Venezuelan referendum – a victory for all anti-imperialists

Venezuelan referendum – a victory for all anti-imperialists

The victory for the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela in the referendum on 15 August is not felt only within Venezuela, but is of huge significance to the Cuban Revolution and the whole of the revolutionary movements in Latin America. With 58.25 percent of the vote, the Venezuelan people ratified President Hugo Chavez and the revolutionary process.

Rock around the Blockade was involved with the Hands off Venezuela campaign in organising a week of action in solidarity with Venezuela in the lead-up to the referendum, culminating with a march and rally outside the US Embassy in London on 15 August.

During the week there were meetings, musical events and film showings. Rock around the Blockade members spoke alongside Socialist Appeal at a meeting focusing on the anti-imperialist struggle in Latin America and the Caribbean. We also co-hosted a meeting with the Global Women’s Strike on the topic of ‘Creating a caring economy’. The Global Women’s Strike had been present at the referendum and spoke of the palpable enthusiasm among the Venezuelan people and their commitment to continue building the Bolivarian Revolution. Rock around the Blockade used data from Cuba on health, education, literacy, the Battle of Ideas, youth, older people, gay people and people with disabilities to illustrate how a socialist society is able to care for its inhabitants, their quality of life and their future. We also used the Cuban example to show how only by basing itself absolutely on the interests of the vast mass of the population can a revolution withstand the inevitable attempts of imperialism to destroy it. There was a lively debate about the importance of socialists and progressives in this country offering unconditional support to all those fighting imperialism by any means around the world.

Following our intervention at the SWP’s Marxism 2004 in July, where we challenged SWP Cuba ‘expert’ Mike Gonzalez over his reactionary book, Che Guevara and the Cuban Revolution, we have continued to dog his steps around the country. We will not allow lies and distortions about Cuba’s revolutionary history to go unchallenged (see review of his book in FRFI 180).

In Glasgow, RATB activists went to Mike Gonzalez’s book launch at Borders bookstore. Ignoring the catcalls and groans from assembled SWP stooges, the comrades asked Gonzalez to back up his assertions about a lack of democracy in Cuba. Bizarrely Gonzalez claimed that his book was not about Cuba! At another meeting, again attended by RATB supporters, he complained that we follow him around the country to denounce him. We are glad he’s got the message. At the Scottish Socialist Party’s ‘Socialism 2004’ weekend event in early September, in a ‘debate’ with a speaker from Scottish Medical Aid for Cuba, Gonzalez again demonstrated his skill at evading and distorting any real discussion on Cuba. Fellow SWP members, dismissed those who support the ideas of Che as ‘16-year-olds’. At a London meeting following this, clearly irritated by Rock around the Blockade comparing his stance on Cuba to that of the CIA, Mike Gonzalez stated plaintively: ‘I do not receive regular payments from the CIA’! ‘Only intermittent ones, then?’ quipped a voice from the audience...

RATB welcomes people of all ages at our events and is raising money for a sound system for the Union of Young Communists in Cuba, to take out with a brigade in 2005.

In September, another Rebel Music fundraising club night of hip hop, break beats and reggae was held in London at Electrowerkz at the Angel. An excellent new flyer for publicity, a good line up including our usual London performers plus a crew of working-class youngsters who travelled down from Toxteth, Liverpool to show solidarity with the Cuban Revolution and rap about their own lives. The night was both enjoyable and successful. The next ones planned are October in Manchester, November in Glasgow and December in London. Get on our mailing list to be kept informed – they are not to be missed!

London will also be holding a week of activities around the anniversary of Che Guevara’s death in combat. This includes a stall with petitioning at Camden on Saturday 2 October, 12-2pm, meet outside Camden Town tube, a meeting on Wednesday 8 October at London School of Economics WC2 at 7pm and an evening of live music, poetry and politics on Saturday 9 October at the Yorkshire Grey pub, on the corner of Grays Inn Road and Theobalds Road WC1 from 8pm onwards. All welcome at all events.

Join our egroup for regular up to the minute news and views from and about Cuba by emailing <viva_cuba-subscribe@yahoo> and join RATB by sending a cheque made payable to Rock around the Blockade for £10, £4 or £2, then you will receive our newsletter and will be contributing to our work.

Get active and get involved – the US blockade, the tightening imperialist noose, the effects of the hurricane and above all the revolutionary spirit of the Cuban people all mean that Cuba, now more than ever, needs our support.

FRFI 181 October / November 2004


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