A sign saying This embassy belongs to the elected government of Venezuela

Democracy vs. Imperialism  

Kovalik’s latest book The Plot to Overthrow Venezuela: How the U.S. Is Orchestrating a Coup for Oil(forthcoming in June 2019), with a foreward by Oliver Stone, is focused on the main topic of the Venezuela teach-in. His previous books, however, should be also of interest to all activists who wish to attend it: The Plot to Scapegoat Russia: How the CIA and the Deep State Have Conspired to Vilify Putin (2017); The Plot to Attack Iran: How the CIA and the Deep State Have Conspired to Vilify Iran (2018); and The Plot to Control the World: How the US Spent Billions to Change the Outcome of Elections Around the World (2018). 

The main takeaway from Kovalik’s works for us is this: US imperialists are invariably hostile to democracy -- not only abroad but also at home. A remark by Henry Kissinger, quoted in The Plot to Control the World, perfectly sums up their ideology: “I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people.” The interests of the “people,” the “demos” of democracy, are fundamentally at odds with those of capitalists and imperialists. Our desire for better lives for ourselves and our children is at odds with their desire for ever increasing profits. Our desire for peace is at odds with their desire for endless arms sales. What if we voted for our own interests, against theirs, at the ballot boxes, at the workplaces, and in the streets? What would a Kissinger do? Spend billions to change the outcome of elections. Create scapegoats and vilify them, so as to justify military spending and foreign interventions. After centuries of experience of colonialism and neo-colonialism, the ruling class just about have it down to ascience

Each One, Teach One 

As a matter of fact, the CIA has literally written scientific manuals about how to subvert the democratic will of the people: e.g., Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare used against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, which Kovalik discusses in two of his books. The education of anti-imperialists, in contrast, has not been so systematic. That is in part because we are deprived of much-needed information by capitalist censorship. For instance, how many of you know that, as we write this, courageous US activists have been physically defending Venezuela’s sovereignty by protecting the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, D.C. from the clutches of Trump stooge and wannabe usurper Juan Guaidó? To spread the news and educate ourselves and others, we must all become the media we want. 

There is, however, a deeper reason why there is no “manual” of anti-imperialism. As Audre Lorde said in Sister Outsider, “the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house.” Instead of a hierarchical model of an expert giving a lecture, as in the “banking” concept of education criticized by Paulo Freire, we at the Community Organizing Center wish to approach the task of education with the democratic spirit of the Black radical tradition: “each one, teach one.” We ourselves have more questions than answers, especially when it comes to what is to be done; and we suspect that many of you who may be interested in our teach-in feel the same way. 

Since the height of the anti-Iraq war movement circa 2003, opposition to US imperialism has become more fragmented and much less visible. Can we change that? The wars in Libya and Syria sharply divided the US left. Can we overcome that division now, build a new anti-imperialist consensus on the left, and organize a united front opposing the US economic wars against Venezuela, Iran, and others? The election campaign season is inescapably upon us. How do we use it as an opportunity for consciousness raising, resisting the corporate Democrats’ all-too-predictable maneuver to marginalize the left? Such are among the questions that come to our minds. What are yours? Let us put our heads together and begin to come up with our collective answers. 

Teach-in on Venezuela 

Labor and human rights lawyer Dan Kovalik, who last visited Columbus, Ohio in May 2017 to speak about the struggle for peace and economic justice in Colombia at the invitation of the Central Ohio Worker Center, will soon be back in town. This time, Kovalik will be joining us at the Community Organizing Center to address the life-and-death struggle of its neighbor Venezuela, which is battling back the attempt of the United States government to strangle its economy and overthrow its socialist leadership. Our teach-in on Venezuela will be held at CWA Local 4502, 620 E. Broad St., Columbus, Ohio 43215, on May 14, 2019, from 7 p.m. (For more information, contact us at or 614-252-9255.) 

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