It appears that the establishment of a united socialist party in Venezuela to lead the struggle against both state bureaucracy and capital interests is now under way.
Green Left weekly has an excellent article about this by Federico Fuentes. He reports:
Of course, not all forces of the left have been as supportive of the project as they should. As always, the pitiful party bureaucrats and hacks will not willingly support a truly radical party that will challenge their wee leadership positions. Honest socialists in Venezuela should leave their pathetic sects if their all wise leaders choose not to join the new vanguard -over some irreconcilable ideological dispute over the length of Engels' beard- and leave those rotten bureaucrats to wither away on their own.
Chavez’s call has opened up a big debate on what the nature and program of such a party should be. For now, apart from Chavez’s party, the Movement for a Fifth Republic (MVR), the main Chavista parties have decided not to dissolve into the new party. However, large fractures have begun to occur as both leaders and rank-and-file members of these parties — Homeland For All (PPT), Podemos and the Venezuelan Communist Party — are leaving en masse. Most of the parties outside of the official Chavista electoral alliance but committed to the revolution have decided to integrate themselves into the new party, with a few waiting on the sidelines to see how things unfold first.
The party will be established along democratic lines, from the bottom up. For several weeks from April 29, 6000 booths will be set up all over the country for people to sign up to the new party. Next, the new joiners will be divided up into basic cells of 200 people based on territorial divisions, universities and factories. Out of each, a spokesperson will be elected to participate in the founding congress. No quotas have been set aside for party officials, nor will anyone automatically secure a place in the congress. Even Chavez will have to be elected by his local cell if he is to participate in the conference.
The founding conference will run for approximately three months. As the congress deliberates, spokespeople will return to their local cell, back to the congress, then back to the community and so on. On December 2, a referendum of all members will decide whether or not to approve the founding program of the new party. To ensure transparency and democracy, the national electoral commission will run the whole process.
While we also have our fair share of ludicrous Trotskopuritan clowns bashing the Bolivarian process in Venezuela over here, they are not a tenth as dangerous as those more-revolutionary-than thou petty gurus that may compromise the unity project in Venezuela. Given the ever increasing lengths that American imperialism will be willing to go to in order to stop a socialist transition in Venezuela as this becomes ever more likely, the crucial need for an indivisible, united political organization of the working class that has both the power and the will to fight for socialism cannot be stressed strongly enough. If the project is successful, we will witness the first ever establishment of a truly mass working class party that is explicitly socialist, rather than social democratic or trade unionist.
Of course, the puritan clowns whose only idea of political activity is reading books and writing huge articles that nobody ever reads apart from others of their ilk - this is what being a proletarian consists in according to them; if you are a political activist, you are probably a middle class radical - will immediately jump and cry that if Chavez had any intention of moving towards socialism, he would have already nationalized the economy etc. The toy town voluntarism of such arguments is stupefyingly, mindblowingly, most incredibly moronic. Those great "Marxist" new Lenin wannabes seem to forget the key tenet of materialism, the primacy of matter over ideas. They ignore that merely by leading the government, Chavez and all honest socialists in Venezuela do not have complete control over the whole of the bourgeois state apparatus. It should also be remembered that not all parties forming the government coalition are socialist.
Chavez's actions should be evaluated in the constraining framework within which they take place. Under this light, his record is spotless. Not only has Chavez armed the population - unlike the only comparable politician in the history of Latin America, Allende - and established radical democratic recall mechanisms, but also, unlike the great gurus, he has realised that socialism cannot be established via a series of decrees by benevolent leaders, it has to be built by the masses. He has been consistent in his calls to the Venezuelan people to actively defend their gains and move the revolution forward. In his latest speech he also said that those members of the government coalition that are against the formation of the united socialist party should fuck off to the opposition. So much for compromise.
Remember folks. A short bald guy once said that he who expects a pure revolution will never live to see it.