It is necessary to build a working class political alternative.
During 2018 second half, the country became the stage of the beginning of a rising of workers’ struggles, mainly public sector and State-owned companies, which were joined by retired workers associations.
By Leonardo Arantes, from Socialist Workers Unity (Venezuela)
The May 20 rigged presidential elections high abstention was the result of people’s dissatisfaction. The current workers’ struggles uprising was triggered by President Maduro “Economic Recovery Plan”.
This Economic Plan is meant to place the burden of the economic crisis on the shoulders of the working people. Public and private sectors labor contracts are targeted together with new decreased wage levels throughout public sector.
This uprising led to the founding of the “Intersetorial de Trabajadores de Venezuela” (ITV – Venezuela’s Workers’ Labor Alliance) on November 7-8, 2018 and other labor alliances across the nation.
This labor uprising continued in 2019. There is a growing general feeling among the working classes that Maduro leaving power is the only solution for the Venezuelan crisis. On top of a deep rupture with Maduro’s administration, there is a lot of distrust in the bourgeoise opposition primarily represented by the “Frente Amplio Venezuela Libre” (Free Venezuela Broad Front) plagued by internal conflicts.
The bourgeois opposition plays on the masses’ dissatisfaction
The bourgeois opposition works with imperialism to take advantage of the growing dissatisfaction among the workers and the people whose struggles grow and radicalize amid media silence and selective repression against labor leaders and activists.
On Maduro’s inauguration the U.S. imperialism and the Latin American rightwing administrations declared his mandate illegitimate.
Then the National Assembly which the bourgeois opposition makes the majority and Juan Guaidó presides, declared Maduro administration illegitimate and called a demonstration for January 23, 2019 when Guaidó self-proclaimed himself president, under imperialism’s instructions, being immediately recognized by the US administration, by Latin American semi colonial countries’ rightwing governments and by the imperialist European Union (EU) countries.
The enormous repudiation of Maduro’s government, responsible for the worst inflation ever lived in the country and the greatest crisis it has experienced in its recent history, coupled with the absence of a political alternative for workers, led to the bourgeois opposition’s actions being seen with sympathy for the majority of workers and the population as a whole and to a considerable recovery of the bourgeois opposition prestige and unity around Guaidó.
A sector of the ITV capitulates to Guaidó
As expected, these political events were reflected in the the workers’ struggles which led a majority of ITV labor unions and leaders to take a stand in favor of Guaidó and to call the workers to give him political support, as well as to stand in favor of the “humanitarian aid” offered by imperialism and the continental rightwing.
This political support for the pro-bourgeois and pro-imperialist leader Guaidó materialized in the meeting held with this group of leaders of the ITV, in which Guaidó ended up presenting himself as the convenor of the calls for partial stoppages in the public sector, a policy that had been passed by ITV general meeting on February 26, 2019.
The Socialist Workers Unity (UST) opposes the dictatorial regime of Maduro and raises and takes action under the slogan of Out Maduro. Nevertheless, we consider these ITV leaders’ stand a full capitulation to U.S. and bosses backed Guaidó.
An eventual Guaidó administration will only deepen the austerity adjustments Maduro is already applying against the workers and the poor people of Venezuela, accelerating the backlash against labor, social and democratic rights, the oil and minerals’ hand over, the tremendous payments of the foreign debt for the benefit of the bankers and transnational capitalists, at the cost of great sacrifices for the workers, and subjecting the country even more to the yoke of external indebtedness by contracting new debts in draconian conditions.
All that we say here is based on Guaidó public program called “Plan País” (National Plan).
We consider Guaidó’s stand for partial stoppages among public employees mere demagoguery to capitalize workers’ dissatisfaction. Pro-Guaidó ITV leaders should be asked whether Guaidó would support private sector workers’ demands on Polar business group or Nestle for wage increases, defense of their union organizations and fulfillment of their contracts.
The need to build a workers’ alternative for Maduro Out! Neither Maduro nor Guaidó!
The Socialist Workers’ Unity (UST) understands the hopes (although we do not share them) that many base workers and humble inhabitants of the country place on Guaidó or on any leader coming from bourgeois opposition parties, who postulate themselves as an alternative to Maduro.
That is easy to understand, based on the fact that the Maduro government directly kills people of hunger and lack of medicines, keeps the country plunged into a never seen deterioration of hospital and educational services, destroys public universities, prices of basic products rising to the clouds and hunger and misery strolling through the streets of the main cities of the country.
All this combined with the most brutal destruction of the public transport service, the divestment and destruction of the national electricity system, which recently led to the biggest blackout that has taken place in the country and in Latin America, seeing the Venezuelans subjected to five days without electricity which led to failures in the water service and telecommunications, which are also in dire conditions.
That’s why we agree with these colleagues when they say that Maduro has to leave. We insist on affirming “Maduro Out Now” and taking action accordingly. But from our point of view this cannot mean supporting Guaidó, nor the political initiatives of imperialism, even less an eventual or possible foreign military intervention.
For this reason we want to start a dialogue with these sisters and brothers for building as soon as possible a political alternative of the workers and the poor, which is proposed as an alternative to achieve a workers government that adopts a program that starts from the most felt needs of the working class, as the only solution to the crisis for the benefit of the workers and the poor people of the country.
ITV must organize the struggle against the Maduro dictatorship under a workers’ program to get out of the crisis
We agree with pro-Guaidó ITV leaders on the need to topple Maduro but we disagree on giving any kind of support for Guaidó, who is a lackey of imperialism, a puppet of Venezuelan top capitalists and who offered an amnesty to the corrupt Bolivarian bourgeoisie that emerged along 20 years of Chavist-rule.
We stand for an ITV that fights for both labor demands and to topple Maduro, that opposes both Maduro and Guaidó, and that stands for a workers’ government calling mass meetings in workplaces and unions to democratically discuss and organize the plans for that struggle. That is a stand for an independent workers’ political alternative for the workers based on a working-class program.
At this moment this program must start from “FUERA MADURO YA” (Maduro Out Now), no confidence in imperialism and its lackey Guaidó. Neither Maduro nor Guaidó.
- No to imperialist intervention disguised as humanitarian aid. We only accept help and solidarity from the workers and peoples of the world, through their trade union and social organizations, in coordination with the workers’ and popular organizations of the country;
- For a minimum wage equal to the basic basket, in defense of labor contracts democratically decided by the workers, against the hunger wage levels imposed by the government;
- For the defense of labor organizations and the right of workers to democratically elect their representatives.
- Stop union busting and criminalization of people’s struggles. Rehire all those dismissed for protesting. Freedom for all those prosecuted for protesting and all those in dissent;
- For the non-payment of the foreign debt! Stop nurturing transnationals, bankers and vultures. Funds to import the food and medicines that are needed and to invest in the recovery of the productive apparatus and to recover the educational, healthcare, electrical, hydrological, transport and telecommunications systems;
- For a 100% national PDVSA, without transnationals or joint ventures, independent from the imperialist transnational oil corporations.
- End of the agreements of the Orinoco Mining Arch. Stop handing over our oil, gold and minerals to transnational corporations;
- For a workers and poor people’s government!