By Lee Artz
Objectively speaking, movements, classes, and media must challenge power to be revolutionary. One cannot govern from below. There can be no grass roots social transformation without replacing existing power. History has shown from Ghandi and Mandela to Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua and Lula in Brazil, neither the working class nor its charismatic representatives can secure any lasting accommodation with their patriotic capitalists. Negotiating better terms for the exploited while leaving the social relations of capital intact is not revolutionary, nor even defensible as pragmatic today. If freedom, democracy, and social justice are expected, there is no “third way” as Hugo Chavez and Venezuela realized after the media coup of April 2002.
In the 21st Century, it’s either global capitalism, with more human suffering and environmental collapse or it’s socialism with the working class and its allies building a democratic society of international solidarity. Venezuela provides a positive prime instance of this claim. In Venezuela, revolutionaries are changing society by taking power. This essay highlights the features and contradictions in this historic process, turning to media practices in particular to illustrate the dialectic of state and revolution. This contribution recognizes the need for revisiting and contextualizing the Marxist theory of the state, the role of the working class, and the relationship between culture and socioeconomic relations under capitalist globalization of the 21st century.
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