[Marxism] Re: May Day 2005 in Caracas: documents on workersco-management

michael a. lebowitz mlebowit at sfu.ca
Mon May 2 07:27:00 MDT 2005

Thanks so much to Fred Fuentes for alerting us here on Marxmail to the link 
to Venezuelasolidarity.org (


containing the declarations from the Workers's Table at the Solidarity 
Encounter. I am delighted to see a translation (and will regularly check 
this site now). As I think the material is extremely important for all 
Marxists, socialists, revolutionaries (however we define ourselves), I want 
to reprint them--- both to make them available here on this list and also 
to correct something lost in the translation of the English-speakers' 
statement as a way of introducing here what I think is an important point.
         The first point in our statement would read better as: 'We agree 
with the

 idea that without workers's co-management, there is no revolution. 
However, we believe that if workers' co-management is by itself, without 
dealing with the problems of  poverty, unemployment and exclusion, there 
also can be no revolution.' I stress this because I proposed the wording 
for this first point; and it was consistent with one of the main elements 
in my own presentation to the Table--- the potential for a lack of 
solidarity in co-management (as occurred in Yugoslavia) and for the spectre 
of co-management for an aristocracy of labour in a Venezuela characterised 
by 80% poverty and an informal sector composing 50% of the working class.
         in solidarity,

Conclusions from Roundtable No. 3 "The Role of Workers in the Management of 

In view of the important contributions presented during roundtable No. 3, 
entitled "The Role of Workers in the Management of Companies", within the 
framework of the activities of the Third Global Encounter of Solidarity 
with the Bolivarian Revolution, realised in the city of Valencia during 
April 14-15, 2005, the following proposals have been collected, which 
synthesis a general consensus:

1. The direct and democratic participation of workers in the management or 
co-management of production and distribution is an exceptional mechanism to 
guarantee and consolidated the Bolivarian Revolution. In order to implement 
this strategic policy, strong unity of the people and the working-class is 
required around the revolutionary program and direction of Commandante 
Chávez. This is how it will be possible to deepen the social, political and 
economic transformations that our country demands, and take us in the 
direction of socialism of the XXI century.

2. We view our co-management as bolivarian, revolutionary and anti-capitalist:
BOLIVARIAN: Because it is a proposal of the Venezuelan revolution, adapted 
to our reality, culture, historical legacy and because it takes in the 
constitutional mandate which aims to "establish a democratic, participatory 
and protagonistic society". REVOLUTIONARY: Because it aims to demolish the 
old structures and conceptions of power of the capitalist IV Republic and 
replace it with the new institutionalism and revolutionary conscience.
ANTI-CAPITALIST: Because it aims to demolish capitalist property relations 
and production and replace them with others where labour is privileged over 
capital. The principle that will guide workers management and comanagement 
must be: Power to the workers and the people!

3. In this sense, the process of workers management and co management is 
framed within the ten strategic objectives of the new stage in the 
Bolivarian Revolution, particularly:
- to advance in the conformation of the new social structure.
- to advance in the construction of the new democratic model of popular 
- to accelerate the construction of the new productive model, as a way 
towards the creation of the new economic system. In the current political 
conjuncture it is an urgency, in the face of the threat of imperialistic 

4. Experiences up until now teach us that it is only possible to develop 
the knowledge of the running of companies by workers, when these belong to 
the state. The workers rejected any idea of turning workers of the 
co-managed or managed factories into small proprietors. It corresponds to 
those in the factories, to exert their role as guarantors of the 
sovereignty of the people established in the constitution, so that the 
profits of these companies become part of the social funds which help 
reverse the poverty of wide sections of the Venezuelan population and not 
directed towards stimulating new business ventures.

5. The participation of the community is fundamental in all of the process 
of workers co-management and management and in the development of the 
alternative model, in order to obtain the means towards the transformation 
of the production model and end social exclusion.

6. The process of workers management and co-management in state owned 
companies, within the framework of the present revolutionary process, is a 
fundamental step towards assuring the democratic participation of the 
sovereign in decision-making. That is to say, it is a political act that 
makes concrete the alliance between the people that must control the state 
of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the working-class, and not a 
corporative economic pact between a bosses state and a privileged caste of 
new state employees. We fight without truce against the threats of the 
internal counterrevolution, represented by bureaucratism, corruption and 

7. The process of workers management and co-management demand the existence 
of the organic organizations of the workers - trade unions but these will 
have to adapt their structure, objectives and methods of work, to the 
primary objective; to orient politically the workers in the key tasks of 
production and management of companies, reinforcing the bonds with the 
diverse popular organizations, in addition to the defense of their 
legitimate economic and social demands. In this sense the fundamental role 
of the UNT is vindicated, as a revolutionary union federation aiming to 
orient, accompany, give direction to and fortify this process.

8. In order to advance in the process of workers co-management and 
management, it is necessary to promulgate a law that develops the 
constitutional lineaments on the norms that must reign as much in the state 
companies as the private ones. We make available to parliamentary 
delegates, the documents drafted by workers from the electrical sector and 
aluminum industry. In this sense, we state the important similarity of 
different expressions from the workers movement around the basic principle 
of production and distribution under workers management and co-management, 
all of which constitutes an important conceptual base for the elaboration 
of the necessary legislation, regulation and normalisation.

9. By virtue of the political importance already indicated, we ask that the 
National Government continue in its timetable of bring state companies into 
this process, designing and systematizing them with the participation of 
the workers, and conforming a parity group between them and the Government. 
As well, just as in VENEPAL, to continue with the demands of workers from 
different companies from the private sector to initiate processes of 
workers co-management, particularly in the cases of Constructora Nacional 
de Válvulas (CNV), CANTV and others.

10. We ask of the National Government to publish all the contributions and 
to distribute all the materials presented by the national and international 
delegations, to obtain the widest possible distribution of the ideas and 
proposals that were debated here.

11. We agree to express our broadest possible solidarity with the fight of 
the workers in their tenacious fight to take over companies and put them 
into the hands of the workers, both in Argentina and Brazil, as well as 
with all other similar cases in this continent and in world. We give a 
special mention to the cases of CIPLA and INTERFIBRA in Brazil, and ask 
that the Government of President Lula take the necessary actions to stop 
the judicial persecution of a member of the Council of Recovered Companies, 
Serge Goulart.

12. The participants of roundtable No. 3 express our unanimous and absolute 
solidarity with the Cuban revolution and its people, and express our deep 
rejection of the resolution pushed by Yankee imperialism, in the United 
Nations Human Rights Commission. The participants of this roundtable extend 
our solidarity to the anti imperialist fight of all the people that suffer 
from imperialist aggression, particularly to the heroic Iraqi and Haitian 
peoples, who face the invasion of their territory by Yankee troops.

13. The participation of the workers in the management and co management of 
companies, within the framework of the Venezuelan revolutionary process, 
has as it main objective to elevate the consciousness of the workers and 
the people to assume its role as the fundamental factor in the process of 
production and distribution. Capitalist regulation of production and social 
distribution is antagonistic and uncontrollable. Co-management makes the 
democratic control of the working people possible, recovering 
decision-making powers, as much political as socio-economical, for the 
producer. It is the only way to unite immediate goals with strategic 
objectives. The only way that can leads us to a true equality. Enough of 
the counter position of formal equality and hierarchical inequality! These 
are practical steps to the socialization of the production and 
distribution! With workers co management, the objective and subjective 
conditions mature!


Valencia, 15 of April of 2005

Declaration from the English Speaking Guests at the Third Encounter of 
Solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution

We agree upon the idea that without workers co-management there is no 
revolution. Nevertheless, we think that workers co-management as an end in 
itself in the fight against poverty, unemployment and social exclusion, 
will not lead to a revolution.

We felt inspired from listening to the debates of the last two days, 
because we saw what a discussion within a winning movement is like. We were 
impressed by the open and democracy atmosphere, the level of the debate and 
the respect given to all points of view that were expounded.

We endorse the idea whereby, as a means to expand workers co-management to 
include the private sector, new laws are adopted that anticipate 
transparency in production and financial operation; that is to say, to make 
the books of the company be made available to workers.

This Encounter has constituted a reaffirmation that the workers have the 
capacity and creativity to run their workplaces. Here, we have been 
witnesses to the increasing role of the union movement within the framework 
of the Bolivarian Revolution, in assuming the key social and political 
challenges of "Socialism in the XXI century", and in advancing the 
organizations in defense of the revolution in the workplace (the centers of 
Michael A. Lebowitz
Professor Emeritus
Economics Department
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6

Currently based in Venezuela. Can be reached at
Residencias Anauco Suites
Departamento 601
Parque Central, Zona Postal 1010, Oficina 1
Caracas, Venezuela
(58-212) 573-4111
fax: (58-212) 573-7724

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