Interview on Viva Venezuela!

This is our inter­view on the doc­u­ment­ary Viva Venezuela with Eth­e­sham who is part of RCG/FRFI.

Q. How was the exper­i­ence of film­ing Viva Venezuela?

It was an hon­our, it was beau­ti­ful, empower­ing, hum­bling, inspir­ing, invig­or­at­ing, fas­cin­at­ing and more. We went to Venezuela in order to bet­ter under­stand the revolu­tion­ary pro­cess and to make con­nec­tions with revolu­tion­ary people… and that is what we did. So we’re happy and proud.

Q. From what you’ve observed, how are the people find­ing the new gov­ern­ment?

I can­’t speak for every­one but I would say that the elec­tion of Maduro [Venezuelan Pres­id­ent] does­n’t make it a new gov­ern­ment. So as far as the pro­cess is con­cerned — the struggle con­tin­ues!

Last years elec­tion was a choice between the leg­acy of cap­it­al­ism and the path of social­ism. A choice between no health­care and free health­care. A choice between the past and the future.

For example, Venezuela now has the highest stu­dent pop­u­la­tion in the con­tin­ent. This com­pares starkly to a pain­ful past of bru­tal­ity towards pro­gress­ive stu­dents and young lead­ers.

This viol­ence was per­pet­rated by the US backed, neo lib­er­al olig­archy. The rich.

So, to a cer­tain degree, you can ima­gine how the his­tor­ic­ally mar­gin­al­ized people might feel about the gov­ern­ment of today. And  you can ima­gine how the his­tor­ic­ally priv­ileged might feel too.

But as you will see in the doc­u­ment­ary — the Venezuelan gov­ern­ment is now one part of the wider struggle against cap­it­al­ism, imper­i­al­ism and racism. A struggle which has­n’t ceased since Colum­bus first set foot on the con­tin­ent.

So in short, rather than just feel­ing the effects of gov­ern­ment, Venezuelans are closer to con­trolling the state than they have ever been. And cer­tainly closer than any­one in Bri­tain is.

There are still many con­tra­dic­tions though and the task ahead is hard, not least because they are pick­ing up the pieces left by imper­i­al­ism. And being shot at by imper­i­al­ism. And being lied about by imper­i­al­ism.

Many Venezuelan indus­tries are still dom­in­ated by private, cap­it­al­ist interests — who are unwill­ing to let go of the obscene priv­ilege they once enjoyed. So how does Venezuela move for­ward? How would WE move for­ward? How would WE dis­mantle cap­it­al­ism?

Q. What are your views about bring­ing cre­at­ive out­lets such as rap into protests and demon­stra­tions?

Cre­at­ive out­lets are essen­tial for human beings. There is a need for cre­ativ­ity in most cir­cum­stances, espe­cially protest and demon­stra­tion.

So it might be worth going fur­ther with the ques­tion.

We have an abund­ance of cre­ativ­ity around us and with­in us — so we need res­ist­ance and struggle to be reflec­ted by that cre­ativ­ity.
Artists: res­ist! Revolt!
Regard­ing rap, well, as people know, the his­tory of hip hop is black struggle, res­ist­ance, love, empower­ment and expres­sion… against racism and against injustice.
Is racism and injustice fin­ished? No! The con­di­tions which res­ul­ted in an out­burst of express­ive res­ist­ance have not changed much, even if a hand­ful of indi­vidu­als have enriched them­selves to obscene amounts through rap­ping, pro­du­cing, dan­cing and graff­ing — it does not neg­ate to the ‘suc­cess’ of hip hop — or an elev­a­tion away from racism.

Racism and imper­i­al­ism is des­troy­ing our plan­et as much as ever. The need for us to res­ist, struggle, love and empower each oth­er to ORGAN­ISE against injustice is as present as it has ever been.

Q. Can you tell us a bit about RCG please?

The Revolu­tion­ary Com­mun­ist Group has exis­ted for about 30 years. It pro­duces a paper called Fight Racism! Fight Imper­i­al­ism!
At the moment we are focus­ing our energy on fight­ing the cuts, fight­ing Brit­ish imper­i­al­ism and fight­ing racism! What does that mean con­cretely? It means ana­lys­is, dis­cus­sion and action.

it means sup­port­ing the Focus15 Cam­paign, Couni­han-Sanc­hez Fam­ily Hous­ing Cam­paign and Hands off Somalia. It has meant stand­ing on the streets for hours enga­ging with people about the bed­room tax and the bene­fits cap — which is threat­en­ing the lives of thou­sands of people.

All this on top of pro­du­cing lit­er­at­ure, organ­iz­ing events, meet­ings and dis­cus­sions to devel­op and get our point across and to draw people towards the need to organ­ize.

The cap­it­al­ists are more organ­ised than the people. This is a prob­lem. The only solu­tion is to be more organ­ised than them. And Venezuela and Cuba are show­ing how com­mun­ists and social­ists organ­ize to under­mine cap­it­al­ism. Lets take the chal­lenge!

Q. What are you doing at the moment with Viva Venezuela and any oth­er pro­jects?

Regard­ing the doc­u­ment­ary, we’re now try­ing to push it out as much as pos­sible. We’ve done a few screen­ings already, and we packed out Bolivar Hall at our premi­er.
We  screened it at a volun­teer run soup kit­chen in Brix­ton.

We made this doc­u­mantary to engage with people. To use the Venezuelan revolu­tion to inspire people here in Bri­tain, to com­mit to chan­ging the imper­i­al­ist, racist char­ac­ter of Bri­tain and to put the interests of the major­ity above the interests of the few. So this means — whenev­er we present the film, we do so against a back­drop of Brit­ish cap­it­al in crisis, aus­ter­ity, attacks on human rights and exploit­a­tion. And we always end by express­ing the needs to get act­ive and involved — and to fight, wherever you are.

Lana Bell

Inter­view by Lana Bell 

Watch the doc­u­ment­ary:



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Lana Bell

Lana Bell

Author / Poetry Edit­or at I Am Hip-Hop
Lana Bell, is an eight­een year old Lon­don­er who is based in Bris­tol. She is an emer­ging Spoken Word Artist, and the Poetry Edit­or for I Am Hip-Hop Magazine. She has been writ­ing for a dec­ade; though she has only been per­form­ing on from the age of fif­teen. She got into Hip-Hop music at four­teen, and she found a massive interest in Old Skl Sounds and the out­let that Hip-Hop music offered her.

About Lana Bell

Lana Bell
Lana Bell, is an eighteen year old Londoner who is based in Bristol. She is an emerging Spoken Word Artist, and the Poetry Editor for I Am Hip-Hop Magazine. She has been writing for a decade; though she has only been performing on from the age of fifteen. She got into Hip-Hop music at fourteen, and she found a massive interest in Old Skl Sounds and the outlet that Hip-Hop music offered her.

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