The implications of Marxist state theory and how they play out in Venezuela
The implications of Marxist state theories developed by Nicos Poulantzas and Ralph Miliband are useful for framing issues related to leftist strategy in twenty-first century Venezuela. A relationship exists between each of the theories and three issues facing the Chavista movement: whether the bourgeoisie (or sectors of it) displays a sense of ‘class consciousness’; the viability of tactical and strategic alliances between the left and groups linked to the capitalist structure; and whether socialism is to be achieved through stages, abrupt revolutionary changes, or ongoing state radicalization over a period of time. During Poulantzas’ lifetime, his concept of the state as a ‘strategic battlefield’ lent itself to the left’s promotion of ‘strategic alliances’ with parties to its right. The same concept is compatible with the ‘process of change’ in Venezuela, in which autonomous movements play a fundamental role in transforming the old state and the construction of new state structures.