Tension grows across the country. After the “Popular consult” called by the MUD -which had an important participation- and the “civic stoppage,” now the MUD raises the bet calling for a 48 h. General Strike this week, and the occupation of Caracas.

By UST Venezuela.

 

It is impossible to know the real number of people who participated in the referendum and which were the most voted questions, but it served the MUD to be in a better position to pressure the government and force it to negotiate, relying on the popular outrage and indignation. Without a doubt, the government was strongly affected by the measure.

One of the main goals of the MUD was to try to lower the level of pressure in the streets, but the outrage is so big that it will not be easy to manage. On his side, Maduro is playing his main chance of staying in power with this National Constituent Assembly [NCA], and he will hardly take it back -at least its implementation-.
Thus, his response so far has been more repression: over 100 deads, thousands detained, and more than 400 imprisoned. They have now detained 3 lawyers who were named by the National Assembly as part of the TSJ [Superior Justice Court].

The bourgeois opposition, organized in the MUD and supported by imperialism, is using the popular outrage to validate its political project of a “national unity” government as part of a transition. Despite the fact that the referendum started with a rejection to Maduro’s Constituent, the questions were not independent of each other as they were a political proposal as a whole. A sector of the “critical Chavism” told the MUD that they would support the referendum if they only kept the first question; the MUD refused, evidencing that they were proposing an entire project. This is why from the UST we refused to participate of the MUD’s maneuver.
Maduro’s government, in an attempt to avoid for the Chavist base -tired of the government- to vote for the MUD’s consultation, as well as to not lose the initiative, mounted a “simulation,” not contemplated in the schedule. Despite the threats and pressure and of displaying good part of its “machinery” to guarantee it, it did not generate much enthusiasm or high participation.

The reality is that misery and hunger are growing along with the economic and social crisis. Even Chavistas themselves, who so far supported Maduro, are now feeling defeated and demoralized. The government is still glorifying about complying with the “international commitments,” of paying the external debt religiously, even if it means to have no money to import food and medicines; even if the inflation raises and our elders cannot heal.

This is why there is no speech to excite the Chavist bases. This is why the outrage explodes in the popular neighborhoods for lack of food, gas, and medicines. This is why “Out with Maduro” is more present than ever.

Maduro’s “revolutionary crisis”
With his natural verbiage, Nicolás Maduro stated that “We are in the center of a revolutionary crisis. No one can be scared of this words.” Somehow, the president acknowledges that we have reached a point of no return on the fight for the power. The political crisis deepened up to a point that the National Assembly does not recognize Maduro’s power but the fiscal vice-president’s named by Ortega Diaz. It also names the 33 judges of the TSJ, and it aims to appoint the Rector of the CNE [National Electoral Council]. The government’s play of “national unity” is also an additional pressure and an attempt to expose the establishment of a parallel government.

But what this brutal political crisis shows is the implementation of two counter-revolutionary projects: the Maduro administration’s, currently implementing a brutal adjustment that drove the workers and people to misery and hunger; and the MUD’s, fighting to hijack the oil rent and implement an also pro-imperialist project to deepen the attacks on the people and hand over our resources – just like Maduro is doing.

The MUD’s “package”
With its anti-workers, anti-popular, and pro-imperialist project, the MUD is trying to keep the streets under control and channel the outrage to the passive outcome of an election, negotiations, and agreements. The “popular consult” and the “civic stoppages” launched “from above” are the proof of this. As we already said, the MUD launched its political package aiming to validate, through this referendum, a whole project that includes the FANB [Armed Forces], the resolutions of the National Assembly, and the “national unity” government, under cover of the rejection to the Constituent. The same thing happens with this new call to a 48-hours “general strike,” which was “decreed” by the media, leaders who have not visited a factory or workplace in years, and others who do not dare to call assemblies to organize the struggle. Those leaders obey the policies of the MUD of “struggling together with the bosses, for the bosses’ political and economic interests.” This is why we propose to organize assemblies in study or work places and to decide in those spaces if we participate or not from the stoppages, and how to continue the struggle to organize a real general strike.

The pressure of imperialism
The U.S. imperialism, and also the European, have launched a campaign condemning the call to a Constituent Assembly and the “return to democracy.” Donald Trump stated that “If the Maduro regime imposes its Constituent Assembly on July 30, the United States will take strong and swift economic actions.[1] The measures against the government would go from freezing Ministers’ and high-command agents’ assets –as done so far– to suspending the oil business, which is paid in cash and therefore allows the government to buy dollars. On his side, Almagro, Secretary General of the OAS, doubled his pressure. Also, the European Parliament has been demanding from Maduro to suspend the Constituent, or they will take punitive measures.

The socialists call to not trust any type of pressure coming from imperialism and its puppet governments, like Peña Nieto, Macri, or the agonizing Temer. Nothing good will come from them. Workers should only trust the solidarity of other workers of the world, to defeat Maduro and his government of hunger and misery.

Our stand regarding the so called “Zero Hour” – On July 30, do not vote!
Workers should not fall for the trap of the bourgeois opposition and its union leaders.

Without a doubt, many comrades will think that with the MUD we will take Maduro out and then we will be in better conditions to fight. This could be true if most of the MUD had the goal of defeating Maduro. But, so far, their main spokespersons have said they are looking to “negotiate a transition.” The deputy Freddy Guevara does not demand Maduro to leave: in an interview, he just demands to withdraw the Constituent, recognize the National Assembly, free the prisoners, and recognize the new TSJ named by the N.A., among other points.
Thus, despite the harsh speeches, the former president Rodríguez Zapatero is enthusiastic by affirming that “there are and will be negotiations.” This is what the director of the CIA, Pompeyo, states: “The US wants a free, democratic Venezuela.” So, nothing further from overthrowing Maduro through mass mobilization.

We should participate in all struggles organized and with our own flags. The socialists of the UST defend Out with Maduro, and we call to build a general strike from our work places by organizing assemblies and meetings in the factories; by voting our programme for the struggle; by denouncing the government and also the MUD, as both have plans to continue paying the external debt by increasing hunger and misery even more. Therefore, there will not be dignified work or wages neither for food and medicines. Our program should be of confrontation with the bosses and bureaucrats. It should pose dignified wages, immediate suspension of the payments of the external debt, and investigation and renationalization of ill-gotten capitals flight abroad or to “national” banks. It should pose the complete nationalization of oil and the end of mixed companies once and for all; money for food and medicines; recovery of basic industry companies, and a national plan for food production, etc.

We think that the left sectors like Chirino, from the PSL,[2] are making a mistake by calling to participate of the actions called y the MUD, be it the “consult” of Sunday 16 (as it did) or the support to the “civic stoppage,” because these measures are part of a counter-revolutionary policy. For instance, nobody knows how many voted in favor of the national unity government and how many rejected the NCA; it was just shown as a “resounding support to the MUD”.

Further more, we think that supporting a strike together with the bosses, after 18 years of a “socialist” government of bosses and “socialist” militaries is incorrect, as it means to be supporting the possibility of ending this government in alliance with them, as installed by the MUD all over the country.
We know that facing this polarization [Maduro-MUD] it is really hard to establish an independent line from both bourgeois sectors. But our efforts have to serve the implementation of a policy of class independence. The example of the administrative workers of the UNEG [Experimental University of Guayana], who voted in an assembly the rejection to the Constituent, show that this is possible. Our stand is to participate in all struggles as long as we can keep our class independence through programs voted in assemblies or workers’ and popular meetings, in the path of the construction of the General Strike we need.

On July 30, do not vote
We called all workers and popular sectors, peasants, and the entire population, to not vote, on July 30, for the fraudulent Constituent Assembly, which will not solve any of the deep problems that workers and popular sectors suffer but, instead, to extend Maduro’s term, as well as his policy of hunger and repression. It will serve the corrupt ones to stay in power, and also the destruction of our basic industries. Thus, we call to organize independently, without bosses or militaries, and to build a workers’ political alternative.

No to Maduro’s fraudulent Constituent! Out with Maduro!
General Strike organized from below, through assemblies and meetings to vote for a workers’ and popular program to solve the crisis!

Immediate suspension of the external debt!

Money for dignified wages, health, education, and for medicines!

Nationalization of oil! End of mixed companies!

No to the Orinoco Mining Arch! Mining plan consulted with the communities!

Full democratic freedoms! Free the political prisoners!

Immediate Union elections without State intervention!

For a Venezolazo, to start changing the country!

For a workers’ and poor people’s government to implement this program!

***

Translation: Sofía Ballack

Notes:

[1] http://www.kmbc.com/article/trump-if-maduro-regime-imposes-constituent-assembly-us-will-take-economic-action/10319933

[2] Socialism and Freedom Party, formerly Unidad Socialista de Izquierda [USI – Socialist Left Unity], affiliated to the Unidad Internacional de los Trabajadores [UIT – International Workers’ Unity], founded in 2008. Orlando Chirino is one of its founders and main leaders.