06 July 2007
Controling capitalism the Venezuelan way.
I doubt if most people in Britain have even heard of Gustavo Cisneros. He is Venezuela's answer to Rupert Murdoch and until a year ago his Venevisión network was as hostile to Hugo Chavez Frias as Murdoch was to the Labour Party in Britain.
However, there the similarity ends. In Britain as soon as a weary Labour Party elected him as its leader, Tony Blair scuttled off to perform the ritual known as the osculum infame on Murdoch's bum hole.
Chavez Frias, by way of contrast, knows how to deal with creatures like this. Government agents were turned loose to crawl all over Cisnero's holdings, making him realise that his multi billion pound fortune was under threat.
So he caved in and today is a good little boy who sees things the Bolivarian way. As such his network did not lose it license to broadcast, as happened to the rival RCTV company.
This is a lesson that Labour should have learned. Chavez Frias faced the combined might of all the Venezuelan media and he came out on top because he offered policies that the bulk of the working class would support. He did not bother his head with social issues: he concentrated on the bread and butter issues that are the only things that working class people are interested in.
Having taken power he basically offered capitalism a deal: support me or die. Offers like that are a once in a lifetime, never to be repeated, take it or leave it deal. Cisneros took the offer and survived.
As socialists we need to learn from this and stop being afraid of the capitalist media. It, along with all of capitalism, can only survive because we allow it. It may be in the interests of a future socialist government in Britain to allow the Murdoch machine to keep on turning. If that is the case, then Murdoch needs to have a lesson in the reality of power such as Chavez gave Cisneros.