Colombia: on November 21, we take to the streets/ Against the Duque government, the World Bank and the IMF!

The capitalist-patriarchal system is in deep economic, political and social crisis. The promises of “prosperity and progress” made by imperialism after the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989) vanished with the application of the neoliberal recipe, which became the executioner of the usual victims: workers and the people of peripheral countries. Today, after 30 years, 99% of the population has taken on more than four financial crises – without taking into account the one projected by the IMF for 2020 [1], while the 1% appropriates and enjoys the fruit of everyone else´s work [2].

This reality, translated into large levels of inequality, privatized rights, precarious jobs and environmental crisis, has revealed the double character of the governments of each country: on one hand, a complacent position, submissive to the interests of multilateral organizations led by the United States like the IMF, WB, WTO, OECD and IDB, among others; and on the other, an apathetic and deeply repressive response to workers´ demands. This double character demonstrates the agony of the capitalist system.

Due to the enrichment of a few at the expense of the welfare of the majority, the systematic loss of rights and the destruction of nature, social outrage is increasing, especially in the youth and the feminist movement. Seeing how their governments violate their rights in favor of national and transnational elites, they have filled the streets with dignity in search of real solutions to the precarious conditions of the majority, like in Puerto Rico, in Nicaragua against Ortega-Murillo, in Ecuador against the Moreno´s austerity package, in Argentina against Macri, the people of Bolivia against the White House backed coup, the yellow vests in France against Macron, the independentists in Catalonia, the Kurdish process against the Turkish invasion, and of course, the strong Chilean rebellion that has the Piñera government against the ropes with the demand for a constituent assembly. The latter has had an important influence on the class struggle in Latin American countries.

In this scenario, why a national strike on November 21 in our country?

According to the International Monetary Fund, there will be higher economic growth than in other Latin American countries [3]. However, Colombians´ living conditions are increasingly precarious and unfeasible because approximately 1% of the country´s population concentrates 50% of monetary wealth and 81% of productive land, while 27% is lives in monetary poverty (this is taking into account that a salary greater or equal to US$ 74 is not considered poverty according to the DANE) and 19% lives in extreme poverty. A situation that will be aggravated by the labor reform that aims to reduce the minimum wage and pay young people only 75% of the salary.

In addition to the above, the country’s public debt reached 54% of GDP, US$ 167.3 Billion [4], the highest in recent years, providing a new tax hike that will affect the purchasing capacity of the middle and lower classes. In order to acquire loans with the IMF, the previous governments, the two Uribe administration (2002-2010), the two Santos administrations (2010-2018), and the current Duque government, all without exception have applied policies of economic austerity and restrictions of rights to comply with the payment of the debt. The current pension reform that will increase the retirement age and eliminate the public fund (Colpensiones) is posed in this framework.

On the other hand, the systematic assassination of social leaders, which has added up to 627 [5] since the signing of the agreements with the FARC-EP; the rate of femicides that has reached 159 [6] during the year; the return of Uribe’s policy of “false positives”, which claimed the lives of over 10,000 young people and is currently related to the death of over 18 children in Caquetá; the corruption that has cost the country more than 40 billion [7]; the abandonment of rural people, are part of a list which seems to have no end. This political crisis highlights the deterioration of liberal democracy, in which the exercise of democracy has been limited to choosing who will be the next exploiter and repressor every four years.

These internal problems are the basis of the November 21 strike called by the workers’ federations, fed by the student and indigenous strike at the beginning of Duque´s paramilitary government, whose disapproval rating already amounts to 69% [8].

The Colombian people will take to the streets to demand real solutions to problems that afflict all of us, not only to the country´s oppressed people, expressing solidarity with the struggles of other countries, showing that despite cultural, political and territorial differences, the enemy is same one: the capitalist system, represented by neoliberal governments and multilateral organizations like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

The government, along with its party, has tried by all possible means to appease the strength and legitimacy of the November 21 strike, through fear campaigns, the denial of social problems, the stigmatization of the protest, the approval of militarization in the cities, giving the governorates and mayors repressive powers, the indirect creation of groups with paramilitary and fascist tendencies such as the “Riot Civil Resistance” created in Medellín. This is nothing more than the reflection of how much those above have lost. This is the size of the strength of the workers and the oppressed when they fight!

Today we have a great challenge, though the struggles throughout the continent have allowed us to show that the rights usurped during decades can only be taken in the streets, it will depend on our revolutionary capacity to transform our strength into victories, moving beyond the proposal of the workers’ federations. Our limit cannot be reduced to the rejection of the “Duke’s austerity package”, on the contrary, it must expand and focus strength until Duke, the IMF and the World Bank leave.

As an anti-capitalist political organization affiliated to the International Socialist League, we call on Colombia´s oppressed to massively take to the streets on November 21, 2019.


Medellin, Antioquia

Impulso Colectivo – International Socialist League.

[1] In its annual report “Our world is connected”, the IMF states that there will be an economic recession that will affect 70% of the world economy at the end of 2020, due to high public and private debt currently estimated at 226% of world GDP, the Trump administration’s protectionist trade policies and trade war with China.

[2] Deborah Hardoon (Deputy Head of Research, Oxfam GB). “An economy at the service of the 1%.” OXFAM International. January 18, 2016. Cited from:

[3] The agency presented its report, “Economic Outlook. The Americas, frustrated by uncertainty”, on October 28 of this year. It estimates that the Colombian economy will grow at a rate of 3.4% in 2019 and will accelerate a little more in 2020, with a dynamic of 3.6% amid slow global growth and moderate prices of raw materials.

[4] Data from the Bank of the Republic.

[5] Data from the Institute of Studies for Development and Peace INDEPAZ and the organizations of the Ethnic and Popular Peasant Agrarian Summit and Patriotic March.

[6] Data from the Feminicidios Colombia Foundation.

[7] These resources, if made effective, would solve the financial crisis of public education at all levels.

[8] Redacción Política. “Disapproval of President Iván Duque Márquez climbs to 69%: Gallup Poll.” El Espectador. November 7, 2019. Cited from: president-ivan-duque-marquez-escala-al-69-gallup-poll-articulo-890074