“Zamora lives, the struggle continues,” is the slogan that lives among our people. There could not be a more propitious framework for enacting the Organic Law of Federal Government than the act of unveiling the statue of Sovereign People’s General Ezequiel Zamora at the park El Calvario in Caracas. Accompanying us on this bright day are representatives of community councils across the country, together with the Legislature.
It is 151 years since the start of the Federal War (1859-1863): it was February 20, 1859 when Tirso Salaverría commanded the Battle of Coro and then raised the cry of Federation. We couldn’t give Zamora a greater tribute then, than giving our people a law to help with their definitive liberation.
“I always put the community before the individual,” wrote our liberator Simón Bolívar on October 28, 1828 to General Antonio José de Sucre. This is the spirit and driving force of our current Bolivarianism: the communal and social are foremost above all things. Simon Rodriguez was right when he said in his American Societies in 1828: “You will see that there are two kinds of politics: popular and governmental: and that the people are more political than their governments.”
Today we can say that we have a highly politicised society, in the true sense and meaning of the term, and that our Bolivarian Revolution is a direct consequence of such politicisation, whose point of rupture was on 27 February 1989, the popular rebellion that on Saturday reaches its twenty-first anniversary. Remember what the great Venezuelan revolutionary Kleber Ramirez said in the documentary ‘History of February 4 (1998) – back in August 1992 in the purest Robinsonian spirit: “… the time has come for communities to assume the powers of state, which will lead administratively to the total transformation of the Venezuelan state and socially to the real exercise of sovereignty by society through communal powers.”
These are the reasons why this Saturday 20 February, we have enacted and launched the new Organic Law of the Federal Government Council. With it we further open the door to advancing in the distribution of power in the hands of the people, and to achieving a more efficient and effective state, and, above all, unity to fulfil its functions under the constitution.
Over and over again I have said: the Venezuelan territorial reality must be transformed and, therefore, it is necessary to configure a new geometry of power that becomes a popular, communal and socialist restructuring of the geopolitics of the nation.
By socialism we mean unlimited democracy, following in this sense the great Portuguese theorist Boaventura de Sousa Santos. From this comes our firm conviction that the best and most radically democratic of the options for defeating bureaucracy and corruption is the construction of a communal state which is able to test an alternative institutional structure at the same time as it permanently reinvents itself.
With this law, we must begin in earnest and in reality, as Garcia Bacca would say, to disassemble the entire corroded colonial scaffolding on which a territorial organisation was erected and that was intended to smash national unity to pieces. And of course people’s power will play a major role; I would say an essential role, in the radical transformation of our country.
Since the Land and Agricultural Development Law came into force in 2001, the landowning oligarchy has launched a violent agenda against the rescue of common land and the full exercise of rights enshrined by the Land Law and the Constitution itself. Faced with the backlash against the peasants via an escalation of attacks, sabotage and paid assassinations by the most retrograde forces in our society, the non-delegable duty of the Bolivarian national state and the revolutionary government is to protect the peasantry: to defend it with all means at its disposal. The peasant militia has been created to fulfil that duty, placing emphasis on the protagonism and responsibility of the peasantry as a collective subject in function of their own defence.
The first exercises of the peasant militia, that we did in El Pao, Cojedes state last Friday, are just an initial indication of developing a popular armed force to safeguard our integrity and our sovereignty in the fields of Venezuela. Who else but the community knows best the dynamics, activities, failures and essential aspects of safety in their locality? This is the same with geographical, spiritual and material issues.
The peasant militia and the Bolivarian Militia as a whole are not paramilitary forces, as the brainy analysts always try to suggest, even less so if we conceive of such a word within the reactionary Colombian semantics. On the contrary, the Bolivarian Militia (a body absolutely governed by the Law), as well as community councils, are expressions of the new communal state, an integral part of the new structure of the communal power we are building.
The Bolivarian Militias are a component of the Bolivarian Armed Forces and, therefore, do not undermine it, even less is there any intention to supplant it. What bothers and annoys those who spread such lies is that the Armed Forces have been reunited with their original identity: the people in arms.
The Peasant Militia today embodies a transcendent principle: defending the homeland, our land. Defence against any outside aggressor, but also against the internal aggressor who has been protected, for too long, in a real state of impunity that has counted with the venality of certain courts of the Republic which safeguard and protect the landowners and criminalise peasants and farmers who want to enforce the Land Law.
On 15 February, 191 years passed since the memorable speech at Angostura. The Revolutionary War had not ended but the words of our Liberator embodied the recapture of our identity as a nation and the libertarian stamp was put on Venezuela. Let’s recall these brilliant lines which confirm the reason for our peasant militias, our Zamoran militias: “The chains of slavery have been broken, and Venezuela has been surrounded by new sons and daughters, grateful sons and daughters who have converted the tools of their captivity into weapons of freedom. Yes, those who once were slaves, are free, those who once were enemies of a stepmother, are now advocates of a homeland. ”
Let’s go, with Zamora, with Robinson and Bolivar, towards a Communal State!
Hugo Chávez Frías
21 February 2010
Translated by Kiraz Janicke, for Venezuelanalysis.com