Before I continue with what I consider the major ideological thrust of Stella I want to touch on what I consider very immature on the part of her friend who responded to me by email. Her friend in his email stated that if I believe in Marxism I should give away my assets.
First Stella aims at the houses of some in government and suggests that it is communism at work and if it were socialism the money spent to build those houses would have been distributed to the nation. It would have been used to do D&I work. Stella the dredging of the Mahaicony, Abary and Mahaica creek would alone cost $800M.
Stella suggests that many capitalist countries have made a good life for themselves. Yes, this is a fact, but let's not forget colonialism, slavery and indentureship. It is also a fact that as they developed into the monopolist/imperialist stage the few developed countries extracted a tremendous amount of surplus from the export of capital to facilitate their ability to, in the words of Stella, “bring in the money”.
Stella continues saying that once the money is there, the “socialist principles can then help to distribute the gains.”
Here again Stella ignores the original definitions, ignores the question of changes in the social relations and makes socialism a concept that has to do with only the distributive aspect, the sharing of wealth.
If we were to accept what she says about distributing the wealth, do we understand that the capitalist after receiving the profits simply redistributes it? Does the reality of New Orleans teach Stella anything?
When are we going to transfer, through Stella's socialism, some of the surpluses back to the third world so that we can stop three million children from dying from hunger? Maybe Stella can convince the corporate world to repatriate some of the wealth extracted from Africa 's diamond, minerals and oil industries, socialist style to stop these children from dying.
Peter R. Ramsaroop in an article captioned “Achieving Economic Justice” printed in SN on Friday, August 19, 2005 had the gall to suggest that Marxism is the cause for stagnation in many developing countries and the people are the ones to suffer.
While people like Stiglitz, Noble Peace Prize winner in economics, has serious questions with regards the free market, Ramsaroop seems to be a blind follower and Stella in her personal socialist style sees the capitalists consciously giving back the profits to the people.
Stella this is not about people. When one is a small capitalist one controls capital but when capital grows and concentrates it assumes control and in the end only capital has individualism and exercises control while men become slaves to capital as it strives to fulfill its nature to expand.
By the way it was the introduction of British capitalism that resulted in the de-industrialisation of India and the consequent poverty.
Stella and Venezuela
It is interesting how far Stella, determined to have Chavez and Bharrat look bad, has gone to spin the good to make it bad. She suggests that Chavez keeps the opposition sufficiently antagonised just to give the appearance of democracy and suggests that he polarized the nation and it is now the “wealthy and the middleclass against the poor”.
Stella the polarization was there, prior to the Chavez government about 80 percent of the people in this oil rich country were in poverty. According to Stella “Latin and South America continue to inch towards the left” and therefore I would conclude that it was definitely not the left that created this poverty.
And in Guyana , the present government inherited a situation where 86 percent of our people were in poverty, 26 percent of households were in deep poverty according to the World Bank. And Stella when this government took over, not only was there a deficit at the capital level but our current expenditure was greater than our current revenue. We were borrowing to pay salaries. Our balance of payment was in deep red.
Stella did not know or she chooses, in her deep desire to attack this government, to ignore it.
She claims that Chavez snatched up the land of those who oppose him. The reality is about 70 percent of the land was in the control of 2 percent of the population, a lot of it lying idle. Most rural Venezuelans have no land.
The December 10 strike was by business leaders and a section of the union movement, who were protesting a series of economic laws and land reform.
In a December 10 article in the Chicago Bi Weekly, Christian Parenti and John Marshall stated that the Venezuelan government moved to diversify the economy, turn over idle land to the landless peasants – to end feudalism - and encourage the growth of crops based on the highly successful Hungarian Model. These measures were met with a response from the US which saw US department loans being frozen, and Chavez accused of supporting terrorism in Columbia , Bolivia and in Equador.
Stella's distortions continued
While I would deal later with some of the other spin Stella placed on the situation in Venezuela and attempts to pass it off as the reality in Guyana , I want to inform on a number of issues.
The rich oil magnates were angry. The oil industries in Venezuela were huge cash cows for Phillips Petroleum and Exxon Mobil. They were enjoying a 60-year-old agreement which made them pay one percent in royalties and the government handed out huge tax brakes to them.
The new laws would mean that the US and French companies would have to cough up more.
Failed neoliberal economic policies coupled with corruption and authorianism resulted in the poverty, marginalisation and polarisation I mentioned. The Chavez government, among other things that I would discuss later, was able to reduce inflation from 40 percent to 12 percent and to generate reasonable growth.
To be continued...