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Features: Social Movements

Demonising the "Colectivos": Demonising the Grassroots

Chavista supporters in El Vigia (archive)

As it's prone to do, the private media has invented a new thing. In both English and Spanish they are calling it colectivos, and these collectives are meant to be irrational, cruel, grotesque armed motorbike riders who “enforce” the revolution and are responsible for most of the current violence. 

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Venezuelan Elections, Participation, and the Finger

 Merida governor Alexis Ramirez  (in white) campaigning in the barrio of Santa Anita last Sunday (Tamara Pearson / Venezuelanaly

The PSUV recently announced its candidates for the December elections, overriding a primaries process of selection that had been underway when Chavez died. From under confidence and vulnerability, to a disorganised grassroots and a strong-ish opposition, VA examines what is behind such a move.

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Alternative Education Can Eliminate Corruption

Myriam Anzola (in blue) with the recent alternative pedagogy graduates (Leandro Irion)

Participatory education based on empowering students through their active involvement in their community is an essential tool for fighting corruption in the long term.

 

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[Part I] One Interview, Two Voices: A Look at Venezuela Today

A year and a half before Venezuela’s December 2012 presidential elections, the debate has already begun. As is often the case, both pro-Chavez and opposition forces are discussing their views amongst themselves, and not with each other. In an attempt to bring opposing Venezuelan voices together, two members of opposing political forces were asked a series of questions relating to political life, education, and the media, among other things. Here are their answers.

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Venezuela’s 21st Century Socialism and the Difficult Journey from ‘Me’ to ‘Us’

The Venezuela of today is a nation mobilized in defense of a new ideal – a proposal for the future referred to simply as Socialismo del Siglo 21, or 21st Century Socialism. In this analysis, Rosales seeks to contextualize a few of the guiding principles being used by the Venezuelan people in their struggle to consolidate a socialist society, and takes a brief glimpse at the challenge faced by 21st Century Socialism in the fight against capital’s culture of consumption that remains quite present in the Venezuela of the Bolivarian Revolution.

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Venezuela’s Dreams and Demons: Has the Bolivarian Revolution Changed Education?

An Alternative School student holding up her placard made for the march to protest the bullfighting in Merida (Tamara Pearson)

Through two very different interviews we get a glimpse of the bureaucracy, corruption, clientelism, achievements, inspiration, and political growth within Venezuela’s education system, all of which are representative of the broader demons and dreams faced in the Bolivarian Revolution and its aim to create the “new person”.

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The Insidious Bureaucracy in Venezuela: Biggest Barrier to Social Change

Jose Castro, community council spokesperson (Tamara Pearson)

Endless queues, waiting months or years for pay or certificates or signatures, the tedious and repetitive letters humbly addressed to all the necessary institutions, public servants and a party leadership often disconnected from the people and going against the working class: Bureaucracy in Venezuela; how bad is it, why is it as bad as it is, what impact is it having on popular organising, and what is the Bolivarian Revolution doing about it?

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Anti-Semitism or Anti-Imperialism in Venezuela?

When the recent accusations of government-sponsored anti-Semitism are thoroughly investigated, it is revealed that in the majority of cases, the strongly anti-imperialist political sentiments of Venezuelan social movements are erroneously conflated with anti-Semitism.

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The Battle for the United Socialist Party of Venezuela

As the struggle to deepen Venezuela's revolution through the framework of the pending constitutional reforms intensifies, so too does the battle to create the new United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). The simultaneous campaign for constitutional reforms and the formation of the PSUV means the two are intricately connected.

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An Engaged Political Culture in Venezuela

That’s the U.S. political culture in a nutshell. It feels more engaging to free a stretch of highway from tiny bits of litter than it does to participate in the political process. Not so in Venezuela. “One thing you can say about Chavez,” said one middle class Venezuelan named Ramon, “is that he’s got everyone thinking about politics.”

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Venezuela’s Resurgent Revolutionary Student Movement

The latest round of opposition mobilizations, the ostensibly “spontaneous” student mobilizations in defense of private television station RCTV, have once again for the opposition inadvertently produced an undesired result - the revitalization of Venezuela’s revolutionary student movement

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Hugo Chávez as an Expression of Urban Popular Movements

The radical trajectory of President Hugo Chávez in Venezuela has been a highly controversial topic among Latin Americanists, democratization experts, policy makers, and activists. Neither side, though, addresses the role of popular social sectors in shaping the agenda of the Venezuelan Revolution.

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Political Parties and Social Change in Venezuela

Since Hugo Chávez of Venezuela proposed the dissolution of the 24 parties that support his government and the formation of a single party on December 15, 2007, there has been much debate among Chavez supporters. What is at stake is the actual role and relevance of the party structure within movements for social change across the region. Are political parties even relevant in the context of contemporary Latin America?

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Women Propel Venezuela’s Revolution Forward

While millions of poor and working-class people have since benefited from the Chavez government’s public works projects, social programs, and efforts to involve ordinary people in building a new society, women have benefited the most.

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Venezuela’s Cooperative Revolution

Cooperatives are at the center of Venezuela’s new economic model. They have the potential to fulfill a number of the aims of the Bolivarian revolution, including combating unemployment, promoting durable economic development, competing peacefully with conventional capitalist firms, and advancing Chávez’s still-being-defined socialism.

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