Venezuelan Ecosocialism

Featuring the following essay works well for me, as the triple themes I hold near and dear to my heart are represented: the coup against Nicolás Maduro (and past ones against Hugo Chavez), media bias, and ecosocialism.  Rather than bring some of the ghastly news in the next-generation attempts to overthrow his regime, I’ll focus on this and bring the rest another day.  And happy π day to all.

The Path to Climate Justice Passes Through Caracas’, March 9, 2019, counterpunch.org, David Schwartzman & Quincy Saul

In their Fighting the Media War section, the authors quote Karl Marx calling it “the war of calumny undertaken by the lying power of the civilised world,” and extras, describing the media war against the International Workingmen’s Association, which later became known as The First International.

They write that the comparison is sound because Venezuela had hosted the First Ecosocialist International in 2017:

From the Plan of the Homeland to a Plan for the Planet’, A gathering of 100 revolutionary delegates from five continents gathered in Venezuela and founded the First Ecosocialist International, Quincy Saul, telesurenglish, Dec. 8, 2017

…which news had been sent down the rabbit hole during the furor to topple the only government in the world to make a comprehensive plan ““to preserve peace in the planet and save the human species.”

The authors may not know about the 2010 Bolivian People’s Agreement of Cochabamba (a few opening passages):

“We confront the terminal crisis of a civilizing model that is patriarchal and based on the submission and destruction of human beings and nature that accelerated since the industrial revolution.

The capitalist system has imposed on us a logic of competition, progress and limitless growth. This regime of production and consumption seeks profit without limits, separating human beings from nature and imposing a logic of domination upon nature, transforming everything into commodities: water, earth, the human genome, ancestral cultures, biodiversity, justice, ethics, the rights of peoples, and life itself.

Under capitalism, Mother Earth is converted into a source of raw materials, and human beings into consumers and a means of production, into people that are seen as valuable only for what they own, and not for what they are.

Capitalism requires a powerful military industry for its processes of accumulation and imposition of control over territories and natural resources, suppressing the resistance of the peoples. It is an imperialist system of colonization of the planet.

Humanity confronts a great dilemma: to continue on the path of capitalism, depredation, and death, or to choose the path of harmony with nature and respect for life.”

…nor other Indigenous accords that were brought to the Rio 2012 Sustainability Conference where they were read at the Shadow Summit meetings, as the Indigenous hadn’t been (ahem) invited to attend.  But onward…

Saul and Schwartman write that it hurts them to read and write about Venezuela today, and that a tyrannous troika of mendacity, laziness, and ignorance with near impunity rules the media,  including CNN, the BBC and Guardian, Fox News, John Oliver, Amnesty Int’l, Jacobin Magazine (arguably the site of DSAs), and so on.

“We would much prefer to write about how we have been moved to joy and courage and compassion by the mass popular democratic movements in this country. We would prefer to write about the sense of goodwill, hope and inspiration which emanates from the grassroots Venezuelan revolutionary process. As Che Guevara said, revolutionaries are guided by great feelings of love.

 The central purpose of this article is to discuss how the Green New Deal and other climate justice initiatives in the global north have so much to learn and gain from the Bolivarian revolution. But before we can trace this connection, before we can share our love, the way must be cleared of the deception which prevents hearts from beating together across borders. In the face of the scorn which is being heaped upon the Venezuelan revolution today, we must enter the fray and draw our pens to fight in this media war. If our language is sharp, it is because we are at war, a war which calls for sound and fury commensurate to the tales told by idiots.”

“There is a strange phenomenon taking place in the international left media, in which leftish reporters seem to be getting all their news from the right. Even Amy Goodman stooped to this in an interview with Venezuelan foreign minister Jorge Arreaza, citing studies by the IMF and Human Rights Watch, each of which have a well documented history of sowing chaos and counterinsurgency in Venezuela.”

[wd here: I’d call it ‘Et tu, Amy Goodman?, but as we know, she sometimes gets it right even now.]


“But the prize for a leftwing newspaper with a rightwing research wing goes to Jacobin. “Maduro was not democratically elected,” proclaimed a recent article– a lazy lie which has been repeated about every single election in Venezuela since Chavez first came to power, despite extensive reports and denunciations of international observers’; and they cite other Jacobin evidence-free calumnies, then:

“In the hegemony of “human interest”  journalism, personal anecdotes eclipse historical analysis, and no one seems to note the demonstrations of thousands of people in support of Maduro. It is a surreal situation in which the masses of working class Venezuelans are invisibilized in favor of solidarity with their simulacra.”

The authors’ The Green New Deal in World-Systemic Perspective is long, and more nauanced with advice than this short bit at the top, but:

One of us has been writing extensively for over a decade about how a Green New Deal (GND) should be embraced by ecosocialists as a site of class struggle.[3] Now that the GND is getting a lot of attention as a potential prevention program to avoid catastrophic climate change, it is important to note the contributions of the Green Party of the United States (GP) to making the link between the GND, climate change and the U.S. imperial agenda. Howie Hawkins, an ecosocialist, ran for Governor of New York with a GND in his platform starting in 2010, and the two Presidential campaigns of Dr. Jill Stein, which brought the vision of a GND to the attention of millions, made a significant impact. The GP’s GND includes cutting the military budget and ending the imperial U.S. foreign policy which is in utter contradiction to the agendas of both the Republican and Democratic Party leadership.

And oil, oil, oil, then:

“But of course militarized fossil capital has other plans – namely the destruction of the Bolivarian Revolution, coupled with extracting this huge oil reserve, regardless of the climatic and environmental consequences. And Cuba is explicitly next on the list for regime change; the fossil empire continues to plot the elimination of this example of ecosocialist transition, noting her vigorous conversion to agroecologies and cooperative ownership.”

In their longish Conclusions section, this stands out to me, of course:

“Those of us around the world who are looking for a way to save the biosphere, from Extinction Rebellion to the Sunrise Movement to the Green New Deal, should make it a top priority to join in concrete solidarity with both the revolutionary process of Venezuela and the government it has repeatedly elected. The farcebook spectacle of dueling proclamations of “I stand with” / “I stand against” (when it is obvious to all concerned that everyone is in fact sitting down in front of their computers) would be funny if the stakes weren’t so high and the consequences so tragic. Not only history, but the geologic record itself, will record our actions and inactions in defense of climate justice, whose fate is played out today on the streets of Caracas.”

My guess is that given the authors referencing Ilhan Omar and AOC as exceptions to the rule,  or something, they haven’t read the Sir Silicon Valley and 15 of his fellow Justice Warriors’ letter to Mr. Pompeo calling Maduro and his regime criminals, illegally elected, then…whatever.  Or have they?

(cross-posted from Café Babylon)

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wendy davis's picture

i'd edited into the café version under the Shadow Summit at rio 2012 that:

'Many of them knew that the Climate Emergency was at least as early as 2010, and knew the origins of it', but working within this html easy copy mode is rough going for me,and gives me the stomach queasies.

the good news here is that after years of drought here in the 4-corners, we've had buckets of male rain and snow this week, and even 8 inches of snow yesterday and late night. enuff to break big branches off the pinons w/ the snow load, but oh...let there be moisture! (not that i have to plow or shovel it, poor mr. wd, for our place and place he works sometimes.) we've now moved from 'exceptional drought' to between 'severe and moderate drought'.

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lotlizard's picture

@wendy davis

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wendy davis's picture

@lotlizard

call a hard-driving rain a 'male' rain, and a slow rain that can soak into the ground without causing washouts and run-offs immediately a female rain'. there are likely names for other sorts of rain, but as desert dwellers, they are keenly aware of types of precipitation.

the combos we've had here lately with snow alternating with rain, then snow, make the snow heavy as concrete, and hard to plow and shovel. but the moisture, ah, the moisture! it would seem as though the big lake will fill again, and we may all have irrigation water next year (knock on wood).

this snowstorm has been named by weather reporters some combinations of bomb cyclones and snowmageddon or close. it's moving east now, but at a reduced strength iirc.

nice to see you, miz lizard. ; )

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Lookout's picture

the people of Venezuela. They have made it obvious, it is about the oil which should be ours because...because...??? And as you know, still no MSM interview with Alfred de Zayas, who last year became the first UN rapporteur to visit Venezuela for 21 years, also suggested in his recently published UN report, that US sanctions on the country are illegal and could amount to “crimes against humanity” under international law.
https://www.globalresearch.ca/former-un-rapporteur-criticizes-us-for-eng...

(and for added interest a link with your lede pic
https://www.globalresearch.ca/us-media-erase-years-chavismos-gains/5671326 )

This is the most blatant coup of my lifetime....and I've seen a few. Even the blindest among us have to see this for what it is.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

wendy davis's picture

@Lookout

amigo; i especially loved this:

The 2018 report put Venezuela in the category of countries or territories that have “High Human Development,” the second best of the HDI’s four rankings, and 78th of the 189 countries and territories examined. On that list, Venezuela outranks the majority of the states in the 14-country Lima Group currently trying to overthrow its government, including Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Paraguay, Peru and Saint Lucia. Guatemala, Guyana and Honduras are categorized as “Medium Human Development,” the group below the one to which Venezuela belongs and the second lowest HDI category.

some of the hits at the guardian, say, were 'VZ has the highest infant mortality ever!', again, hard to check w/ any authority, and i did try. 'due to the lack of chemical sprays, malaria and dengue fever cases have tripled!!!', stuff like that.

ah, i'll bring links for further developments in the newest iterations of the coup, but they ain't givin' up a far as i can tell. #bastards. i do kinda wish that jorges arrazea had an english twit account, cuz id love to hear what popped when he went to the UN human rights commission last week, i think it was. but luckily, mr. maduro does have and english one:

de zedayas was just right, although i'm not sure of the emmigration figures, as folks seem to go back and forth across the border w/ colombia. i.e., that figure seems to be a moving target.

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Big Al's picture

politicians, "we know the president is a vicious dictator who kills babies and gases his own people, but . . . "., so they can appeal to their base. All it takes is a little "we oppose intervention" and it doesn't matter what else they say, they're then deemed head and shoulders above the rest of the imperialists by their base. Red meat.

The democratic party proposed Green New Deal reminds me of Obamacare. Similar situation in that the real far/radical left is warning of the appeasement to the corporations and that they'll actually take us farther from the goals involved in addressing climate change, which is what Obamacare did for a nationalized health care system. Following the dem party down their Green New Deal rabbit hole will cause more harm than good, waste time, prevent real solutions from being debated and pursued, and give more power to the corporations. Not only that, it appears by packaging health care with it, they've purposely doomed any real discussions about a nationalized health care system for this "meeting" of Congress.

Is it good from the sense that people are talking about it? Not really, imo, it's not like it hasn't been a hot topic for some time now. Talk is cheap and intended to influence public opinion away from achievable and effective solutions. If you look at the overall picture, they had to bring this on to preempt a radical independent movement from hijacking their power. The credit given to those politicians who are discussing the topic is like crediting a drug addict with talking about quitting while they fire up a meth pipe. But it's enough to keep the votes coming.

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Cassiodorus's picture

@Big Al I found some of it on the Facebook page of Roger Waters.

https://www.facebook.com/notes/roger-waters/a-note-from-roger-one-of-the...

Apparently someone whose clients include Goldman Sachs and Bank of America is trying to sell the official pseudo-left in the US on the idea of a socialist revolution against Maduro.

Weird, huh?

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"The sustainable and just civilization that we hope to create... cannot be built using a capitalist economy" - Kim Stanley Robinson

wendy davis's picture

@Cassiodorus

but that reminds me once again: bernie sanders and other pseudo-lefties can call maduro a dictator criminal who won't let the humanitarian aid in, but third line: but i do not recognize gauido as president of VZ!

funny thing, i was trying to find the justice dems again while i was already on twitter, and this account popped up first w/ rather unflattering retweets:

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wendy davis's picture

@Big Al

the conclusions 'lets not bomb them, let's end the sanctions' *after* indicting leader x, y, or z as essentially criminals, including war criminals' seem to willfully blind to any sort of justice from their politician of choice.

the GND, whoosh; what a waste of energy and corporate con, but see? it's working as a campaign slogan already!

not to be overly cynical, but except for local eco issues, i'm not sure that there's time for any meaningful hope for the biosphere, but there are huuuuuuge 'youth' demos all over the planet this weekend. wsws.org had two very different op-eds on them, this one on 'Extinction Rebellion: “Green” capitalism versus world socialism', but again, myself, i wish that folks would have been flipping their topknots over burgeoning climate chaos long, long, before the (low-balled, some scientists note) recent 2018 IPCC report. but ecosocialism would have made a difference (but: capitalism, yanno), and one thing i like is that they're not eugencists, blaming the developing world for their large families, when say, in subsaharan africa, the average person's carbon footprint is about a twelfth that of citizens in the developed world. an lol: USians carbon footprints? formidable!

but hell, yeah, bill mckibben: we should all trade in our gas-guzzling SUVs for electric ones! that'll do it! (he and naomi klein love the GND, of course...)

but thanks for the chortles:

The credit given to those politicians who are discussing the topic is like crediting a drug addict with talking about quitting while they fire up a meth pipe. But it's enough to keep the votes coming.

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Big Al's picture

@wendy davis Obviously that's what this has been all about, the timing, AOC being the front spokesperson, all the others lining up behind it, no credit and/or collaboration with the Green party, etc. A burgeoning youth movement to address climate change, young new, RECRUITED, politicians to the democratic party, a well planned agenda for votes. It's basically a recruiting message for the dem party. Then you have Trump and the republicans making the next election about socialism and joila, tailor made to water down any "deal" coming from the duopoly, if some kind of deal is even possible for something like this.

91% or 67% or whatever, how do people support something, especially coming from the democratic party, when they don't even know what it is? I guess that's not any different than normal for the malleable American public.

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wendy davis's picture

@Big Al

know what it is?' eggzackly, but it's simply 'a proposal', at any rate, and how long after the dems win in 2020 will any bills be sponsored that have anything to do with it? maybe geo-engineering, more carbon capture, increased market mechanisms to make sure 'energy' is
net-zero carbon'? foist more onto the developing world via REDD? (read the fine print in the low-balled
concerns' section, the indigenous have long called this a con of a false solution).

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Cassiodorus's picture

for Venezuela to achieve a few basic food sufficiencies?

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"The sustainable and just civilization that we hope to create... cannot be built using a capitalist economy" - Kim Stanley Robinson

wendy davis's picture

@Cassiodorus

to answer. 'what's still needed' also seems to be a politicized subject, but some who go to the stores say the shelves aren't bare at all, yet we see photos from the opposition showing exactly the opposite. max blumenthal made such a video, and VZ has been receiving humanitarian aid, esp. medicines from other donors than the US. jorge arrazea had show a photo at the UNSC of some othe contents of one container: barbed wire and razor wire, but even USAID (cia) shows stuff like celo-wrapped hard tack and tents. tents? another psyop.

russia is sending tons and tons of wheat soon, and i dunno what all. the small farmers who grow produce in the commons areas won't have more crops until harvest season, so...all of that is by way saying i can't answer the G about 'goals'. but for quite some time, maduro has tried to make sure that enough food is even delivered to those who request it; past that, i dunno.

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wendy davis's picture

for today, so i'll call it closing time for tonight. let this be tonight's closing song, as my wishes for all people of goodwill sleep well and restore our spirits, dream well...and travel into the mystic. from the incomparable van morrison:

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snoopydawg's picture

That this can be said on national news and no one bats an eye is just my comprehension.

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The public has been conditioned over time—in ways that would make Pavlov’s dawg seem like an in independent thinker

wendy davis's picture

@snoopydawg

snoop. that left me reeling w/ vertigo, and i'd had to walk away to do some EFT tapping to simmer down just a li'l bit. well, as it turns out, a very li'l bit.

a bullet in the brain so we can get 'our oil' that gawd mistakenly put in VZ's ground (or under iraq's sand, we'll turn the sand to glass) and off-shore oil fields is the only way he'll leave the country. bit i swear, i'd never seen or heard that trish regan before, and the look on her nasty-ass face was almost more than i could bear. ordinarily i wouldn't type this, but it almost seemed like there was some sort of almost cruel, sadistic sexual pleasure in her eyes and on her lips.

guess they weren't the folks of goodwill i'd sent my closing song to. they've made me commit thought crimes, i'll freely admit. sorry ram dass; i know, they all deserve love?

i wish it were beyond my comprehension that no one bats an eye, but fook me, we've heard it before all too many times, if less baldly exclaimed. but he sure made me do some time traveling back to haiti, yugoslavia, libya, somalia...

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snoopydawg's picture

@wendy davis

Absolutely no wtf question from her when he said that. I haven't seen anyone else covering his comment either. You'd think that a lot of people would be asking this dickwad some questions, but sadly no. Guess this shouldn't surprise us that much since Bolton Abrams and Pompeo have been threatening people too. Bolton and Pompeo have threatened people at the ICC not to come after us or Israel for our war crimes. Read that during Bolton's tenure during the Bush days that he physically threatened people there or maybe it was someone in Spain who was going to charge people with war crimes. The dude left the agency.

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The public has been conditioned over time—in ways that would make Pavlov’s dawg seem like an in independent thinker

wendy davis's picture

@snoopydawg

panting, but as i'd said... yes, mr. wd had read me those ICC threatening headlines at RT this morning. but the bellicosity may yield a bit of pushback yet, but to me it's not clear whether it'll be in self-interest or by way of a moral compass. so many have said that a dying empire becomes more of a loose cannon trying to exert its influence. if so, that's what we've got here and now.

thanks, snoopy.

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