Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Venezuela's Social-Based Democratic Model: Innovations and Limitations

By Steve Ellner
Journal of Latin American Studies
September 26th 2011

The brand of socialism that has emerged in Venezuela under the presidency of Hugo Chávez differs in fundamental ways from orthodox Marxism and past socialist experiences in large part because of its emphasis on social as opposed to economic objectives. In addition, in contrast to leftist doctrines associated with really existing socialism, the Venezuelan government’s social policies appeal to the non-wealthy in general but prioritize the needs of the non-proletariat, underprivileged sectors of the population, specifically workers in the informal economy, those employed in small non-unionized firms in the formal economy and the rural work force.

The Chávez government has placed a premium on the incorporation of these excluded and semi-excluded groups into the political, economic and cultural life of the nation and their participation in decision making, particularly in the local arena. The following article uses the term “social-based democracy” to refer to the Chavista strategy of promoting incorporation on a massive scale in a way that is designed to enhance the legitimacy of a government whose democratic credentials have been consistently questioned by its adversaries.

Read more HERE.

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