[Derek Wall, Green Party Principal Speaker and author of Babylon and Beyond: The Economics of Anti-capitalist, Anti-globalist and Radical Green Movements, argues that capitalism is ecologically unsustainable and that Venezuela’s green policies should be applauded. --Ed]
by Derek Wall - 21st Century Socialism
April 08, 2007
“One car each? Our planet won't stand that - that model of capitalism, extreme individualism and consumerist egotism. The destructive so-called developmentalism destroying the planet is, quite frankly, a thing of stupidity - una cosa de tontos.” -President Hugo Chavez
A couple of years ago I watched the documentary 'The Revolution Will Not Be Televised', which is about the 2002 coup against President Hugo Chavez. Since then I have taken a personal interest in the progress of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution. My party, the Green Party of England and Wales, is affiliated to the Venezuela Information Centre (VIC), which is a solidarity organisation that campaigns against foreign interference in Venezuela’s internal affairs. I have a lot of links with friends in Caracas and a Green Party delegation, including our chair Richard Mallender, went to listen to Hugo Chavez when he spoke in London last year. Caroline Lucas, who represents our party in the European Parliament, is a patron of VIC, and I travelled to Caracas with my partner Sarah Farrow as part of a VIC delegation in 2006.
So I think it is fair to say that on the whole the Green Party is pretty supportive of solidarity with Venezuela.
To my mind, the Bolivarian process is important for several reasons. First, for decades Latin America has been the playground of right-wing death squads supported by the US. The number of invasions, coups, plots and ‘interventions’ is too long to list. Think, though, of how Michael Manley’s attempts to build a more socially just Jamaica in the 1970s were countered by the IMF and US interests, and how in South America proper, the ITT company fomented a coup in Chile in 1973 that killed thousands. The 1954 coup against the democratic government of Guatemala, which incidentally accelerated the radicalisation of Che Guevara, is worth noting because of the close collaboration between the US transnational, the United Fruit Company, and the CIA.
Venezuela’s central role in opposing human rights abuses and freeing Latin America from the corporations and US control, must be defended.
Second, there is growing awareness that capitalism is simply ecologically unsustainable. Companies have to maximise profit and cannot focus on other values. So the creation of a social economy based on workers control and grassroots participation in Venezuela, provides an almost unique experiment in the construction of an alternative economy which is focussed on more than the bottom line. In turn, while previous forms of ‘socialism’ have been top-down, the more anarchic (in the best sense) approach of putting power into the hands of ordinary people as a form of economic democracy, has to be applauded.
Third, there is a green element. It is impressive to hear the president of a country whose main export is oil, explicitly arguing that ever increasing consumption is ecologically unsustainable. Ecological concern is central to the Venezuelan approach under Chavez.
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