Statement by the Socialism and Freedom Party from Venezuela [Partido Socialismo y Libertad-PSL]
The Venezuelan people has noticed how the absence of President Chavez from the national political scene last month, has generated great uncertainty just two months after his reelection in October last year. A year after being diagnosed with the serious illness President Chavez is suffering— and that on several occasions it was believed to be finally cured— there are clear indications that Chavez would not be physically able to preside over the term for which he was reelected in October. From the Socialism and Freedom Party (PSL), we respect the concerns of an important sector of the Venezuelan people at a time when President Chavez is facing a delicate health situation. We hope for his recovery in spite of the deep political differences that we have with his government. However, it is our duty to take a position on the situation that has arisen in recent days following the worsening illness of the President.
The way in which the government has handled the issue of the President’s absence shows that the supposed “people’s power” is an utter fiction used to control the people’s aspirationto have power over political decisions in the country. Again, it was the hierarchy of the PSUV (governing party), led by Diosdado Cabello and Nicolas Maduro and the National Assembly and the Supreme Court who ultimately made the decision to cover the absence of President Chavez and employ the same institutional channels used to criminalize mass and working class struggles. To do this, they used the gaps and ambiguities of the bourgeois constitution that are currently in effect, a statute whose purpose is to ensure the continuity of capitalism in our country and therefore is not designed to ensure that the decisions of the popular majority be the ones to define our collective destiny.
The bureaucratic leadership of both PSUV and MUD (right wing) have narrowed down the debate to a purely legalistic abstraction, limited to a contest between two different accommodative interpretations of the Constitution. It is a fact that President Chavez was re-elected with a very high vote a few months ago, but in fact we recognize that during the election, our party did not support any of the different candidacies that were presented by the capitalists, but on the contrary, we supported the working class and revolutionary candidacy of our fellow comrade Orlando Chirino. Therefore, the PSL does not take part in discussions that occur on legalistic mechanisms to be implemented to cover the absence of President Chavez.
Meanwhile, the spokesmen for the MUD have shown their desperation to take advantage of Chavez’s illness. Now they want to appear as the champions of the Constitution that they trampled with both the coup and oil strike sabotage in 2002. The right wing put forward fallacious arguments by calling the “continuity” of government sanctioned by the Supreme Court as a “coup”; they are also calling for university students and other sectors under their influence to mobilize without clear political objectives.
While the MUD is trying to fish in troubled waters and using anticommunist slogans, the ruling bureaucracy exacerbates the cult of personality by incorporating a religious liturgy to their actions so that it will give hope in their followers and at the same time, any worker who mobilizes or goes on strike is accused of “destabilizing.” In fact, both sectors want to fish in troubled waters.
Both the government and the MUD are tearing their hair out for a constitution that they use for their convenience while the shortcomings and innumerable problems facing millions of Venezuelans have been totally absent from this controversy. The problem is the main political actors in the country refuse to openly discuss the political and social system that governs our country.
We need to fight for an alternative
For our party, the continuity that has been ratified with the decision made by the National Assembly and the Supreme Court is continuing a policy that pretends to be socialist, while the facts do not meet the expectations of workers and masses. With all respect to the opinion of the majority of Venezuelans, our party believes that whoever governs and whether or not Maduro or Cabello assumes power and/or any other member of the current government, the people and the Venezuelan workers will continue to suffer the same calamities. We harbor no hope that things will change while the bureaucracy that governs exerts direct control over the government, and is even questioned by the Chavistas at the grassroots. Clearly, the MUD is not an alternative for change to achieve true social justice and a workers’ democracy.
We believe that there won’t be any talks of collective agreements and that the breach of employment rights of millions of workers in the public and private sector as reflected in the recent strike in Bauxilum will continue. Further, the people will continue to suffer from high inflation, unstable services of energy and water, low wages, and shortages of essential goods while the affordable housing Mision Vivienda program has been semi paralyzed after the elections. The criminalization of protest will continue as evidenced by the recent brutal repression on the Yukpa indigenous people and layoffs of workers in the local governments and public agencies.
The PSL put forward specific changes to move towards a more just and united society. We assume that 100% of the oil belongs to the Venezuelan state, with no joint ventures or corporations and managed directly and democratically by workers and technicians within our main industry. Based on the nationalization of our main resource, we can tackle the main problems facing our country, making it a great economic leverage in the service of healthcare and free education for all, decent housing, minimum wages matching inflation and basic goods, social security and personal pensions, time and retroactive benefits, fulfilling and productive work, industrial development and land reform; all of this as part of a model without exploitation of human beings by others or irrational destruction of nature.
For our party, it is only through the mobilization of the masses and a free labor movement, with the goal of achieving a government of workers and the exploited people, that we will find a solution to the problems that we are facing. The current situation facing the country ratifies the need to build an alternative and truly revolutionary left, which overcomes the false, so called” Socialism for the 21st century” and the false democracy that the right wing advertises. We need a political alternative in the streets, in the universities, at the factory gates, in the oil industry and in the electoral arena so this alternative becomes a fighting instrument to for the workers, the poor communities and the youth.
Partido Socialismo y Libertad (PSL) from Venezuela
January 16, 2013
Originally published in Laclase.info |English translation by Socialist Core