Marea Socialista

El dilema populista, el pragmatismo y la izquierda en el poder en Venezuela

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4439.]

Por Steve Ellner

02-06-2015 -- Rebelion -- Los izquierdistas en Venezuela han formulado varias explicaciones sobre los retos actuales, y el descontento creciente que enfrenta el país, el cual aumenta la posibilidad de que la oposición se apodere del control de la Asamblea Nacional en las elecciones al final de este año. En la lista de explicaciones está la comparación desfavorable de las cualidades superiores del liderazgo de Hugo Chávez con las inferiores de su sucesor Nicolás Maduro. (Este mismo razonamiento es utilizado frecuentemente por los miembros de la oposición, quienes –explícita e implícitamente – atribuyen las deficiencias de Maduro a sus orígenes obreros.) Una segunda explicación es que funcionarios corruptos son los responsables de la crisis económica actual, que incluye la escasez aguda de productos de primera necesidad y una inflación galopante que ha llegado a tres dígitos.

Venezuela: Chavismo on the horns of a dilemma

Over three months in the early part of last year, Venezuela was subjected to a campaign of violence and disruption known as the guarimba, organised by elements of the right-wing, US-backed opposition.

For more on Venezuela, click HERE and more by Steve Ellner HERE.

By Steve Ellner

May 22, 2015 -- VenezuelAnalysis, posted at Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Leftists in Venezuela put forward a number of different explanations for the pressing economic difficulties and growing discontent that has beset Venezuela and increases the possibility of an opposition takeover of the National Assembly in this year’s elections.

Venezuela: After Chávez, has the Maduro government stalled the revolution?

For more on Venezuela, click HERE.

By Steve Ellner

December 24, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Nearly two years after the death of Hugo Chávez, the key question that many on the left are debating, in Venezuela and elsewhere, is whether his successors have been true to his legacy, or whether the “revolutionary process” initiated more than a decade ago has now stalled or even been thrown into reverse.

The recent emergence of a number of pressing problems has convinced some Chavistas that the revolution has either been betrayed or, at best, that President Nicolás Maduro is severely lacking in Chávez’s political acumen.

Venezuela: Thousands debate socialist congress proposals

An activist with the Baruta Battle Unit Bolivar-Chavez (UBCh).

By Arlene Eisen, Caracas

June 19, 2014 -- Venezuelanalysis.com – On June 7, President Nicolas Maduro issued a call to each grassroots unit of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) to submit 10 concrete proposals for ways to improve how the Bolivarian government functions. In response, throughout Venezuela, local units of PSUV militants, known as Battle Units Bolivar-Chavez (UBCh), devoted their weekly meetings to lively debates analysing political problems and attempting to reach consensus on solutions. There are some 13,500 UBChs.

Other Venezuelans joined the discussions through forums, meetings, editorial pages and social media.

A well-attended forum in Catia, a working-class district of western Caracas, set the tone for many other UBCh meetings. Catia is known and respected for being a centre of Chavista militancy. Aporrea.org and other pro-revolution media repeatedly ran written and videotaped reports of the proposals made there by a Gonzalo Gomez, spokesperson from Marea Socialista (Socialist Tide), a leftist grouping within the PSUV, and by Manuel Sutherland, a Marxist economist who coordinates the Center of Worker Investigations and Education and teaches at the Bolivarian University of Caracas (UBC).

Revolutionary democracy in the economy? Venezuela’s workers' control movement

The workers at Grafitos del Orinico are proud of their collectively run factory. Photo by Ewan Robertson.

See also "Venezuela: Discussing the workers' control movement: An interview with 'Cayapa' radio show". For more discussion of workers' control, click HERE. For more on developments in Venezuela, click HERE. Ewan Robertson was a member of the  Australia Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN) solidarity brigade to Venezuela,  April 25 to May 5, 2011.

By Ewan Robertson

August 3, 2012 -- Venezuelanalysis -- Walking into the plush corporate style boardroom, I greeted workers from the Grafitos del Orinoco factory before sitting down to conduct the interview. On the white board next to the door, the latest decision of the workers’ factory assembly was still in evidence: whether to pay themselves an end of year bonus. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the workers had reached an almost unanimous consensus, with only one of the factory's fifty-five workers not in favour.

France, WSF, Korea ... International left solidarity with the Egyptian people's uprising

Melbourne solidarity celebrations, February 12, 2011. Photos by Sue Bolton, beats from Al Aqsa Intifada by Rootsman and Muslimgauze, edited by Nick Fredman.

Below are a number of statements and reports of solidarity actions around the world following the overthrow of the US-backed Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak. They include a statement from organisations attending the New Anti-Capitalist Party congress in France, solidarity from the World Social Forum in Dakar, Senegal, a statement by leaders of the Socialist Party USA and a report on trade union organised protests in South Korea. Check back for more.

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Statement from left organisations present at the New Anti-Capitalist Party congress

February 12, 2011 -- The overthrow of Ben Ali and Mubarak change the political situation not only in the Maghreb but on the international scale.

Borges: W kierunku demokratyzacji i jedności ruchu robotniczego

[2008-07-19]
W ostatnich wyborach w związku zawodowym Narodowa Unia Sił Nauczycielskich (Sindicato Nacional Fuerza Magisterial, Sinafum), skupiającym istotną część nauczycieli, zdecydowane zwycięstwo odniósł Orlando Pérez, zwolennik pozostania Sinafum w federacji związkowej Narodowa Unia Robotników (Unión Nacional de Trabajadores, UNT). Wybory ogłoszono także w Krajowej Federacji Pracowników Sektora Publicznego (Federación Nacional de Trabajadores del Sector Empleados Públicos, Fentrasep), do której należy około 90 proc. urzędników. Mają się one odbyć 1 października. Komisja Krajowa UNT wyznaczyła w sierpniu kongres i wybór nowych władz. Te informacje, podobnie jak pogłębianie się procesu rewolucyjnego, to świetne wiadomości dla wenezuelskich robotników.

Venezuela: Defend and deepen the Bolivarian Revolution with an armed and mobilised people

By Marea Socialista, translation by International Viewpoint

July 28, 2010 -- Following the provocations of the Colombian regime, which threatens an armed intervention on Venezuelan territory under the false pretext that the latter was sheltering FARC guerrilla bases, President Hugo Chavez has decided to suspend all diplomatic relations with Colombia. It is clear that once again the Colombian regime is acting as a perfect satellite of the United States which is moreover currently dramatically increasing militarist manoeuvres and tensions all around the globe. We publish below a statement by the Venezuelan revolutionary Marxist organisation Marea Socialista, with which the Fourth International has fraternal relations.

The provocation from Uribe and the drugs traffickers who dominate the Colombian regime stretches to a limit of extreme tension relations between Colombia and Bolivarian Venezuela. The right, the oligarchy and the Venezuelan pro-Yankees present the attitude of President Chavez as an electoral manoeuvre or a problem exploited by the government out of propaganda concerns and chauvinism.

Venezuela: Workers’ control and the contradictions of the Bolivarian process

Gustavo Martínez.

Gustavo Martínez interviewed by Susan Spronk and Jeffery R. Webber

June 21, 2010 – The Bullet – On June 10, 2010, we caught up with Gustavo Martinez, a union leader in the worker-controlled, nationalised coffee company, Fama de América, in Caracas, Venezuela. The company has 350 workers at the national level, with two separate plants – one in Caracas and one in Valencia. We sat down with Martínez to discuss the centrality of workers’ control in the ongoing struggle to transition toward socialism and some of the most pressing contradictions of the Bolivarian process in Venezuela today.

* * *

To start off, can you tell us your name, how long you've worked in this coffee company, your job in the company, and your role in the union?

Venezuela: Socialists debate party's direction

PSUV members vote in delegate elections on November 15, 2009.

By Kiraz Janicke, Caracas

November 16, 2009 – Venezuelanalysis.com – The United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) held nation-wide delegate elections on November 15 for its First Extraordinary Congress which will be held over the next several weekends in Caracas.

Up for discussion at the congress are the party’s program, principles, organisational structure and most likely the mechanism for selecting candidates for the national parliamentary elections of 2010.

A total of 7800 members competed in the elections for 772 delegate places to the congress. Although the PSUV nominally has nearly 7 million members, voting in the delegate elections was open only to the 2,450,377 “active” members of the party.

Venezuela: Marea Socialista -- Firmness and participation needed; The best defence is to deepen revolution

[Translators' note: The following editorials come from Marea Socialista (Socialist Tide), a magazine published by an organised tendency of the same name within Venezuela's United Socialist Party (PSUV), headed by Hugo Chávez.]

Marea Socialista editorial, issue 20, July 12, 2009. Translated by Sean Seymour-Jones for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

Venezuela 2008: Balance sheet of the revolutionary process

By Gonzalo Gomez

December 17, 2008 -- During 2008, our revolutionary process has had its ebbs and flows. Overall, we had significant progress, especially in the recuperation of sovereignty, with the nationalisations and the electoral victories in the great majority of governorships and mayoralties. The right-wing also had its successes, as it managed to retain and seize several strategic places. The process is not linear, but the revolution needs to move forward in a permanent manner or the hangover of a counterrevolution will raze the achievements obtained, including the crushing of the vanguard.

You cannot build socialism in the bowels of capitalism. It requires qualitative leaps, in a timely manner and in accordance with the correlation of forces, to enable the break with capitalism and initiate a real transition to socialism. In capitalism there is no solution for the exploited masses; it undermines any economic, social or political conquest of the people, if they are not used to promote the deepening of the revolution, with the organisation and mobilisation of the workers, peasants and popular [sectors].

Venezuela: After the regional elections, the workers propose a clean out and more revolution

Stalin Perez Borges

By Stalin Perez Borges, translated by Kiraz Janicke and Federico Fuentes for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

November 25, 2008 -- I want to give some preliminary and personal impressions, in the heat of the moment, where many comrades are very preoccupied by the significance of the [Chavista movement’s] loss of the Mayor of Greater Caracas and of some important or key governorships in the country.

It’s time to calm down and sit down together in order to evaluate in depth with the comrades. There are various points that we should analyse in order to draw conclusions that truly reflect reality. It is necessary to open a profound debate within the party [United Socialist Party of Venezuela – PSUV], to reflect and proceed with self-criticism, as President Chavez indicated on Sunday night.

Venezuela: ‘Our votes are for Chavez and the revolution’

Stalin Perez Borges

By Federico Fuentes

Caracas, October 31, 2008 -- “On November 23, we will not just be voting for this or that governorship, we will be deciding the destiny of this revolutionary process”, Stalin Perez Borges, a national coordinator of the National Union of Workers (UNT) and United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) militant, told Green Left Weekly

On that day, regional elections for 23 governorships, more than 300 mayors and hundreds of state legislative assembly members will occur — a crucial contest between the revolutionary forces lead by President Hugo Chavez (mainly grouped in the PSUV) and the US-backed right-wing opposition.

Perez Borges and militants from the different union currents that are also in the PSUV have been organising in their unions and workplaces to ensure a strong victory in these elections.

“Our position is that, despite some of the problems that exist, we as revolutionaries will be participating not just on voting day, but in the campaign. This is the best way to strengthen and deepen the process.”

Venezuela: New mission, laws to extend popular power; trade union movement rebuilds

By Federico Fuentes

Caracas, September 6, 2008 -- The August 24 announcment by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to officially launch the social mission April 13, and the decreeing of 26 new and reformed laws on July 29, represent a further push to empower the poor communities.

Moreover, these moves represent a new offensive as part of Chavez’s stated aim of building “socialism of the 21st century” and eradicating poverty by giving power to the people.

Among other things, the new mission and laws build upon the communal councils that have been established across the country with the goal of organising the Venezuelan people, in order to transfer responsibilities until now in the hands of the state bureaucracy inherited by the Bolivarian revolution.

Mission April 13 is named in honour of the successful struggle of the poor majority, who along with the majority of the armed forces, defeated the coup organised by Venezuela’s business federation, Fedecamaras, on April 11, 2002. The coup briefly removed Chavez from the power, but an uprising resorted him two days later.

Venezuela: Moves towards unity and democratisation of the workers’ movement

By Stalin Perez Borges

July 14, 2008 -- In recent elections in the Sindicato Nacional Fuerza Magisterial (Sinafum -- National Union of Teachers' Force), which groups an important section of teachers, a slate headed by Orlando Pérez, a supporter of the proposal that Sinafum remain affiliated to the Unión Nacional de Trabajadores (UNT, National Union of Workers), won by a wide margin. Elections have been announced for October 1 in the Federación Nacional de Trabajadores del Sector Empleados Públicos (Fentrasep, National Federation of Public Sector Workers), to which more than 90% of public servants are members. The national coordination of the UNT has set dates in September for the holding of a new congress and elections.

El movimiento obrero venezolano en la encrucijada

por Kiraz Janicke y Federico Fuentes
Rebelión

Primero vino la decisión del 9 de abril, cuando el presidente
venezolano Hugo Chávez, tras una larga lucha de los trabajadores,
renacionalizó la acería Sidor que un gobierno anterior había
privatizado en 1997.

Poco después la Fuerza Socialista Bolivariana de Trabajadores, una
fracción de la Unión Nacional de Trabajadores (central chavista) se
separó y lanzo una llamada a una nueva federación nacional.

A los dos días, el vicepresidente de la Asamblea Nacional, Roberto
Hernández (miembro del Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela, PSUV,
que había formado parte del Partido Comunista de Venezuela, PCV)
reemplazó como Ministro de Trabajo a José Ramón Rivero, miembro de la
FSBT a quien los trabajadores de Sidor acusaban de oponerse a su
lucha.

Venezuela's labour movement at the crossroads; Stalin Borges Perez on May Day

 

See http://www.links.org.au/node/388#comment-527 for a report on the Caracas May Day March.

* * *

Venezuela's labour movement at the crossroads

By Kiraz Janicke and Federico Fuentes

Venezuela: Sidor nationalisation marks ‘new revolution within revolution’

By Stalin Perez Borges

Introduction by Green Left Weekly:

April 19, 2008 -- Denouncing the “coloniser attitude” and “barbarous exploitation” of workers by the management of the Sidor steel company, Venezuelan Vice President Ramon Carrizalez announced at 1.30am on April 9 that President Hugo Chavez had decided to nationalise the company.

“This is a government that protects workers and will never take the side of a transnational company”, said Carrizalez.

The decision of the Chavez government to nationalise Sidor has begun the process of returning to state hands one of the most important steel factories of Latin America, located in the heartland of Venezuela’s industrial belt in Guayana.

Sidor was privatised in 1997, one year before Chavez was elected. The major share-holder has been an Argentinean-controlled conglomerate Techint. Since privatisation, the workforce has been slashed from around 15,000 to just over 5000 and the company has used contract labour in violation of a government decree banning the practice.

Venezuela: Unionists debate call for new federation; Chavez sacks labour minister

By Kiraz Janicke

Caracas, April 15, 2008 (venezuelanalysis.com) -- In a joint press conference with Venezuela's labour minister Jose Ramon Rivero on Sunday, National Assembly deputy and coordinator of the Bolivarian Socialist Workers Force (FSBT), a faction within the National Union of Workers (UNT), announced the formation of a new national union federation and called on unions to disaffiliate from the UNT.

***

STOP PRESS

CARACAS, April 16 (Reuters) - Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez named a veteran communist leader as labour minister on Wednesday, days after ordering the nationalisation of a giant steelmaker whose workers are fighting for better pay. The first task facing Roberto Hernandez, a [former] long-term member of the Venezuelan Communist Party, will be to negotiate a new labour contract with the union at the Ternium Sidor steel works.

The appointment was published in the government's official gazette.

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