Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Venezuela, democracy and free elections.

"Jose de Cordoba’s February 14 Wall Street Journal article on Venezuela’s general election ... presents a class conscious analysis to declare that the upcoming election will be free but unfair, unfair because the electoral advantages normally enjoyed by the top one percent are, this time, all on the side of the bottom 99 percent. ...


"... Cordoba, as far as I know, has never complained about the owners of capital enjoying parallel advantages in other elections, so why complain about the other side enjoying the same advantages now?"

Beautifully put.

The pivotal event in Venezuela was arguably the failure of the coup following the 2002 election and the ruling class' loss of control of the armed forces. This fundamental rupture of their system of control is something the imperialists will never forgive or forget. And like it or not it is the foundation of Venezuela's popular democracy, the protective screen behind which it has been able to grow and flourish.

Similarly, while the Massachusetts Revolution of 1774 was an utterly non-violent event, resembling nothing so much as the Occupy movement, support for it by the armed forces in the countryside, the militias, made the success of that non-violent revolution possible, protecting it from being snuffed out in its cradle by the local gentry and the military governor General Gage and guaranteeing that the British attempt to retake their lost colony by force the following year would be met with an effective and organized defense. It was the crucial screen behind which democratic institutions could advance from opposition to organizing and exercising state power. [See The First American Revolution, before Lexington and Concord, by Ray Raphael.]

Some of the forces around the Oathkeepers movement are scary, and I can smell the taint of the plans for a right-wing putsch against our constitutional government. Yet it also channels a vitally important impulse, a challenge from within the ranks of the uniformed and arms-bearing services to the right of their commanders to act against the people. That impulse is a two-edged sword, and no one can confidently predict which way it will cut in a crisis. If it cuts one way, we may well face a long dark night of fascism possibly ending in extinction; the other way, and democratic impulses like Occupy could find the space to blossom into a revolutionary transformation that will redeem our country and perhaps our species.

Is there a dedicated Oathkeepers watcher in the house?
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