Solidarity with the Palestinian people! Stop the genocidal Israeli attacks!

Under the pretext of the murder of three young Israeli teenagers, settlers in the West Bank, Israel again unleashed genocidal attacks against Palestinians, with bombing and destruction of homes in Hebron and the Gaza Strip.

This criminal action against the Palestinian people, was aggravated by the vile murder of Mohamed Abu Khdeir, a young 16 year old Palestinian, whose body was found charred. The funeral, which became a massive march against this crime and the bombings by Israel, was suppressed by the Israeli police.

The Palestinian organization Hamas has strictly denied having anything to do with the murder of three young Israelis, as the Zionist Government accused them. In the context of the permanent provocation to justify Israel’s massive bombing, it cannot be excluded that the despicable crime on the young Israelis, has been carried out by sectors of the Zionist military apparatus itself.

The bombardments by the Israeli air force on the Gaza Strip are a war crime, because it is a collective punishment. To the extent that Daniel Barenboim, the renowned Israeli pianist and conductor, has repudiated this action by comparing it to the bombings by Nazism. Barenboim condemned the Israeli youth crime but r rejected the bombing “as if World War II had not taught anything” (Madrid EFE, 4 July 2014).

The Israeli bombardment has already caused three deaths in Gaza, including a 7 year old boy and dozens injured. About 400 Palestinians were arrested. Another Palestinian youth was killed by the army in Jenin (also in the West Bank).

West Bank, a territory that is 20 percent of historic Palestine, and was supposedly “reserved” to the Palestinians, is occupied by 400,000 Zionist settlers who took over the best lands and its waters. Palestinians live in squalor and violence, constantly harassed by military checkpoints and armed assaults which are never punished by the Israeli authorities.

Since 1948, year of its foundation, the State of Israel, powerfully armed by imperialism to dominate the Middle East and its oil, and formed on the basis of European Jewish settlers have colonized ancient Palestine and its stated aim is to expel all Palestinians, something it has achieved in over 80 percent of the territory. Now it wants to expel those who remain, to whom it makes life impossible. What it has never managed is to break the historic and heroic Palestinian resistance that demands the return of their territories.

What happened in the past few days shows again that all plans of “peace” based on maintaining the state of Israel are scams. Under its mantle Israel is massacring Palestinians. It is a racist genocidal state, similar to Nazism in the 1940s massacring Jews, Gypsies, Slavs and leftists. The final fight is for its dissolution and to achieve a single Palestinian state, secular, democratic and non- racist.

We call on the political, trade union, student and popular organizations that claim to be democratic to perform unity actions calling to repudiate the shelling of Gaza and all criminal attacks on the Palestinians, to extend the boycott of Israel refusing to load and unload their ships or planes and to demand their governments to sever relations with Israel.

Stop bombing Gaza!

Unconditional solidarity with the Palestinian people!

International Executive Committee (IEC) Committee IWU–FI

International Workers Unity – Fourth International

5 July 2014

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¡Solidaridad con el palestino! ¡Alto a los ataques genocidas de Israel!

Con el pretexto del asesinato de 3 jóvenes adolescentes israelíes, colonos en Cisjordania, Israel desató nuevamente ataques genocidas contra los palestinos, con bombardeos y destrucción de viviendas en Hebrón  y en la Franja de Gaza.

Este accionar criminal contra el pueblo palestino, se agravó con el vil asesinato de Mohamed Abu Khdeir, un joven palestino de 16 años, cuyo cuerpo apareció carbonizado. El funeral, que se convirtió en una multitudinaria marcha de repudio a este crimen y a los bombardeos de Israel, fue reprimido por la policía israelí.

La organización palestina Hamas ha negado terminantemente que tenga algo que ver con el crimen de los tres jóvenes israelíes, como los acusa el gobierno sionista. En el contexto de permanente provocación de Israel para justificar bombardeos masivos, no puede descartarse que el repudiable crimen de los jóvenes israelíes, haya sido producido por sectores del propio aparato militar sionista,

Los bombardeos de la fuerza aérea israelí a la Franja de Gaza es un crimen de guerra, porque es un castigo colectivo. Al punto que Daniel  Barenboim, el famoso pianista y director de orquesta israelí, ha repudiado ese accionar comparando con los bombardeos del nazismo. Barenboim repudió el crimen de los jóvenes israelíes pero rechazó los bombardeos “como si la Segunda Guerra Mundial no hubiera enseñado nada” (Madrid EFE, 4/7/2014)

Los bombardeos israelíes ya provocaron 3 muertos en Gaza, entre ellos un niño de 7 años y decenas de heridos. Cerca de 400 palestinos fueron detenidos. Otro joven palestino fue asesinado por el ejército en Yenin (también en Cisjordania).

Cisjordania, territorio que es el 20% de la Palestina histórica, y estaba supuestamente “reservado” a los palestinos, está ocupado por 400.000 colonos sionistas que se adueñaron de las mejores tierras y de sus aguas. Los palestinos viven en la miseria y violencia, permanentemente acosados por controles militares y agresiones armadas que jamás son castigadas por las autoridades israelíes.

Desde 1948, año de su fundación, el Estado de Israel, poderosamente armado por el imperialismo para dominar el Medio Oriente y su petróleo, y formado en base a colonos judíos europeos, ha colonizado la antigua Palestina y su objetivo declarado es expulsar a todos los palestinos, algo que logró en más del 80% del territorio. Ahora quiere expulsar a los que quedan, a los que hace la vida imposible. Lo que nunca logró es quebrar la histórica y heroica resistencia palestina que reclama la devolución de sus territorios.

Lo sucedido en los últimos días vuelve a mostrar que todos los planes de “paz” basados en mantener el Estado de Israel son una estafa. Que bajo su manto se sigue masacrando a los palestinos. Es un Estado de racista genocida, similar al nazismo que en la década del 40 masacraba judíos, gitanos, eslavos e izquierdistas. La lucha final es por su disolución y por lograr un estado Palestino único laico, democrático y no racista.

Llamamos a las organizaciones políticas, sindicales, estudiantiles y populares que se reclaman democráticas a realizar acciones unitarias convocando a repudiar los bombardeos a Gaza y todos los ataques criminales a los palestinos, a extender el boicot a Israel negándose a  cargar y descargar sus barcos o aviones y a reclamar a sus gobiernos a romper relaciones con Israel.

Basta de bombardeos a la Franja de Gaza!! Solidaridad incondicional con el pueblo palestino!!

 Comité Ejecutivo Internacional (CEI) de la UIT-CI/Unidad Internacional de los Trabajadores-Cuarta Internacional

5 de julio de 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Call for 36th BUKO Congress

EVERYONE OR NOWHERE!

Leipzig, Germany,May 29- June 1

Fighting for urban spaces and freedom of movement

Social movements are constantly changing the apparently well demarcated spaces of society. Strong protest against the capitalist city and for freedom of movement are two examples that are widely and public ally discussed. Simultaneously, it remains hard to mobilise beyond the scene and initiate sustained changes. Suggestions that move beyond small cosmetic surgery, demanding fundamental social change are hardly present. At 36 BUKO Congress in Leipzig, the focus has to be on a critical analysis and the resulting necessary struggles as to search for alternatives. For us, merely recognising capitalist subjugation will not be an argument against an emancipatory future.

Transnational mobilisation against international border regimes

The increasing militarisation of the EU borders and the continuously extended cooperation agreements with neighbouring states aim for a closed border policy that claim victims on a daily basis. At the same time climate change reveals the racist and post-colonial structures of unequal global power relations. Even for those who succeed in reaching Europe, the hope for self-determination of where to to live and work, in many countries this ends in isolation camps, detention centres and daily racist terror. The first thematic focus of BUKO 36 “racism and migration” will deal with this set of problems: besides reflecting one’s won political practice and a thematic exchange, BUKO 36 should be a space for a discussion between the differently affiliated movements. From our perspective this is a basic necessity for a transnational mobilisation against international border regimes.

Marginalisation, displacement, control: overcoming urban borders!

We face the division of cities into economically successful ones and those left behind, new urban security regimes and racist police control and controlling practice. Simultaneously we have to deal with rising rent and market oriented living, displacement and privatisation of public spaces. Both forms the social reality of the capitalist city provide the background for the second thematic focus of BUKO 36 “right to the city”. Competition for international investors and in the run up to massive sports events reveal the true colours of the entrepreneurial city factories: the violent exclusion of the “superfluous” goes hand in hand with the inclusion of everything utilisable.

Borders pervade cities: peoples, who allegedly do not fit into the picture and the reproductive practices of mainstream society are not welcome. Female* refugees are most affected by precarious working conditions in the informal service sector – if they have a work permit or a job at all. At BUKO 36 we will and have to ask how we can overcome these urban border regimes and how the struggle of the marginalised can be supported. Lastly, we also have to ask about the reproduction of the city: where and under which conditions are food, energy and other essential goods produced? As the neoliberal city is not only a location in industrial production, but has become a factory of an exclusionary reality, the role of a left critique of the city and a necessary perspective as to how we can overcome urban capitalism becomes the centre of attention. At BUKO 36 we want to not only discuss in which way a “right to the city” has to take into account the overcoming of gender hierarchies and inhuman market forces , but we also need to combine a right to a future with practical approaches.

Looking ahead – for radical utopia!

The call for a “right to the city” share many urban social movements. The right to differences is not only a call for a liveable city utopia, but also a call directly at social movements. The clear imprecision – what is a “right to the city”? – allows for broad alliances, but also carries the danger of usurpation into capitalist logic of utilisation and affiliation with regressive discourses. In Germany the process of urban emancipation is counteracted by racist initiatives against the accommodation of refugees when these initiatives draw upon their citizens’ rights and claims for spaces when agitating against “poverty migration” and any form of freedom of movement. Besides the content-wise discussions about the particular analysis and perspectives, at BUKO 36 we will ask questions about the interface between urban struggles and the call for freedom of movement. Doing so, we do not merely want to uncritically search for alliances, but be aware of the different social positions and possibilities for alliances. At BUKO 36 the struggles for urban spaces and freedom of movement will be linked and the focus will lie on broader discussions and networking processes of mostly localised forms of resistance. In Leipzig 2014 we want to initiate a radical and emancipatory social utopia that takes into account the post-capitalist city as well as the struggles for freedom of movement. This will succeed when we no longer close our eyes against the multiple injustices and the intolerable. Take part in BUKO 36 in Leipzig: the capitalist reality will crumble when we unite against it! Everyone or nowhere! Fighting for urban spaces and global freedom of movement! The Organising team of BUKO 36

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Convocatoria al 36° Congreso BUKO

¡TOD@S O EN NINGUNA PARTE!

Leipzig, 29 Mayo-1 Junio 2014

Luchando por espacios urbanos y libertad de movimiento

Los movimientos sociales transforman permanentemente espacios sociales aparentemente bien definidos. La fuerte contestación frente a la ciudad capitalista y por la libertad de circulación y establecimiento son dos claros ejemplos de ello con gran presencia en el debate público. Sin embargo y a la vez resulta difícil movilizar más allá de la propia escena y conseguir transformaciones sostenidas. Raramente se presentan propuestas que vayan más allá de pequeñas correcciones cosméticas y exijan un cambio social radical. El 36° Congreso BUKO en Leipzig se enfocará en el análisis crítico y en las luchas imprescindibles. Queremos buscar caminos de salida de lo establecido. Para nosotr@s el reconocimiento genérico de la existencia de sumisión al capitalismo no es un argumento suficiente contra un futuro emancipatorio.

Movilización transnacional frente al régimen fronterizo internacional

La creciente militarización de las fronteras exteriores de la UE y los acuerdos -en continua expansión- de cooperación con sus estados adyacentes llevan a una política de blindaje que diariamente exige nuevas víctimas. Simultáneamente, el cambio climático refleja las estructuras poscoloniales y racistas de un injusto sistema de dominio global. Incluso aquellas personas que consiguen atravesar las fronteras acaban en muchas ocasiones su deseada elección autónoma de su lugar de trabajo y residencia en campos de aislamiento, cárceles y terror racista diario en los países de llegada. Nuestra primera área temática “Migración y racismo” se concentrará en esta problemática.

Junto a la reflexión sobre la propia práctica política y el intercambio temático, el BUKO 36, como congreso internacional e internacionalista, buscará favorecer la comunicación entre movimientos con diferentes perspectivas. Desde nuestra perspectiva, solo así es imaginable una movilización trasnacional contra el régimen fronterizo.

Marginalización, desalojo, control: ¡superamos las fronteras urbanas!

La división entre las ciudades económicamente exitosas y las retrasadas, nuevas formas de seguridad ciudadana y prácticas racistas de policía y control, los alquileres crecientes y los formatos de vivienda de economía de mercado, así como el desalojo y la privatización del espacio público conforman la realidad social de la urbe capitalista y dan pie a la segunda área temática del BUKO, “Derecho a la ciudad”. En la competición por recibir inversores internacionales o ante grandes eventos deportivos se muestra el rostro empresarial de la fábrica urbana: la violenta exclusión de l@s “sobrantes” va de la mano con la simultánea inclusión de todo lo “aprovechable”. Las ciudades están atravesadas de fronteras: no son bienvenid@s quienes en principio no encajan en la imagen y la praxis reproductiva de la sociedad de las mayorías. Las mujeres* exiliadas se ven especialmente afectadas por la precariedad salarial en el sector informal de servicios -si es que reciben o consiguen un “permiso de trabajo” o un “puesto de trabajo”-. En el BUKO 36 queremos y debemos preguntarnos cómo se puede superar este régimen fronterizo urbano y cómo se puede apoyar la lucha de l@s marginalizad@s. No por último se presenta la pregunta sobre la reproducción urbana: ¿dónde y bajo qué condiciones se generan alimento, energía y otros bienes esenciales?

Justamente porque la ciudad neoliberal no es mero lugar de producción industrial, sino fábrica de una realidad excluyente, se nos presenta a los ojos el papel de la crítica urbana de izquierdas y una urgente perspectiva de superación del capitalismo urbano. En el BUKO 36 no solo queremos discutir en qué medida un “derecho a la ciudad” también debe poner la vista en una superación de las jerarquías de género y de los deshumanizantes mecanismos de mercado, sino que queremos unir el derecho a un futuro con sus implicaciones prácticas.

Mirada hacia delante – ¡por utopías radicales!

La exigencia de un “derecho a la ciudad” es compartida por muchos movimientos sociales urbanos. El derecho a la diferencia es desde luego no solo una exigencia de una utopía urbana digna de ser vivida, sino también una exigencia para el propio movimiento. La reconocible inexactitud del término -¿qué es el “derecho a la ciudad”?- permite amplias alianzas, pero conlleva el riesgo de una asunción de lógicas de transformación capitalista y de absorción de discursos regresivos. Así, el proceso de emancipación urbana se ve enfrentado -no exclusivamente en la República Federal Alemana- a iniciativas racistas contra el asilo a refugiad@s que en su agitación contra la “inmigración de la pobreza” y cualquier tipo de libertad de movimiento se refieren a sus “derechos de ciudadanía” y de espacio.

Junto a la discusión teórica sobre los respectivos análisis y perspectivas, en el BUKO 36 pretendemos preguntarnos continuamente por los puntos de encuentro entre las luchas urbanas y la exigencia de libertad de movimiento. No queremos simplemente buscar alianzas acríticamente, sino sondear sabiamente posibles acuerdos entre diferentes posiciones sociales.

En el BUKO 36 se unirán las luchas por la urbe y por la libertad de movimiento y se generarán amplias discusiones y contactos sobre formas de resistencia principalmente locales. Queremos motivar en Leipzig en 2014 una utopía social radical y emancipatoria, que aúne la ciudad poscapitalista con las luchas por la libertad de movimiento. Esto será posible si no ignoramos la injusticia en sus variadas e insoportables formas. Participad en el BUKO 36: ¡la realidad capitalista retrocederá si nos unimos frente a ella!

¡Tod@s o en ninguna parte! ¡Luchando por espacios urbanos y libertad de movimiento!

El grupo de preparación del BUKO 36 en Leipzig

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Aufruf zum 36. BUKO-Kongress

ALLE ODER NIRGENDS!

Leipzig, 29.5.-1.6.2014

Räume und globale Bewegungsfreiheit erkämpfen!

Soziale Bewegungen verändern permanent die scheinbar klar abgesteckten Räume der Gesellschaft. Die starken Proteste gegen die kapitalistische Stadt und für Bewegungsfreiheit sind dabei zwei Beispiele, die heute sehr präsent in der Öffentlichkeit diskutiert werden. Gleichzeitig fällt es jedoch auch hier schwer, über die Szene hinaus zu mobilisieren und nachhaltige Veränderungen anzustoßen. Neue Vorschläge, die über kleinere kosmetische Korrekturen hinausgehen und einen grundlegenden Gesellschaftswandel einfordern, sind kaum präsent. Auf dem 36. BUKO Kongress in Leipzig werden kritische Analysen und die notwendigen Kämpfe im Fokus stehen. Wir wollen nach Auswegen aus dem Bestehenden fragen. Die alleinige Erkenntnis der Existenz kapitalistischer Unterwerfung wird für uns kein Argument gegen eine emanzipatorische Zukunft sein.

Transnationale Mobilisierung gegen internationale Grenzregime

Die zunehmende Militarisierung der EU-Außengrenzen und die stetig ausgeweiteten Kooperationsvereinbarungen mit den anliegenden Staaten zielen auf eine Abschottungspolitik, die täglich neue Opfer fordert. Gleichzeitig spiegelt auch der Klimawandel rassistische und postkoloniale Strukturen eines ungerechten globalen Herrschaftsverhältnisses wieder. Selbst für die Menschen, denen die Flucht gelingt, endet die erhoffte selbstbestimmte Arbeits- und Wohnortwahl in vielen Ankunftsländern in Isolationslagern, Abschiebeknästen und rassistischem Alltagsterror. Der erste Themenschwerpunkt »Rassismus und Migration« wird sich dieser Problematik annehmen: Neben der Reflexion der eigenen politischen Praxis und einem thematischen Austausch soll der BUKO.36 als länderübergreifender und internationalistischer Kongress das Gespräch zwischen den unterschiedlich gelagerten Bewegungen ermöglichen. Erst damit ist aus unserer Perspektive eine transnationale Mobilisierung gegen internationale Grenzregime denkbar.

Marginalisierung, Verdrängung, Kontrolle: urbane Grenzen überwinden!

Die Spaltung in wirtschaftlich erfolgreiche und abgehängte Städte, neue urbane Sicherheitsregime und rassistische Polizei- und Kontrollpraxen, sowie steigende Mieten und marktförmiges Wohnen, Verdrängung und Privatisierung des öffentlichen Raums machen die soziale Realität in der kapitalistischen Stadt aus und bilden den Übergang zum zweiten BUKO-Themenschwerpunkt »Recht auf Stadt«. In der Konkurrenz um internationale Investor_innen und im Vorfeld sportlicher Großevents zeigt sich ein Gesicht unternehmerischer Stadtfabriken: Der gewaltsame Ausschluss der »Überflüssigen« geht mit dem gleichzeitigen Einschluss alles Verwertbaren einher.

Städte sind von Grenzen durchzogen: Menschen, die vermeintlich nicht in das Bild und die Reproduktionspraxis der Mehrheitsgesellschaft passen, sind wenig willkommen. Weibliche* Flüchtlinge sind dabei besonders stark von den prekären Lohnarbeitsverhältnissen im informellen Dienstleistungssektor betroffen, falls sie überhaupt eine »Arbeitserlaubnis« bzw. einen »Arbeitsplatz« erhalten. Wir wollen und müssen auf dem BUKO.36 der Frage nachgehen, wie diese urbanen Grenzregime überwunden und wie der Kampf von Marginalisierten unterstützt werden kann. Nicht zuletzt stellt sich auch die Frage nach der Reproduktion von Städten: Wo und unter welchen Bedingungen werden Nahrung, Energie und andere notwendige Güter erzeugt?

Gerade weil die neoliberale Stadt nicht mehr bloß Standort einer industriellen Produktion, sondern zur Fabrik einer ausgrenzenden Realität geworden ist, rückt die Rolle linker Stadtkritik und eine notwendige Perspektive zur Überwindung des urbanen Kapitalismus in den Fokus. Auf dem BUKO.36 wollen wir nicht nur diskutieren, inwieweit ein »Recht auf Stadt« auch eine Überwindung von Geschlechterhierarchien und menschenverachtenden Marktprozessen im Blick haben muss, sondern wollen das Anrecht auf Zukunft mit praktischen Ansätzen verbinden.

Blick nach vorn – für radikale Utopien!

Die Forderung nach einem »Recht auf Stadt« teilen viele urbane soziale Bewegungen. Das Recht auf Differenz ist dabei nicht nur eine Forderung an eine lebenswerte Stadtutopie, sondern auch eine Forderung an die soziale Bewegung selbst. Die erkennbare Ungenauigkeit – was ist ein »Recht auf Stadt«? – ermöglicht breite Allianzen, trägt aber auch die Gefahr der Vereinnahmung in kapitalistische Verwertungslogiken und Anschlüsse an regressive Diskurse in sich. So wird der Prozess einer urbanen Emanzipation nicht zuletzt in der Bundesrepublik durch die rassistischen Initiativen gegen die Unterbringung von Geflüchteten konterkariert, wenn sie sich in ihrer Agitation gegen »Armutsmigrant_innen« und jegliche Bewegungsfreiheit auf ihre »Bürger_innenrechte« und Raumansprüche berufen.

Neben der inhaltlichen Auseinandersetzung über die jeweilige Analyse und Perspektive wird auf dem BUKO.36 immer auch die Frage nach Schnittstellen zwischen urbanen Kämpfen und der Forderung nach Bewegungsfreiheit gestellt werden. Dabei wollen wir aber nicht einfach nur unkritisch nach Allianzen Ausschau halten, sondern im Wissen um unterschiedliche gesellschaftliche Positionierungen Bündnismöglichkeiten ausloten.

Auf dem BUKO.36 werden die Kämpfe um Stadt und für Bewegungsfreiheit verbunden und breitere Diskussionen und Vernetzungen zumeist lokaler Widerstandsformen im Fokus stehen. Wir wollen in Leipzig 2014 eine radikale und emanzipatorische Gesellschaftsutopie anstoßen, die sowohl die postkapitalistische Stadt als auch Kämpfe für Bewegungsfreiheit einbezieht. Das wird gelingen, sobald wir nicht weiter die Augen vor dem vielfachen Unrecht und Unaushaltbaren verschließen. Beteiligt euch am BUKO.36 in Leipzig: Die kapitalistische Realität wird nachgeben, wenn wir uns gegen sie verbünden!

Alle oder nirgends! Räume und globale Bewegungsfreiheit erkämpfen!

Die Leipziger Vorbereitungsgruppe des BUKO.36

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Unification convention of the IWU–FI and ILC (IDP-LI)

The International Workers Unity – Fourth International (IWU–FI) and the International Liaison Committee (İşçi Demokrasisi Partisi, IDP and Lucha Internacionalista, LI) decided to unify. To do so, we convened a convention in early August 2014. It will also feature the incorporation of the Partido Obrero Socialista – Movimiento al Socialismo (POS –MAS) of Mexico. This unity of forces is the result of of building a common response to the main problems of the international class struggle.

Capitalist crisis and workers struggle

We live in a terrible crisis of capitalism, which around the world hits the working class and is sinking the living conditions of the masses: destruction of millions of jobs, wages of misery, hunger and disease, destruction of public health and education systems, reversal of democratic rights, increased repression… They want to present this situation as a transient deregulation of capitalism, but as Marxists we know we are in a structural crisis caused by the system itself and that inevitably pushes it to further destruction of the productive forces.

Against this offensive, the workers and the people resist and fight. Special mention required for the revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East, in which dictatorships that ensured the imperialist order for decades have fallen, in which workers and especially the youth, arose for bread, work and freedom and which spread in the region like wildfire. There is a permanent attempt by the counterrevolution and imperialism to defeat and stop these processes, such as the genocide of al-Assad in Syria or Al Sisi’s bloody coup in Egypt. But the masses resist under the rubble in towns and cities destroyed by the Syrian dictatorship, while new protests confront the power of the Egyptian military. Our place is beside the peoples and the workers and young people, supporting the revolutionary left.

This process in North Africa and the Middle East impacted the world and has fuelled responses as the popular rebellion in Turkey (Gezi Park – Taksim Square). At the head of the resistance of European workers against the austerity plans that the governments of the European Union and the troika (IMF – ECB – EU) dictate is the Greek working class that has over twenty general strikes. Another expression of this struggle is the massive rally in Madrid on 22 March, which was not controlled by the big unions. We support the struggles seeking to unite them into a European general strike, for the defeat of austerity plans, against payment of the debt and for the break with the European Union.

There have been prominent mining strikes in South Africa, in the Indian textile workers and popular mobilizations in Asia. In Latin America there have been very important struggles against the adjustment that were expressed in the June days in Brazil, in the general strikes in Argentina and Paraguay and student demonstrations of Chile. There is a growing political erosion of the centre-left which had created expectations in the Latin American and in the world left, especially the Chavist government of Venezuela.

Building a political alternative

At the forefront of these struggles appear new comrades willing to give their best, to go to the end, in the Syrian streets, in the Egyptian textile companies, in the Greek strikes or in the Brazilian demonstrations. Anti-bureaucratic sentiment grows, the old union leadership are questioned, control of the mobilizations is claimed from the assemblies. They face the power of the state and its repressive forces, imperialism, the bosses and the governments in their service.

They face the trade union bureaucracy accommodated to manage the crumbs that fell from the capitalist table and who attempt to disable any struggle or directly betray it. They must also confront the false political solutions, as Chavism, political Islam, or the Ukrainian bourgeois leadership. Neither is a solution the reformism of those who say that it is enough with democratizing the state and the system as Syriza in Greece.

But the trade union and political alternative to the old leaderships that fetter the working class to capitalism, and peoples to the dictates of imperialism, will not be the result of spontaneous action. Revolutionary parties which are a fighting tool for these activists have to be built. Parties are needed which make the problems of the workers their own, which are part of the working class, youth and popular sectors, and build with them the answers to their needs. Parties which, without losing their political projects, avoid sectarianism; because this is incompatible with the success of the struggles of workers and peoples. Parties whose objective is not to have a new apparatus but to contribute to the struggle for workers’ governments and socialism. The lack of such instrument causes defeats and setbacks, even though workers and youth demonstrate an unquestionable ability to fight. To help overcome this problem is our goal.

We merge taking the pillars of revolutionary Marxism, of Leninism, of the Fourth International. The theory of permanent revolution is essential for a dialogue with the trade union and youth vanguard of Tunisia or Egypt, to explain that there is no possibility of a revolution in stages. And that to even achieve democratic demands it is necessary for the revolution to join with anti-capitalist tasks, and become a socialist revolution.

We vindicate the currency of the Transitional Program on which the Fourth International was founded, which aims to respond to and from the most pressing needs of the masses to fight resolutely for the workers to take power and build a socialist society.

The fight for the working class to assume the defence of individual and collectiverights, to lead the struggle of the oppressed against the system. Building parties for fighting based on democratic centralism: full freedom in the discussion and unity in action. Parties that rejecting all bureaucratic and pyramidal conceptions defend workers’ democracy.

We claim the need of a revolutionary international organization facing conceptions as Castro- Chavism which speaks of socialism for the XXI century while justifying the capitalist restoration in China and Cuba, and which rules facing the workers and agreeing with multinational like in Venezuela. They have a counter-revolutionarypolicy that supports the genocidal regime in Syria and present to the world the reactionary Iranian regime as an ally of the workers and youth. Today Castro-Chavism tries to redirect the re-composition of the old Stalinism and is an obstacle to the construction of a revolutionary leadership.

We vindicate the method by which we come to the merger. We put at the centre the problems of world class struggle. Based on these vital issues we elaborated and discussed to decide how to act. We continued discussing agreements and differences in a democratic, candid and loyal form of discussion. We come to the convention with a principled framework and a common method, without solving all the issues but convinced that the new organization will be better able to answer the challenges of the class struggle.

We believe that the announcement of the unification is important in a situation marked by the division and fragmentation of the revolutionary forces. This convention is also a call for other revolutionary organizations and fighters to work together in order to build an International. Our goal is to achieve the union of the revolutionaries. We avoid all self-proclamation, all sectarianism. We reject reformism trying to make us believe that there is solution within capitalism, which can be humanized.

We join to continue to support more vigorously the struggles of the workers and peoples against imperialism and their governments, so that the capitalists pay for the crisis. The result of the unification of the IWU–FI with the ILC (IDP, LI) plus the addition of the POS–MAS is still far from resolving the historical crisis of leadership, but it is a bold step with the intent that the IWU–FI be the engine of the reconstruction of the Fourth International. Today more than ever the choice is socialism or barbarism.

International Workers Unity – Fourth International (IWU–FI)
International Liaison Committee, formed by İşçi Demokrasisi Partisi (IDP, Turkey) and Lucha Internacionalista (LI, Spanish State)
Partido Obrero Socialista – Movimiento al Socialismo (POS – MAS), Mexico.

Barcelona, 19 April, 2014

 

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Llamamiento al Congreso de Unificación UIT-CI Y CEI (IDP-LI)

La Unidad Internacional de los Trabajadores Cuarta Internacional (UIT-CI) y el Comité de Enlace Internacional (IDP, LI) decidimos unificarnos. Para ello convocamos un congreso en los primeros días de agosto de 2014. Contará también con la incorporación del POS-MAS de México. Esta unidad de fuerzas es el resultado de ir construyendo una respuesta común a los principales problemas de la lucha de clases internacional.

Crisis capitalista y lucha de los trabajadores

Vivimos una terrible crisis del capitalismo que golpea en todo el mundo a la clase obrera y está hundiendo las condiciones de vida de las masas: destrucción de millones de puestos de trabajo, salarios de miseria, hambre y enfermedades, destrucción de los sistemas públicos de sanidad y educación, retroceso de los derechos democráticos, aumento de la represión… Nos quieren presentar esta situación como una desregulación transitoria del capitalismo, pero como marxistas sabemos que estamos en una crisis estructural provocada por el propio sistema y que le empuja inevitablemente a una mayor destrucción de fuerzas productivas.

Frente a esa ofensiva, los trabajadores y los pueblos resisten y luchan. Mención especial requieren las revoluciones del Norte de África y Oriente Medio, en las que han caído dictaduras que aseguraban el orden imperialista por décadas, en las que los trabajadores/as y especialmente la juventud, se levantaron por pan, trabajo y libertad y se extendieron en la región como la pólvora. Hay un intento permanente de la contrarrevolución y el imperialismo para detener y derrotar esos procesos, como el genocidio de Assad en Siria o el golpe de estado sangriento de Al Sisi en Egipto. Pero las masas resisten bajo las ruinas en los pueblos y ciudades destruidos por la dictadura siria, mientras nuevas movilizaciones enfrentan el poder de los militares egipcios. Nuestro lugar esta al lado de los pueblos y de los trabajadores/as y jóvenes, apoyando a la izquierda revolucionaria.

Ese proceso del Norte de África y Oriente Medio, impactó en el mundo y ha alimentado respuestas como la rebelión popular en Turquía (parque de Gezi-Taksim). A la cabeza de la resistencia de los trabajadores/as europeos contra los planes de austeridad que dictan los gobiernos de la Unión Europea y la troika (FMI-BCE-Unión Europea), está la clase obrera griega que lleva más de veinte huelgas generales. Otra expresión de esta lucha es la masiva manifestación en Madrid del 22 de marzo, que no fue controlada por los grandes sindicatos. Apoyamos las luchas buscando unirlas hacia una huelga general europea, por derrotar los planes de austeridad, contra el pago de la deuda y por la ruptura con la Unión Europea.

Ha habido huelgas destacadas en la minería de Sudáfrica, en el textil de la India y movilizaciones obreras y populares en Asia. En Latinoamérica han sido muy importantes las luchas contra el ajuste que se expresaron en las jornadas de junio de Brasil, en las huelgas generales de Argentina y Paraguay y en las movilizaciones estudiantiles de Chile. Hay un creciente desgaste político de los gobiernos de centro-izquierda que habían abierto expectativas en los pueblos latinoamericanos y en la izquierda mundial, en especial del gobierno chavista de Venezuela.

Construir una alternativa política

Al frente de esas luchas aparecen nuevos compañeros y compañeras dispuestos a dar lo mejor de sí, de ir hasta el final, en las calles sirias, en las empresas textiles egipcias, en las huelgas griegas o en las manifestaciones brasileñas. Crece el sentimiento antiburocrático, se cuestionan las viejas direcciones sindicales, se reclama el control de la movilización desde las asambleas. Enfrentan el poder del estado y sus fuerzas represivas, al imperialismo, la patronal y los gobiernos a su servicio.
Enfrentan a la burocracia sindical acomodada a la gestión de las migajas que caían de la mesa del capitalista y que intentan desactivar cualquier lucha o directamente la traicionan. También deben enfrentar las falsas salidas políticas, como el chavismo, el islamismo político, o la dirección burguesa ucraniana. Tampoco es salida el reformismo de quienes dicen que basta con democratizar el estado y el sistema como Syriza en Grecia.

Pero la alternativa sindical y política a las viejas direcciones que encadenan la clase obrera al capitalismo, y los pueblos al dictado del imperialismo, no será el resultado de una acción espontánea. Hay que construir partidos revolucionarios, que sean herramienta de lucha para estos activistas. Son precisos partidos que hagan suyos los problemas de los trabajadores, que formen parte de la clase obrera, de la juventud y sectores populares, y que con ellos construyan las respuestas a sus necesidades. Partidos que, sin perder su proyecto político eviten todo sectarismo, porque éste es incompatible con el éxito de las luchas de trabajadores y pueblos. Partidos cuyo objetivo no sea tener un nuevo aparato sino contribuir a la lucha por Gobiernos de los trabajadores y por el socialismo. La falta de ese instrumento provoca derrotas y retrocesos, a pesar de que trabajadores y jóvenes demuestren una capacidad de lucha incuestionable. Ayudar a superar este problema es nuestro objetivo.

Nos fusionamos tomando la actualidad de los pilares del marxismo revolucionario, del leninismo, de la IV Internacional. La teoría de la revolución permanente es fundamental para el diálogo con la vanguardia sindical y joven de Túnez o Egipto, para explicar que no hay posibilidad de una revolución por etapas. Y que para lograr incluso las reivindicaciones democráticas es necesario que la revolución entronque con tareas anticapitalistas, y se convierta en revolución socialista.

Reivindicamos la actualidad del Programa de Transición sobre el que se fundó la IV Internacional, que tiene por objetivo responder y partir de las necesidades más sentidas de las masas para batallar resueltamente para que los trabajadores/as tomen el poder y construyan una sociedad socialista. La lucha para que la clase obrera asuma la defensa de los derechos democráticos individuales y colectivos, para encabezar la lucha de los oprimidos contra el sistema. Construyendo partidos para la lucha, basados en el centralismo democrático: amplia libertad en la discusión y unidad en la acción. Partidos que huyendo de toda concepción burocrática y piramidal, defiendan la democracia obrera.

Reivindicamos la necesidad de una organización internacional revolucionaria, enfrentando concepciones como la del castro-chavismo. Hablan de socialismo del Siglo XXI mientras justifican la restauración capitalista en China y Cuba, y gobiernan enfrentando a los trabajadores y pactando con las multinacionales como en Venezuela. Tienen una política contrarrevolucionaria que apoya el régimen genocida de Siria y presentan ante el mundo al reaccionario régimen iraní como aliado de los trabajadores y la juventud. Hoy el castro-chavismo intenta reorientar la recomposición del viejo estalinismo y es un obstáculo para la construcción de una dirección revolucionaria.

Reivindicamos el método con el que llegamos a la fusión. Ponemos en el centro los problemas de la lucha de clases mundial. En base a esas cuestiones vitales elaboramos y discutimos para decidir cómo actuar. Hemos seguido debatiendo acuerdos y diferencias en una forma democrática, franca y leal de discusión. Llegamos al Congreso con un marco principista y un método común, sin resolver todas las cuestiones, pero convencidos que la nueva organización permitirá responder en mejores condiciones los retos de la lucha de clases.

Creemos que el anuncio de la unificación es importante en un panorama marcado por la división y fragmentación de las fuerzas revolucionarias. Este congreso es también un llamado a otras organizaciones revolucionarias y luchadores para trabajar en común en aras a construir una Internacional. Nuestro objetivo es conseguir unir a los y las revolucionarias. Huimos de toda autoproclamación, de todo sectarismo. Rechazamos el reformismo que intenta hacer creer que hay salida dentro del capitalismo, que se puede humanizar.

Nos unimos para seguir apoyando con más fuerza las luchas de los trabajadores y los pueblos contra el imperialismo y sus gobiernos, para que la crisis la paguen los capitalistas. El resultado de la unificación de la UIT-CI con el CEI (IDP-LI), con la incorporación del POS-MAS, aun está muy lejos de resolver la crisis de dirección histórica, pero es un paso decidido con la voluntad de que la UIT-CI resultante sea motor en la reconstrucción de la IV Internacional. Hoy más que nunca la disyuntiva es: socialismo o barbarie.

Unidad Internacional de los Trabajadores-Cuarta Internacional (UIT-CI)
Comité de Enlace Internacional, formado por el Partido de la Democracia Obrera (IDP, Turquía) y Lucha Internacionalista (LI, Estado español).
Partido Obrero Socialista-Movimiento Al Socialismo (POS-MAS, México)
En Barcelona, a 19 de abril de 2014

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UIT-CI Statement on Ukraine

Español

NO to Russian military intervention! No to the referendum trying to annex Crimea! Neither Russia nor the EU will be a solution for the Ukrainian people! No to the adjustment prepared by the EU-IMF-Obama!

1. After the popular revolt that toppled the reactionary and repressive pro-Russian government of Yanukovych, Russia under the mandate of President Putin, has intervened militarily the Crimea region, under the false pretext of “humanitarian defence” of Russian citizens. The pro Yanukovich regional government has called for a referendum, with the support of Russian troops and paramilitaries, for March 16 in order to annex Crimea to the Russian Federation. There is no humanitarian defence or a fair claim to self-determination, but rather that Putin seeks to divide Ukraine to put a wedge in the process of mass rebellion, to hold its important naval base of its war fleet in Sevastopol, with over 13 thousand soldiers, and defend the business of the Russian mafia entrepreneurs. This is why we call to reject such intervention and the attempt to annex Crimea. There were already demonstrations in Moscow against Russian military intervention that were repressed.

2. On the other hand, the government that temporarily took over in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, and responds to the interests of the Ukrainian new rich oligarchy whom want to negotiate their business with the EU and U.S. governments and multinationals. They want to change a Russian plunderer by another “Western” plunderer. Hence now Obama and the EU, with the approval of the IMF, have granted a loan of 11 billion euros to “aid” Ukraine. Already the workers and peoples of Europe and of the world well know what this kind of “aid” does: wage falls and welfare cuts. It will mean more adjustments, poverty and pillaging for the Ukrainian people.

3. Hence, the revolutionary socialists, we say clearly that the workers, the youth and the people who fought for three months in the central square of Kiev and throughout Ukraine, must not be fooled by the new government or any of these alternatives. Neither agreeing with Putin and Russia nor agreeing with the EU-IMF and Obama will bring a solution for the social and democratic demands.

4. All of them are negotiating behind the backs of the working people. Nothing good will come from there. Putin seeks to press for a return to the agreement reached on 23 February between the U.S., Britain, Germany, Poland, Yanukovich, the political opposition and Russia itself. Agreement rejected by the masses in the central square of Kiev. The EU is interested in maintaining the gas business with Russia. While Obama needs to hold the political agreements with Russia against the rebel Syrian people and trying to silence the revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East.

5. The cause of this conflict lies in the process of capitalist restoration in the former USSR, which has led Ukraine to decades of pillage and impoverishment of the majority while growing a minority of Ukrainian billionaires, among whom are both the pro-Russian Yanukovych sector and the liberal opposition headed by the billionaire Timoshenko. They have created the current division of the Ukrainian people that can even lead to a bloodbath or a new agreement. Both outcomes will go against all the Ukrainian working people.

6. Therefore, we reject the attempt to divide Ukraine which will only serve to continue plundering its wealth and oppressing its people. In western Ukraine it also weighs the disastrous legacy of Stalinism when, on behalf of a false socialism, the Communist Party bureaucracy oppressed the peoples of the former USSR. After World War II, Crimea was “Russified” by Stalin who expelled the native people, the Tartars, under the pretext of having collaborated with the Nazis when most of them had sided with the Red Army. It was just an excuse to send Russians troops to colonize the region, which was an autonomous republic within the USSR, since the glorious era of the Russian Revolution. The Stalinist bureaucracy sought to avoid the autonomy and right to mobilization of their people. Now Russia wants to build a false banner of autonomy to defend their new oppression with Gazprom and the Russian oligarchs.

7. The workers and the people of Ukraine must strive to avoid falling into this dramatic trap laid for them on one side by the EU-Yankee imperialism and on the other, by Putin and the new Russian capitalism. And to fight for the defence of a united and independent Ukraine which will only take place under a government of the workers and the people, to carry forward the social and democratic demands of the mobilization.

8. Neither the EU nor Russia will be a solution. Out with Russian military intervention. No to the attempt to annex Crimea. No to the annexation referendum. No to the division of Ukraine. No agreement with the EU or the IMF. We call on the peoples of the world to show solidarity with the just struggle of the Ukrainian people for their social and democratic rights, in the perspective of a separate resolution, of the workers and the people, without the EU or Putin.

International Executive Committee (IEC)

International Workers Unity – Fourth International (IWU-FI / UIT-CI)

6 March 2014

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Originally published here

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Ucrania-Declaración de la UIT-CI

English

Fuera la intervención militar rusa. No al referéndum que intenta la anexión de Crimea! Ni la UE Ni Rusia serán solución para el pueblo ucraniamo!No al ajuste que preparan la UE-FMI-Obama!

1. Luego de la rebelión popular que provocó la caída del gobierno reaccionario y represor pro ruso de Yanukovich, Rusia, bajo el mandato de Putin, ha intervenido militarmente la región de Crimea, con el falso pretexto de “defensa humanitaria” de conciudadanos rusos. El gobierno regional pro Yanukovich ha convocado a un referéndum, con el apoyo de las tropas rusas y paramilitares, para el 16 de marzo con el fin de anexar Crimea a la Federación Rusa.

No se trata de ninguna defensa humanitaria ni un justo reclamo de autodeterminación, sino que Putin busca dividir a Ucrania para poner una cuña al proceso de rebelión de las masas, sostener su importante base de su flota naval de guerra en Sebastopol, con más 13 mil soldados, y defender los negocios de los empresarios mafiosos rusos. Por eso llamamos a rechazar dicha intervención y el intento de anexar a Crimea. Ya hubo movilizaciones en Moscú contra la intervención militar rusa que fueron reprimidas.

2. Por otro lado, el gobierno que asumió provisoriamente en Kiev, la capital de Ucrania, responde a los intereses de la oligarquía de nuevos ricos ucraniamos que quieren pactar sus negociados con los gobiernos y multinacionales de la Unión Europea y EE.UU. Quieren cambiar un saqueador ruso por otro saqueador “occidental”. Por eso ya Obama y la UE, con el visto bueno del FMI, han otorgado un préstamo de 11 mil millones de euros para “ayudar” a Ucrania. Ya los trabajadores y los pueblos europeos y del mundo saben qué significa este tipo de “ayudas”: caída del salario y recortes sociales. Será más ajuste, pobreza y saqueo para el pueblo ucraniano.

3. Por eso, los socialistas revolucionarios, decimos claramente que los trabajadores, la juventud y el pueblo que combatieron durante tres meses en la plaza central de Kiev y en toda Ucrania, no se pueden dejar engañar por el nuevo gobierno ni por ninguna de estas dos alternativas. No habrá solución para sus reivindicaciones sociales y democráticas ni pactando con Putin y Rusia ni con la UE-Obama y el FMI.

4. Todos están negociando a espaldas del pueblo trabajador. Nada bueno saldrá de allí. Putin busca presionar para volver al acuerdo pactado el 23 de febrero entre EE.UU, Gran Bretaña, Alemania, Polonia, Yanukovich, la oposición política y la misma Rusia. Acuerdo que fue rechazado por las masas en la plaza central de Kiev. A la UE le interesa mantener el negocio del gas con Rusia. Mientras Obama necesita sostener los acuerdos políticos que tiene con Rusia para ir contra el pueblo rebelde sirio e intentar acallar las revoluciones del Norte de Africa y Medio Oriente.

5. La causa de este conflicto está en el proceso de restauración capitalista en la ex URSS, que ha llevado a que Ucrania lleve décadas de saqueo y de empobrecimiento de las mayorías mientras crece una minoría de multimillonarios ucranianos, entre los que están tanto en el sector pro ruso de Yanukovich como en la oposición liberal encabezada por la multimillonaria Timoshenko. Ellos han creado la división actual del pueblo ucraniano que puede hasta desembocar en un baño de sangre o en un nuevo acuerdo. Las dos salidas irán contra todo el pueblo trabajador ucraniano.

6. Por eso rechazamos el intento de dividir a Ucrania que solo servirá para seguir saqueando sus riquezas y oprimiendo a sus pueblos. También pesa la herencia nefasta de estalinismo, sobre el occidente de Ucrania, cuando en nombre de un falso socialismo, la burocracia del PC oprimió a los pueblos de la ex URSS. Crimea fue “rusificada” por Stalin luego de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, quien expulsó a su pueblo originario, los tártaros, con el pretexto de haber colaborado con los nazis cuando la mayor parte estuvo del lado de Ejercito Rojo. Fue un pretexto para rusificar enviando contingentes rusos a colonizar la región, que era una República Autónoma, en la URSS, desde la época gloriosa de la revolución rusa. La burocracia estalinista buscaba así evitar todo autonomía y derecho de movilización de sus pueblos. Ahora Rusia quiere levantar una falsa bandera de autonomía para defender su nueva opresión con Gazprom y sus oligarcas rusos.

7. Los trabajadores y el pueblo de Ucrania deben luchar por no caer en esta trampa dramática que los pone, de un lado el imperialismo yanki-UE y del otro, Putin y el nuevo capitalismo de Rusia. Y luchar por la defensa de una Ucrania unida e independiente que solo se podrá dar bajo un gobierno de los trabajadores y el pueblo, que lleve adelante las reivindicaciones sociales y democráticas de la movilización.

8. Ni la UE- Ni Rusia serán solución. Fuera la intervención militar rusa. No al intento de anexar Crimea. No al referéndum anexionista. No a la división de Ucrania. No al acuerdo con la UE y el FMI. Llamamos a los pueblos del mundo a solidarizarse con la justa lucha del pueblo ucraniano por sus derechos sociales y democráticos, en la perspectiva de una salida independiente, de los trabajadores y el pueblo, sin UE ni Putin.

Comité Ejecutivo Internacional (CEI)

de la Unidad Internacional de los Trabajadores-Cuarta Internacional (UIT-CI)

6 de marzo de 2014

 

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What is happening in Venezuela?

Our comrade Simón Rodríguez Porras from the Freedom and Socialism Party from Venezuela (Partido Socialismo y Libertad-PSL) writes about the latest protests facing the country, denounces the repression from both the state and the right and presents a proposal by revolutionary socialists that can lay the groundwork to mobilize workers, students and popular sectors in the face of austerity and working-class attacks implemented by the PSUV government, right wing politicians, multinationals and the bosses.

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By Simón Rodríguez Porras

The images of thousands of protesters on the streets of the main cities in Venezuela, the military deployment, the armed actions of civil groups, the government’s denouncements of a coup from one end and the accusations from the patronal opposition leadership of what they consider new evidence of the fact that the political regime is dictatorial on the other have been globally disseminated over the past two weeks. Whoever tries to comprehend the situation we are going through notes that the presentation of the events are so thoroughly intertwined with the propaganda of each disputing faction that it is hard to assume a critical position. It could be said that this same situation itself is not new, 12 years after the coup attempt that inaugurated an acute political polarisation. Nevertheless the distance that separates the current situation from that of 2002 is such that in many aspects it is its antithesis.

The current crisis is preceded by a chavismo electoral victory. Relying on a campaign against the speculation on consumer goods in which several companies took part in, the government won the December mayoral elections with 71,64% of the seats contested, obtaining approximately 49% of the total votes, some nine percentage points above the Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (MUD), the patronal opposition coalition. The MUD had campaigned under the connotation that the elections were a plebiscite on Maduro’s government, and failed. Nevertheless, it was a chavista victory relativized by the worsening of the economic crisis. The year 2013 closed with the highest index of inflation and shortages since the current government took power in 1999. The government’s false promise that the so-called ‘fair prices’ would be consolidated through the intervention on private commerce quickly clashed with reality. With the policies of the Venezuelan Central Bank (BCV) which had increased the monetary mass by 70% throughout the year 2013, the inflation index reached 56,2%, and only on the months of November and December, in the midst of electoral campaigning, the inflation was of 7%. As for the shortage index, according to the BCV the average for the years 2003-2013 was 13,3%, but by January 2014 shortages were registered at 28% (26,2% of these being food shortages). Between 2012 and 2013, the overcharging on imports exceeded 20 billion dollars, and Maduro was forced to admit publicly that the government had failed to make the necessary checks on the granting of foreign currency to import corporations. International reserves fell by 8.017 million dollars, throughout 2013, with 2014 opening at 21.736 million dollars.

Facing this situation, the government made use of the political capital gained in its victory to start negotiations with the leadership of the MUD, with the objective of obtaining support for the economic adjustment measures the government planned to implement. In a typical instance of chavismo’s zigzagging, ten days after the elections and the government’s victory against ‘fascism’, Maduro cordially met in Miraflores with the majority of the elected mayors and governors from the MUD, and set about discussing the economic measures to take. Among these, there was a call to implement a raise on the highly subsidised fuel prices. Following this, the MUD announces its support for the raise, and states that it ‘puts at the Executive’s disposition its technical and political resources to reach the highest degree of consensus on a matter of crucial importance for the lives of Venezuelans’. (http://www.el-nacional.com/politica/MUD-dispuesta-participar-aumento-gasolina_0_321568006.html). In subsequent meetings with Maduro and the interior ministry in which the main leader of the MUD, Henrique Capriles, takes part the regional and local authorities exchange joint security plans. This closes the impasse opened in the elections of April 2013, the results of which had yet to be recognised by the MUD.

On January 22, the government announced a devaluation of 79% for import goods not considered essential, as well as for the currency made available for travellers and electronic purchases. In this manner, the economic adjustment began. Despite the support received from the MUD for the increase in fuel prices, the government delayed the implementation of this measure in fears of the social reaction it could cause. Before, Chávez’s leadership enabled the government to implement unpopular measures with much less resistance, due to his charisma and personal prestige before large segments of the population. Maduro suffers from great deficiencies in this sense, and the negotiations with the MUD as well as the devaluation received great criticism from leftist activists in the chavista base. In the conflicts between sectors of the PSUV there began to emerge public accusations of a turn towards the right in the government.

As for the MUD, as a result of its election loss the confrontations between factions increased. While the majority wing, headed by Capriles and the traditional parties, entered negotiations with the government, the wing headed by Leopoldo López of the Voluntad Popular (VP) party and the national assembly deputy María Corina Machado began, on February 2, a campaign under the slogan ‘the exit is in the streets’ with a gathering in Caracas’ Plaza Brión. It is interesting to note that the majority of mentions of López in the yankee diplomatic cables published by Wikileaks refer to the conflicts he has with other leaders of the established opposition, known for its links with the US government. Also taking part in the February 2 gathering were the ex-Maoist Bandera Roja, the metropolitan mayor of Caracas Antonio Ledezma and the president of the Federation of University Centres from the Central University of Venezuela, Juan Requesens. There they announce plans for a march on February 12 in Caracas. Simultaneously, in the Nueva Esparta state, xenophobic protests were carried out against the Cuban baseball team that took part in the Caribbean Series tournament held there. As part of the campaign initiated by VP, starting from February 4, the first student protests began in San Cristóbal and Mérida, cities located in the Venezuelan Andes region. Presenting itself as a more intransigent and radical sector, VP and its allies within the MUD attempted to gain the direction of the coalition, capitalising on the disastrous economic and social situation of the country to gain followers for a right-wing exit to the crisis.

The first protests were carried out by a few dozen activists, and were clearly provocative in actions such as that carried out against the residence of the Táchira state governor or a few armed actions in Mérida. There were also police excesses; for example, in Mérida, the police inflicted serious injuries on a student that was not taking part in the protests. Some of those detained in San Cristóbal were moved to the Coro prison, 500 kilometres away from the state in which they were arrested. The main demands of these protests were against insecurity, but nearing the February 12 some started demanding that Maduro resign. On its end, the governing Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (PSUV) begins to make use of armed paramilitary shock groups to dissolve protests, independently of whether these were peaceful or violent, and to attack residential areas. An instance of these were the aggressions against the Monseñor Chacón residencies in Mérida, a site in which a cacerolazo was taking place, in which two persons were wounded. The protests on February 12, carried out in 18 of the country’s cities, changed the content of the original demands. The protests became about the liberation of the detained students and the rejection of the repressive practices of the state and their affiliated armed groups. In the country’s interior, where the shortages and crises in public services are much more severe than in the capital, the protesters made demands relating to these issues.

The two factions of the MUD were clearly surpassed by the size of the mobilisations, to which there was an underlying current of discontent from the majority of the population over the economic crisis and the adjustment measures taken by the government. The PSUV held a few marches and gatherings the same day of lesser magnitude. In Caracas events happened which were conductive towards an important change in the development of the protests. In the surroundings of the Attorney General offices, once the main march that had begun in Plaza Venezuela was dispersed, there remained students and activists who confronted the police with stones and caused damages to the façade of the government building. Through the National Police, the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN) and the Guardia Nacional Bolivariana (GNB)—with the support of pro-government armed groups—the students were repressed with live ammunition, with a death toll of two: a youth who died from a shot to the back, Bassil Da Costa, and Juan Montoya, a policeman from the Libertador municipality that formed part of one of the pro-government armed groups that intervened in the protests. According to the family and friends of Montoya, a state policeman had shot him. Afterwards, in another area of the city, one of the protesters that had aided Da Costa, Roberto Redman, was murdered. From a motorbike, civilians fired upon a group of people, killing Redman and wounding five others. That same night, the coordinator of PROVEA, an organisation in defence of human rights, was kidnapped by armed men without uniform that had identified themselves as SEBIN agents, who took his mobile phone and after hitting and threatening him with death for several hours, freed him.

The newspaper Últimas Noticias, whose editorial line is favorable to chavismo, published an investigation that documented the acts carried out by the SEBIN in the surroundings of the Attorney General offices, and the use of live ammunition against a group of protesters that were running away from them in the moment that Da Costa was shot. (http://laclase.info/nacionales/tiro-limpio-repelieron-manifestacion-del-12f). Initially, Maduro blamed the protesters for the deaths, and made sure that on the country a ‘script’ was being applied similar to the 2002 coup, but afterwards retracted and asserted that SEBIN had acted on its own and removed the force’s chief. Without a doubt, the actions of the government and the pro-government armed groups on February 12 marked a point of inflection, generating protests on a new scale despite the fact that Maduro, on that same night, announced that the government would no longer allow any marches without its authorisation.

At the moment of writing these lines, in the protests following February 12, six more persons have died, almost 200 are estimated to have been wounded by firearms and lead shots with the majority of these as a result of the actions of pro-government armed groups and the GNB, while a further 40 people remain detained. Multiple cases of torture and humiliating treatment against detainees by the state police and military bodies have been reported. Despite the militarisation of San Cristóbal and Mérida in response to the protests, these continue and many areas of those cities have been blocked off with barricades.

Most of the information regarding the protests is circulated through the internet and social media, while the main television channels—both those of the state and the private media—follow a line in which live reports nor images that the National Commission for Telecommunications (CONATEL) considers to incite violence are broadcast. Due to the difficulties in obtaining paper imports, most independent newspapers have significantly reduced their number of pages, and some regional newspapers have been brought out of circulation. In addition to this, the owners of much of the private media in Venezuela have aligned themselves with the government, which has led to press workers such as those of the Cadena Capriles to organise assemblies to oppose to the editorial line imposed by the newspaper’s owners and restrictions on the right to information. The government has even removed from cable and satellite services international a Colombian channel that informed on the Venezuelan situation.

The government appeals to presenting itself as a victim to an ongoing coup and compares the current situation with that of April 2002. Nevertheless, this comparison cannot be maintained rationally. There are no pronouncements against the government nor desertions in the armed forces, of which its medium and upper command is strongly associated with the government and the bourgeois sector that directs the state, popularly known as the ‘boliburguesia’—the bolivarian bourgeois, a good part of which is composed by military men themselves. The majority of the MUD leadership does not follow ‘the exit’ campaign promoted by Voluntad Popular and has publicly polemicized with López. The Venezuelan Federation of Chambers of Commerce (Fedecámaras)—a key organisation in the 2002 coup and representative of capitalist interests—is not calling for a strike, and nor is the union bureaucracy adhered to the MUD. In plain crisis, the country’s major capitalist, Gustavo Cisneros, announced his support for the government while the transnational Repsol signed a financing agreement with the state oil company PDVSA for 1200 million dollars. The leadership of the Catholic Church has not had a belligerent role. Maduro has tried to establish friendlier relations with the U.S. government, and less than a year ago the Minister of Foreign Affairs Elías Jaua met with the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to announce intentions to re-establish diplomatic ties between both countries. Maduro called on Obama last week to appoint a new ambassador in Caracas. The handing over of López to the authorities, who had ordered his capture over his responsibility for the February 12 murders, is difficult to ascribe to a logic in which there is an imminent military assault—led by his party—on the government. Besides the fact that the entire leadership of the MUD, Capriles’ faction as well as López’s, were involved in the 2002 coup and that the opposition bourgeoisie has made use of the coup as part of its past actions, there objectively exist no indications that such process is underway at these moments. Instead, it is verifiable that the government has curtailed the democratic freedoms guaranteed by the constitution, under the alibi of its anti-coup propaganda. From there starts the main task of the left and the social organisations which is of opposing to this attack on our democratic freedoms without ceasing to warn that the MUD does not represent a political alternative that is conductive to overcoming the problems that plague the majority of the population.

The use of armed collectives by the government to dissolve protests is an extremely reactionary resource that must be opposed. The mechanisms of censorship, by the way of deals or co-action imply to an equal extent an attack to the people’s right to information that foregrounds the incompatibility of this right with the private property of the means of communication and with the bureaucratic management of the state media. The SEBIN, a repressive body with a long history of violating human rights since its creation under the initials of DISIP in 1969, must be dissolved and its archives on repression opened to the public. All those detained in protests must be freed, and an investigation must be carried out on the repression and the murders carried out by police, military and paramilitary bodies in reaction to the protests. Beyond the protests, the open trials against over three hundred workers, peasants and indigenous people over protesting must be closed. These are the democratic demands that all those who claim themselves revolutionaries must raise, and place them against the doctrine of national security promoted by Maduro, which puts the interests of the capitalist state above social justice and rights.

As the days pass the expressions of protest spread, through the cacerolazos, to the poorer sectors of Caracas and other cities of the country, in barrios that were for a long time bastions of chavismo. This is evidence of the disapproval that the liberal economic adjustment measures proposed by the government are met with by the impoverished majorities. Once again, these demands overcome the MUD’s leadership, who say nothing on this regard. Evidently, the MUD cannot propose anything in this sense, due to its compromises with the establishment, with the transnational capital and the imperialist governments of Europe and the U.S.

Raising an agenda of social and economic justice, alongside those of democratic freedoms, is a task that can only be fulfilled by leftist organisations not aligned with the government or the MUD. In an article called ‘Venezuela’, the Panamanian songwriter Rubén Blades called for the Venezuelan students to organise ‘beyond the sterile division caused by the government and the opposition’ and to ‘clarify that they won’t accept as the only alternatives those proposed by the two sides in dispute’. Sadly, today the student movement has been co-opted by an opposition that takes part in the government’s same bourgeois political establishment. Despite this, political organisations among them the Partido Socialismo y Libertad (PSL) which attempt to elucidate an autonomous view of the crisis from the perspective of the student movement as well as the popular and worker’s movement, do exist.

The economic and social disaster has dissipated the mirage of the chavista project. Its pretentions of overcoming the structural problems of our country within a capitalist framework, placing its weight on the protagonistic role of the nationalist, military and corporate bourgeoisie has failed and now finds itself in an advance stage of decomposition. The social assistance programs implemented following the defeat of the 2002 coup are past their peak, and since 2007 have entered a recessive dynamic. The corporatization of social organisations continues unabated, strengthening itself with each legal barrier on the right to protest and to strike. We can now see an increased deployment of the repressive and administrative state apparatus to diminish social conflicts, a policy of which the imprisonment of the Yukpa cacique Sabino Romero and the syndicalist Rubén González between 2009 and 2011, alongside the recent detention of ten oil workers who participated in a worker’s assembly at the Puerto La Cruz oil refinery, among them the general secretary of the Unitary Federation of Oil Workers, José Bodas, are clear examples of. In addition to this is the economic debacle, in spite of which the transnational sectors ingrained within the oil industry, the private banks and the import corporations have all come off well. The corollary to all this is that the reactionary utopia of a ‘socialism with capitalists’ has fallen apart. It is now up to the revolutionary left to rescue the banners of socialism that chavismo utilised for its own purposes.

According to official statistics, over nine million people, a third of the population, live under conditions of poverty. Almost three quarters of the public sector workers earn salaries below the cost of the canasta básica—the government’s measure of the minimum required monthly food staples and basic living costs for a household, of which now more than two minimum wages are required to cover. Only in the military sector are there salary increases above the inflation. Undoubtedly, the working class can play a decisive role in facing the government’s political economy, defeat the regression of our democratic rights and raise demands such as a general raise of wages and salaries—a minimum wage equal to the canasta básica, the elimination of the IVA tax, the full nationalisation of the oil industry without joint ventures with transnationals; agrarian reform that guarantees the increase of agricultural production and the access to land for those who labour in it, the rescuing of the basic industries in Guayana and those in poor state and now unproductive that were acquired by the State, support for the territorial demands of the indigenous peoples, the suspension of foreign debt payments and the cancellation of treaties on double taxation signed with the US and other countries, instruments that allow transnationals to evade over 17 billion dollars in taxes annually. The PSL is pushing for an encounter between trade unions and popular organisations to discuss in Caracas, over the first days of March, a unitary agenda of demands as well as a plan of mobilisation. The workers, the students and the popular sectors have a possibility of raising their own voice and resist being cannon fodder to the government or the MUD.

 

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