From Unity & Struggle No. 25, Spring/Summer 2013
Lenin profoundly evaluated, with practical examples and theoretical analysis, the form of implementation of the revolutionary tactics in the bourgeois democratic revolution. With his genius he guided the course and laid bare the positions of the various parties in the revolution with his work “Two Tactics of Social Democracy in the Democratic Revolution”, written in June 1905 and widely disseminated; he marked a line of action for the proletarian parties. The principles in this book were defended by Stalin in several works and are taken as a source of guidance by all Marxist-Leninists.
Given the current conditions in the world and the characteristics of our country, the CC of the PCMLV analyzes and studies the works of the classics to help guide us at times when the popular forces are in motion and the various trends, bourgeois, petty bourgeois and proletarian, are fighting to try to lead the masses towards the achievement of their objectives, in a scenario marked by the general crisis of capitalism and its sharpening, with consistent agitation and mobilization of the masses on all continents, especially in the working class that seemed dormant until a few years ago.
For the working class, the peasants and the people it is essential to understand the reality that surrounds them, to evaluate the role of the various parties, as an expression of the classes and their own expectations of the classes in struggle. These, as is known, are identified more by their actions than their programs, thus the importance of the analysis of each process that develops.
For the Marxist-Leninists, the PCMLV and the ICMLPO and for the proletariat in general it is important to unravel the meaning of events, including the electoral processes, to understand deeply the forms of the class struggle, its possible development and the action that our forces have to carry out to advance toward the achievement of our objectives. In this sense we are contributing this initial work to help in understanding the political phenomena taking place in Venezuela.
“We are all convinced that the emancipation of the workers can be effected only by the workers themselves; a socialist revolution is out of the question unless the masses become class conscious and organized, trained and educated in open class struggle against the entire bourgeoisie .” (Lenin: Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution)
The Election Results
Venezuela’s presidential campaign took place without major incidents, despite the multiple threats of conflict and plans for confrontation of which each contending sector accused each other. The National Electoral Council (CNE) gave out the preliminary results that establish the victory of Hugo Chavez by an 11.11% margin (www.cne.gob.ve).
With 98.04% of votes counted, the results are: 8,135,192 votes for Chavez (55.25%) to 6,498,776 (44.14%) for Capriles, with an overall 80.67% participation.
In the 2006 presidential election the results, based on valid votes, were: Chavez 7,309,080 (63%) and Rosales 4,292,466 (36.9%), this means that the support for Chavez in percentages decreased by 7.75% between 2006 and 2012, while the support for the opposition grew by 7.24%. Numerically Chavez obtained 826,112 more votes in 2012, while the opposition grew by 2,206,310 compared to 2006, showing the rise of the right and reducing the distance between the support for Chavez’s electoral levels, comparing 2006 with 2012.
Besides this, the difference between Chavez and the opposition went from 12.4% in 1998, to 19.6% in 2000, to 25.6% in 2006 and 11.11% in the current elections, the lowest level for presidential elections where Chavez was a candidate.
It is important to emphasize that the 11.11% vote difference between Chavez and Capriles in 2012 is an important figure, it represents 1,593,606 voters, which meant it was impossible for the opposition to declare fraud and it consolidates Chavez as the leader of the masses.
As to political parties, the PSUV has become the main electoral force (6,344,672 votes – 43.09% of the total), the organization that Chavez presides over, with which he imprints with his leadership the electoral strength and influence on the masses. It has a multiclass character, led by the governing petty bourgeoisie, defender of 21st Century Socialism and with the presence of sectors of the left that propose developing revolutionary currents within it. Although they do not have an organic expression, they are mired in opportunism by hiding their real program to get some privileges.
The Roundtable of Democratic Unity (MUD), has become the second electoral force with 2,162,193 votes (14.68%). It is an electoral front created for the presidential elections, made up of the traditional right-wing parties: AD, COPEI, MAS, CR [Democratic Action, Political Electoral Independent Organization Committee, Movement for Socialism, Radical Cause]. It has a social-democratic character, with some popular influence due to the populist tradition of the parties that make it up, which ran the country in accordance with the imperialist guidelines, with a facade of democracy, in the second half of the 20th century. For electoral reasons they concealed their “old” acronym to give candidate Capriles a new image, who tried to hide his relationship with the old politics, which represents the traditional importing bourgeoisie, the landowners and the petty bourgeoisie who enriched themselves during the AD and COPEI governments. They have an electoral structure but are also with a largely discredited.
Justice First, with 1,813,429 votes (12.31%) is the third electoral force in the country. It represents the most reactionary, fascist bourgeoisie, openly subservient to imperialism and with demagogic practices that have allowed it to penetrate popular sectors. Its leaders, with bourgeois and elitist roots, want to give an impression of youthfulness to those who reject the presence of the old parties. Besides, they seriously cling to the objective of ruling the country; they were the frontline actors in the coup of 2002, they maintain close relationships with the Colombian right-wing, without influence among the workers, they have been able to attract petty bourgeois youth and very reactionary sectors.
One and the other tendency has been accused of wanting to create situations of violence and fraud in order to disregard the election results and twist them in their favor, to create a sense of fear and to abuse the media. On the one hand Capriles’ candidacy took advantage of all the private media, including the international media; on the other hand, Chavez used the public and community media, with plenty of posters and billboards of both candidates, that focused their message on nationalist elements, the use of the flag and calls to resolve the problems of public service and personal security.
Chavez put forward a left-wing and democratic program, with allusions to socialism and outreach to the poor, while Capriles presented a right-wing, neoliberal program, disguised as “progressive” in particular to capture the petty bourgeoisie and youth through propaganda, with an openly bourgeois direction and misleading advertising to attract a certain mass support.
The right-wing opposition constantly played with the idea of its electoral strength, presenting results of opinion polls showing its position, some of them totally rigged, they even spoke of Capriles’ victory. This was to create in the population the idea of a virtual dead heat, in order to later claim fraud and justify any kind of action, driven mainly by the most extremist sectors of the opposition. They were torn between claiming fraud and calling its followers into the street to cause clashes as part of a plan to discredit the government, and those interested in reaching agreements with it, to get some benefits and to participate in the regional elections in December and municipal elections in April of 2013, taking advantage of their position.
Faced with this dilemma, some pockets of the most extreme right wing appeared in the streets of Caracas and other cities, particularly in bourgeois areas, calling for demonstrations with banging of pots and burning tires in the streets without any real support or impact.
The Role of Imperialism
It has been said that the U.S. and imperialism are interested in violently intervening right now in Venezuela; we think that that is not entirely true, since the imperialist powers get all the resources that they need in Venezuela; it is a secure supplier, in an area of direct influence of the U.S. and the EU; it is close and with plenty of oil that is available with great security. It would be foolish for them to risk these advantages with an adventure, as in 2002, threatening such a beneficial stability and increasing the price of a barrel of oil.
For the imperialists to open a new theater of war on a large scale in Latin America, which could appreciably raise the price of crude oil, is not a very likely option when the situation in the Middle East and North Africa represent a source of instability that is not yet controlled.
Besides this, the region is acting as an economic engine allowing it to withstand the challenges of the crisis and providing a breath of life to the transnational corporations that are accumulating massive amounts of capital in countries undergoing economic expansion, receiving their capital and giving them great advantages to exploit their labor power, wealth, and the repatriation of capital. These countries are the main source of raw materials, energy and minerals to sustain their battered economies; for these reasons there were sufficient grounds for imperialism not to take direct and violent action against the government of Venezuela in this election.
While it is clear that overthrowing Chavez through violent action is not a priority for the Obama administration at this moment, they will also not waste any opportunity to weaken him, organize their shock troops stung by their defeat in 2002 and test the ability of their allies in Venezuela to act.
The formation of the rightist alliance is not homogeneous; it includes extreme right-wing organizations advised by the CIA, linked to the Colombian paramilitaries and Cuban counterrevolutionaries, sectors of the importing, financial, landowning and merchant bourgeoisie, organizations with a fascist ideology, Social Democratic and Social Christian parties, rightists in decline, historically dependent on the U.S. and government resources, and smaller players, former leftists such as Bandera Roja that come from opportunist decomposition and are now in the pay of the right.
The Position of the Marxist-Leninists towards Chavez’s Victory
Chavez’s victory in this election and his continuing in government mean significant room to advance and strengthen popular gains and spaces for action by the revolutionaries. But one must be aware that it is a democratic government with a petty bourgeois leadership that vacillates between a left-wing discourse and conciliation. It is strengthening its nationalist conceptions and rapprochement with the bourgeoisie, with a large dose of charismatic authoritarianism and populism, Chavez has taken advantage of these to maintain the continuity of the process, to promote reforms and create a certain level of consciousness among the popular majority, who have gone from a very conservative position, following the AD and COPEI, to having left-wing, revolutionary viewpoints with socialist elements.
It is clear that the bourgeoisie will not stand idly by after the election; it will continue to promote actions to make the government retreat, to overturn the gains of the workers and the people, seeking negotiation spaces to weaken the advanced positions of the government and strengthen the influence of their ideology. For this reason one must combat the reformist illusions that claim that the socialist revolution is possible without destroying the bourgeois State; we must be consistent with Marxist-Leninist principles and move forward with the strength of the workers and peasants united to advance in the bourgeois democratic revolution toward the socialist revolution.
It is important to also assess the contradictions within the Great Patriotic Pole, the front that brings together the forces that support the government, in which the ideological struggle also takes place. The most petty-bourgeois and reformist sectors are trying to seize the moment to get the best results, to definitely displace the proletarian positions. They are trying to quiet the people, to put them to sleep with the promise of making the revolution without destruction of the bourgeois State by obstructing the forces of the revolutionary working class and peasantry.
It is foreseeable that the class struggle in our country will sharpen, that the confrontation of the bourgeoisie on the one hand against the working class and the peasantry on the other will deepen, while the reformists gamble on an equilibrium to maintain a good climate for their business.
The working class is becoming increasingly clear that only when it is organized, under Marxist-Leninist leadership, can it achieve victory over the bourgeoisie and imperialism beyond the elections. Therefore, one of our major tasks after October 7 must be to focus on fostering the unity of the genuine revolutionaries, the popular organization and the demand to be tough on the right-wing conspiracy, to advance in the nationalization of the enterprises and the expropriation of the landowners, to grant land to peasant collectives, mechanization of the countryside, and industrialization, central planning and workers’ control of production, accompanied by the strongest measures in the sphere of public safety.
In this sense our party is working to deepen the revolutionary action and organization among the masses; therefore we are making a call to be aware of the intentions of the most radical right, which aims to develop an agenda of violence and attacks against revolutionary positions. The revolutionary unity of the workers and peasants should be transformed into a force that allows for the expansion of revolutionary action, deepening democracy and advancing decisively towards the socialist revolution.
A new stage of transformations is beginning that is trying to consolidate the bourgeois democratic project, strengthening the role of the petty bourgeoisie and its thought, the military presence is becoming decisive to stop the most radical of the right-wing opposition. The popular demand for participation in political decisions and governmental administration is becoming increasingly evident. The role of Chavez as principal leader who centralizes decisions and assumes personal control of the way forward is being consolidated.
The Chavez government, in developing its policy towards the popular sectors, including the working class, is adopting progressive legislation with genuinely advanced measures. But in practice, when the sectors that would benefit from them demand the enforcement of their new rights, they clash with the bureaucracy of the bourgeois State and the timid actions of the reformist officials who see themselves overtaken by the magnitude of the measures that they themselves approved, which is a reflection of their petty bourgeois position. They are afraid that the advance of the working class will threaten their bureaucratic control and prerogatives.
Given this reality the government could open negotiations with the right-wing opposition to lower the level of conflict and agree upon spaces for interaction at the expense of popular participation. This calls for the necessary preparation of the revolutionary forces to avoid such a reconciliation and advance towards the achievements of the democratic revolution.
At the present time, the most reactionary Venezuelan opposition is consolidating its project among the masses, its ability to penetrate into sections of the people and to create a national bloc faced with the new electoral processes and a possible recall referendum in 2016.
“As representatives of the vanguard revolutionary class, of the only class that is revolutionary without reservation, without doubts, without looking back, we must put forward before the whole people the tasks of the democratic revolution, in the most comprehensive, most daring manner and with the greatest possible initiative.”
CC of the PCMLV