The following is the response from Orlando Chirino to a letter published in El Universal of Caracas
By Orlando Chirino
Emeterio, you ask me in an open letter published In El Universal: “What is the true socialism that I defend?”. But of course, we have to bear in mind that you completely rule out socialism since for you “there is nothing to replace capitalism.” And besides, you also asked me for the sake of pity, “to stop using the word surplus” and the phrase “exploitation of man by man” “to stop believing in” a Marxist notion that is absolutely archaic “such as” the class struggle.”
First, you start from a mistaken premise by assuming that capitalism is undeniable. When right now it is much clearer than ever that we are facing one of the worst crisis of capitalist decadence and which is causing untold misery and marginalization. I give you only one fact from some institutions free of all suspicion from being communist. According to the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), developed by the University of Oxford and United Nations, there are 1,700 million people, a third of humanity, who lives below the poverty line. That is, living on a dollar a day. This simple fact reflects that capitalism creates more misery.
In your letter you urge me to not continue clinging to the “archaic notion” of “class struggle.” First, I want to clarify that we do not promote or advocate the class struggle. It exists. It’s a fact of reality since the capitalists attack workers and the masses destroying their living standards. You should be aware that in places like Greece, Portugal, Spain and the rest of the world there are strikes over cuts in wages and pensions. While in the Arab world, there are revolutions as a result of the rebellion of millions of people who do not accept dictatorships and adjustment plans. Contrary to what you assert, we fight in order to end the “class struggle” so that it should be a country and a world without inequality.
I’m sorry to disappoint you since I will continue to denounce capitalist surplus and the exploitation of man by man for reasons I mentioned. And I assure that it is not necessary to undergo a course as you suggest in order to demonstrate that “surplus” and “the class struggle” do not exist. In fact, any worker knows what surplus and exploitation are even though they do not use those same exact words. For example, when on a daily basis a the employer, either public or private, refuses to raise his/her wages and does not respect the contract or when he wants it to be more flexible.
Let’s get to the issue that worries you a great deal. That is, what is the real socialism that I defend? First, it is good to confirm that what is called Socialism for the 21st Century is a farce to sustain capitalism in Venezuela. Then you defy me to say if the socialism that I defend respect will protect private property. We, in fact, defend the right of everyone to have a decent home even with air conditioning, a car, a refrigerator, a TV or a microwave. The problem, Emeterio, is that under capitalism, there is not respect for this private property. For example, millions of people in Venezuela and abroad do not own a decent house. To achieve this fundamental change, a true socialist government, led by workers and the people would have to socialize the central engines of the economy. In Venezuela, oil should be 100% Venezuelan, with no joint ventures, not American, French, Chinese and Russian multinationals to devote those resources to wages, decent jobs, education, healthcare and housing for all.
In fact, that socialism with democracy will be so that all workers, teachers or scholars like you Emeterio, the oil workers, nurses, doctors, professionals, the youth, peasants and the popular sectors, take decisions in assemblies. All my life, I have rejected the false one single-party bureaucratic socialism of the former Soviet Union and Cuba which never consulted the workers and their people.
Emeterio, I understand that this fight is not easy but seeing so much misery, social and human degradation that capitalism provokes, it’s worth continuing to fight for a society without inequality, oppressed and oppressors.