[Marxism] re Venezuelan Constituent Assembly
michael a. lebowitz
mlebowit at sfu.ca
Tue Aug 15 13:17:10 MDT 2017
Pretty disappointed in Joaquin Bustelo's confused ramble. Rather than
reciting from an interview with an unknown university expert, he would
learn a bit from the fine interviews that Fred Fuentes has been
conducting for Green Left Weekly recently and what has been appearing on
Links. Cf, eg,:
Maria Helena Ramirez Hernandez
Stalin Perez Borges
One of these follows.
Venezuela’s Revolutionary Sex and Gender Diversity Alliance: 'The
Constituent Assembly has been a huge boost to the spirit of Chavistas'
Activists from Venezuela’s Revolutionary Sex and Gender Diversity Alliance.
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
There has been a lot of media focus on Venezuela’s recently inaugurated
National Constituent Assembly (ANC). However, little attention has been
paid to the response it has generated among grassroots organisations or
the variety of proposals being discussed in communities in terms of
potential constitutional changes.
The ANC was put forward by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro as a
means towards a peaceful and democratic solution to months of political
turmoil in the country. It will have plenipotentiary powers to deal with
the current economic and political crisis, and will discuss proposals to
reform the constitution, though any official amendments will have to be
put to a referendum.
*Maria Helena Ramirez Hernandez, *an activist with the Revolutionary Sex
and Gender Diversity Alliance (ASGDRe) and student at the Bolivarian
University of Venezuela, spoke with /Green Left Weekly/’s *Federico
Fuentes *about what the July 30 vote for the ANC meant for grassroots
/Chavistas/ – supporters of the pro-poor Bolivarian Revolution initiated
by late socialist leader Hugo Chavez – and the kinds of constitutional
changes that the ASGDRe are putting forward for debate.
*Could you tell us a bit about the importance of the July 30 vote for
the National Constituent Assembly (ANC) - what happened on the day, the
significance of the voter turnout and the impact it has had on the
political situation in Venezuela since.*
The importance of the July 30 elections went beyond the event itself
because, in the minds of Venezuelans, it represented a critical turning
point: It was an opportunity for the people to express themselves in an
election on two very different proposals.
One proposal was to support terrorism as a means to overthrow the
government; the other was to choose representatives from grassroots
organisations across the country to a National Constituent Assembly to
discuss and approve the decisions needed to solve the problems we need
It turned out that 8,089,320 people chose to vote for the solutions to
be thought up, deliberated upon, taken and made reality through the ANC.
So what was important was deciding, with the support of the people, that
we as a society were going to move forward with solving all the things
that need to be solved.
For example: how to overcome the threat of terrorism; how to make even
more efficient decisions regarding the control of prices of goods and
food; establish a new strong base for building a non-oil dependent
economy; establish the basis for the recognition of a more diverse
society where, for example, gay marriage is included and women have the
right to decide over their own bodies (safe abortion).
On that day, July 30, a nationwide movement of supporters went out to
vote. Having more than 8 million people vote for a proposal sounds like
an easy task, but it's not, especially if people don't really believe in
the proposal or support it.
It is important to say that most of the country got the chance to vote
in peace, but in some states, opposition terrorist groups were out
trying to physically stop people from vote. They closed down streets,
threaten to kill voters and burnt down some polling stations, among
other violent street actions.
In Altamira, an area in the east of Caracas, they practically didn't
allow anyone to vote as they took over that area. When the police went
to settle down the situation so people could vote, the terrorists
decided to start throwing explosives at the police.
So it is important to point out that a lot of people were not able to
vote due to threats and due to not being able to get to their polling
Despite all this, more than 8 million people voted.
The impact of the vote has been already seen on the streets, it has been
felt in the streets, as the country slowly returns back to regular life.
Because these terrorist groups had threatened Chavistas with death,
Chavistas had been very discreet when they went around the streets, for
But on the morning of July 31, you could feel the Chavista spirit in the
streets, people smiling; it was a huge boost to the spirit, just when we
all needed it the most.
Once again, the majority of people in Venezuela have proven to the world
that we support our Bolivarian Revolution, our President and the
proposal for a National Constituent Assembly as the right path forward.
*Prior to the vote, the ASGDRe presented a political platform for
discussion in the ANC and more broadly. What were some of the key issues
put forward, particularly in terms of the situation facing the sex and
gender diverse community.*
Some of the key issues we brought to the table prior to the elections were:
· Actions that lead to retributive/restorative justice for hate
crimes, femicides, as well as discrimination based on sexual
orientation, expression and gender identity.
· Guarantee the irreversibility of collective ownership of land and
worker-occupied means of production, and promote new models of economic
relationships based on the needs of the people over profits.
· Guarantee same-sex marriage and civil unions to protect the right
to build different families within Venezuelan society.
· Because sex and gender diverse youth are among the most
vulnerable sectors of the population, mechanisms must be created so that
they have the same access to decent work, housing and quality education
· Motherhood and paternity should be a free and direct choice for
citizens. For this to happen, it is necessary that women have the right
to make decisions over their own bodies, whether to have children, how
many children to have and when to have them. The state should not
criminalise women’s sovereign decision regarding the continuation of a
pregnancy or not.
· Nature must be recognised as a political subject, and as such
biodiversity must be protected and not considered as simply a natural
resource for extraction.
*Were any of the candidates that the ASGDRe supported elected to the
ANC? How do you intend to pursue discussion around the platform?*
We supported a platform created by various organizations called the
“Plataforma Popular Chavismo Bravío” (Indomitable Chavismo Popular
Platform). Some of our candidates were elected to the ANC.
There will be open assemblies where we will continue to push debate and
where we will work on proposals together with the people in our area,
making sure that we present our proposals for debate in the sessions of
the National Constituent Assembly.
*What are your initial impressions of the ANC, given its composition and
Personally, I am very happy to finally see it happening. I also welcome
the fact that a woman was elected as the president. I see that the ANC
members are open to proposals and that each day they understand more
clearly their historical responsibility.
Their initial decisions have been strong in setting the tone and spirit
of the Assembly, with a vision and genuine feeling of what the real
problems are and the deeply-felt need to find genuine and profound
They have also been respectful to towards the other powers of the state
and have not steamrolled over anybody.
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Michael A. Lebowitz
Simon Fraser University
8888 University Drive
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6
Home: Phone 604-689-9510
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