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Sat Jun 21, 2014, 03:37 PM

 

"Collective Panic" in VZ - great article on lies of the oligarchy

Most of you are aware that since 1998 democracy in Venezuela has been under heavy and near-continuous attack by that country's wealthy oligarchy, with ample overt and covert backing from the U.S. government.

It is a great tragedy of our time that our government still does not support the struggles of the people in Latin America, but continues to align with their ruling classes and in many cases the worst of their oppressors. In one of the greatest positive moments of the 21st century, however, the attempted CIA-backed military coup d'etat in 2002 was turned back by a massive uprising of the people.

More recently, the death of Chavez has encouraged the pro-oligarchic minority to renew their attempts at permanent social sabotage. As the oligarchs continue to lose elections, these violent outbreaks have had the sole aim of bringing down the elected government and reversing the achievements of the Bolivarian reform movement, which continues to be backed by the majority.

The lies of the oligarchs (who still control most of Venezuela's mass media) and related disinformation campaigns receive privileged treatment in the Western media. At times they have also been exposed. One example was when an "opposition" Twitter feed took famous pictures of protest and police brutality from around the world and falsely captioned these as being from Venezuela!

Though almost as clumsy, other lies persist, however, and are repeated on a frequent basis by New York Times and Reuters. They are also echoed by a small but very persistent grouping of left-liberal anti-communist ideologists who always seem to toe the State Department line, as is also evident on this site.

Here's an excellent rundown from Jacobin on one of the most pathological oligarchic myths, specifically the panic about the self-organization of the Venezuelan working class (also known as the colectivos).

"The dangers of this myth should not be understated," George Ciccariello-Maher writes. "By dehumanizing all those it broadly describes, the term colectivos legitimizes violence against them (just as the bizarre, racist rumor that the National Guard is infiltrated by Cubans no doubt serves to legitimize sniper attacks)."

It should also recall for you the Tea Party rhetoric against "collectivists" in the States. The "opposition" in Venezuela occupies much the same politics as the Tea Party, but they have grown far more extreme and more prone to use the organized violence that they project on to their opponents.






https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/06/collective-panic-in-venezuela/

An Empty Signifier

On the surface, colectivos refers to the grassroots revolutionary collectives that make up the most organized element of chavismo. Beyond this, the term loses all clarity. On February 12, for example, it was widely claimed on Twitter that the student Bassil da Costa was shot by armed collectives. On February 19, videos were circulated claiming that colectivos were rampaging through the wealthy zone of Altamira in Caracas firing hundreds of live rounds. And when the young beauty queen Génesis Carmona was killed, her death was immediately blamed on the colectivos.

As it turns out, da Costa was almost certainly killed by uniformed and plainclothes Sebin (intelligence) officials who have since been arrested and charged.


(How often do you see that with police killings in the United States, by the way?)

Those present were not colectivos, even according to Altamira’s opposition mayor Ramón Muchacho and were not firing live rounds. According to both ballistics evidence and her own friends, Génesis Carmona was shot from behind, while the only Chavistas nearby seem to have been at least several blocks in the opposite direction. And yet these claims and many like them circulated instantly and tirelessly throughout social media, feeding a gullible mainstream and foreign media, often mediated by English-language blogs like Caracas Chronicles.

We could add to these examples both the many nonexistent, imagined aggressions as well as the overall death count from the protests. According to one detailed account, of those killed by “unidentified gunmen” — the category we would expect to correlate most directly to the fear of the colectivos — less than one-third were actually opposition protesters.

So how can we make sense of the spread of this shadowy concept? The label was certainly not taken on voluntarily. Like many similar terms — notably that of “Tupamaros” (created by the Metropolitan Police in the 1980s to describe urban militants) — colectivos emerged and gained its recent force as a denunciation invented by its enemies. In what Frantz Fanon would call “overdetermination from without,” individuals are identified as collective members prior to choosing that identity themselves. The term’s aspiration to reductive homogenization can be seen in how it is most often rendered with the definite article — the collectives. The colectivos are armed by the opposition’s definition. But only a small sector of revolutionary organizations are in fact armed, while most tarred with the term are not, making the choice of the term peculiar indeed. All of which leaves us with a well-worn set of markers that are simultaneously economic, political, and racial: being poor, dark-skinned, and wearing a red shirt is enough to be deemed a collective member these days.

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Reply "Collective Panic" in VZ - great article on lies of the oligarchy (Original post)
JackRiddler Jun 2014 OP
JackRiddler Jun 2014 #1
Comrade Grumpy Jun 2014 #2
JackRiddler Jun 2014 #3
hack89 Jun 2014 #4
JackRiddler Jun 2014 #5
hack89 Jun 2014 #6
JackRiddler Jun 2014 #7
hack89 Jun 2014 #8
socialist_n_TN Jun 2014 #10
hack89 Jun 2014 #12
socialist_n_TN Jun 2014 #19
hack89 Jun 2014 #20
msanthrope Jun 2014 #13
hack89 Jun 2014 #14
msanthrope Jun 2014 #16
hack89 Jun 2014 #17
msanthrope Jun 2014 #18
JackRiddler Jun 2014 #21
malaise Jun 2014 #9
socialist_n_TN Jun 2014 #11
JackRiddler Jun 2014 #15
JackRiddler Jun 2014 #22
woo me with science Jun 2014 #23
JackRiddler Jun 2014 #24

Response to JackRiddler (Original post)

Sat Jun 21, 2014, 03:38 PM

1. “the collectives are synonymous with organization, not violence.”

 

As Reinaldo Iturriza is quoted in the article. And that is the real threat they pose!

To demonize them is to demonize the organized capacity of Venezuela’s poorest. Such “expressions of hatred” are part of what Iturriza calls the “psychological work” of a small sector of the Venezuelan opposition that is, in his words, “truly and literally fascist.”


https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/06/collective-panic-in-venezuela/

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Response to JackRiddler (Original post)

Sat Jun 21, 2014, 03:55 PM

2. They will defend the revolution.

 

In 1955, Peron balked at arming the Peronist workers in the face of a rightist military coup. He was overthrown. Live and learn.

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Response to Comrade Grumpy (Reply #2)

Sat Jun 21, 2014, 04:00 PM

3. Allende as well.

 

The Chavistas have learned the lesson of history, and this is why they aren't living under a dictatorship of death squads.

"That failed coup," in 2002,

which was justified by the same sorts of violent street clashes we see today, gave us a good picture of what the Venezuelan opposition would look like in power: all legitimate branches of government abolished, the constitution scrapped, state and grassroots media shut down by force, popular organizations under military attack, and dozens dead in the streets.


George Ciccariello-Maher describes how the organization and consciousness of the Venezuelan people was able to reverse the oligarchs' coup.

Or imagine if Castro had not been ruthless in his own defense. He'd be a footnote, someone the CIA would have overthrown and murdered more than 50 years ago.

If the U.S. wants to promote openness and bourgeois rights in these countries, its most effective move would be to STOP ATTACKING THEM!!!

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Response to JackRiddler (Original post)

Sat Jun 21, 2014, 04:04 PM

4. Every democracy needs armed militias

That answer only to the president. Obama could learn something from Chavez.

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Response to hack89 (Reply #4)

Sat Jun 21, 2014, 04:15 PM

5. Every oligarchy needs lies like you tell here.

 

Apparently you prefer the old days, when the oligarchs were armed and the people were subjugated, exploited, oppressed and killed for protesting. The Venezuelan revolution has survived the war waged on it by the oligarchs and by the United States government because the Venezuelan people have organized to defend themselves and their democracy against the long-standing violence of the wealthy. The continuing violence that you prefer to ignore, the violence that the pro-oligarchic parties initiated, the violence for which they are primarily responsible.

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Response to JackRiddler (Reply #5)

Sat Jun 21, 2014, 04:33 PM

6. Not familiar with the Bolivarian Miltia I take it? nt

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Response to hack89 (Reply #6)

Sat Jun 21, 2014, 05:00 PM

7. Not willing to see who started the violence?

 

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Response to JackRiddler (Reply #7)

Sat Jun 21, 2014, 05:06 PM

8. I would guess it was mutual

Disintegrating societies generate enough misery and suffering to motivate all sides. The Boligarchs are the only ones immune to VZ's economic mismanagement.

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Response to hack89 (Reply #8)

Sat Jun 21, 2014, 05:21 PM

10. Its never "mutual".......

The owners of any capitalist society will use ANY and ALL methods to keep the gains they've exploited from the people who might want to take it back. That includes everything from fascist death squads to control of the media organs so they can spread lying propaganda.

As a matter of fact, one of the critiques of Chavez when he first came to power was the fact that he didn't immediately smash the capitalists and expropriate their ill-gotten gains. Most revolutionary organizations saw this type of low to high level war coming. Anytime you leave any level of capitalism in place, above the mom and pop shopkeeper level, you wind up with this type of civil war.

As to the collectivistas being armed, when the fascists come for you, you want to be able to defend yourself. Trotsky was always in favor of a well-armed working class militia because he ALSO knew what lengths the bourgeoisie and their allies would go to in order to undermine ANY form of active socialism that threatened their control over society.

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Response to socialist_n_TN (Reply #10)

Sat Jun 21, 2014, 05:57 PM

12. The gross economic mismanagement

Cannot be blamed on anyone else but the government. They passed the currency control laws that are crippling their economy. They are responsible for a decade's decline in oil production. They are responsible for food and energy shortages. And they are responsible for a collapse in public safety that has made VZ one of the most violent countries in the world.

After 15 years of rule they are running out of excuses. When Maduro is overthrown from the left I can't wait to hear your excuses.

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Response to hack89 (Reply #12)

Sun Jun 22, 2014, 11:58 AM

19. I would actually REJOICE if Maduro was overthrown from the left........

because that would mean that the overthrowers would probably more in keeping with the idea of smashing the power of capitalism in Venezuelan society and giving control to the workers.

What this thread is about is NOT Maduro being overthrown from the left. It's about Maduro being overthrown by the capitalist oligarchs and the fascists.

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Response to socialist_n_TN (Reply #19)

Sun Jun 22, 2014, 12:39 PM

20. VZ, dependent as they are on oil exports

Depends on the global economy for their economic survival. Which means that regardless of who is in control, they have to make smart choices to maximize their oil revenue and to ensure their economy is fully integrated into world financial markets.

Their present economic woes are solely their fault. The shortage of dollars crippling their economy is due to laws and policies they implemented. Making VZ 100% socialist will fix that problem.

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Response to hack89 (Reply #4)

Sat Jun 21, 2014, 06:20 PM

13. An excellent idea. nt

 

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #13)

Sat Jun 21, 2014, 06:26 PM

14. Let's hope we don't have another repuke president though

That could be a potential problem.

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Response to hack89 (Reply #14)

Sat Jun 21, 2014, 06:36 PM

16. Yeah...but the candidacy of either Warren or Sanders, or Paul will usher in the glorious

 

revolution. Their handpicked successors won't have to worry about that.

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #16)

Sat Jun 21, 2014, 08:11 PM

17. Will we have to wear berets?

I don't look good in a beret.

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Response to hack89 (Reply #17)

Sat Jun 21, 2014, 11:20 PM

18. Berets can be very snappy....with the right jaunty one, you could look great!! nt

 

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #16)

Sun Jun 22, 2014, 08:14 PM

21. Very revealing joke.

 

"Narrative of the extremes," American style? If I understand your gist properly, there's an enormous difference between Obama and Bush (although not to Venezuelans, of course), but Warren/Sanders and Ron Paul are the same thing. Sure. Left, right, don't confuse us, stick to the 1% and the corporatist status quo.

The problem is that the bipartisan policy of the United States is to murder democracy in Latin America (and anywhere else) whenever it means the people might actually get economic justice. (They can vote as long as it makes no difference to the corporate interests the USG defends.)

Imperialism is not a joke, it's a bloody, bloody criminal history that should shame its supporters.

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Response to JackRiddler (Original post)

Sat Jun 21, 2014, 05:09 PM

9. K & R

for truth

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Response to JackRiddler (Original post)

Sat Jun 21, 2014, 05:23 PM

11. It's the same as in Ukraine........

The same dynamic with regional differences and a little more blatant imperialism BECAUSE of the Euro-centric placement of Ukraine.

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Response to socialist_n_TN (Reply #11)

Sat Jun 21, 2014, 06:33 PM

15. Much worse, I'd say.

 

Last edited Sun Jun 22, 2014, 08:14 PM - Edit history (1)

Since independence Ukraine has always been run by kleptocrats and even if the protests were misguided (demanding an EU austerity plan? really?) there was a reason for them. (Just not for ousting the elected government in favor of a governing coalition of neoliberals and fascist Ukrainian nationalists who start a civil war.)

VZ is under attack because they tried to do the right thing, in an area of the world that U.S. imperialism has been raping for going on two centuries. Without the U.S. interference, this struggle would have been over long ago.

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Response to JackRiddler (Original post)

Mon Jun 23, 2014, 02:13 PM

22. self kick

 

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Response to JackRiddler (Original post)

Mon Jun 23, 2014, 03:39 PM

23. K&R

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Response to JackRiddler (Original post)

Wed Jun 25, 2014, 05:44 PM

24. bumpity

 

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