The Referendum in Venezuela: a marxist perspective
On December 2 Venezuelans are once again called to the polling stations to democratically decide on a new step
forward in the revolution, through the ratification of the 69 articles that will reform the 1999 constitution. Against this reform we find international imperialism, our own bourgeoisie, the Catholic Church, that is, all the forces that have been holding back the development of our country and that for decades have benefited from the sacrifices and misery of the workers, peasants and poor, that is, the overwhelming majority of Venezuelans. On the side of the "Yes" is President Chávez and the great majority of workers, communities, peasants and youth who for decades - but especially since Chávez came to power - have been struggling to overthrow capitalism, to expel imperialism from the fatherland of Bolivar once and for all and to create a new socialist society in Venezuela as a first step towards a socialist revolution in the whole of Latin America.
The Revolutionary Marxist Current (CMR), as part of the Bolivarian movement and the PSUV, is issuing a call for an avalanche of votes in favour of the reform on December 2. This reform contains numerous progressive elements and is one of the most advanced in the world. The reduction of the working day to six hours, the right to vote from 16 years of age, the new forms of socialist property, the development of the popular power through workers', community and students' councils, etc., are some of the reasons why the workers and oppressed of Venezuela must massively vote YES. It is necessary to show our class enemies, capitalists, landlords, bankers and imperialists, our strength and give them another bloody nose as we did on December 3, 2006, when Chávez was re-elected in a historical victory. We have to hit them hard and demonstrate that despite all their manoeuvres they are not going to break the will of the revolutionary people.
At the same time, faced with all the destabilising manoeuvres of the opposition and imperialism, we appeal to everyone to remain vigilant and to trust only the forces of the workers and the organised people. We are not going to tolerate the counter-revolutionary attempts to change or manipulate the will of the majority. And we do not doubt that the majority's decision will be in favour of a YES.
We call on the left organisations of the world to defend the Bolivarian revolution from imperialist attacks and international reaction. Imperialists and the bourgeoisie have understood that this reform is a decisive step towards socialism in Venezuela and for that reason they have mobilised all their forces, within and outside Venezuela. For that reason, the Revolutionary Marxist Current of Venezuela calls on all left organisations on an international level, workers' parties and unions to redouble their efforts in favour of the Venezuelan revolution against the propaganda campaign that imperialism is coordinating on an international level with the only aim of generating the necessary conditions to secure the inactivity of international public opinion in defence of the revolution against destabilisation and an eventual coup.
It is necessary that the working class, all the organisations of the left, the "Hands off Venezuela" campaign and other solidarity campaigns on an international level be especially vigilant during the December 2 elections and on the days immediately afterwards to mobilise in defence of the Venezuelan revolution. Any act of solidarity will have an enormous impact within and outside Venezuela.
The revolution polarises to left and right
The increased conflict between the social classes also manifests itself within the revolutionary movement. Room for doubtful and hesitant individuals is becoming narrower and narrower. There are only to roads: either with the revolution or with the counter-revolution; either with socialism or with capitalism. The fact that ex-General Baduel and his political mentor, that fraud of a socialist theoretician Dieterich (describing the constitutional reform as a lesser evil), have jumped ship and gone over to the other side is proof that there is no possible middle ground. They were not the first ones and neither will they be the last ones to go over to the counter-revolution. The bureaucrats and the reformists, the fifth column which is the main threat to the revolution, have been sabotaging the electoral campaign. Many of them think like Baduel, but they do not dare to say it openly in order not to lose their positions in town councils, governorships and ministries. After the victory of the YES on December 2, their sabotage will continue to increase. The people and the workers must be aware of this latent counter-revolutionary danger and remove it.
Marxists can only defend the YES in the referendum
The Revolutionary Marxist Current rejects the positions of self-proclaimed "Marxist" groups or "socialist revolutionaries" that are demanding either a negative vote or abstention in this referendum. Unfortunately, with their attitude these small sectarian groups are helping to discredit the ideas of Marxism within the revolutionary movement, playing into the hands of the reformist bureaucracy that is trying to blur the socialist content of the revolution and the tasks to be carried out. As they did in previous revolutions they are dragging the names of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky through the mud.
These self-proclaimed Marxist groups (although they are really at the antipodes of Marxism), having honest militants amongst their rank and file, are committing the gravest of mistakes; mixing up revolution and counter-revolution. Faced with those who defend a NO vote or abstention and claim to be Marxist, only one question can be asked: would the victory of the No vote in the referendum be a step forwards or backwards for the revolutionary movement? Who would benefit if the NO wins in the referendum? Obviously, the question answers itself for every person whose senses are not blinded by sheer sectarianism and whose abilities to reason function with some degree of normality, as is the case of the immense majority of the Venezuelan people. A victory for the NO vote would increase the social base of reaction and give strength to the reformist bureaucracy that is saying that Chávez is going too far and thus argue the need for moderation. With a NO vote the capitalists, imperialism and the bureaucrats win.
These "Marxists or revolutionary socialists", even if that is not their aim, are objectively playing a counter-revolutionary role. Marx in his superb work "The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte" pointed out that men, groups and parties must be judged and measured not for what they say, or even for what they think, but for what they do and for the interests they defend with their actions. This can be perfectly applied to these groups of self-proclaimed Marxists.
The Venezuelan working class must put itself at the forefront of the revolution to expropriate the capitalists and build a revolutionary state on the basis of workers', community and students' councils.
After December 2, the workers and the people must go on to the offensive to put into practice from below the articles of the reform. We cannot wait for the State bureaucracy to carry them out! Otherwise, they will be just ink on a piece of paper. The victory of the YES on December 2 is the first step on this road. It is up to the workers and the people to advance from below in the building of socialism, organising ourselves at rank and file level to put it into practice.
Faced with the economic sabotage against the revolution it is necessary to expropriate the capitalists. A first step would be the expropriation of the agricultural monopolies by the government of President Chávez and these should be put under the democratic control and management of workers' and communal councils, as the constitution states. At the same time it is necessary to extend the workers' councils to the whole of industry, public and private, as a first step towards the nationalisation of the capitalist monopolies of the country, a necessary pre-requisite in order to carry out a rational and democratic planning of the Venezuelan economy against the current anarchy generated by the capitalists and the State bureaucracy. The new constitutional reform offers the legal instruments to carry out this task but the revolutionary action of the masses from below is necessary to implement it.
In particular, it is necessary that on the trade union front, all divisions must finish within the UNT; the workers' movement must unite in a national campaign to take over and occupy the factories to allow for the nationalisation of all the productive apparatus in the hands of the capitalist monopolies, and thus proceed to carry out a total change in the social relations of production; from capitalism to socialism. This is the most important pending task of the Bolivarian revolution and a pre-requisite for the socialist transformation. We are convinced that faced with a call from the union movement, from the UNT, the comrades of FRETECO (the revolutionary front of occupied and co-managed factories), as well as other collectives, such as the FNCEZ (Ezequiel Zamora National Peasants Front), and movements, would receive this proposal with enthusiasm.
At the same time it is necessary to implement at rank and file level the people's power through the development of workers', community and students' councils. It is also necessary that they should be coordinated through a national co-ordination establishing a first national congress of workers', community and students' councils to build a base that will replace the bourgeois state apparatus inherited from the IV Republic. The councils must be organised with elected and recallable spokespersons, on a local, regional and state level. The constitutional reform lays down the legal basis to carry this out. All that is needed is the revolutionary initiative from the rank and file and, especially, from the workers, who must be the vanguard (as Chávez himself repeated some days ago); that is, the workers must take the initiative in their workplaces to build a new revolutionary State.
The victory on December 2 will open the battle for the victory of the Socialist revolution in Venezuela
The victory on December 2 will be a new step forward for the revolution a new, decisive stage, which should mean a change in the social relations of production and the end of the bourgeois state apparatus. This new stage presents itself to the workers and the people with the most favourable balance of forces possible for victory. All over Latin America workers and poor are rising against capitalism and imperialism. Internationally, capitalism is a sinking boat, only able to offer more hunger, misery, war and a hopeless future for humanity; in fact, not only to the human race, but to all living creatures on the planet.
The struggle of the Venezuelan people is the guiding light for all the oppressed of the world; that is the reason for the hatred embedded in the hearts of the oppressors, slave-owners and imperialists of all nations, from G.W. Bush to the King of Spain. On our side is the love and solidarity of millions of workers and poor all over the world. Along with them we will build in Venezuela and on the whole planet a socialist society, free from oppression and misery.
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