On Feb. 1, the Party for Socialism and Liberation hosted at the San Diego Justice Center a forum on the U.S.-orchestrated coup in Venezuela and the recent U.S. government shutdown.

Attendees filled the center, with many expressing concerns about the plight of government workers. The event addressed these concerns from the perspective of socialists and workers affected by the shutdown – recently given a reprieve by the Trump administration after weeks of conflict between the Democrats and Republicans.

The forum started with a discussion of government shutdowns: what they entail, who is affected, their history, and information about the most recent shutdown. The presentation, by a PSL member and government employee affected by the shutdown, then discussed how conservative politicians use shutdowns as a tactic to achieve a weakening of social programs. He also suggested that as socialists we can use shutdowns such as the most recent one to our advantage. “It took the Democrats a month to not get anything and it took workers three hours to get it all,” he said. “Labor really does hold the power, and the TSA [workers are] a good example of that.”

Next a PSL candidate member spoke about the coup d’etat in Venezuela. She first discussed the attempt by the U.S. to oust democratically elected President Nicolas Maduro and appoint the illegitimate, self-declared president, Juan Guaido, into office. She then took up the history of U.S. interventionism in Latin America, as well as the lies about Venezuela spread by the U.S. government.

Also discussed was the real reason for U.S. intervention – taking the oil – and further, “Venezuelan leaders … recognize that brutalizing and attacking leftists and activists will always be accepted as long as imperialism and capitalism exist, while right-wing U.S.-funded political murders, coups and sanctions are viewed [by capitalist politicians and the corporate media] as ‘re-establishing democracy,’ and there are no real international repercussions to these actions.”

It is imperative that we understand that the coup in Venezuela and the government shutdown in the U.S. are not isolated events. Declaring the government inoperative while staging a coup in Venezuela demonstrates the U.S. war on the international working class; we as working people must fight back and demand an end to U.S. intervention in Venezuela and elsewhere.