Paul Dobson in the Morning Star, July 13, 2017,  reports on the Communist Party of Venezuela’s efforts to build a revolutionary, worker-peasant unity at the heart of the new anti-imperialist and anti-fascist popular front

Amid a national climate of increasing fascist terrorist attacks, a petit bourgeois rebellion in alliance with imperialist forces and opportunist mercenaries looking to “recolonialise the continent,” an increasing domination of reformist, pro-appeasement sectors in government, and continuing economic chaos the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV), held its 15th congress at a vital time to both the oil-rich nation and the entire continent in Caracas at the end of June โ€” amid extreme security measures.

The vibrant congress, which culminated six months of internal Leninist debate and democracy at branch, regional and national level, was attended by 387 branch delegates โ€” some of whom had travelled by plane, bus, boat, or mule to be there. In attendance were also 27 fraternal delegates, 34 international delegates from 25 communist and worker’s parties in 22 countries representing every continent of the globe and 42 messages of solidarity were received from sister parties unable to be present. PVC general secretary Oscar Figuera, who was re-elected, described it as “really successful” with “profound debate.”

The solidarity, energy and determination of the communists oozed from every corner of the emblematic Canta Claro party headquarters where the congress was held. With popular discontent at the ruling United Socialist Party (PSUV) government on the increase due to its manifest inability to combat fascist aggression and economic woes, which affect the working class hardest, as well as worries about the future of the hard-fought-for gains of the Chavez period, issues of strategy and alliances were at the core of the congress agenda.

Instead of stressing the importance of the PCV’s continuing alliance with the government, much attention was placed on a parallel policy of “deepening the PCV’s efforts of organisation for the construction of a popular, revolutionary, worker-peasant unity which will be at the heart of the anti-imperialist and anti-fascist popular front.”

This front “can thus create the necessary conditions for gathering of forces for the defeating of the objectives of imperialism and fascism and which also creates the conditions for a victory over reformist and concessionary currents in government, which have gained much ground on the progressives,” explained Figuera. “The 15th congress calls upon the working class, the people, to organise themselves and incorporate themselves in the construction of the front,” in which, Figuera assured “there is also space for the ruling PSUV and the government”.

This front is to replace the defunct Great Patriotic Pole which Figuera said “isn’t working.” The congress decided to maintain the alliance with “anti-imperialist positions” of the ruling PSUV but as Figuera explained congress made it very clear that the PCV must “deepen our work in the heart of the workers’ organisations, consolidate our own mass front and build up the PCV and Communist Youth. “We exhort the national leadership of the PSUV to join us in building an anti-imperialist and anti-fascist alliance,” stated Figuera.

Faced with the upcoming election of the constituent assembly, on July 30, the PCV’s congress decided to “give an impulse to the PCV to present our policies and construct unity by building alliances. If fascism can sabotage this election process we will be facing an extremely complicated national position,” asserted Figuera. Congress defined the increasing violence in the country as a “deepening of the class struggle and the confrontation of the Venezuelan nation with imperialism” with fascist cells acting to “protect the threatened financial capital.

“We insist that fascism can only be defeated by deepening the revolutionary changes in our country … by crushing the fascist beast to guarantee peace for our people … we insist that the national government must understand the urgency and need for a practical plan which involves the state security forces but also the popular movements … they cannot allow the fascist right to act with impunity โ€” they needed to neutralise them politically and legally.”

Congress elected an expanded central committee of 45 primary and 20 alternative members among them a number of younger comrades from the “newer generations.” Minor modifications to party statutes were also adopted. The international delegates participated in numerous acts and seminars including a international ideological seminar held before congress by the Bolivar-Marx Institute for Advances Studies with contributions from communist and workers parties from Cyprus, Greece, Portugal, Paraguay, Brazil, Colombia, Palestine, Turkey and elsewhere.

Among them were also delegates from the Communist Party of Britain and Communist Party of Ireland, who signed a joint declaration of solidarity with the PCV and the Venezuelan people. Following the Congress, Figuera said: “Our message is one of hope. We are not an easy party … we are a Marxist-Leninist party … and the common enemy continues to be imperialism and we are clear that when confronted with capitalism, there is no other option than socialism.”