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Venezuela: Congress of the Nation Workers’ Union (UNT)

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We reproduce here an edited version of the FLT statement on the recent UNT(1) 2nd Congress held in May.(2) What could have been a major step towards working class independence from Chavez ended in a split between several factions, all competing to be the best Chavistas. Most significant, it is clear that the so-called Trotskyist groups in the UNT are not fighting for political independence from Chavez. This confirms our analysis that the ex-Trotskyists in Venezuela are acting as they are in other countries as the left wing of the popular front in Latin America.

Workers struggle sacrificed to the petrodollar bourgeoisie

Between last May 25-27 at the Army Officer’s Club in Caracas, the Venezuelan capital, the second congress of the National Union of Workers (UNT)(3), was held. The UNT is the most important workers union in Venezuela with more than 2000 delegates representing a million or more Venezuelan workers.[i]

The resolutions of the 2nd Congress were of crucial importance for the working class not only of Venezuela, but of all Latin America. It offered the possibility of raising an independent working class program against the bourgeois government of Chavez.(4) Such a program would have been a hard blow against the politics of class collaboration which ‘expropriates’ the anti-imperialist struggle of the Venezuelan masses, strangles the Bolivian and Ecuadorian revolutions, and subordinates workers before the bourgeoisie of the whole continent.

But its resolutions, once more, put the masses at the feet of the exploiters and tied the hands of the Venezuelan and Latin American working class. It was also one more confirmation – if such were needed – of the complete bankruptcy of the fake Trotskyists who are “running a race” to see who can be a better Chavez than Chavez himself. Let’s see what happened in the Congress of the UNT and make some conclusions about the role of the fake Trotskyists organisations in Argentina.

“Ten million votes to re-elect Chavez!”

In the Congress, a minority led by Marcela Maspero, broke from the Congress and left the UNT. This sector, dominated by cadres and leaders of the old Bolivariana Force of the Workers (a failed attempt to build a Chavista central Workers Union), and adherents of Chavismo, refused to allow the election of UNT officers in September, arguing that the main priority was the campaign for “ten million votes for Chavez” to win the presidential election in December.

The leaders of the majority (headed by Orlando Chirinos of the UIT(5) to which both factions of the MST in Argentina belong (6) proposed elections in September, but they put as a condition the first resolution had to be… that the UNT and the workers must guarantee first of any other thing 10 million votes for Chavez. Moreover, these leaders denounce in their press a “provocation” by the minority, who set up the ridiculous argument that most of us, the majority delegates don’t support Chavez”. This they say is “a lie”. (Alternativa Socialista N° 431).(7)

Shamelessly, after urging the workers to vote that their main task is to guarantee the re-election of a bourgeois government, they then urged them to vote that “the UNT is a autonomous union, independent of the government”. What do these fake Trotskyists understand by “an independent” union federation? That “the re-election of president Chavez and the independence of the UNT must be simultaneously supported so as to criticize (Chavez) whenever it is necessary…” (ídem).

Imagine that the left groups were leading the Argentinean CGT (8) in 1973 and had launched a campaign for supporting the Peron-Peron slate. What would every class-conscious worker have said? A betrayal of the proletarian cause!. Exactly! The heroic working class militants of the Cordobazo (9), the Vivorazo (10), Sitrac-Sitram (11), the Villazo (12), would have said exactly what we say about the fake Trotskyists: Servants of the bourgeoisie! Enemies of the proletarian revolution!
 
There is no doubt. Today the fake Trotskyists in Venezuela are the UNT bureaucracy, playing at the same time the role of Stalinism and that of the treacherous union bureaucracies in the other countries of Latin America. Politically they support Chavez, that ally of Kirchner and Repsol.

MAS and PO: working to get ten million “critical” votes… for Chavez

It is impossible to deny that so far, the leaders of the UIT are winning the race to see who is the most “Chavista”. But stepping on their heels are all the other fake Trotskyists, for example the MAS in Argentina and its sister group inside the Venezuelan PRS (the Petare current).

The MAS says it wants to stand “independent worker candidates” but, as the PRS is not legal this “is not possible”. Besides, “most of the workers are politically Chavistas”, and that this cannot be ignored, in so far as “the vote is (something) tactical”. (Socialismo o Barbarie N° 80) (13). For that reason, it ends up calling for a “critical vote”… for Chavez, so that this bourgeois government is re-elected… “critically”.

On the other hand, the PO in Argentina tries to hide it is for “the critical” vote for Chavez. Thus, while it says that voting in the congress of the UNT for “the re-election of Chavez as an strategic policy shows that, despite the differences, the Workers Central Union is under the influence of bourgeois nationalism”, it ends up agreeing with the MAS, in that the vote “is tactical”. Moreover it declares: “it is not a question of our preference for one or another candidate, this is (merely) a tactical issue. It cannot become the main subject matter of a strategic campaign” (Prensa Obrera N° 950, June 15, 2006).(14)

At the end of the day, MAS and PO’s positions could be summarised in a single slogan: “For ten million critical votes… for Chavez”.

PTS: “Spoil your ballot”… sit on the fence, do not face Chavez even in the election

The PTS and its sister group in Venezuela –also a member of the PRS –criticizes those who call for a vote for Chavez as giving in to “bourgeois nationalism”. They prefer to “raise a workers and socialist perspective” by asking people to be very bold, and… spoil their votes.

But the spoiled vote has nothing to do with class politics in the context of bourgeois elections. Moreover, most of the pro-imperialist and pro-coup bourgeois opposition parties and groups will be campaigning for abstention or a blank vote in December elections. The PTS itself already called for a vote for Chavez in the August 2004 referendum; now in order not to appear as openly “Chavista”, it has decided to go for a blank vote. This formula has overall the “virtue” of letting them avoid a confrontation with Chavez. They also reneg on the obligation of telling workers “do not vote for him because he is a bourgeois”.

The politics of class independence in the Venezuelan elections

First we have to expose the deception of “tactical voting” used by the fake Trotskyists. They use this to justify setting up popular fronts or to support “progressive” bourgeois candidates. For revolutionaries, tactics in bourgeois elections are like all tactics, revolutionary tactics. They have to advance the proletarian principles and strategy: in the first place, the elementary principle of class independence. That is to say, it is possible to vote tactically for a workers party or workers candidate, but never for a bourgeois party or candidate.

Second, it is pure deception to call for a ‘tactical vote’ because “there are no conditions” that allow for independent worker candidates in Venezuela, when the UNT exists, a union federation with great authority among the workers! Here was a congress with 2000 worker delegates, one of them could have been chosen as candidate for president. Here is a workers organization which has all the authority to make a campaign for 10 million votes for a UNT worker president and a vice-president from the poor peasants. Such a campaign would have opened the road to a workers and peasants’ government able to break completely with imperialism, solve the land problem and meet the needs of the workers and the exploited people! No doubt that if this resolution had been passed by a show of hands in the congress of workers delegates of the UNT, no legal obstacle could have prevented that campaign for a workers candidacy from going ahead!

An independent working class program

Such a class campaign that raised with clarity a program and an independent workers strategy would had aroused the enormous enthusiasm of the Venezuelan, the Latin America and the United States working class:

· Not even a drop of Venezuelan oil to the US exploiters, slave-traffickers of Latin American immigrants!

· No oil to massacre our Iraqi brothers and sisters, and the workers and exploited from New Orleans!

· For the complete re-nationalization, without compensation and under workers control of oil, and the rest of privatized companies!

· Expropriation without compensation of all the large estates and land for distribution among the poor farmers!

· For decent jobs and living wages for all, with the sliding scale of wages and working hours!

· Minimum wage set at the level of the family shopping basket and indexed according to inflation!

· Down with all the antistrike laws!

· Free quality public Health and Education, on the basis of the expropriation of the private schools and hospitals, the repudiation of the external debt and the application of progressive taxes on the “31 families” (15) and the monopolies!

· A class campaign for a program that calls on the workers and the exploited to vote for a presidential candidate of the UNT, that is, not to vote for Chavez!
Who can doubt that this would galvanize the embattled Bolivian working class that has begun to resist Morales repressive government! It would also inspire the Argentinean working class that refuses to accept the miserable wages and work conditions imposed on them by the union bureaucracy. It would motivate the US working class which today begins to wake up only to be told by the WSF to kneel at the feet of the Democratic Party of Clinton and the Kennedys, so praised by Chavez!

None of the currents of the UNT or of the left in Venezuela want a class program

The ex-Trotskyists that lead the UNT know well that this is possible. But they want to avoid it at all costs. They have demonstrated, and continue to demonstrate, that they are the faithful subjects of Chavez; self-confessed reformists whose role is to prevent any move towards class independence by the workers, and to make the latter subservient to the “progressive” bourgeois and the “patriotic” military.

We are not then dealing with “a tactical” problem, but one of principles: because what these currents say to the working class is that the liberation of the workers will not be the work of the workers themselves, but of bourgeois leaders like Chávez.

The ex-Trotskyists supporting Chavez are the same tendencies that in Brazil called for a vote for the popular front of Lula-Alencar, and who are now supporting the class collaborationist government in Bolivia. They are the “theoreticians” who preach the need to create “worker parties based on the unions”. But then where they lead a union federation as the UNT in Venezuela, they refuse to put up a workers candidate for the presidential elections!

As Trotsky said, whoever gives even the slightest political support to a bourgeois government, renounces its revolutionary overthrow by the masses. That is, they renounce the workers’, socialist revolution. These servants of Chavez have deserted the proletarian revolution.

International Coordination Secretariat of the Leninist Trotskyist Fraction

Notes

(1) Workers National Union

(2) This statement first appeared in the paper of the Argentine group Workers Democracy.

(3) The UNT was born of the rank and file revolt against the pro-coup, pro-imperialist CTV, the old Workers Central of Venezuela, with a notoriously corrupt and bureaucratic leadership affiliated to Accion Democratica, once the most important bourgeois party, and totally subservient to the establishment.

(4) We say that Chavez is a ‘Bonapartist’ leader of a bourgeois state with a bourgeois constitution, balancing between imperialism, the national bourgeoisie and the working masses. Despite Chavez ‘left’ persona, the Venezuela state defends bourgeois property and ‘nationalised’ property remains that of the bourgeois state. Nevertheless we support Chavez in a united front against imperialism, arguing that only a revolutionary workers movement is capable of defeating imperialism and the Venezuelan national bourgeoisie.

(5) The UIT is one of the international fractions that came out of the Morenoist LIT-CI after the Argentinean MST split the MAS. The UIT was until recently the international organization of the MST and its “sister” groups.

(6) The MST now has split in two irreconcilable fractions, the fraction”2” (led by Pedro Soranz) has just taken control of the UIT, expelling the fraction “1”.

(7) Socialist Alternative.

(8) CGT: Central General de Trabajadores, or Workers Central Union federation. In 1973 it was led by the Peronist bureaucracy (and most of the second half of the 20th century). In 1973 the Peronist Party made the then president (also a Peronist, but of a somewhat left-leaning wing) resign, so that there could be new elections, and to allow General Peron to run for his third presidency. His wife Isabelita Peron ran as vice-president.

(9) Cordobazo: On May 29, 1969, and as a part of the worldwide revolutionary wave that was sweeping almost every country in Latin America and most of the world, there was a semi-insurrection in Cordoba, Argentina’s second city, and a main industrial center at the time. Having been preceded by very combative and persistent student revolts in several Universites all over the country, the Cordobazo began as a protest against the elimination of the so-called ‘English Saturday’ (any time over the half day was paid as time-and-a-half – 50% more) and ended with the defeat of the police that had been called to repress the demonstrations and marches that the workers the owners of Cordoba had made for two or three days. The police had to quit the city and the army was called to replace it. It is important to remember that in 1969, there was a military dictatorship in charge of the government. The Cordobazo opened way to a revolutionary period in Argentina and Latin America that came to an end with the bloody dictatorships of Videla and Co. in Argentina, Pinochet in Chile, etc.

(10) The Vivorazo was another semi-insurrection some time after the Cordobazo, that put Rosario (the third largest Argentinean city, also a main industrial center and the second port of the country) in the hands of the workers for a time.

(11) Sitrac and Sitram were two factory unions (initially set-up as “yellow” unions by the bosses and the bourgeois government to divide and defeat the auto-workers who were affiliated to the SMATA, or Autoworkers United Union). But they shot themselves in the foot. The young workers of the two most important factories in Cordoba –FIAT Materfer, that manufactured electric motors and electric train wagons, and FIAT Concord, that manufactured big electric motors for power stations, dams, etc.- in 1970 defeated the “yellow” bureaucracy in each factory, united the two unions, creating the SITRAC-SITRAM Union, and immediately called for a “working-class nationwide congress of the rank and file, with mandated delegates of every workplace in the country” to vote a working-class program to find a breakthrough for the crisis-ridden Argentina. The two congresses that were held under the name of “Classism”, convened hundreds of militant delegates. “Classism” as a phenomenon was very important, because up to that time, and from the late forties, the previous generations of workers had been mainly Peronist. Unfortunately most the ‘classist’ vanguard that it created were recruited to the various guerrilla currents inspired in Cuban ‘guerrillasim’ (including fake-Trotskyist ones). There were other centrist currents too, as well as left-Peronists, Stalinists, etc. All of them did their utmost to frustrate the opportunity for the workers to take the country in their hands.

(12) Villazo, a semi-insurrection in Villa Constitucion, one of the industrial towns that form the industrial belt running from Buenos Aires City (with its Great Buenos Aires Area) up to Rosario City, some 400km of factories, steelworks, oil refineries, ports, etc., along the coast of the rivers Parana and Plate. The Villazo was the last and most important semi-insurrection of the industrial workers taking a city and a series of big factories in their hands, before the military coup that put Videla and Co. in power. It was brutally repressed, in spite of the support and sympathy from the Argentine workers and students, thanks to the union bureaucracy leaving it isolated, and the left vacillating and capitulating to the pressure of the Stalinists, the Peronist bureaucracy, etc. The centrists in those years did not want to be labeled “guerrillas”, so they never raised slogans about self-defense, workers’ armed militia, etc., tending to raise mostly economic (unionist) slogans plus abstract socialist propaganda.

(13) Socialism or Barbarism

(14) Workers Press.

(15) “31 families”. Name for the richest group of Venezuelan families. They were closely intertwined with imperialist interests for centuries. Most of their members do not even live in Venezuela.

 
————————————————————————————–
Appendix

Unite! Organiser enthusiastic about Chavez and Morales

Auckland Unite organiser Mike Treen recently returned from a visit to Venezuela and Boliva. He spoke in Auckland to a meeting organised by GPJA. Treen was ethusiastic about Chavez. “He is ahead of the workers and is leading the revolution”. The same with Morales in Bolivia. “The revolution will not happen without Morales”. This is the Australian Green Left position.

In reponse to a question from a CWG comrade who stressed the need for the working class to be armed and politically independent of Chavez and Morales, Treen rejected the need for the independence of workers from Chavez and Morales. Despite the splits in the UNT recent congress, Treen said it was good that they all supported the re-election of Chavez.

A Socialist Workers speaker at the meeting spoke of a ‘sort of dual power’ in Venezuela. If this term is being used in the Leninist sense, this can only mean that the SWO thinks that Chavez represents the workers in the state, rather than representing the bourgeois in containing and suppressing the workers revolution.

Whatever their apparent differences, both Treen and the SWO speaker substitute Chavez and his political machine for the working class. This confirms our view that Unite and SWO, who have combined to form the Worker’s Charter in NZ, are following the Australian Green Left closely as a cheerleader for the Boliviarian Revolution and left wing of the popular front in Latin America. (see article above).

From Class Struggle 67 June/July 2006

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Written by raved

January 10, 2012 at 8:43 pm

The "Bolivarian Revolution" expropriates the workers’ struggle!

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Caracas: Meeting of the 6th Counter-revolutionary World Social Forum

From the 24 to the 29 of January the Sixth annual meeting of the counter-revolutionary international the World Social Forum met in Caracas, Venezuela. The LOI of Argentina, a member of the Leninist Trotskyists Fraction, gives its verdict.

The WSF, along with the “left” of the US Democratic Party, was responsible for betraying the US national ‘day of absence’ against poverty, racism and war called for the 1st of December by a Committee of more than 700 worker and antiwar organisations. This was the first time for years that militant elements in the US working class had coordinated a counter-offensive against the Bush government and the US capitalist class.

It is this same collection of social democrats, Stalinists, “Greens”, Castroites, Maoists, and fake Trotskyists – all associated with the WSF – that have mobilised to contain the awakening US working class in response to the crisis of the Bush administration, such as we saw in the Transit strike in New York, to make sure it remains subordinated to the Democratic party of US imperialism.

At the Sixth WSF were all those dedicated to the suppression of US workers struggles and all the mass struggles in Latin America in the name of the much heralded ‘Bolivarian Revolution’.First up was Chavez declaring “it is necessary to go forward to 21st Century Socialism”, speaking of “socialism or death”, shamelessly singing the ‘Internationale’ to close the meeting, and taking photo opportunities with Cindy Sheehan – the mother of the US soldier killed in Iraq who fights for the return of US troops – while at the same time he continues to sell the US regime the oil it needs to occupy Iraq and kill its people!

Or course Chavez never calls on the oppressed workers of Iraq, or the mothers, wives, or daughters of the thousands of Iraqi resistance fighters killed by the invaders, to organise for the military victory of Iraq and the defeat of Anglo-Yankee imperialism!

Following Chavez were all the supporters of Evo Morales, the new president of Bolivia, just finished appointing to his cabinet millionaire industralists like the ministers of Defense and Public Works, and ex-state employees of the former government of the murderer Goni overthrown in a popular rebellion in 2003, as well as peasants, miners and ex-union leaders.

In other words, the Sixth WSF was a meeting for all those backing the class collaboration of Morales who has already announced that he will respect and defend private property, allow the private exploitation of the Mutún mine (the largest manganese deposit in the world), made deals with the Santa Cruz bourgeoisie (home of most of Bolivia’s oil and mineral wealth), with the Spanish firm Corona, and with the oil monopolies, to contine to plunder Bolivia’s gas wealth.

After the Morales cheerleaders were the supporters of the current Ecuadorian government of Palacios such as the Maoist MDP, the Pachacutik and the CONAIE. They had tried to prevent the removal of his predecessor, Lucio Gutiérrez, who fell at the hands of a revolutionary mass uprising. Today these same forces are once more trying to stop the new uprising of the workers and poor peasants led by students, who have been fighting for two weeks against the the signing of a FTA between the Palacios government and the US.

These same leaders went to the WSF to embrace Chávez, who only months ago openly lent millions of barrels of oil to Palacios, thus sabotaging the strike and a political uprising of the workers and farmers of the Ecuadorian provinces of Sucumbíos and Orellana against Oxy and other imperialist oil companies. With the aid of his friend Chávez, Palacios used the Ecuadorian army to fiercely repress the people and to militarize these two provinces.

They can both count on the support of the Cuban bureaucracy of Castro – as can Morales – which also comes to the rescue of the US client regimes of Lula, Kirchner, Tabaré Vázquez, Bachelet and Co., as it prepares to complete the restoration of capitalism in Cuba.

Not to be left behind, there were four ministers of the Brazilian government, representing Lula and the PT (Workers Party), one of the most servile lackey governments of the US (like Kirchner, who has paid off the billions owed to the IMF in cash) which allows its troops along with those of Argentina and Chile, to occupy Haiti in the service of the imperial master.

The Argentine delegation included the Kirchnerites of the FTV, Barrios de Pie, bureaucrats like Yasky of the CTERA and Gutiérrez of the UOM – today a supporter of Kirchner in parliament. During the WSF a number of workers were attacked and jailed by the police and local politicians in Tartagal and Mosconi (in the North of Argentina), while in Caracas the state servants of Kirchner, the ally of Bush, Repsol and the IMF, met with the union bureaucrats and pro-government officials of the piqueteros (unemployed workers movement), bosses’ politicians like Mario Cafiero, the mst, and Nestor Pitrola of the Workers Party which voted for the popular front government of Evo Morales.

Playing a key role in the WSF are the fake Trotskyists who destroyed the Fourth International and became reformists. Today, all are fervent defenders of Chávez, Morales, the Castro bureaucracy, and the “Bolivarian Revolution”. They have openly broken with the struggle for the workers and socialist revolution, and have adopted the old class collaborationist policy of “revolution by stages” of Stalinism, telling the workers to put their hopes in the “good”, “progressive” bosses, the “anti-imperialist” military, and the “democratic” and “pacifist” imperialists.

So the ‘Bolivarian Revolution’, the ‘star’ of the Sixth World Social Forum, is no more than a cover to disguise the sordid deals the national bourgeoisies make with each other and with the imperialistic monopolies, to decide who gets what share of the profits, according to what resources are available, and how each country is slotted into the global capitalist division of labor. It is also a cover for the politics of the Castro bureaucracy that wants to restore capitalism in Cuba and to re-invent itself as a new bourgeoisie.

Socialist revolution is the triumphant insurrection of the workers and poor peasants that seizes the power, overthrows the bourgeoisie and expropriates the imperialistic monopolies and all the bosses. That is the only way that the anti-imperialist struggle can be carried through to completion, breaking with the imperilialists and their national bourgeois junior partners and making a planned socialist economy possible.

That is why there are only two roads for the working class and the exploited masses of Latin America: either the ‘Bolivarian Revolution’ in which the proletariat submits to the continued exploitation, misery, massacres and imperialistic sacking of our nations; or, the struggle for a victorious workers socialist revolution on the road to the Socialist United States of Central and South America which can plan production where the gas, iron and managnese of Bolivia, the meat and the soyabean of Argentina, the copper of Chile, the minerals of Peru, the oil of Venezuela, the industry of Brazil, etc., are all used to meet the needs of the vast majority of the exploited and oppressed workers and poor peasants.

Today the most important step along the socialist road for all workers and poor peasants of the continent is the fight for the victory of the heroic revolution of the Bolivian workers and peasants which the popular front goverenment of Evo Morales, backed by the counter-revolutionary WSF, is today trying to destroy.

  • Against the WSF, expropriator of the struggles of the masses! 
  • For the Workers’ and poor Peasants’ Revolution! 
  • For a Socialist United States of Central and South America!

Translated and condensed from Supplement to Democracia Obrera 3rd February 2006


From Class Struggle 65 Feb/Mar 2006

Workers can stop Big Oil’s War for Oil!

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Recent evident proves beyond doubt that oil was the prime motive for the invasion of Iraq. Big Oil has gone on to make record profits. We argue that oil workers in Iraq, and in oil producing countries like Venezuela, and workers in the imperialist countries like the US, can unite to close this war and occupation down.

Greg Palast recently reported on the evidence that the invasion of Iraq had been long planned to seize control of the oil resources. The only issue was privatize or not.

“. . .Two years ago today – when President George Bush announced US, British and Allied forces would begin to bomb Baghdad – protesters claimed the US had a secret plan for Iraq’s oil once Saddam had been conquered.

In fact there were two conflicting plans, setting off a hidden policy war between neo-conservatives at the Pentagon, on one side, versus a combination of “Big Oil” executives and US State Department “pragmatists”.
 
 “Big Oil” appears to have won. The latest plan, obtained by Newsnight from the US State Department was, we learned, drafted with the help of American oil industry consultants.

Insiders told Newsnight that planning began “within weeks” of Bush’s first taking office in 2001, long before the September 11th attack on the US.

We saw an increase in the bombing of oil facilities and pipelines [in Iraq] built on the premise that privatisation is coming Mr Falah Aljibury An Iraqi-born oil industry consultant, Falah Aljibury, says he took part in the secret meetings in California, Washington and the Middle East. He described a State Department plan for a forced coup d’etat.

Mr Aljibury himself told Newsnight that he interviewed potential successors to Saddam Hussein on behalf of the Bush administration.

Secret sell-off plan

The industry-favoured plan was pushed aside by a secret plan, drafted just before the invasion in 2003, which called for the sell-off of all of Iraq’s oil fields. The new plan was crafted by neo-conservatives intent on using Iraq’s oil to destroy the Opec cartel through massive increases in production above Opec quotas.

The sell-off was given the green light in a secret meeting in London headed by Fadhil Chalabi shortly after the US entered Baghdad, according to Robert Ebel.

Mr Ebel, a former Energy and CIA oil analyst, now a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, told Newsnight he flew to the London meeting at the request of the State Department.

Mr Aljibury, once Ronald Reagan’s “back-channel” to Saddam, claims that plans to sell off Iraq’s oil, pushed by the US-installed Governing Council in 2003, helped instigate the insurgency and attacks on US and British occupying forces.

“We saw an increase in the bombing of oil facilities, pipelines, built on the premise that privatisation is coming.”

Privatisation blocked by industry

Philip Carroll, the former CEO of Shell Oil USA who took control of Iraq’s oil production for the US Government a month after the invasion, stalled the sell-off scheme.

Mr Carroll told us he made it clear to Paul Bremer, the US occupation chief who arrived in Iraq in May 2003, that: “There was to be no privatisation of Iraqi oil resources or facilities while I was involved.”

Ariel Cohen, of the neo-conservative Heritage Foundation, told Newsnight that an opportunity had been missed to privatise Iraq’s oil fields.

He advocated the plan as a means to help the US defeat Opec, and said America should have gone ahead with what he called a “no-brainer” decision.

Mr Carroll hit back, telling Newsnight, “I would agree with that statement. To privatize would be a no-brainer. It would only be thought about by someone with no brain.”

New plans, obtained from the State Department by Newsnight and Harper’s Magazine under the US Freedom of Information Act, called for creation of a state-owned oil company favoured by the US oil industry. It was completed in January 2004 under the guidance of Amy Jaffe of the James Baker Institute in Texas. . .”

View segments of Iraq oil plans

This plan worked. Not only are Iraq’s oil fields now controlled by Big Oil but oil profits have never been higher The ‘results are in’ according to Evelyn J Pringle:

“By the end of 2004, the big three American oil companies, ChevronTexaco, ExxonMobile, and ConocoPhillips, realized profits of $33.6 billion during Bush’s first three years in office.

. . .On October 27, 2005, Reuter’s reported that Exxon Mobil posted a quarterly profit of $9.9 billion, “the largest in U.S. corporate history, as it raked in a bonanza from soaring oil and gas prices.” Exxon’s record earnings topped the $9 billion net profit previously reported by Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Reuters said.

Exxon reported third-quarter net income up 75 percent from the year-ago period. “It was among the biggest quarterly profits of any company in history, and amounted to a per-minute profit of $74,879.23 during the quarter,” according to the October 28, 2005 Wall Street Journal.

“Shell, the third largest oil company by market value behind Exxon and Britain’s BP PLC, said its third-quarter net income rose 68 percent to $9.03 billion, on $76.44 billion in revenue,” the Journal reported.

According to the Federal Energy Information Administration, the price of a gallon of regular gas in the same week the profits were announced, was up 28% from a year ago. Natural-gas prices have almost doubled in the past year and the EIA predicts that owners of gas-heated homes will see a 48% hike this winter over last year’s already inflated prices, and homes heated with heating oil could see a 32% increase.”

Big Oil’s massive profits are at the expense of workers and poor peasants everywhere. Big Oil must be the main target of worker’s expropriation and control from Iraq, to Caracas to New Orleans!


Iraqi, Venezuelan and US workers can unite to shut down US Big Oil’s War!

While Big Oil makes record profits, Iraqi, Venezuelan and US workers have the power to shut down Big Oil and its oil for war. In Iraq the rebuilding of the Oil workers unions provides a platform for workers to fight to gain control of the nationalized oil industry back from Big Oil. At the same time Big Oil profits has driven up the cost of oil to US workers. Chavez provision of cheap heating oil to US workers opens up the opportunity for a higher level of class unity between Venezuelan and US workers that can block the supply of US oil for the war machine in Iraq!

Iraqi Oil Workers Against the Occupation and for Workers Control of Oil 

The formation of the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions (IFOU) independent of both the main union federations is a significant step forward. Representing over 23,000 workers in the key oil industry, across 3 provinces and nine state oil and gas companies, the union has a militant record and strong positions against the occupation and against privatization of oil.

“The union has on two separate occasions halted oil exports through strike action over unpaid wages, repressive Baathist managers and officials in the Ministry of Oil and land allocations for employees. It has successfully reconstructed infrastructure, port equipment, drilling rigs and pipelines without the help of foreign companies. It has succeeded in canceling the last two tiers of the Occupation’s Order 30 wage-table and raising the minimum wage for Iraqi oil workers from 69,000 Iraqi Dinar (US$32) per month to 102,000 ID (US$60) per month.

The union’s ‘Troops Out’ policy calls for the immediate withdrawal of all occupation forces from Iraq.” It’s policy on ownership states “The privatization of oil and industrial sectors is the objective of all in the Iraqi state/government. We will stand firm against this imperialist plan that would hand over Iraq’s wealth to international capitalism such that the deprived Iraqi people would not benefit from it.”

While Big Oil can maximize its superprofits from the control of Iraqi oil without privatization (see previous story) the IFOU has the potential to take control of the oil industry from below and close down the imperialist siphoning of Iraq’s oil wealth. But they cannot do it alone. It is necessary for workers in the imperialist countries to shut down Big Oil at home, and for Venezuelan oil workers to take the lead in shutting off the supply to US oil for war.

Venezuela: for workers democracy in the oil industry

Chavez is using V oil as a ‘geopolitical weapon’ threatening US supplies, offering cheap oil to US workers, making plans for an alternative energy bloc in LA etc. But there is a problem. Chavez and his LA partners are national leaders who will not go all the way to nationalise and put under workers control the most powerful imperialist corporates – Big Oil. At best Chavez, Lula, Kirchner and Morales (the likely new Bolivian President) can only negotiate shares of the oil wealth to be retained in their countries. This leaves the giant share being of oil and gas being pumped out of LA and used power monopoly capital and its war of Terror. Only real worker ownership and control of oil and gas can reverse this process, stop the war for Big Oil, and make oil available to meet the needs of the masses of the world.

As we pointed out in the last issue, under Chavez’ control oil is being used as a weapon against workers. Not only to fuel the war in Iraq, but to strike break in Ecuador and at home in Venezuela where anti-strike legislation can be used by Chavez to lock out oil workers. Even the deals done with the Caribbean states and with China for cheap oil may not end up benefiting workers but the capitalists who are on the way back in Cuba and raking off huge profits from China. Unless oil is under real workers control it becomes a subsidy from the Venezuelan people to monopoly capital. The only way to ensure that workers benefit is to make sure that the ownership and control of Venezuelan oil is in the hands of the workers, so that its production and distribution can be planned by workers for workers.

US Workers: Hurricane Katrina and cheap oil

We can see how this would work in the case of the supply of cheap oil to the US. Chavez offer is for cheap oil to be administered by the Venezuelan owned Citric collaborating with local authorities. But Venezuelan oil workers could do better than that by offering free oil and demand that it be distributed by rank and file union groups in the US. This would become a platform to launch real workers control in Venezuela so that workers could renegotiate the current deals with Big Oil for exploration and exploitation of oil and gas. Chavez and the Bolivarian state energy policy of creating an alternative Latin American energy company called Petrosur, which would integrate regional oil and gas industries. But this plan is not based on the expropriation of the key Big Oil players in Latin America, Repsol, Petrobras, Exxon etc. It is an attempt to negotiate better terms with Big Oil. The limits to this collaboration with Big Oil are evident in Chavez deals with Kirchner, supplying oil to Ecuador to replace that lost by strike action, and his plans to introduced no-strike laws in Venezuela.

Real workers control will only result form the transformation of the workers organizations that co-manage nationalized industries along with the state taking complete control of industry from the state. The oil workers can show the way by fighting to take control of production and distribution of oil, setting the price and end use of oil.

No Oil for War! Iraqi and Venezuelan oil workers unite to smash Big Oil’s monopoly!

Oil for the Poor! Iraqi, Venezuelan and US oil workers unite to defend the rights, wages and conditions of oil workers! Unite to distribute oil to the workers of the reserve army of unemployed in the US under rank and file control!


No Oil to strike break! Follow the lead of the Venezuelan oil workers who condemned Chavez’ sale of oil to Ecuador as strike breaking!


Workers control of production and distribution of oil to meet the needs of the world’s workers!

From Class Struggle 64 Nov 05/Jan 06

Defeat Bush, Howard & Clark’s War Of Terror

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Support the Dec 1 US Nationwide Strike against Poverty, Racism and War!

NZ out of Afghanistan! Stop ANZ war profiteering! International Day of Solidarity with Venezuela, December 2! Unite Workers Against the War Of Terror!

Bosses’ posse

The US imperialist sheriff and his Deputy, John Howard, closely followed by the Deputy’s Dog, Helen Clark, are riding roughshod over the oppressed of this world. They are doing this because US imperialism and its weaker allies such as Australia, Britain and Italy, and its ‘good friends’ like NZ , must grab what is left of the world’s resources to overcome the crisis of monopoly capitalism caused by falling profits.

The cynical wars for ‘democracy’ and the ‘cancelled’ debt in Africa and Iraq are a cover for monopoly capitals plans to re-colonise the world.

In the Pacific region the ‘peacekeeping’ role of Australia and NZ is a front for monopoly capitalism’s plunder of the Pacific’s economic resource base and reserve of migrant labour.

When this fails and resistance rises up against the WOT, domestic anti-terror laws are used to criminalize and jail political opponents of the WOT.

To defeat the WOT it is necessary for workers to mobilize internationally against the roots of the WOT, the crisis-ridden global capitalist economy that threatens to destroy humanity and nature.

War Of Terror

Bush and his neo-cons planned the WOT well before 9/11 to occupy Afghanistan and get a strangle hold on the Central Asian oilfields. Then they lied about WMD to invade Iraq to gain control of Iraqi oil from China, Russia and the EU, and bust the OPEC cartel.

The new Iraqi Constitution guarantees Big Oil like Exxon-Mobil, Shell etc around 80% control of Iraqi oil. Big Oil is backed up by the IMF, WB and the JP Morgan bank consortium (which includes ANZ ) to ‘reconstruct’ Iraq along the lines of a free market where monopoly corporates like Halliburton, Bechtel etc., can rip off the tiny share of oil wealth left in the hands of Iraqis.

The scandal of ‘kickbacks’ paid to Saddam Hussein during the UN imposed ‘oil for food’ scheme in the 1990s is a smokescreen designed to blame companies like Fonterra which supplied vital imports during the embargo which killed a million Iraqis, and to cover up the ruthless imperialist multibillion dollar plunder of Iraq planned in the 1990s and now being put in place.

The imperialist posse is using the WOT to invade, terrorise and recolonise oil rich and mineral rich countries. Not just pre-emptive wars against Afghanistan, Haiti and Iraq, but the threat of preventative war against Cuba, Syria, Iran, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe.

The US justifies this mounting genocide, terror and torture as a war for ‘democracy’ against Islamic ‘fundamentalism’, ‘drug cartels’ or ‘rogue states’ for which they themselves are responsible.

From the Taliban and Saddam Hussein to Castro, Chavez and Aristide these regimes are the product of US imperialist policies that created the oppressive conditions out of which they emerged as allies or opponents.

The WOT has got nothing to do with ‘democracy’ and everything to do with eliminating ‘rogue’ nationalist regimes and imposing imperialism’s dictatorship under the cover of ‘democracy’. Thus the recent Iraqi Constitution was dictated by the US to guarantee continued control of Iraq oil by Big Oil and Big Banks.

Anti-terror torture laws

Imperialism and its allies suppress rising opposition at home with draconian anti-terror laws that allow the arrest, incarceration and torture of ‘suspects’ without legal rights.

Blair used the London bombings to immediately suspend basic civil rights and authorised a ‘shoot to kill’ policy the led to the killing of the Brazilian migrant worker John Charles de Menezes.

Bush’s FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Authority) was empowered to suspend civil rights in the emergency of the aftermath of Katrina. Workers can be drafted to work gangs and shot for ‘looting’ food and water for their survival while the corporates move in to profiteer from the reconstruction of New Orleans just like they do in Iraq!

Emboldened by Bush, Howard has used the hysteria following recent bombings in Indonesia to deport a visiting US non-violent protest advocate, and to rush through anti-terror laws that include suspension of habeas corpus and ‘shoot-to-kill’.

NZ rapidly passed anti-terror laws legislation modeled on US and UK laws to earn its share of the spoils that fall off the imperialists table. In the Ahmed Zaoui case it used ‘intelligence’ passed on by the French state that fought a bloody colonial war against Algeria to lock up Zaoui as a suspect terrorist. NZ remains an integral part of ‘Echelon’ the US imperialist spy network that monitors internet communications.

Attack on Labor

At the same time the imperialists and their allies impose new labour laws to smash the unions and defeat organised labour as it begins to mobilize against the WOT.

Bush found bipartisan allies in the AFL-CIO to block the Million Worker March against the war in Iraq during the last Presidential election campaign. US corporates are outsourcing most of their production and for twenty years have used bankruptcy laws to close plants, cut jobs, wages and conditions of their remaining US workers in steel, airline and auto industries.

After abandoning the poor people of New Orleans, Bush suspended labour and health and safety laws to rebuild New Orleans with poor, migrant workers. New Orleans his is a metaphor for US imperialism’s attacks on its own workers rights, wages and social security. The vast majority of US workers are not covered by any decent public health or pension entitlements while CEOs payouts are in the millions of dollars.

Howard’s workplace ‘reforms’ are designed to smash the unions and put workers on individual contracts so they have no power to prevent the complete erosion of their past gains like overtime and holiday pay. In this way Howard hopes to follow NZ’s lead in the 1990s in cutting labour costs and boosting the profits of monopoly capital.

Clark’s new Labour led government has moved right in agreements with NZ First and United Future. NZ First will try to shut down the border to migrant workers and refugees.

Fight the WOT as a class war!

The WOT is a continuation of imperialist neo-colonial politics which is itself the symptom of the global economic crisis. To restore profits, imperialism must cut costs.

This is what is behind the ‘drive to the bottom’ – the sourcing of the cheapest supplies of raw materials and labour world wide by monopoly banks, energy corporations and manufacturers. The effect is to concentrate and centralise production and destroy the forces of production. Nature is depleted and exhausted and the surplus population is killed off by endemic disease, overwork or genocide.

There is nothing ‘progressive’ about imperialist globalisation and free trade or investment. In China today, the restoration of capitalism has created a huge multi-million reserve army of cheap labor to boost the profits of monopoly capital. Despite the problems of the former state economy the masses’ needs were better served than by the capitalist world market.

The only way to defeat imperialist destruction of humanity is to eliminate its roots in the capitalist system and replace it with a socialist planned society. Fighting back against the imperialist military machine, and mutinies within imperialist armies, can inflict defeats but they cannot win a decisive victory.
 
The world proletariat must fight a class war to politicise the masses, win over the rank and file of the imperialist armies, and occupy and control vital economic resources. The vital steps towards this socialist revolution are workers’ and peasants’ militias, a popular constituent assembly and workers ownership and control of production, distribution and exchange.

Victory to Iraq and Venezuela!

Leading the fight back today is the armed resistance and rebuilt unions of Iraq, and the workers movement of Venezuela. Here the defence of national self-determination can only be realised by the mobilisation of the workers to found their own state and plan for a socialist economy.


Victory to Iraq!

For a Popular Constituent Assembly!

US reparations for reconstruction!

Big Oil, Big Banks Out!

Bush Out!

For workers control of the reconstruction of New Orleans!

US Hands Off Venezuela!

No Venezuelan Oil for the WOT!

End the US blockade of Cuba!

Destroy Guantanamo!

US and Latin American troops out of Haiti! Reinstate Aristide!

Bring down the Howard Government!

No WOT laws!

No workplace ‘reform’!

NZ Troops out of Afghanistan!

Occupy and Nationalise Air NZ under workers’ control!

No to FTAs with Chile, China and the US! Socialise Big Oil, Big Banks and MNCs!

For Workers’ and Peasants’ Governments!

For a United States of Socialist Republics of the Pacific!

Build and International Workers opposition to the WOT!

International solidarity with the December 1st US Nationwide Strike against Poverty, Racism and War!

International Day of Solidarity with Venezuela, December 2nd!

WAWOT (Workers Against the War on Terror) 027 2800080

From Class Struggle 64 Nov 05/Jan 06

Written by raved

January 6, 2012 at 8:04 pm

600 Air New Zealand jobs under attack

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The Alliance came out with some radical ideas about worker occupations and workers control in response to the threat of job losses at Air NZ. CWG acknowledged these good ideas and took them further

In an article on Aotearoa Indymedia on 27 October titled “Creative destruction” by Air New Zealand’ Len Richards of the Alliance wrote:

“The announcement by Air New Zealand of the sacking of a highly skilled workforce is a massive disinvestment in New Zealand. If the government will not act, the workers can. They should take a leaf out of the Argentinean workers’ book and occupy the maintenance hangers to keep them going.

Six hundred workers are to be thrown onto the economic scrapheap by Air New Zealand. The company, which is 82 per cent government-owned, has decided to transfer the heavy maintenance of its aircraft off-shore to Europe and Asia. This is expected to save $100 million over the next five years (ie $20 million a year on average). This is a company that made $250 million profit this year and expects to make $100 million next year. The redundancy costs will be $13 million.

Air New Zealand claims it cannot find enough work for all its maintenance engineers. Deputy Prime Minister, Michael Cullen, washed his hands of the announcement, saying that it is “company business”. This is the government welcomed by the Council of Trade Unions as having a “commitment to an investment approach to economic and social development”. The announcement by Air New Zealand of the sacking of a highly skilled workforce is a massive disinvestment in New Zealand. It is reminiscent of the closure of the railway workshops in the early 1990s which destroyed a similarly skilled workforce and dismantled another significant section of this country’s industrial infrastructure. The CTU must demand that the government intervenes to prevent this act of economic vandalism. . .

. . .The newly elected Labour-led coalition government should act urgently and “creatively”. It must step in to take direct control of Air New Zealand. These jobs can be saved if the government has the will to do so. If the government will not act, the workers can. They should take a leaf out of the Argentinean workers’ book and occupy the maintenance hangers to keep them going.

The loss of these engineering jobs is completely unnecessary. It is not about the engineering operation losing money. It is all about return on capital. It is about extracting more profit to ready Air New Zealand for another round of privatisation. The company chairman John Palmer is blatantly promoting a sell-down of the government’s shares. The government would do better to take-over the whole company. It could be run as a peoples’ co-operative under the control of the workers who, after all, know better than anyone how to operate the enterprise most efficiently.”

CWG replies:

“Good point about the management preparing Air NZ for re-privatisation. And the NZ economy as ‘third world’ being driven down the drain by profit. This shows a grasp of the seriousness of NZ’s decline in the world and the need for a strong socialist stand to lead the way forward. Air NZs predicament is classic and opens the way for the nationalising of assets and trading with other third world countries as the only way to combat monopoly capitalism.

The demand right now should be to take up the workers criticisms of failed management and put the company under workers control. Opening the books to the EPMU heads won’t prove anything other than cost cutting is necessary to return a profit. Profit in a state owned company should be rejected as the bottom line. The bottom line should be the public interest in a national asset build out of the labour of generations of kiwi workers.

So the demand should be to put the company under workers control and management to protect the accumulated wealth of workers as well the ‘public interest’. Why should the 600 workers under threat of sacking put up with a state owned corp run by private sector cost cutters who destroy the skill base of the working class while they strut around in Zambezi gear?

The rising costs of fuel and airports are inevitable while we are subjected to monopoly capital. Nationalisation under workers control (with no compensation especially after all those massive state subsidies!) is the answer. The airports should all be renationalised. The big oil company assets in NZ should be nationalised and oil sourced from Venezuela in a swap for food and agricultural technology.

While it’s necessary to demand that Cullen puts up a fight to keep these jobs, we know that he won’t even consider it unless put under huge pressure from workers. The 82% state shareholding is just a subsidy to the private sector. He won’t want to see the company profits fall and more subsidies being paid out when he wants to keep business on side.”

0n how to fight for occupations and workers’ control we added:

“It’s good that the Alliance has raised the example of the occupations in Argentina. Kirchner’s just been re-elected. He is a left Peronist with official union support not too dissimilar to Labour in NZ. But neither has any interest to take-over companies and run them as workers’ cooperatives. Cullen has said he will not subsidise Air NZ jobs. They HAVE to keep onside with global monopoly capital.

That’s why the solution has to be posed right from the start as a workers’ solution that workers’ can only do INDEPENDENTLY of the bosses’ state. So where to start at Air NZ?

The current Blairite partnership approach goes through the charade of the union officials doing their own audit for two months to see what cuts they can make the workers accept to keep some of their jobs. The EPMU logo is some for all, all for some. Meanwhile workers will be left out of the picture, worrying, or looking for other jobs.

This is the same blackmail that the US unions are using right now to force autoworkers to sacrifice their health insurance in the vain hope they can keep their jobs. As long as the union officials share the same view that companies must be profitable at all costs, the workers are the losers. see http://www.rankandfilers.blogspot.com/

The rank and file engineers need to organise now and take the dispute out of the hands of the EPMU officials. They need to reject the bottom line of profit, and the payment of a dividend to the state that goes straight into the consolidated fund to run the capitalist system. Anyway as an SOE Air NZ is doomed as a national carrier in this global environment and will be gobbled up by Qantas or Singapore sooner or later.

Instead the rank and file should put up a new bottom line – the workers’ need for safe, reliable air transport that can survive the oil shocks (get the oil from Venezuela!) and the race to the bottom of cutthroat (ours!) international airline competition. The engineers would have a say in whether it’s good for the peoples’ airline to buy carbon fibre planes at $170 million a pop.

That’s why Venezuela is a better map than Argentina of the socialist road. The factory occupations there are taking place as part of a society wide revolution where workers are pushing Chavez further and further towards outright expropriation. Oil, paper, gas, steel, and land is being nationalised and a huge fight is going on to turn co-management into real workers’ control. The result is that there is a better chance that when Chavez finally baulks, or if the US invades, the workers will be able to defend and complete their socialist revolution.

The great thing is that Venezuela is not a blueprint but an ongoing experiment, and it exists in the flesh and is not fated in advance to be either a pie in the sky reformist utopia, or a discredited Cuban style Stalinist regime. It is an open book where the workers are doing the reading and writing.

A page or two would go down well at Air NZ right now. A campaign to renationalise Air NZ under workers control could be generalised to extend to Telecom, Toll rail, CHH, BNZ . 

From Class Struggle 64 Nov 05/Jan 06

Written by raved

January 6, 2012 at 7:27 pm

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

Written by raved

January 6, 2012 at 11:33 am

VICTORY TO IRAQ!

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Only a victory to Iraq can defeat the US imperialist invasion and occupation. Industrial strike action can make this happen

The US AFL-CIO (main labour organization) recently adopted the call to ‘Bring the troops home now’. This is an important step for the official labor movement caused by pressure from rank and file antiwar groups like Million Worker March Movement. But it falls far short of what is needed.

First, it does not mean that Iraq will be liberated as the US can bring the troops home and leave a puppet regime in place.
Second, it does not raise the need to take action against the US war machine or the torture camps like Guantanamo!
Third, it makes no mention of the occupation of Afghanistan and the US military bases being used around the world in the ‘War on Terror’.
Fourth, it does not attack the fundamental capitalist economic cause of the drive to war by the US imperialist system in crisis.

The only way to free Iraq and stop the US drive to war is to build for a general strike to smash the US war machine!

US WORKERS RISE UP AND SMASH THE WAR MACHINE

Camp Casey shows the way! Pickets everywhere! Picket the US bases! Build the mutiny in the US forces! Strike action in the military industrial complex! Strike action in the workplaces and schools! Call for a strike by the rank and file of the military against the war in Iraq. Paralyze the US military machine at home!

US NATIONAL STRIKE DECEMBER 1 TO STOP THE WAR

The US Troops Out Now Coalition and other anti-war groups in the labor movement are calling for a nationwide strike against Poverty, Racism and War on December 1. http://www.troopsoutnow.org/
No school, No shopping, No work!

This strike is endorsed by the MWMM, the Black Caucus of the Teamsters and other union movements. It is good that it calls on workers and students to take strike action. But it needs to go further and raise the demand for the rank and file of the Military to go on strike.
Strike in the US military and war industry!
Form rank and file committees to break with the military command of the army of Bush, Halliburton and US imperialism!

SUPPORT THE IRAQI RESISTANCE

Missing is any call for US labor to support the Iraqi resistance. Yet the US constitution has the provision for the right of citizens to be armed to resist tyranny.

The right of Iraqis to militarily defend themselves and defeat the US occupation is a basic right that must be acknowledged by the anti-war movement. US workers have no right to impose any conditions on how the Iraqis resist the occupation. Their duty is to smash the war machine at home!

At the same time we do not condone attacks on Iraqi workers by any element of the resistance. Only an organized working class can lead the resistance to liberate Iraq.
Victory to the Iraqi resistance fighters!
Only the working class can win the liberation of Iraq!

REBUILD NEW ORLEANS UNDER WORKERS CONTROL

The nationwide strike links the war in Iraq with the destruction of New Orleans and calls for solidarity with the Katrina survivors. It demands:
The people of New Orleans and the Gulf must Control the Rebuilding, not Bush’s rich friends!
We demand an independent investigation!
A Job at a living wage, healthcare, housing and education not war and occupation!”

Meanwhile the Community Labor United has founded the Peoples Hurricane Relief Fund and Oversight Commission to ‘oversee’ FEMA and ensure that the people get the benefit of relief funds. http://www.communitylaborunited.net/

While these are important demands they don’t go far enough. Workers control of rebuilding and the demand for billions of dollars to be redirected from war to meet social needs do not seriously challenge the capitalist system. They involve a redistribution of wealth from rich to poor. But they do not raise the need for workers to take power and socialize private corporations.

  • Expropriate the Oil Monopolies!
  • Expropriate Halliburton and Bechtel and Co!
  • Build workers councils and workers defence committees!


WORKERS CONTROL OF VENEZUELAN OIL

Chavez and Castro have offered medical aid, food aid and cheap oil to the victims of the capitalist disaster in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

US workers must form emergency committees, and self-defence committees to distribute this aid and oil to workers in need, independently of Bush and his capitalist cronies!

Chavez has said that if the US attacks Venezuela he will stop supplying oil. But Bush attacks Iraq every day using Venezuelan oil!

Confronting the US imperialist War of Terror we are all Iraqis!

US and Venezuelan workers must unite to stop Chavez’ sale of oil to the US that is used in the war machine that kills thousands of Iraqis!

AOTEAROA WORKERS ANTIWAR SOLIDARITY

NZ workers must organize to take industrial action against NZ military involvement in the occupation of Afghanistan! 

NZ workers take action against NZ collaboration with the US War of Terror and its military intelligence network! 

NZ workers take action against all the banks and corporations that serve the US military industrial machine or profit from the war of terror! 

 

Iraq Document :
Defeat the Anglo-American Occupation!

We reprint here a call to the Iraqi people and all its patriotic forces for the formation of the Iraqi National Front for Liberation and Democratic reconstruction (INFLD). Our position is that revolutionaries must participate in this anti-imperialist front to take the lead from the national bourgeoisie and fight to turn the national revolution into a socialist revolution.

The armed and political struggle of our people is intensifying against the occupiers’ vile schemes, including their attempts to “Iraqinize” the occupation through divisive political structures based on ethnic and sectarian quotas that aim to shatter the unity of our people and homeland.

The widening struggle calls for the formation of a broad National Front that is capable of leading the country to freedom and democratic reconstruction. It is crucial at this stage to focus on ensuring the basic requirements for building this front, rather than its detailed programs, tactics and organization. Hence the call is all inclusive.

The requirements for establishing the National Front for Liberation and Democratic reconstruction, starting with addressing the obstacles in its way, were discussed at a seminar of Iraqi intellectuals and politicians, some of whom representing the main patriotic movements in Iraq, and others as independent Iraqi activists. [1]

Following a frank, energetic and constructive debate the participants agreed that:

“We aspire to a front that is inclusive of all the patriotic, Islamic and Leftist movements, groups, and individuals in their full spectrum; a front that covers the whole of Iraq’s territory: north, centre and south; a front that represents all the strata and components of our people: Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, and minorities, and aims to guarantee their legitimate aspirations.

In spite of the perceived differences in doctrines and practices; the patriotic forces share wide common grounds, and are increasingly coordinating their work. It is through the development of such coordination that we hope to eventually attain the creation of the desired National Front for Liberation and Democratic reconstruction.

A foremost prerequisite for the formation of the front is resolving antagonisms between the patriotic forces through a bold process of criticism and self-criticism with respect to the mistakes of the past. We need to take steps that lead to developing the national struggle along democratic principles. This self criticism, combined with reevaluation of past practices, should be exercised by all political factions that played a central role in the political sphere in Iraq since the revolution of July 14, 1958, through July 17, 1968 and up to the present time.

Such a process will form the basis for reconciliation amongst all patriotic forces, allowing them to turn a new leaf based on the spirit of forgiveness and common struggle. That in itself is the main defense against international and regional intrigues to fragment our country and people.

A serious and comprehensive review of the past and the desire for rectification will not be achieved by a mere political deal, neither will it be accomplished by a declaration of yet another document of ‘promises and undertakings’. The required challenging process is an intellectual, political as well as a moral struggle that involves both individuals and groups. It is long term struggle, but should, nonetheless, be immediately initiated.

We strive for the unity of our people’s patriotic factions, both in content and methods of struggle. Some patriotic forces have resorted to armed struggle, and some others to non-violent and public resistance methods but do, nonetheless, support the armed resistance against the occupation.

Therefore, it should be acknowledged that the two strands of the struggle, the armed and the political, do complement and strengthen each other, and do need each other. An atmosphere of mutual understanding, and coordination between both types of resistance should prevail. At a later stage, we should aim for a single front for liberation, construction and democratization, encompassing all.

We also believe that the unity of our people mandates extending the dialogue to include factions and personalities whose positions have not yet solidified behind the resistance. We need to bring them closer to actively oppose the occupation and to support the armed resistance.

The rallying call for unity requires daily and continuous effort by leaders of political parties, religious movements and by the intellectuals to guide and educate the rank and file. Such guidance is a means of foiling the attempts to fragment and divide our country. The conditions for the establishment of the National Front are maturing. We should, therefore, enhance this trend through further dialogues, joint activities and coordination among the active participants.

Agreement was reached by all participants who attended this meeting, whether representing their respective parties or independents, to form a Dialogue Committee tasked with accelerating the formulation requirements of the broad National Front.

We hail the patriotic forces that are leading the valiant armed resistance to the occupation, and are hoisting the banner of Iraq high and its soul intact. We hail, too, the other patriotic forces that daily confront one of the most brutal occupiers known in history and are sparing no blood or sacrifice in this historic confrontation.”

Salute to the glorious martyrs of Iraq.

Freedom to Iraqi political detainees and prisoners.

Defeat the Anglo-American occupation.

Victory to our fighting people.

Beirut 29.7.2005

[1] This seminar was convened at the conclusion of ‘The Future of Iraq’ symposium that was held in Beirut, Lebanon during July 25-28. 2005. The symposium was arranged and hosted by the Center of Arab Unity Studies (CAUS), whose participants paid for their travel expenses. (The symposium discussed and finalized documents that may aid the Iraqi government after liberation, including the Constitution, Election laws, Reconstruction, Rebuilding of the Iraqi Army, Oil policy and the Kurdish Autonomy. The list of attendance and the documents are available on the CAUS website http://www.caus.org.lb/arabic/nadwa1.asp in Arabic) 

From Class Struggle 63 Sept/Oct 2005