Anarchism and Venezuela

The revolution that began eleven years ago in Venezuela could benefit a great deal from anarchist direct action in getting rid of the bureaucracy and establishing control over the country from the ground up. The governments encouragement for workers to take control of their workplaces and establish communal control over all aspects of their lives would appear to be a dream come true to many anarchists.

There appear to be areas where great progress is being made but overall the results for the country to date have been disappointing despite the nationalizations of natural resources, banks, strategic industries, and the appropriation of agricultural land.

It has been the objective of the government to eliminate the bureaucracy but the reformist mode that the bureaucrats have taken appears to be one to protect their privileged positions. There are reports that even in companies that have been nationalized for some time that the management is still clinging to control and the workers have not been allowed or prepared to fulfil their mandates to take total control.

The reasons for this lack of action of the workers and people in general may be due to their lack of education; many were only freed from illiteracy just five years ago, it may be the ingrained thinking of people born and raised in a capitalist society, or it may simply be a lack of anarchists in Venezuela. The new generation is being educated with perhaps the most advanced public system in the world and should do much to create the new man/woman required to live in freedom and democracy that Che’ envisioned, but can the revolution afford to wait?

The last election reduced the government’s power and ability to proceed as in the past; this has been attributed to several factors.

The oligarchs have been allowed to make full use of their control of the media and assisted by the US pouring millions of dollars into fund dissidents to propagate propaganda, and create dissension. There are also reports that the lack of the government’s ability or willingness to push the revolution faster with more appropriations has disillusioned some former supporters, and the fact that most of the gains have gone to the poorest sections of society and that the middle class has been neglected.

The ultimate objective of this revolution is real democracy by the people from the bottom up; this is real democracy and would be a first in the world since ancient Greece. The only government in the world that comes close to real democracy is Switzerland where the constitution prohibits the government from declaring war with out holding a referendum. The Swiss decide many important matters by referendum. Have not been engaged in a war during the past century. and have no all powerful leader; the president of Switzerland is a ceremonial position that is rotated yearly. The Venezuelan model calls for no bureaucracy, only elected representatives at every level and subject to recall at any time. Many anarchists around the world have dreamt and speculated about forming such a society; perhaps some of them should go to Venezuela and give the people a hand.

John E. Jones
20th November, 2010.