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January 23, 2005

Venezuelan Government Now Owns a Paper Mill

I was first tipped off to this story from a Marxist article that was forwarded to the WILPF listserv. (Most of our listservs are open to the public, by the way.) I attempted to decipher to the news from the rhetoric in this article. Frankly, it's early and I haven't had any coffee so I simply went to Google news and typed in "Chavez Venepal." That led me to this article, which offers historical context and a more balanced view of the events.

Nevertheless, Jorge Martin (the Marxist) was able to include the most intriguing quotes. Apparently, these are the words of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez:

Capitalism wants to annihilate the workers... here we are carrying out a process of liberation of the workers, and this is why they are annoyed in Washington. [...]

In Venezuela we are at war, but not invading other countries or violating other countries’ sovereignty... here we are at war against misery and poverty.

I'm intrigued by the quote because I'm usually turned off by Marxist rhetoric. Their view of history is tinged by their Hatred of Capitalism and their belief in the working class seems ridiculously simplistic to me. (If factory owners can be corrupted, why can't factory workers have the same human flaw?)

Nevertheless, I too sometimes want to wage war against misery and poverty. Usually, I don't want to uphold the culture of violence by using such a violent metaphor, but ultimately I wish more time and energy was spent decreasing misery and poverty. After all, universal healthcare will not come if we all continue to accept that our health should be the basis for profit. We must accept a small amount of socialism into our great "ownership society" if we're truly going to fix the problems fo Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and the uninsured.

I'm not sure if my belief in basic human rights turns me red, but this post could put me on a government watch list (if my past activist experience hasn't already).

Posted by cj at January 23, 2005 6:13 AM

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