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Venezuela

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?

Unite union leader on the struggle against climate change, and for socialism

Mike Treen on the picket line. If trade unions take up the challenge, they could become “the voice for a boldly different economic model, one that provides solutions to the attacks on working people, on poor people, and the attacks on the Earth itself".

By Mike Treen, national director of the Unite union (New Zealand)

December 2, 2013 -- Daily Blog, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- The continuing pretense that world governments will do anything about climate change was exposed once more at the latest round of climate negotiations held in Poland November 11-22. This was the 19th round of annual negotiations.

It is 21 years since the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992. Emissions are 60-70% higher than they were then. Global warming has proceeded at an accelerating pace. As a great article by economic historian Richard Smith notes:

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.

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.

John Riddell: Do we need an anti-capitalist government? United fronts in the 20th and 21st centuries (videos)

[Click HERE for more by John Riddell.]

November 11, 2013 -- SocResVideo, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- John Riddell, editor and translator of Towards the United Front: Proceedings of the Fourth Congress of the Communist International, 1922, speaking in London on November 3, 2013, at the "Building Unity, Taking Power: Left Histories and Contemporary Practice" seminar organised by the Anti-Capitalist Initiative, International Socialist Network and Socialist Resistance. The above talk is "Do we need an anti-capitalist government". The second below is "United fronts in the 20th and 21st centuries". They are followed by some of the discussion.

Toward the United Front, Proceedings of the Fourth Congress of the Communist International, 1922
Edited and translated by John Riddell
Brill, 2011 (hard back), 1310 pages, 200 euros
Haymarket Books, 2012 (paper back) US$55

Russell Brand is right, we need a revolution (but his sexism is wrong)

Russell Brand versus Jeremy Paxman.

By Stuart Munckton

November 2, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly -- Comedian, Hollywood star and former host of MTV and Big Brother's Big Mouth Russell Brand took on veteran BBC broadcaster Jeremy Paxman in a Newsnight interview subsequently viewed millions of times on YouTube (see above).

The journalist, veteran of many bruising encounters with politicians of all stripes, decisively lost.

Brand was interviewed because he had just guest-edited a special edition of left-leaning magazine The New Statesman on the theme of revolution.

As well as a 4500-word essay by Brand arguing that the status quo totally fails ordinary people and only revolutionary change could save humanity from destruction, the edition includes contributions from radical writers Naomi Klein and Noam Chomsky, as well as a range of actors and singers.

Venezuela: Revolution brings substantial improvements to working-class neighbourhoods

Hillside barrios in Caracas. Photo by Ryan Mallett-Outtrim/Venezuelanalysis.

By Enric Llopis, Rebelion, translated by Ryan Mallett-Outtrim and Tamara Pearson

October 10, 2013 -- Venezuelanalysis -- At the invitation of the Jose Marti Valencian Association of Friendship with Cuba (Asociación Valenciana José Martí de Amistad con Cuba) and the Acontracorrent union, Yasmin Zabala and Hector Acosta -- social activists from the Caracas neighbourhood of 23 de Enero (January 23) -- have lectured at the social sciences faculty in Valencia. They come from a neighbourhood that has historically been very combative, with a strong tradition of community and mutuality.

This barrio of about 250,000 inhabitants, situated on a hill west of the city and near the Miraflores Presidential Palace, has been part of all the major revolutionary moments in Venezuelan history. 23 de Enero owes its name to the date on which the dictator Marcos Perez Jimenez fled the country (in 1958) after his overthrow by a military-civilian movement.

Crónica de una jornada con Nicolás Maduro


[In English at http://links.org.au/node/3533. Haga clic aquí para más artículos en español.]

VÍCTOR RÍOS Y MIGUEL RIERA | septiembre 2013

Aporrea.org -- De Nicolás Maduro, presidente electo de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela, se sabe muy poco en España. Apenas cuatro trazos, aportados principalmente por los medios de comunicación de masas hostiles al proceso revolucionario. El Viejo Topo quiso conocerlo, y el presidente venezolano aceptó ser entrevistado sin poner la menor traba.

El Viejo Topo

Venezuela: A day with Nicolas Maduro

Nicolas Maduro interviewed by Spain's El Viejo Topo' Víctor Ríos and Miguel Riera, translated by by Tamara Pearson for Venezuelanalysis.com

September 26, 2013 -- Very little is known about Nicolas Maduro, president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, in Spain. [There’s] scarcely four lines, mainly contributed by the mass media which is hostile to the revolutionary process. Spain's El Viejo Topo wanted to get to know him, and the Venezuelan president accepted the interview without any hassles.

Bolivia’s radical response to provocations from the US empire

Evo Morales.

By Richard Fidler, La Paz, Bolivia

September 26, 2013 -- Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Washington’s refusal to allow Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro to over-fly its colony of Puerto Rico on September 19 attracted little attention in the North American and European media.

But in Latin America this arrogant gesture drew immediate outrage. It recalled the July 2 denial by four European countries — France, Italy, Spain and Portugal — of landing and refuelling rights and passage through their airspace to Bolivia’s president Evo Morales while he was returning home from a trip to Moscow. This unprecedented attack on Bolivia’s sovereignty, clearly at Washington’s behest, had been defended on the fallacious grounds that Morales’ plane harboured US espionage whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Chile: Allende and 21st century socialism

... a revolution may well be carried out through peaceful means, but cannot be unarmed. So unarmed was the socialist revolution in Chile that Allende, a medical doctor and an intellectual, ended up putting on a helmet and grabbing a submachine gun and becoming his own soldier -- Hugo Chavez, 2012

For more on Chile click HERE.

By Rolando Vergara and Miguel Sanchez

September 11, 2013 -- The Bullet -- September 11, 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of the military coup in Chile, the 40th anniversary of the heroic death of Salvador Allende in La Moneda palace, and it will also mark the 40th year of the Chilean diaspora spread around the world. It is, undoubtedly, a relevant historical date for Chileans, Latin Americans, and for progressive people around the world.

The legacy of Chilean socialism and Salvador Allende

roger

For more on Chile click HERE.

By Roger Burbach

September 11, 2013 -- Futuresocialism.org -- The coup d’etat by General Augusto Pinochet in Chile on September 11, 1973, transformed the history of socialism. Almost a thousand days before, Salvador Allende and the Popular Unity coalition had taken office promising a “Chilean Road to Socialism” based on democratic principles. The government launched an agrarian reform program, recognised the right of workers to take over factories and run them collectively, took control of most of the country’s banks and expropriated multinational corporations like Kennecott and ITT, all within the framework of the Chilean constitution.

PDF version of Marta Harnecker's: 'Instruments for doing politics'

September 8, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This is the PDF version of Marta Harnecker's Instruments for doing politics. You can download the file HERE, or read on screen below. The HTML version is available at http://links.org.au/node/3510 (which is includes a 12-part video in Spanish of Marta Harnecker speaking of the topic).

New pamphlet by Marta Harnecker: 'Instruments for doing politics'

The above series of videos in Spanish by Marta Harnecker are what the pamphlet below is based on. Instrumentos de la Política esta dividida en 12 videos con una duración aproxdimada de 11min cada uno.

[Read more from Marta Harnecker HERE.]

(PDF version available HERE and Spanish-language version available HERE.)

September 5, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

By Marta Harnecker, translated by Elizabeth Briemberg and revised by Fred Fuentes and Bill Fletcher

Rego date extended for 2013 solidarity brigade to Venezuela: Witness a people’s revolution!

September 10, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The registration date for those wishing to join the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network’s next brigade to revolutionary Venezuela has been extended to October 1, 2013. Don't miss out!

The solidarity tour, to run from December 4 to 13 this year, will be the first AVSN brigade since the election of President Nicolas Maduro following the death of Hugo Chavez.

Since 1998, when Chavez was first elected president, the Bolivarian revolution has achieved remarkable gains by putting control of Venezuela’s politics and economy back into the hands of the poor majority. Despite the challenges created by Chavez’s death, in particular the United States-backed opposition’s campaign to undermine the new president and government of Venezuela, this people power driven revolution continues to flourish, defying all attempts to destroy it.

Federico Fuentes on socialism in the 21st century and revolutionary leadership in Latin America

Green Left TV -- Federico Fuentes speaking at the "Organising for 21st century socialism" seminar in Sydney, June 8-9, 2013. Organised by Socialist Alliance.

Fuentes is co-author of Latin America's Turbulent Transitions: The Future of Twenty-First Century Socialism.

Latin America's Turbulent Transitions: The Future of Twenty-First Century Socialism
By Roger Burbach, Michael Fox & Federico Fuentes
Zed Books, 2013.

Order at Resistance Books.

 

Venezuela’s 21st century socialism: neo-developmentalism or radical alternative?

Hugo Chávez addresses oil workers in 2007, pushing for more national control of the country’s oil.

By Federico Fuentes

July 15, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In the recent period, political discussion in Venezuela has centered on the government’s economic strategy. The reasons seem obvious. Inflation during the first half of the year climbed to 25%. First quarter growth was only 0.7%. And then there are the shortages affecting various basic goods. The questions many are asking is: has Chavismo’s economic model reached its limits?

A number of critics say yes. Underpinning the current crisis, they argue, are incorrect government policies that have contributed to the rise of a bureaucratic state residing over an excessively centralised economy that is increasingly dependent on oil revenue.

Å bygge sosialisme for det tjueførste hundreåret: intervju med Michael A Lebowitz

[For more articles by or about Michael Lebowitz, click HERE.]

[English at http://links.org.au/node/3355.]

Michael A Lebowitz intervjua av Darko Vesić og Aleksandar Stojanović.

– Kapitalismen har vore i krise i mange år no, og dei kapitalistiske statane svarer på krisa med såkalla innstrammingstiltak. Ser me på dynamikken til kapitalismen dei seinaste femti åra, så var svaret på krisa på 1970-tallet det som no er kalla «nyliberalismen». Om ny vekst er svaret på krisa, kan me seie at nyliberalismen på 70-tallet hadde suksess. Men gjeld det same dagens «innstrammingstiltak»?

- Eg trur me må sjå på somme av premissa i spørsmålet. For det første meiner ikkje alle marxistar at kapitalismen som eit heile er i krise, i motsetning til kapitalismen i spesielle område. For det andre, om kapitalismen er i total eller partiell krise, kva er årsaka?

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