Venezuela's revolutionary youth: `Socialist youth will be guarantors of the deepening of the revolution'

[Below is the political declaration of the founding congress of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela Youth, JPSUV, held on September 11-13, 2008. Translated by Federico Fuentes and Kiraz Janicke. The original in Spanish can be downloaded at http://juventud.psuv.org.ve/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/declaracion-de-cachamay.doc]


The Cachamay Declaration -- Socialist youth will be the guarantors of the deepening of the revolution.

Following a wide reaching process within the grassroots of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, young militants have completed the process of formation of the JPSUV as an organisational structure that will promote the consolidation of the ties between the social movements and in doing so convert ourselves into the vanguard of defence of the Bolivarian revolution and the fundamental space for the transformation of the values and practices of social and political life, allowing us to lead the way in the construction of the new man, of the new women, that Socialism of the 21st Century requires.

The process of founding the JPSUV occurs at a time when the Bolivarian Revolution and the processes of transformation that have erupted in Latin America and the world demand the freshness, force and creativity of youth to resist the attacks by imperialism which, condemned to disappear, does not think twice in resorting to the most deadliest methods in order to try and regain the ground it has lost on the global scene.

In this moment, our Bolivarian Revolution requires young people to assume a protagonistic role in the ethical and moral strengthening of society so as to defeat the vices of consumerism, individualism, egoism and sectarianism with which they have violated our creativity, combativity and capacity for transformation.

To make reality the definition of revolution expressed by Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz in a speech given on the occasion of International Workers' Day in 2000: "Revolution means to have a sense of history; it is changing everything that must be changed; it is achieving emancipation by ourselves and through our own efforts; it is defending the values in which we believe in at the cost of any sacrifice; it is never lying or violating ethical principles; it is a profound conviction that there is no power in the world that can crush the power of truth and ideas. It is fighting for our dreams of justice for Cuba and for the world, which is the foundation of our patriotism, our socialism and our internationalism which requires that our youth make an effort towards the unleashing, creativity and unity of political and social action."

In the national sphere, the threats that loom over our revolutionary process and especially over our fundamental leader, Commandante Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias, require that we directly involve ourselves in every site of struggle, in the communities, universities, workplace, sport, cultural etc. in order to disseminate the achievements of the Bolivarian Revolution and activate a permanent mobilisation to confront, on any terrain necessary, all attempts to kidnap our dreams of a homeland. We warn the anti-democratic sectors that plan to carry out an assassination that we are prepared to take up the guns of the people and defend through armed struggle our maximum leader of the Bolivarian Revolution, Hugo Chavez, including with the last breath of our lives if necessary.

The international conjuncture also requires of us a profound demonstration of our capacity to love and create a socialist youth. The application in Bolivia of the same coup-plotting recipe that we lived through in the years 2001, 2002 and 2003 requires us to carry out firm demonstrations of militant solidarity with our brother people of Bolivia. We must make it clear to imperialism that if it attacks Bolivia, we will react in the same way as the Liberator Simon Bolivar did when he fought to kick out the Spanish empire and found this sister republic. We will not hesitate in crossing the Andes to defend the work of the Father of the Homeland.

The consequences of the predatory and consumerist way of life that capitalism has imposed on us are being paid by our brother peoples in the Caribbean. The devastation of the hurricanes that recently destroyed a great part of the territories of Cuba and Haiti are the results of climate change generated by the indiscriminate use of our natural resources by the industrialised countries, in the face of which, we have to act with effectiveness,  in order to avoid the risk that the planet will not exist for our future generations.

We commit ourselves to promoting a way of life in harmony with the environment, that promotes the integral recuperation of the habitat of our territory and strengthens solidarity as a revolutionary value that allows us to carry out, with the force and continuity that it requires, the humanitarian labour and material support necessary to solve the difficulties generated as a direct effect of climate change.

In the same way, we commit ourselves to promoting labour as a force for the transformation of reality and the consciousness of our people. We will promote voluntary work and recognition of the contribution of all sectors to the productivity of the country in order to convert work into a collective effort, and not into a battle site where individualism and consumerism converts us into slaves of capitalism.

In the same way, we commit ourselves to tirelessly fight for the construction of a new socialist state model through the strengthening of Popular Power. Only in this way can we achieve a profound change in the structures, which have to be re-imagined with an innovative vision that allows us to overcome the capitalist model and to install a society of equals where the fundamental necessities of freedom and solidarity of citizens are met without any discrimination.

It is up to us to drive forward the process of strengthening and permanently renovating the ideological bases of the Bolivarian Revolution. All our efforts in our study, our creativity and the action of young people is placed at the service of the strategic guidelines defined by Commandante Chavez in regards to Socialism of the 21st Century in order to promote a grand national debate that allows us to consolidate the Bolivarian socialist proposal and orientates our actions in the consolidation of our definitive independence and the defeat of imperialism. This will allow us to open the path to a just society, to the better and possible world that our fathers and mothers fought for: A REVOLUTIONARY, BOLIVARIAN AND SOCIALIST WORLD.

HOMELAND, SOCIALISM OR DEATH, WE WILL WIN!

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Revolutionary youth fighting for the future

By Fred Fuentes

September 20, 2008 -- Caracas -- Amid growing tensions between the United States and Latin America, nearly 1200 young people — representing thousands more — met in the Venezuelan city of Puerto Ordaz on September 11-13 to found the United Socialist Party of Venezuela Youth (JPSUV).

The backdrop to the congress was the increased aggression of US imperialism against the peoples and governments of South America. Less than 24 hours before convening the JPSUV’s founding congress, evidence of a planned coup and assassination attempt against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was revealed. At the same time, in Bolivia the conflict between the Indigenous government of Evo Morales and the right-wing opposition, backed by the US government, threatened to lead to civil war.

The JPSUV congress was the result of several months of preparation, where members of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) under the age of 28 began to organise themselves into youth teams of 10 people each and build towards creating a socialist youth organisation.

After weeks of discussion, each youth team elected a spokesperson. Afterwards, the spokespeople came together in a meeting of 10 spokespeople from their local area to elect a delegate to the founding congress.

Previous attempts to organise young people have included the Federation of Bolivarian Students and the Frente Francisco de Miranda, however the JPSUV is the first of its kind to be constructed from the grassroots.

Sitting around 47 tables discussing the program, politics and statutes of the new organisation, the congress erupted into cheers and chants as they heard Chavez over the television announcing the dignified decision to expel the US ambassador from Venezuela. “Go to hell, Yankee shit”, proclaimed Chavez, sending the ambassador packing due to his role in destablising the Venezuelan government, and in solidarity with the decision by Bolivian President Evo Morales to expel the US ambassador to Bolivia only days before.

These delegates made up the majority of 2000 people who gathered to hear Chavez close the congress.

Standing together with the rest of the international delegates on the stage, we joined in with the exuberant crowd as the audience continuously broke out in anti-imperialist chants, and danced as they waited for the leader of the revolution.

“If the conflict begins, we want guns!”, they exclaimed, to which Chavez responded, “The conflict has already begun!” adding that “a conflict has begun across the continent and the world”.

Welcoming the creation of the JPSUV as a powerful instrument to help organise young people and push forward the revolution, Chavez reminded those present that the doors were also open for young people to join the National Bolivarian Armed Forces and the Bolivarian Popular Militias in order to defend the revolution, which today is directly in the firing line of US imperialism.

He announced that, as part of the restructuring of the armed forces, he would make half-time military service available to young people, so they could spend half the week training in the barracks and the other half studying or doing social work.

While the exact number of youth involved throughout the entire process is hard to calculate, and undoubtably not everything went to plan, the congress left no doubt that we were in the presence of a truly mass organisation of socialist youth committed to the defence of the revolution.

The formation of the JPSUV started a process of gathering dispersed sectors, organisations and, above all, individuals previously unorganised, into a powerful tool for the revolution.

Being able to participate as one of more than 20 official international delegates from 16 countries in Latin America, Europe and Oceania, representing the socialist youth organisation, Resistance, I could see — in the discussions and debates over issues such as food sovereignty, defence of the nation and the statutes of the organisation — that here was a range of young people from different backgrounds, experiences and political levels, all willing to actively participate and have their voices heard.

For example, some of the originally proposed statutes, seen by many of the delegates as top-down, were reformed, allowing for more active participation at all levels of the JPSUV. The congress also approved a declaration of principles and various documents rejecting the planned coup against Chavez and in solidarity with the Bolivian government.

The election of the national leadership, to be made up of 30 people — 27 elected by the grassroots and three elected by Indigenous members of the PSUV — was deferred to a later date.

Commenting on the congress, Hector Rodriguez, who is part of the promoters commission for the JPSUV and recently designated secretary of the presidency, said this event was “historic”, as never before had Venezuela had a political youth movement of this size.

Rodriguez said: “As young people we have been told that we are the future, but this is a lie they have been telling us. If we look at the world today, we do not have a future in front of us. Instead, what is necessary is for young people to organise themselves and fight to make that future we all dream of a reality.”

“That is why we are here to give our all for the revolution, our joy, our hope, our light and even our lives if necessary, for a better homeland, for a dignified homeland, for a revolutionary homeland”, he said.

Following the successful congress, a meeting of international delegates together with JPSUV leaders, including Rodriguez, was held in Miraflores Palace. The meeting agreed to put more effort into strengthening the Student Network for the Unity of Our America, REUNA, as well as working towards a congress of Latin American left youth organisations, with observers from the rest of the world, in the first quarter of next year, to propose an alliance of these organisations.

[Fred Fuentes is a member of the socialist youth organisation Resistance, visit http://www.resistance.org.au. This article first appeared in Green Left Weekly issue #768, September 24, 2008.]

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