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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A year Inside the Venezuelan Revolution by Paul Benedek, Brisbane


“We have just spent the most exciting year of our lives residing in Venezuela. It’s the heartland of the most important radical political upheaval of our time, and centre of the project for socialism in the 21st century”, enthused Jim McIlroy who, along with Coral Wynter, spent 2006 in Caracas reporting on the Bolivarian revolution for Green Left Weekly. McIlroy and Wynter detailed their experiences to almost 100 people at the CEPU Auditorium on February 3 at a forum organised by Green Left Weekly and sponsored by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN).

“The changes erupting in Venezuela, and now spreading across Latin America, provide a base and an inspiration for people seeking to challenge the domination of neoliberal capitalism all across the globe”, McIlroy said. “The message we bring back from Venezuela is that there is hope for socialism. The imperialist monster, centred in the US, with the support of allies like the Australian government, can be challenged and defeated.

“The most appropriate description of the revolutionary process in Venezuela is the phrase put forward by Vladimir Lenin of revolution as ‘a festival of the oppressed’.

“Led by socialist president Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan people are taking hold of their own destiny. They are seizing control of the economic resources and political power of the country, and challenging the rule of the oligarchy and the foreign capitalists who have traditionally dominated Third World countries like Venezuela”, McIlroy said.

McIlroy and Wynter discussed the recent presidential election campaign, in which Chavez won a new term with around 63% of the vote; the gains of the revolution; the struggles of workers, women and indigenous people; and the rise of a new people’s democracy linked to the neighbourhood-based communal councils.

Wynter and McIlroy described their abode in Catia, a working-class suburb of Caracas, and how they had been welcomed into the community activities and outings of the local Chavista movement, including being made honorary members of the Grandmothers’ Club.

McIlroy and Wynter also described the development of the international movement in solidarity with Venezuela, including the visit of several Australian brigades to Venezuela, sponsored by the AVSN. They urged everyone to join the solidarity movement in Australia and to consider participating in one of the AVSN-sponsored brigades to Venezuela. The first one this year is being organised to coincide with May Day, with a special focus on trade union solidarity.

“We are very optimistic that the Venezuelan people can carry forward their revolution”, Wynter said. “Their struggle to build an alternative society is so inspiring. Our job in Australia is to give them all the solidarity and support that we can.”

[McIlroy and Wynter are speaking at forums in Sydney and Melbourne in the coming weeks. See the calendar on page 23 for details. To find out more about the May Day brigade to Venezuela visit .]

From: Australian News, Green Left Weekly issue #698 14 February 2007.

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