Venezuela: Interview with Comrade Katy Jaimes, delegate to the Extraordinary Congress of the PSUV

Venezuela: Interview with Comrade Katy Jaimes, delegate to the Extraordinary Congress of the PSUVAt the First Extraordinary Congress of the PSUV, which began in November last year and finishes this April, one can clearly sense a growing anger of the delegates and members against the reformists and bureaucrats in the party, as well as a thirst for the ideas of marxism. We publish here an interview with comrade Katy Jaimes, delegate to the Congress for the Chacao municipality of Miranda State, who lays heavy stress upon the need to organise a left in the party.

IMT: Comrade, tell us a little about the political mood that prevails in the Extraordinary Congress of the PSUV, compared to the Founding Congress.

Katy Jaimes: Well, unlike the previous Congress, this Congress has a higher level of political maturity and revolutionary consciousness on the part of delegates. The level of criticism on the part of the majority of delegates against the reformist and bureaucratic sections of the party are much higher than during the previous congress, also the interest of the delegates in the ideas of Marxism is much greater than what was observed during the previous congress.

Opening session of the First Extraordinary Congress of the PSUV on November 21, 2009Delegates from different states are networking and establishing political links in order to work together to defend revolutionary ideas within the congress, and also to fight against bureaucracy and reformism. There is a lot of work ahead to achieve the objective, in fact, I can tell you that at the Founding Congress of the Party, the debates on the issues on the agenda took place in workshops, where delegates from around the country could participate. But, some bureaucratic sectors of the party leadership have seen that the militancy and criticism on the part of the delegates is much greater than the last Congress, so now the committee responsible for developing methodology for discussion at the congress decided to hold political discussions by state, meaning that workshops are not open to all delegates of the country like last time, but delegates from each of the 23 states are part of a panel discussion by each state. Obviously, this method limits the possibility for various currents and groups of left wing delegates in the party to coordinate with each other at a national level, although we were told that maybe in the coming months discussions will be conducted by regions of the country, which would enable delegates from different states to be in the same workshop for discussion.

I can tell you comrade that the level of political turmoil is much greater, not only among the delegates, but among the members in general. The political conditions are given in the Congress for many victories for the left and for it to be greatly strengthened and consolidated within the PSUV, but that requires a great effort from all comrades who in the Extraordinary Ideological Congress advocate left-wing revolutionary ideas.

IMT: Comrade, please tell us a little more of the methodology of debate within the congress.

Katy Jaimes: Well, discussions are underway by state as I told you earlier, and these debates are conducted on weekends, i.e. Saturdays and Sundays, of each week. At first the conference was supposed to have lasted from 21 November to December, but during those first weeks of debate Commander President Chavez decided to extend the conference until April 19. This is positive for the delegates who defend left-wing ideas within the party because it gives us more time to learn, articulate, build relationships and work together to build a truly revolutionary party that can be used as a tool to bring the Bolivarian revolution to victory.

Going back to the methodology of discussion, I commented that the conference meets over the weekend, after these meetings, it is for delegates to meet during the days Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with the leaders of each platoon, which is a fundamental basic structure of the party and in turn those responsible for platoons must bring points and issues discussed at the conference to each patrol, so that each platoon develops political discussions on the issues discussed in the congress. The conclusions of these discussion are then put together by all the platoons in each locality and municipality and these conclusions and contributions are then defended by their respective delegates from the town or city in Congress.

IMT: What issues have been discussed so far in Congress and what are the key issues to be discussed soon?

Katy Jaimes: The meetings of the Extraordinary Congress have discussed mainly subjects of the political, economic and social development, such as the bank fraud scandal which occurred last month in the country, by some private banks, the issue of the energy saving plan, the water-saving plan, the creation of the National Police and the call of President Chavez to form the V International among others. But we have also begun discussing the basic documents of the Party, which in fact are the reason this Congress was called. During the penultimate session of Congress in the month of December, a Declaration of Principles and Programme for the party was presented to the delegates, and the possibility was also raised of putting these two proposals to a vote the next day in a plenary meeting with all the delegates to decide whether to approve such proposals as the draft declaration of principles and program for the party. But that proposal was overwhelmingly rejected by the vast majority of delegates, which is a strong signal of the political ferment that exists within the extraordinary congress of the party.

IMT: What are your perspectives for Congress in the coming months?

Katy Jaimes: Look, the Ideological Extraordinary Congress of the PSUV is an historical milestone in our country, is a great opportunity for the left wing to take the reigns of the revolution. As I said earlier, I believe that the historical conditions are given for the construction of socialism and for the revolution to be finally consolidated, but it is essential that the revolutionaries in the party organize and work together. In the questions you asked me I said that I have seen a greater revolutionary ferment within the congress, what happens is that still a lot needs to be done in terms of the organization of the left within the Congress of the PSUV. To a large extent, future developments within the congress depend on whether the left is organized properly. If the left is not organized to struggle for truly revolutionary and socialist statutes, a declaration of principles and a programme, then Congress will developed without a strong battle of ideas and without many surprises. In that case the party's bureaucratic sectors stand to gain and most likely will manage to get basic documents of the party passed which will be mostly reformist ideas. But if the delegates from the rank and file, who really defend people's interests and truly revolutionary ideas are organised around the defense of a declaration of revolutionary socialist principles and a programme, then we can achieve many victories at the Congress and within the party. I can tell you that if things develop in this way, the conference will mark an important milestone in our ten years of Bolivarian Revolution and possibly will leave a positive mark on the course of our revolution. But in order to achieve that we need to struggle, to fight and work hard. Like I said before, the conditions are ripe.

Source: In Defence of Marxism

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