Coro, 28th August 2011 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – This past Thursday, hundreds of activists involved in Venezuela’s popular movement mobilised for the immediate re-creation of the “Patriotic Pole”; a coalition that would unite all of the political forces that support the Bolivarian Revolution. The coalition is expected to be formed before the 2012 presidential elections and would include parties such as the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), the Venezuelan Communist Party (PCV) and a wide range of Venezuela’s popular movements.
Amongst the diverse social movements that called the march were the National Ezequiel Zamora Peasant Front and the National Free Community Media Association (ANMCLA). From La Plaza Bolivar in Caracas, the movements stated that they had taken up the formation of the Patriotic Pole with renewed vigour due to what they described as the current “economic crisis of the capitalist system” and the latest “imperialist offensive” in Libya.
“The fundamental objective of this project is the unity of the popular movement, as a tool for organisation and the transition to a new form of organisation from the base, as has always been the guiding principle pushing forward the revolutionary process in our country… It is an act to defend and to construct a programme for this revolutionary process,” said ANMCLA activist, Edgar de la Vega.
Reading aloud a document outlining the main strategies of the Patriotic Pole, the activists asserted that its principal objectives were to “defend the revolution” and to “create a collective directorate” within the process, as well as to construct “socialism, popular power and national sovereignty”. The social movements asserted that the pole would also act as a counterweight to the problem of bureaucracy within the revolution.
“The Pole shouldn’t await a call to action from the old bureaucratic leadership, but should rise up from the popular bases, from the meeting between the struggle and debate, from the construction of a popular programme” read the document.
Activists stated that a “deep crisis” existed with regard to the political direction at the top echelons of the revolution, who, with the exception of president Chávez, lacked legitimacy and created a situation which demanded the political participation of the popular sectors.
“Apart from commander Chávez, the revolution is leaderless, and multiple signals indicate that the aforementioned crisis will only get worse unless a political revolution at the heart of the process is produced, gradually generating the conditions to replace the existing direction with one marked by a collective character, that expresses the real dynamic of the revolution,” continued the document.
Originally, the Patriotic Pole was formed in 1998 and paved the way for the election of Hugo Chávez that same year. The group splintered in 2000 when one of the founding parties, Homeland for All (PPT), withdrew from the coalition in a disagreement over candidates for the legislative elections. In 2010, the re-formation of the coalition was broached once again, when Chávez made a public announcement requesting the re-creation of the coalition in order to cement unity within the revolutionary project.
With the elections approaching, Venezuelan workers and popular movements have brought the issue to the forefront of political debate, with the PCV citing the creation of the pole as one of their main objectives during the culmination of their 14th party Congress at the beginning of August.
“We need to clearly define what type of unity we want, because the right also talks of unity, the word itself isn’t sufficient. It’s not just about willing it, it’s a consciousness, a position. Faced with a class enemy, which is global and national, we need unity amongst all the sectors that are exploited by the capitalist system” said Carolus Wimmer, PCV Secretary for International Relations.
In other comments made at the press conference, the social movements condemned the “imperialist looting” of Libya by the government of the Unites States and others in Europe.
“We as revolutionaries cannot turn a blind eye to this. We have to adopt a fighting attitude and condemn this imperial power…and the way in which it penetrates other countries,” said Vega, who also asserted that the process was taking place “as a response to the international situation and not just because of the elections”.
Presidential elections are expected to take place early next year in Venezuela, with current president Hugo Chávez of the PSUV party set to run for a third term. Current polls suggest that Chávez still retains an approval rating of 58%, despite his recent cancer diagnosis. The opposition coalition, the “Roundtable of Democratic Unity”, have yet to name their official candidate.