Left on the Move Left on the Move Left on the Move

The elections held on January 26 were atypical, as they elected a new Congress of short duration to replace the one that President Vizcarra closed on September 30, yielding to the 80% of Peruvians who demanded such a measure because the institution had been taken over by parties that had shown themselves to be strongly committed to the mega corruption that Lava Jato exposed.

One hundred percent of the minutes have yet to be drawn up, but it already seems difficult for Together for Peru (JP) to reach five percent of the vote, according to the first results of the ballot box polls. This is the minimum barrier necessary to elect a bench in Congress. Luck seems to have been cast, unless the acts that were challenged by right-wing authorities in their eagerness to close the ticket to the JP are legitimized. At 99% of the official ballot, JP stands at 4.76% and, if it doesn’t overcome the barrier, the electoral alliance in which New Peru – led by Verónika Mendoza – is invited would not get congressmen in the new legislature. This represents a serious setback that must be carefully evaluated in order to recover lost lands and be a government alternative as in 2016.

In those elections, the corruption parties were heavily defeated. The People’s Force of Fujimorism would go from 73 congressmen to 12; its partner, APRA, the historic party of Haya de la Torre, does not reach any representation; and with you, the party in which dissidents of the current government took refuge to flirt with the opposition, was also relegated to the last positions. With 10% of the votes, the Popular Action of former President Fernando Belaunde and the current mayor of the capital, which enjoys good acceptance in the polls, leads. It is followed by parties equally defending the economic model, the surprise being the performance of FREAPAP with a strong evangelical religious identity that reaches second place and the Union for Peru of radical but authoritarian preaching, which has filled the void left by the absence of Verónika Mendoza in the race. The Broad Front (FA), a group from which New Peru broke up, obtains 6% and reaches 12 seats, being the best placed on the left, reaping the identity of the symbol associated to Verónika, but also for its good performance in the dissolved congress. The FA’s problem is that it is linked to the candidacy of its leader Marco Arana, who does not accept a primary among leftist organizations to define the next presidential candidacy.

As no party wins with a significant majority, the crisis of the regime will continue even if President Vizcarra is strengthened and, although he did not have his own electoral list, almost all those elected assured him of their cooperation. This will open up a new scenario of dispute as the government, now with the support of the new majority in Congress, will continue its efforts to impose new privatizations, carry out the extractive megaprojects and apply other labor adjustments, all of which will be answered by popular organizations, creating a new cycle of the regime’s crisis that is being experienced in Peru. This is another challenge for the forces of change, because achieving and tuning these struggles is the most strategic task to which electoral tactics must be subordinated.

Although different analysts minimize or ignore the role of social mobilization, the truth is that it was decisive in opening a process of democratic, albeit partial and limited, conquests, which included closing Congress, as has already been said. This could not be capitalized on by the left at that time, but the process is still open with a strong left polarization of almost a third of the electorate, which would guarantee a second round in the next general elections, if the current conditions of dispersion are reversed. But we are at a crossroads because, if we do not reverse the mistakes, the division and the prominence of New Peru, others will benefit from this exceptional situation of crisis of the traditional right.

It should be noted that, although from New Peru we have developed a successful policy throughout the crisis of the regime that shook Peru at least since 2016, focusing on the democratic struggle and against the model, insisting on a substantive exit through a new constitution, the truth is that it has not been possible to conduct the process of union among the left that began with the “Voices of Change” project in Huancayo and then in Cusco with great acts of thousands of participants, including parties, unions and popular organizations. The right wing accused the coup and started a systematic attack trying to dismantle that new regrouping that could become a serious alternative. New Peru, which had a decisive political weight, did not know how to direct this process and expanded opportunistic definitions, shaken by pressure from certain sectors that saw a better turn to the center. Finally, it was decided to affirm a proposal from the left, seeking to capitalize on social polarization. But as New Peru lacks electoral registration since the break with the FA, it had to prepare itself to go as an invited force to an alliance with Peru Libre of the former governor of Junín Vladimiro Cerrón and the JP benefited by the electoral registration of the Humanist Party of Jehude Simon, former prime minister of the last APRA government during a harsh repression of indigenous peoples called El Baguazo.

This unitary project deserved a ruthless attack from the right wing accusing the NP of agreeing with the corrupt Simón and Cerrón, particularly the latter, despite the fact that both left the scene while the trials lasted. But the hostile preaching of the media echoed in a sector of congressmen and militants from the NP who chose to leave the organization. It was the cost that NP had to pay for its determination to participate, even without its own registration, in these elections to close the way for the corrupt and pave the way for people’s government in 2021. The loss of valuable members should call us to reflection, to make the maximum effort to clarify the differences and avoid more strategic objectives being disturbed by tactical issues. Finally, already on the verge of registration, the threefold alliance was not consumed by PL administrative problems that they chose to continue on their own. This is how the NP ends up entering as a guest in the ranks of the JP, which brings together several parties of the so-called old left. So, in shaping the list, under the wrong assumption that 2020 does not have much effect in 2021, we are left without Verónika’s participation in the list of candidates.

Now all that remains is to insist on the registration of the MNP seeking to confirm 24,000 members and maintain its identity as a new democratic, broad and confluent left, against any compromise that weakens its programmatic proposal to break with the current political regime and the neoliberal model. We will be in better conditions to lead, from the left, a social and political bloc that intends to be a government to provide the country with a new constitution and a new state, truly sovereign, democratic and popular in rupture with an economic model that for 30 years only benefits the imperialist transnationals and the big national businesses that seek to use their economic power to place and withdraw political authorities, always based on their interests. What is at stake at the end of the day is the continuity of a model that, as an expression of crisis capitalism, subjects even less developed countries, appropriating their natural resources, making workers and peoples its main victims. This must end and it has become evident in the light of the recent elections that have ended, it is necessary to mount a powerful social and political alternative linked to popular struggles and this, to a large extent, depends on what we do in New Peru.

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Writing office

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