Jorge Arreaza
Original publication:
Translation: Nia Frome, Roderic Day

Being Chavista (2022)

11 minutes | English Español | Latin America

1. Being Chavista means valorizing and being guided by LOVE: love for one’s neighbor, for one’s country, for those who suffer, for the People. It means knowing how to listen to those who most need to be heard and learning, together, how to handle problems — with common sense and a sense of the commons. Being Chavista means pursuing justice in every action and in every decision.

2. For Chavismo, every circumstance and situation is always determined and riven by Class Struggle. Understanding the relations of inequality that are inherent to the capitalist system and the interests of the contending actors is the only way to act consistently and ethically in favor of the people, with the goal of creating new conditions that put an end to exploitation and build a harmonious and solidary society.

3. Being Chavista means adhering to the strictest standards of ethics and honesty. Corruption and illicit self-enrichment are alien to the essence of Chavismo. The ends do NOT justify the means. The opposite is the case: the means construe and determine the nature and the consequences of the end that is achieved, in society and in nature.

4. Being Chavista means defending and prioritizing the Social Rights of every single person — the right to life, peace, development, education, culture, health, food, and housing. Every right that leads to social happiness.

5. Being Chavista means embracing, recognizing, and honoring the strength of women as protagonists of life in all of its dimensions. It means admiring their creative force, a veritable volcano that has been and continues to be the origin of all that is sublime and just.

6. Being Chavista demands a critical and integral analysis of each challenge humanity faces in all its dimensions: social, political, economic, territorial, as well as the potential impacts of any proposed solution on the most vulnerable populations.

7. Being Chavista means making humility and honesty the highest and most essential revolutionary virtues. The accumulation and flaunting of wealth are anti-values. For Chavistas, the only values and privileges come from love, consciousness, the recognition of labor, and the smiles of the people. As Ezequiel Zamora said: “Property that is not the product of work is theft.” [1]

8. Being Chavista means always being subversive, revolutionizing processes and spaces to imbue them with dignity, to make them more efficient and perceptive. A Chavista does not merely observe reality. They embark on it, they live it, they suffer it, they cry it, they relish it, they learn from it, and they transform it, all in order to bring the greatest possible enjoyment to those who live it daily.

9. The Chavista assumes institutional roles with the mission of transferring all power to the people, transforming it into Popular Power. As it is of the people, Chavismo must open every channel so that every voice is uplifted and finds expression. Listening to the people, engaging in dialogue with them, and collaborating in decision-making is the essential practice of Chavismo.

10. For Chavismo, real power is Popular Power; that is, the power of the people organized. Only the People will save the People! Every source of institutional, economic, and political power must contribute to organization, with consciousness and knowledge of Popular Power. People who organize can create and control the means of labor, production, and distribution, as well as educational and creative processes, and so constitute a powerful social body that safeguards both national sovereignty and general happiness.

11. Planning is essential to Chavismo. Targets and goals must always be well-defined; strategies and tactics must be analyzed to determine — with efficiency, economy, and social sensibility as criteria — the time and resources required to achieve them. No invisible hands or magic formulas can replace scientific and social planning.

12. Being Chavista means being republican. It means defending the public trust from the claws of profit, ambition, corruption, and privatization. It means believeing in the strategic potential of the collective and in the tactical potential of the individual, both strengthening the commons. It means trusting what is human, what is simple, what is original.

13. Solidarity is an essential value and immanent practice to Chavismo. A true Chavista develops the most profound empathy towards others’ problems and needs, and tries to resolve and satisfy them as if they were their own. That is the solidarity of Chávez.

14. Because of its constitutive diversity, tolerance is both a premise and a practice of Chavismo. There is no use to a dogma that stresses and fractures the social body, distancing it from its general and strategic objectives. Difference is always welcome and necessary. However, zero tolerance for unjustified violence, corruption, exploitation, inequality, betrayal of one’s country, racism, and hatred.

15. Only through love can one think and act in a consistently revolutionary way. But this love cannot be decreed — it must be the love that arises from the purest essence of humanity and Pacha Mama [2], the force that moves us to struggle, to help each other, to transform, to build, to comprehend. We love, therefore we exist, thereby loving more and existing more forever.

16. “With the TRUTH, I neither offend nor fear.” Although Comandante Maduro attributed this quote to José Gervasio Artigas, this specific paraphrase belonged to another: the great leader of the Global South, Hugo Chávez. It is truth that guides and consolidates any project, idea, or action. Lies and falsehoods turn the foundations of any social construction into quicksand. Truth sometimes hurts, but it is necessary if we’re to stay on the right path.

17. The raising of Chavista and revolutionary consciousness is at the same time a duty, a means, and an end. Consciousness is the permanent expression that synthesizes the values and principles of revolutionaries. [3] Consciousness enables us to understand the past and the present, and to build the future with the right tools and practices. It’s the powerful light that illuminates every road and every step, which allows us to grasp the circumstances, and maintain the ideological clarity and the unwavering ethic that our struggles demand.

18. For Chavismo, Simón Bolívar is origin, heading, and destination. Simón Rodríguez is creative original inclusion; Zamora is the rebellion that is indispensable to revolutionize everything; Hugo Chávez is the synthesis of every struggle and every subversive soul that contributes to justice and equality.

19. Chavistas understand the market’s many faces, the interaction of the actors who comprise it to produce, distribute, and commercialize goods and services that satisfy general needs. However, we caution that a market without orientation and without social government tends inevitably to devour, concentrate, and accumulate all wealth in a few hands, generating the most atrocious conditions of inequality. The economy must serve society and not the other way around.

20. Popular Power must generate a social and communal economy, with its own circuits of social production, fair distribution, and popular commercialization. The organized People must manage the means of production at different scales and generate a new economy that is productive, domestic, ecological, and solidary, one that displaces the hegemony of the capitalist market.

21. The established and practiced equality that Bolívar demanded is our course and our safe harbor. We cannot limit ourselves to establishing just and egalitarian laws. We must guarantee in practice equality of conditions for each sector of society. There is no equality of opportunity without a preceding equality of conditions. We are unequal by nature and equal before the letter of the law, but, above all, we must be equal in concrete reality, in the collective construction of the new.

22. Work is the essence that determines socialism. Creative work that allows one to labor to satisfy the most urgently felt social needs must be the principal motor of the new society. Capitalism is based on the accumulation of wealth in few hands from the exploitation of the labor power of the poorest and the destruction of Mother Earth. Bolivarian and Chavista socialism is founded on education and organization for productive work with the goal of accumulating instead the satisfaction of needs and social happiness.

23. The domain of knowledge, its generation and study, is a fundamental strategic process. Integral and definitive independence will be achieved exclusively by dominating the various branches of science and other sources of wisdom. Science is not neutral, nor is it useful in itself. Socialism’s governing norm is to put knowledge to work ethically, for society. The democratization of knowledge is an inescapable social duty. As José Martí put it, we must “be learned to be free.”

24. For Chavismo, reflective introspection and permanent criticism are indispensable to revise and correct whatever course we undertake. The avenues for debate, discussion and constructive criticism must be guaranteed, and every instance of popular organization, party, and state must be beholden to them.

25. Anti-imperialism is inherent to Chavismo. Our struggles begin with the resistance of our indigenous peoples and the expulsion of the Spanish Empire from Our America at the hand and swords of Simón Bolívar and his generation. Chavismo respects the self-determination of peoples and is opposed to all forms of domination, especially that exercised (or intended) by dominant elites holding sway in countries with corporate governments over sovereign people. Chavismo promotes a universe in equilibrium, a multipolar-pluricentric world, without impositions or subordination.

26. For a Chavista, the will and determination that arise from consciousness are the fundamental motors that advance the construction of the just, egalitarian, and solidary world that peoples all across the globe demand from their struggles, catacombs, and labyrinths.

27. Every just struggle for liberation is valid for Chavismo. Each sector of society must struggle ceaselessly for its dreams and rights. However, we must never forget the totality of class consciousness. Sectoral struggles must not divide us, but must, on the contrary, feed and strengthen our class unity and ratify our common strategic objectives.

[1] Ezequiel Zamora (b. 1817-60) struggled and is remembered in Venezuela for his efforts towards more equitable distribution of land. — R. D. 

[2] This is the Quechua equivalent of Mother Earth. — R. D. 

[3] Non-Spanish readers might be interested to know that Arreaza takes care to use both feminine and masculine pronouns throughout. — R. D.