Founding Conference of the Revolutionary Socialist Youth held in Venezuela

July 9, Barquisimeto, 35 youth gathered to form the Socialist Revolutionary Youth (JSR). Students, activists and sympathisers from various organisations attended this event. In addition to those attending from Barquisimeto, there were comrades from Caracas, Merida, Tachira and Los Teques from different youth and student organisations, amongst them the Yacambu Revolutionary Movement, the Resistance collective, the Rebel America Front and the youth of the Revolutionary Marxist Current.

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“The youth are the flame of the proletarian revolution” (Karl Liebknecht)

July 9, Barquisimeto, 35 youth gathered to form the Socialist Revolutionary Youth (JSR). It was not an accident that the event was held in Barquisimeto. Over the last weeks we had various important electoral successes by the revolutionary youth in this city. Representatives of these groups were elected to representative bodies in various university centres. One of them took place in the ‘Politecnico’ and it was featured by the Friederich Engels Philosophy Centre. The second victory which was achieved by the Rebel America Front (FAR) took place in the Pedagogical Centre of Barquisimeto. Both successes took place in the academic environment which shows the great potential of both organisations, the significance of their militant work and its strengthened political formation.

Students, activists and sympathisers from the various organisations attended this event. In addition to those attending from Barquisimeto, where the JSR has its biggest branch and is already the biggest students' organisation in the University of Lara, students from the Caracas based Venezuela’s Central University, Option 89 and CMR comrades from the State of Tachira’s Andes University attended. Various comrades were there from Merida University, amongst them comrade Luis Regalado, the communication officer for the Regional Preparatory Committee for the World Festival of the Youth and the Students. The collective ‘Resistencia’ that implements community work and Antonio Amaro from Lara’s Yacambu Revolutionary Movement were also present. The international guest was Emanuel Tomaselli, editor of the Austrian Marxist magazine ‘Der Funke’, who presented greetings on behalf of the Austrian Young Socialists’ Revolutionary Marxist Tendency and the Austrian Hands Off Venezuela Campaign.

Comrade Pedro Jimenez from the FAR in Barquisimeto opened the event and acted as a chair. He stated how the recent successes of the FAR and the Frederich Engels Philosophy Center in the State of Lara shows how the ideas and methods of Marxism have a huge echo. This is represented in the victories of the ‘Politecnico’ and the Pedagogical centre.

The need of the international struggle of the working class and the youth

Comrade William Sanabria introduced the second item in the conference’s agenda – the international situation – for about one hour.

The JSR has adopted the motto “the youth is the flame of the proletarian revolution.” This flame was clear during a deep discussion on the international and national situation where all the attendants gave good contributions.

Sanabria explained how capitalism’s current situation features economic, political, social and cultural crises that have been produced by neoliberal policies against the underdeveloped countries, but also within the most powerful nations of the world. On the basis of technological development the exploitation of the workers has increased in these countries. On the other hand, struggles and conflicts do not only take place between advanced capitalist countries and underdeveloped countries; battles between the new imperialists are also taking place, i.e. US, European Union, Japan and China. This situation pushes the different multinational companies to take over as many markets as possible for their products. The conquest of new markets has also been pursued through military means, in strategic countries for the maintenance of the world economy, like in Iraq and Afghanistan. Less violent but equally aggressive means like the mass media and the advertising industry have targeted education as a way to introduce ideological domination and expand values like consumism in Latin American countries amongst other. All these methods try to show that the only system possible in all aspects is capitalism.

A symptom of the current situation of alienation and exploitation of the masses is the phenomenon of international terrorism – started by the 9/11 attacks and shown again in the recent attacks in London. These terrorist attacks have only been useful in strengthening US imperialism and repressive policies all over the world. At the same time neo-liberal policies have hit the youngest layers of the population. However, we have seen that it is not enough to have mass mobilisations in the struggle of the oppressed against capitalism. It is necessary to build a mass Marxist party that can offer a lead and a program to this international struggle.

The future of the Bolivarian revolution lies in Socialism

The third item in the agenda was introduced by the CMR and the Frederich Engels Philosophy Centre comrade Carlos “the Red” Mogollon. It was a discussion on perspectives for Venezuela and the Bolivarian revolution.

As comrade Carlos said, the revolutionary struggle has decided to build a socialist system – the only one capable of ending capitalist barbarism and allowing the development of the people. Venezuela has already started this task but as we already know the capitalist and land-owning classes try to protect their economic interests. We could see how the rightwing organised the coup d’etat of 2002 and the lock-out which took place the same year. We have also seen how some officials within the national government have adopted reformist positions. These contradictions are quite big, the masses – having Hugo Chavez as the main leader – have sought different ways to organise in the factories. They have sought workers’ control and co-gestion in the cases of Alcasa, Invepal, Inveval, communities, countryside and so on. Yet, they have been forced to fight bureaucratism and ambitious capitalists.

The Bolivarian revolution is at a stage where it can move forward to socialism while expropiating the capitalists and replacing the old state machinery inherited from the IV republic by one based on assemblies and popular sectors with delegates elected and recallable by the rank and file at any given moment. These assemblies, coordinated all over the country, will be the ones which will decide upon the affairs of the country and will allow the democratic plan of the economy. This will be the way to build a real participative democracy. The most important thing is to take advantage of the favourable opportunities to complete the Bolivarian revolution within a socialist framework and with an outlook of the creation of a federation of socialist republics.

What is the JSR?

After the lunch break the draft program for the JSR was discussed. Comrades Juan Marchan and Juan Escalona from the FAR lead off.

The JSR has the target of the socialist transformation of Venezuelan society and this would boost its economic, social and cultural development as well as the development of the youth of the rest of the world. To achieve this target the JSR aims to organise the vanguard of the Venezuelan youth in high schools, university and misiones (social programmes). For the JSR the only revolutionary struggle is the mass struggle. JSR is above all a militant organisation against capitalism and it is at the frontline in the struggle against imperialism and for the socialist revolution in Latin America.

The JSR is a working class, revolutionary and anti-capitalist organisation. Faced with all the scattered youth organisations in university, the JSR proposes one organisation for the revolutionary youth that will unify all the youth and groups that fight for socialism all over the country. This is why it considers that the struggle of the students must be linked to the struggle of the workers. There were various ammendments to the draft document that deepened the class nature of the state, the role of education under capitalism as well as a good debate on the necessity of democratisation of the National Armed Forces that was introduced by the comrades from Tachira. In the debate we laid down the basis for a youth demands programme.

JSR activities

The last item in the agenda was the tasks for the next few weeks. The organisation has planned its next interventions in national and international events like the First National Encounter of the Revolutionary Youth for the Building of “socialism of the 21st century” that will be held in the state of Merida in July. It is expected that JSR delegates, literature and activities will be present at the World Festival of the Youth and the Students.

On August 16, after the World Festival, the JSR will organise a meeting with Marxist youth from all over the world and young Venezuelans to debate on Socialism and how the organised struggle of the youth of the working class and the mass layers of society can assist the socialist transformation of society.

A founding congress will be held next September. All youth, peasant, student and workers' organisations are called to join the Revolutionary Socialist Youth, which is the product of the struggle of the Venezuelan youth and students in their aim to achieve the socialist transformation of Venezuela and the world.

A National Work Commission was democratically elected during the meeting to centralise and coordinate the activities over the next two months until the founding congress. At the end of the meeting a collection which got more than 75.000 bolivars was held. This high amount of money – if we consider that the attendants were asked to pay a fee of 7000 bolivars – will be very useful to fund the activities and flyers for the next weeks.