Very successful

Successful meetings in Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna and Ferrara, with good collections and some added excitement provided by the presence of provocateurs from the Venezuelan "opposition"! May 6, 2004
Se also in Spanish: Gran éxito en los actos de "Manos fuera de Venezuela" en Emilia Romagna (Italia)
And in Italian: Prosegue la Campagna "Giù le mani dal Venezuela" - Assemblee molto riuscite in Emilia Romagna

After Udine, the “Hands off Venezuela” tour in Italy with Jorge Martín, moved to the Emilia Romagna region. On May 3 there was a meeting in Parma, with the support of the provincial federation of the Party of Communist Refoundation (PRC), with 35 people present, including 3 Venezuelans. The debate was of a high level, and amongst other things there was a discussion about whether there was or not a revolution in Venezuela, since a comrade argued that there wasn’t because there were no bodies of dual power. Jorge Martin replied to this schematic view by explaining that the process of mass organisation, politicisation and direct participation of the masses was what gave the Venezuelan process its revolutionary character. Furthermore, he added, there had been elements of dual power when the oil workers, together with the local communities and a section of the army, were running the oil industry under workers’ control. The collection raised 203 euros, plus a 100 euro donation from the PRC.

The following day, we had a students’ assembly at the “Liceo Classico” high school in Parma, organised by the activists of the Committee in Defence of State Education (CSP), with the participation of 80 students. The headmaster had forced the presence of a local journalist as a “counter-part”. He started by repeating a series of Venezuelan opposition accusations (“the government is authoritarian, undemocratic, attacks the opposition, cannot run the economy, etc”), to which Jorge Martín replied in detail. The following question got the journalist into a contradiction since he asked “why did Chavez not take control of the private media if he was a dictator?”. The obvious answer was that this proved precisely that he was not a dictator, and that the situation in Venezuela was the opposite of that in “democratic” Italy, where the president has the control of most state and private media. The CSP activists had previously collected more than 180 signatures for the campaign amongst the students.

In the afternoon we had a meeting in the PRC office in Reggio Emilia. One of those present was representing the “Che Lives” Circle in Correggio and came to offer their official support for the campaign and gave us a number of signatures they had already collected.

In the evening there was a meeting in the PRC office in Modena, organised with the support of the party’s provincial federation. Some 50 people were present, including a large number of trade union shop stewards from the local factories. The debate was around the question of the need to build a Marxist leadership for the Venezuelan revolution in order to guarantee its victory. Jorge explained the enormous interest for Marxist ideas in Venezuela and the extraordinary reception of leading Marxists like Alan Woods and Manzoor Ahmed at the International Solidarity Meeting in Caracas. He also explained that although Chavez is clearly not a Marxist, he has no prejudice against these ideas and how he is keen to see the book Reason in Revolt by Alan Woods and Ted Grant published in Venezuela. This makes the conditions to build a Marxist current with influence amongst the workers and the people, extremely favourable, and this is precisely the task that the comrades from the Revolutionary Marxist Current “El Topo Obrero” have set themselves. The collection raised some 336 euros, plus a donation of 100 from the PRC.

The following day there was a meeting with Communist Youth activists in Ferrara, and in the evening an extraordinary meeting in Bologna. The event was organised by the Hands off Venezuela committee and the provincial federation of the PRC and there was the presence of well known left wing writer Pino Cacucci. The attendance overwhelmed all expectations, and more than 180 people, many of them standing, attending the meeting. The mood was electric. A small group of Venezuelan opposition supporters sat at the front and tried to disrupt the meeting by speaking aloud during the speeches, interrupting and so on. Alessandro Giardiello, from the national leadership of the PRC invited them to leave the meeting if they could not bring themselves to behave in a democratic fashion, which they did to wild applause from the audience. Also present were a large number of Venezuelans who support the revolution, some of whom spoke in the debate. One of them, Luz, explained how the opposition, whom she qualified as criminals, had forced her family at gunpoint to close their business during the bosses’ lock out. The meeting was no doubt one of the largest that had taken place in Bologna for a long time, and the collection raised 225 euros, plus a donation of 100 from the PRC.

May 6, 2004

See the report of the meeting in Spanish and Italian