2nd World Gathering in Solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution

The International event took place in Caracas from April 13 to April 15. The dates were chosen to commemorate the massive reaction of the workers and the people which defeated, in less than 48 hours, the reactionary military coup of Pedro Carmona two years ago. More than 150 international guests were present during the events as well as thousands of Venezuelan revolutionaries.

Keen audience for the ideas of Marxism in Venezuela

The II World Gathering in Solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution took place in Caracas from April 13 to April 15. The dates were chosen to commemorate the massive reaction of the workers and the people which defeated, in less than 48 hours, the reactionary military coup of Pedro Carmona two years ago. More than 150 international guests were present during the events as well as thousands of Venezuelan revolutionaries.

Amongst the international visitors present there were a few representatives of the international Marxist tendency, Alan Woods, editor of In Defence of Marxism, Manzoor Ahmed, the Pakistani Marxist MP, and Miriam Municio, general secretary of the Spanish Students Union. All these comrades explained clearly in a number of public meetings, TV and radio interviews and in discussions with revolutionary activists, that the only way forward for the Venezuela revolution is to advance towards socialism. This would be the best way to deepen and defend the revolutionary process, which the country is going through. The comrades argued for the need to nationalise the banks and monopoly companies under workers control, the need to put the oil company and other state owned companies under workers' control and management, and the need to form workers and peoples' militias in order to defend the revolution against the attacks of the oligarchy and a possible intervention by imperialism.

These ideas were extremely well received by the hundreds of revolutionary activists who listened to them. In a sense it was as if this was exactly what they wanted to hear but, until now, no one had openly defended these ideas in front of an audience like that.

On Wednesday, April 14th, Alan Woods spoke in one of the panels of the meeting together with well known left wing MP Luís Tascón and William Izarra. One hundred people gathered to hear the debate. Alan's intervention was enthusiastically received by the audience.

That same night Manzoor Ahmed was scheduled to speak at one of the main discussions together with Rodolfo Sanz (the main ideologist of the PPT), Heinz Dieterich and others. Manzoor's intervention (straight after a 33 hour journey from Pakistan) electrified the audience. He centred his speech on the lessons of the Pakistani revolution in 1968/69, and how the Pakistan People's Party was founded at that time on the basis of an anti-imperialist, anti-feudal and anti-capitalist programme. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto came to power as a result of that revolution and he introduced a programme of wide ranging reforms. But, Manzoor warned, because he did not carry out the revolution to the end, finally Martial Law was imposed and Bhutto himself was hanged by the Army. He read from a letter that Bhutto wrote from jail in which he explained how his fate was to a large extent his own fault for having tried to reconcile between irreconcilable class interests and how he was sure of the ultimate victory of the proletariat. The lessons for the revolution in Venezuela were clear for all to see. He finished his speech by saying, "Long live the Venezuelan Socialist Revolution! Long live the World Proletarian Revolution!" which was received with a standing ovation by the whole audience.

On Friday Alan Woods spoke at a meeting called by TRABUCO, a Bolivarian organisation set up by workers of the Ministry of Science and Technology, in front of an audience of 100 people. Again when he spoke of the need to arm the workers and the people and to nationalise the economy, the audience broke into applause. On Saturday Alan spoke in the revolutionary neighbourhood of El Valle in a meeting called by the Revolutionary Marxist Current (El Topo Obrero – El Militante) which had the support of the local revolutionary radio station Ali Primera. The subject was the role of the Marxists in the revolutionary process, 40 people gathered and there was a lively debate. In the afternoon Alan had been invited to speak at a meeting of community leaders from the working class and poor neighbourhoods in Caracas, in the presidential Palace. The subject of the meeting was "The role of the party in the Revolution" and more than 70 activists turned up.

Alan Woods discussing with oil workers' leadersAlan Woods discussing with oil workers' leaders On Monday 19th Alan Woods spoke at a meeting in Barquisimeto, Lara, again on the subject of the role of the Marxists in the revolution. Despite being a national holiday (Independence Day), 80 trade union and neighbourhood activists and leaders gathered in the headquarters of the Social Security Workers Union to hear the speech and the debate.

Miriam Municio also spoke at a number of meetings for youth and student activists in Yaracuy, Barquisimeto, the Pedagogic University in Caracas, the Venezuela Central University and the Bolivarian University, amongst others.

The general feature of all the meetings was the extreme interest in the ideas of Marxism. The comrades from the Revolutionary Marxist Current had organised bookstalls at all meetings and dozens of names were collected of people interested in knowing more about Marxism and becoming active. This is really striking since no other organisation, apart from the CMR, is putting forward the perspective of socialism as the only way forward for the revolution in Venezuela. However it was abundantly clear that this was precisely what many had been waiting to hear, and that the revolutionary situation the country is going through means that these ideas coincide with the practical experience of the advanced layers of worker activists who are groping towards them.

The task of uniting these activists into a national Marxist cadre organisation which could give the process a conscious leadership which would guarantee victory is urgent and necessary. These meetings and discussions proved that the ground is extremely fertile.

April 28, 2004

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