To: Detroit/Seattle Workers' Voice mailing list
March 31, 2019
RE:  Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists denounces US imperialism, Guiadó, and Maduro

  1. Statement of Solidarity with the Venezuelan people, March 25, 2019
  2. From a presentation to the Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists, March 9, 2019
  3. Correction to URL for the Coalition to Oppose the Expansion of (the toxic waste plant calling itself) US Ecology

Statement of Solidarity on Venezuela from
the Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists

Reprinted from
https://www.allianceofmesocialists.org/statement-of-solidarity-on-venezuela-from-alliance-of-middle-eastern-socialists/.

The Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists would like to express its solidarity with the Venezuelan popular classes who are protesting against poverty and repression under the Maduro regime. We strongly oppose U.S. imperialist intervention and its favored political figure, Juan Guiadó’s efforts to take control of the genuine popular desire for a better life. We also strongly oppose Russia’s military aid to Maduro’s brutal rule and China’s support for it.

As Middle Eastern socialists, we can identify with the experience of Venezuelans in many ways. In Iran, the Islamic Republic, which has had strong ties with the Hugo Chavez government and now with the Maduro government, continues to repress progressive labor, feminist and other genuine popular protests and strikes by calling them “counter-revolutionary.”

After the rise of revolutionary uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East in 2011, the Chavez and then the Maduro governments sided with the dictatorial regimes and turned their backs on the popular movements. They blessed the Gaddafi and Assad regimes as “anti-imperialist” while these regimes were massacring their own people. In 2012 when the Assad regime was close to being toppled by the Syrian masses, the Venezuelan government provided hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil for the this regime. It also supported Russia’s military intervention in Syria in 2015.

Venezuela under Chavez could not be compared to the Islamic Republic’s theocratic rule. Although each used a portion of its oil income for health and education programs, Venezuela in the beginning of the Chavez period, took more positive steps in promoting social issues, albeit in a limited way.

Both countries are almost solely dependent on oil for their income and have seen massive cuts in state aid, social services and the standard of living because of the decline in oil prices, government corruption, and U.S. sanctions. In the case of Iran, the state has been spending billions of dollars on its military interventions in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen. Both states however, have used their opposition to U.S. imperialism to justify their militarized state capitalist regimes.

Both Iran and Venezuela have experienced a history of U.S. imperialist domination and now also face the strong influence of Russia and China as superpowers vying with the United States for control in their regions.

The above mentioned internal and external economic, social, political and environmental problems have also forced millions of people in Syria, Venezuela and Iran to flee their countries and are contributing to the global refugee crisis.

In the face of this situation, anti-authoritarian and humanist socialists in Venezuela, the Middle East, North Africa and throughout the world have a responsibility to offer a concept and practice of socialism that transcends state capitalism and is truly democratic and internationalist. Otherwise the likes of Guaidó in Venezuela and monarchist supporters in Iran will once again present the crises merely as rooted in the “bad management of the economy” instead of the logic of capitalism.

In order to reach out to Venezuelan socialists, we have published a talk given by Eva Maria, Venezuelan socialist, at the last meeting of the Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists. [See presentation by Eva Maria below] We also welcome participation in a newly formed Transnational Socialist Humanist Solidarity Network. For more information on this network please write to us at info@allianceofmesocialists.org

Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists, March 25, 2019 <>

From a presentation to
the Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists

Below are excerpts from the presentation on March 9 of Venezuelan-born activist Eva María to a meeting of the Alliance of     Middle Eastern Socialists. She gives a vivid picture of the changes in Venezuela during the Chavista years, and the nature of the present crisis. She also delivers a well-deserved rebuke to the stand of most of the present-day left. We don’t think the left-wing should be regarded as a single whole; it is sharply divided. But her     criticism bears on the dominant stand in the anti-war movement today. The full text of her presentation is well-worth reading and can be found at
https://www.allianceofmesocialists.org/venezuelan-socialist-speaks-to-middle-eastern-socialists/.

The first thing to say is that Venezuela is in a deep crisis. This seems like common sense but it’s worth repeating because we have a media war going on. The right-wing media, both in Venezuela and abroad, talk about this humanitarian crisis which Venezuela is going through, and exploit it to match U.S. and allies’ interests in the region. The left-wing media, on the other hand, although much less prominent in most countries, has gone out of its way to convince people that the crisis is either not real or not as bad, and that if there is indeed any crisis going on it’s all due to U.S. imperialism.

So, let’s get the facts right. Venezuela is going through the deepest political, social and economic crisis in its modern history. Inflation has reached the 1 million mark, and essential goods and medicines are missing from the supermarkets and hospitals. The homicide rate has now gone up to 86 per 100,000 inhabitants, and maternal mortality rates have skyrocketed in the last 4 years.

As a result, an estimated 3 million Venezuelans have left the country, 2 million of whom have left after the acceleration of the crisis in 2015. The majority of these are not right wing people with houses in Miami and Spain like Maduro would like us to believe. These are people who are crossing to neighboring countries like Colombia, Brazil, Perú, Ecuador and even going all the way down to Argentina and Chile. …

The second thing to say is that anything that the governments of the US, Brazil or Colombia decide to get involved in, will end in disaster. This, to me, especially from the vantage point I have of being in the US, is clear. Every time the US talks about human rights, we raise our eyebrows and organize against it because we know how this lie plays out. The US and its allies, being that it’s the most powerful country in the world, have as their only interest to stay as the dominant world power. To do this they are in a constant state of economic and military war with other countries to control as much of the world’s natural resources as they can. They do this with other countries but they also do this with their own people, as the war against black and brown people in this country is proof. The idea that a known murderer like Elliot Abrams would actually care about people in Venezuela would be laughable if it weren’t because it’s extremely dangerous. …

The crisis has been going on for many years, but direct support from the US as a solution seemed very unlikely until recently, when the region has shifted to the right after toppling a decade of center and left-wing governments.

The election of El Duque in Colombia and an open fascist, Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil (both neighboring countries of Venezuela and direct recipients of the massive migration crisis) has left the Venezuelan government with few allies in the region – which has in turn opened the gates for the US to reinforce its interventionist agenda with much broader support.

In the meantime, Maduro continues to deny his role in the crisis and his dramatic and obvious loss of popular support. At this time, his government still has the support of most of the military, although there have been some major desertions and talk about whether or not loyalty might break given his unpopularity and relative isolation.

His ability to remain in power, devoid of the popular base he and his predecessor once had, and devoid of the political support of the formerly- favorable governments in the region, seems to be largely dependent on this unstable loyalty factor. …

But what a lot of these analyses on the left miss is that the roots of this crisis and the dramatic decline in support for the Bolivarian government are due in large part to the policies of the very same government that is supposed to lead the country to a Socialism propelled by popular power.

This government, although verbally committed to a vision of radical democracy from below is, in fact, authoritarian, hyper-corrupt, and not worthy of the support of genuine socialists determined to build a left that can finally win. …

The first conclusion is that the economic policies implemented by Chávez were exciting and did lead to major poverty relief, but they weren’t socialist measures as much as he’d like to say they were, and they were, at their heart, unstable.

A set of economic policies were established that have decreased national sovereignty over production, augmented the levels of state and businesses’ corruption, and taken the country to a breaking point of unprecedented characteristics. ….

According to the Center for Economic Policy Research, during this time unemployment dropped from 14.5 percent to 7.8 percent between 2003 and 2011. Poverty dropped by nearly 50 percent over this period, while extreme poverty dropped by over 70 percent. By 2012, public spending by the Venezuelan government as a percentage of GDP reached 51 percent, the highest in Latin America.

The gains were undeniable — but these were largely possible due to the populist-style management of the oil boom and not to a socialist transformation of society.

Since it was cheaper to import all the essential goods than to invest in local production, the government deprioritized all other areas of production it had nationalized, and instead relied in the profits made by the state-owned oil company to import all necessary goods. …

The second conclusion is that the Bolivarian governments moved away from their idea and practice of relying on radical democracy from very early on and increasingly relied on authoritarian measures instead to keep promoting their own version of a “socialist” and “anti-imperialist” government. One of the key components of inspiration for the socialist left worldwide when looking at the Bolivarian project was its experimentation around bottom-up organizing and the expansion of democracy at all levels. But this was unfortunately short-lived, adding to the desperation that some Venezuelans feel now about the limited scenarios for positive change without some sort of foreign intervention. …

I say all of this because I believe it’s important to reckon with what this government of Maduro is and is not, regardless of the high expectations the left worldwide has had and still has around the Bolivarian revolution. I myself was a proud chavista for many years, always hopeful that the right decisions from the top could help the exciting socialist momentum from below. But like me, many others have lost hope in the government and are now placing our hopes in the will ofhttps://www.allianceofmesocialists.org/venezuelan-socialist-speaks-to-middle-eastern-socialists/ the people of Venezuela to turn things around. ..

Eva María, March 9, 2019 <>

     Correction

  * The article “Speak out to Stop a Massive Expansion of Importing     Toxic Waste into our Community” in the March 27th list item gave an invalid URL for the Coalition to Oppose the Expansion of US Ecology. The correct URL is
https://coalitionstopuse.weebly.com. <>


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Posted on March 31, 2019
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