After just over a decade, Latin America is seeing the decline of the cycle of the so-called progressive or alternative governments in various countries of the region, a period in which there have been important political and social phenomena that need to be properly systematized and evaluated in order to continue with our action to realize our strategic objectives: the emancipation of the workers and peoples and the winning of a society of justice, which will put an end to the rule of capital and its owners.
The emergence of these regimes was the result of the exhaustion of the neoliberal governments which, due to their economic policy, impoverished the working masses, deepened the social inequality and strengthened the presence of imperialist finance capital with its consequences. All of this caused anger and repudiation by the peoples of their rulers. This was expressed in massive protests, including popular uprisings that even put an end to several governments in various countries.
The main representatives of the new governments were able to take advantage of the popular discontent by presenting the people’s demands as their own, which the masses had fought for throughout the whole neoliberal period and which were even part of the political legacy of the left-wing and revolutionary organizations. It is relevant to note that there were differences among these governments, some of which, while they raised popular demands, also responded openly to sectors of the ruling classes from the beginning.
In the effort to gain ideological and political influence of the masses against various factions of the ruling classes and to accumulate strength for the revolution, it was correct to initially support some of those governments. We never thought that their existence meant the opening of a revolutionary period and even less that they had such an implication. We understood that they opened up the possibility of raising the struggle and demands of the masses to higher levels, that channels would emerge for the politicization of the workers and peoples, in order to raise the anti-imperialist and anti-oligarchic banners more widely. We also saw that those governments that appeared the most advanced could be subjected to the pressure of the local ruling classes and imperialism, as indeed happened, betraying the peoples’ hopes and desires for change.
The positive economic period that the region experienced, particularly with the high prices of raw materials on the international markets, enabled these governments to implement some social policies demanded by the masses, which reinforced the masses’ support for their administrations. However, at the same time they carried out measures to strengthen the rule of capital, the penetration of foreign capital (particularly Chinese) and the creation of a repressive, anti-democratic legal framework that they used to criminalize social protest and tried to counter any political expression of opposition. Some sooner than others began to move to the right, to the extent that they are now openly: representatives and defenders of the interests of the ruling classes. They are tools to overcome this long period of social unrest that Latin America has experienced during the neoliberal governments, described as a period of ungovernability.
Under these governments the power of various factions of the bourgeois and the ruling classes in general has been reinforced, the doors have been opened to imperialist finance capital, particularly from China, although the predominance that US imperialism maintains in the region is clear. The bourgeois institutions have been strengthened, all this behind a seemingly revolutionary, leftist discourse and even in the name of an allegedly renewed socialism. In fact, it is a matter of political endeavors with a reformist and developmentalist content, born and maintained by certain bourgeois factions and sectors of the oligarchy. It is clear these governments ideologically and politically influenced the popular movement that temporarily went through an ebb, expecting that changes would come. The influence of the revolutionary parties and movements in the popular field was also affected to a certain degree.
However, this did not stop the resistance, the struggle of workers, youth and peoples against the anti-people policies that these governments applied. Today we not only speak of a revival of protest but of its full recovery, and the mass struggle has unmasked the reactionary nature of these regimes. The serious economic problems that are now affecting the Latin American countries, which lead us to speak of a period of crisis, have contributed to the greater unmasking and decline of these governments which, in order to address the crisis, are reproducing the usual measures of the openly right-wing governments, which seek to place the burden of the crisis onto the shoulders of the workers and peoples.
Those Latin American governments that are not part of this bloc of so-called progressive or alternative governments have continued to apply the traditional anti-national and anti-popular policies that affect the living conditions of the working masses. But there is a telling fact: there are areas in which the "progressive" and the other governments agree in the adoption of certain policies, such as labor and penal legislation, control of the media, etc.
In this new scenario, we revolutionaries have the responsibility to work to make use as much as possible of the discontent of the masses, in order to strengthen our forces and the revolutionary movement in general. The particular conditions in each country will determine the organizational forms and types of struggle in order to fulfill these purposes. We are aware that generally we must work so that the workers and peoples have a political alternative, so that they see in the proposals of the revolutionary left and of scientific socialism the way to achieve their emancipation with the seizure of power.
We who are taking part in this International Seminar express our solidarity and give our support to the workers and peoples of the world who are fighting for their rights, against oppression, against discrimination, against imperialist plunder, for freedom and democracy. We make their fights our own; together we will break the chains of exploitation and domination and we will liberate humanity from the rule of capital.
Quito, July 29, 2016ARGENTINA
Click here to return to the April 2016 index.