Sunday, 9 August 2009

Venezuela: Socialism for the 21st Century

[In 1998, Hugo Chávez was elected President of Venezuela. He spoke strongly and acted against savage neoliberalism in his electoral campaign and after taking power but socialism was not a part of his vocabulary or program for his first few years in office. Since late 2004, he has been increasingly calling for Socialism for the 21st Century in Venezuela, and speaking out against capitalism and imperialism.]

Venezuela: Socialism for the 21st Century

August 5th 2009, by Peter Bohmer - Znet

For much of the 19th and 20th century, socialism was the hope of millions of working people around the globe, including the United States in the early part of the 20th century. This was the period of the growth of the Socialist Party and the Industrial Workers of the World, the IWW. Socialism has meant a society committed to meeting the basic needs of all people including health, food, education, and housing , where there is no poverty and full employment, where enterprises and firms are socially and publicly owned not privately owned by capitalists to make profits. It has meant a society where workers control how firms are run and where the economy is democratically planned to serve human needs. As a great socialist revolutionary, Rosa Luxemburg said in the early 20th century, socialism requires democracy, and democracy requires socialism.

In the 1980's, we were told by government leaders such as Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, most economists, media pundits such as Thomas Friedman that there is no alternative (TINA) to unregulated market capitalism. This economic model and the related policies are called neoliberalism in Latin America.

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