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Mészáros and Chávez: The Philosopher and the Llanero

What made István Mészáros’s life so fascinating, and relevant to issues of socialist construction, was that, having seen both sides of the Cold War, he came to perceive both “real socialism” and twentieth-century capitalism as two variants of the same system. He called this the capital system. The basic commonality among most countries of both the East and the West in the twentieth century was the extraction of surplus labor from workers who did not control their own work processes. | more…

Johandri Paredes

A Commune Called ‘Che’: A Socialist Holdout in the Venezuelan Andes

The Che Guevara Commune is far removed from the bustle of Venezuela’s huge coastal cities. You reach it by following a steep winding road from the shores of Lake Maracaibo into La Culata National Park. Lush vegetation and tall bucare trees provide good shade for coffee and cacao, which has only begun to be farmed in recent decades in this region, due to the migration triggered by the construction of the Pan-American Highway along the lake’s perimeter in the 1950s. | more…

Venezuela, the Present as Struggle: Voices from the Bolivarian Revolution

Venezuela, the Present as Struggle: Voices from the Bolivarian Revolution

Venezuela has been the stuff of frontpage news extravaganzas, especially since the death of Hugo Chávez. With predictable bias, mainstream media focus on violent clashes between opposition and government, coup attempts, hyperinflation, U.S. sanctions, and massive immigration. What is less known, however, is the story of what the Venezuelan people—especially the Chavista masses—do and think in these times of social emergency. Denying us their stories comes at a high price to people everywhere, because the Chavista bases are the real motors of the Bolivarian revolution. This revolutionary grassroots movement still aspires to the communal path to socialism that Chávez refined in his last years. Venezuela, the Present as Struggle is an eloquent testament to their lives. | more…