Socialdemocracia contra militarismo / Demetrio Boersner

Social Democracy against Militarism

In recent days we’ve heard various debates regarding the nature of the regime presided over by Hugo Chávez. A certain sector opines that, due to phenomenological similarities this autocracy shares with European fascisms in their initial stages, it should be classified as “neofascist.” Another matrix of opinion, perhaps more widely disseminated, assigns it the qualifier of “communist” because of its intent to collectivize the production apparatus and its delirious love affair with the Cuban revolution.

We believe that, due to its origins and its internal social structure, the Chavista regime, despite having fascist and Stalinist ingredients, belongs more to the category of “Third World” populist militarisms, originally typified by Peronismo in Latin America and Nasserism in the Middle East. Although both Perón and Nasser were initially admirers of European fascism, as leaders they incarnated the challenge of gathering under their control the enormous diversity of sectors and interests of a society that was still underdeveloped, in the confusing search for modernity, national identity and inclusion. That is why they acted like tightrope walkers amid forces on the right and left. By means of military hegemony and populist demagoguery they were able to arbitrate latent internal conflicts for a long time, but in the end they could not prevent their explosion.

In recent years, South America had an authentic movement towards the left led by Social Democratic currents, or similar ones, that triumphed in Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and Argentina. Venezuelan militarist populism, rich in petrodollars, “cut in line” among said Social Democratic movements and won interested acceptance and adulation for itself, which left several leaders of regional democratic progressivism in a bad moral light. Likewise it was able to amplify its zone of influence to encompass Bolivia and Ecuador. However, since about three months ago, the extreme radicalization of Chávez’s language, his dangerous alliance with Iran, and new conflicts of interest (gas, ethanol) are creating fissures in what once seemed to be a “leftist coalition.” Social Democracy seeks the advance of its people toward greater independence and social justice, while populist militarism plays with gratuitous violence, so severely condemned by Engels in his Anti-Dühring.

{ Demetrio Boersner, El Nacional, 28 March 2007 }

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