Editor’s Note: Tribune of the People is pleased to share the following article on the current situation unfolding in Colombia published on Communist International, Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Internet Review.
“So, if we subject ourselves to Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse Tung Thought [today, Marxism-Leninism-Maoism], and from it analyse the concrete reality of the Peruvian revolution we have to conclude that we are living in a revolutionary situation in development and, consequently, all political strategy, tactics and action must start from such recognition, otherwise we will be seriously wrong. In short, the class struggle today and in its perspective, the antagonistic struggle between revolution and counterrevolution, can only be seen accurately and correctly and applied firmly and decisively if one starts from recognizing the existence of a revolutionary situation in development; it is from this recognition that the proletariat and its Party and the revolutionaries in the country can evaluate the current political situation and establish their tactics.” Chairman Gonzalo: “Let us develop the growing people’s protest,” 1979.
At present in Colombia the explosiveness of the masses is being expressed in the face of increased exploitation and oppression by imperialism, bureaucratic capitalism and semi-feudalism, as it was expressed two years ago in Chile and Ecuador, but this time on a higher level corresponding to the new situation the world has entered in this decade, i.e. a new period of revolutions.
The explosiveness of the masses is expressing itself in Colombia as big protests and uprisings against recent anti-people measures of the reactionary government of Santos. This is the contradiction between the popular masses and the reactionary government, as the head of the old landlord-bureaucratic state at the service of mainly US imperialism. This shows the sharpening of the contradictions of the old society: masses-feudalism, people-bureaucratic capitalism and nation-imperialism.
The main development of the political situation in the country is being concretised in the mobilisations, protests and uprisings of the masses of the people and is a clear and concrete sign of the development of the revolutionary situation in this country. In this situation it is up to the Maoists to merge with the masses in struggle, that is, to go to the masses, to work, struggle and live with them in order to strive to lead them in the present situation of real uprising of popular resistance, educating the masses in the midst of this struggle in revolutionary violence and the need to combat revisionism relentlessly, uniting the struggle for the most heartfelt demands of the masses with the struggle for power, which in the present period means completing the pending task of the reconstitution of the Communist Party in order to initiate the People’s War. Following the principle of construction, on the basis of the ideological and political build the organisms in the midst of the class struggle and the two-line struggle.
The revolutionaries in a situation like the one in Colombia cannot afford the slightest passive attitude to the extraordinary events the country is going through, with violent uprisings in its main cities. The masses, as Marxism teaches us, are spontaneously ready to struggle and are always struggling, what the masses need is the correct slogan for the struggle, that is conscious leadership, proletarian leadership through its party, today, the faction that has taken on this task. That illuminates the path forward, that directs the new forces and the new tasks that arise in such situations and to which the vanguard of the proletariat has to give an answer for the development of the revolutionary situation. Therefore, the slogans and actions developed spontaneously by the masses are not enough, the spontaneous struggle of the masses must be raised to a conscious movement under the command and guidance of Maoism through or by its party in reconstitution, that is, by the red fraction and that contingent of communists in formation who are under its leadership.
The existence of different organizations in Colombia, which claim to be Maoist, is a fact that is of special relevance in the development of the struggle to separate the chaff from the grain, because the actions of each of the factions, the slogans and tactics that they raise, defend and apply in this situation will be decisive in differentiating Marxism from revisionism. To differentiate the red fraction, not only from the opposite tendencies (revisionist and opportunist) within the popular movement, but also from other shades within the left.
To struggle with the masses to raise the present struggle to a struggle for power, which in the present situation means: to push forward the struggle of the masses to overflow the frameworks of the old order in order to give a powerful impulse to the task of the reconstitution of the Communist Party of Colombia. Everything to initiate the People’s War to conquer and defend power. All struggles must serve this task. All the strategy, tactics and political action of the red faction that is struggling to reconstitute the party must serve this task and the direction of the struggle of the masses is to mobilize them, politicize them, organize them and their future armament to serve the task of providing the revolution in Colombia with the heroic fighter who will lead it and keep it on course to communism.
For weeks now Colombia has been shaken by very important days of struggle whose trigger has been the latest anti-popular measures of the reactionary government of Santos, faithful servant of US imperialism, as we pointed out at the beginning of this editorial article. The masses are fighting against the “health reform”, a government measure that increases their impoverishment, in the midst of a serious economic and health crisis, increased militarization and repression to which they are subjected. This new wave of explosion of the masses, in truth, is part of an almost uninterrupted cycle of almost two years of growing popular protest that expresses the development of the revolutionary situation in the country, offering a very advantageous situation for the practical action of the revolutionaries for the fulfillment of the main strategic task.
The revolutionaries must issue clear pronouncements and take them directly to the masses who are spontaneously mobilising and pass them on from mouth to ear, indicating the way forward, the present tasks and pointing out the action of the vanguard of the proletariat in this period in which the revolutionary situation is being fought for the development of the revolutionary situation. While we have to start from the present state of the movement, making known the slogans and actions developed spontaneously by the masses, we have to make a balance sheet with them of everything that has been developed and point out the successes and mistakes, the course followed, what we want to achieve now and what is the perspective and turn them back to the masses to raise the movement to a conscious level. We cannot stay behind the movement, it is about going to the masses in movement and striving to lead them. This means showing the way with the correct slogans and tactics and forms of struggle, leading the struggle of the masses so that this struggle develops just, in advantage and with limitation, otherwise it leads to the defeat of the mass movement, to the fact that reactionary repression and the exhaustion of the masses due to the lack of concrete objectives leads to their demoralization and in this situation reaction, opportunism and revisionism turn the situation in their favor.
If we do not act with sufficient energy in the struggle to lead the struggle; as there are no empty spaces, because the space we do not occupy is occupied by others. Thus, we read a proliferation of analyses and slogans being propagated within the mass movement that have nothing to do with Maoism, but have everything to do with trotzkite syndicalism. An example of this is the slogan “respond militarisation with an endless general strike (esp.: paro general indefinido)“. “General strike”, not as a means of struggle to achieve certain objectives of the present movement, but as a political strategy. That is, not only to bring down the latest measures of the reactionary government, i.e. the so-called “health reforms”, but also to make the government reverse all the measures imposed in relation to the pandemic and to stop the repression. By calling for this general strike to be endless they are calling to struggle until all these broad and unclear objectives are reached, that is to take the struggle to limits beyond exhaustion. In this proposal we have a wrong tactic, apparently radical but if followed will lead to the defeat of the present movement with the consequences outlined above. For this proposal for an “endless general strike” goes beyond the scope and concrete objectives of the current struggle that the masses are developing with protests and violent uprisings against the latest anti-popular measures, which must be elevated to a conscious struggle, to a political struggle to incorporate the masses into the current task of the revolution in Colombia.
The strategy behind this proposal comes out more clearly if we look at the formation of committees for the general strike, which in reality are reduced to fronts of parties and organizations (over and above ideological and political differences), not according to their mass character, through territorial construction. Their existence would be nothing more than blocs of independent forces aiming at influence within the trade unions, which would lead the struggle of the broad masses of the people for the broadest and most diverse vindications to achieve the strategic goals of their authors.
Maoists have a crucial essential difference here too, regarding the formation of assemblies to lead the struggle of the masses. The decisive question is whether these assemblies should take place on a territorial basis, whether they should function as an appendage of the trade union struggle (of the struggle for the general strike) or as a mass base to broaden the base of the revolution, of which Lenin speaks in 1905, in which the Party’s action to lead the struggle of the masses is developed. Therefore we do not agree that the “people’s militias” should depend on such assemblies, which will ultimately come to be controlled by the labour aristocracy to be directed against the revolution, as the historical experience of the German revolution, for example, shows. We are for the application of the concentric construction of the three instruments of the revolution in the midst of the class struggle and the two-line struggle from the very beginning and without exception.
And if one speaks of revolution in a country like Colombia, the absence of any reference to the main force of the revolution, the peasantry, is equated to a political crime, moreover, if the old Colombian state, at this moment is forced to concentrate its forces on repression in the cities, it is the moment to raise the peasant movement in the struggle for land and in solidarity with the struggle of the masses in the cities, uniting both struggles to achieve the success of the present movement.
We express our greetings and proletarian internationalist solidarity to the proletariat and the masses of the people of Colombia, who with their heroic days of struggle and as part of the peoples of Latin America, are fighting for the defense of their rights, liberties, conquests and benefits achieved in hard struggle against the exploiters and their apparatus of repression – the old state, organized violence of big bourgeoisie and landowners in the service of imperialism, mainly Yankee imperialism – are clamoring for the leadership of the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist militarized Communist Party applying the universally valid contributions of Chairman Gonzalo, to rise up in a powerful revolution of new democracy to sweep away with People’s War the old society of exploitation and oppression and the old state that maintains and defends it, following the road of encircling the cities from the countryside and seizing power throughout the country to culminate the democratic revolution and pass immediately and uninterruptedly to socialism to continue with proletarian cultural revolutions until we reach golden communism.
Without the leadership of the proletariat through its Communist Party, the struggle of the masses, mainly the peasantry, the proletariat and the other classes that make up the people in the democratic revolution will remain locked in the iron circle of the struggle for demands without developing into a political struggle, that is, struggle for power. These movements will not be able to take the masses beyond the limits of what is permitted by the old order and what is at stake is to lead the masses to the overflow in order to raise the peasantry as the main force of the revolution to follow the road of encircling the cities from the countryside. Taking into account the experience of the People’s War in Peru, which, because of the importance of the cities, applies the development of the People’s War by taking the countryside as principal and the cities as the necessary complement.
Since the masses are an arena of struggle not only between revolution and counter-revolution, but also an arena of reactionary struggle; when the spontaneous mobilization of the masses is not used to organize them scientifically under the leadership of the revolutionary party, all sorts of opportunists and reactionaries ride on their struggles to serve the interests of the old state. They do this in order to favor the reactionary way out of the crisis. This reactionary way out can be: maintaining the present government through “dialogue” with the opportunist, reformist and revisionist representatives who have always been set up to divide and demobilize the masses in exchange for the most anti-popular measure. But, leaving unresolved the issues of rights, liberties, conquests and benefits and demands of the proletariat and the people of Colombia, because these reactionaries will never resolve them. Another reactionary way out of the crisis, among other possibilities, could be to prolong the struggle to demoralize the masses with the service of these same traitors so that the fruits of the popular movement are capitalized by one of the two factions of the big bourgeoisie (comprador and bureaucratic) and groups, into which they are divided, to settle their disputes and restructure the old state by calling for a “new constitution”. “New constitution” to further centralize power in the executive to suppress the revolution, which on its march, giving way to a fascist-corporatist government or a new reactionary bourgeois-democratic government.
In the struggle for the leadership of the broad popular uprising, the communists in Colombia must struggle, politicize and mobilize with determination and applying the just and correct proletarian line to go to the mainly poor peasantry to organize the future work of the party in the countryside, the main area of the People’s War. Uniting the proletariat represented by the Communist Party with the peasantry, thus forging the worker-peasant alliance in deeds and thus making a leap in the task of reconstituting the Party, transferring its weight to the countryside.
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