Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Ecuador – PCMLE
Pablo Miranda

The Failure of the Progressive Governments in Latin America

Since 1998 when Hugo Chavez was elected President of Venezuela, electoral victories took place in various countries that allowed political fronts of a nationalist and patriotic character to become the governments, which proclaimed their opposition to neoliberalism and the foreign debt.

Some of those governments, those of Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia, proclaimed themselves revolutionary, proponents of "21st century socialism"; others, such as those in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and at the time, the government of Lugo in Paraguay, had clearly social-democratic programs and policies.

These governments arose in concrete conditions: the wearing out of neoliberal policies due to their failure to overcome the crisis of international finance capital, in the midst of sharp political crises that laid bare the corruption and the inability of the traditional bourgeois parties in a period of the rising struggle of the masses, of the laboring classes, the peoples and youth, who came out forcefully and defiantly.

The laboring masses struggled in the countryside and the cities, demanding their rights and new gains, they went beyond the framework of protests and took aim at the corrupt and sell-out governments, in opposition to the measures imposed by the International Monetary Fund; in some countries, such as Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil and Argentina, they overthrew them through street uprisings.

All these processes of social struggle showed an important qualitative development, particular struggles soon became generalized, local actions turned into national mobilizations, new initiatives and forms of struggle became clear; they were able to incorporate a significant sector of the middle classes and strata that joined the popular indignation but sought to take advantage of it and direct it around their interests and purposes; in countries such as Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Argentina, these processes affected and broke up the bourgeois institutions.

The social and political struggle of the laboring masses of the cities and countryside, of the youth, grew and developed but suffered from weaknesses and limitations; it had the power to unleash big waves, even to topple governments, but on the whole it did not have the aim of seizing power nor the strength to achieve it; it brought forth new social and political actors, the left that had been fighting for decades, the proletarian revolutionaries who fought bravely but it also made clear the weaknesses of the left, of the revolutionaries and communists.

The most important outcome of these fights of the working class and other laboring classes and the youth is of an ideological and political character. In practically all the Latin American countries these social actors became political actors, fighters for a government in various electoral processes. The stage was overcome in which the workers were fighting in the streets and in strikes against the capitalists but in the elections they voted for the bosses and their servants. The first successes of these democratic and left-wing electoral fronts were the victories in contests for local governments, for mayors in major cities. A higher wave was the victory of the so-called "progressive governments" of which we spoke above, and the formation of electoral fronts in other countries that grew significantly, as in Colombia and Mexico.

Those events allowed us to state, at the time, that there was the formation and development in Latin America of a Tendency for Change, which was democratic, progressive and left-wing, incorporating workers, peasants, teachers and students, progressive intellectuals and sectors of the middle strata; likewise we said that we proletarian revolutionaries should take up – and in Ecuador we did this – the policy of actively involving ourselves in the waters of this Tendency in order to make it advance, to define its struggles and objectives and to fight for its leadership.

After a significant period of more than a decade, it is necessary to make an assessment of these processes.

There are opinions about the utter failure of those governments, to put an end to the cycles as well as a thesis claiming that they broke new ground for social and national liberation, and that, despite the difficulties and eventual electoral defeats, in their time and place they remained a road to liberation.

We must make it clear that, although there is a general trend in which these governments and their policies are part of, they are not uniform; each one is a concrete process that is taking place in a particular context, with social and economic authors that are acting in accord with their immediate, medium- and long-term interests:

The Anti-Neoliberal Positions of the Progressive Governments

Clearly all these governments, to different degrees, pushed forward economic and political measures that to a large extent left behind the docility towards neoliberal policies pushed forward by the U.S., the World Bank and the IMF.

They directed their policies and important resources on which they counted to restoring the role of the state, particularly in the field of health care and education; as well as managing strategic areas of the economy, electricity and energy.

They carried out large-scale public works, highways, ports, airports, hospitals and schools, which are changing the physical appearance of these countries.

They were relatively successful in reducing poverty and unemployment.

Now, after more than a decade, we can state that the anti-neoliberal positions were essentially in words only, since much of the neoliberal structure has been maintained, principally the facilities for foreign direct investment led by the exploration and exploitation of minerals, the aggressive foreign indebtedness despite the sermons condemning the foreign debt as illegitimate, the search for and establishment of free trade agreements with various imperialist powers.

In all the countries of Latin American, including those with "progressive" governments, labor flexibility, irregular or temporary work, outsourcing, part-time work, restrictions on trade union rights and the persecution of trade unions and unionists is being maintained.

In the same way the criminalization of the social struggle, the persecution, prosecution and sentencing of social and trade union leaders is a constant with the sole exception of Venezuela, totaling thousands of union, popular and indigenous leaders prosecuted, persecuted and jailed on charges of sabotage and terrorism.

The Economic Boom and the Administration of the Progressive Governments

From 2000 to 2015, Latin America was the beneficiary of an important boom in high prices for oil, copper, gold, raw materials and agricultural products. This was shown by major indices of economic growth that occurred in almost all the countries, including those governed by the traditional bourgeois parties such as Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Costa Rica and of course by the "progressive governments".

These circumstances, together with an intensive policy of investment by the State in public works, in highways, ports, airports, hospitals, schools, large hydroelectric dams as well as the building of large luxury works, monuments and modern public buildings marked an evident material progress in the countries; they were significantly modernized. This large-scale public works largely led to their being considered, in the subjective outlook of the laboring masses, in public opinion, as "good administrators." Moreover, this increased their electoral support (in Brazil, however, these gigantic luxury works took their toll on the government of the Workers’ Party). This modernization served and is serving to attract and guarantee private national and international investment.*

* The Coordinating Minister of Production of Ecuador bluntly stated that Correa's government fulfilled the role of promoting public works, highways, ports and airports and that now it is up to private enterprise to invest in and take advantage of these conditions.

On the other hand, the progressive governments, as well as the neoliberal governments, promoted an intense social welfare policy for the poorest sectors of the population of the cities and countryside with the granting of bonuses, donations and gifts that became a major electoral support.

The Political Administration of the Progressive Governments

The progressive governments were formed by a charismatic authoritarian leader coming from the middle strata of the population; also from trade unionists as in Brazil and Bolivia; and military personnel as in Venezuela. These authoritarian leaders took up populist positions, built up authoritarian and centralized governments. These circumstances were expressed in various ways.

The nationalist and patriotic, democratic, popular and even revolutionary speeches, the important public works as well as the social welfare measures allowed them to attract important social sectors, the impoverished strata of the cities and the countryside who benefited directly.

The proposals of the "Bolivarian revolution," the "citizens' revolution," the "refoundation of the country," the "second independence," "21st century socialism," the "end of colonialism"; the media handling of the speech, the messianic poses of the presidents, the proclamation of the demands of the workers and peoples, the flogging of the oligarchy and the traditional political parties allowed almost all of these governments to come before the majority of the population as the expression of something new, democratic and patriotic, and among some sectors, as left-wing and revolutionary. The social welfare policies helped for that purpose, they created a gratitude that to a large degree was transformed into political and ideological support. Thus they formed a social base that allowed them to win successive elections and to stay in office for more than a decade. This popular support was expressed mainly in successive electoral processes in which they were victorious, but with the exception of Venezuela, these popular sectors have strong limitations to taking to the streets in defense of these governments. In Ecuador, the few times in which the masses were called out into the streets by the government have had meager results and they have relied on providing sandwiches and travel expenses.

Regarding the trade unions, the rights of workers and their struggles, the attitude of the "progressive governments" is also varied.

In Venezuela an important social work was carried out directed to the workers and the poor neighborhood residents, bringing them health care and education and encouraging union organization; labor laws became more democratic and community organizations were strengthened. In Brazil the organization, demands and activities of the trade unions and other social organizations were basically respected. In Ecuador, the democratic discourse remained in words alone; from the beginning union organization was sabotaged and stigmatized, union organization was restricted, the right to dues check-off and the right of union leaders to carry out their duties without working for the company were eliminated, the right to strike was regulated in the old neoliberal style. In recent years they have tried to orchestrate a trade union and popular movement tied to government policies through co-opting union leaders by means of buying them off and blackmail, through the creation of parallel union organizations and the division of social organizations. The social and union struggle has been criminalized; under Correa over a thousand social and indigenous leaders have been criminally prosecuted as terrorists and saboteurs; more than fifty social fighters have been persecuted and sentenced to prison. In Argentina thousands of union and peasant leaders have been convicted, persecuted, prosecuted and imprisoned; the policy of the stick is being implemented. In Bolivia class-struggle trade unions of workers and miners that defend their rights are discriminated against and persecuted, and their leaders prosecuted and imprisoned; the indigenous peoples and nationalities who are defending their territory and opposing the extraction of natural resources, the destruction of the environment and the degradation of nature are treated as saboteurs; they are repressed and persecuted.

Authoritarianism, the application of hard-line criminal laws introduced by the neoliberal governments of the past have imposed policies of deterrence that demobilized and dispersed much of the union and social movements.

The working class and the other organized social sectors have largely escaped the reformist illusions, despite the threats, criminal prosecutions, the diversionary and divisive action promoted by the government, the co-optation of trade union leaders by buying them off or blackmail; they are forming a social and political front that questions, criticizes and fights against the anti-popular and anti-union policies of these governments.

"In fact in all the countries pro-imperialist policies are evolving, designed to replace neoliberalism with other capitalist alternatives. Thus we can affirm the existence of certain political positions that place the State, strengthened to a certain degree, at the service of capital and the international monopolies, that ideologically and politically disarm the masses, disperse the union movement and criminalize the social struggle. Together with these measures traditional governments are being developed, led by openly reactionary positions that carry out repressive policies against the popular movement, without abandoning nationalist demagogic poses and social welfare practices."*

* 8th Congress of the PCMLE, 2014.

The Economic and Political Dependence on Imperialism Persists

The "progressive governments" proclaimed the "second independence," the breaking of the dependence on U.S. imperialism; they implemented some actions and regional activities in that direction.

They formed ALBA, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, which brings together some of the progressive governments; they propelled the creation of UNASUR, Union of South American Nations, as well as CELAC, Community of Latin American and Caribbean States; all these regional organizations which allegedly demarcated positions with the U.S. and Canada. In fact, despite these assumptions, all the progressive governments, with the exception of Venezuela and to some extent Bolivia, have developed excellent economic, commercial, diplomatic and political relations with the U.S. government.

The economic interests of the U.S. monopolies, of the oil and mining companies and of the U.S. banks are fully guaranteed; the defense of sovereignty and independence is nothing but lip service. The main trading partners of most Latin American countries continue to be from the U.S.

However a new situation is taking place, the penetration of Chinese capital into all the Latin American countries, but especially into those led by "progressive governments."

China is today the second largest world economy, it is an imperialist country of great size, competing on an international scale, on every continent, with the US, with the imperialist countries of the European Union and Japan, with its exports in the international market, principally in the dependent countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. It makes direct investments, especially in oil and mines, and is a lender replacing the Western banks and the international agencies, the World Bank and the IMF.

All the progressive governments that initially condemned the foreign debt as illegitimate have "honored" those commitments and have engaged in a new process of indebtedness, especially with China, which imposes harsh conditions and high interest rates on a short term.

Ecuador has increased its foreign debt by more than 10% since 2006, the year that Correa took office; it has taken loans for more than $8,000 million dollars at rates above 7% and over a short-term with the government and banks of China, which involve the hiring of construction companies and the provision of machinery from Chinese companies, in the old style of U.S. imperialism.

The sovereignty and independence proclaimed by Correa and the citizen’s revolution is being dragged down with the signing of the Free Trade Agreement with the European Union, which is touted as the integration of the Ecuadorian economy in international trade.

The elements above expose a new situation: the chains of dependence of the progressive governments with Yankee imperialism remain, they are affirmed; while at the same time new ties of economic dependence on China and the European Union are being established.

This situation is turning Latin America into an arena of contention of the inter-imperialist contradictions, in particular, of U.S. contradictions with China. In this dispute the role of the progressive governments now favors the interests of China, without seriously harming U.S. interests. So there is nothing strange about the ideas touted by the opportunists regarding the progressive and democratic character of China.

The Economic Crisis Is Affecting the Development of the Progressive Governments

The economic crisis that broke out in 2007 in the U.S. significantly affected the economy of all the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, as also happened in the other continents and regions. However, high commodity prices helped overcome the impact of that crisis relatively quickly. In Ecuador, for example, GDP growth, which was zero in 2009, was surpassed in 2010 and since 2014 there has been an average growth of about 3%.

This reality existed in all the countries of the subcontinent, and allowed the spokespersons of the "progressive governments" to speak of the strength of their administration, their ability to promote material progress.

The economic recovery of the U.S. and other imperialist countries that is taking place is not leading to new boom in the international economy: first, it is a partial and limited recovery, there are still high rates of unemployment; the internal and external public debt is growing enormously, as is the arms race using up much of the fiscal resources. Second, the slowdown in the growth of the economies of China, India and other emerging countries, the fall in the prices of oil, other minerals and agricultural and livestock products, as well as the development of new technologies for oil extraction anticipate the conditions for a new economic crisis.

It would seem that this new crisis would not have its epicenter in the U.S. economy, that it would break out elsewhere and perhaps with smaller dimensions. The next few years, perhaps the next few months, will clear up these assessments.

This new economic crisis that is mentioned has already affected some Latin American countries, including Brazil, Argentina and Ecuador, which are experiencing a technical recession. This is being explained by the drastic fall in the prices of oil and other mineral resources, as well as of agricultural and livestock exports, and by the appreciation [rise in value] of the dollar.

In fact, the new crisis is of an international character, in the globalized world of today there are no autarchic economies. It is impossible for any country to wall itself off from the crisis. What will happen, as happened in the 2007 crisis, is that due to the uneven development of capitalism, to the inherent contradictions in its character, to free competition, to the increasingly social character of production and the appropriation and concentration of the wealth by the monopolies and the imperialist countries, is that the international impact of the crisis, since it originated in the heart of the capitalist world, has expanded to the great majority of the countries at different levels and depths.

The affects of the crisis will be more or less profound according to the economic development of each country, which means that the old story that the crisis is of external origin and has little or nothing to do with the economic and fiscal administration of the capitalist governments is false, it does not correspond to the facts, it is a talk that even they themselves do not believe.

The social-democratic governments of Brazil, Lula and Dilma, cannot avoid astronomic expenses, the large waste of public money, the large investments of international capital attracted by high interest rates, the sale of tens of thousands of hectares of land to the transnational companies, the introduction of the monoculture of soybeans, the promotion of the extraction of iron and other minerals, the deindustrialization of the country, the cuts in pensions of retirees, etc.

The governments of the Kirchners cannot hide the responsibility of their administrations for the deindustrialization of Argentina, the introduction of soybean monoculture and the disinvestment in agriculture and livestock, the re-privatization of state-owned oil and aviation companies, the high levels of corruption that is widespread in the country.

The Correa government cannot blame the recession and crisis on the declining oil prices, the appreciation of the dollar, the development of science and technology in the U.S. and the dollarization. Certainly these causes exist, they affect the economy, but in no way do they constitute the only reason. The citizen’s revolution and Correa cannot deny the squandering of fiscal resources on propaganda and spending sprees, the enormous increase in the bureaucracy, the dependence of the country's economy on oil and the lack of policies to diversify the economy and industrialize the country.

The Maduro government cannot place responsibility for the economic crisis affecting Venezuela on low oil prices, the appreciation of the dollar, the economic war of imperialism, the bourgeoisie and reaction, which really do exist and affect the economy of the country. It cannot ignore the inability to address and resolve Venezuela's dependence on imports of agricultural and industrial products, of essential items for the well-being of the population; it cannot avoid the massive degree of corruption that plagues the government circles.

The new economic crisis looming over Latin America is a result of the capitalist nature of its economic formation, of its irresolvable contradictions; it is a new expression of relative over-production and the inability of the laboring masses to have access to the production created by their hands.

The Struggle of the Workers, Peoples and Youth under the "Progressive Governments"

All the "progressive governments" counted on a significant support from the unions and popular organizations, from the left-wing political parties and organizations. They were considered by the workers and trade unionists as progressive, democratic and patriotic government. The leftists, communists and revolutionaries understood them as part of the Tendency for Change that took place in the struggle against neoliberal policies. The opportunists of all stripes, the revisionists were overjoyed; they tailed behind their proposals and described them as revolutionary proposals, in keeping with the times, as the "opening of a new path of revolution."

Initially, some of these governments, principally those of Correa and Morales, took actions that corresponded with their patriotic and democratic discourse: the expulsion of the U.S. military base at Manta in Ecuador, the expulsion of the U.S. ambassador in Bolivia. These policies gave way to pragmatic positions to ensure and promote the economic interests of the U.S. companies and trade relations with the U.S. and the European Union.

In all the States with "progressive governments," the economic, political and social administration favors the interests of big business and bankers, the capitalist class; it defends private ownership of the big means of production, begs for foreign investment and guarantees it all sorts of perks and privileges.

The course of these processes first caused disenchantment; the patriotic and democratic illusions that were aroused went up in smoke from the imagination of the laboring classes; then they moved on to discontent and dissatisfaction, criticism and demands for corrections, ending up in most countries, except for Venezuela, in outrage and anger in the struggle to defend their interests and rights, to fighting for freedom and democracy, to building a popular opposition that would go beyond the measures of these governments and march forward, to governments that would represent the interests of the workers and peoples.

The response of the "progressive governments" to the struggle of the workers, the peoples and the youth has been repression and criminalization of the social struggle, as well as the prosecution of trade unionists and left-wing organizations and parties for being allies of the "conservative restoration," for trying to return to the past.

The fight of millions of young Brazilians that took place in June of 2014 for free fares and in opposition to the waste of public money and lavish spending cannot be attributed to the destabilizing actions of the right wing; they were expressions of dissatisfaction and rebellion, a repudiation of the corruption of the government of the Workers’ Party.

The actions of the indigenous people of the TIPNIS [Isiboro Secure National Park and Indigenous Territory] in Bolivia in opposition to a highway that destroyed the environment and nature, which were harshly repressed by the Morales government, cannot and should not be attributed to demonstrations of the right wing; the same with the marches of the miners of Potosi, as well as of the large mobilizations in El Alto claiming their rights and fighting for their interests. These are expressions of popular discontent, the determination to fight consistently for their rights.

The workers’ strikes that took place in Argentina, the protests of the peasants, the opposition and denunciation of corruption, the demonstrations for democracy and freedom have nothing to do with the policies and plans of the oligarchy; they are a genuine expression of the interests of the workers.

The great mobilizations of the workers, indigenous peoples and youth that have taken place in Ecuador since June of 2014, the march for dignity and life, the indigenous uprising, the national strike of the people that took place in August of 2015 are manifestations reflecting the interests of the workers, of the action and struggle of left-wing political parties and organizations; they have always demarcated positions separate from the bourgeois opposition; they are not trying to return to the past; they are part of the independent path for social and national emancipation.

The workers' strike that took place in Uruguay this year expresses the repudiation of the cuts in social security and wages caused by the government of the Broad Front.

Clearly in Venezuela a part of the laboring masses and youth have been manipulated by reaction and oppose the Maduro government, they are protesting the shortages of food and items essential for life as well as lack of security and the high cost of living; they denounce these problems as expressions of communism and reject them from reactionary positions.


The events that are unfolding in Venezuela differ sharply from what is happening in other countries where there are "progressive governments." Anti-communist reaction, the bourgeois political parties and U.S. imperialism and its lackeys are trying to denigrate and attack the "Bolivarian" process, calling it communist and totalitarian.

"In Venezuela a particular process is developing. The economic and social measures of the government of Hugo Chavez were always significant in benefiting the popular sectors, the anti-U.S. imperialist and patriotic positions were consistent, it was the only government that relied on the mobilization of the masses. After the passing away of Chavez, his successor is confronting an aggressive campaign of destabilization and street fighting provoked by reaction with the direct support of the U.S. These actions are based on the social unrest due to the shortage of food and other essential items, an inflation of over 60%, the successive currency devaluations, the insecurity caused by the increase in crime. In Venezuela a harsh battle is being waged between the left and right, between patriots and sell-outs, between reaction and revolutionary positions. Obviously, in Venezuela, the revolution has not taken place despite the proclamations of the followers of Chavez; socialism is not being built. However, a patriotic, democratic and revolutionary process is taking place that is confronting the fierce onslaught of reaction. The outcome of this confrontation is not cannot be predicted in the short term. In any case the workers, the people and youth of Venezuela are learning to fight in the midst of struggles on a high level, they are understanding their role in the process of social transformation. The revolutionary party of the proletariat, the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Venezuela, has before it great challenges and responsibilities."*

* 8th Congress of the PCMLE, 2014.

The Progressive Governments and the Electoral Processes in Recent Years

The successive electoral victories of the "progressive governments" achieved by the support of the majority of the laboring masses and due to the crisis of the traditional bourgeois parties, and, of course, by the control of the electoral tribunals, allowed them to build a political power that they considered unbeatable in the long term.

That situation is changing, especially in recent years.

In Brazil in the last presidential election, Dilma Rousseff was elected by a narrow majority against the opposition candidate, a representative of social-democracy. Within a few months the popularity of the government is below 10% and the bourgeois opposition is demanding her removal in the press, in Congress and in the street.

Evo Morales was elected for the third time by a large margin against the right-wing opposition candidate. A few months later, in secondary, local elections, he was defeated in the main cities, where he formerly had a broad majority. Now a constitutional reform is being discussed for a referendum that will allow indefinite reelection. It should be pointed out that the belligerent bourgeois opposition, which formed in the so-called Half Moon, which even threatened separation, has been averted by a decision of the entrepreneurs of Santa Cruz themselves, who understood that they could maintain their privileges by allying with Morales rather than by fighting him.

Rafael Correa was reelected in the first round in the elections of 2013 and won a large parliamentary majority. After one year, in February of 2014, he was defeated in the municipal elections in the majority of large cities and provincial prefectures; this defeat of the Correa government favored the bourgeois opposition, which is now seeking to win the next presidential election. Correa is seeking a new presidential term by changing the Constitution through the Legislative Assembly to avoid the demand of a "referendum" proposed by the workers and the left.

In the remainder of the year, there will be general elections in Argentina and parliamentary elections in Venezuela. The results are expected to be in favor of the bourgeois opposition. However, it could be that victory will again favor the Kirchners and the Bolivarians. But this cannot be interpreted to mean that the project remains intact and invincible.

Clearly, the electoral support on which the "progressive governments" counted is decreasing steadily, the social base that they had formed is coming apart and they will probably be replaced in upcoming elections by other bourgeois formations. The traditional political parties of the bourgeoisie, other political formations that are being formed and that are appearing as "new" are working to succeed the "progressive governments" through elections; some are look to conspiracies and coups d’état.

On the other hand, the laboring classes, the popular and youth organizations that are demonstrating, to varying degrees, in street fighting against authoritarianism and demagogy are objectively converging into a popular opposition, in the fight for social change. These formations are stigmatized by the "progressive governments" as "left-wing extremists," as "infantile environmentalists," as allies of the right, as proponents of the "conservative restoration." These popular positions are broadly supported and they have won the support of the unorganized social sectors; they must confront the bosses and the government, they must demarcate positions with the bourgeois opposition and strive to become a center of social and political struggle for real change, for the revolution and socialism. The laboring masses understand from their own experience that they cannot trust their fate and that of the country to forces and personalities from outside their ranks, that they must transcend the rebellious struggle with programmatic proposals, by strikes and demonstrations for the political organization and struggle for people's power.

Above we noted that the bourgeois opposition, with the support of imperialism, is working to replace the "progressive governments" through elections and that they will probably succeed. In these circumstances they are supported by the intellectuals who defend these projects and are launching a series of allegations such as that “the unions and the left intend to return to the past, to the neoliberal regimes, that they are part of the destabilizing conspiracy, that they are playing the game of reaction." According to them, the failure or the defeat of the "progressive governments" would be the end of the democratic gains, the return to neoliberalism.

These theses are intended to disarm the workers and the peoples, to tie them to the policy of the "progressive governments," to support corporatist regimes. They seek to discourage the social and trade union fighters, the leftists and revolutionaries, the communists from fighting for their rights, their interests and new social gains. These are reactionary and opportunist theses. The class struggle is not the expression of the will of one or thousands of people, of a political party. It is the manifestation of the clash of conflicting economic interests between the working class and the capitalists. The "progressive governments" do not represent the interests of workers, they are a form of the government of the bosses, of the bourgeoisie. The struggle of the working class puts forward the destruction of the capitalist system of exploitation and oppression, of imperialist plunder; it aims at the seizure of power. These actions of the working class, the other laboring classes and the youth are developing in concrete scenarios; they have to take into account the circumstances and situations, but they must be timely and evolve. This is the process of the accumulation of forces.

The accumulation of revolutionary forces is expressed in all areas of the class struggle, in the economic struggle, protests, in the struggle of ideas, in the political struggle for power. If power is in the hands of the bourgeoisie, regardless of what sector of that class supports it, the workers and peoples must fight for its overthrow and its replacement by people’s power. At the present time, this struggle is to strengthen the trade union organization, to forge unity of those at the bottom, to promptly confront the authoritarianism and repression of the governments, to demand the respect of the rights, freedom and democracy, to achieve new social gains. We proletarian revolutionaries carry out our actions together with the workers and peoples, we work together with them for unity and we are there in all the actions and battles being waged daily.

Progressivism and Revolution

"Progress is the evolution from the lower to the higher, from the simple to the complex; it is the ascending march of the material and spiritual. It is the modernization of the country. Marxism-Leninism, the revolution and the left are genuine expressions of progressivism. But not everything progressive is left-wing or revolutionary, much less Marxist-Leninist."*

* Pablo Miranda. The Progressive Governments of Latin America. October of 2012.

Despite the statements calling themselves left-wing or revolutionary alternatives, all the "progressive governments" are, in fact, a form of reformism; they promote capitalist modernization of their countries as an expression of material progress. Public administration, public works and the social achievements seek to alleviate the hardships of the masses, to reduce poverty, to decrease unemployment; in no case do they eliminate those evils of capitalism. The positions of defending sovereignty and independence aim to renegotiate dependence, they seek agreements with imperialism and the monopolies, but in no way do they break the chains of subordination.

In concrete circumstances, the various "progressive governments" have dismantled the most blatant forms of neoliberalism and replaced them with old and new forms of capitalism; they have the ability to use the enormous economic resources coming from high commodity prices to grow economically.

"As for their ideas of development, when one analyzes what they say and do, although there are shadings in their strategies, the progressive governments all seek economic growth through the export of natural resources and the attraction of investments; they support the expansion of popular consumption and apply some remedial measures for the poorest sectors. Their States grant concessions to capital on several fronts in order to achieve economic stability and trade integration, while they try to control it in others, especially where they can increase state takeover of surpluses. They knew how to take advantage of a situation of high prices of raw materials and the crises in the industrialized countries in order to grow economically."*

* Eduardo Gudines. The Identity of Progressivism.

Some Conclusions:

1. Regardless of their immediate future, the "progressive governments" failed in their proposals and actions. They promised to confront and resolve the serious problems of misery and unemployment, to do away with social inequality, to promote democracy and freedom, to lead the fight for social change and freedom from the yoke of imperialist plunder. After more than two presidential terms, in some cases more than three, and despite the substantial financial resources, things remain the same, the rich are now richer and the poor remain poor and more numerous, the countries remain tied to dependence and most of them have a new master, Chinese imperialism as well as U.S. imperialism and the imperialist countries of the European Union.

2. The reversal of some of the privatizations carried out by the neoliberal governments, the restoration of the State's role in education and health care, the fiscal investment in public works; the failure and exhaustion of the neoliberal policies of the recent past show that the "progressive governments" left neoliberalism behind without harming the capitalist system, without touching much less transforming its structures. These circumstances confirm calling these capitalist regimes post-neoliberal.

3. In all the countries with "progressive governments," the big business owners and bankers, the exporters and importers have been the main beneficiaries of the economic boom, they have accumulated wealth in greater proportions than during the administrations of the neoliberal governments.

4. De-industrialization has increased during the administrations of the "progressive governments," especially in Brazil and Argentina; in other countries this process has lesser impact because the degree of industrialization was in its infancy and is now shrinking.

5. In the search for foreign investment all the "progressive governments" opened the way for numerous contracts for the exploitation of oil and minerals; the extraction of natural resources is a major element in the process of economic growth, without taking into account the interests and rights of the peasant communities who have been dispossessed of their ancestral lands, without taking into account the destruction of the environment and nature.

6. The economy of Brazil, the seventh largest in the world, is based on the extraction of minerals such as iron and gold, on oil drilling, on the cutting down of forests, on agriculture and livestock, on trade and services; It is a country with an economy once again based on exploitation of natural resources. Similar issues are taking place in Argentina and in more flagrant proportions in other countries, in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua.

7. Certainly all the "progressive governments" have promoted changes in the infrastructure; they have built an extensive network of highways, ports and airports, contributing to the modernization of their countries. However, this modernization is relative; it is not significantly different from that of other capitalist countries.

"The failure of the so-called progressive or alternative governments, which have become administrators of the crisis, supporters and representatives of rising bourgeois sectors and of the international monopolies and the various imperialist countries, shows clearly that the liberation of the workers and real independence cannot come from a section of the ruling classes, nor will it be the result of ‘new’ theories and proposals put forward by the renegades from socialism. On the contrary they show that the liberation of the workers and peoples will be the work of the workers and peoples themselves and the inescapable responsibility of our proletarian revolutionary parties that persist in Marxism-Leninism."*

* Political Declaration of the Marxist-Leninist Parties of Latin America.

It is up to us proletarian revolutionaries to evaluate whether the existence and administration of the "progressive governments" constitute a positive factor in the process of the accumulation of forces to organize the revolution.

We Marxist-Leninists of Ecuador said, when the Correa government came to office, that it meant a step forward in the struggle of the workers and peoples for emancipation; we emphatically pointed out that it was not a revolutionary government, but that we should support it and through the struggle of the masses we would fight for a revolutionary way out. Now we state that those assessments were just and correct. But things have changed, the Correa government succumbed to the pressure of the ruling classes and imperialism, it became a new and effective instrument for the capitalist imperialist system. Under these circumstances the revolutionary policy of our Party affirmed together with the interests of the working class and people, it went over to the opposition, to the struggle against authoritarianism and it is continuing in this direction together with the great majority of the popular and trade union organizations, with the left-wing political parties and organizations.

Now, after nine years of the Correa government we say with certainty that the appearance and administration of the government of the "citizens' revolution" meant a step backward in the process of organizing and making the revolution. This forces us to rebuild the union movement, to revive the social base of the revolution and the party, which have been seriously hurt by illusions and repression.

The Correa government has tried once again to destroy the communist party and the other organizations of the revolutionary left, to disrupt the union movement. It did not succeed but it has inflicted serious blows and setbacks. The wheel of History moves forward and we Marxist-Leninists move with it.

October of 2015

Click here to return to the Index, U&S 31