Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

March 8, 2013

Letter sent to NYT reporter

Filed under: journalism,Venezuela — louisproyect @ 7:27 pm

William Neuman

Dear Mr. William Neuman

I can’t say I am surprised that in comparing Venezuela’s economic statistics to other Latin American nations not on the newspaper’s shit-list you did not include Gini coefficients. As you may know, the higher the number, the higher the inequality. So here are the stats for the countries you deemed more “successful” than Venezuela, which has a Gini coefficient of 39.

Brazil: 51.9
Chile: 52.1
Colombia: 56
Peru: 46

I can’t say I blame you for omitting Gini coefficients. That is not the way to crawl your way to the top of the heap at the gray lady, a newspaper whose ace financial reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin had the distinction of writing a column not long after Occupy Wall Street broke out advising a banker friend that he had nothing to worry about.

Yours truly,

Louis Proyect, a long-time NYT reader and critic

ps. You wouldn’t be related to Mad Magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman, would you?


  1. Brilliant.

    I think my favorite (so far) has to be the CSMonitor: “But to many observers, … Chávez boosted the poor at the expense of the economy and the country’s democratic institutions…”

    Translation: The idea that the poor ought to be somehow less poor must not trump the iron imperative to keep the global capitalist accumulation engine running. What’s more, we can’t have an overwhelming majority actually participating in democracy, if in doing so we harm the illusion of democracy.

    Comment by Robert — March 9, 2013 @ 2:16 am

  2. Hey Rob, were workers ‘participating in democracy’ when the Venezuelan state was smashing their strikes?

    Comment by Cliff — March 9, 2013 @ 5:12 am

  3. Hey Cliff, what a stupid question. Of course they weren’t.

    If you think I’m an uncritical admirer, you’ve got me dead wrong.

    Comment by Robert — March 9, 2013 @ 2:50 pm

  4. By the way, I’m correct in assuming that you are not referring to the Coordinadora Democrática/ Fedecámaras/ CTV-led lockout, right?

    Comment by Robert — March 9, 2013 @ 3:11 pm

  5. Right. I’m talking about all the other instances. We could talk about the same stuff when done by other darlings of the left who are chief executives of bourgeois states in Latin America like Morales, Lula and Correa.

    Funny too that the main reason principle-free leftists swoon over Chavez (crude “anti-imperialism” / everything anti-America is good) was in reality bullshit.

    Chavez conducts permanent confrontations with the United States which is designated as the Great Capitalist Satan. Meanwhile, in the corridors, very tight links are maintained between the two countries. The USA is thus the main commercial client of Venezuela. (Exports to the United States even increased by 27.7% during the first three months of 2011 compared to the same period in 2010. Today, they represent 49% of Venezuela’s total exports.)

    Comment by Cliff — March 9, 2013 @ 10:04 pm

  6. Good point about Chavez’s supercalifragilistic “Gini coefficients.” Numbers like that are sure to make the man a first-ballot, wax-preserved-corpse Hall of Famer. Also: the Mad Magazine jape? Devastating. You’re a genius.

    Comment by Noone Nohow — March 10, 2013 @ 7:09 am

  7. Cliff, who the hell else is Venezuela going to sell oil to ? The G7 still control near 50 % of global GDP. Maybe you find China preferable and Chavez certainly expanded those links.

    But the world is a dominated by capitalist countries, this is reality. Venezuela is nowhere near self-sufficient, so it must trade. It’s for this reason that it could never be socialist in any pure/textbook sense.

    Comment by purple — March 12, 2013 @ 12:42 am

  8. Purple you hit the nail on the head: socialism in one country is a Stalinist farce. The communist revolution will be international (and will come from organic struggles of the working class smashing the bourgeois state — not voting in “socialist” Great Leaders to head it) or it won’t be.

    Comment by Learned it from Marx — March 13, 2013 @ 8:52 pm

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