I'd like to second the main thrust of Peter's statement, by adding a word to bolster it.

"I don't think the main argument against electoralism is that it can't occasionally deliver temporarily higher living standards but rather that it can't deliver communism."

Also, those "temporarily higher living standards" are only 'higher' than the proletariat's previous 'living standards', but are actually relatively lower than the 'living standards' measured by current 'standards'.

In other words, 'things' might get 'better' by somebody's measures.

The 'somebody' is the ruling class. They give us indoor toilets, they can claim 'higher' living standards. We used to have outdoor toilets.

But our measurement must be based on asking the question 'where is the indoor toilet?'.

Only Communism can deliver 'indoor toilets' to the current potential good standard of housing for all on this planet.

With 'electoralism', we can never all share the potential. They have their gold toilet seats, in their personal jets (indoors, I think).

But, given recent events, we'll all be shitting in the streets again soon, never mind 'outside toilets'.

Caiman del Barrio
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Sep 4 2011 11:38

I've recently finished "Venezuela: Revolution as Spectacle" by Caracas-based Rafael Uzcátegui, who's a human rights activist and anarchist with the El Libertario collective. The book uses reams of statistical facts to debunk the myth of a qualitative improvement in the life of ordinary Venezuelans in the 12 years of chavismo. I'm gonna review it for my blog when I have a spare couple of hours...

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Joseph Kay
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Sep 4 2011 12:48

I touched on this in a recent academic essay i wrote, only two paragraphs though:

Joseph Kay wrote:
Co-operatives and co-management in Venezuela
Venezuela is home to somewhere in the region of 108,000 to 250,000 co-operative enterprises (Uzcátegui 2010: 185) in what has been described as a ‘novel experiment to open Venezuela's economy from the bottom up’ (Bowman & Stone 2006), supported by state oil revenues (Co-operative News 2009). These fall into two broad camps – state-backed Empresas de Producción Social (EPS), which are worker-managed and state-supported whilst having social obligations such as healthcare clinics, and co-management firms where workers have some elected representatives but state often has a controlling stake (Uzcátegui 2010: 183-188; Freitez 2007: 14-15). Wages are reportedly higher than average in the co-managed firms, a positive from a labour-developmental point of view. However, health and safety conditions are reportedly poor, with a visitor to one co-managed firm remarking that ‘really, the factory should be closed down immediately because of the health damage it causes’ (Lopez 2007).

Uzcátegui (2010: 183) notes that ‘several organisations that defended labour rights lodged complaints about the use of co-operatives as a means to circumvent labour laws’, since members are technically not workers but co-owners. There is also concern that many ‘co-operatives’ are set up as shells to obtain state contracts or credit (Uzcátegui 2010: 184-5). According to Lopez (2007), “the cooperatives function partly as small businesses and generalise precarious work.” This has also been noted by Bowman & Stone (2006), who note workers at one firm voted themselves a monthly income 38% below the minimum wage, which is possible because their income is not technically wages but a share of profits, and they needed to repay a state start-up loan. However, whilst being critical of the state-backed co-operatives and co-managed companies, Uzcátegui highlights the success of the independent co-operative group CECOSESOLA in developing healthcare facilities in deprived districts (Uzcátegui 2010: 184-185).

a.t.
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Sep 5 2011 22:05

Thanks all, this stuff is ideal.

Caiman del Barrio:

Quote:
I'm gonna review it for my blog when I have a spare couple of hours...

Please do, would be very interested to read this.

Caiman del Barrio
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Sep 9 2011 12:46

Back by popular demand, my blog, with the promised book review: http://libcom.org/blog/book-review-venezuela-revolution-spectacle-rafael-uzc%C3%A1tegui-09092011

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Alf
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Sep 10 2011 16:21

If you go to the ICC's website (www.internationalism.org), English or Spanish, and type Chavez in the site search engine, you will come across a number of articles showing how the Chavez regime has attacked working class living standards and repressed workers' struggles. They are usually written by our section in Venezuela.

wojtek
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Sep 10 2011 18:54

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