Thousands of revolutionary social movements marched in Caracas on Sunday in order to consolidate the formation of the Great Patriotic Pole (GPP) – a broad front which comprises all of the popular organisations and political parties that support the advance of the Bolivarian Revolution.
In a march from Plaza Sucre and Plaza Venezuela in Caracas, movements asserted that they were seeking to promote unity within the GPP party-movement and to support current Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez in his bid to secure a third term in the presidential elections next year.
“We are here … demonstrating our willingness to mobilise and organise ourselves for the Great Patriotic Poll,” said Gisel Hernandez, spokesperson for the Matica Front.
Venezuelan news sources reported the participation of over 30,000 organisations from all over the country in the popular march.
Thousands of activists waved flags and banners, either marching on foot or as passengers on trucks and motorbikes. Although the mood was jubilant, marchers recited chants warning imperialist countries not to meddle in Venezuelan internal affairs, and informing the Venezuelan opposition that “whoever has the people will win the fight”, referring to next year’s presidential elections.
“Chavez isn’t going anywhere, oh no, he isn’t going anywhere,” chanted women from the Caracas-based Feminist Spider organisation.
However, the marchers also had a message for the government, with hundreds of militants joining in a chorus of “bureaucracy and corruption, putting an end to the revolution”.
Marchers came from a diverse range of movements, from musical organisations to barrio collectives, and reported that they had decided to take to the streets in response to Chavez’s call to launch the 7th of October Mission, a plan which aims to see the head of state re-elected with 10 million votes next year.
“We are going to fight to get the 10 million votes, to give the counterrevolution a slug in the mouth,” said one of the militants from Zulia state.
The national march was convened following a four week period of registration for the GPP which began early in October. According to the Pole, over 32,000 organisations have registered with the front, which should function as a platform to combat bureaucracy and establish a collective leadership within the Bolivarian process.
A Popular Programme for the Struggle
At around 2 o’clock, President Chavez came out into the square to address the marchers, who had prepared a document to hand over to the Venezuelan mandate on behalf of the GPP.
According to the front, the document should be incorporated into the revolutionary project as a “popular programme for the struggle”.
Reading aloud an official statement from the Pole, activists declared their solidarity with other global movements who are currently fighting the capitalist model, and stated that they would promote the development of an “international popular pole” capable of “presenting an alternative to barbarous capitalism”.
President Chavez initiated a rendition of Glory to the Brave People, Venezuela’s national anthem, and declared the march “the beginning of a new Chavez”, after the president was given the all-clear by doctors following his battle with cancer.
The president urged marchers across the board to reflect on the role and development of the front within the revolution, from the youngest members to the oldest. He stated that the Pole must move beyond being a purely electoral vehicle and become a “harmonious meeting place for the cooperation of political, moral, social and economic forces, of all the revolutionary elements”.
According to the president, the Pole should also be a space where the contradictions of the revolution are discussed and debated, and he encouraged activists in the Pole to carry out these debates in every neighbourhood, and municipality.
“There are many contradictions and they must be addressed…but they must not become so-called antagonistic contradictions, we must use dialectics, and as comrade Mao Tse-Tung said, the unity of opposing views makes us stronger,” said Chavez, who also stated that the Pole had produced many of what Italian revolutionary Antonio Gramsci termed “organic intellectuals”.
In other comments, Chavez also warned against the dangerous ramifications that could be unleashed by a possible Western intervention in Syria and Iran, citing a global “crisis” which made the advance of the Bolivarian Revolution even more urgent.
“Why the Patriotic Pole now and for what? We have to position ourselves within the context of what is occurring in the world, comrades, friends, countrymen…first of all there is a crisis, a very deep crisis, which has become a great threat to the people of the world. It has always been said that crises are also opportunities, but they are also great threats,” he said, adding that many people’s movements throughout the world looked towards the Bolivarian Revolution as a source of hope within the “universal battle”.
“This experience is not going to fail, no we cannot fail, we are obliged to create the Great Patriotic Pole throughout the country as a great space of articulation and a summation of revolutionary forces,” said Chavez.
Video filmed by Rachael Boothroyd/Venezuelanalysis.com