The meaning of the attack on Sanitarios Maracay

The workers of Sanitarios Maracay who were attacked and arrested earlier this week have been released. But that does not mean that everything is fine and well. The attack on the workers was a clear message that the counterrevolution is alive and well and can still strike. Now more than ever, the revolution must push forward to the end.

On Tuesday, April 24, Didalco Bolivar, governor of Aragua State, sent the State police to intimidate the workers of Sanitarios Maracay and prevent them from taking part in a national march in Caracas in defence of workers' control, expropriation and nationalisation called by FRETECO (the Revolutionary Front of Workers in Occupied Factories)

The workers responded to this outrageous violation of their constitutional rights with a protest that cut off the regional highway at La Victoria.

This was brutally repressed by the Aragua State police and units of the National Guard, which used tear gas, buckshot and truncheons to dissolve the picket, leaving 14 workers wounded and arresting 25.

After receiving this news, FRETECO, the International Marxist Tendency and Hands off Venezuela launched a solidarity campaign demanding the immediate release of the arrested workers and the resignation of Governor Didalco Bolivar.

Now, while writing these lines, news has arrived about the release of the workers of Sanitarios Maracay.

At this point in time repression against organised workers is not accidental, but represents in itself a most concrete example of the dynamic of the opposing forces that make up the revolutionary process in Venezuela.

Didalco Bolivar, governor of Aragua, is a leading member of PODEMOS, one of the main parties in the wide coalition that has been supporting Chávez.

Although from the beginning PODEMOS has positioned itself very much on the right of the Bolivarian movement, the shift to the left of President Chávez in the last two years and the radicalisation of the revolutionary process after the electoral victory on December 3 has clearly shown that PODEMOS' political arguments and interests are deeply rooted in the bourgeois counter-revolution.

Thus, leading figures of PODEMOS, such as Didalco Bolivar himself, have criticised Chávez's proposal to found a United Socialist Party of Venezuela (Partido Socialista Unificado de Venezuela), suggesting that the PSUV will not be a united party of the revolution but rather a totalitarian party by playing on the similarity in Spanish between the words "one-party" (or single party) and "united party" ("partido único" and "partido unido") Thus, the leaders of PODEMOS always refer to the PSUV as the "one-party", trying to resuscitate with their rhetoric the old phantom of Stalinism.

The PSUV, however, represents a great opportunity to organise the Bolivarian masses around a socialist programme and carry out the revolution to the end.

It is also seen by the Bolivarian masses and most political activists as a once in a life-time opportunity to get rid of the bureaucrats and careerists who, still clinging to the political apparatuses of the Bolivarian coalition parties, are stifling the revolution and manoeuvring to derail it.

Their enthusiastic response to the party, in contrast to the leaders of PODEMOS or the PPT, is evidence of this.

Didalco Bolivar knows very well that his privileged position in society is threatened by the revolutionary movement of the masses, and will not spare any effort to prevent them from carrying out the revolutionary transformation of society.

Didalco Bolivar knows very well that the society from which he and others like him derive their privileges is based upon the private property over the means of production; upon a right that only a tiny minority of Venezuelans - capitalists, landlords and financiers - can exercise.

Despite all his cheap talk about democracy and freedom, Didalco Bolivar defends with all his might the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie; the dictatorship of a tiny minority of Venezuelans over the overwhelming majority; a dictatorship that, despite the gains brought about by the revolutionary process, has not yet been abolished and will not be abolished until the bourgeoisie as a class is expropriated.

Didalco Bolivar knows all this very well and with the predatory instinct of a hyena has moved to attack those who at this moment pose the biggest threat to private property and capitalism: the workers of Sanitarios Maracay, who, organised in FRETECO, form the vanguard of the working class in the struggle for socialism.

Sanitarios Maracay is a ceramics factory in Venezuela currently occupied by its workforce. The workers took over the factory in November 2006, when the owner, a known coup-plotter, abandoned it. Ever since it has been run under workers' control through a system of general assemblies and committees.

This occupation is only one of several taking place in Venezuela at this time. However, some particularities make the struggle of the workers at Sanitarios Maracay a qualitatively different experience in the movement of occupied factories in Venezuela.

Sanitarios Maracay is the first factory to start producing before being expropriated and its workers have shown a deep understanding of the political situation and revolutionary politics.

Unlike in previous experiences, the workers of Sanitarios Maracay are not only demanding the expropriation of the factory. They understand that the problems they are facing can be resolved only through the socialist transformation of society; that their struggle for nationalisation under democratic workers' control is opening the way for that revolutionary transformation of society.

They are demanding that the factory be expropriated; they are demanding the factory to be nationalised; they are demanding their right to democratically run it under their control; they are demanding that it be integrated in a democratic plan of social production to provide Venezuelans with decent housing.

Last week, President Chávez urged Didalco Bolivar and Ramón Martínez, governor of Sucre, both from PODEMOS, to openly join the escuálido counter-revolutionary opposition, where he already counted them, and called on the Bolivarian masses of Sucre and Aragua to recall them.

Just a few days later Didalco Bolivar openly joined the counter-revolutionary opposition by repressing the workers of Sanitarios Maracay. This is a clear message for Chávez; there cannot be any doubt about whom Didalco Bolivar is siding with. It is too, and more importantly so, a message to the Venezuelan bourgeoisie.

By repressing the vanguard of the revolutionary movement Didalco Bolivar is sending a clear message to the counter-revolutionary opposition.

See - he says - I'm with you and I will be with you through to the end to crush the revolution. I'm your man, trust me.

Now, more than ever, all sectors in the UNT must abandon their differences and rally to support the workers of Sanitarios Maracay and their demand for nationalisation under workers' control and Didalco Bolivar's resignation.

It is the moral and political duty of the Bolivarian government to intervene against counter-revolutionary attacks. Sanitarios Maracay must be nationalised under workers' control.

For a Bolivarian Socialist Republic of Venezuela!

For a Socialist Federation of Cuba and Venezuela!

For a Socialist Federation of Latin America!