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PSUV

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.

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.

* * *

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.

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.

Venezuela's economic and energy woes?

The Venezuelan government is taking stronger measures against those responsible for the economic problems — the capitalists. Photo: Ques communismo/Flickr.

By Federico Fuentes, Caracas

May 23, 2010 -- In recent weeks, local and international media have attacked the left-wing Venezuelan government over alleged “economic woes” and electricity problems (see article below). Pointing to Venezuela’s inflation rate — the highest in Latin America — and an economy that shrank 3.3% last year, the private opposition media is raising fears of a serious economic crisis.

These same media outlets, which have been predicting the fall of President Hugo Chavez for years, argue recent government actions will worsen the situation. Venezuelan business federation Fedecamaras warned on May 5 that Venezuela faces an “economic and social crisis”. The federation helped organise a 2002 military coup against Chavez that briefly installed Federcamaras leader Pedro Carmona president before a mass uprising restored Chavez.

Venezuela: Millions vote to select socialist candidates

PSUV delegates. Photo from Radiomunidal.com.ve.

By Federico Fuentes, Caracas

May 9, 2010 -- The May 2 internal preselection of United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) candidates for the September 26 national elections was an example of the mobilising force of this mass party in construction. More than 2.5 million party members participated. This demonstrated the PSUV is the largest national political force, and highlighted its democratic and participatory nature.

The participation rate was greater than the 2.3 million people who voted to preselect PSUV candidates for governors and mayors in 2008. More than 3500 candidates stood in the 87 different electoral circuits, for 110 deputy and 110 alternate positions.

The national leadership, headed by PSUV president Hugo Chavez — also the Venezuela's president — will decide a further 52 deputy and 52 alternate deputy candidates for province-based lists.

Indigenous peoples will select candidates for the parliament’s three Indigenous seats.

The `First Socialist International of the 21st Century'

Venezuela: `This what democracy looks like'; Alan Woods: The people in arms

Venezuelan students organised in the Bolivarian militia.

Introduction to Alan Woods' article (below) by Stuart Munckton, photos by Kiraz Janicke 

April 22, 2010 -- The Future on Fire -- A common chant around the world when people take to the streets against the crimes of the global capitalist system is: "This is what democracy looks like!"

It is a statement that real democracy is on the streets, in the united action of ordinary people. It is a statement that democracy is more than passive voting once every few years, it is popular power and direct participation.

Venezuela: New moves to build workers' power; Revolution in the electricity industry

By Federico Fuentes, Caracas

March 22, 2010 -- The free, sovereign and independent homeland of our dreams will only come true if we radicalise the process and speed up the transition to socialism”, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez wrote in his March 14 weekly column “Chavez Lines”.

The Venezuelan government has launched a number of initiatives in recent weeks aimed to tackle threats to the revolutionary process — including from elements within the pro-Chavez camp that seek to undermine plans to deepen the revolution.

Central to this are new measures aimed at speeding up the transfer of power to organised communities.

Chavez wrote in his February 21 column: “The time has come for communities to assume the powers of state, which will lead administratively to the total transformation of the Venezuelan state and socially to the real exercise of sovereignty by society through communal powers.”

Participatory democracy

The previous day, Chavez announced the creation of the federal government council in front of thousands of armed peasants that are part of the newly created peasant battalions in the Bolivarian militia.

`For Venezuela, there is no going back’: A discussion with Federico Fuentes and Kiraz Janicke

Kiraz Janicke (right).

By Ali Mustafa

March 23, 2010 -- As Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution enters a new decade of struggle and defiantly advances towards its goal of “21st century socialism”, serious challenges to the future of the process emerging from both inside and outside the country still abound. As a result, key questions surrounding Venezuela's mounting tensions with the West, the role played by its fiery and outspoken leader Hugo Chavez and the future of the process itself remain as relevant today as ever before. Australian-based journalists and long-time Venezuela solidarity activists Federico Fuentes and Kiraz Janicke have been carefully following Venezuela's ongoing political transformation for several years now, countering mainstream media spin and providing invaluable on-the-ground coverage and analysis about the process as it unfolds. I had the fortunate opportunity to sit down and speak with them in Toronto before they returned to Caracas, following a 10-day solidarity tour of Canada.

* * *

Venezuela’s revolution faces crucial battles; Chavez: `Towards a communal state!'

Revolutionary youth mobilise in Caracas, February 12, 2010. Photo by ABN.

By Federico Fuentes, Caracas

February 20, 2010 -- Decisive battles between the forces of revolution and counter-revolution loom on the horizon in Venezuela. The campaign for the September 26, 2010, National Assembly elections will be a crucial battle between the supporters of socialist President Hugo Chavez and the US-backed right-wing opposition. But these battles, part of the class struggle between the poor majority and the capitalist elite, will be fought more in the streets than at the ballot box.

So far this year, there has been an escalation of demonstrations by violent opposition student groups; the continued selective assassination of trade union and peasant leaders by right-wing paramilitaries; and an intensified private media campaign presenting a picture of a debilitated government in crisis — and on its way out.

Venezuela: Alberto Muller Rojas on the danger of bureaucracy

Alberto Muller Rojas interviewed by Vladimir Villegas

February 2, 2010 -- This interview was first published at Indymedia Venezuela on November 24, 2009. Vladamir Villegas is the former president of the state-owned Corporación Venezolana de Televisión (Venezuelan Television Corporation, VTV) network based in Caracas, and ex-Venezuelan ambassador to Mexico. Alberto Muller Rojas is the vice-president of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). It was translated by Sean Seymour-Jones and Tamara Pearson for Venezuelanalysis.com.

* * *

Villegas: [You have said] 21st century socialism is a revision, a rectification of the socialist approach and that it isn’t trying to copy what happened in the Soviet Union. You believe that the Soviet model distorted itself because, among other reasons, it constructed a type of state capitalism. A public bureaucracy emerged, equivalent to that of any capitalist country and that bureaucracy totally disconnected itself from the masses.  And that isn’t happening here?

Fifth Socialist International -- Time for definitions; Hora de definiciones


By Luis Bilbao, translated by Janet Duckworth for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

February 2, 2010 -- The first step has been taken. It has extraordinary strategic implications. It will shake up the left and right, the West and the East. It will blow in like a whirlwind through every political organisation, trade union or social, in every corner of the planet. On the evening of November 20, 2009, the day before the opening of the first extraordinary PSUV [United Socialist Party of Venezuela] congress, a feeling of vertigo swept over tens of thousands of people who heard Hugo Chávez, either on TV or on the internet, speak before delegates of parties from 30 or so countries, and launch a proposal that was as long desired as it was unexpected: to set to work to build the Fifth Socialist International.

Unión de Militantes por el Socialismo: Resolución del Comité Central sobre la Vª Internacional/Resolution on the Fifth Int.

[English translation below.]

por Unión de Militantes por el Socialismo (Argentina)

Al Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela

Queridos compañeros y compañeras

Reciban un saludo revolucionario y nuestroamericano, con los mejores deseos para la realización del 1er Congreso Extraordinario del Psuv y el más caluroso respaldo a la propuesta del comandante Chávez de comenzar a echar las bases de una Vª Internacional.

La Unión de Militantes por el Socialismo, fundada en 1994, en medio de la más furiosa reacción mundial contra las ideas de emancipación social, se define como un destacamento comunista, empeñado en la tarea de recomposición de fuerzas revolucionarias a escala nacional, latinoamericana y mundial.

Quienes integramos las filas de la UMS provenimos de diferentes orígenes partidarios, aunados en ese momento de tanta adversidad en torno a lo que consideramos el programa científico de la revolución social, el marxismo entendido como instrumento teórico para una práctica creadora y transformadora.

Recent experiences in left regroupment and reconstruction

By Jim McIlroy

November 23, 2009 -- How do you build socialism in the First World countries right now? Of course, we are part of a world movement for socialism, including the Third World. We can learn a lot from recent and current experiences in left regroupment and party building that are happening around the world at present -- with all proportions guarded, and realising that there is no direct transposition of one historical, national experience onto another.

When we talk about left regroupment and reconstruction, unlike some of the other overseas examples that I will refer to, Socialist Alliance in Australia is not at this stage a broad left party or a regroupment organisation in quite the same way as some of the other international experiences. But it is a vehicle for constructing one and it is a nucleus for building a broad-based socialist party in the future.

Australian and New Zealand socialists support Chavez's call for a new international organisation of the left

Socialist Alliance members in Caracas.

Dear comrades,

December 3, 2009 -- On behalf of the Socialist Alliance of Australia, we would like to send warm, socialist greetings to the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), thanking you once again for the invitation to participate in the International Meeting of Left Parties held in Caracas, November 19-21, 2009.

The outcomes of this event are already having an important impact on the world, particularly among left and progressive forces, and we are grateful that we could be part of it and contribute to its success in our own modest way.

Similarly, we believe that the PSUV’s Extraordinary Congress, which began on November 21, is of great significance, not just for revolutionary forces in Venezuela, but for the left internationally. We hope to follow the proceedings of the congress, particularly through the reports and articles that our members Kiraz Janicke and Federico Fuentes will be sending us from Venezuela, where they are currently based.

Fourth International leader on Chavez's call for a new international

The meeting of left parties held in Caracas, November 19-21, 2009. Photo by ABN.

By François Sabado

November 26, 2009 -- During an international meeting of left parties held in Caracas from 19-21 November, 2009, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez launched a call for a Fifth Socialist International, which, according to him, should bring together left parties and social movements. According to Chavez, who is also president of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), the Fifth International must be “an instrument for the unification and the articulation of the struggle of the peoples to save this planet”. In a world political situation marked by a total crisis of the capitalist system, this is a fact important enough to be underlined.

Venezuela: Chavez urges PSUV to debate how to win socialism by 2019

Hugo Chavez addresses the PSUV congress.

By Kiraz Janicke, Caracas

November 23, 2009 – Venezuelanalysis.com – During an inaugural speech to the 772 delegates at the First Extraordinary Congress of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) on November 21, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez raised a series of proposals to open the debate and discussion over consolidating the struggle for socialism both internationally and in Venezuela.

The global economic crisis should be viewed as an opportunity to accelerate the dismantling of the capitalist system and the construction of socialism, the Venezuelan president stated. In this context he called on the congress delegates to consider his proposal to the international conference of left parties, organisations and social movements to form a “Fifth Socialist International".

Venezuela: Socialists debate party's direction

PSUV members vote in delegate elections on November 15, 2009.

By Kiraz Janicke, Caracas

November 16, 2009 – Venezuelanalysis.com – The United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) held nation-wide delegate elections on November 15 for its First Extraordinary Congress which will be held over the next several weekends in Caracas.

Up for discussion at the congress are the party’s program, principles, organisational structure and most likely the mechanism for selecting candidates for the national parliamentary elections of 2010.

A total of 7800 members competed in the elections for 772 delegate places to the congress. Although the PSUV nominally has nearly 7 million members, voting in the delegate elections was open only to the 2,450,377 “active” members of the party.

Caracas to host world meeting of left parties, October 7-9, 2009

By Federico Fuentes, Caracas

September 5, 2009 -- Caracas will play host to one of the most important international gatherings of left parties in years, when delegates from across the world meet for the First International Meeting of Left Parties over October 7-9, 2009.

The meeting has been called by the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), a mass revolutionary party headed by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. The gathering was agreed upon at the recent Sao Paulo Forum (FSP) held in Mexico City over August 20-22. There, the PSUV delegation presented the proposal to organise an international meeting of left parties.

The FSP was first established in 1990 at the initiative of the Workers’ Party (PT) of Brazil. At the time, the PT had a good reputation on the international left. It was forged out of the workers’ struggles against the Brazilian dictatorship and had developed into a mass workers’ party that spoke of the need to break with capitalism. Since then, the FSP has evolved in a reformist direction, although several important revolutionary parties such as the Cuban Communist Party continue to be involved.

Some of the member parties — like the PT — are now in government in Latin America and are carrying out policies they once strongly denounced.

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