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Venezuela: The struggle for nationalisation continues
By Leonardo Badel and Yonie Moreno
Wednesday, 08 August 2007
After 8 months of occupation, the struggle of the workers at Sanitarios Maracay is more alive than ever before, despite the problems they are facing. On July 18th, a delegation from Hands off Venezuela and the Revolutionary Marxist Current went to Maracay to hand over the 1,318,000 Bolivars collected in the last weeks by Hands off Venezuela UK amongst the workers and youth supporters of the Bolivarian revolution in Great Britain.
The delegation was received by Luis Alvarado, a leading member of the union at Sanitarios Maracay, who explained the difficulties the workers are going through due to the delay by the Bolivarian government in deciding over the nationalisation of the factory, which is translated into problems with securing raw materials and supplies (many of them imported) and makes it very difficult to keep production and, therefore, to find the money for the workers' wages.
This situation has meant a reduction in the levels of production of around 5%, which in turn has worsened the workers' material conditions. Some months ago, they took to their homes 100,000 Bolivars and a box of food. Now, however, they only get 20,000 Bolivars and the box of food, which has forced many of them to apply for a temporary leave to find a temporary job to feed their families.
In spite of this situation the morale is high. They know well that this struggle goes beyond wages and that it is a struggle for their dignity and for the construction of socialism in Venezuela. They are confident that Chávez will end up nationalising the factory. They keep on the struggle because of political conviction and revolutionary faith; with the same conviction that led them to occupy the factory, constitute the factory committee, impose workers' control within the factory and demand their nationalisation under workers' control.
This experience has had its enemies within and outside the revolutionary process. On one side there are the capitalists headed by Alvaro Pocaterra, who is doing everything possible to smash the workers, and on the other side there is the reformist bureaucracy, the bourgeois state apparatus, which see as a threat the extension and consolidation of the workers' control over production and is not interested in a repetition of an experience like this at Sanitarios Maracay. The promises of the National Assembly MPs in relation to move on with the nationalisation of the factory have not come true yet. In spite of all this, the workers at Sanitarios Maracay keep up the fight and continue producing bathroom suites under workers' control.
All the contradictions taking place in the struggle at Sanitarios Marcay can only be resolved by spreading the occupation of factories on a national level and this can only be carried out by the organised working class and especially the UNT. From the CMR we have defended that the UNT must call for a National Day of Factory Occupations, linking this up with the struggle of the comrades from the Ezequiel Zamora Peasants Front who must carry out a campaign for the occupation of lands and its nationalisation under the toilers' control.
If Sanitarios Maracay is expropriated it cannot survive in a sea of capitalism since, as in Inveval, they will have problems with raw material and bureaucratism. For that reason this struggle must spread on a national level.
The financial help of 1,318,000 Bolivars given by the comrades of Hands Off Venezuela to support the struggle of the workers at Sanitarios Maracay and encourage them in their fight, raised the morale of the workers and showed them that they are not alone, but that the working class of all over the world is closely watching what is going on in this factory of bathroom suites already 8 months into their struggle for nationalisation.
At present, it is important that the support for the comrades at Sanitarios Maracay continues wherever we are (workplaces, lands, study centres, etc.) and to follow the example of the comrades from Hands off Venezuela, intensifying the struggle for socialism there where we are. Today there are plenty of debates about how socialism of the 21st Century should be. The workers at Sanitarios Maracay do not lose their time discussing on how or what socialism must be - they practice it at every moment.
For Nationalisation under Workers' Control!
For Spreading the Factories' Occupation on a National Level!
For Building Socialism!
Fatherland, Socialism of Death!