Paul Dobson translates a call by Venezuelan communists’ oil grouping CCTP-JF for workers to press on with the struggle
AS IN many countries with similar socio-economic and political conditions, elements of the fragmented Venezuelan trade union movement have historically been led away from defending the interests of the working class and have come to defend the interests of the bourgeoisie, both Venezuelan and foreign. Other elements have taken workers’ movements and converted them into yes-men for red-shirted ministers, leaving abandoned class-based struggles well behind.
Such examples of weakness, while not being the norm, have only encouraged reformist, opportunist and corrupt elements to increase their stake of power in the Bolivarian government, posing a real threat to the entire process of national liberation. The relative strength of such elements is dialectically opposed to genuine socialist advance and the empowerment of the working class.
As such, the Venezuelan Communist Party is successfully developing a policy of strengthening the class-based sectors of the trade unions, increasing the levels of struggle and combating the ills which have affected this vital sector of revolutionary advance.
The Communist-affiliated FNLCT front is represented in most industries, including in the key oil industry through the Movement of Class-Conscious Oil Workers “Jesus Faria” (CCTP-JF), just one of numerous groupings within the Unified Federation of Venezuelan Oil Workers (FUTPV) which represents more than 45,000 workers.
Jesus Faria was a communist leader of the great oil strike of 1936, when the Venezuelan peasants and fisherman first started transforming themselves into an organised proletariat.
Below is a statement made by the CCTP-JF at a recent aggregate with more than 60 union leaders present.
To the workers of the Venezuelan oil industry, to the trade unionists who support the Bolivarian process of national liberation we send fraternal greetings on behalf of the CCTP-JF, an instrument in the decisive struggle in defence of the economic, social and political interests of PDVSA (Venezuela’s national oil and gas firm) and in general in our oil and related sectors.
Our struggle is part of a wider fight of the working class and trade union movement to seize power for the working class and working people from the city and the countryside. This struggle aims to demolish the bourgeois state, overcome capitalist relations of production and construct a society without oppression or exploitation.
After 20 months of delay, elections have begun in the FUTPV. These should be used to strengthen class-conscious forces in opposition to the declassed sectors and tendencies, particularly those who place themselves directly or indirectly at the service of the plans of foreign imperialist powers who are looking to retake complete control of our natural riches, suppress our national sovereignty and liquidate the gains achieved by our people.
Without a doubt Venezuela is going through a heightened class struggle amid a deep crisis of the world’s capitalist system. On one side are the forces in favour of the strategy of neocolonial domination by the US and its allies in the European Union who, with the participation of the great productive and commercialisation monopolies, act aggressively towards our people.
Also there are the corrupt and opportunist tendencies who, from the state apparatus, attempt to find a “way out” of the crisis of the oil-dependent capitalist model by refounding the same model to the benefit of capital.
However, on the other hand are our working people, who resist the onslaught of neofascism and the inconsistencies of opportunism and corruption. The class-conscious, popular, patriotic forces struggle to save and deepen the revolutionary process.
In this complicated context we will have the FUTPV elections August 30. We call on all oil workers who identify with the revolutionary process in the union movement, despite existing differences, to unite on class and anti-imperialist principles.
We should present a truly unifying and revolutionary programme to not only beat the pro-imperialist right, but also democratise and transform the federation and all oil unionism, which should act in the service of the working class in the struggles to defeat social injustices.
We call on the workers to fight for an FUTPV which genuinely defends and strengthens the rights of the oil workers; which, together with the base trade unions, combats outsourcing and precarious employment which still exists; which opposes any attempts to reprivatise the industry; which makes sure that the contractual gains are fulfilled; which confronts the anti-worker and corrupt bosses; which struggles for dignified and adequate work conditions in all areas; which proposes a transformation of PDVSA with the workers in control so as to put it at the service of national sovereignty and social development.
In summary, we need a democratic and inclusive FUTPV, which acts with independence and autonomy from the private and public bosses.
The CCTP-JF, on the 80th anniversary of the great oil strike of 1936, the first and highest anti-imperialist action taken by the Venezuelan people led by the oil proletariat, calls on the workers to stop the federation from falling into the hands of those who work for US imperialism, the neoliberal right and those involved in the guarimbas (violent coup attempt of 2014).
We propose that class-conscious leaders be tasked with the national direction of the FUTPV so as to deeply transform it and make it a real instrument of struggle for labour conditions, for clear national liberation and the emancipation of the working class and working people in general.
For a union movement at the service of the working class and the people!
Neither fascism nor opportunism! Consolidation of national sovereignty and a deepening of the revolutionary process!