National Sections of the L5I:

To the comrades of the L5I from the Comite impulsor del artido de la Revolución Socialista

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It was very pleasant for us to receive your appraisal of the extraordinary political process taking place here in Venezuela. Despite the distance and differences in culture and language, you have made the effort to give an analysis in the best traditions of Marxism and Trotskyism.

We value this huge effort and feel obliged to take part in this exchange of ideas which you propose, which undoubtedly will result in closer relations and more political collaboration between our organizations at both a national and international level.

Before proceeding to express our opinions about your political analysis, we would like to tell you that this letter was written by the group of comrades which did not enter the PSUV, and who stand for the independence and autonomy of the trade union movement with respect to the state, the governmnet and the bosses, and whose task for the immediate future is the creation of a Workers Party (Partido de los Trabajadores was capitalised) and who identify ourselves as activists for International Workers Unity  Fourth International (Unidad Internacional de los Trabajadores  Cuarta Inernacional1).

Regarding Your Political Characterisation

After studying your document we found great similarities between us, which led us to believe that despite the tactical differences over entering the PSUV and the characteristics of the constitutional reform, which we will go into later, we have the same conceptual understanding of the political definitions of what is happening in Venezuela.

These similarities are important if we take into account that many of those groups which call themselves trotskyist and revolutionary do not share same analysis of the situation both you and we do. For example, here are some of the things you said which we agree with, and which mark you out from other groups:

a. That Venezuela is going through a revolutionary situation (we took it for granted that when you said that Venezuela is in a "prolonged and deep revolutionary crisis", that you were refering to a "deep revolutionary situation", different to the category of a "revolutionary crisis" which implies a power vacuum.

b. Regarding the bourgeois, left-bonapartist and not-revolutionary character of the Ch·vez government, which implies that the socialist revolution will need to take place in opposition to him and not alongside him.

c. Rejection of the idea that Ch·vez and his government can bring "21st century socialism"

d. That the success of the Venezuelan revolution depends on the creation of a revolutionary party which can lead the masses qualitatively beyond "Chavismo" and towards bolshevism. The revolution will only be successful if the workers, the peasantry, the oppressed and the exploited understand the need to expropriate the capitalists, domestic and imperialist, and overthrow the bourgeois state, replacing it with a workers state; and that therefore revolutionaries must build a revolutionary party, openly proposing an alternative to "Chavismo".

e. The need to be alongside the masses and convince them of the need to break with Ch·vez and to join us in order to fight for independent representations, revolutionary and classist, and capable of completing the revolution, avoiding both sectarianism and opportunism.

f. That Ch·vez has created the PSUV with the aim of controlling the revolution, avoiding the expropriation of the bourgeoisie and the creation of a workers state. Like you, we do not imagine that the PSUV, under the leadership of Ch·vez, will be an instrument of the revolution. He PSUV will never be this party!

As you can see, the similarieties regarding our definitions of the political situation in he country, the character of the government and the Venezuelan political regime, the role of Ch·vez and the PSUV and the necessity of building a working class party, are fundamental agreements and shared principals, which allow us and oblige us to seek further dialogue with you, to keep debating with you, and above all to look at taking part in united actions between our organisations.

After recognising that we have a similair analysis of what is happening in Venezuela, we would like to know how you view the dynamic of the government, as even though we do indeed agree that it is bourgeois left-bonapartist government or "sui generis" as Trotsky said, in that it rests on the masses in order to confront the US government, we also view the dynamic or the tendency of the government as ever more towards a classic bonapartist and even reactionary government, due to political compromises with certain sectors of the bourgeoisie and of imperialism (especially European, Asian and as represented by the US Democrat Party), and an increasing distance from the mass movement. We base this definition on the actions of the government immediately before and after the referendum defeat of December 2.

The question of the dynamic of the regime is vital, as the rest of the trotskyist organisations in Venezuela perceive the opposite, that the contradictions between the government and the imperialists are ever greater, that we can't discount the possibility of increasing political and military confrontations between them or that due to these upheavals that the Ch·vez government will find itself pressured to go beyond its programme, as happened with Fidel Castro and the July 26 movement in Cuba, which means that - according to the organisations - we should be beside the government more all the time, supporting its politics and defending it from its opponents.

Regarding this we are glad to know that like us, you think there is a distant remote that Ch·vez will follow the course of Fidel Castro, and that in the case of this happening, it would not be cause for celebration, as he would simply be repeating the tragic story of the Cuban revolution, which is something which obliges us to fight with all our force to prevent this situation from occurring, something which we can only achieve if we overcome the crisis of revolutionary leadership and build a revolutionary party to lead the workers and the masses towards taking power.

We hope that in a future correspondence you will tell us your appraisal with regards to the dynamic of the government and the regime, because as Marxists we think that to put forward the correct analysis we need to concentrate more on the and changes of and within a situation over time, before concentrating on a static photograph of actions and their characterization.

Regarding the Constitutional Reforms

In one part of your message you classify the government proposals as "contradictory", due to the fact that they mix progressive social reforms with measures to strengthen the bonapartist state.

This gives us the impression that you used formal logic, much like one would use in mathematics, to evaluate the reforms. We however said from the beginning that the reforms in fact liquidate many political and democratic gains made by the masses and attempt to increase the prominence of the reactionary bonapartist features of the government. In effect, we thought the reforms served to shore up capitalism, to put at risk national sovereignty and to serve the interests of the emerging boli-bourgeoisie, the bureaucracy, and the corrupt.

There was no socially progressive aspect to the constitutional reforms. There were promises designed to fool the workers and the masses, but none which would have materialized immediately after the referendum. Furthermore, despite the referendum defeat, the government could have implemented and could still implement those same measures using the special powers it has been granted, yet it declines to do so, which is undeniable proof that by including them in the proposed reforms, the government's intention was to fool the masses into voting yes.

This is an important issue to clear up, because the Constitutional Reform was not made up of negative and positive aspects, of sums and parts which cancelled each other out or made the whole thing "contradictory" as you argue. Those who analysed the situation like that ended up capitulating to the government, calling for a YES vote. Fortunately you were the exception, as despite the type of analysis which you used, you ended up endorsing our electoral tactic of a blank vote. It's worth pointing out that we also campaigned amongst the workers and within communities for a No vote and for Abstention because we thought it was correct to confront and defeat by any means necessary this anti-democratic constitutional reform.

We concluded then that with respect to the reform, we know that at the least there is a discrepancy between our characterizations, although fortunately we share the same tactic.

Regarding the PSUV

Clearly the most important issue we need to discuss is that of entryism to the PSUV. This tactic was discussed in a plenary of CCURA cadre in 2007, and in a meeting of the national committee for the creation of the PRS (revolutionary socialist party), which unfortunately led to the division of our organization.

For the sake of documenting history, we would like to tell you how in the plenary of CCURA cadre of January 8 2007, after an intense debate, the following resolution, which was put forward by our current, was approved, and that it was synthesized as follows.

• CCURA will promote the self-organisation of the workers and the masses and will take place in all the new areas and political arenas which develop in this country, whether these be communal councils, workers councils, popular councils or peasants councils. In all of this our current will defend the autonomy of these organizations and their democratic character, and we will present our political and programmatic positions.

• CCURA is actively conscious of the need for workers to progress from trade union activity towards a political battle ifor a socialist society under a government of the workers and the masses. In order to achieve this it is imperative to create a revolutionary, anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, democratic, socialist and internationalist party. With this objective in mind CCURA will take part in the construction of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), in order to promote among the rank and file this debate over its creation, its programme and its methods.

• CCURA will not dissolve itself as a current, rather it will defend its right to organise as a tendency within the PSUV in order to fight for its programme. We will fight against the parties which oppose the creation, we will fight for the PSUV to function democratically, for there to be no priveliges for anyone within it, and against the incoproration or internal or external participation of bureaucrats, capitalists or large landowners. We will make the maximum effort to collaborate with other groups which share our perspective and we will invite them to political debate in order to develop a unified programme.

• In the same way, we will defend those revolutionary organisations which do not want to join this project and we will not allow for discriminatory or defamatory campaigns to be launched against them.

Even though we had absolutely no doubt about the character of the PSUV as the party of a bourgeois government, we proposed these intermediary steps in line with the vision which our CCURA militants had of the government, in order to test the illusions which hundreds of thousands of working class, peasant and community-based activists had in the PSUV, and in order to accompany these sectors in their experiences of fighting for their interests through this organization, which they saw a political and organizational force for change.

In January 2007 it was extremely difficult to argue and to demonstrate to the masses that the PSUV was a tool of Ch·vez to overcome a crisis of traditional bourgeois institutions and not a party which could lead to a government of the workers, peasants and masses and create a socialist society. It was this standpoint which led us to adopt a "conditional" tactic which would allow us to act independently as an organized tendency within the PSUV and resist the entry of corrupt, bureaucratic, bourgeois or latifundista interests to the party.

Many doubted that this resolution which CCURA adopted was correct, but from our point of view it was the only policy and tactic which would allow us to accompany and be amongst the majority of CCURA comrades which were encouraged by Ch·vez's proposals and which had confidence that they could successfully fight within the party for the defeat of reformist and capitulatory tendencies.

These poltiics allowed us to confront those trotsko-chavistas which, since late 200, had accused us of isolating ourselves from the masses and called us self-proclamatory and sectarian, as the only group with the PRS project. This also made it clear that despite our understanding of the character of the PSUV, that we were prepared to accompany them in their experiences of struggle.

Thirdly, we were sure that sooner rather later, the true character of the PSUV would be made clear. This day arrived when in late March of that year, Ch·vez confronted the working class and its right to self-organisation, and made it clear that from the outset the PSUV would be strictly responsive to his designs.

Since this public act of proclamation, the actions of the government towards the working class and the masses became much clearer. The violent offensives against oil workers and public employees, coupled with the task entrusted to the Ministry of Labour to liquidate our organisation, were the first causes ofour activists reasonable doubts over the entryist tactic. Only the cadre of other trotskyist organizations ended up active in the PSUV, not the CCURA rank and file.

However there were other qualitative actions which helped the CCURA vanguard decide against joining the PSUV, seeing how this party has, since its birth, been tied to the most sinister elements within chavismo, representing the flowering boli-bourgeoisie, the bureaucracy, and many of the corrupt political elite in general. Also, hundreds or perhaps even thousands of counter-revolutionary forces entered the PSUV from the old Accion Democratica and COPEI parties, such as businessmen, large landowners and all kinds of enemies to the workers and the masses. Independent organisation was impeded and in its place the "Constituional Reform" was imposed on all aspiring militants: regarding this we have no more to add than what we have already said.

As can be seen, if the time for entryism into this party as you propose ever existed, it has passed, and in fact lasted less than even we had expected; we thought this window of opportunity may last for about a year.

In addition to all of this, what makes it even more unlikely that we will enter this party (i.e. beyond its use as a tool of a bourgeois government, its methods, its internal regime etc.) is that the organization, due to the direction it is moving in, was not able to overcome its first political challenge, which was the constitutional referendum. We consider this to be a good thing, as it shows how militants rejected the project of Ch·vez and the National Assembly.

The defeat of the constitutional reform and the beginning of a new period in Venezuela

We agree with you that the referendum defeat has opened up a new period in Venezuela. However in no way will it create confidence on the right. Quite the opposite in fact, as their policy is one of dialogue with Ch·vez in order to make a common front against the masses and the revolution which they so fear. For us this has been a victory for the masses which has prevented the severing of the democratic thread which has run through the Venezuelan revolution. This is the political background which the trotsko-chavistas refuse to recognize. For them the results of December 2 represent a victory for the right or some other set of pessimistic analyses which serve only to justify their capitulation to the government.

The reality is more how you describe it, that the masses are questioning the mayors, the deputies, the governors, and the leadership of the PSUV itself. Especially after the defeat of December 2, it would go against the state of affairs and open and honest politics to call for entryism into a party which has "grown" to 6 million members, but ended up being the party of those living off government subsidies, of bureaucrats, and of the corrupt. There is no progressive dynamic there, and even less so after the December 2 referendum defeat.

In the immediate future it will be impossible to fight any government proposals from within the PSUV. The political economy of the government has turned around, with liberalization of prices of basic necessities, and the government is punishing workers and the middle class by cutting the quota of foreign currency held by the state. This new monetary policy is geared towards a weaker currency and favours inflation, and throughout this situation the PSUV is diluting itself and is not seen as an alternative by militants and revolutionaries.

This does not mean that a mass rupture has occurred with Ch·vez or that we are now in the era in which a revolutionary party with mass influence will be built. We want to be sensible and very careful regarding this, but what is true is that this coming year will be characterised by struggle and by defence of workers rights and by conflict with the government, the bosses, the big landowners, and the corrupt politicians, and that this struggle will not be pass through the PSUV. That is our vision.

On the other hand we can see that a sector of the vanguard will position itself, as is already happening, to defend the independence of the trade unions and above to construct its own political tool to continue and the current revolutionary process. This is why we believe in the need for a workers party, not a party with a minimal amount of class independence, but actually a project of the working class, a mass revolutionary workers party which will identify itself with the needs of the masses and with revolutionary socialism, which has nothing to do with the projected "21st century socialism" promoted by Ch·vez. Due to all these considerations we do not agree with your assessment that this is the time for revolutionaries to adopt an entryist tactic regarding the PSUV.

Although we do no agree with your tactic, we want to note that your tactic of entryism in the PSUV is different to that of the trotsko-chavistas who did enter into that party, as for them the direction of the party is "in dispute", and for them it's direction, its programme and policies cannot be seen as counter-revolutionary, and therefore they do not want to destroy the party from within, which is the most fundamental aspect of the entryist tactic, in order to join with other progressive currents and leave alongside them in order to create real revolutionary party.

Vemos en sus posiciones una polÌtica genuina revolucionaria y no capituladora en su formulaciÛn del entrismo, distinta a las posiciones neo-reformistas y trotsko-chavistas. SÛlo que la vemos equivocada o desfasada en el tiempo, ya que ha transcurrido un tiempo prudencial en el que los trabajadores y los activistas han hecho una extraordinaria experiencia y le han propinado una derrota monumental al proyecto bonapartista reaccionario, burocr·tico y corrupto de la reforma constitucional impulsada por el gobierno.

We think your positions shows real revolutionary politics and not the capitulation disguised as entryism which is practiced by the neo-reformists and the trotsko-chavistas. It is just that we think your tactic is mistaken and stuck in the past, as a reasonable amount of time has passed now in which workers and activists have created an extraordinary experience and have caused a monumental defeat for the bonapartist, reactionary, bureaucratic and corrupt constitutional reforms proposed by the government.

Proposal

Like we said at the beginning of this letter, we see in your positions some fundamental similarities with ours, which we cannot help but notice and which encourage us to have dialogue and open and comradely debate with you, which will also give us the chance to test whether it is possible to advance onwards to common actions at the national and international level and, why not, even towards the creation of a joint international organization.

We leave these proposals in your hands and we eagerly await your comments.

We send you revolutionary and comradely greetings and we hope that your activities will be succesful.

Orlando Chirino, Armando Guerra, Emilio Bastidas y Miguel A. Hern·ndez

For the Committee for the creation of the Party of the Socialist Revolution

ENDNOTES

1 www.uit-ci.org