Over the weekend of December 11th and 12th the 2nd National Congress of the Revolutionary Marxist Current (CMR) took place in the premises of the Bolivarian University in Caracas. This congress was held a year after the Founding Congress of the CMR in December 2003 in Barquisimeto which saw the fusion between El Topo Obrero (The Workers’ Mole) and El Militante (The Militant) groups. The Congress demonstrated the qualitative advance of the organisation with a number of new local cells being established and an increase in both the membership and in the political level of the current in general.
Some 58 comrades from Caracas, Vargas, Miranda, Aragua, Carabobo, Lara, Táchira and Mérida participated. There were a number of visitors together with 25 delegates representing the different local cells which had been elected in aggregate meetings beforehand. Attendance to this 2nd congress is a reflection of the advances of the organisation in the last few months and the presence of the current amongst the different sectors participating in the Venezuelan revolutionary process.
Important workers’ leaders were present such as Luis Primo (member of the UNT Caracas-Miranda leadership and of the national leadership of Autonomia Sindical) and Ricardo Galíndez (workers’ leader and trade union advisor in Barquisimeto, and editor for more than two decades of El Topo Obrero), as well as Jose Ramírez (a leading member of the UNT–FBT in Altos Mirandinos and member of the regional leadership of the Caracas–Miranda UNT), Pedro Aguilera (leader of the private security workers’ union in Barquisimeto Sintravipriv) and Osmary Escalona (leader of the Social Security Workers’ Union in Barquisimeto Sutivss). There were also a number of other CMR comrades who are active in their UNT affiliated trade unions either as rank and file militants or as shop stewards in important workplaces like IPOSTEL [the post office], CADAFE [electricity board] and others.
Also present were a number of youth who are important activists in the revolutionary students’ movement in Caracas (UBV and UCV), Lara (Politecnico and high schools) and in Tachira (ULA). Hermann Albrecht, who presented a paper on the economy at the recent “World Gathering of Intellectuals and Artists in Defence of Humanity” also participated, together with a number of neighbourhood and community militants and leaders from Santa Rosa (Lara), Moron (Carabobo), Antimano (Caracas) and Santa Cruz (Aragua). There were also a number of guests from organisations which have been working closely with the CMR. Amongst those there were a number of leaders of the Colectivo Vargas Revolucion (COVAREV – Vargas Revolution Collective), amongst them their gubernatorial candidate Gladys Requena and local councillor Miguel Montes.
These comrades from COVAREV, as we have reported in previous articles, are the second largest left wing political force in Vargas (second to the MVR) and received more than 7,000 votes (10%) in the recent regional elections. They are without a doubt the organisation which gathers the overwhelming majority of the revolutionary vanguard in this state and have shown their mass appeal, as was confirmed in the closing rally of their election campaign with more than 4,000 people present. Comrade Gladys Requena gave greetings to the congress and underlined her agreement with the main lines of the political document which was being debated at the congress. She particularly insisted on the need to deepen the revolution, to “organise the revolution within the revolution” and to organise a nationwide revolutionary leadership within the Bolivarian movement which could offer an alternative to the reformist and pro-capitalist sections in the movement. For this, the ideas and programme of Marxism are a vital tool.
Perspectives for the Bolivarian Revolution
The congress was inaugurated by comrade Francisco Rivero, leading member of the CMR and the COVAREV, who was elected as the chairperson. The first matter on the agenda was the discussion of the political document, “Perspectives for the Bolivarian Revolution”, which was presented by comrade Ricardo Galindez. He made an analysis of the current situation after the electoral victories of August 15th and October 31st. It was explained that the new stage that has opened is one of struggle within the revolutionary movement between the reformist and pro-capitalist ideas of those bureaucratic sections in the movement who want to put a brake on, and liquidate, the revolution, and the genuinely revolutionary ideas of important sections of the vanguard and the wishes of the masses to take the revolution to its conclusion in order to solve their problems.
In this regard, the speaker and most of those present agreed that it was impossible to complete the revolution and solve the problems of the workers within the framework of the capitalist system and with the Fourth Republic bourgeois state structure which still remains in its essence. It was agreed that the CMR should continue to defend, even more boldly if possible, the need for the revolution to expropriate the key levers of the economy (banks, monopolies, etc) and go forward to socialism, and the need to replace the bureaucratic and bourgeois state structures with a workers’ state based on mass assemblies in the workplaces, universities, neighbourhoods and local communities, which would elect recallable delegates at local, state and national level. Only in this way can we make the “leap forward” in the revolution about which president Chavez is talking and put an end to corruption, misery, unemployment and bureaucratism.
A few comrades insisted on the need to draft a Marxist programme for the Misiones [education, health and other social programmes introduced so far], the cooperatives, education, etc., and it was agreed that we would open a debate within the organisation leading to a national gathering in April or May in order to draft a detailed programme with the alternative of the CMR to all these problems. Some of the comrades stressed that this was very important since, in the struggle between reform or revolution, the pro-capitalist sector will not openly state their aims but will disguise themselves with pseudo-revolutionary phraseology in order to hide their aims which are contrary to the interests of the working class and the poor. In the words of Lenin, it is necessary for revolutionary activists to “patiently explain”, combining their intervention in every single struggle that takes place (and the defence of those demands that answer the most immediate problems) with proposals that can help advance the consciousness of the workers and the poor about the need for socialism.
The Congress discussed a balance sheet of some of the most important struggles in the last period, like that of the Venepal workers, the Social Security Workers in Barquisimeto, or the hunger strike by Barrio Adentro nurses, in order to underline the importance for revolutionaries to have concrete revolutionary alternatives to face the policies of capitalists and bureaucrats.
We also discussed that one of the main risks facing the revolutionary process in this moment is that ultra-left tendencies might develop amongst those left wing activists who are fighting to put into practice the slogan of a “revolution within the revolution”. Taking into account the contradictions between the left wing speeches and proposals of president Chavez and the paralysing actions of the bureaucracy and the pro-capitalists (which once and again try to block all revolutionary initiatives and even take measures in favour of the capitalists) a section of the activists might fall into desperation and organise actions or use a kind of language that instead of allowing them to win the support of the masses might isolate them from these. The only way of avoiding this is by educating Marxist cadres and patiently explaining our alternative to the masses. In this task we can take as a starting point the recent proposals of the president to “study the ideas of socialism” and that “the working class must be the vanguard of the revolution”, in order to convince all those who support the revolutionary process that, more than ever, the Venezuelan revolution can only achieve a decisive victory by advancing towards socialism.
A subject that was thoroughly debated was the need to give the UNT, as a revolutionary and class struggle trade union confederation, a programme along these lines, since this is the only way in which the unions, which up until now have participated in the process as part of the general movement of the masses, can play an independent and leading role in the revolution. This is the key if the slogan of “revolution within the revolution” is to become a fact and not a mere proposal.
The document “Perspectives for the Bolivarian Revolution”, enriched by the contributions and amendments presented by the various cells, was passed unanimously and it was agreed that it should be published it in January.
Through the Congress messages of greetings were read from Marxists in different countries that adhere to the international Marxist tendency, of which the CMR is a part. These greetings came from Germany, Argentina, Belgium, Bolivia, Denmark, the US, Spain, Britain, Greece, Mexico, Nigeria, Italy, Peru and Sweden. Particularly moving was the message from Alan Woods, the known Marxist theoretician and international leader of our tendency.
The Congress passed three resolutions. The first in solidarity with the Cuban Miami Five jailed in the United States (http://venezuela.elmilitante.org/index.asp?id=muestra&id_art=1738), another in solidarity with the struggle of the Iraqi workers and masses against imperialist occupation (http://venezuela.elmilitante.org/index.asp?id=muestra&id_art=1737), and one in solidarity with the struggle of the workers of Venepal, who in the last months have been fighting and demanding the nationalisation under workers’ control of this company (http://venezuela.elmilitante.org/index.asp?id=muestra&id_art=1739). This last resolution was passed by acclamation. The Venepal workers had sent their apologies to the congress since in the last few days, after the declaration of bankruptcy of the company, they are in a situation of high alert. They also sent to the CMR and all the comrades of the international Marxist tendency, their message of thanks for the support given to their struggle.
Balance sheet of the work
On Sunday we discussed the organisation and CMR statutes document which was also passed unanimously. The leadership elected at the Founding Congress of the current presented a report of the work which was complemented with reports from the different cells and the organisational proposals to develop the CMR over the next six months.
One subject which was debated with attention was finances. It was agreed that the CMR should be completely independent from the state in its finances, and base itself on the contributions from the comrades and sympathisers, the sale of El Topo Obrero and El Militante, and by raising funds through the militant activity of all comrades within the workers’ and mass movement.
A good example of the enthusiasm and spirit of revolutionary sacrifice, which is the only way to build a genuine revolutionary activity based on political and organisational principles, was the collection amongst all those present which raised Bs 1,070,000 (US$560 at the official exchange rate). This money will allow us to finance the publication of the political document passed at the Congress. It is important to add to this that the cost of transport and food for the congress was also financed by the comrades themselves, through the registration fee (which raised Bs. 242,000 – $US 130). Furthermore a fund was raised to help the comrades travelling from further away (Tachira) which raised a further Bs 117,000 ($US 61).
This 2nd National Congress of the CMR agreed to continue with the publication of the monthly El Topo Obrero, to publish the 4th issue of our theoretical magazine El Militante (which will be mainly carrying the political document passed at the Congress) and to republish one of the two documents by Alan Woods on the Venezuelan revolution since the first print run has been sold out. We also agreed to intensify the work of organising cadre education schools and education courses. It was agreed to increase the membership by 50% by May 1st and the new national leadership was elected unanimously. The congress closed in a mood of comradeship with all the comrades singing the worldwide anthem of the working class The Internationale.
December 13, 2004