Friday, February 14, 2014
Facing the recent incidents and mobilizations organized by the right wing in the country
In the most recent days, a series of mobilizations has been carried out in different parts of the country, that this Wednesday, February 12, had its toll in Caracas of three people dead, people arrested and several people wounded. Among those who died, one is a chavista and the other two are youths from the right wing. This has again put stress on the country’s political situation, pointing to the political polarization of the last 15 years – although with big differences from the previous circumstances. It is about a thrust of mobilizations from a right-wing group with a strong base among groups of the university students and of the middle class, essentially coordinated nationally by Leopoldo López, María Corina Machado and Antonio Ledezma, part of the county’s most radical right wing. From the government, there has been talk that it would be about attempted coups d’état, and that they are seeking “a climate of anxiety” in the country.
A more “radical” group of the right-wing opposition is organizing the mobilizations
It is about political groups that, facing the social situation, are clamoring for more right-wing solutions, in the context of a strong internal division of the forces that oppose the government from the right, united in the Committee of Democratic Unity (MUD). It is not a movement of the entire opposition, for now; even more, the groups that are currently running the MUD – whom López & Co. are even accusing of being “collaborators” with the government – have distanced themeselves from these actions – from Capriles Radonski up to the leader of the country’s main student federation (that of the UCV), going through Ramón Aveledo himself, the Executive Secretary of the MUD.
It is undeniable that they have a social base that is establishing itself on the economic and social crisis that is attacking the country, and it is not a coincidence that their main leaders demagogically raise issues like high inflation, high scarcity levels of basic products of mass consumption, the “lack of safety,” and even up to low wages. This group from the MUD, more extremist, is seeking the same neo-liberal, right-wing “solutions” as the current hegemonic leadership of the MUD, but “without waiting for the electoral calendar,” rather “by way of taking the street until the regime changes or Maduro leaves”; now it is necessary to work on “the solution,” they state. For that reason, the content of the mobilizations they are promoting is highly reactionary.
Working people and the poor can find nothing in these groups, representatives of the economic groups, with a clearly pro-imperialist position, that, if they had the possibility of becoming the government, would take measures of economic and political solutions that would in no way differ from the more right-wing governments of the continent, that encourage coups d’état, like the most recent ones in Honduras or in Paraguay.
The economic crisis that Maduro’s government inherited
Undoubtedly, an economic and social crisis is being expressed through every pore of the country. Thus, the majority of the official indicators of the national economy, under a dismal outlook, that bring up a structural crisis for discussion, reflect that. For its part, a government that only expresses itself through improvisation and is subject to pressures from the different political factors and interests of the powerful economic groups and of business. Levels of accelerating inflation – in the month of January alone, it was 3.3%, coming from closing 2013 at 56% – that show that the different laws on control of prices seemed a failure; scarcity shows some indices rising, reaching 28% for January, the highest in the last six years; real wages are falling at the same rate as the constant devaluation of the bolívar that the government insists on denying; over-indebtedness (foreign and domestic) continues with a rising dynamic; the international reserves have fallen some 50% in the last 5 years, a contraction of the growth of gross domestic product that envisions a recessionary dynamic, while the bleeding of the “people’s dollars” continues through payments of the foreign debt and the huge flight of capitals.
The government applies an adjustment in dribs and drabs
The devaluation measures that already, by themselves, are battering the income of working people, are only the beginning of a series of adjustments that, in the framework of seeking “economic stability,” will squeeze the people to the extent that it is increasingly oriented to corporate “needs.”
The government did not resist the pressure from those who favored devaluation, that comes both from its very own network, and from the economic groups that say they will clash with its economic policies. The business world criticizes – the price controls annoy them (although the government seeks to calm them by stating that it is ready to make changes in the law about prices, depending on the dialogue with the businessmen) – but they are pleased with the new devaluations, and even with the adjustments, since they continue urging the government to do the unpopular work, and, in this way, they seek free access. The government goes on and on in lavish explanations of the fact that its new law of costs and prices allows a “maximum profit” of up to 30%, “calculated beginning with the cost of production,” to convince the capitalists that in this way, the firms and the businesses are “profitable,” but the bourgeoisie wants to earn without limits, and they also want to be given dollars without limits! They are demanding more concessions from the government, more freeing up of the economy, of the dollar, and of the labor laws, and those who must pay for it are none other than the workers, the poor people, the agricultural day laborers and poor peasants.
The government then devalued the bolívar, agreed to exempt several groups of “productive” businessmen from paying taxes (while working people are paying the VAT); the payment of the foreign debt continues unscathed; the government is discussing raising [the price of] gasoline and public services, among other measures.
López & Co. want to “call in a favor” in the MUD and turn the national situation more to the right
In this reality, this most right-wing group of the country’s opposition is establishing itself; a group, that, if we take the current correlation of forces, is, at the moment, very far from being able to impose attempts at a coup d’état, as the government alleges, not because they do not want that – they are frothing at the mouth for the dismissal of Maduro – but because they do not have the national ability for moves of such magnitude, especially in the context of the strong division of the right wing. The truth is that they are trying to set the pace for the agenda of the right wing, to fight to be its leadership, by showing their muscles nationally and putting stress on the political situation throughout the country. They are moving in the context of a division of the opposition, a group that, after setbacks in the elections, like that of the most recent municipal elections nationally, decides to take its toll on the group led by Capriles Radonski. It is not a coincidence that groups like Capriles Radonski himself, among others, have gone out essentially to disavow the most violent acts that have taken place, and he even hesitated for awhile, before participating in the scheduled marches. It is not that Capriles was transformed overnight into a grazing sheep – he belongs to the old coup-plotting group, – but that he shows weakness in front of the government, since, after the point of greatest standing and leadership expressed in the presidential elections against Maduro, who recovered, the government got a considerable difference of votes from him in the defeat that it gave him in the past municipal elections, that Capriles wanted to change into a plebiscite. But he also knows that it is about internal disputes, in which, if Leopoldo López and Corina Machado manage to put considerable forces on the street, his predominant role in the MUD can plummet, in the full knowledge that he was the one closest to challenging chavista rule in votes.
The government wants to conceal the dissatisfaction and use the troubles of the right wing to remove democratic rights
But what is without doubt is that Maduro’s government is using the situation provoked by this right-wing group, by saying that it is about coup attempts, since it is more than obvious that, in the middle of his economic difficulties, he has taken the challenge that the right wing threw at him, making the political situation even more tense and polarized, that allows him to close ranks among his supporters and from the big groups of chavismo in general, where the dissatisfaction with the government’s economic direction is beginning to be felt, both in groups of the chavista left wing and of the people in general. Distracting and diverting the tensions towards the interior of the movement of chavismo. This allows him to take, for the moment, the center from the economic situation, and he polarizes, by talking about coup attempts, knowing full well that the group that is getting mobilized does not have the national strength for such a thing.
But Maduro’s government is also using the situation to limit the democratic freedoms that, in the name of confronting the forces of the right wing, he is reducing, restrictive measures that are and will be used with all the force and weight of the law against the groups of the workers and people, that fight more openly for their demands, and the anti-popular measures (like the devaluation) or those of an economic adjustment, that seem to be on the way. Already, a big framework, composed of a series of laws that we have condemned and criticized from the LTS, has been in use, laws that even enjoy the approval of the corporate sector, that restrict the right of workers and the people to protest, the right to strike and the workers’ and people’s right to demonstrate freely in the streets. We are already tired of seeing this, no more recently than in a workers’ struggle, there were those sentenced to prison, for the simple offense of setting up a union, as is the case with the workers of Civetchi – an enterprise of state and private capital – or in the most recent apprehension of the oil workers’ leaders, like José Bodas and others in the refineries of Anzoátegui, for the simple act of organizing a picket line among the workers.
It is necessary to develop the workers’ and people’s struggle, to stop a more right-wing course of the national situation that the MUD and the policies of Maduro’s government are fighting for
Facing the country’s current economic and political situation, we say clearly that only the working class can provide a fundamental solution to the disasters that the country is receiving. Neither from chavismo with Maduro’s government at the head, nor from the MUD in any of its variants, do they represent a solution for the working people and the poor. It is necessary that the working men and women turn their backs on it by beginning to travel a road of class independence and of a workers’ solution to the crisis. Solely the workers, next to all the exploited, poor urban groups and poor peasants, that are the ones who have everything to lose, the only ones that can take a struggle of class and political independence to the end. Only the workers’ forces have more than 7 million wage-earners, a considerable social force, facing a minority of parasites, and if we add to that the other millions of the people’s and peasants’ masses, we are a force of the greatest social weight in the country.
It is necessary to develop the workers’ and people’s struggle, to stop a more right-wing course of the national situation, and the way to prevent groups like this one from developing more strength and social weight, is by setting up a class-conscious force of the workers with demands opposed to those that these mobilizations are raising.
To begin to get it moving, it becomes esssential to unify all the struggles underway, a big number of isolated struggles (several defeated for that reason), and, without organization, both because of pressure and employers’ (private and government) repression and the action of the union bureaucracies, from the protests for wages, against layoffs, and for those of the collective agreements, as well as those that are advancing in demands of greater spirit, by unifying the rank and file unions. But part of this struggle is also fighting against the union bureaucracies, both those allied with the government, that defend the government’s measures to the letter, and those allied with the corporate and right-wing opposition that, taking advantage of the decline in the people’s standard of living, engage in demagogy, but with a clear aim of being a transmission belt of the private businesses. Greater organization is needed, by calling workers’ regional meetings, starting now, with the dynamic of a big National Meeting of struggle, with delegates elected in every factory, given mandates in their assemblies and subject to recall, and open to all the working men and women.