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For an Anti-imperialist Front: let’s realize the proposal of the President!

16. July 2006

Report on the WSF in Caracas and the anti-imperialist gathering International Bolivarian Camp


Those who
searched for clear answers within the usual multitude if the Social Forums –
this time “polycentric” with Caracas as the point of Latin American reference –
had to wait for the closing speech of Hugo Chavez, president of the Bolivarian
Republic of Venezuela:


“Also you
will respect our autonomy to express what we think: I think that we have to
push the Forum to form a big global movement as an anti-imperialist alternative
comprising the entire world which got the capability of connexion, of growth,
of struggle. I also believe that we have already taken some steps in this
direction. We run the risk of a folklorization of the Forum. A Forum which
discusses and debates without conclusions, for example, for me seems at least
strange … if it is decided that it should be this way, ok, but we are not here
to loose time. I what to insist on this, we are not here to loose time. It is
all about saving the life of the planet, saving the life of the human race by
changing the course of history. For this reason we once again raised the banner
of socialism.”


shows the way


Chavez did
nothing more than express the discomfort of many revolutionary forces and
popular anti-imperialist movements with the politico-cultural festivals
dominated by NGO professionals and individual political tourists of middle
class background. These characteristics impede a serious exchange about the
real challenges of the resistance against the Yankee empire as well as an
effective coordination of action. In Caracas this contradiction between a mass
of “no global” tourists who are characterised more by their cloths and styles
then by political commitment on one hand and a political reality which calls
from countless posters put up by the Bolivarian government for the construction
of people’s power and the socialism of the 21st century on the other
hand was more accentuated than during previous events. The anti-globalisation
movement did not succeed in changing the course of history but history
surpassed the movement. The anti-globalists met in Caracas faced with huge
political questions without the capacity to reach a conclusive answer. What to
say confronted with the new left-wing governments in Latin America, what
position to take in front of the difficulties of the American empire in Iraq
and the ferocious resistance of that people, what to do with anti-imperialist Bolivarianism
and the proposal of socialism of the 21st century? The leading
groups of the movement are conscious about the necessity to take a political
decision. But they also know that this implies that nobody can hide any more
behind the abstract slogan of “another world is possible”. It will be revealed
that they fear the real resistance of the peoples much more than they feel
sympathy with those who rise against the empire.


It suffices
to take a look into the programme of the Social Forum to understand the
backwardness of the movement in front of the political exigencies of the Latin
American and international situation. Dozens of pages full of meetings ranging
from “live in harmony with nature” to “alternative craftwork” and “validity of
scientific communism”. Those revolutionary forces which oriented themselves on
influencing the dynamics of the Forum from within failed and remained anonymous
with a depleted auditorium dispersed between thousands parallel events. Thus
the fundamental items such as the solidarity with the Iraqi resistance, the
threats against Iran, the democratic electoral victory of Hamas in Palestine
considered by the West to be a “terrorist organisation”, the struggle against
the Plan Colombia and Yankee interventionism, Bolivarianism as an
anti-imperialist project, the concrete meaning of socialism of the 21st
century, the coordination of the struggles of the different popular and
revolutionary movements remain without collective and organised proposals.


Chavez did
nothing more than to respond to this reality having the courage to proclaim the
necessity for an anti-imperialist project as the only way to overcome the
crisis of the anti-globalisation movement. The consciousness about this
challenge has been growing without doubt for the last years. Anti-imperialism
has been gaining terrain thanks to the resistance in Iraq and the Bolivarian
process in Venezuela. Even the Brazilian Movement of the Landless (MST) which
serves as the backbone of the Social Forum and fundamental pillar of the Lula
government, voiced some criticism evoking the exigency of a political
instrument on their own in order not to leave politics always in the hands of
an elite of reformist politicians. This is exactly what the anti-imperialists
have been warning of in front of the “civil society”: a policy of mere protest
does not change things; there will be no empowerment of the social movements if
there is no political force able to break the power of the oligarchies which
have seized the control of the state and the economy.


weakness of the left in realizing the Chavist proposal


Now it is
the turn of the anti-imperialist left to give life to what the president
proclaimed. What remains, however, uncertain is whether the revolutionary left
which is still weak and dispersed over its political strategies, will succeed
in accumulating the critical mass to get the Chavist proposal on track. Only if
this happens it can be avoided that it remains a mere proclamation or the
forces of modern reformism will seize the initiative of the anti-imperialist
president canalling it, diverting it and eventually suffocating it by its
superior bureaucratic experience, institutional weight, financial resources and
media access.


What the
left within the Forum could not achieve was this year intended with the
International Bolivarian Camp in the quarter January 23 of Caracas. The
proposal of the Camp consisted in unifying the anti-imperialist forces, the
popular organisations and the resistance tendencies independent of the Social Forum
but in context of its mobilisation. In this way a point of reference and
alternative should be constituted in order to begin an organised debate about
the coordination of the struggle against the empire and a radical alternative
to capitalism.


International Bolivarian Camp


From 23rd
to 30th of January anti-imperialist militants from different counties gathered
in the combative popular quarter of Caracas by the name 23 de Enero (January
23). Some 500 people permanently established themselves on the campus of the
school Gabriela Mistral while the debates and cultural activities were attended
by more than 1300 people. The initiative was promoted by the Venezuelan
organisations Collective Alexis Vive of the quarter January 23, the National
Peasant Front Ezequiel Zamora, the Popular Coordination of Caracas, the
Feminist Collective Pachamama as well as the movement Peru People and the
Anti-imperialist Camp. Delegation of following organisations were present:

  • Unià³n de Fuerzas Independientes (Union of Independent Forces),
  • Movimiento de Bases Populares (Movement of Popular Bases),
  • Asociacià³n Nacional de Medios
    Comunitarios Libres y Alternativos (National Association of Communitarian
    Free and Alternative Media), Venezuela
  • Patria Joven (Young Homeland),
  • Abnaa elBalad, Palestine
  • Frente Popular Darà­o Santillán (Popular Front Darà­o Santillán),
  • Libres del Sur (The Free of the
    South), Argentine
  • Corriente Roja (Red Current), Spain
  • Organizacià³n Nacional de Poder Popular (National Organisation of
    Popular Power), Mexico
  • Lotta di Unita Proletaria Osimo
    (Struggle for Proletarian Unity Osimo), Italy
  • Initiativ e.V. (Association
    Initiative), Germany
  • El Nuevo Topo (The new mole), USA
  • Circulo Bolivariano Leonel Brizola
    (Bolivarian Circle Leonel Brizola), Brazil

activists of alternative media outlets, anti-imperialist collectives and social
organisations from Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Uruguay and
Bolivia made the Camp to a genuine expression of Bolivarianism as the
anti-imperialist banner of Latin America. Those who could not come sent a

  • Movimiento Patrià³tico Manuel Rodrà­guez (Patriotic Movement Manuel
    Rodriguez), Chile
  • Freedom Socialist Party, USA
  • Greek Commissions and
    Initiatives against imperialism and war
  • Students Struggle Movement,
  • Class March, Greece

The mass
media and especially the state canal “Vive TV” and the community television “Catia
TV” intensively covered the Camp. The very existence of this kind of
anti-imperialist journalism is another proof for the break and transformation
operated by Chavez as the pro-imperialist media constitute a fundamental pillar
of the old power.


The debates
at the Bolivarian Camp


The Camp
revolved around three fundamental axis: the anti-imperialist struggle of the
peoples, socialism of the 21st century and the coordination of the
resistances in a common front.


The Popular
Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) together with representatives of
Abnaa elBalad (from the Palestinian territories occupied in 1948) spoke on the
resistance in the Arab world stressing the necessity to defend the right to
self-determination of the Palestinian and Iraqi people as well as alerting the
looming aggression on Iran. The visit of a delegation of the Basque Independentist
Left showed that the struggle for self-determination is a central axis in the
fight against neo-liberalism and capitalist globalisation including also in European
countries. In this debate as well as in other analytical workshops the
participants of the Camp confirmed the legitimacy of the popular resistance in
all its forms against imperialist terrorism. The Association of Relatives of
Prisoners and Disappeared from Colombia revealed that the regime of Uribe Velez
keeps slaughtering the political opposition with the support of the US which
maintain a strong military presence in the country.


anti-imperialist movements gathered in the Camp expressed their clear support
to the Bolivarian process led by president Hugo Chavez bound for socialism of the
21st century and people’s power. All Venezuelan popular movements
stressed, however, that this project of liberation remains endangered not only
by imperialism but also by reformism and the bureaucracy settled down in the
parties of the Chavist coalition.


In the
debate on the Latin American situation it became clear that there is a change
of relationship of forces in favour of the popular movements which is as well
expressed in new governments which claim a sovereign path and social justice.
Contrary to the hopes of the people in the cases of Brazil, Argentine and
Uruguay the hegemonic reformist tendencies in these governments continue,
however, neo-liberalism without structural changes. A decisive break with
imperialism would be required to build a new nation meeting the interests of
the popular masses.


representatives of the popular organisations from these countries confirmed
that only the organised poor classes could give birth to a new participative
democracy based on popular power and could break with reformism und the
bureaucracy. Only thus the way to a socialist transformation of the state can
be paved.


Towards an
Anti-imperialist Front


doubts there many problems were encountered while realising the Bolivarian Camp
which was completely self-organised. This is inevitable for the first steps of
an international unitary alternative comprising organisations with a different
history and forms of struggle characterised by the respective concrete
environment. This is even more so as the anti-imperialist left needs to start
un process of elaboration of a new revolutionary strategy and project. As
Anti-imperialist Camp were are committed to continue our struggle for an
Anti-imperialist Front — even more as
president Chavez called for it. At the same time we base ourselves also on the
experiences and lessons of the Bolivarian Camp which is part of this process.


In the
final meeting of the participating delegations the collective will came to the
fore that the coordinated work for an international front against imperialism
and capitalism must be continued taking the Bolivarian Camp as a starting
point. In this sense a proposal for an Anti-imperialist Caravan in support of
commander Hugo Chavez in the forthcoming presidential election scheduled for
December 2006 will be worked out. It should push for a new mandate
characterised by the leadership of the popular masses, the definitive
transition to socialism of the 21st century and the building of an
Anti-imperialist Front as a structure of solidarity and in defence of the
process of liberation.




10, 2006