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I read the article you published on Venezuela, I am curious to know who the group La Chispa are. Their analysis seems to clash with the actual development of events; the position of the Chavez government is politically stronger, and the radicalisation and organisation of the workers and peasants has been extended. As I understand it there are now more than 2 million people organised into the Bolivarian Circles, committees established by the government to organise the poor to defend the government amongst other things, and plenty of eyewitness reports detail the extent of the radicalisation, as well as organisation (such as the interview with US solidarity activist Diane Valetine published at z-mag and reports from Al Giordano, publisher of NarcoNews Bulletin).

It strikes me that this is the direct result of the proccess unleashed by the Chavez government. The economy is suffering (much worse now after the sabotage), and there is great difficulty implementing the reforms introduced by Chavez, but the proccess of the Chavez government has provoked a revolutionary crisis that can only be resolved by either the workers and peasants destroying the political, and ultimately the economic, power of capital, or capital crushing the workers and peasants, and the repsonse of the Chavez leadership has been to organise and mobilise their support base (the workers and peasants) for the showdown. Not only through the establishment of Bolivarian Circles, but also an explosion of community media, establishment of co-operatives etc. It strikes me that whatever failings of the Chavez leadership, it has consciously gone about attempting to create a mass radicalisation and provoke this crisis, and attempted, as events have demanded it, to politi cally organise this radicalisation.

Certainly big business is very worried about the direction of events in Venezuela, a Financial Times article in the last day or so spoke of how frightened they are, fearing mass expropriation, another Cuba'. This is after Chavez followed through on threats to sieze hoarded food and idle food production units. The basic dynamic, up to now, of the process under Chavez has been to lead to greater radicalisation and organisation of the workers and peas- ants - such that the basic question of who runs society is now starkly posed. Of course, whether the Chavez leadership has what it takes to lead the workers and peasants the whole way remains to be seen.

Stuart Munckton, Canberra