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Venezuela: Deepening or normalization of the revolution?

5. December 2004

For the fate of the revolutionary process in Venezuela the imminent danger of a counterrevolution by the traditional ruling classes against the nationalist and anti-imperialist government of Hugo Chavez seems to be secondary at the moment. What is becoming decisive now is whether the dynamics of the Venezuelan developments go towards a real transformation of the state to popular power or its reformist normalization within bourgeois institutional limits.

Since 1999 the old ruling classes (an alliance of the national bourgeoisie, the land oligarchy, a broad parasitic middle class and workers aristocracy – heritage of a petrol-financed corporative mass corruption – supported by US-imperialism) has put forward all forms of legal and violent counterrevolution. The central moments in their fight to bring down the Chavez government were the military coup in April 2002, the prolonged “oil strike” of December 2002 to February 2003 and at least the failed referendum in August 2004. In all these tense moments the popular masses supporting Chavez defeating the counterrevolution and consolidating the new government.

The recent departmental and municipal elections of November 2004 wiped out the anti-Chavez opposition form most of their remaining strongholds in the provinces and towns of the county (including Caracas) and led to a complete disintegration of the counterrevolutionary opposition block of the Coordinadora Democratica. The opposition is now openly divided into an ultra-radical minority that heads towards a Nicaraguan style armed Contra – as recently shown in the murder of the attorney Danilo Anderson who investigated the responsibilities for the April 2002 coup d´Etat and for several assassinations of peasant leaders – and a moderate, institutional wing that tries to find a co-existence with the Chavez government without striving for its immediate overthrow.

The strengthening of the popular movement at the same time has opened the lines of division within the Bolivarian block itself, between the institutionally orientated forces of the governmental coalition parties and the popular movement that fights for the deepening of the transformation of the state beyond the traditional framework of the bourgeois institutions. Currently the radicalisation of the popular masses against the institutional forces finds its concrete expresses in the fight against corruption and inefficiency in the administration of several municipalities and public authorities headed by pro-Chavez parties, the demand for implementing participatory democracy and popular control as previewed in words by the new constitution of 1999, the criticism against the appointment of candidates or administrative charges exclusively by and among the governmental parties without considering their legitimacy within the popular movement, the rejection of all intents of reconciliation with parts of the opposition, the fight for the nationalisation of the bank system and last but not least in the opposition against some repressive measures suffered recently by activists of the popular movement who destroyed a statue of Colon in Caracas as well as intimidations and persecution against revolutionary popular movements in some rural areas like Apure suspected to support the Bolivarian and anti-imperialist guerrilla of the Bolivarian Liberation Forces (FBL-EL).

Facing the readiness of a part of the weekened opposition for a compromise and the radicalisation of the popular movement, it is likely that the political forces that originally formed the Chavez coalition and which are bound to traditional institutional politics within the bourgeois state will pressure Chavez to stop a further transformation of the state. Chavez himself still maintains a position of balance between the popular movement and the state-bound coalition parties. This was revealed in the formation of the Comando Maisanta as a popular based force during the referendum substituting the Comando Ayacucho composed of the governmental parties. However a recent declaration of Chavez concerning the FBL after the assassination of six army soldiers in Apure (a crime of clear responsibility of rightwing paramilitaries, but immediately attributed to FBL by the reactionary opposition – while Chavez first denied to know about the existence of the FBL and their possible implication, to call for their immediate disarmament in a following declaration) gives reason for concern that Chavez fears to go beyond a project of social and political reforms from above towards a new state based on the organized masses.

Although the advance of the popular movement has produced a wide range of new mass organisations, still there is no unifying political force or national anti-imperialist front based on the multitude of popular organisations that could effectively impose the “revolution within the revolution”. Still the fate of the Bolivarian process strongly depends on the figure of Hugo Chavez himself, although the popular struggle already shows an independent dynamics going beyond the governmental politics in several issues and regions.

The Anti-imperialist Camp greets the important advances of the most combative parts of the Bolivarian movement in Venezuela, like the Movement of Popular Bases (MBP) winning a mayor in Alto Apure, and all efforts to form a national anti-imperialist front to fight against all forms of imperialist intervention, counterrevolutionary intents and for a deepening of the Bolivarian revolution against its institutional stagnation.

In particular we warmly greet the internationalist and anti-imperialist efforts of the MBP and other forces to convoke a Bolivarian Anti-imperialist Camp in February 2005. This will not only strengthen the anti-imperialist solidarity with the Venezuelan revolutionary and popular movement, but it will also contribute to make the big impact of the developments in Venezuela a motor for the building of an international front of resistance against US imperialism.

For the deepening of the Bolivarian revolution – popular power!
No compromise with the opposition, no way for reformism!
Against intervention and counterrevolutionary subversion – popular defence!
Solidarity with the Venezuelan revolutionary left – support the Anti-imperialist Bolivarian Camp!
Down with US-imperialism – Yankees out of Latin America!

Political Committee of the Anti-imperialist Camp
December 5, 2004