Venezuela: The New Constituent Assembly is just so much smoke and mirrors in the eyes of proletariat
(«Proletarian»; Nr. 14; Autumn - Winter 2017)
In the midst of the clashes which seem to increase continually and which have lasted for more than 120 days, there appeared the formula of a Constituent Assembly which would give «plenipotentiary» powers to the people. This proposal, launched by the Chavista government is not a thunderclap in a serene sky. It arose out of economic problems which have inevitably carried onto the political terrain. Thanks to the democratic vote, the people, expressing their sovereign will, would thus be able to modify the present constitution. But is it really this constitution (which is also Chavista!) which is the cause of the socio-economic difficulties of the country and the growing difficulties of the proletariat and the masses? Is it this constitution that that in some way prevents solutions to these problems? When, everyone can see that this is not the case!
These problems are caused by capitalism and cannot be solved by a reform of the bourgeois state which would thus become a «popular state» through the parliamentary action of the National Constituent Assembly, where the vital needs of the proletariat will be mingled with the multifarious «needs» of the new Venezuelan entrepreneurs in a false «popular» and «national» unity; when objectively these problems can be confronted and solved only by the open and independent struggle of the exploited proletarians against the bourgeois exploiters – class against class!
The Constituent Assembly is therefore nothing but a new bubble of illusions...!
The Constituent Assembly convened by the Chavist leaders is «Red on the outside, White on the inside» – as the Russian workers, sailors and soldiers correctly referred to Kerensky’s Constituent Assembly in 1917. In Russia, the Constituent Assembly, long-promised by his government finally opened after the victory of the October insurrection. Reflecting the state of mind of the peasant masses hardly touched by the revolutionary fire, it had given a majority to the Revolutionary Socialist Party (the so-called «SR») and the Menshevik Social-Democratic Party, both hostile to the October revolution. Before the opening of the Constituent Assembly, the revolutionary power had already asserted itself with the Soviets of Workers and Soldiers won over to the revolution. Since the «Constituent» rejected the victory of the revolution, the revolution swept it away: in revolutionary periods the social confrontation is so acute that society become polarized around the two fundamental classes, blowing up the formal frameworks of the democracy which claims to reconcile the interests of various social groups. To believe that the struggle between classes depends on the democratic mechanism and the constitutional system is to fall into the «parliamentary cretinism» denounced by Marx, even though it was at a time when communists could still participate in bourgeois elections and parliaments!
Against all attempts to repair or reform the existing state, the Bolsheviks had launched the slogan «all power to the Soviets.» The Soviets were the form of political organization that the proletariat had spontaneously given itself already in the revolution of 1905 and which had reappeared in 1917. Besides the state structures they tended to organize the life and the struggle of the proletarians and the poor masses against the capitalists, landlords, the military hierarchy, etc., and they were to form the basis of the dictatorship of the proletariat after the destruction of the Czarist State. The Bolshevik «ecologists» had to tear up all the weeds so that the revolutionary harvest could grow and mature!
Nothing to do with the present Constituent Assembly that they have established in Venezuela. In the Germany of 1850 or in Czarist Russia, i.e. in countries where the bourgeois revolution had not yet taken place, democratic demands and principles – including the Constituent Assembly – could theoretically have a revolutionary or «progressive» character. In the case of Venezuela, a bourgeois country which has long won its national independence, the Constituent Assembly can no longer have any revolutionary character; and it cannot even alter the current recessionary and gangrenous economic situation. With its express electoral process, this is a pure political maneuver which expresses first of all the deadlock in which the Chavist government finds itself faced with the problems encountered by the proletarians and the exploited masses, and also by the petty bourgeoisie; it once again also demonstrates the notorious fact that the two political factions, the bourgeois MUD on the right and the Chavists on the left, agree to defend capitalism. And the policy followed by the Chavists is currently the most suitable for this! Indeed, to propose to the proletarians and the masses a parliamentary alternative, while denouncing supposed threats against national sovereignty, is nothing else but to reinforce electoralist illusions and nationalist intoxication in order to prevent a reaction on the class terrain, the only effective one.
... and its real objective is to conceal the growing proletarian antagonism in Venezuela
The vanguard proletarian forces which exist in Venezuela, even if they are few in number, must not allow themselves to be caught up in the false Chavism-Antichavism alternative, because it has the precise aim of diverting from the real antagonism: the bourgeoisie against the proletariat.
For the revolutionary communists, to struggle against the current by defending the true Marxist positions against the winds and tides is important and necessary, especially since the plan on which the current political alternatives are moving will tend to collapse as the economic crisis sharpen and the social legislation promised by the Chavist Constituent Assembly will demonstrate its inefficiency in front of capitalist reality.
To defend the constitution of 1999 against the National Constituent Assembly?
Some left opponents to Chavist President Maduro, or crypto-chavists, stand in the name of the defense of the constitution which was instituted in 1999 by Chavez. This is the case with «Marea Socialista» (1). It denounces accurately the character of political maneuver of the new National Constituent Assembly, which does not respond in any way to the elementary necessities of the masses. But Marea Socialista criticizes Maduro and his supporters from a democratic, that is to say interclassist, point of view, and not from a class point of view. MS defends the full implementation of the current Constitution as the only way to «defend the tormented democracy» (2) and proposes the organization of consultative referenda: exactly like the bourgeois opposition of the MUD – which organized its own consultation! MS proposes to disappointed Chavists to «reconstruct a national project», «a democratic, pluralistic left movement», etc. In a word, a new reformist and interclassist movement, hence anti-proletarian.
No ! The proletarians do not need this!
What the proletarians and the exploited masses need is not to «build a new or old national project» but to rebuild their class organizations to defend themselves, first and foremost against national capitalism; not to defend «democracy in torment», but to defend their class independence by breaking with reformism and democratic co-operation between classes; to give life to the proletarian struggle against the national and international bourgeoisie; to work for the establishment of the internationalist and international class party to direct this struggle until the revolutionary takeover of power in all countries.
Such a perspective cannot be immediate, but it is the only truly realistic one. Against demagogic propaganda on every side, every step that will be taken in this direction will truly open the way for future revolution and proletarian emancipation.
Back to the terrain of the class struggle, to the real proletarian and communist anti-imperialist struggle, issuing from the immediate defensive struggles!
Instead of calls for solidarity between the «peoples» of the world and the Venezuelan «people», call for the general proletarian struggle in all countries against capitalism, which constitutes the real anti-imperialist solidarity with the other proletarians of all races, believers and atheists, against the enemy they all face: the bourgeoisie!
Down with the bourgeois state and all its Constitutions!
April, 29th 2017
(1) Another group from Marea Socialista-Aporrea with practically the same positions, headed by political scientist Niemer Evans and Attorney General Ortega Diaz is claiming the defense of the constitution of 1999. Today Ortega Diaz finds herself at the center of the political situation because her opposition to the Maduro government has broken out. A direct result of this clash is that the entrails of the Procurator-General’s office of the Republic, which is the executive arm of bourgeois justice, are revealed in all their splendor; we discover that which we have always assumed and which they would have preferred remain hidden, the existence of a real Pandora’s box of crime and impunity. Bourgeois justice in Venezuela, as in many other countries, is the heart of various industries, which are raking in huge profits and enormous gains, in addition to their political influence: drug trafficking, kidnapping, fabrication or disappearance of evidences, allocation of juicy position, such as prison directors and so on. Given the unchecked impunity it engendered, it bears direct responsibility for the many victims of social violence in the streets, thousands of cases of corruption, fraud, embezzlement, etc., of crimes that have remained unpunished like the killing of Prosecutor Anderson, etc. The Chavist leaders rightly denounce the Attorney General, but they seem to have «forgotten» that for a very long time they were with her – so complicit in what happened at the Procurator-General’s office!
(2) Aporrea, 8/2/2017
International Communist Party