International / Latin America

The Anti-Imperialist Struggle After the Death of Hugo Chavez


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The Anti-Imperialist Struggle After the Death of Hugo Chavez

By The Pan American Bureau of the Fourth International  (source: Socialist Organizer)

With cries of “Chavez Lives, The Struggle Continues!” millions of
people across Venezuela mobilized in the streets, expressing their
refusal to become a vassal of the multinational corporations and
bankers, or to see their oil, the country’s main natural resource,
handed over to U.S. imperialism, as occurred in the past, by a local
elite living off the leftovers from the master’s table while the
overwhelming majority of the people live in abject misery.

In the immediate aftermath of the March 5 death of Venezuelan
President Hugo Chavez, the U.S. imperialist media unleashed a brutal
offensive against the revolutionary process in Venezuela, confirming
the assessment contained in the resolution adopted a few weeks before
Chavez’s death by the Fourth Internationalist Group in Venezuela
(Nucleo Cuarta Internacional), a group that has asked to be recognized
as a section of the Fourth International at the FI’s upcoming 8th
World Congress. [Major excerpts from this statement are reprinted
below.]

Barely hiding his “satisfaction,” Obama promptly declared that with
the death of Chavez, “Venezuela opens a new chapter in its political
life.” And without even hiding his interventionist designs, Obama
added that “the United States will continue to support politicians who
advocate democratic principles” — meaning politicians who supported
the coup against Chavez in 2002 or the ones regrouped today around
Henrique Capriles, U.S. imperialism’s likely candidate for the next
presidential elections.

“Commentators” and “experts” have taken to the airwaves to denounce
Chavez and the 14-year revolutionary process in Venezuela. The reason
for their tirades is not hard to find: Even though a workers’ and
peasants’ government breaking with imperialism was not established in
Venezuela, even though the semi-colonial bourgeois character of the
Venezuelan State was not transformed, and even though Chavez had
sought to negotiate forms of coexistence with imperialism, the partial
measures in the direction of restoring national sovereignty taken by
the Chavez government during its three mandates (1999 to 2013) were
intolerable for the captains of finance capital. These were measures
taken under pressure from the working people of Venezuela and of the
entire region.

remembering Chavez in Palestine

remembering Chavez in Palestine

It took, once again, a huge mass of workers and youth taking to the
main streets and squares of Venezuela in the aftermath of Chavez’s
death to put a brake, momentarily at least, on the class hatred and
contempt for the popular will put forth by the imperialist bourgeoisie
and its followers. It was in this same way that the mass mobilization
of workers and youth defeated the attempted U.S.-backed coup in 2002.

But the only guarantee to achieve national sovereignty, democracy, and
social rights — and to preserve them — is the independent
organization of the workers and oppressed people. This is why our
Trotskyist comrades in Venezuela state the following:

“Without abandoning our policy of the anti-imperialist united front,
we will continue to support each and every measure, however limited it
may be, that the government adopts on the road to breaking with
imperialism, defending the government against the attacks by the local
bourgeoisie and imperialism, but always maintaining our political
independence. …

“The political line of defending the independent workers’
organizations raises the need to build the independent political
representation of the working class in Venezuela — that is, the
independent workers’ party.”

New documents on Venezuela and the region will be published shortly in
the Fourth International Newsletter.

– Pan American Bureau of the Fourth International,
March 8, 2013

* * * * * * * * * *

Hugo-Chavez_2440367b

Resolution of the Fourth Internationalist Group in Venezuela
February 16, 2013
(Excerpts)

The revolutionary situation opened by the Caracazo (1989), without the
working class being organized in an independent workers’ party,
brought Hugo Chavez to power, leading a petty-bourgeois nationalist
movement. Under pressure from the class struggle, the government took
steps breaking with imperialism and the local bourgeoisie
(nationalizations), but without changing the nature of the state,
which remains a bourgeois state (based on the private ownership of the
means of production, and therefore without a complete break with
imperialism).

5. A nationalist government of a Bonapartist type came to power,
relying to some extent on the working class — in an attempt to
integrate/co-opt the trade union movement — to be able to better
resist and/or negotiate with imperialism. It’s what the Chavez
government did, for example, with the adoption of the LOT (Organic
Labor Law), where certain economic and social benefits were registered
in terms of individual rights, but where restrictions were placed on
collective rights won by workers (limits placed on the right to
strike, stepped-up State intervention in the life of the trade
unions). This was compounded by the laws enacted by the government to
provide a legal framework to criminalize the struggles of workers –
in addition to controlling the unions. The Labor Ministry acts as a
political commissar, aligning itself with the policies of the
government against the workers, with the State acting as the first
violator of labor laws.

6. However, a new political situation in Venezuela has opened with
Chavez’s illness and his likely inability to take the reins of
government. When the date of swearing-in arrived, with the right wing
mobilized to demand new elections, the workers took to the streets to
affirm the sovereignty of their vote, and they pushed back the
opposition and imperialism, forcing them to accept the decision of the
Tribunal. In fact, imperialism and the opposition do not have control
of the political situation — but nor does “Chavismo Without Chavez.”
The combination of pressures resulting from the global crisis, with
the difficult internal problems facing the government (debt,
shortages, infrastructure problems, expiration of
collective-bargaining agreements, etc.) all point to the opening a
grave political and economic crisis in the country. The Bonapartist
traits of the government are gradually leading to measures aimed
directly against the interests of working class.

7. It is in this context that the government of Nicolás Maduro
devalued the currency and is studying the possibility of increasing
the price of gasoline and electricity — measures that directly affect
the living conditions of the workers — without announcing any
measures aimed at recovering/increasing the purchasing power of
workers’ wages. These policies will increase the clashes between the
government, the PSUV [Socialist Unified Party of Venezuela] and the
workers’ and people’s demands, deepening the rifts between the workers
and the government and impacting “Chavismo.” In the absence of a
political representation of the working class, the result may end up
strengthening the right wing, which demagogically has championed some
of the workers’ demands. …

9. The truth is that Maduro is not Chavez; the illusions are not the
same. This will require that we monitor the situation very closely and
that we put forward very precise demands and proposals to address the
unfolding political situation. Without abandoning our policy of the
anti-imperialist united front, we will continue to support each and
every measure, however limited it may be, that the government adopts
on the road to breaking with imperialism, defending the government
against the attacks by the local bourgeoisie and imperialism, but
always maintaining our political independence.

10. It is a fact that best organized sectors of the working class no
longer feel represented by the PSUV — which has become consolidated
as a party of the State and is not, nor does it occupy the role of, a
workers’ party, not even a bourgeois-workers’ party. Based on our
overall political orientation of defending the independent workers’
organizations, this raises the need to build the independent political
representation of the working class in Venezuela — that is, the
independent workers’ party.

11. With this understanding, we will launch a Manifesto, around which
we will gather signatures and organize forums and discussion groups –
all with the aim of paving the way to the building of a workers’
party. A party to organize large sectors of the working class around a
platform of independent politics centered around the need to break
with imperialism, and promote the defense of the nation as well as the
interests and gains of the working class and all the oppressed. We as
a political group will be part and parcel of this process, and on this
basis we will build the revolutionary party, the Fourth International.
The struggle to build an independent workers’ party is for us the
transition to building the Fourth International, the revolutionary
party.

12. As part of the defense of the independent workers’ organizations,
we will be in the front lines of defense of the UNETE trade union
federation, which is the product of the struggle of the working class
to build its own class organizations. In our Resolution adopted in
December 2011 we stated the following:

“The political situation in Venezuela is such that we need to move
quickly and re-issue the call for internal leadership elections in the
UNETE — to strengthen it as an autonomous and independent trade union
federation, product of the resistance of the working class to the
collaborationist policies of the CTV trade union federation, which
promoted the attempted 2002 coup and the strike-sabotage of 2002-2003.
It is necessary to legitimize the UNETE leadership and help structure
this union federation, which, despite the many crises and splits it
has suffered in its short existence, still represents the most
advanced sectors produced by the working class in its struggle. …

14. So, more than ever, it is a priority to ensure that elections are
held within the UNETE to help combat the dispersal of local unions
affiliated to UNETE. We must call on all the unions that founded this
trade union federation in 2003 and/or that participated in the union’s
congress in 2006 to return to UNETE. The appeal must begin by
highlighting the struggle in 2002-2003 that gave rise to UNETE,
underscoring a key point of the founding platform, which was the fight
to defend the Venezuelan nation against imperialism on the basis of
the demands addressed independently to the Chavez government –
including the call to implement the LOT but revoking those articles
that attacked the independence of the trade unions.

A National Assembly of Unions affiliated to UNETE could issue a call
for union elections, in addition to approving an internal election
calendar, thus allowing time for the unions to confirm their
affiliation to UNETE and to participate in the elections. …

17. The Fourth Internationalist Group (Nucleo Cuarta Internacional)
also assumes its internationalist tasks, in particular the fight for
the sovereignty of Haiti, fighting for the sovereignty of nations free
from oppression and exploitation — as part of the continental
campaign for the withdrawal of UN-MINUSTAH troops from Haiti. In a
united front campaign, we will call upon the Venezuelan government to
take a public and official stand for the withdrawal of UN troops from
Haiti, a position that poses the need to combat imperialism across the
hemisphere.

After eight years of military occupation of Haiti, while Cuba and
Venezuela are not participating in the military intervention of Haiti
and are providing “humanitarian aid” (which generates illusions),
these two countries are not combatting the occupation politically,
which has even led the Venezuelan government to invite the fraudulent
Martelly government of Haiti to participate in the initiatives of
CECLA and even in some of the activities of ALBA [Bolivarian
Alliance].

– Venezuela – February 16, 2013

Statement by the Pan American Bureau of the Fourth International

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