In Defense of the Statement of the Latin American Maoist Parties and Organizations on Venezuela

By the Editorial Board

The statement titled: WITH DEEP CLASS HATRED WE REJECT THE DIRECT AND SHAMELESS INTERVENTION OF YANKEE IMPERIALISM AGAINST THE PEOPLE OF VENEZUELA, is without a doubt the most sharp and most correct statement and analysis issued on the topic today. In an effort to combat some mistaken ideas within the US Maoist movement, we are offering a breakdown of this document.

Recently, Incendiary News produced a briefly public article on revolutionary protests in Colombia against US imperialism. The article used this as a pretext to polemic the Maduro government, and by doing so, it deviated from the correct position held by our comrades in Latin America. In essence, the article deviated from its attack on US imperialism and supplemented an attack on Maduro. This article has been denounced by one member of the Editorial Board, but the issue goes much deeper than just one article which was briefly published then removed. This issue affects the whole US Marxist-Leninist-Maoist movement and all the international relations, especially with the Parties and organizations of Latin America.

Our movement, being based in the US—the world’s sole hegemonic imperialist superpower, the world’s number one enemy, has a special role to play. In short, we cannot be vacillating, confused, or make concessions when it comes to understanding the principal contradiction in the world today which is between the oppressed nations and imperialism, mainly US imperialism. Our first lesson is that without unifying our country’s proletariat with the cause of the oppressed nations’ people, we will not accomplish socialism.

Our first responsibility when our imperialist country goes to war is to propagate and agitate for a US defeat in Latin America, for the US to get out of Latin America. Latin America is of strategic importance to the US imperialist project and it provides impetus (both political and economic) to US imperialism all over the world. We must make war and intervention carried out by the imperialists hated by the exploited and oppressed masses in our country. We must protest and resist the war and intervention efforts of our imperialist overlords. We share a common enemy with the Venezuelan people.

In international solidarity with the world’s workers and oppressed classes, we must oppose US intervention, identifying the US as the world’s main enemy and oppressor. The comrades call US imperialism: “[the] single hegemonic superpower, world great counterrevolutionary gendarme and principal enemy of the peoples of the world, against the nation, against the people of Venezuela.”

So what is a counter –revolutionary gendarme? There are two definitions for gendarme and both are appropriate descriptors of US imperialism. One is an armed force. The other is a stone or pillar which obstructs something. The US imperialist beast is both, and it stands mainly to block all revolutionary progress by threat of reactionary violence. Therefore, we must insist that the only measure of progressiveness is one’s position on US imperialism. It is not enough to be “anti-war.” One must be against US imperialism first and foremost!

The comrades make it clear that US imperialism seeks to carry out a coup in Venezuela to force the capitulation of the Maduro government to the interests of US imperialism. The US imperialist state’s claims of opposing dictatorship are completely false: “It constitutes the most shameless intimidation, interference, control and aggression by the United States against an oppressed nation of the Third World violating the national independence, the national sovereignty and dignity of the country and in the international juridical order that is an expression of its world hegemony.”

The US seeks to turn Venezuela from a semi-colony into its colony proper by installing a puppet regime.

The US is the principal imperialism of the world that imposes semi-colonial rule over Venezuela and the other countries of Latin America. The Chavez-Maduro governments only saw this crisis deepen. The comrades make this clear speaking of Chavez and Maduro:

“… who, as representatives of the big bureaucratic bourgeoisie of its country, despite their discourse and secondary contradictions with the successive governments that USA has increasingly submitted the country to the economic rule of Yankee imperialism through its principal and practically only exportation product, oil, while associating to its direct foreign investment and increasing its financial dependence from Wall Street. However they further opened the country to the penetration of other imperialist powers, did not break with Yankee imperialism, then trying to ride two horses. Increasing the imperialist contend for the exploitation of the country and turning Venezuela an increasingly sharpened inter-imperialist contend arena.”

It becomes clear how the bureaucratic bourgeois engenders economic crisis, by not breaking with US imperialism and leaving oil as their only export. We see how and where the contradiction with US imperialism emerges; through trying to ride two horses at once. This is Maduro opening up more and more to Chinese social-imperialism and the skinny dog imperialism of Russia. What is held clear by our comrades is that the US is the world’s dominant imperialist power.

And the solution to all of this? New Democratic revolution led by the militarized Communist Party, which has to be developed via People’s War sweeping the three mountains away—US imperialism, semi-feudalism, and bureaucratic capitalism. These are of course interrelated but nothing is accomplished without the fight against US imperialism.

The current Venezuelan regime came about by trafficking in mass struggles against wide spread privatizations as well as cuts to social welfare. This struggle, as well as the Chavez-Maduro regime contradiction, infuriates the comprador bourgeoisie of Venezuela who are beholden only to foreign financial capital.

It is the comprador bourgeoisie which are backed by US imperialism and emboldened to lead a coup against the Maduro government. Venezuela is the world’s largest oil reserve, making it a focal point of imperialist struggle. This makes it particularly desirable to foreign finance capital and they must maneuver to secure investment, meaning the US must back up puppets to overthrow the increasingly unmanageable and increasing unstable government. The comrades are not making a typical argument for legitimizing bourgeois elections by saying that the Maduro government is somehow democratic. Yet, they correctly expose the main enemy and its interests—which is US imperialism:

“By establishing its colonial slavery through a puppet government, the Yankee imperialists would not share the economical monopoly over Venezuela with many other imperialists (semi-colonial character), but would establish its exclusive imperialist economic monopoly over the country (colonial character).”

Lenin and Stalin in their defense of the national question and national liberation struggles give precise criteria for what national struggles Communists can support. We support that which weakens imperialist domination control or influence and do not support that which makes it stronger. Understanding this basic Marxist principle we can see why our comrades in Latin America strictly oppose the opposition US imperialist puppet forces which seek to place the whole country in the sole control of US imperialism which will strengthen and fortify it the world over and have devastating effects on all of Latin America, the Middle East, a lot of Africa and a lot of Asia. What is more is that it offers a line of support for US imperialism to sustain itself as the world’s sole hegemonic super power. As US imperialism enters an ever deepening crisis, it will do all it can to regain balance and we as Communists must support that which throws it off balance.

It is completely wrong to see no difference between semi-colonialism and colonialism, to see Maduro and his opposition as basically the same.

The revolutionary subject is the Venezuelan people themselves; the masses who make history. Their course is clear:

“… to broadly mobilize in order to prevent the danger of capitulation that is expressed by the representatives of Maduro government as the tendency to commitment, which has been openly or hidden expressed by those who fear the power of imperialism and consequently propose the inevitable subjugation of the nation, because they do not trust in the power of the people and the solidarity of the peoples of the world.”

This is worded precisely and does not mention mobilization for the immediate overthrow of the Maduro government. The masses in relation to Maduro have to force him away from capitulation to US imperialism; bureaucratic capitalists are prone to capitulation and will balk in the face of open war. We have all seen his talk of peace and only uses national defense as a disclaimer. Like many bourgeois before him he cannot secure the interests of the people. They have to do this themselves by forcing him not to capitulate. This is a political line wholly ignored by many US Maoists and it is the correct orientation to this struggle. Furthermore, forcing Maduro not to capitulate is not the same thing as endorsing his presidency. Those who make Maduro out to be the principal enemy intentionally or unintentionally are in fact aiding and abetting US imperialism—a veritable about-face on the principal contradiction in the world today.

The comrades also defend the Maoist principle that it is people and not weapons which are decisive in war, hence they promote mass struggles to resolve the above contradiction instead of reliance on other imperialists for money and weapons:

“For the revolutionaries, imperialism is a colossus with clay feet, paper tiger and the guns are not decisive, but men, the masses. Other ones put their hopes to overcome the threat of colonial subjugation of the country, principally in the foreign help from another superpower, Russia (the skinny dog) or the Chinese social-imperialists, through economic help, weapons, etc. or through diplomatic mediation. The last one is linked to the doubt these people have regarding if the enemy will attack: some consider it a probability, other say there is no chance.”

As the US deploys troops to Colombia and the Trump-Pence regime greases all the gears of war, stroking the media to do it, while the Democratic Party basically unites with them against the Maduro government, their unity is on the basis of converting Venezuela from a semi-colony to a colony proper. In this situation anything but strict opposition and a refusal to negotiate with US imperialism spells capitulation. Maoists must remove themselves fully from the tendency to eat imperialist media which dominates the metropole.

“Maduro government, demonstrating political myopia, took long time to recognize that they were facing a state coup that was applied by imperialism through its lackeys, considering central the main responsibility in the ‘opposition’ as it was an internal affair, which means, in the functionaries and not the employer; facing the action of Trump government to impose the puppet government, acknowledging Guaidó as the ‘temporary president’, they announced the break with diplomatic relations with USA, etc, which they clarified it did not mean a break with the USA but only with its government; they did not dispose of the mobilization of all the forces of the nation to face imperialism aggression as it should have been done with the military mobilization of their forces and the masses; neither immediately applying the punishment measures against the lackeys that have carried out all sort of crimes against the Venezuelan people to serve Yankee imperialism.”

It is important to understand the fact that the Maduro government is demonstrating this lack of foresight, viewing the issue as only an internal affair and lagging in its ability to fight back. They should have in fact mobilized the masses and military right away against the US imperialists. Some sections of the US Maoist critique seems to ignore this point altogether and even at egregious moments seeks to shame the instances where the police and military have been hard on pro-imperialist demonstrations. As if all demonstrations are alike regardless of the class character.

Because of the Maduro government’s tendency to seek peace, the struggle really falls on the masses themselves:

“It corresponds to the proletariat and the people to put an end in all the talks that impedes a more forceful rejection to the imperialist ultimatum and the adequate preparation for the resistance, to oppose the military aggression to the invincible Resistance War against Yankee imperialism.”

Maoists are calling for something very clear, a resistance war or armed resistance against US imperialism.

What this looks like:

“It corresponds to the proletariat of Venezuela, the most advanced within them, the Maoists, to uphold the slogan of forging a broad anti-imperialist national united single front; to merge with the workers, peasants, petty bourgeois, national bourgeois and members of all other classes that are willing to face the imperialist aggressor and its lackeys excepting a handful of traitors, it corresponds to actively impulse the general taking up of arms by the people in the countryside and the city to prepare for a broad war of resistance, as armed struggle, striving to lead it and struggle to reconstitute their Communist Party along the course, as a militarized Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Communist Party, to transform the armed struggle of resistance into People’s War of national liberation. It corresponds to the Maoists to prepare the application of a broad guerrilla warfare that takes the countryside as principal and the cities as necessary complement.”

The lack of a Party does not make capitulation to imperialism acceptable, it means that the party must be constituted or reconstituted during the anti-imperialist resistance.

It is a matter of importance to consider the United Front expressed by Mao as a strategic consideration and not an opportunist tactic. The United Front strengthens the role of the proletariat strategically and it weakens other classes which would seek to dominate and exploit the proletariat—mobilizing the most amount of people and classes to take up the cause of the proletariat as their own, uniting all who can be united. This position does not seek unity with the standing government, nor does it tail their interests. Uniting all who can be united in this situation means:

“… unite and mobilize them while opposing the calls for conciliation, peace or privileging negotiations before resolutely acting to smash the Yankee imperialism aggression that started to develop under the form of state coup at the moment.”

“It is necessary to demand to meticulously proceed to reform the system that is enforced in the army and the political system by widening democracy, develop the independent mass movement, put in motion the education for the national defense, repress the lackeys and other collaborationists, develop war industry and improve the life conditions of the people.”

The comrades go on to insist that the resistance program which must be formed by the people in struggle be long-term, and importantly that it must expose the falsified socialism espoused by Chavismo, that is the revisionism of 21st century socialism. This cannot be done without expelling all foreign invaders and their lackeys.

“The peoples of Latin America, in order to safeguard the national independence and national sovereign, have the order to carry out the struggle ‘blow by blow’ against the aggressive and genocidal Yankee imperialism, principal enemy of the peoples of the world.”

The main purpose of an anti-imperialist war of resistance is to safeguard national sovereignty, with the dual aspect of building the Communist Party in war, developing the anti-imperialist war of resistance into People’s War for New Democratic revolution. This is made clear and leaves no room for misconception.

And this leaves the question of what Communists and revolutionaries outside of Venezuela should do. It is not enough to stand in as a cheerleader for Maduro, this position lacks faith in the revolutionary masses. Worse still is the position that the main thing is to launch political criticism against Maduro while ignoring the world’s number one enemy. These positions are right opportunism and ultra-left deviationism respectively. Both aid rightism.

“It corresponds to the signing Parties and Organizations to assume the role of giving organizational expression to this new anti-imperialist wave, combating imperialism and it servants and lackeys on each country. We need to develop a broad and energetic world campaign to support the Venezuelan people against the Yankee imperialist aggression.”

As Lenin taught, internationalism means working tirelessly for revolution in one’s own country, first and foremost. This is how we give organizational expression to the wave of anti-imperialism. This necessarily means that we must undertake solidarity work with the Venezuelan masses.  The proletariat of the US must be united with the struggle of the Venezuelan people, and this goes both ways in the interest of socialist revolution and national liberation.

“Facing the direct aggression of Yankee imperialism to Venezuela and the peoples of South America, it is up to our peoples to raise in revolution and face the imperialist war of aggression with more People’s War.”

The above is a summary of the correct Marxist-Leninist-Maoist position, which is always partisan against imperialism and never takes the fence.

We must encourage the study of this great document from the Latin American Parties and organizations, as it is the sharpest analysis on the situation in Venezuela and the only correct political line presented on the matter. We have the added responsibility of correcting mistaken ideas in our movement which seek to give aid to US imperialism by forgetting that it is the world’s number one enemy, while we oppose the shallow and performative endorsements of Maduro from the revisionists who ignore his impulse to capitulate. Peace in Venezuela is not our position, but anti-imperialist resistance war, transformed into People’s War.

In the words of Chairman Gonzalo:

“Behind everything we say is our flag, a flag that is the source of hope, a red flag unfurled to the wind. For a long time some wanted to strike our political line on two flanks but we stated that we would pass through the middle. We accomplished this with our heads held high, beating drums and our vision of a distant future. The deeds go on hammering you and your mind opens, generating the idea. We are not abandoning the banners like some foolish person would think because our hands were not made for dropping the flag but for unfurling it.”