[Venezuelanalysis.com's Kiraz Janicke visits Inveval, one of Venezuela's new worker co-managed factories, to talk to
the workers and find out more about their struggle, their history,
their experience of workers control, the challenges they face as well
as the broader question of how they are strategising to transform
Venezuelan society in the struggle for ‘Socialism in the 21st Century’.]
Venezuela’s Co-Managed Inveval: Surviving in a Sea of Capitalism
By Kiraz Janicke – Venezuelanalysis.com
Friday, July 27, 2007
Venezuela´s Bolivarian Revolution and in particular its experiments with workers co-management and in some instances workers control, is at the cutting edge of the global movement against capitalism. With the bosses’ lockout in 2002-2003, which shut down much of the Venezuelan economy for a period of two months, hundreds of factories were closed down and workers turned out onto the streets to fend for themselves. However, workers have stepped up to the challenge and it is estimated that some1200 factories have been taken over and occupied after being shut down. In 2005 the Chavez government initiated a series of decrees to allow for expropriation of industry and workers’ co-management in the interests of ‘public utility.’ On July 24 I was able to visit Inveval, a valve manufacturing company that has been under workers control since April 2005, with a delegation from the International Miranda Center to talk to the workers and find out more about their struggle, their history, their experience of workers control, the challenges they face as well as the broader question of how workers are strategizing to transform Venezuelan society in the struggle for ‘Socialism in the 21st Century’.
Whilst showing us around the factory Francisco Pinero, Inveval’s treasurer, explained that although Inveval is legally constituted as a cooperative with 51% owned by the state and 49% owned by the workers, “real power lies with the workers assembly.” Rather than supervisors, the workers at Inveval elect, through a workers assembly, recallable ‘coordinators of production,’ for a period of one year.
“Everyone here gets paid exactly the same, whether they work in administration, poltical formation, security or keeping the grounds clean,” another worker, Marino Mora added.
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