Venezuela: US fears spread of
by Federico Fuentes
Under the banner of "For freedom
of speech and against imperialism", hundreds of thousands
of Venezuelans took to the streets of Caracas on June 2 in defence
of their revolution, and as a direct response to the domestic
and international campaign being whipped up by Washington in the
wake of the non-renewal of Radio Caracas TV's (RCTV) broadcasting
concession, dwarfing all of the opposition marches that had occurred
in preceding days. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced:
"If the Venezuelan oligarchy believe that they will stop
us with their threats, with their manipulations or with their
destabilisation plans, forget it!"
Promising that each destabilisation plan
"manipulated by the US empire" would be met with "a
new revolutionary offensive!", Chavez said that "starting
from today a Bolivarian counter-attack" would begin across
the country, "in the streets, in the factories, in the universities,
in the high schools, in all parts - a truly ideological, political,
popular, national and international counterattack".
When RCTV's licence to use the free-to-air
Channel 2 expired on May 27, the concession was awarded to a new
independently produced station, Venezuelan Social Television (TVes),
to provide a national space for those previously excluded from
the media. This has been used as the latest pretext for an escalating
assault against the revolutionary government and people of Venezuela.
An international media war has been launched to create the mirage
of a democratic protest movement mobilising against the supposed
authoritarian, anti-democratic Chavez government. Anti-Venezuela
resolutions have been passed by US Congress, the European Union
and the right-wing-controlled Brazilian senate.
Chavez explained that behind this latest
plot by US imperialism was "the fear that the example of
Venezuela will extend to other countries" - that of a revolution
sweeping away the old capitalist order and laying the basis for
a new, truly democratic socialist society.
Chavez's speech on history, politics and
revolutionary theory once again revealed the powerful dynamic
between the organised masses and Chavez that is driving forward
this revolutionary process.
Chavez reiterated the points he made after
his landslide re-election last December, stating that the victory
was not "a point of arrival, but rather a point of departure"
for the revolution, and that this mandate had given the government
the ability to drive forward its revolutionary project.
"Only 140 days have passed"
since the new government's inauguration, Chavez explained, yet
a "new period has started up, accelerating the process of
revolutionary transformation". He pointed to the recuperation
of state control over the oil fields in the Orinoco Belt, the
re-nationalisation of the telecommunications company CANTV and
six electricity companies, as well as the mammoth turnout to register
interest in the new united socialist party, the PSUV (by that
day, 4.7 million people had registered, reaching more than 5 million
by the end of the following day when registrations closed).
The latest step in this "revolutionary
acceleration" was "the expiration of the concession
that the Venezuelan oligarchic elite had controlled for 53 years
for its own abuse and benefits". Chavez announced that now,
"Channel 2 is liberated, it no longer belongs to the oligarchy,
nor will it return to the oligarchy. Now it belongs to the Venezuelan
people." This was met with spontaneous chants of "This
is how you govern".
Urging the masses to continue consolidating
the "unity of all the revolutionary currents" in order
to "continue reaping victories", Chavez stressed the
centrality of the PSUV to the deepening of the revolution: "I
want to use these words to insist, from within my heart, on this
unitary process of the party, of all the people, the working class,
the peasants, the cultural movements unity of the Bolivarian
armed forces, unity of the Bolivarian people."
Drawing on the "great Italian revolutionary
thinker Antonio Gramsci", Chavez outlined why this process
has encountered the reaction of imperialism. Referring to Gramsci's
thesis - "a truly historic crisis occurs when there is something
that is dying, but has not finished dying, and at the same time
there is something that is being born but which also hasn't finished
being born" - Chavez explained that already by the 1980s,
"Venezuela had entered into a historic crisis [today] we
are in the epicentre of the crisis".
"A good part of the years to come
will form part of this historic crisis until the Fourth Republic
[the pre-Chavez regime] dies definitively and the fifth republic
is fully born - the socialist and Bolivarian republic of Venezuela."
For Chavez, the Fourth Republic represented
the rule of the "US empire and its lackeys here in Venezuela,
the oligarchy, the bourgeoisie, the class that dominated Venezuela
for 200 years". This is the same class, he stressed, "that
betrayed [Simon] Bolivar, that killed [Jose Antonio de] Sucre,
that murdered [Ezequiel] Zamora", all prominent leaders of
Venezuela's 200 years of struggle for independence.
Chavez explained Gramsci's concept of
"historical blocs" - in which a particular class manages
to acquire hegemony that is expressed in structures and superstructures
- in order to further draw out the class content of the battle
between the fourth and fifth republics.
According to Gramsci, the superstructure
of the dominant historic bloc has two levels, the political society
- "the institutions of the state" - and the civil society,
consisting of economic and private institutions, specifically
the church, media and education system, which are used by the
ruling class "to spread among the social and popular classes
its dominant ideology".
Chavez noted that one of the "great
contradictions" in Venezuelan society today existed between
these two factors. "We have been coming along liberating
the state", said Chavez. "Bourgeois civil society used
to control" the Venezuelan state, government, legislative
and judicial power, state companies, government banks, and the
national budget, but "they have been losing all of that".
Elucidating the battles that lay ahead
for the Venezuelan masses, Chavez said that the bourgeoisie was
retreating into its last remaining refuges in the media, church
and education system.
While "we have no plan to eliminate
the oligarchy, the Venezuelan bourgeois", Chavez stressed
that they must accept that the rules have changed. "If the
Venezuelan bourgeoisie continues to desperately attack us, utilising
the refuges it has left, then the Venezuelan bourgeoisie will
continue to lose these refuges one by one!"
"This message is for the Venezuelan
bourgeois class. We respect you as Venezuelans, you should respect
Venezuela, you should respect the homeland, you should respect
our constitution, you should respect our laws. If you don't do
this we will make you obey the Venezuelan laws!" Again Chavez's
comments were met with chants of "This is how you govern".
Speaking to a solid core of his supporters,
many of whom played a part during the heroic days of April 11-13,
2002, where a counter-revolutionary coup, which RCTV participated
in, was overturned by a civic-military uprising, Chavez declared,
"We will defeat you again".
In response, the crowd repeated an earlier
chant: "Now it's the turn of Globovision", referring
to another of the coup-plotting private television stations.
Chavez replied that in the case of RCTV,
"we had a lot of patience", waiting for the concession
to expire, "but no-one should believe that it will always
be like that. A concession can expire, including before the established
time. According to the law, a concession can expire due to violations
of the constitution, of the laws, for media terrorism etc."
What was necessary now was for the Venezuelan
masses to continue "constructing the new historic bloc, constructing
socialism, constructing the new political society the socialist
state". At the same, time, there was a "need to continue
transforming that old bourgeois civil society".
Chavez called on the university and high
school student movements to "assume the vanguard" together
with the working class, the campesinos (peasants) and soldiers.
Chavez finished with the now customary
catch cry: "Homeland, socialism or death! We will win!"
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