Sunday 30 September, Caracas
[RCG 30.09.12] In Britain, many on the left and right alike denounce the process in Venezuela, denouncing that the Chavez government is disconnected from the grass-roots and tied up in bureaucracy, analysing this theme, today we had the opportunity to interview Rafa Ramos, student, artists, community activist and militant of the youth wing of the PSUV (United Socialist party of Venezuela). Rafa explained that 'The state in Venezuela can't be compared to imperialist states such as the US or UK, we have a revolutionary type of democracy, a revolutionary constitution which was the product of a mass popular consultation; we are raising the flag of popular power, the relationship between the government and the people. '
There is a constant process of exchange between the people's organisations and the state, Rafa gave us the example of land expropriation and redistribution, Rafa explained that this process represents 'a collaboration between the state and the people, where the Ministry of land hold consultations with campesino (peasant) movements to discuss their needs, their request and their plans for developing the land, planning what machinery, investments and seeds they need. The National Assembly legislates laws such as the Land Law of 2001, and the campesino communal and popular front organisations develop the work'. Venezuela's National Land institute reported in April 2012, that through this process over 224,000 families have benefited from redistributed land with 19 million acres expropriated so far.
Rafa also spoke of the importance of the democratisation of space, information and culture explaining that the state is currently producing books in great quantities, distributing political texts to promote the self education of the Bolivarian revolution. 'We are studying Marx, Lenin, Rosa Luxembourg, Gramsci, but using them as guides, guides in our philosophy, political science, we're not going to copy Cuban or Russian socialism learning 'sobre la marcha' on the go.'
Pointing to the launch of Satellite Miranda on 28 September Rafa emphasised that 'Satellite Miranda offers us technology for the people, not for the multinational companies, allowing us to see the cartography of Venezuela. The information gathered by the satellite will allow us to identify where we should build bridges, aqueducts. The government will provide the communal councils an aerial photo of their community so that they can plan how to develop it, where to build new houses, where to build new schools or improve water systems, the satellites are for the people.'
A further example if the democratisation of technology can be seen in the production of 'Canaima' mini-laptops for school children. So far over two million computers have been produced and distributed to the schools, free of charge. This is the level of importance given to the development of the new generation of Venezuelans who are absolutely crucial to the continuation and deepening of the Bolivarian Revolution.
We conducted our interview in the Bellas Artes museum of art. As a community artist, Rafa was quick to point out that the museum used to be part of bourgeois culture, exclusive to the rich, thanks to the process, it is now a 'recuperated space, open to everyone, provided absolutely without charge.'
It is clear that the relationship between the people and the state requires a constant process of exchange, participation and improvement, it is a process and by no means a utopia. As Rafa highlighted 'We have difficulties in confronting bureaucratism, a phenomenon that Che spoke of. Firstly we have a situation of two parallel states, for example we have more than 40 social missions developed to meet specific needs of the population, but we still have structures of the bourgeois state of the 4th Republic. Even inside new institutions we have problems in bureacratism, to tackle this we have to be more efficient politically and destroy the bourgeois state little by little, we have to improve and make efficient community projects, to develop community power. We Marxists, socialists, have to look for the solution ourselves, to construct the Bolivarian Revolution with our own hands, to politically educate the youth so that they can solve the problems of the future. As Marx said, philosophers only try to interpret the world, the point however is to change it.'