Saturday, November 05, 2005

First Latin American gathering of worker-recovered factories:
Chavez announces further expropriation

By Jorge Martin
Caracas Wednesday, 02 November 2005

"This is an historical gathering. For the first time workers from occupied factories from across the continent are meeting together"
(Serge Goulart, United Workers’ Council of Brazilian group of occupied factories)

"We have shown how the workers can run the companies, and this means we can run society as well"
(Ricardo Moreira, PIT-CNT, Uruguay)

More than 400 people from 235 worker occupied factories and 20 different national trade union centres participated in the "First Latin American Gathering of Worker Recovered Factories" in Caracas on October 27-29.This was truly a historical meeting, the first time that workers involved in factory occupations in different countries met to discuss their problems, share their experiences and draw political conclusions from their struggle. And such a meeting could only take place in revolutionary Venezuela where it had the support of Chavez’s Bolivarian government.

.....Asked about the debate president Chavez has opened up on "socialism of the 21st century", Serge Goulart replied: "The Venezuelan Revolution is extraordinary in that it confirms what the Marxists had always said. It started as a struggle against imperialism and for national sovereignty. But then we saw the working class entering the scene in the struggle against the sabotage of the oil industry and the revolution went further, as it did with the nationalisation of Venepal on January 19 this year. It started as an anti-imperialist struggle, but it either becomes socialist or it will be crushed. (…) The question will be posed of the nationalisation of the banks and the multinationals and that can only be carried out by the workers".

Orlando Chirino, National Coordinator of the Venezuelan UNT explained the context in which these factory occupations were taking place: "This is a symptom of the degeneration of capitalism which leads to a process of deregulation, flexibilisation and increased exploitation of the workers. Capitalism
no longer plays the progressive role it once played." .....

Both Chirino and the trade union representatives of Venezuela’s state-owned electricity company CADAFE, stressed that worker-management was enormously progressive and was "the only way of defeating bureaucratism and corruption which are threatening the Bolivarian Revolution"......

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