[Marxism] "Before we had a boss. Now we are the bosses" - Venezuelan co-ops expand

Johannes Schneider Johannes.Schneider at gmx.net
Wed Aug 23 03:42:41 MDT 2006

The role of the cooperatives are an issue inside the Venezuelan labor movement, too.

>From Venezuelanalysis.com:

The Real Fracture in Venezuela’s Labor Movement is Ideological
Monday, Jul 10, 2006   
By: Steve Mather – Venezuelanalysis.com
Chirino is a Marxist.  For him and his current Chávez has played a key role in encouraging and radicalizing workers through his rhetoric and his support for factory occupations and co-management, and basically for bringing the word socialism into the public discourse.  But for C-CURA co-management is just a transitional phase towards complete workers control of industry, taking Venezuela towards XXI Century Socialism.  It is a period of “apprenticeship,” where workers learn new skills and grow in confidence.  They have criticized the fact that the government has allowed workers to profit from co-managed factories such as INVEVAL.  They think society as a whole should profit and argue that government policy is turning workers into capitalists.  They also want workers to control the oil industry, which the state has emphatically refused to consider, designating it a “strategic” industry.  For this reason Chirino and his associates are forming their own revolutionary party outside of the MVR.

Conversely, the other four currents are all closely linked to the government and the state.  Marsela Máspero is close to the Ministry of Work, while Osvaldo Vera of the FBT is actually a deputy in the National Assembly for the ruling MVR.  The Autonomous Union is linked to Patria Para Todos (PPT), which is in coalition with the MVR.  And they have supported the right of workers to “own” their co-operatives.  They have opposed Chirino’s plan to form a new party.  While they insist that their motivation is no more than to avoid dividing the pro-Chávez coalition, could their opposition to elections that they might lose have something to do with a loss of control of the UNT by MVR, especially given the C-CURA’s radical tendencies?

Actually, although the state likes to show off INVEPAL and INVEVAL (companies where the state owns 51% and the workers 49% and are jointly managed), most of the co-managed factories are actually businesses that have run into financial difficulty and the state provides funds to the companies under the guarantee that the workers are kept on and that they are given a limited role in management.  It is difficult to attach the label socialism to these enterprises.  

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