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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, 25 August 2011

The ideological map of the revolution

Translated by Owen Richards

These last twelve years have been in preparation for the “critical point” that inevitably approaches. It is a time that defines society’s direction. Everything done up to this point has been building towards this historic moment.

The Revolution, thanks to the guiding and unifying thread of its comandante, has continued to advance successfully through these turbulent years of ferocious struggle against the empire and its lackeys, and also of violent internal struggles amongst the currents that fight to lead the Revolution. The battle has raged endlessly on both fronts.

That’s how revolutions go – moments of euphoric advance along with tough, dispiriting and confusing moments. That’s why a leader is indispensable to a revolution, to give it the coherence it needs to avoid falling off the rails. And that task is complete. To have arrived at this stage is a feat in itself.

We now approach a decisive battle that will be decided by three basic factors: firstly, ideology, secondly, an active mass imbued with this ideology, [and thirdly, the masses] following the leader’s directives. This trilogy: ideology, mass and leader will decide the contest.

The situation is at once both dangerous and promising. We’ve got a leader; we have the potentials of an active mass that has been tested in previous battles, such as April [2002] and the oil sabotage [of 2002-3]. The 27 of February [i.e. the Caracazo of 1989] taught us the need for organization, for leadership, and that only this way can we win such battles. We’ve learned the need for clear political objectives and we have both good and bad experiences in battle.

We have failed to internalize the ideological struggle, to understand its logic and to use that understanding to place ourselves in the historic moment and assume the role it sets for us.

Victory is impossible without a strong and clear ideological delineation. The battlefronts are defined by ideology, which overflows the boundaries of political militancy and imposes its logic. This explains how parties and former leaders of the Revolution are today sitting at the same table where the assassination of leaders and militants was planned, sitting with Adecos [members of Democratic Action] and Copeyanos [members of COPEI], sitting with the capitalists. Ideology erases shame.

It’s not possible to understand the historic moment without having an ideological map, which supersedes the political map. That means ideological militancy will be more important than political militancy.

The battlefields are being outlined more and more. Chavez rallies the Revolutionary side with the slogan, “those that want a homeland come with me”. That means those that want genuine Socialism – which is the only way to have homeland, to have humanity.

Hence, it is mandatory to define socialist ideology. We can put forward some aspects here:

·        The human being at the center of all endeavours.

·        Life as the motive of all effort.

·        Nature as the basis of everything.

·        The Consciousness of Social Duty linked with Social Property in the means of production administered by the National State.

·        Internationalism.

·        To be always on the side of the weak, of the fighters, of the Revolutionaries.

Only an ideological map allows us to take successful positions in the war to build Socialism and defend humanity. History – that unequaled revolutionary teacher – is very clear in her lessons, we must always go back to them, keeping them under our pillows.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

The battle of 2012 – The revolution, the people and the armed forces

The following is an article I have translated from the Frente Francisco de Miranda youth organisation’s weekly magazine Semenario Signos

The battle of 2012 – The revolution, the people and the armed forces

The counter-revolution, with its inability to win via electoral means, has a plan, with international backing, to generate violence, destabilisation and intervention before the 2012 elections. Such is shown by the attacks of the right wing’s spokespersons and their media that ranged from calling for Chavez’s resignation, to making attacks against the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB), to attacking the National Electoral Commission.

In the face of these threats, our Comandante advises us: “We must prepare ourselves for the scenario that they call plan B, the Yankee embassy, the Yankee empire, the CIA is preparing, before this disaster for them, which I previously referred to as an organic, structural impossibility for them, of defeating us in the electoral sphere. The continuity and the future of the Bolivarian Revolution are in the unity, organisation and consciousness of the civic and military People”.

The ultra-right argues that the FANB is preparing a coup in the case an unfavourable vote for Chavez. Their strategy is to spread in the world press that Chavez is a coup-plotter and that the FANB cannot be guarantors of the process because they are ideologically committed [to Chavez].

The defence minister, General Carlos Mata Figueroa, accuses the Venezuelan counter-revolutionaries of fomenting subversive acts against the Armed Forces, while emphasising the extremely high level of soldiers’ consciousness. 

The Venezuelan Armed Forces has shown itself to be a guarantor of the Constitution and to be more dignified than ever, not like in the Fourth Republic when they encouraged all kinds of abuse against the people like the destruction of electoral results that favoured revolutionary parties, and more recently with the participation of the entire bourgeois high command in the coup de etat against comandante Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution.

Other elements of this conspiracy are the so-called Coalition for Democratic Unity (Mesa de la Unidad Democrática - MUD) agitating against the supposed increase in crime in Caracas and in the country’s interior and against the minister of the prison system, Iris Varela, for giving inmates soft treatment, because for the MUD, the solution to crime is to repress the People.

In this regard, the interior and Justice minister, Tareck El Aissami, pointed out that the MUD has a clear agenda of destabilisation. He claimed that groups linked to the Unity Table intend to carry out a guarimba [road blockades], threatening to cut off Los Valles del Tuy and Valencia and participating in the name of the transport workers, of the main routes of the states of Miranda, Carabobo, Tachira, Lara and Zulia, attempting to promote an agenda of violence and fear in every state of the country.

At the same time as president Chavez’s popularity has reached 58%, they seek through the oppositionist MUD to put out a call for Chavez to resign. Presidential pre-candidate Oswaldo Alvarez Paz formulated the request, which is nothing other than yet another media attack to enhance their discredited leaders at the same time that at the international level there is the false perception that in Venezuela there is widespread discontent with the leadership of Comandante Chavez.

So far, the PSUV has signed up more than 400,000 at 10,450 recruitment posts set up around the country. It seeks to guarantee that the party’s rank and file win the battle of 2012 in the name of the Bolivarian Revolution and Comandante Chavez. And that is the correct strategy to win the elections and consolidate Bolivarian socialism.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Chavez's use of Twitter - "a milestone in the history of our ideas"

Chavez, the revolution and Twitter a year later

May 1, 2011
Eliades Acosta Matos1

President Chavez’s Twitter account, @Chavezcandanga, debuted on April 27, 2010, at 9:43pm. After one year, the balance sheet is impressive: using this social network, the Bolivarian president has published 933 tweets – short messages of up to 140 characters - has 1 432 740 followers and has been included on 39 461 lists. Its runaway success has necessitated the creation of a mission specifically to attend to the thousands of messages that are received every day and gave rise to a “Union of Socialist Twitterers”.

The most important thing about this phenomenon, initiated by the theoretical and practical prime mover of this promising current called ‘Socialism of the 21st century’, is that it shows that the new information technologies can and should be utilized without fear or reservation, in the difficult task of changing the world and placing it on more just and humane foundations. They do not have to play a fatal, demobilizing or alienating role, or be a means of diffusing frivolity and nonsense, nor must they be docile instruments in the hands of the programs of world counterrevolution, especially those that fight 24/7 on the frontline of the culture wars.

It is not going out on a limb to claim that Chavez’s decision to set up a Twitter account and make it serve the purpose of making his government leadership transparent and open new channels of contact with the people, can be considered one of the most important strategic actions taken by revolutionary forces on the world scale in the struggle to overthrow their own limits, taboos and myths, and advance toward the transformation of a reality that has little similarity to that which Karl Marx or Lenin faced in their time. Injustice cannot be revolutionized without knowing the keys of each age, or refusing to take advantage of its transformational tools – including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and blogs.

Can anyone doubt that if Marx lived in our time he would have a web page, and Lenin a Twitter account? Would Marti have spurned the enormous information and communication possibilities the internet offers us today?

But if backward approaches and fear of change is harmful, neither is it enough to formally agree with these propositions, after all, they’re so obvious they cannot be denied. To use these social networks to make revolution implies a deep change in the verticalist and centralist mentality - sadly inherited by the left from previous historical experiences – and placing themselves on an equal footing, without a centre or periphery, alongside the people who use these technologies, including our enemies that use them heavily. And this means, in itself, an enormous strategic step in the march of development, democratization and the renewal of socialist forces. Their future and its success in the struggle depends upon it.

Eliades Acosta Matos
As such, that discrete, telegraphic first tweet Chavez made one year ago will go down as a milestone in the history of our ideas. As with all transcendental things, it happened naturally, without pretense. Its brilliance was not visible to the naked eye; it lies within, in its subaltern significance, and in what it means for the future, and the challenge to emulate, but not imitate it.

What is known as the “Twitter Revolution” or the “Cyber Revolution” merits a more detailed analysis. For now, it’s enough to say that the front line of the secular struggle for progress and social justice also passes through here. The confrontation that begins in the political or economic sphere is decided in the symbolic and ideological sphere.

“Twitter is the best way to find out what’s new in your world”, says one of the slogans of the promoters of that social network. A sly Dr Marx of our epoch would no doubt add, ironically, “ … but the point is to change it”.

With patience and constancy, amidst his enormous tasks and responsibilities, Chavez is doing just that.

And it is going out to millions.

1. Eliades Acosta Matos is the former director of Cuba’s Jose Marti National Library (1997–2007) and currently head of the Committee on Culture of the Cuban Communist party's Central Committee. He is the author of The Apocalypse according to Saint George.