Young trade unionists discuss Latin America

On Tuesday, September 19, the Battersea and Wandsworth Trade Union Council (BWTUC) launched its Youth Network with a colourful and lively party in Tooting, south west London

On Tuesday, September 19, the Battersea and Wandsworth Trade Union Council (BWTUC) launched its Youth Network with a colourful and lively party in Tooting, south west London.

BWTUC Youth Network has been set up with the aim of bringing together young activists, campaigners and trade unionists.  With that ultimate goal in mind, a series of solidarity campaigns and organisation, like Cuba Solidarity Campaign or Banana Link were invited to the launching party.  Hands off Venezuela was present with a stall full of material (books, DVD's, Magazines, T-shirts, etc  ) and a speaker, Jorge Martin, International Secretary of the Campaign.

youngbwtuc-015Jorge started out his journey through the history of the Venezuelan revolution and the Bolivarian movement by warning against the falsehoods and lies that the media in Britain is spreading about what the Venezuelan and State. "Last Thursday - he said - the Evening Standard carried an article on Venezuela depicting it as a totalitarian regime with death squads and no freedom of speech. However, the opposite is the truth. The freedom of expression is such that the media, TV channels and newspapers alike, which are mainly dominated by the opposition, run articles asking for the violent overthrow of the government. That is something that nowhere else, and least of all in Britain, would be tolerated."

He later went on to explain the social conquest that the Revolution has brought to the Venezuelan masses, like free and comprehensive education and health care, and contrasted these gains with the situation in Britain, where all the working class conquest, that so dearly were paid for by the workers in Britain, are been constantly eroded. "In that sense - he said - what is happening in Venezuela is a most inspirational example for all of us who are fighting here against privatisations, free education and a comprehensive and free to the point of need National Health Service.

Jorge then linked the struggle of the Venezuelan masses to take their destiny in their own hands and shake off their necks the double yoke of American imperialism and their own bourgeoisie with the struggles that are now arisen throughout Latin American, as the Mexican mobilisation against electoral fraud.

"We, in Hands off Venezuela - he said - have been working to raise awareness about what is happening in Venezuela since the April Coup in 2002 and to finish off my intervention I want to raise two points that I think are extremely important.

youngbwtuc-016"The first one is the issue of workers control in factories and industries. For instance, the case of Alcasa, an aluminium State owned factory where the workers are now participating in the running of the factory at every level. They democratically elect every managerial post, save the chair which is appointed by the government. And the people is elected in these managerial position can be recalled at any time. which can be recalled at any time.

"The second issue that I want to draw to your attention is the question of socialism. After the collapse of the Soviet block there was a lot of propaganda about the end of socialism and, even, the end of history. However, now, through his own experience, Chávez has opened the debate about socialism. He's already stated that "socialism is the only way to possibly improve the lives of the Venezuelan masses".

youngbwtuc-044"Capital around the world does not like what is happening in Venezuela. Not because it is a democratic regime, which it is, but because it is a progressive regime. They fear the effects that a good example can have in the region and throughout the world".

The party ended in great spirits with the performance of KMT, a magnificent and very inspired hip hop band with a very social and political edge.

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