And Yet They Move

A human contingent walks the streets of working-class Caracas carrying bags or boxes full of plastic, glass, paper, or some other recyclable material. A few of them are pushing supermarket carts. As I enjoy the masterpiece that is The Wire (2002-2008) by David Simon for a second time, I have also seen Bubbles in some faces in Caracas. Like Bubbles, our waste-sorting workers mimic the urban landscape. But if this circumstance can be considered an “advantage” for our fictional character (allowing him to go unnoticed, to slip away, etc.), in the second case it tells us the tale of the worker’s disadvantageous…

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Finding the Way Out of the Labyrinth

It is possible that Chávez invented 21st century democracy, to draw a phrase from William Ospina (1). If that statement seems incorrect in these times, that is because, once again, the right path to tread is the one that goes against the current. Forged in the fight against military dictatorships, the democratic political forces of the 20th century wanted to be civil and representative. They governed according to the rules established in an elite pact, at the service of capital (fundamentally oriented toward the international market) and subordinated to the interests of US imperialism. Chavismo burst onto the scene once…

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The Ascending Path Toward Rebellion

But no one may ever make peace with poverty when it falls like a gigantic shadow upon his countrymen and his house. Then he must be alert to every humiliation done to him, and so discipline himself that his suffering becomes no longer the downhill road of grief but the rising path of revolt. Walter Benjamin, One-way Street I. In the mid-20s, with a fresh memory of the hyperinflation that hit the Weimar Republic between 1921 and 1923, Walter Benjamin wrote about the perception of “impending catastrophe” prevailing within the German bourgeoisie. This was expressed through one of the “stock of…

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Prometheus Unchained

A public meeting took place between President Nicolás Maduro and Movimiento de Pobladoras y Pobladores [a housing platfrom, hetheforth Pobladoras] militants at the Miraflores Palace in Caracas on June 21, 2022. Pobladoras is a platform that brings together the Comités de Tierra Urbana [Urban Land Committees, formed in the early days of the Bolivarian Process to struggle for urban land deeds]; the Movimiento de Inquilinos e Inquilinas [tenants’ anti-eviction movement], the Movimiento de Trabajadoras Residenciales [janitors’ movement]; the Campamentos de Pioneros y Pioneras [self‐constructed housing initiative]; and the Movimiento de Ocupantes de Edificios [housing occupiers’ movement]. The meeting, which brought together more than two thousand…

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Returning to Chávez

When it comes to processes of revolutionary change, almost always on a national scale, it is necessary to lose the fear of the idea of starting over. More than one simple idea among many, starting over may well be a circumstance that is imposed on us as a political and even ethical imperative. In a 1922 text, Lenin raised the need to «start over from the beginning» as many times as necessary. However, we must admit that such an expression can lead to wrong conclusions, especially if we make the mistake of ignoring the historical context. Starting over should not…

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The Early Victories of the Communard Union

The Founding Congress of the Communard Union was held on March 3 and 4 on the territory of the Maizal Socialist Commune in the municipality of Simón Planas in Lara state. The meeting brought together communards from 48 Communes from twelve states in the country as well as activists from a dozen popular organizations with an emphasis on territorial work. The Founding Congress was preceded by at least three years of strenuous and sustained work, often hampered by severe material difficulties that impeded mobilization and then further thwarted by the pandemic. These circumstances that did not prevent small deployments by groups of comrades, in…

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Constituent Power (entrevista en Sidecar/NLR, 3 de febrero de 2022)

Por Geo Maher Publicado originalmente en Sidecar/NLR Geo Maher: The role of grassroots popular power – or what is often called constituent power – in Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution is generally misunderstood or ignored. How do you understand its place in recent Venezuelan history? Reinaldo Iturriza: The process of popular subjectification represented by Chavismo remains under-analyzed. The emphasis is almost always placed on the figure of Chávez himself, while the unique historical conjuncture that made his leadership possible is relegated to the background, and in particular the influence of that popular subject without which Chávez would be inconceivable. Something similar happens with…

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The Wild and the Disaffected: A Conversation with Reinaldo Iturriza

By Cira Pascual Marquina – Venezuelanalysis.com You have developed a creative reading of the Chavista identity over the years. Could you tell us something about this? First, there is what is laid out in the El chavismo salvaje book, which basically gathers writings that go from 2007 to 2012. Among other things, it is a first attempt at identifying the tensions within Chavismo, an effort to present the logic of the different lines of force that traverse the movement, how they are expressed in practices, etc. Writing these texts involved some abstraction in the attempt to capture the real movement – it was…

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An Affective Picture of Chavismo (VI): Converts

I do not think I would be mistaken in stating that Chavismo is a mostly silent subject. There are exceptions, naturally, but I believe Chavismo is distinguished by a certain self-control, a certain cautiousness that allows it to shine in difficult circumstances, wriggle out of trouble, fall on its feet, maintain an integrity, both physical and spiritual. It will rarely be heard loudly in a public office, a grocery store, the corner kiosk, the bank queue, the elevator, a family celebration, a gathering of friends. I recognize that silence can lead to mistaken interpretations: it is not that it would…

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An Affective Picture of Chavismo (V): The Human Tragedy

“As always, there’s the mass of people and I throw myself among them, I embrace them, sweat with them, cry with them and find myself. Because the drama, the pain, is over there, and I want to feel that pain. Because only that pain, alongside the love one feels, will give us strength to fight for a thousand years, if need be, against corruption, against inefficiency, for the good of a noble, dignified, brave people like the Venezuelan one. We don’t have to look very far to find tragedy.” (1) These words, halfway between revelation and a declaration of principles,…

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