Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/281/24447

From The Socialist newspaper, 13 December 2002

Venezuela: The Great Oil Class War

VENEZUELA IS in political crisis as US-backed opponents of populist President Hugo Chavez continued a national strike to remove him. Three people were killed after a gunman fired on an opposition rally.

Dave Carr

Trying to resume the country's vital oil exports, Chavez ordered naval coastguards to surround oil tankers whose captains (defying their crews) dropped anchor in support of the strike. Troops are guarding state-owned oil installations at strike-hit ports. Chavez called on his supporters to "fight the great oil battle".

But this 'strike' (which probably includes elements of a lockout) isn't a clearly demarcated show of strength between the country's working class and the Presidency. The opposition is headed by the bosses' organisation Fedecámaras, most of the middle classes and their 'civic' organisations, sections of the military, and the labour bureaucracy in the leadership of the Venezuelan Confederation of Workers (CTV).

This bloc is also supported by the corrupt, rich 'oligarchy' which sees Chavez's constitutional and land reforms as the work of a 'crazed Marxist'. But Chavez is no socialist revolutionary. His reforms and therefore his popularity among the poor, depend upon oil revenues within a creaking capitalist economy.

Earlier this year, the opposition presented a huge petition to the National Electoral Council demanding a referendum to remove Chavez. However, the Supreme Court annulled the Council's decision to hold a poll, forcing the opposition to organise direct protest action.

While the opposition says 80% of the workforce heeded their strike call, the Labour minister reported that 80% of workers turned up for work on the first strike day and transport in the capital kept running.

However technicians, professionals and managers virtually shut down the oil export industry, crippling the country's vital source of foreign currency earnings.

The US State Department has called for "national elections as the only possible solution". Bush's government openly voices its dislike of Chavez and his 'non-aligned' role in the oil-exporting cartel, Opec.

Capitalist sabotage

The background to this bitterly fought class struggle is Venezuela's parlous economy. Like other south and central American countries, the downturn in the world economy and the collapse of stocks and shares on world financial markets has hit Venezuela.

Its economy shrank by a massive 10% between April and June this year mainly as a result of the ruling class and international financiers moving money out of the country.

Around $8 billion (equivalent to 8% of Venezuela's economy) was siphoned out of the country in 2002 alone. By some measures 85% of the country's 23.5 million population live on the bread line. Capitalism has failed and must be replaced.

April's failed coup gave a warning to the working class of the need to organise to prevent the forces of reaction succeeding.

Democratically elected committees of workers and the poor must be set up in the workplaces and neighbourhoods, with armed defence militias. Soldiers too should establish rank-and-file committees. There should be no trust in reactionary officers.

Above all, the workers and peasants must build their own independent and democratic movement and fight for a workers' government armed with a programme of socialist change.

After the failed coup

THIS APRIL, Venezuela's oligarchy, backed by the US administration, attempted a coup d'etat removing Chavez and installing a businessman, who promptly set about suspending democratic rights.

The coup attempt quickly fell apart when thousands of pro-Chavez supporters, mainly from poor neighbourhoods of the capital Caracas, marched on the presidential palace demanding his release.

Since then there have been huge pro- and anti-Chavez demonstrations, often resulting in clashes with police and national guardsmen.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 13 December 2002:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Blair's War on Public services

The Sleazy Blairs

For A Socialist Alternative To War


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Firefighters Are Determined To Win

Fees Headache For New Labour

Partnerships Bill: End All Discriminatory Laws


Socialist Party feature

60 Years After Beveridge Welfare reform - back to the future?

Tolerating prostitution?


International socialist news and analysis

Venezuela: The Great Oil Class War

Building The Forces Of Socialism Internationally


 

Home   |   The Socialist 13 December 2002   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Venezuela:

triangleA world in crisis, ripe for revolution

triangleBristol North Socialist Party: Venezuela - the battle to be faced by a Corbyn government?

triangleBirmingham Central Socialist Party: Venezuela - are the capitalists preparing a coup?

triangleCaerphilly and RCT Socialist Party: What are the lessons from Venezuela?

triangleHackney Socialist Party: Venezuela now, and its lessons for a future Corbyn government

War:

triangleCaerphilly Socialist Party: Are we heading for an era of war?

triangleComprehensive account of bloody conflict

triangleKurdish referendum declared illegal

triangleOctober 1917 reviews: 'More bright than any heaven'

Oil:

triangleMovement growing against fracking giant Ineos

triangleHurricane Harvey: A tragedy made far worse by capitalism

triangleTories and Blairites in pockets of big business: kick them out!

Strike:

triangleArriva bus drivers' action wins pay rise

triangle110 years ago: massacre at Santa Maria school in Chile - commemorate 21 December 1907

International

International

13/12/17

Israel

Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian conflict

13/12/17

CWI

A world in crisis, ripe for revolution

6/12/17

US

Trump's tax plan: Robin Hood in reverse

6/12/17

Ireland

Irish capitalist state: rotten to the core

6/12/17

Women

Fighting sexism, violence and capitalism - an international struggle

22/11/17

US

Trump's tax attacks

22/11/17

Australia

Australia: massive yes vote for marriage equality

21/11/17

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe: Mugabe gone - but his regime remains in power

15/11/17

Minneapolis

USA: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis

10/11/17

Minneapolis

US: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis

8/11/17

Sweden

Sweden: 'Revolution2017' success

8/11/17

Spain

Spain: Madrid rally celebrates October revolution

8/11/17

Minneapolis

US: Minneapolis Socialist chimes with voters

8/11/17

Ireland

Ireland: rail workers demand share of 'recovery'

8/11/17

Ireland

Ireland: dangerous ideas for the ruling class

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle16 Dec Blairite council 'all ears' to rich property developers

triangle16 Dec Arriva bus drivers' action wins pay rise

triangle14 Dec Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

triangle13 Dec Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangle13 Dec Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

triangle13 Dec Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangle13 Dec Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian...

More ...

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

triangle21 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Socialists and the National Question

triangle6 Jan Socialist Party national women's meeting

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2