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Venezuela

Michael Lebowitz: A path to socialism -- building upon the foundations began by Hugo Chavez

[Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal urges its readers to consider taking out a subscription to Monthly Review, where this article first appeared. For more articles by or about Michael Lebowitz, click HERE.]

By Michael Lebowitz

March 2014 -- Monthly Review -- It is now one year since the unfortunate death of Hugo Chávez on March 5, 2013. Shortly after, the editors of Monthly Review quoted a letter from István Mészáros to John Bellamy Foster which described Chávez as “one of the greatest historical figures of our time” and “a deeply insightful revolutionary intellect” (“Notes from the Editors” in the May 2013 Monthly Review). Whether Chávez will be remembered over time this way, however, depends significantly on whether we build upon the foundations he began.

Venezuela: A year after Chávez

The late Hugo Chavez with Nicolas Maduro (right).

By Martin Marinos

February 26, 2014 -- LeftEast -- Almost a year has passed since the death of Hugo Chávez on March 5, 2013. Arguably this has been the most difficult one for the Bolivarian Revolution. Many people, both on the left and the right expressed doubt that there could be Chavismo without Chávez. Perhaps a year is still too short of a period to assess the situation after Chávez’s passing.

Yet, the dynamic developments over the past twelve months call for some preliminary remarks. Through an analysis of the key events during the year, this piece advances the argument that despite the ongoing violent protest in Venezuela, the left has emerged stronger out of the crisis precipitated by the death of Chávez. In addition, the new president Nicolás Maduro has reconnected with his base and has shown a unique style and vision that have earned him admiration from his supporters and contempt from the opposition.

Federico Fuentes replies to Mike Gonzalez's 'Is Venezuela burning?'

Right-wing protesters.

By Federico Fuentes

February 26, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- I have had a few people ask me what I think of the recent article by Mike Gonzalez ("Is Venezuela burning"), regarding events in Venezuela.

Putting aside the fact he can't even get the name right of the oil minster (Rafael Ramirez, not Rodriguez), here are three things that are wrong with the article.

1) Gonzalez writes: “It is no secret that behind the façade of unity, there is a struggle for power between extremely wealthy and influential groups within government — a struggle that began to intensify in the months before Chavez’s death.”

If this was no secret, then surely there would be a mountain of evidence to prove this. But Mike Gonzalez offers none. A more serious analysis would indicate the opposite: that despite the narrow election victory by Nicolás Maduro in April 2013, the immediately wave of opposition violence and campaign around “fraud”, the ongoing economic war against the government, the municipal elections and the most recent events, there has been no visible signs of fractures in the government.

Eva Golinger: 'Don't be fooled by what most media outlets are telling you about protests in Venezuela'

February 22, 2014 -- The Real News -- Gregory Wilpert discusses the right-wing protests and their goal overthrowing the progressive gains of the Bolivarian Revolution.

For more on Venezuela, click HERE.

By Eva Golinger

February 21, 2014 -- Postcard from the Revolution via Venezuelanalysis.com -- For those of you unfamiliar with Venezuelan issues, don’t let the title of this article fool you. The revolution referred to is not what most media outlets are showing taking place today in Caracas, with protesters calling for the ouster of Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro. The revolution that is here to stay is the Bolivarian Revolution, which began in 1998 when Hugo Chavez was first elected president and has subsequently transformed the mega oil-producing country into a socially focused, progressive country with a grassroots government.

The demonstrations taking place over the past few days in Venezuela are attempts to undermine and destroy that transformation in order to return power to the hands of the elite who ruled previously for more than 40 years.

`Foro Social Latinamericano', February 2014 issue: Green Left Weekly's Spanish-language supplement

February 23, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Providing facts and analysis, and publicising and organising Latin America solidarity activities in Australia, Green Left Weekly and Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has sought to promote greater understanding and solidarity between the people of Australia and Latin America.

We are therefore delighted to publish Latin America Social Forum (Foro Social Latinamericano), a Spanish-language supplement produced regularly by the Latin America Social Forum in Sydney.

We hope the supplement will help build stronger links and solidarity between the Spanish-speaking communities in Australia and all those involved in the urgent struggles for the people and the planet. In the words of Venezuela’s late president Hugo Chavez: “Time is short. If we don’t change the world now, there may be no 22nd century.”

GLW and Links congratulates the Latin America Social Forum for this important publication, and looks forward to continuing to help build solidarity in Australia, and around the world, with Latin America’s movements for freedom, democracy, sustainability and justice.

* * *

Malaysian and Philippines activists: 'Solidarity with the revolutionary Venezuelan people against far-right violence'

For more on Venezuela, click HERE.

By the Socialist Party of Malaysia/Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)

February 20, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) is deeply concerned over the current situation in Venezuela where the Bolivarian Revolution is threatened by violent attacks from the far-right opposition, which aims to restore the oligarchic rule of big business and corporate interests in Venezuela.

Venezuelan right-wing opposition groups launched their latest assault on February 12 2014 by staging violent demonstrations to destabilise the Bolivarian government led by President Nicolas Maduro. Violent clashes took place and resulted in three deaths, including the death of Juan Montoya, a revolutionary community leader and staunch supporter of the Bolivarian Revolution who died from gunshot wounds in Barrio 23 de Enero. The latest incident is reminiscent of the events that led to the failed coup against then President Hugo Chavez on April 11, 2002. Right-wing opposition forces backed by the US government have employed such tactics many times in Venezuela in their attempt to defeat the Bolivarian Revolution and to restore the ancien régime which championed the savage neoliberal economic order.

Venezuela: Coups, media and stalemates -- what the violent right-wing protests mean

Thousands of Chavistas marched through central Merida on February 12. Chants condemned the recent spate of right-wing violence and called for support for Nicolas Maduro. (Ryan Mallett-Outtrim/Venezuelanalysis).

By Ryan Mallett-Outtrim, Ewan Robertson and Tamara Pearson

February 14, 2014 -- Venezuelanalysis.com -- Venezuelanalysis.com’s staff writers offer their insights on the violent protests that have been occurring in the country: the opposition’s strategy, how the media have reacted and the implications of the protests for the Bolivarian Revolution.

No a la violencia y provocaciones de la extrema derecha en Venezuela!

¡Alto a la guerra de los medios en contra de la revolución bolivariana!

[In English at http://links.org.au/node/3709. Haga clic aquí para más artículos en español.]

Red de Solidaridad Australia-Venezuela

14 de Febrero, 2014 -- La Red de Solidaridad Australia-Venezuela condena los recientes actos de violencia instigados por sectores opositores de extrema derecha en varias ciudades de Venezuela.

Las primeras protestas lideradas por la oposición se iniciaron el 4 de febrero en la ciudad de San Cristóbal, en el estado occidental de Táchira. Dos estudiantes fueron detenidos por presunto quebrantamiento de la paz durante una manifestación. Los estudiantes fueron puestos en libertad al día siguiente.

Los próximos días estuvieron marcados por una escalada de protestas estudiantiles en los estados de Mérida y Táchira, con pequeños grupos de individuos enmascarados y encapuchados participando en actos de violencia en las ciudades capitales. Afirmaron que estaban luchando contra la “inseguridad”.

No to far-right violence and provocations in Venezuela!

Opposition protesters with slingshots during clashes on February 12. Photo by Angel de Jesús/AVN.

[For more detail, read Steve Ellner's "Venezuela: Right-wing provokes violence in time-worn practice". For more on Venezuela, click HERE.]

End the media war on the Bolivarian revolution!

Statement by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network

February 14, 2014 -- Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network condemns the recent violent actions instigated by far-right sections of the opposition in various cities across Venezuela.

The first opposition-led protests were initiated on February 4 in the city of San Cristóbal, in the western state of Tachira, when two students were arrested for alleged breach of the peace during a demonstration. The students were released the following day.

Venezuela: The political economy of inflation and investment strikes

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

For more on Venezuela, click HERE.

By Oliver Levingston

February 10, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This paper adopts a Marxian class analysis to dispute the orthodox critique of high inflation in contemporary Venezuela. It draws a parallel between the 2002-03 oil industry lock-out and the capital strike in the Venezuelan foodstuffs industry today. In each case, capital has suspended production to bid up the price of basic goods and create widespread shortages.

Orthodox economists have cited worsening output and rising inflation in the aftermath of the capital strike to demand fiscal austerity and restrictive monetary policy.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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