Saturday, December 30, 2006

Chavez Calls for United Socialist Party of Venezuela

I have not found this subject discussed on the left. Chavez calling for a socialist formation has deep implications. Was the story lost because of the holiday season?

What kind of party is this going to be? A social democratic mass party or a combat party made of advanced cadre?

Thank you Venezuela Analysis and In Defense of Marxism.


By: Gregory Wilpert - Venezuelanalysis.com


Caracas, December 18, 2006 (venezuelanalysis.com)— In an event to celebrate the successful reelection of President Chavez, Chavez called on his followers to dissolve their existing parties and to form a new “United Socialist Party of Venezuela.” Chavez also explained that the main project for the next term is to “construct socialism from below,” via this new party.

The celebration was held last Friday in the Teresa Carreño Theater, with the participation of Chavez’s campaign team, the Commando Miranda, and the supporters that had organized in neighborhoods for Chavez’s reelection.

According to Chavez, the plethora of parties that currently support his government are an obstacle to the creation of “21st century socialism.” “We need one party, not an alphabet soup with which we would be falling over each other in lies and cheating the people,” said Chavez.

Instead, a new single party is needed, which would provide a forum for debates because, “We should not imagine socialism as a state that we will reach some day by the art of magic,” said Chavez during the event, instead, “Socialism is a process of daily construction.”

Currently Chavez is being supported by a coalition of many parties, ranging from his own MVR party (Movement for the Fifth Republic), which has millions of supporters, to many smaller parties with a long history, such as the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV), Fatherland For All (PPT), and We Can (PODEMOS). Also, there are numerous very small newer parties that support Chavez, such as Popular Venezuelan Unity, Tupamaros, Revolutionary Middle Class, and Union, among others.

While Chavez’s MVR obtained 41.7% of the total votes for president, Podemos, PPT, and PCV obtained 14.5% of the total vote. The remaining 7% of Chavez’s total of 62.9% support in the December 3rd election were divided among about 20 small parties.

Chavez explained that parties that do not wish to join this new single party would have to go their own way in the future. “Those parties that wish to preserve themselves, they will leave the government,” he said.

However, the existing campaign structure, which had organized supporters of all parties into 11,000 “battalions,” 32,800 “platoons,” and 3.8 million “squads” should be maintained as the grassroots organization for the new unity party.

This initial organization should serve not only for debating socialism, but also for nominating candidates to elected office. “Enough,” said Chavez, of the old method of selecting candidates, where the President or other high ranking officials nominated candidates from above.

As a name for the new unity party Chavez proposed “United Socialist Party of Venezuela,” which would have the acronym PSUV, but said he would also be open to other suggestions for the name.

Aside from the creation of a single party of the revolution and the construction of 21st century socialism, Chavez said that the other main issue for the coming year would be constitutional reform.

With regard to the construction of 21st century socialism, Chavez said, “The transformation of the economic model is fundamental if we want to construct a true socialism.” “We have barely begun visualizing all of this,” he added.
On other occasions Chavez has indicated that his government would examine all aspects of the constitution to see what needed to be changed so that it would be more in tune with the creation of socialism. Another change he has proposed is the elimination of the two-term limit for the president, so that he might be able to run again, in 2012. All such changes would be submitted to a popular referendum.
RENEGADE EYE

28 comments:

The Red Bolivarian said...

When I heard this news a week or so ago I was glad to hear it. I spent a few months in Venezuela in the State of Portuguesa one of the most "Chavista" states a year ago. While I was there I noticed discontent with the MVR, not with Chavez but with the party. A broader working class based revolutionary party could be the best step forward. I am really hopeful that the revolution will continue forward. We will have to wait and see what actions Chavez takes now after another big victory. Happy New Years!!! Peace

sonia said...

Chavez called on his followers to dissolve their existing parties and to form a new United Socialist Party of Venezuela

As Trotsky once said about Stalin - 'the dictatorship of the proletariat will lead to the dictatorship of the party that will lead to the dictatorship of the Politburo that will lead to the dictatorship of the General Secretary...'

Now that Saddam's dead, someone will have to take his place...

The only question is whether Chavez will get his Trotsky (i.e. an opponent whom he will kill) or his Pinochet (someone who will kill him)...

I just hope there is a Fanny Kaplan or a Charlotte Corday in Venezuela.

Death to Tyrants!!!!

Anonymous said...

Sonia wroteL
"I just hope there is a Fanny Kaplan or a Charlotte Corday in Venezuela."

And I hope there is a Charles Manson where you live.

GraemeAnfinson said...

Although I think it is hardly fair to equate Chavez with Stalin like Sonia and so many others seem to like to do, some recent developments have me a little concerned.

I don't believe asking all the left leaning political parties to form one is such a big deal (in the US it is nice imagining having options) but why kick the parties out of the government that wish to remain intact?

I also am a little worried about Chavez saying he will not renew the license of the major opposition tv station. I realize that they were supportive of the coup, and that probably gives him grounds to shut them down, but it seems counterproductive. He obviously didn't have trouble getting elected with them on the air.

I believe the left always must be ready to confront power grabs, even if it is by someone you largly agree with. This is crucial in making sure the bureaucratic, one party statist regimes of the past, remain in the past.

Renegade Eye said...

I think the questions raised in this discussion are correct ones.

Chavez went after the second largest TV station in Venezuela. The first largest is owned by Gustavo Cisneras, the wealthist man in all of South America, who owns America Online Latin America, Venevision, Caracol Television etc. He has arrangements with Chavez.

I've been finding the information about the new party ambiguous. It will be until its first documents come out.

roman said...

Ren,

Happy New Year to you and your many readers and commenters. May we all work towards reaching a peaceful and just consensus someday.

Dave Marlow said...

I've become completely disillusioned with Chavez and while I want to believe his revolutionary rhetoric, he is a corrupt populist who goes "anyway the wind blows".

Happy New Year, Ren. God bless you in 2007.

LeftyHenry said...

Happy New Year Ren,

the USPV I think, is going to be similiar to the Popular Unity Coalition that Allende led in Chile.

beatroot said...

21st century socialism?

What does that mean? Does that mean the abolition of private property?

No.

Does it mean workers councils, in charge of industry?

No.

Does that mean collectivization of services, education, childcare etc?

No.

Does it mean an expansion of the state into all areas of life?

Probably.

Does that mean SOCIALISM?

Most certainly not…

A comradely New Year from the beat…

David J said...

There is an article about this over at the Alliance for Worker's Liberty

troutsky said...

There has been some discussion at lonestonerevolution. Kind of ironic to hear those on the right complain about lack of party choices in other countries but say not a word about US only having two such choices.

We all know the dangers inherant in building socialism, and believe me, so do Venezuelans.My time spent there convinced me they will gaurd their rights and democracy and will not tolerate coercion or repression, even from their beloved leader.This is not Russia 1920. No illusions, but no hysteria either.

beatroot said...

New Blogger comment boxes don't work half the time. Another comment eaten.

You are correct, fresh water revolutionary.

But we should remember that Chavez has an ever moving mouth and all sorts of stuff comes out of it. But when you look at the policies they are mixed economy, social democrat. Socialism now means something different from what socialism used to. New times.

Servant Savant said...

Considering what he's up against, I understand a little the strong man tactics. The neoliberals in El Norte are funding his opposition and if he doesn't get a strong coalition going he knows he's toast.

Socialism has to face the same realities as everyone else, eh? You either get the numbers or you lose the election. It is nice to see the dialog is transparent though and that real democracy is working where people talk to each other instead of shoot at each other.

I love Chavez, but wife who lived under communism in Peru hates him.

Somehow we manage to stay married though. It's a miracle.

ninglun said...

I am really unsure how to evaluate Chavez, though the US attitude also depresses me. The usual uneven-handedness towards democracies that elect the "wrong" kind of government.

Dropped by mainly to reciprocate your New Year greeting. Have a good 2007.

Mike B) said...

How socialism is actually supposed to work....
Critique of the Gotha Programme
(written in 1875) contains the following passage:

What we have to deal with here is a communist society,
not as it has developed on its own foundations, but, on
the contrary, just as it emerges from capitalist society;
which is thus in every respect, economically, morally,
and intellectually, still stamped with the birthmarks of
the old society from whose womb it emerges. Accordingly,
the individual producer receives back from society --
after the deductions have been made -- exactly what he
gives to it. What he has given to it is his individual quantum
of labor. For example, the social working day consists of the
sum of the individual hours of work; the individual labor time
of the individual producer is the part of the social working day
contributed by him, his share in it. He receives a certificate
from society that he has furnished such-and-such an amount
of labor (after deducting his labor for the common funds);
and with this certificate, he draws from the social stock of
means of consumption as much as the same amount of labor
cost. The same amount of labor which he has given to society
in one form, he receives back in another.
“Here, obviously, the same principle prevails as that which
regulates the exchange of commodities, as far as this is
exchange of equal values. Content and form are changed,
because under the altered circumstances no one can give
anything except his labor, and because, on the other hand,
nothing can pass to the ownership of individuals, except
individual means of consumption. But as far as the
distribution of the latter among the individual producers is
concerned, the same principle prevails as in the exchange of
commodity equivalents: a given amount of labor in one form is
exchanged for an equal amount of labor in another form.
“Hence, equal right here is still in principle -- bourgeois right,
although principle and practice are no longer at
loggerheads, while the exchange of equivalents in commodity
exchange exists only on the average and not in the individual case.
“In spite of this advance, this equal right is still constantly
stigmatized by a bourgeois limitation. The right of the
producers is proportional to the labor they supply; the
equality consists in the fact that measurement is made
with an equal standard, labor. “But one man is superior to
another physically, or mentally, and supplies more labor
in the same time, or can labor for a longer time; and labor,
to serve as a measure, must be defined by its duration or
intensity, otherwise it ceases to be a standard of measurement.
This equal right is an unequal right for unequal labor. It
recognizes no class differences, because everyone is only a
worker like everyone else; but it tacitly recognizes unequal
individual endowment, and thus productive capacity, as a
natural privilege. It is, therefore, a right of inequality, in its
content, like every right. Right, by its very nature, can consist
only in the application of an equal standard; but unequal
individuals (and they would not be different individuals i
f they were not unequal) are measurable only by an equal
standard insofar as they are brought under an equal point of view,
are taken from one definite side only -- for instance, in the present
case, are regarded only as workers and nothing more is seen in them,
everything else being ignored. Further, one worker is married,
another is not; one has more children than another, and so on and so
forth. Thus, with an equal performance of labor, and hence an equal
in the social consumption fund, one will in fact receive more than
another, one will be richer than another, and so on. To avoid all
these defects, right, instead of being equal, would have to be unequal.
“But these defects are inevitable in the first phase of communist
society as it is when it has just emerged after prolonged birth pangs
from capitalist society. Right can never be higher than the economic
structure of society and its cultural development conditioned thereby.
“In a higher phase of communist society, after the enslaving
subordination of the individual to the division of labor, and
therewith also the antithesis between mental and physical labor, has
vanished; after labor has become not only a means of life but life's
prime want; after the productive forces have also increased with the
all-around development of the individual, and all the springs of co-
operative wealth flow more abundantly -- only then then can the
narrow horizon of bourgeois right be crossed in its entirety and
society inscribe on its banners: From each according to his ability,
to each according to his needs!”
http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1875/gotha/ch01.htm

Brik D said...

This is the first step towards communism. It won't end well, never does. I cannot stand two party politics, but if there's anything I dislike more, it's one party "politics".

I still can't understand how someome can support socialism in practice. If socialism worked the way it was intended, it'd be utopia. But we all know it can't work in it's purest form. Somewhere, someone is looking to get over and "beat the system", or to do as little as possible and still reap the benefits of others work, while someone else still looks to rise above the rest and hold the power. That is the ugly truth in everything from pure democracy to sharia.

The beautiful truth is that there are people who will rebel against being a "cog in the machine" no matter where you go. There are those with ambition and a desire to be the best at what they do that cannot sit back and watch thier lives pass them by for the promise of the government taking care of thier basic needs (and history shows that communist states usually fail at that to a large degree). Sometimes the artist needs to starve.

troutsky said...

Say Mike B, what are your thoughts on Michael Alberts concept of "reward for sacrifice, not labor power"? Sacrifice defined through super-consensus process?

Brik D, rather than hypothetical complaints about socialisms "purest form" we are encouraging people, you ,me everybody,to take part in a process to decide what it should look like. This means examining the concept of "human nature" and seperating what is socialized behavior from intrinsic, deciding what can be improved upon and how.Capitalisms wars and starvation, injustice and tyranny are certainly not a sustainable option.

On a different note, it sounds like the Decider will call for troop increases on Tues. We here in Montana will respond to escalation with direct action including civil disobedience to respond to this contemptuous display of arrogance. We call on others to join us in solidarity believing this to be a defining MOMENT. Please organize in your area and spread the word as quickly as possible throughout the blogosphere. Rise up!

Marie Trigona said...

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Marie Trigona said...

Hopefully, everyone had a great new years. I myself am looking forward to 2007, which should be a promising year for Latin America's social movements. As far as my hopes for a socialist political party carrying out a revolutionary program, I find this doubtful. We must think of other institutions, which are truly democratic and non-authoritarian to take control over our own lives and devise our own socialism. Electoral politics will lead us nowhere. Many of the changes in Venezuela are thanks to social movements and people in struggle, not a semi-bourgousie political party. While this gives no room for analysis that Chávez is anti-democratic. The people have the absolute right to defend their sovereignty. I think Chavez has evolved in his conception of socialism. But many people are getting left behind in the road to socialism.

I do want to thank Greg Wipert for keeping us informed, his site Venezuela Analysis is really a top-notch site open to diverse expressions.

I´m currently on vacation, so I won´t be blogging for a few weeks. When I get back I´ll inform everyone on the recent developments in Argentina.

saludos y anarquia
marie

Brik D said...

troutsky, I don't believe that socialism should look like anything. I believe that we need less government in our lives and we should be able to pursue our happiness anyway we choose as long as we don't infringe on anyone else's right to do the same. Government has two basic roles: protection of the national borders and protection of it's constituents liberties.

If you want to call that my form of Socialism, go right ahead.

Mike B) said...

troutsky said...
Say Mike B, what are your thoughts on Michael Alberts concept of "reward for sacrifice, not labor power"? Sacrifice defined through super-consensus process?

*******************************
Sounds much too abstract and moralistic for my taste. The subjective differences over interpretation of the words "reward for sacrifice" could go on forever. Sort of like debating the concept of "justice" with Socrates everytime you want to know how much you're entitled to take from the social store of goods and services. Make it simple, so that everyone can understand---four hours of socially necessary labour time doing making this good or doing that service entitles one to an equivalent amount of goods and services from the social store. Once we get used to communism, where doing our share is our desire, we can dispense with measuring time in production and time out for consumption of the goods things of life.

The Haikuist said...

I am not sure that I see the point of having a united party. Trotsky once wrote, in "The Revolution Betrayed", that there can never be a single party that truly represents the entire working class. This seems more like political maneuvering on Chavez's part. I agree with beatroot's comments about Chavez's "socialism". Unless there are worker's councils, collectivized ownership of the means of production, and the broadest possible expansion of democracy, then what he is advocating just seems like warmed over social democracy. Socialism should not be about great leaders, but about radically implemented democracy. I don't see Chavez moving in that direction.

troutsky said...

BrikD, you are talking about the government restricting rights and liberty, the political question only. I am talking more about a political/ economic system which coordinates production and allocation.

You don't mention capitalism by name, but you imply this is the only economic system possible given the craven and corrupt "nature" of man, brutal aspect of nature, etc.You don't believe in original sin do you?

Mike, I think in the end "sacrifice" does equal hours worked but with a slight variation for effort or intensity. It is also based on all work functions being somewhat balanced in terms of empowerment, so the division of labor (coal miners vs doctors) doesn't result in class conflict.After all, a coal miners 8 hours are a lot harder than a doctors.

sonia said...

Troutsky,

coal miners 8 hours are a lot harder than a doctors

That's irrelevant. What matters isn't the effort, but what people are willing to pay for that effort. A coal miner can sweat all day long digging his coal, but if nobody wants to buy that coal, his labor is worth absolutely nothing.

That's why Communist countries went bankrupt. People were working hard making WORTHLESS products that nobody wanted to buy...

Mike B) said...

troutsky wrote:

Mike, I think in the end "sacrifice" does equal hours worked but with a slight variation for effort or intensity. It is also based on all work functions being somewhat balanced in terms of empowerment, so the division of labor (coal miners vs doctors) doesn't result in class conflict.After all, a coal miners 8 hours are a lot harder than a doctors.
*************************

I agree with you about the need reduce the necessary labour time of miners or other hard physical acts of production. Let's assume that one hour of participation in one of these occupations: lumberjack, miner and so on...is equivalent to two hours of socially necessary medical work.

As for Sonia's point, it is always wise to remember that socialism is based on production for USE and need i.e. use-value is where it's at--use-value is in the eye of the beholder and as the beholders control the communist society...well, you get my point. Sonia likes to tell us what we already know: Stalinism is not a society controlled by an association of free producers. One of the inherent problems with the capitalist mode of production is that it is based on a system where exchange-value trumps use-value. That's why you get psychopathological absurdities of producing things which have definitely been proven to destroy the Earth's climate, in order to make a sales with a view to profit.

Sontín said...

Tonight, during the celebration of Daniel Ortega’s presidency (with Chavez and Evo Morales very present), along with many complements to Chavez, Ortega stated that Nicaragua will join ALBA and called for all of Latin America to unite under one flag. Do you think that Chavez’s single socialist party is in the process of becoming a multinational party?

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