Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Counter-Revolution in Venezuela

In News from Nowhere old Hammond asks William Guest: ‘how can you prevent the counter-revolution from setting in except by making people happy?’  But fortunately for his utopians, Morris does not depict his socialist England as being neighboured by a capitalist superpower which is ruthlessly determined to do everything in its power to destroy their revolution.  If there were such a superpower in News from Nowhere, it would have used every means of economic sanction and sabotage it had at its disposal to subvert the Nowherian economy.  It would also have reached out to the ‘old grumbler’ at Runnymede as its useful idiot or figurehead within Nowhere itself, and he in turn might have persuaded a few ‘obstinate Refusers’ in the Nowherian military to launch a coup in the Thames valley.

All this the United States has been and is doing in Venezuela, of course, in its bid to destroy the Bolivarian revolution through its puppet Juan Guaido; and that process has now reached a critical flashpoint.  Aldous Huxley’s utopian island Pala has an authoritarian military power on its doorstep, Colonel Dipa’s Rendang-Lobo, but Pala’s quietistic Buddhist philosophy means it takes no steps to guard itself and it is ultimately crushed by its neighbour.  Ernst Callenbach’s west-coast Ecotopia is much more aware of the danger from the United States it has broken away from; and its secret police and decentralised militia seem up to the task of defending the ecological revolution against that powerful hostile neighbour. 

How Juan Guaido’s attempted counter-revolution will play out in Venezuela itself, we cannot yet know.  Nicolas Madura is a much less charismatic leader than Hugo Chavez himself, and there are deep internal problems with the Bolivarian revolution which exacerbate the external sabotage it has been subject to; but for now the bulk of the military seems loyal to the government.  Keeping the people happy to avert counter-revolution, yes indeed – old Hammond is surely right.  But what happens when the regional superpower, with its eye on your immense oil reserves, makes even that virtually impossible?

No comments: