El Nacional is the leading bourgeois daily paper in Venezuela. It is hostile to the Bolivarian Revolution and socialism. On Friday 12 August, it carried an article describing the meeting on imperialism at the World Youth Forum, in which over a thousand people heard Alan Woods, the editor of Marxist.com speak.
The journalist who wrote these lines obviously intended them to be ironical. Yet despite himself, he was clearly impressed by the enthusiasm of the audience and the firm defence of Marxist ideas. We reprint the first part of the article:
“The Return of the Hammer and Sickle.”
On a table the classics of Marxist thought and the international Left are displayed. The State and Revolution, the April Theses and the Communist Manifesto are on sale, at economical prices, along with biographies of Trotsky and pamphlets of socialist organizations. Once you go through the doors the atmosphere in the hall and the speeches in halting Spanish make one think that the Berlin Wall has been put back up and the Soviet Union has been resurrected.
The opening speaker is Alan Woods, the leading figure of the International Marxist Current. In his opening remarks, he recalled the reactions to the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, and he emphasized the idea that 15 years is only a very short time “in the history of the class struggle”.
After condemning the attack on Iraq, the speaker went on to stress the importance of the working class. He also described Hugo Chavez as “a man who has the guts to stand up to the monster of imperialism.” At this point about half the audience leapt to their feet, chanting slogans of support for, and defence of, President Chavez and the revolutionary process in Venezuela.
The speaker finished his speech with cries of: “Long live the Venezuelan Revolution! Long live world socialism! And long live the Socialist Federation of Latin America […].”