Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 9 February 2006

Venezuela: We are a mighty river

'SOMOS UN rio crecido' ['we are a mighty river'] read one of the banners on the massive pro-Chávez (the country's radical, populist president) march on 4 February in Venezuela.

Andy Bentley, Caracas, Venezuela

One-and-a-half million poured out onto the streets of Caracas in a show of strength which turned from a river into a sea of red banners and flags that brought parts of the capital city to a halt.

Chávez supporters were packed like sardines on the metro trains trying to get to the march. They also came from miles around on motorbikes, buses, cars, on foot and even on crutches! Wave after wave joined in on the way. More than 100 buses came from the Vargas region alone, despite the recent collapse of the main viaduct link road.

Unlike the previous week's march, during the World Social Forum, this march was predominantly made up of the working class and other exploited layers of Venezuela. Workers marched behind their trade union banners and from their barrios. Campesinos (rural workers) came packed in open top trailers.

The opposition, represented by the capitalist bosses, latifundistas (large landowners) and the top layers of the church, all supported by US imperialism, thought that the tide was beginning to turn in their direction.

The widespread abstention of Chávez supporters in the recent National Assembly elections and opinion polls which showed a fall in support for Chávez added to the opposition's optimism. But the turnout on this march compared to the few thousands mobilised by the right wing opposition's counter-march confirmed again the real balance of forces.

Chávez used the march (originally called to commemorate the 14th anniversary of the failed military rebellion led by him as a paratrooper in 1992), as a launch pad for the presidential elections later in the year by calling for ten million votes to ensure his re-election. The previous day he had gone onto the offensive by expelling a US naval officer for spying and announcing a series of new reforms, including a 15% increase in the minimum wage which will benefit thousands of working class people.

However, winning another term as president will not be enough to solve the huge problems faced by the Venezuelan working class, campesinos and poor. Despite the significant reforms funded by the high price of oil, 70% of the population still live in poverty whilst big business continue to make massive profits.

The Chavez reforms and partial nationalisations and 'co-gestion' (worker's participation) have enraged the opposition without breaking, fundamentally, their ownership of the main industries, banks, finance companies and land.

The process of revolution and counter-revolution will continue to unfold in Venezuela but at some stage will reach a decisive conclusion. Either the forces of the counter-revolution will win through a bloody military coup, as in Chile in 1973, or a 'democratic' counter-revolution, as in Nicaragua in the 1990s.

Alternatively, the Venezuelan working class - supported by the other exploited layers - will build the forces necessary to break decisively with capitalism i.e. by taking into public ownership major industry, banks, finance houses and land under democratic workers' control.

This would allow production to be democratically planned based on the needs of the masses and not a privileged few. But such a successful conclusion will not be automatic. The need for the working class and exploited layers to build their own independent organisations, armed with a socialist programme, is now becoming increasingly urgent.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation £


Your message: 


In The Socialist 9 February 2006:

End the occupation

Socialists must build a united workers' movement to fight divisions

Bush not going Green

Strike for pension rights

Victory for trade union militancy

NHS - hands off our GP services!

Fighting the far-right BNP

Get organised, get active!

Campaign for a New Workers' Party

Venezuela: Women occupy Caracas factory

Venezuela: We are a mighty river

Sri Lanka: Back from the brink of war?

Are Trotsky’s ideas of socialist revolution still relevant today?


Home   |   The Socialist 9 February 2006   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: Lessons from Venezuela for Corbyn

triangleBristol North Socialist Party: Venezuela - the fight for genuine socialism

triangleEast London Socialist Party: What's happening in Venezuela?

triangleCaerphilly Socialist Party: Venezuela - for a real socialist alternative to corruption and imperialism

triangleThe Socialist inbox

Hugo Chávez:

triangleVenezuela: resist the pro-imperialist coup!

triangleChávez wins majority but right-wing gains ground

Working class:

triangleLifting the lockdown: workers must not pay the price

triangleLessons from the Corbyn experience

triangleLenin at 150: A revolutionary life - and the relevance of his ideas for today


triangleReform or revolt? How was the slave trade abolished?

triangleThe Spanish Flu of 1918 and how it "fanned the flames of revolt"


triangleThem & Us




South Africa

South Africa: Building jobs and living wage campaign



France: 20,000 rally against Paris's killer gendarmes



Black and white youth rise up against racism - US protester speaks to the Socialist



USA - another cop killing of unarmed black man sparks widespread protests



Outrage spreads globally following US police murder of George Floyd


Hong Kong

Chinese state's imposition of draconian law reignites Hong Kong protests



Economic collapse leads to renewed protests across Lebanon



Trump, coronavirus, capitalism, and the presidential race



India: Fighting the curse of capitalism and coronavirus



Trump puts profit before safety (again)



US: Trump's public health cuts have condemned thousands worldwide


May Day

A CWI May Day 2020 statement



Irish police use Covid-19 emergency powers to disperse Dublin shop workers' protest



US private healthcare system in meltdown



Rapacious capitalism and the spread of coronavirus

triangleMore International articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041



Alphabetical listing

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020