Report from the Jorge Martin tour - day 1, Montréal (added pictures)

Jorge Martin's revolutionary Venezuela speaking tour of North America started with an anti-imperialist demonstration in Montreal.

montreal1.jpg On a cold and drizzly Saturday afternoon, just fewer than 150 people assembled for a demonstration organized by the April 28th coalition under the slogans "NO to Canadian-US imperialism from Port-Au-Prince to Caracas; YES to social change and the Bolivarian process throughout Latin America!" In solidarity, the organizers called on the participants to dress in red; and, despite the rain and cold weather, red was seen throughout the crowd. Around 1 o'clock the demonstrators gathered in a park off Sherbrooke avenue, with Hands Off Venezuela very visible with a large banner and an impressive presence. The activists present showed great interest in the Venezuelan revolution and purchased several of our French-language document "Marxists and the Venezuelan revolution". The debate over Venezuela has in recent days shifted to one about the nature of socialism and revolution and, more importantly, how to build a similar revolutionary movement in Canada.

montreal3.jpg An important presence at the demonstration was the Canada-Haiti action network, whose speaker, Yves Engler, correctly drew links between anti-imperialist struggles in Haiti and those throughout the Americas. We were able to take a front-and-centre role at the march, initiating many chants and getting many demonstrators talking. The diversity of political and cultural activists, despite the relatively small size of the demonstration, was rather impressive: the Quebec-Cuba solidarity committee had a speaker, as did a member of the Montreal Iranian Socialist Unity. Hands Off Venezuela played a large role in engaging with this diverse crowd and sharing perspectives with a good number of activists. Also noticeable was the clearly anti-capitalist character of the march, with every group represented explicitly identifiable as socialist. Colouring this otherwise grey afternoon was a sea of bright red flags.

The influence of Venezuela amongst activists in Montreal was quite clear. Many who had previously never seriously considered socialism before are now showing great interest in Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky. The best and most advanced elements of the activist communities have been pushed, by the force of events, to becoming vocal advocates of socialism. The international secretary of the Hands Off Venezuela campaign, Jorge Martin, played on this theme during his speech to the crowd. He noted that Chavez himself did not start off as a socialist, he put forward simple, modest demands, but even these were too radical to be achieved under capitalism. Chavez became a socialist by realizing that only the overthrow of capitalism can solve the everyday injustices in the world today. In Quebec, and around the world, many are learning this same lesson. In closing, Jorge ended by saying that the best way to support the revolution in Latin America, is to create the conditions for revolution in your own country.

montreal2.jpg We would like to thank the Société Bolivarienne du Québec for their marvellous hospitality and above all for their great effort in organising the solidarity movement.

Join / affiliate to the campaign!

Make a donation!

Hands Off Venezuela's financial resources are limited so we rely on our supporters around the world.  Please make a donation of any size towards building the campaign