Recently I went to this event:
I should have posted this before I went but I’m lame. After the jump my impressions! I’ve been to quite a few political film nights in my day, mainly at the now defunct Flor Y Canto Centro Comunitario. This one unlike some I have been t o was rather well attended! And I’d have to say that the gender ratio was equal by my count; something to be said when anarchist milieus are often just another “boy’s club.” Also, either the guests had morphed out of their old punk selves or anarchists in LA are coming from more diverse places than just the punk scene.
Onto the film! : Apparently the Venezuelan Gov’t had commissioned an Italian production company to produce a film showcasing the recent “nationalization” of the oil/coal industries. The production company had already done films for the Venezuelan Gov’t and this one was pegged to be another; that was until the Italian company upon further investigation realized that the “nationalization” was a farce, a lie. It turns out that over 50% of the these industries are controlled by foreign investors, most notably by China and Chevron/Texaco. Not only were these industries not nationalized but many indigenous communities were being displaced for prospecting. Also those living in proximity to the refineries came to the gov’t complaining of jobs not being given to those in the communities of the refineries but also that they were having egregious health effects. The Venezuelan Gov’t has largely ignored them.
Being that most of the Left in the U.S. laps up anything that Hugo Chávez does solely because he has opposed Bush and his cronies, this was an eye-opening evening. Often the people in the film identify with Chávez’ popular rhetoric and excuse Chávez’ inaction due to the dillusion that he really does not know what is going on.
A member of the collective that publishes El Libertario, an anarchist journal from Venezuela, after the film further elucidated more on Chávez, his pitfalls & his encroaching consolidation of political power. El Libertario finds itself in an odd situation where their pushing the social revolution (which has been halted in Venezuela) forward marks them for being “counter-revolutionaries” since they oppose Chávez. This situation is often the case when “state socialists” take power and want to squash all dissent. El Libertario takes the stance that the social movements of Venezuela should be autonomous, explaining why they refuse any sort of gov’t subsidies. Of course also, that the everything should be really socialized and that the Venezuelan people themselves should decide their future and not Chávez.
More on El Libertario can be found at their website here: http://www.nodo50.org/ellibertario/
And for more on the collective that put on the event visit: http://anarchistbookfair.com/