By Oscar Figuera
General Secretary of the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV)
Meeting of Communist and Workers´ Parties of the International Communist Review in solidarity with the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV) and the Venezuelan working class and people.
Receive a fraternal and combative greeting on behalf of the Politbureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV). First of all, we want to thank the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) for this initiative of a virtual mutual gathering the Communist and Workers’ Parties that are part of the International Communist Review in order to develop this day of solidarity with the PCV and the struggles of the Venezuelan working class and popular movement.
Likewise, we extend an embrace and our gratitude to each one of the Communist and Workers Parties of the International Communist Review for their willingness to participate in this effort, which is a concrete example of the exercise of solidarity between our Parties.
The subject of this exchange is related to the politics of our Party in the complex reality of exacerbation of the imperialist aggression against our country, the developments of the internal class struggle and the upcoming parliamentary elections.
As you surely know, our position has generated controversy and even attacks against the PCV in our country, with some international repercussions. This is because the XVII and XVIII Plenary of the Central Committee of the PCV, which sat in July and August this year, decided to bring about an adjustment in our political tactics in relation to the next electoral process, which consists of prioritizing our workof regrouping and unifying the workers, campesino and popular forcesin a space that we have called the Popular Revolutionary Alternative (APR).
These are developments that correspond to the interests of the class struggleof the Venezuelan workers as opposed to the offensive of the capitalists in the context of the crisis of the dependent and rentier accumulation model and the multifaceted aggression of imperialism
The PCV in the Bolivarian process
Before developing this point, we believe it is necessary to share a brief historical account of the course of the PCV’s politics throughout the 20 years of the Bolivarian process.
As you well know, our Party has been part of the coalition of forces that led to the electoral victory of President Hugo Chávez in the presidential elections of 1998,with the PCV the first political organization that decided
to support his presidential candidacy after our National Conference in 1998. The programmatic coincidences between the Bolivarian Agenda that President Chávez proposed at the time to the country and the content of our Program for the year 1980, regarding the tasks of the revolution of a national liberation, democratic, anti-imperialist and anti-monopoly character, were the basics of the support and integration of the PCV into the Bolivarian process of changes that began with the leadership of Hugo Chávez in 1999.
The progressive character of the Government of President Hugo Chávez was expressed in the development of a policy that allowed important achievements in the democratization of the Venezuelan state, the recovery of the oil industry, the nationalization of strategic economic sectors, the recovery of wages of the working class and their contractual rights, the rescuing of national lands in the hands of large landowners, the expansion of universal and massive access of the population to public services and the development of an international policy based on the defense of national sovereignty,Latin American and Caribbean integration and solidarity with the peoples who are victims of imperialist aggressions.
The beginning of the differences between the PCV and President Chávez has its first antecedent in 2007,as a result of his proposal to build a single Party of the Bolivarian revolution. The PCV in its XIII Extraordinary Congress of March 2007 decided not to join the Party proposed by Hugo Chávez,a move which was interpreted as a rejection of his leadership. Our reasons were based on the political unfeasibility of dissolving the political detachment of the working class, to join a project that would emerge without a process of debate, without an ideological identity or of defined class character, and that everything indicated that it would end up becoming a poli-class organization.
Our position was not only misunderstood by Chávez and the leadership of the nascent party, but it resulted in attacks against our organization which later manifested itself in disproportionate speeches and actions against the PCV. Despite these tense incidents and contradictions, the programmatic coincidences between our policy and the project promoted by President Chávez made it possible to overcome the differences and to resume processes of articulation, with the Simon Bolivar Great Patriotic Pole being one of them.
At the 14th National Congress of the PCV in 2011, we take stock of the concrete results of the Bolivarian process in the fulfillment of the objectives outlined in our program. It is in this Congress where our Party begins to warn about the trend of government policy moving in a direction opposite to the objectives of building an independent development economy sustained by the growth of the national productive forces. At this point, the deepening of adverse phenomena such as the almost exclusive dependence on oil revenues, the multiplication of imports, the dismantling of the national productive apparatus, capital flight, the growth of external debt and the advancement of a regressive tax regime were increasingly evident.
In the following years, and despite the warnings, alerts and proposals by the PCV, this trend contrary to programmatic objectives of the national liberating revolution were consolidating and laying the foundations for the current serious capitalist crisis.
With the fall in average oil prices made the income from rent in Venezuela decrease – also exacerbated by the expiration of the country’s financial obligations with external creditors – the process of capital accumulation became unsustainably supported by the internal appropriation of mining-oil income.
President Maduro began his administration conditioned by this abrupt drop in oil revenues that reveals the weaknesses of the national productive apparatus and its inability to develop independently of the capture of oil rent. The continuity of inconsistent economic policies is soon reflected in the closure of companies, the problems of shortages in the domestic market, the deterioration of workers’ wages, the trend of accelerated price increases for essential consumer goods, the processes of the collapse of public services and general setbacks in the social gains achieved during the Bolivarian process.
It is in this context that the XXXVI Plenary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV), meeting in January 2016, resolved to promote the policy of “confronting, defining and accumulating forces to advance” to change the course of economic policy and build a correlation of forces for a revolutionary solution to the capitalist crisis.
The XV Congress of the PCV in June 2017 ratified this line of action, guiding the need to dedicate greater efforts to the construction of the bloc of workers, campesinos and popular forces as a political and organic reference of the class struggle against the offensive of capital and reach a revolutionary solution to the crisis as the only way to defeat imperialist interference.
Imperialist aggression against Venezuela
The crisis of Venezuelan dependent and rentier capitalism and its effects on the working class and popular sectors is exacerbated by the radicalization of imperialist aggressions against Venezuela after the international non-acceptance of the 2018 presidential elections.
This year 2020 particularly, and even in the context of the global pandemic, we have suffered an escalation of the aggressions of the United States government and its allies in all fields: political, commercial, financial and military.The operations of tracing and the theft of financial resources intensified outside the country. One example is the transfer of funds owned by Venezuela deposited in the Citibank bank to the US Federal Reserve, as well as the recent decision of the British courts to grant Juan Guaido the rights to Venezuelan gold.
In the military, financial, logistical and organizational fields, support was given to mercenary groups trained to invade Venezuela. The failed Gedeon operation uncovered part of this structure and its close ties with the US and Colombian governments. Despite the military failure of the aforementioned action, US imperialism has reinforced its military presence in the Caribbean and in Colombian territory using the fight against drug trafficking as a pretext.
The deployment of elite military forces on the maritime borders with Venezuela and territorially on the border with Colombia are part of the developments of the maximum pressure plan and siege against Venezuela.
These military movements directed against Venezuela, support the implementation of the new and increasingly aggressive unilateral sanctions against Venezuelan foreign trade. In recent months, the Trump administration has increased the persecution and sanctions against companies, especially shipping companies and countries that trade with Venezuela. Such measures are evidenced in great economic losses for the country and the worsening of the supply situation of essential goods for the population in the context of the pandemic. One of the most visible examples is the blockade and persecution led by the Trump administration to prevent the country from supplying fuel.
US and European imperialism leads a criminal aggression against our people that is causing enormous losses to the country’s economy and causing great suffering to the Venezuelan people. Ironically and as is the custom of the imperialist narrative, these crimes that represent a flagrant violation of human rights and the arbitrary looting of our wealth is carried out in the name of protecting the people of Venezuela and the defense of human rights, using the most fascist factions of the reactionary parties in Venezuela.
Our position on the Broad Anti-Imperialist Alliance
Faced with this complex scenario of imperialist siege that puts the sovereignty and self-determination of the country at risk, The Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV) insists on the need to build the broadest alliance of democratic, popular, patriotic, progressive, anti-imperialist and revolutionary forces that transcends the conjectural action and takes shape in a collective direction and a common program that allows the country to defeat the imperialist aggression through the revolutionary transformation of Venezuelan society.
For the PCV, the consequent struggle against the imperialist siege and in defense of sovereignty is inseparable from the struggle for a revolutionary solution to the capitalist crisis. In this sense, the strengthening of anti-popular liberal policies only multiplies the effects of the capitalist crisis and imperialist sanctions on the backs of the workers, at the same time they weaken the capacities of the labor and popular movement to intervene in the urgent tasks of agricultural and industrial development essential to counteract the sanctions, the blockade and sabotage of the national economy. In the PCV we are convinced that it is not through concessions and subordination to the interests of the capitalists that imperialism can be defeated.
From this perspective, of mutual recognition that imperialism is the main enemy of our people, our proposal for the Popular Revolutionary Alternative (APR) does not therefore represent a break with the Government of President Nicolas Maduro, or with the Simon Bolívar Great Patriotic Pole (GPPSB) and much less with our line of construction of the broad patriotic and anti-imperialist alliance to face the common enemy. The PCV is consistent with its unitary tactics in the face of current imperialist threats, and therefore we do not stop working and insist on the need to sustain said unity on the solid foundations of the programmatic agreements in order to resume the objectives of the national-liberating revolution of a democratic nature, anti-imperialist and anti-monopoly, as well as the need to build spaces for debate and the collective construction of politics between democratic, patriotic, anti-imperialist, popular and revolutionary forces. Contrary to this line of the PCV, the PSUV has had a behavior of dismissal of the importance of building spaces of unity of the anti-imperialist forces where it is possible to debate and collectively build the course of national policies. This is how the Great Patriotic Pole has never ceased to be a decorative instance that only fulfills a useful role for the objectives of the PSUV in electoral moments and in situations of internal or foreign aggression.
The capitalist essence of the Venezuelan crisis
The escalation of imperialist aggression also has a severe impact on the crisis of Venezuelan dependent and rentier capitalism. As we have pointed out in our analysis, the action of imperialism is not the reason why the Venezuelan workers of the city and the countryside are beaten down today. The reason for the Venezuelan crisis is represented by the exhaustion and contradictions of the particular process of capital accumulation in Venezuela that is based on the private appropriation of oil revenues.
In this sense, the consequences of the capitalist crisis in Venezuela on the working class are getting worse not only as a result of the unilateral illegal sanctions of imperialism, also in the way that the Venezuelan Government reaffirms its tendency to manage the crisis in favor of the interests of capital.
The reformist and surrendering solution to the crisis of dependent and rentier capitalism is strengthened
In the context of this position in the course of the government’s economic policy, the 14th National Conference of the PCV held in February 2018, decided to put a condition on our support for the candidacy of President Nicolas Maduro, the condition was the signing of a bilateral agreement between the PCV and the PSUV, which contains common programmatic axes. This is how the “PSUV-PCV Unitary Framework Agreement to face the crisis of dependent and rentier capitalism of Venezuela with anti-imperialist, patriotic and popular political and socio-economic actions” came to be.
In the 30 months since the signing of the aforementioned document, the Government of President Nicolas Maduro and the national leadership of PSUV, despite the efforts of the PCV, did not assume the political will to comply with any of the commitments contained in the bilateral Agreement in the national sphere.
Additionally, the contradictions in the PCV-PSUV relations got worse to the extent that the execution of a government economic policy was increasingly subordinated to the interests of capital and to the detriment of the welfare and rights achieved by the working class, campesinos and popular sectors throughout the Bolivarian process and, especially during the administration of President Hugo Chávez.
The advance of a liberal, reformist and surrendering economic policy, totally contrary to the content of the PSUV-PCV Agreements, configured the advance of a breakdown of the government and the majority leadership of PSUV with the working class and the working people of the city and the countryside at a programmatic and practical level that, as might be expected, placed the PCV with the responsibility of organizing the struggles to confront it.
This concrete reality is proven in the open tendency of the economic policy to create the conditions to protect and reduce the effects of the crisis and sanctions on Capital. As such, decrees are approved which free oil firms of income tax payments and importing firms of import taxes, as well as other internal fiscal payments.
The regressive wage policy is another of the benefits which the state has offered to capitalists. It has consisted in an accelerated deterioration of real income of workers, the elimination of contractual rights contained in collective agreements, the evaporation of savings and social benefits and the illegal mass dismissals of public and private sector workers in open complicity with the authorities of the Ministry of Labor.
In the name of “stimulating” private capital, the dollarization of economic activity has been favored, at the same time that it is formally recognized and allows the business community full freedom to set the prices of their products based on the fluctuation of the dollar. The impact of this beneficial policy for the capitalists further aggravates the deterioration of workers’ wages, which unlike the generality of other merchandise, continue to be paid in bolivars and do not move according to the free oscillation of the dollar. The constant increase in the prices of essential consumer goods for working families, coupled with the progressive deterioration of public services that, in some cases, are moving towards privatization, exacerbates the trend towards precarious living conditions of workers.
These setbacks in the social conquests of the working class have generated a combative resistance that has been responded to by the Venezuelan state with a policy of repression, criminalization and persecution of legitimate worker-union struggles that rise against the configuration of these new conditions of exploitation of the labor force in the context of the capitalist crisis.
In the agrarian sector, the interests of the capitalist sectors have also been imposed and the re-imposition of the landlords in the fields. In the last two years the criminal offensive of the landlords against the campesinos and agrarian workers has intensified, multiplying the actions of the dispossession of peasant families of their lands, the murder of peasant fighters and the persecution of anti-landlord struggles. On October 31, 2018, Comrade Luis Fajardo, a member of the Central Committee of the PCV and peasant leader of the South of the Lake Maracaibo, was, alongside popular activist Javier Aldana, assassinated by order of landowners. To date, justice has not been served neither with the criminals nor with the 300 peasant families in struggle.
Certainly, the government continues to maintain subsidies and social programs for broad sectors of the population, which contribute to alleviate the impact of the immense crisis that affects Venezuelan families. However, the same programs increase unemployment and widen the gap between nominal and real wages, they become an indirect subsidy to capital which benefits from a highly precarious workforce due to its tragic reality of being forced to sell its labor power at a price well below its value. Such social welfare policies are far from representing a fair distribution of the burden generated by a capitalist crisis aggravated by imperialist aggression.
The Popular Revolutionary Alternative
Consistent with this reality characterized by the inconsistencies of government policies, non-compliance with the unitary framework agreement and the advance of the actions of attack and criminalization of the worker and peasant struggles, the XVII and XVIII Plenary of the Central Committee agreed the political orientation to “…promote the construction of a broad, unitary, non-exclusive Popular Alternative Revolutionary of patriot and anti-imperialist sectors, which assumes a Program of Struggle for the revolutionary solution to the crisis of Venezuelan dependent and rentier capitalism, that transcends the electoral moment and expresses the revolutionary worker-peasant, community and popular unity and the broad patriotic and anti-imperialist alliance …”.
Such decision corresponds to the application of the policy approved by the 15th National Congress of the PCV (June 2017) and developed by our 14th National Conference (February 2018) that decided to: “Build a new correlation of forces, led by a solid revolutionary worker-campesino, community and popular unity, is a strategic objective to ensure the implementation of policies, government measures and actions that aim not only to get out of the crisis of the capitalist system in favor of the working class and the working people of the city and the countryside, but also with the aim of the triumph of the proletarian and popular revolution …”.
The Popular Revolutionary Alternative (APR) is a unitary effort aimed at building an organic referent of the revolutionary currents in the worker, peasant, community and popular areas, consequent with the development of our policy of “confronting, demarcation, regrouping and accumulating forces to advance and triumph over imperialism and surrender reformism “. It is an adjustment in the political tactics of the PCV in the new conditions of imperialist aggression and the deepening of the class struggle generated by the advance of reformist and surrendering policies.
It is from this strategic perspective that the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV), together with the political parties and revolutionary social movements, popular currents and popular bases of Chavismo which make up the Popular Revolutionary Alternative (APR) will participate in the parliamentary elections on December 6, 2020, presenting our own and independent candidatures across the entire national territory as a true expression of unity in revolutionary popular diversity, built in dynamic consultation from and with the bases of our organizations.
This political decision of the PCV is consistent with the interests and objectives of the working class of the city and the countryside, in the context which we have already described of the advance of the capitalists on their conquests, and is being the object of a disproportionate attack by sectors of the national leadership of the PSUV and the Government.
Our position has unleashed a fierce anti-communist campaign that is covered up under a false discourse of anti-imperialism and the defense of sovereignty. This campaign starts by denying the capitalist essence of the crisis and placing full responsibility for the economic collapse and its effects on the working classes on sanctions and imperialist aggression. From this point of view, which is useful to the interests of the capitalists, we consider that the reformist course of the government’s current economic policy is not only necessary, but also inevitable. Behind this fatalistic vision, the legitimate resistance of the working class, the campesinos and popular sectors ends up being disqualified as an anti-patriotic fight that creates division and is even functional to the plans of US imperialism.
They constantly repeat that the decision of the PCV to build an Alternative from the sectors of workers, peasants, community and popular forces with prospects for the next elections, represents a betrayal that endangers the “interests of the homeland” in the middle of the fierce offensive of US imperialism. However, they hide the fact that for the parliamentary elections the only right-wing parties that will participate are those with whom they have time negotiating and building agreements in the so-called national dialogue table, where even the conditions for the parliamentary electoral process, for example, emerged from the same dialogue table with those right-wing parties, without the left-wing parties being able to participate and express their proposals on electoral guarantees.
This partnership between the PSUV-Government with a group of right-wing parties of the national dialogue table is also evidenced by the extensive coverage that state media has given to the spokespersons of these Parties and to the public positions they disseminate. This policy of promoting the right-wing parties from the government media, contrasts with the communicational censorship applied against the PCV and the organizations that are part of the Popular Revolutionary Alternative.
In other words, while discursively developing an anti-PCV campaign in the name of the anti-imperialist unit, the concrete reality is that the PSUV consolidates a close alliance with this group of right-wing parties in the correspondence to the national dialogue table with which it aspires to create a climate of governance favorable to the advancement of inconsistent policies.
It is not the PCV that turns its back on the anti-imperialist unity, which is done by the hegemonic currents that from within the PSUV and the Government prioritize the alliance and agreements with the right wing and capital as a strategy to face the crisis and the imperialist sanctions.
This attacking behavior against the PCV and the proposal for the Popular Revolutionary Alternative has transcended the discursive and taken shape in concrete actions. The judicial decision of the Supreme Court of Justice to intervene in the Homeland for All Party (PPT), violating the right of that party’s membership to exercise internal democracy and decide their policy without external interference, and the cases of police harassment against several of our candidates, are some examples.
For the PCV the increase in contradictions in the broad spectrum of the alliance of political forces and social classes in the anti-imperialist struggle and for the defense of the sovereignty of Venezuela is related to the objective confrontation of the interests of antagonistic classes. The forms and intensity in which these contradictions are manifesting is determined by the differential impact of the capitalist crisis, imperialist sanctions and government policies on each of the social classes. While progress is made in providing all the conditions and protections to the capitalists, the working class, the peasantry and the popular sectors lose their rights, set back their conquests and deteriorate their living conditions.
However, there is never a shortage of paid ideologues and counterfeiters who manipulate reality deny the objective conditions that today push the working class to fight against an economic policy that puts the full weight of the crisis and imperialist sanctions on their shoulders in order to lessen their effects on the capitalists.
The Popular Revolutionary Alternative is consequently an inevitable result of this development of the class struggle. A process of regrouping the revolutionary forces capable of raising a program to find a way out of the capitalist crisis and imperialist aggression from the interests and aspirations of the working class, the peasantry and the popular strata. Building this new political benchmark today is a fundamental task to be able to influence in a more decisive way the course of the development of the revolutionary process in Venezuela.
Dear comrades of the Communist and Workers’ Parties of the International Communist Review, we have made the effort to present to you in a summarized and condensed way the complex picture of the class struggle in Venezuela. We hope that the information will be useful so that you can explain to the militancy of your Parties, to workers and anti-imperialist organizations in your country, the content and character of our Policy in the current and complex moments of the struggle of the workers of our country.
We thank you in advance for all your solidarity with our Party and the Venezuelan people, as well as for all the effort they make to clarify and disseminate our positions in their countries, which help us, in turn, to counteract the attacks and misrepresentations that some sectors maliciously launch against the PCV.
Long live Proletarian internationalism!
Long live the revolutionary struggle of the workers of the world!