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Venezuela: The future of ‘21st century socialism’ after Chavez's victory

Supporters celebrate the president's re-election on October 7 outside the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas. Photo by Tamara Pearson/Venezuelanalysis.com.

Click HERE for more coverage and analysis of the Venezuelan revolutionary process.

By Federico Fuentes

[En espanol @ http://links.org.au/node/3085]

October 28, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly -- Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez’s re-election on October 7 with more than 55% of the vote was vital for two reasons. First, the Venezuelan people blocked the return to power of the neoliberal right. Had they won, these US-backed forces would have worked to roll back important advances for the poor majority won since Chavez was first elected in 1998.

These include a huge expansion in government providing basic services (such as education, health and housing), the nationalisation of previous privatised strategic industries, and the promotion of popular participation in communities and workplaces.

Grassroots interviews from Venezuela: Developing the power of the community

Ana Marin talks about her revolutionary activity.

October 21, 2012 -- The British Revolutionary Communist Group, publishers of the newspaper Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!, sent a delegation to Venezuela to cover the October 7, 2012, presidential election. The following interviews, published at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission, were conducted in the lead-up and the aftermath of the poll. More interviews and articles can be found at the delegation's website. The delegation collaborated with the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network brigade that was visiting Venezuela at the same time.

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Ana Marin interviewed by Sam McGill

Richard Seymour: Venezuela in the 21st century

With the announcement of Hugo Chavez’s reelection as president by 55% of the Venezuelan electorate, spontaneous crowds across the country gathered to celebrate the victory. More photos at http://venezuelanalysis.com/image.

By Richard Seymour

October 8, 2012 -- Lenin's Tomb, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Richard Seymour's permission -- Chavez lives. He has survived cancer, thus far, and will most likely survive the presidential election with a comfortable majority (update: yep). And what if he did not? Would not Venezuela still have a popular mass socialist party, a thriving democracy, an expanding union movement, a politically emasculated ruling class, a greatly enhanced welfare state which incorporates elements of grassroots participation, and probably one of the few societies in the world today where it's almost impossible to impose a vicious austerity project? Jealous much?

Venezuela’s presidential elections: an imperfect victory

People celebrate the Hugo Chavez's victory outside the Miraflores Palace. Photo by Tamara Pearson/Venezuelanalysis.com.

By Tamara Pearson

October 8, 2012 – Venezuelanalysis.com -- Last night, we were squashed and pushed as the crowd surged into the Miraflores Palace to hear Hugo Chavez’s victory speech. People were so happy, they didn’t mind their feet being trodden on, the humidity of the air and the sweat of bodies and all the standing up, they were exuberant and they shouted and danced and jumped up and down and yelled out to strangers and threw beer up in the air, and even a few shoes.

Yet, among them, I felt a bit down, because the results were quite close, because more than 6 million people supported, by voting for the opposition led by Henrique Capriles, selfishness (he had focused his campaign on Venezuela ending its solidarity with other countries) and the destruction and sale of their country.

Venezuela: Chavez re-elected on platform to deepen revolution; 3 million people mobilise in support

Green Left TV -- Coral Wynter, an organiser of the 2012 Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network brigade, gives her impression of the massive October 4 final rally in support of Hugo Chavez in the October 7 presidential elections. For more eyewitness accounts from AVSN members, join the AVSN Facebook page.

Click HERE for more coverage and analysis of the Venezuelan revolutionary process. 

October 9, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly/Venezuelanalysis.com -- Venezuela's socialist President Hugo Chavez has won the October 7 Venezuelan elections with over 54% of the vote against 45% of the vote for right-wing opposition candidate Henrique Capriles. The National Electoral Council's Tibisay Lucena announced more than 80% of the 19,119,809 registered voters in Venezuela participated in the election.

Venezuelanalysis' Ewen Robertson reports from Merida:

Venezuela's election: Participatory, passionate democracy vs. Western democratic decline; Eyewitness reports

October 3, 2012 -- Green Left TV -- Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN) "brigadista" Ryan Mallett-Outrim reports on a Chavista rally which the brigade members attended in Maracay, Aragua, on October 3, just four days before the 2012 Venezuelan presidential election. The Australian solidarity activists were warmly welcomed in the massive crowd. For more eyewitness reports, photos and videos from the AVSN brigade visit the AVSN Facebook page and the AVSN website.

Click HERE for more coverage and analysis of the Venezuelan revolutionary process. 

By Ewan Robertson, Venezuela

September 28, 2012 -- Venezuelanalysis.com -- I’ve witnessed the self-assured superiority of Paris, the imperial arrogance of Washington, the capitalist decadence of New York’s Manhattan, parliamentary elections in Germany and my fair share of elections in Britain. In none of them have I encountered a democratic political culture as profound as Venezuela’s.

Revolutionary democracy in the economy? Venezuela’s workers' control movement

The workers at Grafitos del Orinico are proud of their collectively run factory. Photo by Ewan Robertson.

See also "Venezuela: Discussing the workers' control movement: An interview with 'Cayapa' radio show". For more discussion of workers' control, click HERE. For more on developments in Venezuela, click HERE. Ewan Robertson was a member of the  Australia Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN) solidarity brigade to Venezuela,  April 25 to May 5, 2011.

By Ewan Robertson

August 3, 2012 -- Venezuelanalysis -- Walking into the plush corporate style boardroom, I greeted workers from the Grafitos del Orinoco factory before sitting down to conduct the interview. On the white board next to the door, the latest decision of the workers’ factory assembly was still in evidence: whether to pay themselves an end of year bonus. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the workers had reached an almost unanimous consensus, with only one of the factory's fifty-five workers not in favour.

Venezuela: Planning the next six years of the Bolivarian revolution

President Chavez with the plan on the day he registered to stand again for president.

By Tamara Pearson, Merida, Venezuela

July 6, 2012 -- Venezuelanalysis.com -- Planning the detail of the transition and revolution towards a socialist and more just society, from community and workers' organisation, to consciousness building, to production and distribution systems, to combating state and judicial corruption and bureaucracy, to agriculture, mining, petroleum, infrastructure and relationships with other countries, is no small task.

The truth is, it has been a hard task writing this analysis. It has required a certain level of restraint to force myself to be selective and pick out only the most salient points of Chavez’s 39-page proposed plan for the 2013-2019 period of the Bolivarian revolution. All of the objectives and strategic points and sub points seemed important, and that in of itself reflects something wonderful, I think.

Venezuela: Making a ‘state for revolution’ -- the example of community and public media

By Lee Artz

May 1, 2012 – Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela has built mass organisations of workers and communities that have erratically challenged class and market relations—verifying that taking political power is difficult but essential to fundamental social change and that capitalist cultural practices complicate the revolutionary process. This article identifies components of state power, separating state apparatus (government) as a crucial site for instituting social change. The case of democratic, participatory communication and public media access is presented as central to the successes and problems of Venezuela’s 21st century socialism. Drawing on field research in community media in Caracas, this essay highlights some of the politico-cultural challenges and class contradictions in producing and distributing cultural values and social practices for a new socialist hegemony necessary for fundamental social change.

On the meaning of ‘popular front’

The Bolivarian movement led by Hugo Chávez contains bourgeois forces and has been the scene of repeated struggles between popular and bureaucratic wings. But far from subordinating workers to bourgeois leadership, it has served as the instrument to mobilise the masses in struggles that have won significant gains.

By John Riddell

August 8, 2011 -- also availabe at johnriddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal with John Riddell's permission -- In a comment posted July 16 to my article “Honduras Accord: A Gain for Ottawa?” Todd Gordon warns against the danger of “popular-front style organization” and a “popular front electoralist strategy” (see his comment below this article). Socialists often use the term “popular front” or “people’s front” as a form of condemnation. But what exactly does the term mean, and how does apply it to poor, oppressed countries like Honduras?

Venezuela: Socialist party seeks shake up

Rally against bureaucratism and corruption, Caracas, November 2010.

By Federico Fuentes

May 1, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly -- Since January, tens of thousands of United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) militants, together with activists from other left parties and social movements, have been debating the future of Venezuela’s revolution.

Their sights are set on the crucial 2012 presidential elections.

This years’ pro-revolution May Day march will be the platform to officially launch Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s re-election bid.

The US-funded right-wing opposition is yet to decide its candidate, but the election will be critical to the future of a country undergoing a profound process of change.

A clear victory for Chavez — like the 63% he won in the 2006 elections — would give a powerful mandate to deepen the revolution.

However, the revolutionary forces face two key obstacles.

The first is US imperialism and its local allies in the opposition, who are desperate to get rid of Chavez.

Venezuela: United Socialist Party of Venezuela defines new strategies

By Tamara Pearson, Mérida

January 24, 2011 — Venezuelanalysis.com — On Janurary 21, 2011, over one thousand members of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) met with President Chavez and decided on five key strategic lines for the next two years. The discussion included recognition of important weaknesses in the party and steps for activating the Patriotic Pole coalition.

Chavez, president of Venezuela and also of the governing PSUV, presented the document, Strategic Lines of Political Action of the PSUV for 2011-2012 to the “National Assembly of Socialists” in Vargas state, where around 1440 party leaders were present.

Chavez originally proposed the strategic lines in a draft document in December last year to a meeting of the national PSUV leadership.

PSUV legislator Jesus Farias, speaking to YVKE, said the idea of the “Socialist Assembly” was to “relaunch the project that the PSUV represents, in unity with other political organisations and social groups”. He said the “reflection and establishment of new lines of action for the PSUV is related to a need to strengthen the party as a great machine of agitation and propaganda”.

Women and revolutionary transformation in Venezuela

Yoly Fernandez (left) during her 2009 Australian tour, organised by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network.

By Coral Wynter

Yoly Fernandez lives in a barrio in the city of Valencia in Venezuela. She has been involved in community politics all her life and is a member of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), headed by Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez. Fernandez works in Mission MERCAL, the government agency that sells subsidised food to the population. I interviewed her in May 2010.

* * *

How has the life of women improved over the last 10 years of the Chavez government?

Our lives have improved enormously, mainly in the area of humane values; not so much at the level of work or even at the political level. I say humane because now the role of women is valued, not as an object but as a subject, as mother, wife, daughter and sister.

The state, social movements and revolution in Latin America

By Federico Fuentes

November 28, 2010 -- Green Left Weekly -- It should come as no surprise that Latin America, a region converted into a laboratory for ongoing experiments in social change, has increasingly become the topic of discussion and debate among the broader left.

Latin America has not only dealt blows to imperialism but also raised the banner of socialism on a global scale. It is of strategic importance for those fighting for a better world, especially at a time when capitalism is in systemic crisis.

Latin America’s landscape of powerful social movements, left governments of various shades, revolutionary insurrections, and growing expressions of indigenous resistance and worker control, provides a perfect scenario for leftists to learn about, and debate, revolutionary strategy and tactics.

This should not simply be an academic debate. It should look at how to best build solidarity with these movements for change and gain insight for struggles at home.

Of late, burning dispute has opened up, mostly among those writing from an anti-capitalist orientation: a debate over the complex relationship, or “dance” as Ben Dangl calls it, between social movements and states in Latin America.

Ecuador, Venezuela: Danger south of the border

Supporters of Ecuador's President Rafael Correa celebrate his return following defeat of the attempted coup.

By Paul Kellogg

October 26, 2010 -- Polecon.net -- It is not difficult to see that the events of September 30, in the Latin American country of Ecuador, amounted to an attempted right-wing coup d’état. Mass mobilisations in the streets and plazas of Quito (the capital) and other cities – in conjunction with action by sections of the armed forces which stayed loyal to the government – stopped the coup before the day was out. But those few hours highlighted, again, the deep dangers facing those fighting for progressive change in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Remarkably, the first task is to re-assert that in fact a coup attempt took place. In the wake of the failure of the coup, commentator after commentator was trying to minimise what happened. Peruvian “libertarian” Álvaro Vargas Llosa – darling of the World Economic Forum and outspoken critic of Che Guevara and the current governments of Bolivia and Venezuela – insists that it was not a coup just an “ill-advised, violent protest by the police against a law that cut their benefits”.[1]

A new opportunity for Venezuela’s socialists


More at The Real News
Greg Wilpert discusses the September 26, 2010, election results on the Real News Network, on October 3. For transcript, visit HERE.

By Gregory Wilpert

(Updated Sept. 30) Venezuela: PSUV wins clear majority in National Assembly, but capitalist parties return

Click HERE for official results.

[September 28, 2010 -- According to the United Socialist Party (PSUV) and opposition sources the PSUV and its allies, the Communist Party of Venezuela and Peoples' Electoral Movement (MEP) have won 98 seats, while the parties in the MUD opposition alliance won 65 seats, the pro-oppositom PPT 2 seats and 2 seats went to Indigenous independents. However, official results still give 95 to the PSUV and 62 to the opposition.]
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By Gonzalo Gomez, Caracas

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?

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?

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