Colombia: crisis in the heights, the government and its calls for mobilization

Colombia: crisis in the heights, the government and its calls for mobilization

2023-06-08 14:07:45

The CUT and CTC labor unions (the CGT has declared itself “independent”), the state unions and President Petro, have called for a mobilization for June 7, according to them in defense of social reforms and against the alleged ” soft coup” orchestrated by the right.

This call is made in the midst of a true political crisis on high. In addition to the problems of Total Peace and the violent escalation that is plaguing several regions, the ministerial crisis of a month ago and the bogging down of the reform projects, the Government and the Historical Pact are now facing the scandals that spring from their own entrails. First there were the accusations against Nicolás Petro, then the sanctions against Alex Flórez and the investigations against various parliamentarians of the pact, and most recently the scandal of the strikes and abuse of power by his chief of staff Laura Sarabia, opens up a whole scandal that involves one of Petro’s most important bourgeois allies, Armando Benedetti. With the filtering and publication by Semana of audios in which more elements of corruption and patronage appear, the true nature of Benedetti is shown.

The bourgeoisie linked to Uribismo and the unions assumed their electoral defeat a year ago with a policy of opposing and hindering any hint of reforms that questioned their privileges and savage model of profit accumulation. To do this, they have not only opposed tooth and nail the reform projects of Petro, but they have used the media at his service to discredit him. Added to this are the growing tensions of the Government with Prosecutor Barbosa and the high courts, which show an institutional dimension of the same fight.

The big bourgeois press has the editorial line of digging, magnifying and deforming each false start of the Government. In this campaign, they not only display an arsenal of fallacies, intrigues, manipulations and frivolity disseminated through social networks. They also appeal to the worst racist, sexist and careerist prejudices, especially against Francia Márquez. At the same time, they shamelessly wash the face of Uribismo and the rancid bourgeoisie in the face of their crimes, once again exposed by the statements of the paramilitary Mancuso before the JEP; where it is evident how paramilitarism is a strategy of the regime that has benefited and integrated the bourgeoisie as a whole.

The contradictions, errors, mistaken policies and concessions to the corrupt clientelist bourgeoisie that make up the government, added to the opportunistic vices of the union bureaucracies and reformism, make up an explosive cocktail that cannot produce anything other than manifestations of the old vices of the bourgeois politics, that old and rotten policy of the previous governments that unfortunately is reproduced in the new government.

The alliances with Benedetti, Roy Barreras and those who are still stooping, such as Alfonso Prada and Luis Fernando Velasco among others, were made by Petro throughout the campaign, fully aware of who they are. And so they were integrated into the government, and they were granted bureaucratic and patronage quotas. Petro’s project, specified in the Historical Pact, implies a conscious and premeditated alliance with these rotten sectors.

From the PST, we alerted on multiple occasions about these characters and the alliances with the old bourgeois parties; of the wrongness of trusting them. These characters who entered the Historical Pact without being from the left or coming from the working class, are opportunists who have always carried out politics in a clientelistic and corrupt manner, using State institutions for personal gain and continue to do so. But, finally, it is Petro himself who is responsible for having put them in place by the PH and the Government, with its policy of concertation and class collaboration.

Soft hit or validate anything goes?

The term “soft coup” arises as part of the imperialist policy that we have called “democratic reaction”, it is to resort to bourgeois democracy and certain democratic liberties to dismantle revolutionary processes and uncomfortable governments when they cannot resort to invasion or a military coup. According to the “soft coup” theory, governments can be overthrown through a combination of manipulation, conspiracy, and institutional confrontation. This term has also been used by the reformist left to defend the so-called “progressive governments”, justifying alliances and collaboration with the bourgeoisie, silencing any criticism or questioning from below and instrumentalizing the mobilization only to support the interests of the government. In this way they impede the political and organizational independence of the masses.

It is true that there is a conscious and systematic smear campaign and that there are even sectors of the ultra-right that are openly pro-coup seeking to open up a field; desperately looking for the traditional bourgeoisie to recover the reins of the State to return to govern personally. Despite this, we do not see any type of coup taking place so far, nor do we believe that the scandals are the product of a right-wing conspiracy. Nor do we rule out that within the options that are being considered, at least one sector of the bourgeoisie is in favor of a coup exit, but we characterize that this is not their majority policy currently, nor is it the policy of imperialism. The majority policy continues to be the smear and obstruction campaign. Their denunciations are cynical and shameless and they use them opportunistically to cover up their own crimes. We must reject any reactionary manifestation of the right and any attempt to organize a coup.

Using the mobilization and the theory of the soft coup to close ranks around the Government and delegitimize any criticism from the workers and the popular sectors, will only prepare greater discontent in the face of corruption scandals and reactionary measures, such as the rise in gasoline, leaving on a silver platter to the right this discontent. However, we do not see a self-criticism of the government and the Historical Pact regarding their questionable alliances, much less a policy for the departure of all the bourgeois and enemies of the people and the workers who still make up the Pact and the Government. There is not even an open criticism of Clara López for referring to domestic workers as “servants” in a derogatory manner.

On the other hand, the promised reforms and changes have not gone from being a popular wish, but in their content they do not represent a real change. They maintain the regressive laws that took away workers’ rights, such as Law 50 and Law 100, they guarantee business to the EPS and AFPs, closely linked to financial capital. The pension reform not only maintains the AFPs but favors them, forcing average wage earners to contribute to these private funds, and reducing the future pension allowance of thousands of workers, especially state-owned ones. The ESMAD was not dismantled either, only the name and some protocols were changed, maintaining the use of weapons such as the well-known Venom. Hundreds of political prisoners rot in jails. The misery situation is not resolved.

Fight against the bourgeoisie and for a real change

It is urgent to mobilize against the reactionary bourgeoisie, the bosses’ offensive that denies and takes away the rights of workers with complete impunity, the murders and the violence that is worsening in the regions. But the mobilization called for June 7 does not seek that. For this reason, from PST we do not call the workers to participate in these mobilizations, just as we have not called on previous occasions for mobilizations of a similar or the same nature, in this case with all the more reason because the call intends to wash the face of a government mired in corruption scandals, illegal financing and abuse of power, results of its own policies anything goes as long as you add votes. Of course, we clearly understand that the levels of corruption, clientelism or irregularities reached by the current government are incomparable with those of the bourgeoisie when it has governed directly, the corruption of its parties and its businesses, the repression and its links with the paramilitarism. However, we don’t feel like that excuses Petro or the Pact, who have finally come up promising to be different. We do not trust a government that continues to be made up of representatives of the bourgeoisie, we do not trust the corrupt congress, or the institutions of the regime.

We call on the Central Obreras to resume the path of national strike, to advance towards the strike of production, we demand that they not mortgage the independence of the working class. You We demand that the government break with the bourgeoisie and transfer power to the workers in order to advance towards the fundamental changes that are required. All politicians like Barreras and Benedetti, Velasco, Prada among others, must leave the Government and the Pact if they want to make real changes. Petro must withdraw the pension reform project, which is actually a counter-reform, and arrange a new one with the workers and not with the AFPs and the bourgeoisie.

We made it clear that we would mobilize together with the Government in unity of action in the event of a reactionary attempt to leave the bourgeoisie (coup attempt), or in favor of some demand felt by the masses. Unfortunately, the nature of this call is not progressive, but rather reactionary because it represents unconditional support for a government of class collaboration, including its bourgeois elements; and of “reforms” that are not only not progressive, but that go directly against the interests of the workers, such as the pension reform. The Government instrumentalizes the mobilization and desires of the people for its own benefit.

In appearances, there is a left or progressive camp and a reactionary camp. they constantly call us to be on the side of a supposed camp of the workers and the progressive wing of the bourgeoisie, but therein lies the mistake. There is no progressive bourgeoisie, all the bourgeois wings are our enemies including those that are in the Government today and that in reality dictate its policy, defending their interests to the detriment of ours, the workers. The country, and the world, continues to be truly divided into classes, with irreconcilable interests. That is why we must independently organize ourselves for the independent struggle, and demand a true change that will necessarily go through a new process of mobilizations. The only way to stop the reactionary right will be to return to the path of struggle, but not instrumentalized mobilization, but the struggle for true reforms and true change.

Executive Committee Socialist Workers Party

June 7, 2023

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