frontline 15.

The Challenge Facing Chavez: Modesto Emilio Guerrero interviews Latin-American revolutionary Ricardo Napurí

Ricardo Napurí is one the most experienced revolutionary militants of the last century who is still alive. His biography could be written following the key events of the anti-imperialist resistance in the Latin American continent. In this sense he is an epic figure of the Latin-American revolution. In this conversation, which took place in Buenos Aires in June 2004, this old political leader reflects on the present challenges of the “Bolivarian revolution”. To do that, he chose the way he most likes: that of personal reflection and examples taken from his past. Thus, he reaches conclusions which the Bolivarian vanguard should be aware of and debate about.

Napurí was a lieutenant of the Peruvian Air Force. Between 1959 and 1964, he collaborated with Che Guevara in his continental revolutionary project. In 1979, he was elected to the Constituent Assembly of 1979 and was one of the writers of the Peruvian Constitution. In 1980 he was elected national senator.

He was a printer, trade-union leader and journalist in Argentina. Together with Luis de la Puente, he founded the Peruvian MIR, the party that started the guerrilla insurrection in 1965. He organised a mass party called Revolutionary Vanguard (Vanguardia Revolucionaria), with the help of which he re-established the Peruvian General Workers Trade-Union Central (CGTP) in 1969.

In 1971, he funded the Revolutionary Marxist Workers’ Party (POMR). He took part in the Popular Assembly in Bolivia, and after being deported to Chile he was on the front line in the events that took place under Salvador Allende in 1973. As an exile in France, he was a member of the leadership of the International Communist Organisation (OCI) until he returned clandestinely to Peru in 1975, to help organise the Workers’ Peasants’ and Students’ Front (FOCEP). This Front obtained 21% of the votes –12 representatives—to the Constituent Assembly.

During his long life—he is 78 years old—Napurí has spent 16 years in exile and 8 in prison. Together with Peruvian journalist and rebel military Hugo Blanco he was one of the victims of the “Operación Condor” in 1980—a joint operation of the military dictatorships of the Southern Cone of Latin America to eliminate political left opposition.

He is currently living in Buenos Aires and writing his biography. It was there that we interviewed him to ask him his opinion of the “Bolivarian revolution.”

Modesto E. Guerrero: Let us first analyse the “Chavist” phenomenon and what is referred to as the “Bolivarian revolution”. Chávez, who is a phenomenon in himself, appears as a nationalist leader in these times of globalisation, when these movements seem to be part of history. How can we place this in the present international situation?

Ricardo Napurí: Because of its complexity, I will try to give an answer to your question along this conversation. More than a theoretical definition, I will resort to historic events, to my own experience in those events and to comparison. However, I want to say beforehand, knowing that I am running the risk of being wrong, that what is happening in Venezuela is the beginning of a revolutionary process, with a strong nationalist content. To be quite clear: it is not yet a revolution.

M. Guerrero: How do you make the difference between process and revolution?

R. Napurí: During the revolutionary process begins the breaking away from some of the forms of the immediate past, but the relationship of the forces among the classes is not yet completely defined. A revolution takes place when there is a profound change in this relationship of forces, with the victory of one or more classes over the others.

When this takes place in a capitalist country, this revolution takes a socialist or pre-socialist character, because it attacks the basis of capitalism, it purpose is to end with capitalism. We have also known revolutions with a bourgeois character, as the French of 1789 or the American and the Latin American ones.

In the case of Venezuela, the revolutionary process that is developing has not yet defined its class character. The idea of the “Bolivarian revolution” expresses quite well this peculiarity of the transformation process. It is a process in development.

M. Guerrero: What is the reality that Chavez and the “Bolivarian revolution” are challenging? What is their peculiarity in the present moment?

R. Napurí: The Venezuelan process takes a fundamental relevance, above all, for Latin America. Let us not forget that it is taking place in this phase of globalisation, of imperialism, under the tendency for the USA to become the only imperial power, a sort of “supra imperialism”. (1) This is not just about the brutal conquest of Afghanistan or Iraq or the Middle East, or about the control of the sources of energy, especially oil.

The critical course of the process of capitalist accumulation forces the USA to guarantee its own existence by increasing its exploitation and control of the world. That is why the ideologues of the Pentagon and the Bush administration now say, without any shame, what this attempt at world domination consists of.

Latin America is a fundamental piece in this plan. If we do not stop it from being the USA’s “backyard”, it will be re-colonised. The insurrections, rebellions and several forms of resistance carried out by our peoples are obstacles put in its way. Their highest peaks right now are Cuba and Venezuela, without leaving aside Bolivia and Ecuador. That is why the still limited confrontation between Chavez and American imperialism has an international connotation.

M. Guerrero: The recuperation process of the European powers was limited, wasn’t it?

R. Napuri: That is why globalisation constitutes a different phase from the imperialism studied by Lenin. Among other important differences is the destruction of inter-imperialist parity. Now, American superiority is expressed even against England, France, Germany and Japan.

They are becoming a kind of sub-imperialism. And to top it all, if the Americans manage to control or to own the oil and gas of the Middle East, the economic control over the European powers will be even greater. There is no European Union that can prevent this crucial fact.

M. Guerrero: With this dynamic in mind, Napuri, we can say that the concept of the “backyard” has changed.

R. Napurí: Of course, but from bad to worse because re-colonising us is a higher and more perverse degree of exploitation and domination. It would mean the liquidation of whatever degree of independence our countries obtained in the 19th Century.

M. Guerrero: Do you think that the anti-globalisation movement is an obstacle to these plans?

R. Napurí: Yes, it is, especially if they adopt an anti-capitalist stance and manage to generalise. But in Latin America, the main thing is the people’s resistance, which is expressed in the different ways of struggle and rebellion throughout the continent. In Cuba, because it resists American aggression and struggles to defend its national independence, it concentrates the anti-capitalist memory of resistance in our countries.

That is why the Venezuelan social and political process, Chavez and Chavism, even with their mediations, contradictions and limitations, are confronting the plans of re-colonisation of American imperialism. He has his place in this historic moment, together with Cuba. Without his influence the collapse of Cuba and the defeat of the Venezuelan process, even in its present form, the “Bolivarian revolution”, would be a tragedy for Latin America.

Chavez has in his hands a tremendous historic responsibility in this international battle. The “realists” of the Latin American left, those who follow the example of Lula and the Brasilian PT, would be extremely happy. And of course, so would be the native bourgeoisie and its governments. They did not need the collapse of the Stalinist regime to line up behind the United States. We know their slogan: “There is no other alternative.”

M. Guerrero: Why is American government so determined to try to end Chavez rule, even to the point of assassination?What is so irritating about the Venezuelan leader?

R. Napurí: Well, in part, I have already answered your question: Chavez has no place in the plans of imperialism. Let us not forget that they have tried several options to get rid of him: buying him, co-opting him, overthrowing him by means of a coup. This is nothing new in the doctrine of the Pentagon or the CIA. Now they are saying it quite openly and cynically, but they have always used these methods, including physical elimination, to get rid of their political enemies. They have made attempts against Fidel’s life on several occasions, and this is the method they followed in other well-known cases: Goulart, Salvador Allende, Torrijos… what’s the point of going on? (2)

M. Guerrero: This is what Chavez called in his own words as the attempt to “tame the beast”.

R. Napurí: They must have thought, “As soon as this commander of parachutists smells power he will be on our side”. But the man did not comply either because of his personal qualities or because he realised that he had become a political public figure and he liked it. The Americans counted on the internal opposition for their operations from the very beginning. This is why what is happening with Chavez is such a challenge. Very few governments or leaders did not capitulate.

M. Guerrero: It is within this context that we have to place the coup of April 2002.

R. Napurí: But this coup became the second stage of the conspiracy. The Americans and the opposition realised that a street demonstrations was not enough. The density, radicalisation and continuity of those demonstrations could have decisively contributed to the change in the relationship of forces. But if, and only if, the adversary that received the blow had gone back all along the line. As this did not happen, they staged the coup of 11th April.

M. Guerrero: And after the coup failed?

R. Napurí: The physical attack to get rid of the “beast”. In this, the CIA, the FBI, and the specialised agents of the Pentagon have much more experience than the sleepy and aged “democrats” of the opposition.

M. Guerrero: However, in the plans for his assassination they are not including an evaluation of the risk of the consequences such an event could have in the present situation in Venezuela.

R. Napurí: This is a real political war. International capitalism and its national agents know how to organise their battles if we let them. To be absolutely clear, it is not just the figure of Chavez, but what is under and behind him that irks them. Let us be consistent with our characterisations. If in Venezuela there is a revolutionary process in development it is because some uncomfortable characters have entered the scene, even with the limitations of the process.

If the social subjects can act on their own, with some political independence, they will go further in their demands and actions and can even produce quite uncomfortable revolutions. Therefore, they want to sanction Chavez because he is not stopping this social process. In the centres of imperialism there are people wondering, “And if Venezuela becomes another Cuba?”

So, they want to stop this process which is disagreeable to them, which is too dangerous to their interests, you know, the sacred private property, the permanence of a class and its power. They are quite irresponsible, and they have strong reactionary and conservative beliefs. They have never cared about the consequences. They were never afraid to take resource to dictatorships to “tranquilise” insurrections with bullets.

M. Guerrero: OK, but bearing in mind the Latin American experience of a polarised, permanently tense society: wouldn’t it be better to allow this type of government?

R. Napurí: It depends on several things. In Venezuela, we have what we Marxists call a, “Bonapartist sui generis” government (3). This is like a person and an environment that concentrate such a degree of power that they become something like an arbiter among the classes. When they appear in backward countries, as in this case, this power also becomes an arbiter between the oppressed nation and imperialism.

This type of government can be progressive or reactionary. When they are progressive, they place themselves in the centre of the national question. That is, they assume nationalist positions of resistance to the excesses of imperialism. The whole of the experience of the last century points to the fact that when they take up “paternalist” postures, they irremediably tend to take control of the mobilised masses and their organisations.

Neither Bush nor his people, and even less the national bourgeoisie, can give themselves the luxury of putting up with such an experiment. This is even more the case in the present framework of an implacable process of globalisation and its oppressive effects on our countries. We should ask ourselves why they had no patience with Allende in Chile who was an exceptional democrat; or why they got rid of Juan Domingo Perón or Juan Velasco Alvarado.

That is to say, that in the agenda of imperialism and its national agents, there isn’t, for the moment, a desire to generalise coups and military dictatorships, but they do bet on dominated or “protected” democracies under the straight domination of imperialism. In this political course, Chavez, the Venezuelan Bonapartist, his regime and nationalist government, have to be eliminated. Chavez is right when he tells the world that the August referendum will be “between Bush and me.”

M. Guerrero: Can we consider an essential characteristic of this type of regime the fact that they are not based on bodies of popular power but on the power of one man, a leader?

R. Napurí: Yes, this is what the historic process shows. That is why a political Bonaparte does not appear just like that. He is the product of a specific moment of the political situation, the class struggle, when the previous stability collapses. In moments like that, society transitorily looks for an arbiter. At the beginning he is tolerated even by the opposition and its bourgeois enemies.

But I will insist: they accept him while he is useful, providing he fulfils the task of guaranteeing them their profits and their security, no matter what his excesses may be. The historic curiosity is that many of these characters escape imperialist control and last longer than imperialism thought possible. While they are at it, the institutions of the state leave their previous “democratic” condition to fall under the discipline of the new government, with the methods and in the forms that the Bonaparte in question imposes on them.

In Latin America, there have been several representatives of this Bonapartist model: Getulio Vargas in Brasil, who governed between 1930 and 1945, and then between 1950 and 1954, when he was driven to suicide. He is one of the first cases, together with Cardenas in Mexico. However, the case of General Peron is the best-known, perhaps because of the place that Argentina played as a country with a certain degree of capitalist development, or because his government took place in the period which followed the Second World War. Peron’s government becomes important because of the singular role played by the working class, dominated and oppressed by the previous oligarchic governments.

Between the 30s and the 40s, there was in Argentina the danger of the emergence of an independent working class. There was a long anarchist, classist, socialist and communist tradition among a relatively strong working class. General Peron played a historic role when he became the Bonapart in the middle of the crisis. He managed to channel the actions of the masses and to put their organisations under the control of the state.

M. Guerrero: As usual, the cases may be different but the lessons remain…

R. Napuri: And in many fields. I do not know in depth what sort of relationship has been established between the government and the masses in the “Bolivarian revolution”. That is why I am talking more out of my own experience. But in the social and historic memory of the followers of Peronism, for example, what counts is that they achieved great social and economic conquests, and also, even though in a distorted way, that Peronism made them “share power”, or at least that was what they thought.

However, the important thing is that the masses felt that with Peron they had the feeling that they were a “class in itself”, and that can be considered a step forward in class political consciousness.

M. Guerrero: In that sense it is similar to what Lula, Brazil’s president and undisputed leader of the working class, has been doing.

R. Napuri: That is why what Lula and the PT are doing is outstanding in the history of capitulations. From claiming to be anti-imperialist and for socialism, now he is in the government he makes agreements with the IMF, with Bush, etc. Now Lula is at the head of the UN military mission to help the Pentagon control Haiti. This type of leader never gets tired of saying that “they will change their policy some day”, but their present role is to “humanise” the exploitation of native capitalism, i.e., to save it.

M.Guerrero: These are all lessons for Cuba and Venezuela.

R. Napuri: My intention in this conversation is to warn readers with the lessons that important facts and experiences have taught me. We have to appraise those facts and learn from them. We could add the examples of Nicaragua, between 1979 and 1989 and El Salvador at the same time.

Many of these experiences turned out to be tragedies for our people. We are forced to learn from those experiences so as not to repeat those mistakes in Venezuela and Cuba, and, if possible, to overcome them and apply the lessons we have learned in those political processes.

Recently, Commander Borges, former Minister of the Interior of the Sandinist government and one of its historic chiefs, reflected in Caracas, saying that “More than with the power and the things that the counter revolution got right, our defeat had as fundamental ally the mistakes, some really gross, made within the ranks of Sandinism.” (6)

Well, this self-criticism is very interesting and plausible. Too bad it comes too late, when everything has been lost, particularly when many of us warned at the time of the dangers Borges points out today.

This revision of the lessons of the revolutions and revolutionary processes of the last century has to be useful to prevent the tragedy of having to make the same mistakes again. The Venezuelan vanguard can and must learn from the past to guide their present political process to a victory.

What I am saying may seem a provocation to some comrades. But I ask you: in the present correlation of forces in the country who is at the offensive?

To answer, first we have to place the combatants, and then find the dynamics of the process. At the head of the reactionary front we find American imperialism and its government (which may soon be lead by Kerry), the international organisations, the international banks, almost the totality of the Venezuelan bosses and the political parties of the opposition, the media, the Catholic Church, the bureaucrats of the CTV (Venezuela Trade Union Central) and surely a hidden fraction within the Armed Forces.

In the front, headed by Chavez and the Bolivarian movement, we find the enormous popular support given by the groups that sustain the “Bolivarian revolution”, Chavez and his government. However, we must not be mistaken. On this front, the main force of its strength, its organisation, its militant discipline and decisiveness to reach the very end, are the workers, the oppressed young men and women in the poor neighbourhoods and their independent self-determined organisations within the mass movement.

That is to say: we are talking about a resilient collective, which is very strong socially, and politically armed with class-consciousness in spite of the poli-classist elements that constitute it. It has a strong nationalist accent, it is consciously anti-imperialist and potentially anti-capitalist because what the “Bolivarian revolution” is confronting is the domination of the bosses, the oligarchies and their boss: imperialism.

This is how I see things. I know that because I am being a bit schematic some of the elements, variables and alternatives may escape me. I only want to reach some conclusions.

And here is my challenge-provocation. I affirm that the initiative, in the present Venezuelan situation, is in the hands of Yankee imperialism and its allies and agents.

Firstly, this is because they have a defined strategy of re-colonisation. This implies getting rid of Chavism and Chavez in particular, because they are the obstacles to what it needs to do and re-do in the country and in the continent. Secondly, because they won the right to call to a Referendum when up to a month ago it was exactly the contrary situation. Also, because the internal enemies continue sabotaging within and without PDVSA (the state Venezuelan oil company) it demonstrates an internal weakness that could be exploited. The international banks are taking measures and possibly taking their money to other countries thus allowing for the possibility of a weakened economy. The enemy knows that it has allies within the process and the government among parties and leaders who want to stop the process and to stop confronting imperialism. The imperialist forces are already lobbying governments and countries which are friendly with Chavez to isolate him politically. And lastly, there is Cuba, against which they are holding an implacable siege with the purpose of delivering a big blow against the best ally of Chavez’s government.

On the other hand, the front of the Venezuelan resistance has a weakness, which we could consider “tactical”: it does not draw all the advantages it could from the enormous strength of the socio-political forces and the masses that support it. The masses are not fighting in their own field with clear objectives. They only respond to the attacks of the enemy.

The secret of this contradiction is that the adversaries have not been decisively hit by means of measures that may take away from them the real power they still have within the country. These measures cannot be but expropriation and nationalisation. There are no other measures. And I do not mean the whole of the enterprises: just the big fat cats, those that have the closest links with imperialism. This should begin with the media and the financial sector, both of which play such a key role within the economic system. And, of course, radical agrarian reform is needed.

It is urgent to find alternative markets for Venezuelan oil, which is excessively tied to and under the control of the Yankee market. This would bring about the breaking away from American dependence, just as Cuba did at the beginning of the 60s. This is the only way to prevent the permanent menaces that Otto Reich, Noriega or Bush can deliver whenever they feel like it. It is not the same to be threatened by an internal enemy as by an enemy that has no internal power to deliver systematic blows.

In the social field, there has to be a real leap in the distribution of income that overcomes the existing enormous social inequalities, so that the revolutionary front wins the firm support of the workers. This implies much more than assistentialist plans or the redistribution of incomes.

In the present situation after the call to the Referendum (June 2004), a new and real problem is emerging. It is the distortion brought about by the appeal to the democracy of the vote of capitalist societies. Personally, I am for the full exercise and development of democracy, understood as the unrestricted expansion of the fundamental rights and guarantees for the majority of the population. But here we may witness the reappearance of the syndrome that emerged in Nicaragua with the electoral defeat of Sandinism and in El Salvador with that of Farabundo Marti. This is not an unreal option. We know that the tendency proves that Chavez will not be overthrown by the vote in August. But if it happened, he would have to respect this perverse democratic game to which he is tied. This is when the enemy forces might recover and re-orientate everything according to the “Nicaraguan way”, i.e., the “democratic way.”

M. Guerrero: Could you enlarge on this question of the “Nicaraguan danger”?

R. Napuri: Chavez and chavism are entering a field where the enemy could win the electoral processes which are to come, and because they are sincere democrats, they will respect the results, just the opposite of what their enemies would do. If this were so, these false democrats would return to power. They would legitimatise via the vote a power they do not hold in the streets and within society. This would be the same as having Bush and his Pentagon group managing the situation.

In such a situation, the workers and the oppressed would not have had the opportunity of waging a battle in their own territory, i.e., that of direct action and through their revolutionary methods and organisations.

M. Guerrero: The process would enter a cul de sac.

R. Napuri: Yes, and there is no a priori answer to this type of reality, which is specific and exceptional. What is clear is that we are moving towards a confrontation between, on the one hand, the need for the process to get deeper, and on the other, the will of those who say, “enough, this is as far as we want to go.” Among them there are honest and sincere people, but there are others, the “free riders” who want to stop everything and who justify this with an extremely dangerous ideological tenet: “This is not the time for revolutionary changes or revolutions.”

And if anybody reminds them that Cuba proves the contrary, they shout, “Yes, but that is the past.” It is always the same. It is either the past or the future, anything not to take up the responsibility of carrying the processes they have begun to their conclusion.

These characters are the expression of the conservative tendencies of the inevitable revolutionary processes any society lives.

M. Guerrero: Ricardo: are you posing following the path of the Cuban revolution?

R. Napuri: Yes, and no. As the Peruvian Marxist Juan Carlos Mariategu used to say, revolutions cannot be either a “reproduction or a copy”. They cannot be imitated. However, I want to rescue from the past the fact that Cuban revolutionaries “went farther than their initial programme and what they wanted to do in the way of breaking away from imperialism.”

And because they did, they expropriated the Cuban bourgeoisie and got started on the creative road of the socialist transformation of their society. This is the wonderful example they gave the world and history in the first years of the revolution.

M. Guerrero: And in Venezuela?

R. Napuri: I don’t mean to say that they should do the same thing in Venezuela. We have to bear in mind the world situation and the globalisation of imperialism. However, I insist that it is necessary to rescue the Cuban “methodology”, but with a stress on the subjective. In a situation which was quite similar to the present one in Venezuela, the Cuban leaders, who, by the way, had neither a Socialist nor a Marxist past, who came from the Cuban petty bourgeoisie or its middle class, and who, on top of it, headed a poly-classist front, found themselves confronted with this dilemma.

Having to choose between Yankee imperialism, which attacked them, and the radicalised masses, who were for the revolution, they opted the side of the masses and the defence of their interests against that of the foreign boss.

Don’t you think that both realities are very much alike? What I want to point out is the revolutionary will of those leaders who had no Socialist past or beliefs. They were not afraid to confront the imperialist beast and to defeat it in action. Because they chose to act that way they saved a revolution that was only just starting. And they made history. If they hadn’t they would now be only a memory.

M. Guerrero: Do you mean to say that Chavez and the leaders who are with him inside and outside the government are now being faced with the same historic responsibility?

R. Napuri: Definitely yes. The last events in Venezuela constitute an enormous political capital that must not be lost… The workers and the people of Venezuela have taken to the streets once and again to fight for their rights. For the first time in their history, they defeated a coup, they took over army barracks and palaces, they paralysed the right-wing middle class and the bourgeoisie, and indirectly defeated imperialism in the streets.

Eight months afterwards, in December 2002, they managed to overcome the sabotage of the oil industry, which sent them back to using wood for cooking. They have organised themselves democratically, they are actively participating in politics, they massively voted for their new constitution, they take to the street periodically, that is to say, they have shown an impressive revolutionary energy.

While they did all this, their political consciousness has quickly developed, so much so that they have built independent organisations that are ruled from the bottom up.

They are so well trained that they were, together with the Chavist military men, the decisive factor for Chavez’s liberation and restitution to power in 2002. It isn’t every day that we see something like that. I don’t know whether they are conscious of their strength, and above all, whether they have drawn all the conclusions about their enormous political capacity.

The whole world recognises that the Venezuelan masses and their vanguard are ready to enter the struggle to defend their achievements and “their revolution”… Nobody can accuse me of exaggerating. Taking advantage of this situation will depend of their leaders. To be absolutely clear, those leaders being Chavez and Chavism.

M. Guerrero: As it is always the case with revolutions, decisions are not easy to take.

R. Napuri: It has never been easy to make decisions. If we review history, revolutions only take place when there is a confluence of exceptional conditions. This is what can be called the “qualitative leap”. And when we talk about the leadership of a process as the decisive factor, we have to point to the real dangers that may stand in the way of the revolution.

For example, what if Chavez disappears for any reason, an assassination attempt, for example? What if the Referendum and the presidential elections change the direction of the revolution? What if Chavez has any doubts about his historic role and lets go as Allende in 1973 and Peron in September 1955?

If Hugo Chavez followed the Cuban “methodology” there would be no problems. But if he didn’t: what would be the alternative? What organisations and men could form part of it? At one point, in Bolivia, the COB (Confederation of Bolivian Workers) constituted dual power and had the possibility of being an alternative government to that of the MNR. We must never forget the example of Latin America and other continents.

If there is something that the social, political and trade union leaders must always remember it is that the historic process neither waits for us nor does it forgive. Revolutions announce their presence, those who let them go by do so at their own peril.

NOTES

  1. Supraimperialism was a definition used by the German Marxist theoretician Karl Kautsky, leader of the Social Democrat II International to refer to a tendency to the over concentration of imperialism which annulled competition. Lenin was opposed to this idea in 1915, in his book Imperialism, Napuri uses the work, not the concept to show the degree of difference between the United States and the remaining imperialist powers after the collapse of the USSR.
  2. “It is now clear and it has been fully documented that the CIA used their power to the full to reach their objectives of ideological domination. They bought intellectuals of renown. They bribed trade union leaders to put a stop to the activities of the most radicalised sectors of the working class movement. They funded dozens of magazines of art and culture, which gave a supposedly “neutral” or “libertarian” perspective, in which they attacked the most committed intellectuals of their time. And when the network of corruption they wove was not enough, they set up the conditions for the coup d’etat or the assassination of the enemy.” “The CIA, its history and role in today’s world”, by Manuel Medina Anaya and Cristobal Garcia Vera, published in Argenpress info, 21/12/2003. From the book Algunas clavez para entender el siglo XXI, Canarias 2003.
  3. “Sui generis Bonapartism” was the term coined by L.Trotsky in the late 30s, in his discussions with Latin American revolutionaries. It means a certain type of regime that appeared in Latin America and Asia (and later on in Africa) at the time of the de-colonisation process in the 20th Century. It defines a regime organised around a president or chief of State who acts as a mediator amongst the classes and also between the Nation and imperialism. Trotsky spoke of two types of Bonapartisms: “reactionary”, when it represses the masses, and “progressive” when it uses their strength to resist imperialism or the national oligarchies. The term refers to the regime set up by Louis Bonaparte in December 1848 in France, which dissolved the democratic institutions of the bourgeoisie, defeated the proletariat in the streets, made their parties and leaders illegal and concentrated all the power of the State in the presidential figure, until Louis Bonaparte was crowned Napoleon III, the new Emperor of France.
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