[The following is the editorial in the latest issue (No. 21, July 28) of Marea Socialista (Socialist Tide), a magazine published by an organized tendency of the same name within Venezuela’s PSUV, the United Socialist Party headed by Hugo Chávez. It is best read in conjunction with the article by Federico Fuentes, “Class struggle heats up over battle for workers’ control”, Green Left Weekly, which reports on some of the developments referred to in this editorial. Fuentes, a member of the Australian DSP, currently resides in Venezuela and is a member of the editorial board of Marea Socialista. My translation.]
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At this distance from the coup in Honduras it is clear that a new counter-offensive of Yankee imperialism — more aggressive, determined and coordinated than before — has begun in opposition to the process of the Latin American Revolution. And especially in opposition to the Bolivarian Revolution and the countries that are building ALBA, the anti-imperialist bad example that is moving ahead as an alternative model in Our America. With a capitalist system in crisis, and no foreseeable way out in the short or medium time frame. A triumph, even if only partial, of the Honduran masses will postpone for a time the decisive confrontations. It can slow down this counter-offensive, albeit not eliminate it.
The beachheads in this plan are: (1) the coup d’état in Honduras to consolidate a platform for action in Central America, together with the new right-wing government in Panamá, and to send a clear message to the rest of the continent; (2) converting Colombia into a huge base of occupation by US troops; and (3) ongoing counter-information operations to justify military actions.
The imperialist coordination with the local oligarchy is also obvious. The “democratic” plan to advance by way of elections, conceived by a sector of the local right-wing, goes hand in hand with the military pressure, the media war and a political and economic erosion of the process. Pincers designed for fascism, to weaken the process and crush it. Faced with this scenario, the model of a peaceful and gradual advance in the political and social transformations once again comes face to face with the “whip of the counterrevolution”. The Revolution, to survive, must deepen. It must “demolish the old structures of the bourgeois state and create the new structures of the proletarian, the Bolivarian state” (Hugo Chávez, July 25, 2009). And, let us add, go deeper still, in conjunction with ALBA and Our America, on the road of the international struggle for socialism.
The internal enemy, which nests in the entrails of the process, is no less dangerous. To advance in the deepening of the revolution, it is necessary to put an end to the bureaucratism that is demoralizing the revolutionary people like the corruption that is one of its more odious manifestations. For example, there is now an open fight in Guayana between the workers in the basic enterprises and some of the executives that manage them. The latter are resisting, engaging in various types of manoeuvres to block the development of the Guayana Socialist Plan drawn up by the workers in their own consultations. And, of equal importance, President Chávez, a few days ago in the midst of a VTV news bulletin, came out in support of the Socialist Plan. In the electrical industry, amidst the discussion on the collective agreement, the workers are demanding participation in the management of the Corporation Eléctrica and the management is resisting.
In the previous edition of Marea Socialista, we described the salient characteristics of this bureaucracy. We noted how it could be identified in its political, economic and military representations. And we pointed to the need for ideological debate, putting forward in opposition to it proposals laid out in an alternative socialist program for which we can fight. This is a task that cannot be postponed. Every revolution has a conservative, reactionary sector that defends privileges built on the basis of its bureaucratic function.
These proposals could be synthesized in institutional policy — deepening the revolutionary organization of the working people: the workers’ councils, the people’s councils, the communes, etc. And the construction of a great National Council of workers and the revolutionary people, their social organizations, with powers to plan, determine priorities and carry them out. That is, create a revolutionary organ that, together with President Chávez, debates and implements the central plan that is democratically determined by the rank and file.
In the economic terrain: the need to take measures directed toward the socialization of the means of communication and the nationalization of all basic and strategic industry. Not only against Globovision, but against all the media that place themselves above the law, actively participating in this imperialist counter-offensive. And not only the major industrial firms in Guayana, but all those that are strategic for our type of rentier economy: to move forward toward food sovereignty, the nationalization of all foreign trade and of credit and finance. At the same time, to advance toward a change in the relations of production, eliminating the social division of labour. To put an end to the capitalist, top-down scheme of governance and to stimulate the creativity of the mass movement in the management, control and planning of the economic units, and in their national articulation.
The issue is not simply what type of property these units have. Property is only the juridical expression of the relations of production. But likewise, it is essential to control the accounts of the private sector of the economy. Exorbitant earnings are impermissible for a parasitic bourgeoisie, essentially importers, devoting a major portion of the petroleum rent to supporting their own monarchical lifestyle.
In the military terrain: deepening the positive reforms that are being made, toward a true military revolution. Central to this revolution must be the democratization of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces, to subordinate them to the new state that must be constructed, with the possibility of social control and supervision over them, breaking with their corporate character. But the most profound change, in the sense of defending the Revolution, is to accelerate, through the social movements, the construction of the Bolivarian National Militia. The genuine transformation in this aspect is the implementation of the slogan “people in arms”: the formation of battalions of the social movements. Marea Socialista opens its pages to assist in this fundamental task.
On the international terrain, it is necessary to draw the lesson of the coup in Honduras and the threat of activation of the bases in Colombia: to deepen the integration of the ALBA both militarily and in the coordination of the revolutionary social and political movements, to build the capacity for mobilization against and popular response to aggression. This is important over and beyond the neighbourly relationships and convenient commercial treaties and political agreements that are possible with governments that have not chosen the road of independence, like Brazil or Argentina.
A major aspect of the political life of the next few months is the Congress of the PSUV, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela. It opens a unique opportunity to carry out this debate. It would be tragic if the Revolution were to lose this opportunity. This is an historic moment. The history of revolutions demonstrates that it is precisely in the midst of the process that the greatest advances are possible in developing the shape of the new society, in the revision of the present one, in the rectification of errors. Hundreds of thousands, a genuine revolutionary mass, must be involved in this process. This participation is necessary for the strengthening of the vanguard of the revolution.