The events in Venezuela excited the world community. «Socialism of the XXI century» suffers a complete collapse, and this is not surprising, because “chavism” in fact has never been socialism. We see another reincarnation of reformism, with Latin American bourgeois nationalism and populist phrases about «protecting the poor».
«Socialism of the XXI century»
Demagogue Hugo Chavez, like his successor, «a simple bus driver», Nicolas Maduro, is nothing new for the South American continent. The era of the aggravation of class struggle in Latin America is characterized by various «caudillo», whose main function is to curb the proletarian masses, to preach “class harmony” and to search for a «third way» between communism and capitalism.
A distinctive feature of all these “people’s leaders” and the regimes built around them was the rejection of “classical” capitalism, which can be explained by the reaction of national intellectuals, small producers and peasant masses to all the horrors brought by late capitalist development. Destruction of national (peasant) culture, acceleration of the crisis of traditional small-scale production, destruction of pre-capitalist relations, intensification of exploitation, rapid impoverishment and proletarianization of the masses, aggressive invasion of foreign monopolies, the inability of «national» capitalism, connected with them, to solve the problems of the people – all this forced the search for a way out of the classic capitalist model.
At the same time, classical socialism (Marxism-Leninism), frightening the petty-bourgeois strata, was rejected, because it was allegedly impossible to apply in the socio-economic conditions of Latin America. From here flowed all sorts of variations of the magical “third way” between capitalism and communism, flavored with bourgeois-nationalist slogans emphasizing the originality and greatness of the country in which this or that populist «caudillo» was operating.
Ultimately, the gaze of the petty bourgeois, enraged by the horrors of capitalism, inevitably falls on the state. Full of respect for the social hierarchy, the petty bourgeois perceives the state as an eternal supraclass instrument that should guarantee the observance of social justice, the protection of «national sovereignty» from foreign imperialism, and the effective development of the national economy. Guyana «cooperative socialism», Costa Rican «liberationism», Guatemalan «spiritual socialism», Bolivian-Paraguayan «military socialism» – all these populist models are based on strengthening the role of the bourgeois state in the economic life of the country, which uses decorative reforms to improve capitalism, not to destroy it. We are talking about the pattern of reformism, which sooner or later fails, because capitalism cannot be improved by any superficial measures.
The Venezuelan «socialism of the 21st century» regime differs little from the past reformist experiments, which inevitably degenerated into a banal bourgeois reformism. And Hugo Chavez is by no means the author of this vague concept.
The idea of «revolutionary Bolivarianism» – a mixture of socialist slogans with anti-American rhetoric – was the theoretical basis of the «Party of the Venezuelan Revolution», a group of petty-bourgeois ultra-left adventurers led by Douglas Bravo, who was expelled from the Communist Party of Venezuela for factional activities in 1965. In 1969, the PVR announced the launch of a campaign called «Tactical Turning», the essence of which was to intensify political work with the lower officers of the Armed Forces of Venezuela.
During this period in Peru and Panama, groups of left-nationalist military came to power under the leadership of Velasco Alvarado and Omar Torrijos. They started some reforms of the capitalist economy, declaring «the third path between communism and capitalism». And it is quite understandable that the PVR lit up with the hope of a mechanical repetition of the Peruvian-Panamanian experience that delighted them.
The desire to achieve the sympathy of the nationalist military led to the strengthening of patriotic rhetoric. Together with «socialist» phrases and bourgeois idealism, this led to the birth of the reformist concept of «revolutionary Bolivarianism» – the concept of building socialism with Venezuelan characteristics. Naturally, the idea of «revolutionary Bolivarianism» had no relation to Marxism-Leninism or even to the so-called «Bolivarian Marxism-Leninism» (initially with this very term Douglas Bravo described the theoretical platform of the «Party of the Venezuelan Revolution»). Suffice to say that the so-called central axis of this ideology has become The Tree of the Three Roots, where the figures of Simon Bolivar (desire for freedom, unity and independence of the Latin American continent), Eséquiel Zamora (liberal, national hero of Venezuela, one of the participants of the civil war with the Conservatives of 1859-63, symbolizing the military-civil unity in the struggle for freedom) and Simon Rodriguez (Venezuelan bourgeois educator, Bolivar’s mentor, who is a symbol of enlightenment and equality) act as the «roots».
Activists of the PVR began infiltration into the ranks of the Venezuelan Armed Forces. This had some success: nationalist speeches, coupled with social demagogy and references to Christianity, resonated in the hearts of lower officers, who came from the middle strata of the city and village. By the mid-70s, a large number of military clubs were organized within the Armed Forces, one of the participants of which was Hugo Chavez Frias. In 1977, the circles were formally consolidated into the Revolutionary Bolivarian Army, from which the Bolivarian Revolutionary Movement would later grow in 1982.
After 10 years, the neoliberal reforms undertaken by the government of Carlos Perez drove the Venezuelans to despair. One of the most striking manifestations of this was the uprising in Caracas in 1989. The left forces of the most diverse directions started to get closer to each other, intending to save the country and the people from collapse. The vanguard of this multi-class and ideologically fragmented loose coalition was the Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement, which made two attempts at a coup d’état in 1992 to save the homeland. Despite the fact that both attempts failed, Hugo Chavez, who was imprisoned, became unprecedentedly popular.
The defeat of the adventurous attempt to displace the traditional bourgeoisie through a coup led to a change in orientation towards the parliamentary form of struggle. Here, the “Movement for the V Republic”, which was formed around Chavez, acted as a locomotive, which was joined not only by all sorts of leftists, but also part of the national bourgeoisie, who suffered from the neoliberal reforms imposed by American imperialism. Thus, in 1998, Hugo Chavez, having received the support of a significant part of the population who were tired of the horrors of «classic» capitalism, won the presidential election.
As for the “Socialism of the 21st century” concept, its author is the German sociologist Heinz Dietrich Stefan, who worked as Chavez’s personal adviser. It was he who, after “analyzing” the causes of the failures of building socialism in the 20th century, in 1996 put forward a number, as it seemed to him, of innovative ideas for constructing an economic model alternative to capitalism. In 2000, these theories were compiled in the book “Socialism of the 21st Century”.
What is this theory, the loyalty of which Hugo Chavez publicly proclaimed in 2005 during the V World Social Forum? It represents, as was already mentioned, the next embodiment of bourgeois reformism. First of all, the concept of “Socialism of the 21st Century” does not provide for the destruction of the basis of capitalist exploitation, private ownership of the means of production.
In 1998, when Chavez announced his candidacy for the presidential election with the program of the «Third Bolivarian Revolution», he rejected all accusations from the big bourgeoisie that he was going to expropriate big private property. After the transition to the «socialism of the 21st century» model, Chavez … remained faithful to his bourgeois position, stating, for example, during the broadcast of the popular TV show «Aló Presidente» dated August 26, 2007, that he did not share the «Marxist-Leninist idea of the destruction of private property» . Then he again and again reassured the bourgeois public, convincing them that he «had no plans to destroy either large or small private property» .
«The Socialists of the 21st Century» do not see any need for the expropriation of capital. They idealistically demand increased social responsibility of businessmen. Chavez declared that «socialism does not reject private property», that private property only harms society when it «degenerates into selfish accumulation» .
Moreover, the Chavists, hoping for the beneficial effects of small-scale farming on the country’s economy and public life, planned not to consolidate production (which would be logical for the socialist economic model), but to split it. For example, in accordance with the «Programa de la Patria» 2013-19 it is envisaged to «improve the system of incentives for the development of small and medium-sized private, as well as joint ventures» .
Such an approach is quite understandable: the new “Bolivarian” bourgeoisie has neither the strength nor the desire to engage in direct satisfaction of the needs of the people. The light and food industries (it was primarily in these industries that the Chavists wanted to attract private capital) did not promise maximum profits, at the same time demanding too much money, so from the point of view of the ruling clique it is much more profitable to give these economic areas to “conscious” small businessmen. What comes out of these appeals: despite the patriotic cries of the Chavists, the country is not able to provide itself with basic food, so Venezuela today imports more than 70% of the food consumed .
But the reader may ask: what about the nationalization of strategic industries carried out by the Сhavists? Indeed, the Venezuelan government nationalized a number of economically important sectors, such as electricity, oil, cement, metallurgy, and telecommunications. However, there are a number of important points to keep in mind.
First, in most cases we are talking about de-privatization, about the return of property privatized by the state during the rule of the liberals.
Secondly, the expropriation of large enterprises was carried out at the expense of the workers themselves, that is, with the payment of “fair compensation” to the capitalists.
Finally, thirdly, and most importantly, expropriation was carried out by the bourgeois state and, accordingly, did not become the property of society, but the class of private owners organized into the state, which does not change the essence of capitalist exploitation.
Corrupt, bureaucratic officials, interested exclusively in personal profits, contribute to the collapse of nationalized enterprises. A typical example is the “electric crisis” that began in 2009 and continues to this day. According to the Chavist bourgeoisie, the reason is the dropping of the water level at the country’s hydropower stations. The rise of water to the optimum level does not correct the situation. The explanation is simple: the nationalization of power plants and energy distribution infrastructure has led not only to a significant slowdown in the modernization of the industry, but also to the destruction of the electrical grid maintenance system, with the result that outdated and inefficient equipment operates at only 57% of the potential capacity due to problems in electricity generation and transmission . Similarly, other sectors that underwent «Bolivarian nationalization» came to a complete decline: iron, steel, telecommunications, and then even the oil industry.
Nationalization is directly related to one of the foundations of «socialism of the 21st century» – the issue of the state. Dietrich and the Chavists believe that socialism can be achieved through the gradual evolution of capitalism. And the main actor in this process the «socialists of the XXI century» assign to an abstract state.
According to Dietrich, any society needs a state to organize labor, the rule of law and… war with representatives of other societies. Over time, the state increasingly distances itself from the larger society, begins to dominate it, the elements connected with the state, using their position, turn into a separate class that opposes the rest of society. Only through the transition to the model of «majority democracy», which gives the masses the right to solve all important issues through referendums, can the state return to original role of the simple executor of the will of the people. As this democracy becomes stronger, there is a gradual transition from «capitalist reality» to «new forms of social being». All this, of course, occurs without any struggle and leaps, peacefully and smoothly. The owners of the means of production, possessing a «big heart» and a «sober mind», having believed in the prospects of a new direction of development, voluntarily give up their privileges.
The «socialists of the 21st century», juggling with empty phrases about the state, actually stand on the positions of strengthening bourgeois hegemony. For they do not recognize the destruction of the bourgeois state — in their opinion, it fully meets the needs of development. They only seek to improve it through «popular representation».
As a result, in Venezuela we see not a movement towards socialism, but an increasing role of state-monopoly capital, which hides behind the mask of «people’s power». The economic vector of this «people’s power» is extremely eclectic and is aimed at creating a pleasant public image of the ruling class, the class of the «Bolivarian bourgeoisie».
Take, for example, the fixation of prices for consumer goods (an exclusively populist move, which should symbolize «the care of the government for the most disadvantaged strata»). Fixing prices in a market economy led to lightning-fast washing out of goods, which gave rise to a huge shortage of everything. The same price fixation led to stagnation in the food, light industry and agriculture, which are simply unprofitable to produce goods that are sold below the cost of production. As a result, unemployment increases, poverty increases. The fixation of prices and the resulting deficit led to an increase in corruption within the state apparatus, which monopolized the distribution of products under the guise of «caring for the people». We can perfectly see it today, when the Chavists and officers of the Armed Forces and the National Guard earn millions by selling mass consumer goods on the black market.
The situation is similar with other social programs of the Venezuelan government. The limited measures that do not change the essence of capitalist exploitation are no more than a demonstrative struggle with the consequence, and not the root cause. The temporary nature of this struggle was evident initially, because the economic source of the «social missions» of the Venezuelan regime was the super profits from the sale of oil, which could not be high forever. In 2015, at the very beginning of the nationwide crisis, the number of people living below the poverty line was estimated at 48.4% of the total population. It is more than in 1998, before the «socialists of the 21st century» came to power (45%) . Capitalism quickly won back its positions. People’s money spent on «fighting poverty» in the past years flew into the pipe.
“Well, there are problems,” the reader will say. “But after all, the socialism of the 21st century provides for a certain «participatory democracy», the involvement of the masses in governing the country.”
The “people’s representation” in practice is the so-called «Bolivarian clubs» (the basic organizations of the «Bolivarian Revolution»), municipal councils, student councils, as well as workers’ councils. A very wide network of similar structures has surrounded the whole country. Taking into account the rejection of the class struggle, as well as the policy of «improving» the bourgeois state, the main functions of these completely dependent organizations is blindly implementing the directives, or the struggle to strengthen state structures and the state ideology. In terms of the class struggle, these organizations are disarmed by reformism.
An example would be the “workers’ councils”, which the Venezuelan regime opposes to trade union organizations. It was to the “workers’ councils” that the Venezuelan government transferred control over certain nationalized enterprises. As a result, in fact, not playing any independent role, consisting of representatives of a corrupt trade union bureaucracy, not aware of class interests, these “workers’ councils” demonstrate the same effectiveness as the commanders of the state apparatus commanding them.
This is the situation at one of the largest steel enterprises in the country, «Sidor», which has more than halved the volume of output in six years . Moreover, even Jose Luis Hernandez, secretary of the independent Trade Union of workers in the steel industry and related industries, who initially enthusiastically accepted the establishment of workers’ control over the enterprise, in 2014 accused the Chavist «workers administration» of inefficiency and plundering, with the result that the country’s largest steel enterprise is in an undeclared bankruptcy for the last 3 years .
The Condition of the Working Class
Workers’ councils and Chavistic trade unions functions do not end on being a bit player in Chavist comedy, called «workers control». Like any other bourgeois regime, «socialism of XXI century» seeks not the organization of the working class, not the class struggle intensification, but submission of the working class to its political and economic interests. The main role in this process is left to multiple «Bolivarian syndicates», fighting not only Confederation of Workers of Venezuela, traditionally related to the bourgeois sector, but any other trade unions, independent of Chavismo.
The main bet in this struggle was made on the overlap – establishing of the alternative trade union structures and providing them with the government aid to confront independent syndicates leadership and activists. Thus, from 2003 throughout the country begins the fight between Chavistic «Bolivarian syndicates» and nationalized industrial branches independent trade unions. The situation intensified most during the moments of the collective agreement renegotiation, when the was choice to be made of which trade union centre will represent workers.
This struggle rapidly flared into open banditry and usage of open violence against workers, pushed over the edge by «Bolivarian revolution» experiments.
The brightest example of such activities is building field workers «trade union» «Muralla Roja» (The Red wall), closely connected with Bolivar state authorities and «chavistic» construction mafia, grown up inside this nationalized sphere. The Red Wall has launched a series of attacks on the independent syndicates representatives, including a particularly ugly episode that occurred at the Bauxilium aluminum smelter (Ciudad-Guayana, Bolivar State) in May 2011. 50 “workers council” activists led by this nationalized enterprise president with the support of the Muralla Roja leaders, attacked a working demonstration protesting against a breach of the collective agreement and labor conditions deterioration right at the enterprise gates.
Overall, violence against trade unions figures committed by «workers council» and other «Bolivarian activists», connected with nationalized enterprises administrations and the state political leadership is widespread; appeared an unprecedented new method of inter-union disputes – the use of hired killers. This method has received a particularly wide scope in the construction sector, where, as already mentioned, the interests of the workers often conflicted with the interests of the Chavist building mafia and the associated Chavist trade union bureaucracy . In this way, to beginning of the 2010’s Venezuela has turned into one of the unfavorable countries for the workers movement in the Latin America , where the working class regularly suffers from direct attacks: thus, from 2005 to 2014, 273 workers activists were killed for participating in trade union activities . In 2014 alone, a total of over 1,200 workers were convicted for actions related to trade union struggle. Dozens of workers today, in early 2019, are paying the price of freedom for their struggle against unemployment, against mass cuts, against lowering wages, against breaches of collective agreement terms by the «socialist» state itself, against terror by the C havist trade unions. .
Such an unceremonious suppression of the working class, outraged by the results of the “socialist” policy of the ruling bourgeois clique, pushes this working class into the clutches of the bourgeois opposition, which uses the workers’ discontent to strengthen their own positions. One confirmation of this can be the results of the general 48-hour strike in 2017 against the Maduro government, supported by more than 350 trade union organizations of Venezuela, including the largest General Confederation of Workers (CGT), the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions (CODESA), the National Union of Workers (UNETE) and the Confederation of Workers of Venezuela (CTV). As a result, according to the calculations of the opposition figures themselves (probably tendentious, but nonetheless reflecting to some extent a general picture), more than 90% of workers in the transport sector, 77% of oil workers, 86% of private workers, and 82% of public sector workers participated in the national strike .
In these circumstances of the sharpest socio-economic collapse, army and imperialism remains the last hope for the “Bolivarian bourgeoisie” to stay in power.
Role of The Armed forces in the political and economic life of the country systematically increased from the beginning of economic crisis in 2013. During this period, the generals actually became businessmen, controlling the most important sectors of the economy. And if earlier, under Chávez, the military profited on smuggling and selling essential goods on the black market, under Maduro the army command took control of the energy sector, the Caracas metro, metallurgical companies in the south of the country, as well as ports and customs. Chavist generals are responsible for the distribution of consumer goods (up to deodorants, diapers and toothpaste). By the decision of the Maduro government, in 2013, the Military Economic Zone was created – a huge corporation , which includes a dozen of a large specialized enterprises (bank, investment fund, television channel, agricultural, telecommunications, transport, textile, oil and gas, construction companies, etc.), almost completely restricted from the financial control of the government.
Finally, in 2016-2017, the military sector gained control of other strategic areas, such as food production and mining, right up to the holy of holies of the Venezuelan economy, the national oil and gas corporation PDVSA, whose new president has no experience in this area, National Guard General Manuel Quevedo Fernandes . By the way, he is also the chairman of the Ministry of Petroleum Industry.
By the way, he is not the only military man in the government. In the current cabinet of Maduro, 14 of 33 ministers are either current or retired military , and of the 19 governors elected during the 2017 elections, 8 are also former members of the Armed Forces and the National Guard.
Naturally, army’s role in the country economic life is not exhausted by that: the former and current military own private construction companies, drug and food importers, logistics companies, supplying materials for the education and health care systems and other commercial enterprises that get rich through state initiatives.
Ironically, imperialism is another reliance of «Chavist bourgeoise».
We are all used to the «anti-imperialist» chatter of the Chavists, who are trying to shift all responsibility for the crisis that has befallen Venezuela – on the catastrophic scale of which the dominant «Bolivarian elite» is responsible – on the treacherous North American imperialists and their internal machinations. Other defenders of «21st century socialism» repeat this same nonsense in different ways, unwilling to see the real essence of this fake “distinct socialism” and the real reasons for its collapse.
But the reality lies in the fact that during the 20 years of the «Bolivarian revolution» the «Chavist bourgeoisie» did nothing to change the semi-colonial status of Venezuela, which is still a raw materials supplier with a colonial economy, almost completely tied to the sale of oil and dependent on market fluctuations in its price. Moreover, the funny thing is that the main export partner of Venezuela is the United States, buying up about 60% of oil and oil products that are exported.
Of course, throughout this time, both Chavez and Maduro threatened to take off Venezuela from the «oil needle» and turn it into a truly independent, industrially developed power. But, given the parasitic nature of the «Bolivarian bourgeoisie» the promises remained promises. Moreover in 2012, the number of industrial enterprises in Venezuela fell by 40% compared with 1999 . And since the beginning of the economic crisis in 2013, the situation only got worse.
As we see, the «Chavist bourgeoisie», which is primarily concerned with profits and not with genuine national and social liberation, did not in the least imbalance the semi-colonial status of Venezuela. And today, to the cries of readiness to fight face to face with US imperialism, the “Bolivarian” rulers… quietly surrender to Russian and Chinese imperialism.
Left in a hopeless economic situation, the «anti-imperialist» government of the Chavists is forced to get into huge debts in order to save itself; not being able to return the money, the fighters for the “national liberation” agree on any terms of the Russian and Chinese «friends», provide any opportunity to gain profits in an already ravaged country.
For example, in November 2016, «Rosneft» received a 49.9% stake in CITGO, a subsidiary of the national oil and gas corporation PDVSA, specializing in the export of oil and petroleum products to the United States market . Moreover, in case of a default for the obligations of paying the given credit, «Rosneft» could get all this government subsidiary, which has decisive role in Venezuelean economy.
Another example is the agreement on the sale of 9.9% of the national oil and gas corporation PDVSA, allegedly publicly owned, to the Chinese-Venezuelan mixed private company “Inovensa”, reached in September 2018. Satisfied with such an unexpected gift, the Chinese “partners” made a promise to continue providing financial assistance to Maduro’s rapidly falling government .
Of course, the participation of Chinese and Russian imperialists is not limited to these two examples – you can make a whole list of concessions, developing and extraction of raw materials in various oil and gas areas of Venezuela, handled to Russian and Chinese businessmen. If the Russian Federation appetites are limited exclusively to the familiar hydrocarbon industry (the only one that brings real profit), then Chinese imperialism launched its hands much deeper, infiltrating in the food and industrial sphere, and even becoming Venezuelan government partners in implementing social programs. So, for example, the Chinese construction company «Sany Group» (whose owner Xiang Wenbo took 305th place among the richest people in China) in Venezuela, in 2015 joined the “New District” mission, pledging to build about 20,000 new houses. But again, in exchange for such help from good Chinese entrepreneurs, the Venezuelan government also had to respond with kindness, giving the Chinese capitalists the right to operate 1,000 oil wells in the strategic “Orinoco belt” .
This is the “anti-imperialist struggle” of the Chavist bourgeoisie for the “national liberation of Venezuela”, which consists in selling off the wealth of their homeland in exchange for financial support of their own power. As a result, they continue to maintain their domination in the conditions of the actual absence of other sources of income. It must be pointed out that the Russian and Chinese imperialists are not alone. Similarly, the Brazilian “Petrobras”, the Spanish “Repsol”, and the Japanese “Mitsubishi”, which are equally able to receive their share of the profits due to the sale of the country’s oil wealth, are in the same free conditions.
This is the essence of the Venezuelan “Socialism of the XXI century”. It’s not able to solve problems of Venezuelan workers, it opened the doors for Russian and Chinese imperialism and gave rise to enormous corruption at all levels of state power. The regime of “Socialism of the XXI century” systematically roll into the abyss.
Taking advantage of these circumstances, the Venezuelan reaction, with the support of American imperialism, launched a decisive offensive, using a wide range of political and ideological manipulations to seize power.
However, neither the victory of the pro-American opposition, nor the retention of power by the Chavists do not bear anything good to the Venezuelan people and the Venezuelan proletariat. Repressions against the working class, total destruction of industry, poverty, militarization and the sale of national wealth to imperialism: all these “joys” await Venezuelans in case of any outcome of the confrontation between the two bourgeois groups.
The events in Venezuela show once again that only the proletarian revolution, the elimination of private ownership of the means of production and the creation of a socialist state contributes to the achievement of genuine justice, independence, democracy and freedom. Only the working class, and not the abstract “people” or “nation” (or their “representatives”), taking power into their own hands, is able once and for all to put an end to the exploitation and the phenomena generated by it – poverty, unemployment, corruption, illiteracy.
Unfortunately, the working class of Venezuela today does not have an independent political role. Thanks to the efforts of the Chavistic regime and the bourgeois opposition, it is split and ideologically disarmed. Those who were obliged to organize the working class, raise its class consciousness, lead it forward – the Venezuelan Communists from the CPV – unfortunately, represent only a group of right-wing revisionists weaving in the wake of the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela, who have lost all their former social influence. These «communists» cannot offer the masses anything that the United Socialist Party would not have already offered. In the eyes of the masses, the «Venezuelan Communists» differ from the «Socialists of the 21st century» only in a slightly more left-wing phraseology, but not beyond bourgeois reformism.
In these difficult conditions, the Venezuelan proletariat and the Venezuelan people as a whole are doomed to defeat.
However, the true tragedy of the Venezuelan events lies in the fact that the broad masses of the working people of the world, who for many years perceived the revisionist propaganda of the Chavista, believe that the collapse of the Venezuelan regime is another collapse of socialism, inevitable and logical. There is no doubt that the bourgeoisie uses the current situation, seeking to discredit the very idea of socialism and communism, to show its original inconsistency, pointing to Venezuela as a vivid example of the unviable socialism.
And the task of real communists today is to expose all these manipulations, to expose the myth that some socialism has been established in Venezuela. No, there was no socialism in Venezuela, all the problems of Venezuela stem from the capitalist organization of the economy, from the parasitism of the Chavistic bourgeoisie, hiding behind the pink flag of reformism, from the lack of education of the working class, which trustingly walked for many years along the false «peaceful road to socialism.»
There is not and never has been any peaceful road to socialism. Without the destruction of the bourgeois state, without the destruction of private ownership of the means of production, without the dictatorship of the proletariat, no socialism is possible. Any other way will sooner or later lead to a similar Venezuelan finale.