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ROOTS OF THE BOLIVARIAN REVOLUTION by Jesus Rojas

posted 1 Dec 2014, 05:36 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 1 Dec 2014, 05:42 ]

Jesus Rojas, a citizen and resident of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, has been an English teacher for over 10 years. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Universidad Pedagógica Experimental Libertador- Instituto Pedagógico de Barquisimeto. (UPEL-IPB).

. His teaching experience has been in the rural area. Jesus describes his approach to teaching as eclectic. “I believe all of my students come to me with their own unique set of knowledge, skills, and talent. My goal as a teacher is to meet them where they are and help them be successful as they define it.” He has also been involved in teacher training

His bi-cultural background and focus on community work in conformity with the communal councils that exist in his community. As a social worker he wants to use his professional knowledge and skills to help people make the most of their own abilities and empower them to be the best they can be.

He wants to assist people in solving their own problems as well as empowering them to develop skills so that they can do so themselves.
In the last 15 years, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has been sending shockwaves throughout the political landscape of Latin America and beyond. The bold and independent stance taken by the country’s late President, Hugo Chavez, and now Nicolas Maduro Moro have shown for the first time in 500 years that the people of the region have the power, and the right, to determine their own destinies. In forging a novel political project that puts the needs of people first.

It was not until after 1958, that it became perfectly clear that formal representative democracy would not solve the problems of capitalism and imperialism that plagued Venezuelan history, and moreover that this form of democracy soon became a barrier to the expression of popular demands from below.

The ‘Bolivarian revolution’ has begun to attract new adherents to a defiant and dignified mode of social and international transformation, articulated through the regional organizations such as: ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas). CELAC, (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), UNASUR (Unión of South American Nations).

Now we see how the principles of socialism in the 21st century are changing ordinary people’s lives for the better, giving a boost to communal organizations, since communal organizations and communes are "a socialist space as local entity’, defined for the integration of neighbour communities that share historic memories, cultural features, customs, recognized in the territory they occupy and productive activities used as sustenance and upon which they exercise principles of sovereignty and leading participation as expression of People's Power.

These organizational means aim at building people's self-government, defined by a "people's capacity to take charge of their destiny, a progress in the socialist society that we'd like to build." It's built on the basis of concrete needs of communities:

With the oil rush of the 1930s, Caracas soon became a hub of social and economic activity, which drew in hundreds of thousands of people from across the surrounding areas looking for work as their traditional modes of living (primarily agricultural) began to disintegrate in the face of a booming oil industry.

When the Acción Democrática (AD) party came to power through a coup against the dictator, Marcos Pérez Jiménez, it aligned the country with the US and followed a politics of repression toward the left. The bourgeois parties excluded them from decision-making. 

The result was a guerrilla war from 1962 to 1973, inspired by the Cuban revolution. Many of those who participated in the overthrow of Marcos Pérez Jiménez in 1958 found themselves in the mountains, beginning a guerrilla war against the so-called "democracy." The years following the decline of the guerrilla struggle, and especially the 1970s, marked a period of experimentation, both theoretically and organisationally.

A multiplicity of armed groups persisted, oscillating between the hit-and-run tactics of urban guerrillas and the establishment of mass fronts that operated in semi-clandestinity as a way of connecting to the masses in the urban barrios. Many began to question the party-form and vanguardism more generally; some re-evaluated the classical tenets of Marxism, and still others excavated local sources for radical inspiration, It was in this period that the idea of ‘Bolivarianism’ came to develop, not as a blinkered homage to a bourgeois revolutionary, but instead as an overarching signifier for the need to root struggles in local histories.

What defines Bolivarianism is the contemporary experience of the Bolivarian Revolution and it must be traced back to the so-called Árbol de Las Tres Raíces. This includes the importance of Independence, sovereignty and armed resistance stressed by Bolívar himself; the role of education pointed out by Simón Rodríguez (Bolívar`s preceptor), who was strongly influenced by the ideas of J.J. Rousseau and conceived as a proto-socialist; the democratic experience of Ezequiel Zamora the anti-oligarchic general in the Venezuelan civil war of 1859 who led peasant uprising with slogans like “free land and free people”, “popular elections”, and “horror to oligarchy”.

Our revolutionary Bolivarianism, however, is compounded also by the critical Marxism of Ernesto Che Guevara, José Carlos Mariátegui, Anton Pannekoek, Antonio Gramsci, Antonio Negri, by the liberation theology of Gustavo Gutiérrez, and Camilo Torres; by the guerrilla and the liberation movement leaded by Bolívar himself, by José Martí in Cuba, and by Augusto Cesar Sandino in Nicaragua.

Furthermore, our Bolivarianism is also founded in the critique of European civilization and development of indigenous movements in Argentina, Colombia, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, and Mexico, and currents of black resistance from the US to their social, cultural and militant expressions in the Caribbean and Brazil.

In addition, Bolivarianism is also presented as the product of a sort of “accumulation” of social struggles and experiences across the whole sub-continent: from workers councils and revolutionary sindicalism in the 1980s to the national student congress in Merida and the student rebellion in that same decade, from the libertarian pedagogical movement to the development of the constituent power of the people in 1995 onwards and the electoral victory of Chavez in 1998; from the constitutional assembly and specification of participative democracy in 1999 to the experience of self-organization during the oil sabotage 2002-2003.

Bolivarianism is the general signifier of whatever expresses an emancipatory, socialist and democratic perspective, a new philosophical-political model with Bolivarian, Robinsonian and Zamoran ideological fundamentals, with a new model of mixed economy, with a new model of society based on equality, justice and freedom, taking into account that freedom, democracy and participation are conceived as fundamental elements of society.
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