Venezuela – El Libertario #65: Opening up free spaces
The February-March 2012 issue of this voice for anarchist action and thought is out, as always committed to liberty and equality in solidarity since 1995. This issue includes the following:
- Primary opposition elections: analyzing a bag full of cats (by H. Decarli)
- Contempt for continuity (G. Diaz)
- Venezuela's popular movement (E. Lander)
- The people, an identity for domination (S. Mendez)
- Interview with the student group Resistencia, from the Universidad Nacional Experimental of Yaracuy
- Universidad Nacional Experimental of the Armed Forces: chronicle of unhappiness foretold (somebody from the inside)
- About university level educational missions (A. Coiman)
- Critical approximation to the Bolivarian experiment from an anti-pedagogic perspective (P. Garcia Olivo)
- Indigenous people: raining misery upon El Dorado (R. Montes de Oca)
- Bolivarian anti-socialization (Pedro Pablo)
- About breast implants (Home for women "Juana la Avanzadora")
- Chile: quality education for all ... Now! (D. Contreras)
- Let the unaware purchase China! (M. Aren)
- U$A: protestors, anarchists and the democratic explosion (D. Graeber)
- Self-management: the experience of Limba, Rumania (Jura Libertaire)
- Spain: the 15M movement and non-violence (C. Perez Barranco)
- Medellin: a collective dream made reality (CSCL)
- Computers: ten recommendations for writing safe passwords (J. Sabate)
- Power and falseness: the "Gaona Manifest" Cuba, 1961
- Class struggle in the world (S. Niemtschik)
Plus our regular sections: Editorial, Letters to the Editor, Doublethink, The Photo, news abstracts, graphics section, book reviews, and the humoristic irreverence of Puye y Autogestione.
As always there will be a printed version. We invite you to subscribe or purchase at the usual newsstand, as we can only keep going with the reader's support. We also welcome those who help us with distribution anywhere in Venezuela, Latin America or the world. Detailed information can be found at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
The online version of this or any other issue can be found at www.nodo50.org/ellibertario. For our English language readers there is a large English section of this web site.
As a preview, here is the Editorial in # 65:
One of the pillars of the Bolivarian government is the work done by its enormous propaganda machine that repeats lies and half-truths thousands of times till they become real in the collective imaginary. A favorite theme of this propaganda in different media and languages are the so-called "social missions", a name given the public policies implemented by the Executive to reduce poverty. As the book _Venezuela: Revolution as spectacle_ and many articles published here recount, it is true that president Chavez's discourse emphasizes social issues and that some of those missions, particularly between 2006 and 2009 contributed to reduce the percentage of poor families in the country. What is false, as certain "left intellectuals" avow, is that it would be the first time that this type of populist, redistributive policies are established in this country. The missions are far from being structural programs, indeed revolutionary, to overcome the causes of poverty. On the other hand, their depth and number of people who benefit are limited and do not correspond with the wealth derived from high oil prices, the nation's main source of income. While the people get crumbs from the biggest economic windfall of the last 30 years, the well-connected elite - the boliburguesia- make fabulous deals and become wealthy overnight. Lastly, corruption and impunity at all levels, as well as bureaucratic inefficiency, have, as time goes by, diminished the operational ability of the missions and their impact on reducing inequality.
It's not by chance that this issue of El Libertario has several articles about Bolivarian educational policy, one of the key missions in the state propaganda. According to the 2011 Report by Provea (Venezuelan human rights NGO www.derechos.org.ve) based on official numbers, the total social investment -except for Social Security- has decreased these past few years. Therefore, almost all indicators of investment in education have fallen. Over a million and a half persons, between ages 3 and 17 are still not included in the educational system. School enrollment for the year 2011 fell 10.8% below that of ten years ago. As far as the quality of education it is worrisome that only 55.2% of teachers have a degree, 34.4% are temporary and 10.4% are classified as "other" with no further explanation. There's a significant lack of teachers in areas such as mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology. There are no exams for jobs as managers or teachers; there have been no evaluations of the efficiency of educational methods or the results of such evaluations after 2003. While these challenges are met with hyper-ideology and barracks discipline, the rate of scientific-technological innovation is one of the lowest in the last decades, with the best qualified talent fleeing abroad as had never happened in the nation's history.
These things are not the priority of those on top, immersed as they are in the struggle for more power and more oil money. What both sides have agreed on is electioneering, by whatever means, the social agenda. In spite of having over 14 demonstrations per day, according to human rights organizations the biggest number of the Chavez period, the media attempst to redirect the capacity of the people for autonomous mobilization and put it under the electoral machine. From each extreme coalitions and fictitious organizations are promoted in support of some candidature and to create the sensation of a secure future.
Faithful to our principles, the anarchist proposal cannot be other but the rejection of the electoral farce, exposing the capitalist character of the conflict within the bourgeoisie and denouncing those sectors interested in more of the same as much as in cuddling the state bureaucracy. As anarchists, opposed to the strategy of "the lesser evil" we are committed to creating an alternative, against the ambitions of the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD, electoral opposition to Chavez) as well as those of the Gran Polo Politico (GPP, an alliance of parties and groups that support the government) truly revolutionary and transformative. This road, not for the short term and without deceitful tactics is being followed from different directions by many people and organizations disappointed by the inconsistencies and corruption of the elite who promote political polarization in Venezuela. In this new year of 2012 we will continue the reconstruction of the autonomy and belligerence of the social movements and the fight electoral demagogy, siren's song and sure source of further disappointment.
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