Journalist tours with revolutionary tales

September 27, 2008

The August-October speaking tour by Green Left Weekly journalist Kiraz Janicke has been inspiring students, workers and community activists around Australia with accounts of Venezuela's Bolivarian revolution.

For the last year, Janicke worked in Venezuela, writing for and GLW.

Her tour, organised by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN) and the socialist youth organisation Resistance, has so far included public meetings in Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide, Newcastle, Melbourne, Wollongong and Hobart.

There were also campus forums at the Australian National University and the Western Sydney (Bankstown), LaTrobe, Wollongong, Tasmania, Griffith, Queensland, Newcastle and Melbourne universities.

During her tour, Janicke has described the achievements and challenges facing Venezuela's struggle for socialism and the huge impact it is having across Latin America. Despite many difficulties, 2008 has produced new advances for revolution, she said.

SIDOR, the fourth largest steel plant in Latin America, was nationalised after a protracted struggle by its workers. "This was an important victory for the people and the revolution", Janicke said. Other nationalisations this year have included the Bank of Venezuela and the cement industry.

Janicke told her audiences about the success of the PSUV (United Socialist Party of Venezuela), which in six weeks during April and May joined 5.7 million members. On June 1, 2.5 million members participated in the pre-selection of PSUV candidates in the November 23 elections for governors and mayors.

"Within Latin America, Venezuela is counterposing a fair trade agreement (ALBA) to the US-sponsored free trade agreements", Janicke told the AVSN meeting in Brisbane on September 3.

"There is also a proposal for a Latin American Defence Council. The general dynamic toward Latin American integration and independence from the United States continues to develop."

Commenting on the recent "civic coup" attempt against President Evo Morales in Bolivia, Janicke explained that the US administration's response to the tide of struggles by the poor across Latin America has been to increase its funding of the right wing.

"The US military is also stepping up its intervention, with the revival of the Fourth Fleet, the overflying of Venezuelan airspace by US planes, and an increased military presence in Peru and Colombia", she said in Sydney on September 11.

But the resistance to imperialism in Latin America is growing stronger, Janicke argued. For example, "After the Colombian military invaded Ecuador to attack the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the US suffered another defeat when the Organisation of American States rejected the Colombian incursion."

Discussion at the meetings has covered the wide range of issues raised by the Venezuelan revolution, from democracy and popular power, to workers' control of production, the role of media, and the struggles of women and indigenous people, amongst many others. Janicke will conclude her tour at a public meeting in Cairns on October 15, at 6pm at the Sapphire Tapas Bar and Lounge. Visit .

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