The most promising political development in Venezuela this year was the formation of the Party of Revolution and Socialism (PRS). Four hundred people met in Caracas to found the party in July.
The new party consists of existing left organisations, such as Morenoist Opción de Izquierda Revolucionaria (OIR, Revolutionary Left Option), the Opción Clasista de Trabajadores (which groups together workers from the oil industry) and the student collective Activate from the Central University of Venezuela.
The party includes several well-known UNT leaders, including Orlando Chirino and Stalin Perez Borges. It publishes a bimonthly paper, Opción Socialista.
The PRS’s political declaration calls explicitly for a socialist society and for the formation of an independent socialist party. It is critical of the MVR and the government’s version of “socialism”.
It says: “Their practice is reduced to introducing timid reforms inside capitalism, or conjunctural policies, which have not resolved and will not resolve the problem of exploitation and oppression. They maintain intact the real centres of power and economic control of the oligarchy and imperialism in our country, and at the same time they show a clear tendency to engender new and corrupt bureaucratic castes in the state apparatus that they lead, opening the way to the reinstallation of the old elites, bogging down the revolutionary process.”
The political declaration also calls explicitly for support for existing workers’ struggles. It cites struggles at Chrysler in Carabobo; in Social Security in Barquisimeto; the workers in the hydrologic sector, the mining industry and at Sidor in Bolívar state; the shipyard workers in the state of Sucre; in the agri-foodstuffs company Guaica in Guárico; and in Coca-Cola in the state of Táchira.
It supports the “corriente sindical clasista, revolucionaria y democrática” within the UNT and is fighting attempts to restrict the right to strike. The declaration is also critical of Chávez, stating: “We are in solidarity with all the fighters and activists, who declare themselves in rebellion against the orders imposed by the ‘political directors’ including against the ‘benevolent finger’ of the President, which has been used to justify corrupt and bureaucratic practices.”
Although the declaration is not without its ambiguities — for example it talks about the “Second Independence”, a long-standing bowdlerisation in Latin America — it is the strongest indicator to date that the forces for working class independence are coming together.