Debate in the Venezuelan Revolutionary Left : On the Open Letter by Marea Socialista
After the fraudulent election of the National Constituent Assembly (ANC), the organization Marea Socialista (Socialist Tide) published an “Open Letter to the Chavista left and the autonomous left”, signed by its National Task Force, calling “to build a left, democratic, pluralistic, and inclusive movement” to function as a “common space for reflection, elaboration and action”.
Marea Socialista argues that there are three major political camps: the government, the MUD (Democratic Unity Roundtable) and the left, which includes both “critical Chavismo” and the autonomous and non-Chavista left. The PSL considers itself part of the autonomous left opposed to the PSUV and the MUD. In this context, we welcome the initiative of the Marea Socialista’s comrades.
We value this statement positively, and we agree with the imperative need to establish an independent left movement or unitary front. In fact, the comrades’ proposal has points in common with the search for the unity of action of the left that the PSL has been seeking within the framework of the current crisis, such as our call to “Left-wing organizations and discontent and critical Chavismo”, made on 19 May. There we raised that “we must reach agreements of independent common actions” against the government and thus contest the leadership of this process to the MUD, and not give it the space of popular rebellion. (laclase.info/content/basta-de-hambre-y-represion-no-a-la-constituyente-fraudulenta-fuera-maduro/)
In this sense, the PSL is ready to move forward in the direction of establishing a space for regrouping and action of the Chavista and not-Chavista left, and we propose to set up an exchange table to find the meeting points and to advance in the fight against the totalitarian regime of Maduro.
We take this opportunity to advance our points of view on how we conceive this regrouping, what program we propose for the debate, and what proposals for action we consider necessary; as well as to express our differences and nuances with the proposal.
We start from a basic agreement — we agree on the need to build a unitary political movement of the Chavista and autonomous left. Therefore, we consider very positive the call to the sectors of the left that we do not claim to be Chavistas.
We believe that any unitary leftist movement to be formed must respect these differences, both in its program, in its constitution, and in its name. In that sense, we do not agree that this future movement be based only on a “left” that maintains “Bolivarian dreams” or makes a “critique of their own legacy” as Marea Socialista points out in their letter. We respect the participation of organizations such as Marea Socialista and others that continue vindicating the “Chavez legacy”, but it should not be limited to that.
A regrouping of the left should include those that like the PSL and other sectors do not agree with that vision. For our current criticism of Maduro and the current government cannot be based on that they do not follow the “Chavez legacy”. We consider that there is an open debate on a necessary balance sheet of Chávez’s political course and the so-called Socialism of the 21st Century. For us, there was never progress in Chávez’s project towards socialism or in breaking with the capitalist structure of Venezuela.
The above does not mean that we condition the unity of the Chavist and non-Chavist left to be in agreement with our political position in relation to Chavism. However, for us, what is fundamental to advance is to open a political exchange, trying to agree on an anti-capitalist and socialist program for a future unitary movement.
We believe that the basis of this revolutionary minimum program are the nine points that were agreed at the time with Marea Socialista, the PSL and other sectors in the Platform of People in Struggle and Critical Chavismo, which included an Emergency Food Plan, minimum wage equal to the basic basket, the moratorium on foreign debt, the nationalization of 100 percent of the oil industry without joint ventures or transnational companies, the repeal of concessions of the Orinoco Mining Arc, among other points.
However, we cannot fail to raise that the Platform of People in Struggle and Critical Chavismo, created in April 2016, was a great opportunity to advance in the construction of this left-wing movement that Marea Socialista raises today, and which regrettably it did not advance, largely because of Marea Socialista’s responsibility, an organization that had the initiative to propose it, but that later moved away from its meetings and the activities programmed within the Platform.
This is a great weakness since it cut off the possibility of presenting an alternative left pole to the government and the MUD, in the midst of the popular revolt against hunger and repression, which has been developing since April this year.
To this is added the fact, that we consider wrong, that Marea Socialista has never raised the slogan of “Out with Maduro”, a matter which is not even mentioned in their letter.
The comrades correctly denounce the totalitarianism of Maduro’s government and its repressive advances. To the point that they speak of methods of “selective civil war”. But they do not vindicate the mobilizations and acts of popular rebellion against the government. They attribute everything to “a false polarization” with the MUD. They blame “two irresponsible and criminal political leaderships”, which would lead to a “bloody carnival”.
The PSL considers that it cannot be placed in the same plane the criminal repression of the Maduro government and the defence exercised by the youth and popular sectors that mobilize and confront the GNB (Bolivarian National Guard), the PNB (Bolivarian National Police) and the armed gangs of the government.
Marea Socialista refrains from assuming a clear position of support for those who are mobilizing against Maduro, including the popular sectors that until recently were the social base of Chavismo, which in fact favours the government. A political course that mistakenly also assume other sectors of the world left.
The PSL fights Maduro’s government but does not give any political support to the MUD. We cannot have any confidence in a political leadership of the bosses, which seeks a negotiated solution with the US and the EU, and that it would never break with the multinationals and the bankers, or with the payment of the foreign debt. Nonetheless, our party calls to be part of popular mobilizations against the government, although many have been originally convened by the MUD or where MUD sympathizers and leaders participate.
The sector that has the force of repression is Maduro’s civic-military government, which not only starves the people but also attacks democratic rights by prohibiting elections and imprisoning mayors and political leaders of the opposition. Although the dismissed, disqualified or detained may be bosses’ politicians, the left cannot look to the other side. One thing is to repudiate the attacks on democratic rights and another to support the MUD. Nor does it mean supporting the MUD to participate in massive mobilizations against hunger, against constituent fraud and for Maduro to leave.
Thousands and thousands of popular sectors that have broken with Chavismo are coming out on the streets in different parts of the country. Not actively joining the different forms of protest that are taking place in the country limits the possibilities of postulating oneself as an alternative left-wing leadership independent of the MUD. Especially, when we know that in many cases the MUD has been overtaken by the grassroots and popular sectors mobilized. Without any doubt, we believe that a unitary left movement can only develop in the heat of the struggle, and contest with the MUD, the leadership of the protests in the streets.
In this regard, we call on the Marea Socialista comrades not to hesitate before the increasingly totalitarian regime of Maduro. This necessary regrouping from the left must be forged in the struggle to end Maduro’s civic-military government, to end hunger, repression and fraud. Thus, we will create an independent alternative of the workers and the Chavista and not Chavista left, in the face of the MUD that wants to continue applying the packet of austerity measures against the people.
From the PSL we propose to the comrades of Marea Socialista that we call together a first meeting of the Chavista and non-Chavista left, and of all those fighters who want to join. And thus, to take steps in this unity so necessary and strategic to fight for a solution of the workers and the left to the serious crisis that we are living.
National Directorate of the Partido Socialismo y Libertad (PSL)
8 August 2017