Stalin Pérez Bórges responds to James Petras

Posted December 23, 2007

We are Trotskyists and class-conscious trade unionists for a YES, and we reject the slanderous generalizations of James Petras

– December 1, 2007 by Stalin Pérez Bórges (MAREA Clasista y Socialista)

Translated by Paul Lefrak. Original article, in Spanish, can be found here.

The renowned American intellectual James Petras, published an article on the website Rebelión, reproduced afterwards also in and in other medias.

In it, Petras began denouncing the CIA’s plan against the Constitutional Reform and the Bolivarian Revolution and until this point, we would’ve had no problem, if it hadn’t been for the false accusations and bad intentions that it makes later with lies and unreal comparisons. Petras says that: “The Embassy is especially full of praise for the ex-Maoist ‘Red Flag’ group for its violent street fighting activity. Ironically, small Trotskyist sects and their trade unionists join the ex-Maoists in opposing the constitutional amendments.” What he says here is outside of reality and plagued with bad intention.

Stalin Pérez Bórges

In the first place, it’s public knowledge that the great majority of the international Trotskyist movement, as it is in Venezuela, is pushing for a YES vote in Sunday’s referendum. Including right now, one can see for themselves in Wednesday, November 28th the summary of the International Act that the newspaper Socialist and Class-Conscious MAREA [acronym=TIDE] will organize, with the presence of Celia Hart Stantamaria of Cuba, leaders of the Socialist Workers Movement of Argentina, the PSOL of Brazil, the French LCR and other Latin American organizations and thus there are other pronouncements of other Trotskyist organizations and personalities. It’s a reality that can fulfill itself with ample proof, that those of us who assert ourselves as Trotskyists and publish the newspaper Socialist and Class-Conscious MAREA here in Venezuela, as militants in the battalions of the PSUV, are part of the popular movement and class-conscious trade unionism.

Secondly, as referenced by a hefty number of leaders and activists in the revolutionary union movement in our country, we were and we are also campaigning in favor of a YES, in this new struggle against imperialism, the Opposition and the large private mass media. We are clear that the only thing that these sectors seek is to stop the revolutionary process. Class conscious leaders of more than ten states of the country have even brought to the National Assembly and to President Chavez in the month of September a document that was published in and reproduced by the thousands to distribute in workplaces, where we expressed where we coincided, our contributions and also some disagreements, within the framework of calling for a YES vote. We understand revolution in that way, that is to say, mobilizing ourselves, defending all which helps deepen it, and also noting what we did not share, because we do not believe in revolutions where one is not permitted to dissent.

Petras, has access to this document, as well as to innumerable public declarations of class-conscious leaders of Venezuela in favor of a YES, to newspapers and websites that disseminate this position. Nevertheless, with a lamentable method and alien to any serious debate between socialists, he hurls discrediting insults [“descalificativos”] without any kind of proof, against Trotskyism in general and against class-conscious Venezuelan trade union leaders, in a deplorable method and already repeated.

Perhaps in his criticism of Trotskyism, Petras talks about a very small political sector, but with recognized union leaders who call for a NULL vote, or others even smaller who would vote NO. Completely mistaken positions that the majority of class-conscious unionism and workers reject. But, the existence of a small sector of comrades [“compañeros”] that have that position does not give Petras the right to include in his denunciation the entirety of the Trotskyist movement and class-conscious Venezuelan unionism that, as we explained above, join with most of the workers of the country to vote YES this Sunday.

Within a method excessively abominable, Petras uses the generalization and the combination [“amalgama”], uniting the CIA, Red Flag and this small sector of Trotskyism as part of a common plan. That is sad, alien to a dignified and democratic debate. Political differences must be discussed precisely as political differences and not with attacks, falsehoods and campaigns. The small national and international sector of Trotskyism that doesn’t vote YES is profoundly mistaken, but it has nothing to do with the CIA. Petras knows this, but uses that abominable method to try and demonstrate the opposite.

For that reason together with the millions of workers and poor people of the country, we are going to vote YES in the referendum at the same time that we repudiate the lies, the calumnies and the combinations as methods of debating.