Action Program for Venezuela
by the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) in Venezuela
Capitalism has entered a new historic period of decline. It is crisis-ridden because of its escalating inner contradictions. This crisis leads inevitable to economic, political, social and military explosions. The deeper cause of this is that fact that the productive forces (labor, machinery and equipment, etc..., and their products) are so advanced that they clash more and more with the increasingly unbearable limits of the capitalist mode of production. The private ownership of the production means allows the capitalists to direct the production process in their companies to the sole purpose of increasing their profits. The source of this profit is not the labor of the capitalists but the surplus value which is created by the workers.
Therefore, every capitalist has the objective – regardless of his or her personality – to appropriate profit for him- or herself and not to work for the prosperity of the society. Otherwise, he or she would not be a capitalist.
In our era, capitalism exists and can only exist as imperialism. This is a system
* in which the world is dominated by few hundred monopolies and a handful of Great Powers,
* in which the working class and the popular masses are exploited and oppressed and
* in which the semi-colonial countries (like Venezuela) are super-exploited.
These exploitation, super-exploitation and oppression by the imperialist monopolies and great powers are escalating in the present period because of capitalism’s crisis as a system.
No fundamental problem can be solved in a national way. We will have a future only if we destroy capitalism and build socialism worldwide. To achieve this, we need an armed insurrection of the working class – history has shown that any idea of a peaceful transformation to socialism is a ridiculous illusion. Only the dictatorship of proletariat and the creation of a workers' state which strives to spread the revolution internationally can open the road to authentic socialism without any bureaucratic rule.
The working class can only march forward and can only succeed in the overthrow of capitalism, if it builds timely a revolutionary party, as part of new Fifth Workers International. This new International must be founded on the traditions of four revolutionary precursors’ internationals: the First International of Marx and Engels, the Second International until 1914, the Third International founded under the leadership of Lenin up to its Stalinist degeneration in 1924 and the Fourth International led by Leon Trotsky till its centrist degeneration in 1948-52.
The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) in Venezuela is committed to this task.
2. Latin America: The Struggle to Liberate the Continent from Imperialist Chains and the ‘National’ Bourgeoisie
Latin America is a region of semi-colonial countries which super-exploited by imperialist monopolies and oppressed by great powers (especially the USA) for centuries.
The decline of capitalism in recent decades had a severe impact for Latin America. It resulted in massive impoverishment of the popular masses, public debt crisis, devaluations, bankruptcy, etc. In the last ten years there has been a net flow of financial resources from Latin America to the imperialist metropolises of annually between 50 and 140 billion US-Dollars.
At the same time the decline of US imperialism, the increasing rivalry of the Great Powers (including imperialist China) and the rising prices of raw materials provide some room for maneuver to the semi-colonial Latin American bourgeoisie.
Against the background of capitalism’s decline, economic, political and even military confrontations between imperialist powers and Latin America countries are likely in the future (see, for example, the commercial disputes between Western Hedge Funds and Argentina or its conflict with Britain over the Malvinas Islands). In such cases the RCIT Venezuela stand for the defense of any Latin American country and the defeat of the Great Powers and imperialist monopolies.
However, the ‘national’ bourgeoisie is deeply rooted in the world capitalist system and cannot escape from there. The reality of ‘bolivarianismo’ – after being in power for 15 years in Venezuela – has proven that it cannot break with imperialism and capitalism. Instead it rather continues the regime of exploitation and oppression.
Is Cuba a model? The RCIT Venezuela doesn’t think so. Cuba is a Stalinist degenerated workers' state. This means that its economy is not subordinated to the principle of profit for a few capitalists but is planned by the state (albeit in a bureaucratic way). At the same time the working class is oppressed by a bureaucratic caste which rules the country since more than five decades. Currently the Stalinist regime of the Castro brothers prepares capitalist restoration.
We defend Cuba against any imperialist aggression. We defend Cuba against the sanctions and blockades imposed by the United States. But the Cuban working class must prepare and organize in an independent way for a political revolution against the dictatorship of the Castroite CP.
In all struggles to defend social gains and national and democratic rights we put forward the methods to class struggle (mass mobilizations, independent organization of the workers, peasants and poor in action committees and popular militias etc.). However we participate in the class struggle as it is and don’t wait till the workers suddenly discover the Marxist program. We join and support the class struggle even if it takes place under a non-revolutionary leadership. However, while the RCIT Venezuela give critical support to petty-bourgeois and even bourgeois forces in situations where they take actions against the imperialists – according to the Leninist method of the Anti-Imperialist United Front tactic – we strive to organize the working class independently in order to prepare for the revolutionary overthrow of the imperialist bourgeoisie and the ‘national’ bourgeoisie.
For this we must replace the existing ‘bolivarian’ leadership and Stalinist leadership with a genuine international revolutionary party.
3. ‘Bolivarian’ Venezuela is a semi-colonial capitalist country, not a socialist republic
Venezuela is a capitalist semi-colonial country which is dependent of imperialism, both of the USA and Europe and now also of the new emerging Chinese imperialism.
USA is the leading trading partner of Venezuela. Of 2.5 million barrels of oil which are exported daily, 1.5 million are destined for the USA. Nearly all European oil monopolies have investments to exploit the Orinoco Oil Belt through joint ventures and take the oil to continue their domination and oppression of the working class in their respective countries. China offers technological cooperation, electronic products at low prices and financing in exchange for debt, oil and quotas on production.
The Bolivarian regime uses since 2005 increasingly a ‘socialist’ rhetoric to disguise the most pure capitalism. The truth is that Bolivarian ‘socialist’ bourgeoisie is just social-imperialist: it collaborates directly with emerging Chinese imperialism and indirectly with USA and Europe imperialism. The ‘bolivarianismo’ is a fake.
Maduro’s regime and PSUV are pro-bourgeois. They continue Chavez’s bonapartism sui generis which in fact is more bonapartist than sui generis. The working class’ vanguard must break with ‘bolivarianismo’ and organize independently in a revolutionary party.
The majority of the bourgeoisie sympathizes with Capriles – the leader of the right-wing opposition. However, some sectors are closely linked to Maduro’s regime and some others have business relationships with it. The PSUV regime depends to a certain degree on the masses, in order to counteract the pressure of USA imperialism and the right-wing bourgeoisie.
For this reason it has been forced to give some reforms and concessions to the masses (such as social missions, pensions for old people, etc.). These reforms are possible due to the rent derived from the oil exports to the imperialist countries.
However, these reforms and concessions are at the same time undermined by the galloping inflation and attacks by the capitalists. They will come even more under attack if the oil price declines. It is not surprising that after 15 years of Bolivarian regime, the workers share of the national income is today lower than in 1998! The reformist dream to regulate capitalism is a terrible illusion. The alternative is "socialism or barbarism".
4. PSUV: the Enemy within the Working Class and the Popular Masses
The PSUV was born as deformed reformist-populist party with massive social and ideological contradictions. This is because it organizes many workers but also many middle class people and bureaucrats with close ties to capitalists. It is a popular front party where the pro-capitalist wing subordinates the working class. This has resulted, in a short time, to its huger bureaucratization. The party serves as a machinery for bourgeois elections, it supports the state bureaucracy and the business interests of the “Bolivarian bourgeoisie”. It has blocked the revolutionary developments in the trade union movement by strengthening a labor aristocracy, subordinating it to its control and aborting the workers' struggle.
Because of reforms and concessions as well as the conflicts between Venezuela and USA imperialism, the PSUV regime was able to obtain significant support among workers and popular masses. Authentic revolutionaries should patiently explain to pro-bolivarian masses that they are wrong to believe the PSUV is socialist. Revolutionaries must tell the truth, however hard it may seem. They must warn the masses against any illusions they may have in ‘bolivarianismo’. They must call the working class to organize independently in action committees and armed militias. They must apply the united front tactic developed by the Communist International and the Trotskyist Fourth International. They must put demands to the Chavista’s leaders in the trade unions and other mass organizations not only to talk about social justice, but to fight for it and against the Bolivarian state bureaucracy. Similarly they should call workers and trade unions to break with the PSUV and form an independent workers party. Revolutionaries would participate in such a Workers Party in order to win it for a revolutionary program. The united front tactics have to be combined with a clear revolutionary propaganda and agitation which denounces the PSUV’s bureaucrats. This will help the working class to overcome illusion in chavismo through own practical experience.
In the case of a new imperialist intervention or coups d'état of right-wing opposition (like in 2002), the RCIT Venezuela take side of those forces that oppose these attacks (including chavismo). However, at the same time, we warn about these bourgeois or petty-bourgeois leaderships which are not really able to decisively defeat the pro-imperialist forces, not to speak about leading the working class to socialism.
Authentic revolutionaries must also warn about forces in labor movement, like Orlando Chirino and his MorenoiteUIT-FI. They do not offer a road to class independence but collaborate directly with Capriles and Venezuelan traditional right-wing bourgeoisie. Similarly, Alan Woods’ International Marxist Tendency doesn’t offer a revolutionary and independent alternative. While they don’t collaborate with the traditional right-wing bourgeoisie, they opportunistically adapt to the Chavista bureaucracy and apply a gross caricature of Trotsky’s entryism tactic.
Furthermore, centrism – which is ‘revolutionary’ in words but adapts to reformism, the petty bourgeoisie, populism and nationalism – is unable to provide leadership for the workers’ vanguard. Only an authentic revolutionary organization can do this. The RCIT in Venezuela is fighting to build such an organization.
5. A Programme for Action
Our programme for revolutionary action includes:
* Fight insecure employment! Conversion of unprotected, informal and temporary contracts into permanent contracts, with alignment of the employment protection provisions and wages. The adherence of these should be regulated by collective tariff agreements and controlled by trade unions and workforce representatives!
* No to any pay freeze! For massive wage increases and a minimum wage, the amounts of which should be set by independent workers' committees!
* Fight all layoffs and plant closures! Expropriation without compensation of all enterprises that don’t pay wages completely, who threaten with layoffs, who don’t pay their taxes in full or threaten with closure or relocation of the site! In such cases: the entrepreneurs must be made to pay out of their private property! Continuation of these companies as public companies under the management of the employees!
* Committees for unemployed! Fight for a job which fits to the special skills each worker has.
* Reduction of working hours! The aim is division of work among all hands. This means that every worker will have a job with less working hours and unchanged equal wages.
* Fight against inflation! Sliding scale of wages which automatically adjust against inflation. Automatic adjustment also for social benefits and old age pensions.
* For the control of prices through price monitoring committee, elected by the workers, housewives and -men as well as consumers! The basis should be a cost of living index, which is determined by representatives of the working class, the peasants and small traders.
* Accessible and quality housing for all, with essential services and built in areas which are not isolated but where people and workers live!
* Open the books – bookkeeping, bank accounts, tax returns, etc.! Inspection by accountants elected by the workers!
* Workers committees to investigate fully the corruption in capitalist companies as well as between state companies and government agencies!
* Workers committees to plan production and take managerial decisions! Equal wages for all workers, no matter their position. All posts or positions shall be revocable at any time.
* Public employment program to improve infrastructure (power supply, public transport, education, child care, etc.)! This program will not be subject to bureaucratic state control, but planned and controlled by workers committees. It must be paid with the profits and assets of capitalists.
* All essential services like water, electricity, health, education, etc., should be public property and controlled by workers and user committees! Free access to basic services for all.
* Fight women oppression! Equal pay for equal work! For the massive construction of free, well-equipped 24-hour child-care facilities! For a wide range supply of affordable and high-quality public restaurants and laundry facilities! Our goal is the socialisation of housework!
* For a public employment programme to create the conditions for the socialisation of housework and simultaneously eliminate unemployment among women!
* Free access to free contraception and abortion on demand regardless of age and no matter in what month of pregnancy the woman is!
* Nationalization for all media under workers’ control and consumer committees! Democratic participation for workers, peasants, poor, people with African descendants, etc. in media.
* Abolition of indirect taxes such as VAT!
* Massive reduction in taxes on wages! Drastic increase in taxes on profits and speculation! Elimination of tax loopholes for businesses! Immediate recovery of outstanding tax debts of the companies!
* Confiscation of property belonging to powerful and influential families and use it for a national economic plan! Expropriation of bourgeoisie.
* No more interest and debt repayment! Immediate and complete cancellation of all public and private debt.
* Nationalization to all banks and financial institutions! Fusion in a single central bank under workers’ control. Nationalization of big business, wholesale trade, transportation, health, education and communication sector without compensation and under workers’ control. Expropriation of big landowners and equitable land distribution through peasant committees. Introduction of foreign trade monopoly.
* For a government of workers, poor peasants and urban poor! It must be based on workers’ councils in companies and neighborhoods. Armed militias to provide security. All representatives of Committees and Councils are elected directly – after extensive discussion in order to reach the widest possible consensus – and can be revoked at any time. No worker will receive more than a skilled worker wage.
* For a Federation of Socialist Republics in Latin America!
No future without socialism!
No socialism without a revolution!
No revolution without a revolutionary party!
Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) - Venezuela