The Venezuelan political situation deepens, and so do the debates among the Latin American and the world left on what is the correct policy in the current frame. Roughly, there are two clear stands: those who support Maduro’s government and the Chavista regime (the majority, if we consider the number of organizations,) and those who are opposed to it. At the same time, in both “blocks” there are different lines of thought, in accordance with their different strategies.

By Alejandro Iturbe.

 

As we said in many articles along these years and in several recent publications,[1] from the IWL-FI we were always opposition “through the left” to Chavismo and in defense of the working class’ interests. This made us a target of systematic accusations of being “agents of imperialism” or “functional to the right-wing.” Trotskyists are used to this mechanism (generalized by Stalinism in the XX century) of trying to hide the contents of the debates through insults or epithets. We respond to this with a Marxist analysis and line of thought, backed up by facts.

Thus, without abandoning our left-opposition to Chavismo, we defended Chávez’s government (we called and participated actively in the workers’ and popular demonstrations) when the coalition of imperialism and the traditional Venezuelan bourgeoisie tried to defeat him, in 2002. And we also encouraged and participated in the workers’ actions that broke the bosses’ lockout of the following months. In that process, workers occupied factories and refineries and made them work under workers’ control. And, if Trump’s threat of a military aggression were to become true, we would not hesitate for a second in taking such stand again.

Castro-Chavismo

The first line in the defense of Maduro’s government is occupied by the current we have called Castro-Chavismo: the regrouping of some Communist Parties from Latin America and allied sectors, which take Cuba’s and Venezuela’s governments as a reference.

To them, the “XXI Century Socialism” was under construction in Venezuela, and so they pose the defense of that revolution against a process of Fascist and counter-revolutionary mobilization that wants to destroy it. Hence, it defends unconditionally the government, all of its measures and maneuvers (including the recent Constituent,) as well as the harsh repression against the demonstrations against it.

On the different texts mentioned, we analyzed and proved that, in Venezuela, there was no socialist construction neither steps toward it; that, from every dimension of reality that we analyzed (the deep content of the constitutions passed in these years; the functioning of the Economy; the role of the State, etc.,) it was a full-bourgeois process, and that the “XXI Century Socialism” was just a “red speech” to disguise this reality.

The main beneficiary of this capitalist economy inside Venezuela is the Boli-bourgeoisie (or Bolivarian Bourgeoisie,) born as a parasite of the State – especially the members and former member of the armed forces’ leadership. Its capitalist accumulation comes from the mediation of oil businesses abroad, from open corruption in public contracts, and from frauds in the exchange market. From that enrichment, the new bourgeois started buying of funding companies.

The strongest group is Diosdado Cabello’s, former high-commander of the Armed Forces, and one of the leaders of the PSUV. Today, it is the second corporation in the country (it includes banks, industries, and services companies). A second important group is property of Jesse Chacón, also retired officer (with a bank, a powder-milk factory, and several farms). There are other groups, also controlled by former militaries. To them, we have to add the businessmen and bankers that became close with Chavismo and so they enlarged they fortunes (Alberto Cudemus, Feporcina’s president; Alberto Vollmer, owner of the rum company Santa Teresa; Miguel Pérez Abad, Fedeindustrias’ president and government official, and Víctor Vargas Irasqüín, from the Banco Occidental de Descuento, among others.) Regarding minor businesses, many active militaries are directly linked to food trafficking.

This Boli-bourgeoisie flaunts its wealth with cars, luxurious houses, and high-level parties, which contrasts the despairing social situation and growing misery of the Venezuelan masses. In this frame, to talk about “the defense of socialism” is too cruel to be a joke.

There is another aspect of these sector’s stand –the alleged Fascist coup being prepared- that we will debate deeply on the next points.

Pro-Maduro Reformism and Neo-Reformism

In the second line of defense and support to Maduro’s government, there is most of the reformist and neo-reformist left. It is the case of the PT and most of the PSOL in Brazil, of Podemos in the Spanish State, and of Die Linke in Germany.

These currents abandoned many years ago the seizure of power by the workers and socialism. Consequent with this, they also abandoned any attempt of Marxist analysis and class definition of States, political regimes, and parties. To disguise their defense and support of bourgeois governments (when they are not directly leading them like it is the case of the PT,) they define the political processes on the dichotomy “progressive-reactionary” (such as Stalinism did).

It is with under this false perspective that they support the “progressive” government of Maduro against the “reaction and the right-wing”. Like this, they defend the ugly capitalist and corrupt reality of the Chavista regime and Maduro’s government, and they characterize that the masses that broke with them and confront them (80% of the population, according to independent surveys) have been “won by the reaction.” At the same time, they become accomplices of the anti-democratic Venezuelan government’s repression, which left over 100 deaths and hundreds imprisoned. Like this, they play the game of the bourgeois and imperialist media’s propaganda that affirms that Venezuela is the proof of the “failure of Socialism and the leftist proposals.” It is a true political crime that should be fought with all our strength.

A more complex defense

In the group of “Maduro’s defenders” there are also currents that claim to be Trotskyists, like the CWI [Committee for a Workers’ International] and the Brazilian MAIS (born from a rupture with the PSTU).

These currents elaborate a more complex and sophisticated reasoning, but they get to the same conclusions than the former ones. We want to dedicate specifically to the MAIS’ argumentation because it pretends to justify this through falsifications of Nahuel Moreno’s elaborations.[2]

Who exposes these arguments more clearly is Valério Arcary, one of the main figures of the MAIS. He states: “We do not support the rhetoric of the XXI Century Socialism.’ (…) Maduro’s government is a bourgeois government which relies on a minor bourgeois fraction being shaped: the ‘Boli-bourgeoisie.’” This government “relies on a Bonapartist regime, increasingly supported by the Armed Forces.” Thus, “Maduro does not deserve any political support.” So far, we agree.

But then he turns to the defense of this government and tells us: “it is an independent government.” This is why it is attacked by imperialism and the most ultra-reactionary sector of the Venezuelan bourgeoisie, who want to defeat it to hijack the wealthy oil resources of the country. So, “the central aspect of the analysis on Venezuela seems to be the acknowledgment or not of a real, imminent danger of a coup.” To this, he responds himself, “The fight against the coup is essential”.[3]

In this frame, revolutionaries should be in the “political-military field of Maduro’s government against the coup” and promote a “united front” to fight it. In other words, Valério Arcary is presenting the current situation as essentially the same as in 2002, in which the necessity of defending Chávez’s government was posed. But, the truth is that both moments are completely different, and even opposed in many aspects.

Valério Arcary’s reasoning contains a chain of errors because he even makes a mistake regarding the tactics that should be implemented if the situation was the one he characterizes. Let’s see it in depth.

An independent government?

The first mistake is to affirm that there is an “independent government,” in Venezuela. For this, he tries to rely on Nahuel Moreno’s elaborations of the decade of 1980, debated in Congresses and meetings of the IWL-FI leadership,[4] in which Moreno went back to Lenin’s Trotsky’s elaborations, as well as to his own. It is worth to mention that Moreno did not precise this definition in detail (he died a few months later,) and that these elaborations should be considered in integration with others he made.

Briefly, Moreno analyzed that, apart from the Workers’ States, the world was essentially divided into a group of imperialist countries and a majority of dominated nations; but, in this frame, there were a few “independent countries” born of exceptional situations: anti-colonial triumphant wars and triumphant revolutions against dictatorships, led by petit-bourgeois or nationalist bourgeois independent leaderships, who had destroyed the armed forces of the previous regime.

From there, they built or rebuilt bourgeois States, regimes, and governments, which were, by its own genesis, relatively independent or autonomous of imperialism (we highlight the concept “relatively,”) and in many cases imperialism attacked them. Back then, this group included countries like Algeria, Lybia, Nicaragua, Iran, and Angola.

As bourgeois governments, they were enemies of the workers and we had to fight them. But as “independent countries,” we would defend them from an imperialist attack, especially if it was to overthrow them. This is the definition that Valério Arcary tries to use to support his current stand.

He “forgets” an essential aspect that Moreno highlighted: this category of “independent country” is highly unstable and temporary, because its governments erose the independence permanently. Thus, talking about Lybia and its leader, Moreno said:

“Khadafi is a Troyan horse against independence. Because, as long as they don’t move forward towards the expropriation of the bourgeoisie, as long as they don’t establish a Workers’ State and planned economy, there will always be the danger of a crisis leading the independent bourgeoisie to be subjected to a political dependence of imperialism. The policy of the petit-bourgeoisie or native bourgeoisie at the leadership of these States always leads to the loss of independence, to a dead alley: to keep the independence, you have to move forward towards socialism. But they don’t want to go in that direction.”[5]

The posterior course of those countries and the transformation of most of those governments into agents of imperialism (in many cases, also into dictatorial regimes) have fully confirmed Moreno’s last consideration in this regard.

What happened in Venezuela?

There is a major difference between the processes that gave origin to the “independent countries” analyzed by Moreno and the process that took Chavismo to power. In Venezuela there was, yes, a revolutionary process opened with the Caracazo, in 1989. But Chavismo was not its leadership (on the contrary, Chávez was part of the repression, back then) neither it took power as the result direction of that revolution. In previous materials, we discussed:

“To most left currents that claim to be Chavistas, his electoral victory and posterior government are the direct product of the Caracazo and the following ascent – its genuine, progressive political expression. To us, instead, as a subproduct of the Caracazo and the ascent, Chavismo is a movement of second-line military commanders, which jumped on the ascent to stop it, or at least control it so it wouldn’t overflow towards the socialist revolution, and essentially to close the fracture of the Armed Forces and so fully reconstruct the bourgeois state.”

Not only does Chavismo not destroy the bourgeois armed forces as it re-composes it and strengthens them. This regressive aspect against the revolution is much rooted from the beginning, and so its level of dependence was always lower than in other processes.

But, beyond this consideration, it is true that Chávez had real clashes with Bush’s government, and he tried to overthrow him (allied with the traditional Venezuelan bourgeoisie) through a coup and then the bosses’ lockout, in 2002. Back then, Moreno’s considerations were valid and it was correct to struggle in defense of Chávez’s government, and so did the IWL-FI and its members in Venezuela.

But since then until now there has been a lot of water under the bridge, and the situation is completely different. After the failed coup and bosses’ lockout, there was an essential change. On one side, Chávez forgave the pro-coup, strengthen the bourgeois armed forces and gave them major economic privileges, and he concealed with several economic groups that supported the coup (like Cisneros’ and the Polar Mendoza’s). At the same time, it changed the entire leadership of the armed forces and recomposed it with generals that were fully faithful to him, to which he granted juicy businesses. It is the same leadership, which Maduro maintains.

On the other, U.S. imperialism changed its pro-coup policy and went to “coexist” with Chavista governments, while doing very good businesses, especially with oil exploitation. The Boli-bourgeoisie began investing in companies and properties in the U.S. At the same time, imperialism supported the right-wing opposition to later channel the wearing process of Chavista governments through the election. So, its policy makes part of the tactic we have called “democratic reaction.” It is good to remember that Chávez ruled the country for 14 years, and Maduro for already 4.

This policy began to be implemented in 1976 (with Jimmy Carter, after the U.S. defeat in Vietnam). It aims to rely on bourgeois democracy mechanisms (elections, parliament, etc.) to control and deviate revolutions. It is a different tactic to achieve the same domination goals, only it is adequated to a harder reality for imperialism. After the defeat of Bush’s much more aggressive policy (in Iraq and Afghanistan,) Obama resumed it completely. Trump has a more oscillating policy, but “life” is forcing him to stick to it.

The proof of reality

To evaluate if Venezuela and Maduro’s government are “independent,” we need to leave the rhetorics aside and put it through the “acid test” of reality (its real policy).

The core of Venezuelan economy is oil extraction, and during the 1970s, the government of Carlos Andrés Pérez established PDVSA as a state monopoly. The reality is that, during all of its governments, Chavism has deepened the “oil opening” initiated in the 1990s by Rafael Caldera. Through mix companies in association with PDVSA, or through direct concessions to exploitation, foreign companies (from Chevrón –U.S.- to the PetroChina) control 50% of the Venezuelan oil and gas. It is the case of the so-called Orinoco’s Belt (Eastern side of the country,) where he handed-over whole parts of the territory. In this region, he is also handing-over the mining extraction.

In the second place, those governments have punctually paid (sometimes in advance, with Chávez) the huge Venezuelan foreign debt and its interests. Even in midst of the acute social crisis most Venezuelans live in, the President himself announced, not long ago, that “Venezuela has paid 60,000 million dollars in international commitments over the last 5 years.”[6]

Handing-over the oil to foreign companies, paying the foreign debt at the expense of its people’s hunger. So what is the difference –from the point of view of the real independence of the country and the needs of workers and the people– between the “independent” government of Maduro and others, open agents of imperialism, like Temer in Brazil, or Macri in Argentina? In reality, what Maduro’s government is doing is even worst, because paying the foreign debt in Venezuela today is to sentence its people to starvation. We are not speaking figuratively: Venezuelan families abroad have told us that, as a consequence of the situation, their relatives have lost up to 9 kg.

It is a serious falsification of reality to affirm that the current struggle in Venezuela is between an “independent government” which defends (even weakly) the sovereignty of the country, and others who want to take the power of and hand-over the natural resources because this is what Chavismo is already doing.

What is, then, the reason of dispute between the Boli-bourgeoisie and the bourgeois sectors grouped in the MUD? It is the battle of two bourgeois sectors for the usufruct of part of the oil revenues that stay in the country and the State. These are two sell-out plans fighting for which one of them will deliver. They have, at most, difference regarding numbers, as possibly the MUD is willing to increase the percentage of oil delivery (to pay more debt would be difficult) and eliminate the already impaired social programs definitively.

Which is the real policy of imperialism?

Valério Arcary and all those who defend Maduro’s government could argue that, despite everything, Trump has threatened Venezuela with military actions in a hypocritic “defense of democracy.” We repudiate these threats, and if the actions were to materialize, we would not hesitate a second in defending the attacked Venezuela, such as our recent statement affirms.[7]

The U.S. government imposed minor economic sanctions, such as the lockout of Maduro’s goods in the U.S. But if Trump really wanted to attack and economically isolate the Venezuelan government, he could just stop buying oil and Venezuela’s situation would become unbearable.

Thus, it is necessary to clear the noise and see what is the true policy of imperialism. While Trump publically plays the bad-cop role, his real policy is to push Maduro to agree with the MUD and enable Presidential and parliamentary elections, which the MUD would most probably win. It was the same policy that the former Spanish State president, Zapatero, tried to negotiate (in midst of the Constituent election); a verbally more aggressive version to impose the “democratic reaction”.

Imperialism has learned of the failure of its policy in 2002 (and the more general failure of Bush’s policy worldwide). Now it implements a different tactic. One of its more lucid voices, the New York Times, published an article explaining why the U.S. government is not intervening militarily: that could unleash “a violent confrontation” in the country and in Latin America. Those “confrontation waves in the whole continent could create more complications for the American government when it is trying to focus on North Korea and Iran.”[8]

Is it possible that, in the future, if Maduro and Chavismo do not agree to this negotiation, imperialism and the right-wing opposition bourgeoisie could make a more blunt attack to defeat him via the armed way? Of course, even more, considering the unpredictable figure of Trump. In such a case, yes, a policy as in 2002 would be posed for the revolutionaries (the defense of the country before the imperialist attack,) and we would not hesitate in raising it and be on the first line of struggle. But that is not the current reality, and to miss this judgment leads, inevitably, to completely wrong policies.

Who is carrying out a coup?

However, Castro-Chavistas, as well as Valério Arcary, are right when they say that there is a coup in Venezuela. But it is Maduro and Chavismo who are carrying out the coup. Why do we affirm this?

The economic crisis and the fall of oil prices crashed Chavismo’s material base. The political result was the rupture of popular sectors that traditionally supported Chavismo. That is why, in 2015, the right-wing opposition widely won the parliamentary elections (more than two-thirds of voters). From then on, the secondary democratic elements became inconvenient to the Chavista regime.

This is when the coup was carried out. Maduro ignored the elected parliament, he postponed the elections to governors (which should have taken place in December of 2016,) and impeded the call to a “revocatory referendum” (mechanism considered in the Chavista Constitution of 2004) despite it got the required number of signatures, because Maduro would be destituted.

In this frame, he called a “Constituent Assembly”, which, best case scenario, has 20% of support by the Venezuelan people. This “Constituent” self-declared “supreme power” of Venezuela, it eliminated the universal suffrage for parliamentary elections, and it fully distorted the representation criteria. All of it, to transform a minority into a majority. Maduro’s government and the Chavista regime are a complete minority, today. The fundamental institution they rely on are the Armed Forces, and the “Constituent” is just a tool to exercise the control of the State. Regarding its deep content, it is a regime to guarantee the hading-over of oil, the payment of the foreign debt, and the Boli-bourgeoisie’s affairs.

In the frame of a despairing social situation of the masses (who are literally starving) and with the Boli-bourgeoisie flaunting its fortune, Maduro and Chavismo cannot hold the power and impose their coup without the harshest repression: more than 100 deads and hundreds of imprisoned, and laws that criminalize the protest, like the one that punishes whoever manifests “hate.” Together with this “official” repression, there are growing elements of para-military repression attacking the demonstrations and killing the opposition.

Valério Arcary and we share a common characterization element: Maduro’s government “relies on a Bonapartist regime, increasingly supported by the Armed Forces.” This type of regime (Bonapartist Sui Generis, to be more precise) was characterized by Trotsky in Mexico, by the end of the 1930s, as the alternative for the bourgeoisie of certain dominated countries to gain more control of the economy. It was typical, for instance, of those “independent countries” that Moreno analyzed.

It is a regime different than the democratic-bourgeois, as in this type of Bonapartism, the base institutions are (with different hierarchy, depending on the case) the leader or Commander, the Party-State, and the armed forces. Sometimes they combine with democratic bourgeois institutions, like presidential and parliamentary elections. But these always have a secondary, coadjuvant role, and they recur to it only if they are certain that the governing core will win the election.

Even in its height moment, the strongest of those movements (like Argentine Peronism, or Egyptian Nasserism) always had an important repressive component. Chavismo was not an exception in this regard: even during its “golden years,” when Chávez was alive, there were numerous examples of repression and murders of the working movement and masses.

What we see in Venezuela is not new: it is the process of regressive transformation of these nationalist-bourgeois movements and Bonapartist Sui Generis regimes, which lose any progressive aspect, and in addition to being bourgeois, they become completely corrupt, dictatorial, repressive, and anti-democratic. We have seen this, for example, with Khadafi in Lybia, and with Assad in Syria. In all these countries, by the way, the mass support those regimes once had become the opposite: a mass rupture with them and fight to overthrow them. On the basis of a Marxist analysis, we can say that such is the inevitable course of these movements if workers do not defeat them and seize the power. Thus, in Lybia, we supported the fight against Khadafi, as we do now in Syria, against Assad.

An incorrect methodology

Valério Arcary made a gross mistake when choosing his “field of struggle”: he calls to the defense of an “independent government” which does not exist, and he fights the incorrect coup. Even if his location was correct, he goes too far with his policy: he proposes us to be in the same “political-military field” than Chavismo and to make a “united front” with Maduro’s government.

Moreno (to whom Valério Arcary pretends to advocate) was absolutely clear about that, if under exceptional circumstances (confrontation of a military coup, intervention in a civil war, fight against a dictatorship,) we were to be in the same military or fight field as bourgeois sectors or governments, this unity would only be circumstantial and transitory.

Without abandoning for a second the political combat against them, we would make “unity of action,” limited in time to the current struggle. This is what the Bolsheviks did with Kerensky before Kornilov’s coup, or the Trotskyists with the Spaniard bourgeoisie during the civil war and the IWL-FI members before the coup of 2002 against Chávez. In this regard, Moreno was always water-clear: never, ever, ever (not even under those exceptional circumstances in which we share the military field) are we in the same political field with the bourgeoisie, neither we compose a “united front” with bourgeois governments. This is the policy of Stalinism, not Trotskyism’s or Morenismo’s.

Behind Valério Arcary’s and the MAIS’ gross errors, there is a much deeper problem: they have also replaced Marxist analysis of class struggle by a method in which the processes come from the confrontation between permanent “progressive” and “reactionary” fields. By eliminating or subjecting the class analysis to the definition of these type of fields, the policy proposed is of full capitulation, of tail-ending of the bourgeois sector which is part of the “progressive field” to which they ensure a “left-coverage”.

For this method and policy, it is always good to have a “coup to fight,” because it serves to disguise such capitulation. And if there is none, they invent it. Thus, in Brazil, they invented that the parliamentary maneuver (foreseen in the Constitution that rules the Brazilian democratic-bourgeois regime) that destituted Dilma and took Temer to power was, in fact, a “coup”, to justify their capitulation to the PT. From then on, their main policy was to defend Dilma’s government, and then they justified their integration to the Frente Povo Sem Medo and the Frente pelas Diretas já (a political front that includes the PT.)

In Venezuela, to justify their integration to the field they defined as progressive, they are forced to ignore the real coup taken ahead by Maduro and Chavismo and to invent a “pro-imperialist coup” that today does not exist. Let’s be honest, they are not the only ones that do this: so does most of the world left, which adopted as their own this Stalinist method of reasoning.

However, we are not debating methodological or political problems in abstract: we are debating on the dramatic background of hunger and misery of the Venezuelan masses, and the fierce repression to them by a dictatorial and Bonapartist government and regime. By defining their location in the “political-military field” of Maduro and the regime, Valério Arcary and the MAIS become accomplices of the repression and coup in course. They do the same as the currents that defend Assad’s regime in Syria, with the same argumentation. A very sad role for a leader and an organization that not long ago were revolutionary militants.

The “neither-nor”

Although more briefly, we want to talk about some organizations that are opposed to Maduro’s Constituent and government. With this organizations, it is posed, of course, the possibility and necessity of carrying out unitary actions in Venezuela and the world. It is important that there are left currents that oppose Maduro’s dictatorship and do not endorse the shameful repression. In this frame, we see contradictions in their points of view and political proposals.

There is a sector that holds a centrist position (we can call it neither-nor, “ni-ni” in Spanish), expressed by the Argentine organizations PO, PTS, and New MAS, and their international currents. The PTS has a sister organization in Venezuela, and in a recent article by its main leader, they call to fight Maduro’s government and the Constituent fraud:

“Maduro’s government ‘strength’ comes from support and sustain by the Armed Forces, so far unconditional, in the frame of a Bonapartist degradation. It is a crucial actor that accumulated political and economic interests of its own, which locates it in a complete antagonistic situation before the daily suffering of the Venezuelan workers and people.”[9]

However, as the main force in the opposition is the MUD (which they correctly qualify as pro-imperialist and reactionary,) they do not raise, as the main task, the “Out with Maduro and the Chavista regime” but a call to “confront both reactionary sides” instead. Although they correctly call to “fight for an independent workers’ alternative,” they do it abstractly because they do not pose at the root the necessary fight against Maduro’s dictatorship, and so they fall into general propaganda.

The PTS is making the same methodological mistake that we discussed on the struggle against Khadafi in Lybia and Assad in Syria: to confuse the progressive processes of struggle and the tasks that come objectively from this, with the leaderships that influence those processes. How to struggle against the Bonapartist degradation of Chavismo and its complete antagonistic situation before the daily suffering of the Venezuelan workers and people, if we do not dispute the leadership in the concrete conditions of the class struggle?

This method of the PTS (and other currents) has serious political consequences. In Lybia, it took to abandon the call to fight Khadafi, because the “rebels” had become the “ground troop of imperialism.” In Venezuela, by not raising “Out with Maduro” they are indirectly capitulating to the “degraded Bonapartist” regime of Chavismo and Maduro’s government.

“Critique Chavismo”

Another stand is the so-called “critique Chavismo,” those who supported Chavismo and now separate and are in opposition to Maduro’s government and the PSUV. Its main group is the Venezuelan organization Marea Socialista. In a recent statement, they say:

“Madurismo and the leaders of the PSUV have crossed the line that separated their authoritarian nature with a ‘democratic and pacific’ mask, to take it to the field of an attempt of open counter-revolution, with selective civil war methods, which are already being implemented.” After denouncing the MUD and the “false polarization” with Maduro-PSUV, they pose that “there is a third field, which has grown over the last months, forming its personality, and now starts to appear as a new political reference outside these two fields. It is what the local and international press has called ‘Criticist Chavismo’.” To build this third sector, “it is about rebuilding the basis of a national, American project, by a critical and self-critical review of the mistakes of the Bolivarian process.”[10]

So, in the first place, there is a debate on the whole Chavista experience. Let’s remember that Marea Socialista supported the “XXI Century Socialism” and was, not so long ago, part of the PSUV. Thus, to this organization, the ugly present of Maduro and the PSUV is not the inevitable consequence (so are they the true inheritors) of the bourgeois root of Chavismo and its policy of stopping the Socialist revolution, but a consequence of the “authoritarian drive” of the current leadership. As a conclusion, their proposals are limited to “go back to the original Chavismo,” improving it a bit.

Apart from the debate on this necessary balance to prepare the future, we make to Marea Socialista the same critique than to the other organizations: they do not propose to the mass movement, as a concrete, immediate task, to defeat Maduro’s government and the regime, despite the characterization that they have, of them encouraging an “open counter-revolution, with selective civil war methods.” If the characterization is such, there is no other alternative than to confront it to defeat it and overthrow the government and regime. By not posing this, they also capitulate, indirectly, to Maduro’s government.

The “Democrats”

There are also reformist and neo-reformist sectors closer to the social democracy, counter-posed, though limitedly, to Maduro’s government and his anti-democratic policy. It is the case of the Bloco de Esquerda (Portugal), Jean-Luc Melenchón (Front de Gauche, France), and part of the Brazilian PSOL. Michelle Bachelet, Chile’s president, pronounced against Maduro’s coup, and the Uruguayan government, the Broad Front, supported the suspension of Venezuela from the Mercosur.

We insist that it is good that there are left sectors, or seen as such by the masses, that are against Maduro’s repression. But these organizations and governments have strong limitations because its policy is always centered in the elections. But, there is a deeper critique: these organizations and governments (some with more leftist elements than other) follow the policy of European imperialism, of pushing Maduro towards a negotiation with the MUD, to call general elections. Of course, they do not want to defeat Maduro through the revolutionary action of the masses, but to change him through the mechanisms of the “bourgeois democratic reaction.”

Our proposals

In the IWL-FI statement and the UST articles already quoted, we develop more in depth our proposed policy. Here, we just want to present a summary.

The main task we propose to the workers and masses of Venezuela is to fight against the real coup in course, and for Out with Maduro! To defeat the government and regime, we propose a general strike organized from below, and a “Venezolanazo” to unify all struggles against Maduro.

As something immediate, we propose the fight against the repression and demand free general elections. Union freedom and autonomy: free elections in all unions, with no State interference! To carry out this tasks, we encourage the broadest unity of action against Maduro’s dictatorship.

In this frame, we give no support to and fight the MUD, which wants to channel the population’s discontent with Maduro to impose a government that implements an equal or worse economic plan. In the frame of this struggle, it is necessary to encourage the political independence of workers in regards to the two bourgeois groups.

To solve the urgent needs of the masses, we propose the implementation of a workers’ and people’s economic plan, based on the expropriation of the multinational and big companies, including the Boli-bourgeoisie’s. Prison to speculators, and expropriation of their goods. Stop paying the foreign debt. Sliding scale of wages aligned with the inflation rate! Immediate freezing of food prices, and workers’ and popular control of food production and distribution.

In front of Maduro’s coup and repression, we encourage the workers’ self-defense, and we call the basis of the armed forces to break with their leadership, to not repress workers and instead join them, with their guns.

For a socialist workers’ government that breaks the false dichotomy Maduro-MUD!

For the construction of a revolutionary leadership in Venezuela.

Some Final Considerations

At the cost of being repetitive, we want to reaffirm that those organizations that defend and/or support Maduro’s government are staining their flags with the blood of workers and the people, spilled by a bourgeois, corrupt, and murderer dictatorship. The IWL-FI has nothing to do with this treason, and we stand, without a shadow of a doubt, in the field of the Venezuelan workers and people. This means that, in Venezuela, we will be in opposing trenches.

***

Translation: Sofia Ballack.

[1] See Whither Venezuela?, and Confront and Defeat Maduro and the PSUV’s Coup Project.

[2] The MAIS is a recent rupture of the Brazilian PSTU and IWL-FI (2016). Nahuel Moreno is the founder of the IWL-FI (1982), passed away in 1987.

[3] Not available in English. Our translation. Original sources in Portuguese: https://www.facebook.com/portalesquerdaonline/videos/861664830668007/

and clarifying post on his personal Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/valerio.arcary.9/posts/1131290907004392.

[4] Among them, “Interventions at the IEC of April 1986” –http://www.geocities.ws/moreno_nahuel/49_nm.html#_Toc536853247

[5] Not available in English. Our translation.

[6] Our translation. Original source in Spanish: http://rnv.gob.ve/venezuela-ha-pagado-60-000-millones-de-dolares-en-compromisos-internacionales/

[7]See statement Trump, take your hands off Venezuela!, August 15th, 2017.

[8] New York Times en Español. Our translation.

[9] Our translation. Original source in Spanish – http://www.laizquierdadiario.com.ve/Se-instala-la-fraudulenta-Constituyente-y-la-MUD-apuesta-a-la-presion-imperialista?id_rubrique=5442

[10] Our translation. Original source in Spanish – https://mst.org.ar/2017/08/01/venezuela-carta-de-marea-socialista-izquierda-autonoma-al-chavismo-critico/