The contrast is striking. As Australia’s state and federal governments continue their bloody-minded corporatisation and privatisation of our few remaining public assets, the revolutionary government of Venezuela is bringing important industries and sectors into public ownership and control.
Over October 16-17, 120 people participated in lively and informative discussions at the Latin America Solidarity Conference. “Challenging corporate globalisation: people’s power is changing the world” was organised by the Latin America Social Forum. LASF brings together the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN — Australia), Guatemala Human Rights Committee, Ibiray-Fondo Raul Sendic (Uruguay), Honduras’ National Front of Popular Resistance (FNRP), Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network and Socialist Alliance.
With the symptoms of social and environmental crisis all around us — runaway climate change, Third World poverty, seemingly endless wars — it is sometimes easy to feel discouraged about our ability to change “the way things are”. We can forget that millions of ordinary people have many times over said “enough is enough” and come together to take action to change history.
Humanity is in a race against time to avoid the environmental and social catastrophe caused by climate change. At times, it seems we are losing the race. When we look at the sabotage of international summits by the rich countries, or the false solutions peddled by governments and corporate polluters, the challenge we face can seem overwhelming. But globally, there is a rising people’s movement demanding real action on climate. This movement gives reason for hope and inspiration.
On June 30, 31 mainly young activists set off from around NSW in an old converted school bus, for the “Indigenous Solidarity Rides” heading to an Aboriginal rights convergence in Alice Springs over July 6-11. At the same time, 25 activists from Brisbane headed to the convergence, also in a bus, as part of the “Justice Ride”.
Venezuelan trade unionist and community educator Alexis Adarfio Marin visited Australia last month, informing many audiences of the radical changes being carried out by Venezuela’s Bolivarian revolution. Adarfio was a guest of the Search Foundation, which hosted a range of international guest speakers at its Australian Left Renewal Conference in Sydney over May 29-30.
On April 13, people around the world celebrated the eighth anniversary of the Venezuelans’ defeat of a coup against President Hugo Chavez. The US-backed coup, on April 11, 2002, lasted only 48 hours, overturned by a massive mobilisation on the streets of supporters of the radical changes being led by Chavez.
Ferne Edwards, a PhD student at the Australian National University who researches sustainable food movements, cities and climate change, was so inspired by the social changes in Venezuela when she visited there as part of a food sovereignty tour in 2009 that she decided to organise an opportunity for other Australians to visit and see it for themselves.
Australians are being invited to join a special delegation to Venezuela this September to witness an important event for the country’s pro-poor Bolivarian revolution.
In January, Bolivia’s left-wing President Evo Morales began his second term by appointing a new cabinet in which women are equally represented for the first time.
On January 7, hundreds of Hondurans risked violent repression by the police and military to protest outside the national parliament building against the coup regime’s decision to withdraw the country from the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA).
The call by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at the International Encounter of Left Parties in Caracas last month to begin to launch a ``Fifth Socialist International’’ could not have been better timed.