Solidarity Brigade to Caracas

Thursday, August 04, 2005

ALCASA: The Revolution inside the revolution.

Rowan Stewart, Ciudad Bolivar.

This is a brief report on meetings and discussions with Union leaders on site at the ALCASA plant on 29/7/05 in Ciudad Guyana, State of Bolivar.


Up until Chavez was elected in 1998, the neoliberals were pushing for privatisation of the Aluminium industry. Chavez stopped the privatisation process and created a new ministry of energy.

Under control of the opposition management, ALCASA has been an inneficient plant, with severe process problems. The bosses blamed the workers, but the real cause was the corrupt management who sold the product at a deflated price to their mates in backhand deals.

Management was also using money from the plant to fund their political campaigns.

In December 2004 the opposition management sabotaged the plant by shutting down key furnaces that would lead to the whole plant closing.

The police were brought in to protect this sabotage.

The military then came in to protect the plant against this sabotage. They were supported by mass mobilisations of the community and workers families, who came onto the site on Dec 24 to support the workers and keep the plant running.

The Left and revoultionary workers at the plant formed a group and challenged in an election and won the leadership of the workers. They earn the same as workers on the floor.
They are not aligned with any political party.

The new union leadership went to the Govenor of the state of Bolivar for help with their plan of workers control, their ideas were rejected. They then went to National government and received much greater support.

In March 2005, a top bureaucrat either from Alcasa or the State govt of Bolivar??? tried to sack the new union leadership. Chavez opposed this and sacked the bureacrat. This bureacrat was an old comrade of Chavez.

Recently Carlos Lance has become president (plant manager) at ALCASA. He has been a guerilla fighter and while in jail spent his time studying marx and others. He is a hero in Venezuela. On July 29, 2005, his new book "Socialism in the 21st Century" was launched. Lance came up with the ideology of co management.

Previously Managers and Ministers were inaccessible to the workers, seperated in their offices with security. Now they are accessible.

In June 05, Chavez introduced a new social production policy - "Cogestion" connecting business, production and the people. Lance announced on July 28 the program of "Negro Primera"??? Which is an institution of social and political formation. "Cogestion" is starting at ALCASA, and the plan is to spread this through the whole aluminium industry as example of how to achieve workers control. Mission Vuelvan Caras is the mission behind this.

Co-management has started over the last 4 months, the workers have had to work out production amounts, prices to sell to customers, production and process problems etc etc.

Their are fortnightly mass meetings to discuss and resolve production problems.

Part of "Cogestion" is establishing communication between the workers and people in the community. On the 4th of August, the workers will be going to the local Plaza to meet with the community to discuss this new process and to initiate discussion so the peole can present their concerns. This is the first meeting of this kind.

The current collective agreement is expiring soon. A new agreement is being written up to fit in with "Cogestion".

Mission Ribas and Sucre operate on site at ALCASA.

There is a workers militia starting up. The workers are discussing the situation in Iraq and how they will defend their revolution if the same thing happens in Venezuela.

In the January/March "Cogestion" broadsheet. The main slogans are, The power belongs to the workers, workers control, Fraternity, Mutual support, Dialog of Knowledge, Participate in going forward.

"The most important thing is to be human" Slogan of the ALCASA workers.

1 Comments:

  • Thanx for providing a bit more information on this often confusing process underway in Venezuela -- in this case, inside a major factory.

    And I'm most glad to see each workplace forming a militia. In no time at all, Venezuela will be invincible to all but nuclear ballistic missiles!
    ;P

    By Blogger Comandante Gringo, at 3:10 am  

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