Alexis Adarfio is a revolutionary activist who has been nominated as a pre-candidate in the primary elections to determine the candidates for the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) in the September 26 National Assembly elections. He is based in the state of Bolivar, Venezuela’s industrial heartland.
Voting for candidates for the PSUV, a mass party with more than 7 million members led by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, will take place on May 20. The PSUV will nominate 110 delegates and support a further 55 delegates from other smaller parties that support the revolution.
Adarfio will be visiting Australia in May to talk about the revolutionary process in Venezuela. Green Left Weekly’s Coral Wynter, who is based in Caracas, spoke to Adarfio about the process of change.
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How is the revolution proceeding at the moment?
The revolution is radicalising, as it is now taking over the means of production. This will change the pace of the revolution and accelerate it. It will cause a reaction from the opposition.
We are taking over the distribution of food and workplaces are being transformed. The iron and aluminium sectors are being taken over at a national level.
This has caused a confrontation with big business.
The workers are taking over factories abandoned by the oligarchy or where exploitation was extreme. We are also in the process of taking over large farmlands.
Chavez has accelerated changes in the legal structure with three fundamental laws. The first two are on the communal councils for the organisation of the grassroots. The third is the law on the Federal Council of Government [which brings together representatives of the communal councils, communes and other directly elected representatives with representatives from the national, regional and local governments].
The aim of these laws is the decentralisation of resources and power, to hand these over to organised communities.
Before this, national resources remained in the hands of the state governors and the mayors. The law caused a shock to a few of the opposition mayors and governors.
It is a historic change for the revolution.
We have a deepening of the revolution, taking control of the industrial sector and with the community sector better organised. The two big challenges we face are: how can we put the means of production in the hands of popular power and how can we transfer the power and resources to the people.
We also have a confrontation with the opposition, which until now has been largely ideological. The media owned by the oligarchy are deceiving people.
The other big step forward is the process of selecting PSUV candidates. In the next few days, we are presenting 4000 pre-candidates aspiring to be one of the PSUV candidates for the National Assembly.
You can appreciate the emotion and tension. The PSUV grassroots will decide on the delegates. It is a demonstration of what our revolution is, demonstrating our democracy and participation.
Today, PSUV members are putting into practice our constitution, which says that all parties must have a preliminary election of candidates.
Will the revolutionary forces win the elections?
We are going to win the majority of seats. The constitution says we must recognise the opposition. It will be a minority, but will win some seats. We think the opposition will get about 20-25 deputies, but no more.
They have three governors out of 24 states but it is relative, as these opposition governors don’t have all the mayors in these states.
Do you think the opposition has grown stronger recently?
The opposition feels it is strongly supported, but it is not stronger nor has it increased in numbers. It enjoys outside support, but inside the country, it is different.
There is a media war and the international media makes all kinds of claims. But in reality, the opposition is not getting stronger. You only have to compare our meetings with theirs and see how many militants go to our meetings in the countryside and how many go to theirs.
Will there be a high level of abstention as people are not voting specifically for Chavez, whose approval rating is much higher than the PSUV’s?
The Venezuelan culture is to have greater participation in presidential elections. The next highest is for the election of mayors and governors. For National Assembly deputies, less people vote.
However, the same relative percentage of support is maintained. We will continue to be the majority at all three levels.
What is the importance of Venezuela’s revolutionary process?
We are continuing to build a Venezuela that is the epicentre of the revolution in ideas, in offering solutions. We are planning to help organise the Fifth Socialist International, the first meeting of which will be in Venezuela.
We are working so that all those who live in Venezuela can enjoy the revolution. The Venezuelan revolution will be the epicentre of the revolution in Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa.
Do you think the US will organise an invasion?
We are afraid that there could be a military action against us — a military aggression against the revolution, which means against the Venezuelan people.
The US is desperate because of what is happening in Venezuela. Venezuela is an example for the world, which it is trying to stop.
It could be so desperate as to invade us in a response of madness. But the Venezuelan people are prepared. We are going to resist.