Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Holding Palast

Thought we'd give props to Greg Palast, who we like to thiink of as Michael Moore with facts. Palast once got accused by the Labour officials of hideous sex offences, after exposing the antics of Labour-connected lobbying firms (apologies for the use of a WSWS site - it has the best summary we've seen). We thought that it would be a good time to look at his dispatches from Venezuela, where he has struck a fairly pro-Chavez tone, as his latest column shows.

But in our humble opinion, Mr. Palast may be out of his depth in Caracas. He is an amazing person to document the precise links between policy and corporate cash, and we've been consistently impressed at how he's skewered Enron, Southern and other corporations we follow by day. To say that a US administration made up of oil men would have a bias in favour of oil companies that want to maximise their profits from production in Venezuela, is an obvious, if regrettable, fact. Palast decides, however, that the confllict is between good, redistributive Chavez, and bad, Jag-driving plutocrats. Good and bad works when chasing corporations around the margins of the law, but is less enlightening when it comes to making an informed comment on a truly disfunctional society.

Where do the sacked clerical workers at PDVSA fit in? Can Chavez implement land reform properly? If Palast thinks that swapping a capricious and unstable plutocracy for a capricious and unstable left-leaning strongman is by and large a good thing, then say it already, or prove that Chavez isn't capricious and unstable. That Jag-driving pigs (Prezza excluded) form an unholy global alliance is not the discovery we had hoped from Greg.


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