Hands off Venezuela at Swedish international conference

The Hands off Venezuela campaign in Sweden was invited to speak at an international conference organised by the Swedish Left Party (former Communist Party). Martin Lööf went along to explain what HOV was about and also to give an account of what is happening in Venezuela.

The Swedish Left Party (ex-communists) organized an international conference on Saturday 29th October where they invited different speakers from a number of solidarity organisations. Martin Lööf attended the conference as a representative of the Hands off Venezuela campaign in Sweden. Other international solidarity campaigns were also present, such as Western Sahara, Chile, Uruguay (supporters of the Frente Amplio), Palestine and Bolivia (MAS). Thirty to forty people were present at the meeting, among them some leading figures of the Left Party.

In his speech, Martin gave a brief introduction to the Venezuelan revolution, its problems and strengths. Chavez’s speech was quoted where he explained that the problems of the world cannot be solved within the confines of capitalism. Martin said that he agreed with this, but he also explained that the revolution is now in a stalemate. The revolution needs to take on a socialist character and the current state must be replaced with trustworthy representatives of the masses. The opportunists and the careerists within the Bolivarian leadership must replaced with leaders elected by the rank and file members.

In his speech an appeal was made to the party to send a representative on the EU delegation that will observe the December 4th presidential elections. The point was made that the rightwing PP party in Spain is mobilising and that the right-wingers need to be balanced by leftwing observers.

Next year the Left Party will be holding a congress in Gothenburg, and a suggestion was made that a representative from the UNT or some other Venezuelan organisation should be invited to the congress.

There was an exchange of words between the representatives of the MAS and the Hands Off Venezuela campaign. The speaker from the MAS started to talk about how "sectarian Trotskyists" criticised them for being reformist. He argued: “This is not the 1960s or 1970s, we are living in a new period with new movements, we can no longer talk about the dictatorship of the proletariat or that the working class will have the leading role in a revolution. Bolivia is not Sweden with an industrial history.” Probably referring to socialism he said that “we need utopias” so we can realize them in the future!

In replying to this the Hands Off Venezuela representative gave the example of Luis (“Lucio”) Gutierrez, former president of Ecuador. He became president on the basis of a popular revolt and was brought down by another popular revolt because he revealed himself as being no better than the previous president. This will happen with all leaders who fail to live up to the demands of the people. In Latin America people are fighting desperately for a change now and not in some distant future.

At the end of the meeting there was an exchange of email addresses and a promise of an invitation for HOV to speak at a local party branch.

30 Oct 2005

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