by Jennifer Martinez, 2010
The Venezuelan 'Bolivarian Revolution', as the period since Hugo Chávez's election in 1998 is often
referred to, at first glance appears to be the counter-argument to John Holloway's (2002) encouragement to 'change the world without taking power'. It was, after all, an electoral uprising and the taking of state power that birthed this self-proclaimed socialist government, which has the support of a highly mobilized population for its project of 'Twenty-First Century Socialism'. Despite appearances, within Venezuela, even among supporters of the revolution, the desired role for the state in transforming the country remains undecided. The debate about power and 'anti-power', as Holloway has called it – or in the language of Venezuelans, about the relationship between the state and poder popular – is intense and growing, and is made even more complex because the division between the two is anything but clear.
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