The situation in Venezuela is increasingly tense. The political crisis deepens and the economy continues in free fall, with a tendency to aggravate, which acts like fuel to the intensification of the political crisis as well: the political regime is falling apart and the government keeps losing popular support.

It has been more than 100 days of demonstrations and protests facing a brutal repression, with an important number of dead, injured, and detained people.

The MUD, relying on the popular outrage, takes advantage of these mobilizations to channel and control them. However, spontaneous demonstrations emerge from new places against hunger, shortage, misery, and the repression itself, which the MUD does not always manage to control. It is highly possible for this outrage to grow as we get closer to July 30, date of election of candidates for the NCA [National Constituent Assembly], knowing that the economic situation will not improve and, on the contrary, the suffering of the working class and popular sectors will increase.

This is why the MUD, as the bourgeois leadership it is –given to transactions and negotiations and aiming to avoid the political crisis to be solved in the streets– looks for mechanisms to ease the tension in the streets while pressuring the government to negotiate better conditions to reach an agreed solution.

So, under its call on last July 16, the popular referendum to reject the NCA and consult about what role should the FANB [Armed Forces] and National Assembly have, as well as if there was a consensus regarding a government of “National Unity”, the MUD follows its agenda of pressuring to negotiate. And now, they call for a National Stoppage on July 20, with the explicit support of FEDECAMARAS,[1] CONINDUSTRIA,[2] CONSECOMERCIO,[3] the Chamber of Construction, FEDEAGRO,[4] and other bosses’ categories. They were posing this before the referendum – even Union leaders (linked to the MUD) like Iván Freites, of the FUTPV [Unity Federation of Oil Workers of Venezuela,] and Marcela Máspero, of UNETE [National Workers’ Union of Venezuela,] who have made statements in the press calling the workers to join this stoppage.

We need a General Strike with a Workers’, popular, and Students’ programme

The uncontrollable inflation; the constant shortage of medicines and food; the basic basket at $1,500,000 Bs. with a miserable wage of $97,000 Bs.; the shameless speculation; the aggravation of the economic crisis through the payments of the external debt and capital flights; together with the government’s repression against the demonstrators, the students’ movement, and political, union, and popular opposition leaders and activists; the attacks on democratic freedoms; the layoffs and restrictions to the workers’ rights to chose their own Union representatives and organize independently, are more than enough reasons for the Venezuelan working class to call for a General Strike from its own organizations, in a democratic and independent way, with a programme to put in the center the solution to the problems mentioned above.

But this is not what the MUD is calling for on next Thursday. They are calling for a strike serving their interests as pro-bosses politicians, as well as the interests of the bosses’ categories that joined the call. They want the workers to follow their interests and goals. It is a stoppage in which, despite their statements of “good will,” it will be the workers who pay for the “broken dishes,” through adjustment, layoffs, and company closures.

They want a negotiated solution to this crisis. They want to re-privatize companies, and “better conditions to invest,” which in Spanish means, among other things, to cut the payrolls of the re-privatized companies; to freeze the collective agreements, and to have more mechanisms to fire people. They aim to cut rights currently addressed in the LOTTT [Venezuelan Labor Law], like labor immobility (which they already disrespect whenever they want, but which is still a complicated clause). They also want the legal elimination of the prices’ control (although these are liberated in fact,) as well as to get a higher percentage of the oil rent through the allocation of foreign currencies to continue the capital flight… in other words, what they want out of this bosses’ stoppage are warranties to better implement the adjustment against the workers (something the government is already doing). Workers cannot expect anything good out of this call.

Indefinite General Strike until Maduro leaves

From the UST [Socialist Workers’ Unity] we have been saying that neither the NCA nor the dialogue between bourgeois politicians like the PSUV’s and MUD’s – nor an election – represent a solution to the workers and poor people’s problems. We affirm the solution comes through a General Strike until Maduro leaves.

But this General Strike has to be called and organized by the workers’ bodies, democratically, through the previous organizations of rank and file assemblies in the Unions, Federations, and workplaces, with no relationship to the bosses nor subordination to their interests – which, as we know, are opposed to ours.

This is exactly what Freites, Máspero, and other Union bureaucrats linked to the MUD are not doing, as they are linked to the bosses, they live off the favors, perks, and privileges they get from this relationship, and they do not represent the workers, just like the Unions’ leaders linked to Chavism, like Willis Rangel and Franklin Rondón (among others) do not represent us, either.

Thus, workers must organize and raise our own programme. We need to organize committees or any other independent organization to guarantee an actual workers’, popular and students’ General Strike to kick the government out.

The programme of such Strike should have Out With Maduro as the main slogan, and say NO to the fraudulent NCA. It should raise the immediate suspension of the external debt payments; investigation of the Chinese and Russian loans: where are the dollars allocated along years of exchange control? Also: repatriation of the flight capitals; nationalization of foreign trade; not one more dollar to the bourgeoisie; end of mixed companies; 100% nationalization of the oil industry and to invest dollars in its recovery, as well as to recover the basic-industry companies. Investment in food, goods, and medicine; no to the Minner Arch; Minner exploitation and other resources only in consultation with the indigenous communities. General wages increase according to the basic basket; to re-discuss the expired collective agreements. No more layoffs, no more shortage; money to health and education, not to the bankers and vulture funds. Full democratic freedoms; liberation of the political prisoners; full warranties for political and union rights; immediate elections in workers’ and popular organizations with no interference from the CNE [National Electoral Council] and the TSJ [Superior Judicial Court] nor from the bosses.

Workers have this proposal to solve the crisis. To implement it, we have to rule with our own programme. To it, we need to build a political alternative that is independent of the MUD and PSUV bosses.

General Strike, independent from the bosses, bureaucrats, and pro-bosses politicians, to take Maduro down!

NO to the fraudulent Constituent! Let’s not vote on July 30!

NO to the payment of the external debt! Money for food, medicines, health, and education; not to the bankers!

For a workers’, peasants’, and poor people government!

 

Unidad Socialista de los Trabajadores (UST) – Liga Internacional de los Trabajadores/Cuarta Internacional (LIT-CI / IWL-FI).

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Notes:

[1] Venezuelan Federation of Chambers of Commerce.

[2] Industrial Venezuelan Confederation.

[3] National Council of Commerce and Services.

[4] Confederation of Agricultural Producers Associations.