Four years have passed since that March 5th that changed the history of the country. Four years without the physical presence of Hugo Chávez, without his leadership at the helm of the historic project he had led and developed. From that day on, there was an epochal change: the coordinates – secure up until then – began to shift, the enemy sharpened its strategy of war, the revolutionary leadership lost its clarity, the millions, who on March 5 and during 10 consecutive days said farewell to Chávez, began losing their clear references and the certainties established over the course of 21 years.
The country is not the same one that Chávez left us. There are continuities, particularly in terms of social policies: housing, for example. 1.5 million homes have been built in six years [under the Great Venezuelan Housing Mission]. But there have also been ruptures, in particular, the way in which politics is done, the thinking regarding how the people should be protagonists, the mechanisms of revolutionary democracy and the ethics of the leadership of the process, as well as the direction of the way forward.
We say that it’s necessary to resuscitate the politics of Chávez – both in theory and practice, which are inseparable – in order to find in his vision the keys for advancing the project, which we must not forget, proposed a transition towards socialism. Today that course is not clear. We can ask ourselves, for example, if the communes are still part of the project. If they are not, then where are we headed?
There are several central points in Chávez’s thought: politics must be about revolutionary democracy. This does not mean passive attendance of grand ceremonies in which the same people are always speaking. It’s not applause for the cameras, but a way of participating that demands instruments, channels, and concrete organizational forms. Another key is to recover the politics of the everyday: it’s no secret that macro politics have become distant from the politics of the day to day, from the politics of the people. The official discourse does not register in the language of the commons.
To remember Chávez is then a necessary act of memory, but it’s also a responsibility and a dedication. What must be done for radical democracy to return, for power to be appropriated by the people, for the construction of a productive economy based on mixed forms of social property? If this is to become a reality then it will depend on the successful accumulation of popular forces, the organization that is being territorially developed among the young, women, the middle class, LGBTQ people, intellectuals, workers – in other words, that broad and heterogeneous universe called the people.
We must put into practice the politics of Chávez. This is our best homage.
Translated by Lucas Koerner for Venezuelanalysis.