A Dialectical View of Chavismo
From our perspective, the entire process [community organizing] encapsulated the grand contradiction of the Chavista project: on the one hand, it was designed from the top down, the result of a constitutional directive rather than a grassroots demand, while at the same time the process was being used by a variety of working class communities to further a range of demands and build a network of solidarity that in principle at least could develop well outside the control of the Chavez government. Much of Venezuela’s future depends upon whether experiments like this one become safety valves that limit social unrest or breeding grounds that expand demands for community self-management.
Chavism (or is that Chavezism? wouldn't want to be called an "intellectual hermit" for leaving out a couple of letters) clearly involves a large element of statism, including intervention in the economy; but the targets of the intervention, by and large, are themselves not only beneficiaries of the previous constellation of state-corporate power, but former key members of that constellation. And much of his new cooperative sector has been funded so far by revenue from the oil boom. The questions remain to be answered whether Chavez's statism and the previous statism of the latifunistas and oil interests will cancel each other out, and whether the cooperative sector and the new system of rural land tenure can continue to sustain themselves when Chavez has come and gone and is no longer around to prop them up.