Eyewitness report from Venezuela: Second day of PSUV Congress
Caracas, Venezuela – The second day of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) 5th Congress, March 6, featured speeches and workshops about building the party among working people, while strengthening the role of women and youth. Facts and figures played an important part in educating the PSUV militants, with data and explanations appearing on giant video walls. However, it was the speaker’s analysis of problems, and proposed solutions that kept everyone talking.
For example, there are 8 million registered to vote for the PSUV, but until now, no way to check how people participate in the party. There is a proposal to clarify and organize, so besides the millions who vote, PSUV members can be organized to participate in unions, community groups, the student and youth movements, and other mass organizations.
Leon Heredia explained, “The PSUV uses an ‘Activist x 10’ method to register party members.” The goal is to create a “protagonist democracy” where workers and others are making collective decisions and changing their own work places and communities.
Going beyond elections, the party needs to lead the struggles of the masses, attempt to solve problems and overcome difficulties. Two examples are the CLAP food program that now feeds more than 70% of households, and the over 3.5 million new apartments and homes built by the Bolivarian Revolution. These efforts come directly from the process of the party listening to the people in mass meetings, and using state structures to make changes happen rapidly, setting up new economic systems run by workers for all the people.
Another dynamic is the PSUV defense of the revolution due to ongoing attempts by the U.S. to strangle the Venezuelan economy with sanctions.
The PSUV has more women and youth leading the party at all levels than before. At the labor sector meeting, Francisco Torrealba, vice president of the Working Class Sector of the PSUV, spoke to a room full of international guests and PSUV labor delegates organized as the PCOA (Anti-imperialist Platform of the Working Class).
Torrealba explained, “More than half the delegates of the working class are women and nearly half are youth. They were elected from 23 assemblies, with 3573 workers participating, and 678 new leaders from health, food and agriculture, PDVSA oil and gas, chemicals and pharma, teachers, health, and transport unions. Also, the vice president of the Women’s Sector comes from the Working Class Sector.”
Tom Burke, the organizational secretary for the Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), was one of three international guests invited to speak at the PCOA meeting. Burke said, “We are here in solidarity with the PSUV 5th Congress as part of the PCOA.”
Burke continued, “The FRSO wants to express our solidarity with the Venezuelan people and the Bolivarian Revolution. The FRSO respects the vanguard role the PSUV earned in the Venezuelan liberation movement as you struggle toward socialism. We support the one and only president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro. We hope to deepen our bilateral ties and to free Alex Saab!”