Communist Party of Colombia (M-L)

We are for Peace! We welcome the government-insurgency dialogues!

In August of this year, the national government announced what had been discussed in political circles in Colombia, the talks held with the general commander of the FARC, Alfonso Cano, to agree to an agenda that defines the course of the peace talks between the FARC-EP and the government.

One must remember that Cano's death took place in the middle of these events, as President Juan Manuel Santos recognized. Once he was informed of the location of the commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, he proceeded to order his liquidation, without considering the consequences that this action could provoke against a contender whom he had invited to talk. This shows the class hatred that the bourgeoisie has towards the leaders of the people. The bourgeois media paid little attention to this fact and to the unfairness and immorality of the president and they overlooked it.

Thus, the fascistic government of Juan Manuel Santos acts as if he offers talks, while the guerrilla movement accepts this in the midst of the most ferocious and indiscriminate shelling to which the Colombian countryside has been subjected. The government talks without renouncing its objective of forcing the insurgency to surrender and hand over their weapons in exchange for some personal and group privileges offered by the bourgeoisie that are contrary to the people's needs, and subjects its conquered fighters to the dictates of its judges and magistrates. But the government, which continues Uribe's “democratic security” policy, has clashed with the moral and revolutionary strength of all the insurgent forces that, despite the onslaught of the regime, it has been unable to defeat or pierce the popular support that the insurgency enjoys today. As popular fighters of the Colombian people they take actions that are added to all the actions of the working class, the peasantry and other sectors in their confrontation with the regime through political and social mobilization.

In the offer of a dialogue the government has taken no practical steps to include the EPL and ELN, placing important limits on its scope, given the failed experience of partial accords with one or another guerrilla organization.

The Santos’ Maneuver

Santos’ offer of talks is a shrewd maneuver that has several components:

• Santos intends to avoid the danger of a popular uprising as a great political consequence of the economic crisis that is taking place.

• He is carrying out belt-tightening measures  - as Uribe did – before the crisis completely unfolds.

• There is a progressive exhaustion in the terms and scope of the populist and social-democratic demagoguery, with phony reparations to the victims, return of lands, aid to the victims of winter, free housing, youth employment, expansion of the beneficiaries of the social action program, to politically attract the poorest people, anti-corruption measures and shirking areas such as health care, unemployment and pensions.

• Santos’ anti-democracy is still dominated by centralized political measures that show his fascistic authoritarianism and in keeping with the concentration and centralization of capital through administrative and tax reforms. Further, the government has already announced that the police will make "moderate" use of weapons of "reduced lethality" in response to social protests, which are now further penalized.

• Santos plans to creatively apply the tactic of preventive counterrevolution, using "dual tactics," launching the "carrot" of dialogue and peace with the use of social-democracy to try to co-opt the masses and break up the armed insurgency, and at the same time to justify the "stick" or counterrevolutionary war. In this way he uses the duet of the "Garzones," right-wing clowns of a social-democratic type that are already quite worn out.

• They are resetting the lines of his "accord on national unity" by linking the cabinet with liberals, social-democrats and reactionary technocrats who – like the Minister of the Interior – "will not raise suspicion."

Popular response to the maneuver

The revolutionaries, the left and the democratic forces linked to the people and their struggles are not sitting by idly, they have not hesitated to respond to these maneuvers:

• They are strengthening the movement of opposition to the government and the regime, putting priority on the discussion over the struggle for peace, supporting a concept of peace necessary for the people (tactically and strategically), a discussion on the peace that will help the political, popular and mass movement to take the initiative to put the government and the regime in a defensive situation. (See Revolution # 499, pages 2 and 3)

• They are decisively and forcefully supporting the political activity of the insurgent movement and, in particular, putting the EPL into play in the political arena, both with its positions against the regime, the government and the system, as well as towards popular and insurgent unity, nationally and internationally. This involves preparing for the dialogue with the Santos government and proposing a guerrilla summit.

• They are taking advantage of the political situation and creating new scenarios to highlight the importance of creating unity of action that will allow for spreading the popular slogans and strengthening the need for revolutionary violence as the road to power. (See center pages of Revolution # 498)

A correct tactic develops the strategy

It would be bad for the communists to limit ourselves to tactical and momentary visions, to separate the tactical response from the strategic goals. For the Colombian Marxist-Leninists:

• The strategy allows and requires us to accumulate mass forces and strengthen the united and very broad front work, nationally and internationally, in the areas of the Broad Political Movement, MPA, of the masses and the insurgency, besides being able to gain a better international position. This maneuver of seeking to participate in the dialogue between the government and the guerrillas and stress in the theme of peace is essential today to advance the political positioning of the party and its instruments, and to attract the masses to our politics.

• We will not get lost in the intricacies of the bourgeois and social-democratic games around the dialogue between the government and the guerrillas. It is a question of defending basic matters – for the people and for our own strength – and of demanding answers from the government before the whole people.

We are not fleeing from the debate and we demand that...

The preparation for these dialogues is taking place amid very aggressive militarist conditions that are leading to the degradation of the war by the damage inflicted on the grassroots population and the mistreatment of the combatants detained by the State, who demand a "humanitarian accord" and the suspension of the application of extradition treaties for the guerrilla fighters.

This situation makes it indispensible to demand a multilateral cease fire that involves the cessation of offensive military actions by the government army, on the one hand, as well as of all the guerrilla organizations on the other, which cannot be achieved otherwise than by negotiating with all of them.

We are for the immediate cessation of indiscriminate bombardment that strike civilians and their property in agricultural areas converted into real battlefields, into war zones. That an end be put to the "scorched earth" actions and the criminal activities of the paramilitaries that are now called "bacrin [criminal gangs]," of the repressive forces of the State that continue the demagoguery of Uribe who claims to have dismantled them.

The comrades of the FARC are completely right to initiate talks with Santos, demanding a cease fire.

Peace demands social justice

It is important to define what kind of peace we are looking for, making clear that the democratic peace that we desire is not possible under the power of the pro-imperialist bourgeoisie, that it demands the people's victory over the exploiting and oppressive classes.

We are for peace with social justice, which has social, economic and political aspects, because without political freedom of organization, of strike, the right to the opposition and to achieve alternative governments one cannot maintain the popular struggle for the extension of these gains.

We can say that for centuries the demands for democratic agrarian and urban reform, for land to those who work it and housing for the homeless majorities, for free health care and education as well as the demand for jobs and social security with the right to a pension among others, all those demands must have clear principles for their solution.

Santos rules for selective prosperity

A handful of national and foreign magnates are the beneficiaries of Santos’ policies of "democratic progress".

The national government is continuing its aggressive policy of handing over our natural resources to the transnational corporations, basing its economic policy on growth in the energy mining sector, handing over concessions, even in areas where the insurgency operates such as in Catatumbo, where it is carrying out its military advance called "Sword of Honor." It is putting forward free trade agreements, which have already been signed with the United States, the European Union and Canada, and are ready to be signed with China and South Korea. If that were not enough, contrary to peace, the government is proposing to the Congress of the Republic a draft constitutional reform (the Military Criminal Court), as a shelter to provide impunity for outrages in violation of International Human Rights committed by members of the security forces. Such violations include false positives, forced disappearances, massive displacement, permanent and indiscriminate use of force affecting the non-combatant population and the persecution of opponents of the regime and the government through legal measures that put them behind bars under subhuman conditions on charges of "combining forms of struggle." All this is to prevent the ordinary course of justice, which according to the government leads to "demoralization of the military."

The regressive tax reform that lowers the tax on profits, hands over more advantages to the transnationals, and leads to greater inequality. This confirms the refusal by the ruling classes to make changes in the political system, which make it impossible to open the doors to a frank dialogue for peace.

Santos is committed to creating fiscal and financial conditions of the State that make the country attractive to international speculative finance capital, which is to give them a free ride. This is the purpose of the legislation inherited from the previous government of Uribe Velez, such as the Fiscal Rule Act, which plans the cuts in social spending year after year, to achieve a surplus in 2019, the constitutional reform of bonuses and the Fiscal Sustainability Law, which limits and puts a ceiling on the resources of the national budget for social investment.

The demagogic government of Santos talks of peace while in October it introduced in the National Congress for its approval the National Budget of 185.5 billion pesos, about $110,000 million dollars, of which 19% is destined for war, reaffirming the progressive increase in public spending for security and keeping more than a half million men under arms. This has led to a war economy that, consequently, is opposed to the welfare of the people and the development of the country. Also, 44% of the budget goes to payment of the foreign debt, which places the country more and more in the hands of the international financial sector, which in the end provides an economic policy of starvation for the people, while the budget for higher education is less than 1% of the budget.

Thus the national government, while it carries on talks with the insurgency, also applies measures that undermine democratic rights, penalizing the right to strike, to mobilizations, to street protests for political, economic and social demands, etc. It responds with prison and the most brutal repression against the workers, especially the oil workers who are demanding better wages and work for the population near the oil operation. Regarding the peace talks, knowing the reactionary appearance of the Colombian oligarchy, we warned in an editorial of issue No. 499 (1) of Revolution: "Under these terms it is necessary to warn the people – and the world – and all the fighters about the possible scope of the maneuver and the objectives to which this government is committed."

To define the type of peace that we want, we need to look precisely at the Colombian socio-economic characteristics. We live in a backward capitalist country, with a minimal development of means of production, a great dependence on U.S. imperialism with the predominance of the financial, mining and energy sector, with military bases, a military presence in search of world hegemony, predominance in the domestic market, a situation that makes Colombia a victim of structural deformations: a progressive deindustrialization; backwardness in the countryside through the penetration of capitalism mainly based on finance capital, drug trafficking and in government policies. Consolidating the agribusiness sectors and large landlord estates, while the paramilitaries displace the poor and middle peasantry, throwing them off their land and thus swelling the ranks of the agricultural proletariat or the unemployed of the countryside and the cities. Under these conditions, what kind of peace do we want? What is the solution to the conflict? "We are for a genuine political solution to the political, economic, social and armed conflict in the country, an issue that we closely link to the struggle of the proletariat and people for deep structural changes to eliminate the conditions of super-exploitation, looting, inequality and exclusion," Editorial, Revolution, #499.

We speak of peace with social justice, that the end of the conflict means implementing a policy of genuine democracy, with the understanding that the people are the great majority; for the recovery of the structural factors, of an economy that meets the needs of the people, and that links the proletariat to economic decisions; a peace that dissolves the factors that the ruling class has imposed to prevent access to power, and to eliminate all forms of promotion of violence; the elimination of the influence of U.S. imperialism, or any other form of imperialist domination, directly or indirectly, in our country.

The reforms of neoliberalism that are imposed by the various populist governments, or any government that does not address the structural causes of the system, will not save the economy of the countries from the global crisis. On the contrary, the problems are exacerbated and continue to give rise to popular discontent. It widens the gap between rich and poor.

Advance in the struggle for peace

We Communists are for peace and welcome the dialogue between the FARC-EP and the government in which the parties agree to discuss a six-point agenda for the purpose of putting an end to the armed conflict in Colombia.

But, we express our concern over the limitations that can be seen: it is not a dialogue with the whole insurgency, we believe that such negotiations should take place in the middle of a national debate, in front of the whole country, in which the proletariat and the popular forces would participate actively and would be a vital part of the solutions to the causes that have led to this conflict; and that all spaces and scenarios be opened for participation, not only by the FARC, but also by the guerrilla organizations of the ELN and the ELP, to present their political proposals.

Today it is clear that in Colombia efforts are being made by a diversity of social and political organizations in search of unity to meet the onslaught of the fascist regime, thus leading to present to the whole movement an agenda to discuss with the government seeking a political solution to the problems of the people. We note the progress made in Comosocol (Coordinator of Social and Political Organizations of Colombia).

Tasks for peace

Fighting for peace imposes immediate and urgent political and mass tasks; therefore we are committed to:

• Giving a great display of propaganda and publicity to popular proposals by disseminating our views in public events at various levels and projection (forums, seminars, conferences, press conferences, etc.), in the newspaper Revolution and its supplements, handing out flyers with broad mass coverage, as well as through murals.

• Supporting initiatives and decisions that would lead to setting a date for a National Civic Strike.

• Giving support to actions on a regional and local level that oppose the reactionary measures of the governments regarding Public Utilities, transportation fees, sales tax and property taxes, among others.

• Energizing the work in favor of the class struggle forces in the elections to the CUT [Unitary Workers’ Federation] and FECODE [Colombian Federation of Educators]. Also, heading the struggle for the union movement to demand a general increase in wages and in the minimum wage.

• Promoting solidarity with popular struggles throughout the country, in Latin America, the Caribbean and the world.

• Announcing ONCE AGAIN with revolutionary fervor our decision to continue to promote the unity of the insurgency in the heat of the struggle for peace and successful dialogue.

• Reaffirming our unwavering willingness to work to achieve the closest unity of the democratic, left-wing, progressive and revolutionary forces, proposing to the whole movement the creation of a Broad Political Front of the Masses against the oligarchy and imperialism, against their anti-popular war with the invitation to become a real political force with the aim of taking power. The 17th Congress of the Communist Party of Colombia (Marxist-Leninist) made this explicit, announcing in its political declaration: "The 17th Congress of the Marxist-Leninists of Colombia insists on the fraternal and united call to all organizations and people who want change to continue to fight with all their energies and combining all forms of struggle to achieve national sovereignty, democracy for the people and a society without exploited or exploiters." Political Declaration of March 2012.

Therefore we see that the political scenario in the country is favorable, and we believe that the peace talks should lead to the convocation of a democratic and popular National Constituent Assembly, where the people exercise their role of primary constituents to draw up a new Political Constitution, on the road to the formation of a democratic, popular, patriotic and revolutionary government, that will do away with inequality and exclusion that have led to the armed conflict, as the real source of a policy of peace with social justice.

"In Colombia valid efforts are continuing for a tactical anti-imperialist government, linked to the struggle for people's power with the victory of the democratic, anti-imperialist revolution on the road to socialism. Adherents for convening a National Constituent Assembly at the service of the people are growing, demanding greater energy to overcome defects in our revolutionary work and to expose the defenders of class conciliation." Political Declaration of the 17th Congress of the PC of C (ML), March 2012.

Go then, with crystal clarity, not only the support of the Communist Party of Colombia (Marxist-Leninist) and its People's Liberation Army EPL for the peace talks between the FARC-EP and the government, but also to make clear of our willingness to participate in all scenarios that we can: at the discussion table, in the mobilizations for peace, unfolding the banners of the proletariat and the people in general, for peace with social justice.

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