Two days ago, March 5, marked the the 5-year anniversary of the death of Hugo Chavez, a great ally of Third World people and revolutionaries around the world. He was the architect of the Bolivarian revolution, laying the foundation not only for deep social changes but also the creation of a new party, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), and leading coalition, the Great Patriotic Pole (GPP), allowing the Bolivarian process to outlive himself. The Bolivarian Revolution continues to stand as one of the most peculiar, and yet inspiring moments of the 21st century. Venezuela still, today, grapples with malformed and oligarchic capitalism, which continues to poison and starve the people in reaction to the threats on their power, but there is no doubt that Venezuela’s future is being positively shaped by the Bolivarian process.
Not only has the Bolivarian Revolution been responsible for the dramatic rise in conditions for the Venezuelan working class, but also the creation of new state institutions which have provided for the expansion of proletarian power via the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV) and other proletarian forces pushing for genuine socialist construction in the country. Although dramatic setbacks have been suffered, particularly in the economic warfare waged by the oligarchs of the country in the food industries, it has been through the sharpening of these contradictions and the intense and ongoing class struggle in the country that new and higher victories have been won by the most progressive elements of the Bolivarian movement.
Prior to the Bolivarian Revolution, the country was ruled through open corruption and “security” entailed the murder of working class people by the army. Many in the country had never even seen a doctor until the initiation of Mission Barrio Adentro, a Bolivarian initiative aimed at smashing the deplorable condition of healthcare in the country. The comprador bourgeois forces of the country, armed with their loyal petty bourgeois elements, despite what they may say, have little interest in the suffering of working class people in the country, nor are they struggling to correct the long list of problems still plaguing the people. They have primarily struggled on the basis of their individual and class interests, toward regaining their lost wealth and recapture those political institutions which have been delivered into the hands of revolutionaries and the mass organizations.
There is no doubt that tremendous failures have been suffered in the Bolivarian process. The government has been criticized repeatedly by the proletarian bloc for its lack of action, or insincerity in their push for necessary revolutionary policies. Prices in basic goods and services are being dramatically inflated by the comprador bourgeoisie, and the people are made to suffer while the oligarchs paint themselves as freedom fighters. It is in this context that the limitations of previous strategies were exposed, and where the radicalization of the Bolivarian process has been promoted, further exposing contradictions that were hidden before.
Proletarian forces have made themselves indispensable in the ongoing campaign to counter the reactionary elements within and without the Bolivarian government, who have attempted to restrain and even reverse its most progressive policies. It is clear to us now that the Bolivarian Revolution, as initiated by Chavez and those he had rallied for it, was not a monolithic movement for socialism in Venezuela, but a complex alliance of progressive and revolutionary forces looking to fundamentally change the decrepit system that was in place. As the process continues, and contradictions between the proletariat and bourgeoisie in Venezuela sharpen, we have seen the continual transformation of the Bolivarian Revolution, and a narrowing of acceptable outcomes.
While the proletarian forces continue to grow, so do their enemies. Within and without the movement, counterrevolution looms as a constant threat to the victories gained through focused class struggle. We should not think that the time of confrontation is over, there are still many more to come, and we must have faith in our comrades in Venezuela that they can overcome. They easily command double the influence they did just a decade ago, and have consistently pushed back against the reactionary hangers-on within the Bolivarian government. Yet, none of this would have been possible without the remarkable work of the original Bolivarians, lead by Hugo Chavez. While the revolution has far outpaced what he had seemingly intended, it no doubt belongs to him as it does to every revolutionary who participated. The steady advance of the Bolivarian revolution serves as the living memory of Hugo Chavez, so our celebration of his life and the struggle for its success are one in the same.
¡Chávez vivió, Chávez vive, Chávez vivirá para siempre!