Monday, 2 November 2009
Kiraz Janicke, Caracas 31 October 2009 A 14-month struggle by Venezuelan electrical workers for an industry-wide collective contract culminated with the resignation of the president of the state-owned electricity company Corpoelec on October 22. The struggle is emblematic of a growing conflict within Venezuela’s Bolivarian revolution, as the process of transforming the oil-rich nation is known, between the workers’ movement and the pro-capitalist state bureaucracy. The dispute occurs in the context of a growing crisis in the electricity sector. This has included several big blackouts in 2008 and 2009, and electricity rationing throughout much of the country’s interior. Along with a growing number of bitter industrial disputes in state and private industry, the struggle raises questions about the future direction of the revolution — in particular the role of the working class in a process whose stated aim is “socialism of the 21st century”.