Venezuela: open letter to the PCV and PPT

The following letter is addressed by the leadership of our Venezuelan comrades to the Venezuelan Communist Party (PCV) and Fatherland for All (PPT) party, calling on them to establish a revolutionary alternative to the PSUV in the upcoming parliamentary elections, given the latter’s policies of privatisation, concessions to the capitalists and repression of workers’ and peasant struggle.

Dear comrades and leaders of the PCV and PPT,

First of all, we want to acknowledge the PCV and PPT militants and leaders, with whom we have the opportunity to share in different arenas of joint struggle on a frequent basis. We send this letter in connection with the debate that has opened up around the upcoming parliamentary elections, constitutionally scheduled for this year. A little more than two years ago, we called on the PCV, PPT and other leftist organisations in general to build a revolutionary alternative and present a candidacy different from that of the PSUV in the presidential elections of May 2018. In our letter: Return to Chávez and renew hope, for a revolutionary alternative, after a brief assessment of the government's management up to that moment, we wrote:

“In conclusion, we have seen how the government of Nicolás Maduro has been progressively turning to the right, and how the Bolivarian leadership as a whole has deepened its degeneration, to the point of becoming absolutely the opposite of what it was at the beginning of the revolution, and is currently playing a conciliatory and hesitant role. The historical development of his government shows that there is no possibility of Maduro and the rest of the leadership turning to the left in the future. His desire to hold on to power does not, under any circumstances, obey the need to ‘deepen the revolution,’ nor even to defend the conquests of the working people in a consistent manner. The Bolivarian leadership needs to win the next elections in order to maintain its privileges and economic and political power, and to force an agreement with sectors of the bourgeoisie and imperialism, which will allow them to govern ‘in peace,’ while they continue to amass wealth and accumulated capital from the bourgeois state apparatus.”

The subsequent events demonstrated the correctness of the perspectives set for 2018, in terms of the degeneration of the government and the development of its programme in application; that is, the bourgeois economic adjustment was underway, along with the necessary drift towards repressive measures to implement it. In this regard, in the same communiqué we wrote:

“We can say accordingly that, in a certain way, Maduro's government is progressively applying the bourgeoisie's own policy, but under a ‘revolutionary’ ideological and propagandistic disguise, endorsing socialism, which is in fact a demonstration of the defeat of reformism. Added to this is the brutal deterioration in the standard of living of the working masses, which, with its current policy, the government cannot and does not even seek to really alleviate, let alone reverse.”

Indeed, the application of a bourgeois macroeconomic adjustment policy, combined with some assistance measures, has shown the impossibility of solving the structural crisis of Venezuelan capitalism in favor of the workers and the people. On the one hand, the total dismantling of the exchange controls, the elimination of the price controls, the establishment of fixed prices - agreed through pacts with Fedecámaras, Consecomercio and Conindustria, the application of the harmful and anti-worker memorandum 2792, the destruction of the Oil Sovereignty Plan, the surrender of the Orinoco Mining Arc - have been carried out. In addition, we have seen the official recognition of the informal dollarisation of the economy, the privatisation of more and more economic sectors (such as the recent opening up to the import and commercialisation of gasoline by private companies), and state leverage afforded to a group of businessmen who committed fraudulent activities and embezzlement of the national treasury.

From this bourgeois economic programme, it is also worth noting the implementation of a zigzagging monetary policy, which went from the uncontrolled issuing of monetary liquidity, to a total drought of money, which, although it allowed for a slowdown in inflation, led to a greater fall in consumption among the population. All this has been carried out while maintaining a regressive wage policy, which has reduced the Venezuelan minimum wage to the lowest in the world (equivalent to a $2 salary plus $2 in additional food stamps). Likewise, the state has endorsed, by action or omission, various initiatives by the business community to reduce collective hiring, social benefits, company closures, massive layoffs, the sending of workers on forced “vacations", among other irregularities, accompanied by judicialisation and persecution of workers and unionists who defend their rights.

It is fair to point out that all the above has been accompanied by assistance policies, based on the delivery of bonds and CLAP food boxes at subsidised prices, which while we support, we understand they are insufficient to alleviate the serious social crisis facing the country. On several occasions we have pointed out that, within the framework of bourgeois production relations, the combination of pro-capitalist measures and slight welfare concessions to the people add more chaos to the economy. This contradiction is an extension of the infeasibility of the past model of regulations to the Creole rentier capitalism, which on the one hand, never sought to transcend the bourgeois property relations, but on the other, limited the normal functioning of the market, which translated into economic and social chaos. History has shown beyond any doubt that one cannot try to reconcile two antagonistic social systems.

The destruction of workers' incomes and the deterioration of public services, the result of several years of prioritising the payment of the foreign debt over productive investment in plants and machinery of state-owned enterprises, and the maintenance of the physical infrastructure of hospitals, schools, roads, among others things, brought about the consequence that millions of workers had to leave the country to accept, for the most part, denigrating jobs, but which at least guaranteed a higher income than they would ever obtain in Venezuela. It is also undeniable that many people have died for lack of medicine, and after receiving medical care under inadequate infrastructure, or from health deterioration due to poor nutrition, which meant development of subsequent diseases was insurmountable for them.

We cannot ignore the abhorrent role of US imperialism, its coercive and unilateral measures, which we have not hesitated to reject outright. However, the structural crisis of Venezuelan capitalism began before the sanctions, a crisis that the government leadership limited itself to administering, refusing to overcome it through revolutionary means. We must say that, to each aggressive act of imperialism, the government has responded with more concessions to the Creole ruling class and a further deepening of its bourgeois adjustment policy. Weakness always invites aggression!

The complete impunity with which the imperialist pawn Guaidó has operated, his links with paramilitarism, his involvement in the failed coup attempt of 30 April 2019, and his supervision of mercenary incursions into the country, can only be described as a sad spectacle. In our opinion, the conciliatory role of the government requires keeping this imperial puppet free to leave the doors open for negotiation. This contrasts with the speed with which the judiciary condemns workers who decide to protest against low wages and corruption in the state, and shows itself to be ruthless against young revolutionaries like Aryenis Torrealba and Alfredo Chirinos, who are imprisoned and accused of “treason", without any evidence.

We cannot fail to mention the epidemic of widespread corruption, which in every institution and sphere of national life is evidence of the rottenness of the bourgeois state, all under the auspices of a totally corrupt political leadership, which favors the emergence of a new possessing class at the expense of the public purse. While the most humiliating misery afflicts the great majority of Venezuelans, leaders dressed in red display the most obscene luxuries in the name of the revolution and socialism. For true revolutionaries, it is necessary to keep our flags clean for the future.

In order to support President Maduro's candidacy for reelection in 2018, the PCV and the PPT signed agreements with the PSUV establishing some programmatic aspects and demands, which, it goes without saying, were never fulfilled. Each organisation must carry out a serious and exhaustive assessment of the government's leadership and the set of interests that are represented by it.

Taking into account the above, and facing a new electoral scenario for the National Assembly, the Marxist tendency Lucha de Clases, in a cordial manner but one that is consistent with our positions, proposes the need to undertake the construction of a revolutionary alternative, which accompanies and promotes the various struggles of the working class, youth, peasants and popular sectors, hand in hand with a programme capable of providing a revolutionary solution to the structural crisis of Venezuelan capitalism. This will happen, in the first place, by distancing ourselves from the PSUV in the coming elections and presenting alternative candidates to the country, who will act as spokespeople for the popular sentiment - before and above all after the elections.

In our opinion, the electoral campaign must be marked by a tireless mass struggle in defence of the rights and interests of the majority, an all-out struggle that cannot permit moderation in terms of demands and programmes, and purged of the typical opportunism and ruinous careerism. It is a campaign that goes hand in hand with those of us who live with the consequences of casualised labor, precarity and layoffs; those of us who suffer the failures in the supply of water, domestic gas, provision of electricity; and who are not willing to continue tolerating the cynicism, mockery and lies of those who betrayed every revolutionary ideal. This revolutionary alternative, in order to be constituted, must be born with the firm intention of providing an organised political response to all the problems arising from the crisis, in order to accumulate forces and open up the future perspective of conquering power.

The left as a whole cannot continue to provide a cover for a whole series of anti-worker and anti-popular policies, which have unloaded the crisis on the shoulders of the working people. The left as a whole cannot endorse, by action or omission, the policy based on repression, persecution and judicialisation of the workers’ and popular struggles, which is applied to impose by blood and fire the systematic dismantling of the workers' living standards and the historical conquests that were so hard for the masses to achieve.

We therefore call on the PCV and PPT to assume the role that history demands of them, to form an alternative revolutionary alliance that will open up paths towards the reconstruction of the people's hope. The supreme horizon for the left is to rescue the revolution and put back into motion the revolutionary traditions of the workers and the Venezuelan people, in favor of socialism. To hesitate is to lose ourselves!