Venezuela: Heirs of the revolution

July 26, 2008

"We are the sons and daughters of Bolivarian socialism and we want to defend it", explained Eduardo Churrio, speaking to Green Left Weekly.

A 25-year-old history student and political activist in the student city of Merida, Churrio is amongst the thousands of young people who have taken up the challenge of building the United Socialist Party of Venezuela Youth (JPSUV), whose formation was officially announced in July.

The JPSUV will be a "fundamental instrument of the revolution", Darwin Contreras, 21, told GLW. "Young people are going to be the vanguard and the hope that the revolution continues well into the future."

Since the middle of last year, when some 5.7 million Venezuelans made the decision to become part of the process, kick-started by Venezuela's socialist President Hugo Chavez, of constructing a united party of the revolution — the PSUV — both have been active militants in the newly formed party.

Chavez's call for the new party comes in the context of the continued deepening of the socialist revolution in Venezuela that — having taken back control of the nation's oil wealth through a fierce battle against the ruling class — has begun to put it at the service of the people.

Central to the policies of Venezuela's revolutionary government has been working towards the eradication of poverty and the provision of free health care and education, from primary school through to university.

Young people have played an important role in all this, leading the charge in working with communities to establish social missions around education, health care, the environment and other issues. Thousands of young people volunteered to teach in Mission Robinson, which successfully wiped out illiteracy across the country.

Destroying the myth of an apolitical generation of youth, hundreds of thousands of young people also joined the ranks of the PSUV. Today, many of them are actively participating in the building of a youth section of the party.

One such activist is Raquel Barrios, a 28-year-old environmental activist, who told GLW that such an organisation is crucial in order "to offer our homeland a fighting impetus and adventurous and irreverent capacity in the face of the injustices of capitalist society".

Since the announcement about beginning to build the JPSUV, young people have begun to organise themselves in teams of 10 from within each socialist battalion — the grassroots units of the PSUV. All members of the JPSUV are between the ages of 18 and 28.

Those above the age of 15 who are sympathisers of the PSUV can be active in the youth teams. After turning 18, they can become members of the PSUV.

The aim is to establish 14,000 youth teams involving around 140,000 young people. From this grassroots structure, "Assemblies of Youth of the JPSUV" will he held, each bringing together around 10 youth teams. Out of these assemblies, spokespeople will be elected to the founding congress of the JPSUV, which is set for September.

These young people have a massive task ahead of them. Apart from building such a vital tool for the revolution, linking up the most revolutionary sectors of youth, they are confronted with the November regional elections. It is crucial that the revolution maintain the positions they have won in previous elections. Already the JPSUV have declared their intentions of being at the forefront of this campaign, and of working to ensure that all young people are enrolled to vote.

But more importantly, these young people have the task of creating the new leaders of this revolution, and of being part of creating a new society, based on the new socialist men and women that Argentinian revolutionary Che Guevara spoke about. Chavez has always put emphasis on the importance of young people, stating that this revolution is for the future generations of youth.

In an article on the revolutionary website, Jorge Amorin, one of the national leaders in the process of building the JPSUV, wrote on July 14: "The PSUV faces a new challenge of forming a strong youth organisation … that can convert itself into the spearhead of socialist policy in Venezuela. Young people with firm values, who believe in the new man and woman, and who have stamped in their consciousness the hard task of constructing the country and the world we want."

For Amorin, the youth of Venezuela are up for the challenge because "throughout all of history, young people have been at the forefront of struggles and social changes, not just because of their age, but because of the combative character and idealism of those who are young of spirit and heart"

[Federico Fuentes and Tamara Pearson are two young Australian activists living in Venezuela. Both have been involved in Resistance in Australia. Resistance will be present at the founding congress of the JPSUV.]

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