To frame the ecological promise of Venezuela’s communal project, it is useful to consider some of its main features, and contrast them with the capital system. The communes in the country are quite varied, in part because, as expressions of grassroots political and economic democracy, they have developed along diverse lines according to their geographic and social contexts. However, one consistent and decisive feature of all Venezuela’s communes—part of both the legal framework and the on-the-ground reality—is that they involve returning control of production to direct producers, whose conscious organization of productive processes substitutes for the capital system’s rule of abstract value relations that alienate laborers both from their own activities, and from their material and social environment.
The Alliance for Global Justice is organizing a new delegation to Venezuela for March 2023. This is a unique opportunity to get to know Venezuela’s reality first-hand and witness the heroic achievements of the Venezuelan people, who have been able to resist the US and European aggressions and blockade. You will get the chance to participate in the commemoration activities organized by Chavistas for the 10th anniversary of the departure of Comandante Chávez. Among our activities, we will visit the communities of Ciudad Caribia, Petare, and El Hatillo and meet with the community councils, street leaders, CLAP, and peasant leaders from the states of Carabobo and Yaracuy, as well as fishing communities. We will also learn about the new social missions created during the economic war against the Venezuelan people.
Objectively reviewing the history of our times proves that Chávez faced—and Maduro has continued to face—all the strategies, tactics, maneuvers, games, and schemes that the US empire and its satellites and lackeys have successfully used throughout the rest of the continent, among other ploys that have been used in other parts of the world. Let’s conduct a thorough count from memory: coups d’état, military riots, public uprisings by high-ranking military officers, strikes and sabotages of the productive industrial apparatus, denunciations of electoral fraud with violent protests, interference through the Organization of American States, internal economic warfare, attacks on the national currency, parliamentary coups, unilateral coercive measures, economic blockades, lawfare, international judicial persecution, migration crises, and arbitrary appointments of so-called parallel authorities—all of this combined with constant and persistent harassment by international and opposing national media.
The merits of the Bolivarian system are plain to see through the country having one of the highest educational progress rates in Latin America and a truly comprehensive system funded by the Venezuelan government led by the United Socialist Party of Venezuela. In order to understand the Venezuelan education system, it is necessary to examine both its foundations and the reality of education under the illegal US sanctions. In the decades preceding the successful election of Hugo Chavez, education in Venezuela was not prioritized. Governments effectively abandoned education in the rural and working-class areas for the exploitation of oil in the 1920s and later prioritized a neoliberal economic shift which saw government spending on education fall by 37 per cent between 1990-96 to only $118 dollars per capita.
On August 14, Haiti was devastated by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake originating from the southern Tiburon Peninsula, 150 kilometres from the capital, Port-au-Prince. World leaders issued statements of solidarity, international charities began encouraging donations, and the United Nations started organizing emergency aid funds to assist the country. Articles on this ongoing tragedy often emphasis two prior catastrophes which have compounded the quake’s impact on the Haitian people: the COVID-19 pandemic and political instability following the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. In such analyses, it is taken for granted that Global North countries and the United Nations should lead the international response to the disaster.
Seven years have passed since the death of Hugo Chávez. The Latin American and national situation has changed in that time, and yet the Venezuelan reality is still partly explained by what his life meant, particularly in the humble sectors of the country. The wake lasted ten days. Men and women from all over the country arrived, each as he could, with what he had, to say goodbye to Chavez, to the commander, to thank him, to promise. The lines lasted day, night, dawn, kilometers. I saw it near ten o'clock at night, a lady had passed out, outside the hill's lights looked like a birth. Chavismo is a daily experience in popular neighborhoods, in debates, in imaginations of the country that will come. Therefore, also, in the electoral calculations for - for example - the next legislative elections of December 2020 there is a possibility that the majority will be obtained.
President Hugo Chávez was born on July 28, 1954. However, as Gabriel García Márquez would say, “human beings are not born for good the day their mothers give birth to them, rather life forces them to be reborn time and again.” Thus, Chávez was reborn, by natural birth or emergency C-section, every time the times and the national context demanded he reinvent himself. That is how we got to know Chávez the politician, the philosopher, the historian, the economist, the soldier, the religious man, and you can go on counting. But, in each of these lives, culture was ever present.
By Farooque Chowdhury and Fred Magdoff for Monthly Review. Amidst imperialist interference, the people in Venezuela are carrying on the task of reorganizing their society. Real-life picture in Venezuela is far different from new-reports the mainstream media continuously circulates. The following interview of Christina Schiavoni, a researcher and food sovereignty activist, provides a different view of the life of the Venezuelan people than we normally get from the media. The interview covers food and health situations as well as on-going politics and people’s participation in the politics. The interview was conducted by Farooque Chowdhury and Fred Magdoff, in August 2017.
Speech given by Marta Harnecker on August 15, 2014, accepting the 2013 Liberator’s Prize for Critical Thought, awarded for her book, A World to Build: New Paths towards Twenty-first Century Socialism; translated by Federico Fuentes August 24, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- I completed this book one month after the physical disappearance of President Hugo Chávez, without whose intervention in Latin America this book could not have been written. Many of the ideas I raise in it are related in one way or another to the Bolivarian leader, to his ideas and actions, within Venezuela and at the regional and global level. Nobody can deny that there is a huge difference between the Latin America that Chávez inherited and the Latin America he has left for us today. That is why I dedicated the book to him with the following words: To Commandante Chavez, whose words, orientations and exemplary dedication to the cause of the poor will serve as a compass for his people and all the people of the world. It will be the best shield to defend ourselves from those that seek to destroy this marvellous work that he began to build. When Chávez won the 1998 presidential elections, the neoliberal capitalist model was already foundering. The choice then was whether to re-establish this model, undoubtedly with some changes such as greater concern for social issues, but still motivated by the same logic of profit-seeking, or to go ahead and try to build another model. Chávez had the courage to take the second path and decided to call it “socialism”, in spite of its negative connotations. He called it “21st century socialism,” to differentiate it from the Soviet-style socialism that had been implemented in the 20th century. This was not about “falling into the errors of the past”, into the same “Stalinist deviations” which bureaucratised the party and ended up eliminating popular participation.