What Trotsky on Mexico can tell us about Venezuela and Chavez; plus, Where do profits come from? by Daniel De Leon
Workers' Liberty 3/10: Mexico/ Venezuela
By Paul Hampton
In Venezuela, Hugo Chávez has nationalised companies in telecom and electricity privatised by previous administrations. Chávez says he wants to form a new Bolivarian socialist party. And he has announced the extension of communal councils and even “workers’ councils” as a means of recasting the state.
>[Written April 1940. First published in Fourth International, October 1941 This version is abridged with our emphasis. Full version at www.marxists.org]
There is one common feature in the development, or more correctly the degeneration, of modern trade union organisations in the entire world: it is their drawing closely to and growing together with the state power. This process is equally characteristic of the neutral, the Social-Democratic, the Communist and “anarchist” trade unions. This fact alone shows that the tendency towards “growing together” is intrinsic not in this or that doctrine as such but derives from social conditions common for all unions.
By Leon Trotsky
[Written in early 1939. First published in Fourth International, August 1946.]
Trotsky had been expelled from the USSR by Stalin in 1929, and spent the rest of his life trying to find a country which would let him stay. He arrived in Mexico on 9 January 1937. A longstanding Mexican Trotskyist, Manuel Rodríguez, suggested the asylum to his boss, General Francisco Mujica, a member of the Cárdenas cabinet (and his predecessor as governor of Michoacán). For Trotsky it became a life-or-death matter in November 1936, when it looked as though the Norwegian government might hand him over to the USSR.
The basic Marxist analysis of capital is the fundamental groundwork on which modern socialism stands. Marxism explains how capital works; how the workers — free workers, not chattel-slaves, but the legal equals of the richest in capitalist society — are exploited in the process of production. In short, why it is not hype or demagogy, but plain truth, to say that the modern working class is a class of wage-slaves.
By Daniel De Leon
What you now stand in need of, aye, more than of bread, is the knowledge of a few elemental principles of political economy and of sociology. Be not frightened at the words. It is only the capitalist professors who try to make them so difficult of understanding that the very mentioning of them is expected to throw the workingman into a palpitation of the heart. The subjects are easy of understanding.