socialism

Sergio Arriasis is the head of the office of strategic development for Vision Venezuela Television (ViVe), a government-funded channel inaugurated in 2003. Arriasis is in charge of future planning and development of its communications. Coral Wynter, a Green Left Weekly journalist based in Caracas, spoke with Arriasis about the struggle to counter the private corporate media in Venezuela, and create a radical alternative.

How is ViVe different from other TV channels?

On May 15, German left-wing party Die Linke held its national congress in the eastern city of Rostock, electing a new national leadership and debating its new draft program.

At the conference, charismatic left-wing firebrand Oskar Lafontaine stepped down as the party’s co-leader for health reasons. Lafontaine, the former head of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and finance minister, quit the SPD in 1999 because of the party’s neoliberal policies.

There are many myths about Cuba that the mainstream media happily reinforces, especially about Cuba’s democratic processes.

Contrary to media assertions, in Cuba there are general elections, the last ones taking place in 2007-08. In these elections, deputies to the parliament (National Assembly of People’s Power) and delegates to the provincial assemblies are elected for a five-year mandate.

In further moves to strengthen the state’s role in the economy, Venezuelan President Chavez announced on May 11 the creation of a publicly owned import-export company as part of a broader plan to combat “the hegemony of the bourgeoisie”, speculation and inflation.

Despite price controls and a fixed exchange rate, inflation reached 25.1% in 2009 — the highest in Latin America.

Central bank figures reported inflation climbed 5.2% in April (double that of March), bringing accumulated inflation for 2010 up to 11.3%.

Jed Brandt, a member of US Kasama Project, is in Katmandu reporting on the ongoing struggle between Nepal’s poor majority, led by the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists (UCPN-M), and the US and Indian-backed elite that removed the UCPN-M-led government last year.

The May 2 internal pre-selection of United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) candidates for the September 26 national elections was an example of the mobilising force of this mass party in construction.

More than 2.5 million party members participated. This demonstrated the PSUV is the largest national political force, and highlighted its democratic and participatory nature.

The participation rate was greater than the 2.3 million people who voted to pre-select PSUV candidates for governors and mayors in 2008.

Socialist Alliance is planning an ambitious socialist ideas conference in Perth for the last weekend in June. Featured guest speakers include Socialist Party of Malaysia member of parliament Jeyakumar Devaraj. He will speak about the role of socialists in parliament and the link between parliamentary work and community organising.

We have just finished a very successful May Day brigade to Venezuela, organised by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN). The majority of the 14 participants were from Australia, with two Canadians and one from the US also taking part.

May Day was, of course, a highlight of the 10-day tour: more than 1 million marchers, all in red t-shirts. Brigadistas were greeted with cheers of welcome — we were easily identified by our Australian solidarity activists shirts and banner.

On May 1, Nepal was entirely shut down by huge demonstrations called by the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M) to call for the resignation of the unpopular government. In Kathmandu, at least 500,000 marched — the streets a sea of red flags.

The Maoists are calling for the replacement by a “national unity” government headed by the UCPN-M, which easily won the largest number of seats on the constituent assembly elections in 2008. The army chiefs and political elite removed the UCPN-M-led government a year ago in a “soft coup”.

“In a stunning demonstration all over the island”, Prensa Latina said on May 1, “Cubans showed the power of unity to face the media campaign launched against the country by United States and its European allies.

“Millions of men, women and even children packed in the main squares, marched along central avenues all over the provinces and municipalities of the nation declaring their support to the revolutionary process they have freely chosen.”

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