[Marxism] Felipe Stuart:Two signs pointing to more victories -- Managua and Caracus

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Sun Nov 22 18:05:48 MST 2009

Felipe Stuart is a writer with decades of experience in Central America.
Fred Feldman

Yesterday was a turning point for Sandinistas in Nicaragua and our
supporters abroad. Hundreds of thousands of supporters of the government and
its ALBA-backed economic and social programs rallied at the Plaza de las
Victorias to celebrated the first anniversary of the massive municipal
election victories last November. The huge size and festive pride of this
demonstration completely overshadowed and dwarfed a much smaller opposition
demonstration held earlier in the day. The official banner of the rally was
Nicaragua: Christian, Socialist, and Sandinista.

Despite backing from the two main dailies, and the TV and radio media of
the oligarchy, financing from US-controlled "civil-society" (NGO) fronts,
and all out support from the three factions of Liberal Somocismo in the
country, the opposition managed to pull together at most 20,000 people.
Employers in the private sector helped to finance the turnout by giving
workers the day off, and a whiff of encouragement to return the favor in the
street. Some found it hard to miss a rally that had officially blessing from
the Bishops. Their demonstration was completely swamped with the red flags
and banners of Aleman's Liberal Party (PLC), and was notoriously speckled
with elite white faces and well shod middle-class elements. The mestizo
component was largely delivered to their rally point in buses and trucks
rented or owned by the PLC and business supporters.  They were neither so
"civil" nor so "society" as the leaders from the "NGOs" and  opposition
parties. They are not used to being in the company of "los chapiollos" - the
shirtless flip-flop shod rabble they usually only meet in the person of
servants and gardineers, and their security guards.

This day of celebration and defiance to the hysterical destabilization
campaign of the rightwing and the Embassy, backed by the Vatican-instructed
Church, will infuse greater self-confidence, pride, and determination among
Sandinistas - from our mass base, through to those carrying out government
responsibilities at the municipal and national levels. It will lend greater
vitality to the ALBA initiatives and projects, and inspire participants to
even greater efforts to extend their reach and impact. [ for more background
on the class nature of the Nicaraguan opposition front and the misnamed
"civil society" organizations see [ Anti-FSLN Opposition Seeks Unity to
Topple Ortega Government, by Felipe Stuart Cournoyer, Monthly Review, URL

There is another reason why we feel that a turning point, a bifurcation, has
been reached. Yesterday, the 1st Extraordinary Congress of the Bolivarian
PSUV got underway. President Hugo Chavez gave what can only be described as
a benchmark and historic inaugural speech. He took up a range of questions,
including the question of the class character of the Venezuelan state and
Bolivarian government. Chavez, with a copy of Lenin's State and Revolution
in hand, used the text to explain how Bolivarians must analyze the state and
the government. His analysis was pure Marx and Lenin. He explained how and
why the national bourgeoisie continue to have a strong hold on various
components of the state. He argued that the next phase of the revolution had
to tackle this problem head on.

In that context, and in the wake of the just-concluded international
conference of left parties, Chavez called for the launching of the Fifth
International. He had taken some time to explain the history of the First,
Second, and Third Internationals. His call was not ex abrupt. It was a
serious proposal, and he ended the speech with a series of chants, including
"Long Live the Fifth International!" This address was long, and went into
detailed explication of what a vanguard party, and the vanguard of the
vanguard must be, how it must act, and how its moral values and utter
dedication to the Bolivarian and international revolution must underpin and
inform all its work. In that framework, Chavez posed the question of the
relationship between the 7 million-member base of the party to the 2 million
active in its base "patrol" units, and their relationship to the elected
congress delegates. 

Chavez insisted and demanded, over and over again throughout his keynote
address, that the Congress delegates must study, must remain in constant
contact with the base membership and their communities, and must discuss in
depth all proposals and questions on the agenda; they must, he argued, be
critical, analytical, and knowledgeable about government programs, laws, the
work of its ministries, and about economic realities, problems, and data.
They must be an informed vanguard, a vanguard that fights with ideas,
defends the revolution with ideas, and convinces an ever expanding range of
the population to participate in the revolution and its programs.
I doubt if one could ever hear such quality argumentation about the
character and tasks of the vanguard in any of the self-appointed vanguards
and telephone-booth internationals laying claim to unique knowledge of how
to make the revolution.

The Congress will remain in session until April, and various sessions will
be held in other regions of the country. It will also the regrouped in
working commissions by province, and also by thematic questions.

The inaugural session of the Congress was televised live on Venezuelan TV,
and carried live here in Nicaragua by cable services. It will no doubt be
televised on Sandinista-oriented channels throughout this week, along with
repeats of Ortega's speech yesterday.

Hugo Chavez gave honorable mention to the Honduran resistance and the
presence of Patricia Rojas, the foreign minister of the Honduran
Constitutional government. He made specific mention of, and lauded the
Sandinista rally in Managua, and welcomed the presence of the two FSLN
fraternal delegates - Padre Miguel d'Escoto Brockman (who just finished his
term as President of the UN General Assembly) and Aldo Diaz Lacayo, one of
the leading members of the FSLN and advisor to the Presidency. Lacayo is a
widely respected historian and was Ambassador to Mexico during the
revolution. His well-frequented bookstore is the main distributor of Ocean
Press books in our country.

I think socialist and anti-imperialist fighters in all countries must
respond in creative and united ways to the Bolivarian call for a new
international.  Like the Foro de Sao Paulo (San Pablo) over the last decade,
what is proposed is an international of socialist organizations and
(possibly) allied class- and anti-imperialist struggle organizations.The
FSP, however, is is really just a space for exchange of views, and
elaborating common positions where possible. But the new international will
be a qualitative advance over the FSP, and draw in participants from other
continents. It will be  different from the ALBA alliance which is
essentially an alliance of anti-imperialist governments, although it has
initiatives to support activities and coordination among social and class
movements in Indo-Latin America and the Caribbean.  

I should add that Chavez is not trying to impose any preconceived plan or
design for the new international. That requires input and discussion from
around the globe, and especially in Indo-Latin America, which has now
become, Chavez argues, the new epicenter of anti-capitalist and
anti-imperialist struggle. 
When the text of the speech becomes available, we need to help to circulate
broadly, and to discuss it in all its dimensions and elements.

Felipe Stuart

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