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False revolutions and real abuses of language



A specter is haunting the world, that's “Socialism of the 21st Century”, the development of which the “Bolivarian revolutionary” Hugo Chávez, president of Venezuela, is going in for. If it is surely necessary to dismantle the deception about the revolutionary aura that Chávez is fabricating for himself, it is equally important to examine a number of political positions which pretend to criticize Chávez on a genuinely revolutionary basis, but in fact only add another level of mystification.







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Written: April 2006

Last modification: September 2014

Printable version







Hugo Chávez and the "Socialism of the 21st century"

Inspirations and interpretations

Trotskyists in Venezuela

Some observations relating to the Russian Revolution of 1917

The illusionary perspectives of a dual power

The Venezuela-Cuba Axis

Venezuela and Cuba according to the Trotskyist point of view


Hugo Chávez and the "Socialism of the 21st century"

A specter is haunting the world. If it is not the whole planet, at least a microcosm of militants of the New World, who also drag in their wake others, on the Old Continent's side. That's "Socialism of the 21st Century", the development of which the "Bolivarian revolutionary" Hugo Chávez, president of Venezuela, is going in for. Only towards the beginning of the year 2005 he set about preaching fine words. Before, he had been subject to some wavering. As he had explained in 2002, in theory it was not possible to humanize capitalism, but in practice that was being done in his country. Here's what he said about it at the time[1]:

I think that, viewed as capitalism, as isolated economic system or taken outside of the context of other components like the social, the ideological or the politic one, pure capitalism, then, is not humanizable. [...] But in the Venezuelan case, with a government like this one, with a constitution like this one, with a people who has revived like ours, with a correlation of forces like that we have, yes, it is humanizable. I think that in these three last years we have touched it up more than once. We are in the frame of a capitalist system, we have not changed it, it would be lying to say so, [...]. Well then, these are touches of humanization inside the capitalist model. Sure, as a transitory stage.

More recently, H. Chávez has started to formulate ‑ by talking and as individual ‑ more clear-cut positions: "In the frame of the capitalist model, it's impossible to resolve the drama of poverty, it's impossible to resolve the drama of misery, of inequality[2]." Or else: "[...] the way towards a new world, a better and possible one, that's not capitalism, the way, that's socialism[3]."

If it is surely necessary to dismantle the deception about the revolutionary aura that H. Chávez is fabricating for himself, it is equally important to examine a number of political positions which pretend to criticize him on a genuinely revolutionary basis, but in fact only add another level of mystification. Before tackling this aspect, we give some useful elements to situate the context of the "Bolivarian revolution".

Like often, the word socialism here takes on no more than a purely moralizing meaning[4]:

We who want to go with Christ on the way of construction of God's reign here on earth, that is to say, of equality and liberty, let's go towards socialism!

While developing a discourse about economics, in fact H. Chávez limits himself to the question of the political form under which the system in place may evolve. The matter is not about revolution, but democracy, term to which is coupled the qualifier of revolutionary. "Revolutionary democracy serves as an instrument to go towards this new socialism, towards the socialism of the 21st century[5]."

Caring about propaganda, H. Chávez disputes validity of the concept of "third way": "Now, some people speak and have written much on the subject of the third way, capitalism with a human face. [...] no, it's a lie, it's a lie[6]." Yet, the substitute inspirations with which he nourishes himself are not valid either[7]:

Chinese have a concept and a theory and a strategic line which are very interesting, they talk about one country-two systems, that is to say, coexistence: on the one hand, socialism, communism, well then, communist China, Peoples' Republic of China, the republic of Mao Tse-tung, and on the other hand, they also coexist with some areas of capitalism ‑ one country, two systems.

Reality that goes hand in hand with these words is without surprise. Putting into practice of obscure and imprecise positions finds expression in collaboration with capitalists[8]:

Fedecámaras [Federation of Chambers and Associations of Trade and Production of Venezuela] has elected a new president, Mr. José Luis Betancourt, and he has declared [...] "We have to come to an agreement" [...]. Welcome to Mr. Betancourt, and to the businessmen of Fedecámaras, well, we will be going to discuss, we will be going to come to an agreement. We respect and will respect rights of all [...] like we expect that all respect everybody's rights. [...] here we have also seen [...] the president of Conindustria [Venezuelan Confederation of Industrials], Eduardo Gómez Sigala, here he says [...]: "We could coexist with socialism...". Businessmen who enter the fray, I welcome them and we are ready to discuss, to talk [...].

After all, H. Chávez only follows the lead of social-democracy. He conveys concepts in fashion with various experts in the bourgeoisie's service. Thus, referring to a book by José María Venegas, a Spanish Member of Parliament of the PSOE, "a good friend[9]", he explains[10]:

We cannot remain looking for traditional enterprises, we have to create a new business model [...]. [...] there is a highly interesting concept, for us who talk of oilfields, because this man [J. M. Venegas] speaks of employment fields, that we have to look for new employment fields, very appropriate a term. Just like we are looking for oil and deposits, employment fields the same. Where lies the employment potential for our people, in order to eliminate unemployment?

Inspirations and interpretations

H. Chávez likes talking, and going by his own sayings, he also spends much of the time reading. Thus frequently he refers to authors whose ideas he takes up. Let us see whom one finds among the mentioned personalities.

There is Viviane Forrester, "this good French friend[11]", an her book L'horreur économique (The Economic Horror): "[...] a good book, [...], I always recommend this book, each time I think of it, I even have it over here and from time to time I re-read it[12]." Then, a reference carrying more weight: István Mészáros, "a good friend of us, socialist[13]". To a question concerning "the alternative to present society", H. Chávez replies that "it would be audacity of me to retain a proper definition when I see acknowledged Mészáros intellectuals like and others who apply themselves to studying the subject[14]". In particular it is about the book Beyond Capital ‑ Towards a Theory of Transition (published in 1995), which, besides, H. Chávez has sent to Fidel Castro recommending it to him for reading[15].

István Mészáros, born in Budapest in 1930, studied philosophy there. He was disciple of György Lukács with whom he worked later on within the Institute of Esthetics of the University of Budapest. He emigrated in 1956 and at present resides in Great Britain. In 1970 he received the "Isaac Deutscher Memorial" award. He conveys the well-known anticommunist position according to which the Soviet State opposed to the working class[16]:

While in March and April 1917 Lenin was still advocating "a state without a standing army, without a police opposed to the people, without an officialdom placed above the people", and proposed to "organize and arm all the poor, exploited sections of the population in order that they themselves should take the organs of state power directly into their own hands, in order that they themselves should constitute these organs of state power", a significant shift became visible in his orientation after the seizure of power. The main themes of The State and Revolution receded further and further in his thought. Positive references to the experience of the Paris Commune (as the direct involvement of "all the poor, exploited sections of the population" in the exercise of power) disappeared from his speeches and writings; and the accent was laid on "the need for a central authority, for dictatorship and a united will to ensure that the vanguard of the proletariat shall close its ranks, develop the state and place it upon a new footing, while firmly holding the reins of power". Thus, in contrast to the original intentions which predicated the fundamental identity of the "entire armed people" with state power, there appeared a separation of the latter from "the working people", whereby "state power is organizing large-scale production on state-owned land and in state-owned enterprises on a national scale, is distributing labour-power among the various branches of economy and the various enterprises, and is distributing among the working people large quantities of articles of consumption belonging to the state". The fact that the relationship of the working people to state power manifested as the central distribution of labour-power was a relationship of structural subordination did not seem to trouble Lenin, who bypassed this issue by simply describing the new form of separate state power as "the proletarian state power". Thus the objective contradiction between the dictatorship of the proletariat and the proletariat itself disappeared from his horizon at the very moment it surfaced as centralized state power which determines on its own the distribution of labour-power.

I. Mészáros puts the "Welfare State" and the Soviet State on the same level, as simple variations of adjustment of capitalist system in crisis[17]:

The twentieth century had witnessed many failed attempts that aimed at overcoming the systemic limitations of capital, from Keynesianism to Soviet type state interventionism, together with the political and military conflagrations which they gave rise to. And yet, all that such attempts could achieve was only the hybridization of the capital system, compared to its classical economic form ‑ with extremely problematical implications for the future ‑ but no structurally viable solutions.

Beyond literary inspirations, some personalities have to be noticed who exercise a more direct influence. This is the case of Alan Woods, representative of the Socialist Appeal group (named like this according to the periodical it publishes) from Great Britain. This organization moves a current that calls itself “international Marxist tendency”. Among the other participants of the group one may mention Corriente Marxista Revolucionaria in Venezuela[18]. A. Woods has offered H. Chávez a signed copy of the book Reason in Revolt of which he is co-author with Ted Grant[19]. The intervention of A. Woods leans on that of Celia Hart, daughter of a former Cuban minister. Other notable link with Cuba: Marta Harnecker, born in Chile, whose parents had immigrated from Germany. She went to live in Cuba after the establishment of dictatorship by Augusto Pinochet. In April 2002, she met H. Chávez to take an interview. Later on she settled in Venezuela and started to play progressively an active role with the president. The saying goes that "she, just like Ignacio Ramonet and the Cuban ambassador, indulges in entering Miraflores [the presidential palace] beside audiences[20]". Among the advisers of H. Chávez one may further on evoke Heinz Dieterich Steffan, professor at the Mexican Autonomous University[21]. According to him, "Hugo Chávez placed himself at the head of World Revolution by defining as a worldwide theoretico-practical necessity the “invention of the socialism of the 21st century”, that is to say, a socialism “situating itself in the new century”[22]".

M. Harnecker is well placed to synthesize the politics applied by H. Chávez. In reply to the following question: "The insistence on socialism as sole way paradoxically appears at the same time as are undertaken efforts to incorporate the private sector into the economic plans of the government. Isn't this contradictory?", she explains[23]:

That's something contradictory for the classic view that has been current, of socialism as a society in which all the means of production must be in the hands of the State, eliminating private property at the root. In this classic view, emphasis is put on property and not on the control of means of production. When Chávez speaks of the socialism that it is intended to construct in Venezuela, he always clarifies that it is about the "socialism of 21st century" and not a copy of previous socialist models. The central point today in Venezuela is to come out of poverty. A little time ago, I heard a leftist youngster criticize the vice-president of the Republic as reformist, because he spoke saying that the main enemy was poverty and that poverty had to be eliminated, instead of speaking about necessity to eliminate bourgeoisie. What a blindness! What a dogmatism! What is the necessity to attack these private enterprises at present moment? These are merely radical slogans that have little to do with an analysis of the real situation. How come that this youngster doesn't understand that in order to come out of poverty, among other things, productive employment has to be created, and that the reactivation of private sector has been the main source of employment in the course of the last months in the country. Why doesn't he ask himself what is the reason why the Venezuelan bourgeoisie, which in the past entirely staked on the overthrow of Chávez, today is ready to collaborate with the government?

In itself the role played by H. Chávez, in his formal function of president as well as personage individually displaying action on social level, only has little relevance. The characteristics of the general situation in Venezuela are thus that there is no intrinsic link between him and a specific social class ‑ working class or other ‑ through an organized political force. The determination of circumstances in terms of class interests escapes him; after all, those stakes depend on others, be it the members of the government and more generally of the State apparatus on the one hand, and all sorts of political forces making use of him for various aims, on the other. Nevertheless, when H. Chávez takes positions an undertakes actions, this is of course not devoid of signification, if only by virtue of the efforts of propaganda brought into operation to present events as a revolutionary process.

M. Harnecker finds herself on the frontline in this respect. It is not without importance to mention that she was disciple of Louis Althusser during her studies in Paris, from 1963 to 1968, and that she published in 1969 a book titled The elementary concepts of historical materialism, based essentially on the specific interpretation of Marx formulated by L. Althusser. Here are some elements of the reasoning that develops M. Harnecker, as far as the nature of the "Bolivarian revolution" is concerned[24]:

If, speaking of revolution, one means the assault of power, the destruction of State apparatus and the adoption of drastic economic measures that expropriate the old owners of means of production, then without a doubt what is going on in Venezuela cannot be catalogued as social revolution.

But if, speaking of revolution, we mean a process carrying through a project that fixes in the first place the objective to have political power pass from one social bloc onto another and, starting from that point, to progress achieving profound transformations in all aspects of social life, and if we mean that the fundamental point of this process is to proceed by creating the individual that is protagonist of the alternative society that one tries to construct ‑ than yes, we can speak about the Bolivarian process as a revolutionary process.

These arguments have a manifestly defensive character. Other participants in the debate may follow the clue in a more offensive way, as for example Fernando Ramón Bossi, member of the secretariat for organization of the Bolivarian congress of the peoples, who is making a point of affirming the persistence of a link with the history of worldwide socialist movement since its origins (conceived, besides, in a completely eclectic manner)[25]:

Soviet model, social-democracy, Chinese socialism, Vietnamese way, Korean “Juche”, Albanian socialism, Yugoslav socialist self-management, socialist direct democracy of the Great Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, etc.; these are or have been concrete manifestations of socialism in the whole world. Original quests, experiences, ideas materialized in specific conditions and determined historical moments. All valid at the hour of being analyzed, studied and observed, but none apt to be imitated or taken as a model.

In principle, we will have to construct a socialism without ignoring the contributions of the great builders: Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Rosa Luxemburg, Antonio Gramsci, Lenin, Mao Tse-tung, Ho Chi Minh, etc. But fundamentally and essentially, with the contributions of all those who from our America have worked with all their forces for a non-alienated, autochthon socialism, rooted in the historical popular struggles, braving with imperialism and following the way of national liberation. [...]

Trotskyists in Venezuela

In the range of positions being defended towards the issue of H. Chávez by Trotskyists, the Venezuelan organization Corriente Marxista Revolucionaria (Revolutionary Marxist Current, CMR) has chosen a stance largely favorable to the regime in place[26]:

"Capitalism has failed. Hence, long live socialism!" This slogan, launched by president Hugo Chávez in one of the mass meetings he has held at the beginning of the month of March 2005, and the consecutive speeches in which in the course of the last weeks he has insisted in a repeated way on the fact that capitalism is a lapsed system and that we must progress towards socialism, towards a new socialism "of the 21st century", have acted as stimulant for the whole Venezuelan revolutionary movement.

We, from Marxist Revolutionary Current (CMR), have from the beginning of this process defended the necessity that the Bolivarian revolution should break with capitalist system and progress towards socialism, since this is the unique manner to resolve problems like unemployment, poverty, exploitation, lack of worthy, free and high grade housing, health and education. Therefore, we salute and support the positions affirmed by president Chávez and before all the fact that he has called for opening the debate about what has to be this socialism.

The CMR does not hesitate in establishing a parallel between H. Chávez and L. Trotsky[27]:

In our opinion, none of these models (neither the collapsed Russian Stalinism nor the pro-capitalist Stalinism that still today governs in China) are models that could serve us as examples. The socialism of the 21st century has to be democratic, with active participation of each one ‑ Chávez has said, and in that we agree. This phrase resembles enormously that of another revolutionary, Leon Trotsky, who precisely was the one who fought in the most decided way against Stalinist bureaucratic and dictatorial conceptions. Trotsky said: "Socialism needs democracy like the human body needs oxygen."

In fact, the manner in which CMR poses the problem ignores the necessity of overthrow of bourgeois power, as prerequisite for the construction of the State of dictatorship of the proletariat. According to the adopted perspective, the fact that H. Chávez issues some declarations would suffice, so that on the political level socialism be actually established in its principle, and now the matter would be about putting in place the conditions for assuring its integral development[28]:

Trotsky and especially Lenin [...] have posed a certain number of conditions to guarantee the construction of an authentically democratic and revolutionary socialism, of which we think they are applicable to the Venezuelan, Latin-American and worldwide reality today.

1. That all public charges (from the members of the government to the deputies, judges, directors of industries and public services, etc.) must account in a public and periodic form before revolutionary assemblies of the laborers and the popular sectors, and that they be eligible and removable at any moment.


4. All administrative charges and tasks should as much as possible be assumed in rotation by the laborers. "When all of us are bureaucrats in turn, in the end nobody is," Lenin said.

5. To this one should add the liberty for all political parties which do not conspire to overthrow the government and which respect the economic transformations, to freely present their propositions and candidates for the different assemblies.

It is these principles, then, that the CMR projects to put into practice (it is worth noting well that the last point, concerning plurality of parties, has been added by the CMR on its own account, at least if one takes as reference Lenin and not Trotsky)[29]:

It is fundamental to organize and impel committees in support of the revolution in all the factories, neighborhoods, barracks, universities, institutes... with direct representatives, eligible and removable at any moment, who coordinate themselves between each other on local, regional and national level to organize the defense in face of reaction, assuming the responsibility of guaranteeing the economic functioning of the country, as well as the plans necessary to cover the needs of the immense majority of the Venezuelan population, by expropriating bourgeoisie. Solely the organized, active an conscious participation of the working class and the oppressed sectors will guarantee an authentic democracy, that is to say the workers' democracy, and a worthy life for the majority of the population.

The fact that the capitalist economic system stays intact in the country, then is seen only as a limitation of the ascendancy of the revolutionary forces, which will have to been remedied[30]:

The organized people has to conquer all power, including the economic one. The main economic levers and motives of the country cannot stay in the hands of the treacherous oligarchy, of imperialism, in the hands of the enemy. They have to pass onto the people.

Some observations relating to the Russian Revolution of 1917

The recent events in Bolivia are revealing as for the character of Trotskyist orientations. This country is, in a repeated manner, the theater of popular revolts strongly influenced by the trade union movement of the mining sector. The bitter confrontations that have taken place particularly in September-October 2003[31], then in May-June 2005, arouse a profusion of comments from Trotskyist organizations, invoking a situation of dual power. Further on, we will shortly review a sampling of these positions. But in order to clearly lay down some essential points of reference supplied by the history of the communist Marxist-Leninist movement, here are, to begin with, some observations relating to the Russian October Revolution of 1917.

The latter had had as an antecedent the revolution of 1905, in the course of which a first experience of formation of Soviets had developed, as Lenin emphasizes[32]:

In the fire of battle, a peculiar mass organization was formed, the famous Soviets of Workers' Deputies, assemblies of delegates from all factories. In several cities of Russia, these Soviets of Workers' Deputies began more and more to play the role of a provisional revolutionary government, the role of organs and guides of the uprisings. Attempts were made to create Soviets of Soldiers' and Sailors' Deputies and to combine them with the Soviets of Workers' Deputies.

For a time several cities in Russia became tiny local “republics” where the government authorities had been driven away and the Soviets of Workers' Deputies actually functioned as a new state power. Unfortunately, these periods were all too brief, the “victories” were too weak, too isolated.

In February 1917, the revolution went farther. The Bolshevik Party launched a manifesto, calling for armed struggle against tsarism, for the creation of a provisionary revolutionary government. The battle thus triggered conducted to the overthrow of the tsarist regime. The driving force of this revolution was the proletariat, but by reason of the insufficient degree of consciousness and organization of the latter, from the point of view of class content, the matter was about bourgeois-democratic revolution: "Power in Russia has passed into the hands of a new class: the bourgeoisie and the big landowners who had become bourgeois. In this sense the bourgeois-democratic revolution in Russia is completed[33]."

The ulterior period bears the mark of this starting point, that itself is the outcome of anterior developments. In Russia, within the feudal system that reigned there during centuries, elements of capitalist economy progressively had constituted themselves, in the frame of an industrial sector and also in agriculture. Arrived at a certain stage, capitalism has assured its predominance, and the bourgeoisie took the power, replacing the feudal class. It is totally inappropriate to want to make an identical tracing, in present circumstances, of the revolutionary process Russia has gone through between February and October 1917. Today bourgeoisie since a long time is installed in power everywhere, right down to the countries dominated by world imperialism, even if more or less pronounced elements of feudal economy survive.

It is in this context that the period following on February 1917 is marked by a duality of power[34]:

The essential particular feature of our revolution, the one that most imperatively requires thoughtful consideration, is the duality of power that arose in the very first days after the victory of the revolution.

This duality of power finds expression in the existence of two governments: one is the main, the real, the actual government of the bourgeoisie, the “Provisional Government” of Lvov and Co., which holds in its hands all the organs of power; the other is a supplementary and parallel government, a “controlling” government represented by the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, which holds no organs of state power, but directly rests on the support of an indisputable majority of the people, on the armed workers and soldiers.


Another highly important particular feature of the Russian revolution: the Petrograd Soviet of Soldiers' and Workers' Deputies, which, as everything goes to show, enjoys the confidence of most of the local Soviets, is voluntarily transferring state power to the bourgeoisie and its Provisional Government, is voluntarily gives way to the latter, after having concluded with it an agreement to support it, and is limiting its own role to that of an observer supervising the convocation of the Constituent Assembly (the date for which has not even been announced as yet by the Provisional Government).

It has to be underlined that the characterization in terms of duality of power is not justified as a simple application of a scheme which could refer to any context whatsoever, where the proletariat would reach a relatively powerful position in the correlation of forces in face of bourgeoisie. It is only the particular manner in which events developed concretely, that conducted to a situation of duality of power, that is to say, the fact that on the one hand Soviets constituted the organized force that had defeated the tsarist regime and had let the provisional government seize the control, whereas on the other hand this government, though profiting from the support of the Soviets, by its composition and its politics, represented bourgeoisie. For sure, what was happening was the sudden appearance of a new power, that of the Soviets, but that was not done in opposition to a power of the bourgeoisie that would have been already in place beforehand. No, the presence of a duality of power resulted from a splitting in the interior of the forces that just had carried through the revolution. The perspective of Soviets, dating back to 1905, did not imply in itself that of a duality of power[35]:

 The highly original feature of our revolution is that it has brought about a duality of power. The full significance of this fact must be grasped first and foremost; unless it is understood, we cannot advance. We must know how to supplement and amend the old “formulas”, for example, those of Bolshevism, for while they have been found to be correct on the whole, their concrete realization has turned out to be different. Nobody previously thought, or could have thought, of a duality of power.

More than once Lenin insists on the particular character of the situation: "This extremely original situation, unparalleled in history in such a form, has led to a tangle, a mixture of two dictatorships [...][36]."

In the course of the Seventh All-Russian Conference of the RSDLP(b), held from 24 to 29 of April 1917, was adopted a resolution with a view to the revision of the program (this question was then debated at the occasion of the 6th Congress that took place from July 26 to August 3, and a modified program was adopted finally at the 8th Congress in March 1919). On this subject, Lenin states: "The whole program must be revised, since already long before the war, within the Party, it has been considered to be utterly obsolete[37]." Here are some passages of the resolution[38]:

The Conference considers it necessary to revise the Party Program along the following lines:


2. Amending the theses and clauses dealing with the state, in the sense corresponding to the demand for a democratic proletarian-peasant republic (i. e., a type of state without police, without a standing army, without a privileged bureaucracy), and not for a bourgeois parliamentary republic;


5. Completely changing, in very many places, the economic part of the minimum program, which is out of date, [...];


This minimum program in particular concerns workers' control and nationalization, as shows the resolution redacted by Lenin on this subject following on the conference[39]:

4. Workers' control, which the capitalists in a number of conflict cases have already accepted, should, by means of various well-considered measures introduced gradually but without any delay, be transformed into full regulation of the production and distribution of goods by the workers.

5. Workers' control should similarly, with the same prerogatives, be extended to all financial and banking operations with the aim of examining the financial state of affairs on its whole; such control to be participated in by the Soviets and conventions of bank, syndicate and other employees, which are to be organized forthwith.

This is not about demands towards the capitalist government, but about measures the execution of which the Party fixes itself as immediate target of the seizure of power. This is what Lenin explains for example in September[40]:

The Soviet Government must immediately declare the abolition of big private landed estates without compensation and place all these estates under the management of the peasant committees pending the Constituent Assembly's decision. These peasant committees are also to take over all the landowners' stock and implements, with the proviso that they be placed primarily at the disposal of the poor peasants for their use free of charge.


The Soviet Government must immediately introduce workers' control of production and distribution on a nation-wide scale. Otherwise, as experience since May 6 has shown, all the promises, all the attempts of reform are futile, and famine, accompanied by unprecedented catastrophe is becoming a greater menace to the whole country week by week.

It is indispensable to nationalize the banks and the insurance business immediately, and also the most important branches of industry (oil, coal, metallurgy, sugar, etc.); at the same time, commercial secrets must be abolished, and unrelaxing supervision by the workers and peasants over the negligible minority of capitalists who wax rich on government contracts and evade accounting and just taxation of their profits and property, must be established.

In another text dating from the same period Lenin tackles in detail the question of the minimum program. He rejects the proposition by N. Bukharin and V. Smirnov to suppress purely and simply the formulation of a minimum program and to state only measures corresponding to the direct transition to socialism. He emphasizes the necessity of a minimum program defining the first steps to be carried out after the establishment of the Soviet power[41]:

Take the minimum program in the political sphere. This program as such is convenient for a bourgeois republic. We add that we do not confine ourselves to its limits, and that we start immediately upon a struggle for a higher type of state, the Soviet Republic. [...]

The same in the economic sphere. [...] We all agree that among the first steps to be taken, the essential measures must be such measures as the nationalization of banks and syndicates. Let us first realize this and other similar measures, and then we shall see. [...] so long as there are even odds and ends of bourgeois relations, why abandon the minimum program? [...]

What founds the need to maintain a minimum program, is the fact that even after the seizure of power by the Soviets, it will not be possible to establish socialism overnight by a simple governmental decree, but it will be realized progressively through a period of transition, by means of measures that in the first time are more or less limited and partial[42]:

Is it possible to guarantee now that it [the minimum program] will not be needed anymore? Of course not, for the simple reason that we have not yet won power, that socialism has not yet been realized, and that we have not achieved even the beginning of the world socialist revolution.

Yet, though the matter is about a minimum program that does not in itself embrace complete edification of socialism, bringing it into operation nevertheless is linked inseparably to establishing the power of the proletariat and the poor peasantry as an indispensable starting point. This is what Lenin reaffirms time and time again.

May 1917[43]:

The systematic and efficacious implementation of all these measures is possible only if the power entirely passes to the proletarians and semi-proletarians.

June 1917[44]:

We assert the principle of workers' control, which should develop into complete regulation of production and distribution by the workers, [...]. [...] and we demand "the transfer of all state power to the Soviets of Workers', Soldiers' and Peasants' Deputies".

July 1917[45]:

The aim of the insurrection can only be to transfer power to the proletariat, supported by the poor peasants, with a view to putting our Party program into effect.

From this it emerges that the immediate measures figuring in the Bolshevik Party's program are not transitory as measures the application of which should be obtained progressively before the seizure of the power. They were not conceived that way, not even according to an educational proceeding where the Party would formulate demands in principle, utilizing the fact that they are not satisfied to show that revolution is necessary in order to succeed. Certainly there were acts of expropriation of land, encouraged and supported, besides, by the Party, but these merely were accomplished facts. In the same way, as far as the measures of workers' control, imposed locally on capitalists in the factories, are concerned, the matter was about remedying disorganization of the economy caused by the war; that is to say, they are set in a very particular context, that one cannot disregard when trying to learn the lessons from the Russian revolution.

The signification of the slogan "all power to the Soviets" varied according to the phases that revolution went through. At first, from February on, in the course of a pacifist process, it was necessary to work to unmask the nature of the government, which profited by the approval by the Soviets, within which the Party was part of the minority. "All the power to the Soviets" meant that they had to withdraw their confidence from the Provisional government, and to replace the latter, that is to say, to take the power directly in hand, in the name of the workers and poor peasants which they represented. But between this phase of the revolution and its outcome in October 1917, there was no linear and continuous development In July, the situation changed, all power passed, on the contrary, to the Provisional government representing bourgeoisie, and the Soviets transformed themselves into an appendix of the former. At this moment, the duality of power had ended in favor of the bourgeoisie.

The slogan "all power to the Soviets" then recovered a different sense. Repression pounced on the revolutionary movement and the Bolsheviks, whereas the latter gained majority in the Soviets. The Party then adopted as aim the insurrection against the Provisional government, in order that the plenitude of power in the country pass to the Soviets directed by the Bolsheviks. It was the Party, gone underground, which organized the struggle for this objective and carried it through, conducting the workers and the soldiers in their fight against the power of the bourgeoisie.

Thus, it is erroneous to establish, starting from this particular context of the Russian revolution, an universal scheme for socialist revolution, according to which the latter should transit through a process of "dual power" where the Soviets, conceived as future administrative organs, would dispute the field of State power to government in place and would progressively impose an alternative State machine, evicting little by little the existing one. Fundamentally, the act of seizure of power is the culminating point of the revolution, an event precisely situated in time, inter-linking point between two periods: that of struggle against the bourgeoisie in power and that of the transformation of society. For this victory, is necessary a sufficient degree of preparation and consolidation of organizational and material forms and means of struggle, which incarnate the power of the working class together with its allies, that is to say the force that it constitutes in the face of the class enemy. This role, the Soviets accomplish it, in the course of the ultimate stage of the march towards revolution; by the victory of insurrection, they become the basis of the new State power. Here is what Lenin writes, already in 1915[46]:

The Soviets of workers' deputies and other analog institutions must be considered as insurrectionary organs, as organs of the revolutionary power. It is only in linkage with the development of the political mass strike and the insurrection, and as the latter will be prepared, will develop itself and win successes, that these institutions can be really useful.

In effect, on October 25 (November 7) the Bolshevik Party published a call "To the citizens of Russia", announcing that the bourgeois Provisional government had been deposed, that State power had passed onto the Soviets. The 2nd Soviet Congress endorsed this declaration and constituted the first Soviet government, the Council of people's Commissars. The latter was entirely formed by Bolsheviks, Lenin was elected its president. The congress discussed and approved the Party's platform. The latter's essential points were those of the minimum program: confiscation of all the land in the country, nationalization of banks, nationalization of big industry, workers' control over production and distribution.

Also, the letter addressed by Lenin to the members of the Bolshevik Party's Central committee on October 24, 1917 shows the characteristics of the situation on the eve of revolution[47].

The illusionary perspectives of a dual power

On an international level, the positions propagated by the CMR as well as other representatives of Trotskyism in Venezuela profit by some lenient supports, for example on behalf of the Revolutionary Communist League (LCR) in France, but most of the Trotskyist groups, particularly in Latin America, criticize them, amongst others qualifying them as centrist and reproaching them for being adapted to the reformist politics of the government. Now, the arguments employed to establish a differentiation with respect to the attitudes judged too much in favor of H. Chávez, go hand in hand with analysis that are not distinguishable fundamentally from the ones criticized.

Originally, the positions of Trotskyist organizations are based on the "transitional program" drawn up by Leon Trotsky with a view to the founding conference, in September 1938, of the "Fourth International". This reference is recalled regularly, including at the occasion of texts concerning concretely the present situation in Bolivia. Thus one can read for example: "We emphasize the necessity of the program of transitional demands, based on the method of the founding program of the 4th International, which links the immediate struggles to the systematic mobilization of the masses for socialist revolution[48]." Or else: "Fighting back the capitalist attack requires workers to set up mass organizations to fight for workers' demands. The guidelines provided by the Transitional Program remain valid today in this respect also[49]."

In practice the matter is mainly, in the economic sphere, about measures of nationalization and workers' control, in different forms. One comes upon the formula of workers' control, associated with occupation as well as nationalization: "[...] workers' control of the banking system, industry and transports altogether [...][50]"; "[...] occupation of factories and the workers' management [...][51]); "[...] occupation of any factory that closes or sacks workers, and its functioning under workers' control, requiring its expropriation[52]"; "[...] nationalization without indemnification of the banking system, under control by the laborers [...][53]"; "[...] occupation of mines and oil fields and refineries, for their nationalization without indemnification [...][54]". Moreover, there is the idea of publicity of bookkeeping information: "[...] opening of bookkeeping documents of the State enterprises and the private ones, for control by the trade unions [...][55]"; "[...] abolition of commercial secret [...][56]". All these programmatic prescriptions place themselves in the perspective of an application imposed on the government in place, rather than that of anticipation of an imminent seizure of power.

The objective that underlies these demands is double. In accordance with the cited analysis, on the one hand they are meant to imply a questioning of capitalism. "[...] the process [...] of occupation of factories and of workers' management [...] showed an independent reply to the capitalist crisis[57]." "The process of factory occupations and workers' administration [...] challenges capitalist property directly [...][58]." On the other hand, this is meant to unfold a process of preparation for socialism. "On the basis of the experience of workers' control, the laboring class will prepare itself for direct administration of the nationalized industry, when the moment will come[59]." "Workers' control or direct labor administration in nationalized companies will thus be a school for socialist control and administration, educating workers in those issues hitherto in the hands of the bosses [...][60]."

Here is a citation representative of the confusion maintained between the period before the seizure of power and the one after (worth noting in particular, the notion of “non-capitalist state”)[61]:

But the slogan of the nationalization of those enterprises [the banks and key corporations] [...] is connected to a string of anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist demands ‑ i.e. a program that only a workers' government could make good of. So, this is a demand for nationalization of a non-capitalist state on the grounds of a revolutionary mass struggle. [...] Be it state-owned, private or else transitorily self-managed, a factory under workers' control can be an effective lever only if it orients itself to spreading the movement and challenges capitalist power altogether.

Passing from the economic level to the political one, one may note that there are different shades in the used formulations. Some consider the formation of an assembly. "All power to a Popular assembly with deputies elected and removable by the workers' and peasants' organizations[62]." "[...] the Autochthon National Popular Assembly is a historical element and constitutes the root of a popular power that has to be the government of the majorities [...][63]." Others privilege organizations in working place. "[...] we need to fight for purpose-built organizations gathering the most oppressed masses, which are only drawn into the fight when the workers' movement goes decisively on the offensive: strike committees, unemployed committees, factory committees, and finally, soviets. [...] boldly fight for building factory committees elected by all the workers, [...] growing into a true dual power at the workplace [...][64]. To this is added the question of armament. "Arming of the laboring people. Creation of workers' and popular militias[65]." "[...] the arming of the toiling masses, through the organization of workers' militias [...][66]."

This general vision concretizes itself concerning the events of 2003 in Bolivia by analyses in terms of "dual power". Some go so far as to affirm that the situation then was ripe for overthrowing the bourgeoisie: "The situation was ripe not simply for throwing away one puppet so that imperialism replace it by another, but rather for overthrowing capitalists and establishing a workers' and peasants' government (proletarian dictatorship)[67]." Others are more prudent. "Politically, in these uprisings stood out the popular assemblies that were the political form of communal dual power [...]. The uprisings emphasized elements of civil war at the “margins” of the country [...]. [...] The very most they represented was a sort of self-determined “commune” that grouped the whole of the social sectors in the popular assembly, being ruled by the logic of direct civic democracy, that is to say “one man, one vote”[68]."

For lack of anything better, the idea of a dual power then clings to limited phenomenon and mingles the question of power with that of the degree of violence marking the confrontations. "[...] the heroic resistance of the people [...] confronting the army and the police with stones and sticks [...], accelerated the political and organizational ripening of the masses (general strike, local juntas as organisms of dual power, destruction of police stations, etc.)[69]." This is a constant characteristic of Trotskyists positions. Let us cite as an example an appreciation given in 1998 about Russia. "A revolutionary situation is approaching in Russia [...]. The economic crisis, the wear of Yeltsin, the miners' strike (which had as main slogan “Down with Yeltsin” and moreover presented elements of dual power like the control of the passage of the Trans-Siberian railway by the strikers) are marks of a new political situation which is in embryo in the country[70]."

Yet, in the frame of the Trotskyist positions, the fact that they admit the more or less pronounced degree of these limitations does not change the vision on substance, since the essential, in accordance with the latter, resides in the dynamics related to developing the organization of the laboring masses. To sum up in a prosaic manner: the important is that things move. Just as workers' control in the economic sphere, the partial exercise of political power constitutes a preliminary progressive preparation, that should have reached a certain level before the seizure of power[71]:

The struggle for a new state entails a tendency to do away with the social division of labor, relying on the active participation of millions in the administration of the State and raising the cultural level of the masses of the population. Only by proceeding along these lines will the proletariat become a ruling class, i.e., as a conscious subject aware of its own destiny. But those remarkable premises are not created overnight, they must be set out on the eve of the revolution, and blossom through experience, having been fertilized by the practical and political education provided by the revolutionary organizations in previous stages. Above all, they must pass the crucial tests of political power before the revolution unfolds, during the phase of dual power, by taking over the factories, organizing food distribution, organizing self-defense. In this process, workers will opt for a program and a strategy they regard as the most accurate ones for the development of the revolutionary perspective. Without this previous experience, a workers' government might as well become a wretched caricature that might succumb to the rule of a bureaucracy standing well above the interests of labor.

The construction of the vanguard party of the working class is seen only as accessory element. It is not through the Party that the working class constitutes for itself a general staff capable of determining and putting into practice the revolutionary program. No, the Party only assembles in addition to broader structures. Formulations in this respect are eloquent. "[...] the necessity of a political instrument of the workers, based on the trade unions and with workers democracy, for the political independence of the proletariat [...][72]." "[...] we aspire to fight for a political regrouping of the vanguard that would be enormously amplified and accelerated by the emergence of a popular assembly, a coordination or some other organizational form of dual power. [...] We want that rises the “party of the popular assembly and of the government of workers, peasants and autochthons”[...][73]."

This conception finds its direct expression in the fact of pushing leaders like Evo Morales to assume government. It has many points in common with an approach that, in Venezuela, is in fact already put into practice here and now by those who support H. Chávez in the name of a certain governmental program[74]:

We say that the laborers of the lands and the towns are those who should govern. That is to say [...] the laborers and the people organized in the COB [Central Obrera Boliviana ‑ Bolivian Workers Central] with at its head their leaders, Solares, Evo, Loayza and “the Mallku” [Felipe Quispe]. For that, the fundamental task, together with the overthrow of the government, is to organize the seizure of power by the COB, so that it replaces the government. [...]

We demand from the majority directions of the COB, from Solares, Evo, “the Mallku”, Loayza, that they break with bourgeoisie and that they struggle, now, for this workers and peasants class prospect [...].

The Venezuela-Cuba Axis

Beyond Venezuela, H. Chávez endeavors to give an impulse to a tight association between the States of the Latin-American continent.

On November 25‑27, 2003, was held in Caracas, in Venezuela, the First Bolivarian Congress of the Peoples[75], with the participation of organizations from 20 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, in particular the Partido Comunista de Cuba (Communist Party of Cuba, PCC) and the Movimiento Quinta República (Fifth Republic's Movement, ‑ the president Chávez' party). This Congress of the Peoples had been preceded by an encounter more specifically bringing together peasant organizations, the First International Encounter of Resistance and Solidarity of Indigenous and Peasant Peoples[76], held on October 11‑14, 2003, in Caracas as well. The text convening to that encounter ends with the following slogan: "Globalize the fight! Globalize the hope[77]!"

On the occasion of a visit to Uruguay, made on August 18, 2003, at the invitation by the Asociación Latinoamericana de Integración (Latin American Integration Association, ALADI), H. Chávez announced the project to give an impulse to the constitution of a regional regrouping referred to as Alternativa Bolivariana para las Américas (Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, ALBA). The final declaration of the Congress of the Peoples, mentioned above, integrates this proposition[78]. In the political sphere, this perspective of regrouping is addressed particularly to the organizations participating in the Săo Paulo Forum (an annual encounter that since 1990 associates "left-wing organizations, parties and fronts of Latin America and the Caribbean[79])"), above all to the Communist Party of Cuba. The orientation assumed by the Congress of the People is directed explicitly in this sense[80]:

Ratification of the defense of the Cuban revolution and the Bolivarian revolution clearly appears. Together with continental integration, the consolidation of these processes stakes the fate of Latin American revolution. If the revolutionary struggle continues being essentially internationalist, we consider as appropriate and necessary the initiative formulated by the president Hugo Chávez in favor of the creation of a “Revolutionary Democratic International” that articulates the anti-imperialist struggle with the struggle for socialism.

This is how the two main protagonists multiply the exchanges of amiability.

H. Chávez[81]:

Fidel Castro now is Christian, but, I make it clear ‑ always I make it clear to say things as they are ‑, he said to me: "Chávez, I'm Christian but in the social sphere", I said to him: "That suffices for me, that suffices for me like that", Christian in the social sphere.

Abel Prieto, minister of Culture of Cuba[82]:

I think that each people of Latin America will find its path. One of the things we are convinced of in Cuba, is that, what is named “the future society”, be it called “socialism” or otherwise, whatever one prefers ‑ we call it socialism, directly ‑, people will reach it by very different paths.

H. Chávez[83]:

Fidel Castro said on a certain occasion: "You, over there in Venezuela, the struggle for justice, for equality and for liberty, you call it Bolivarianism. Here, we call it socialism." Actually, the matter is not about how it is being called though the name defines it. The Bolivarian ideology is supported by revolutionary, social, humanist, egalitarian principles.

The wonder about the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela gives in particular a renewed vigor to the fervor of solidarity with the Cuban regime. In fact the matter is about an attitude taking the opposite course to the propaganda by US imperialism on the subject of the Cuba-Venezuela Axis. The resolutely hostile politics of the USA towards Cuba is well known. Since several years, it often associates Venezuela to it. One may cite the letter addressed to president George Bush by Henry J. Hyde, president of the Committee on International Relations of the House of Representatives, on October 27, 2002, in which he refers to Cuba, Brazil and Venezuela as a potential "axis of evil" in America[84]. Another example, Otto J. Reich, who has been part of President Bush's team between 2001 and 2004, first as assistant secretary of state for the Western Hemisphere, than as Special Envoy to the Western Hemisphere for the Department of State, and who also holds a position at the direction of the Western Hemispheric Institute for Security Cooperation (formerly School of the Americas). Besides, he heads his own international government-relations firm in Washington. He writes[85]:

[...] our most pressing specific challenge is neutralizing or defeating the Cuba-Venezuela axis. With the combination of Castro's evil genius, experience in political warfare, and economic desperation, and Chávez's unlimited money and recklessness, the peace of this region is in peril.


 The first task of the U.S., and whatever coalition of the willing it can muster in the region, is to confront the dangerous alliance posed by Cuba and Venezuela. Chávez's misappropriation of Venezuela's extraordinary oil wealth, and his willingness to subordinate the nation's sovereignty to Castro's ambitions, is emboldening anti-American movements that only a few years ago were weak, broke, and demoralized. [...]

And if the new leaders are like Brazil's Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, we can be equally calm since, to date, Lula, as he is known, has governed without violating any political or economic rights of Brazilians. [...]

The real danger to regional peace and stability today does not emanate as much from those relatively new democratically elected presidents as it does from two demagogues who have been around a while longer: Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez. The emerging axis of subversion forming between Cuba and Venezuela must be confronted before it can undermine democracy in Colombia, Nicaragua, Bolivia, or another vulnerable neighbor.

In a symmetrical manner, with the opponents to American imperialism, this association between Cuba and Venezuela is widespread, too. For example: "[...] it is the American consensus that dominates the world (with the single exception of Cuba and, partially, Venezuela)[86]." And the perspective of continental integration is taken up by the Trotskyist movements under the form of the slogan "for a Latin American federation of workers' republics[87]", "the Socialist United States of Latin America[88]". The deceptive triumphalism is particularly marked with those who in Venezuela follow in the wake of the regime. Here is how the CMR paints the picture[89]:

All these processes that take place on the continent and the Cuban and the Bolivarian revolutions exercise reciprocal influence, nourishing each other mutually, in return. A victory in Cuba or in Venezuela converts itself into a spur for struggle for the rest of Latin American peoples, and the same occurs in the other sense. This is why the defense and the deepening of the reference point that the paradigm of the Cuban and Venezuelan revolutions constitutes, are a first-rate task for the revolutionaries of the continent and the whole world.

A triumphant revolutionary tide in Latin America, resulting in the formation of a Latin American federation of socialist republics, would have positive effects of incalculable proportions with the laboring classes of the rest of the Third World, of Europe, of the United States. The seeds of this tide are found today in the homelands of Bolívar and Martí, hence the importance that holds caring for these two revolutionary processes and their increasing integration.

Venezuela and Cuba according to the Trotskyist point of view

The Trotskyist's analysis concerning Venezuela take up the theme of workers' control. "Starting from workers' control, and therefore the occupation of factories, a dual power will be developing, in reference not only to the conspiring bourgeoisie but to government itself[90]." Even more than in the case of Bolivia, there is a marked gap between the real situation in which the occupations of factories are set, and the theoretical interpretation noticing elements of dual power there. Yet, including those who reject the demand of joint management put forward by the CMR, hold as perspective a process of workers' control as a substitute to political revolution: "[...] the option of workers' control, which is a proletarian politics, [...] revolutionary alternative in opposition to joint management[91]."

Some adopt a relatively critical position about the government and exhibit orientations in appearance more radical than others, but the demands, under the pretext of being transitional, nonetheless remain in the frame of the established regime. Simply, as far as H. Chávez is concerned, there are two varieties of supporters: the unconditional ones and the grumblers.

One may observe various manners of camouflaging the absence of direct opposition towards H. Chávez. One way or another, they consist in dodging the question. Thus sometimes subject is simply being changed by treating the question of Chávez as secondary. "The claims and demands in relation with the present situation must not have as aim the pressure on chavism as strategic objective, but the formation of a workers vanguard and a revolutionary party[92]." Or the headlong rush as regards the formulation of the demands is used to go ahead of Chávez: "Demand breach of relations with the IMF and call for a continental movement against the AAFTA, the IMF and for the non-payment of the foreign debt as a way of advancing towards the real socialist integration of Latin American continent[93]." Including on the organizational level, the justification of the objectives preferably shelters behind the attitude of defense of the regime: "[...] put an impulse to the most ample auto-organization of the masses [...], including the necessity of their arming, to confront the coup d'état[94]."

Fundamentally, it is the process of the Cuban revolution that serves as an archetype for what, in accordance with Trotskyists, should occur in Venezuela, Chávez taking the place of Castro. The parallel drawn clearly emerges from the manner how Trotskyists interpret the events that have taken place in Cuba between the seizure of power and the official proclamation of socialism.

All the elements are there. At first, as far as Cuba is concerned, the starting point is an anti-imperialist democratic revolution that in no way declares itself socialist. "It was a democratic revolution which, under the pressures from imperialism and big capital, was going to take radical measures and expropriated the capitalists[95]." Are evoked positions taken by F. Castro dating from 1959, that actually recall the Chávez from before the socialism of 21st century. F. Castro said: "Democracy is my ideal, but many people call democracy things that aren't democracy [...]. I'm not communist, I don't agree with communism [...] democracy and communism aren't the same for me[96]."

So, progressing in the exposé of events, one comes to the next stage. "[...] caught in a pincer movement between the imperialist pressure and the revolutionary awakening of the mass movement [...] the Cuban process comes out to the birth of the first workers' state of Latin America[97]." But it is not, for all that, considered that this revolution had been conducted under the direction of the working class. "The Cuban working class arrives at revolution as a component among others of the bloc of social forces placed under the hegemony of the middle classes[98]." Nevertheless, it manages to play a preponderant role. "The direction of the M-26 [F. Castro's movement] [...] forced to adapt itself to the new relation of forces, placed in the impossibility to carry through its program, has to assume as its own the program of the working class[99]."

Here we will not analyze these events, situated in the particular context of the nineteen-sixties and seventies. One notes however that through the schema of permanent revolution and transition program, Trotskyists propagate an orientation seeming radical but that in reality follows social-democracy and reformism. The applied reasoning suggests that H. Chávez, like F. Castro, pushed by the invisible hand of permanent revolution, gets involved in the construction of socialism. It is quite true that his politics aims at gaining scope vis-ŕ-vis American imperialism and that, for this, he tries to get the support of the popular masses. But nothing in present concrete reality indicates that one may count on him to go the way towards socialism, on the contrary.

Besides, after having seen in the first period of F. Castro's regime a dynamics of progress towards socialism, Trotskyists are brought to interpret the ulterior politics of F. Castro from a negative angle. The same schema then is invariably applied: transitional demands are to be opposed to the regime. In the first place comes the demand of plurality of parties: "legality for all the parties that say they defend the principles of socialist revolution[100]"; "legality for the currents that defend the revolution[101]"; "[...] the passing of the economic and politic decisions (the real power) into the hands of the workers organizations [...][102]". In the same way, the perspective of workers' control is applied here as ever: "right to workers' control over the national and private industries[103]"; "the workers [...] must have the right to control and decide over all the vital questions of production and supplying, in the factory and nationally[104]".

One sees that following close to the Trotskyist's heels, the workers' movement would condemn itself to make no headway, at least to go round in circles, certainly to the great satisfaction of bourgeoisie. This stating refers to the proper context of Venezuela and Cuba. However, the particular positions evoked are conforming to the basic orientations of Trotskyism. To analyze more lengthily this question would go beyond the frame of this text. We will content ourselves in citing the following point of the "transitional program"[105]:

Under the menace of its own disintegration, the proletariat cannot permit the transformation of an increasing section of the workers into chronically unemployed paupers, living off the slops of a crumbling society. The right to employment is the only serious right left to the worker in a society based upon exploitation. This right today is left to the worker in a society based upon exploitation. This right today is being shorn from him at every step. Against unemployment, “structural” as well as “conjunctural,” the time is ripe to advance along with the slogan of public works, the slogan of a sliding scale of working hours. Trade unions and other mass organizations should bind the workers and the unemployed together in the solidarity of mutual responsibility. On this basis all the work on hand would then be divided among all existing workers in accordance with how the extent of the working week is defined. The average wage of every worker remains the same as it was under the old working week. Wages, under a strictly guaranteed minimum, would follow the movement of prices. It is impossible to accept any other program for the present catastrophic period.

Multiple times these last years, we have had occasion to concretely observe the practical signification of this proposition. It has been put forward periodically, in particular in the form of the slogan "work less, work all". Yet, in place of obtaining advances in the fight of the laborers standing together, have they an employment or be they unemployed, this demand has covered up for the deepening of the mechanisms of exploitation through flexibility and precariousness. Thus in no way it is revolution that is permanent, but transition, the way out of which is maintained blocked up by bourgeoisie with the complicity of the reformists.







[1]Marta Harnecker, Hugo Chávez Frías. Un hombre. Un pueblo (Conversations with H. Chávez), Venezuela, Editorial Asociación Civil Universitaria por la Equidad, 2002., p. 71.

Unless there exists an official translation, the cited texts are translated from Spain by us.

[2]Inaugural speech of the 4th summit of social debt, Caracas, February 25, 2005.ńo-del-Salto-Adelante-Hacia-la-Construcción-del-Socialismo-del-Siglo-XXI.pdf, p. 160.

[3]Broadcasting "Aló Presidente", Venezolana de Televisión (VTV), February 27, 2005., p. 90.

[4] Broadcasting "Aló Presidente", Venezolana de Televisión (VTV), July 17, 2005., p. 43.

[5] Broadcasting "Aló Presidente", Venezolana de Televisión (VTV), February 27, 2005, loc. cit.

[6]Inaugural speech..., op. cit.

[7]Broadcasting "Aló Presidente", Venezolana de Televisión (VTV), April 10, 2005., p. 91.

[8]Broadcasting "Aló Presidente", Venezolana de Televisión (VTV), July 31, 2005., p. 102.

[9]Broadcasting "Aló Presidente", Venezolana de Televisión (VTV), April 24, 2005., p. 69.

[10]Broadcasting "Aló Presidente", Venezolana de Televisión (VTV), April 3, 2005., p. 60.

[11]Inaugural speech..., op. cit. p. 158.

[12]The president speaks with the businessmen, Caracas, September 8, 2004., p. 15.

[13]Broadcasting "Aló Presidente", Venezolana de Televisión (VTV), June 12, 2005., p. 99.

[14]Marta Harnecker, Hugo Chávez Frías..., op. cit.. p. 72.

[15]Broadcasting "Aló Presidente", Venezolana de Televisión (VTV), June 12 2005, loc. cit.

Speech to the young people and the students, National University of Asunción, Paraguay, June 20, 2005.

[16]István Mészáros: Beyond Capital - Towards a Theory of Transition, New York, Monthly Review Press, 1995, pp. 904‑905.

[17]István Mészáros: The challenge and burden of historical time: socialism in the twenty-first century, New York, Monthly Review Press, 2008, p. 63.

[18]On the occasion of the worldwide congress of the IMT held in 2009, the regrouping underwent a splitting. The "Revolutionary Marxist Current" broke off from the IMT; it comprises the organizations called "El Militante" in Venezuela, in Spain, in Colombia and in Mexico. The IMT is present in Venezuela with the current "Lucha de clases" inside the PSUV. The Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (PSUV) has been constituted in 2008 to provide H. Chávez with a basis organized as a party. The objective was both to form a mass organization and to unite in this frame the whole of the allied political forces. However certain parties supporting the regime, in particular the PCV, did not join the PSUV.

[19]Broadcasting "Aló Presidente", Venezolana de Televisión (VTV), March 21, 2004., p. 28.



[22]"La Revolución Mundial pasa por Hugo Chávez".

[23]Ignacio Cirio, "En el laboratorio de una revolución" (Interview with Marta Harnecker).

[24]Marta Harnecker, "Venezuela: una revolución sui géneris" (Address to the 3rd World Social Forum), Porto Alegre, June 17, 2003., p. 12.

[25]Fernando Ramón Bossi, "Nuestro Socialismo - Reflexiones sobre el Socialismo del siglo XXI", May 16, 2005.

[26]"żCómo construir el socialismo del siglo XXI?", April 7, 2005.



[29]Emilia Lucena, "América latina hacia la revolución - La clase obrera derrota el golpe en Venezuela", May 1, 2002.

[30]Frank. J. Solar, "Carta desde La Habana", May 9, 2005.

[31]For some chronologic indications, see Cronología política de Bolivia, Siglo XX, Los sucesos de febrero 2003 en Bolivia, Los sucesos de septiembre-octubre 2003 en Bolivia.

[32]Vladimir I. Lenin, "Lecture on the 1905 Revolution", before 22 (9) January 1917,  translated from: V. Lénine, Oeuvres, tome 23, Éditions Sociales, Paris, Éditions du Progrčs, Moscou, 1974, p. 271‑72.

Lecture on the 1905 Revolution.

[33]Vladimir I. Lenin, "The Tasks of the Proletariat in our Revolution", September 1917, translated from: V. Lénine, Oeuvres, tome 24, Éditions Sociales, Paris, Éditions du Progrčs, Moscou, 1966, p. 49.

The Tasks of the Proletariat in our Revolution.

[34]Vladimir I. Lenin, "The Tasks of the Proletariat...", op. cit., p. 52.

[35]Vladimir I. Lenin, "The Dual Power", April 1917, translated from: V. Lénine, Oeuvres, tome 24, Éditions Sociales, Paris, Éditions du Progrčs, Moscou, 1966, p. 28.

[36]Vladimir I. Lenin, "The Tasks of the Proletariat...", op. cit., p. 53.

[37]Vladimir I. Lenin, "Report on the Question of Revising the Party Program", April 1917, translated from: V. Lénine, Oeuvres, tome 24, Éditions Sociales, Paris, Éditions du Progrčs, Moscou, 1966, p. 279.

[38]. "Resolution on the Question of Revising the Party Program", April 1917, translated from: V. Lénine, Oeuvres, tome 24, Éditions Sociales, Paris, Éditions du Progrčs, Moscou, 1966, p. 282.

[39]Vladimir I. Lenin, "Resolution on Measures to Cope with Economic Disorganization", May 1917, translated from: V. Lénine, Oeuvres, tome 24, Éditions Sociales, Paris, Éditions du Progrčs, Moscou, 1966, p. 530.

[40]Vladimir I. Lenin, "The Tasks of the Revolution", September 1917, translated from: V. Lénine, Oeuvres, tome 26, Éditions Sociales, Paris, Éditions du Progrčs, Moscou, 1967, p. 58‑59.

[41]Vladimir I. Lenin, "For a Revision of the Party Program", 19‑21 (6‑8) October 1917, translated from: V. Lénine, Oeuvres, tome 26, Éditions Sociales, Paris, Éditions du Progrčs, Moscou, 1967, p. 174‑75.

For a Revision of the Party program.

[42]Vladimir I. Lenin, "For a revision ...", op. cit., p. 173.

[43]Vladimir I. Lenin, "Resolution on Measures ...", op. cit., p. 530.

[44]Vladimir I. Lenin, "Economic Dislocation and the Proletariat's Struggle Against It", June 1917, translated from: V. Lénine, Oeuvres, tome 25, Éditions Sociales, Paris, Éditions du Progrčs, Moscou, 1971, p. 40.

[45]Vladimir I. Lenin, "The Political Situation", July 1917, translated from: V. Lénine, Oeuvres, tome 25, Éditions Sociales, Paris, Éditions du Progrčs, Moscou, 1971, p. 191.

[46]Vladimir I. Lenin, "Some thesis by the editing board", 13 October (30 September) 1915, translated from: V. Lénine, Oeuvres, tome 21, Éditions Sociales, Paris, Éditions du Progrčs, Moscou, 1973, p. 417.

Some thesis by the editing board.

[47] Vladimir I. Lenin, "Lettre aux membres du Comité central", 6 novembre (24 octobre) 1917, translated from: V. Lénine, Oeuvres, tome 26, Éditions Sociales, Paris, Éditions du Progrčs, Moscou, 1967, p. 240‑241.

Letter to the members of the Central committee.

[48]Rafael Fernández, "La clase obrera boliviana debe poner en pie su propio partido para derrocar al poder burgués y establecer el gobierno obrero y campesino (dictadura proletaria)", Prensa Obrera (Argentine), n° 838, February 19, 2004.

[49]Christian Castillo, "Premisas objetivas y subjetivas de la revolución socialista a las puertas del siglo XXI", October 17, 1998, Estrategia Internacional n° 10, November-December 1998.


[51]Facundo Aguirre, Ruth Werner, "Argentina: El Partido Obrero y el movimiento de los desocupados - Mitos y Justificaciones sobre el “piqueterismo”", August 2, 2005.

[52]. Rafael Fernández, op. cit.




[56]. Christian Castillo, op. cit.

[57]Facundo Aguirre, Ruth Werner, "Argentina: El Partido Obrero...", op. cit.

[58]. Jorge Sanmartino, "A un ańo de las Jornadas Revolucionarias en Argentina - Un balance de las estrategias políticas en la izquierda", Estrategia Internacional, n° 19, January 2003.

[59]. Christian Castillo, op. cit.

[60]. Jorge Sanmartino, op. cit.


[62]. Rafael Fernández, op. cit.

[63]. "Bolivia y la ausencia del partido revolucionario", Econoticias Bolivia, July 26, 2005.

[64]. Christian Castillo, op. cit.

[65]. Rafael Fernández, op. cit.

[66]. Christian Castillo, op. cit.

[67]. Rafael Fernández, op. cit.

[68]. Facundo Aguirre, Ruth Werner, "Argentina: El movimiento piquetero - Entre la lucha de clases y la institucionalización", August 2, 2005.

[69]. Rafael Fernández, op. cit.

[70]June 1998.

[71]Jorge Sanmartino, op. cit.

[72]. Eduardo Molina, "Altamira vota por Evo Morales, el aliado de Lula, Kirchner y Chávez", December 10, 2005.

[73]. "Notas de un publicista de Bolivia sobre la situación y las tareas de los marxistas hoy", June 3, 2005.

[74]Movimiento Socialista de los Trabajadores - Bolivia, "Pronunciamiento público", October 15, 2003.






[80]"Construcción del socialismo en América latina - Llamamiento de Montevideo", June 19, 2005.

[81]Broadcasting "Aló Presidente", Venezolana de Televisión (VTV), July 17, 2005, op. cit., p. 92.

[82]Intervention in the workshop: "El Che en la Revolución cubana y la lucha actual por la hegemonía socialista", Chair of political formation Ernesto Che Guevara, Buenos Aires, April 20, 2004.

[83]"América Latina vive un momento de transformaciones" (Interview by Kintto Lucas), Brecha (Uruguay) et Tintají (Ecuador), August 2002.


[85]"Latin America's Terrible Two Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez constitute an axis of evil", National Review (New York), April 11, 2005.

[86]Rafael Hernández, "Empire and Resistance" (Interview with Tariq Ali, Pakistani writer), December 20-21, 2003.

[87]Rafael Fernández, op. cit.

[88]. José Capitan, "Construir la sección venezolana de la IV Internacional", Prensa Obrera, n° 850, May 13, 2004.

[89]Frank. J. Solar, op. cit.

[90]. Jorge Altamira, "Colapsó el golpe gorila en Venezuela", Prensa Obrera, n° 789, February 7, 2003.

[91]. "Venezuela: El centrismo “trotskista” y la lucha de las fábricas tomadas", April 20, 2005.

[92]. Jorge Altamira, op. cit.

[93]Joseph Weil, "What is the revolutionary strategy for Venezuela? - A discussion whit the left", Marxism Alive, n° 10, 2004.

[94]. "Venezuela: ante el plebiscito, Derrotar el golpe institucional", Correo Internacional, August 2004.

[95]. Rafael Santos, "Antecedentes de la restauración capitalista en Cuba", En defensa del Marxismo, n° 16, March 1997.

[96]. Gustavo Dunga, Facundo Aguirre, "La revolución permanente en Cuba", Estrategia Internacional, n° 20, September 2003.




[100]. Rafael Santos, op. cit.

[101]. Eduardo Molina, "Cuba en la encrucijada", Estrategia Internacional, n° 20, September 2003.

[102]. Olmedo Beluche, "żQué es cuba hoy?", Marxismo Vivo, n° 4, December 2001.

[103]. Rafael Santos, op. cit.

[104]. Eduardo Molina, "Cuba...", op. cit.

[105]Leon Trotsky, "Transitional Program - The Death Agony of Capitalism and the Tasks of the Fourth International", 1938.