United Socialist Party of Venezuela Restructures

The United
Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), the party which supports President Hugo
Chavez and which currently has almost 7 million registered members, is
reorganising itself into smaller units called "patrols," in order to increase
participation and ideological formation, party leaders said.

By Tamara Pearson - Venezuelanalysis.com

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PSUV leader Jorge Rodriguez (RNV).
PSUV leader Jorge Rodriguez (RNV).
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Mérida,
August 9th, 2009 (Venezuenanalysis.com) - The United
Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), the party which supports President Hugo
Chavez and which currently has almost 7 million registered members, is
reorganising itself into smaller units called "patrols," in order to increase
participation and ideological formation, party leaders said.

On August 1 the PSUV held assemblies across
the country to discuss and inform about the restructure, then on Saturday it
began the process of regrouping into patrols of twenty to thirty members based
on geographic regions.

The PSUV guide says all members should be
registered in the party and each patrol should decide on a permanent place to
meet. Patrols filled in forms that they handed in at red tents distributed in
plazas across the country on Saturday.

Previously, the PSUV was organised into "battalions"
or branches, based on population areas of around 1,000 people. Battalions
therefore often had around 300 registered members, with a small proportion of
those active, and while there were formally around 14,000 battalions, many had
not been meeting. Elected spokespeople from ten battalions formed a
"circumscription," which also elected delegates.

Such delegates and spokespeople will now no
longer exist. The new patrols, according to PSUV leaders, will not have any
coordinators, spokespeople, or other such positions.

Green Left Weekly reports that a leaflet
distributed at the information assemblies said that due to logistical
difficulties grassroots participation in the battalion meetings had diminished.
The PSUV leadership, drawing from the successful experience of the election
campaign structures, announced this new structure where activists who know each
other locally get together to form a patrol.

Hugo Cabezas, governor of Trujillo state,
said one of the main tasks of the patrols is to help the "the revolutionary
government govern, in order to construct socialism" and to form cadre activists
who have "ideology and revolutionary vision."

"We have to make it known in the popular
sectors that socialism is the path and for this, the membership has to prepare
itself ideologically," Cabezas said.

Jorge Arreaza, PSUV coordinator of the
political formation committee said that the patrols would become "study and
socialist action groups." He said in the first meetings of the patrols, they
would be given the question; "What is the role of the people of Bolivar in this
historic moment?" and that other questions would follow, "in order to create
party cadre, people with commitment...with the capacity to analyse a concrete
situation and from such analysis, transform reality."

Arreaza said patrols would meet for such
formation once a month.

Freddy Bernal, a PSUV leader, said the new
patrols would function in an ongoing basis, "not just during election time." He
also said "membership reserves" would be formed by members who are registered
in the party but who don't regularly attend meetings.

Bernal said the patrols would analyse
problems in the community, as well as discuss national and international
issues.

"The patrols are founded on the basis of
the need to construct the party we need, with small dynamic units, that meet
easily and allow for the integration of all the different sectors of the country,"
he said.

PSUV youth leader Robert Serra said that
the 1 million young people registered in the party should join the patrols and
that such youth would also promote the creation of children's patrols to
encourage recreational activities, "in order to rescue Venezuelan values."

National Assembly legislator Dario Vivas
also said the aim of the patrols was to "agitate and mobilise the seven million
members that the PSUV has, in order to adapt its structure ...to the current
situation that the Bolivarian revolution is living."

Vivas also said they would be the basis for
the organisation of the PSUV congress due to be carried out in early October.

PSUV organisation committee leader Jorge
Rodriguez said 5 million PSUV members participated in the assemblies last
Saturday, in 1,556 assemblies, out of a total of 1,663 that the party had
planned, and Bernal said that in Caracas, there have been 296 such assemblies
until now.

A PSUV leader in Carabobo state, Saul
Ortega, said 600 patrols had been formed in that state. However, most states
are still collecting information on patrols registered so far, and all patrols
have until 15 August to organise themselves.

On 3 May President Hugo Chavez said the
PSUV would undergo a "re-definition" in which sectarianism and corrupt party leadership must end
and the party must strengthen its ties to social movements.Chavez called for the creation of the PSUV in December 2006 in order to
bring together all the left wing parties who supported his presidency into one,
democratically run party.