This manifesto was published by the CMR in response to Chavez's proposed constitutional amendment. The amendment abolishes the limit on how many times the president can stand for re-election. It argues that it is time to move from speeches to deeds when it comes to the building of socialism in Venezuela and call for Venezuelan revolutionaries to take up the struggle in the Bolivarian movement.
For the constitutional amendment to win, the bourgeois must be expropriated
The recent regional elections demonstrate that the immense majority of the population is with the revolution and want to advance towards socialism. This was demonstrated with the recovery of one million votes in regards to the constitutional referendum. But this also reflects what we have been saying for a year: an important part of the population (two million votes), who voted for socialism in the presidential elections in 2006, will no longer be moved by speeches but by deeds. The abstention of an important sector of Chavistas, the result of their discontent with the bureaucracy, is a warning signal that reflects the danger of the growth of apathy and disbelief towards the revolution in a section of the masses. To combat this danger, decisive measures must be taken against capitalism and the pressing problems of the people must be solved. This will also be the only way to attract the votes that stay at home or prefer to go to the park.
The opposition is combining all forms of struggle to crush the revolutionary movement of the masses. Before the elections we explained that if the opposition won governorships and mayoralties, they would use these as a base for a reactionary offensive against the revolution. In just a few days we saw the confirmation of this perspective and the counterrevolutionary attack of fascist gangs with the support of the police against the misiones, houses of popular power, Cuban doctors, local councils, CDI (one of them was burnt) and against all the revolutionary conquests in those places where the oligarchy won.
A new period of the revolution has begun, marked by the intensification of the struggle between revolution and counterrevolution, and at the same time by the increased polarization within the Bolivarian movement itself, between reformism and revolution. The profound crisis of world capitalism, which affects Venezuela enormously, intensifies all of these contradictions.
The challenges the Bolivarian revolution faces are big. Today, more than ever, the workers, revolutionary youth, peasants and popular leaders (the dynamic forces of society) must fight to the death for the victory of the Bolivarian revolution, equipped with a Marxist programme, which will enable us to effectively fight the bureaucracy and turn the PSUV and the youth section into genuine tools to do away with capitalism once and for all, and begin the construction of a socialist society
The debate around the presidential re-election has also begun. The Marxists are participating on the front lines together with the masses in the debate and the campaign for the re-election of Commandate Chavez, with the ideas of revolutionary Marxism, fighting against the ideas of reformism such as, for example, the mixed economy and opposition to the nationalisation of the means of production. We understand what the masses understand: how important it is that the bourgeois do not return to the presidency.
The only way to guarantee the victory over the enemies of the presidential re-election is, at the same time as debating and starting campaigns, to take measures to finish with capitalism. What is the best way to guarantee the re-election, recover votes and fight fascism? Expropriate the main levers of the economy in the hands of the capitalists, who use them to organism fascism. We are speaking of large industry, of the banks and the land.
The Marxists struggle for the expropriation of large industry and to take it out of the hands of the capitalists (as well as that which is underused and sabotaged), as well as the monopolies, inseparably united with the establishment of workers’ control of production. Workers, open the accounts of the companies! The only way to prevent the nationalised companies from falling into the hands of the bureaucrats is through workers’ control of production, that is, through factory committees and workers' councils. In this way the companies can be used to the maximum, on the basis of a democratic plan of production, determined by the workers themselves and the organised people on the basis of the needs of the majority. Priorities can be democratically determined, as well as prices (set by the workers and the people, not the capitalists and the bureaucrats), guaranteeing the supply of basic and necessary items to the whole of the population. A massive plan of housing production and modernisation of industry can be designed, along with the creation of jobs, improvements in working conditions, etc.
We also fight for the expropriation of the banks under the control of the workers, organised in workers’ councils and in coordination with users’ councils. On the basis of the control of the workers and the people over the financial system, a social mision can be created for cheap credits and easy payment for small businesses and traders (constantly hit by big capital and ruined), to finish with the speculation of the banks and to guarantee that the workers' money, as well as that of the whole population, is secure. This will also be the best way to win over the middle class to the flag of the revolution. For example, the counterrevolution tells small business owners and traders that the revolution and communism will take away their property. The small business owners can now tell them that they have better credit under better conditions, and that all their problems are being solved. This is how the middle class will be won, by demonstrating to them that the working class is capable of solving their problems.
To end the sabotage of the bourgeois and the landowners it is necessary to expropriate the agro-productive apparatuses and the latifundios under the control of the rural workers and peasants, in order to lower prices of food and to supply the population. Popular supply committees should be set up, where delegates from the community councils and the peasants’ councils will participate. These committees will supervise the distribution and sales of these products to end the sabotage of the counterrevolution through hoarding, speculation and middlemen, etc.
The international crisis of capitalism will have repercussions in Venezuela. The fall in the price of raw materials will also affect oil prices. This will have an effect on national budgets, it will be increasingly difficult to cover the historic lack of goods for the internal Venezuelan market with oil revenues, due to the lack of investment on the part of the bourgeois. The only way that national production can be raised, permitting endogenous development, is on the basis of workers' control of all the companies of the country, in accordance with a democratic plan, meeting the demand for products that Venezuela has.
The fundamental task of the Venezuelan working class is to seize the productive apparatus of the country, extend the occupation of factories, and demand that the national government nationalise them under workers' control to develop an economic plan. This is the fundamental task that the UNT must carry out. Based on the specific demands of each company and sector, which in this context are in contradiction with capitalist ownership of the companies, the UNT must launch a national campaign of factory occupations as an effective means to move towards socialism in Venezuela.
At the same time the trade union organisations must be spread throughout the country. The foundations of the workers' state, which must replace the bourgeois state apparatus, must be laid, through the development of workers’ councils in all industries in the country, public as well as private. This is also how workers’ control of production will be established. These councils must coordinate amongst themselves, on the basis of elected representatives that can be recalled at any time.
The counterrevolution is trying to win over a part of the officials and generals in the army. We must struggle against the embryo of fascism in the armed forces with the creation of soldiers’ committees with the right of electing their leaders. This is an effective means of fighting against the conspiracies of the fascists and coup-plotters. The legitimate right of the soldiers to join the PSUV must be recognised. If the left does not politicise them, the right will. The immense majority of the rank and file of the army are the sons of workers and peasants how have no interests in common with the bourgeois.
The opposition is creating, financing and organising fascist gangs as was done in Bolivia. They are already on the move. The fascist assassination of the workers’ leaders in Aragua is a warning to the whole labour movement. We must create revolutionary committees of self-defence. This can be done through the creation of reserve battalions in each factory and workplace, linking them with the revolutionary trade unions, factory committees, workers’ councils and the revolutionary soldiers. Revolutionary self-defence committees must created in every PSUV battalion, factory, village, town, university, neighbourhood, etc.
With an economy that is nationalised and planned by the whole of the workers and the people, the problems of housing and the modernisation of the country can be resolved, putting and end to unemployment, establishing decent working conditions and wages, with cheap prices for food and control over the financial and credit system. This is the only programme than can enthuse the immense majority of the population to struggle for the revolution, including the middle class, and win over this important sector that has abstained or is discontent. These can only be won back on the basis of deeds and not speeches. To finish with the lack of housing, with insecurity, with the rubbish problem, with inflation, with speculation, etc. is only possible on the basis of an economy without capitalists and controlled by the whole of the working class and the people.
We call upon all workers, revolutionary youth, peasants and popular sectors to adopt these tools and this programme, the programme of Marxism, to fight against the opportunism, reformism and careerism in the ranks of the Bolivarian movement and the PSUV. Taking these measures will not only recover the votes lost in the constitutional referendum, but will mean that we can struggle for the ten million votes. This is the only programme that can fulfil the deepest needs and desires of the people, as well as lay the foundations of a Socialist Workers' State. A socialist Venezuela can, in turn, call upon the workers and people of the world to follow the example of the Venezuelan Revolution.
Revolutionary Marxist Current