Chavez Presents Plan for Socialist Unity Party of Venezuela

On his radio program Aló Presidente last Monday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, made a call for party unity, and presented his plan for the formation of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela in the next nine months.

Caracas, March 7, 2007 (— On his radio program Aló Presidente last Monday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, made a call for party unity, and presented his plan for the formation of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela in the next nine months. The President laid out the process that his supporters will go through, with direct participation at the grassroots, in order to bring pro-Chavez forces under one party platform. Today, Vice-President Jorge Rodriguez presented the plan in detail, which involves five work groups.

Chavez emphasized on Monday that party unity is of fundamental importance and that the formation of the party will be carried out in a democratic process like has never been seen before in Venezuela.

"What I want is true unity, organic unity. I say before the country that the Revolution needs a revolutionary party, it needs unity," said Chavez on four-day a week program, Aló Presidente.

Chavez responded to critics who have called the united party an effort to develop "a single line of thinking" (pensamiento único). "Who said here there was a single line of thinking? Where? When? Imperialism is the one that has a single line of thinking… Now, those who don’t like [the proposal] don’t have to like it. Now we will hit the streets to ask the people what they think," said the President, referring to the formative process of the party that will include wide participation at the grassroots level.

To do this he has created a special committee of political leaders, including Vice-President Jorge Rodríguez, which will be in charge of carrying forward the process during the following months. Chavez said the process of forming the new party will last nine months.

The process has various stages, the first of which begins immediately and lasts until March 24th and involves the organization of the first party militants who will be in charge of carrying out the second stage. These "Promoters," as they are called, should be individuals with high ethical and moral education.

The second stage, which lasts three months, from March 24th to June 24th, will be the activation of the "Socialist Battalions" across the country. These battalions will have the responsibility of carrying out the census and registration of members of the party. They will also carry out discussions and motivate the participation of the people.

Then, after June 24th, comes the electoral process that will take place from the 8th to the 29th of July. During those three weeks the spokespersons of the Founding Congress will be elected to represent the Socialist Electoral Areas. This Congress, which will initiate activity on August 15th, will have the job of deliberating for several months, until November of this year, and will decide on the political program, the ideology, the bylaws, and the fundamental orientation and strategies of the party.

Once the political program and bylaws are deliberated and decided, the Founding Congress will make a party document that will be voted on by all members of the party in a party-wide referendum. "A historical document will be made for the country and for our Americas and for our people," said the President. "Later, in a national consultation internal to party members, it will either be approved or not," he said.

Chávez finished his radio show on Monday emphasizing the importance of this nine-month process, and how it must be carried out. "This government is committed to the workers, but even more to the country, to the Revolution, to the unity of the working class. So we must go into the factories, the shops. The promoters and the battalions, into the countryside," he said.

And to those who still show hesitation in joining the party the President had some closing remarks; "This certainly is going to be a real party. And those other parties and political groups who don’t want to join it, well, like I told them before, the doors will be open. The doors will remain open, but unity is fundamental, unity, revolutionary unity."

Today Vice-President Rodriguez presented the five commissions that will work on organizing the various stages that Chavez had outlined. These five commissions are: ideas, events, constituent assembly, secretariat, and media. A sixth commission, the that of the promoters, Chavez had already announced on Monday. Well-known leaders of the Bolivarian movement have already been named to work in each of these commissions.

The main objective of the commissions will be to include “all revolutionary, democratic, and socialist currents of the country,” in the process of forming the united socialist party of Venezuela, said Rodriguez. He emphasized that everything will be up for public discussion, including the party’s name.

“This party that we are constructing will be the most democratic [party] – and I seriously doubt that in the history of the world a party has been constructed on a more democratic basis than this unity party,” said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez also announced that the ideas commission will be meeting with representatives from the various parties and organizations that support the government, such as the main coalition partners PPT, PCV, Podemos, and MVR, with the Bolivarian youth organization Frente Francisco de Miranda, with the Bolivarian governors, National Assembly members, and the Unitarian Women’s Platform. The purpose of the meetings is to gather input from as many sectors of the Bolivarian movement as possible, in preparation for the launch of the new party.