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Key Venezuelan Socialist Leader Resigns

Mérida, March 29th 2010 ( – In an interview with Diario Panorama, the former vice president of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), Alberto Muller Rojas, announced he was resigning from politics.

Muller Rojas said that the revolutionary process over the last three months had been “wretched... everything that is going on isn’t healthy for the revolutionary process.”

He said there were “bourgeoisie” in the PSUV and that the government was turning away from internationalism, towards “petty bourgeois nationalism.”

Muller Rojas also said opposition political parties, which hold substantially less voter support than the PSUV according to opinion polls, had no chance of winning a majority in the National Assembly in the upcoming September elections.

Born in 1935, Muller Rojas is a retired general in the armed forces and has a long history of participating in left wing politics. In 1997 he joined the Homeland for All Party (PPT) and in 1998 headed up current president Hugo Chavez’s election campaign. In 1999 he was designated as Venezuelan ambassador to Chile, later returning to be part of the Chief Staff of the Armed Forces, and at the start of 2008 Chavez appointed him as first vice-president of the PSUV.

He is also well remembered for warning that Chavez was surrounded by a “nest of scorpions,” pointing out then Defence Minister Raul Baduel, who months later went over to side with the rightwing opposition. He has also clashed with Chavez over the issue of the politicisation of the military.

Muller Rojas, 75, has also been very sick lately, frequently relying on a wheelchair.

Published on Mar 29th 2010 at 5.55pm


Are we having the Revolution yet..?

So here we are: it's official now.

Perhaps some of those around Venezuelanalysis and "VInt" organizing will take the hint: and instead of acting as self-appointed gatekeepers of the Bolivarian Revolution, they might rather turn their heretofore-not-too-critical eye on much of the supposed leadership of that revolution.

It's the system

"He said there were 'bourgeoisie' in the PSUV..." Well, a few wouldn't be problematic, but isn't it true of pretty much all political parties in the world (and even more apparant in the parliaments) that poor people get less representation than what would be in proportion to their part in the whole population? Instead of hand-wringing and complaining about specific bad apples it is more fruitful to ask how to fix this systemic problem.

The problem is the election mechanism. People don't want to waste their votes, so they don't just vote for whom they think is best, but they make estimates about your chance to win, an estimate that is strongly dependent on your campaign budget. As Kenneth Arrow demonstrated, the problem of wasted votes cannot be completely eliminated, unless you use a ballot lottery as a single-winner method; however, specific deterministic methods can at least strongly reduce this problem. These methods are also hard to count when it comes to really huge voter groups, but they could easily be used by smaller ones. Imagine people selected by population lottery form a jury that elects a candidate or several candidates. That would make it possible for each voter to get a direct impression of the candidates without the media filter and to use a complex voting method that minimizes tactical problems. Furthermore, by increasing the likeliness that a single voter in such a jury changes the outcome it gives each jury member an incentive to think more thoroughly about the issues at hand.

If a body has a lot of seats, the population lottery could be directly used, which as Paul Cockshott points out is the most representative mechanism possible.

China was once lead by

China was once lead by majority of party members who espoused Marxism as an ideology. Due to small "capitalist roaders" in the party and managed to take the helm of leadership the party after Mao discarded Marxism and has became revisionist. Now China is no longer a socialist state.

I hope Venezuela who remains a capitalist state and is gearing towards socialism should be very careful in guarding its ranks from the opportunists who may destroy the revolutionary process.

The PSUV and leftists allies should strengthen their ranks and weed out individuals who are claiming to be revolutionaries but in their actions are not. Only with genuine revolutionaries and a guiding ideology will make the revolution go forward along with the masses.

I'm not a Venezuelan (I'm a Filipino) but I have been admiring the changes in Venezuela and serving as inspiration for the fight against imperialism and all reaction. We may have different ideology and path of struggle but we wish the Venezuelan a success in changing their society for good.

All power to the consejos y comunas: not "parliamentary caucus"

Someone mentioned whining and 'doing something about it, then' -- and then proceeded to give us some arcane example for voting by large masses of people, with a bit of name-dropping thrown in for good measure.

But it's really simple, actually: either the rank-n-file workers take control of their Party and their State and their society from the "top-down" types -- or Venezuela becomes the next China. And whatever that means -- nothing pretty, I would bet. So this means: workers' and farmers' councils. Soviet style. Cannot be avoided. Playing bourgeois-parliamentary games only goes to demonstrate a complete shallowness, if not cowardice of vision.

councils and lotteries

Population lottery is not "arcane" but much easier to understand than actually used election systems like the mixed-member proportional methods in countries such as Germany or ranked ballots in countries such as Australia. As for the idea of worker councils: This can be used on a local level but total decentralisation is inefficient (economies of scale), so this question arises: How are councils supposed to work on a big scale? Should they elect delegates who then meet to elect delegates who then meet to elect delegates and so on? Such an indirect process is very vulnerable to gerrymander-like distortions (the more steps, the more distortions). So another process is needed for the national level. That a party is more powerful if all its members vote as one bloc leads to the concentration of power in the hands of a few. My goal is a truly democratic system with different currents in the population having power in proportion to their size and hierarchically structured parties are detrimental to this goal, indeed the very existence of parties is (those who don't understand: look up "Banzhaf power index"). There is nothing more bottom-up than filling seats via lottery.