[Updated and more or less final Venezuelan election results are in Comment 49.]
Not saying Metamars wrote a great diary — What Would it Take for Stein/Honkala to Break Out of the 2% Ghetto? Hint: Go Nuclear — today (the whole deformed rat thing just wouldn’t work), but here he’s basically right and what he says is important:
Progressives and populists seem almost constitutionally unable to exploit the increasingly alarming and even absurd excesses of the corporate state to mount an effective counterattack. The Greens are just another clueless piece of flotsam and jetsam, thrashing about in a sea of befuddlement. They have lots of company from which to either take the wrong cues from, or else no cues, at all.
And then you have leftist Hugo Chavez reelected with 55% of the vote in Venezuela. Unlike ours, it was an election that mattered, and the left won resoundingly despite nearly all the media opposing Chavez. (One Western big lie is that Chavez dominates Venezuela media, when in fact state-controlled media has an only 5.4% market share.)
Jill Stein is not an American Hugo Chavez, and neither is Rocky Anderson. Neither was Ralph Nader.
And Hugo Chavez is not a knight in shining armor. He exists in a real and still precarious Venezuela where you can’t be pure and perfect and survive. George Ciccariello-Maher comments in Counterpunch that “the social welfare of the Venezuela people has been dramatically improved through the Mission system and the groundwork has been laid for a qualitative leap to a political system that breaks firmly with the past. But the present remains heavy with the residue of that past: in the corruption, the opportunism, and the multitude of halfhearted revolutionaries that surround Chávez and threaten to derail or reverse the process.”
From day one Chavez’s rule has been for and empowered by the working poor and the working class. Can Jill Stein or Rocky Anderson say that? Of course not. Can the Green Party say that? Of course not. Could Ralph Nader say that? Of course not. More specifically, when the class conflict is out in the open and both sides recognize an election as an instance of it, that election is won by the bottom 80% (that’s of course why class is taboo in the U.S. mainstream media). Pepe Escobar makes this point in RT, stating that Chavez’s overwhelming electoral strength is built on a class war that both sides are well aware of:
It is basically urban middle class, which would love to spend more – go to the malls all the time and sip Martinis in Miami like they always do, in fact in Venezuela, against the poor. Forty-three per cent of Chavez government’s budget goes to social policies. So he has been building in past years a more [egalitarian] society. If you compare this to other countries in the developing world, it is a great achievement.
… And this opposition between the poor and the middle class that aspire to live like the middle class in Europe or the US, you find the same in Venezuela, Argentina or Brazil. There is class struggle [that] is very hardcore all over these important countries in South America.
My comment over at Metamars, fwiw (emphasis added):
Definitely agree on the following: “Progressives and populists seem almost constitutionally unable to exploit the increasingly alarming and even absurd excesses of the corporate state to mount an effective counterattack. The Greens are just another clueless piece of flotsam and jetsam, thrashing about in a sea of befuddlement. They have lots of company from which to either take the wrong cues from, or else no cues, at all.”
But have some sympathy. The terminal loser-ism of the left and pretend populists is a product of the massive forces consciously fighting for the top class against a basically clueless bottom 80%. Some Green PR gal/guy’s great attention-getting strategy is not going to change this society. At best it increases Stein’s vote into the middle single digits instead of the low single digits. Stein herself is an imperfect candidate, very poorly suited for attracting working class or working poor votes or anything really other than hipster cool college student and professor votes. But even if you found the perfect candidate, some ethical combination of Huey Long and Ralph Nader, that candidate [would] have a helluva hard time getting 10% of the vote in this system.