Monday, March 12, 2007

Chavismo and pluralism 

Continueing with the recent theme of important news out of Venezuela that the opposition tries to either ignore or distort because it contradicts the propoganda they've been peddling today I want to bring up the difficulties that Chavez's efforts to form a single revolutionary party has run into.

It will be recalled that a couple of months ago Chavez proposed that all parties that support him should unify into a single party. The opposition and some in the international media immediately began to peddle the false notion that this was move to a one party state. That was completely false and absurd because it was only supporters of Chavez who were called on to do this, the opposition could have all the stupid little parties it wanted. Further, even pro-Chavez groups weren't required to do this. They were required to do this if they wanted to still be part of the ruling coalition - not an unreasonable condition laid down by a duly elected president. Winning an election does allow you to dictate terms to those who which to walk along side you.

Of course some tried to make hay even out of this. This showed Chavismos lack of tolerance for pluralism they said. Of course, they've said that for years now while Chavismo has often been made up of many groups, factions, and tendencies with widely differing views.

Recently we have gotten further evidence of this pluralism and independant thought. Three long time leftist parties have refused to disband and immediately join the new "unity" party. They are the Communist Party, Patria Para Todos, and Podemos. All of them have done this for principled reasons - they want to see how the new party is set up, how it is governed, and what principles and program it supports. I imagine the Communist Party doesn't want to disolve and join a party that ultimately turns out to be a Social Democratic party. Makes perfect sense to me.

Further, these political parties don't follow the dictates of just a few leaders. Any decision to dissolve needs to be discussed and approved by the rank and file which is exactly what has been happening.

So the reality, much ignored by our friends in the international media, is that pluralism, principled political positions, and independent thought is alive and well in Chavismo - just as it always has been. Some day the opposition might want to try it. Who knows, maybe they'll like it if they just give it a chance.

This is an advertisement published by PODEMOS in Ultimas Noticias explaining their position with respect to the formation of a single party of and under what conditions they would join it. Their primary conditions is that there first be a thorough discussion regarding the principles of the new party and that the assembly that sets up the new party and selects its leadership be formed by local and state level elections.

In other words, they want internal democracy within political parties and decisions based on political principles not based on personalities. Exactly what Venezuela needs.


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