Socialist Appeal - British section of the International Marxist Tendency: the Marxist voice of labour and youth.

The calling of constituent assembly and regional elections in Venezeula has been met with an escalation of demands for “regime change” on the part of the opposition. As Jorge Martin discusses, this is a critical moment for the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela.

The calling of constituent assembly and regional elections in Venezeula has been met with an escalation of demands for “regime change” on the part of the opposition. This is a critical moment for the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela.

On 23rd May, President Maduro announced the rules for the convening of the Constituent Assembly and at the same time he called on the CNE (National Electoral Council) to call for regional elections that have been suspended since 2016.

The CNE then announced that the constituent elections will be at the end of July and the regional elections (governors and legislative councils) in December.

The opposition National Assembly rejected the Constituent Assembly and proposed to call a referendum on whether "the people want constituent or general elections". With "general elections" what they mean is to hold presidential elections (whose date is not until the end of 2018).

The fury in the opposition ranks against this proposal was such, with all manner of insults and attacks on their leaders, that Julio Borges himself (president of the National Assembly) was forced to publicly to “apologize for the confusion” and the Mesa de Unidad Democratica (MUD - Democratic Roundtable) as a whole has adopted a harder line: the call for more street mobilisations and the rejection of both the constituent and regional elections.

Their call was for a massive march towards the CNE, last week on Wednesday 24th May. It will be another turning point in the insurrectional escalation of the opposition, whose leadership now openly calls for using article 350 of the constitution (which provides for the uprising of the people against an anti-democratic government).

In case there was any doubt, what the opposition wants is not elections, but the overthrow of the government by combining mass mobilisations in the streets, extreme violence by organised groups and insurrectionary actions (such as we have recently in San Antonio de los Altos and in the last week in Barinas, where they attacked and destroyed police stations, the town hall, governorate and private businesses among others). Of course, in pursuing these actions, they count on the backing of US imperialism and its local lackeys.

The opposition had been losing support in recent days, as a result of a combination of factors: the exhaustion of their own ranks after almost two months of mobilisation without results and the rejection of large sections of the population to their increasingly violent methods. Now they have the opportunity to re-regroup their forces.

Added to all this is the increasingly provocative role that Colombia is playing, following the Santos' visit to Trump, with the sending of armoured vehicles to the border and the growing noise about a "humanitarian corridor" (i.e. a foreign intervention).

The coming days will be decisive.

It is necessary to critically analyse the government tactics, and to be perfectly honest, these are wrong. The convening of the Constituent Assembly only made sense if it served to solve the two central problems that undermine support for the Bolivarian revolution and thus allowed it to increase its base of support.

On the one hand, there is the problem of the economic crisis; but the constituent is summoned with the idea of ​​debating a "post-oil economy" in which private property of the means of production will be respected and appeals are made, again, to private capitalists to invest. This is a failed strategy which will bear no fruits.

On the other hand, the problem of bureaucracy and corruption within the Bolivarian movement; but the election system for the Constituent Assembly makes it very difficult to elect candidates who really represent the revolutionary rank and file. The Assembly is elected in two parts, one which is territorial where one constituent is elected in each municipality regardless of population size. In the other, which is sectoral (workers, peasants, students, the disabled, pensioners, indigenous people and employers), deputies are elected on the basis of national lists with a high entry requirement for candidates to stand.

Our position remains firm: we are staunchly opposed to the insurrectional offensive of reaction and imperialism. If they reach their goal, overthrow the government of Maduro and take power, they will apply a policy of brutal austerity attacks against the working people, as well as a savage persecution against the militants and activists of the revolution and their organisations, and will suppress democratic freedoms. We will fight with all our might to prevent that from happening. At the same time it is our duty to point out that we are opposed to the government's policy, which in the economic field consists in making concessions to the capitalists and in the political field does not change the bureaucratic ways of operating that stifle and restrain the revolutionary initiative of the people, who are the only guarantee for the defense of the revolution. These policies lead to defeat.

The revolutionary movement must be prepared, by increasing its own organisation, its political clarity on the current situation and what is required, and also by creating its own means of self-defense in factories, workplaces and neighborhoods.

Only the people can save the people. Down with the offensive of reaction and imperialism! Defend the revolution by revolutionary means!

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