First National Conference of the JIR-FT

May 20, 2008

The Juventud de Izquierda Revolucionaria, - Fracción Trotskista (JIR-FT) will hold its First National Conference by the end of May. After recent years in the fight to develop a revolutionary workers’ and socialist tendency, the Juventud de Izquierda Revoluionaria is entering a new phase of construction. Alongside workers from different factories of the country, like Sidor, Sanitarios Maracay, PDVSA, workers from the University and public sector institutions, and student youth, will carry out this First National Conference with the aim of launching a new revolutionary workers’ league on the way to building a powerful workers’ revolutionary party in the country. Workers from different political traditions and experiences are joining a layer of youths that in recent have been raising and vigorously fighting for political independence of the working class and all the exploited and oppressed sectors.

Chávez speaks in the name of a “revolution,†but none exists. In spite of his denunciations of the oligarchy and the “anti-imperialist†tone of his speeches, in all these years of governing and in spite of the enormous workers’ and popular mobilization that defeated all the offensives by pro-imperialist reactionaries, he did not touch the property and the power of the bourgeoisie, not even that belonging to the sectors most ferociously in favor of a coup. The land continues in the hands of the large estate owners, and the country, in spite of its huge wealth in oil, has failed to overcome poverty, unemployment, low wages, and the extreme shortage of housing. He has not touched the essential positions of the Venezuelan landowners and capitalists, and has made partners of the transnational corporations through the mixed enterprises, as in the oil sector and other branches of the economy. What we are witnessing, in the case of the transnational corporations and the so-called nationalizations, rather than an “advance to socialism,†is a partial recovery for the state sphere of sectors of the economy that were sold off cheaply during the privatizing wave of the 1990’s, taking advantage of today’s extremely high oil income. In that it resembles the plan implemented in the 1970’s, but with the condition that it is not a total return, since the transnational corporations remain with their lucrative businesses, keeping big stock packages, that reach 40% in some cases. Because of this content, and because these are not expropriations without compensation or payment, we call these government measures “pseudo-nationalizations.†Furthermore, these measures in no way involve any social liberation of workers, who continue to be subordinate and exploited, in the framework of “national development†that Chávez is hawking.

The program needed to defeat the bourgeoisie and imperialism is the opposite of the one Chávez is raising. There is no possibility of guaranteeing even a genuine expansion of the democratic rights and freedoms of the masses, without upsetting bourgeois ownership and breaking with imperialism. Without the expropriation of the big economic groups - and of the big agricultural landowners - there can be no end of the bleeding of the nation, caused by imperialist exploitation and existing social inequality, contrary to the claims of the calls to achieve a †fairer distribution of wealth.â€

As revolutionary socialists, who call for confronting, together with the masses, every attack by reactionaries and imperialism, we maintain that it is impossible to give Chávez political support and that the working class must intervene with independent class politics. To get mobilized and organized, it is necessary to raise revolutionary politics independently of the tutelage of Chávez’ politics. To cement worker and popular unity and fight for a solution to confront the old regime and Chávez’ project, the working class must raise a program that includes radical democratic demands and intends to break all the political pacts that tie Venezuela to imperialism. That sweeps away repressive forces like the national armed forces and the police, that aims at dissolving the state security organs, as well as the hated Guardia Nacional and replaces them with real workers’ and popular militias, a profound urban reform and an agrarian revolution.

For this reason, now more than ever, the working class needs to intervene independently, with its own methods, by raising an anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist program to lead the poor and the ranks of the army, to prepare the certain confrontation between the masses’ illusions and the Bonapartist intentions of Chávez’ government. This policy must be linked to the strategy of promoting the self-organization of the workers and the development of organs of direct democracy for the struggle for councils of workers and the poor of the city and countryside, supported by workers’ and popular militias. The development of this strategy of self-organization of the workers and of workers’ and popular militias will allow the workers and the people increasingly to connect the resolution of their democratic demands to the struggle for power, and will be a means of separating the workers and the people from the influence of Chávez’ politics and from the reformists. The working class must raise a program that solves the most pressing needs of the popular masses.

Only a plan led by the working class, breaking all the chains that bind us to imperialism, will be able to move forward towards real national independence, by developing an economy for the benefit of direct producers. Only the workers, who have nothing to lose, will be able to lead the country to real national liberation, not bourgeois nationalist leaders, however left-wing they depict themselves, or however much deceptive rhetoric they declaim against the evils to which the capitalist system condemns us. For that reason, we affirm that, facing the serious situation in which the fate of the working class and of the country is at risk, the workers need to forge their own solution. Only a government of workers and the poor, based on the organizations of the masses and defended by workers’ militias, will go all the way to solve the serious problems that afflict the workers and the poor of Venezuela.

Therefore, we state that the point of departure for any consistent struggle is to raise openly a principled, working-class and socialist political position, that can only mean the political independence of the workers, against Chávez’ government. Unity of action against reactionary attacks cannot mean giving him political support; even when achieving unity of action in cases of reactionary attacks, it is a matter of the working class fighting with their own methods against reactionaries. Unfortunately, most of the left, including some who claim to be from the Trotskyist movement, like Marea Socialista, and the CMR, give him their support, fostering illusions in the possibility of “exerting pressure†to make him “move forward†toward “socialism†; other sectors, like the recently-constituted Unidad Socialista de Izquierda (USI), which had been following a zig-zag policy, joining the campaign for “10 million votes†for Chávez in the 2006 presidential elections, or the small group connected to the PSTU, that joined the presidential elections to vote for Chávez and then, in the Constitutional Reform referendum proposed by him in 2007, called for voting “no,†like the entire bourgeois opposition. With this, they only contribute to complicating the workers’ experiment with Chavez’ politics, and complicating the political differentiation of the workers’ and people’s vanguard, and of the workers generally.

Therefore, it is necessary to set up a revolutionary workers’ party, independent of Chávez’ politics, since only the working class, under its own program and at the head of the oppressed nation, can lead the struggle against the bourgeoisie and imperialism, for national liberation and socialism, to its conclusion. The struggle for a revolutionary workers’ regroupment is essential, in order to go all the way in the fight against bourgeois and imperialist reactionaries and to overcome the limitations of Chávez’ leadership, completely incapable of advancing towards social and national liberation. In this First National Conference, where we will found a new workers’ revolutionary league, we will be discussing the fact that the revolutionary party that must be built has to seek to express the most advanced tendencies of the working class at each moment, trying to overcome the divisions that are encouraged by the ruling class and the union bureaucracies. It can do this because its program proceeds from the most accomplished understanding possible of the general tendencies of capitalist development and its contradictions and from the fact that it tries to condense the best of the experiments made by the working class internationally in the fight for its social emancipation, so that the class will not have to begin at zero with every new struggle.

All these main strategic questions are what we will address at this First National Conference.

Translation by Yosef M.