March 25, 2019
The Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists would like to express its solidarity with the Venezuelan popular classes who are protesting against poverty and repression under the Maduro regime. We strongly oppose U.S. imperialist intervention and its favored political figure, Juan Guaido’s efforts to take control of the genuine popular desire for a better life. We also strongly oppose Russia’s military aid to Maduro’s brutal rule and China’s support for it.
As Middle Eastern socialists, we can identify with the experience of Venezuelans in many ways. In Iran, the Islamic Republic, which has had strong ties with the Hugo Chavez government and now with the Maduro government, continues to repress progressive labor, feminist and other genuine popular protests and strikes by calling them “counter-revolutionary.”
After the rise of revolutionary uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East in 2011, the Chavez and then the Maduro governments sided with the dictatorial regimes and turned their backs on the popular movements. They blessed the Gaddafi and Assad regimes as “anti-imperialist” while these regimes were massacring their own people. In 2012 when the Assad regime was close to being toppled by the Syrian masses, the Venezuelan government provided hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil for the this regime. It also supported Russia’s military intervention in Syria in 2015.
Venezuela under Chavez could not be compared to the Islamic Republic’s theocratic rule. Although each used a portion of its oil income for health and education programs, Venezuela in the beginning of the Chavez period, took more positive steps in promoting social issues, albeit in a limited way.
Both countries are almost solely dependent on oil for their income and have seen massive cuts in state aid, social services and the standard of living because of the decline in oil prices, government corruption, and U.S. sanctions. In the case of Iran, the state has been spending billions of dollars on its military interventions in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen. Both states however, have used their opposition to U.S. imperialism to justify their militarized state capitalist regimes.
Both Iran and Venezuela have experienced a history of U.S. imperialist domination and now also face the strong influence of Russia and China as superpowers vying with the United States for control in their regions.
The above mentioned internal and external economic, social, political and environmental problems have also forced millions of people in Syria, Venezuela and Iran to flee their countries and are contributing to the global refugee crisis.
In the face of this situation, anti-authoritarian and humanist socialists in Venezuela, the Middle East, North Africa and throughout the world have a responsibility to offer a concept and practice of socialism that transcends state capitalism and is truly democratic and internationalist. Otherwise the likes of Guaido in Venezuela and monarchist supporters in Iran will once again present the crises merely as rooted in the “bad management of the economy” instead of the logic of capitalism.
In order to reach out to Venezuelan socialists, we have published a talk given by Eva Maria, Venezuelan socialist, at the last meeting of the Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists. (Please see link below). We also welcome participation in a newly formed Transnational Socialist Humanist Solidarity Network. For more information on this network please write to us at [email protected]
Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists
March 25, 2019
This statement was originally published by the Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists