Below is the contribution of the CP Venezuela to the International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties in Havana, Oct. 27-29, 2022.
We would first like to thank the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) and the Cuban people for the hospitality and the extraordinary organization of this event, even in the midst of the difficulties imposed by the intensification of the imperialist siege and the attacks of nature.
From the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV), we convey our firm solidarity and support to the heroic Cuban people and its vanguard, the Communist Party of Cuba, in the struggle against the criminal blockade and the systematic policy of interference and aggression of US imperialism.
The capitalist crisis
The capitalist mode of production is advancing towards a new and powerful general cyclical crisis which is manifesting itself in the intensification of competition between the imperialist and capitalist powers for the control of markets, trade routes and raw materials. This is taking shape in a much more aggressive political-military strategy by imperialist powers, which is evident in increasing foreign interference, military occupations, illegal extraterritorial sanctions, military tensions over territorial disputes, and war conflicts on various scales.
We, the working class and the popular sectors, are the ones who pay the consequences generated by the capitalist crisis and the aggressive policies that global capital deploys to protect its interests. Cuts in public spending, privatizations, wage reductions, labor deregulation, but also militarization, illegal sanctions and war are all concrete policies that monopoly capital implements from national governments in order to increase the profitability of its capital and seek to defeat rival countries in competition. In each country, the workers suffer the consequences of an offensive that makes their living conditions more precarious, while at the same time forcing them to bear the burden of the high costs of living and fuel caused by the war.
The bourgeoisie of each country tries to trick the workers into accepting the sacrifices imposed by its anti-popular policies and the dramatic consequences of its war adventures without resistance. The rise of nationalism, fascism and ultra-right parties corresponds to this strategy of large capital, which seeks to divide the working class internationally and subordinate it to its objectives. Together with the ultra-right, the new masks assumed by social democracy also function as instruments that play the role of neutralizing the revolutionary potential of the workers to take advantage of the crises for their own class aims and objectives: the overthrow of the bourgeoisie, the seizure of political power and the construction of socialism and communism.
Communist and Workers’ Parties have a great responsibility to counteract these plans of world capital. The exercise of proletarian internationalism and the independent action of the working class as a social class for itself is becoming more and more important and relevant as capitalist barbarism shows its destructive potential.
The class struggle in Latin America and the Caribbean
The working class and popular sectors of Latin America and the Caribbean are not exempt from this reality. Although the region is experiencing a new electoral upsurge of progressivism, the fact is that these experiences of governments are only advancing in timid reforms and are incapable of undertaking in-depth social transformations. The new progressive wave is also more markedly social-democratic in character, with strong alliances with sectors of capital, and therefore with more conservative political programs.
However, the historic popular victories in Chile, Colombia and Bolivia, which open the perspective of democratic and social transformations held back for decades by reactionary forces, are noteworthy.
The experience of 20 years of progressive governments in the region has shown that these forms of government end up applying the anti-popular and anti-worker adjustments that capital demands of them. Such a reality imposes on our parties and the workers’ movement the need to pose the problem of independent working class action and the construction of workers’ and popular alternatives to the impotent poli-classism of progressivism.
The reality of Venezuela
Venezuela is today the most striking concrete experience of the class limits of progressivism. The PSUV government has drastically jumped from the anti-imperialist agenda of nationalization of strategic sectors, the struggle against large landownership and the defense of social and labor rights, to the openly liberal policy of privatization, price liberalization, return of land to the landowners, labor deregulation and dismantling of social gains.
The criminal sanctions of imperialism represent an important obstacle for the economy of the country, but they are not the reason for the present crisis. The PCV has been firm and forceful in condemning the illegal sanctions and imperialist interference, in the same way that we reject and combat their use to justify the neoliberal drift of the Maduro government and the policy of criminalization of workers’ and popular struggles.
The government of President Nicolas Maduro is embodying an aggressive adjustment aimed at providing guarantees to global and national capital, while increasing the sacrifices of the workers and exploited strata, who are the ones who ultimately bear the consequences of the crisis and the illegal imperialist sanctions on their backs.
The cornerstone of the government’s economic adjustment is its labor policy. The government has completely suspended workers’ rights established in the Constitution and national laws. The policy of wage destruction has led to the legal minimum wage being no more than a symbolic reference that barely amounts to $14 a month and that is deteriorating every day with the advance of inflation and the devaluation of the currency. The bosses take advantage of this situation to de-salarize the income of the workers, to fix the payments according to the free regulation of the labor market and to impose conditions of over-exploitation on the working masses. This comes in addition to the fact that in 2018, through a memorandum of the Ministry of Labor, collective contracts were eliminated, and recently a directive of the budget office was imposed that applies significant cuts to the calculation of salary benefits for millions of workers in the public sector.
It is from this brutal policy of reducing wages and labor rights that the government announces Venezuela’s “economic miracle”. The apparent growth of the economy is sustained by the most savage robbery and exploitation of the Venezuelan working class, which increases precariousness, poverty, forced migration and abysmally widens the gap of social inequality in Venezuelan society.
This radical turn in the policy of the PSUV government made a full agreement with the traditional capitalist sectors in Venezuela, and even with imperialist capital, possible. It is on this basis that the elite pact between the poles of the national bourgeoisie and global monopoly capital has been built and is advancing. As is evident, socialism is not being built in Venezuela, nor is the country advancing in a progressive direction.
The popular workers’ resistance and the construction of the revolutionary alternative
The resistance of the workers’ and popular movement to the neoliberal adjustment is being met by fierce persecution, criminalization and persecution of their struggles. Cases of workers fired and imprisoned for fighting for their rights and denouncing corruption in public companies abound. We take this opportunity to thank the solidarity of the Communist and Workers Parties that have spoken out about these just causes of workers unjustly imprisoned in Venezuela.
This onslaught against the working class is what explains the government’s persecution of the PCV. Not only are we denied our right to speak in parliament, but we are also subjected to brutal press censorship and in past elections our political right to present our own candidatures has been violated. We warn the Communist and Workers’ Parties of the world that a plan is underway to outlaw the PCV or to take over its political leadership.
Building the Workers’ and People’s Alternative
The PCV, the workers’ movement and the popular layers are fighting against this new pact between elites and its capitalist economic program. It is not an easy task considering that there is still strong political polarization; but the working class has no other way. Faced with the unity of the capitalists in the pact between elites, the working class and the popular strata must also advance in their unity and capacity for independent political action to make possible the revolutionary alternative to the crisis and imperialist aggression.
This is the central axis that marks the development of our 16th National Congress that we will hold in the coming days from 3 to 5 November under the slogan: “Broad worker-popular unity to defeat the offensive of capital!”
Finally, we would like to reiterate our firm solidarity with the cause of the Palestinian people and the Western Sahara against the occupation of their territories and for the respect of their sovereignty. Likewise, our solidarity with the peoples facing the onslaught of sanctions, war and imperialist occupation such as Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. We convey our solidarity with the socialist countries, as well as with the Communist Parties that suffer the attacks of fascism and the illegalization of their activities.
We are committed to the further development of EIPCO towards the necessity imposed on us by the class struggle on a global level: to strengthen world solidarity of the working class and its capacity to fight under a common agenda against the aggressive offensive of world capital.