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Visit revolutionary Venezuela: registrations open for 2014 AVSN solidarity brigade

Click HERE for more on the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network.

February 7, 2014 -- Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Join this year’s Australian solidarity delegation to Venezuela, December 2-13, 2014. Registrations are now open for the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network’s 2014 solidarity tour to revolutionary Venezuela.

The tour -- to run from Tuesday, December 2 to Saturday, December 13 (inclusive) -- will be a unique an opportunity to observe first hand, learn about and be inspired by a grassroots movement that is transforming not only Venezuela, but Latin America, and is challenging the greed and destructiveness of global capitalism by showing that a better world is possible.

Since 1998, Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution has achieved remarkable things by putting control of the country’s politics and economy back into the hands of the poor majority. Despite the challenges created by the United States-backed opposition’s campaign to stall and destroy the revolution, this people-powered process of change continues to flourish.

El Salvador: FMLN wins first round of presidential election

Salvador Sanchez Ceren, candidate for the leftist FMLN party, gave a rousing speech on February 2 to announce victory in the first-round.

Click HERE for more on El Salvador.

February 3, 2014 -- CISPES -- With over 99% of polling places reporting, the candidate for the governing Farabundo Martí national Liberation Front (FMLN) party, Salvador Sanchez Cerén won handily the first round of El Salvador’s 2014 presidential election, earning nearly 49% of the vote. He holds a ten-point lead over Norman Quijano of the Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA), who placed second with 39%. Former president Tony Saca (1999-2004) garnered just over 11% of the vote. The FMLN and ARENA will head to a run-off on March 9.

According to the CISPES electoral observation mission, which included delegates from the National Lawyers Guild and various US universities, the electoral proceedings were calm and peaceful.

Venezuela: A year since Hugo Chavez’s death -- special edition of the AVSN broadsheet

By the Embassy of Venezuela in Australia

February-March 2014 -- Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network, posted at Links International Journal of Socialisr Renewal with permission -- Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias was the president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. As the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution, Chavez promoted a political doctrine of participatory democracy, socialism and Latin American and Caribbean cooperation. He was also a critic of neoliberalism, globalisation and United States foreign policy.

A career military officer, Chavez founded the left-wing Fifth Republic Movement after orchestrating a failed 1992 military rebellion against former President Carlos Andres Perez.

Chavez was elected president in 1998 with a campaign centred on promises of aiding Venezuela's poor majority, and was re-elected in 2000, 2006 and 2012.

Domestically, Chavez established nationwide Bolivarian Social Missions, whose goals are to combat disease, illiteracy, malnutrition, poverty and other social ills.

Abroad, Chavez acted against the Washington Consensus by supporting alternative models of economic development and advocating cooperation among the world's poor nations, especially those in Latin America.

Witnessing a revolution: Report of Australian 2013 solidarity delegation to Venezuela

The AVSN brigadistas at the state-owned Diana Industries.

January 28, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Attached below is a report, plus photos, on the activities undertaken during the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network's (AVSN) brigade to Venezuela last month (December 2013).

A 2014 solidarity brigade will run from December 2-14, 2014. Further information and registration forms will be available on the AVSN website soon, at www.venezuelasolidarity.org.

For more information about the 2014 brigade, please contact info@venezuelasolidarity.org

In solidarity,
Lisa Macdonald
Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network

Download the report HERE, or read on screen below.

Philippines: 'Forward, bayanihang sosyalismo!' Popularising a socialism 'with local colour'

The above video presents a summary of the activities of the Partido lakas ng Masa in 2012-2013.

Introduction by Reihana Mohideen

January 24, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following is the English-language translation of a document on bayanihan socialism that was presented at the convention of the Philippines socialist party Partido lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses, PLM) in December.2013.

It is an attempt to project more strongly the socialist character of PLM and at the same time to popularise the ideas of socialism to a mass audience in the Philippines. Lessons were drawn from the Latin American experience, of linking the egalitarian principles of socialism with national and Indigenous historical experiences and traditions. It also flows from the understanding that it's no longer enough to struggle around specific issues, but that there is an urgent need to put forward an alternative vision or possibility, that is socialism, in a way that the masses can understand.

Another important question raised in the paper is the restructuring of the working class, towards contractualisation and the growth of the informal economy and the urban poor, which is an important area for ongoing discussion and assessment. 

Samuel Farber discusses Cuba’s future – but ignores the blockade

[See also Chris Slee's free pamphlet Cuba -- How the workers and peasants made the revolution and "System or siege? Samuel Farber misses the main cause of Cuba's problems", Slee's review of Farber's book Cuba since the revolution of 1959: a critical assessment.]

By Chris Slee

January 21, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Samuel Farber has recently written an article on “The Future of the Cuban Revolution”.[1] This article contains some useful information on “the emergence of new tendencies and debates” in Cuba. But Farber’s article is fundamentally flawed. It contains not a single word about the 55-year-long campaign by the United States government to overturn the Cuban revolution!

Venezuela: Pace of land expropriations to continue for 'agrarian socialism'

The latest land occupation facilitated by the National Land Institute is underway in the south-western state of Apure. Photo by Victor Hugo Majano/Aporrea.org.

By Ewan Robertson, Merida

January 13, 2014 -- Venezuelanalysis -- This year the Venezuelan government plans to continue its pace of land expropriations in order to move towards what it terms “agrarian socialism”.

According to the 2014 national budget, the government’s National Land Institute (INTI) aims to expropriate 350,000 hectares of land this year.

This compares with the goals of 350,000 and 397,000 hectares of land to be expropriated in 2012 and 2013 respectively, after the government began to increase the pace of land expropriations in 2011.

It is estimated that in the decade between 2001, when former president Hugo Chavez passed a law promoting land redistribution, and 2011, the INTI expropriated 3.6 million hectares of agricultural land.

20 years since the Chiapas rebellion: the Zapatistas, their politics and impact

Click the following links for more by Dan La Botz, and more on the Zapatistas and Mexico.

By Dan La Botz

January 14, 2014 -- Solidarity (USA), posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- The Chiapas rebellion led by the Zapatistas took place 20 years ago this month. What was the importance of the rebellion and of the Zapatistas? What was the impact at the time? And what has been its political legacy? What is the role of the Zapatistas in Mexico today?

The Chiapas rebellion had an enormous impact at the time, not only in Mexico but around the world. The EZLN had led the first leftist, armed rebellion since the fall of Communism and the break-up of the Soviet Union just a few years before, suggesting that contrary to claims about the death of the left and the “end of history”, a new left had arisen in the Lacandón Jungle of Chiapas.

Venezuela and Chile: Election wins advance left agenda

Michele Bachelet won a resounding victory in the Chilean presidential race with 62% of the vote.

By Roger Burbach

January 7, 2014 -- América Latina en Movimiento -- Elections in Venezuela and Chile in December 2013 molded the political panorama of Latin America for the coming year, providing a new opening for left-leaning governments and the advance of post-neoliberal policies in the region.

In Venezuela, the decisive victory of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) in the municipal elections on December 8 gave a boost to the presidency of Nicolas Maduro, enabling him to advance the 21st century socialism of his predecessor, Hugo Chavez.

After Maduro's narrow victory margin of 1.5% in the presidential elections in April 2013, the opposition went on the offensive, declaring fraud and waging economic war in an effort to destabilise the country. If the opposition coalition had won in the municipal elections, or even come close in the popular vote, it was poised to mount militant demonstrations to destabilise and topple the Maduro government.

Venezuela: Chavistas celebrate important victory in municipal elections

By Ewan Robertson, Caracas

December 10, 2013 -- Venezuelanalysis.com -- Supporters of Venezuela's revolutionary government celebrated their victory in the municipal elections held on December 8. Analysts have commented that results indicate President Nicolas Maduro has “reconnected” with the social base of the Chavista movement.

The first results announced gave the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) victory in 58% of the country’s municipalities. The PSUV and its allies gained more than 49% of the total vote share versus 43% for the opposition.

After the results were announced, President Nicolas Maduro gave a televised speech from the Plaza Bolivar in central Caracas to celebrate the win.

“Without a doubt we’ve obtained a great victory today, the people of Venezuela have said to the world that the Bolivarian revolution continues with more strength than ever,” he said.

Maduro mentioned that the right-wing opposition Democratic Unity (MUD) coalition had now lost four national elections over the past 14 months.

He also responded to opposition leader Henrique Capriles’ argument that the municipal elections would be a “plebiscite” on the government’s mandate: “There you have your plebiscite, Caprichito, fascist. I hope that he learns about humility and shows his face to the country and resigns from the political leadership of the MUD.”

Venezuelanalysis: 10 years reporting on the Bolivarian Revolution

[To help keep Venezuelanalysis.com going for another year, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal urges its readers to donate here.]

Tamara Pearson interviews Gregory Wilpert

December 4, 2013 -- Venezuelanalysis -- Though activists, academics and other readers rely on Venezuelanalysis.com (VA) daily and weekly for contextual, thorough, on the ground, non-corporate perspectives on the Bolivarian Revolution, few people know the site’s story.

VA’s small dedicated crew of journalists live in Venezuela, are immersed in the country’s political struggles, write from home under hot iron roofs, meet every morning and weather the constant English-language media lies about our country then decide on news to cover and analysis to translate or write. We go to events to photograph them, report them and do interviews. Formed after the 2002 coup and currently depending on donations, how has the site survived for ten years? VA talked to one of its founders, Gregory Wilpert.

Why was Venezuelanalysis.com founded when it was?

Xiomara Castro de Zelaya: 'We will defeat them in the streets!'

Video original del discurso de Presidenta Xiomara Castro de Zelaya el 29 de noviembre, 2013 en español: Parte 1.

For more on Honduras, click HERE.

Address by Xiomara Castro de Zelaya

November 29, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Honduras Resists -- Members of the national and international press, sisters and brothers of struggle, people of Honduras, beloved comrades,

Five days after the end of the electoral process in our country, after several public appearances, I am here once again before you, to reiterate that we have found innumerable proof of the disgusting monstrosity with which they are stealing the presidency of the republic from our people of Honduras.

Our position is unwavering and unceasing: while they don’t allow us access to the system of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, we will not accept the results emitted by that Electoral Tribunal.

Honduras: Huge political crisis as right steals election

For more on Honduras, click HERE.

By Elena Zeledon

November 28, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Large-scale electoral fraud affected every aspect of the November 24 general elections in the Central American country of Honduras.

This has sparked a huge political crisis, which matches and possibly surpasses the crisis produced by the coup d’etat that overthrew president Manuel Zelaya in 2009.

The fraud has denied victory to Liberty and Refoundation (LIBRE) party presidential candidate Xiomara Castro, the wife of Zelaya. LIBRE was formed by the National Front of Popular Resistance (FNRP), which united many sectors that took part in the resistance to the coup.

In Honduras, one of the poorest countries in the Western hemisphere and occupying an area about the size of Queensland, two decades of struggle has helped develop one of the most socially and class conscious movements in the world.

Honduras: Massive fraud attempts to deny LIBRE victory

Xiomara Castro addresses LIBRE's closing rally of the election campaign.

See also "The importance of Xiomara Castro's November 24 presidential election campaign".

By Elena Zeledon

November 26, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Three of the main political parties contesting the November 24 election in Honduras are accusing the oligarchy-controlled Supreme Elections Tribunal of vote manipulation and fraud following a massive voter turnout on election day.

Honduras: The importance of Xiomara Castro's November 24 presidential election campaign

Xiomara Castro on the campaign trail.

By Elena Zeledon

November 23, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On November 24 the people of Honduras will elect Xiomara Castro Sarmiento de Zelaya as the first woman, and the first avowedly socialist, president of the republic. Her election, if not stolen by fraudulent methods, which is extremely likely given the terror her potential election is causing in the ranks of the ruling oligarchy, will represent the fruits of nearly 20 years of direct and organised mass struggle for social, labour and human rights.

It has been a struggle against various forms of government, from military dictatorships to liberal and more accommodative forms of capitalist rule. It has been a struggle which has produced what could arguably be the most class and social conscious mass movement in the world. It has been a struggle that has produced more than its fair share of martyrs, murdered at the hands of killers hired by the oligarchs, and more than its fair share of sorrow.

New film: 'Viva Venezuela: Fighting for Socialism'

November 19, 2013 -- RCG -- In October 2012 Venezuela faced a choice: whether to deepen the Bolivarian Revolution that under the leadership of Hugo Chavez had brought dignity, health, education and hope -- or to return to a brutal, unequal, neoliberal society where oil wealth lined the pockets of multinational companies and Venezuela's elite. The people of Venezuela who voted for Chavez, voted to fight for socialism.

The Revolutionary Communist Group was on the streets of Caracas throughout the presidential elections in October 2012. We joined hundreds of thousands as they thronged the city, braving torrential rain or baking sun, to express their support. This film takes you on that journey, through the barrios, universities and workplaces to meet the political activists, students and workers who are changing their future.

The film premièred in London on October 25, 2013, where 150 people packed out Bolivar Hall to hear speakers from the RCG, the Venezuelan and Cuban embassy discuss the movement in Latin America and its relevance to the struggle here in imperialist Britain. It continues to screen all around the country, picking up momentum, not only increasing our understanding of the struggle in Venezuela, but helping us understand the tasks that face us here in Britain.

Uncle Sam's UN blues: Washington's anti-Cuba policy isolated -- again

Voting board for the 2012 General Assembly 2012 on resolution calling for an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba. This year, the vote was 188 in favour, two against, with three abstentions. UN Photo.

By Ike Nahem

November 10, 2013 -- Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Annually, a near ritual unfolds in the Autumn session of the United Nations General Assembly: the assembled states and governments dutifully, in near-unanimous consensus, vote in favour of a Resolution on the "Necessity of Ending the Economic, Commercial, and Financial Embargo by the United States of America Against Cuba".

Venezuela: Maduro, workers act to end big business' 'economic war'

Trade unionists marched against Venezuela’s main business federation on October 31 to protest the “economic war” that workers argue the federation is waging against the government.

By Ryan Mallett-Outtrim, Merida

November 7, 2013 -- Venezuelanalysis.com – Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has announced a slew of policy reforms aimed at combating speculation and hoarding, along with the creation of new government institutions to regulate trade and oversee foreign currency exchange.

“We have to make real decisions for the benefit of the economy and society, whatever the cost and whatever happens”, Maduro stated from Miraflores Palace on November 6.

Describing the package of reforms as an “economic offensive”, Maduro pledged to “strike hard” at speculators and hoarders.

He announced the creation of a new national task force to inspect businesses across the country to complement current efforts by the government's consumer protection agency Indepabis to identify hoarders.

Venezuelan consumers have been hit with shortages of products ranging from milk to toilet paper in recent months. The opposition has blamed government policy, though Maduro has pointed to businesses that hoard goods for political reasons.

Argentina: Mid-term elections signal shift in political mood

By Raul Bassi

November 7, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- Three key tendencies marked mid-term elections in Argentina: a continued decline in support for President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (pictured) and her Peronist-allied Front for Victory (FPV), the re-emergence of new forces to its right, and what many have dubbed a “historic” vote for the Trotskyist left.

At stake in the October 27 national elections were half of the seats in the Chamber of Deputies and one third of the Senate, along with a number of elections for state parliaments and local councils.

The elections were also viewed as a crucial springboard for potential candidates looking to compete in the 2015 presidential election, in which Kirchner will be unable to contest due to constitutional limits on consecutive terms.

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