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Marxism Day School January 14, 2007

Venezuela & Revolution Riaz Ahmed


Venezuela Facts • Women Killed in Afghanistan • Incredible Devastation

• Child Rearing Working Women

• Obstacles to feed, house, clothe • Same in Palestine, Columbia, US

• War/Globalisation

• Combined Effect • Devastating for War-Zone Women • Rich Countries: Fund for War –Cuts on HealthCare, Education


Venezuela Facts • Gains of Women Lib 1960s/1970s • Globally • Marriage/Divorce/Property/Abortion rights, work outside home, less dependency

• War Globaliszation Devastating


Hugo Chavez

• Chavez’s Bolivarian Revolution • Started in 1998 • Improved People’s Conditions • Through Big Projects • Education, Health Improvements


Elections Dec 2006

• Once Again Chavez Won! • 62% Vote, Greater than last • Elections on Class-Basis • Opponent – Manual Rozales

• Posed as Honest, Decent • Supported Coup Against Chavez • Speaks for Elites, Neo-liberalism

• WB/IMF Policies Ruined People • Chavez Supporters: • Urban Poor, Peasants, Organised Workers


Across Latin America • Effect of Chavez Victory

• Popular Movements All Over Latin America • November Ecuador: Popular Candidate Wins • December: Nicaragua: Ortega • Bolivia, Mexico

• Washington Upset!

• Already Facing Defeat in Iraq

• Made Actions Against Others Difficult

• Supported Rozales, Earlier Coups


Defeats of Imperialism • Important

• Manner of Defeats of US

• Through Popular Movement • Failed one coup, referendum 2002, bosses strikes

• Chavez:

• Elections Begnining of New Era • Last Year: Revolution Should be Socialist • Meaning? Not Clear • Says there should be debate


Problems

• Opposition of Elites • Within Chavez’s Camp

• 60% Poor • Bad Housing/Working Conditions

• Wealth: Majority in hands of Old Elites • Why? Various Reasons • Majority Ministers Band-wagoners • Seeking self projection/wealth • No Stake in Revolution


Next Stage • Obvious Changes in Power Necessary • Chavez Central But Not Personally Or Through Dictats • Question of Control • New Trade Union UNT

• Announced after elections ‘We the millions of workers voted for Chavez knowing that bureacracy dominates and there is corruption and immediate problems are not being addressed’


Calls for Mass Mobilisation • UNTs Call Brought Chavez to Power

• Economic Boom

• But Private Capitalists Benefit • Private Capital Controls Media/Economy

• Deepening of Bolivarian Rev

• Will Put Pressure on Private Capital

• Workers, Peasants Urban Poor Central to Revolution

• Their Capacity to Act, Confidence, Organisation


Women Oppression • ‘Globalisation of Man’ • Base: Theory of Patriarchy

• WarMongers

• Condaleeza Rice, Indira Ghandi, Benazir • Responsible for deaths of millions

• Top Bosses – ‘Post-feminist’ era • Women Oppression Continues • Capitalist System: Class Division, Reaps Benefits

• Majority of Women

• Poor, Working Class, Standard Declines Despite Gains of Formal Equality

• Theory of Patriarchy

• Influneces Feminists/AntiCap-Anti-


Women’s Movement • US

• Early 20th Century to 1950s

• Union Rights Struggle included fight for women’s liberation • McCarthyism & Anti-Communist Witch Hunt, influence of Stalinism • Buried Ideas that stressed liberation and solidarity

• 1960s Movement Started by • Civil Rights Groups/students • Not traditional political or left or socialists


Women’s Movement • Modern Women Lib Movement • • • •

Born in US Grew out of CivilRights/Anti-Vietnam Amidst struggle upturn 60s/70s Women involved in anti-war/anti-racism • Also recognised their own oppression

• Got Higher Education

• But own no house, give up career, less paid

• Moralism/Gender Stereotypes clashed with experience of organizing to change the world

• Problems: Islolation from broader/working class movement – still grows


Pakistan Women Lib • 1950s: Largely Begum Led • 1960s : Many Women Led Student and Lib Movement • 1970s : Various Concessions including institutions/accesses • 1970s: Anti-Zia/Anti-Zina Movement: largely democratic, women lib seen as democratic lib • 1980s: From Street to Mainstream

• Call not from liberation from Oppressive society but equality with men in capitalism – Leading section wealthy


Women Lib • Rise of Radical Feminism rejecting politics altogether

• ‘We ask not if something is ‘reformist’, ‘radical’ or ‘revolutionary’ or ‘moral’. We ask: is it good for women or bad for women? We ask not if something is ‘political’. We ask: is it effective? Does it get us closer to what we really want to do in a fastest way?’ (New York Radical Feminist)


Rise of Radical Feminism? • General Downturn of working class struggle in 70s and 80s

• Blunted/fragmented women move • Suppression of Democratic Politics – Zia Regime

• Failure of bourgeoise resistance • Failure of democracy • 1990 Soviet Debacle • Internalisation of Women Liberation • Human Rights Activism, Specific Issue Based Isolated Campaigns

• – Out of Streets – Into Lobbying

• Instead of fighting Obscurantist --Seeking State Action Against Islamists


Party of Gen Musharraf • 9/11, Gen Musharraf, US AntiIslamism • Women NGO Movement finding common ground with state • MMA Brutal – Cohabits With State/Musharraf • Brutality of Gen Musharraf/Imperialism Ignored • Superficial State Actions • Not liberating women • Seen as pleasing USA


Need for Renewal • Historically

• Working Class Fought Against Capitalism and won – women benefitted • 1871 Paris, 1917 Russia, 1960s/2000 World-wide, 2005 Venezuela

• For a Women Liberation as part of General Struggle against capitalism and all forms of oppression • Women Oppression – Part of all societies • Specific in Capitalism • Women home/office work – profit • Working Class Men/Women Labour


ChavezVenezuelaRevolution