[News] Venezuela's Revolution

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Mon Sep 3 11:15:19 EDT 2007

ZNet | Venezuela

Venezuela's Revolution
by Federico Fuentes; Green Left Weekly; September 02, 2007

"The internal situation will intensify over the next months, more 
contradictions will emerge, simply because we have no plans to hold 
back the march of the revolution", said Venezuelan President Hugo 
Chavez on March 24, speaking to more than 2000 promoters of the new 
socialist party being constructed in Venezuela. "These 
contradictions", he said, would "intensify, because we are dealing 
with the economic issue, and there is nothing that hurts a capitalist 
more than his pocket, but we have to enter into this issue, we cannot 
avoid it".

On July 28, while attending a meeting of his local battalion of the 
provisionally named United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), 
Chavez reiterated this point: "We are in the presence of one of the 
most important moments [in this revolution], like during the coup [in 
April 2002]." Chavez explained that this was because, as well as open 
enemies of the revolution, there were also "snakes" who worked to 
undermine the revolution from within, which the new party aimed to combat.

Since Chavez was re-elected on an explicitly socialist platform on 
December 3, the Bolivarian revolution - as the process of 
transforming Venezuela in the interests of the poor majority is known 
- has gone on the offensive. The first half of this year has seen the 
revolutionary government advance its plan to nationalise strategic 
industries and promote the "explosion" of popular power - primarily 
through the communal councils, as well as calling for the creation of 
worker, student and campesino (peasant) councils. The most recent 
initiative is Chavez's proposed constitutional reforms aimed at 
enshrining popular power and creating a legal framework for the 
creation of a "new socialism of the 21st century".

These moves have intensified the class struggle, and Chavez has 
called for the construction of the PSUV to enable revolutionary 
militants to unify their efforts. In response, almost 5.7 million 
people have registered to become members.

Unity from below

Although Chavez's public announcement of plans for the new party came 
on December 15 during a speech to activists who worked on his 
election campaign, he made numerous references to the need for a new 
party during the campaign. Several months earlier, Chavez had called 
a closed meeting to bring together the leaders of the various 
pro-Chavez parties and key individuals to explain his proposal for a 
new party to be formed post-election.

Chavez, in his December 15 speech, proposed all left currents unite 
to form "a political instrument that puts itself at the service of 
the people ... at the service of socialism". As part of this process, 
Chavez has continuously called on the other pro-Chavez parties to 
dissolve, following the example of his own party, the Movement for 
the Fifth Republic (MVR), to help facilitate building a new united 
party, arguing the revolution does not need "an alphabet soup ... We 
need a political instrument that unites wills and is not worn down in 
intestinal fights."

While most of the smaller parties have followed the MVR, the Homeland 
for All Party (PPT), Podemos, and the Venezuelan Communist Party 
(PCV) - which, after the MVR, receive the most electoral support in 
the pro-Chavez camp - have so far declined to dissolve, although many 
members from these parties have left to participate in the PSUV.

Chavez argued the new party should build on the existing organisation 
of the hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans in grassroots groups that 
carried out the immense mobilisation that saw Chavez re-elected the 
highest number of votes in Venezuela's history. "In this new party 
the bases will elect the leaders. This will allow for the emergence 
of real leaders."

He added that "A new party needs new faces". He insisted that the new 
party cannot simply be a "coming together of what already exists", as 
"that would be fooling the people".

In a speech on April 19, Chavez explained the relationship that 
should exist between the party and the "multitudes". The party had 
the role of developing consciousness among the broadest layers, while 
at the same time "out of the multitudes emerge the cadre, the leaders".

Reformism and dogmatism

Chavez argued that it was necessary to combat two currents within the 
revolution that would undermine the creation of a mass revolutionary 
party. One was reformism, which he dubbed in his March 28 speech "the 
silent assassin", that aims to put a brake on the process. Chavez has 
repeatedly pointed to Podemos, which defines itself as social 
democratic, as representing this current. Leaders of Podemos have 
argued increasingly right-wing positions, echoing some of the views 
of the US-backed opposition.

The second current is dogmatism. Chavez argued that the PSUV was not 
"a Marxist-Leninist project". He claimed that "If Karl Marx and 
Vladimir Ilich Lenin were alive today" and studied the modern world, 
"I am sure that they would not come up with a radically different 
thesis, but with a number of differences to the thesis they developed 
..." Chavez pointed to what he argued were dogmatic errors committed 
by Latin American communist parties, including by the PCV both 
through its history and in the current period.

In his December 15 speech, Chavez emphasised the new party would not 
be Stalinist, pointing out that after the premature death of Lenin, 
the Bolshevik party, which had led the Russian Revolution in 1917, 
fell prey to a "Stalinist deviation", creating an elitist regime that 
could never create socialism.

However, Chavez also argued: "We know that one of Karl Marx's 
proposals was precisely that of the dictatorship of the proletariat; 
but that is not viable for Venezuela in these times."

Instead, Chavez stated, "We, here, are going to construct a 
Venezuelan socialism, the original Venezuela socialist model and a 
political instrument that helps us conquer that objective!"

Bolivarian socialism

According to the document being distributed by the national promoters 
team to the battalions formed to construct the PSUV, the "point of 
unity" for the different strands of "revolutionary and socialist 
thoughts" within the PSUV would be the ideology of Bolivarianism - 
which takes its name from Simon Bolivar, who liberated much of South 
America from Spanish rule in the 19th century. This ideology is 
described as the sum of "the most famous effort for national and 
social emancipation of our past, the most genuine Latin American 
internationalism", and as being "the motor of the socialist 
revolution unfolding in Venezuela".

The document argues that the declaration of principles for the new 
party, which will be the product of widespread discussion, would 
represent "the synthesis and surpassing of all the revolutionary 
forces of Venezuela", embracing those that belong to "the exploited 
and oppressed classes, along with all the men and women that embrace 
the Bolivarian ideal".

The document argues that "capitalism in its imperialist phase has 
reached its limits" and claims that capitalism can only continue to 
expand the gap between rich and poor - within and between countries - 
and threatens the planet with extinction.

"The conclusion is clear", the document says, "to end poverty, it is 
necessary to give power to the poor and construct socialism; to end 
war, it is necessary to put an end to imperialism". This is the task 
that the Venezuelan revolution has set itself, "placing itself in the 
vanguard of this struggle" around the world.

The second document for discussion deals with the question of what 
program the new party should have. It notes that while there is no 
single political program "for all times and all places", the PSUV 
should have as its clear objective the construction of "a government 
based on councils of popular power, where the workers, campesinos, 
students and popular masses are the direct protagonists of political power".

It proposes moving towards "a democratically planned and centralised 
economy, capable of ending the alienation of labour and satisfying 
all the necessities of the people", which should "plan production and 
the satisfaction of collective necessities in harmony with the 
requirements of the ecosystem".

The document of principles states that "just as it is indisputable 
that private ownership over the means of production, in any society, 
determines labour relations, human relations and all aspects of 
life", in the transition beyond capitalism, it is necessary to 
"guarantee the conscious participation of the majorities, and the 
necessary efficiency to comply with all the requirements of national life ..."

The document argues that central to the party's revolutionary 
strategy should be "the alliance of the people with the Armed Forces, 
just like that of the workers with the middle classes of the 
countryside and city (small and medium campesinos, small industrial 
bourgeois and urban and rural commerce)".

Its method of struggle should be based on "the largest possible 
number of men and women [involving] themselves in the resolution of 
all the problems" through the communal councils, the military 
reserves, and "in the specific area of industrial workers ... through 
workers' control and self-management".


According to the document, the current world situation creates, and 
makes necessary, the formation of "an international anti-imperialist 
bloc on a grand scale" made up of governments, social movements and 
parties "to unite in action hundreds of millions of people in all the 
world against imperialism and its wars".

Moreover, the current wave of rebellion in Latin America opens up the 
possibilities of "qualitative transformation", in the struggle for 
liberation being waged by "tens of millions of exploited and 
oppressed". Therefore, the document states that internationally the 
PSUV should work to construct "a world anti-imperialist bloc" and 
"socialist and revolutionary convergence of the people of Latin 
America and the Caribbean", conscious of its role as "a vanguard in 
an era of immense challenges and great victories: capitalism is 
international; the revolution is international; international must be 
the thought and actions we carry out".

Speaking on August 26, Chavez stressed the internationalist character 
of the PSUV and called for a new "international" of left-wing 
parties, saying "2008 could be a good time to convoke a meeting of 
left parties in Latin America to organise a new international, an 
organisation of parties and movements of the left in Latin America 
and the Caribbean".

Chavez concluded: "There is a resurgence of consciousness of the 
people and we must continue building the movements and leaders of a 
new left, of a new project."

From: International News, Green Left Weekly issue #723 5 September 2007.

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