During a meeting with delegates attending an 'International Meeting of Parties of the Left' in Caracas, President Chavez took a bold but measured step in convoking The Fifth International on grounds that it is not enough to mouth the current left-wing dominant slogan: a "better world is possible ... it is possible and necessary."
The convocation has been in the offing for some time and the President decided that the meeting in Caracas of around 50 left-wing parties provided the background to set the ball rolling.
The proposition will put before delegates meeting this weekend for an extraordinary meeting of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).
The organizing of the International could kick off with a steering committee, Chavez suggested, and a School of the 5th International for cadres and study of theory and ideology. Chavez made it clear that the International must be new and not an instance of resurrecting old structures that have become useless ... such as real Socialism, third ways and social democracy that have failed.
The key word is transforming.
Two of the key ideological figures in the proposed 5th International will be Che Guevara and Fidel Castro. Another key element in the new organization will be the presence of the grassroots, workers and peasants. Chavez insisted that the International must also present a Socialist and diversified alternative, create concrete and multiple spaces of coordination, such as economic agreements, between Socialist mayoralties throughout the world.
Although delegates at the meeting applauded the proposition standing, it was clear that some were not too happy.
Chavez said he had no problem with parties which did not agree with a 5th International but those in favor could adhere at once. The gathering in Caracas as such was a mixture of traditional Latin American and international left-wing parties, such as communist parties and newer groups but they were not entirely representative. For the United Kingdom the Labour Party Friends of Venezuela delegates attended ... they were not there on behalf of the ruling Labour Party.
Earlier on, Chavez had declared full support for Illich Ramirez Sanchez, currently serving life sentence in France for terrorism. Carlos ;The Jackal,; Chavez told delegates, is a revolutionary leader who played an important role in the Palestine struggle and he Chavez does not care what Europeans think about his remarks.
Ramirez Sanchez, he claimed, was unjustly condemned and illegally kidnapped in Sudan by French security agents. Chavez' support for Robert Mugabe will raise eyebrows the UK and Europe and as will what he had to say about Idi Amin.
In 2008, Chavez had dropped a hint that it was time to think about calling a Fifth International after founding of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) in 2007. He chose Friday night to launch the initiative, urging that no more time should be lost in calling for a Fifth International that would learn from past mistakes and set the agenda for 21st Century Socialism.
Patrick J. O'Donoghue