Defiant Resistance: The Venezuelan Crises and the Possibility of Another World

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 1804 ... April 13, 2019

Defiant Resistance: The Venezuelan Crises and the Possibility of Another World

Jeremiah Gaster

Bob Dylan once said, "Let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late." February 23rd, 2019, was the day that Juan Guaidó, the self-proclaimed President of Venezuela, had "authorized" "humanitarian aid" to enter Venezuela, an attempt to force the Maduro government, and thus the Venezuelan people, to their knees. There is great urgency as an ever-increasing escalation of violence is being perpetuated by those who would destroy Venezuela, including several attacks on Venezuela’s electrical grid over the last few weeks. But let me be clear: the Venezuelan poor are resilient, and any change will be on their terms. Most importantly, Venezuelan politics is collective, and there is a deep form... of solidarity across communities along with an abiding interest in building a different form of politics. In short, if one does not unearth this collective politics, one cannot understand what is happening in Venezuela.

While in Venezuela doing field work in July 2018, in conversations with many Venezuelans, I noted the consistent insistence that Venezuela must be respected.

A primary feature of Venezuelan life is that politics is not only discussed but is everywhere, and as such, many Venezuelans could teach graduate courses in political science. This is well exemplified in a recent news item on the Real News Network in which a woman on the street, clutching a well-worn copy of the constitution, says to the interviewer, "If Juan Guaidó needs a constant reminder" she "will be happy with her fellow citizens to read him the constitution every day". That a factor of everyday life is the importance of the Venezuelan constitution is not to be discounted and helps us understand something essential: the gravity of politics for Venezuelans. Another core aspect of this is the ease with which poor Venezuelans viscerally, expressly, and collectively are directly involved with politics. It was not always thus.

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