Bolivarian Circles

From Academic Kids

The Bolivarian Circles are a 2.3 million member, loosely-knit political and social organization of workers' councils in Venezuela originally begun by President Hugo Chávez. They are named after Simón Bolívar, the revolutionary leader who transformed most of South America from Spanish colonial outposts to the independent states now in place.

The circles are neighbourhood groups charged with the reorganizing of Venezuelan society from the grassroots, and pushing forward the Venezuelan revolution. These workers' councils began as very dependant on the Chavez government and its bureaucracy, who originally selected candidates for the circles to choose from. Spontaneous acts of defiance, such as walking out and electing their own candidates, have gained them an independence that has made them into a powerful social force on par with the soviet workers' councils in pre-revolutionary russia. They are generally seen as a the most revolutionary wing of Venezuelan society, carrying out factory occupations and taking large estates, and fighting against bureaucrats who are on the more reformist wing of society. As a signal of that role perhaps, one of the slogans that have come out of these councils has been "the revolution, with or without Chavez". Indicating that their aspirations for socialism, and in some cases even communism, are not something to be sacrificed for charismatic politicians.

Increasingly however, it seems Chavez is not challenging these positions that were further to the left than his, but in fact adopting some of the ideas of these councils himself, such as his announcement that socialism is the only way forward, or his nationalization of Venepal.

See also: Revolución Bolivariana

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