Sixth Republic: How to Combat the Laws to Come

Renowned Venezuelan writer José Roberto Duque argues that in the face of a rightwing-controlled legislature, Chavismo must be prepared to disobey laws aimed at rolling back revolutionary advances and fortify communal power on the margins of the state. 


In Venezuela, laws are passed or approved by the National Assembly– a mechanism which today is in the hands of pro-business and pro-hegemonic powers. 

The revolutionaries of this country must be prepared to analyse the possible laws [that could be approved by the National Assembly] and refuse to obey them in the event that they manage to circumvent the filter of presidential approval. 

It would be both incongruous and tragic to obediently accept a legislature that returns us to the disgrace of the Fourth Republic: that hefty volume in history that can only perhaps be surpassed in perversity and decadence by a monstrous embryonic project: the Sixth Republic. 

Just above it says “in the event that (the upcoming laws) manage to circumvent the filter of presidential approval,” because that’s how this thing works.

The Assembly emits laws and sends them to the Executive, which returns them either approved or with observations. In the same way, the Executive needs to obtain the good will of the Assembly in order to carry out certain governmental actions.

If each of these state mechanisms stands firm in its decision to prevent the other from fulfilling its role, then it will be technically and procedurally impossible to legislate (the Assembly’s mission) or to govern (the executive’s mission) in Venezuela.  

As such, we will be on the threshold of a situation in which a third actor, the most important and decisive amongst state subjects (popular power, citizens, you and I) must take a position with respect to the legitimacy of the actions of our representatives.  

Concerning all this, some bourgeois analysts have begun to talk of an eventual “state crisis”. Everyone is guilty of naming things according to what is most convenient for them.   

Nobody in the media or in politics, or at least very few people, like to admit that there are moments when the only decent option is to position oneself at the margins of the law, or to go against it. 

Too many sermons and explanations surrounding morality and its slippery sister, ethics; too many appeals to the earthly or divine punishments that await he or she who infringes laws and norms, have made us forget one tiny detail: history would not move forward, societies would remain paralysed, revolutions wouldn’t have been possible, if it were not for the fact that people and groups of people one day decided to break the damned norms and the damned law.  

Slavery was the legally established norm in colonial Venezuela. For their opposition to that status quo, many such as Jose Leonardo Chirinos and others were executed. In that era, they were called criminals; another society had to come along before those criminals were recognised as the custodians of a new era. 

The reality is that nobody, or very few people, go around saying “oh look at me, I’m a criminal, I’m doing illegal things”.

But if the promoters, managers and germinators of the Sixth Republic start setting about their business and imposing laws against the people, then it will be necessary to declare ourselves illegal and act accordingly. Against the laws. 

For being the activators and builders of institutions, we will become criminals: the label of “terrorists” probably already awaits us. There will be some amongst us who are prepared for this moment and these circumstances, and there will be others who will adapt to these new laws. The well versed thunder that “the law will be respected” is a hindrance that weighs heavy on our civil behaviour. 

Stating “I don’t give a shit about your laws” might sound ugly even to those people who consider themselves to be revolutionary but who haven’t understood exactly what a revolution is. Today we Chavistas unanimously support the “Communal State” project proposed by Chávez. How many of us are prepared to keep building that Communal State even when the National Assembly eliminates the Law of Communal Councils and the Law of the Communes in one foul stroke? Will we have the stamina to keep building the other society clandestinely and illegally? Or will we submit to bourgeois laws that order us to give the entire productive apparatus up to private business? 

We have talked about a ghost called the “Sixth Republic” as if it existed. We already know that the birth of that monster will only be possible if its creators assassinate the newborn that we are raising: called the Fifth Republic according to Chávez’s periodisation. Let’s just say that, in film industry terms, the Sixth isn’t on the billboard just yet, but they are already there rolling the “trailers”. And what those trailers show is a horror story.  

Some people believe that the worst thing to ever have passed itself off as a government here are the Adecos [Democratic Action party, AD] (then there are those that say that we Chavistas have been the worst). 

Those people had better start preparing themselves to descend into the hell that is a government of businesspeople and North Americans. Not a bunch of marginal smooth talking amateurs doing the gringo’s and businessmen’s work (those were the AD-COPEI [Christian Democrat Party]), but rather the businessmen and US executioners having direct control over institutions and the repressive military apparatus. 

We’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. It’s been many years since we Venezuelans have witnessed or suffered from mass disappearances and genocide on our territory. 

As these battles, which will inevitably wound the laws of the judiciary, are not limited to mere words or legal manoeuvres, the coming year presents a number of concrete challenges– generally quite dramatic and not apt for comfort lovers– to the Chavista people and their government. 

These challenges should be thought out without inhibitions, and in light of various bits of evidence that are emerging from the Republic of Argentina and the infectious faces of Ramos Allup and Julio Borges. 

I believe that these challenges, missions and tasks can be comprised of and developed in two principal parts:

1) Defend the Bolivarian government HOWEVER NECESSARY AND AT ALL COST.

2) The creation and/or strengthening of communal/people’s self-sustainable structures at the margins of the state.  

Point 1. is already underway using all the strength of the state apparatus and the party. The second point is more interesting to analyse.  

The creation or consolidation of productive/organisational forms within the framework or concept of the state should continue to be a government priority, as well as for us, the Chavista people. 

The brief history of these past few years has provided us with some lessons, and one of those is this: WE CANNOT KEEP FEEDING AND STRENGTHENING STRUCTURES DESTINED TO REMAIN WITHIN THE STATE, GIVEN THAT THIS IS SUSCEPTIBLE TO FALLING INTO ENEMY HANDS.   

The most visible arguments which support this analysis are perhaps called Avila TV, ANTV and Telesur. We create these incredibly powerful weapons and are then obliged to carry out legal contortions in order to avoid them falling into the hands of our historic, national or transnational enemy. 

History tells us (and not only recent history) that the only thing that lasts or has durable purpose is that which is placed in the hands of communities or people’s organisations. The fragment of the traditional state that is still in the hands of Chavismo should accelerate the creation of that parallel state or order. That state in construction already has parliaments, communal banks and several pieces of patrimonial property. It seems that none has a military or security structure that is sufficient to defend itself in any way from what will be unleashed by the foul means of reactionary forces.   

When will there be a debate on the real functioning of the people’s militia?   

When will there be a massive transfer in property, in means of production and in bodies from the state to the people and their organisations? 

The communes should be structures that are capable of surviving at the margins of the state and government, even functioning as areas of rearguard and resistance at the moment of an institutional collapse– when the Bolivarian government ceases its functions because of either legal or illegal means. 

We must be capable then of creating and consolidating self-sustainable and self-sufficient structures. We are in a very early stage of our communard history, and that is the reason why a ministry still exists that is in charge of financing the launch of productive projects in the communes. But in the future it would be an aberration for the communes and other organisations and means of production to continue to be dependent on state financing and other entities.  

I remember when Chávez was furious because the administrator of one of the gigantic ranches in Apure that was expropriated by the government asked him for resources to pay wages. Chávez’s reply was more or less this: “Brother, the ranch that you administer should be paying tax to the government through milk and meat production!”. 

By and by, the land and large estate owners are already lobbying and putting pressure [on parliament] to overturn the Land Law, and in this way the ranches that were rescued [from private hands] by the government will begin the process of being returned to powerful families and groups. Will we just accept this historic setback? Worse still: will we be prepared to defend the laws of the revolution and physically defend the campesinos (who have been massacred even with laws that favour them, can you imagine what will happen now with laws against them)? 


Translated, edited, and abridged by Venezuelanalysis.com.