Friday, 24 December 2010

Police brutality in Venezuela

The following story comes from the BBC;
Venezuelan police have used water cannon and rubber bullets to break up a protest against a law that increases government control over universities.

Dozens of police and national guard troops blocked a march by students outside the Central University of Venezuela in Caracas.

The protesters say the new law will be used to promote President Hugo Chavez's socialist ideology in universities.

The government says it is designed to make them more democratic.

Hundreds of students gathered at the university to begin a protest march after the law was passed early on Thursday morning.

But riot police stopped them from leaving the university grounds and marching on the parliament building, saying the demonstration had not been authorised.

At least three people were injured during the clashes, including an opposition politician and a news agency photographer.

These protests are clearly unconnected with those that we have seen in Britain and Italy, or the wider struggle against austerity. However, the response to it deserves condemnation as much as the police brutality in this country.

I must confess that I haven't looked much into this dispute. The government may well be right about the grip of "the oligarchy" on higher education. The protesters may be motivated by reactionary, right-wing concerns. But the fact remains that - even with the above presumptions - you cannot "democratise" education or give universities "autonomy" by giving absolute control to the state.

But even this isn't the point. No matter the ideology behind the protests, state violence is never justified and ought to be resisted.

This only further proves that, no matter how lofty their rhetoric, in practice "socialist" governments are as eager to use their monopoly of violence to crush dissent as those in fascist and capitalist countries.

The state exists to serve and perpetuate the power of the ruling class, whatever ideology they use to justify themselves. The state cannot be used to bring about liberty and equality, and its enforcement of established power should always be resisted.