Saturday, February 26, 2005

Chavez, the US, and Socialism

Defying U.S., Venezuela’s Chavez embraces socialism - Feb 25, 2005

Chavez’s public support for socialism recalled Castro’s defining announcement in the early 1960s that his 1959 Cuban Revolution was “socialist.”
Chavez said he had up to now avoided labeling his political program in Venezuela as “socialist.”
But he added his personal experience in power, which included surviving a brief coup in 2002, had convinced him that socialism was the answer. “But what kind?”
Chavez, who won a referendum in August ratifying his rule until early 2007, said previous experiences of socialism in the world — an apparent reference to the former Soviet Union — might not be the example to follow.
“We have to invent the socialism of the 21st century,” he added.
Well even the staunch defender of moderate social welfare that I am cannot go along with establishing full-fledged socialism. I will not however take the cynical and maybe a bit exagerated tone of my fellow blogger Untergeek. Chavez believes in this, and he has the gutts to face his people democratically, and to stand-up to the United States, and follow through, and he should be admired and acclaimed for that. If it does not work, he will be judged by his people... and I thought that was the whole point of democracy. Politicians come with different ideologies, programs and promises, and the people decide.

It seems though, that the West, and particularly the US wants to dictate to the World what democratic systems to follow, and what not to. Hence the regime that has produced some of the best doctors on the planet (Cuba) is shunned because the US supported the - now Miami based - land owners who treated their workers like dirt. Not that the Casro regime is saintly... but it's not any worse.

The fact that Capitalism benefits the CEOs and magnates of the Industrial world, and gives the impression of working tolerably for the people in those countries, does not mean that full-fledged bloody and self-centered capitalism is the solution to get all developing countries out of their current plights. Maybe cooperatives and some level of social welfare is the solution to alleviate poverty, and give the people the tools for development. I am not saying it is definitely the case; I am simply saying that capitalist Americans should get off the horse of their ego/ethno-centric praise of capitalism based on its relative success in the West, and try to see a bit further than their own sharp noses; maybe then they will realize that there is no one absolute one-size-fits-all path to development, and that other factors (such as location, culture, education, family values, the deinition of basic needs, health conditions, environment) might - just might - make full fledged capitalism the WRONG path.

What could be another path? well, social maket economy comes to mind; a form of... moderate socialism! And I am tired of hearing capitalists talking about the value of work, and how people would not work if everything was given to them. It's possible. Actually quite probable. But let's all be honest then. What are the dream jobs/occupations of a capitalist? C.E.O and shareholder! Well I'll be damned! Those are the most hard working people I know...

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