The position of the WIVL on the growing developments towards a coup in Venezuela.
The developments in Venezuela shows how the lack of a revolutionary working class party leads to imperialism and capitalist forces filling the vacuum with its own agencies. The key to the Socialist revolution in Venezuela lies in the establishment of such a party. The central motive force is, despite all the plans and wishes of imperialism, the working class and its struggles and level of organization and consciousness. The revolutionary working class party is nothing else but the organization of the best vanguard working class elements, leading and/or vying for leadership of the struggle, in the interests of the working class, namely for the establishment of Socialism. Such a party still needs to be established in Venezuela today. At the same time it is not sufficient to only have such a party in Venezuela but of necessity in the rest of Central and South America and the neo-colonial world but also in the imperialist centres. The party of Chavez, the PSUV (Socialist Workers Party Unified- Venezuela), despite its name, is a nationalist party, which with Socialist rhetoric, gives a few social gains to the working class, while perpetuating conditions for imperialism-capitalism to extract its super-profits. Its control over the oil industry is a form of state capitalism as there was no workers control anywhere in the commanding heights of the economy. The continued imperialist plunder of Venezuela under Bolivarianism/Chavism is the central reason for its lack of broad industrialisation and development. It is a neo-colony of imperialism. Due to the long stagnation of the world capitalist economy, any real development in Venezuela would mean a decline in the rate of profit in the imperialist centres. Rather than support its own potential competitor, imperialism ensures the permanent subjugation of the masses in Venezuela. The form that it takes is dependent on the working class struggle and the extent that imperialism is able to keep it under control. When one agency is unable to maintain control over the masses for imperialism, they seek other forms. This is why they are preparing a coup. It is all about installing, by any means, a regime that can guarantee continued plunder of the oil and minerals of Venezuela under increased exploitation.
In 2002 US imperialism attempted to launch a coup in Venezuela. They were forced to bring back Chavez, who they had kidnapped, when the masses turned out in the millions in the streets. US imperialism was forced, against their will and under pressure of the masses, to accept Chavism as its method of control over the Venezuela working class. Private property relations have been kept intact. Venezuela has been the country where the biggest sales of the Humvee to the middle class has been across the entire Southern America. The price of this form of imperialist control, ie Bolivarianism, was that a bigger portion of the surplus had to be used for social needs of the masses, instead of being carried off by imperialism. Workers voices were crushed. After Chavez had been reinstalled the workers at the oil companies went on strike, asserting their power to attempt to gain control over the oil and thus the surplus they produced. To break the strike Chavez dismissed 18 000 workers. What saved Chavez was the oil production at the privately owned production companies. Although later the oil industry was nationalised it was on terms that guaranteed priority profits to the imperialist companies before part of the surplus was taken for social needs.
However the deepening crisis of capitalism has forced the regime to launch increased attacks on the working class in Venezuela. As the masses rise against the regime so have the bourgeois opposition jumped on the bandwagon, trying to grab the leadership of the movement.
Who collapsed the Venezuela currency?
It has just been reported that Standard Charter, Citibank, JP Morgan Chase and other imperialist banks were manipulating the currency in SA at least between 2007 and 2013. The same has been happening with all currencies in the neo-colonies. Thus during a period of huge raw material and oil prices, the currencies in the neo-colonies were depreciated to maximise and rescue the profits of imperialism and to minimise the amount paid for the labour power of the working class. Thus high oil and mineral prices did not mean any benefit for the masses in the neo-colonies. In fact the working class in the neo-colonies around the world have long been subsidizing the profits of the capitalists and wages of the workers in the imperialist centres. The Economist has openly admitted that the Venezuelan currency has been deliberately collapsed to facilitate a coup, the placing in power of a right wing bourgeois regime. They see that Chavism is unable to control the masses and the continued crisis requires the further increase of plunder of Venezuela and the rest of the neo-colonies.
Within a period of less than 2 years oil production in Venezuela has dropped from over 3 million to 1 million barrels per day. In the wake of the currency collapse, over the past year about 25 000 highly skilled workers left the PDVSA (State oil company) to work in Scandinavia and also for BP. The strangulation and collapse of the Venezuelan economy was thus stage-managed by imperialism. The ones wanting to send food parcels are the very ones who stole the wealth of the land and thus responsible for food shortages in the first place.
It is the imperialist banks that created the food and other shortages in Venezuela. Thus for them to claim to want to send ‘aid’ is nothing but an act of provocation to justify a possible military invasion of Venezuela. It is also to turn the masses to support a coup. Similarly the offer of ‘amnesty’ by the Congress of Venezuela (which is controlled by the right wing) to all who support a Guaido coup regime is to openly prepare bands of fascists to beat the masses into submission. Indeed, grounds are being prepared for mass killings and torture of the working class activists and revolutionaries by the coming Pinochetist regime.
Hyperinflation, collapse of industry and food shortages were artificially created in Zimbabwe by the imperialists as a tool to crush the workers and mass revolt there. We need to draw the lesson on who is behind collapse of currencies and why imperialism does it. The only solution is for a working class seizure of power. That is why a revolutionary leadership of the working class is central.
On the role of China and Russia
Russia is owed $3bn while China is owed $13bn by Venezuela. Due to the collapse in the currency the Venezuela state has to pay in free oil shipments. They are working with US imperialism in the strangulation of the masses. The presence of Russian troops in Venezuela is to directly prevent the working class from taking power while securing the basis for the repayment of their loan.
The central programme of imperialism
By US imperialism instructing Guaido to declare himself president, despite a recent election which the opposition boycotted, they are preparing the way for a coup. Grounds were prepared by a meeting of some union leaders, some church leaders and some local capitalists in December 2018 that supported a coup. This coup is to pre-empt a workers revolution which could have had wide potential for revolution in the entire region.
The first point that imperialism proposes for Venezuela is removal of price controls and to guarantee there will be no expropriations of ‘their’ assets- they demand 100% foreign ownership of the oil and minerals . This means that whatever cheap prices were won by the workers, such as lower fuel prices, will come under attack. It means that the oil will be privatized and all the wealth shipped to the imperialist centres. In Zimbabwe imperialism launched a coup in Aug 2017. This military regime shot down workers with live ammunition on the day of the coup. They also increased fuel by 150% and devalued their currency by 70% over the past year. When workers protested against this many were killed and hundreds tortured and arrested. This is what Guaido will unleash on the masses on behalf of imperialism.
The diversion of income of Venezuelan oil sales in the US to the Guaido coup regime-in-waiting is to further pressure the masses into submission and to instigate the heads of the army to defect to the coup leadership. This is ominous as they have already been promised amnesty by imperialism.
Due to the deepening crisis of imperialism they are attempting to defeat the working class on a global scale. The yellow vests with growing red support in France shows that imperialism can and is being opposed. Imperialism capitalism wants to roll back the democratic and social gains of the masses.
There is enough to meet the needs of humanity: enough to end world hunger, for an end to homelessness and an end to unemployment. Yet less than 200 families control the wealth of the world while billions go hungry. Socialism is necessary and possible. That means the overthrow of world capitalism.
Every democratic and social gain must be defended. This coup must be opposed by any means necessary. This means that workers should organise anti coup committees in every workplace, mine, farm, factory and working class area and invite the rank and file soldiers to join them. They should march to the barracks to demand arms. We don't need another Pinochet regime. These workers and soldiers committees should set up local regional and national coordination councils of delegates. Anyone serious about opposing the coup should support this. The generals that support a coup should be disarmed and arrested. Guaido and any coup leader should be arrested.
In opposition to the imperialist coup the workers should set up a provisional Revolutionary government based on the anti coup workers’ committees. All imperialist assets and all banks should be expropriated, without compensation to the capitalists, repudiate the debt, place all sectors under workers’ control. That is the way to get bread, work and peace. Imperialism is trying to set up right wing regimes all over the world as their falling profits push them to heap more misery on the world working class. If imperialism can succeed in a coup in Venezuela they will attempt to internationalise this new Pinochet-type regimes. Forward to the rebuilding of a revolutionary International. Forward to a federation/union of central and South American Workers’ Socialists states; forward to a Soviet United States.
We call for protests at all US and Venezuelan embassies against the attempted coup. Forward to workers’ solidarity actions at every imperialist company, mine, factory, farm. Every regime that supports the coup should face organised protest from the masses. The EU and other regimes expose themselves by their support of the attempted coup.
29 January 2019. Updated on 8 Feb 2019
Workers International Vanguard League (South Africa).