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Letter

Wood's "Defense of Marxism" (Dec 4): a defense of Chavez?

I reply as a sympathetic and ignorant outsider: I find Woods argument regarding the masses not supporting Chavez' revision of the Constitution to be persuasive and subtle: perhaps indeed an economy that has not moved forward quickly enough to supply and redistribute goods for the common good does reduce the commitment and spirit of the poor toward the socialist cause. This along with the energies and organization of the counter revolutionaries may be enough to account for Chavez' failure in the recent referendum. However, what Woods did not address was the argument that the revised constitution could have permitted Chavez to be elected president for life. Does Woods believe that this would have been a democratic and socialist improvement? Would the permanence of the presidential office in Chavez have furthered or stifled the socialist cause? In Canada (as far as I know) a Prime Minister and his party can be elected repeatedly without any limitation other than that of the general will of the electorate and the particular will of the PM's party--an unlikely possibility in our (Canada's) divided body politick. So I ask: would Woods agree that the fear of a permanent lifetime President might account for the poor abstaining from the referendum??