Reflections on a recent visit to Venezuela

Alan Woods provides some very interesting insights into the processes taking place within the Venezuelan working class, the discussions on what kind of workers’ control is needed, on what is the next step facing the Revolution, and so on. His notes from his trip to Venezuela in April reveal a growing socialist consciousness among the Venezuelan masses. See also pictures from the visit.

[Several weeks have passed since my recent visit to Venezuela, and until now I have been unable to publish a report. An intense work schedule has prevented me from putting a modicum of order into the voluminous notes, written in my barbarous handwriting, that fill several notebooks. But despite the delay I have decided to publish my notes in the form of an article, because in some respects they can give a clearer and more concrete idea of the stage through which the Revolution is passing than a fully worked-out article. Any formal defects may be excused on the grounds that this piece does not pretend to be such an article but rather a more or less disjointed series of notes.]

In the second week of April the Third International Gathering in Solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution was held. This is an annual event held to commemorate the defeat of the April coup of 2003, when the masses rose up to confront the forces of the counterrevolution. This was the second time I was invited to attend this event, as regular readers of will know from the reports from last year.

During this visit I noted a change in the situation in comparison to a year earlier. The victory in the recall referendum in August 2004 had dealt a shattering blow against the Counterrevolution. The correlation of class forces was, and remains, enormously favourable to the Revolution. As we predicted, the masses have pressed home their advantages and are demanding that the Revolution take a decisive step forward.

A decisive new element in the equation is the emergence of the working class as a key protagonist in the Revolution. This is most clearly expressed in the movement for workers’ control (the expression “cogestion” is somewhat confused but that is what the workers understand by it.).

The fact that President Chavez has come down publicly in favour of socialism is a further clear indication as to where the Bolivarian Revolution is moving. The nationalization of Venepal, and now also of CNV, confirms this direction. Those people who criticized us for pointing out that the Bolivarian Revolution would have to take the socialist road or fail, have been shown to be completely wrong.

At the rank and file level there is a burning desire to push the revolutionary process forward, to confront the forces of the counterrevolution and move to socialism. But this mood is not replicated at every level of the Bolivarian Movement. One has the distinct impression that the higher up one goes, the less the enthusiasm for the Revolution.

This does not apply to the President, who has made it clear that he is in favour of a Revolution within the Revolution. But in the level immediately beneath the President, there are elements who do not share his radicalism and are, openly or otherwise, pushing in the opposite direction. At the inaugural meeting of the gathering, President Chavez once again reiterated his support for socialism. I was sitting near the ministers, and I noted that, whereas these remarks were received with enthusiasm by almost the entire audience, more than one minister was sitting on his hands. This little detail strikingly reveals the real state of affairs.

A prominent Bolivarian official assured me that many of the President’s instructions are being sabotaged by elements in the state apparatus who do not believe in the revolutionary process. The same person told me: “There are three factions: those who are for the revolutionary process; those who want to halt the revolutionary process because they have already made their careers; and those who are simply corrupt.”

Though they put on red shirts and call themselves “chavistas” and even “Marxists”, they are profoundly hostile to the revolutionary process and particularly to the movement in the direction of socialism proclaimed by President Chavez. They have infiltrated the movement under the guise of functionaries and “advisers”. One person I met described this phenomenon very graphically as “parasites looking for another host.”

In the inaugural speech already alluded to, President Chavez made an honest self-criticism. He stated that his earlier attempt to find a “third way” between capitalism and socialism was “a farce”. He added that the only alternative to capitalism is socialism. This has had a big effect in galvanising the rank and file and increasing the interest in socialist and Marxist ideas. The comrades of the CMR produced 20,000 pamphlets on “What is Socialism?” for the meeting and it was very well received.

In every meeting I saw that the ideas of socialism and Marxism are readily accepted by the workers and youth of Venezuela if they are explained clearly. On11 and 12 of April I spoke at two big meetings at the Bolivarian University in Caracas organized by the Revolutionary Marxist Current with the official backing of the Bolivarian University (UBV). The meetings were advertised on 300 posters and 8,000 printed leaflets. In the second meeting, on the subject of socialism, comrade William Izarra, who is now Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs responsible for the Middle East and Asia and who stands on the left of the Bolivarian Movement, also spoke. Present in the meeting were quite a few workers from the occupied CNV factory, who had already come the day before and were very enthusiastic.

The great interest in the ideas of socialism and Marxism is illustrated by the following detail: in the course of two weeks I was interviewed on quite a few occasions on television, for example on channel eight and Vive TV, the two state television channels. I was also interviewed on two television programmes in Barquisimeto that are seen in all the neighbouring states (Falcòn, Portuguesa, Guàrico y Yaracuy). In addition I was interviewed for one hour on Telesur, the new TV channel set up on Chavez’s initiative to broadcast to all the countries of Latin America. I was also interviewed by different journalists of other Latin American countries.

We held many formal and informal meetings with workers and activists – like the one with 25 comrades from Caracas, Vargas and Miranda. A young worker from a factory in Petare (a working class suburb to the east of Caracas) turned up with a group of comrades from the factory, where they are forming a trade union. The comrades of El Algodonal, a hospital of more than 2000 workers, situated in one of the poorest suburbs (Antimano – a stronghold of chavismo) in Caracas, sent their apologies, but were committed to support future meetings and activities. I also had a number of discussions with Adan Chavez, William Izarra, Orlando Chirinos, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ali Rodriguez, and other leaders of the Bolivarian and trade union movement. But perhaps the most important intervention was in the debate on workers’ control in Carabobo.

The Debate on Workers’ Control

The format of this year’s Rally was different to last year’s event. This year the delegates were distributed to different regions of the country to participate in different workshops on a variety of subjects. I elected to go to Carabobo, where the subject was “cogestion” (workers’ self management). Initially, the idea was to hold it in the Venepal plant, but problems with the installations meant that it had to be transferred to the state capital, Valencia.

The main leaders of the left trade union, the UNT spoke in the debates and their speakers reflected the general revolutionary and militant mood of the rank and file. This was further manifested on the magnificent demonstration of 1 of May, in which the UNT spoke openly of the fight for socialism and similar questions. Another speaker was the Minister of Labour, a young woman who is very left wing and a firm advocate of workers’ control and nationalization. The following account is not to be taken as a stenographic record but rather an impressionistic series of snapshots. I was unable to make detailed notes, mainly because I was involved in all sorts of discussions and interviews outside the meeting. However, I hope that these sketchy notes will give something of the flavour of the discussions and the mood of the workers present.

Although the subject of the debates was officially “workers’ participation” (cogestion), it soon became clear that those present wanted to discuss workers’ control. This “workshop” was really a kind of mini-conference of trade unionists where for the first time the worker activists of Venezuela had the opportunity to meet and debate the problems of workers’ control. There were about 500 workers, union leaders and activists present The workers, dressed in the bright red t-shirts and baseball caps that are a kind of uniform of the Bolivarian Movement, participated enthusiastically, often speaking with great passion. The level of debate was very high, and all the discussions centred on socialism, with repeated references to Marx, Lenin and particularly Trotsky. At different times the speeches and debates were interrupted with loud chants of: ‘Sin Cogestion no hay revolucion!’ (Without workers’ control there is no revolution!) and “power to the workers!”

The big electrical company Cadafe is also moving towards workers’ control (cogestiòn). The same is true of Alcasa and several other factories. One anecdote will serve to illustrate the attitude of the workers. The main leader of the workers in the occupied (and now expropriated) CNV factory, Jorge Paredes, a young, energetic and intelligent workers’ leader, told it to me. Shortly after the workers had occupied the factory, a completely unknown individual turned up and informed the workers that he was the “new Bolivarian manager”. The workers looked at each other, completely mystified. Who had elected this man? Nobody. Who knew anything about him? Nobody. So they said to the new “boss”: OK. You go and sit in the corner and we will let you know what we decide!

The speakers included a number of prominent Left intellectuals from different countries who have supported the Venezuelan Revolution. These included Isobel Rauber from Cuba and Canadian Leftist Mike Lebowitz. Mike spoke on the Yugoslav experience of workers’ self management, pointing out the dangers that could face the movement in Venezuela, the risk of bureaucratic tendencies, corruption and the danger of setting one group of workers against another. At the same time he emphasised the positive side, the ability of the workers to participate effectively in the running of industry, etc.

Another speaker was the veteran Catalan Marxist, Victor Rios, who gave a very interesting lecture, starting out with the observation that the important achievement of the co-operative movement of Robert Owen was to prove that the workers could run industry without capitalists. He gave some very illuminating quotes from Lenin and Trotsky. This was no exception. The Brazilian trade union activists Serge Goulart, who is himself involved in a campaign to support a number of factory occupations in Brazil, commented that he had never attended a trade union meeting where Marx, Lenin and Trotsky were quoted so frequently.

I delivered a one-hour lecture in Spanish on “Socialism of the XXI century”, in which I pointed out that it was impossible to make half a revolution: “How can we speak of the Revolution being irreversible when three years after the coup those responsible are walking free in the streets? The same old bureaucrats remain at their posts, the same old governors and mayors. Above all, how can we speak of a Revolution being irreversible when the economic power of the oligarchy remains more or less intact? It is necessary to finish the job. It is necessary to expropriate the oligarchy and introduce a socialist planned economy. This is the only way to solve the problems of the Venezuelan people.”

This message was enthusiastically received by the delegates. Afterwards the leaders of the oil workers invited me to address their own commission on workers’ control. The general enthusiasm for the ideas of Marxism was shown by the fact that the bookstall run by the comrades of the Revolutionary Marxist Current (CMR) sold out of books and pamphlets by Trotsky. The comrades sold a total of 707,400 Bolivars worth of books and documents and 50 copies of the Marxist paper El Topo Obrero.


Alexis Olmeda spoke on behalf of the workers of Venepal (now Invepal), which was nationalised in January. He explained the process whereby the workers took over the factory. The owners owed large sums of money to the workers. At first the workers appealed to the courts. But they also decided to set up a committee to keep up maintenance work in the plant. The committee was based in the union’s office. It met on a daily basis, analysed the statistics and made daily reports.

On the basis of this information, the workers were able to work out their own statistics and obtain a very clear idea of the real state of affairs of the business. On opening the books, they could see the true position of sales, production, maintenance – and even the Holy of Holes – profits. The bosses could no longer say: “We cannot pay your wages.” Armed with the necessary figures, the workers were able to go to court and prove otherwise:

“The bosses saw that we had learnt what the real position was, and the proof was that we had mastered the whole process of production,” he said.

The next step was predictable. The bosses decided to close the plant. In order to prevent this, the workers took it over and ran it for four months. The workers met in a mass meeting and voted in favour of workers’ control. The results were good. The workers broke records for productivity and quality. But the owners were manoeuvring behind the scenes, and in December 2004 the factory was declared bankrupt. The intention of the owners was to asset-strip the plant. The workers – following a proposal originally raised by the CMR – demanded that the government nationalize the factory. Finally, in January of this year, President Chavez signed the decree of nationalization.

This was a big victory for the workers and has been the signal for many others to follow the same line. It also demonstrated the correctness of the position taken from the start by the Venezuelan Marxists of the CMR, who pointed out that workers’ control could only develop into something serious if the occupied plants were nationalized. We therefore greeted the nationalization of Venepal in January. But at the same time we pointed out the need for a clear programme for workers’ control and nationalization. Otherwise there could be a danger that confused and ambiguous formulas could lead to an abortion, in the form of bourgeois co-operatives and so on.

Some were critical of the speech made by the representative of Venepal (now Invepal), who seemed to imply that the firm ought to be run on the lines of a bourgeois co-operative. One of the delegates from the big oil company PDVSA spoke against this:

“I see a big difference between what President Chavez said yesterday and what the comrade from Venepal said. What is the objection to workers’ control? In PDVSA, we took control and ran it without any special preparation or training, and we defeated the bosses’ sabotage. There was an internal revolution in PDVSA. One of the speakers said we need a law of workers’ control from the National Assembly. That is correct, but first we have to find out what are the interests that are blocking workers’ control.”

An older coloured worker from Guyana spoke on workers’ control and the unions:

“Workers’ control cannot mean the elimination of the trade unions. The unions are the fundamental organizations of the working class in its struggle against Capital, whether it be private Capital or state capitalism. We do not want workers’ participation or any other reformist ideas, but workers’ control and management. The workers are in a fight against another class – the bourgeoisie. We must base ourselves on scientific ideas. I mean dialectical materialism. I mean Marxism, comrades!” (Wild applause and cheers)

“What are we talking about here? In Latin America we are talking about a fundamental change. We do not only require a discussion about workers’ control but a political, philosophical and ideological discussion about where we are going. I cannot conceive of workers’ control that would eliminate the trade unions. We must run, not only the factories but society itself. What we do not want is class collaboration.”

A woman worker from the big electrical company Cadafe spoke next: “In our factory for the first time we have a voice and a vote – a real participation – we are the real protagonists. And I want to make it clear that our sector does have unions.” A worker from PDVSA followed her: “The workers of PDVSA are fighting for a change but there are many on the management side who argue that the company is too complicated for us to run it. Well, in that case we will learn the necessary skills! We propose the setting up of a workers’ university to train the workers.”

Workers oppose bureaucracy

Since President Chavez began to speak about socialism, everybody is suddenly interested in it, looking for books and pamphlets and anxious to find out about socialism. But there are also serious problems. The main problem is bureaucracy, corruption and careerism. The right wing of the movement tries to water down the socialist message and divert the movement along “safe” (i.e., capitalist) channels. But the workers are increasingly aware of this and sharply critical. The following are extracts from speeches made by worker activists in the debate in Carabobo:

  • “We all know that there are people in the Party and in the Movement who wear red shirts and red baseball caps but who are not in favour of the President and who are against workers’ control. Comrades! The Revolution and workers’ control are not worn as shirts but are carried in the hearts of every one of us. These people are a Trojan horse and they are placing the Revolution in danger. We want to see all the factories and workplaces under workers’ control. I hope that in the next year Venezuela will be ruled by people who believe in the revolutionary process.”
  • “There are counterrevolutionaries within the revolutionary movement and these people are accusing the true revolutionaries of being counterrevolutionaries.”
  • “We workers are the backbone of the Revolution, but the authorities are hindering us and even repressing us. We demand that the National Assembly fulfil the role that they ought to play in this Revolution. We demand that the National Assembly pass a law of workers’ control (cogestion). Many sections are blocking us, but we workers are the only ones who can transform society.”

An older worker got up to speak: “Class brothers and sisters, I would like you to clarify the difference between workers’ control (cogestion) and workers’ participation. In Lara, there is a factory where they are supposed to have workers’ control, but there the workers have no say. In Guyana, the working class are electing the head of the company. That is what I understand by workers’ control, not participation. The working class must not only manage the company but also society and the state.”

In the commission of the oil workers, there was a heated debate on workers’ control. The workers present were emphatically in favour of carrying the revolutionary process forward and in particular of introducing workers’ control in the state-owned oil company PDVSA. I was asked to state my views and did so in the following sense:

“What we are talking about here is not workers’ participation but workers’ control. However, workers’ control is a transitional stage that must lead to the nationalization of the company, if it is not to be merely an ephemeral episode. Even this is not really sufficient. We support the nationalization of individual enterprises, but there cannot be islands of socialism in a sea of capitalism. What is needed is a socialist planned economy based on the nationalization of the land, the banks and the big industries.

“What concrete steps should be taken? You will draw up a resolution on workers’ control in this commission. What then? You should take the resolution to the shop floor, call a mass meeting in every section of the plant, organize a debate with contributions for and against, then put it to the vote. I guarantee not only that you will get a majority, but that those workers who voted against will agree to carry the resolution into practice, once it has been accepted as the majority view.

“The same process should be repeated at plant level. You should elect delegates and convene a conference at local level, inviting other workplaces to send delegates: then call conferences at regional level, at state level and so on, culminating in a National Workers’ Convention that can vote on a proposal for workers’ control and nationalization.”

This idea was readily accepted by most of the workers present. But not everybody shares the enthusiasm of the rank and file for workers’ control and socialism. There is a layer of people – bureaucrats, careerists, Stalinists and Social Democrats – who are striving by every means to halt and derail the revolutionary process. I had a close look at one such specimen in this commission. He assured everybody of his “Marxist” and “Communist” credentials, and then proceeded to pour a bucket of cold slops over the movement for workers’ control. The workers of Venezuela, he assured us, were “backward”, “corrupt” and even “rotten”. How could they ever move to socialism?

This individual was put firmly in his place by comrade Ricardo Galindez, the editor of El Topo Obrero, and a veteran activist in the Venezuelan revolutionary workers’ movement, who asked him “What working class are you talking about? What country are you talking about? You are certainly not talking about the working class of Venezuela.” Comrade Galindez then proceeded to innumerate, one by one, the revolutionary movements of the Venezuelan working class and masses, starting with the heroic Caracazo of February 1989, passing through the sweeping election victory of Chavez, the defeat of the April coup of 2002, the defeat of the counterrevolutionary bosses’ strike, the referendum victory and now the movement for workers’ control...

Contempt for the creative abilities of the working class is the most fundamental hallmark of Stalinism and of bureaucrats of all kinds. These “clever” intellectual ladies and gentlemen who imagine themselves so superior to the masses and see themselves as the “vanguard” in reality are on a lower level than the most backward and politically ignorant sections of the workers and peasants. They play the role of an obstacle in the path of the masses and the revolution, spreading the poison of scepticism and pessimism to all who listen to them. No matter what their subjective intentions may be, they play an extremely negative role in the movement. With “friends” like these, the Venezuelan Revolution really needs no enemies!

Fortunately, the good sense and sound revolutionary instincts of the masses mean that all this rubbish usually flows off them like water off a duck’s back. One woman worker after the commission said that the role of such “clever” speeches as this was only to demobilise the workers. That is absolutely correct. But the workers who were not prepared to be demobilised by the guns and clubs of the counterrevolution in April 2002 are not likely to allow themselves to be demobilised by the sophistry of reformist “advisers”, no matter how many letters they may have after their name.

Other meetings

In addition to the discussions in Carabobo, I also addressed a number of other important meetings. One of the most interesting was the meeting held in the occupied CNV (Construccion Nacional de Valvulas) factory. This is situated in Los Teques, about thirty kilometres from Caracas. It is situated at the top of a hill, with a spectacular view over a lush green valley. It would be a good place to build a tourist hotel. But the workers of CNV are not on holiday. They are engaged in a struggle for the survival of the plant, which means the survival of themselves and their families.

The comrades of the CMR in Los Teques have been intervening in the factory practically from the beginning of the occupation, visiting the plant every day, supporting the occupation and discussing with the workers. They have won a great authority. As a result a comrade from the CMR was invited to attend the ceremony where Hugo Chavez signed the expropriation order for CNV. At the meeting, on behalf of the CMR, Jorge Paredes presented the President with a copy of Trotsky’s book The Revolution Betrayed and a report of the work of the Hands Off Venezuela campaign. In a meeting held in the Central University (UCV) on Thursday, April 28, at which workers from Venepal and CNV were present, both groups of workers publicly thanked the comrades of the CMR for their support.

As you enter the gates that lead to the factory, you are greeted with a huge placard announcing the occupation. The gate is guarded by watchful pickets. A little further up the road there is a tent and outside the tent is a large table with plates, cups and cooking pots. This is the kitchen and canteen improvised by the workers to support the occupation. I was invited to lunch at this open-air canteen before the meeting. The food was excellent and the company even better.

The CNV meeting took place inside the occupied factory, with the presence of 50 workers. It was chaired by Jorge Paredes, and I was the only speaker. Once again, the workers gave an enthusiastic response to the ideas of socialism. It is difficult to convey in words the intense atmosphere of this meeting. One could see by the faces of the workers, men and women, old and young, an intense concentration on everything that was said. They hung on every word as if their future depended upon it – which in fact it does.

I can still see these faces now: the honest, open and intelligent face of the working class. But it is impossible to convey what I saw on those faces. One has to live this in order to see what a revolution is good for. What it is good for is to sweep away the accumulated dirt of decades of inertia, to bring the working class to its feet, to drag it out of the swamp. Men and women raise themselves up to their true height and begin to think and act as free individuals, not slaves. What a contrast to the smirking mask of the professional cynic and bureaucrat, whose only aim in life is to destroy the illusions and hopes of the young generation and drag it down into the fetid swamp of mental and spiritual stagnation into which these miserable creature have long since sunk.

The meeting in Vargas was just as interesting. This is a town situated on the Atlantic coast, about the same distance from Caracas as Los Teques. It has a long revolutionary tradition. The elegant Spanish colonial building where the meeting was held was in earlier times the scene of meetings by famous revolutionaries who organized the resistance against Spain. Now it was full of Bolivarian activists – the true descendants of those fighters of old.

I spoke together with comrade Celia Hart from Cuba in a very good meeting of activists, who were previously known as the Colectivo Vargas Revoluciòn, with about 2,000 activists, which obtained 10% of the votes in the regional elections. They later joined the Movement for Direct Democracy (Movimiento Democracia Directa), a left party that has been set up by William Izarra, and have very good relations with the CMR. They were very enthused with the meeting, which was attended by about forty people, most of them leaders and candidates in the elections.

In Vargas we discussed the fundamental problems of the Revolution. The same questions cropped up time and again. A young woman called Laura complained bitterly about the corrupt bureaucratic elements: “The problem is that the genuine revolutionaries are being crushed and annihilated by the same old people.” (“estan siendo aplastados y anulados por los de siempre”). We discussed the need for anti-bureaucratic measures, such as the right of recall, the limitation of the salaries of all officials, inspection of expenses, etc. These measures were very well received by all the activists.

The question was raised: what precisely is the “socialism of the 21st century?” Is it necessary to invent an entirely new and original model? I answered that there was really no need to re-invent the wheel. There is no particular merit in inventing new ideas just for the sake of it. The wheel is a very old invention. Should we try to develop an alternative for the sake of originality? Maybe we ought to try a square wheel, or a triangular one instead? The point was taken, and most people accepted that, although they could be developed and adapted to the specific conditions of Latin America, the ideas of Marxism remained completely valid and relevant.

I drew a parallel with the ideas of Simon Bolivar. I said: “Bolivar took his ideas originally from the Great French Revolution of 1789-93. But he applied these ideas creatively to the concrete conditions in Latin America. Marxists must do the same today. The Bolivarian Revolution has its own peculiarities, its specific features, its own character and personality. But the Venezuelan revolutionaries will learn from the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, just as their forefathers learned from the French Jacobins, not mechanically but creatively.”

In Barquisimeto, I spoke at two well-attended meetings – one of about a hundred workers and another of a hundred and fifty in the local Polytechnic. As in Vargas, fundamental questions were asked. As the Pope had just died, it was perhaps inevitable that the question of religion and the attitude of Marxism to it should be raised. I answered along the following lines: “It seems to me that there are two Catholic Churches in Venezuela. On the one hand there is the Church of millions of poor and oppressed people, seeking hope and justice. On the other hand there is the Church of the hierarchy that supports the rich and powerful. We Marxists are opposed to the latter but to the former we extend our hand in friendship and offer to fight together against injustice and oppression for a better world.”

In all these meetings I found the people to be very open to the ideas of Marxism. In fact, there was a thirst for ideas and theory, a burning desire to understand. That, too, is what a Revolution is good for.

I left Caracas with the clear impression that the Revolution is advancing, although with increasingly determined resistance from the representatives of the old order. Although the latter have suffered some severe defeats, they still form a solid barrier to further advance. Having been repulsed in a frontal assault, they have been compelled to resort to “guerrilla warfare” against the Revolution, which they are attempting to derail, undermine and destroy from within.

The problem of bureaucracy, corruption and careerism is at the centre of the equation. These are the tools used by the counterrevolution to halt the Revolution in its tracks. The oligarchy and imperialism are trying to find points of support within the Bolivarian Movement, striving to introduce a Trojan Horse into its ranks that can overwhelm its defences. The struggle for power in Venezuela will be determined by the struggle of opposing tendencies within the Bolivarian Movement that in the last analysis reflect the struggle of opposing and mutually incompatible class interests.

The victory of the counterrevolution is not a foregone conclusion – but neither can the final victory of the revolutionary forces be taken for granted. But we remain optimistic. The consciousness of the masses, and particularly the proletarian vanguard, is growing by leaps and bounds. The workers are discussing socialism, fighting for workers’ control, and opposing the attempts of the bureaucrats and careerists to hijack the Revolution. Millions of workers are passing through the school of the Revolution. They are drawing the most advanced conclusions from their experiences. They are preparing to take power into their hands – not only in the factories, but also of society into their hands.

In all these battles the Marxists stand shoulder to shoulder with the Revolution, against the conspiracies of the oligarchy and imperialism. We also stand together with the workers and peasants in their struggle against the bosses and landlords, for workers’ control and socialism. We stand with the genuine revolutionaries against the reformists, bureaucrats and fifth columnists of the oligarchy. Experience will teach the masses that the ideas of scientific socialism – of Marxism – can provide them with the only weapons that can bring this struggle to a victorious conclusion.