Communist Party of Colombia (M-L)

We are fighting for a true democratic opening


Among the positive aspects of the talks that are now being held by the FARC-EP [Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army] and the government of Colombia in Havana, Cuba, is the debate that, given the country’s problems and its possible solutions, has been raised in the most diverse sectors of Colombian society and, within these sectors, the tribune that the various sectors of the left, the revolutionaries, the democrats, the various organizations and personalities linked to the social and political mass struggles, have skillfully used to air their analyses and proposals before the country.

We Colombian Marxist-Leninists participate in different ways and different settings of the multiple debates that are developing, obviously looking for ways to unify at all levels the greatest number of leaders, activists and mass organizations in the fight against the regime, the government and its policies. In order to advance in the strengthening, extension and perspective of this great opposition movement that we, the communists, are vying to lead, one essential aspect to which we pay great attention is the programmatic aspect.

In our country the most varied political currents agitate for their projects and proposals; the bourgeoisie and the imperialists, in their efforts to maintain and strengthen their rule over all of society, promote according to their interests and the correlation of forces that helps them at certain moments, the political card that best supports their purposes; our party, moving against the fascist project, that unifies the different factions of the bourgeoisie and U.S. imperialism, proposes, promotes and animates the fight for a true democratic opening in the country.

Our tactical proposal

As an answer to the fascistic process that is spreading in the country, the winning of a true democratic opening achieved through popular action should encompass the full range and expansion of the political, economic, and social freedoms and rights for the working masses in the city and the country, the winning of spaces and guarantees that allow the proletariat and the masses to raise their participation in and effect on the political life of the country; in other words, to strengthen the political struggle in whose perspective we are looking to be the government and the power.

In these terms we can say that the struggle for a true democratic opening has a tactical objective, which will allow the proletariat and the masses to raise their level of consciousness, strengthen their organizations, affirm their unity and participation in the different forms of struggle. It will be a stage that will allow the party to grow, to put its cadres and members to the test, to improve its role in the search to become a true alternative to power.

The democratic opening for which we are fighting, we think, should be a result of the multifaceted action of the people, their popular combat, and it should lead principally to the achievement of a new Constitution with a high democratic content.

Effectively, we propose a new Political Charter, as the way to achieve a National Constituent Assembly that will be based on popular interest: (i) that will eliminate all restrictions imposed by the current constitution on the primary Constituent Assembly, in other words, eliminating the legitimizing role that this Constitution gives the people, restoring popular sovereignty, and with it the right of the people to fully exercise their decision-making, supervising and evocative roles. (ii) Another central aspect is the full establishment of universal suffrage, with all its functions, meaning by this the elimination of all restrictions to revoking this mandate, and other forms of participation in decision-making such as the Constituent Assembly, the referendums and popular initiatives; that even though they are consecrated in the present constitution, they contain a set of norms that make them impossible and restrict their real content. (iii) Another demand that should be put forward for this Constituent Assembly is the reestablishment of the guarantees for the exercise of the political rights of association, political and union organization, of mobilization, strikes and expression, rights that in reality have been restricted and conditioned through imperatives of public order, that among other things limit the political participation and representation of the people and their organizations. (iv) In accordance with the criticisms that have been leveled at the 1991 Constitution that gave birth to neoliberalism, the concentration of powers in the executive branch, the strengthening and primary role of the Armed Forces, among other things, the Constituent Assembly that we propose must outline a set of norms that will commit the State to the welfare and respect for the liberties and sovereignty of the people.

From the economic and social point of view, the Constituent Assembly that we propose should establish the bases and principles on which the reforms for which the people are mobilizing today; we are talking about a true Labor Law, a democratic educational reform, a health reform, a true agrarian reform, among other things.

As has already been mentioned, it is about stopping the process toward fascism that is taking place in Colombia today, and that in the political arena is represented by the strangling of the people’s democratic rights. We Marxist-Leninists do not favor or defend one or another form of the bourgeoisie state, nor are we for returning to the classic model of bourgeoisie democracy, supporting free competition and the social function of capital. On the contrary, we are fighting to broaden the people’s participation in the political life of the country, unmasking the bourgeoisie and its constitutionalists for the formalism that predominates in the Political Charter, to show that there is no State of Civil Rights, and obviously the rejection and opposition to democracy and civil rights of the bourgeoisie in Colombia.

We insist that the winning of a democratic opening must be the result of popular action and combat. We do not stand with the idea that the Congress or, even less, the Executive, should define the content and outcome of this democratic political reform that we propose for the country. To accept that the parliament or the President of the Republic himself is the one to promote this reform is to negate the very content and essence of our proposal; it would also be a betrayal of the interests and aspirations of the people, an unpardonable matter to a Marxist-Leninist. It must be the people, with their own actions, their own forces, who must demand a new Constitution, and they must deepen their levels of unity and mobilization to win the convocation of a Constituent Assembly that would make it possible. The role of the party is put to the test; moreover all the cadres and members, all the popular combatants, all the men and women who accompany us in this endeavor must be convinced that, to the extent that we work to persuade, direct and lead the struggle of the people, it will be possible for us to create a party based on political and mass support, able to fight with the bourgeoisie for hegemony, with sufficient strength and self-reliance to advance toward the seizure of political power for the proletariat and the popular masses.

We do not hide our intentions to advance, to fight to be this alternative power, to defeat the bourgeoisie and its collaborators, to be the government and power for the people. In this sense the tactic explained here, more than an objective, is a means to affirm our vocation for power, in the middle of the combat and struggle of the masses.

The proposal for the National Constituent Assembly and the dialogues with the ‘nsurgency

An important reflection, because every step taken by a revolutionary has to see clearly its objective and its perspective for development within the revolutionary process. The FARC-EP has taken that step and is moving forward with conversations with the government directed to achieve certain agreements that will lead toward a peace much desired by all Colombians. At this moment a seven point agenda is being discussed in which the parties have already stated the existence of a series of agreements.

True, all Colombians are eagerly awaiting the results of these conversations and, as Marxist-Leninists, we hope that these conversations will result in agreements that will benefit the social and political mobilization that is being carried out today by the workers, the youth, the women, the farmers, and the various social and political organizations of the people, to achieve peace with social justice.

We identify with the concept of peace with social justice advanced by the FARC-EP in their statements on the need to put an end to the causes of the conflict and achieve important economic, social and political transformations in the country. Let us take a look at what was pointed out by the FARC-EP commander Ivan Marquez at the establishment of the dialogue table in Oslo last October 19, 2012.

“Then peace… yes. We sincerely want peace and identify with the demand expressed by the majority of our nation to find a solution through dialogue to the conflict that would open spaces for the full participation of the citizens in the debates and decisions taken.

“But peace does not just mean the silencing of the rifles; it encompasses the transformation of the State’s structure and a change in the economic, political and military forms. Yes, peace is not simply demobilization. Our Commander Alfonso Cano said: ‘Demobilization is synonymous with inertia, it is cowardly giving up, it is surrender and betrayal of the popular cause and of the revolutionary ideals that we cultivate and fight for, for social transformation. It is an indignity that has an implicit message of hopelessness to the people who have trusted our commitment to the Bolivarian proposal.’ We have to address the causes that create the conflict and first of all, cure the illness of the institutions.” (Our emphasis)

We also identify with their proposal for a National Constituent Assembly, which also reflects the possibility of advancing a project that would unify the actions of the whole insurgency, the FARC-EP, the ELN [Army of National Liberation] and the EPL [People’s Liberation Army], which would allow, besides the unification of criteria, the potential for important work together with the people to reach their goal of convening the Assembly. Within this perspective we consider that it is important and necessary for a Guerrilla Summit to be convened that would open up the possibility of joint and unified action, not only in relation to the dialogue with the government, but also and mainly in the efforts to move forward a gamut of work that emphasizes the need to struggle for peace with social justice on the national and international level.

The party and our EPL have expressed their willingness for talks with the government and their commitment to the fight for peace with social justice. Our position and proposal is summarized in the editorial of Revolution newspaper No. 499, which emphasizes the following:

“We are committed to the noble cause of peace and, together with the people, in all areas of work, in strikes, work stoppages, in the assembly, in public hearings, in the street and in the political confrontation we will persist in revealing the true causes of the conflict, in denouncing the structural deformations of the country, its dependency and backwardness, the many manifestations of super-exploitation, plunder, inequality and political exclusion, as well as the urgent economic, social and political demands  of a people that refuses to abdicate in its right to achieve peace with social justice.

“We will participate actively in the new political scene that is opening up with the debate about peace and the end of the conflict, insisting on political mobilization, convincing step by step all the popular fighters, democrats and the left, the people and their organizations of the need to win the call for a National Constituent Assembly of a broad character and democratic, popular content, in which the people, as the primary constituents, would define in a sovereign manner a new Political Constitution that would establish the bases for peace with social justice, in other word, a new legal and political order that would close its gates to neoliberalism, anti-democracy, dependency and social, political exclusion, the true causes of the war and the backwardness of our country.

“In this way we will redouble our efforts to build a great political front of the masses that, as an important tool for the democrats, revolutionaries and the left, will oppose the deepening of the war, the bombings, the state practice of exterminating the political opposition, and the criminalization of social protest. This great front will serve the struggle for a true social change, a true political resolution to the political, economic, social, and armed conflict in the country.

“We are for the end of the conflict that has shaken our county for more than fifty years. We are optimistic towards the talks between the FARC-EP and the government, as well as towards the initiatives put forward by the ELN and the EPL for their eventual participation in these dialogues. We value the great possibilities of achieving an agreement that would put an end to the hostilities, as well as the express commitment of the international community to protect and verify these possible agreements. We also emphasize the efforts that various social and political organizations are making today in the writing and creating of an agenda to be presented and discussed with the government. All the events show that peace with social justice is a matter that commits all the people and their numerous organizations.

“Nevertheless we do not have illusions, we are searching for objectivity and the identification of the tendencies and counter-tendencies toward change; by this we understand, and experience has taught us, that the end of the conflict cannot be resolved only by the good will of each party, because this encompasses and forms part of the political and social confrontation that is developing in the country.

“In these terms it is an obligation to warn the people and all the fighters of the results of the maneuvering and the range of the objectives obstinately held by this government. It is evident that the present conduct of Santos’ government does not transform the stakes, nor the plan, and even less the counter-revolutionary conception and perspective of the bourgeoisie, but it does alert us to the changes in tactics and methods used to confront the people and all the democratic and revolutionary forces, in their efforts to impose fascism and to develop preventive counter-revolution. Under this perspective it is clear that the efforts of this government to rejuvenate, modernize and adapt their political outlook to the new conditions presented by the deepening crisis of capitalism, as well as the growing political polarization within the country, emphasize new tactics, styles and methods of confronting the people and their organizations.

“We are faced with a government that is trying to throw dust in the eyes of the fighters so that they would be diverted and renounce their objectives; their peace maneuvers have no other purpose than to demobilize the guerrilla movement, contain and divert the struggle of the masses through social agreements, and isolate the revolutionaries, combining repression with populism and demagogy. Looking at it from another angle, it is a matter of “cleaning up” the country to make it more attractive to the mining and energy driving force, the big multinationals and foreign investors.

“In spite of this, and being consistent with this historic moment, with the ideals and interests of the working class and the people, with those who desire change, we will face this new stage of the class struggle, pushing for the unity of the people for the democratic changes that the whole nation has been demanding for more than fifty years.”

Finally, we want to point out to all communists  and revolutionaries in the world, to all progressive and democratic forces the great effort that our party, the EPL, and in general all party instruments are now making to align themselves to the political needs of the moment; we are convinced that proletarian internationalism and all the international solidarity in support of the efforts that we are making in Colombia, will undoubtedly contribute to the strengthening of the revolutionary process not only in our country, but also throughout the world.

Communist Party of Colombia Marxist-Leninist, Central Executive Committee
March 2013

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