How can the right be defeated in Venezuela?

Interview with Alexander Marin, published on Socialist, by Eva Maria, March 4, 2014.

… Alexander Marín is a student organizer and member of Marea Socialista (Socialist Tide), a group working within the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), founded in 2007 by supporters of the late Hugo Chávez. Marín talked to Eva María about the nature of the protests rocking Venezuela, where they are headed and the state of the revolution today … //

… WHAT WOULD you say is the social character of the protests since mid-February? What motive or motives have pushed the people to go out to the streets?  

  • TODAY, WE are clearly facing an attack from sectors of the national right with the support of sectors of U.S. imperialism. The social base of these protests is primarily composed of sectors of the middle class and university students.
  • They are not taking to the streets for any specific demands; they clearly have a political motive, and that is to block the revolutionary process completely. This is shown by the development of these protests with the participation of groups trained for confrontation in the streets. These groups have set their fundamental task as seizing small territorial spaces within middle- and upper-class areas. In no way do these protests represent the working class of the country.

FOR THE most part, the U.S. media have portrayed the events as a definitive proof that Maduro’s administration is a failure. With inflation running at over 50 percent and the high levels of insecurity, everything is seen as the result of bad management by the government. What would you say are the main factors causing these problems?

  • IT’S OBVIOUS that with the death of Chávez, a crisis of incalculable consequences has opened in the revolutionary process. The political regime has been hit very hard by this, and it, in turn, affects directly the economy of our country.
  • Chávez transferred governmental power to Maduro, but the task of building leadership rests too narrowly in his hands as an individual. That’s where the central problem lies. With Maduro’s leadership not being consolidated, the capitalist sectors of the economy are putting up an extensive fight to regain control over oil revenues. This has generated the “economic war” that on the surface explains the scarcity, hoarding and the exaggerated prices.
  • Even prior to this crisis, the government has had the wrong approach, choosing measures that negatively impact the people. This reality has created discontent and a demobilization on the part of popular sectors that support the revolutionary process. At the same time, it has made some of them demand the government change course toward anti-capitalism, based on their experience of struggle; for example, as was the case with the autoworkers. [For more on this struggle, see "Venezuelan workers demand nationalization of automotive industry"]
  • That being said, as I was saying before, the protests we’re confronting today have nothing to do with this situation. It’s neither the workers nor the barrios who are protesting; on the contrary, the small groups who are in the streets today are the main beneficiaries of the political mistakes of the government. Their only interest is to recapture their full control of revenues to further the private accumulation of capital … //

… WHERE DO you think these protests are headed? What can happen?

  • THE PROTESTS are geared toward overthrowing the government. They may or may not succeed at this–it all depends on how people act in the revolution. My personal opinion is that these demonstrations don’t have a social base, and so the protesters are going to get tired. This is going to force the right to take new measures to guide the mobilization.
  • What’s clear is that the right is on the offensive–which is why we have to push for the government’s need to recover its support by taking a consistent anti-capitalist path. Negotiations [with the right] are of no use, and as long as Maduro doesn’t adopt measures in favor of the people, he might be opening up the possibility for the right to achieve its goal.

TO WHAT extent do you believe the United States is participating in these events?

  • THIS ANSWER doesn’t need much of an explanation. It’s obvious that the U.S. government is married to the idea of defeating the Bolivarian process. Its participation is clear–we have no doubt about that.

IT’S ALREADY been 15 years since the start of the Bolivarian Process, and a year since the death of Chávez and Nicolás Maduro’s assumption of power. How would you describe the current state of the revolution?

  • TODAY, THE revolution is at a crossroads. The participation of workers and the communities in the political struggle is necessary. It’s urgent that we adopt measures that are very different to the ones that have been taken. In 2012 alone, we lost $20 billion to capital flight, and a similar amount left the country in 2013. There have been problems with cash flow, and there’s a clear deterioration of the conquests of the years of revolution.
  • We need a revolution within the revolution, where we fully defeat sectors of capital and the bureaucracy. In Marea Socialista, we are convinced that this is possible–there is an enormous social base committed to the legacy of Chávez that, sooner or later, will assume a leading role to force the government to provide the necessary changes, as well as guarantee the continuation of the Bolivarian revolution.

HOW DO you see Marea Socialista’s role in the continuation of this revolutionary process?

  • OUR JOB is to transform Marea Socialista into a political actor of some strength. Otherwise, we won’t be any more than a needle in a haystack.
  • Today, we are successfully working in universities, workplaces and the community at large, and we are very pleased with what we’ve achieved, although not content. We know we still have a long way to go, and we assume this task as the sharpest and most absolute of our responsibilities. We have pushed for the creation of wide structures such as the case of Patria Socialista (Socialist Homeland), for fronts within the popular movements, etc.
  • Today, we feel that our politics are helping many to understand the situation and organize. We are convinced that revolutions are made by the people, not the vanguards. We therefore believe that the best role we can play is to become a tool for the people to organize in the political struggle to overthrow the bureaucracy and capital, and promote more socialism and more revolution.

(full interview text).

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