The PSUV drafts a Declation of Principles

Dear Friends,

A Draft Declaration of Principles has been submitted to the founding congress of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela.

It is translated by Federico Fuentes and Kiraz Janicke. Fuentes works at the Miranda International Centre in the "The Political Instrument for the 21st Century" program. Janicke writes for Venezuela -

The draft declaration of principles is an important document that integrates both the heritage of scientific socialism and the gains of the Bolivarian process.
Draft declaration of Principles of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV)

1. The Threat
With the beginning of the 21st century, humanity has entered full speed into the most dangerous crossroads in history.

Capitalism, in its imperialist phase, has reached its limits. After the successive palliative postponements of a structural crisis, which has been corroding the foundations of the system for decades, the dominant socioeconomic mechanisms in the planet are jammed and threatening to explode. The crisis of this irrational mode of production, based on the exploitation of countries, classes and individuals -- along with the destruction of nature -- pushes the imperialist centres of the world economy further into competition in a savage struggle for control over markets.

Pushed, firstly by the logic of this competition, and then by the necessity to find rentable forms in which to invest massive amounts of excess capital (above all in the arms industry); and at the same time, by the imperative of destroying excess commodities in order to fix up the mechanism and reinitiate the economic cycle, imperialism is dragging the world to war. With the current level of scientific and technological development, unlike the two world wars of the 20th century, this war will not limit itself to destroying human lives, goods and commodities, so that they can once again be produced and sold: it will end all forms of life on this planet.

The atrocities committed by the United States and smaller powers in the invasion of Iraq is only an ominous prologue to what awaits humanity if it is not able to put a brake on this deadly dynamic. Stopping imperialism and impeding war are therefore the most transcendental priorities for the peoples.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union at the beginning of the 1990s, the floodgates that stopped capital easing its crisis were broken, unloading it, without extenuating circumstances holding it back, onto the dependent nations and its workers, peasants and middle classes. Since then, the brutal cost of sustaining the system has fallen on the shoulders of thousands of millions of people. The price of the capitalist crisis in the imperialist centres is the dizzying increase of misery in the Third World. An unprecedented concentration of wealth into the hands of a few has as its consequence degradation, suffering, hunger and death for the immense majority of humanity, including in an increasing manner the peoples of the imperialist countries.

This avalanche of poverty is the other side of the crisis that threatens life on Earth. Faced with the growing incapacity of the institutions and alliances with which it maintained its power in the 20th century, imperialism now appeals to the desperate necessities of millions of human beings in order to pit one against another in fratricidal wars, which can result in nothing but destruction, degradation and death on a scale never seen before.

2. Defeat poverty
Ending poverty, abandonment, marginalisation and the forced dehumanisation of hundreds of millions of people is therefore another priority, inseparable from the previous one, in this current historical moment in which we live: without ending the polarisation of wealth and the growth of poverty beyond anything ever seen in history, war will be inevitable.

At the same time, world history, and most clearly of all, the Venezuelan experience, has demonstrated that capitalism, even less so in the era of the crisis of imperialism, far from ending poverty, increases it everyday with its irrational evolution, showing the world that socialism is the only rational, necessary and possible direction to take at this crossroads for humanity.

3. Exercising power
The conclusion is clear: in order to end poverty, it is necessary to give power to the poor and build socialism; to impede war, it is necessary to end imperialism.

4. The necessity of internationalism
The Bolivarian Revolution of Venezuela has placed itself at the vanguard of this struggle, which from within our national borders has projected itself to the world as a whole.

The Bolivarian ideal -- that Latin American internationalism, which 200 years ago raised the banner of union south of the Río Bravo, independence, sovereignty and the search for the largest sum of happiness possible for the peoples -- defeated at the time by the collusion of imperialism with the local oligarchs, today is being reborn through the socialist revolution which, from Venezuela, marks out a horizon of life, peace, liberty, democracy and happiness for all, converting itself into a beacon for thousands of millions of human beings in America and the world.

Venezuela is the victim of attacks, conspiracies and war preparations by the United States not just because of its immense petroleum wealth, which the greed of the industrial powers have always longed for, but because the Bolivarian Revolution is an example for a world submerged in capitalist crisis.

5. Defence
The defence of sovereignty is identified with defence of the Bolivarian Socialist Revolution. It converts itself into a landmark as to whether imperialism can advance or not in its bellicose, annexationist, divisive and destructive dynamic across the world.

6. Unity
In order to confront such an enormous challenge, the Bolivarian Revolution needs to accrue, consolidate and articulate, with maximum efficiency, the union of the Venezuelan people as a whole; it needs to work tirelessly for Latin American-Caribbean unity. It must join with the nations of the South and the peoples of the entire world to create a force capable of countering, neutralising and defeating imperialism.

The (Bolivarian Party for the Socialist Revolution) of Venezuela is the instrument for carrying out these strategic tasks that history has placed once again on the table, now behind the banner of socialism.

Above all, it will be the political instrument for uniting into revolutionary and socialist action all the victims of capitalism in Venezuela. This social and political unity of the grand majorities will allow the Bolivarian Revolution to carry out the tasks it has set for itself: education, health, housing, work and wellbeing; and will allow for the preparation of the people as a whole, so that together with the FAN [National Armed Forces] at the vanguard, it will be possible to face up to the challenge of defending our sovereignty in the face of the threats of invasion and violence that imperialism will use as a last recourse in order to impede the advance of the Revolution.

The Party (Bolivarian Party for the Socialist Revolution) of Venezuela is born as an expression of the revolutionary will of the people and their political leadership. It is the product of the revolutionary unity of the majorities and sees the supreme value of a plural, multifaceted unity that encompasses the broadest diversity in regards to ethnic, ideological and political origins, and around which the destiny of the homeland will be forged. Given that it summarises the most outstanding effort towards national and social emancipation of our past, the most genuine Latin American internationalism, and because it has been the motor of the socialist revolution underway in Venezuela, Bolivarianism is at this moment in history the point of unity of all the perspectives of revolutionary and socialist thought.

7. Direct participation
This unity requires the full and democratic participation of workers, peasants, youth, intellectuals, artists, housewives, small producers and petty traders from the countryside and the city, in the formation and running of all its component organs, in discussion and decision making in regards to programs and strategies, and in the promotion and election of its leadership.

An instrument of struggle made up of millions of free men and women, the Party (Bolivarian Party for the Socialist Revolution) of Venezuela at the same time ratifies the necessity for an effective centralisation for action in the great battles already laid out: against poverty, against exploitation, against the degradation of human beings, against internal reaction and their imperialist masters. A tool for the unification of the grand majorities, the Party (Bolivarian Party for the Socialist Revolution) of Venezuela is born nevertheless with the conviction that it faces a constant military threat from internal and external enemies of the Revolution, which is why it assumes responsibility, at all levels, for the defence of the homeland, in order to confront and defeat imperialism if it dares to tread on our land.

Brought to life by the government of the Bolivarian Revolution and under the impulse of President Hugo Chavez, the Party (Bolivarian Party for the Socialist Revolution) of Venezuela nevertheless is not the government. It is the political controller of the objectives of the government and will keep a watch over it to ensure these objectives are carried out. At the moment of its conception into national and international political life, the nexus point between the government and the Party is Commandante Chavez, and the full adoption by the Party of the five motors and the seven strategic guidelines that today summarise the program, the strategy and the tactics of the Bolivarian Revolution.

8. The principal responsibility
The responsibility of the Party consists in organising the people on a territorial basis and through fronts: workers, peasants, students, youth, intellectuals, artists, housewives, small producers and petty traders from the countryside and the city, around their necessities and concrete demands and in the function of those strategic and tactical guidelines and the Program adopted by the Founding Congress of the Party (Bolivarian Party for the Socialist Revolution) of Venezuela. The Party is therefore the point where the expression of popular will and the application of those guidelines of the Revolution (from the construction of houses, sanitary attention, education, up to the armed defence against an eventual foreign invasion) come together.

9. Overcome fragmentation and anarchy
This symbiosis, the dialectical interaction which must materialise constantly in the Party, overcomes all notions of abstract autonomy, as much from the government, as from the social movements, in order to make way for a constantly changing synthesis, in which the Party acts at the same time as a two-way transmission belt and leading motor.

The Party is constantly constructing spaces of unity within diversity. Considering the construction of socialism as a great strategic objective, the Party treats all tactical and programmatic proposals, concrete actions, and decisions taken in line with this objective with the necessary tolerance and broadness, in order to achieve consensus amongst the forces that support the Bolivarian Revolution. The Party understands the possibility and necessity of diverse layers of the population coming onboard the process of constructing socialism as a result of a collective or individual understanding of the risk that the prolongation of capitalist society means.

10. Original and creative
Following Simon Rodrigez’s* maxim, “we invent or we err”, the socialism of the 21st century that the Party (Bolivarian Party for the Socialist Revolution) of Venezuela fights for will be original, its own, creative and will have a profoundly collectivist sense of exercising power. The Party will go to great efforts to educate itself and others in human experiences that have distant antecedents, such as American Indian cosmovision and primitive Christianity and more recent experiences like those that from the 20th century that gave rise to the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, China, North Korea, Vietnam and Cuba.

But the socialism of the 21st century will be the consequence of a creative praxis, the free exercise of the will and desires of the Venezuelan people. It will be “neither imitation nor copy”, to borrow the expression of José Carlos Mariátegui**, but rather a “heroic creation”. It recognises the diversity of our origins and values the Indigenous, European and African roots that gave rise to our great South American nation. It incorporates from the doctrine of Simon Bolivar, in particular his anti-imperialist vision and his ideas about the necessity of the union of Latin American and Carribean countries; from Simon Rodriguez, his struggle of a liberating, popular education for all; and from Ezequiel Zamora*** his struggle for social property of land, his confrontations with the oligarchic powers and his program of social protection.

11. The construction of socialism: the only way out
Just as it is indisputable that private property over the means of production in any society determines the relations of labour, human relations and all aspects of life, negating the objectives of a humanist, solidarity-based, socialist society, it is no less true that the transition, above all at this current moment in humanity, demands a careful, objective evaluation of each step taken, in order to always, and at all times, guarantee the conscious participation of the majority and the necessary efficiency to carry out all the requirements of national life, including its defence.

One does not have to be religious in order to identify with and be at one with basic principles of Christ that champion justice, equity and human and fraternal relationships between persons. “You will not oppress the poor and needy day labourer, be they from amongst your brothers or a foreigner that lives in the lands within your city”, “Woe to me if you build your house without justice, and your rooms without equity, living off your neighbour for free, and not giving him the salary for his work!”, “No one can serve two masters because he will loathe one and love the other. You can not serve both God and wealth”, “Blessed are the poor, because for them is the kingdom of heaven, blessed are those that have a hunger and thirst for justice, because they will be quenched, blessed are the merciful, because they will receive compassion”.

One does not have to be an atheist in order to agree with Marx’s scientific analysis which led him to affirm: “in the capitalist system of production, labour is external to the worker it does not belong to his essential being; that he, therefore, does not confirm himself in his work, but denies himself, feels miserable and not happy, does not develop free mental and physical energy, but mortifies his flesh and ruins his mind. The worker feels himself only when he is not working; when he is working, he does not feel himself. This produces the reversion of all human values”.The exploitation of human by human is an impediment to being able to see and recognise the human being within oneself and the one in front of them; it contradicts the sentiments of solidarity; it mutilates the ties of friendship. Capitalism kills by hunger or by glut, but it always kills.
Capitalism contradicts the human condition and goes against the survival of the species. The planet is being destroyed. The irrational imperative for growth is provoking the destruction of ecosystems and threats to extinguish the sources of life on Earth. This catastrophic dynamic is caused by the irrationality of a socioeconomic system that omits the necessities of humanity and acts under the obligation of its own logic, compelled towards constant growth in the pursuit of profit. In this crazy race, capitalism provokes periodic moments of crisis where, again in the pursuit of profit, it is necessary to destroy massive amounts of human lives and material goods.

Ever since human society was divided into classes, there has been resistance and struggle against oppression and exploitation. But with the victory of capitalism over feudalism and the dominance of the capitalist mode of production at the world scale, the social struggles of the industrial workers' movement fused with the most advanced thought of its time and gave rise to the struggle for a socialism based on science and the most deeply felt sentiments of human beings.
Simultaneously, in our continent, Simon Bolivar was laying the foundations for national and social emancipation with his liberatory struggle and his humanist and revolutionary vision, affirming words that today are fundamental for the union of our peoples and the social transformation of our time.

Faced with the crisis of the system and the grave threats that come with it, the contemporary challenge consists in guiding action in such a way that the exploited and oppressed masses of Venezuela assume the maximum amount of knowledge of history, the economy and political theory, in order to tackle the immense task of responding in an original manner, embedded in concrete reality, to the roots of what it means to be Venezuelan, the cultural particularities, including of each region and social group, in front of every normal day demands, each difficulty put forward by the transition from capitalism to socialism.

For the Party (Bolivarian Party for the Socialist Revolution) of Venezuela there are no recipes from a manual, nor can there be, nor impositions by anyone who is not the conscious, organised Venezuelan people themselves, standing up and ready for combat

Inter-imperialist competition opens up cracks between the owners of the world and by default creates a multi-polar world in constant turmoil, to which the United States can only counterpose its military supremacy. Simultaneously, due to the demands to maintain its rate of profit, the out of control voracity of imperialism subjugates the bourgeoisies of sub-developed countries beyond what is tolerable.

Those who for two centuries were submissive minor partners, who benefited from the looting of their own peoples, see themselves pushed into conflicts that fracture their former association of convenience. While the disputes between imperialists paralyses the world institutions that came into being at the end of the Second World War, and fragments at every point on the globe the hegemonic bloc comprised of imperialists and subordinated capital, the combined impact of this phenomena, within a framework of constant and growing popular rebellion, has worked towards demolishing the institutions through which political power was sustained in countries with dependent and sub-developed economies. The world is therefore witnessing realignments of all types, always to the detriment of the power of the United States.

This conjuncture opens up the perspective of calling for an international anti-imperialist bloc on a grand scale, with the participation of national, provincial and local governments, different types of social movements and political forces from a broad ideological viewpoint. The idea is to unite in action hundreds of millions of people throughout the entire world against imperialism and its wars.

Similarly, in Latin America there exists the possibility of producing a qualitative transformation in the politico-organisational reality of tens of millions of exploited and oppressed. The Party (Bolivarian Party for the Socialist Revolution) of Venezuela therefore sees the necessity of forging instruments in which they can converge, and at the same time remake universal revolutionary thought, as the vanguard in an era of immense challenges and great victories: capitalism is international; the revolution is international; our thought and the action must be international.

Action in function of the notion of a global anti-imperialist bloc and the revolutionary and socialist convergence of the Latin American-Caribbean peoples, will guide the steps taken by the Party (Bolivarian Party for the Socialist Revolution) of Venezuela with the certainty that making these objectives a reality will change the relationship of forces at the international scale and inaugurate a new historic era.

The agony of imperialism is an unavoidable fact. The Party (Bolivarian Party for the Socialist Revolution) of Venezuela is born in order to defend the homeland, to lead the revolution towards its emancipatory objective, to join with all the other peoples of the world in the task of burying imperialism and building a new world, fit for a free and full humanity.

* Simón Rodríguez (Caracas, Venezuela, October 28, 1769 – Amotape, Perú, Feb. 28, 1854), known during his exile from Spanish America as Samuel Robinson, was a South American philosopher and educator, notably Simón Bolívar's tutor and mentor
** José Carlos Mariátegui La Chira (14 June 1894 – 16 April 1930) was a Peruvian journalist, political philosopher, Marxist, and activist. A prolific writer before his early death at age 35, he is considered one of the most influential Latin American socialists of the 20th century.
*** Ezequiel Zamora (February 1, 1817 - January 10, 1860) was a much loved Venezuelan soldier and leader in the Federal War (Guerra Federal) of 1859-1863.

Venezuela's Socialist Party Congress Opens

Some notes on Chavez's latest reflections at PSUV founding congress

January 13th 2008, by Fred Fuentes

“In order that December 2 never happens again” Chavez argued on Saturday that it was necessary to go on the offensive with the “United Socialist Party of Venezuela as the spearhead and vanguard” of the revolution. “Enough with betraying the people. We have arrived here to make a real revolution or die trying”.

Chavez uttered these words as he opened the founding congress of the provisionally named United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). This speech was the latest in a series of reflections, following the defeat of his proposed constitutional reform last December 2.

He argued the case for why the social movements needed to transform themselves into a political force capable of driving forward this revolutionary process. Referring to Mission Ribas - which has organised some 500,000 previous excluded Venezuelans into secondary education - he stated: “This is a social movement which at the same time should form itself as a political force, as should the unions and other organisations”.This transformational political force, said Chavez, required a united and coherent leadership in order to propel the movement towards its goal, whilst tackling the issues of lack of cohesion and internal disorder between the parties that threatened the continuity of the revolution.

“One of the ways to confront [these challenges] is through the formation of the PSUV, the largest political party that has existed in the last 150 years of Venezuela’s history, “larger because of its level of cohesion, its strength, because of its connection with the popular masses and because of its political efficacy and revolutionary quality”. (These last two qualities are in reference to some of the ideas of Alfredo Maneiro, founder of La Causa R, about who I hope to post some thoughts about next week here on the blog).

Outlining some of the strategic characteristics need for such a party, Chavez commented that the PSUV had to become a party that would subvert the historic capitalist model of the bourgeois state.

It also had to struggle to avoid the rise of a “new Bolivarian oligarchy”, of a new bourgeois, because these groups could easily convert themselves into traitors and counterrevolutionaries. In this sense it was important to impede any infiltrations in the PSUV by the bourgeois.

These comments come in light of his recent statements about the need to form an alliance with the national bourgeois. Whilst many on the left have pointed to this as evidence of the rightward shift of the government since December 2, many have ignored the statements he made about the need to read Lenin at the same time. Lenin was a proponent of the need to form alliance with different classes, including in some cases with sections of the bourgeois, whilst arguing for the independent organisation of the workers, and working class leadership of the revolutionary movement as a prerequisite for its victory and survival.

He outlined some ideas for the profile of a militant of the new party quoting Fidel Castro and Che Guevara: “A cadre is an individual that has achieved the sufficient political development so as to be able to interpret the grand strategic lines emanating from the central power, make them theirs and transmit them to the masses in order to orientate them”.

Understanding the real history of a country and the rise of revolutionary processes was important stated Chavez, recalling that this year marked 100 years of US domination over Venezuela, when US intervention resulted in the overthrow of then president Cipriano Castro and ended the Liberal Restoration Revolution he had led.
As part of learning about history, revolutionary processes and training up cadres, he announced that a printing press for the PSUV would be shortly inaugurated to publish books and ideological texts. The PSUV will be “a school to transform and create the new historic bloc and construct socialism it all its ambits”.

To fund this, an account would be set up next month for PSUV militants to deposit money.

One of Chavez’s big errors in the formation of the PSUV was his initial ultimatum to the other parties to dissolve or else be seen as part of the opposition. However none of this sectarian tone was present in his speech at the congress. He called on everyone to respect the different social currents, such as student groups, indigenous movements and ecologists who were not in the new party, as well as publicly withdrawing his previous criticism of the Communist Party and Homeland For All for not accepting to dissolve into the PSUV.

“We need to link up with them in order to create the grand patriotic alliance” he said, whilst maintaining that “we need to count on a tightly united party because the internal and external battles will intensify in 2008”.

His call for unity was not restricted just to Venezuela. “There is a resurrection of the left in the world. Once again the socialist banner is being raised and, once again, we are the vanguard, together with other countries”. He argued that the PSUV had to struggle, together with other movements and socialist parties to “achieve an alliance of the left in this continent so that together we can defend ourselves from imperialist attacks.

Turning to the upcoming elections for governors and mayors scheduled for the end of the year, Chavez said that all personalism and sectarianism had to be put aside, and that all candidates had to have the support of the base. This would be crucial to ensuring victory in this important battle he explained, pointing out that if the opposition was to gain control of important governorships of mayor’s offices “they would use the resource of the state and their policies as an armed wing” in their plans to bring down the national government.

He also referred to the need for the PSUV to lead the fight to reform the constitution, including campaign allow for continuous re-election of the president. He stated that it was still necessary to reform the constitution, but that this would have to wait: “we need to redo the game, revise our errors, revise, rectify and re-impulse the revolution”.

You can see a video of his speech at

Chavez Announced the Release of Two Colombian Hostages held by FARC

Chavez: Venezuela will continue opening paths towards peace in Colombia
by Kiraz Janicke

Caracas, January 10, 2008, ( - Venezuelan President Chavez announced that two hostages held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have been successfully liberated in a Venezuelan led humanitarian mission today. President Chavez mediated the release of Clara Rojas and Consuelo Gonzalez de Perdomo after receiving the coordinates for where the hostages could be found from the FARC and authorization from the Colombian government to carry out the operation.

At 11.30 am today Chavez confirmed that the hostages had been freed and were in the care of Venezuelan Minister of Justice, Ramón Rodríguez Chacín, who oversaw the rescue mission. Chavez indicated that the rescue operation was carried out with "total normality."

Venezuelan helicopters left from the base Buenaventura Vivas in the state of Tachira, towards San Jose del Guaviare, in Colombia very early this morning, later bearing Red Cross emblems they flew to the place indicated by the FARC, Chavez explained.

"Approximately ten minutes later I received a message directly from the point of the coordinates, a point totally unknown, but from there in a manner audibly emotional, our Minister of Justice told me we are in this moment receiving Clara and Consuelo from the hands of a unit of the FARC."Chavez also confirmed that he had spoken directly by telephone with Clara and Consuelo and indicated that he had received information from Minister Chacin that they are both, "in good condition and in this moment they are due to begin flying in our helicopters, with the Red Cross, from that point in the jungle in Guaviare directly to Venezuela, where they will arrive in approximately three hours."

Maria Fernanda Perdomo waiting in Caracas to be reunited with her mother after seven years, told Venezuelan state TV, "It is an emotion so big I can´t describe, we are counting the seconds until they arrive."

Chavez informed that the whole rescue operation had been coordinated with the Colombian government, "I want to thank the Colombian government for their disposition and their cooperation so that everything has turned out well."

He stressed that the Venezuelan people "are sending our heart to Colombia; Venezuela without Colombia is not complete; Colombia without Venezuela is not complete; Colombians pardon me for what I say but it is what I feel," and assured that "Venezuela would continue opening paths towards peace in Colombia."

He also said that Cuban Ambassador in Venezuela, German Sanchez Otero had also participated in the mission at the request of the Colombian government in recognition of the efforts of Cuba and its president Fidel Castro, for peace in Colombia.

Chavez also thanked the International Red Cross for their role in the hostage liberation.

Colombian High Commissioner for Peace, Luis Carlos Restrepo said the operation had been carried out with "an excellent spirit of cooperation" between Venezuelan and Colombian authorities and that Colombia would consider new humanitarian operations if they were carried out with discretion, respect and communication.