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Venezuela

April 2015 (Volume 66, Number 11)

April 2015 (Volume 66, Number 11)

The Review of the Month in this issue (“Chávez and the Communal State” by John Bellamy Foster) focuses on the revolutionary political strategy introduced by Hugo Chávez and the Bolivarian movement in Venezuela. In the process it addresses how István Mészáros’s Beyond Capital played a key, strategic role in the development of Chávez’s thinking. Beyond Capital is a daunting philosophical work of around a thousand pages, while many of his other writings are nearly as challenging. MR readers will therefore be pleased to learn that we have just published a new book by Mészáros, The Necessity of Social Control (Monthly Review Press, 2015), expressly designed, as Foster writes in the book’s “Foreword,” as “an easily accessible work,” providing “a way into his thinking for the uninitiated” (9).… Yet, Mészáros’s new book is much more than that.… | more |

Chávez and the Communal State

On the Transition to Socialism in Venezuela

On October 20, 2012, less than two weeks after being reelected to his fourth term as Venezuelan president and only months before his death, Hugo Chávez delivered his crucial El Golpe de Timón (“Strike at the Helm”) speech to the first meeting of his ministers in the new revolutionary cycle. Chávez surprised even some of his strongest supporters by his insistence on the need for changes at the top in order to promote an immediate leap forward in the creation of what is referred to as “the communal state.” This was to accelerate the shift of power to the population that had begun with the formation of the communal councils (groupings of families involved in self-governance projects—in densely populated urban areas, 200–400 families; in rural areas, 50–100 families). The main aim in the new revolutionary cycle, he insisted, was to speed up the registration of communes, the key structure of the communal state.… | more |

Strike at the Helm

The First Ministerial Meeting of the New Cycle of the Bolivarian Revolution

On October 7th, 2012, after hearing of his victory as the nation’s candidate with 56 percent of the vote, President Hugo Chávez Frias announced from a balcony in his hometown that a new cycle was beginning the very next day, October 8th.… | more |

Only a few days later, on October 20th, he headed the first meeting calling together the ministers of this new cycle, the Comandante called for a series of critiques and self-criticisms in order to expand efficiency, strengthen communal power, and further develop the National System of Public Media, among other themes regarding the construction of socialism.… | more |

This document synthesizes his words, as a tool for a debate in which we should all participate. … | more |

March 2014 (Volume 65, Number 10)

March 2014 (Volume 65, Number 10)

» Notes from the Editors

This issue of Monthly Review is mainly devoted to two commemorations: for Paul Alexander Baran, who died fifty years ago this month; and for Hugo Rafael Chávez Friás, who died one year ago this month.… Paul A. Baran was the author of The Political Economy of Growth (1957) and, with Paul M. Sweezy, Monopoly Capital (1966). Baran’s work on the roots of underdevelopment focused on the way in which the imperialist world system robbed countries of their actual and potential economic surplus, chaining them to conditions of dependency.… Hugo Chávez, president of Venezuela from 1999 until his death in March 2013, provided the crucial inspiration for the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela. Chávez created a new vernacular of revolution linked historically to Latin America’s Bolivarian tradition (marked by Bolívar’s famous statement that “equality is the law of laws”).… | more |

Proposing a Path to Socialism: Two Papers for Hugo Chávez

Everyone understands that it is impossible to achieve the vision of socialism for the twenty-first century in one giant leap forward. It is not simply a matter of changing property ownership. This is the easiest part of building the new world. Far more difficult is changing productive relations, social relations in general, and attitudes and ideas.… To transform existing relations into the new productive relations, we need first of all to understand the nature of the existing relations. Only then can you identify the mechanisms by which the new relations can be introduced. At this time, there is a great variety of experiments and approaches to changing productive relations which are being pursued. There is no attempt to set out specific proposals here but only to provide the framework in which such changes should be explored in order to move toward socialist productive relations.… | more |

Reflections on the New International

Dedicated to the Memory and Legacy of President Hugo Chávez

The need for the establishment and successful operation of The New International is painfully obvious and urgent today. The enemies of a historically sustainable societal reproductive order, who occupy at the present time still the dominant position in our increasingly endangered world, do not hesitate for a moment to exploit in the interest of their destructive design, with utmost cynicism and hypocrisy, the existing decision-making and opinion-forming organs of the international community, from the Security Council of the United Nations to the great multiplicity of the national and international press and to the other mass media under their direct material stranglehold.… At the same time the adherents of the much needed socialist alternative are fragmented and divided among themselves, instead of internationally combining their strength for the cause of a successful confrontation with their adversaries.… | more |

Objective truths and dreams

THE human species reaffirms with frustrating force that it has existed for approximately 230 million years. I do not recall any affirmation that it has achieved any greater age. Other kinds of humans did exist, like the Neanderthals of European origin; or a third, the hominid of Denisova in North Asia but, in no case […]… | more |

May 2013 (Volume 65, Number 1)

May 2013 (Volume 65, Number 1)

» Notes from the Editors

Millions of people throughout the world mourned the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez on March 5, 2013. Monthly Review responded at the time with numerous pieces posted on MRzine. We would like, however, to record here briefly something of MR‘s own special relationship to the late president, and what we think constitutes his indelible legacy to socialism in the twenty-first century. MR‘s unique connection to Chávez was largely through the influence of István Mészáros—whose relationship to Chávez stretched back for over twenty years, and whom Chávez called “the pathfinder of 21st century socialism”—and through Marta Harnecker and Michael Lebowitz, who both served as consultants to Chávez.… More than a decade followed in which the socialist revolution under Chávez moved forward, creating huge material, social, and cultural improvements for the Venezuelan population, and vastly increased the power of the people over their own lives through new socialist institutions…. The most vital revolutionary achievement in these years was the introduction of the famous “communal councils”—the general idea for which, as Chávez himself stressed on numerous occasions, was taken from Mészáros’s Beyond Capital.… | more |

We Have Lost Our Best Friend

The best friend the Cuban people have had throughout their history died on the afternoon of March 5. A call via satellite communicated the bitter news. The significance of the phrase used was unmistakable. Although we were aware of the critical state of his health, the news hit us hard. I recalled the times he joked with me, saying that when both of us had […]… | more |

To Sleep With Open Eyes

I took a good look at Obama in the famous “Summit Meeting”. Sometimes he was overcome by tiredness, he unwillingly shut his eyes but, at times, he slept with open eyes. The Cartagena Summit was not a meeting of a trade union of misinformed presidents, but a meeting among official representatives of 33 countries of […]… | more |

The Genius of Chávez

President Chávez presented his annual report on activities carried out in 2011 and his program for 2012 to the Venezuelan Parliament. After thoroughly carrying out the formalities required by this important activity, he addressed the official state authorities, members of parliament from all parties, and supporters and opposition members who had come to the Assembly […]… | more |

The Two Venezuelas

Yesterday I spoke about the time when Venezuela was an ally of the US empire and the country where Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch carried out their plans for the brutal in-flight bombing of a Cuban plane that caused the death and disappearance of all people aboard, including the youth fencing team that had just […]… | more |

Obama’s Supervised Shame

Not because it was brutal or clumsy or anticipated was there any less indignation about the Yankee judge from the South Florida District denying René González, the Cuban anti-terrorist hero, the right to return to the heart of his family in Cuba after having served the unfair sentence imposed on him.… After a cruel and undeserved 13-year prison sentence, the United States government—that gave birth to monsters such as Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch who, as CIA agents had a hand in the exploding of a Cuban airliner full of passengers in mid-flight—forces René to remain in that nation, where he shall be at the mercy of unpunished murderers for three long years, under a regime described as supervised “freedom”. Still unfairly and vengefully imprisoned for long terms of confinement, are another three Cuban heroes, and another one sentenced to two life terms. That is how the empire responds to the growing world clamor for the freedom of these men.… | more |

A Brilliant and Courageous Statement

Attending to other matters that are now top priority, I momentarily strayed from the frequency with which I had been writing reflections in the year 2010; however, Hugo Chávez Frías’ proclamation last Thursday the 30th, obliges me to write these lines.… The president of Venezuela is one of the men who has done the most for the health and education of his people; since these are subjects where the Cuban Revolution has accumulated the most experience, we gladly collaborate to the maximum with this sister country in both areas.… | more |

The grave food crisis

Just 11 days ago, January 19, under the title “The time has come to do something,” I wrote: “The worst is that, to a large degree, their solutions will depend on the richest and most developed countries, which will reach a situation that they really are not in a position to confront, unless the world […]… | more |

Hugo Chávez’ speech

An unprecedented meeting had taken place in the United States Capitol building between a group of legislators from the fascist right of that country and leaders of the Latin American right and pro-coup oligarchy. In that meeting there was talk of the defeat of the governments of Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua. The event took […]… | more |

What They Want is Venezuela’s Oil

Yesterday I said what I would do if I were Venezuelan; I explained that it was the poor who were most affected by natural disasters and I gave the reasons why. Further on, I added: “…where imperialism dominates and the opportunistic oligarchy receives a lucrative slice of national goods and services, the masses have nothing […]… | more |

If I Were Venezuelan

Tomorrow is an important day for Venezuela.  The elections to choose 165 members of parliament are taking place, and around this important event an historic battle is being waged. But at the same time, news about the weather is unfavorable.  Heavy rains are drenching the land that was the birthplace of the Liberator. Excessive rains […]… | more |

Sisterhood between the Bolivarian Republic and Cuba

I had the privilege of talking for three hours last Thursday 15th with Hugo Chávez, president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, who had the gentility to once again visit our country, this time arriving from Nicaragua. Few times in my life, perhaps never, have I met a person who has been capable of leading […]… | more |

The Bolivarian Revolution and the Caribbean

I liked history, as most boys do. Wars as well, a culture that society sowed in male children. All the toys offered us were weapons. In my childhood they sent me to a city where I was never taken to a movie theater. Television did not exist then, and there was no radio in the […]… | more |

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