Bringing together a left voice in Venezuela

July 15, 2014

Marea Socialista, a revolutionary organization working within the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) founded by Hugo Chávez, Venezuela's president until his death in March 2013, has issued a call to supporters of the Bolivarian Revolution to attend an open conference on July 19, one week before the Third National Congress of the ruling party is scheduled to take place. The Conference aims to give these supporters a place to strategize about their participation in the Congress, which is being promoted by PSUV leaders as a decisive event that will determine whether or not it can function as a revolutionary vehicle.

In an earlier document, Marea Socialista's Gonzalo Gómez published 10 proposals to challenge the leadership of the PSUV. Now Marea is offering a space for other organization with a commitment to a bottom-up concept of the Venezuelan revolution to come together and discuss how they can come into the Congress stronger as a collective force. This document was published at Venezuela's left-wing alternative media source

CHÁVEZ SUPPORTERS are on the receiving end of a fierce attack. They have been resisting these attacks all down the line, demonstrating their loyalty to the fulfillment of an oath they made to the Comandante on March 5, 2013, and which was ratified during this long year of hardship.

Sometimes, they have seemed to lose patience. This is because we are suffering through the worst conditions in more than 20 years of struggles, dreams and hopes. But these people, even if many of their enemies may not understand it, are made of hardwood, with the strength of freedom fighters. Chávez was carved from this same material.

That's why they came down from the hills to rescue Comandante Chávez that April in 2002 from the coup plotters, and stayed with the president to wrest control of the oil industry from the bosses later that year. Because of this, they were not afraid in 2004, and they triumphed, without organization, without leaders, except Chávez, in the battle of Santa Inés, as the failed right-wing recall election was nicknamed.

A mass march and rally in 2006 in support of the Bolivarian process
A mass march and rally in 2006 in support of the Bolivarian process

So, too, on the October 4, 2012, the people poured into the streets in Caracas to accompany Chávez for hundreds of miles to the battleground of his last electoral campaign in this land. They danced with him under a downpour, which only purified that unforgettable day.

Despite daily mistreatment and suffering, due to inflation and hoarding, the people have continued enduring all kinds of abuses in order to not fall into the trap set by the pro-imperialist, ruthless, ultra-violent and cruel right wing. This right wing has no qualms about playing with life, food, health and the basic necessities of low-income families.

But just because Chávez supporters are patient and dignified does not make them stupid. Those who are abusing their patience, if they continue to do so, will feel the roar of the people's fury and will receive their just desserts.

The right's offensive, from outside and inside the country, is not only economic, but also political and ideological. Some of the most prominent opposition commentators--and others who say they are on "our side"--blame what they call the crisis of the Chávez model.

Those who are carrying this line are looking to dismantle the gains of the Bolivarian Process in order to pass their neoliberal agenda. They intend to regain control of oil profits, like before, and to negate our democratic achievements. They are the same cast of businessmen, bankers and politicians; the most corrupt officials, who have been plundering the country and who fear losing their privileges. They are scraping the last food from a pot they did not help to fill. And now they claim that the common people who survive by their own hard work must pay for the broken plates.

MEANWHILE, THE government of President Nicolás Maduro, the government for whom we voted on April 14, 2013, and which we defend from the attacks of the right and imperialism, seems to be staying silent. Maduro has given no response. Worse, at times, the government goes in the wrong direction. It is falling into a trap set by those who organized the coup in April 2002. Maduro's government is ceding to the pressure of capital in what even he openly recognizes as economic warfare.

This is why, in the very spaces opened up by the government for "dialogue" with the political and economic opposition, we find that it is the personification of capital which is imposing requirements and conditions on the country. The richest centers of international finance capital, the same capital that is provoking the current global crisis, demand more and more measures in their favor. They are looking to impose their conditions and want to turn our own friends against us. That's why these capitalists seek to transform the very same government that we elected, that we put in power, into the neoliberal government they desire.

Our people want to be heard--they demand to be truly listened to. They should be greeted immediately, not only in the streets, but directly inside the Miraflores presidential palace, in businesses, in their communities, without unrepresentative and restrictive lists, without preventive censure, in open meetings.

They want a face-to-face dialogue with the president for whom they voted, with their worker president. They want to help him to govern as Chávez asked on December 8, when he said, "always with the people and together with the people." They want to be heard--to give solutions to the problems they suffer and to share their knowledge and expertise. They want solutions that are opposed to the solutions of capital. They want to organize their capacity to fight; to fight for this dream, this utopia, built with Chávez, which is today in danger.

The right inside the country aims--and is most often successful at it--to close off any spaces for debate and democratic participation by the public. The hope that the people might have awakened the PSUV Congress is diminishing, because the situation is not getting better--on the contrary, it is getting much worse. Yet unfortunately, the party continues to be closed to mass and democratic participation of its members. For these reasons, and acting as a part of the militant block of the PSUV, we demand a radical shift in the preparation, methodology, and agenda of the Congress.

FORTUNATELY, THIS wall of silence the party has sought to build with insults, threats and persecutions has cracked.

Ex-Minister Jorge Giordani's letter has painted the debate in black and white terms, and now it cannot be closed down. The sanctions imposed on Héctor Navarro, a historic leader in the struggle, proves that there is a sector in the party that prefers the silence of anti-democratic measures to the vital bustle of debate conducted by a mobilized people. We reject slander and personal accusations as political arguments, the preferred methods of those who want to silence debate.

For all these reasons--to weaken the power of the party's upper caste, to demand to be listened to, to make our proposals heard--we must prepare ourselves for a fight in defense of the gains of the Bolivarian Process.

In this vein, Marea Socialista is convening a National Open Conference. There, we will unite with hundreds of activists, elected spokespeople from the rank and file of some of the people who gave birth to Chávez, the people who were able to set a dream in motion, who demonstrated and still demonstrate daily their fighting spirit, his working-class, rebellious, unrelenting, loyal, and simple people.

Comrades from all corners of this country are preparing themselves for this debate openly in their communities, workplaces, universities, and collectives. They are part of militant unions, community councils, from fields and businesses that are worker controlled, from communes. They come from urban spaces and from the classrooms where we spent our childhoods and where our hard-working art, science and literature teachers struggle.

So here, with our eyes set toward the Bolivarian project of emancipation, we are placing our efforts for the building a world of justice and equality. Our feet, however, are firmly planted on the ground so that we may think, debate and propose actions, methods and work, which correspond to the course indicated by the socialist and Bolivarian compass, the Constitution of the Republic, the Chávez's National Plan and Sharp Turn initiative.

We learned with Chávez, and he learned with us. We are one, indivisible. Together, the people and their most dedicated fighters, we are more than the simple arithmetic sum of our individual wills. We are offering, once more to our revolution, our knowledge of struggle and the sensibility of those of us who live from our work.

We are doing it openly, facing our people, because we believe in their potential. Poor are those who don't believe in our campesinos, our youth, our workers, in our women fighters, in our technicians, in our artists and intellectuals. Poor are those who have lost faith in the creative strength of the people. They are in denial of this vital strength that springs forth from within our people, that which gave birth to hurricane Chávez.

We don't expect to be understood by the upper caste and their media. They do not matter to us. We are speaking to President Maduro, and we hope that he listens to us; but most of all, he should listen to our people. We hope to serve as a spark plug, an impulse, an energy that can help change the current path, which is putting at risk the future of the gains of the revolution, of our republic and our great nation. For all this, we are convening this open conference to the democratic participation of all who have a similar approach to ours.

In this conference, we will speak of our problems and dreams. We will elaborate our proposals, and we will demand that our rights be respected. We will analyze a course of action to return to the construction of popular power. We reaffirm our commitment to our fellow workers, and we will design a solidarity plan to fight so that our achievements will be respected, and we will advance to solidify them. We reject the right wing, which has abandoned our nation to the wolves. Here, we will rise up with pride in our socialist, Bolivarian, anti-capitalist, Chavista, anti-imperialist identity.

Many of us are militants in the PSUV, and, therefore, we propose that the spokespeople elected by the rank and file of the National Open Conference of Socialist Tide vote to endorse a document to be delivered to the delegates of the PSUV congress, which details our concerns, demands, and proposals.

UNFORTUNATELY, WE are witnessing the breakdown, with some honorable exceptions, in the leadership of nearly all of the old institutionalized and bureaucratized "left." These figures and organizations have justified scrambling for and competing over positions of power for their own benefit or for their own organizational machinery.

Their political perspective despises the democratic participation of a militant and social base. This "left" has isolated itself from a people who have not lost hope. On the contrary, as we demonstrated last December, we are a people who are ready to fight, but only if the voice who calls us to battle is sincere and consistent with Chávez's legacy.

A revolution is not easy work. We accept the challenges and difficulties because, simply, put, we have confidence in this liberatory people. Today, we see it, we live it, despite the difficulties and the problems. We see that the happiness, the capacity to sacrifice, and the strength of our people remains intact.

This energy gives us the revolutionary will to fight for our ideas, those which arise from the Bolivarian revolution. We are touring the country under our own efforts--we do not benefit from resources or support that comes with bureaucratic strings attached. We are publicizing this proposal in forums, meetings, conversations and interviews, and we are extending the invitation to participate in this event to all fighters who wish to join.

We are opening the debate, but there is a real possibility that we will be denied the right to decide on which actions to take. Yet we will submit our appeal to the PSUV for a vote and will present our proposals to the government of President Maduro. So that between us all--democratically, as it should be--we may decide to put in motion a platform for debate, the elaboration of proposals, and the steps necessary to struggle in the defense of the achievements of the Bolivarian Process.

Translation by Karen Domínguez Burke and Eva María

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