Why do we reject the Constitutional Assembly?
The resistance against Nicolas Maduro is spreading across the country, and more and more sectors adhere to it (like the peoples of Táchira, Carabobo, Barinas, among others). The only response the government has given is to increase repression. The numbers are powerful: over 60 dead people in hands of the State repression forces or other armed civil groups. Repudiation of the government is generalized. The maneuver of calling for a Constitutional Assembly served only to increase the outrage even more. The Out with Maduro! is present already in every action of the people.
A capitalist Venezuela in crisis and decay
Many times before, the socialists have proposed a Constitutional Assembly as a way to tackle the crisis in our country. A political, economic and social crisis based on the failure of the so-called “Socialism of the 21st Century”, which is, in reality, the failure of a bourgeois project supposedly “progressive and anti-imperialist”. Far from this, this project benefited the oil multinational companies (like Chevron), the car industry firms (Ford, Toyota, etc.), the pharmaceutics industry (Pfizer among others) and the international financial system. Evidently, there was a “national” and military bourgeois sector which benefited and grew with the imports business: the so-called “Boli-bourgeoisie”. In the middle of a huge world economic crisis, this project has failed and blown up in Venezuela.
This crisis is so deep that, if we do not root out the capitalist system –the current system of production and exploitation of the workers and the people,– there will be no solution. Neither will there be a solution if Venezuela does not break the chains that tie it to the oil multinationals and to imperialism; so if oil is not nationalized and all “mixed” companies are dissolved; if the rentier nature and mining-extractive model of the Venezuelan economy are not overcome; if the payments of the fraudulent and illegitimate external debt continue, as well as the flight of capitals; and if the industrial sector and food production are not developed. Without these measures, there will be no food and medicines nor fair salaries. All of these measures, as many others –like nationalization of foreign trade and the whole bank system– can only be achieved through a profound change, with a true revolution to change the country, led by the workers hand in hand with the rest of the exploited.
This profound debate could begin through a national, democratic, sovereign and Plenipotentiary National Constitutional Assembly, driven and imposed by the mobilization of the working class and the people, with workers taking into their own hands the task of changing the country, deciding their own fate.
A Constitutional Assembly at the service of Maduro and the PSUV
However, this is not what Nicolas Maduro called for. On the contrary, besides refusing to consult the people, through a consultative referendum, if they support this Constitutional Assembly or if they agree or not with the election criteria, this “citizen, sectorized and territorial” assembly aims to consolidate their “accomplishments”. But: is a Constitutional Assembly necessary for this? Would it not be enough to propose a package of bills instead?
It is worth asking: which are the accomplishments, after 18 years? The poverty level, already higher than in 1998? The compensatory social policies, that did not succeed in overcoming poverty within the majority of the population as they barely reach 30% of it? The level of inflation and food and medicine shortage without precedents in recent history? The harshest fall of the GDP since 1995? Is this what the National Constitutional Assembly will consolidate?
The call deepens the crisis of Chavism
According to Maduro, this would be an Assembly towards peace. But, in reality, the repudiation of the government and the call itself has further agitated the people’s mood. From the Attorney General to some magistrates and political leaders of Chavism, they have rejected the call as much as the refusal to make a popular referendum, as the Constitution dictates. Some segments of “critical” Chavism, like Navarro, former Ministry of Education of the Chavez administration, have explicitly rejected the call. The same happened with members of the Chavist Gran Polo Patriótico, like Redes and Vanguardia Bicentenaria. Chavism is at its boiling point, and for sure the rejection to this call will grow over the next days.
Which is the real goal with this call?
Beyond the rejection of the Assembly’s agenda, this repudiation is because of the anti-democratic maneuvers regarding the polling criteria, so the bases on which the representatives will be elected.
According to the set criteria, the election will be sectorial: there will be 545 deputies, of which 364 will be chosen on territorial base –based on the existing departments–; 8 will be indigenous; and the other 173 will be chosen by sector, under the following criteria, according to the CNE [National Electoral Council]: 24 students, 8 peasants and fishers; 5 entrepreneurs, 5 disabled people, 28 pensioners, 24 communal counselors, and 79 workers.
There are several tricks here:
The registers of the sectors are handled by the government and the CNE. Also, there is an anti-democratic maneuver regarding the territorial election, because every district, regardless of the number of electors, will have a pre- assigned representative, so a department like Maroa, in the State of Amazonas, which has 1935 voters, will get the same amount of representatives than other departments like Caracas or Valencia, with thousands of voters more.
According to 2015 election numbers, Chavism won the smaller and furthest districts, while the MUD won in the big cities.
Following this design, specialists foresee that Chavism will triumph with 184 of the 360 territorial electors (51%). The sectors are completely “snatched” by the PSUV apparatus.
Maduro and the PSUV seek to perpetuate in power, with this Assembly. They will be able to change everything that mandates them to carry an election. They will try to modify the power of the National Assembly [Low Chamber] to clear their way to acquire more debt, to privatize, to pay the debt, etc. They will be able to eliminate labor rights. They can liberate special trade zones where no law in favor of workers applies. In other words, they will have the freedom to establish a new political regime, even more repressive – through the participation of the FANB [Bolivarian National Armed Forces] and inaccessible to the popular segments.
This will not be a National Constitutional Assembly but rather a meeting of the PSUV with some “guests” in order to remain in power forever and thus validate the attack to the rights and democratic freedoms of workers and the people, as they have been doing so far.
A popular rebellion is emerging from misery and hunger
Besides all of this, the president borders the cynical when he asserts that this is an Assembly “towards peace”. While he is militarizing the country, illegally sending 200 detainees to military courts, continuing with the savage repression that has already claimed over 60 deaths –many of them young people and even some children,– and almost 3000 detainees. How much peace can there be with salaries that under 30 dollars a month and a basic basket that reaches the 200 dollars? How much peace can there be with an inflation over 600% over the last year? Which peace is Maduro seeking, when our elders and the people have no access to medications and hospitals are in ruins? Looting is not the solution to starvation, but who can deny the people’s right to appropriate of food when they cannot feed their families? This is why there will be no peace while the people suffers starvation, misery, and repression. Maduro and the PSUV’s NCA goes against every need of the working class.
The people is claiming Out with Maduro! What is the MUD saying?
There is no way out of the crisis for Venezuela as long as it is ruled by Nicolas Maduro, the PSUV, the military leadership and the “Boli-bourgeoisie”.
Meanwhile, for the people risking their lives on the streets, the will to mobilize until this government falls continues to grow; and the MUD and its parties insist on the “electoral agenda”, the restitution of the National Assembly’s powers, and other similar claims, like this deviating the core from the slogan “Out with Maduro!”, raison d’être of the popular mobilization. They fear the overthrow of the government by the mobilization. Capriles said it: “If we were violent, we would have already overthrown the government.” They do the impossible to “prevent the settling of this crisis on the street.” The MUD does not care about our deaths, hunger, or misery. They are trying to negotiate a “transition”. We cannot expect anything from them.
This is why some demonstrations are surpassing the MUD and its parties’ control. The masses want to take down this government, but there is no independent leadership to respond to this task yet. Still, there is a possibility for a true “popular rebellion” to explode and impose what is already been heard across country: “Out with Maduro!”To accomplish the popular will we need to prepare a general strike and demonstrations to take down this government. We must begin organizing meetings at workplaces; we must organize the resistance against the brutal attacks by the government. Disperse struggles are not enough: we must support and coordinate them. We need to begin the construction of committees or any other type of organization in order to develop the general strike from the rank and file, and a political leadership independent from the PSUV and the MUD.
Out with Maduro!
No to this “Assembly” farce!
General Strike against misery and hunger, and to kick this government out!
Workers’ rule through their own struggle bodies!
Translation: Guillermo Zuñiga.