Monday, 8 April 2013

Viva Chavez

The death last month of Hugo Chavez, much beloved president of Venezuela, has been playing on my mind awhile. I know he was - in America at least - a very controversial figure, but the little I know about him I've always found most inspiring. Whether you want to think he was a triumphant demonstration of true democracy winning out over capitalism, or just a communist dictator, the one thing I'm sure we can all agree is that he was a man in possession of a pair of brass balls so big he must have had to carry them around in a wheelbarrow.

He was, as they say, A Real Man: a man who fought - literally fought, with a gun in his hand - for what he believed in, laying his life & freedom on the line to work towards what he believed was a better world for all. You would have to go back to at least Castro (or perhaps a young Mandela), if not Napoleon, to see the leader of any prominent country so hands on an action hero.

And I started thinking about my own society, & what it would actually take for a revolution to happen here, or in America, whether we even have men like that anymore, or whether they've all been bred out of existence, or locked away in jail. And I can't help but wonder if the wholehearted embracing of feminism by both communist & capitalist states is not at least in part to weaken any possible resistance against their control.

Because face it, women (for the most part) can't fight. Or at least women can't fight against men: an army of women vs a same-sized army of men would not be much of a fight, I think we can all agree on that without having to see the sorry spectacle played out in horrifying colour. An army of women ganging up on ONE man... well, that's much better odds, & you can see that any day of the week, in any country in the world, sometimes without any bloodshed at all.

But the point is, all great political change has overwhelmingly depended upon men, upon men being prepared to band together & accept the risk of their lives in working against the few who otherwise decide their fates. If you weaken the men - & if you demonize them especially, if you make women (& a large number of the men) believe that men themselves are 'The Enemy' - you weaken all chance of resistance & revolution. No country divided in half like that can ever rise up as one against oppression. The same goes for race, religion, political affiliation, sexuality, disability... The ever-increasing focus the past hundred years on 'identity politics' has succeeded principally in keeping us apart, down, & subdued.

Can you imagine the French, American or Russian revolutions happening if the women had refused to support & work alongside their husbands, fathers, brothers & sons? If they had in fact blamed all the problems that led to those revolutions ON their neighbours, their husbands, fathers, brothers & sons?

In the old days this was more honestly referred to as "Divide And Conquer". Now we get to call it "empowerment". But in plain terms it simply means everyone looking out only for themselves.

Everyone knows the world is not the way it should be. We disagree only on where we think the problem most pressingly lies. Meanwhile, the rich get richer & the poor stay poor, the earth is poisoned & ruined. So long as the decision making remains at a higher level, no fundamental change can come. This is why feminism's 'revolutionary' status is so ill-deserved: everything that movement ever asked for has been handed over gladly, because at root it changes nothing, & only strengthens the control of the state.

State-supported programs will never bring about change to the state itself. Revolution is not something that will be allowed. The revolution will not be subsidized. The revolution will not be authorized. And no, in all likelihood, it won't be televised.

"The gangs & the government, they make me 1%" 
 - Jane's Addiction


  1. Im from Venezuela. Chavez was a man and fought, I´ll give you that. As a politician he's still among the worse that ever happen to Venezuela, just behind or parallel to the people he was fighting. Nothing to admire there.

  2. It wasnt true democracy (does that exist?, what makes it true?). It's just a formula of keeping everyone poor and buying votes through gifts and programs, while letting corruption go wild

    1. Well, I guess a true-er democracy would be one where the concerns of the people are in some way represented, rather than just those of industry & multinational corporations. All governments are to some degree corrupt & abusive of the people they oversee, but some more blatantly than others.

      As I said, I know very little about Chavez, but I admired his stand against the bullying of the U.S & big business, & my general impression was he was dreaming a little bigger than the politicians I see in my own land, & motivated by at least a little more than just the lining of the pockets of himself & his friends.

      Having said that, I admit I know practically nothing about Venezuela, & my opinions on this are likely worth little more than a vote on Pop Idol.