Communist Party of Colombia (M-L)

And the struggle continues...

At a time of the deepening of the economic and political crisis of capitalism on a world scale and as a faithful reflection of a further exacerbation of the social contradictions, the events that lately have been taking place in Colombia undoubtedly show us a quite interesting political period. We communists and other revolutionary, democratic and progressive forces must know how to assess this in the way of adapting or adjusting our banners and our overall tactical behavior to the new reality that presents itself.

The national political situation today is marked by a series of events that highlight the ever-wider and more massive participation of the popular sectors, the workers, the peasant masses, miners, truckers, mothers of the community, teachers, housing activists, indigenous and Afro-descendent communities in the activities of opposition and rejection of the policies of the government and the system.

The rejection of the government is generalized

The strikes, blocking of roads, seizure of plazas and parks in the cities and towns, the public demonstrations, marches, pickets and many other forms of popular rebellion have been spreading across the country, forcing the government to negotiate the various demands that the communities have raised and make many commitments to the country to be fulfilled in the short term.

We emphasize the national agrarian and popular strike that broke out in August, after the convening of a national day of protest on August 19 and 20 that sought place on the national stage all the conflicts and demands presented to the government by many peasant, trade unions and popular organizations.

The national agrarian and popular strike, which reached its height on August 29 and still is felt and has not come to an end in some regions and municipalities of the country, was and still is an unprecedented social and political event and has had a profound impact on the economic and political life of the country. It represents perhaps the most vivid rejection by Colombian society in recent years of free trade, poverty, government neglect, the reduction of the rights and freedoms in the country. The strike in question is a clear sign of greater popular struggle and obviously shows the changes that have been taking place in the correlation of forces on a national scale.

The changes in the correlation of forces; the bourgeoisie in trouble

This statement is certainly polemical, but our party must repeat its warning of the resounding failure of the economic policies implemented in recent years, the many forms of corruption, the blatant hand-over of the country to the banks and multinationals, and the manifest inability of the bourgeoisie represented yesterday by the Alvaro Uribe Velez government and today by the Juan Manuel Santos government to alleviate the deep economic and political crisis that is corroding this system and that is being taken out on the working masses in a nefarious way, deepening the unemployment, hunger and misery.

The serious problems of governability facing the country are more than evident on account of the increasing and deep dependency, exclusion and anti-democracy that characterize the policies of the Colombian State. There is also the permanent unmasking of the government, parliament and the forces that make up the so-called “national unity” by the popular organizations and forces. Neither those statistics nor opinion polls manipulated by the bourgeoisie can fail to show the negative favorability ratings of this government, its parties and leaders.

Thus, and given the reduced maneuverability of this government and the danger to the continuity of its policies, its behavior has been simply heavy-handed repression and submitting one way or the other to its adversaries. It is applying the fascist measures of preventive counter-revolution that its war manuals teach. Now, the restraint which the government has been forced to exercise given the new economic and political circumstances are complemented by measures aiming at its “relegitimization,” such as those made with the change in cabinet ministers, the top military and police brass, to name the main ones.

It is important to keep in mind that with the new measures, the government, without abandoning its demagoguery, manipulation, the “carrot” and “jam”(1) that has been useful to it at other times, still maintains its policy of state terrorism, repression, the criminalization of protest, the curtailment of political and democratic rights and freedoms, in order to contain a process of struggle which is becoming more open, massive and, we reiterate, puts in danger the government, the system and the policies that for a long time have been masterminded by the imperialists of the north.

The opportunists are opposed to social progress

In this effort to contain the popular struggle the system and the government are receiving special collaboration from the social-democratic and revisionist forces who do not hesitate to boycott the struggle, pointing to its hopelessness, opposing the unity and centralization of the struggles, trying to minimize their scope while calling for order, respect for the institutions and laws, for the agreement and conciliation of classes taking care of the supposed national interest. The opportunists of the right and left combine to put out the fires of the popular discontent and rebellion.

One constantly sees the greater willingness of the working masses, the workers of the city and the countryside to mobilize and struggle, and especially to not settle for promises or partial solutions to their needs, much less to give up their rights, as the hucksters for power within the popular organizations try to get them to do. The new political moment undoubtedly represents a great challenge since the advances depend directly on the blows that can be given to opportunism, its theses and practices as urged on by the ruling classes within the mass movement.

The people are advancing

A qualitative leap in the understanding of the need for the unity of the people and their organizations to confront the policy of the government, is making headway in numerous organizations of the workers, popular and agrarian organizations, which in many cases overwhelm their own leaders, they commit themselves to and call for the rejection through demonstrations of the National Agrarian Pact that the government is trying to impose on the whole country. They give it until February 2014, to fulfill its commitments to the communities and organizations. In this context, they are presently preparing the Agrarian and Popular Summit and a week of indignation planned for October 7 to 13.

Once again the electoral carnival

On the other hand, the situation in the country is so complex and shaken that, rather than being anesthetized by the start of the election campaign – the electoral carnival in the first half of 2014 is to choose a new Congress and President of the Republic – on the contrary the national political scene is mainly stirred up and shaken. Indeed the absence of political guarantees for the left and the democratic sectors to actively participate in the electoral process prove it.

The political reform makes a condition for electoral participation that the parties, organizations and political movements must obtain or maintain their legal status,(2) by the support of a certain number of signatures depending in the office to which they aspire.(3) The reform also establishes the threshold, the D'Hondt method [of proportional representation – translator’s note] and defines a series of provisions in terms of financing, propaganda and election monitoring that limit their participation. These especially benefit the traditional parties in Colombia.

Because the unequal competition, patronage and all measures that orchestrate the institutionalization of political action in the country, the left and the democratic sectors have to overcome the paramilitary offensive, assassinations, imprisonment and trumped-up charges against the leaders as part of the terrorist action that the state and all the forces of the oligarchy use against the people and their organizations.

To the numerous demands of the organizations and communities in the country must be added the demands that are being made nationally and internationally in opposition to this stupid, formal and lying democracy that the Colombian oligarchy boasts so much about defending.

And what about the dialogues?

A little over a year ago, on August 26, 2012, the government of Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC-EP [Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – Army of the People] agreed in Havana, Cuba, to begin direct and uninterrupted talks on the points of an agenda – previously agreed on – “with the aim of reaching a final agreement to put an end to the conflict, which would contribute to a stable and lasting peace.”(4)

The agreed-upon agenda, according to the information made public, includes these points: 1. The policy of comprehensive agricultural development, 2. Political participation, 3. The end of the conflict, 4. The solution of the problem of illegal drugs, 5. Victims, 6. Implementation, verification and appraisal of the agreements.

Once the agreement to begin talks became publically known, the other guerrilla groups, the ELN [Army of National Liberation] and the EPL [People’s Liberation Army], welcomed the agreement and expressed their willingness to an agreement in which the whole guerrilla movement would be represented. Our party and many other forces and organizations expressed their support for the talks, emphasizing the need to open up a whole national political debate. This would also address the causes and dimensions of the economic, social, political and armed conflict that the country is going through, it would discuss the ways out and alternative solutions to the conflict that has tormented the whole country for more than six decades.

At the moment there are many declarations, forums and seminars which are analyzing the question; but what is clear is that the public still does not know the progress of the talks, much less the content of the partial agreements signed by the government and the FARC-EP. Therefore any assessment of these conversations must recognize this limitation.

Nevertheless, and adhering to the events shown on the national scene, our party is firm in pointing out the absence of a peace process that has as its aim the ending of the armed conflict in the country.

First, because there is no bilateral ceasefire to end the hostilities. Second, because the government maintains its security policy, that is its policy of war, carrying out indiscriminate bombings, violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, persecution, imprisonment and stigmatization of the popular leaders. Third, because there is a summary of reforms and laws approved, such as the military jurisdiction, fiscal sustainability, the legal framework for peace, and other laws to approve such as the law on transitional justice, the referendum for peace, which viewed in their large content rather than establishing bases for peace, on the contrary deepen the conflict and war. Fourth, neoliberalism, the exclusion and super-exploitation of the workers, the criminalization of social protest are maintained and continue opening the way with the set of laws that Congress is approving at the government's initiative.

Considering the above and the refusal of the government and the whole of the ruling classes for the democratic reforms demanded by the masses and the country, including the open rejection of the proposal for a Constituent National Assembly, our party does not rest in pointing out the great difficulties in which the talks of the government with the FARC-EP find themselves.

With much fanfare the opening of talks with the ELN has also been announced, but the truth is that there is a media, political and military siege against the ELN and the EPL aiming at the subjugation and / or annihilation of these organizations. This is a question complicating the future of the talks with the Colombian insurgency as a whole.

It is good to maintain the disposition for dialogue

Indeed, the talks with the guerrillas of the FARC-EP have created an important debate in the country that has shown that these dialogues are not enough. The different scenarios in which the issue has been discussed all agree that in the framework of a full social participation, the path to social justice is the real alternative solution to a conflict that in its various forms identifies the exclusion, dependency and anti-democracy among its main causes.

We also agree with other forces in pointing out that this path to social justice can only be solved to the degree that the country retakes and assumes as guides the wellbeing, self-determination, democracy, sovereignty and political liberty. A new Constitution approved in a Constituent National Assembly with a high democratic and popular content, that assumes these values and rules as standards of coexistence, will let us advance towards overcoming the conflict.

In that vein moving toward the winning of a real democratic opening tactical objective comprises a tactical political objective of great importance that will undoubtedly allow the party to promote its strategic program and coordinate political action for the struggle to win a democratic republic on the way to socialism.

Our immediate challenge

For the communists and revolutionaries and in general for all the forces for change, the situation besides being interesting represents an important political opportunity to advance in the political confrontation with the government and the system, to accumulate and consolidate forces, and to insist on the real solutions and alternatives that the Colombian working class and people demand.

Central Executive Committee
Communist Party of Colombia (M-L)
Colombia, 5 October 2013


1) In Colombia we speak of the policy of the carrot or the jam when the government in office buys the support of certain individuals, parties or organizations by giving them government positions, or rewarding their favors with cushy jobs, titles or contracts.

2) “The National Electoral Council recognizes the Legal Status of parties, political movements and important groups of citizens. They can obtain this by a vote of not less than three per cent (3%) of the valid votes cast on the national territory in elections for the Chamber of Representatives or the Senate. They will lose this if they do not reach this percentage in the elections to these same Public Bodies. There is an exception to the law for electoral districts of ethnic and political minorities, for which it is enough to have obtained representation in Congress.” Taken from Article 2 of the Legislative Act 01 of 2009.

3) The number of signatures needed to register a candidate to the Presidency is 450,000. Also, the candidate must place a bond as a guarantee of the seriousness of the candidate. The National Electoral Council establishes the amount of the bond.

4) General Agreement for the ending of the conflict and the building of a stable and lasting peace. Signed by the delegates of the government and the FARC-EP on August 26, 2012, in Havana, Cuba.

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