Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Venezualan Model

What Venezuela is proposing is a system of democracy that involves the people, at every level, at the level of decision-making and co-ordination, not just at the ballot box.

Looking at the new model of politics the Venezuelan government is proposing under the leadership of Chavez, it is not hard to envisage its success - minus, of course, external factors such as the role of the US.

Take a look at the success of such web-related ideas as open-source technology, and you will find progression of ideas within the space of short years, where technology, accuracy, reliability and useability all out-run their counterparts in software run under a capitalist business mentality. MySQL and PHP are just a couple of good examples of this;already businesses are switching to open source programmes due to their reliability - not to be found in the market leaders versions.

What Venezuela is proposing is a system of democracy that involves the people, at every level, at the level of decision-making and co-ordination, not just at the ballot box. It is, in a way, a more organised version of anarchy - and I believe it could work. The question is, will it be allowed to work?

The other question is what has lead to such a radical rethink of this country's politics? The recent protests in Argentina over Bush's Americas Summit is a good indication of a mood that has existed in South America for several years. Bush, really, is the icing on the cake, and the fact Chavez was present at the Summit must have strengthened the resolve of the protestors in Argentina.

South America has been in the grip of the US foreign policy for a long time, think about Guatemala, Nicaraqua, Panama, Chile for some examples.

South America knows best about the US penchant for control and power, under the guise of democracy. South America has seen burgeoning democracies crushed by the US foreign policy and replaced with murderous dictatorships in the name of the US, (not to mention the near-miss for Chavez himself). They have seen the reality in their own countries, and the lie pushed on the people of the US and the world, of the freedom that the US brings, and they are sick of it. If this is what democracy brings, then let us have something different.

But South America is not the only country rising up to tell Bush they have had enough. Indeed, it is happening in his own country, with many questions now hanging over his head regarding the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. The tragedy is that it has only so far netted some of his advisors as casualties in this indictment process. The greater tragedy is that even if it were to swallow him as well, he is just one man in a chain of deceit, lies and the violent foreign policy of the United States. Venezuela knows this, so do many other countries - they have seen it firsthand. The trick is convincing the West of this.

We are learning, but too slow. It is only now that our fundamental freedoms are being threatened by the advancement of foreign policy - the Anti-Terror laws being bolstered in the US, the UK, Australia and many other countries, at the detriment of our own freedom and democracy that we are forcing ourselves to question the legitimacy of the foreign policy of our countries. The danger is, of course, that even if our countries leadership backs down on these pieces of legislation, that they will not do so unconditionally, and that their losses (of leaders) will allow us to sit back and breath a sigh of relief, rather than wondering how it came to this, and how to stop it from happening again. And that is, of course, a big 'if'.

Now that Venezuala has come up with a new model of government, we owe it to them (for our own interests, if for none other) to observe them publicly, to ensure that US censorship in terms of military intervention does not stifle such a possibility from existing. There would, in the normal course, be mistakes, just as there has been in our version of democracy, but it will hopefully be mistakes made by the people, not for the people.

Similiar to the US stance on Canadian healthcare, it must not be allowed to suffer at the hands of the US simply because it makes the US look bad.

As Michael Albert in his article at Znet says:

"Venezuela looks to me like Uncle Sam's worst nightmare".

If it survives we may well be taking instruction from Venezuala in years to come on how to form a real democracy. Let's hope.

Please take a look at this Znet article - Venezuela's Path - Michael Albert -

By Derek Lane 10 November 05