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.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Chavez : “The idea of a new International is catching on”

Hugo Chavez first raised the idea for establishing a new International association of socialist parties in 2007. In November 2009 he again raised the idea at a meeting of left-wing political parties that was held in Caracas.

Chavez at the International Meeting of Left Parties
Since then, the idea seemed to have been forgotten. However, in this short excerpt from his speech to the executive cabinet, assembled governors and the Political Bureau of the Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) on 16 July, Chavez revived the idea of a new International:

“Well, in truth I feel really strengthened by the way you and our Party shaped this modest document, these five lines, and now they return to me with a sixth line, which really was missing: the international line, a formation of some networks of Bolivarian circles, and different links, a network, a mesh of Latin American and Caribean organizations, of solidarity and political action, heading towards the creation of international structures, respecting the ones that already exist.

“Now, we raised an idea, just one idea for the world. But we need to develop it, to explain it well, because it tended to be rejected initially by sectors of the international Left, the idea of a new International, not the fifth, a new socialist International for the 21st century. This is a debate that started in Europe, and I think that with the world hotting up in these recent days and months of this feverish year, with big battles in Europe and North Africa, and in Latin America as always, the idea seems to be catching on. But we need to make links, argue and explain to movements and parties that are worried about it being a throwback.”

Translated by Owen Richards 

For more information on Chavez' 2009 call for a new International, read: 

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Socialism and voluntary labour

The following is an article from the Socialist Debate website about the role of voluntary labour in Venezuela's housing construction program, Mision Vivienda, launched in April this year to address the shortage of housing in Venezuela. It discusses the significance of voluntary labour in the transition to socialism.

Welcome socialism

By Neftali Reyes, Debate socialista 

Translated by Owen Richards 

Practice has had the last word: this process is headed for socialism. The facts have already appeared on the social horizon. Reality has outstripped the Byzantine discussions of the philosophical pretenders who deny our socialism. They have their refutation from within the bowels of life itself.

An historic event has occurred in Venezuela: the oil workers were summoned to Voluntary Collective Labour in Mision Vivienda and arrived en masse. And the number exceeded fifteen thousand.

Voluntary Labour, where the worker goes off to work motivated by altruism, and committed to the society to which they belong and in which they feel wanted, is giving labour a new meaning: it is liberating it, experimenting with it, and prefiguring free labour. It is now done without the compulsion of survival.

Voluntary Labour is the “sharp tool” that must be used to build Socialism. It radiates to all of society the new ethics of the loving relations, and through it the working class leads the revolutionary process.

The massive surge of oil workers to Voluntary Labour means that the conditions for the flourishing of socialism exist in Venezuela.  It’s indicative of the class struggle that socialism unleashes on the old world, against capitalism, a system that hangs on in a thousand ways. It unequivocally indicates that the Socialist battle takes place here in our midst, even though we sometimes misunderstand it.

Without a doubt, the Bolivarian Revolution has created conditions to build socialism as never before in our history. Socialism can arise in Venezuela because it expands and reinforces the state-administered Social Property. This form of property enables the fruits of labour to be the property of society as a whole, constituting itself thus as the basis of the Consciousness of Social Duty.

The workers become more and more aware of their power and their historical role, a role that goes beyond merely making demands; they’re committed to showing the way to the new world. This is the material basis for the advance of the process.

Furthermore, the government, political power, is in the hands of the Revolution, embodied in president Chavez. The call to socialism, to anti-imperialism and anti-capitalism that came down from the high command, unleashed the contradictions that generate movement and make the way toward socialism possible.

After years of struggle, favorable factors converge: Social Property administered by the state; a working class that is conscious of it historical role; Popular Power lead by Chavez – the most important Venezuelan revolutionary of the last hundred years in loving harmony with the masses; the Housing Mission as the auspicious setting for demonstrating the power of voluntary labour.

Centuries of hope, hope in the possibility of greatness, hope that we can defeat the deadening mediocrity, finds its concretion here. We are privileged: socialism is almost within our reach.

There’s no excuse to get lost in shortcuts or to use blunt instruments. We must have faith, break with custom, and follow the example set by the oil workers.

This is Socialism. Now we must pass beyond adversities, deepening socialism, nurturing it and extending it.

The country needed its best sons, and more than fifteen thousand patriots from within the heart of the oil industry stepped forward. The march to Socialism, which is the attempt to build a viable society, needed real action to demonstrate that humanity is able to surpass egoistic behaviour and to wholeheartedly build that other world that the Liberator dreamed of. The oil workers stepped forward and said, “present”.

Now they are the example and the promise, showing the way, they are the evidence that Socialism is more than a utopia; it’s a reality that’s taking shape before our very eyes.

They were called to Voluntary Collective Labour, invited to give of themselves to the Mision Vivienda, they gave themselves to society, to its Revolutionary Government, generously offering their most valuable possession: their labour power. And they came, without asking for explanations, and without hesitating, more than fifteen thousand good souls with a will to commit themselves to the future.

This act, which not by chance passes almost unnoticed, is one of the most important things that have taken place in the Bolivarian Revolution, placing it in a new dimension on the path.

Labour, always appropriated by the ruling classes, acquires with the gesture of these oil workers the condition of being an instrument of liberation, it’s the harbinger of a new world where exploitation - which is nothing but the appropriation of social labour on behalf of a minority - is overcome through the establishment of loving relations for the benefit of all.

What took place in Mision Vivienda with the Voluntary Collective Labour foreshadows the emancipation of labour, when labour will belong to society, to everyone.

The material and social foundations upon which to build a society where “to each according to his ability, to each according to his need” are established. In that world, exploitation, the appropriation of labour, robbery, will no longer be possible. It will no longer make sense. That is True Socialism.

Beyond the will of its protagonists, Mision Vivienda exposes the Revolution’s basic contradiction: the confrontation between capitalism and Socialism.

The capitalists, the anti-social, put a high price on their “collaboration”, they expect payment in cash, and, most harmfully, they do so with an egoistic consciousness.

Voluntary Labour is a socialist tool. It approaches the problem of housing with moral and spiritual vigour. By the end, we will have housing, but more importantly, we will have a conscious mass, a mass able to understand and confront the challenges along the road to Socialism. They will be a symbol of that which we struggle for.  And an active, conscious vanguard will have formed, that has proved its effectiveness, its loyalty to Comandante Chavez, willing to step forward when called upon.

The challenge of the oil workers is great: now they have the responsibility to show the way, to guide the rest of society in the building of Socialism.

Let the gesture that these pioneers made be known throughout the country and around the world. Let their selflessness and their understanding of the historic moment be known.

The spirit of our nation’s heroes, of the Paso de Los Andes, of Carabobo, is embodied in this gesture of the workers. They are a prelude, a good omen of the successes we will have in the coming battles.

May society reward them, returning love for the love that they gave to all of humanity.

[For more information on Mision Vivienda, see: Venezuelanalysis.com]

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Chavez's return: what is to be done?

From the thrill of the return

This Grain is written with emotion, which is the first element of the new picture. It is from passion that the great works of the people are built. That love, that passion for Bolivar, was the hurricane that made Independence possible. That human warmth that alone awakens great deeds and the men that embody them has appeared again with the return of Chavez.

Chavez’s return changes the political landscape that the right tried to establish: the plans for restoration have been frustrated; por ahora. The revolution and Chavez’s leadership deepens its roots in the passion of the humble, this is very important, and creates magnificent conditions for the much needed great leap towards complete consolidation.

Amidst the euphoria arises a question that the triumph [of Chavez’s return] cannot gloss over: What is to be done?

We must not fall into triumphalism. In the midst of the euphoria, the side that reflects most, the camp that plans for the future, will ultimately be victorious. We must not forget that the empire’s greed never sleeps.

We must refine theory – this is essential and fundamental. We must never forget that a Revolution cannot stray far from theory, from the ideology that sustains it. Theory, ideology, is the source of every victory and defeat.

Ideological distractions have done such damage to the revolutionary march and have already shown their impotence. With them it’s not possible to shape society, to give sentiment strategic consistency.

It is necessary to consolidate a social and political organization that underpins the building of socialism, an organization that forms a national fabric starting from the finest capillaries and going all the way up to the government and its leader.

Thus, we enter into a stage of reorganization in all fields. We are happy, and there are reasons for our happiness. Chavez has demonstrated great fortitude and deep reflections in his “fruitful repose”.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Army reaffirms loyalty to Chavez

Translated by Owen Richards

The defense minister, Carlos Mata Figueroa sent a message of strength and solidarity to the president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, assuring that the National Armed Forces remains loyal to president Chavez and the Revolutionary Government.

“To you, whose heart fills with pride when you speak of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces, now, this Armed Forces expresses its pride in having you as our Commander in Chief. You have inculcated values and principles in us, and for this, we, as soldiers of the Homeland want to express our deepest sentiments of loyalty to the Commander in Chief and the Revolutionary Government”, said the defense minister.

General Mata Figueroa wished the quick recovery of president Chavez, who underwent the removal of a cancerous tumour in Cuba.

“I take this opportunity to send a message of strength and solidarity to our commander, Hugo Chavez. For you, my commander, all our firepower, all our battle strength turned to blessings for your prompt recovery”.

He pointed out that it was a good moment for reflection, and reiterated that the Bolivarian National Armed Forces is “more united and more inspired than ever”.

He said, “this revolutionary process wants its leader back, recovered, healthy and strong, you who are the mainstay of this Revolution. You represent and constitute the best example of the unity of the people with its National Armed Forces”.

Mata Figueroa’s speech was presented at the Honour Courtyard of the Military Academy in Caracas in a ceremony to mark the Official Promotion of Generals and Admirals of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) regarding the inauguration of activities to celebrate the Bicentennial Year.


Friday, 1 July 2011

We will be with Chavez

In the Peaceful Revolution, which is a war, there are primary and secondary battles.

The primary battle is the one in which the confrontation with the enemy is direct, decisive, and defines the strategic aim. It determines the scenario and the theatre of operations. At one time, the primary battle was against oil sabotage, at another it was against shortages, on several occasions it was elections. 

Today the main battle is in Chavez. The oligarcho-bourgeoisie, defeated every time it has reared its head, now sets upon the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution. Its aim is to fracture the loving Chavez-People connection, knowing that this is the fundamental pillar of the Revolution.

Thus, the empire, studying the situations that threaten its rule, knows that the social rebellion is embodied in a leader. This leader sums up the revolutionary masses.

When this occurs, when the mass-leader bond is established, the process becomes invincible. Simon Bolivar symbolizes independence, Zamora, the jolt of Federation, Allende represents the attempt to storm heaven, Torrijos is the concretion of Panamanian aspirations, Lumumba is the symbol of a whole continent’s rebellion… all those assassinated by the empire severing the leader-mass bond and frustrating their redemptive strivings

Now they try to break this same bond that makes the Bolivarian Revolution possible. Its direct object is Chavez; against him they take aim. They try to discredit him, spreading lies and rumours, sowing the seeds of division, spreading discontent amongst the humble, promising love with a Judas kiss and encouraging disloyalty.

The various hacks and sophists invent theories to weaken the bond, comparing Chavez to Hitler, of all leaders, not to Bolivar, Torrijos, Zamorra or Lumumba. They speak of “hyperleadership”, and they rummage in the trash looking for evidence linking him to the counter-revolution, or to reformism.

The main battle takes place around Chavez. Unsurprisingly, the proximity of 2012 requires the opposition to ramp up its push to fracture the loving bond. And now they see an opportunity in Chavez’s infirmity.

The question that arises is this: how to confront this offensive?

Firstly, it is to understand that the defense of Chavez is the defense of the hope that was once frustrated in Santa Marta but was reborn on the 4th of February.

Secondly, is the heartfelt committment that today, they will not be allowed to repeat Golgotha, the Moneda Palace, the magnicide of San Carlos, San Pedro Alejadrino! We will stand with Chavez in the face of all the manipulations the opposition can muster. In the midst of all doubts, we will be with Chavez.

Thirdly, it is indispensable to organize the people’s love for Chavez. The Comités de Resteaos are an excellent initiate.

Fourthly, is to internalise the fact that the unity of Chavez and Socialism are sacred.

Finally, if they mess with Chavez, a volcano of rage - of the like never before seen on this continent - will be unleashed, and they will repent.