As the document elaborates it was written shortly after the call of the Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez for a “new, socialist Fifth International” and before a planned meeting on this issue on this subject. As the subsequent development showed Chavez dropped this project. While revolutionaries would have been sectarian to stand aside from this potential development which could have drawn hundreds of thousands militant workers, peasants, poor and youth into a politicization process, it would have also been criminal if revolutionaries would not have warned of the potential betrayal by the Chavez leadership. While various centrist currents like the IMT of Alan Woods or the Fourth International opportunistically adapted to Chavezismo, we – as the document which we publish here shows – where not surprised by this since and we already alerted people to the non-revolutionary, reformist, bourgeois character of Chavez and the PSUV leadership.
What where the main reasons for Chavez dropping of the project of the Fifth International? We think that the main reason has to be sought in the development of the international class forces since 2009. In particular one has to emphasize the importance of the emerging imperialist power China. Today China is not only the home of 10% of the world’s industrial production but also a major capital exporter – it has become the fifth-largest foreign investor with important investments in all continents.
For bourgeois-populist forces like the Chavez leadership this created the basis for a “realistic” alternative to the anti-US/NATO-alliance. Much more “realistic” and in particular less dangerous than a mass Fifth International full of socialist rhetoric and militant politics! Such a Fifth International – even if it would have been lead by Bolivarian forces – would have had a potentially radical dynamic which could have created enormous pressure on the Chavez leadership itself. Therefore Chavez was quiet happy to drop the Fifth International project in change of a closer alliance with anti-US imperialist powers.
In other words what we have seen in the last 2 years is a process of bourgeoisification of the Bolivarian movement. Its leadership becomes more and more a pro-social-imperialist leadership of forces who lean towards Chinese imperialism as an alternative pole against US/Western imperialism.
This of course must lead neither to any sectarianism towards mass movements lead by Bolivarian forces nor a retreat of the defence of Venezuela, Cuba and Bolivia etc. against any attacks by US imperialism. But at the same time we must warn of the reformist betrayal of these leaderships.