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Chavez, Venezuela, oil and workers control

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 Nationalize Big Oil, Trade with Venezuela!

Even before Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf coast of the US the oil companies had put their prices up. Oil rose to over US$70 a barrel. It is a finite, non-renewable source of energy. Intense competition for oil is behind the invasion of Iraq and the instability in central Asia. It underlies the tension between Venezuela and the US. So the crisis over peak oil is symptomatic of capitalism in deep shits. Capitalism cannot solve this crisis without massive destruction. It is necessary to work out a strategy for the socialization of oil and other privately owned resources so that a global socialist planned economy can arise to rescue humanity and the planet from total destruction.

The Oil Crisis is Capitalism’s Crisis

Oil is a key input into industry and necessary for the survival of capitalism. No substitute is capable of stepping into the role oil plays without a huge jump in the cost of production. Therefore the imperialist countries driven by Big Oil will pursue increasingly aggressive policies to get control of this diminishing supply. We face a future of rapid decent into wars and destruction of whole populations such as Iraq (and on a smaller scale working class New Orleans) unless we challenge the ownership and control of capitalism.

The future alternative to capitalism is socialism. But it is unlikely to come in one sudden rush. We need to look for ways to make the transition to socialism by first regulating and controlling the market, and then moving progressively toward the nationalization and socialization of the major resources, industries and banks under the ownership and control of workers’ governments.

In Latin America we can see a level of resistance to capitalist globalization and its destruction that points the way towards this alternative socialist future. In Argentina in 2001 the population rebelled against neo-liberal austerity and threw out the government forcing a default on the national debt. In Bolivia the masses are in a state of almost permanent revolt against oil companies exploiting the gas resources. In Brazil the government of Lula is in crisis because it has not met its promises to its worker supporters. In Chile there has been mass resistance to the FTA with the US.

Venezuela creates an opportunity

Most significant, in Venezuela there is a left populist government able to use its oil wealth to force through some changes to the global oil market. Chavez has introduced cheap oil for the Caribbean and other Latin American countries, and done a bilateral deal with China. He has also made some of the oil companies change their contracts and enter joint ventures on terms more favorable to Venezuela.

While these are important steps in the attempt to find alternatives to the dominance of the oil majors, they are as yet small steps. The states concerned are not directly challenging the fundamental interests of the oil companies –their ability to set the prices and profits of the oil industry even though they may not technically own the oil fields. That is, Venezuela’s oil may be nationalized but it is not yet socialized in the hands of the masses of workers and peasants of that country.

Nationalization is not Socialization

Nationalized property remains the property of the capitalist state and the capitalist class as a whole. That’s why nationalization often acts to subsidize private profits against workers interests. This can be seen from the fact that Chavez continues to supply oil to the US which can use it for its military machine in Iraq. Chavez has also recently offered oil to make up the loss of production resulting from a strike by Ecuadorian state oil workers, drawing a rebuke from Venezuelan state oil workers. And in order to guarantee production Chavez backs no-strike legislation against state workers in Argentina and at home. Similarly, Iraq’s oil remains nationalized, but that does not stop the oil majors from raking off massive profits through controlling the production and marketing of Iraqi oil, and of running the oil fields under military occupation.

The goal in Venezuela (and Bolivia, Brazil, Iraq etc) must be to support the nationalization of oil and an increase in the share of oil wealth being retained for distribution to meet the peoples’ needs, as a platform for the fight for the socialization of oil under the control of the workers and peasants’ organisations and revolutionary governments. This cannot happen in one country alone. An alternative common market made up of all countries exploited and oppressed by imperialism has to be built so that there is an economic base for the construction of a world socialist movement to carry the struggle to its completion. This means in each country we need to work out a series of steps to further this international strategy.

Solving New Zealand’s oil crisis

New Zealand’s oil crisis results from a lack of its own oil and dependence on Big Oil. We need to start first by removing petrol taxes and shifting the tax burden onto business which gains most from subsidized roading. Then we need to nationalize the oil industry under workers’ control and import oil from Venezuela in exchange for agricultural commodities and technology. We can repeat this with other countries breaking free from the dictates of the global market. For example, gas under the control of Bolivian workers and peasants could be shipped to NZ in exchange for agricultural expertise to convert coca to some other economic crop. To do this we (and of course our trading partners) would have to repudiate all Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and WTO agreements that limit the actions of the sovereign national state to ‘expropriate’ foreign investments, as well as the punitive financial regimes of the IMF and World Bank.

Instead of signing an FTA with the ‘Blairite’ Lagos government in Chile which gives multinational capital freedom to trade and invest with few national constraints, NZ could target its expertise to develop agriculture in exchange for industrial goods like copper. Or in Brazil provide technical advice to develop agriculture resulting from land reform. To make this possible aggressive multinationals such as Fonterra which (with its partner Nestle) plans to dominate the Latin American dairy industry, would become a joint venture between its farmer owners and the NZ state to cooperate in the development of this industry in partnership with the peasant owners in similar cooperative/state ventures.

No capitalist party in NZ would be willing to take these steps so it is necessary to build a socialist movement in NZ that can join in the international struggle to make sure that expropriations are put under workers control and socialized as the basis of a planned global socialist economy and society. But as a first step along this road we must raise the demand now for the nationalization of the oil industry and for barter trade with Venezuela!

NATIONALISE THE OIL INDUSTRY!

TRADE OIL FOR FOOD WITH VENEZUELA!

SMASH THE FTAs, WTO, IMF AND WORLD BANK!

FOR A UNITED SOCIALIST STATES OF THE PACIFIC!

 
 

15th World Youth and Student Festival August 2005
Chavez on the ‘peaceful road to socialism’?

The mounting US attack on Venezuela by Condoleezza Rice, Rums field etc and Pat Robertson’s death threat against Chavez etc – raises the red bogey of Chavez conspiring with Castro to make a socialist revolution in Bolivia that can spread to the rest of Latin America. Many of the 15,000 who attended the recent World Youth and Student Festival in Caracas think it is true.

While Chávez was in Argentina, [see article below] the “16th World Festival of Youth and Students” was opened in Venezuela. It was organized by the World Social Forum. One of the guest ‘stars’ was Evo Morales of Bolivia. This was no coincidence. In this festival Evo Morales was held up as the next president of Bolivia. At the same time the ‘power ring’ [i.e. the economic, political and military containment of the Bolivian revolution] was strengthened.

Thus the WSF used its Youth and Student Festival to organize its continental politics of strangling the Bolivian revolution. At the same time, it instructed its ‘left wing’ –the liquidators of Trotskyism – to hold another ‘encounter’ in La Paz on 12-14 August, so that it could collaborate with the Lula labor bureaucracy of the CUT of Brazil, and Solares (Castroite leader of the COB –union central – in Bolivia) etc, to add its weight to the containment of the Bolivian revolution.

In the La Paz meeting, held in secret and behind the backs of the masses of the revolutionary workers vanguard of El Alto, (working class city adjoining La Paz) this collection of treacherous fake Trotskyists and bureaucrats resolved to put up a reformist workers party under the name of the “political Instrument of the Workers” to participate in the elections of December.

They buried the resolutions of the 8 June of the COR (regional COB) El Alto; aborted the reconvening of the national congress of delegates of the Originary Popular Assembly (Indigenous and Popular Assembly) and tried to isolate and confuse the vanguard that fights for workers and peasants soviets and centralised militias. In effect, this ‘encounter’ backed Morales’ truce with President Rodriguez and the bourgeois regime.

While some of their delegates went to the encounter in Bolivia, at the Festival in Venezuela were the currents of Alan Woods, the MST of Argentina and other groups of the UIT-CI, among others. There, not surprisingly, they put themselves under the authority of Chávez and Fidel Castro, the Castroite bureaucracy, and the imposter Celia Hart Santamaria of the supposed ‘Trotskyist wing’ of the Cuban Communist Party. Just as Stalinism in the ‘80s organized the ‘Coffee Brigades’ to support the policy of the Castroism and the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, today the renegades of Trotskyism take the lead in organizing support for Chávez.

Celia Hart, on May 1st 2005, in its article called ‘A ghost crosses America’, called for the “unity of revolutionaries”, to found a “continental communist organization” combining “sectarian” groups and “socialist or ant capitalist organizations” into an “organization of organizations”. In other words, she called on the left including the liquidators of Trotskyism, to unite under the control of the Cuban Communist Party, as the “left wing” of the World Social Forum.

The WSF needs a class collaborationist ‘left wing’ to play the leading role in containing the masses because the original promoters of the WSF are today increasingly discredited. They are implicated directly in pro-imperialist governments and bourgeois regimes attacking the masses, like Lula in Brazil, Tabaré Vázquez in Uruguay, Lagos in Chile; or open supporters of these regimes like the CTA (state workers union) and Castroism which backs Kirchner in Argentina; or getting ready to play this role in government, like Evo Morales in Bolivia. Moreover, the WSF has already lost its “poster boy”, Colonel Gutiérrez, at hands of the masses in Ecuador. [see article on Ecuador]

In the case of Chávez, they need him so they can maintain the bourgeois state behind the painting of the ‘Bolivarian revolution’. And in the case of the Castroite bureaucracy, they need the ‘left wing’ to hide their betrayals of the Latin American revolution and its policy of capitalist restoration in Cuba.

So today, in the Festival of Youth in Venezuela, the task of coordinating and centralising the ‘left’ road block stopping the revolution is being carried out by the traitors to Trotskyism. Celia Hart Santamaría could not come to the Festival, so her role was filled by her lieutenant and official guest, Alan Woods of the ‘Trotskyist’ International Marxist Tendency. Next to him appeared Ricardo Alarcón, president of the National Assembly of Cuba; Shafik Handal of the FMLN of El Salvador and Daniel Ortega of the FSLN of Nicaragua – the main leaders, after Fidel Castro, of the Central American revolution in the ‘ 80s -, as well as Evo Morales, Felipe Quispe and other ‘personalities’ of the Bolivian ‘left wing’.

The Argentinean MST-UIT newspaper Socialist Alternative N° 409, in an article signed by its Youth, recognises cynically that the Festival “does not take in any sense a class perspective”, and yet endorses its purpose. It then states that “the most important aspect of the festival is the political space that is going to unfold. With the arrival of Lula’s government [for which their current in Brazil called for a vote while in a popular front with bourgeois parties! Editor] and the acceleration of the experience of the Latin American masses with the centre-left governments, has created the most important reformist space in recent last years: the Forum of Porto Alegre. In this way it opens a space so that the revolutionary organizations can engage in a dialogue with sections of the masses no longer bound to the centre-left parties, and allows us to influence and advance their politics.”

On this basis, they support, under the suggestive subtitle “To advance without sectarianism”, participation in the Festival for “achieving much more unity among all those that fight against imperialism and who think that the capitalist model is exhausted completely. Knowing that the task of confronting this system will not happen unless led by Trotskyists, it is more important that ever to arrive at clear agreements on as many points as possible, among organizations, groups and personalities on various aspects of world politics.”

They finish by saying that they will take this proposal from the Festival in Venezuela to the international level: “to create an anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist international coordination, that can arrive at points of agreement and to make united political campaigns in support of the workers and popular sectors in struggle”. Likewise, Alan Woods dedicated himself to the concrete task of creating that “continental organization” with Celia Hart.

Thus, the delegations, the Venezuelan CMR, the Communist Party of Venezuela, Felipe Quispe of Bolivia, the M-28 and Fogata of Venezuela, the Front of University Students and the front of Colombian Secondary Students, the MRTA of Peru, the “Continental Current Bolivariana” CCB) etc., all agree with the politics of Celia Hart Santamaría. And not by chance: as Allan Woods of the IMT, the UIT-CI and its section MST of Argentina are all part of this third batch of Menshevism and as the betrayers of Trotskyism form the ‘left wing’ of the World Social Forum, a true counter-revolutionary international. 

 
Abridged from Workers Democracy 19 August 2005


Chavez visited Argentina to sign off on a deal to build two new oil tankers. Here’s a commentary on Chavez attitude towards the Santiago River shipbuilders.
CHÁVEZ VISITS THE SANTIAGO RIVER SHIPYARDS (ARS)

On 11 of August, the president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, visited Argentina to sign the agreement for the construction of two oil tankers at the River Santiago Shipyard (ARS), giving a boost to the government campaign of Kirchner and Solá (State Governor) for the creation of a thousand new jobs. In a speech to the workers Chávez called on them to support the government of Kirchner which he praised saying “They have changed things in this country since this man arrived at the Pink House (Presidential Palace)”.

Like a demagogue he also praised the ARS as a “shipyard with dignity” because “imperialism did not own it” because the workers had “resisted the neo-liberal aggression”. But that sweet talk did not last long, because immediately afterwards he told the workers that they must “finish the ships quickly” so they could get more work.

It seems that Chávez did not come to the ARS because he is a good employer sharing the interests of the Argentine workers. He came because he could get cheap manual labor where the wages are constantly reduced by inflation. For Chávez it is excellent business building the ships in the ARS because the wages are on average $1100 (US$380) instead of $2000 to $3000 dollars a month in Spanish shipyards.

And like all bosses, Chavez wants to shorten the time of production to the maximum, because he knows that the faster the ships are built, the faster he will be able to export Venezuela’s oil. The chavista bourgeoisie wants sell more oil to Bush and US imperialism at $70 dollars a barrel, even though this allows the US to keep its military machine operating in Iraq and the Middle East.

And to guarantee that the workers will work harder and not go on strike, the Provincial governor Sola has passed a law to limit the right of strike. This is nothing new. It copies the law proposed by Chavez that workers in state companies, such as the PdVSA, [state oil] who go on strike can be sent to jail for years.

No strike laws are to prevent any problem or delay in the expansion of the oil industry. For those workers who protest: jail! Chávez wants to enslave manual labor in the ARS, and he imposes tough conditions of work so that workers do not have the right to complain, let alone ask for better conditions!

Chávez and Solá get their way in the ARS through the efforts of the collaboration of the union bureaucracy of Ate-cta. The same bureaucrats who have isolated the striking health workers at Garrahan [see article below] organised the meeting with Chavez at ARS so that nobody dared to ‘boo’ Chavez during his speech.

In order to police the meeting the bureaucrats brought some “pro-government piqueteros” of the FTV-CTA and Barrios de Pie who threatened physical violence against ARS workers. They make sure that the workers accept the bosses’ terms so they can be better exploited.

Shamefully, the internal commission of the ARS (combined unions) to which the PTS, PCR and the MST [centrist Trotskyist groups) belong, kept quite during the visit of Chavez and Sola, and the actions of the ATE-CTA bureaucracy. Although it is not a member of the internal commission of the ARS, the PO limited its criticisms to demanding that the 1000 jobs to be created be under the control of the organizations of unemployed people.

None of these currents, who call themselves revolutionaries called on the ARS workers to challenge Chávez’ deception, or alerted them to the plans of Sola and Kirchner to make them work like Chinese laborers. Or point out that if they strike for better wages they will be jailed or beaten up by the thugs of the FTV and Barrios de Pie – as they have done in Tucumán and Rosario – with the excuse that the ships being built for Chavez and his “Bolivarian revolution” cannot be delayed.

We know that the workers of the ARS want to work. We understand their joy and enthusiasm to know that the construction of the Venezuelan ships will guarantee work for them for some years. But we warn them that Chavez is a bourgeois employer who with Solá prepares the workers for super exploitation. In order to oppose this it is necessary to unite with the thousands of unemployed workers of the Berisso and Cove region (30% unemployed) and tell the employer’s association of Chávez, Kirchner and Sola:

“If you want these ships faster, there is no problem. It is necessary to employ more workers to produce, to distribute the working hours between all the workers available, reducing the working day and with a basic wage of $1,800 a month!”

The solution is to unite with the workers of the Garrahan (Hospital workers on strike) who are in a struggle for a basic wage of $1,800 for all state employees. It is necessary to call on the TIES and the CTA to launch a national strike until our demands are met.

But in all this there is still a big problem. The oil tankers that are being built for Venezuela, may be used to transport the oil used to fuel the US military machine that massacres the Iraqi workers who are our class brothers and sisters. We cannot allow it!

The workers of the ARS have the duty to call on the Venezuelan workers to fight to prevent any oil being shipped for use in imperialist wars. And simultaneously to call them to fight together to stop the oil monopolies like Repsol or Texaco (which Chávez granted the oil rights to the Orinoco river basin) from plundering the hydrocarbons of our Bolivian class brothers and sisters!

Workers Democracy Argentina No 9 July 2005.

Asserting their independence of Chavez, here is a report of a message of solidarity of Venezuelan oil workers to Ecuadorian oil workers!
“We Are With You: Jósé Bodas, leader of Fedepetrol, the oil workers’ union of Venezuela, expresses solidarity with Ecuadorian strikers:

By Nelson Gámez, Thursday, 25/08/05 06:29pm

The national leader of Fedepetrol, José Bodas, from Puerto La Cruz, sent a declaration to the communications media of that city, in which [the Venezuelan oil workers] express solidarity with the Ecuadorian oil workers who have been carrying out a just struggle for two weeks in defense of their rights and of the communities of the Amazonian jungle area.

The communiqué says:

“Just as the Ecuadorian oil workers supported us three years ago in order to defeat the bosses’ sabotage of PDVSA, we are reciprocating that gesture of solidarity, by telling the workers and communities of the Ecuadorian Amazonian jungle that we support them unconditionally, that we reject the savage repression by the government of Alfredo Palacios, and we lament the fact that President Chavez has decided to send petroleum to that country, since with that action, in fact, the just strike movement of the workers and the inhabitants is being broken.

“We are pained to learn that the high-level commission of the Ecuadorian government, which will sign the accords with the Venezuelan government, is composed of people committed to the interests of the multinational [corporations], and that from their positions and functions for three years now they have not moved a finger to help us from Ecuador to overcome the offensive of the imperialists and coup-plotters against Venezuelan sovereignty, attacked by Fedecamaras, by the parties of the oligarchy, and by imperialism.

“We certainly do not expect that the representatives of the multinationals will take any action expressing solidarity with the peoples and workers of the world.

Their actions will always be determined by profits, so we are not surprised by the declarations by the US government, nor those of the European governments, which have saluted the deal by President Chavez to avoid the Ecuadorian oil crisis.

With that same fervor with which they defend their interests, they maintain their criminal silence in the face of deranged declarations of “reverend” terrorists, who call for the assassination of President Chavez through the US communications media.

“We wish to inform the public, that for our part, as workers, revolutionaries and socialists, we will never support the enemies of the workers, and we will never take any action that contributes to the defeat of the struggle of the workers anywhere on the planet.

Our place is in solidarity with our class brothers in Ecuador, who are fighting for better conditions in their lives and for resources to meet the urgent needs of communities that live in conditions of extreme poverty in the Amazonian jungle.”

The communiqué ends:

“[we appeal] to all the Venezuelan workers, to the UNT, to the organizations of peasants, indigenous peoples, students, and the popular masses, to make known our solidarity with the Ecuadorian oil workers. Their struggle is our struggle, just as the struggle of the Bolivian workers and people in defense of their hydrocarbons is our struggle.”

http://www.aporrea.org/dameverbo.php?docid=65078

 
From Class Struggle 63 Sept/Oct 2005
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Written by raved

January 6, 2012 at 11:33 am

Bolivia: Long live the revoltionary program of the the workers, peasants, miners and students of El Alto!

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For the Nationalisations of the Hydrocarbons!

Out with Mesa! Dissolve the Parliament!

For Workers’ Militias and a Workers’ and Peasants’ Government!

The masses of Bolivian workers and peasants have begun a new revolutionary fight. This uprising has not come out of the blue. It takes place just weeks after the Ecuadorian workers and students, rising up as an independent mass, demolished the pro-imperialist government of Gutiérrez, shouting “Que se vayan todos” [“all go away” the cry of the Argentinazo of 2001] not only against the bourgeois institutions, the bosses’ parliament and the politicians, but also against the Stalinist, Maoist and Castroist leaders that helped to elect Gutiérrez as President and that, along with World Social Forum, continued to defend him.

US imperialism has imposed a severe defeat on the nation of Iraq, crushed the Palestinian workers and people, and because of the treacherous betrayals of the leaders, contained the masses in Latin America, strangling the revolutionary struggle in Argentina and holding it back in Bolivia. Now it has relaunched an offensive in its back yard to impose new colonial laws like the FTAs [Free Trade Agreements] and the FTAA [Free Trade Agreement of the Americas] to guarantee access to the natural resources and payment of the external debts of all the nations of the continent.

The renewed revolutionary uprising of the masses of Ecuador and now in Bolivia, the struggle of the workers and students in Nicaragua and Costa Rica, the revolt of the students in Chile, the build up of workers and students struggles in Argentina, are the anti-imperialist response of the Latin American masses to the intensified attacks by imperialism. The revolutionary uprisings in Bolivia and Ecuador in Latin American; Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan in Eurasia; the heroic resistance of the Iraqi masses and the resurgence of anti-imperialist struggles in Afghanistan in the hearts of these Yankee protectorates, pose a challenge to the fragile stability created by imperialism with its victorious counter-revolutions.

These events in Bolivia accelerate from day to day. The government of Mesa did not oppose the hydrocarbon law passed by parliament. It will become law automatically. Obviously, fearing a new revolutionary uprising the bourgeoisie has made some small concessions to keep negotiations open. This is the position of Evo Morales: to negotiate with the bourgeoisie over the percentage of the gas royalties, where the national bourgeoisie acting as the junior partner of imperialism in the exploitation of the natural resources of Bolivia, asks for the scraps, while imperialism takes the lion’s share of the huge wealth made from plundering the gas and oil.

The workers and peasants, with the miners in the front line, once more rise up with the central objective: “Nationalization of the gas without compensation, out with Mesa, close down Parliament”

But the passing of the law far from calming the situation has stirred it up. From Monday May 16, the revolutionary masses have taken to the streets, with pickets, roadblocks, general strikes like that of the teachers, and barricades, raising the slogan of the moment: ¡nationalization without compensation of the gas and oil, down with Mesa and the parliament that serves the oil companies!

Since Monday the 16 there has been no halt to the demonstrations in La Paz, with thousands of workers and peasants, now headed by the miners, surrounding the parliament and carrying out pitched battles with the police, responding with “puppies” of dynamite to grapeshot and tear gas. The Congress of the Federation of mining workers that was being held in Huanuni suspended its sessions, and the miners are already in La Paz at the head of the fight. The urban and rural teachers have declared an indefinite strike.

On the 20 of May, El Alto stopped for 24 hours, blocking the Freeway, and once more tens of thousands led by the miners were mobilized in La Paz, and the bourgeoisie, terrified, evacuated parliament. A indefinite general strike was planned to begin on Monday 23 of May by the ‘extended’ emergency meeting [delegates of all organizations in struggle] of the COR [Regional Workers Centre] of El Alto, which included the miners, the COB [Bolivian Workers’ Centre, affiliates of the national organization of Bolivian workers] the Fejuve, [Federación de Juntas Vecinales, or federation of community groups] the students, the teachers and other sectors in struggle.

In February 2003, the cry was “Fusil, metralla, Bolivia no se calla”, [“Guns, shrapnel, Bolivia will not be quiet”], in October 2003 the cry was “El gas y el petróleo para los bolivianos” [“gas and oil for the Bolivians”]. With the repeated uprisings of the masses they have learned from experience, even without the presence of a Marxist party, that the bourgeoisie uses different manoeuvres to counter the revolutionary situation.

With this experience, the masses have not only confronted the government of Mesa, but their own treacherous leaders in the COB and the peasant organizations. In February 2003 and October 2003, the revolutionary masses rose up, despite these leaders, and brought down the murderous government of Goni [Lozada]. But the leaders of the COB and the peasants then took back control over the workers uprising, giving the power to Mesa [Goni’s deputy who continued his policies] who formed a new government of the Rosca [mine owners] and oil companies.

For one and a half years, the treacherous leaders made truces and pacts with the new government. The national bourgeoisie, with Evo Morales at its head, used the enormous mobilization of masses to increase its share of the gas royalties. Today, with this third revolutionary uprising, the workers and farmers are trying to break out of the containment pacts made between their leaders and the different bourgeois groups, and to free the masses to directly confront the capitalists in Bolivia and in all of Latin America.

Therefore, on one side of the barricades are the mine owners and its puppet government; the Castroite leadership of the COB (Solares) and Evo Morales, who represents the national bourgeoisie in negotiating an increased share of the oil wealth at the expense of the Bolivian masses. On the other side of the barricades are the revolutionary masses of workers and farmers who raise the demands “Out with Mesa, down with parliament and nationalize the gas and oil without compensation”.

In the same way, on the bosses’ side of the barricades are the members of the World Social Forum, supporting Mesa in the same way they supported Gutiérrez – the servant of the IMF in Ecuador. On the other side of the barricades alongside the masses of workers and farmers in the struggle, are the internationalist Trotskyists, the Latin American revolutionaries. These barricades separate the classes in struggle in Bolivia and the whole continent.

The bourgeoisie is divided on how to defeat the masses that once more rise up to complete the revolution. Again the treacherous leaders of the masses are called upon to betray the masses’ struggle.

Facing the new revolutionary offensive of the masses the bourgeoisie is divided. One fraction, the bourgeoisie of Santa Cruz, Tarija and the Medialuna, where most of the oil and gas reserves are found, are campaigning, with the support of the oil companies, for much greater regional autonomy. On the other hand, there are two other fractions advancing different policies to try to prevent that the masses from throwing out Mesa and destroying the mine owners’ regime.

One fraction of the bourgeoisie, with Mesa and Evo Morales at its head, tries to contain the masses within a ‘democratic reactionary’ solution. It proposes new elections for a Constituent Assembly, elections of prefects, and a referendum on regional autonomy. This is designed to stabilize the regime and allow time for the different bourgeois fractions to negotiate their shares of the oil wealth and the surplus value of the working class. Thus Evo Morales opposed Mesa’s resignation and advised him to send troops to the oil wells to prevent mass occupations. He constantly acts as a ‘safety valve’ turning the revolutionary struggles of the workers and farmers towards parliamentary elections and referendums, rescuing the government of Mesa, the reactionary regime of the mine owners, and the Bolivian state from collapse.

Another fraction of the bourgeoisie tries to abort the revolutionary uprising of the masses by promoting a nationalistic way out. Mesa would be replaced by a ‘patriotic’ military regime that would contain the anti-imperialist revolutionary struggle of the masses like Chavez has done in Venezuela. Solares and the Castroist leadership of the COB are working to implement this bourgeois solution under pressure of the masses to call for the resignation of Mesa and the closing of parliament.

That’s why Solares has said: “If there were an honest military man like Hugo Chávez, I would support him” (Clarin, 20/05/05). But the lesson of Venezuela clearly demonstrates to the workers and farmers of Latin America that, because of Chávez, Venezuelan oil fuels Bush’s military machine in Iraq while Repsol makes superprofits. In the same way, any general or colonel of the Bolivian army, even though Solares dresses him up him as “patriotic”, will give the gas to the Yankees and not the workers and farmers. Meanwhile, POR [Revolutionary Workers’ Party] of Bolivia – that has already openly renounced the program of Trotskyism – calls for the convening of a Popular Assembly like that of 1971. That is to say, to repeat what General Torres, that supposedly ‘patriotic’ military man, did in 1971. POR therefore provides a programmatic left cover to the policy of class collaboration of Solares and the Castroite leadership of the COB.

The main objective of i.e. Castroite leadership of the COB and of Evo Morales is to prevent the masses from throwing out Mesa, destroying the mine owners regime, winning the rank and file soldiers in the army, and creating dual power organs capable of making an insurrection. For that reason, all their forces are used to prevent the miners, workers, farmers and students who have been struggling for ten days against the police and army, from taking the Plaza Murillo in La Paz, the seat of Parliament.

The treacherous leaders fear like death that the workers and peasants will take the same road as that of the workers and oppressed people of Ecuador. They know that if the workers and farmers take the plaza and occupy parliament, the mining bosses’ regime and the Bolivian semi-colonial state would be split wide open, and a period of dual power would be opened where the masses would counterpose to the weakened bourgeois state their own power based on their organs of struggle, direct democracy and self-defense.

For that reason, in the different regions and departments the bureaucracy has decided against a massive march to La Paz, but only to send delegations of the COD’s [Departmental sections of COB] and COR’s [Regional sections of COB] and the Civic Committees [FUJEVE] headed by bureaucratic leaders whose task is to restrain the masses and to withdraw them from the Plaza Murillo. All the bureaucrats of the COB, COD, COR’s and FUJEVE that converge on La Paz, although throwing some dynamite “puppies”, have only one objective which is to stop the masses from taking the Plaza Murillo and the Parliament. For that reason, Evo Morales called for the roadblocks to be lifted and a truce until Monday 30 of May.

That fraction of the bourgeoisie that is trying to revive the puppet parliament – to meet in session while surrounded by the miners, workers and peasants who have returned to occupy La Paz and face the police defending the Plaza Murrillo and the seat of Parliament – seeks to divert the masses by calling for new presidential elections, referendums or for a Constituent Assembly, to prevent that the masses from carrying through their demands to bring down Mesa and parliament and open up a revolutionary crisis in the regime.

Meanwhile, the officers of the armed forces are on alert over the “danger of the disintegration” of the regime. What deceit: the real disintegration of the Bolivian nation has been caused by the capitalist gangs –the oil companies and the national bourgeoisie. It has been caused by the national bourgeoisies of Latin America that, hanging on the apron strings of the oil companies like Repsol, Petrobras, British Petroleum, and Totalfina, try to profit from the plunder of the natural wealth of Bolivia that passes through Brazil, Argentina and Chile. Social disintegration is the political program of the bourgeoisies of Santa Cruz, Tarija and the Medialuna, that want to keep most of the reserves of the gas and oil for themselves, while 80% of the population of Bolivia must use firewood, charcoal etc for cooking and heating.

It is the insatiable drive for superprofits by the imperialistic monopolies and the native bourgeoisie that continues to oppress the Bolivian nation. The only class that can unite the nation and end the oppression and “disintegration” is the working class, leading the poor peasantry, and creating its own government, with its own militias, reviving the best traditions of the heroic revolution of 1952.

The Armed Forces, at the moment, remain on alert to defend the bourgeois state and safeguard its security, prepared if necessary to drown the revolution in blood if they cannot otherwise contain or divert the revolutionary advance of the masses. But the bourgeoisie will only resort to open repression if all else fails, because it is aware that to do could lead to another massacre like that which led to the downfall of Goni, and run the risk of splitting the army so that the conscripts would mutiny against the officers. This is the greatest danger posed by the revolutionary uprising of the masses because, since, in the last instance, whoever controls the army rank and file, wins. If the bourgeoisie retains control, it will suppress the workers and peasants uprising with blood and fire. If the workers and poor farmers win control, the workers militias will be reinforced by soldiers committees.

Long live the revolutionary program of the democratic base of the COR of El Alto and of the miners: down with Mesa! Workers must dissolve the puppet parliament, build worker militias and form a provisional workers’ and peasants’ government to nationalize the gas and oil, and carry out the program of the working class and the Bolivian people!

The strong revolutionary upsurge that has erupted in Bolivia must prevail. Only a provisional government of revolutionary workers and peasants supported by the organs of direct democracy of the masses, workers militias and soldiers committees, will succeed in winning the most elementary national demands of the Bolivian workers and oppressed people, on the ruins of the regime of the mine owners and their imperialist partners, who are the real expropriators of the natural resources of the millions of Bolivians and Latin Americans.

The masses, betrayed by the truces and pacts which their leaders used to prop up Mesa and his crony oil bosses, have begun a new revolutionary uprising. Against the containment policy of Morales and Solares, the exploited workers of El Alto have marked out the revolutionary road to the masses’ victory. On May 17 the COR of El Alto meet with the miners, the teachers, the neighborhood committees, the students, and voted for a program of struggle to bring down Mesa, for workers to dissolve the puppet parliament, for workers’ militias and Workers’ and Farmers’ provisional government to nationalize the gas and oil, and to carry out all the demands of the Bolivian workers and oppressed people. This program was re-affirmed on May 25. Long live the revolutionary program lives of El Alto, that marks a clear course of action for the preparation of a decisive revolutionary struggle that does not leave a stone standing of the government of Mesa and the mine owners regime!

This resolution and this program voted by the COR of El Alto is a slap in the face of the liquidators of Trotskyism and the reformist left of Latin America and the world. It says that the problem is not that the working class does not suffer from a “crisis of the subjectivity” “or underdeveloped consciousness” but rather too many treacherous leaders. The demand of February 2003 “Gun, shrapnel, Bolivia will not shut up”; of October 2003, “Go away Goni, the gas is for the Bolivians”, and now the program of the COR of El Alto demanding the “nationalization of the gas and resources, a workers and peasants government and workers’ militias”, proves that the Bolivian working class has raised the flag of socialism for the workers of the world.

Some months ago, during the March events, the bourgeoisie claimed that there were ‘soviets’ in El Alto. They were not mistaken. The COR of El Alto, coordinating and representing workers, miners, students, teachers, unionists, drivers and all of the masses in struggle in that revolutionary city, acting independently, called for an indefinite general strike, for armed pickets and militias –a call that was taken up by the COD in Oruro and other cities – creating the most advanced and authoritative organs of the masses in struggle. It is without a doubt the highest point reached in the creation of workers organs of dual power that is now being strengthened and extended. There is no more urgent task than to develop, extend and centralize the organs of self-determination and self-defense of the militant masse in preparation for the insurrectionary seizure of power.

The COD, the peasants’ organizations marching from Caracollo towards the La Paz, , and all workers, peasants and students organizations that are engaged in struggle, must elect and sent delegates of the rank and file, mandated and recallable, to the COR of El Alto!

In the dynamite charge of the miner, in the stones of the picketers, there are already the embryos of the workers’ militias called for by the resolution of El Alto. It is necessary build them urgently because the army generals have warned that the revolution means ‘the disintegration of Bolivia’; that is, threatens the profits of the oil companies and the big capitalists. They are preparing another blood bath against the workers and farmers. Nor will they hesitate, as they did in October 2003, to shoot the troops – the children of the workers and farmers – that refuse to repress their class brothers and sisters. It is necessary for the people to surround the barracks to win over the rank and rile soldiers, the children of workers and farmers! It is necessary to call on them to form committees of armed soldiers, and to send their delegates to the COR of El Alto! For the dismissal of the officers of the Armed Forces, killers of the people! The committees of soldiers will elect their own leaders!

With thousand of delegates of the rank and file workers and peasants meeting in El Alto, it is necessary to build a ‘soviet-type’ organ that represents the legitimate and democratic expression of the will of the vast majority of the Bolivian people. That organ would be the only one with the authority to create a provisional revolutionary government of workers and peasants supported by the organs of direct democracy of the masses, workers militias and soldiers committees. The government would nationalize without compensation the gas, oil and mines, and place them under workers control; break with the IMF; distribute the best land to the poor peasants; nationalize the banks without compensation and under workers’ control; create a single state bank that grants cheap loans to the small peasants; make a general wage rise and a sliding scale of wages and working hours; and provide free public quality health and education for the workers and the people.

This revolutionary workers’ and farmers’ government is the only one that can guarantee the unity of the Bolivian nation. It is the only one that can realize the most advanced form of bourgeois democracy, such as a truly free and sovereign Constituent Assembly. And it will enable the peasants to learn from their own experience that the most democratic of the bourgeois republics it nothing but a cover for the ruthless dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, and that the Workers’ Republic, born out of the self-organization and the arming of the workers and peasants in struggle, is the only way to realize their demands for land and to break with imperialism.

Build centralized and armed organs of dual power, in which the revolutionary party can fight for the program that is necessary for the victorious revolution!

The crisis of revolutionary leadership of the proletariat is acute facing the new uprising of the Bolivian masses. The collaboration with the counter-revolutionary leadership of the renegade Trotskyists reveals in its true light their total bankruptcy. POR Lora, in 1952 supported the “progressive” bourgeois Paz Estenssoro and the MNR (Military Revolutionary National) government, breaking all connection with the program and strategy of Trotskyism. In 1971 POR Lora supported General Torres and the class collaborationist front (FRA). Today it is in the counter-revolutionary camp in the third Bolivian revolution.

We are on the threshold of decisive battles. The revolutionary uprising of the masses begins to break the strangle hold of the treacherous leaders. The counterrevolution forces are preparing to abort or smash it. It is a race against time to build the internationalist revolutionary party that can lead this uprising to the victory of the workers and farmers.

In order to close overcome this crisis and build a true proletarian revolutionary party, the key is to extend the program of the El Alto workers and peasants so that organs of direct democracy and of dual power (councils or soviets) extend across the whole country. In those class struggle organs, the programs of all those who claim to represent the working class and its interests can be put to the test of experience of the workers and farmers who can then get rid of their treacherous leaders. In those organs the alliance of the working class with the poor farmers can can develop a unified command and break all subordination to the different bourgeois fractions. Inside these organs a small nucleus of revolutionaries, fighting uncompromisingly against the treacherous leaders, explaining at each point who are the workers’ allies and enemies, convincing workers of the correct program through their own experience, can create the revolutionary leadership needed to win.

The forces necessary to create a revolutionary party already exist. They are the miners, the poor workers, farmers and revolutionary students of El Alto who have voted for a revolutionary program. They are the miners, the workers and the farmers who, in Oruro, Cochabamba, in every city, every land occupation, every mine, agree with the El Alto program and try to unite and centralize all their struggles. The place of the revolutionary internationalists is with them, to unite with these advanced forces and fight for international Trotskyism in Bolivia; a fight that is inseparable from the struggle to regroup internationally all the healthy forces of Trotskyism, confronting all over the world the treacherous leaders of the liquidators of the IV International.

We call for a united struggle of the whole Latin American working class: Not a cubic centimeter of gas or oil must leave Bolivia unless authorized by a provisional government of revolutionary workers and farmers!

The pro-imperialist bourgeoisies of Argentina, Brazil and Chile say that because of the fight of the Bolivian masses, they will increase the price of gas. This is a lie, as the capitalist governments of Latin America raise the prices of the gas to rob their own nations in complicity with the imperialist monopolies!

Not a cubic of Bolivian gas or oil must leave that country, if is it not authorized by a provisional revolutionary government of workers and peasants! This must be the common cry of the workers of Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and the whole continent!

The struggle of our Bolivian brothers and sisters is a slap in the face to Chavez, who has decided that Venezuelan oil’s not for the Venezuelans, but for Bush to enable him to fuel the military machine to kill in Iraq and the Middle East, and for the profits of Repsol or Corona of Spain.

The Castro bureaucracy – which has opened up the first Latin American workers’ state to imperialist companies – is on the same side of the barricade as Chávez, Repsol, Kirchner, Lula and Tabaré Vázquez, against the Bolivian revolution. It did the same in 1973, preaching the “peaceful road to socialism” in Chile, and in the ’80s it betrayed the heroic Nicaraguan, Salvadoran and Central American revolution with the pacts of Esquipulas and Contadora. These “peace accords” brought about the submission of Central America to the US imperialism and to their recolonization today by means of NAFTA, the FTAs and the FTAA. Meanwhile the old “commanders” of the Sandinista’s and the FMLN have turned into “yuppies” and agents of the IMF plans, or become officers in the bourgeois armies, as is the case in both Nicaragua and El Salvador.

The revolutionary uprising of the masses in Bolivia, after the exemplary action of the Ecuadorian masses, means that it is now necessary for the workers and exploited people of Latin America to unite behind the demands of the Bolivian workers and peasants against imperialist plunder, oppression and wage slavery. The fight to stop any gas from leaving Bolivia for the oil monopolies, and for its nationalization without compensation and under workers’ control, now leads the fight of all the oppressed nations of Latin America to reclaim their natural wealth exploited by imperialism.

To achieve this, the most important task of workers and exploited people in Latin America, is to oppose and defeat all the regimes and governments that support Mesa and are subservient the imperialistic policy of the IMF and the multinationals in Latin America, such as that of Lula, Kirchner, Tabaré Vázquez, Toledo and Lagos. It is necessary to take the road opened up by our class brothers and sisters in Ecuador.

What the exploited people of Bolivia and Ecuador, and of all Latin America, need, is that the continental working class settles accounts with all the sell out collaborationist bureaucrats of the workers and mass organizations, to be able to create a coordinated and centralized movement of workers and peasants able to defeat imperialism and its regimes client states.

Against the revolutionary uprising in Bolivia, signified by the workers and peasants of El Alto calling for the formation of workers militias, the officers of the Bolivian army are preparing for repression. All the client states in Latin America are ready, if called by their Yankee master and the gang of thieves of the OAS, to sent their armies against the workers and peasants to “defend the constitutional order” in Bolivia. The US military bases in Latin America at Chapere in Bolivia, Manta in Ecuador, in Colombia, etc. have been put on alert.

As revolutionary internationalists we alert the workers of Latin America to this threat. We call for the expulsion of all imperialists military bases such as Chapare, Manta, the Malvinas! Immediate recall of the Chilean, Brazilian and Argentine mercenaries in the service of US imperialism in Haiti! We call on the workers and anti-imperialist organizations of Venezuela to put the 100,000 Kalashnikov rifles bought by Chávez into the service of workers’ militias that the COR and workers and peasants organizations in El Alto have called for in Bolivia! Left in the hands of the Chavista national bourgeoisie those guns will be used to prevent the victory of the Bolivian revolution, and to repress the anti-imperialist masses of Venezuela and Latin America.

It is necessary that the Chilean working class – whose bourgeoisie profits from the oil pipeline from Bolivia across Chile to the sea – takes in its hands the fight for the territorial rights of Bolivia. A workers’ and peasants’ government arising from the defeat of the civic-military regime of Lagos could establish fraternal and cooperative relations with a workers’ and peasants’ government of Bolivia to determine the future of the disputed territory.

The organizations who have signed this declaration declare that it is our duty as to devote 100% of our forces to the revolutionary struggle for victory of the workers and farmers of Bolivia, and to take to the workers and mass organizations in the countries in which we are based, the resolution that “not a cubic centimeter of gas or oil leaves Bolivia for the imperialist monopolies”, and to adopt as our own the revolutionary program of the workers and farmers of El Alto who are in the vanguard of this heroic struggle.

Long live the uprisings of the masses in Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstán and Uzbekistán! Long live the heroic Iraqi resistance and awakening of the North American working class! Long live the revolutionary uprising of the masses of Ecuador! For the victory of the revolution in Bolivia, Ecuador and in all Latin America! For a Federation of Workers’ and Peasants’ Republics of South and Central America!

The revolutionary uprising of the Bolivian masses is not alone. Their allies are the workers and students of Ecuador who, like Bucaram and Mahuad yesterday, threw the US lackey and poster boy of the WSF Gutiérrez, into the waste-basked of history; they are the workers and peasants who threaten another uprising in Ilave, Peru; they are the rebellious workers and students of Nicaragua and Chile; they are the militant vanguard of the labor movement in the US, the Million Worker March Movement that stands against the killer Bush’s war.

They are the Afghan anti-imperialist fighters that are resisting the humiliations they have suffered under Bush’s occupying troops, and the anti-imperialist fighters of the Middle East who are imprisoned in Guantánamo. They are the Iraqi masses that continue a strong and heroic resistance against the imperialistic occupation and its colonial puppet government.

The allies of the proletariat and exploited people of Bolivia are the rebellious workers and farmers in Kyrgyzstán and Uzbekistán – nations of the former USSR where capitalism has been restored by the stalinist bureaucracy who became a new bourgeoisie as junior partners with imperialism. The workers and oppressed people rose up against dictatorial regimes and ‘pinochet’ governments, headed, as in the case of Uzbekistán, by the head of the KGB in the former stalinist bureaucracy, who ordered the army to repress the uprising, massacring more than 700 workers and farmers. In all the former workers’ states it is necessary to build revolutionary parties with transitional programs that can lead the fight for the restoration of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

The workers and oppressed people of Latin America, the United States, of the Middle East and Central Asia; these are the allies of the Bolivian workers and peasants who march on the revolutionary road of October!

The renewal of the revolutionary uprising of the masses in Ecuador and Bolivia demonstrates the urgency of a continent-wide struggle of Latin American workers and peasants. These two great struggles prove that the only solution to imperialist plunder, starvation and slavery is the victory of a Federation of Workers and Peasants Republics of South and Central America. The North American and EU proletariat have a key role to play in defending the revolutionary victories of their class brothers and sisters of Latin America. They must strike at the heart of their own imperialistic bourgeoisies, expropriating the monopolies –British Petroleum, Exxon, Totalfina, Repsol, and other oil monopolies – the IMF, the World Bank and international financial capital that plunder and oppress the workers and people of Bolivia and Latin America.

Build the World Wide Party of Socialist Revolution, to provide the working class of Bolivia, Ecuador, of Latin America and the world, with the revolutionary leadership it deserves.

To make revolutions in Ecuador and Bolivia that can spread like wildfire, the masses need world revolutionary party. Today, all the liquidators of Trotskyism and the Fourth International have become the disciples of Chávez, Fidel Castro and the World Social Forum, and act as leftwing public relations agencies of the pro-IMF regimes and governments such as Lula, Kirchner, Lagos, Toledo, and Tabaré Vázquez.

The liquidation of the Fourth International into Stalinism began in 1948 with the adaptation of pabloism to Tito who was called an “unconscious Trotskyist”, and with the entry of the pabloites into the communist parties. Today, the liquidators of Trotskyism have been subordinated to the Castro bureaucracy under the ideological authority of a leader of the Cuban PC Celia Hart Santamaría. She, with the collaboration and support of the renegade currents of Trotskyism, appeals to the legacy of Leon Trotsky, falsifying it in order to conceal the continental policy of class collaboration of Castroism and the completion of the process of the restoration of capitalism in Cuba.

The liquidators of the Fourth International have abandoned the struggle for socialist revolution. Some openly like the United Secretariat in Brazil, that has a minister for land reform in the Lula pro-IMF government that represses and continues to kill the landless farmers. Others, of many stripes and colors, proclaim the socialist revolution on holidays, but during workdays betray it day after day.

Today, the revolutionary program of the COR of El Alto is a new test that serves to separate the reformists, liquidators of Fourth International from the revolutionaries. On one side of the barricade of El Alto, are those fighting to implement their revolutionary resolutions in action, to defeat the government and create a regime like that of 1952 based on the dual power of the armed masses that is capable of taking state power. On the other side of the barricade are those on their knees before the “patriotic” generals, or before those who seek to defend the bourgeois parliament and constituent Assemblies in order to salvage the collapsing regime of the mine owners.

The theory and the program of Trotskyism have passed the test of history. The opportunist liquidators of the Fourth International have gone over to the camp of the World Social Forum.

The healthy forces of Trotskyism and revolutionary workers organizations, have begun to rally our forces and to regroup in the Liaison Committee for an International Conference. The objective must be rebuild the World Party of Socialist Revolution on the base of the program foundations of the Fourth International from 1938-40, to equip the Bolivian, Ecuadorian working class, of Latin America and the world, with the revolutionary leadership that they deserve, with true insurrectionary parties of struggle that give programmatic expression to the historical objective of the proletariat and lead if to victory.

Ecuador and Bolivia are the current life and death tests of the revolutionary program. The masses in struggle demonstrate their heroism, and they are already distinguishing, more and more clearly, their enemy. The revolutionary program and will to fight brought to the Ecuadorian and Bolivian revolutions, are and will be the rallying points to regroup the internationalist Trotskyists.

The revolutionary organizations who have signed this declaration call on all the healthy forces of Trotskyism to commit 100% of our forces to the victory of the Bolivian revolution and to combine to make an International Conference, on the base of revolutionary history and a correct program founds a transitional international center of principled Trotskyists and revolutionary workers organizations with the objective to found the World Party of Socialist Revolution as a centralized force to confront the counter-revolutionary leaders of the liquidators of the Fourth International.

  •   Long live revolutionary struggle of the workers and exploited people of Ecuador and Bolivia!
  •  Long Live the uprisings of the masses in Afghanistan, Kyrkystán and Uzbekistán!
  •  Long live the Iraq heroic resistance ‘! 
  • The revolution lives in the workers and peasants of El Alto!
  •  Down with Mesa and his puppet parliament!
  • For a National congress of the COB and the farmers organizations; for workers’ militias and soldiers’ committees!
  • For a Revolutionary Provisional Government of workers and farmers to nationalize the gas and petroleum, and to impose all the demands of the working class and the Bolivian people!

  • Down the truces, pacts and class collaboration with the bourgeois governments of Lula, Kirchner, Lagos, Tabaré Vázquez, Toledo! All of them must be watched in the mirror of Gutiérrez: all of them must fall at hands of the proletarian revolution!
  • Not a cubic centimeter of Bolivian gas or petrol for Repsol, Petrobras, Totalfina, or British Petroleum, or for their small partners, the national bourgeoisies of Latin America!
  • Down with the TLCs, NAFTA, FTAA and Mercosur of the exploiters! 
  • For a Federation of Workers’ and Farmers’ Republics of South and Central America!
  • Long live the anti-imperialist fight against Bush’s war by the dock workers of Oakland in the United States, because in the awakening of the North American working class the lives the possibility of the final triumph of the revolution in South and Central America! 
  • Against Stalinism, social democracy, all reformists and liquidators of Trotskyism! 
  • For an International Conference of the healthy forces of Trotskyism and or revolutionary workers organizations! 

From Class Struggle 61 May-June 2005
 

Venezuela and the Cuban road to ‘socialism’

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At this year’s World Social Forum the cry was raised “Lula No! Chavez Si”! This chant captured the politics of the young and old radicals alike who look to Chavez as the best yet hope for socialism. CWG attended a session of the Asia-Pacific International Solidarity Conference in Sydney over Easter on the Venezuelan revolution. When we and others argued that Chavez was not capable of leading the Venezuelan workers to socialism, we were met with claims by the Democratic Socialist Party members that Chavez was a “Marxist” and was following the Cuban road to ‘socialism’. What’s up with Chavez?

Chavez in his closing speech before a full stadium in Porto Alegre, sported a Che T-shirt and was given a rapturous reception. Once more he talked about the need for socialism to achieve the goals of the Bolivarian revolution. On the face of it this sounded like Chavez was prepared to break with US imperialism and nationalise the property of the imperialists and local capitalists. Those whose hopes had been attached to Lula and his Worker’s Party Government in Brazil two years ago, and were now disillusioned by his attacks on workers and his sacking of left wing parliamentarians, now saw Chavez as picking up the mantle of the socialist cause of Castro and Che Guevara.

The Democratic Socialist Party of Australia is an example of a former Trotskyist group that has become an open cheerleader for Castro. In the recent APISC conference in Sydney, CWG members were told by a DSP militant that their ‘co-thinkers’ in Latin America were the Cuban Communist Party. When we said the Castro was restoring capitalism in Cuba and was a betrayer of the Latin American revolution, this comrade said that Castro was now fighting restoration and that the articles of Celia Hart showed that it was possible for Castroites and Trotskyites to be allies in the class struggle.

Celia Hart is the daughter of a two leading revolutionaries in Cuba. She has recently written about the need to adopt Trotsky’s view of permanent revolution in Cuba and Latin America. What she means by this is what Che Guevara meant when he said “either socialist revolution or a caricature of revolution”, that the Stalinist view of two revolutionary stages, first national, then socialist, must be abandoned. Chavez has also realised that Venezuela cannot be independent short of socialism. But what does socialism mean?

The fact is that Celia Hart’s ‘rediscovery’ of Trotsky is like the post-modernists ‘rediscovery’ of Marx. This ‘Trotsky’ is a museum exhibit like the mausoleum of Lenin. Celia Hart says that Trotsky’s ideas should be discussed like those of Gramsci and Mariategui! This is a dead Trotsky, whose politics have been transformed into their opposite. Instead of an uncompromising fight for working class independence, this ‘Trotsky’ calls a bourgeois president a ‘Marxist’ or even ‘Trotskyist’. Even serious ‘Trotskyists’ like the el Militante tendency of Alan Woods gives critical support to Chavez. This only confuses workers by presenting Chavez as capable of defending the revolution instead of warning workers that only they can defend their class against a counter-revolution. For example, Celia Hart recognises that a US attack on Venezuela will come, but instead of calling for soviets and workers militias now, she talks of an ‘international brigade’ like in Spain to come to the rescue of Venezuela!

Objectively Chavez is the President of a bourgeois state that defends private property. There is a huge gap between his ‘socialist’ rhetoric and his actions protecting Venezuelan capitalism. Towards the end of his speech at the WSF, Chavez defended Lula’s Government for facing up to the difficult task of defending the masses against imperialism. This was an indirect admission by Chavez that he too has to negotiate and make concessions to imperialism and sometimes attack workers directly, as he did at Sidor, on the ‘road to socialism’!

Those on the left who defend Chavez as a ‘Marxist’ or even a ‘Trotskyist’, are in effect liquidating the independent role of the revolutionary party in transforming a national revolution against imperialism into a socialist revolution. Instead they are substituting as the workers’ ‘vanguard’ a fraction of the national bourgeoisie, petty bourgeoisie, or Castroite bureaucracy, who all try to use the state and mass support to negotiate better terms with imperialism. Chavez has come to understand that he will sooner or later face a US blockade and end up going further than he formally intended. And rather than follow Allende, his model is clearly closer to Cuba where Castro was forced by the US blockade to go further than he intended and proclaim ‘socialism’.

But Cuba under Castro has never been socialist. It’s revolution was not based on a mass movement but upon a petty bourgeois national democratic independence movement. The class character of the Cuban revolution remains petty bourgeois and bureaucratic caught between the Latin American proletariat and imperialism. Its role is not to encourage revolution but to moderate the class struggle and negotiate a class compromise like Stalin did. Castro acted like Stalin in every Latin American revolution from the 1960s onward. In Chile he backed Allende’s refusal to arm the workers for fear it would provoke imperialism. Disastrous betrayal! In Nicaragua he backed the Sandinista’s attempts to negotiate with the US rather than mobilise mass resistance. Disastrous betrayal! Today, his advice to Latin American leaders is to follow Cuba’s current path in negotiating a deal between the market and ‘socialism’ –something called ‘market socialism’ – betrayal again!

However, despite its counter-revolutionary role in Latin America, Cuba did expropriate the imperialists and national capitalists. Therefore it must be supported and defended from imperialism and capitalist restoration. But the only way to prevent capitalist restoration is to remove the Castroite bureaucracy and install a workers’ and small farmers’ government in its place. We say the same with Chavez and the Bolivarian movement. We support his regime unconditionally against imperialism. But we cannot give him the slightest political support. Why? Because Chavez is the President of a bourgeois state balanced between the Venezuelan masses and US imperialism. Like Castro, who is gradually accommodating imperialism by allowing it to buy up state assets in Cuba, Chavez is reluctant to directly confront imperialism by nationalising imperialist assets.

This fact is clear from the one and only nationalisation of a factory that has taken place so far. Venepal, a paper-making plant owned by a US corporation, was recently nationalised and put under joint government/worker co-management. The workers occupied the plant over a year ago calling on Chavez to nationalise it, but Chavez did so only when he satisfied that the owners were closing it down and it could be nationalised under the Constitution as ‘unproductive’. What results is a state-owned corporation in which the workers compete with capitalist firms in a capitalist economy. The program the workers need is not piecemeal nationalisations but wholesale expropriation not only of bankrupt factories, but of all major profitable factories, farms and banks without compensation to the bosses and under workers control as part of a planned economy!

The Cuba model is wrong for another life and death reason. Unlike Cuba, there are no Soviet missiles to ‘protect’ Venezuela. Castro’s bureaucratised worker state survived because of the Cold War standoff between imperialism and the degenerated workers states. Venezuela would not survive an imperialist counter-revolution and invasion without armed workers and farmers militia. Chavez may declare his loyalty to the interests of the masses, but his actions expose the masses to a terrible historic defeat. Any illusions that Chavez can defend workers in the event of a US sponsored civil war (e.g. invasion from Colombia) can only disarm the workers and lead to their defeat.

What is needed is not pseudo-revolutionary rhetoric about the ‘Marxist’ Chavez leading the way on the road to socialism, but the organisation of the Venezuelan workers, peasants and soldiers into armed Soviets capable of mobilising a ‘Red Army’ to defend the national revolution from the counter-revolution and to go on to seize the power in the name of a workers’ and peasant’s government.

For a national congress of the CNT and workers and peasant organisations in struggle!
For the expropriation of land, industry and the banks without compensation and under peasant and worker control!
For soviets and workers and peasants militias and soldiers committees!
For a Workers’ and working Farmers’ government! 

From Class Struggle 60 March-April 2005


Written by raved

January 11, 2010 at 11:17 pm

Leaflet for the 2nd Congress of CONLUTAS in Porto Allegre, January 2005

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For a CONLUTAS with Soviets everywhere!

The electoral victory of the popular front in Brazil and the participation of the CUT in the government of Lula, proved conclusively the bankruptcy of the bureaucracy which began in the 80s and crystallized in the last twenty years. The CUT, PT bureaucracy never called for the overthrow of the bourgeois state. Its record of struggle was limited to fighting for improvements for workers within capitalism
 
The conformism and adaptation of the CUT bureaucracy was accompanied by a form of undemocratic union organization separated from its membership base that gradually consolidated into the extreme that we see today: the statization of the CUT, the vertical structure, and the defense of the privatizations and neo-liberal reforms. While the CUT defends sectorial representation and ‘organic unionism’ it is already completely bureaucratized with only 1 delegate for by each 1500 members; the high wages paid to the officials creates a privileged and corrupt gangster layer whose interests are totally opposed to those of the membership; a caste that uses the union apparatus of the central command to serve Lula. For this reason the CUT could not give birth to an anti-capitalist program.

The CONLUTAS is a progressive initiative of a sector of the vanguard militants who have broken with the CUT and are opposed to the government of the Popular Front of Lula PT/PC neo-liberal health reforms, and in response to the CUT entering the FNT (National Labor Forum) definitively abandoning its roots in the working class. The formation of the CONLUTAS is the vanguard’s answer to the complete servility of the CUT to the government of the PT and the bourgeois State. It is also a demonstration that the will to struggle of the proletariat in Brazil did not die with the betrayal of the CUT with the subservience of the PT to the reforms of the bourgeois State.

The CONLUTAS and POLITICAL ORGANIZATIONS

The CONLUTAS is made up of several political organizations including the PSTU that today is leading the process of construction and strengthening of the new union, reorganizing the vanguard, the union and the popular movement for the defense of social and labor rights. We must support and participate in that process.

But it is necessary to say clearly that the PSTU, for a long time, was also in the leadership of the CUT. In fact, it played the role of left cover for the right policy the majority. Now, as a calculated political and electoral move, the PSTU decides to break with the CUT and to create CONLUTAS. Sadly, the PSTU does not have revolutionary politics. It will try to transform the CONLUTAS into a pressure group on government, into a sort of “CUT No 2”. Thus, in the unions it leads, it does not organize the membership base; the mobilizations it leads are token marches to pressure the bourgeois parliament in Brasilia. The political program of the PSTU does not go beyond the limits of capitalism either: that is, not beyond opposition to the union, labor and university reforms, the FTAA and the “neo-liberal model” in general.

The PSOL – the Party of the Socialism and Freedom, organized by the sector of the PT left that broke with the PT – is, in fact, “a new” version of the PT. It does not participate actively in the construction of the CONLUTAS due to its electioneering focus; it has a foot in both camps. While the PSOL has broken with the CUT, only some of their tendencies (e.g. Cliffites) defend CONLUTAS. PSOL does not call for its members to break with the CUT. On the contrary, it reinforces the illusion that the membership should stay in the CUT and fight to take over the leadership.

Marxists, Leninists, Trotskyists and CONLUTAS

What worries us is that the Marxists, Leninists and Trotskyists who are active in the day to day building of CONLUTAS – and we call on all the activists and fighters who are engaged in this process to listen to our concerns – is that the CONLUTAS must bury all the bad habits of the bureaucratic unionism of the CUT, or risk recreating a new union bureaucracy which will again deceive the vanguard that is fighting for a democratic CONLUTAS.

We use this occasion to denounce the PSTU’s use of the same policy as the CUT bureaucracy to finance Cesar Benjamim and James Petras to come to the 2nd Congress of CONLUTAS. We are against this because it uses the funds of the workers struggle without demanding that the money be repaid. On the contrary, anybody who has the interests of proletariat in its struggle against capitalism at heart will pay out of their own pocket for that fight. While we workers rely on our poor wages to be at the congress, these gentlemen are privileged to have their hotel, food and transport costs guaranteed. These gentlemen, who live much better than workers, should have to donate to the movement, not to be paid by it. The PSTU hypocritically condemns this practice, used for years by the CT bureaucracy as a means of corrupting militants and activists, before the membership, but defends it to the intellectuals.

No to the CORRUPTION of the MILITANTS (“We must live for the movement and not on the movement “, Leon Trotsky – Transitional Program).

There must be maximum workers’ democracy in the daily operation and decision making of CONLUTAS. Transparency, respect and equality in relation to minority sectors, discussion and decision making by the rank and file membership, are essential conditions to guarantee workers’ democracy inside the union. CONLUTAS, taking the example of the Soviets, must be open to a broadest membership, from the union organizations, student movement, popular movements and revolutionary political organizations, to prevent the formation of a bureaucratic apparatus.

This form of organization must be combined with a workers and farmers political platform:

· Down with the Lula/PT/PC government of Brazil and its neo-liberal reforms!
· Down with the regime of the social pact headed by Cardoso yesterday and Lula-Alencar today, supported by its agents in the CUT, accomplices in the murder of the poor farmers and the domination of Brazil by imperialism!
· Expel from the unions the CT bureaucracy sold out to the regime!
· For a CONLUTAS with a proletarian and Soviet program, and down the reformist program of the PSTU for the CONLUTAS!

CONLUTAS cannot avoid being a minority and the fact that most of the proletariat is still controlled by the CUT bureaucracy. It is not enough to offer the workers a place to go. It is necessary to go and look for them where they are and to show them the way. For this, it is necessary to raise the fight against the statization of the unions, for workers’ democracy and a revolutionary leadership of the unions; to create organs of workers’ democracy of the masses that overcome the barriers that the bureaucratic caste has imposed on the unions.

· No interference of the state in the working organizations!
· No union law with which the patterns and their state regulate the working organizations!
· Neither the current law, nor the new one that they want to impose!
· Down the compulsory conciliation, the boss’s state’s hands off the worker’s organizations!
· Independence of workers organizations!
· Down with the union bureaucracy!
· Pay union leaders the workers’ average wage, with mandates recallable at any time by decision of the assembly and bodies of delegates, and a return to the workplace without right of re-election!
· End the compulsory discount of the union quotas!
· For leaders and delegates to meet monthly in the factories and workplaces!

It is necessary that CONLUTAS boldly promotes the formation of strike and factory committees and pickets, which are the only means to organize the exploited layers of the proletariat alongside the committees of unemployed and landless farmers, united around the central demands for a sliding scale of wages and working hours, against the wage agreements and labor concessions signed by the bureaucratic officials, against the notorious social pact of exploitation and slavery, and for land for the farmers. This is the way to advance and realize a national Congress of workers’ and farmers delegates with self-defense committees – embryos of the workers’ militia with the perspective to defeat the regime of the social pact and its government, and to advance towards the creation of a workers’ and farmers’ government based on the armed, revolutionary masses in struggle.

NO SUBORDINATION of CONLUTAS to the WORLD SOCIAL FORUM

But the real danger to the revolutionary perspective of the CONLUTAS is its subordination to the World Social Forum that the PSTU is trying to impose. Because while the organizers of the WSF have not finally accepted that the 2nd national Congress of CONLUTAS is an official event of the Forum, it is clear that this is the policy of the PSTU: to make sure that CONLUTAS is born and develops inside the cave of bandits of the WSF –traitors of the world revolution, enemy of the Iraqi resistance, loyal servants of the apartheid forced on the heroic Palestinian people, stranglers of the Argentine and Bolivian revolutions, betrayers of the Central American revolution, lackeys of Bush with the AFL-CIO and of French-German imperialism along with the bureaucracies and workers’ aristocracies of Europe.

Thus, the PSTU, while on one hand it calls for a break with the CUT and to integrate itself into CONLUTAS, on the other hand it takes the combative vanguard that looks for a way to defeat the bureaucracy, the employer’s association and the government, and puts it on its knees before the WSF, that is to say, before the bureaucracy, the government of Lula, and the Castro bureaucracy that is preparing capitalist restoration in Cuba, etc.

For that reason, the Marxists, Leninists, and Trotskyists, who signed this declaration, put forward a motion to the assembled workers and youth vanguard in CONLUTAS: we propose that its Congress resolves explicitly to fight for “Down with the World Social Forum of Lula, Chávez and Fidel Castro, of the AFL-CIO, those accomplices and servants of imperialism, traitors of the Latin American and world revolution! No subordination of CONLUTAS to World Social Forum!

We propose that alongside this struggle and as the first internationalist task of the Brazilian working class, that the 2nd Congress of CONLUTAS denounces the counter-revolutionary continental policy of the government of Lula that, with the support and the support of the bureaucracy of the CUT, Fidel Castro, Chávez, and the reformist World Social Forum, which is at the point of the imperialist’s spear to contain and to strangle the revolutionary struggle of the Argentine, Bolivian, and Peruvian working class and of all Latin America.

· Down the continental counter-revolutionary policy of Lula, of the Castro bureaucracy that is preparing the completion of capitalist restoration in Cuba, and of Chávez who sells petroleum to the Yankee imperialists to kill the Iraqi people!

· It is necessary to declare war against that holy alliance that, at the hands of the mercenaries Lula, Kirchner and Lagos, sends troops in the service of imperialism to massacre the Haitian people!

From Class Struggle 59 January-February 2005

Written by raved

January 8, 2010 at 9:09 pm

Leaflet for the 5th World Social Forum, Porto Allegre, January 2005

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The 5th meeting of the WSF prepares new sellouts of the Castroite restoration bureaucracy and US imperialists.

The World Social Forum (WSF) – meeting in Porto Allegre in January 2005 for the fifth time, has an ominous significance for the organizations and the struggle of the workers of Brazil, Latin America and of the world. It mystifies and confuses with its reactionary strategy of class conciliation, suppressing the direct action and revolutionary politics of the masses. The WSF unites the worlds reformists (social democracy, stalinism, and pseudo-Trotskyism), such as the PT [Workers Party of Brazil], the petty bourgeoisie, the NGOs, the church, the CUT [pro-Chavez bureaucratized union movement of Brazil] and leadership of the MST [movement of landless workers]. “Another World is possible”, in the after life in the sky; here and now the WSF adapts to the declining capitalist State and its barbarism.

The 5th WSF takes place at a time of intense class struggle with the US offensive against the Iraqi people. The re-election of President Bush and the election of Abu Mazen in Palestine demonstrate that imperialism will ruthlessly pursue its objective to exploit, dominate and oppress the Iraqi and Palestinian people, in a wild drive to sack and plunder the natural wealth of the Middle East. Oil, vital to the survival of North American industry, is what made it go to war to loot and plunder Iraq which has the 3rd largest reserve. As well as oil, the US war industry also profits from the war.

The United States must exercise its world domination by the use of the force, occupying Iraqi territory, and trampling on every principle of national sovereignty, supported hypocritically by the international organisms of the bourgeoisie, like the UN, and the class collaborationist line of the World Social Forum. Yet the occupation of Iraq has fallen far short of what the Pentagon wanted because despite the huge and escalating cost of suppressing the Iraqi resistance it has not yet forced the Iraqi people to accept the occupation. Already, the US has had more than 1,500 casualties (according to the bourgeois media). Another test of the hypocrisy of the US is its insistence on holding elections in Iraq, a farce which is designed to legitimize it domination military behind a screen of bourgeois democracy.
 
All this proves that the use of ‘revolutionary terror’ by the Iraqi masses against the US occupation is totally legitimate, and that the calls for peace and condemnations of the use of violence by Iraqis is a demagogic conspiracy by the bourgeoisies, the petty bourgeoisie and their agents designed to suppress the peoples’ instinct to defend their country. All the gangsters are united internationally in the defense of the ideals and security of the capitalist society and their state regimes, that have as their ‘mission’ the exploitation and the domination of the semi-colonial nations by imperialism and “the legitimate” defense of imperialistic super-exploitation and oppression.

For that reason the servile lackeys of imperialism and defenders of capitalist exploitation daily condemn the use of the revolutionary violence of the Iraqi people, since this is the one true, real threat to the power of the imperialistic bourgeoisie and its accomplices. If the opposition to violence was grounded in the interest of the working class, why do these pacifists not condemn the reactionary violence of the US that almost daily drops their bombs on thousands of innocent civilians, young and old; that daily destroys public buildings, historical and cultural treasures, houses, hospitals and schools, causing indiscriminate and immeasurable genocide? Why do they shut up before the tortures inflicted on the Iraqi militia in the prison of Abu Graib and the prisoners of Guantánamo? Or perhaps these do not constitute forms of violence? The only violence condemned by the lackeys of imperialism, is that directed against bourgeois hegemony.

Bourgeois and petty bourgeois pacifism condemns the violence of the exploited against the exploiters, organizing themselves globally to legitimize the violence of capitalism including of state fascism, as is the case of the politics of the World Social Forum. Thus it disarms the proletariat of its militant ideas and reinforces the oppression and domination of imperialism and capitalism in decline.

The WSF is an initiative of the global reformists (social democracy, Stalinism, and the pseudo Trotskyism), of the Workers Party (PT), the petty bourgeoisie, the NGOs, the church, the CUT (Workers Union Central of Brazil) and direction of the MST (union of landless workers of Brazil) all are financed by the governments and international organisms of imperialism, to put pressure on the imperialistic bourgeoisies (that meet at the World Economic Forum at Davis) to give more breadcrumbs to the poor countries. The main organizers are ABONG (Brazilian Association of non-Governmental Organizations), ATTAC (Action by the Taxation of Financial Transactions to the Citizens), CBJP (Brazilian Commission of Justice and Peace of CNBB), in addition to CUT, MST, UJS, UNITES, CMP and others, all related to national and international governmental organs. Indeed because the FSM arose to make a counter-pressure to the Economic Forum of Davis, their meetings always precede it. (Leaders of the WSF like Lula, also go to the WEF).

The WSF announces that “Another World is possible”, without violence, shared by all, with justice, without social exclusion, and of equality between all peoples. It recycles as its principles and justification, old clichés long used to suppress the independent struggle of the working class from the time of the Communist Manifesto of Marx and Engels that first said that “the liberation of the workers will be work of the workers”, that is, that liberation will only come from the victory of the proletarian revolution, nationally and internationally. Thus, the World Social Forum orates at the funeral of the workers who are made to wait for a better world after their death.

Another method used to mystify the unions and workers struggle: the NGOs penetrate these movements with their humanitarian, pacifist and ecological ideologies, trying to replace the method of direct fight against capitalist exploitation, in all its forms, with the method of the pacific appeals and voluntary aid (alms, something typical of the religious mentality). They say, that the proletarian method of direct action, armed or not, is ineffective in the transformation of the capitalist society into a world of social equality. They say that the proletariat organized as a class to fight Capitalism, does not bring about any improvement in the lives of the workers and the people. For that reason they try to sell to the governments their assistance projects (especially in the poor countries) which they claim can provide solutions to the social evils of prostitution, unemployment, violence, illiteracy etc.

Therefore, the WSF is promoted and justified by the strategy and world-view of the petty bourgeoisie desperate to survive as a class that lives on the dregs and the breadcrumbs of the bourgeoisie. It is most damaging because it infects the movement of workers of Brazil, Latin America and of the world, with a conformist, stingy and anti-proletarian ideology. More importantly, the WSF is supported by the treacherous leaders of the masses, whose objective is to strangle the proletarian struggle on a global level and, in the case of Latin America, the revolutionary struggle of the workers and the exploited masses, like yesterday in Central America, today in Bolivia and Venezuela, and soon in Ecuador and Argentina, to subjugate them at the feet of the bourgeoisies.

In this fifth World Social Forum the NGOs and the churches are a key element, where they play the role “of mediators” sprinkling holy water on the revolutionary struggles of the masses, to bless those that were the key figures at previous WSF meetings, including its predecessor, the Forum of San Pablo, that are all today participating in bourgeois regimes and governments, or openly supporting them.

There is colonel Gutiérrez, leading the government of Ecuador, who presented himself in the previous meetings of “the patriotic” WSF as an “anti-imperialist”, but selling out to the plans of the IMF, and preparing to sign a free trade agreement with the Yankees, and starving and repressing the workers and the farmers.

There are the old Sandinista commanders of Nicaragua and those of the FMLN of El Salvador, founders of the old Forum of San Pablo next to Chacho Alvarez of Argentina, the bourgeois red Cardinal of the PRD of Mexico, Aristide of Haiti, friend of Fidel Castro and killer of his people -, administering declining semi-colonial Capitalism in those nations and as mayors and parliamentarians, ‘dolarizing’ El Salvador, applying the plans of the IMF and making deals for imperialist re-colonization.

There we see the supposedly “anti-imperialist” Chávez who continues selling petroleum to Bush and the Yankees, who use it to fuel the military machine to massacre the Iraqi people.

There, in that Forum, are the communist parties of Latin America which hold their “World Seminar” every year to agree on their counter-revolutionary politics before traveling to the meeting of the WSF. They are the stalinists and Castroists in all its variants, that all openly support the US lackey Kirchner in Argentina, as demanded by Fidel Castro when he visited that country in 2003; that like the Peruvian CGTP supports the hated government of Toledo; that in Bolivia, along with Solares and Quispe, support Mesa with their truce; that in the case of Castroite bureaucracy is prepared to complete the capitalist restoration in Cuba.

There, also in that Forum, are the communist parties and the union bureaucracies that in Europe have led the working class, as in Spain, Germany, Britain, into the governments of the social-imperialist parties who create the illusions of French-German-Spanish ‘democratic imperialism’. There also is the union bureaucracy of the US AFL-CIO that yesterday supported Bush and marines in Afghanistan and Iraq, and today wants the US working class prostrate at the feet of the imperialistic killers in the Democratic Party.

Against this den of liquidators of the proletarian revolution and expropriators of the workers struggles, the members of the Committee of Connection counter pose the struggle for an International Conference of principled Trotskyists and revolutionary international workers organizations, fighting to regroup the healthy forces of Trotskyism to recreate a World Party of the Socialist Revolution. For that reason, we commit ourselves to confront and to fight against that treacherous Forum, and to mobilize all our forces and energies, to defeat social democracy, stalinism, the labor aristocracies and bureaucracies of all types, and the liquidators and renegades of Trotskyism, who are dragging in the mud the name, the program and the flag of the 4th International.

The revolutionaries who have signed this declaration, follow the Transitional Program of the 4th International, and repudiate and fight uncompromisingly against popular fronts and all political groups who hang onto the aprons strings of the bourgeoisie; our task is the abolition of the capitalist domination; our objective, socialism, our method, the proletarian revolution.

We must make this fight with all our forces, because the international proletariat needs to raise a spotless flag, a program based on the international experience of the proletariats fight for the freedom of all oppressed peoples of the world; that is the flag of the Trotskyism.

For that reason, we are not part of World Social Forum, nor do we support it in any way. On the contrary, we are here to denounce the farce called for WSF before the worldwide activist vanguard who are gathered here, the mass union movements, students’ movements, and unemployed people etc., who believe in the goal of socialism. The World Social Forum is an anti-proletarian den. For that reason, we denounce it before the poor people of the world; we say that its politics does not serve the interests of workers; we denounce its organizers as parasites that live off the taxes paid by the exploited labor power of the people.

The greatest violence that humanity imposes on the oppressed is capitalism itself (private ownership of the means of production) and the crises of overproduction that are inherent in that system, (the minimum wage does not correspond to 10% of working families’ necessities). According to bourgeois sources: the number of poor people in the world has risen to around 307 million. The Report of the Conference of the UN Committee for Trade and Development (UNCTAD) published recently, shows that in the last 30 years the number of people who live on less than one US dollar a day has doubled. It predicts that by 2015, the poor countries will have 420 million people living below the poverty line. In some regions, mainly in Africa, part of the population already live on less than US 57 cents, while a Swiss citizen spends US$ 61.9 per day. In the 1970s around 56% of the African population lived on less than a dollar a day. Today, this proportion is 65%. Poverty is increasing, not diminishing. The workers and youth in general are at the mercy of this absolute violence, of hunger, misery, unemployment, prostitution, drugs etc..

The remedy for the violence of the capitalism that social science reveals, is the international socialist revolution, the expropriation of the expropriator, the socialization of the means of production.

· Out with the imperialistic troops of Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan and Haiti!
· For the military defeat of all imperialistic troops occupying Iraq!
· For the victory of the heroic resistance of the Iraqi masses!
· For the triumph of the Latin American working class and the world socialist revolution!
· Long Live the struggle on the workers and exploited people of Bolivia who lead the way!
· Imperialism out of Bolivia! Down with the government of Mesa, break the truce made by Evo Morales, Solares of the COB, and Quispe of the CSUTCB!
· For a national Congress of delegates of rank and file of the COB and the farmers unions, for a political general strike, with barricades, pickets, workers militias and committees of soldiers, that can overthrow Mesa and the regime of the mine-owners, imposing a revolutionary provisional government of the COB and the farmers unions, supported by the armed, independent organizations of the masses!


Signed by FTI-CI (Argentina, Chile, Peru, Bolivia), CWG (NZ), FT-PV (Brazil) and CLA (Australia)

From Class Struggle 59 January-February 2005

Written by raved

January 8, 2010 at 8:57 pm

United States: the Movement of the March of the Million Workers.

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  • For a class program, anti-imperialist and the fight for the unity of the world working class
  • Solidarity with the North American workers’ vanguard.
  • Support its anti-imperialist, internationalist and working class mobilizations for the 19th of March and 1st of May!
  • Call to the militant workers organizations of Latin America and of the world


The North American working class, the main ally of the exploited workers and peoples of the semi colonial world, because it can strike at the heart of imperialism, has begun to wake up. The vanguard workers of the United States and their militant organizations have begun to look for a way to fight against the war in Iraq, opposing their own imperialistic bourgeoisie, and the attacks that Bush and the ruling class make on their historic gains and living standards, and against the rotten union bureaucracy of the AFL-CIO, servants of the imperialist bourgeoisie.

They have launched the Movement of the Million Workers March against the war, adopting the call originally made by Local 10 of the Oakland dockworkers (ILWU). Hundreds of local unions have signed up to this call breaking the discipline of the bureaucracy of the AFL-CIO. The MWM Movement mobilized about ten thousand in Washington on 17th October 2004 calling for the immediate return of the Yankee troops from Iraq. Now, it has issued a new declaration, calling for “the unity of the rank and file of the unions in the fight for the rights of workers and the end of the war in Iraq”, raising an anti-imperialist and working class independence program, based on the united struggle of the international working class.

This call by the militant workers vanguard of the United States, stands up against the union bureaucracy of the AFL-CIO which adheres to the sell-out World Social Forum. This declaration by our North American class brothers and sisters challenges the subservience of the AFL-CIO to Bush and the Democratic Party that is creating a big crisis in the unions in the US. The unions in the epoch of imperialism are totally dominated by the labor aristocracy and the labor bureaucracy and their reformist programs. This proves that the rebuilding of the unions will only come as the result of the most militant workers guided by a revolutionary program.

This Movement and its declaration came as a breath of fresh air for the exploited workers and peoples of the world. It proves that the future of the North American working class is in the hands of its most exploited sectors, the African-American and migrant workers who are the backbone of the new militant movement. The African-American and Latino workers, immigrant workers, and the unemployed workers are the rank and file troops of this movement and they are flexing their muscles against the privileged workers aristocracy and the labor bureaucracy, struggling to unleash the power of the North American working class!

19th of March, all out against the war in Iraq, all out for May Day all over the world!

In their struggle to revive proletarian internationalism, this new militant Movement has forged links with the Zengakuren students and the railway workers of Japan fighting against privatization of rail, marking a leap forward in the international cooperation of workers organizations.

A delegation of this Movement also joined with Japanese workers who traveled to Tokyo to protest outside the owners’ head office against the lockout of hotel workers in the USA. It has also established international solidarity links with the Korean Confederation of Unions (KCTU) as it prepares for a general strike.

Its call to the antiwar and workers organizations in the United States to jointly organize on the 19 of March – marking two years since the invasion of Iraq – a big mobilization in New York, demanding the immediate end of the war and the return of troops from Iraq, is a major step forward in the anti-imperialist struggle. Its call to reclaim the 1st of May as the international day of struggle for the world labor movement, with a worldwide day of action against the imperialist war in Iraq and in defense of the demands and the rights of workers, clearly marks an historical event for the world proletariat.

Long live the North American workers’ vanguard and its militant organizations, who have erected in full view of the world’s workers a barricade for class independence against the imperialist massacre of our Iraqi brothers and sisters by their own bourgeoisie, and against the workers aristocracy and the union bureaucracy, and for proletarian internationalism!

The North American workers vanguard raises the barricade of working class internationalism objectively opposed to the barricade of the World Social Forum and its politics of class collaboration

Though the leaders of the MWM Movement do not see this, the proletarian, anti-imperialist and internationalist demands of the Movement objectively raises a barricade against the World Social Forum and the policy of the AFL-CIO. In the heart of the imperialistic beast, class against class, there is now a class struggle barricade; a barricade against the World Social Forum, opposed to the policy of the AFL-CIO in the United States, and of the labor bureaucracies and the social imperialist parties of Europe, all serving the class interests of their own imperialist bourgeoisies; a barricade against the counter-revolutionary class collaboration politics of treacherous nationalism, which the Castroists, stalinists, and labor aristocracies and bureaucracies of all types –with the collaboration of the liquidators and renegades of Trotskyism – try to strangle the vanguard of world working class.

It will not be the Iraqi bourgeois fractions, Shiite, Sunni or Kurd, all minor partners of imperialism and the betrayers of the national resistance against the invader, nor even the heroic resistance of the workers of that blood soaked nation that wins the war against the imperialistic invader. On the contrary, the main ally and the decisive factor in the victory and the liberation of the oppressed peoples of the world, is the North American working class that is now beginning to find its strength to attack the imperialist beast at home.

It is not Chávez, Lula or Kirchner – nor Fidel Castro, the stalinist unions, the bureaucracies and the reformist leaders of all colors, who subordinate the working class to the bourgeoisie and prop-up its regimes and governments – that are the allies of the working class and the poor farmers of Latin America. Rather it is the working class of the United States and in particular, the African-Americans, Latinos and immigrants – the most exploited, oppressed workers who are treated like pariahs – who today begin to find their strength and to organise themselves in the Million Workers Movement!

The big majority of the liquidationist currents of Trotskyism have now officially joined the World Social Forum at the 5th meeting in Porto Allegre at the end of January of 2005. They have already chosen their barricade: with the World Social Forum, blocking the road of the North American workers vanguard and its anti-imperialist, internationalist, working class program.

These currents were the ones who took the most militant representatives of the workers vanguard of Brazil, of Argentina, of Peru, of Latin America, to the meeting of that traitors’ forum in Porto Allegre, to try to subjugate them to their reformist policy of class collaboration.

  • Down with the World Social Forum of Lula, Chávez, Fidel Castro, of the AFL-CIO, all agents of imperialism and traitors to the Latin American and world revolution!
  • No subordination of the militant workers and their class struggle organizations to the World Social Forum!

To the militant workers organizations of Latin America and the world: Solidarity with the Million Workers March Movement and its mobilizations of March 19th & May 1st
 
We revolutionary internationalists who have signed this declaration enthusiastically welcome and join our forces with the Movement of the Million Workers, and its two working class, anti-imperialist and internationalist calls of the March 19th and May 1s.

We call on our comrades in the different groups which are members of the Liaison Committee for an International Conference of Principled Trotskyists and revolutionary internationalist workers organizations, to add their support and signature, and build together a great internationalist campaign.

We call on all the militant workers organizations of the countries in which we are active, and in the rest of the world, to play their part on the barricade that has been built by our class brothers and sisters of the United States. We call on the workers of the Subte [underground railway of Buenos Aires] and their delegates who are within reach of victory in their strike against the employer’s association, the union bureaucracy and the government of the imperialist lackey Kirchner; the miners of Turbio River, the piquetero movement, and the internal commissions, bodies of delegates, and militant workers organizations of Argentina; to the worker and youth vanguard that in Brazil which has built CONLUTAS to confront the union bureaucracy of the CUT that supports Lula; the militant working class organizations of Chile, of Peru, of Bolivia, and of New Zealand, all to adhere to the declaration of the Movement of the March of the Million Workers and to its two calls to action.

The barricade of North American workers vanguard is also our barricade in the fight for the revolutionary students of the Technological University of Oruro (UTO) in Bolivia, and those of the National University of the Comahue (UNCo) in Argentina, that rose in struggle for a University in the service of the workers and the people; it is the same barricade for all the militant anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist youth of Latin America and the world. We call on all of them to unite with the revolutionary students Zengakuren of Japan, who have adhered to and support the declaration and the calls to action of the Million Workers March Movement.

We call on the militant workers organizations and the anti-imperialist youth to take the struggle into their own hands so that March 19 becomes a day of anti-imperialist mobilization and class struggle everywhere in the world for the defeat of the imperialistic troops in Iraq, and support for the heroic Iraqi masses. We fight against the rotten politics of the World Social Forum which tries to neutralize the mobilizations and to remove their proletarian class character and substitute a reformist and pacific politics. The revolutionary organizations that have signed this call, undertake to fight inside all united front actions on March 19th to raise our class struggle program for the military defeat of the imperialist troops in Iraq, and for the victory of the indomitable resistance of the Iraqi masses.

We call on the militant workers organizations to reconquer the heroic tradition of proletarian internationalism of the world working class, which was suppressed by social democracy and stalinism: let us reclaim, alongside the North American workers, May 1st [May Day] 2005 as a day of world proletarian struggle, with strikes and mobilizations coordinated in every country! This is what is most urgently needed by our Iraqi brothers and sisters!

This is what we urgently need, the workers, and the exploited and oppressed peoples of the world! This is what we need to free from the jails the tens of thousands of worker and anti-imperialist fighters who the bourgeois imperialist regimes and governments keep as hostages, in Guantánamo, in Turkey, in Bolivia, in Argentina, etc.!

We call on workers everywhere to take the declaration and the two calls to action as motions to be discussed and voted on in the militant workers organizations of Latin America, of Europe, of Asia, of the world. For our part, we commit ourselves, on the honor of revolutionary internationalists, to build this struggle and to take these motions to the heart of the workers organizations and all the struggles of the exploited and oppressed in the countries where we are active.

Signed by FTI-CI (Argentina, Chile, Peru, Bolivia), FT-PV (Brazil), CWG (NZ)

From Class Struggle 59 January-February 2005 

Written by raved

January 8, 2010 at 8:48 pm

Terror in Apure: Workers must lead the Defence of Venezuela!

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Coming just weeks after Chavez’ victory in the recall referendum with 58% of the vote a new massacre of soldiers and oil workers by anti-Chavez forces has occurred in Apure. Despite the apparent stability of Venezuela after the referendum it is clear that the anti-Chavez forces will use whatever means to destablise the country. We argue that Chavez cannot defend the workers and peasants of Venezuela, only the formation of workers, peasants and soldiers militias that are independent of Chavez can do that.

On September 17th five Venezuelan soldiers and one oil worker were killed near the town of Guasdualito, in a remote corner of Venezuela’s Apure province. The soldiers and workers had been searching for oil under the jungles and swamps of Apure. Two days later, the bodies of three oil workers were discovered near the scene of the first attack. The workers’ hands had been tied behind their backs. Three more bodies have since been discovered, strewn on a road near Guasdualito. They are thought to belong to the force that carried out the September 17th attack

The same Western media which lavishes attention on the execution of hostages in Iraq has almost completely ignored the Guasdualito killings. The politicians who shed crocodile tears over the fate of Western oil workers in Iraq have studiously ignored the murder of Venezuelan oil workers. Yet the Guasdualito killings are only the latest in a series of terror attacks against the people of Venezuela.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez flew to Guasdualito and told locals that the killings were part of ‘Washington’s war agenda’ to divide his country and Colombia and ‘sell lots of arms’.

The Colombian government has denied any involvement in the killings, claiming that they could have been carried out by a ‘pro-Chavez armed group’ called the ‘Bolivarian Liberation Front’. But the ‘Bolivarian Liberation Front’ exists only in the propaganda of the Colombian government, Venezuela’s right-wing opposition, and the Bush administration. The spectre of the Front has been invoked again and again to justify the creation of opposition paramilitaries inside Venezuela, and to excuse aggressive Colombian ‘border policing’.

It is no surprise that Colombia has been a launching pad for renewed attacks on Venezuela. Alvaro Uribe, the most pro-US leader in South America, is fighting his own war against two left-wing Colombian guerrilla groups. US ‘military advisers’ fight alongside Uribe’s army and US aircraft criss-cross Colombian skies. Uribe has accused Chavez of aiding Colombia’s leftists; Bush’s government has gone one step further and claimed that Al Qaeda terrorists are using Venezuela’s Margarita Island as well as its border with Colombia as training grounds.

In reality, of course, it has been Colombian terrorists who have been crossing the border into Venezuela, where they try to destabilise the Chavez government with actions like the Guasdualito massacre. Most of the terrorists seem to belong to right-wing paramilitary groups aligned with the Uribe government and Venezuela’s opposition, but the possibility of the direct involvement of Colombian and US soldiers cannot be discounted. Colombian paramilitaries have not only appeared in isolated rural regions: in May of this year one hundred and thirty of them were discovered on the outskirts of Caracas, where they had apparently gathered to prepare an attack on Chavez.

Background to the current situation

One or two commentators have suggested that the Guasdualito attacks represent the beginning of a Contra-style terror campaign against the Chavez government and its supporters. In reality, terrorist attacks by the Venezuelan opposition and Colombian paramilitaries have been occurring for years in the Venezuelan countryside. Dozens members of pro-Chavez peasants’ associations have already been assassinated.

But the ongoing terror campaign Venezuela’s countryside has been overshadowed by the coup attempts of 2002 and the employers’ lockout of 2002-2003 which posed much greater threats to Chavez regime.

Chavez was rescued from the coup attempt and the lockout by the mobilisation of workers who took to the streets and the oil fields on their own initiative. After each attempt to remove Chavez failed, the opposition were quick to arrive at a deal with him to prevent the workers from taking power while they regrouped their forces. Chavez ‘pardoned’ the opposition, guaranteed the US oil supply and told the workers to go home. After the lockout failed, the US backed the agreement between Chavez and its representative, Jimmy Carter, the Venezuela opposition, and members of the Organisation of American States.

In the aftermath of its heavy defeat in the recent Presidential recall referendum, Venezuela’s opposition and its Colombian allies may choose to intensify the campaign of terror. A faction of the opposition denounced the referendum result as fraudulent, and used Venezuela’s private media to appeal unsuccessfully for a military coup and a popular uprising. They shot nine anti-Chavez protesters on the outskirts of Caracas, in an apparent attempt to repeat the faked ‘Chavez massacre’ used to justify the April 2002 coup.

The US ruling class quickly recognised the reality of the opposition’s latest election defeat. Re-assured by Chavez’ call for ‘national unity’ and the uninterrupted supply of Venezuela oil, at a time when the US is bogged down in Iraq, Jimmy Carter and the New York Times urged respect for the referendum result, criticised opposition calls for violence, and demanded a US dialogue with Chavez’s government, while Wall St responded with a healthy movement in stock values.

Nonetheless, the Bush administration has continued to keep the pressure on Chavez. At the beginning of September it used trumped-up human trafficking charges to slap 250 million dollars’ worth of sanctions on Venezuela. Fifteen US black hawk helicopters recently flew from Colombia deep into Venezuela, in a show of naked aggression. Chavez was forced to abandon plans to address the UN’s recent annual leaders’ meeting, after the US government refused to provide him with security or guarantee his safety.

Chavez army ‘reforms’

Chavez has responded to the Guasdualito massacre by announcing a major reform of his armed forces. The new ‘National Defence Plan’ will be ‘humanitarian-based’, and will aim to increase the morale of soldiers by educating them politically and giving them greater contact with the civilian population. Quoting Mao Zedong, Chavez told the people of Guasdualito that ‘In the end it will not be the side with the most arms that wins the war, but the side with the most morale’.

It is likely that Chavez is intending to purge the army of pro-opposition elements by sacking or demoting them and replacing them with loyal members of left-wing and workers’ organisations. Chavez may attempt to set up some sort of popular militia, under the control of the army, as part of the effort to dilute the power of hostile officers. After the discovery of the paramilitary force in May he announced that he wanted to find ways for the civilian population to ‘massively participate in the defence of the nation’. The army will probably also be forced to work more closely with the ‘Missions’ already set up to bypass the old opposition-controlled state bureaucracy and implement Chavez’s social policies.

Chavez has faced major opposition within the armed forces since 2000, when two hundred military men resigned en masse from his Bolivarian Revolutionary Movement. Soldiers who had fought beside Chavez during his 1992 coup were unable to tolerate the leftward trajectory of his administration. Since the April 2002 coup that briefly overthrew him Chavez has sought to purge the armed forces of these opponents, and to promote younger, loyal officers.

Chavez’s ‘National Defence Plan’ symbolises the general political programme of his government. Chavez talks of anti-imperialist war and a people’s army, but proposes no fundamental reform of the armed forces. His radical rhetoric hides a determination to work within the limits of capitalism and the capitalist state.

Chavez ‘Bonapartist’ role

Chavez was thrust into power by the mass mobilisations of workers and peasants against the neo-liberal economic attacks of the 1980s and 1990s. He came to power determined to be a ‘Bonapartist’ strongman balancing the interests of workers and capitalists against US imperialism and its local lackeys. Chavez wanted to develop a ‘national capitalism’ in opposition to US imperialism and globalisation. But the hostility of the vast majority of the Venezuelan capitalist class, who are little more than the lackeys of US business, forced Chavez to rely more and more heavily on his loyal army officers, and his mass support, among the poor workers of the barrios and the peasantry.

Chavez has enacted a number of progressive reforms, and replaced enemies in the state apparatus with representatives of workers’, peasants’ and indigenous organisations. But he has resisted calls to change Venezuelan society fundamentally by nationalising the economy under workers’ and peasants’ control.

As the self-styled successor to Simon Bolivar who fought for Venezuela’s independence from Spain, Chavez has illusions in finishing the revolution started by Boliva and creating an independent capitalist Venezuela in which workers, peasants, capitalists and state officials can all participate and share equitably in the national wealth.

But what Chavez doesn’t see is that national independence cannot succeed in a semi-colony dominated by imperialism unless it is won by the revolutionary workers leading the peasants in the overthrow of the state itself. As the defender of ‘state capitalism’ Chavez finds himself inevitably the defender of the private property of US imperialism against the threat of a socialist revolution.

Breaking the Sidor strike

The class character of Chavez’s ‘Bolivarian revolution’ was shown up very clearly during the bitter strike that took place at the Sidor steelworks in Bolivar state in April and May of this year. The biggest steel mill in South America, Sidor was privatised in 1997, and since then the steady casualisation of the workforce has caused a stream of industrial accidents.

When Sidor’s 11,000 workers went on strike demanding renationalisation Chavez’s response was to side with their bosses and send in the National Guard, which opened fire on picketers on April the 29th. After 19 days the strike was broken, though none of the Sidor workers crossed the picket line.
The conflict at Sidor offers lessons for the Venezuelans menaced by cross-border raids and opposition assassination squads. An army which fires even rubber bullets and gas pellets on workers on behalf of a multinational company is not capable of protecting workers and peasants from imperialism.

Chavez cannot free the peasantry

Chavez’s own response to the Guasdualito massacre shows the gap between his Bolivarian politics and the interests of the Latin American people threatened by terrorism.

In his speech to the people of Guasdualito, Chavez claimed that Colombia’s right-wing paramilitaries were not normally ‘enemies of our country, but if they are in our territory, from that moment on they become our enemies, because they violate the sovereignty of Venezuela’.

Yet right-wing paramilitaries and the government that backs them together kill thousands of Colombians every year. Colombia has the worst safety record for trade unionists in the world, with scores dying every year from bullets and bombs. How can Colombia’s paramilitaries cease to be the deadly enemies of workers and peasants, just because they cross an invisible border?

If Chavez were a real revolutionary, he would denounce the Colombian paramilitaries wherever they operate, and give assistance to the Colombians who fight the paramilitaries and the Uribe government. But Chavez’s fear of offending the Colombian and US governments trumps any commitment he might feel to the Colombian opponents of imperialism and terrorism.

Most of the victims of violence in the countryside have been peasants struggling for the redistribution of land held by Venezuela’s capitalist class and by foreign landlords. In November 2001 the Chavez government responded to peasant pressure by passing the Land Reform Law, which provided for the nationalisation of seventy-five million acres of idle land. Opposition governors and National Assembly members reacted furiously, and managed to tie the land reform process up in red tape. Militant peasants responded by seizing land promised to them by Chavez. In some places they divided the land into individual titles; in other places they have established huge collective farms. Between the end of 2001 and the end of last year over five million acres of land was redistributed.

Not surprisingly, leaders of peasant co-operative associations continue to be prime targets for Venezuela’s terrorists. Chavez has repeatedly urged peasants not to defend themselves with arms. He wants them to rely on the protection of the army that opened fire on the workers of Sidor.

For Workers and peasants councils and militias!

In the cities of Venezuela, the workers of the barrios are also threatened by terrorism. Urban paramilitary groups set up barricades to ‘defend’ wealthy neighbourhoods, and snipe at left-wing demonstrators from rooftops. During the National Lockout of 2002-2003, right-wing forces firebombed buses carrying workers to oil installations, and assassinated pro-government union leaders. Chavez allied himself with workers during the lockout when it was his own survival that was at stake, but at Sidor he showed that he will use Venezuela’s ‘official’ army on behalf of the class that funds Venezuela’s terrorists.

The workplace-based National Organisation of Workers (UNT) and the barrio-based Bolivarian Circles have been amongst the biggest supporters of Chavez. The UNT formed only in August 2003 is organisationally independent of Chavez’s state and his party, the Fifth Republic Movement. Chavez refused to attend the founding conference of the UNT, in protest at its call for the nationalisation of the economy under workers’ control and the establishment of a workers’ government.

In the aftermath of the Sidor strike, sections of the UNT are reconsidering their political support for Chavez. Ramon Machuca, a leader of the Sidor strike, is running for the governorship of Bolivar state independently of the Fifth Republic Movement. Machuca is positioning himself as the champion of workers dissatisfied with the limitations of Chavez’s political programme, but political independence counts for little if it does not become armed independence. A Machuca governorship will not protect the workers of Sidor. Workers’ militia need to be established to defend the factories and barrios of Venezuela’s cities. The UNT and the Bolivarian Circles must arm their members. They must go to the barracks and win over the rank and file of Chavez army and split them from the officer corps.

Workers’ and peasants’ militia will give teeth to a movement to turn the ‘Bolivarian revolution’ from being a trap to contain and defeat the workers, into a program for socialist revolution.

· Only the nationalisation without compensation under workers control of the media under workers’ and peasants’ control can stop the stream of lies and provocations which the Venezuelan opposition uses to foment a coup or a US invasion.

· Only the nationalisation without compensation under workers control of private businesses, banks and of cultivated as well as idle land can kill the power of the Venezuelan capitalists who send death squads after peasants.

· Only the nationalisation without compensation under workers control of the property of multinational companies can break US power in Venezuela and make a proletarian internationalist foreign policy possible.

· Only the splitting of the army of the bourgeois state replacement of the old army with workers’ and peasants’ militia can prevent a repeat of the tragedy of Sidor.

For a Revolutionary Party

The international socialist and workers’ movement must oppose all attempts by US imperialism and its auxiliaries to terrorise and destabilise Venezuela, without sowing any illusions in the Chavez government. Many leftists have opposed US interference in Venezuela, protesting the coup of 2002 and the lockout of 2002-2003, but very few have even noticed Chavez’s repression of the workers of Sidor.

Many of the socialist currents influenced by the Stalinist or Castroist views that the national bourgeoisie are ‘progressive’ support Chavez politically, and sow illusions in the masses that the Bolivarian ‘Revolution’ can defeat imperialism. For example, the ‘Hands Off Venezuela’ campaign initiated by the International Marxist Committee has attracted support from political parties and trade unions around the world, and helped to raise awareness of US aggression in Venezuela, but it has been marred by the very uncritical attitude its leading figures show to Chavez’s government.

The current campaign of its tendency in Venezuela, the Revolutionary Marxist Current, to occupy the giant paper mill VENEPAL in Moron, Carabodo state, under threat of closure by its US owner Smurfit, makes the basic mistake of calling on Chavez as a bourgeois President to arm the workers and occupy the plant, instead of calling on them to arm themselves, occupy the plant and break from Chavez.

To the left of reformist groups like the RMC, a number of self-proclaimed Trotskyist groups understand that Chavez cannot help but turn his guns on the workers. They are prepared to defend Chavez against the US, but say they will never support him politically.

Yet when it came to the test, they gave a critical vote of confidence to Chavez against the opposition in the recall referendum. CWG too called for a critical vote for Chavez as a military bloc against the opposition. A minority in CWG still holds this position. But a majority of CWG now accepts that the effect of critical support was a vote of confidence in Chavez helping him to contain the masses from organising and arming independently.

This thrust all of the currents that voted confidence in Chavez into the role of left-wing cheerleaders of the World Social Forum (WSF). The WSF supports the governments of Chavez, Lula, Kirchner and Castro as being capable of making a two-stage transition from capitalism to ‘market socialism’ without the masses playing an independent and leading role.

In Aotearoa, the Alliance Party is in the same camp. It advertised a recent reception for the Venezuelan ambassador to Australia under the headline ‘The Bolivarian Revolution Comes to Wellington’. The equation of the revolutionary potential of Venezuela’s workers and peasants with Chavez and his state is both wrong and dangerous.

In Aotearoa and across the world, socialists and the workers’ movement should turn opposition to US aggression in Venezuelan into support for the armed independence of the workers and peasants who can alone defeat imperialism.

In practice this requires the urgent creation of a revolutionary party able to lead the worker and peasant masses to socialism. The CWG is for the creation of a revolutionary Trotskyist party in the ranks of the UNT, the Bolivarian circles and the peasant organisations.

That party must have as its program the central demand that these organisations call for a national congress that raises the call to break with Chavez’ ‘national unity’, with the Bolivarian state machine, and to form organs of workers’ power as the basis for a workers’ revolution and a socialist republic of Venezuela as part of a United Socialist States of Latin America!

For a Socialist Republic of Venezuela! 

From Class Struggle 58 October-November 2004