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Mobile vulgus

By Owen Paine on Tuesday December 4, 2007 11:54 AM

The voters have spoken to the Chavista revolution: "Hugo...NO!" And with that, Hurricane Hugo's wind velocity has dropped precipitously. Tropical depression Chavez... eh?

Sure there was a low turnout. Sure this Sancho-like son of Bolivar maybe pushed too fast. There were grotesquely opportunistic defections. The pivot may have been less than 10% of his past support. But so what? He lost. The revolution lost. And now the people of Venezuela can watch the loathsome spectacle of spoiled college brats going wild in the streets. With evil suddenness the humble ballot box quickens the pace of counter-revolution. The oligarchs are toasting the vox rube-orum. Instead of the steady two-thirds electoral support he's received over the last decade, suddenly now it's "No mas, por favor."

Such are the wages of a consistent small-d democrat-- no matter the nobility of the movement, the justice of the cause, there comes a point where we have the revolt of the people against their own mission. The people abdicate in the name of the people. They refuse to be the agents of their own destiny. It's Clio's reward for our absolute one on one depravity.

A tragic familiar scene in the unending struggle just got another encore.

Comments (12)


But, who are "the people." Are not "the people" a complex class, divided amongst themselves. How can "the people" always act in a "unified" matter?


This seems like the old "ochlocracy" problem—what if the People are too stupid to know their own best interests?—But reading your comments on the other Chávez post, it seems like that's not what you're saying....


"Are not "the people" a complex class, divided amongst themselves"

indeed cloven by classes
antagonistic classes in fact
and classes
that themselves fragment against themselves

what a rovoltin' development
that provides

but such is
the "due process constraint"
prole class politicos
place apon themselves
by accepting the burger boy
rules of civil struggle
ballot campaign
recall ortega and the sandinistas got worse
they got "vote out entirely"
and have now morphed into fully domesticated
pinky outgfitted
" struggle critters "
playing patty cake
for transient popularity
the prospect of office
with its viciously limited power
but compensitory perks
all in the shadow of
the hemisphere's
laughing Hegemon


"what if the People are too stupid to know their own best interests? "

do you know your " own best interests "??

i doubt i do

aren't best interests forever
over the horizon of social thought ??

we can
only know what has been discovered
by our collective actions right ???

in fact
i hold the possibilities
in our ignorance of what's best for us
to be ultimately
we the People's favor

my piss off credo:

in the sublime notion
of people's gubmint
we have
the only sound application
of white america's
favorite moral imperative

" take responsibility "

taken itself
to its own highest station
it actually has social application
that is to say
at the level of the whole people
the wholesomeness
of this imperative
its acutely and self evidently true

the people ever and always
by their collective actions
and or inactions
self determining

whether they
know it or not
like it or not
fear it or not

whether they back slide
or not
along the way
turn in circles
run from their destiny
a drunk from pink elephants

they...we ..
are bound to reach eden eventually
we just can't stop it from happening
we got no exit from our "quest"
even if
we must for a very very long spell
and then some
pay for the loops and knotings
in our passage
with nasty installments of blood
and pain
and constant ground rent of misery

have faith
in the one thing
we are familiar with
that's actually
worthy of our faith

the people

we are our own
gods and avatars
devils dick heads and dolls

always almighty
right or wrong
active marching mode
or on our knees
in passive worship of our illusions

have hope
in the workings of endless time

we will discover and rediscover
everyone of our possiblities
over and over
in the fullnes of time
our battan march
thru incarnations
of bondage and liberation
will so much wise us up
that i
owen claymore paine
enough in fact in our capacity
for self rule
that eventually
our millenia of class folly
will serve as a jest
among our distant
eloi off springs


Owen, old pal, I knew there was a reason I've always thought the world of you. You just reminded me what it was.


So am I reading you correctly that, in this surprisingly happy teleology (for the Left), the failure of this Chávez referendum is merely a stumble on Venezuela's inevitable path to democratic socialism?



"...merely a stumble on Venezuela's inevitable path to democratic socialism?"


i was however taking a some what wider and longer view of the process

the second eden looks to be over the event horizon

a ways off

apres the struggle
bare feet will show 13 toes


I admire your optimism (and your eloquence).



counter p
has a post by senior petras
that read as a specimen
of what faces the chavista movement
can only lead to a sense of awe
at the complexity of the convulsions
that society is "into "
and headed further "into "
its as if this NO
has set in motion currents and cross currents that will whirl
hugo's socialist vision
into senseless immiserating chaos


Owen, Petras is using the same construction Digby does: that the people were overwhelmed and duped by slick PR.

These are the same people that put Chavez into office, that were never tricked before on previous votes and that staged a bloodless countercoup against the wingnut latifundistas. These are the people who put in the work to make Chavism possible. They've had a damn good run too, ten years now. This is not the first time the creeps and spooks have tried the color-coded, astroturf revolution method on them. They're well aware of what neoliberalism has in store for them and they know their own wingnuts well enough to beat them, ten years running.

Populist leaders do fuck up, often badly. What keeps them safe and keeps the movement safe does not lie in procedural tweaks to constitutions. That document records the accomplishments. It's not trivial to put them there, but the rights they assert are inalienable whether they're recorded or not. Maybe it's time to consider what Chavez wanted to record, indepedently of the smug little shits crowing over their victory, the slithering spooks and the miserable latifundistas.


reading petras
one gets a flash insight
into Nimrod's "STORM HEAVEN " movement
after the tower to heaven caper when south
however the babble at least on the chavista side
can by clarified dynamically

"there are many positions but they can be simplified into two polar opposites "

" On the one side, .... seek cooperation with private foreign and domestic investors, bankers and agro-businessmen, to increase production, investment and living standards of the poor."
this the pre referendum dominant pole
wants essentially more of the same
only go slower and
"... rely on "

moral suasion ".. appeals to voluntary co-operation,"
backed by plentiful state carrots
to the trans nats their agents
and allies the oligarchs land barrons
plus the usual flocks
of multi motivated plutonic ramorahs
bottom line wise:
".. guarantees to property ownership, tax rebates, access to foreign exchange on favorable terms and other incentives "
and only the smallest of state sticks
"... controls on capital flight and prices
but not on profits "

the other pole ??

".. argues that this policy of partnership
has not worked and is the source of the current political impasse and social problems."

hmmmm is there a way to hault the "causation "
here seperat the two stages
green light first stage
say to the big capsbankers and land giants
" go bye bye"
then what ???
stop ??

recall cuba circa 60-63
the petite bourgoise sector was liquidated
i suspect che and fidel
would have liked a mulligan on that
sharp turn left
based on the advice given the sandinistas

but obviously not a problem
for senior P
for him its obvious
push on thru
mash the big pri-bourg-sec now
and rehash the petty b sector
into peacible progress thru collegial

how in hell ...?

well notice :

seems the end to the liberal market system
if not political system
has its backers

again something like
the post tower dissolution
in mutally incomprehensible cross talk
has hit right inside this " pole " itself

the pole of
rad economic restructuring
not mere popular curbs on
"the oligarchs gigs"
has according to P

" .. some propose a greater role for state ownership and control, in order to direct investments and increase production and to break the boycott and stranglehold on distribution. "
this seems like a disneyland reproduction
an unworkable
teeter tottering between
puffed up girondismo
and maybe a virtual choppin block
jacobin national safety measures

"Another group argues for worker self-management councils to organize
the economy and push for a new 'revolutionary state'."

yikes ...hyper rad
all power to the soviets
damn clio full speed ahead

"A third group argues for a mixed state (sic) with public and self-managed ownership,
rural co-operatives
and middle and small-scale private ownership
in a highly regulated market."

my guess this last point of the triad
within the "left "chavista polarity
is sir P 'S

a super stuffed wild bikini
of eclectic red goo goo

none of which has anything
but the finest intentions of course
and the use of the mildest methods
practicable no doubt
unlike one suspects
the dreams of
blood and headless horsemen
that motivate the scarlet ghoulery
the call for
all economic power
to the production soviets


" Petras is using the same construction Digby does"

i agree
the referendum loss
was a message from the people
particularly of course
3 million bolivarian abstainers they weren't dupe
they really saw hugo
about to go over the high side

heres to me the catastrophic turn

that mere hiccup in popular support
warranted as it was
in the context of an intensifying
note obvious destablization
from various jouncing springs
of the social plurality
market turbulence
hack union yahooing
food hoarding
pwogressive in good conscience back stabs
military fleas
biting the generals
my take
unless he's rescued by the fates
and he may well be
things are far from "over "
much could happen internally
and in washington
to rip tide the counter rev here

but regardless eventually the tight rope walk must end

hugo's lack of a disciplined
struggle tempered
community pervasive
centrally controled
cadre organization

all will come apart
shiver into antagonistic shards

the decade long
uncheckable mommentum
of the bolivar movement
will turn in on itself
and burst all the welded seems

hugo lacks the blue print maybe
but thats comparatively trivial

even if marx himself
shipped up to him from hell
the action plan to end all action plans
hugo lacks
the organization to execute
the blue print

the people's melodrama
has intensified
into national tragedy

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on Tuesday December 4, 2007 11:54 AM.

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