[OPE-L] CIM announcement

From: michael a. lebowitz (mlebowit@SFU.CA)
Date: Fri Sep 15 2006 - 10:54:09 EDT

Caracas, 27 August 2006

Dear Friend,

It is my great pleasure, on behalf of the Centro Internacional
Miranda (CIM, Miranda International Centre), to contact you to tell
you that the Centro Internacional Miranda now exists. As a
sympathizer with and an activist in the Bolivarian cause, we value
your cooperation highly and we hope that your intellectual work will
be able to find in our Foundation a space for collaboration, the kind
of collaboration which reinforces the already existing world network
of critical thought, a network which has already had some success in
counteracting neo-liberal hegemony.

CIM came into being on 8 August 2005. The motive force behind this
move was the need to create a physical, institutional space to
coordinate international support for the Bolivarian process, thus
allowing thinkers and activists from all over the world who are
committed to emancipation to help the Bolivarian Republic on many
levels. A number of very committed people have been involved in the
various stages this powerful idea has traversed. By dint of their
huge effort, they have managed to get CIM up and running. As of 21
March of this year, I have assumed the responsibility of being CIM's president
-- I was part of the team that initially took on the task of
breathing life into this project.

 From then until now, we at CIM have set ourselves the task of
helping to bring about something which is of great importance to us;
that is, spreading the news, to as many different places as is
possible, about a process as unprecedented as the Bolivarian process
whose constitution enshrines both participation by the people and
their protagonism. We also want to bring together those engaged in
international emancipatory thinking so we can all collaborate in
building authentic relations based on multi-polarity, something much
needed given the hegemony of the North.

Similarly, we want to offer a space where international support for
this process can be coordinated, a space which permits thinkers and
activists committed to emancipation to help the Bolivarian Republic
in various ways (reflection, cadre training, writing top quality
reports, etc.)
All of the above, combined with a serious study of the educational
processes already underway, are the most important building blocks
for constructing just, peace-loving societies which are committed to
the welfare of their populations.

CIM's principal objectives are:

"To promote and make known the political system of participative,
protagonistic democracy which is envisaged in the Venezuelan
constitution, by creating spaces for debate among intellectuals about
certain central themes which will make it possible to improve the
aforementioned model and for the people to fully develop themselves".

So that we may do this, we have decided that our most important goal
is to make CIM a space for coordinating, channelling and promoting
collective reflection, both Venezuelan and international, about the
various themes and questions that are vital for the short, medium and
long-term development of the unprecedented Bolivarian revolutionary
process; our aim is to nourish it with all kinds of ideas and
experiences. Therefore, we at CIM have set ourselves the following
specific goals:

To promote, centralise and empower the work of international advisors
and the care and attention given to foreign collaborators, by helping
them to coordinate with national networks which are reflecting on
emancipatory processes. To encourage the creation of a network of
foreign experts who are interested in the process Venezuela is going
through. Marta Harnecker from Chile and Michael Lebowitz, from Canada
have been working with us from the very beginning. Today we also have
two Spaniards, Victor Rios and Juan Carlos Monedero working with us.
We have already contacted other researchers to see if it might be
possible to have them join CIM for short periods of research or cooperation.

. To turn CIM into a place where foreign and Venezuelan thinkers can
meet and reflect. To have it become the most important body
coordinating and promoting physical and institutional spaces where
intellectuals, both inside and outside the Bolivarian Republic, can
come together to discuss matters relevant to the development of the
Bolivarian constitutional model. Similarly, to become a centre that
promotes various forms of collaboration with academic centres,
popular organisations and institutions, both Venezuelan and foreign.

As a research centre, it should it should be deeply involved in the
promotion, examination and analysis of government public policy and
of the advances in participative and protagonistic democracy proposed
in the Venezuelan constitutional model. Moreover, it should do all of
this as per the needs of the country and in order to make known far
and wide the contributions the Bolivarian process is making to
transforming the world.

To contribute to the training, education and development of social,
economic and political cadres who believe completely in the main
ideals of the transforming process enshrined in the constitution.
These cadres will then join those who lead and direct social and
political projects.

To create a publishing policy which seeks to document and promote
Venezuelan and foreign experiences, to publish works that fall into
the tradition of revolutionary thinking and to publish the research
of intellectuals on subjects vital to the debate on and analysis of
twenty first century socialism and the replacement of capitalism. We
want to promote and encourage many kinds of books, to distribute
works in progress, documents, books, pamphlets, videos, etc.

In order to accomplish these tasks, CIM has developed nine main
programmes. I will just list them now, they are dealt with in more
detail in the attachment. There is a programme concerned with Twenty
First Century Socialism; one on Participation by the People in Public
Administration; one of the New Productive Model; one on A Practice
that Transforms and Human Development; a programme which researches
the Regional Integration Agreements and Multilateral Agreements; A
programme which reflects on the role of the media called Towards a
Science of Media Criticism; a programme on Critical Pedagogy and
Bolivarian Education Management, an international exchange programme
and a training programme.
There is no need to tell you how important your opinion about these
programmes is to us, as is any suggestions you may have of names of
people we can contact, people you think may be interested in this
letter. This is more important than ever now when it is so obvious
that emancipation cannot be restricted to one country.
In solidarity,

Luis Bonilla Molina
President of the Centro Internacional Miranda
Synthesis of CIM's programmes
Summary of CIM's Programmes

1) International Exchange Programme, the aim of which is to
coordinate a network of critical researchers who will make Venezuela
one of the nodes of this network, the idea being to foster exchanges
with important researchers and social activists all over the world.
To do this, we have envisaged having people come and stay for up to
three months to do research at CIM. During these visits, researchers
will be able to give seminars and do further research into subjects
relevant to the Bolivarian Revolution. Thus CIM will be helping to
develop the premises of an alternative kind of integration as set
forth in ALBA.

2) Critical Pedagogy and Bolivarian Educational Management. This
looks at the way the educational philosophy of the education system
and the missions put in practice by the Bolivarian process area
working. It also studies the most advanced educational theory from
all over the world thus making it possible to reinforce and justify
the importance the constitution places on education.

3) Training Programme. The purpose of this programme is to help to
give cadres the critical ability to handle such things as the basic
concepts of economics, politics, sociology, education, history and
law; to give them a thorough understanding of the Bolivarian
Revolutionary process, the tools for top level public administration
in a society heading towards socialism; knowledge about the way
socialism developed in the twentieth century and the perspective for
twenty first century socialism; the ability to design, implement and
evaluate public policies. This programme also hopes to study,
evaluate and complement the various Government and Citizenship
Schools that exist in the world, especially those in Latin America.

4) Twenty First Century Socialism. This programme's aim is to
encourage reflection, discussion and further study by looking at a
new kind of socialism for which there are no models, paradigms or
valid canons. This programme has also taken on the task of evaluating
all the great socialist experiments of the past and the successful
practices that are building "partial socialisms" all across the
planet and which, generally, are ignored by both the media and academe.

5) Participation by the people in Public Administration. This
programme is studying the subject of participation by the people, one
of the main axes of the new model for the society Venezuela wants to
build. It hopes set the stage for foreign advisers to come and bring
their technical knowledge and experience to support those mayors and
governors who ask for help in areas such as: the participatory
budget, decentralisation, social auditing, community banks, etc. It
also proposes to: cooperate with experts from other countries in
following up on the innovative forms of participation that are being
put into practice in this country, especially the never-before-seen
experience of the communal councils; to help to train Venezuelan
cadres for participation by inviting international experts to give
courses and workshops in various areas related to participation; to
inform people abroad about Venezuelan experiences in participation.

6) Programme concerning the New Model of Production. This programme
enters the debate about the kind of economy that can replace
capitalism, by a focus that engages with the logic of an economy
based on human beings and the environment. In order to do this, an
analysis must be made of the concrete way capitalism functions,
especially in Latin America as well as an analysis of the
alternatives that are creating important referents in the field of
endogenous development. This programme will study emerging subjects
such as social production companies, the different paths followed by
the people's economy and the social economy: cooperativism, social
management of oil income, the environmental paradigms of various
modes of production, the balance and the challenges of experiments in
co-management, self-management and worker control, the approaches to
production chains, fair trade and complementarity as a lever to bring
about integration.

7) Programme on the Practice that Transforms and Human Development.
At the heart of the Bolivarian Revolution lies the notion that people
develop their skills and abilities through their activity, that
concept which Marx put forward as the essence of revolutionary
practice, the simultaneous transformation of circumstances and
oneself, or self-transformation. The aim of the research work that
CIM will undertake is to begin to develop both the concepts and the
measuring tools that will allow us to evaluate the progress the
Bolivarian Revolution has made towards reaching the goals set forth
in the constitution.

8) The Programme studying the Regional Integration Agreements and
Multilateral Agreements. This analyses the possibilities of finding
an alternative form of globalisation and analyses the
counterhegemonic path proposed by the Bolivarian Alternative for the
Peoples. In a globalised world, we must have a critical analysis of
international agreements and institutions (WTO; FTAs, FTAA, IMF, WB)
whose role is to maintain the strong differences we see on the
international scene and this critical analysis must go hand in hand
with alternative proposals which, from a social, ecological and human
point of view, seek to replace the capitalist model.

9) The Programme for reflecting on the Role of the Media: Towards a
Science of Media Criticism. The latter will, taking account of the
role of third power the big media companies play, study the way the
media manipulate and will lay the foundations for a network of media
that present an alternative to the big media companies.
Michael A. Lebowitz
Professor Emeritus
Economics Department
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6

Currently based in Venezuela. Can be reached at
Residencias Anauco Suites
Departamento 601
Parque Central, Zona Postal 1010, Oficina 1
Caracas, Venezuela
(58-212) 573-4111
fax: (58-212) 573-7724

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