About this blog

Venezuela: translating the revolution aims to promote solidarity with Venezuela's Bolivarian revolution by providing translations of interesting and important Venezuelan news articles and opinion pieces. It welcomes genuine discussion and debate on the posted articles.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Che Guevara - the fourth fool

The following is my translation of a recent article posted on the Un Grano de Maiz blogsite. Un Grano de Maiz articles are also published daily in a very popular column in Diario Vea, a mass, pro-revolution newspaper. The column's frequent reiteration of ethical themes aims at eroding the “egoism” that is both deep and widespread in Venezuelan mass consciousness, primarily owing to Venezuela’s century-long economic dependency on oil exports and the ideological reflection of that dependency in a “rentier consciousness”. 

Readers might be interested to find that there is now an English language version of Un Grano de Maiz, where many, but not all of its recent posts are available (Un Grano de Maiz).

The fourth fool 

Bolivar once said, “Christ, Quixote and I – history’s three fools”. Che Guevara, in the cold Bolivian jungle, could be considered the fourth.
The truth is, the highest rung of the human species, that of the revolutionary, the fool, is reserved for those stubborn about the goal of building worlds for love, for those who in doing so stake their lives.

To be a fool is the highest honour a human being can aspire, reserved for those who reach the highest peaks of revolutionary zeal, it’s a level created by that self same Liberator.

We know not if Che considered himself a member of this select group…. It doesn’t matter. Without a doubt, he is the fourth fool.

Che was an exalted revolutionary. He wanted to change the whole world; his goal was humanity, a goal that outstripped the tiny earth. Asia, Africa, America, Europe, was the theater of operations for his theory and practice. He criticised and struggled throughout humanity, developing theory to change the world.

Great minds think great thoughts. They have the ability to answer the fundamental problems of human existence. They are not limited; their purview is the whole planet.

Courageous Che questioned the ways of “actually existing socialism”, both Soviet and Chinese, but not as an excuse to go back to the shameful refuge of capitalism, but to venture forth into the future. He devised a theoretical compass to guide humanity in this necessary voyage.

His life is an example, his theory an obligatory azimuth. A revolution not deeply steeped in Che’s ideas is unthinkable.

There is no socialism that does not comply with Che’s commandments, which are the same commandments as all the fools:

Love one another. This command of Christ, that comes to us through two thousand years of history and remains just as vital, has guided revolutionaries, fools.

The spiritual over the material. Che based all his theory on the idea that Socialism isn’t a material thing. It’s above all a spiritual act.

Friendship over hate. Che, guided by the teachings of [Cuban independence leader Jose] Marti, emphasized that it is only love that builds. Let’s remember his idea that the true revolutionary is guided by deep feelings of love.

Offering one’s life, loyal to the cause of the poor. Loyalty is an indispensable condition in the revolutionary undertaking - loyalty to principles, and the people who embody them.

A big dose of craziness. Leaping into the void without a safety net. The revolutionary act, essentially unscripted, requires a craziness to dare it, to cut adrift from one’s moorings in habit, and to plunge into the dizzying whirl of high altitude flight.

To aspire more to service than to glory. The revolutionary plays God, while at the same time retaining the humility to recognize they are a part of the whole. 

Monday, 20 June 2011

The PSUV's socialist patrols

The following post continues my translation of the Socialist Party of Venezuela’s ‘Libro Rojo’, or Red Book, the party’s program which was adopted at last year’s congress. The following two articles concern the party’s branches, or “patrols”.

Article 19: On the socialist patrols
The socialist patrols are the primary and basic cellular components of the party. They are linked to the organizational forms of Popular Power, and constitute the basis of the network of socio-political articulation and of the PSUV's system of ideological education.

Article 20: On the typology of the socialist patrols.

The socialist patrols can be:

a) Territorial, as the sphere of the party’s primary discussion is in the communities, and its radius of action is in the streets, blocks, villages and communes. Every party militant must be a member of one of these.

b) Sectoral, in agreement with the activities developed by the militants in specific areas.
c) Any other that the National Political Directorate establishes.

Militants may simultaneously belong to a territorial and a sectoral patrol, in which case the procedure for determining preferences voting in internal elections will be established by the norms to that effect issued by the National Political Directorate.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

On the party youth

Here are the next two articles in my ongoing translation of the PSUV's program. Please refer to the blog archive on the left hand side for previous installments.
"I love socialism" - PSUV Youth

Article 17: On the social fronts

The United Socialist Party of Venezuela must, as an instance of sectoral organisation, lead the social fronts, movements, missions and organisations as expressions of organised Popular power that guarantee the militancy of disabled persons, in equality of conditions and opportunities.

Article 18: On the party youth

The youth [organisation] of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela constitutes the sphere of initial activation of the youth in militant activity under the party’s guidelines.

To belong to the party’s youth a person is required to be between the ages of fifteen (15) and thirty (30).

Party youth will be governed by the same rights, duties and principles established within these statutes. The functional organisation and structure will be established in accord with the Youth Congress of the party.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Party organisation

The following continues section 2 of my translation of the PSUV’s Red Book.

Coordinator of the Socialist Education System, Jorge Arreaza
Chapter 3: Party organisation

Article 14: The territorial distribution of party bodies

The party is territorially organised in socialist patrols, communal, municipal, and state socialist political teams, socialist regions and the National Political Directorate.

Article 15: Functional organisation

The party is functionally organised through the following bodies: The Socialist Congress, the Party Presidency, the First Vice-presidency, the regional and sectoral Vice-presidencies, the National Political Directorate, the Commissions Coordination, the Education System of the party, the sectoral patrols, as well as any other bodies decided by the National Political Directorate.

Article 16: The system of socialist education

The PSUV’s Socialist Education System is established as an organ assigned to the National Directorate of the party, which is entrusted with the political and ideological education of every militant. It is organised in state, municipal and communal collectives. The modes of education shall be: self-education, education in patrols and the Cadre School.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Permanent vigilance against corruption

Article 13: The commitment to fight corruption

The socialist militants of Venezuela, who by the will of the Bolivarian people hold positions of elected office or state administration, uphold an ethic of service to the people (not being served by the people) and maintain permanent vigilance and struggle against corruption; any other behaviour will be considered a counter-revolutionary act.