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PSUV

Venezuela: Class struggle intensifies over battle for workers’ control

By Federico Fuentes

Caracas -- July 25, 2009 -- On July 22, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez again declared his complete support for the proposal by industrial workers for a new model of production based on workers’ control.

This push from Chavez, part of the socialist revolution, aims at transforming Venezuela’s basic industry. However, it faces resistance from within the state bureaucracy and the revolutionary movement. Presenting his government’s “Plan Socialist Guayana 2009-2019”, Chavez said the state-owned companies in basic industry have to be transformed into “socialist companies”.

The plan was the result of several weeks of intense discussion among revolutionary workers from the Venezuelan Corporation of Guayana (CVG). The CVG includes 15 state-owned companies in the industrial Guayana region involved in steel, iron ore, mineral and aluminium production.

The workers’ roundtables were established after a May 21 workshop, where industrial workers raised radical proposals for the socialist transformation of basic industry. Chavez addressed the workshop in support of many of the proposals.

Venezuela: Marea Socialista -- Firmness and participation needed; The best defence is to deepen revolution

[Translators' note: The following editorials come from Marea Socialista (Socialist Tide), a magazine published by an organised tendency of the same name within Venezuela's United Socialist Party (PSUV), headed by Hugo Chávez.]

Marea Socialista editorial, issue 20, July 12, 2009. Translated by Sean Seymour-Jones for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

Nationalisations and workers' control in Venezuela: ‘When the working class roars, capitalists tremble’

By Federico Fuentes

June 1, 2009 -- Addressing the 400-strong May 21 workshop with workers from the industrial heartland of Guayana, dedicated to the “socialist transformation of basic industry”, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez noted with satisfaction the outcomes of discussions: “I can see, sense and feel the roar of the working class.”

“When the working class roars, the capitalists tremble”, he said.

Chavez announced plans to implement a series of radical measures, largely drawn from proposals coming from the workers’ discussion that day. The workers greeted each of Chavez’s announcements with roars of approval, chanting “This is how you govern!”

Chavez said: “The proposals made have emerged from the depths of the working class. I did not come here to tell you what to do! It is you who are proposing this.”

Nationalisation and workers’ control

Venezuela: Mass organisation, unity increases as revolution deepens; Coca-Cola plant replaced with `socialist commune'

Photo by Winston Bravo, ABN.

By Federico Fuentes

March 21, 2009 -- “This government is here to protect the people, not the bourgeoisie or the rich”, proclaimed Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on February 28, as he ordered soldiers to take over two rice-processing plants owned by Venezuelan food and drink giant Empresas Polar. 

The move was made in order to ensure that the company was producing products subjected to the government-imposed price controls that aim to protect the poor from the affects of global price rises and inflation.

Under Venezuelan law, companies that can produce basic goods regulated by price controls must guarantee that 70-95% of their products are of the regulated type.

“They’ve refused 100 times to process the typical rice that Venezuelans eat”, said Chavez. “If they don’t take me seriously, I’ll expropriate the plants and turn them into social property.”

PSUV document: Crack in the accumulation of world capitalism (march towards the global depression)

The following document was produced by the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) national leadership. It has been translated from the Spanish-language original by Federico Fuentes for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal.

On March 21, all PSUV battalions met to discuss the document, together with an article written by Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez (read it HERE). The day after, Chavez announced his government’s anti-crisis measures (see http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4314).

The document is significant not only for what it says, but also because it is the beginning of a mass discussion on how to confront the crisis in Venezuela in the lead-up to the PSUV’s August congress (for more see http://www.escambray.cu/Eng/news/Wvenezuela090320434.htm).

Venezuela: Referendum victory advances process of change

By Chris Kerr

Caracas, February 20, 2009 -- “Today we opened wide the gates of the future … Truth against lies [and] the dignity of the homeland has triumphed”, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez insisted to tens of thousands of celebrating supporters after Venezuelans voted to amend the constitution to end term limits on all elected politicians — allowing Chavez to stand for re-election in 2012.

“Venezuela will not return to its past of indignity”, Chavez stated, referring to the four decades of alternating rule by two corrupt parties that followed the overthrow of a military dictatorship in 1958.

During this period, known as the Fourth Republic, billions of dollars of oil wealth was squandered by a corrupt elite that increasingly opened the country to plundering by foreign corporate interests while the poverty rate sky-rocketed. Chavez was first elected in 1998 on a platform of transforming Venezuela (creating a “Fifth Republic”).

The turn-out of voters in the referendum was the largest ever, with 54.85% (or more than 6.3 million) voting in favour of the amendment. Around 5.2 million voted “no”. The result was declared free and fair by independent international observers.

Venezuela: A balance sheet of the constitutional referendum victory

Venezuelan newspapers report the victory of the constitutional referendum.

By Gonzalo Villanueva

Venezuela’s February 15 constitutional amendment referendum, which proposed to modify the existing constitution to allow politicians to stand for re-election without restrictions, was triumphant. However, the referendum was more than a legal amendment – the removal of term limits – it was a political issue: to continue the revolutionary project or not? The Venezuelan people have convincingly signalled their desire to continue with the Bolivarian process, under the leadership of Hugo Chavez. The victory undoubtedly opens a path to advance and deepen the Bolivarian Revolution.

The amendment achieved a significant 6.3 million votes (54% of the vote). These latest electoral result confirms that the chavista camp has recovered significantly from the 2007 constitutional referendum defeat of 4.4 million votes (49.29%), a trend also followed in the 2008 regional elections. However, there is still a shortfall in comparison to the 2006 presidential elections that achieved 7.3 million votes (62.84%).

Democracy wins in Venezuelan referendum; Chavez promises `socialist democracy'

Hugo Chavez addresses thousands of Venezuelans from the `Balcony of the People' following the referendum victory.

[Click HERE for more coverage of the referendum campaign.]

A statement from the Australia–Venezuela Solidarity Network

February 17, 2009 -- On Sunday, February 15, Venezuelans voted in a referendum to change the country’s constitution to allow elected officials to re-stand for election without restriction. Previously, Venezuela’s constitution allowed elected officials, including the president, to stand for only two terms.

With 94.2% of the votes counted, the National Electoral Council announced that the “Yes” vote had won with 6,003,584 votes (54.36%). The “No” vote received 5,040,082 votes (45.63%). Dozens of election observers from international bodies such as the United Nations and the Organization of American States verified that the referendum was free and fair.

Venezuela: Luis Bilbao -- Reasons to be on alert after the referendum victory

By Luis Bilbao, translated by Federico Fuentes

Luis Bilbao is a central participant in the construction of the mass United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and in the formation of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR). He will be a featured guest at the World at a Crossroads conference, to be held in Sydney, Australia, on April 10-12, 2009, organised by the Democratic Socialist Perspective, Resistance and Green Left Weekly. To book your tickets for the conference go to http://www.worldatacrossroads.org/register.

February 14, 2009 -- A string of provocations in the days leading up to the constitutional amendment referendum points to the employment of a disturbance plan that could well be followed up with destabilisations attempts after the poll.

Venezuela: Democracy, revolution and the `president for life' lie

Chavez arrives at the polling place on February 14, 2009. The referendum on term limits was passed with a 54% majority vote.

By Chris Kerr

Caracas, February 6, 2009 -- “The reform is aimed as a personal project. This is neither revolution nor socialism, but personal ambition”, argued Federico Black of the student organisation Furthering the Country to the virulently anti-Chavez Venezuelan daily El Universal

Black was referring to an amendment to Venezuela’s constitution that will be voted on in a referendum on February 15 to remove limits on the number of times an elected official can stand for election to a public office. If passed, it would allow Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez to stand in the presidential elections in 2012.

According to Black, “We have been educating the public about why you should vote ’no’. The point at issue is to explain to ordinary people and the whole country that indefinite reelection is anti-democratic and a mere personal desire …”

Join the next Australian solidarity brigade to Venezuela! April 15-25, 2009

Join the next Australian solidarity brigade to Venezuela! April 15-25, 2009

Venezuela’s Bolivarian revolution led by President Hugo Chavez is shaking up global politics and inspiring millions of ordinary people with the evidence that a better – a peaceful, democratic and socially just – world is possible.

* Whereas in Australia, health, education and public infrastructure is being privatised, in Venezuela, major industries are being nationalised and put under workers’ control, and universal access to health, education and social welfare is now guaranteed.

* Whereas in Australia, workers are being sacked, wages and conditions are being eroded and trade unions are under attack, in Venezuela, wages are increasing, and union membership and organisation is growing.

* Whereas in Australia, the government sends troops into Indigenous communities, and Aboriginal people continue to live in Third World conditions and are killed in custody, in Venezuela, indigenous people have Constitutionally guaranteed land rights and representation in parliament, and are exercising self-determination.

Venezuela: Mass support for constitutional reform campaign

Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.

By Tamara Pearson

Mérida, January 19, 2009 (venezuelanalysis.com) -- Over the January 17-18 weekend, committees from various sectors of society swore to campaign hard to win the approval by public vote of the amendment to the constitution to get rid of the two-term limit on all elected offices in Venezuela.

More than 20,000 people attended the swearing in of the heads of logistical and operational patrols of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) in Caracas on January 17.

Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez stated at the event that there are now about 100,000 “Yes committees” organised, or in formation, to campaign in favour of changing the five articles of constitution so that all popularly elected positions are not limited to two terms.

The committees are organised along various fronts and community lines, including women, youth, workers, communal councils and the PSUV.

Venezuela 2008: Balance sheet of the revolutionary process

By Gonzalo Gomez

December 17, 2008 -- During 2008, our revolutionary process has had its ebbs and flows. Overall, we had significant progress, especially in the recuperation of sovereignty, with the nationalisations and the electoral victories in the great majority of governorships and mayoralties. The right-wing also had its successes, as it managed to retain and seize several strategic places. The process is not linear, but the revolution needs to move forward in a permanent manner or the hangover of a counterrevolution will raze the achievements obtained, including the crushing of the vanguard.

You cannot build socialism in the bowels of capitalism. It requires qualitative leaps, in a timely manner and in accordance with the correlation of forces, to enable the break with capitalism and initiate a real transition to socialism. In capitalism there is no solution for the exploited masses; it undermines any economic, social or political conquest of the people, if they are not used to promote the deepening of the revolution, with the organisation and mobilisation of the workers, peasants and popular [sectors].

Venezuelan elections: Mixed results intensify class struggle

PSUV members rally before the November 23, 2008, elections.

By Christopher Kerr

Electoral politics in Venezuela are primarily an expression of the greater class struggle occurring around them. This general tendency occurs despite efforts by the government to institutionalise the mechanism of elections as the legitimate method of implementing the political project of both blocs of power, and ensuring the transparency and reliability of the electoral process in the eyes of the Venezuelan masses.

Venezuela: Significance of the election results and the new struggles (with audio)

Supporters of the revolution mobilise in Miranda, in defiance of the opposition victory there. Photo by Winston Bravo, ABN.
By Federico Fuentes, Caracas

November 29, 2008 -- Supporters and opponents of Venezuela’s Bolivarian revolution have come out with differing assessments post the November 23 regional elections, which Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez had defined as the most important electoral contest yet for the process of change.

Venezuela: US-backed right wing murders unionists, attacks revolutionary gains

A statement from the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network

November 28, 2008 -- In the aftermath of the November 23 regional elections, Venezuela’s right-wing opposition has launched, in the states it won, an all-out assault on grassroots community organisations.

President Hugo Chavez and the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) won a clear mandate in the elections for the project to build socialism of the 21st century: the PSUV won 17 states with 5,730,774 votes nationwide, compared to the opposition’s 3,948,912 votes. The opposition’s vote was concentrated in key strategic areas, giving them the governorships of five states and the mayor of Greater Caracas.

In the days following the elections, grassroots activists in Caracas, Miranda and Tachira have reported that the public community health clinics (part of Barrio Adentro, the free universal healthcare program), communal councils and other centres where social programs operate are being shut down or attacked by opposition party, despite the public assurances of at least one right-wing govenor-elect that the legal frameworks would be respected.

Venezuela: After the regional elections, the workers propose a clean out and more revolution

Stalin Perez Borges

By Stalin Perez Borges, translated by Kiraz Janicke and Federico Fuentes for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

November 25, 2008 -- I want to give some preliminary and personal impressions, in the heat of the moment, where many comrades are very preoccupied by the significance of the [Chavista movement’s] loss of the Mayor of Greater Caracas and of some important or key governorships in the country.

It’s time to calm down and sit down together in order to evaluate in depth with the comrades. There are various points that we should analyse in order to draw conclusions that truly reflect reality. It is necessary to open a profound debate within the party [United Socialist Party of Venezuela – PSUV], to reflect and proceed with self-criticism, as President Chavez indicated on Sunday night.

Venezuela’s regional elections: Another vote for the revolution and Chavez (now with video, audio)

Real News Network report, November 28, 2008: The media and the Venezuelan elections -- US media covers Chavez victory and calls it a defeat

Audio: Federico Fuentes on speaks to Latin Radical about election outcomes

November 28, 2008

Chavez calls for ‘revolution in the revolution' -- On the spot reports from Venezuela on the eve of the Nov. 23 elections

By Barry Healy & Annolies Truman, Caracas

November 22, 2008 -- Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez called for a “revolution within the revolution” at an 8000 strong United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) rally here on November 18.

Chavez called upon the PSUV ranks to hold successful PSUV candidates to account if they failed to act in the interests of the people after the election.

The rally was organised to inspire PSUV organisers and local committee members in the lead-up to the vote for state governors and local government positions on November 23. Poliedro Stadium, on the edge of Caracas, was a sea of red T-shirts and banners, and echoed with energetic revolutionary singing and chanting.

Contingents of local PSUV battalions and international solidarity groups from Argentina, Peru and Australia listened to Jorge Rodriguez, PSUV candidate for mayor of the Caracas municipality of Liberatador, and candidate for mayor of Greater Caracas, Aristobulo Isturiz.

Rodriguez was Venezuelan vice-president during 2007, while Isturiz is a former education minister.

On the spot reports from Venezuela: Right-wing seeks to undermine November 23 elections

Below Green Left Weekly/Links Caracas correspondent Federico Fuentes speaks to Latin Radical about developments and possible outcomes of November's regional and state elections in Venezuela. Following that, GLW's Jim McIlroy and Coral Wynter also report from Caracas on the US-backed opposition's antics.

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