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.
First, I think it is necessary to stress the increase of votes for Chavismo across the entire country compared to last December 2 [the constitutional reform referendum]. At the same time the opposition has demonstrated once again that there is a ceiling of votes that it cannot overcome, even if abstention levels are much lower. Nevertheless, it managed to reach a level of support that allowed it to obtain political victories in important cities.
Second, I think it is necessary to stress that having gone into these elections divided in many states, as is the case of Carabobo, the candidates of Chavez carried out a very good election campaign although some of them did not win.
Third, I think that the warning that we gave from Marea Socialista [Socialist Tide] about some of the candidates, and above all the indication that they are leaders that express something that the revolutionary people profoundly reject, such as is the case of the endogenous right-wing, had a very important weight in fundamental districts such as the governorship of Miranda and others, for example Tachira. The action of previous governments is what explains the defeat in Greater Caracas. This is one of the most serious political problems that confronts the revolutionary process.
But there is a problem that is graver still. That is the dynamic within the PSUV itself. It is necessary to transform the party into a truly revolutionary party. We cannot continue with the method of an electoral machine where the base only participates in an irregular manner, in limited primaries, that in general are controlled by the power of the endogenous right-wing.
The party demonstrates that it could be a great party, but it is necessary to stimulate the participation of the workers, of the popular sectors that are the fundamental base of the revolution. And this stimulation should be political. The fact is the party has taken little account of its trade union movement. These electoral results, although they are positive, leave open the necessity of knowing that what is lacking is more democracy and more participation. The militants must feel it is their party, not the party of the leaders, otherwise it will run the risk of converting itself into just one more party, just like the other ones.
Nevertheless, it is not enough to simply announce that there should be self-criticism. The revolutionary people across the whole country must participate. We, on our part, believe that the moment has arrived to clean out the government and the party. A cleaning out and more revolution is what we need in order to ensure that working people govern in this revolution.
[Stalin Perez Borges is a national coordinator of the National Union of Workers (UNT), a militant of the PSUV and a national leader of Marea Socialista.]