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January 14, 2007



Where's the Lenin/Marx quote from?

back to life

Look at the fear on those faces!


I don't take his Marx and Lenin talk too seriously, but it is interesting.

The world has seen plenty of demagogues, Latin America more than its share, and nationalization is just putting the state in charge of an industry. The state can function as a manager of capital just like a brokerage house.

The issue is politically what class is exercising dictatorship, what social relations people really exist in. Chavez is pushing a left social democracy. I don't here anyone on the revolutionary left complaining about that.

It's not just consent, it's power.

Who has that in Venezuela?

Not just in a ballot box, but property, privilege, class.


Yeah, well for my skepticism, he also claims Trotskyism.

“What is the problem? I am also a Trotskyist!” - Chavez is sworn in as president of Venezuela

the burningman

Chavez is a progressive nationalist who is dabbling in socialism.



Let him claim Trotsyism or Bolivarianism or Whateverism.

Venezuela is no colony. It is providing a democratic socialist model around its particularities as a resource-rich country.

Good. The more Chavez moves towards socialism, the stronger and more engaged the masses of people are.

Chavez is calling for a united socialist party, developing a popular militia, promoting Bolivarian Circles to bring the masses of people into conscious political life, speaking out against the use of drugs to impose US military hegemony, providing subsidized oil to Cuba keeping their fragile economy afloat and in general speaking the truth about the world situation.

Chavez is not a philosopher, but he is certainly a leader! The Venezuelan state is not the same creature it was before the attempted coup. The military got cleaned out, with the reactionaries willing to sell their own people out removed. The capitalist media has been put on notice that they will not be organs of imperialism or subversion of democracy.

These are all very exciting developments that deserve "skepticism," but not a sectarian, Idealist attitude that looks for the flaws without engaging the process as a whole.

If Chavez is encouraging people to read Marx and Lenin, and at other times Trotsky or Mao – right fucking on!

Communism is dead?


Not this week.

In other news, the CPN-M has entered the interim government in Nepal, has developed a civil society "list" of reps that are NOT bound by party discipline, looked to establish dozens of autonomous regions with sovereignty guaranteed by a democratic republic – and is also taking an open-minded and healthy approach to social life.

The constituent assembly is coming there, and with the recent defection of the UML's chief student leadership to the Maoists, they are poised to dominate the CA elections and establish a New Democracy.

And the Naxalites...

It took a generation for communism to recover from the failures and defeats of the Soviet Union and China. But here we are, and what this all shows me is that if we do fight (and don't lose ourselves along the way) – we can win.

The people can rule, but only if they try.

Colony or No?

Venezuela isn't a colony. But it is still a semi-colony.

Despite the political flare-up between the US and Venezuela, the two countries are more and more enconomically tied together, and the relationship is one where, by and large, the wealth of Venezuela is drained out of the country. (The fact that, even under these conditions, Chávez can still fund a variety of social efforts, shows just how insane the plunder is in other places where similar social reforms are not being funded.)

Or don't economics matter?

the burningman

No, Venezuela is not a semi-colony.

It is an independent, democratic republic making efforts towards anti-imperialist regional integration.

Is the "wealth of the nation" being "drained"?

That's a real question, but from the reform of the PDVSA to the nationalization of the essential infrastructure – the flow is not towards facilitating the exploitation of the Venezuelan people – but towards their liberation.

It's not just a matter of political independence, which has been attained. But of economic independence and social orientation towards bringing the lower classes into political life.

This mix is not just promising, it is delivering.

Chuck Morse

How can you say that Nepalese Maoists are “taking an open-minded and healthy approach to social life” given their recent campaign against gay people? It that your view of “healthy”?

Colony or No?

So, the statistics about closer U.S.-Venezuelan economic ties (produced by a combination of the oil boom, Venezuela's historically close economic ties with the U.S. which are not easily or quickly uprooted, and the general and ongoing development of the Venezuelan economy in this context) while politically uncomfortable for both governments, do not mean Venezuela is being exploited? Perhaps there is a relationship of equality here?

While the movement is toward a lesser degree of exploitation, that is a different thing than movement toward not being exploted at all. (And, indeed, that limitation is emblematic of the limitations in general of social democracy as opposed to communism.)

the burningman

I don't really know anything about the situation of homosexuals in Nepal. Nothing of substance.

I know insurgent groups of many stripes have had problematic lines on homosexuality, and if you're ever interested in discussion of my sexual politics, you have my email.

There is one report from one NGO about "warnings" given to people in Katmandu who let houses not to contribute to "vice."

There were NO reports of physical violence, persecution, or evictions of one single person.

The NGO who made this claim is called the Blue Diamond Society. I think they supported the democracy movement, and spoke out regarding persecution under the monarchy. Every article I found on Google News sprang from one report. I know nothing about this NGO, what relationships it has politically or its source of funding/legitimacy. When the RCP dropped its old school and reactionary line on gays and lesbians, this was not a process that was adopted throughout the RIM. These are distinct parties and organizations, and few faced the sharp controversy of such a line during the height of AIDS deaths and radicalized direct action. Gay issues are not in their program from what I have seen.

The monarchist regime routinely killed homosexuals. That has stopped in the new period. But it does seem that no party in Nepal has issued explicit or even implicit support for LGBT human rights, for civil rights – or for the full spectrum of consensual sexuality.

And what is meant by homosexuality there, I also don't know. Translation is a funny thing, wouldn't you say Chuck?

But as this seems typical of Chuck's method here, he has little interest in the romantic liberation breaking out like crazy in Nepal – the breakdown of THE BUYING AND SELLING OF WOMEN, the explosion of inter-caste marriages... I know that's small potatos since it's quite likely the CPN-M doesn't have the latest queer theory down pat... but for some people this all might be something profoundly beautiful.

Imagine if Daily News reports about anarchists were taken at face value during the RNC protests? Violent thugs in skimasks threaten violence. Looks scary. I know, people ran kitchens and took care of kids and all that. But you'd feel like an aspect of the anarchist movement was being distorted, and falsely made to characterize the whole of what was happening. And you'd be right to feel that way. And even on those ski masks. You know, Quebec City was a beautiful thing.


There's nothing wrong with Venezuela selling their oil on the international market, in this reality. They will sell that oil no matter what kind of government they have. Cuba sells nickel on the world market, and sunshine. The Soviet Union sold oil on the world market. It's there, it brings international exchange currency, and there's something weird about the demand that any single country unilaterally remove itself from the world market without a different set of material conditions.

Chavez is a social democrat, who is encountering Lenin. Has anybody else ever seen this?

Is it fair to say that he is a bourgeois nationalist? Is that what's happening?

What about the actual Venezuelan bourgeoisie that wants his head on a plate? Is he exercising a dictatorship of their interest without their agency? I don't think so. I don't have any super sophisticated analysis here – I've just sort of grokked that I dig Chavez.

the burningman

Venezuela is in NO WAY a colony. It's not a "semi-colony."

It is politically sovereign.

Christopher Day


What sort of info do you have on this anti-gay campaign by the CPN(M)? I have no reason to doubt something like that might take place. There's certainly plenty of precedents in the history of the communist movement. But I'd appreciate knowing your sources and how substantial the info you have is.

Mao said "no investigation, no right to speak." When I was an anarchist I didn't even pay attention to the first clause, I just seized on the second as further confirmation of the repressive nature of communists. It was only later that I realized this wasn't a rationalization for censorship, but rather an insistence that people really take the time to investigate matters before shooting off their mouths, particularly when the stakes are high.

The stakes are high for the people of Nepal. And as Mark Twain said "a lie can get half way around the world before the truth gets its shoes on." If the CPN(M) becomes hegemonic in Nepal you can be sure that there will be a concerted effort to demonize them in the West in order to politically isolate and strangle them. In such a context it will matter a lot whether unsubstantiated discrediting rumors have been seized on and repeated before the campaign really gets underway in earnest. The point here is not to be quiet about something like this, but to make sure what you are repeating is well founded.

Chuck Morse


I did a search on Google news and the same thing was reported by seven or eight sources. I have yet to find anyone who claims that these reports of the anti-LGBT campaign are false. I would imagine that supporters of the Nepalese Maoists would be eager to squash these reports if they were, in fact, untrue. Are you aware of anyone who is refuting them?

the burningman

No, I'm not.

I posted a comment on it over a week ago, shortly after I read the reports. There was a short exchange.

In the Battle of Algiers, the scene where Ali Lapointe becomes the cleanser of the casbah always disturbed me. Social disciplining is creepy. I also saw the social anarchy of drug wars in Chicago and New York, and how it implicating hard and smart youth into personal interaction with cops. A lot of people's code was to look out for them and theirs – and fuck all ya'll.

Reactionary sexual ethics, the enslavement of eros to ownership and equation of indulgence with decadence from hard experience, can foster a response of puritanism, in moralistic persecution. America has bible bangers and titty bars. In spades.

Like Chris, I am never surprised at anybody's blindspots. It is always a pleasure to learn your own, and grow from that.

I'd encourage anyone who hopes for good things in Nepal to collect their thoughts and send a letter out into the world that maybe they themselves could read.

Tell them why social liberation requires sexual and romantic liberty, or however you see it. Tell them about gay liberation. They may not be aware of it in any deep way. Help them conceive of it.

Horrible sadness, unnecessary sadness was inflicted by systems liberal, religious, feudal, socialist and fascist.

Making consensual, non-predatory sexuality a crime cuts at the heart of liberty. It does not proceed from a love ethic. It's not the world we're fighting for.

No communist was ever martyred to tear lovers apart. The reactionaries fight against this because they understand how important our difference is even better than we do.

I think the flowering of inter-caste marriages, women's basic emancipation and legal rights of personhood are earth shaking. That women command is earth shaking.

Where is the journalism?


Well, I am doing my part, in ways I can't openly promote right now.

But I think BM should think about posting an open letter to the CPN(M) , at least a draft.

At any rate, I would be down to contribute to that. BM and I have no disagreement on that.

Puritan sexual attitudes feed off political reaction; and serve ultimately on the reactionary classes.

Having open, genuine debate about the role of sexuality in a new liberating society, is one thing. Playing the bedroom police is another matter.

Thanks to BM to bringing this to our attention.

Eric Odell

I agree that the reports are pretty well established. The reports have been discussed other places and been assessed as accurate.

Interestingly, the CPN(M)'s language sounds a lot like the RCP's long-time position (which as I understand it is not yet even officially superseded):

"Under Soviet rule and when China was still very much a communist state, there were no homosexuals in the Soviet Union or China," Gurung reportedly said.

"Now they are moving towards capitalism, homosexuals may have arisen there as well.

"So homosexuality is a product of capitalism. Under socialism this kind of problem doesn't exist."

(Indo-Asian News Service, 1/4/07)

I don't suppose the RCP has done much to struggle with them on this point? My guess is no, considering their historical views.


To Chuck, yes this is indeed a significant blemish on the CPN(M)'s otherwise excellent politics. You're not implying, are you, that it invalidates the dramatic positive changes they're bringing to that country -- deeper changes than we've seen in any other country in decades? There's a bit of a one-sided vibe to your comment, IMO.


I saw this story here:

This seems to be the exact same story that is being circulated all around the world. I don't think we should dismiss it, but let's not jump the gun. I saw the words "allegedly" and "reportedly" in there. How is that "well established?" Who has assessed these reports to be accurate?

If it is true, we should find ways to productively criticize CPNM for this position. But as BM has pointed out, let's not ignore their significant achievements in the process.

O'Dell: As for the RCP, resorting to speculation just to score points? Lame.


Sorry for the misspelling odell. I resorted to convention without double-checking your post.

Eric Odell


You don't think there's a real and serious question here? I do. We're talking about the lives of 5-10% of the 27 million people of Nepal here.

The RCP has poured a lot of energy into building and playing a leading role in the RIM over the years. Leading line is an essential part of this, no?

Yes, it is speculation, but it seems to me that there's a real potential basis to it, given the actual line CPN(M) leaders appear to be putting out. And if they have taken up the RCP's rhetoric in order to rationalize a very backwards position on this question, that's a pretty serious matter in my view.


I DO think it's an important issue, where did I dismiss or diminish it? However, what role the RCP is playing is only speculation so it's not worth writing about.

Even more importantly, we don't have any real confirmation of the CPNM position yet. Already you're saying that they might have "they have taken up the RCP's rhetoric." Might. And that's not even RCP's position anymore, making your point even more misleading and opportunist. Besides, RCP is not the only other party in the RIM so why single them out? What's the point of this if not to grind an axe? It certainly does nothing to clarify our understanding of the situation in Nepal.

You didn't answer my questions from the last post. If you have some authoritative info, please post it here. Otherwise, I remember someone saying something about the relationship between investigation and speaking...


Regarding Venezuela, I'm a little uneasy about their project being financed primarily by oil. This makes them subject to the fluctuations of the world market. I don't know my political economy as well as I'd like, but I'd suspect this could set limitations on how far they can go.

Meanwhile, I do believe that Venezuela is worth watching and learning from but I think we could use less cheerleading and more sober analysis.

Eric Odell

You say that it's not the RCP's position anymore. As far as I understand, their new programme is still formally in draft status and not officialy adopted. Either way, do you think a recent, relatively quiet change to their position can just wipe away the cumulative effect of decades of a pernicious line? Let's not pretend that they haven't been making every effort for 23 years to be the leading ideological force in the RIM.

The point of bringing this up is precisely to look at our own responsibilities when we're engaging in work that has a real impact on the lives of millions of people, whether here or in other countries.

Many RCP members knew for years that their line on the LGBTQ question was totally wrong. (Members of my organization struggled with them in a serious and principled way around it over the years.) But the RCP had enormous trouble bringing themselves to change their position because their dogmatism made it very hard for them to admit that they were not just wrong on some small detail, but profoundly wrong on a fundamental matter. Not looking like they made big mistakes was of bigger concern to them than the impact on people's lives of those mistakes.

Now there is some potential evidence for that impact, not just on the pages of a programme but on real people in the real world. If it is true (and I welcome suggestions for further investigation short of obtaining personal interviews with top CPN(M) leadership), I maintain that it does say something of pretty substantial interest and concern for us here. It is certainly possible that you're right and that it's just a complete coincidence. You seem to want to dismiss the whole question on that possibility.

In my view, you're wrong to want to do that. This is about our being accountable to the people of the world and not just to ourselves for the political positions we take.


Leftclick calls for 'less cheerleading' about what's happening in Venezuela. Why?

In a world situation where there has been no new socialist-led revolution since 1979 (Sandinistas!)...and in Venezuela the revolutionary process has been consistently moving in a positive direction since the late 1990s, and is now consciously embarking on the socialist road -- I think it is in fact our proletarian duty to chearlead for what's happening in Venezuela (and Nepal too).

Go reds!


True, RCP has not yet produced an 'official' new program with a new line, but between the draft document and the 2+ year discussion process, I think we have a pretty good indication that the old line is on its way out. In my direct experience, no party supporter advocates the old line anymore either.

Even if Avakian is prevented from advocating a new official position to CPNM and the rest of the RIM what's to prevent him from critiquing the old one?

Coincidence? I never implied that. It is also possible that the main source of CPNM's alleged position derives from their own ideological blindspots or the rest of the RIM. I would have no idea what the balance of influences is, and I doubt you do.

You think it's logical that RCP would want another party to adopt a line that it is in the process of discarding?

So finally what do we have? 1] An unconfirmed "line" on the LGBTQ attributed to CPNM, 2] wild speculation regarding RCP's influence on CPNM''s politics.

If you have a problem with the Party's draft position, fine. MBut you have not established any real connection between RCP's old line and the CPNM besides rhetorical similarity. While this is suggestive, it's hardly a smoking gun in Avakian's hand.

I ask again, how does this help us understand the situation in Nepal?

Chuck Morse

Hi Eric,

You write: “yes this is indeed a significant blemish on the CPN(M)'s otherwise excellent politics. You're not implying, are you, that it invalidates the dramatic positive changes they're bringing to that country. . .?”

No, I did not mean to imply that. I was mainly taking issue with BM’s statement that the Maoists are “taking an open-minded and healthy approach to social life,” which struck me as patently false, given the (heretofore uncontradicted) reports of their anti-LGBT campaign. In my view, revolutionaries should welcome the positive changes that they have wrought while also steadfastly opposing their “vice” campaign.


Morse: "heretofore uncontradicted" does not equal "confirmed" anymore than silence always equals agreement.

I suppose all you had to see was the word 'communist' to throw all logical method out the window.

Nothing has been proven "patently false," or true. When it is, communists will be the first to engage it. Until then, the most principled thing to do is to get as much real information as possible before issuing judgments.

Of course, we can't let anything like facts get in the way of spreading anti-communism, right?

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