Socialist Alliance members Kiraz Janicke and Federico Fuentes live in Caracas, where they maintain Green Left Weekly's Venezuela bureau.
Over November 19-21, they represented the Socialist Alliance at the International Encounter of Left Parties, which took place in Caracas. To find out more about the conference, see the article on page 12.
GLW's Emma Murphy spoke to Janicke about the significance of the conference, and how the Socialist Alliance took part.
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What was the significance of this gathering?
The conference was historic in a global sense, because of the role Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, and the Bolivarian revolution taking place in that country, is playing in showing there is an alternative to capitalism in the world today.
Chavez has called for a fifth international of socialist parties. That is something that will impact on the left around the world. The global left should seriously discuss this development, coming as it does in the context of the biggest crisis of capitalism the world has known.
What role did the Socialist Alliance play at the conference?
Federico and I both made contributions during discussion and the Socialist Alliance was received very positively. Our proposed amendment to the conference's final declaration, about the importance of trying to combat the global ecological crisis, was adopted.
We proposed the following be inserted into the declaration:
"In synthesis, the crisis of capitalism cannot be reduced to a simple financial crisis, it is a structural crisis of capital that combines the economic crisis, with an ecological crisis, a food crisis and an energy crisis, which together represent a mortal threat to humanity and nature. In the face of this crisis, the movements and parties of the left see the defence of nature and the construction of an ecologically sustainable society as a fundamental axis of our struggle for a better world."
Chavez himself agreed with our proposal, and it was incorporated into the final document.
As Socialist Alliance members, we also spoke about the importance of left unity. We reported on the Socialist Alliance's role in trying to build coordination among the left in Australia, Oceania and the Asia-Pacific region.
Members of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela were very interested in that. In Venezuela, there's not really a lot of awareness about struggles that are happening in Asia.
A representative from the Malaysian Socialist Party, M. Saraswathy was also present, and made a very strong contribution about the need to fight for socialism on an international scale.
Many people pointed out that capitalism has its global institutions — the World Bank, the United Nations, the G8 and so on — and argued that, as the left, as socialists, we need our own institutions to be able to coordinate and collaborate in the struggle for socialism on a global scale.