The electoral situation continues to develop towards the December parliamentarian elections, in an authoritarian context against any sector or factor, be it social or political, that does not belong to one of the great leaderships, while, among the these, secret agreements are habitual, without ceasing their confrontations between clans of power.
Thus, in the midst of the acute economic crisis suffered by workers and the vast majority of the population, there is no shortage of police abuses or arrests against worker or political activists, for participating in a street protest activity, and even, in response to spontaneous demands to any local authority for any situation.
There are recent cases in which political differences between local bureaucracies, such as mayors, are dealt with by imprisonment, using the Law Against Hate as an excuse, which is a repressive resource widely used by the government and its judicial system.
There have also been humiliations and arrests for protesting in gasoline ration lines. Social networks have served as a channel of expression and protest and in some cases they have managed to exert pressure that has contributed to the release of detainees.
Others have not been so lucky, like several workers imprisoned for months or years (including Rodney Álvarez, Bartolo Guerra and Marcos Sabariego). And a young woman and a young PDVSA professional are still in prison after making complaints of irregularities and corruption, accusation of being “spies” who gave information to imperialism.
These are just some of the examples that give an account of the profile of the citizens with which the government of Nicolás Maduro continues to populate Venezuelan prisons, when on the contrary, just a few days ago the presidential pardon was given to more than 100 so-called political prisoners, the vast majority of them related or directly linked to the bosses’ political opposition that promotes foreign intervention, a military coup or a right-wing uprising in Venezuela.
The protests and clashes of civilians with police or military officials in the queues for the supply of gasoline, or gas or due to the lack of electricity and water, can be seen throughout the country, given the fact that once again the shortage of an item as important as fuel has worsened, as well as the chronic deterioration or collapse of services. Images and videos spread on social networks about the journeys that people endure trying to supply vehicles, the majority without success, without ignoring the enormous risks to which they are exposed in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
The different faces of the traditional employers´ opposition
In the midst of all this and while the government concentrates on the parliamentary electoral campaign, the traditional employers´ opposition and the right continue to divide in the face of the electoral issue and other matters of politics and national life, without abandoning conspiratorial plans for the most part sponsored by Trump from the United States. It is worth remembering that recently the Supreme Court of Justice annulled the precautionary measure that the Primero Justicia (PJ) party handed over to deputy José Brito, who has been accused of carrying out efforts in favor of Colombian businessman Álex Saab, indicated by the US as a front man of Nicolás Maduro. That decision came after former presidential candidate and member of PJ, Henrique Capriles, called to mobilize to vote in the December 6 event. Capriles personally takes responsibility for the achievement of the freedom of the so-called last political prisoners (some were and others were not) and with the intermediation of officials of the Turkish government; responding to the criticism he has received from other sectors of the right that he would be in favor of “talking to anyone in order to get the country out of the crisis.”
The National Assembly deputy and self-proclaimed “interim president”, Juan Guaidó, replied by rejecting the Capriles negotiations with the government of Turkey and also said that “negotiations undertaken individually do not represent or commit the National Assembly (in the version that he presides) or the interim government in any way.”
But beyond the remarks made by the “deteriorated” Guaidó, the truth is that due to the secret meetings between Capriles Radonski and the Turks, for now a first result is publicly known with the freedom of more than 100 detainees, among which, of course, there is no worker or union leader from the many arrested for fighting for labor rights; except for Rubén González, a union leader, but linked to bourgeois political parties.
For her part, María Corina Machado insists on saying that in Venezuela it is necessary to intervene with the creation of an international coalition that will deploy a Peace and Stabilization Operation (OPE). In other words, she proposes a foreign military intervention, for which it would be necessary to start by activating the TIAR, a plan for which Guaidó himself is recriminated at all times.
And we cannot fail to name the opposition that is on better terms with the government, like Claudio Fermín’s Soluciones party, which openly states that the way to find a solution to the crisis is through electoral participation as a way to achieve “democratic”change. In alliance with this organization and its ballot, there are other political formations such as REDES, of the former Chavista mayor, Juan Barreto, who see the “solution” in a “unitary” mix of organizations of any class sign and within the bourgeois framework.
As can be seen, we are facing a network of groups and leaderships for which it is very important not to lose the pulse of their positions and their international relations with sectors of financial capital. So, as much as it seems that now the government has “more opposition than ever”, what is really being expressed is how they are dividing between themselves, as the agreements and secret negotiations advance, moving on a board whose chips are all aim to sustain the capitalist regime, though they may present different versions and variants to the one that Maduro has been designing, with repression of workers and popular sectors, while natural resources and national income in general are the plender desired by the traditional bourgeoisie, for the new bourgeois that emerged from the Madurista bureaucracy and by the imperialist godfathers behind each of them; whether they are gringos, Chinese or Russian.
The Opposition We Need and the APR Debate
What we workers, poor people, women, students and the youth need is to build our own genuine political opposition to the Maduro government and his regime. And this must be done with absolute independence from the leaderships of the other right-wing or traditional employers´ and business opposition.
The PSUV government took care of eliminating all the historical conquests of the working class, leading the bulk of the population to a situation of total precariousness. We have no salary, our benefits were taken away after the monetary reconversion two years back, the negotiation of collective agreements were at the mercy and convenience of the employers, be they public or private, with the issuance of Memorandum 2792. To this we must add the destruction of the public health system, with hospitals in ruins and with the migratory flight of most doctors and specialists who went to try to find better luck in other countries.
The transportation crisis, the lack of gasoline and the destruction of the country´s main company, PDVSA; corruption and capital flight, hyperinflation, the much cited police repression, and to top it all the health crisis caused by COVID-19; paint a panorama that translates into life for the majority of Venezuelans becoming an endless ordeal.
In Marea Socialista we have been saying publicly for years that we need to build a political tool to fight for our rights and for the solution to the crisis to be of a workers’ and people´s type instead of what the bureaucracy and capital impose or offer us. A political tool that is capable of bringing together and organizing the militants that help to build a true perspective and not generate false expectations in sectors or figures, as has happened so many times, and whose consequences are the disilusion and skepticism of an important part of the people, who are tired of being used by the politicians up top, the same ones as always, the recycled ones and their emerging successors.
In this sense and in function of that purpose it is necessary to recover the labor and people´s practice of struggle. In the case of the labor movement, with a democratic, classist and militant unionism; diametrically opposed to the bureaucratic caricatures grouped in the Bolivarian Socialist Workers´ Central (CSBT) that have turned it into a pro-employer, bureaucratic and governmental tool to oppress and overexploit the working class, or the union bureaucracy that forms a coalition with the right and are part of the framework that has supported the entire interventionist policy promoted by the parties of the bourgeoisie and is silent in the face of the disgrace perpetrated by the private employers against the working class.
For this reason, each space of workers’ struggle that arises or mobilization that occurs, no matter how small they are initially, must be accompanied, made visible, and we must intervene to help in such a way that they are capable of developing and consolidating; serving, among other things, as a school for the new leaders needed to strengthen the labor movement and unions.
In the same way, a social, people´s and political recomposition with a clear class definition is urgently needed, whose principles and program of struggle lead it to join with the most courageous and revolutionary activists that are expressed in the different spaces in dispute against the bureaucracy and capital. Therefore, it is through the dialectical relationship between the rapprochement between equals that serves to open a gap, the overall reading of the serious situation and the consequent disposition, both to facilitate and to become part of the struggles, taking the best ways to raise that alternative social and political reference, that Left-wing, working class and popular opposition of which we speak, within the simultaneous fight against the bureaucracy and capital, against what Maduro represents and against what Guaidó represents.
It is with this healthy interest that we have taken into consideration the statements of the spokesmen of the Popular Revolutionary Alternative (APR). Their expressions so far have only been given at the electoral level, which we logically value as insufficient, because it means continuing to be part of the framework that supports a government loaded with fury and deeply anti-worker.
Precisely among the keys to what we have to recover to confront the bureaucrats, capitalism, its logic and its battered institutionality, is knowing how to distinguish well, as a class, what is tactical and what is strategic; because if not, we will continue to generate more false illusions, by making people believe that electoral participation can displace and is more important than organization and mobilization to fight together for what belongs to us.
It is quite the opposite. The best moment to nominate candidates in an electoral process would have to emerge from the momentum of the struggles and for those candidates to express in parliament or in whatever space, what is being resolved in the streets, in factories, in the countryside, in universities and schools, or in the communities (which is the fundamental thing) and that they contribute to organically incarnate in a strong class organization and with combative capacity. And it is precisely the leaders and militants of the struggles who are the most appropriate to assume the candidacies; chosen by their bases, legitimized in their centers of articulation and activism, over the mere distributions between political platforms.
In the current defensive scenario in which we find ourselves in the left, people´s and working-class sectors, there is not – for now – a dynamic like the one we alluded to, but there are conditions for the candidates presented by the APR to tell workers and all the exploited sectors what role they intend to play in the National Assembly: What projects will they present in dispute in that venue and with whom will they discuss them previously or with what social force will they support them? How have they outlined the fight for a minimum wage according to Article 91 of the CRBV, equivalent to the cost of the basic basket? Do they plan to do something against the so-called Law of Hate, so used against criticism, against free expression and against the working class? Will the recovery of social benefits for workers be among their priorities? And with what methods of struggle will they motorize all this? Are women’s rights, the right to abortion, among the purposes of their seats, emerging as a great need to be debated and disputed? What programmatic points will their actions take in their view, to be able to face the embezzlement of the nation, the sacrifice of the people for a corrupt and illegitimate foreign debt or the destruction of nature and peoples included in the predatory Orinoco Mining Arc? These, among many other questions that must be answered in discussion and debate, in the heat of the struggle or, if possible, in collective democratic elaboration.
There is a base and part of a periphery around Madurismo that is no longer in favor of voting for the PSUV again, which looks sympathetically to the APR, as it did for the candidacy of Eduardo Samán in 2017, or as it did for some of the candidacies promoted by Marea Socialista, with other ballots, in elections for governors, mayors or councilors, though with the “peculiarities” of those elections they did not have a fair chance of winning. In the aforementioned case of Samán in Caracas, it was a flow of some 40,000 votes that were later not called on to a more accurate exercise beyond the election, to try to channel the criticisms and demands that were already evident at that time. This attempt was needed to achieve a unity around proposals that expressed the great demands that are stirring in the depths of the ill-fated population.
For this reason and even more for the reasons that we express throughout the text, we insist that a mere electoral boundary is not enough to make a call on our part to vote for the APR candidates as we continue to see them in a line of support for the government, reserving the position of calling for a null vote (which is very different from the abstention promoted this time by sectors of the traditional political right). And we continue with all our zeal in the task of building that political and militant alternative that we so need.
The unity we call for
In any case, for us, the main debate points in the direction of thinking and opening the way as quickly as possible, in tune with the rhythm of the people, in that unity that must be raised. In Guyana and in some of the eastern part of the country, workers in basic companies on the one hand and oil workers on the other, along with retirees, continue to try to raise the mobilization. Even with many weaknesses and limited clarity regarding the axes that lead them to summon the rest of their colleagues and showing the lack or weakness of organization; but they continue to push to increase the degree of convergence and the pace of struggle.
This is very positive and as long as the workers criticize and speak out, it will be the rebellious embryo from where the social sector that thoroughly confronts the government can end up reconstituting and increasing its forces. For this, there must be the greatest possible precision on the slogans and claims that, first, serve to continue summoning the workers and at the same time gives shape to the conditions to obtain victories in the conflicts.
The fight for wages (Article 91 of the CRBV), to recover social benefits, for solidarity and freedom of the workers imprisoned for fighting, the rejection of the Hate Law, the denunciation of the criminalization of protest , the fulfillment and discussion of the collective agreements or the demand that Memorandum 2792 be repealed, are axes of struggle with a tremendous potential for worker articulation and for the delimitation in relation to the political opportunism of the sectors of the bourgeois political opposition that manipulates and inoculates in the struggles of the workers and the people along lines that suit Guaidó or pave the way for María Corina Machado.
It is by fighting together for clear objectives that we can modify the correlation of forces and be able to stop the toughest aspects of the government’s anti-worker offensive, or achieve changes in our favor in terms of economic, political and social issues. That is the urgent task to which the entire scenario of adversity that we find ourselves summons us to.
As Marea Socialista (@ MareaSoc89) we will continue to intervene in the different debates related to the interests of workers and the poor, as well as being part of their struggles and demands. And we continue to build Marea Socialista (www.mareasocialista.org) as a party, as a revolutionary nucleus to intervene with greater strength on the political field, confronting the bureaucratic government and the different variants of the bosses’ opposition and intervention. That is also why our call is for you to join us in this militant experience. To know our trajectory, our theoretical and programmatic bases; and continue shaping a national and international project (that we share with the International Socialist League that truly embodies and defines us as women, as workers, as youths, as peasants, as popular communities, as ecosocialists, anti-capitalists and internationalists… And in general to fight against all forms of oppression and exploitation.