Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Venezuela: Draft program and principles of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV)

LINKS, the "international journal for socialist renewal" produced by the DSP, has just published the first English translation of the draft program and principles of the (provisionally named) United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), which are currently being discussed at its founding congress.

The documents available in English here were drawn up by the provisional leadership of the PSUV.

As the introduction from LINKS explains:

[Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez made his first public call for the creation a political instrument to unify the country's revolutionary forces in December 15, 2006. Convened on January 12, 2008, some 1676 congress delegates elected from almost 15,000 socialist battalions -- local units of the PSUV -- will discuss and debate this draft program, as well as the proposed principles and statutes of the new party, over the next two months. In between congress sessions, delegates will return to their local regions and battalions to ensure the widest possible discussion of these documents among the ranks of the new party.

[The documents were translated by Federico Fuentes and Kiraz Janicke. Fuentes and Janicke are members of the Australian Democratic Socialist Perspective living in Venezuela, where they have been reporting for Green Left Weekly. Fuentes works at the Miranda International Centre, in the "The Political Instrument for the 21st Century" program. Janicke also writes for Venezuela Analysis.]

The full text can (and should) be read on the LINKS website, but the Wombats have produced below a (very) short summary of the contents.

[Summary of Contents]

Draft Program of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela

I. About the program

II. The program of the PSUV

  1. Defence of the revolution. Build socialism
  2. Internationalism
  3. Build Popular Power. Socialise power
  4. Planned economy. Communal state
  5. Defence of nature. Planned production
  6. Defence of the revolution and sovereignty
  7. A state based on Popular Power

Draft declaration of Principles of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV)

  1. The Threat
  2. Defeat poverty
  3. Exercising power
  4. The necessity of internationalism
  5. Defence
  6. Unity
  7. Direct participation
  8. The principal responsibility
  9. Overcome fragmentation and anarchy
  10. Original and creative
  11. The construction of socialism: the only way out

Some of the more interesting parts, from the point of view of determining exactly what kind of party, and what kind of socialism are:

"Ever since human society was divided into classes, there has been resistance and struggle against oppression and exploitation. But with the victory of capitalism over feudalism and the dominance of the capitalist mode of production at the world scale, the social struggles of the industrial workers' movement fused with the most advanced thought of its time and gave rise to the struggle for a socialism based on science and the most deeply felt sentiments of human beings."


"This conjuncture opens up the perspective of calling for an international anti-imperialist bloc on a grand scale, with the participation of national, provincial and local governments, different types of social movements and political forces from a broad ideological viewpoint. The idea is to unite in action hundreds of millions of people throughout the entire world against imperialism and its wars.

Similarly, in Latin America there exists the possibility of producing a qualitative transformation in the politico-organisational reality of tens of millions of exploited and oppressed. The Party (Bolivarian Party for the Socialist Revolution) of Venezuela therefore sees the necessity of forging instruments in which they can converge, and at the same time remake universal revolutionary thought, as the vanguard in an era of immense challenges and great victories: capitalism is international; the revolution is international; our thought and the action must be international.

Action in function of the notion of a global anti-imperialist bloc and the revolutionary and socialist convergence of the Latin American-Caribbean peoples, will guide the steps taken by the Party (Bolivarian Party for the Socialist Revolution) of Venezuela with the certainty that making these objectives a reality will change the relationship of forces at the international scale and inaugurate a new historic era."


"Brought to life by the government of the Bolivarian Revolution and under the impulse of President Hugo Chavez, the Party (Bolivarian Party for the Socialist Revolution) of Venezuela nevertheless is not the government. It is the political controller of the objectives of the government and will keep a watch over it to ensure these objectives are carried out. At the moment of its conception into national and international political life, the nexus point between the government and the Party is Commandante Chavez, and the full adoption by the Party of the five motors and the seven strategic guidelines that today summarise the program, the strategy and the tactics of the Bolivarian Revolution."

There is also an interesting enjambment of Marx and Christ:

"One does not have to be religious in order to identify with and be at one with basic principles of Christ that champion justice, equity and human and fraternal relationships between persons. “You will not oppress the poor and needy day labourer, be they from amongst your brothers or a foreigner that lives in the lands within your city”, “Woe to me if you build your house without justice, and your rooms without equity, living off your neighbour for free, and not giving him the salary for his work!”, “No one can serve two masters because he will loathe one and love the other. You can not serve both God and wealth”, “Blessed are the poor, because for them is the kingdom of heaven, blessed are those that have a hunger and thirst for justice, because they will be quenched, blessed are the merciful, because they will receive compassion”.

One does not have to be an atheist in order to agree with Marx’s scientific analysis which led him to affirm: “in the capitalist system of production, labour is external to the worker it does not belong to his essential being; that he, therefore, does not confirm himself in his work, but denies himself, feels miserable and not happy, does not develop free mental and physical energy, but mortifies his flesh and ruins his mind. The worker feels himself only when he is not working; when he is working, he does not feel himself. This produces the reversion of all human values”."

A dedication to internationalism:

"But the concept of internationalism that the Party holds is not one of simple “international fraternisation between peoples”, nor one of simply exhortations for “tolerance”. The Party fights to create a truly international united front of the peoples that is anti-imperialist and confronts the aberrations that imperialism pretends to universalise where they appear"

The creation of popular power:

"The program of the PSUV has as its objective making reality the slogan “in order to end poverty you have to give power to the poor”, or better said: the people. That is to say, build a government based on Councils of Popular Power, where workers, campesinos, students and popular masses are direct protagonists in the exercising of political power. The program of the PSUV proposes the socialising of political power, establishing the direct exercising of decision-making power by the masses in their organisations; their unrestricted right to scientific research and the free artistic creation, and the democratisation of access to all cultural policies."

And some interesting notes around the economy:

The program of the PSUV proposes to move in the direction of a democratically planned and controlled economy, capable of ending alienated labour and satisfying all the necessities of the masses. Throughout this period of transition, which at this moment marches from a state capitalism dominated by market forces towards a state socialism with a regulated market, the aim is to move towards a communal state socialism, with the strategic objective of totally neutralising the law of value within the functioning of the economy.


“* A society that prohibits monopolies and the monopolists of the means of labour, that is to say, of the “sources of life” [1], or any other activities, agreements, practices, behaviours or omissions by them that make vulnerable the methods and systems of social and collective production.

* A society with property models that privileges public, indirect and direct social, communal, citizens’ and collective property, as well as mixed systems, respecting private property that is of public utility or general interest and which is subjected to contributions, charges, restrictions and obligations.

* A society that defends non-alienated labour, with sufficient free time so that human beings have time for voluntary work and rest time for scientific and humanistic creation, as opposed to the capitalist productive system that revolves around the prolongation of the work day, the prolongation of free labour (for the capitalist owner) or increasing “productivity”, that is, accentuating the stress levels of the labour force.

* A society that is inclined towards collective forms of property and labour, that is capable of distributing the “social product” in order to maintain the means of production, broaden out production, create funds or insurance against accidents or natural phenomena, cover administration costs, satisfy collective necessities (schools, hospitals etc.) and sustain people who are unable to work, and afterwards proceed in “dividing up” for consumption purposes.”

While it's only a draft, and hence fairly limited, it is an interesting indication of where the process might be heading.

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