[OPE] Fuentes , Venezuela: Mass revolutionary party ‘to make historhistory’

From: glevy@pratt.edu
Date: Tue Mar 18 2008 - 08:28:55 EDT

Venezuela: Mass revolutionary party 'to make history' 

Fuentes, Caracas 
14 March 2008 

Addressing the founding congress of the United Socialist Party of

Venezuela (PSUV) on March 2, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez 
proclaimed the new party to be "a party for the social battle, for
defense of the homeland". 

"If the
homeland, the revolution were … attacked in a direct manner by 
the empire or its lackeys, each militant of this party should convert

themselves into a revolutionary soldier …" 

"The PSUV is born, destined to make history", Chavez said of
the party 
whose creation he called for in December 2006 to unite the
groups and mass base among the poor that support the
revolution. "Its 
fundamental role is to be … the biggest
guarantee of [the 
revolution's] permanence." 

same weekend, 1,600 delegates at the founding congress approved 
program and declaration of principles of the new party. The 
weekend Chavez was elected president of the party and the 
granted him the power to appoint five vice presidents, the 
first of
which is retired General Alberto Muller Rojas. 

Then on March
9, over 90,000 spokespeople, alternative spokespeople 
and the five
heads of commissions elected from each of the more than 
battalions (branches) participated in the election for the 
national directorate, as well as 15 alternative delegates to 

Political necessity 

Speaking to Green Left
Weekly, Muller Rojas explained that "the party 
was a political
necessity" for Venezuela's revolutionary process. 

veteran revolutionary, Muller Rojas headed Chavez's successful 1998 
presidential campaign. Muller Rojas was appointed to the technical 
commission to help create the PSUV when it was first initiated. 

Describing Chavez's old party, the Movement of the Fifth Republic

(MVR), as an "electoral club with diverse interests",
Muller stated 
that until now "no structured force, with clearly
marked out political 
objectives [and] which united" all
pro-Chavez forces had existed in 
the revolution. 

April and June of 2007, some 5.7 million people signed up to 
the new party, an expression of popular enthusiasm for a 
instrument to serve the revolution. Local battalions were 
with delegates from every 7-12 battalions coming together to 
socialist circumscriptions (districts). 

>From these
circumscriptions the delegates to the founding congress were elected. 

Expressing satisfaction with the founding congress, Muller Rojas

remarked that "you cannot construct a party in one year —
we have a 
multitude of 5.7 million people who enrolled in the party
and it will 
take years to build such a party, particularly due to
the lack of 
political culture, after 40 or 50 years of the exclusion
of the 
majority from politics". 

Debates and

The congress, which began on January 12, was marked
by a number of 
debates and tensions. Chavez, citing Fidel Castro,
stated in his March 
2 speech that the party was "the revolution
within the revolution". 

The party has become a central
battleground for the future of the 
revolution, as the grassroots
attempt to impose its will on 
bureaucratic and right-wing sectors it
feels are holding back the 

Regarding the
debate at the congress that occurred over whether to 
define the party as not only anti-imperialist (as the right 
attempted to limit the program to) but also anti-capitalist, 
Rojas expressed his satisfaction that the congress had adopted 
"definitive position against capitalism". 

debates flared up over the supposed expulsion from the PSUV of 
National Assembly deputy Luis Tascon after he publicly raised 
allegations of corruption in the infrastructure ministry. 

Although the congress never voted on his expulsion, two central 
leaders of the congress organising committee, Jorge Rodriguez and 
Diosdado Cabello (governor of Miranda, a leader of the Chavista right

and brother of the former infrastructure minister implicated in 
Tascon's allegations) announced on state television he had been 

Discontent among delegates forced a backdown, with
the question of 
Tascon's expulsion deferred until after the

There were also widespread concerns raised over the
conduct of the 
congress, specifically the election process for the
leadership of the 

A letter to Chavez signed by a
significant number of congress 
delegates argued it was necessary to
"profoundly revise the internal 
processes that during the
founding congress have unfolded and which we 
feel makes vulnerable
democratic participation, transparency, internal 
unity, the
confidence of militants, the image of the party in the 
country and
the international community". 

Gonzalo Gomez, a delegate
from Caracas working-class barrio Catia and 
member of Socialist Tide
(a collection of left militants in the PSUV) 
argued that although
these issues were problematic, they were 
understandable in the
context of the short time available to found the 
party and the
urgency of the task. 

These criticisms, he explained, need to
be taken into consideration 
for bettering the internal processes of
the party in the future. 

Regarding the Tascon dispute, Gomez
argued that besides the need to 
have first established the program
and principles as a basis for who 
can and can't be a member, as well
statutes to define a democratic 
procedure for expulsions, the real
question is: "What is the biggest 
danger for the revolution?
That people carry out actions outside of 
the framework of the
discipline of the organisation, or is the biggest 
danger that of the
violations of the principles and ethics of the 
party, and the
existence of corruption within the revolution, the 
state and the

Battling bureaucracy 

Following a
strong campaign by delegates, the declaration of 
principles was
amended to include the following paragraph: "The 
in the exercise of public power, bureaucratism, the low 
level of
participation of the people in the control and management of 
government, corruption and a widening gap between the people and 
government, threaten [to undermine] the trust that the people have 
placed in the Bolivarian revolution." 

Drawing on the
lessons of Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky — a 
opponent of the bureaucratic degeneration of the Soviet Union 
Stalin — Muller Rojas added that the biggest danger the party 
faced was bureaucratism. 

He argued this "tends to
create a new class, make party life much more 
rigid, where the party
loses flexibility and where what happens is 
what happened to the
party in the USSR". 

This is more dangerous than the
attacks from imperialism and the 
counter-revolution, Muller Rojas

Asked about differences within the party, Muller Rojas
said: "I 
personally see tendencies as something very positive.
I don't believe 
in the idea of single thought nor dogmatic
thought". He added that 
given the great majority of aspiring
PSUV members don't come from the 
old parties of the left, there has
not yet been the creation of 
organised currents or factions. 

The great diversity of the party was reflected in the election of
national leadership, he added. "There we have everything
afro-descendents, indigenous, whites, youth with different

In the elections
"people did not follow the slates that had been 
supposedly representing different tendencies", Gonzalo 
"In regards to the national leadership, we could say that 
neither the most radical sectors nor the most conservative sectors 
were elected." 

Forged in the midst of a revolutionary
process, the PSUV has some 
enormous tasks ahead. 

"We are the government and the government is the party", said
Rojas. "It is an intimate relationship. It is not just
an external 
support to the government, we have to commit ourselves
to finding the 
greatest efficiency in public policies, cooperating
with the 
government in implementing these policies …
particularly the 
development of popular power with is an
extraordinary task." 

Gomez argued that "the party
should be the promoter, the driving force 
of the policies of the
government, so that it is not the government 
dictating to the party,
but rather the government constructing its 
policies together with
the party and with the social movements". 

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