By EWAN ROBERTSON – VENEZUELANALYSIS.COM
Mérida, October 14th, 2011 (Venezuelanalysis.com)— A multitude of Venezuelan social movements marched in Caracas yesterday in support of the Great Patriotic Pole, a grassroots coalition of forces that support the re-election of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and the continued advance of the Bolivarian Revolution.
The movements also offered proposals toward how the Great Patriotic Pole (GPP) could be best organised to achieve its strategic goals and “revolutionary unity”.
Orlando Zambrano, representative of the Ezequiel Zamora National Campesino Front, stated that the national mobilisation was “to support president Hugo Chavez, the Bolivarian Revolution…and the construction of the Great Patriotic Pole.”
He continued by explaining that the Pole is a mechanism “to construct a platform of struggle, that allows us [to] continue advancing in the fundamental tasks of our Bolivarian Revolution and popular participation, generating…the transformation of Venezuelan society”.
Juan Carlos Rodriguez of the Inhabitants Movement—a group that organizes around housing issues—added that the coalition “is being constructed from below, from the base, from the street.”
Registrations for the GPP began last week on 7th October, exactly one year before the 2012 presidential elections. Over 4,000 social movements registered in the first phase, comprising a plethora of social, worker, religious, and human rights organisations.
Political parties, including Chavez’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV), are also members of the coalition.
At the launch of registrations, President Chávez described the Pole as “the force of popular power…a great network of networks,” in which “we have to respect the identity [and] utmost freedom for all those movements and organisations”.
The gathered movements in Caracas also co-signed a document yesterday with proposals for how the GPP can construct “revolutionary unity”. These included a suggestion that the Promoter Group (organising committee) of the Pole, which brings together 153 representatives from participating movements, be deployed in a manner which covers the entire country.
Zambrano further explained that grassroots movements will organise popular assemblies in public spaces around the country to debate the organisation of the GPP.
The opposition-oriented paper El Nacional described the day’s events as a “rejection” of the “bureaucracy” of the Pole.
A Great Strategic “Hurricane”
Meanwhile, Chávez met with the Promoter Group of the GPP, and thanked the representatives of social and political organisations for their proposals and participation.
“There are neither hierarchies nor commands here… We are complementing each other from every point of view,” he stated. As a result, the GPP should be “as a hurricane, with a grand strategic vision”.
Chávez also highlighted the importance of driving forward the socialist and revolutionary process, declaring that “capitalism is inhumane, contrary to life…and nature”, and that “we’re going to finish the year advancing the social programs and recognising the rights of the people, of the workers”.
The Patriotic Pole was the electoral coalition that Hugo Chávez headed when he was first elected to power in December 1998, and was instrumental in developing the 1999 Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. In October 2010 Chávez called to re-launch the Pole, a move that was widely supported.
With presidential elections to be held on 7th October 2012, the Great Patriotic Pole will be the primary political vehicle in the campaign for Chávez’s re-election and the continuation of the social and political changes underway the country.
On 15th September this year Chávez launched the “7th October Mission”, which aims to mobilise 10 million voters in order to achieve a sweeping victory in next year’s election. The president currently enjoys a 61% approval rating and if there was an election tomorrow he would win 58% of the votes, according to a recent poll by the Venezuelan GIS XXI research group.
Registrations for the GPP will continue around the country in stages until the first week of November this year.