Venezuelan workers’ coalition continues fight against Maduro and Guaidó

Submitted by martin on 16 July, 2019 - 2:42 Author: Eduardo Tovar
"Workers in Struggle", 3 July, Caracas

As previously reported, Workers in Struggle (“Trabajadores en Lucha”) is a recently formed coalition of Venezuelan socialists and trade unionists that aims “to confront the brutal anti-worker policies of the Maduro Government and to repudiate imperialist interference”.

Since its creation, the coalition has made its presence known through worker mobilisations against the US-backed Venezuelan right on the one hand, and the Government’s attacks upon civil liberties and hard-won collective bargaining agreements on the other. One such mobilisation occurred in Caracas at the start of this month against the devastating austerity package the Government seeks to implement.

Venezuela has been experiencing a Presidential crisis since 10 January 2019, when the Venezuelan National Assembly, held by the right-wing coalition Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (MUD), refused to recognise the incumbent President Nicolás Maduro’s 2018 reelection, alleging it to have been rigged. On 23 January, Maduro’s National Assembly-backed challenger Juan Guaidó declared himself interim President, sparking off the current power struggle. The US, Brazil, and Colombia support Guaidó, while Russia and China continue to support Maduro.

Workers in Struggle provides a needed class-struggle alternative to both the mainstream Chavista left and the US-backed Venezuelan right. The grouping is relatively small, but contains experienced trade union organisers and socialist activists. Its presence is especially welcome when one considers how recent examples of civil unrest in Caracas have occurred in working-class neighbourhoods that were once electoral strongholds of Maduro’s Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (PSUV).

In short, Workers in Struggle is a long way off from spearheading a mass working-class alternative to both the PSUV and the MUD, but it is nevertheless a viable nucleus for such an alternative. Below we have reproduced from the Venezuelan Voices blog a report on the anti-austerity mobilisation in Caracas. We encourage those interested in supporting consistent democracy and working-class struggle in Venezuela without lapsing into Second Campist or Third Worldist support for Maduro to keep an eye on this promising new coalition.

“Workers in Struggle” Marched Against Maduro’s Austerity

Over a hundred workers mobilized in downtown Caracas against Maduro government’s anti-worker policies [on 3 July]. Called for by “Workers in Struggle”, the mobilization departed from the Miranda plaza, took the Baralt Avenue, and marched to the building of the Vice-Presidency in the Carmelitas corner.

“Workers in Struggle” is a unitary organization in which several unions participate, such as SinatraUCV (union of workers of the Central University of Venezuela), Sirtrasalud of the Capital District (health workers in Caracas), the worker’s union of Fogade (an institute of the Ministry of Finance), the general secretariat for the FUPTV (oil workers’ union) along with the C-CURA tendency, the Catholic Workers’ Youth and political organizations such as Marea Socialista, Liga de Trabajadores por el Socialismo, Lucha de Clases, Izquierda Revolucionaria and Partido Socialismo y Libertad.

The action was carried out in conjunction with the Sindical Coalition headed by trade union leader Carlos Salazar, which brought an important contingent of teachers.

To the chant of “Mr. President, you are invited to live with our monthly wage”, the mobilization counted with the participation of health workers, workers from the Caracas Metro, university employees and workers, and workers from public and state entities.

The rally had as its main aim to denounce the government’s application of an austerity package, putting on the shoulders of the people the crisis created by the State and the capitalists.

Within that frame, specially repudiated was the Memorandum 2792, which in practice liquidates collective bargaining agreements and allows the government to interfere in negotiations between bosses and workers, facilitating the super exploitation of workers by private capitalists.
Arriving to the Carmelitas corner, the rally coincided with a large group of retired workers, who every Wednesday concentrate in La Moneda plaza and demonstrate against their pauperization in front of the Vice-Presidency. The demonstrators chanted “People, hear, this is your struggle too” and called the retired workers to join the protest.

For over two hours, the concentration of active and retired workers held up in the Carmelitas corner in front of the Central Bank of Venezuela. Strangely enough, the police and the National Guard allowed the rally forth. What many of those present commented is that after the murder of the Captain Acosta Arevalo (accused of conspiracy) and the blinding of a Tachira youth in a protest over domestic gas, the government has been weakened and preferred not to repress a protest happening only 3 blocks away from the Miraflores presidential palace.

Those gathered announced that they would remain in the streets, demanding the abolition of Memorandum 2792 and confronting the government’s austerity measures.

Republished from Venezuelan Voices. Original Spanish report on LaClase.Info.

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