[OPE-L] Stuart Munckton on Venezuela.

From: Dogan Goecmen (dogangoecmen@AOL.COM)
Date: Sat Jul 21 2007 - 03:43:04 EDT

Under the link below there is this intersting short article on Venezuela.



Venezuela: United socialist party, popular power advance -Stuart Munckton



  07 July 2007 -  





According to a June 25 Venezuelanalysis.com report, the formation of
the new United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) has entered a new
phase. Officials and party militants had met in Caracas the previous
weekend at the “National Meeting of Candidates for PSUV Militants in
Caracas”. According to the report, “Record numbers of Venezuelans have
registered to be members of the new party” and the grassroots process
of forming the PSUV “continues with wide participation”. 

Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chavez, called for the formation of the
PSUV following his re-election in December on an explicitly socialist
platform with 7.3 million votes — the highest number in Venezuelan
history. Chavez has called for the party to be built democratically,
from the ground up, in order to unite revolutionary militants from
across the country into a weapon to advance the revolutionary process
that his government is leading. 

Through the revolutionary process, millions of people have become
involved in political activity for the first time. However they have
often been dispersed over a wide range of organisations. The main
pro-Chavez parties have been criticised by many grassroots activists
and Chavez himself for bureaucratic and opportunist practices. Chavez
has insisted the new party should make a decisive break with such

In one month, 5.7 million people have registered with the PSUV, far
exceeding expectations, indicating the enormous enthusiasm among the
poor supporters of the revolution for the project. According to
Venezuelanalysis.com, Vice-President Jorge Rodriguez said that the
second phase will involve the formation of more than 20,000 popular
assemblies of those who registered their desire to join the PSUV to
debate and discuss the party’s political program. 

More than 25,000 activists will form “socialist battalions” that
will organise the assemblies across the country. The article reported
that the battalions “will start to meet in community assemblies
beginning on July 21 … Each battalion will hold a total of three
community assemblies before electing a battalion spokesperson to
participate in the elections for the founding congress that is expected
to be convened in August and last for three months.” 

Rodriguez explained that those who have applied for membership of
the PSUV must use the assemblies to study and debate “important topics
for the process of the foundation of the party such as its structural
basis and concepts like democracy, socialism, sovereignty and
anti-imperialism”. He argued that the community assemblies could be
converted into centres of revolutionary political discussion that
continue after the PSUV’s formation. 

Addressing the Caracas meeting, “Chavez explained that one
important reason for the united party was to consolidate the revolution
and not rely on the leadership of only one man but rather make a party
that can last forever”. Referring to the need to overcome the reliance
on his personal authority and to replace it with a broad-based
leadership, Chavez said that “Human beings are transitory”. “The party
must be eternal, the most powerful revolutionary motor.” 

The push for a new revolutionary party to unite revolutionary
militants has occurred hand in hand with a government push for an
“explosion” of popular power, which has been centred on the communal
councils. These are grassroots bodies elected from no more than 400
families in a particular community, with a general assembly of the
community as the highest decision-making body. All Venezuelans over the
age of 14 are able to participate in the councils’ election. The
councils are directly funded by the government and have control over
the running of their local area. A June 21 article posted on
Venezuelanalysis.com explained that “most councils have their own
communal banks and command centers to organize public works projects,
30 percent of which are related to infrastructure”. 

Some 18,000 communal councils currently exist. Chavez, speaking to
members of the Presidential Committee for Communal Power that was
formed in January, argued that the councils needed to unite to form
“popular power” federations. “We’re beginning a new era: We’re going to
expand popular power, communal power, and include it in the
Constitution”, the president said.

29 June 2007

[From: International News, Green Left Weekly issue #716 4 July 2007.]

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