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Silence on Chavez is not an option

I find it almost impossible NOT to be engaged in this issue as it is such a clear line in the sand in regard to the Bolivarian process in Venezuela.

There has been a major attempt to advance the ideological barrage against the Venezuelan revolutionary process over the RCTV license. It is so clear cut that the RCTV supporters don't have much of a case...well, I'd say that anyway.

So why the silence elsewhere on the left --and I'm thinking of the Socialist Worker newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic(UK and USA).

I could be wrong , that's true, as I don't have access to the hard copy versions...and I'm willing to be corrected.(See footnote for such a correction --DR ]

A good proportion of the left in these two countries are jumping up and down about Chavez and these two journals don't say a word about this issue(that I know of).

But here in the instance of the RCTV dispute is a very clear opportunity for competing views to come to grips with the challenge of Venezuela...And we are offered silence by one of them as both journals seem to share the same or similar views on the subject.

To sign on of course against Chavez over RCTV will put you in the same camp as the imperialists so I guess you gotta tread softly softly.

I can see that -- and I respect that, I guess.

But consider this: even if you are against this RCTV assertion by the Chavez government, silence is not going to save you in the long run because if today it is a question about RCTV -- what about in the future when these Bolivarians get more aggressive in the face of starker destabilisation moves by the imperial side of the divide, and more rigorously tackle the obstacles that stand in the way of the process. Are they going to at least cheer sometimes?

Sooner or later the chickens are going to come home to roost and silence won't be an option.

Footnote:I have been corrected on this point and the UK SW has indeed commented on the RCTV issue (see comments below post) much in the Bolivarians' favour. This is the second time I have been duped by my feed aggregator.

7 Com:

Tony O | June 06, 2007

I think you'll find there's a lot of material published on Venezuela in these journals. Maybe not as much as Green Left Weekly does-- but they don't ignore the issue.

AN | June 06, 2007

29th May
Socialist Worker (UK)


Venezuelan TV station that supported anti-Chavez coup loses its licence

Venezuela's president Hugo Chavez

by Joseph Choonara

Nobody should shed any tears over the refusal of the Venezuelan state to renew the license of the RCTV television station.

The howls of outrage from the right over "freedom of speech" ignore the role the station played in April 2002, when it helped to launch a violent coup against democratically elected president Hugo Chavez.

RCTV helped mobilise supporters of the coup in the streets, falsely claiming that Chavez's supporters were shooting at opposition demonstrators.

The role of the media in precipitating the failed coup was brilliantly exposed in the documentary The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, which showed how RCTV and other private television stations manipulated footage.

RCTV interviewed coup plotters and broadcasted a fabricated resignation letter from Chavez. Far from supporting journalistic freedom, the station suppressed reports of the mobilisations of the poor that defeated the coup and restored Chavez to power.

Chavez is far from being an all-powerful dictator. He has faced countless elections – and his current two thirds approval rating, measured by independent polling companies, would make George Bush and Gordon Brown blush.

There is, however, a question posed by the closure of RCTV. What shape should broadcasting take in Venezuela, in the context of the greatest flourishing of grassroots democracy in the world today?

The choice should not be posed as one between a privately run corporate media and a state controlled media run from the top down.

Instead, the community based radio stations – some of which were born out of revulsion at the role of the media in 2002 – can provide a genuine alternative.

A media based on this model can respond to the rapidly changing needs of the movement from below, while rallying Chavez supporters against moves by the right wing.

This would be the kind of media that best fits with Chavez's declarations of his support for a "socialism of the 21st century".


© Copyright Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated). You may republish if you include an active link to the original and leave this notice in place.

Dave Riley | June 06, 2007

Thats' good. I obviously missed that article. [Excuse follows] In fact when the SW says this:" There is, however, a question posed by the closure of RCTV. What shape should broadcasting take in Venezuela, in the context of the greatest flourishing of grassroots democracy in the world today?" This is an excellent thing to say and I have to wonder what I was talking about.

I also have just learnt a practical lesson , to the effect that since I've been relying on the British SW RSS feed to browse the Socialist Worker headlines not all the headlines are seeded that way...and this article was not among those that were syndicated. So the fault and failure is my doing because I presumed too much.My fault.

AN | June 06, 2007

Yes it is a good article and as you say they have picked up on a point overlooked by some of the rest of us during this debate, which is the huge amount of help the Bolivarian government hasd given in empowering local community radio stations.

Dave Riley | June 06, 2007

The audio interview I published here from LatinRadical takes up that point about community level --citizens -- media which has exploded in Ven. Also the article by Wilpert on the topic explores the extent of it and the sort of changes the new channels usher in. This article here while still noting the still existing "pluralism" in Ven.

It's a sort of Web 2.0 exercise but offline....

sovereignty | June 07, 2007

Here's what former President of Peru Toledo had to say in his address to the Organisation of American States (published in the International Herald Tribunehttp://www.iht.com/articles/2007/06/06/opinion/edtoledo.php). Note there is no mention of Peru closing 6 broadcasters, the USA closing 3 etc etc.You'd still think Venezuela was the only country ever to regulate it's airwaves. Since when is silence equivalent to having a captive feed in every one of the voicepieces of imperialism, every capitalist and aspirant, every oligarchy and all those they have duped/recruited/enslaved along the way. No wonder Condy was able to throw her wobbly and storm out - the situation today as Dave Riley has pointed out could not be clearer in terms of a line in the sand. To ask it another way - "Whose side are you on?" has to be asked of every single left and progressive claiming group and individual. You can't not : you MUST study the dynamics in Venezuela and have a position with regard to the Bolivarian Revolution. Sure, let us debate this or that finer point - if and when we have the luxury of the time to do so.....BUT THIS IS AN INTENSE MOMENT BY MOMENT STRUGGLE FOR SOVEREIGNTY and for the rights of the Venezuelans to determine their own - and, to the extent that one nations example and cooperation can - the planet's, future survival. I thought the words of the Venezuelan Foreign Minister Maduro summed up the situation eloquently: Maduro ratified that Venezuela has to be respected. “United States of America and its Government, more sooner than later, has to learn to respect the sovereignty of our Government, of Venezuelan people, and of a new Latin America that has risen up and will not be a colony again”, I commend the full - brief - transcript translated to english at http://www.abn.info.ve/go_news5.php?articulo=94099&lee=17

Stuart Munckton (on the GLW list) said... | June 07, 2007

Stuart Munckton (on the GLW list) said...

Re: The latest from Socialist Worker (U.S.)

I must admit I am bemused by the absence of any mention of the current struggle in Venezuela, given that Socialist Worker is produced in the belly of the beast. It wasn't in the previous issue either. The Venezuelan revolution is facing the most sustained attacks on it since 2004, and it is being led by the government and media inside the US,
which would seem to me make it extra important for a US socialist
newspaper to refute the campaign of lies.

I know that the International Socialist Organization, which produces SW, has a line that is more critical of the Chavez government and the Bolivarian revolution, but still, as far as I know, supports it - at least from attacks from imperialism. Coverage in SW tendes to amplify that section of hte revolutionary movement that tends to be most critical of the Chavez government, while still supporting it.

That is all very well and good, if that is what people think they should say it. If there are differences of opinion on how to understand and relate to the Venezuelan revolution among socialists
internationally we can discuss it out. The Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela is a mass movement with many currents and different opinions. There is nothing that syas socialists outside the country
should not offer their own opinions or even criticise if they feel it
is neccesary.

But if you don't defend the revolution when it needs it the most, the cirticsm rings hollow. Surely solidarity comes before criticsm?

I should add that from what I can see of Socialist Worker, I think it is generally a very good paper, one of the better socialist newspapers I know of around the world. We very often reprint SW srticles in GLW. SW especially does cultural copy very well, we can learn from that. I particularly like the Tom Morrello interview in this issue - we wil reprint this in the coming issue of GLW.

But I don't understand how you can hold your tongue aganst your own ruling classes assault on Venezuela and the revolution at a time like this. if you are ever going to offer solidarity - which is a prerequisite to offering criticism - then surely now is the time.


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