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Venezuela:Calling for Democratisation in the PSUV

Bolivarian revolution
Calling for Democratisation in the PSUV

Oct 17th 2012, by Lucha de Clases (  http://www.luchadeclases.org.ve/ )

On 10 October, a little after 8:30pm, the vice-president of the United
Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), Diosdado Cabello, appeared in the
media announcing his party's candidates for governor in the upcoming
elections. The response from the grassoots of the party was fast in coming.

In all the social networks, the text messages, and in conversations with
different comrades, there is a discontent with the way these candidates
were chosen. What was the criteria that was taken into account in order to
choose them? Has their previous management [as governors or in other
positions] been evaluated correctly, and above all, do they enjoy popular
support?

Comrade president Hugo Chavez, when he founded the PSUV, he said that this
party should be the political organisation that drives the revolution, it
should bring together all revolutionary militants, in every community,
factory, barrio, town, and city. Chavez talked of being shoulder to
shoulder with the workers, rural workers, students, housewives, and small
producers. However, unfortunately the reality in the PSUV at this time is
different.

Without any doubt it's the PSUV that is most accepted party in Venezuelan
society, all the opinion polls confirm it, and it's the party with the
highest amount of votes in all the elections. But, we still have to ask
ourselves, is the party going in the right direction and if the choosing of
candidates by the party leadership is the right policy to ensure that the
party and the revolution strengthen eachother? Many comrades are really
bothered by this choice, they comment that "this candidate isn't admired by
anyone" and "this candidate has never been to my community".

In our opinion this form of choosing candidates doesn't strengthen the
party nor the revolution, but on the contrary, it weakens it. We think that
the grassroots of the party should carry out the revolution. We're
militants on foot, those of us who come into contact every day with the
feelings of our worker and rural comrades. They tell us what they think of
all of their leaders. Who better than the rank and file militants to know
how a governor or mayor has failed, who better than us to know the needs of
each city, barrio, or street?

*United Socialist Party of Venezuela*

Despite comrade Hugo Chavez's huge efforts to create a mass party that
unites the best and most advanced people and to leave behind those parties
that are just used as electoral machinery; we have to say that these
objectives have not been met.

At the moment the party is being used as an electoral machine and not as an
organisation that constantly debates the policies that the revolution
should implement at each moment in time from the grassroots. It doesn't
focus on the revolutionary ideas that we defend, nor discuss the programs
that each state organism should follow, nor believe in our militancy and
our tradition of struggle, commitment, and effort, nor discuss the methods
and tactics to follow in each battle that we are faced with.

Our socialist party is only active in electoral campaigns, and in a very
limited way. Unfortunately it's becoming a machine to make propaganda for
one candidate or another, and leaving behind the objectives in which it was
founded by comrade Chavez.

The party should be present in every union, student, or rural worker
struggle, in the communities, and also supporting and doing everything
possible to help workers in other countries of the world in their battles;
it should always be on the side of the poor people and the workers, always
on the side of the class that is the motor of socialism. It should not just
accompany the exploited classes, but rather it should be the tool used by
them to wage their struggle.

At the moment the leadership of the PSUV is using the method of *cooptacion*[
*Translator: roughly translatable to "cooption" but not the same, it's when
an organisation internally names its own members or leaders, without
depending on external criteria- eg when Roman emperors chose their
successors, or the Catholic Church chooses its popes*] to elect its
candidates, but why are they using this undemocratic method for these
candidates who will play such an important role in the immediate future of
the revolution? It's true that the method of *cooptacion* can be a
preferred one under certain conditions, such as when a party is cornered
and has to work clandestinely, but this method should be understood as an
exception not as a general rule. As we understand the current conditions in
Venezuela, they are just right for each candidate and member of the party's
leadership to be elected democratically by the bases.

Unfortunately, the damage that is being done to our party and to the
revolution through using *cooptacion* is incalculable and we're going to
suffer its consequences in the short and long term. The first consequence
is the bad management that many of these candidates will implement if they
are elected as governors, as they have already been put to the test and
they don't have many things to be proud of. This will bring demoralisation
and cynicism to a large majority of our people.

The second consequence, and perhaps the more important one, is that we
aren't providing our membership with the opportunity to grow politically,
to develop their ideas and political consciousness. It's through debate and
discussion that human beings reaffirm their convictions and clarify their
ideas. Without these struggles and debates we would simply be robots who
carry out pre-programmed tasks without awareness of what is being done. The
education of a cadre isn't done with just a talk or broadcasting a video, a
cadre is formed through continuous debate.

What type of militants do we want to have? Every honest revolutionary who
acts according to their beliefs should ask themselves this question. If we
want to have conscious militants who are prepared for the struggles they
will have to face in the future, the greatest amount of democracy should be
allowed for in the party, in order to stimulate discussion of ideas. Every
candidate election should be taken advantage of in order to have a
discussion of program, method, and ideas. If we want a strong party, we
should debate and elect candidates from the grassroots. But if we want
militants without awareness, that are insecure, confused, unable to
convince anyone, who only know how to stick up a poster or bulk out numbers
in a rally - if that's the type of militant we want, we'll support the
method of *cooptacion*. Unfortunately it seems that many would like this
kind of militant.

None of us should be scared of the large amount of opinion produced in our
party at the time of discussing politics and ideas, but if we're sure of
anything, it's that the only true way that the correct ideas triumph, is
through debate. We're totally sure that after every discussion with our
comrades, we will all come out strengthened and the PSUV and the revolution
with us. Every election is a great chance to discuss ideas, programs, and
methods among all the tendencies within the party.

Some comrades say that when elections among the bases are held, the
candidates who have money and influence use such things to persuade many
comrades to choose them. This is true, and has been seen in past elections
of candidates for governor, and surely if we were called to vote for
candidates these vices from the past would resurface. But that's not an
excuse to not call on the rank and file to vote. We should defend the
bases' choice of all candidates through popular election and at the same
time ask for a fair campaign by them.

The candidates for governor in past elections were chosen by the
grassroots, and many of those later governed very badly. That paves the way
for many bureaucrats within the party to allege that "the bases have chosen
inadequate candidates" and "they don't have sufficient political
consciousness to choose their representatives, we should tell them what is
good for them". For these men any candidate of the people is an
"inadequate" one. Every candidate who comes out of the grassroots is one
less chance for those at the top to make pacts between different groups and
cliques. We don't deny that sometimes we have been mistaken, but our
mistakes in the choosing of candidates have been honest and not motivated
by any personal interest. We demand our right to make mistakes!

All the most advanced comrades are aware of the danger that the bureaucracy
represents for the revolution. Today, more than ever the people are
critical of it; they see it as a brake, as the thing to blame for why many
of comrade Chavez's initiatives aren't concretised, as the thing which,
along with its many infinite manouevres, steals a large percentage of the
resources that are destined to go towards solving their problems. A large
and important layer of our comrades are becoming demoralised and apathetic;
the most active among us are organising to defend ourselves and to defend
the future of this precious revolution.

One of the main tools in the fight against bureaucracy is making decisions
at the grassroots and demanding our right to choose candidates for all the
elected positions.

*Translated by Tamara Pearson for Venezuelanalysis.com*
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*Source URL (retrieved on 17/10/2012 - 8:59pm):*
 http://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/7366