Venezuelas Communists hold off on new party

The special 13th Congress of the Venezuelan Communist Party (PCV) wound up its deliberations March 4 with a declaration of support for the policies of President Hugo Chavez. But for now, it will not dissolve itself into Chavez’s proposed new “Unitary Party of Socialism.”

The special congress was called to respond to a proposal by Chavez that the many left-wing parties which have been supporting his Bolivarian Revolution, and which agree with his call to move Venezuela toward socialism, combine into a new Unitary Party of Socialism, dissolving their original structures.

The largest Chavista party, Chavez’s Fifth Republic Movement, has already voted to dissolve itself, and several other parties are expected to do the same.

The PCV held intensive discussions at the local and regional level, leading up to the March 3-4 Special Congress in Caracas, the nation’s capital. At the congress itself, these deliberations continued well into the night of the last session.

The final document of the congress described the Bolivarian Revolution as “one of national liberation, anti-imperialist, democratic and popular; a revolution which advances on the road toward socialism.” The PCV recognized the role of Chavez in leading the all-important struggle for Venezuelan sovereignty against U.S. imperialism. The urgency of this struggle, the party document said, calls for a grand alliance of all classes and sectors that find themselves menaced by imperialism.

At the same time, the PCV said it thinks that the nature of a unitary party of the revolution should borrow from both the Bolivarian and the Marxist-Leninist traditions, and should be rooted in the working class. It should bring together the best elements, those who are most committed to work for socialism, rather than aiming for numbers alone.

The PCV called for a national and international anti-imperialist front to deal with the aggressive plans of the Bush administration for the hemisphere, and lauded Chavez’s leading role in working toward this. It also called for support for Chavez’s idea of the creation of workers and community councils to take away power from the old state apparatus, and for intensified struggle to recover national and popular control over important sectors of the economy, including petroleum, telecommunications, electricity, banking and agriculture.

But the PCV did not choose at this point to dissolve its existing structure into the new unitary party proposed by Chavez. In comments to the Venezuelan press, PCV President Jeronimo Carreras called for waiting at least a year before such a measure should be considered. For his part, President Chavez sent a message to the party congress expressing his support for whatever the PCV decided to do.

Two other parties that have supported Chavez in the past, the Podemos (We Can) and PPT (Homeland is for Everybody) parties, also declined to dissolve themselves.

Later in March, Chavez expressed some annoyance with the parties that did not dissolve. In response, the PCV emphasized that it fully supports Chavez’s program, including the creation of a new unitary party of socialism, but would like to see what form it takes before dissolving its own 76-year-old structure.

Meanwhile, Chavez has been meeting with numerous grassroots groups to promote the creation of the new party on an activist, grassroots basis.

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