Pedro Castillo, on the shoulders of those who were ignored, captured on video by one of his supporters. In the Andean region it’s no longer just THEIR story.
The time has arrived for the left – a new left – across Latin America
by Olmedo Beluche
In memory of Humberto Tito Prado
The great electoral victory of Pedro Castillo in Peru, despite the fear of “communism” campaign waged by the media and the bourgeois parties, is evidence that the peoples of Latin America urgently want change. It’s a confrontation with so much misery, violence and death that are the features of a dying 21st century capitalism. The COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbates it.
The heroic popular and democratic revolution that is taking place in Colombia, against one of the most disgusting fascist regimes on the continent, is yet another piece of evidence that heralds the dawn of a new day. In Colombia, the pseudo-democratic mask of an oligarchic, undemocratic, murderous paramilitary thug regime has fallen. Year after year they have killed dozens of labor, community, indigenous and environmental leaders. Forget the “War on Drugs” rhetoric – it’s for the benefit of a disgusting oligarchy, the main exporter of cocaine in the world, lackeys of US military and foreign policy elites that spout delusional narratives.
The Colombian people and youth have risen up against poverty, unemployment, forced migration, repression, and the corrupt political institutions that govern them. They are resisting the murderous bullets of the police. They’re also standing up to the death squad roadblocks of the Duque-Uribe government’s paramilitaries.
Chilean youth also show us the way to a new dawn. With constant mobilization they’re set to end the shameful constitution inherited from the Pinochet dictatorship, which was sustained for more than two decades by an alliance of social democrats and liberals. It’s over. The Chilean people have not only managed to install a Constituent Assembly, but have elected a group of activists, feminists, environmentalists and leftists to represent them, in doing so repudiating the traditional parties.
The original nations of the continent have also been in motion, starting with important political victories against the neoliberal and racist oligarchies. In Bolivia, their mobilization was decisive for the defeat of the dictatorship of Mrs. Añez. In Ecuador, two years ago they defeated a neoliberal plan by Lenin Moreno, and this year they presented their own presidential candidacy with the ability to make a serious bid for power in the electoral arena.
In Brazil, tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in all of its cities to forcefully say “no” to Bolsonaro and his regime. Everywhere, despite the pandemic, our Latin American peoples are mobilizing against an increasingly inhuman capitalist system, which takes advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to increase exploitation and misery, which ignores the labor rights conquered in decades of struggles, which imposes regressive fiscal reforms to load the weight of the crisis on the popular shoulders while the bourgeoisie remains exonerated, which cuts social budgets for education and public health when they are most needed. Instead their priority is the payment of public debt to banks and bondholders.
It has to be a political proposal capable of meeting the challenges that the moment demands. The left cannot be represented by the grotesque Nicaraguan regime, which increasingly seems to be taken from a novel by García Márquez, Roa Bastos or Miguel Ángel Asturias, and which usurps the name of what was the glorious Sandinista Revolution.
This new left cannot be represented by the sad caricature that the Bolivarian Process led by Hugo Chávez has become. There they talk about socialism while the US sanctions only serve to degrade the rights of the working class – starting with wages, — while the pro-government and “opposition” bourgeoisie continues to enrich themselves, united in the corruption that suffocates the Venezuelan people.
A new left must emerge that does not remain within the limits of “progressivism” that’s incapable of going beyond the role of administrator of capitalism. It shouldn’t try to extinguish the social fire with “redistributive” measures based on an inadequate policy of “transfers” that are financed by more loans or by exports of raw materials, but which doesn’t dare to touch the interests of national and foreign capitalism.
But this new left must also overcome ultra-leftism and self-proclamation. It should be based in the experiences of the peoples with the various political leaderships. It should consulting with the masses, along the way celebrating their small democratic and economic triumphs. The revolution may not have the stages that people’s consciences do.
It should be a New Left that assumes a program that fearlessly raises the demands of all the oppressed to unite their struggles towards a new society under the principles of popular democracy, multiculturalism, freedom, the rights of the original nations, of the Afro-descendant culture, of women, of LGBT groups, against extractivism, that respects nature, the rights of the working class and socialism.
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