Manifesto of Lucha de Clases on the April 14 presidential election

This coming Saturday the Venezuelan presidential elections will take place. These elections have once more mobilized the masses who are coming to the fore to defend their revolution and the legacy of its deceased leader Hugo Chavez. Although the victory of the revolution is clear in these elections, it is equally clear that they will mark the opening of a new and decisive phase in the history fo the revolution. The following text is a statement by Lucha de Clases - the Venezuelan section of the IMT - that outlines the dangers ahead and the tasks of the revolution.

On 14 April  there will be presidential elections, and once more the bourgeoisie and imperialism on the one hand, and the working class and poor people on the other, will face off in an electoral battle of historic proportions. Once more, like during the coup in 2002 and the oil strike, the working masses are being mobilized in defense of the Bolivarian Revolution. The fighting spirit of our people, and the demoralization of the social base of the bourgeoisie, is clearly shown in opinion polls conducted by state and bourgeois polling companies. These elections will mark a turning point in the history of the Bolivarian Revolution. Only the radicalization of the revolution after the victory of the United Socialist Party (The party of Chavez) on April 14, will ensure a full victory of the revolution over capitalism. There is no middle ground, either the radicalization of the revolution or the worst of defeats.

Although we may feel deep sadness remembering the absence of the president, we look forward with great strength and resilience. We must transform all the sadness and pain into strength and determination to fight, to advance the socialist revolution without ever retreating. Now that the president is no longer with us, it is up to the rank and file of the revolutionary movement to push the revolution forward, in order to radicalize and complete it. That is the only way to fulfil the revolutionary legacy of Hugo Chavez.

The bourgeoisie and imperialism hoped that the death of President Chavez would have generated demoralization among the revolutionary people and the working class, and that this could have led to a quick defeat of the revolution. Hence, their disgusting media campaign in which each negative medical report was celebrated, and every positive medical report merited lies and slanders announcing the death of President. They could not be more wrong.

The president's physical disappearance radicalized the mood and the consciousness and of struggle and militancy among the masses. Today more than ever the revolutionary people are willing to fight to the end, to defend the Bolivarian Revolution from the attacks of imperialism and the bourgeoisie. The slogans "Chavez lives, the struggle continues" and "They shall not be back", that have been chanted by millions of comrades in huge demonstrations during the two weeks following the death of the president, are just a tiny indication of the actual state of mind of masses.

However, in the same way, the physical absence of the president will clarify the contradictions that exist within our own movement, the Bolivarian movement. On the one side there is the rank and file who want to radicalize the process into a revolutionary socialist direction, and on the other there are the reformist and bureaucratic sections who prefer conciliation with the bourgeoisie rather than lose the privileges they have gained at the expense of the revolution.  Also, the revolutionary people know that the President was a barrier that held back the negative bureaucratic and reformist policies of these sectors. Obviously, now, they can act more freely and may raise more openly and with less difficulty, a policy of conciliation with the bourgeoisie. It is only us, the rank and file of the revolutionary movement, who can stop them, and push the revolution forward.

The electoral gap between Capriles and Comrade Maduro, is around 14, 19 and up to 22 percent according to the different opinion polls.

There is not doubt that the revolution will win a decisive victory on 14 April. However, we should not be intoxicated by triumphalism. Now more than ever, the rank and file must organize and work hard during these two very brief weeks of campaigning until 14 April, in order to achieve a strong vote in favor of the revolution and of Comrade Maduro. Thereby we can inflict a crushing electoral defeat to the bourgeoisie and imperialism. On the basis of a hard work of political discussion and mobilization of the vote in each neighborhood, factory, field and university, there is no doubt that we will inflict a new historic defeat against the majunches [mediocre, the appelative Chavez used to refer to opposition candidate Capriles] Comrades, next 14 April victory will again be ours, a victory of the working people against the oligarchy, which we will dedicate to the memory and work of our comrade revolutionary President Hugo Chavez.

But we need to have a sober attitude towards the scenario after the election victory. This is why the Marxists of the PSUV would like to raise the following consideration. Will it be enough to defeat the bourgeoisie in the elections to ensure its political demise and the irreversibility of the revolutionary process?

After April 14, the social base of the bourgeoisie will be demobilized and defeated more than ever, even more than it is right now. Therefore it will not force any attempt to carry out actions directed against the revolution. But this should not confuse us. The bourgeoisie will never rest in its eagerness to defeat and crush the revolution

The defense of their economic interests as a class, necessarily forces the bourgeoisie to take back, sooner or later, political power and control over society. As we know, it has, on more than one occasion, attempted to put an end to the revolution, and this time, after we win the 14 April, will be no different. However, the ruling class has learned its lesson. They have understood that every time they have tried to overthrow the Bolivarian Revolution through violent means or by way of confrontation, the masses have responded forcefully in its defense. When they tried an armed coup in April, 2002, or a fierce economic war during the oil lockout, or by combining smaller scale economic sabotage with rioting in the streets during the 2004 referendum and the 2006  and 2012 presidential elections, what they achieved was not the defeat of the revolution. Instead, they managed to mobilize the masses in its defense and strengthen their revolutionary consciousness and militancy. In the end the bourgeoisie was defeated. But, as we have explained, this time the imperialists and their national puppets have learned the lesson.

Unlike all previous counter-revolutionary offensives, this time the bourgeoisie will not attack from the front, but will play on the internal wear of the revolution. As explained by our comrade Alan Woods during his recent visit to Venezuela, this time the bourgeois opposition will rely on its allies within the Bolivarian movement, the 5th column within our own ranks, attempting to generate tiredness, apathy and demobilization amongst the rank and file of the revolution, paving the way for future elections in the coming years, in which the bourgeois opposition, having succeeded in demobilizing important sectors of our revolutionary ranks, can then be sure of defeating us at the polls.

Therefore, the central element and fundamental tactic now used by the bourgeoisie, from 15 April onwards, will be the wearing out of the social base of support for the revolution. It is true, that this tactic has always been present for the last 14 years, but the difference is that from now on this will be the main card played by the opposition before venturing to take back political power. Such wear down is promoted from two sides. On the one hand, in the economic field, the bourgeoisie uses sabotage of production, to hit the pockets of the working masses, and on the other, they seek to infiltrate even more the bourgeois state apparatus and even the Bolivarian government itself, with agents and officials to curb the revolutionary policies, aimed at raising the living standards of the masses.

What is it that allows the bourgeoisie to continue attacking the Bolivarian Revolution?

It is the ownership of banks, landed estates and industrial and commercial monopolies, which is the source of their wealth, which allows the Venezuelan capitalists to finance the political campaigns of the right-wing, the financing of the media, which have constantly attacked the revolution for 14 years, funding the opposition student movement, bribe officials, and sabotage and block the revolutionary government's social policies, and even arming the counter-revolution by bringin in Colombian paramilitaries and paying hit men to kill student, peasant and workers leaders. In short, they use their capital to destabilize the country in order to seek to defeat the revolution.

We have explained that the oligarchy uses and will use all its economic power to attack the working masses and seek their demoralization, and that after the 14-A these policies will continue. Fedecámaras (the bosses organisation) and Fedeagro (the federation of agricultural capitalists) as well as the national bankers, have carried out a 14 year long campaign of economic warfare. Now, those actions will become their main tool to attack the revolution. A capital strike, hoarding, an investment strike, shortages, speculation, hard currency theft and finally, permanent economic sabotage, will be the weapons wielded by the bourgeoisie to relentlessly attack the revolution, after the victory of 14 -A.

How then can we put a stop to these attacks of the bourgeoisie?

We can win elections against the right, but that in itself will never definitively defeat the bourgeoisie. The only way to defeat them on a permanent basis is to destroy their economic power, which is the basis of their political power. Only by expropriating the bourgeoisie from the key levers of the economy, banks, monopolies and landed estates, or in short, only by expropriation the means of production and Capital, can we definitively finish with their constant attacks on the revolution, and only then, can we truly achieve the irreversibility of the revolutionary process.

Either we put an end to the economic power of the bourgeoisie, or the bourgeoisie will use this power to defeat the revolution. The historical experience of all revolutions in the twentieth century, shows unequivocally that if capitalism is not dealt a decisive blow, then there will be a process of demoralization and demobilization of the masses, which means a fatal setback to the motor force of the socialist revolution. Tragically, all historical examples to which we have referred in general, show that such demobilization of the masses, ultimately led to the defeat of revolutions.

The only way to stop the ongoing economic sabotage, business closures, hoarding and shortages, is the nationalisation under workers' control, of the food production monopolies. The same applies to the issue of the theft of foreign exchange by the bourgeoisie. The only way to end the black market in hard currency is nationalizing foreign trade. Let's put an end to a situation in which a handful of bourgeois parasites are profiting enormously from importing goods into the country. There should be a state company that is in charge of all imports and exports operating under workers' control. A measure such as the devaluation which was announced almost two months ago, does not hit the capitalists nor solve the problem of the currency black market, but on the contrary, hit the poorer families, who in their overwhelming majority support the revolution.

The only way to build a society of equals, without exploited or exploiters is by nationalizing the key levers of the economy, that are now in the hands of the oligarchy and to establish a democratically planned economy under workers' control. Only through a democratically planned economy, can we put an end to social and economic needs which, although reduced dramatically during the revolution, still exist as we have not dealt a decisive blow to capitalism. Only in this way can we end the exploitation of man by man and the misery that capitalism has created in our country for decades. Only in this way can we ensure the final victory of the Bolivarian Revolution over the forces of the bourgeoisie and imperialism. The danger and the constant threat to our revolution, is precisely that most of the economy is still in the hands of the oligarchy.

The main legacy of our beloved President is precisely to have taken firm steps in this direction, as evidenced by the 30% nationalization of banks operating in the country as well as the nationalization of all utilities, steel, and the renationalisation of the country's main telephone company, CANTV. We must also remember the important battle that has been waged against large scale landed estates, which has also resulted in nationalization of 30% of the estates, which for decades were in the hands of parasite landowners and plunderers of the people.

It is down to us, the men and women who are part of the working class and historically oppressed people, who are the real pillars of this revolution, to complete this task that President Chavez was unable to complete before his physical disappearance .

It is for this reason that the comrades who are part of the Marxist Tendency of the PSUV, Venezuelan section of the International Marxist Tendency, we call on the working class, the peasantry, the youth and the revolutionary people, to not rest even for a minute in the struggle, now or after the resounding revolutionary victory that we will achieve on April 14.

Comrades! It's time to radicalize the revolution! No compromise with the bourgeoisie after the victory of April 14! The bourgeoisie is the only one interested in talking about national unity and reconciliation, because that enables them to infiltrate our ranks and stop the revolutionary process. After we defeat Capriles and the bourgeoisie in the upcoming elections, we must beat them in the class struggle, and that means expropriating them once and for all. Let's win on April 14, and from April 15, let's radicalize the revolution. Let's honour the legacy of our President Chavez and complete the revolution.

Comrade Maduro, hard with the oligarchy!

With the bourgeoisie neither dialogue nor reconciliation, but expropriation!

On the 14 we will defeat Capriles, and from the 15 we must expropriate the oligarchy!

Chavez lives, the struggle continues!

They will not be back!