Four hundred people met in the Caracas Venezuela on 9 July to found a new socialist party by January 2006, when the World Social Forum will meet in the city.
The name currently proposed for the party is the PTRS, the Workers Party for the Socialist Revolution.
The 9 July conference was called by a coalition of six organisations, among them the Opción de Izquierda Revolucionaria (OIR, Revolutionary Left Option) which includes some Trotskyists and Orlando Chirino, national coordinator of the trade union confederation, the UNT). Also present were the Opción Clasista de Trabajadores (which groups together workers from the oil industry) and the Student Collective ACTIVATE (from the Central University of Venezuela).
The meeting was addressed by former guerrilla leader Carlos Lanz, appointed by Chávez as director of the aluminum processing plant ALCASA, one of the most successful examples of co-management (cogestión) project sponsored by the government. Lanz said co-management “prefigure[s] the socialism of the 21st century”. But he also said some in the government were deliberately trying to derail these plans.
A leader of the electricity workers, Joaquin Osorio, described how supposedly pro- Chávez managers in the state electricity company were persecuting the trade unionists struggling to introduce co-management there.
It is not clear how the party will relate to the Chávez government or to his party, the Movement for a Fifth Republic. However the party is likely to be the site of many important debates over the coming period in Venezuela.