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Friday, February 02, 2007

KDLP goes Venezuela to learn about revolution

Taking a look at the Korean Democratic Labor Party's (DLP) homepage, there's a photo of the Venezuelan president Chavez. Not surprised about that, as there haven't been leaders whom the far left can regard as revolutionaries for some time. It turns out

Venezuelan revolution study group: Chavez against USA, 2006
that in order to initiate exchange with the Venezuelan ruling party, DLP has sent a negotiation and a study group to the country, invited and paid (except for plane tickets) by the Venezuelan government. A writer of the DLP periodical Chinbo Chôngch'i (Progressive Politics) is accompanying the visiting group, and he will write a series for the magazine with the title "Going to the land of revolution, Venezuela." Not that I have much expectations for DLP anyway any more, but this is just one step down the slope. (For views on Chavez by a progressive US journalist and blogger Marc Cooper, see here, here, here, and here.) If the DLP team learns something about ruling a country by decree, they might also write an article in Chinbo Chôngch'i about the difference between the powers that have been granted to Chavez in Venezuela and the Yusin "revitalization" rule of Park Chung-hee in the 1970s South Korea.

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Comments to note "KDLP goes Venezuela to learn about revolution" (Comments to posts older than 14 days are moderated)

<Blogger Robert> said on 2.2.07 : 

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

<Anonymous Owen> said on 5.2.07 : 

Antti, comparing Chavez to Park Chung-hee is beneath you. You're in danger of sounding like one of those liberal cold warriors.

As you probably know, I would consider myself to the left of Chavez and see reasons to be wary and sceptical of some aspects of his rule. But let's remember first of all that he has been elected and otherwise democratically endorsed numerous times and is still extremely popular.

Basically Chavez is an old style *reformist* who has become increasingly fond of revolutionary rhetoric. If you have Social Democratic leanings shouldn't you be happy that someone is putting social democratic reforms into practice (since no-one does in Europe any more)?

<Anonymous Anonymous> said on 6.2.07 : 

Where should the DLP visit to learn about progressive politics then? Finland?

The priveliged Venezuelan middle class have actually been even better off since Chavez came to power despite their constant vitriole. So I don't think you need to worry that the DLP are going to threaten conservative interests in Korea simply because they are visiting Venzuela. Even the Chilean government expresses its support for Chavez.

<Anonymous noja> said on 6.2.07 : 

Dear Antti, I am really surprised abour your appraisal of Chavez. Here in Norway, even in solidly bourgeois Aftenposten, you can read that, despite all his rhetoric, Chavez is much more of Johan Nygaardsvold - Norway's first Social-Democratic Prime Minister than Lenin or Trotsky. For what he does - in contrast to what he says - looks for Norwegians very much as a page from their own recent history, and that is a page most of them are quite proud of. As to the "rule by decree" - that is, very mild and fully constitutional attempt to break down the privileged minority's resistance - that looks as an inevitable thing for a Social Democrat in a peripheral country, subject to US bullying for much of the last century. The late Allende did not do enough of this - and the things ended in quite real "rule by decree", but by Pinochet, not by Allende... Frankly, for all rhetoric by Chavez, I am afraid that he does too little and that many of his moves are in reality too timid.

<Blogger Gomdori@KU> said on 7.2.07 : 

Oh my god...so typical these comments...Wanna hear something?

Park Chung hee was also legally elected in FREE democratic election...he was even re-elected some times....and the korean middle class (which was practically extinct before his rule) was also much better off...

so what? Was he a good leader? Is Chavez a good leader?

Pointing at Park while praising Chavez is really funny...

<Anonymous owen> said on 7.2.07 : 

Putting things in capital letters does not make them true.

<Blogger Gomdori@KU> said on 7.2.07 : 

Well...they were at least as free as those in venezuela...nothing more intended ;)

<Blogger lirelou> said on 13.2.07 : 

Actually, I thought Anti's point made about ruling by decree was spot on. Latin America's has had no shortage of men on horseback who ruled by decree. And when they were swept away, the institutions they left behind lasted about as long as the previous election posters. Given the economic and democratic progess in Asia, while Latin America (sans Chile) remains locked in its second 100 years of solitude, shouldn't the Venezuelans be coming here?

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