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Left On The Move Newsletter – “Special Edition: Latin America”

Insurrections, strikes and uprisings in Latin America – A new situation

This “Special Newsletter: Latin America” features militant reports and draws conclusions about the countries that have changed the situation on the continent. The eagerness of this Newsletter is to draw conclusions so that we can face the new situation and intervene in it.

We need to start by saying that the events in our continent are part of a world situation that is changing. The world is moving and tensioned with contradictions. That is why we cannot leave aside what is happening in Europe, both in France and in England. Once again, France (toujours la France…) shows that its strong working class has not only the instinct to defend its historical achievements but also class consciousness to face Macron’s heavy pension reform. A few days ago, to prove their strength, energy service workers began to make selective power cuts.

Crossing the English Channel, the Laborism that had been recreated under Corbyn’s leadership suffered a serious electoral defeat. The weight of the broadcast media in the hands of the ruling class cannot be denied. As happened in 89 in Brazil (Lula vs. Collor election), the establishment knows how to play its cards before the danger of a political turn against the big capitalists. Although not only the difficulties of winning the bourgeois elections explain the defeat. The new left wing of the party that could not overcome with its policy the contradiction posed by Brexit sustained by the right and aged sectors of workers with fear of continuing to lose the points of work. It could not defend its progressive economic plan in defense of the need to postulate a New European Union that is egalitarian, as in the other hand the French workers are defending, rejecting Brexit’s ultra-right project. This is the milestone of a new world situation where surely the path to new directions is also opened.

 

The change in the correlation of forces on our continent

Here neoliberalism and authoritarianism have been hit hard. If we look back to 2018, we had an uprising strongly repressed by the Ortega family in Nicaragua, the uprisings in Haiti, Puerto Rico, the strikes in Central America, in Colombia that erupted with the great student mobilizations that led to the biggest general strike of recent times. The defeat of the keikofujimorista plan in Peru, the indigenous insurrection in Ecuador, the Chilean insurrection and the coup in Bolivia which was fiercely resisted by the indigenous and the people.

The Chilean insurrection is the most important fact. It is called by its protagonists as the antineoliberal revolution, and it is true, in the country that advanced the most with Pinochet and his followers in this phase of capitalism, it has made a deadly wound to this model and to the continuity of Piñera, a president who is already a political corpse and who has 4% approval in the polls.

All the events and conclusions are in the texts of Bruno and Bernardo. Here we want to highlight some of the lessons of the current process and how to face the next steps.

In Chile, the renewed left that emerged from the student mobilizations (2006-11) organized in the Frente Amplio showed that it was not capable of meeting the demands of the situation. Democratic Revolution and Social Convergence believed in a parliamentary agreement as a positive solution to the popular uprising and were part of the pact. And the results were neither good nor well seen by the mass movement. They ended up being a way out to save Piñera from his imminent fall. They succumbed to bourgeois institutionality.

In spite of this, the movement continues and the vanguard is in a position to organize itself around a new axis for plebiscite where the sectors that have not succumbed (or are self-critical for having done so) can present a common proposal with weight in the masses of the Constituent Assembly with power that will liquidate the old regime inherited from pinochetism and break away from neoliberalism.

Ecuador. If we compare the parliamentary attitude of sectors of the Chilean left with Ecuador, the difference is that in the face of the repression and the bloodshed caused by Lenin Moreno’s army, CONAIE did not resign itself, it maintained the mobilization and to reach an agreement it made a public negotiation broadcast on TV for the whole nation. Later, it raised a program of structural reforms for the country that is a good example for all Latin Americans.

Indigenous Bolivia resists. In this country, unlike Venezuela and Chile, the indigenous masses have conquered the plurinational state. With Evo, there was a good administration with an indigenous majority where the state distributed the income from mining and gas with economic concessions to workers and peasants. The reactionary and fascist bourgeoisie of the South, where the Brazilian soybean farmers were established, in contact with the proto-fascist Bolsonarism, took advantage of Evo’s weaknesses to strike and advance in a violent and bloody counter-revolution. The fascist Camacho even entered the government house with the cross and the bible; the reactionary targets burned the whipala. From then on, another chapter of resistance from the workers of the highlands and the indigenous people -as they did historically in their various revolutions- marched on La Paz. The indigenous people were contained by the massacre but they were unable to break the resistance. Hence the agreement with the MAS (majority in Parliament) for new elections. There was a counter-revolution that could not triumph in all its aspects and impose a historical counter-revolutionary defeat on the mass movement.

What now? Progressives (the old and the new) have shown their weakness to lead the masses in the crucial moments of this new Latin American history. The right learned from the insurrections of the early 2000s and struck hard. We have not yet had any decisive triumphs. But a lot was learned, by the masses and the vanguard. As we have explained in several articles, the generically named “progressivisms” have conciliated. An important lesson for those in the PSOL and other organizations who believe that the authoritarian course is inescapable and that the only way to stop it is to transform the tactics of the single front into a strategy. In the case of Brazil, with the PT. They always justify pacts or defeats by laying the blame on the masses who, according to them, had no strength. The reality is very different from that.

Those who strengthened themselves with the masses were those who believed in mobilizing over parliamentary and institutional tactics. The Latin American masses are driving fundamental banners against neoliberal regimes, like the “Sovereign and Powerful Constituent Assembly” that became crucial in that period and that unites the democratic struggle with the struggle against neoliberal capitalism.

The challenges are big, we are fragile but we have to face them. Since the Cuban revolution, attempts have been made to regroup Latin American anti-imperialist fighters; Fidel and Che have built OLAS and the Tricontinental. An alliance or grouping has always been pursued to fight against imperialism. ALBA and the Bolivarian movements were the closest attempt sabotaged by PTism since the Sao Paulo Forum.

Now we do not have a country that is a leader but we have a powerful new radical vanguard, whose cornerstones are women and youth. And reality indicates that it is necessary to try to group ourselves. It will be difficult to draw up a national programme or organisation if there is no political collaboration and solidarity between these new processes. That is the way to learn from the lessons of Chile, Bolivia and even the Argentine electoral process that should facilitate the dialogue of the left with the mass movement.

To face these situations, it is not enough to proclaim positions or make a self-proclamation of the reactionary principles and to try to impose (something impossible) a finished program. We must establish new bridges with two-way streets.

One of them is so that radicalized young people, women and all the combative sectors can move into Marxist positions (nurtured in history). This must be built in a way that this vanguard sees the need to transit through it. And the other way is for the path that we have to take to learn from these processes. We also have to build this two-way bridge to the US where layers of young socialists emerge as a breath of fresh air supporting Sanders again. We have, for the first time after a long time, a new process in the imperialist country.

Helping these tasks is what we want from the MES, the Left on the Move and all organizations that have the Fourth International as a reference.

 

Pedro Fuentes/Left on the Move Writing Office

 


Popular rebellion in Chile

Lessons from Chilean uprising | by Bruno Magalhães

The antineoliberal uprising that took to the Chilean streets recently moved and renewed hopes of struggle in several countries. In a scenario of extreme-right governments such as Trump and Bolsonaro, the social storm was an insurrection that exploded where it was least expected, precisely in the country called the “neoliberal laboratory”, and already leaves very important lessons for socialist militants around the world. In a moment of confusion and fear in various left-wing political circles, the current process in Chile gives us a series of important clues and warnings.

Coup d’état in Bolivia

A Coup by civilians, the police and the army | by Hugo Scotte

An alliance of the entire center-right, the right and the ultra-right, could even dislodge Morales and his party from power after 13 years and 9 months of government. It seems that the U.S. embassy was considering the possibility that Evo would get more than 10%, so he would win the first round and be elected for a fourth term. And it started operating.

Bolsonaro Government

First year of the Bolsonaro government: authoritarianism and ultraliberalism in the midst of global polarization | by Thiago Aguiar and Israel Dutra 

In order to make this economic war program viable to guarantee capitalist accumulation, the Bolsonaro government presents itself as a true preventive counter-revolution, extending authoritarianism as a means to make the shock against the people viable. Not by chance, throughout the year, members of the presidential clan and ministers like Paulo Guedes and Augusto Heleno openly flirted with the idea of a “new AI-5,” that is, the threat of installing a dictatorship if popular mobilization grows.

General Strike in France

Macron faced with strikes and mass mobilizations | by Léon Crémieux

All-out strikes have continued in the SNCF and RATP since 5 December, blocking rail transport in the country and urban transport in the Paris region with a commitment to continue until the plan that would dismantle the pension system is dropped.

No Christmas truce! No presents for Macron’s government! | by NPA

After French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe’s announcement on Wednesday, 11 December – which only confirmed what we already knew about the attack on pensions, and despite the continuation of strikes and the success of the mobilization day on 17 December – the government is putting on the pressure to put a stop to the strike movement by the end of the week.

UK Elections

Big Capital will use every tool at its disposal to crush socialists like Corbyn | by Slavoj Zizek

The Labour Party’s election failure in the UK proves that, for the progressive left to succeed, it will have to become considerably more revolutionary. The ‘softly, softly’ approach isn’t working.

Catalonia

Catalan Chronicles – 20D: European Justice imposes defeat on Spanish State. What now? | by Alfons Bech

The defeat of the Francoist state that survives within the monarchy of Philip VI is closer. However, it will still offer resistance. And before the eyes of more citizens of Catalonia, of the Spanish state and of Europe and the world, the image of a regime whose skeleton is based on the very bones of the dictatorship, appears ever clearer. Spain is not a democracy that can even be compared to the worn-out European democracies.

Lebanon

“The People Want the Fall of the Regime” | by Joseph Daher

The social composition of the movement also distinguishes it from past protests: it is much more rooted in the popular and working classes than the middle-class-heavy demonstrations of 2011 and 2015. As the scholar and activist Rima Majed writes, “The mobilizations of the past few days have shown the emergence of a new class-based alliance between the unemployed, underemployed, working classes, and middle classes against the ruling oligarchy. This is a breakthrough.”

Hong Kong

Defending Hong Kong’s Autonomy: A Partial Victory | by Au Loong-Yu

The opposition camp’s landslide victory in Hong Kong’s local district elections, on 24 November, can be considered to be a referendum on both the Hong Kong government and Beijing. The people’s voice is a clear and loud “No” against the establishment’s hard-line policies.

A new page to support and build new alternatives in Latin America and the world, defending the power of the workers and people against the 1% of the rich and privileged, and a society without exploitation.

Writing office

  • Pedro Fuentes
  • Bernardo Corrêa
  • Charles Rosa
  • Clara Baeder