Socialismo del siglo XXI (III): “EL PODER sin máscara” / Teodoro Petkoff

XXI Century Socialism (III): “POWER without a Mask”

The reform of the Constitution points toward erasing any vestige of institutional counterweights to central Executive Power and toward extending its radius of action, taking its autocratic condition to the compatible limit, while preserving a democratic image internationally for the regime (the President is careful about this). After eight years the Venezuelan State can already be defined as an autocracy. All powers are concentrated, more than just in the Executive, in the fist of Hugo Chávez. Legislative, Judicial, Citizen or Moral (Attorney General, Controller and People’s Defense) and Electoral powers all respond to the will of the President. The aspiration would seem to be, however, to eliminate whatever might be left in possible counterweights to supreme power and the consolidation of autocracy and with this of authoritarianism and militarism.

The now formal liquidation of the autonomy of the Central Bank would constitutionally eliminate the possibility of a Central Bank that could eventually contradict official policy – one less “annoyance” –; the possibility of demoting state governors – which would obviously entail their previous appointment by hand –, which would definitively revert the decentralization of the State and eliminate governors that would soon be able to act as alternative references to central power; the indefinite reelection of the President of the Republic, which would constitutionally consecrate the possibility of a leader for life; the subordination of Popular Power to the Presidency of the Republic, which would definitively castrate the so-called “empowerment” of the masses, these are some of the aspects that constitutional reform would contemplate – just as Chávez himself has suggested several times –, directed at granting him truly imperial powers.

The Enabling Law, on its own, would allow him to establish by decree the institutional bases of “socialism,” being able to develop the constitutional norms restrictive of democratic life, without being tied to “delaying” procedures and the Parliament’s own slowness – even with a National Assembly totally subordinated to presidential will. Chávez appeals to extraordinary powers for the purpose of taking advantage of the impulse he was given by the recent electoral results, without running the risk of that impulse falling into the “constitutional trap” he made reference to in his inaugural speech of 1999, when in an unheard of manner he brought up the example of Hitler freeing himself from the “bothersome” parliamentarian procedures of the Weimar Republic.

The circle would be closed with the creation of the single party of the revolution. That would be the tool for solving “with discipline” the contradictions within Chavismo’s own field, in order to straighten and regiment its members and activists, eliminating any potential dissident or critic. And to complete the process, as described by Rosa Luxemburg, through which the party replaces the masses, the party directorate replaces the party and finally the leader replaces the directorate, all consolidated into a single entity: party, State and government, all consonant with the familiar architecture of totalitarian power, where party leader, State leader and government leader – besides being the leader of the armed forces – are all one and the same.

{ Teodoro Petkoff, TalCual, 8 February 2007 }

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