8th International Conference
1. BALANCE OF THIRTEEN YEARS OF APPLYING DOMINANT CLASSES’S STRATEGY
1.1. THE DOMINANT CLASSES’S TASKS.
At the end the 80’s, during Virgilio Barco’s government (1986-1990), dominant classes’s strategy was designed to solve a deep social, economic and political crisis, which have sharpened with the domestic war against ”drugs traffickers” and the guerrilla. Not in vain, most of the analysts referred to the depth of the crisis, along with the external debt crisis in Latin America and with the pessimism in the majority of the social classes but in special in the great bourgeoisie. At that moment the debate was if the country was o wasn’t viable concerning the new international politic and economic proposals.
This serious economic, political, social and spiritual crisis, was the one that brought the Business, Proantioquia and Colciencias Council to propose the strategic orientation ”Towards Colombia XXI Century” which aiming to bring the country out of that crisis, (as a result of those discussions Bogotá began its viability process in 1995).The proposed Plan contained the following axes: 1. Export Section and commercial policies, 2. Goldmines and Energy, 3. Employment and labor market, 4. Health, Education, Science and Technology, 5. Farming Sector, 6. Services and Industry, 7. Urban Development and decentralization, 8. Transport and communications, 9. Borders year 2000, 10. Regional development, 11. Institutional plan and 12. ”Master Switchboard”.
Beyond this proposal others were made from different sectors and classes, some of them had common objectives but departing from different points of view. In those discussions was affirmed that, since 1950 there was an important development of capitalism (economic, population development and rising of the standard of living), but in 1986 Colombia has lost its ”development horizon” and ignored its possibilities; besides, the State was unable to keep the public peace and to offer development, and in other side, a deep crisis of ”collective solidarity” did exist. Finally, while the strategic plan was been drawn it was considered that the next 40 years will be quite critical for the country (1990 to 2030) and that we have to take advantages from the opportunity that the imperialists multilateral agencies offered in order to advance in the way of globalization. One necessary prerequisite for this plan was that different governments should generate enough employment and income for the population, a suitable goods and services offer, supply of public and social services and major life conditions. All this in a country where urban concentration of population (70% in 1990) required other policies.
On that context was defined what kind of opening should be performed to fortify (strengthen) the compradora bourgeoisie, lines for media and superior education were useful for the purpose, the new information and communication’s technology significance, the bases for a new labor reform were established ,which main aspects are productivity, labor flexibility and low costs health law reforms driving it towards privatization as well as public enterprise’s privatization, and the definition of the strategic economic sectors , all along with a State Reform. Documents like those of the Science and Technology Mission, XXI Century Mission, Mission for Science, Education and Development and others reflected those debates. One feature is that, since 1986, ruling classes chose to strengthen technocrats (functional elements in the implementation of the strategy orientated by the imperialism in their governments, mainly with Barco, Gaviria and Uribe.
With Virgilio Barco the strategy was designed, the process of State and society’s fascistization advanced and the bases for ruling class agreement about the plan were settled; Gaviria’s government (1990-1994) hold the Constituent National Assembly CAN, promulgated the 1991 Constitution and started the three plan’s tasks: State’s Re-estructuration (which has had as process the CAN, the 91 constitution, the Pastrana Arango’s anti-reform proposal and today, the Uribe Vélez’s Political Reform); Economic Opening or Internationalization of the Economy (10 years of free market with Gaviria, Samper and Pastrana and todays´s Globalization and ALCA); and counter-insurgency (the reform policy for the National Police, the Army re-estructuration and the Colombia Plan), all in order to create conditions for a major foreign capital investment and to stop drugs trafficking, the guerrilla and the delinquency.
With Barco and Gaviria paramilitary troops were increased as a key element of the counter-insurgency. Private armies of the drug trafficking barons were taken as a starting point to train and coordinate them with military officers; at the same time a dominant class’s sector (landowners, industrialists, businessmen and the high clergy) was grouped together, as a fascist pole that supported this counter-insurgency strategy. Money from drugs trafficking was used to finance the new strategy.
By 1996, the Colombian guerrilla became a part of the continental enemies for the American imperialism, and this one started to propose a direct invasion with the UN troops in the Atlantic and Pacific Cost, or indirect invasion with the creation of a multinational army formed by Colombia limiting countries, it is also a period of peasants and mass mobilizations which announced advances in the democratic and popular struggle. The fight within the dominant classes during Samper’s government (1994-1998) was very severe; the president represented an important section of the compradora bourgeoisie originated in drugs trafficking, which contributed with 5% of the Gross Domestic Income and introduced money coming from drug business in banking, industry and trade broad sectors. The dealers-government generated institutional instability, driving a boom of the armed and no armed movement. Samper also allowed fascism to advance, as much as the increase in popular protest criminalization. (it is being typified as a form of terrorism) as in the promotion of the corporative system.
1.2 PASTRANA’S GOVERNMENT
Direct influence of imperialism and the unmasked alliance with the dominant classes distinguished Pastrana Arengo’s government (1998-2002). It was a political and military period where national sovereignty was violated and dominant classes and the imperialism started to centre their efforts to defeat the revolutionary way. The contradiction imperialism-nation got sharpened because North American imperialism’s interests on strengthen its domain over Colombia, due to its political need of intervention to undermine the guerrilla, support a reactionary regime and to control the drug trafficking.
Pastrana’s government set up a peace process to remove national and international public opinion from focusing the guerrilla and at the same time to return to the dominant classes’s plan, that were not unified. He passed the presidency to his successor with the country immersed in a deep crisis, an authoritarian and corporative regime that violated fundamental rights, fortified military and paramilitary forces and surrendered national sovereignty to the North American imperialism. During his government, opinion campaigns were orchestrated thru the mass media that expressed the points of view of politicians, trade union’s leaders, priests and bishops, intellectuals and student´s leaders in the sense that the country problems had their origin in the ”lack of leadership”, that the country was ”without someone who lead it. These opinions gave an orientation to public opinion to demand the presence in the government of a ”strong” character, like Fujimori in Perú.
Pastrana partly achieved, with his strategy of pacification and with the start of the application of the Colombia Plan, backed by the imperialism, guerrilla’s political and diplomatic isolation making it lose the possibility of organizing popular forces for the Columbian’s revolution, and not to take advantages from its national and international allies.
Pastrana’s government distinguished for the high figures of population displacement (something more than 2 millions, mostly peasants), due to fumigations, the paramilitary and military actions in guerrilla´s areas. There were alarming number of missing persons (more than 2000 between 1999 and 2001), political murders and activist and tradeunion´s leaders massacres, peasants, human right’s defenders and students (almost 100.000 between 2000 and 2002). The paramilitaries not only advanced militarily but also developed mass work and their political representatives openly appeared.
By the end of 2001 the situation was quite complicated, changes in national situation were pretty obvious and framed by what happened on 11th September in New York. All this gave rise to the launching of the Bush’s ”world war against terrorism”. Initiative started to ruling classes hands, Uribe Velez´s advantageous positions were imposed, the military component of the Colombia Plan became more obvious and the dominant classes created public opinion in order to end with the Distension Zone of Caguan were negotiations took place and the military offensive was launched.
A new phase started in 2001, marked by an attempt to destroy the distension zone on January that was materialized with Pastrana Arango’s grovelling attack against it a month later. Public expression of the New Power came to an end with masses’s ebb and closed an important period of popular struggle in Colombia.
Since the year 2000, the revolutionary war was waged not only in the countryside but also it fought to expand to the cities, not for the agrarian struggle but for the anti-imperialist struggle and the political, economical and social country’s crisis. Giving convincing shots to the army the guerrilla forces passed from a strategic defensive to the strategic balance. But it was too difficult to support the public expression of the New Power, even though power zones were kept in other country locations, because to gain the masses and mobilize them was not completely complied, although the guerrilla had grown quantitatively.
Mass’s struggles had been beaten and their demands had been lost, popular struggles against the Legislative Act 012 didn’t reach the expected results, the accreditation by careers at the Universities was imposed by a decree, secondary students only succeeded on maintaining a few night schools, peasants did not give an impressive beat against food imports and fumigations, and the collective bargaining were not able to accrue new demands, they barely kept those they have already. And what is more important, it was not totally achieved the coordination of the armed movement with the unarmed movement, although there were events where this coordination reaches certain development as in the peasant’s mobilizations of 1999 and 2002.
In presence of this serious situation for the revolutionary movement, where the destruction of the distention zone implicated not only that the military problem stepped to the foreground, but also that the tactic possibility of unifying the armed movement with the unarmed movement was over. Since then each one, by itself, confronts in a disperse manner the political, ideological and military dominant class’s onslaught.
In the middle of this, 2002 presidential campaign was developed, where the unarmed movement gathered in agreements and alliances in the Social and Political Front (SPF) for the Parliament elections and especially to the presidential supporting the Luis E. Garzón’s candidature. A presidential campaign in an overall severe crisis, where the candidates were threatened, paramilitaries made political campaigns, the guerrilla boycotting polls, which affected part of the election for the democratic field, mass media calling to vote for Uribe Vélez or for war. Finally, Uribe Vélez strongly triumphs in the first turn and immediately starts to work his fascist corporative program with cuts in people’s basic rights.
During last months of Pastrana’s government a military offensive against the clearance zone was developed without declaring the Internal Commotion State because they argued that this instrument was not useful to counteract guerrilla’s actions.
Since the dialog and negotiations rupture, the FARC-EP pushed Popular Majors and government official’s renouncement, initially, in their influence zones and subsequently in the whole country. This fact generated renouncements in a great part of the territory. Besides, they held Senate and House representatives, Valley’s Assembly representatives, a female presidential candidate, some councilors of different towns and the Antioquia’s governor. All this was done in order to impose the exchange of prisoners, to call for building the New Power arguing that the present government is illegitimate. After several attempts to eliminate physically Uribe Vélez, the FARC attacked with rockets Nariño Palace the day he assumed the presidency, showing on national an international level that in Colombia there is a war.
The discussion in the unarmed side focused on the proper way of building and opposition to the new government. This debate was in the frame of the frustration for the electoral results that did not express the SFP and Democratic Pole alliance. One of the positions posited to centre the opposition only in the parliamentarian struggle by the seven con only congressional representatives; the other posited to make the parliamentarian opposition with masses mobilization and ours that had been to combine the different forms of struggle to fortify the opposition, including the armed one.
1.3. THE COLOMBIA PLAN
The Colombia Plan was conceived by North American and Clinton’s government congressmen advisers and presented in the North American Parliament in 1999 and approved in 2000, aiming to have a greater regional control over the Andean and Caribbean countries, and mostly to destroy the revolutionary movement that develops in Colombia, all this under the disguise of the struggle against drugs. Nowadays, this plan has evolved to what is known as Andean Regional Initiative.
The plan was designed in 3 phases and for 6 years. The fist phase was initiated in the Putumayo department in the south, where the paramilitaries, North American advisories and the army, had been controlling it, not in a year as it was initially thought although the first phase has not been totally accomplished, the second phase has been initiated, guided to the southwest and the country’s central places and will last two or three years, broadening with fumigations and military operations in Catatumbo, Antioquia and Sierra Nevada and the third phase, in all national territory in the remaining time.
In the year 2001 the army finished its re-engineering process with North American advising and changed its operating method. An important aspect in this process was the increase of North American and British troops in the military bases for counter-guerrilla training and in the increase in the United State’s economic aid, turning Colombia into the first military aid receptor in Latin America and the third in the World.
To the plan, mostly North American’s resources had been assigned and had been oriented to the military field but there are also European capital resources which are the so called social component.
The Colombia Plan makes part of the low intensity war, and today as Andean Regional Initiative, it is framed in the imperialism’s military strategy. The Colombia Plan has escalated the war, which is reflected in facts like:
- The displacement of thousands of peasants, with the aim of taking mass’s bases away from the guerrilla in order to isolate them.
- The psychological war through the mass media by creating confusion, misinformation looking for the capture of public opinion for the dominant classes and imperialism’s policies.
- The waging of civic-military campaigns, health brigades, alphabetization and implementation of radio and TV programs looking for the support to the armed forces actions by a part of the population.
- People’s organization in security fronts, informants and accuser’s nets.
Nowadays, the Colombia Plan is essentially a military plan, what has escalated the war under the excuse of fighting against terrorism, while social investments have been suspended, the fight against drug trafficking did not go far away from fumigations which mainly affects small peasants.
Uribe and the imperialism initiated the Second Phase of the Colombia Plan in May 2003. Unfolding the reactionary theory known as ”total war”, which combines low intensity war doctrine with conventional war strategies to fight against what in a diffuse way the regime calls ”organized crime”, ”guerrilla” or ”terrorism”. The American analyst Julia Sweig in the Foreign Affairs Magazine, in the Spanish 2002 fall-winter issue, asked herself ¿What kind of war does Colombia need? And she answered herself that it was a total war. That’s why the one million informant’s net to combat terrorism (all kinds of Government’s opposition), is expected to combine with other strategies departing from intelligence, the intensive use of technologies and the swarm combat systems, based on the use of small autonomous units with big fire power, good training and real time information, which represents a radical change respect military conceptions based on massive deployments of artillery capacity, armored armament, big troops concentrations and army organization in corps, divisions, brigades and big span battalions as the mountains ones, that have not shown real effectiveness. All this brings about that defense costs represents 1.5% of the GDP equivalent to 3.1 billon pesos, with a projected increase to the 3% of the GDP, depending on the budget presented to parliament for 2004.
The giant military operations in which participates all Colombian armed forces, American and British militaries advisors, have been of two kinds, some of them have been operatives to hit the social bases of the guerrilla’s zones (South of the country, Antioquia, Tolima) and the ones of north American interest’s assurance (Rehabilitation’s Zones)
In the first case, the Marcial operation, that lasted 6 months and was made to control the Orient Antioquist territory and to force the ELN and the FARC to fold back. 6 battalions were used, several airborne and special forces, besides those that are permanently in the region, left a balance of 40 to 50 dead and/or prisoner guerrillas, 140 guerrilla deserted according to the army, several tens of missing persons in the peasants population, thousandths of displacements.
In the second case, with Bush’s government economic and logistics support for more than US$ 80 millions, the operations look for guaranteeing the Limón-Coveñas pipe line’s security. A census was made by the Arauquita’s Counterguerrilla Number 46 Battalion, was made for the control of each inhabitant. The zone is patrolled 24 hours by two Sky Master Intelligence airplanes, assigned by agreements to the Colombian Air Force. The Sky Masters intercepts communications, visualizes movements by heat and coordinates military operations. The mobility of the troop was increased al along the pipe line. Because of all this military deployment, Defense Department strategic analysts assured that Arauca is the country zone with greater troop’s number. FFMM General Command information accounts that in Arauca are cantoned 24, 27, 30, 46, 49 y 52 counter-guerrilla battalions, the number ONE of the energetic petroleum Plan, the Navas Pardo, the 43 Navy Infantry battalion and AFC (Air Force) units with armed helicopters and Sky planes. To this we should add up the arrival of the Mobil Brigade Number Three, which supports the offensive against the NLA(ELN) and the FARC in Arauca.
Anyway, this second phase has problems that haven’t been solved:
- -The additional tax to the patrimony resource’s waste that denounced the controller Antonio Hernández, propitiating disillusion in big bourgeoisie’s sections.
- -The collapse of the Arauca and Bolivar’s Rehabilitation Zones with its paramilitary apparatus, organized to protect the American and British multinational’s oil interests and;
- -The outbreak of the managing anarchy in the Defense Department, propitiated by the military chiefs which drag along ”pre modern” and crafty administrative management forms in open contradiction with the technocracy’s styles that was led by the Minister Martha Lucia Ramirez, lean to the managing efficiency and efficacy
At the beginning of this year a new reservists re-training period has started, policemen and soldiers in activity were assigned to administrative tasks to increase the combat force and to conform street-combat tactics in town more systematically.
1.4.¿ WHAT DO THE RULING CLASSES AND THE IMPERIALISM ACHIEVED IN 13 YEARS?
Evaluating the plan of the ruling classes after 13 years you may conclude that they advanced in the development of the productive forces that serve them and the imperialism, modernized part of the highway net, ports, airports and free zones. They implemented plan of territorial ordering, mainly in Bogotá and other cities, generating infrastructure and service modifications. They introduced new technologies and telecommunication devices, they improved quality of educative offer in all levels (thru privatization) and at the state apparatus level they have transformed the old bureaucracy in a modern technocracy.
This has been possible thru labor reforms, tax reform, and modern approaches to social security that took away from the masses important conquered rights, also thru the increase of the external debt that today reaches the 53% of the GDP and to foreign investment that has taken possession of more than 50% of the vital parts of the economy. All this happens in the middle of the distressing socio-economic people situation.
60% (26 millions) of the total 44 millions of Colombian is living in growing poverty conditions with a high unemployment rate and overwhelming labor precariousness, 28% of this sector (more than 11 millions) is indigent and 33% is underemployed, 30% of children in school age are undernourished, poverty reaches the 49% in urban areas. Petty and median bourgeosie represented by the 35% of the population form wide and diversified spectrum of social levels and sectors while the richer and major political power sectors are only 5% of the population.
The low economic grow and neo-liberal policies have diminished people´s incomes and social expenses. Should be added to this the protracted economic recession that took unemployment to a rate of more than 20% (3 millions of unemployed in 2001) of the working population and only half of them have employments with stability that are now threatened by the labor reform that passed in the parliament by the end of 2003. 60% of the Colombian population works in the informal sector.
The increase of the GDP went since 1993 to 2000 from 5 to 4.8% and collapsed in a 2.5% in 2002. Today Uribe aspires to reach 3%. Meanwhile unemployment rate rouse from 8.7% in 1995 to 19.5% in 1999. On 1994, the Income Per Capita was U$S 2.158 and in 2002 dropped to U$S2.043, in eight years it dropped more than 100 dollars.
In the rural areas the situation is worst. 84% of the population lives in poverty and 30% of them in the extreme poverty. There is a crisis of agro-feeding products aggravated by the indiscriminate importation of food (during the last 10 years we increase the imports from 700 thousands tons to 7 millions tons) and the elimination of traditional item of agriculture as the difficult situation with 500 thousands families of coffee growers.
On the other hand, due to the public indebtedness (internal and external) that is related of the movements of finance and speculative capitals owned by the imperialism and the great bourgeosie. Public finances show a regime in bankruptcy. In 2002 internal debt was $40.8 billions equivalent to U$S 17.930 millions that corresponds to the 57% of the total debt. And the external debt was of $47.5 billions equivalent to U$S20.883 millions that corresponds to 46% of the debt for a total of $88.31bilions equivalent to U$S38.813 millions corresponding to 49$ of the GDP.
National situation tends to sharpen and according to the great bourgeosie expectations maybe in 10 or 15 years the country will recover its economic stability. By now, the policies of the ruling classes are not clearly oriented toward the resolution of the economic and social problems. These are focused to solve the war problem and isolate the popular masses of the non armed and armed revolutionary and democratic movement.
2. THE NATURE OF THE REGIME.
Alvaro Uribe Velez´s regime is the expression of an ultra-rightist political sector that has reached a relative unity of the great bourgeosie and the big landlords who hold the economic power and have consolidated a social base. This sector has been represented by active militaries, priests and bishops, politicians, intellectuals (journalists, scholars, experts in resolution of conflicts), former policemen and militaries, lumpens from the narcos, chiefs of the paras and some guerrilla re-inserted formed a fascist undercover party now working openly and are trying to organize it a the Uribista Party.
The government will continue with the State reform related with the plans of the “Minimum Efficient State” formulated in the “Community State” (participative and decentralize); we have already stated that the Northamerican imperialism is not interested in a big State managing economy, focused in the beurocratic bourgeosie, that was necessary from 1900 to 1975 to develop and consolidate the beurocratic capitalism. The excessive control of the States and their accumulation is not valid any longer in the new relations of the world powers the theory of the “Minimum Efficient State” was imposed. It was focused on the privatizations. Later on, they pass to the “Efficient State” smaller and managing public affairs applying managing theories corresponding to the private sector. At the same time, it created conditions for the appliance of fascist and corporative type measures. Already in 1998 the imperialists were proposing authoritarian governments capable to stop the social and political crisis in order to encompass the countries with the needs of the financial international capital imposed by the IMF, WB and WTO.
The so called “Community State” is very similar to the proposal of the then Ministry of Government Humberto de La Calle Lombana of the Gaviria´s government on the “Community National System” because both looked for the corporative organization of the countryside and city masses, at the local, regional and national level in order to exert higher ideological and political control and to have available free work force for public works and link the masses with health, housing and education programs as a way of smoothing the devastating effects produced by the social and economic crisis. The difference between Uribe and the De la Calle approach is the higher counter-insurgency and warmonger component of the mass organization developed by Uribe. Corporativism attempts to nullify class struggle and struggle for different interests on behalf of positions of loyalty to professions or crafts, were the person should not be subordinated to political parties, the State or social classes but has to support the interests of the great bourgeosie and landlords.
The Community State is the fascist corporative idea that Uribe has on the state role and its relation with the society. This idea lies on 3 axes: first, a strategy of cuts in the State in order to make an Efficient State departing from the re-estructuration of the State agencies focusing on the governability (security and defense) what implies the dismissal of 30 thousands workers; second, considers that social welfare (education, health, public services, entertainment) should be private and burden on masses backs because they are main users, and third, military strategy on which democratic security lies, only expenditure that increases in the investment plans is the military one.
Uribe adds to this a new component: the reactionary militarization of the masses because the Democratic Security scheme subordinates different mass organizations (trade unions, communal committees, youth groups, etc.) to the intelligence net and psychological operations of the Police and the Army. At the same time it seeks to give para-militarism a legal and institutional ground.
“Democratic Security” covers the aspects stated on the Development Plan, as follows:
i) Some principles; ii) national interests; iii) menaces; iv) strategic objectives; v) instruments; and vi) security plan in order to realize the essence of its purposes: three (3) billions of additional budget for war with taxes of 1.2% on patrimony, a net of one (1) million collaborators in charge of the espionage to the citizens, Rehabilitation Zones, new mobile brigades, high mountain battalions, peasant soldiers, around twenty (20) groups of urban anti-terrorism and sophisticated military equipment as satellite tracers and trackers. To this should be added the Anti-terrorist Statute and Criminal Alternative Law for the legalization of the paras.
Democratic security is the main strategic objective of the four included in the Development Plan. This aspect is based, among other things, in the theory they hold that “violence exerted by different criminal organizations is the main challenge that Colombia faces”.
The Uribista doctrine is ultra neo-liberal. So security is an obsession and is above justice and social justice. For Uribe security means to defeat the democratic and revolutionary movement, and so his Community State has not regarded planning of UN Human and Democratic Security that includes: economic security, nourishing, health security, personal security, environmental security, community security and cultural and political security. Uribe has and idea on security that is reduced, in high degree, to the point four of the United Nations, personal security, that although is important is barely a component of this purpose.
The second objective of the strategic plan is the economic growing that is expected to be of the 3%. But it applies a recessive and regressive economic policy. Its priority is the budget cut and the policy of restriction of public expenditure. According to the Finance Ministry “our economic program is based in three pillars: a) The strategy on security; b) The economic reforms (budget and tax) and, c) the State reform”. That is to say, he continues and deepens the three tasks of the ruling classes focusing in the counter-insurgency war and the fulfillment of the agreements with the imperialism on the economic ground (external debt) and militarily speaking, real cause for the severe deficit of the trade balance, the huge state deficit and the serious social crisis that Colombia faces. About the social policy, the Development Plan is anti-popular, sweeps out the rights conquered by the trade unions movement in order to, supposedly, orientate them towards unemployed and indigents who have only received persecution and “cleaning” operations leaving out employment and improvement of incomes.
The third objective is social equity led to the so called “educative revolution”. It proposes to drop the present deficit in the educative cover in a 50%, from 3 million boys, girls and youngsters out of school we should diminish to 1.5 millions. This means that they do not even propose to fulfill Constitutional requirements, in the sense that they have to guarantee basic education for all of them. They do not propose anything of importance on quality of education and do not establish concrete aims in research, science and technology.
The fourth objective is the economic one that lies on the tax reform widening the tributary base of the VAT to 2% in 2005 on goods and services that today do not pay and collection of the 2% VAT to products indispensable for life. Freezing of wages and pensions for two years, excluded the police. As the referendum failed now they try to make it sure thru the questioned Political Agreement among the dominant classes parties as well as the elimination of the transference of territories; freezing of national expenditures for two years with the exception of those related with democratic security what will imply a saving of 4 billions of pesos for the State.
The proletariat and the people are affected by these measures. The employers have burdened the patrimony tax on the back of the workers taking advantages of the labor reform that increases working hours, wage cuts and allows dismissals and do not generate new employment.
The authoritarian and warmonger present approach has led to state that security is the most important item for Colombia and so the need to govern with “abnormal legal concepts for a society in abnormal conditions”, because, according to them “the legal norms for a normality as the Constitution of 91 asserts, are not useful for solving present condition of the country”. This implies that communist and revolutionaries should defend and widen political, economical, social and cultural rights of the people that are established by the Constitution of 91 working for make the Popular Democratic Government a reality.
Uribe declared the State of Emergency that he used to create the rehabilitation and consolidation zones in two places of the country where people´s rights have been violated while in the rest of the territory have been restricted. The regime took the offensive carrying on important military actions as the takeover of the Commune Nbr 13 in Medellin and the actions in Tolima, Guaviare, Meta and Putumayo. It put pressure on the Parliament to approve tax reforms for the IMF and the WB blackmailing Congress with a referendum for Parliament revocation. Besides, extraditions of nationals towards the USA and fumigations were started again. Nets of collaborators were started and rewards announced, battalions of peasant soldiers were initiated, there was an increase in military forces and the first non official agreements with paramilitaries were held. Finally, Congress yielded to the government´s aspirations and to the proposal of Political Reform, Tax Reform and Public Expenses Referendum. Besides, the regime of the AUV advanced creating conditions so Colombia can enter to the leonine ALCA agreement when they signed the Law for Fees Preferences for the Andean Area and Struggle against Drugs.
In front of the military offensive of Uribe, the guerrilla initially withdrew and prepared for the offensive in the cities for December that did not have the implications they expected due to the small mass presence and to the application of the counter-insurgency plan of the reaction. By the end of 2002, they planned to create a democratic anti-neoliberal government get together those who agree with the Platform for a Reconstruction and Reconciliation National Government.
2.1. Uribe and the paramilitarism.
Present stage of paramilitarism grouped in Castaño´s AUC started at the beginning of the 80´s in the Magadalena Medio when the stockbreeder landlords, the Texas Petroleum Co, the clergy and the government, started a cleaning operation murdering peasants close to the revolutionary and democratic movements of the area. Towards the beginning they spread towards Cordoba and Urabá and towards the planes and the Putumayo, financed by the emerald seekers and drug dealers but centered by the ruling classes and the military chiefs. In Antioquia, when Uribe was the governor, he legalized them in the Convivir, since then they make part of the fascist scheme of the AUV. In Antioquia the AUV designed its counterinsurgency approach and its close relation with the paramilitary leaders that then as today have played a very important role in the Uribe´s strategy.
3. THE REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT IN COLOMBIA
The actual war is a civil and a revolutionary one because firstly due to the unmasked alliance among imperialism and State and ruling class against the Colombian’s nation and the people. A section of the people assumes armed struggle as the main way to oppose to its enemies. Secondly, the programs are democratic-popular and the FARC, ELN y EPL combatants are mostly of peasant origin. Thirdly, because it is not an “internal conflict” with sporadic confrontations without tactic and strategic direction, it is a class confrontation (or civil war) with defined politic interests from both contenders. Fourthly, due to the subjective aspect, some of the revolutionary forces are communists.
We are talking about present time, because if we make a historical balance, that situation came up in the 60’s with the start of a new period of civil war in Colombia. Contemporary history shows us that revolutionary war has been waged during 40 years under the pattern of revolutionary civil war because it refers to internal contradictions between the masses and the bureaucratic landlord´s State. In a situation like the invasion by foreign troops, for example ONU’s or yanquee’s, directly or by international troops, the war will turn into a national liberation war. This condition may appear too, when the presence of imperialists is too evident on country’s domestic affairs (political and military).
In this sense, we differ from other maoists and revolutionary forces which consider that in Colombia there is a “reactionary war” because the contestants are all people’s enemies (armed forces, paras and guerrilla) due to the kind of actions that are taking place; paras’s and army´s genocides and because of the guerrilla’s errors. They also argue that this is a “capitalist war” because it is mostly for sharing out among them land and subsoil’s rent (hydrocarbons and minerals) and because of this reason, masses do not take part on it. These stand points do not analyze, neither the history nor the programs of armed organization They do not understand that the development of the armed revolutionary process demands to take control of territory in order to advance for the seizing of power and this demands, at the same time, the confiscation of the capitals and monopolist means of production as well as the imposition of war taxes and contributions. Even worst, it blurs the dividing line between guerrilla’s mistakes and the enemy. By this way, it could easily reach hopelessness and approach to pacifist humanitarianism and to the stands that reject all kinds of war or an “authentic” popular war (without problems and always advancing). Wars should be characterized by class’s relations and contender’s political interests.
The approach of those who argue that what exists is a social and armed conflict diminishes political significance of the contenders and their development, to contradictions that can be solved without the transformation of the entire society.
The civil revolutionary war advanced and brought to the foreground the discussion on the New Power during the past tree years, but it didn’t reach the unification of the revolutionary democratic movement, situation from which fascists sectors took advantage for their political leading role, suffering the guerilla a tactic retreat.
Historically, in the revolutionary civil war as a whole, armed struggle has been people’s main oppositional way to the ruling classes and imperialism, although in specific periods, political struggle has played an important role locking and beating the ruling class. Both had played their roles in certain political periods of the country. Actually, political struggle, although it has played a role (stoppages, strikes, boycotts, participation in elections, referendum’s defeat) has not achieved the weight and continuity that revolution needs in relation with armed fight. The ideas about the accumulation of power thru the armed ways of insurrectional type in the guerrilla and political electoral of a big part of the non-armed movement, draw them a limit line to the need for power accumulation of the entire revolutionary movement; because these two lines are identified by their lack of efforts on increasing mass’s consciousness or on organizing them permanently. That’s why it is indispensable to combine all ways of struggle as a key clue for the mass’s linkage to the revolutionary process.
When we affirm that present war is a civil and revolutionary one, we are not omitting guerrilla’s political and military mistakes, on the contrary, we consider them and we will only change that definition in case guerrillas changes their democratic program for one against the people. The PCC-M has been raising four differences with the whole guerrilla movement that we consider are the points to solve in order to guarantee a new unity for the armed and no armed movement:
- A one sided approach considers that the construction of an army is enough to reach its revolutionary program, leaving in a second instance Party’s strategic importance and the alliance with different classes and democratic and revolutionary organizations in a United Front.
- The creation of the New Power by the guerrillas in their controlled zones is not clear for the people and in some of them the power organs are reduced to the guerrillas´ chief military staff authority
- The military line considers, generally speaking, that insurrection is the principal aim of their process, but contradictorily it did not work to coordinate the different kinds of fight and to incorporate most of the people to them. It is understood that insurrection appears in a spontaneous way when mass’s conditions are unbearable or intolerable and when the guerrilla´s organizations may respond to that moment.
- An erroneous alliance’s politic and class relations, because it tends to antagonize differences with other revolutionary and social sections, beating indiscriminately the average and relatively backward masses
Militarist trends that consider only military issues and ignore the importance of mass’s organizations in the struggle for power, that consider the cities as places full of “gullible masses” is damaging the revolutionary movement. It is erroneous too to affirm that there are not “innocent dead people” during a war, falling as well in adventurer positions and indiscriminate actions which affect people. But anyway, it is necessary to split from other revolutionaries, even communists, to whom guerrilla’s mistakes are transformed into “atrocities” showing either the war is not necessary or that it should be waged without mistakes, “authentic” falling into passivity, because they really never define to wage armed struggle.
3.1 The armed movement in Colombia
The armed movement is mainly rural, composed by different guerrilla organizations with different political approaches and uneven military development, and that has played an important role in the Revolutionary Civil War development.
The FARC, led by the Communist Colombian Party CCP up to 1990, in its VII Conference (1982) defined in its strategic plan: to become an army and to acquire more political presence. Therefore, it used the dialogs with Belisario Betancur and the creation of a political movement, Patriotic Union, conformed by party’s mass work and other revolutionary forces to participate by electoral way in class’s struggle and as a way to enter into the cities. Patriotic Union was exterminated during 1984-1992, near 5000 of its activists were murdered in a selective way and in massacres by the regime and its paramilitary organizations. This situation and the SSRRU destruction antagonized the FARC differences with the CCP producing a breakage before the VIII FARC-EP Conference (1993).
In 1990, Gaviria ordered the military attack against “Green House”, the historical and principal base of the FARC-EP secretariat that took them to readjust the Strategic Plan in the VIII Conference, now like an independent political and military organization. Since then, they have been working on the Plan: they developed a new operation method that allowed them to improve their armament, gain a more aggressive mentality, create an new type of combatant and form more battalions that let them to surround, capture and defeat the reactionary army military units. During the period 1994-1996 the FARC-EP gave a qualitative and quantitative leap that placed it in good political and military conditions within the revolutionary movement, with the possibility of seizing power for the people. At the same time, they became a big “national security” problem for North American imperialists, taking the war to the strategic balance stage, situation that was ratified with the Clearance Zone. On a national and international level, they reached an important political presence with the trips to Europe and the opening of diplomatic relations with governments and parties is several countries.
The National Liberation Army NLA, (ELN) during the 80’s, has an important political and military development, becoming an attraction pole to different political and social forces that have been absorbed by the political movement “LET´S GO FIGHT” or trough the thickening of their guerrilla fronts. The political fight developed by “LET´S GO FIGHT” has an important role in the nor-oriental rural Colombian masses mobilizations and in the students, barrio and trade-union movements. As they do not know how to manage the relationship between their mass organizations and the military apparatus, it couldn’t advance in a coherent way during the 90’s and this led them to a military withdrawal as strategic defensive without possibilities of becoming a strong army and strengthening their mass’s influences by now. The situation wasn’t better for the NLA during the last years because it has lost influence on its historical areas and on work among masses and couldn’t materialize its National Convention proposal. Today, it discusses if it should make agreements with Uribe to obtain political presence or strengthen the unity with other forces to confront the regime and to remain as a political and military option for the people.
The EPL, (PLA, People´s Liberation Army) led by the Communist Party of Colombia, Marxist-Leninist, CP of C-ML during the 80’s advanced militarily and politically too, and like the NLA has as objective to have a bigger political and military presence with the enlargement of its guerrilla fronts and the incorporation of the masses to the political fight though the establishment of the Popular Front. The political option of the CP of C-ML, its army the PLA and its Front confronted a strong internal fight about the role and validity of armed struggle that conducted it in 1991 to the demobilization of the 90% of its combatants and militants who turned into Hope, Peace and Liberty, a political force that decomposed during the 90’s. Some of them went into the enemy’s files; others were chased and eliminated because of the mistrust that their positions and attitudes provoked among revolutionaries. The small number that did not demobilize regrouped around the then party Secretary, Francisco Caraballo, who took care of its political and military rebuilding because its has been strongly weakened, until his arrest (1994). Today the PLA is on strategic defensive and the CP of C-ML has newly gained political presence, proposing a Popular Constituent and the Patriotic Liberation’s Front, related with petroleum defense as a strategic natural resource and the struggles of petroleum workers.
There are other armed revolutionary small organizations with regional influence like the Guevarista Revolutionary Army GRA, the People’s Revolutionary Army-PRA and the Bateman Cayón, the CAP and militia sectors in several cities. The CPC-M is developing the construction of its armed force.
The guerrilla movement has looked for its unity twice; firstly, with the Guerrilla National Coordinator (1985) and secondly, with the “Simón Bolívar” Guerrilla Coordinator (1987). Both time unity of action was reached but they couldn’t advance towards a strategic or tactic unity because an ideological and political attitude that made difficult to deepen that course. These two attempts have been enough justification to theorize that unity is not possible due to the different programs of the various organizations. Actually, programs are very alike. Differences are presented always in the political attitude of each organization towards negotiations with the government or in the ways each one fight in every historical moment of the democratic revolution and on the implications of the outcomes in the merging of different organizations. During that same period of time, for the first time, general and national unity between the armed and non armed movement was held. This event strengthened the democratic movement and terrified the ruling classes.
The Colombian people has an important accumulation of power represented by the armed revolutionary organization’s experience that are in the “common Agenda” and “Program” of the FARC-EP, in the National Convention of the NLA (ELN) positions and programs and in the PLA (EPL) program and other armed and non armed revolutionaries that agrees with the CPC-M (PCC-M) in the need of developing the democratic revolution, of a revolutionary popular democratic government (even if it is called in a different way), of the anti imperialist fight, in the solving of the agrarian problem and in an economic model on behalf the people. From the point of view of their programs there are many coincidences, but there must be a bigger effort in gaining political stand and especially to educate and organize popular masses that can’t be seen as something secondary or revolutionary in a small extend.
The regime with its counterinsurgency policy is looking for a systematic military strategy so the reactionary army could keep the initiative and obstruct the guerrilla strategic plan, forcing it to resign by now to the war of movements that they used since half of the 90’s. This new military situation doesn’t mean yet that the war is not now in a strategic balance stage and that the guerrilla could not hinder the plan of the reactionary forces.
3.2 The no armed movement in Colombia
The non armed movement situated mostly in the cities is wide (with all kind of political and social organizations), diverse (because there are different political positions, democratic, anarchist, alternatives and communist) and important (those movements are related with a high urban population in Colombia, 75%). We must make clear here that the concept of non armed movement is because it wages mostly political fight, that is not the same to say that it could not emerge an armed fight or that it could not exert other revolutionary violent manifestations; although it is also true that in that movement there are pacifist positions and even NON to war positions, but because of this reason they must not be isolated or undervalued.
The non armed movement has recently got its higher expression in the fight against the Uribian referendum, when it grouped in the Big Democratic Coalition, that oriented different ways of legal and illegal fight against the regime, creating an important public opinion which understood that the referendum was against the people, and showing in facts that the unity of action around concrete task it is possible.
Anyway, the sectarian handling of the different positions didn’t allow unity processes to advance. The old differences must be overcome to prevent the organizations to keep harming each other and that the common ideological and political points could be examined more clearly.
Today the trade-unionist movement is facing two challenges: strengthen the workers central and fight for a unique central with revolutionary and progressive content and create the conditions to build a struggle movement for the defense of the political, economic and social rights that were cut by this government. The rural non armed movement is dispersed and requires a bigger coordination and definition of its claims. The teachers´ movement is in the crossroad due to the revolutionary educational policies that are been developed. Students´ movement must face its unity and the policies against itself carried out by the Uribe Vélez´s government. The barrios´ and semi proletarians´ movement require more cohesion and ability to face policies concerning public services, railways, health, employment and housing.
The non armed movement is compound in the following way:
- Mass Organizations influenced or led by the armed organizations.
- Mass Organizations influenced or directed by Parties and non armed organizations. The CPC and its mass’s work (JUCO, CUT, barrios, women, peasant associations, natives and community organizations) and parliamentarian work. The MOIR with its trade-unionist organizations in the CUT and the CGTD, in the student the CONCEC. The Labor Party of Colombia LPC and the JUPA-OCE in the students movement, Farming Salvation, CGTD-CUT and Public Services Users´s League and work among women, besides parliamentarian speakers. Present for Socialism, in the CUT Democratic Unity Party –DU, in the CUT, teachers and other sectors. The Democratic Alliance M19, DA-M19, PST among teachers and CUT and the Worker’s Socialist League (PST fraction). El Colectivo desde Abajo,. The PCC-M, thru it’s trade-unionist work, work among university and secondary students, barrios, artistic and peasant work. The MODEP and other political forces as well as other Maoists organizations: GCR, Communist League, Work Communist Union WCU, Revolutionary Communist Union RCU.
- Other movements: Civilian Society Permanent Assembly for the Peace, Regional and communal Movements, other centrals like the CTC and the Columbian Pensioner Association, women movements (300 female organizations), Redepaz, Communitarian Mothers Movement, Human Rights Groups, Democratic Lawyers, Prisoners and Missing Persons Relatives, Organizations against war, youth and cultural groups, alternative communication media, democratic scholars and their organizations ASPU and others. A large range of democratic NGO.
In the Social and Political Front, SPF, there are bounded as Parties and Organizations the CPC, Presents for Socialism PFS, Collective Let´s Unite for Socialism, Collective of Independent, the MODEP, Workman Dignity, Guillermo Marín Collective. There are also Democratic Socialist Party DSP sectors, the CUT, communal sectors, women organizations and democratic personalities. Also the Parliamentarian Fraction bounded today with Democratic Alternative, which projects itself as a wide democratic and leftist sector that counterweights the Democratic Pole
The Democratic Pole grouping the Lucho Garzón’s sector, “independents” like Samuel Moreno Rojas, The Columbian Workmen Socialist Party CWSP of Dussan, the Social Democratic Party of Colombia of the former minister Angelino Garzón, the Navarro Wolf’s sector and the M19 of the Gustavo Petro Representative. The Domocratic Pole has gathered the socialdemocracy, today is searching for accords with the Piedad Córdoba’s sector in the Liberal Party for the presidential elections of 2006.
4. MAIN POLITICAL ASPECT AND MAIN TACTIC.
During the negotiations period 1998-2004 we affirmed that the main political aspect was the existence of the new power (due to its public emergence in the Caguán), which generated a big possibility for the Colombian revolutionary movement to take a leap in fulfilling the democratic revolution’s tasks and advance towards seizing of power all over the country. Recognizing this condition, we characterize the present war as a revolutionary civil war and inwards, all the armed and non armed organizations that oppose to imperialism, to the great bourgeoisie and the big landowners as revolutionary forces, which express the revolutionary classes and national bourgeoisie’s interests, being the armed struggle the main way of fighting of the Colombian revolution, still in specific stages and moments, the political struggle has played an important role in the opposition against the ruling classes and the imperialism. Besides, we state that one of the main deficiencies of revolutionary civil war was the scarce coordination between the armed and non armed organizations because the revolutionary movement as a whole does not have a strategy and unique program.
Since 2004 until today we are living in the first stage of the corporative fascist regime’s establishment, supported and bounded to the North American imperialism’s orders, which tries to destroy the democratic revolutionary movement; regime that still has neither closed opposition´s space to the non armed democratic and revolutionary movement’s, nor defeated the armed movement, generating fissures and contradictions within the ruling class’s bosom. This relative weakness makes the regime to repress and rabidly persecute to all the opposite and leftist forces.
In the middle of this circumstances a social democratic force that gathered together the Democratic Pole, the Liberal Party and the ANAPO and other sectors that fight for imposing a change or moderation in the Uribist authoritarianism and in neo liberal policies and total surrendering to the North American imperialism’s has emerged. The social democracy has contradictions with the corporative fascist regime and also with the revolutionary and communists forces because it opposes and condemns the revolutionary armed struggle as a historical and political reality.
Nowadays, the defeats suffered by the regime, its crisis and fissures, lead the fascists to unfold a big wave of repression, threats and persecution against the democratic and revolutionary movement in all the country and particularly in the zones that are under its control. The main political aspect continues being the imperialism and ruling classes attack against the democratic rights and against the national sovereignty. The North American imperialism is today more obviously in the head of the aggressions against the people and the nation. This is the reason why we or other mass organizations and public opinion may remain silent, because this will intensify repression even more, rights violation and national humiliation. If we, instead, launch the democratic movement to a direct fight and they will take advantages from the opportunity to hit us, to break our spirit and intensify the terror. It is not correct to mobilize only the advanced forces, with banners that are still not accepted by the overall democratic forces, because this would mean toi fall in the trap and allow them to beat and isolate us.
To the political terror we have to add the economic and fiscal aggressions against the people, public expenditures cuts and the anti popular policies on employment, health and social welfare. The regime advances in its plan, in the middle of bends, like the revolutionary forces. The fast or slow growing of the revolutionary forces that could or could not avoid some blows will depend on the tactics it assumes and on the way in which our forces will organize and in the direct or indirect coordination with the Colombian revolutionary movement as a whole.
These conditions require that we should have the main tactic of fighting for the democratic liberties and national sovereignty defense, impelling the Popular Liberation Movement that is fighting today for a Democratic Popular Government, whose local and national emergence can only be possible departing from the development of a strong mass movement ready to conquer the power, led by revolutionary communists, combining accurately all ways of fighting to develop all kinds and levels of revolutionary violence to guarantee the constitution and defense of popular power, in revolutionary civil war or national liberation war conditions, as a National Democratic Government. This is what corresponds to the main contradiction that still is the one between the imperialism and the ruling classes against the Colombian nation and people.
For this, it is necessary to extend our propaganda labor, to avoid all direct fight, to win the different forces within the democratic field, to use all kinds of work and fight, open, clandestine, legal and illegal; and to fight for the establishment of a broad front, the Popular Liberation Movement against the imperialism and the fascist terror that has to provide the leaders for the Popular Democratic Government.
In the propaganda work, it is very important to unmask all reactionary measure and terrorist regime acts, spreading them as well in Colombia and as in the international level. On the action, all direct fight must be avoided in unfavorable conditions. This is not conservatism but to learn to conduct masses and to combine all kinds of fight, since economic struggles till politic and armed fight for power, elevating patient but swiftly mass’s consciousness, educating them in the conscientious exercise of revolutionary violence in order to keep and defense their achievements and organization.
In Colombia, the accession of the present Álvaro Uribe Vélez’s corporative fascist regime has been the outcome of the political, economic, social and spiritual crisis that has given place to the fascistization process that we have been living since 40 years and especially in the last decade,
Colombia, February 2004