Venezuelan Ecosocialism

Featuring the following essay works well for me, as the triple themes I hold near and dear to my heart are represented: the coup against Nicolás Maduro (and past ones against Hugo Chavez), media bias, and ecosocialism.  Rather than bring some of the ghastly news in the next-generation attempts to overthrow his regime, I’ll focus on this and bring the rest another day.  And happy π day to all.

‘The Path to Climate Justice Passes Through Caracas’, March 9, 2019, counterpunch.org, David Schwartzman & Quincy Saul

In their Fighting the Media War section, the authors quote Karl Marx calling it “the war of calumny undertaken by the lying power of the civilised world,” and extras, describing the media war against the International Workingmen’s Association, which later became known as The First International.

They write that the comparison is sound because Venezuela had hosted the First Ecosocialist International in 2017:

From the Plan of the Homeland to a Plan for the Planet’, A gathering of 100 revolutionary delegates from five continents gathered in Venezuela and founded the First Ecosocialist International, Quincy Saul, telesurenglish, Dec. 8, 2017

…which news had been sent down the rabbit hole during the furor to topple the only government in the world to make a comprehensive plan ““to preserve peace in the planet and save the human species.”

The authors may not know about the 2010 Bolivian People’s Agreement of Cochabamba (a few opening passages):

“We confront the terminal crisis of a civilizing model that is patriarchal and based on the submission and destruction of human beings and nature that accelerated since the industrial revolution.

The capitalist system has imposed on us a logic of competition, progress and limitless growth. This regime of production and consumption seeks profit without limits, separating human beings from nature and imposing a logic of domination upon nature, transforming everything into commodities: water, earth, the human genome, ancestral cultures, biodiversity, justice, ethics, the rights of peoples, and life itself.

Under capitalism, Mother Earth is converted into a source of raw materials, and human beings into consumers and a means of production, into people that are seen as valuable only for what they own, and not for what they are.

Capitalism requires a powerful military industry for its processes of accumulation and imposition of control over territories and natural resources, suppressing the resistance of the peoples. It is an imperialist system of colonization of the planet.

Humanity confronts a great dilemma: to continue on the path of capitalism, depredation, and death, or to choose the path of harmony with nature and respect for life.”

…nor other Indigenous accords that were brought to the Rio 2012 Sustainability Conference where they were read at the Shadow Summit meetings, as the Indigenous hadn’t been (ahem) invited to attend. Many of them knew that the Climate Emergency was at least as early as 2010, and knew the origins of it.   But onward…

Saul and Schwartman write that it hurts them to read and write about Venezuela today, and that a tyrannous troika of mendacity, laziness, and ignorance with near impunity rules the media,  including CNN, the BBC and Guardian, Fox News, John Oliver, Amnesty Int’l, Jacobin Magazine (arguably the site of DSAs), and so on.

“We would much prefer to write about how we have been moved to joy and courage and compassion by the mass popular democratic movements in this country. We would prefer to write about the sense of goodwill, hope and inspiration which emanates from the grassroots Venezuelan revolutionary process. As Che Guevara said, revolutionaries are guided by great feelings of love.

 The central purpose of this article is to discuss how the Green New Deal and other climate justice initiatives in the global north have so much to learn and gain from the Bolivarian revolution. But before we can trace this connection, before we can share our love, the way must be cleared of the deception which prevents hearts from beating together across borders. In the face of the scorn which is being heaped upon the Venezuelan revolution today, we must enter the fray and draw our pens to fight in this media war. If our language is sharp, it is because we are at war, a war which calls for sound and fury commensurate to the tales told by idiots.”

“There is a strange phenomenon taking place in the international left media, in which leftish reporters seem to be getting all their news from the right. Even Amy Goodman stooped to this in an interview with Venezuelan foreign minister Jorge Arreaza, citing studies by the IMF and Human Rights Watch, each of which have a well documented history of sowing chaos and counterinsurgency in Venezuela.”

[wd here: I’d call it ‘Et tu, Amy Goodman?, but as we know, she sometimes gets it right even now.]


“But the prize for a leftwing newspaper with a rightwing research wing goes to Jacobin. “Maduro was not democratically elected,” proclaimed a recent article– a lazy lie which has been repeated about every single election in Venezuela since Chavez first came to power, despite extensive reports and denunciations of international observers’; and they cite other Jacobin evidence-free calumnies, then:

“In the hegemony of “human interest”  journalism, personal anecdotes eclipse historical analysis, and no one seems to note the demonstrations of thousands of people in support of Maduro. It is a surreal situation in which the masses of working class Venezuelans are invisibilized in favor of solidarity with their simulacra.”

The authors’ The Green New Deal in World-Systemic Perspective is long, and more nauanced with advice than this short bit at the top, but:

One of us has been writing extensively for over a decade about how a Green New Deal (GND) should be embraced by ecosocialists as a site of class struggle.[3] Now that the GND is getting a lot of attention as a potential prevention program to avoid catastrophic climate change, it is important to note the contributions of the Green Party of the United States (GP) to making the link between the GND, climate change and the U.S. imperial agenda. Howie Hawkins, an ecosocialist, ran for Governor of New York with a GND in his platform starting in 2010, and the two Presidential campaigns of Dr. Jill Stein, which brought the vision of a GND to the attention of millions, made a significant impact. The GP’s GND includes cutting the military budget and ending the imperial U.S. foreign policy which is in utter contradiction to the agendas of both the Republican and Democratic Party leadership.

And oil, oil, oil, then:

“But of course militarized fossil capital has other plans – namely the destruction of the Bolivarian Revolution, coupled with extracting this huge oil reserve, regardless of the climatic and environmental consequences. And Cuba is explicitly next on the list for regime change; the fossil empire continues to plot the elimination of this example of ecosocialist transition, noting her vigorous conversion to agroecologies and cooperative ownership.”

In their longish Conclusions section, this stands out to me, of course:

“Those of us around the world who are looking for a way to save the biosphere, from Extinction Rebellion to the Sunrise Movement to the Green New Deal, should make it a top priority to join in concrete solidarity with both the revolutionary process of Venezuela and the government it has repeatedly elected. The farcebook spectacle of dueling proclamations of “I stand with” / “I stand against” (when it is obvious to all concerned that everyone is in fact sitting down in front of their computers) would be funny if the stakes weren’t so high and the consequences so tragic. Not only history, but the geologic record itself, will record our actions and inactions in defense of climate justice, whose fate is played out today on the streets of Caracas.”

My guess is that given the authors referencing Ilhan Omar and AOC as exceptions to the rule,  or something, they haven’t read the Sir Silicon Valley and 15 of his fellow Justice Warriors’ letter to Mr. Pompeo calling Maduro and his regime criminals, illegally elected, then…whatever.  Or have they?


(cross-posted at caucus99percent.com)

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