Chavez calls for a Fifth International

An international conference of over 50 left parties from 31 countries held in Caracas on 19-20 November heard President Chavez call for the creation of a Fifth International. It passed a resolution to form a committee to prepare a global conference of left parties in Caracas in April 2010 to discuss its formation.

Support came from a number of Latin American parties, including the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) of Bolivia, the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) of El Salvador, the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) of Nicaragua, and Alianza Pais of Ecuador, plus smaller parties and groups such as the Proposal for an Alternative Society (PAS) of Chile, New Nation Alternative (ANN) of Guatemala, and Australia’s Socialist Alliance.

A Cuban Communist Party representative described the proposal as ‘excellent’, although the party has made no formal statement. Other organisations such as Portugal’s Bloco de Esquerda, Germany’s Die Linke, and France’s Parti de Gauche expressed interest. This proposal will force a serious debate among the many organisations claiming to be socialist across the world.  Chavez emphasised inclusivity, saying that the April conference had to be much bigger than November’s. He emphasised the error in having no revolutionary organisations from the US present.

Many communist parties, including those from Greece and Brazil, expressed strong opposition, whilst the Venezuelan Communist Party (PCV) expressed strong reservations. The Workers Party of Brazil immediately declared its priority to remain with the Sao Paolo Forum, which it launched in 1990. This includes various Latin American socialist, labour, social democratic and nationalist parties such as the FSLN, FMLN, MAS and PSUV, as well as the PCV and the Communist Party of Cuba, but not the FARC.

The ‘Caracas Commitment’

The conference also passed the ‘Caracas Commitment’ ‘to reaffirm our conviction definitively to build and win a Socialism of the 21st Century.’ It expressed ‘solidarity with the peoples of the world who have suffered and are suffering from imperialist aggression, especially the more than 50 years of the genocidal blockade against Cuba...the massacre of the Palestinian people, the illegal occupation of part of the territory of the Western Sahara, and the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, which today is expanding into Pakistan.’

Global mobilisation from 12-17 December will oppose US military bases in Colombia, Panama and around the world. Solidarity with the Bolivarian revolution in the face of permanent imperialist attacks will be organised. It will campaign for an ‘international trial against George Bush for crimes against humanity, as the person principally responsible for the genocide against the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan’. It demanded an ‘immediate and unconditional end to the criminal Yankee blockade’ of Cuba and for the ‘immediate liberation’ of the Cuban Five – the five anti-terrorist activists imprisoned in the US.

It also called for solidarity with the people of Honduras in their opposition to the coup regime and demanded the return of the Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide ‘kidnapped and removed from his post...by North American imperialism.’

First Extraordinary Congress of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV)

On 21 November, in his inaugural speech to 772 delegates representing two million members, President Chavez argued that the global economic crisis was an opportunity to accelerate the dismantling of capitalism and to construct socialism internationally. He asked PSUV congress delegates to consider his proposal to create a ‘Fifth Socialist International as a new organisation that fits the time and the challenge in which we live...  that can become an instrument of unification and coordination of the struggle of peoples to save this planet,’ continuing:

‘The epicentre of revolutionary struggle is in our America. Venezuela is the epicentre of this battle. It is up to us to assume the role of the vanguard...[to] realise and become aware of the huge responsibility we have on our shoulders...The capitalist system has managed to impose a destructive mode of production and development that is destroying the planet and threatening the survival of the human species...yet the big capitalist countries like the United States that are the most responsible [for the ecological crisis] do not want to assume responsibility.’

The next decade will be an era ‘of great definitions’ in global politics, Chavez said, arguing that by 2019, Venezuela must be a ‘socialist country’ with ‘socialist values’ based on the ‘social ownership of the means of production.’

Chavez called on the PSUV to debate with the PCV and Patria Para Todos (PPT) in preparation for the National Assembly elections scheduled for September 2010. The PCV and PPT support Chavez and the Bolivarian revolution but ran alternative candidates in the 2008 elections. Citing Lenin’s State and Revolution, Chavez argued for the necessity to ‘eliminate the parasitic bourgeois state’ in Venezuela ‘in order to create a new revolutionary state from below that is a real mechanism for the construction of Socialism of the 21st Century.’ For this it was necessary to increase the consciousness of the working class  and consolidate the alliance between the PSUV and working class; the PSUV should ‘assume the role of vanguard’ and the union structure be transformed.

Chavez called for the party to be alert to and put an end to the ‘vices of the old political class’ that ‘aim to infiltrate themselves into the government’ and ‘into the centre of the party,’  which  ‘aim to neutralise and put a brake on the revolutionary movement’.

Alvaro Michaels

FRFI 212 December 2009 / January 2010

 

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