Young people "are the present … whether we have a future or not depends on what we as young people do or don't do", proclaimed student leader and minister for the presidency, Hector Rodriguez, speaking on August 22 to thousands of members of the youth organisation of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, the PSUV Youth (JPSUV).
Cheering and dancing, the majority of those present were recently the elected spokespeople of their local grassroots JPSUV collective, representing the revolutionary, rebellious spirit of the 14,000 young people who form the revolutionary socialist youth organisation.
Also present at the mass meeting was Venezuela's socialist president, Hugo Chavez, who stated that young people "are the vanguard of today that open up spaces towards the future".
"We have to assure this future right now and not with a passive attitude, rather with a rebellious, combative, critical attitude of permanent work, with study, the production of knowledge and demonstrating by example", Chavez, who is also president of the PSUV, said.
The initiative to form a socialist youth organisation comes after the official founding of the PSUV early this year. It also comes amid the revolutionary process that Venezuela is going through.
Since Chavez was first elected in 1998, there have been dramatic social gains for Venezuela's poor majority, such as the introduction of free education from primary school to university, including transport to and from school and university, and free textbooks and lunch for students.
Importantly, the revolution has aimed to organise people, including youth, in their struggle for a better world — a socialist world.
Explaining the historic role that young people are destined to play, Chavez said that they had to "construct from the grassroots, with direct participation, a youth organisation that is born out of smiles and hopes [of young people] in order to transform the world"
Rodriguez added that it was the duty of Venezuelan youth to "take up our role in the struggle. Our task is to profoundly transform society and to profoundly transform the bourgeois state that we have inherited, in order to construct a popular state".
Not limiting the role of the youth of Venezuela — who
today form a crucial part of the international movement of young revolutionaries — solely to the tasks facing the revolutionary movement there, Chavez said that the JPSUV must have a powerful impact at the international level.
Resistance, the largest socialist youth organisation in Australia, sees the creation of an organisation such as the JPSUV as a vital step forward in the global movement to overthrow the barbaric system of capitalism.
We welcome this initiative and will be present at the founding congress of the JPSUV to show our support and learn from the experiences of young people who today are leading the fight for a better world.
[Federico Fuentes is a former national organiser of Resistance, currently living in Venezuela.]