Saturday, July 05, 2008

Fred Kite holidaying in Venezuela

At the time of writing, I believe the quotes below - and the article they're cut and pasted from - to be genuine, but apologies in advance if it transpires that I have fallen victim to a clever marketing campaign for Tariq Ali's sequel to his satirical novel, 'Redemption':

"Minutes later, president Chávez descended from the plane, greeting comrade Alan in the first place and exchanging a few words with him about the nationalisation of Sidor and other companies. He also mentioned the book Reformism or Revolution, making a complimentary comment. Turning to Nicolás Maduro, he said: "He has smashed Dieterich! Alan has a very sharp sense of humour".

"During his speech he
[Chavez] mentioned comrade Alan on five occasions, every time he referred to Marxism and nationalisations: "Here we have Alan Woods, from the International Marxist Tendency. Marxism has been brought back to life!". He mentioned that he had seen Alan's interview with Vanessa Davies the previous evening: "Alan made some criticisms, which I took note of. From a Marxist point of view and I have great respect for Marxist opinions" . . .

At the beginning comrade Alan Woods was in another car a few hundred metres behind. But at a certain point a member of the presidential guard who was in the same car as Alan asked him: "Alan Woods? Is that you? A motorbike is coming to pick you up to take you to the car driven by president Chávez." So, a few minutes later a big bike picked up Alan and drove speedily, dodging the people and the other cars, until it reached the presidential car. Alan was lifted on to the car and he continued the caravan with the president. From the car it was clear how the revolutionary rank and file are still enormously enthusiastic towards comandante Chávez; men, women and children, all wanted to greet him warmly, showing their support for the revolution. During the journey, president Chávez talked to Alan Woods about several questions. In the middle of the fervour of the people, the president turned to Alan and said: "See, Alan, in spite of all the faults of the Bolivarian revolution, this revolution is still alive", something that could be clearly seen in the multitude which surrounded the car shouting "Viva Chávez!" . . .

Then, with a gesture of frustration, Chávez said: "You see all this, and still we have not been able to win the governor here." And pointing at the candidate William Fariñas, he asked: "Alan, if this man is elected, what should he do?" To which Alan replied straight away: "He must listen to the people, understand their message and carry it out". "Precisely", said Chávez, "but that is the problem that we are facing. Some governors, after being elected lose contact with the rank and file. They surround themselves with rich people, beautiful women, etc. and lose contact with the people. This is an ideological problem. As long as we do not have governors who are ideologically prepared we will always have the same problem. We must win the battle of ideas. You are a good writer, why don't you write some pamphlets explaining the ideas of socialism in a simple way? Here we could distribute them massively." . . .

. . . At this point, for the first time, the voice of the President sounded a bit tired: "I cannot do everything," he said. "It is absolutely necessary for the people to participate in this process and to take control in their own hands"."

It's years since I read 'Redemption', so I honestly can't remember if Alan Woods has a walk on part in that novel but those quotes above are pure comedy gold. I can't wait to read the sequel.

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