Sam King (Red Flag 19) criticises Mike Gonzalez’s article on Venezuela (Red Flag 18) for not offering a concrete assessment of the way forward. Yet Sam offers neither a concrete assessment nor concrete proposals for how to stand up to the current right wing offensive in Venezuela.

Some of Gonzalez’s specific assessments and proposals may be right or wrong but at least he is grappling with the question of how to defeat the right wing attacks and take the Bolivarian project forward. Whereas Sam, seemingly paralysed by the fear of going down the road of “socialism in one country” along the lines of Stalin’s Russia, provides no strategy for combating the power of the right.

The actual threat facing the Venezuelan working class is not Stalinist gulags – it is the right wing mobilisation to destroy the gains of the last decade. The supposed danger of “socialism in one country” can be used to oppose any proposal to attack the power and wealth of big capital in Venezuela or strengthen popular power from below. It is a recipe for doing nothing.

It also provides a cop out for the right wing of the Maduro government who prefer to do deals with the right rather than mobilise a counter offensive by the working class and the poor.

Yes, Venezuela is a relatively poor country, though nowhere near as poor as Russia at the time of the 1917 workers’ revolution. That means that it will not be possible to build a genuinely socialist society within the confines of an isolated Venezuelan economy.

But that should not be used as an argument against workers and the oppressed fighting to strengthen popular control and eventually taking power into their own hands. The isolation of the revolution can only be ended by spreading it.

While the exact tactics have to be worked out by revolutionaries on the ground in Venezuela, the bottom line is that if the revolution does not push forward it will eventually be defeated.