Colombia: promote the popular assemblies and strengthen the struggle in the streets until the defeat of the Uribist government of Duque

Colombia paro nacional

By Impulso Socialista

Since April 28, the youth in the streets has put Duque´s government against the ropes. It’s response has been to treat the social protest as a war, by militarizing the cities and countryside in association with paramilitary groups. In addition, the youth has overflowed the leadership capacity of the National Strike Committee (CNP), which is increasingly questioned, and at the same time, the strength it demonstrated has been greater than that of 21N of 2019 and 9-11S of 2020. The combination of these elements gives shape to an extremely open and contested class struggle that to the moment has thrown back two reforms (tax reform, project 010), brought down two ministers (Treasury and Foreign Affairs) and a police commander. It is a struggle in which Duque’s pro-Uribe government is wobbling. Today the grassroots scenarios such as assemblies, regional and metropolitan commands, among others, are not developed, so our fundamental task to be able to move forward is: Organization in popular assemblies and by work sector! Defeat the Uribist government of Duque through the organization and popular and class mobilization!

At the same time, there is an accelerated weakening of Uribeism as representation of part of the bourgeoisie, becoming increasingly alone and isolated. Already the Conservative party and the U party are turning their backs on the labor reform and tax reform before going down together with Uribeism. It finds less support and increased criticism at the international level. The poor people are going through an experience that will remain engraved on their skin because our comrades murdered by the State and under the orders of the current government will not be forgotten, their memory is vindicated in the heat of the struggle. A concrete expression of this weakening of Uribeism is its eager attempts to distance itself from the disastrous government of Duque in order to be better positioned for 2022.

If we want a radical transformation it is not enough to overthrow the Uribist government. The working class and the popular sectors have to lead their own destiny in an organized way and this will not be possible as long as the exploiters are in the political power of the State, “Anti-Uribism” alone is not enough.

Repression and state terrorism have been the main response that Duque and the military leadership have had during these 21 days of strike, to stop the impetus of our class and of a people engaged in a struggle that is more than just and necessary. Murders, disappearances, torture, curfews and rape of women and LGBT comrades, bullet hits, beatings, judicial set-ups, persecutions, threats, among others, have been the repertoire perpetrated by the repressive forces, both military and paramilitary. To this day they have killed 51 people, injured 524, perpetrated 21 gender-based violence, have left 1,430 people arrested, 12 raids and judicial set-ups, 753 complaints of abuses of power and 379 disappearances. Today the State shows its terrorist and genocidal face in a clear way that was not well known in the big cities. It militarized the cities and, on May 12, deployed more than 2,400 members of the military and police in Cali. In all this, the military and paramilitary forces have acted in complicity and with impunity, showing that their interests are the same and that they are ready to defend with bullets and blood the interests of the ruling classes in opposition to our demands.

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In this context, which places mainly the youth as the target of State terrorism and as the main enemy of “stability”, the CNP behaves as if “nothing is happening here” by sitting down with this genocidal government. It also plays into the hands of the government to keep it in power and thus reach 2022 for its electoral dispute, materializing as the left leg of the Uribist regime, playing under the rules that give it breathing space. What the CNP is doing today is a class betrayal, by sitting down with the peace commissioner and, in the mouth of Maltes president of the CUT, saying: “we will sit down as soon as the government calls us”. This is a committee that is mainly led by the MOIR and the Green Party, behind the “Coalition of Hope” and the “Historic Pact”, raising a unilaterally constructed list of demands declared as “the popular demands”.

We know that to counteract this dirty, closed, anti-popular and conciliatory policy of the CNP and other electoralist sectors of the center-left, we must organize ourselves from below, through popular and regional assemblies, to carry out all of our demands, those that really represent the interests of the majority. We must demand that the workers’ federations call for a true indefinite strike in the places of production, so that the workers can actively participate in the spaces of mobilization and discussion, so that we can really speak of a general strike in Colombia and not a civic strike. This will be the only way to strike a deadly blow to Duque and his entire genocidal plan.

Finally, from Impulso Socialista we propose the following programmatic points that we consider should be discussed and nourished by the content that the organized people decide in their assemblies:

1. Duque and all his government out! Let’s promote the popular assemblies!

2. For a general strike that puts the working class at the head of this struggle.

3. Removal, trial and punishment for the entire military and police leadership and for those who gave the order to shoot, torture, rape and disappear since March 28. Trial and punishment for mayors, governors, judges and those who have justified the repression, supported militarization and who cover up and leave State terrorism unpunished and those who have executed it.

4. Restructuring of the military forces, reforms alone are not enough: A. Destruction of the counterinsurgent military doctrine that treats social mobilization as an internal war. B. Dismantling of the ESMAD and the impossibility of developing another similar repressive body. C. Destruction of military, police and combined corps that are destined to massacre us in the streets and perpetuate State terrorism as the only response to social mobilization. D. To remove the police from the hands of the Ministry of Defense and the military leadership, transferring it to the Ministry of the Interior and that it respond to being a civilian force, in addition, that neither military nor ex-military can assume leadership positions in the police forces. E. A sharp decrease in the budget destined to war, that these resources be redirected to solve the crisis in favor of our needs, not those of the capitalists. F. End military criminal justice; the military cannot continue to judge themselves for their crimes and offenses. The recently Duque created  ‘Specialized Administrative Unit of the Military and Police Criminal Justice’ directed by the former executive director of the Military Criminal Justice, Fabio Espitia, must be dismantled.

5. Emergency measures to solve the current economic and health crisis in favor of our needs and not those of the capitalists: A. Remove tax exemptions to big capital and replace it with a progressive and permanent tax on great fortunes, turning these resources to address the health crisis. B. Non-payment of the foreign debt and with these resources ensure the basic income for unemployment and informal work and a general increase in wages according to the cost of the basic basket of goods.

6. For public, free and quality education: a. Gradual and progressive reopening of student campuses with biosecurity protocols, vaccination and welfare conditions ensured by the Ministry of Health and Education. b. Solve the budget deficit of public universities.

7. For a public, massive and free health system: a. To triple the health budget and unify the health system so that it is public, free and universal in the hands of the State. b. For the elimination of patents for the public production of vaccines against COVID. Free and universal vaccination. c. To declare the laboratories and installed capacity to produce vaccines as public property. d. And to guarantee free and universal education with an injection to the budgetary base.

For this reason, it is very important that we plan a National Strike Meeting, since this will be the space that will gather all the debates that are being carried out in the neighborhood, regional and popular assemblies throughout the country; a meeting that will allow us to coordinate and promote the continuity of the mobilization, to discuss a program to solve the economic and health crisis. It is time for the 99% of Colombian society to take the reins of mobilization, to organize democratically and decide from our needs the country we deserve.