Political statement of the Liga de Trabajadores por el Socialismo

The political crisis in Venezuela

February 23, 2014

February 20, 2014 | The right wing takes a step forward, taking advantage of the worsening of the economic crisis and the government’s "inability." Only struggle and the mobilized strength of the workers can prevent a more reactionary course of the situation.

As we explained in our first political declaration, the government has shown itself unable to solve the economic situation, a prisoner of its very own contradictions, while the crisis worsens to the rhythm of the social dissatisfaction. In this context, a more "radicalized" group of the right wing has put itself more in front, at the same time, emphasizing a division in the Committee of Democratic Unity (MUD). The group that had been the majority leadership of the opposition, represented by Capriles Radonski, found itself upset after the defeat in the December municipal elections and after having wanted to turn them into a plebiscite against Maduro as revenge for the presidential election that, as they said, "cheated" them in April. The "hard wing," headed by Leopoldo López and María Corina Machado, as more visible faces, states that the December election defeat would be a clear proof of the failure of the "soft line" in the opposition, maintaining that it had to stay in the streets after the April 14 presidential election and, as a more "decisive" element, they show the positive response of Capriles and the leadership of the MUD to the "national dialogue" that the government set up. "Capriles and the MUD are collaborators with the government, and they are not responding at the level that the crisis and the social dissatisfaction demand," the approach could be summed up in that way, and they are putting themselves forward as a national alternative.

The reactionary content of the mobilizations

As we have explained, the more "radical" group of those who oppose the government on the right, outlined an agenda for itself, to modify the correlation of forces within the opposition front, to mark a dynamic of the national situation more to the right and weaken Maduro’s government by seeking to proceed to bigger offensives. The repression to which they have been subjected, which leads them to demand the legitimate democratic right to demonstrate, does not, however, nullify the reactionary character of this movement. In the context of the national economic crisis – which does not end up by getting untangled, between what Maduro’s government and the corporate sector, with its load of accumulated social dissatisfaction, proposes, – Leopoldo López (Voluntad Popular), María Corina Machado, Antonio Ledezma & Co. are pressing for a "solution" completely subordinated to the corporate interests and imperialism, much more than the government already permits and offers, since they are frothing at the mouth and insistent on "Maduro’s departure."

They are the ones who propose a "solution" not at all "popular" nor "democratic," since, in addition, they are contemplating smoothing the path to impose a change of government "without waiting for the election calendar": they talk about "taking the streets until he leaves," forcing "the exit" (of Maduro). They are mobilizations in a key of "removal" that, if they do not develop in a direct dynamic of a coup d’état, it is not necessarily because of a lack of will of those who are promoting them – participants in the pro-coup movements between 2002 and 2003 – but because of an absence of conditions and a correlation of forces to do it.

The backing that this opposition receives from the US government, a champion in imperialist interferences and interventions, is like an "aggravating element." Beyond whether the recent complaints of Maduro about the direct pressures of the US government, are real or not – but it is not surprising that they are like that, and the Chancellor Elías Jaua has again confirmed it – the ties of Leopoldo López, María Corina, and the entire opposition, with US imperialism, are obvious.

We must say with all frankness that, if we are in this situation, where the right wing has taken shape to a greater extent, it is because of the responsibility of the government itself, because not even at the times of greatest confrontation, did the government take decisive measures to strip them of their economic power, to rearrange the economy on new bases. As we have said: "Although the national bourgeoisie has made more than enough ’achievements’, to be stripped of its economic power, as anti-national and hostile to the hard-working majorities – it was a coup-plotting ally of imperialism in 2002-2003, flights of capital abroad, it speculates and hoards, creates a loophole with the dollars the state gives it –, the government has never taken a step in that direction."

The government, incapable of developing a real struggle against the capitalists

As we pointed out months ago, "The government, that talks about a ’war,’ instead of resolutely weakening the ’opposing army,’ takes measures that rather strengthen it. When all is said and done, the government also considers that the key to not having inflation or scarcity is offering the conditions so that the businessmen ’will produce.’ Because of that, it is a prisoner of its own ’contradiction’: between setting limits to the crudest aspects of corporate extortion and offering them the conditions they are demanding, and in the most recent months, it has been making a ’productive’ turn, by establishing and seeking agreements with the businessmen; it has been playing a tight rope walker, in order to go on relaxing some controls and keeping others."

For that reason, no solution to the crisis favorable to the interests of the majorities of the country’s workers and poor people will come from the government, because such a solution requires precisely impacting the interests of the national bourgeoisie and the imperialist capitals, a course that is the opposite of that of the government.

But, in addition to this, in that alleged "crusade for production," the government is running over the groups of the working class that, located in the center of production, are fighting for their rights, are warning about or reporting the problems in the enterprises. There are numerous cases in these months in which there were work stoppages or workers’ protests repressed in enterprises related to production, or in which dozens of workers or leaders that warned about problems with production or reported to the management of enterprises of the branch – especially in state enterprises, were fired or intimidated. 

The "crackdown" against the right wing, falls more harshly still against the workers who struggle

Because of all that, it is completely mistaken to expect – like a certain left wing – that the way to confront the right-wing opposition movements is by subordinating oneself to the government and betting on the strengthening of its capacity for repression, guaranteeing that the government will limit and remove democratic freedoms. As is clear, the struggle so that the crisis is not unloaded on the working people, is not only against the right-wing opposition, or against "the bourgeoisie" in general, but also against the government that, when all is said and done, runs and manages the crisis; it is the government’s policy that allows all the corporate blackmail; they are the government’s measures that conspire to devalue wages and crush the resistance of those workers who are fighting seriously.

Supporting the repressive activation of the state means strengthening the very repressive machine that falls with greater force still on the struggles of the exploited and oppressed. Legitimizing that the right to demonstrate, to block streets be violated, making it legitimate that the state arrests demonstrators, that the political police and military intelligence intervene in the street mobilizations, that they take those who protest prisoner to the commando groups of the National Guard and of the SEBIN, etc., is part of an enormous political myopia, to say the least, since they are measures that, although they circumstantially fall on groups that are raising a reactionary program, they strengthen the very institutions that now have hundreds of workers prosecuted for struggling, that have workers as prisoners, for wanting to form a union or hold a strike, that meddle in the factories and enterprises where there are struggles and intimidate the workers, that repress the assemblies or demonstrations in front of businesses, that arrest workers who are distributing leaflets for their collective contract. We are already tired of seeing this; no more recently in a workers’ struggle there were those sentenced to prison for the simple offense of setting up a union, as is the case of the workers of the Civetchi – an enterprise of state and private capital – or in the most recent capture of the oil workers’ leaders, like José Bodas and others in the refineries of Anzoátegui, for the simple act of having a picket line among the workers.

The best way to get ready to confront a possible coup is that the workers advance in developing their fighting strength, their own methods, that will strengthen their muscles and their confidence in work stoppages, assemblies, strikes, factory seizures, street mobilizations, barricades, etc., and that is totally incompatible with support for the machine of state coercion! Even their right to form workers’ self-defense organizations facing the bosses’ attacks, the activation of hired killers or evictions from their places of struggle.

Only with the workers’ and people’s strength is it possible to confront the right wing

As we have explained, up to now, this right wing is not positioning itself for a coup d’état, not because it does not want it, but because, at the moment, the correlation of forces does not permit it.

But, obviously, it cannot be ruled out that if these groups acquire more strength, Maduro’s government weakens still more, they see the approval of the corporate sector and imperialism, they will not be able to try actions like a coup or openly undertake a coup d’état; they have already shown, in previous periods, what they are capable of. In this case, we revolutionaries will know to act as we did to confront them in their coup attempts of 2002 and 2003, and, mainly, during April 11. There, we bet on the workers’ independent mobilization, the expropriation of all the pro-coup businessmen, and we even demanded weapons for the people, to defeat the coup-plotters. Chávez’ government then, after the working people and the masses were the ones that reinstated him, preferred reconciliation with the coup-plotters and leaving their hands free and conditions so that they would recover. For that reason, we are categorical once again: Only the workers’ independent mobilization, with their own methods of struggle, is the one that will know how to stop the right-wingers’ attack, and not with the policy of Maduro’s government, that yields ever more and more to them; it even openly maintains that the surrender of Leopoldo López has been negotiated, but without saying what it was that he negotiated.

It is necessary to put in place the powerful force of the workers

The way to prevent the right wing from acquiring more strength and social weight, is by putting in place the class-conscious force of the workers with demands opposing the ones that these mobilizations are raising.

Part of this struggle is to win the youth over to a solution on the side of the working class, by fighting to put in place pro-worker, anti-bureaucratic and anti-imperialist young people. The Bonapartist measures that Maduro’s government is currently promoting, only serve to contribute to the student movement’s being won over by the liberal "democratic" demagogy of the right wing, increasingly pushing young people to adopt reactionary positions. Now more than ever, a great battle is being posed in the student movement against the thuggish reaction and chavismo, that will bind its struggle for a workers’ and people’s solution, based on all the interests of the exploited and oppressed.

To begin to put the strength of the workers in motion, it becomes essential to unify all the struggles underway, by calling regional workers’ meetings beginning now, with the dynamic of a big National Meeting of Struggle, with delegates elected in every factory, given a mandate in their assemblies and subject to recall, and open to all the working men and women. In that meeting, it is necessary to approve a real program of struggle.

So that the imperialist capitals, the national bourgeoisie and the rich will pay for the crisis, it is necessary to set up the potentially powerful force of the working men and women, in alliance with all the poor people, with demands against those that the opposition is raising and against the policies that the government has been employing.

Suspension of payment of the foreign debt! No more payment of that tribute to the capitals and governments of the capitalist powers. Those resources should be earmarked for healthcare, education and housing.

A state monopoly of foreign trade, with control by the workers’ and peoples’ organizations! It is essential, in order to block the maneuvers of the big businesses and economic groups that turn a profit with the foreign exchange transactions, the flight of capitals, and the theft of imports. This measure must be accompanied by nationalization of all banking, by creating a single state bank, under direct control of the workers themselves.

For real and effective nationalization of the entire petroleum industry under workers’ control.

Down with the VAT! Heavy taxes on the capitalists’ profits and fortunes! No more penalizing of the working people’s personal cash; the exploiters and the rich must pay.

For real control of prices. This is only possible by establishing committees of workers and consumers throughout the national territory, that will demand the opening of the books of the firms.

Opening of the account books of the firms! The capitalists claim "losses" in order to unload their levels of profits on the people. The government is completely incapable of "controlling" that, because it is also an accomplice of the "reasonable margins" of profit. No one more than the workers themselves, that produce the wealth, has a right to know the truth about corporate finances! The capitalists have no right to conceal from the workers and society, the sums from exploitation! Let the eyes of the working class and the people, through their delegates elected by the rank and file, see through all the corners of the truth of the capitalist accounts!

An income equal to the basic family food basket and a sliding scale of wages! No worker should earn less than a basic family food basket costs. Facing the cost of living, wages must not remain stagnant; wages must be adjusted every three months, according to the increase of inflation.

Workers’ control of every enterprise that threatens to close or fire workers! The businessmen are committing blackmail by stopping production, by laying off workers or closing, if they do not accept their levels of, and demands for profits. The businesses cannot function without workers, but they can indeed work without capitalists.

Expropriation without compensation and under direct administration of their workers, of the main food monopolies! It cannot be allowed that the diet of millions of the working people depends on the thirst for profits or the political calculation of a corporation or a bourgeois family. Those enterprises must become public property, but not under the management of the government bureaucracy, rather managed directly and absolutely by the producers of wealth themselves, the workers, in alliance with the groups of the poor and impoverished peasants.

Expropriation under direct administration of its workers, of every business and firm that keeps resources in dollars overseas and refuses to bring them back to the country!

Drop the charges against all the working men and women judicially prosecuted for struggling! Stop all the trials, charges and prohibitions that weigh on hundreds of workers and peasants for carrying out strikes, a work stoppage, obstructing a street, occupying an enterprise or a farm! Release for the workers sentenced to prison for struggling! Part of the fighting vanguard of the working class and the poor still has trials, prohibitions, or even remains in jail, while among the businessmen, the bosses’ opposition and the government, they are deciding the fate of the economy and of working people: in order to tip the scales in favor of those from below, it is necessary to free those who fight from trials and prohibitions!

The SEBIN and the GNB, out of the companies and the workers’ mobilizations!

No to imperialist interference in our country. The government recently condemned imperialist pressures through the Ambassador in the OAS. There is no doubt that imperialism is behind the mobilizations of the right wing, and it interferes every time it can, just the way it did openly during the 2002 coup, and has continued doing in different ways throughout all these years. Fighting against the right wing is also fighting against imperialism. Down with the power of US imperialism!