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Venezuela

Michael Lebowitz on the socialist alternative and real human development

Prof. Michael Lebowitz on the socialist alternative from Dangerous Minds at Vimeo.

August 30, 2010 -- Michael Lebowitz is a Canadian Marxist economist. He is the director of the “Transformative practice and human development” program at the Venezuela-based left-wing think tank, the Centro Internacional Miranda. He is professor emeritus of economics at Simon Fraser University and author of Build it Now: 21st Century Socialism and the 2004 Isaac Deutscher-prize winning Beyond Capital: Marx's Political Economy of the Working Class. His latest book is The Socialist Alternative: Real Human Development.

Venezuela: Land reform, food sovereignty and agroecology

Urban food garden, Caracas.

By Alan Broughton

August 20, 2010 -- A massive transformation of agriculture is occurring in Venezuela, a transformation that has lessons for every other country in the world. The Law of the Land and Agrarian Development, the Law of Food Sovereignty and Security and the Law of Integrated Agricultural Health set out the agenda (they can be found on www.mat.gob.ve, in Spanish). The policies are based on the premises that farmers should have control of their land and product, that the country should produce its own food, and that chemical fertilisers and pesticides should not be part of agriculture.

Land in Venezuela has been in the hands of about 500 families and corporations since the 1800s and worked by an impoverished peasantry. Much of the land was underutilised as cattle ranching, pulpwood plantations, export crops such as sugar cane, or left idle. Most food was imported. This land is gradually being taken over by the government and handed to local communities who have been fighting for it for two centuries.

Declaración Conjunta de Solidaridad Detener la amenaza contra Venezuela ahora!

03 de agosto 2010

Nosotros, las organizaciones abajo firmantes, vemos con gran preocupación la posibilidad de una agresión militar contra el pueblo de Venezuela por el Gobierno colombiano, que podría ser apoyada por los EE.UU. desde sus siete bases militares instaladas recientemente en Colombia.

El 22 de julio de 2010 la República Bolivariana de Venezuela fue acusada en una Sessión Extraordinaria de la Organización de Estados Americanos en Washington por el Gobierno colombiano, de promover, apoyar y mantener relaciónes con las organizaciones armadas de Colombia, como por ejemplo las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) y el Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN). Las acusaciones se basaron sólo en imágenes que nunca han sido comprobadas o sometidas a verificación.

Estas maniobras actuales por el Gobierno colombiano de derecha son un claro intento respaldado por los EE.UU. para justificar un ataque preventivo contra Venezuela y su pueblo. Ha habido una series de denuncias falsas contra el gobierno de Hugo Chávez en los últimos recientes años como parte de la campaña respaldada por EE.UU. para desmantelar el proceso revolucionario que tiene lugar en Venezuela.

Statement Solidaritas Bersama Hentikan Ancaman Terhadap Venezuela Sekarang!

[In English at http://links.org.au/node/1817.]

3 Agustus 2010

Kami, organisasi-organisasi di bawah ini, dengan perhatian serius melihat kemungkinan agresi militer terhadap rakyat Venezuela oleh Pemerintah Kolombia, yang didukung oleh Negara Amerika Serikat dengan menggunakan tujuh pangkalan militer yang baru-baru ini dibangun di Kolombia.

Persoalan ini timbul dari kejadian belakangan ini ketika Republik Bolivarian Venezuela pada tanggal 22 Juli 2010 dituduh saat Sidang Luar Biasa Organization of American States (Organisasi Negara-negara Amerika) di Washington oleh Pemerintah Kolombia mempromosikan, mendukung dan memelihara hubungan dengan organisasi-organisasi bersenjata dari Kolombia, seperti Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Angkatan Bersenjata Revolusioner Kolombia-FARC) dan National Liberation Army (Tentara Pembebasan Nasional-ELN). Tuduhan itu hanya berdasarkan gambar yang belum pernah diperiksa ataupun diverifikasi.

Venezuela: Defend and deepen the Bolivarian Revolution with an armed and mobilised people

By Marea Socialista, translation by International Viewpoint

July 28, 2010 -- Following the provocations of the Colombian regime, which threatens an armed intervention on Venezuelan territory under the false pretext that the latter was sheltering FARC guerrilla bases, President Hugo Chavez has decided to suspend all diplomatic relations with Colombia. It is clear that once again the Colombian regime is acting as a perfect satellite of the United States which is moreover currently dramatically increasing militarist manoeuvres and tensions all around the globe. We publish below a statement by the Venezuelan revolutionary Marxist organisation Marea Socialista, with which the Fourth International has fraternal relations.

The provocation from Uribe and the drugs traffickers who dominate the Colombian regime stretches to a limit of extreme tension relations between Colombia and Bolivarian Venezuela. The right, the oligarchy and the Venezuelan pro-Yankees present the attitude of President Chavez as an electoral manoeuvre or a problem exploited by the government out of propaganda concerns and chauvinism.

Asian socialists: `Stop the threats against Venezuela now!'

Joint statement initiated by Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM), Working People’s Association (PRP), Indonesia, and Socialist Alliance, Australia. See below for latest signatures.

[If your organisation would like to sign this statement, please email int.psm@gmail.com.]

August 1, 2010 -- We, the undersigned organisations, view with serious concern the possibility of military aggression towards the people of Venezuela by the Colombian government, which could be supported by the United State of America using its seven military bases recently installed in Colombia.

This matter has arisen from the recent events when the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela was accused on July 22, 2010, at the extraordinary session of the Organization of American States in Washington by the Colombian government of promoting, supporting and maintaining a relationship with armed organisations from Colombia, such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and National Liberation Army (ELN). The accusations were only based on images which have never been substantiated or subjected to verification.

`South of the Border': An Interview with Oliver Stone & Tariq Ali

Oliver Stone with Hugo Chavez.

July 28, 2010 -- www.alborada.net -- Oliver Stone’s new documentary South of the Border chronicles the emergence of progressive governments in Latin America, their quest for social and political transformation and their growing independence from Washington. Roberto Navarrete interviews Oliver Stone and Tariq Ali (one of the film’s scriptwriters) to find out some background.

Venezuela: The labour movement and socialist struggle today

Pedro Eusse, national secretary of the Communist Party of Venezuela.

Pedro Eusse interviewed by Susan Spronk and Jeffery R. Webber

July 22, 2010 -- The Bullet -- In mid-June, 2010, we met with Pedro Eusse, national secretary of the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV) and part of the provisional executive committee of the labour confederation, Unión Nacional de Trabajadores (National Union of Workers, UNT). Revolutionary figures from times past stared down at us from the paintings hung on the walls in the office of the PCV in central Caracas. Refusing to be interrupted by the constantly ringing phone, Pedro spoke passionately for two hours about the centrality of organised workers in the revolutionary struggle and the need to unite the labour movement. He expressed his hopes for rebuilding the UNT at its third congress planned for fall 2010.

What was your political formation?

Malaysian socialists: Solidarity with the people of Venezuela against threat of military aggression

By the Socialist Party of Malaysia

July 28, 2010 -- The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) is deeply concerned with the possibility of military aggression towards the people of Venezuela by the Colombian government, which could be supported by the United States of America and its seven military bases recently installed in Colombia.

This matter has arisen from the recent events when the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela was accused on July 22, 2010, at the Extraordinary Session of the Organization of American States in Washington by the Colombian government of promoting, supporting and maintaining a relationship with armed organisations from Colombia, such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and National Liberation Army (ELN). The accusations were only based on images which have never been substantiated or subjected to verification.

The current moves by right-wing Colombian government is clearly an attempt backed by the US to justify a pre-emptive attack on Venezuela and its people. There has been a pattern of false allegations against Hugo Chavez’s government as part of a US-backed campaign to dismantle the revolutionary process taking place in Venezuela.

Colombia & United States threaten attack -- Stop the lies and aggression against Venezuela!

A statement from the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network

July 24, 2010 -- Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network -- On July 22, Venezuela broke off all diplomatic relations with Colombia and placed its national borders on high alert. This follows accusations made by the Colombian government that Venezuela is harbouring “terrorists” from the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN), and hosting several “terrorist training camps” near the border region that divides the two countries.

At an extraordinary meeting of the Organization of American States in Washington on July 22, called for by Colombia, Colombia’s ambassador to the OAS, Luis Alfonso Hoyos, presented television and video images allegedly taken from computers confiscated during the Colombian military’s illegal invasion of Ecuadorian territory in March 2008, as well as some computer-generated maps and photographs of alleged members of the FARC, which he said were taken inside Venezuela. Hoyos called for “international intervention” in Venezuela, and gave a “30-day ultimatum”.

Venezuela's process of struggle

Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network solidarity brigade in Caracas, May 1, 2008.

Jason Netek looks at the political situation in Venezuela -- and why international solidarity is key to furthering the process of workers' power.

July 22, 2010 -- Socialist Worker (USA) -- The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is the focal point of a political shift to the left that has affected most of the Latin American continent for just over a decade. For years now, we have heard denunciations of the nation and its president, Hugo Chávez, from TV personalities like Glenn Beck and Pat Robertson to establishment figures like George W. Bush and Barack Obama, all of whom liken the nation to a military dictatorship.

It's no good pointing out to these types that the US actually has propped up real military dictators in efforts to stave off leftist movements all across the continent. They are fully aware. They are hypocrites.

Venezuela: Communal power in Caracas

Wilder Marcano.

Wilder Marcano interviewed by Susan Spronk and Jeffery R. Webber

July 4, 2010 -- The Bullet -- We caught up with Wilder Marcano, director of the network of comunas [communes] in Caracas, on the morning of June 18, 2010. He talked with us just before addressing a crowd of a few hundred representatives of different comunas from around the capital who had gathered in the offices of the Ministry of Popular Power for the Communes and Social Welfare to discuss a whole series of issues related to building popular power from below in the poorest barrios.

What is the role of the comunas in the construction of socialism in Venezuela?

John Bellamy Foster on Venezuela: Marxism and `vernacular revolutionary traditions'

The following article is the Foreward to the July-August 2010 issue of the US socialist magazine Monthly Review, which features Marta Harnecker's “Latin America and Twenty-First Century Socialism: Inventing to Avoid Mistakes". Bellamy Foster will be a feature speaker at the Climate Change Social Change conference, to be held in Melbourne, November 5-7, 2010.

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I’m certain that this process is irreversible. This movement of change, of restructuring, of revolution, will not be stopped.

Hugo Chávez, 20021

By John Bellamy Foster

Building a socialist-feminist economy in Venezuela

Lidice Navas in Caracas, Venezuela, June 18, 2010.

Lidice Navas interviewed by Susan Spronk and Jeffery R. Webber

June 30, 2010 -- The Bullet -- A long-time revolutionary activist, Lidice Navas is an important socialist-feminist leader within the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and a candidate for the Latin American parliament, among her many other responsibilities. We met her at the Women’s Development Bank in Caracas on June 18, 2010, to talk about her vision of socialism, the accomplishments of the Bolivarian process so far, and what remains to be done.

What is your political history?

I am a candidate for the PSUV in Caracas. I am also a member of the Political Bureau of the Region of Caracas and a candidate for the Latin American parliament. I also have some responsibilities in the Women's Development Bank (Banco de Desarrollo de la Mujer, BanMujer) and am also active as a coordinator in the parroquia [parish] El Valle, where we are trying to construct socialism from the level of the community.

Behind the New York Times' hatchet job on Oliver Stone's "South of the Border"

Trailer for South of the Border.

By Oliver Stone, Mark Weisbrot and Tariq Ali

[The following letter was sent to The New York Times.]

June 27, 2010 -- South of the Border -- The New York Times' Larry Rohter attacks our film, South of the Border, for “mistakes, misstatements and missing details”.  But a close examination of the details reveals that the mistakes, misstatements and missing details are his own, and that the film is factually accurate.

Venezuela: Workers’ control and the contradictions of the Bolivarian process

Gustavo Martínez.

Gustavo Martínez interviewed by Susan Spronk and Jeffery R. Webber

June 21, 2010 – The Bullet – On June 10, 2010, we caught up with Gustavo Martinez, a union leader in the worker-controlled, nationalised coffee company, Fama de América, in Caracas, Venezuela. The company has 350 workers at the national level, with two separate plants – one in Caracas and one in Valencia. We sat down with Martínez to discuss the centrality of workers’ control in the ongoing struggle to transition toward socialism and some of the most pressing contradictions of the Bolivarian process in Venezuela today.

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To start off, can you tell us your name, how long you've worked in this coffee company, your job in the company, and your role in the union?

Eric Toussaint: Venezuela's Bolivarian revolution at the crossroads?

By Eric Toussaint

[See parts 2 , 3 and 4 below.]

Part 1: Nationalisation, workers’ control: achievements and limitations

April 14, 2010 -- Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt -- The economic, social and political situation in Venezuela has changed a lot since the failure of the constitutional reform in December 2007, which acted as a warning to President Hugo Chávez's government. |1| This failure had the effect however of reviving the debate on the need to have a socialist perspective. The debate revolves around several key questions: further nationalisation, workers’ control, the place of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), people’s participation, etc.

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez interviewed by BBC `Hardtalk'; Mark Weisbrot analyses interviewer's bias

On June 15, 2010, the BBC's Hardtalk program broadcast an wide-ranging interview with Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez from the Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas. The interviewer, Stephen Sackur, clearly intended to provoke Chavez with a series of ill-informed and outright dishonest claims and questions. He did not succeed. Parts 2 and 3 below.


Part 2

Part 3

Building socialism from below: The role of the communes in Venezuela

Antenea Jimenez.

Antenea Jimenez interviewed by Susan Spronk and Jeffery R. Webber

June 13, 2010 -- The Bullet -- We met with Antenea Jimenez, a former militant with the student movement who is now working with a national network of activists who are trying to build and strengthen the comunas [communes]. The comunas are community organisations promoted since 2006 by the government of Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez government as a way to consolidate a new form of state based upon production at the local level. She told us about the important advances in the process, as well as the significant challenges that remain in the struggle to build a new form of popular power from below.

Can you tell us about the barrio where you live and the comuna?

I live in a barrio [neighbourhood] in the north part of Caracas and work in a national network that is building comunas. Currently we operate in seven states; the majority of the comunas are situated outside Caracas.

Michael Lebowitz: `We must choose socialism over capitalist barbarism'

Michael Lebowitz was interviewed by Srećko Horvat during the Subversive Film Festival and conference on socialism, held from May 1 to May 25, 2010, in Zagreb, Croatia. It is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Michael Lebowitz's permission. [Click HERE to read more articles by Michael Lebowitz.]

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Srećko Horvat: In May, as a participant of the big international conference on Socialism, you are coming to a country which had an experience with the the Yugoslavian version of socialism in the last century. Could you explain why socialism in the 21st century?

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