Chávez tactical u-turn on socialism

Hugo Chavez

Chavez is abandoning his socialist agenda “for now,” granting amnesty to right-wing coup plotters, replacing left-wingers in his cabinet, and signaling he wants to build alliances with the bourgeoisie.

New Statesman opines
the recent defeat of socialism at the Venezuela polls had little to do with socialism and quite a lot to do with Chavistas becoming insiders.

A closer look at electoral patterns reveals a clear protest vote, not against a socialist agenda, but against corrupt administrations, at the national and the regional level.

The vote outcome has everything to do with the accession of many a Chavista to the rank of “insider” over the past eight years. This process has been gradual, and perhaps inevitable in a society in which institutionalised rentier-mechanisms have been endemic for decades.

But the contradiction between a radical socialist government agenda and the “Chavista elite”, bent on defending its share in the oil rent, effectively came to a head last year.

In other words, it’s a battle between the left Chavista street and the right Chavista elite, many of whom hold positions of power in the administration, and pretended to back the reforms while working against them and destabilized markets to create food shortages.

Thus, says the New Statesman, a weakened Chavez hasn’t the power to fight them and must make accommodations, at least for now, until he strengthens his mass party – assuming he can.

In any system of government, a primary task is to insure that a privileged elite does not gain control, enriching themselves at the expense of others. This clearly has  happened in socialism (USSR managerial class and current day China) as well as capitalism. Somehow, we need governments beholden and responsive to all, and not primarily to the few at the top.