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Venezuela: translating the revolution aims to promote solidarity with Venezuela's Bolivarian revolution by providing translations of interesting and important Venezuelan news articles and opinion pieces. It welcomes genuine discussion and debate on the posted articles.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

The 4th is not the child of the 27th

This article from the 'Grano de Maiz' blogsite discusses the relationship between the spontaneous mass uprising of February 27, 1989 - known as the Caracazo - and the Chavez-led military rebellion of February 4, 1992.
President Chavez discussed the issues raised by this blog post in his recent speech commemorating the February 4 rebellion. I will translate some excerpts of his speech in subsequent posts.

The 4th is not the child of the 27th, on the contrary, it refutes it
Un grano de maiz, Wednesday January 2, 2011
Translated by Owen Richards
Continuing to comment on the first of the Five Strategic Lines in the document proposed by the PSUV leadership for discussion, it's timely to refer to a paragraph that without doubt influences the rest of the document, determines its vision. 
The document says: "after the civic-military rebellions of the 4th of February and the 27th of November 1992, daughters of the popular rebellion of the 27th of February of 1989…"
Consideration of this point is of vital importance for the progress of the revolution, because the positions we take, the ideologies we have, will determine the function of the party – as either a vanguard or a mere electoral machine.
Let's analyse what happened.
The Caracazo, Feb 27, 1989
February 27 was a "popular revolt", without any political aim or organisation.  It revealed the failure of a left wing leadership that was defeated, exhausted, and had succumbed to the comfort of the oligarchy's table, or taken refuge in anarchistic positions denying the role of leadership, the role of political and social organization, leaving the masses without a compass, without a vanguard. That formidable explosion did not go beyond being a "jacquerie", a riot, when it could and should have been the seizure of government, the start of the revolutionary road.
By contrast, the 4th of February was an eminently political action, an action of the vanguard aimed at raising the awareness of the people, at leading them.  It was a return to being, and leading, a defeat of  the renunciation of leadership, a victory over the anarchistic ideology that failed on the 27th of February.
The tank smashing through the doors of Miraflores is symbolic, a clearly political action, seizing power, and its defence.
Tank smashing through the doors of Miraflores Palace, Feb 4 , 1992
So to say, as the document does, that today we analyse the 4th of February as the child of the 27th, is to agree with the anarchistic current - that it's not necessary to organise and politicise the masses, and worse still, that a vanguard is not necessary. On the contrary they combat it because it could become a "church".
It is to endorse this anarchistic petit-bourgeois current, and add obstacles to the further strengthening of the party.  If the 27th is the way to go...  then what good is the party?  It will be at best a "transmission belt".  This position obscures the strong need for a vanguard party to lead the people in combat.
It's revolutionary to think that the 4th of February surpasses the 27th's dispersion and lack of leadership.  It demonsatrates the need for a vanguard.
A crucial issue thus emerges in the discussion: Is a vanguard necessary? What is the party for?
We think it is [necessary].  Without a vanguard party leading the battle the people won't be able to advance. It is possible to build it without privileges, without it being turned into a church - that is the challenge.  To strengthen it we need to defeat the anarchistic ideology that impedes its concretion. Our flaws are firstly ideological; and then organisational.

1 comment:

  1. Equating "vanguard party" with organization seems convenient. If the people have no vanguard party, they are lost and pitiful. But if the vanguard party had no "lost and pitiful" people, who would support them? Can't people choose any other form of leadership? Vanguards by definition set themselves above and apart from the people they seek to lead. Is this not what the "lost and pitiful" people are seeking to be liberated from in the first place? That is, to be "lead" by persons and institutions defined in processes that are controlled by a "vanguard."

    I expect to be thoroughly trashed here, because this kind of thinking is so obviously "petit bourgeois" and "anarchistic." But I mean it to be a sincere and constructive observation. Maybe the "vanguard" could do a little evolving and find a way to conceptualize itself in a manner that superseded this seeming contradiction -- eliminate the gap between those "above" and the rest of us plebes.