Peru: The ongoing crisis and instability assert the need for new constitution

By Sofía Martínez – Alternativa Socialista Peru

Peru continues to suffer from an organic crisis of the State with a decomposition of its institutions aggravated by the rupture of the balance of powers. On the one hand, we have a coup Congress that does not miss an opportunity to continue cornering the Executive, and on the other hand, the government of Pedro Castillo that is surviving by the skin of its teeth. The president of the Congress, Maria del Carmen Alva, has not grown tired of delegitimizing the government with her restless requests for vacancy, Pedro Castillo has ended up shooting himself in the foot with decisions that have ranged from listening to his changing cabinet from the shadows to the acts of corruption in which he is involved.

In a few weeks a new Board of Directors of the Congress will be elected and the expectation is that this change will at least bring a more democratic and less intransigent legislative context. As for the president, the hopes that he will honor his word as a teacher and resume his campaign commitments have been diluted by this survival management.

In the midst of this crisis, the transportation union announced an indefinite strike starting on Monday, July 27, which is expected to have an impact on the distribution and supply of food at national level; likewise, an agrarian strike was announced for June 27 and 28, for which a mobilization has been called in Lima and the provinces with the participation of various farmers’ unions and social organizations. In addition to this, a march of one of the teachers’ unions (SUTEP) has been called for June 28. Demands for the closure of Congress and for a new constituent assembly are once again on the streets, reminding that popular demands remain unattended.

Where is the Peruvian left?

It seems that the various organizations that make up the Peruvian left have not yet found the path that will lead them back to the objectives and standards they once raised. Since the 1990s it has been very difficult for the left-wing parties to get back on track and all attempts, including the last one led by Verónika Mendoza, have gone down to defeat after the electoral defeat. The Peruvian left stopped recognizing itself ideologically as communist or socialist, and even Marxist, and ended up being diluted in the broad spectrum of the “progressive” definition. Hit by the stigmatization of its beliefs, symbols and practices, it regressed enormously. The ideologically socialist left survives in marginality; while the reformist left survives dispersed in multiple groups, collectives and organizations. The last hope of Peruvian reformism was Nuevo Perú, which after the blow of the electoral defeat tried to achieve its registration before the National Jury of Elections, a goal it could not achieve and which frustrated its plans for consolidation. Now a debate is opening up for the entire left: to return to connect with the popular sectors or to cease to exist.

But, why is it so hard to reconnect with the people? The political practices of the old Peruvian bureaucracy are still more alive and entrenched than ever, this has not allowed them to be in tune with the needs of the people and worse still, to see the struggles and popular resistance always from the outside. In recent years the mobilization of the masses has had unimaginable peaks and achievements despite walking without clear direction and having arisen from spontaneity; however, new leaderships and opportunities for political development were not a priority and valuable opportunities were left aside. The bureaucracy sees the problems from the outside and sometimes even from above, and on more than one occasion has shown total disregard for the work of the grassroots with contempt or sectarianism.

Another of the problems of the Peruvian left is that since the 1990s party building has been thought only from the electoral point of view and not from the perspective of fighting the capitalist system. There are no construction plans beyond the objective at the ballot box, so that every five years after defeats, leftist organizations tend to rethink solutions by insisting on new electoral registration processes.

A main element is that this process of construction crisis goes hand in hand with a strong identity crisis, and precisely because of confusion, fear and even shame, the socialist identity was forgotten.

New Constitution: a road ahead

The Fujimori dictatorship that imposed the 1993 constitution on us has survived victoriously for more than three decades, positioning itself as one of the most important political forces. The degeneration of state institutions, entrenched corruption and impunity are the norm. They have a tight grip on the Congress, they put and remove judges in the Judiciary (the Constitutional Court is just a sample) and as already defined: they are not a political party but a criminal organization, a mafia built to commit crimes, capable of murder because they enjoy impunity for absolutely everything. The extreme right groups are just another extension of corruption and are very dangerous because now, after the emergence of Peruvian fascism, they went from insults to physical aggressions. Fascism is at the service of the coup plotters, the so-called DBA (brute and fat right wing) is now trying to change 50 articles of the constitution, and it is clear that in Congress they do not legislate in favor of the people but they are there to do business.

The media plays an important role in favor of fascism and the coup plotters; Peruvian journalism is neither objective nor impartial. The information is disseminated with too many controls and make-ups as if we were living in a dictatorship: omissions, smokescreens, false news, etc.

However, the needs of the people remain in force, such as the objective of a new constituent assembly and processes such as the Chilean one show us that this will not be done only by collecting signatures. It is necessary to continue influencing the popular mobilization and in that way to continue debating in the broadest and most democratic way possible.

The advance of consciousness will not happen if we do not intervene in the struggles, for them it is necessary to begin to build a Peruvian socialist alternative that is really determined to confront the system and defeat it. The horror of capitalist destruction has been demonstrated, what happened in the pandemic and now with the threat of a new world war reiterate the urgency of organizing ourselves to fight.