On 29th September in Toronto, Hands Off Venezuela and the Bolivarian Circle “Louis Riel” organized a film screening of the recent documentary produced by Vive TV about FRETECO. This latest documentary explores the revolutionary movement of occupied factories and workers’ control in Venezuela. At the core of the film, workers young and old, male and female, explain how they came to the realization that demanding nationalization under workers’ control is the only way forward for the Bolivarian Revolution. The film highlighted how the workers’ councils function, the role of communal councils, and the movement for trade unions of a new type. In particular, workers explain the fundamental differences between workplaces organized into co-operatives, and workplaces that have been nationalized under democratic workers’ control. Workers explained how co-operatives were still based on the capitalist profit motive, which means that their ultimate goal is to produce more profit for the workers/owners rather than focusing production, based on a centralized plan, to best meet the needs of their community. The workers in the film concluded that workers’ control of nationalized factories was the best option for Venezuelans to take back their power and produce goods for the well-being of all people. The members of FRETECO focused on their common goal — eradicating capitalist production in order to transform the workplace. Democratic control by the workers will serve the community and advance the Bolivarian revolution.

After the screening, the audience participated in a lively conversation and debate regarding the sustainability of democratic worker-controlled factories and the communal councils. In particular, some people shared their concerns about the global economic crisis and the impact on Venezuela’s oil wealth. HOV/Bolivarian Circle members Camilo Cahis and Maria Paez Victor explained that the development of multiple industries under workers’ control, and the partnerships with other Latin American countries such as Cuba, have been crucial to the development of many social programs such as health care and literacy programs. In addition, the revolutionary movements in neighbouring Latin American countries are critical for the development of more partnerships and trade with Venezuela. The revolutionary gains across Latin America will help secure and deepen the movements within Venezuela. Lastly, the Venezuelan Consul of Toronto, Mirna Quero de Peña, expressed her gratitude for the event to showcase to Canadians the many gains and victories of the Bolivarian Revolution. This film inspires Canadians to reflect on their own labour and social movements and take lessons from the victories of the Bolivarian Revolution.

Hugo Chávez profoundly states that the best way for people to show solidarity with the Venezuelan revolution is to bring it to their own country. Hands Off Venezuela encourages activists from across the world to watch this movie to deepen our understanding of how ordinary people and workers can take control of their destiny to create a better life for the generations of today and tomorrow.

Fightback has copies of the film available for purchase.  If you are interested in a DVD, please contact us at fightback@marxist.ca.