Weekend Roundup 03/11/13

by Ben Campbell on March 11, 2013

Surely it’s a long weekend somewhere, (or at least it should be!)

José Mujica and Evo Morales at Hugo Chavez’ funeral

  • On the death of Hugo Chavez, Greg Grandin:

    Let’s set aside for a moment the question of whether Chavismo’s social-welfare programs will endure now that Chávez is gone and shelve the left-wing hope that out of rank-and-file activism a new, sustainable way of organizing society will emerge. The participatory democracy that took place in barrios, in workplaces and in the countryside over the last fourteen years was a value in itself, even if it doesn’t lead to a better world.

    Jeffery R. Webber at Jacobin:

    The tidal wave of anti-Chávez vitriol on behalf of the world’s rulers is rooted in the refusal he represents for the poor and dispossessed, for the exploited and oppressed – a refusal to go on as before, to submit to neoliberal capitalism, and to get on one’s knees before imperialism.

    Billy Wharton:

    As we think of the legacy of Hugo Chavez, think of the many ways in which his Presidency became an organic expression of the democratic will of the Venezuelan people. Think of the millions who were engaged in the local communal councils. Think of those employed in the self owned and managed cooperatives. Those provided with housing using funds that, in the past, would have lined the pockets of the rich. Think of millions of people on the move – organized to vote for their own self-interest, mobilized to defend their democratic decisions and empowered to fight for a life with dignity, with equality and with justice.

    Ultimately the life of Hugo Chavez challenges us to look at our own lives. To see in ourselves, as he saw in himself and other common people, the spark of humanity capable of changing the world.

    Chavez has been “embalmed and preserved just like Lenin”:

    “We have decided to prepare the body of our Comandante President, to embalm it so that it remains open for all time for the people. Just like Ho Chi Minh. Just like Lenin. Just like Mao Zedong,” said Nicolas Maduro, the provisional president, on state TV. He is Chavez’s designated successor.

    More than two million people have paid their respects. If you’d like to get beyond the hyperbolic rhetoric and embalming, here are some facts about Venezuela:

    Meanwhile the Associated Press lamented the money wasted on these programs that could have went to building giant skyscrapers.

  • In the new Monthly Review, Samir Amin on China:

    In fact the question, “Is China capitalist or socialist?” is badly posed, too general and abstract for any response to make sense in terms of this absolute alternative. In fact, China has actually been following an original path since 1950, and perhaps even since the Taiping Revolution in the nineteenth century.

  • As Canada’s government denounces “Israeli Apartheid Week”, this is happening:

    Starting on Monday, certain buses running from the West Bank into central Israel will have separate lines for Jews and Arabs.

    oh, and this:

    Hundreds of rabid supporters of popular Israeli soccer club Beitar Jerusalem walked out of a soccer stadium this weekend to protest the team’s new Muslim player.

  • Ross Wolfe on The Case for Smashing Borders:

    Borders were far more fluid and porous in terms of their official legal existence during feudal times, under the vassalage system. Of course, under capitalism, capital flows and commerce constantly undermine borders, even as states scramble to rebuild, reinforce, and recodify them. Insofar as borders are an expression and constitutive component of the modern state, along with its concomitant concept of “sovereignty,” they would need to be smashed in order to be overcome.

    And following on some of the discussions we’ve been having on Marxism and religion, The Charnel-House has also collected some of the best Soviet Antireligious Propaganda.

  • The largest “Leninist” party in Britain, the Socialist Workers Party, continues to implode as part of the fallout after rape allegations against a Central Committee member. A Very Public Sociologist:

    So, in the end, all it took was a vote of 400 to 140 at today’s gerrymandered special conference to kill the SWP. I’m sure the central committee are toasting a job well done at swappie towers tonight. After all, it takes some mean manoeuvring to pack a meeting with your supporters when your own team is outnumbered by 540+ to 512. And, characteristically for all gatherings on which the fates of organisations turn, according to this report it was something of a tepid, drippy affair. It’s all redolent of the official closing of the original CPGB, the shutting down of the Socialist Alliance, and the winding up of my school’s chess club.

    … the breaking of campaigns, the wrecking behaviour and cod ultra-leftism, the bullying and systematic burning out/driving out of tens of thousands from the labour movement, and now its utterly appalling rape denialism over a period of time. It’s time this rancid cult was put to bed. So thank you Alex Callinicos, Charlie Kimber and your 400 acolytes for doing the rest of the left a massive favour and ensuring your days are numbered.

    Harsh words. A tough week for Richard Seymour, after first being denounced by Forbes magazine as a supporter of the “evil” Leon Trotsky.

    Update: Mass resignations.

    See Soviet Goon Boy for an extended take on the SWP and the legacy of Tony Cliff, one of its founding members.

  • In your austerity report: more than a million people took to the streets to protest Portugal’s austerity regime, while McDonald’s “guest workers” went on strike in Pennsylvania — as did food service workers at Columbia University; as Alexandra Bradbury wrote of direct action home defense, the Wall Street Journal, of all outlets, reported on New York City’s record homelessness, while Bloomberg reported on the dwindling public financing of universities and colleges.
  • Too soon? Of course not:

    Edward Koch has been eulogized, sanitized, and whitewashed by everyone from Bill Clinton to Al Sharpton in his death, but the truth is that he was an historic arch-foe of working class communities.

  • Podcasts worth checking out: Doug Henwood interviews Adolph Reed (and Robert Gordon)

    while on Diet Soap Doug Lain interviews talks to his son about… Hegel?

  • { 2 comments… read them below or add one }

    David Berger March 29, 2013 at 10:38 am

    Labor Articles from In These Times


    and Labor Notes



    Ben Campbell March 31, 2013 at 1:17 am

    Sorry everyone who is waiting with bated breath, but the weekend roundups will need to be suspended for a few weeks.


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