a clip of bourgeois news on Colombia

Owen Jones owen_jones at SPAMcwcom.net
Thu Aug 17 12:02:38 MDT 2000


 Without wishing to trample over everybody's picnic, but, in my opinion, the
Colombian situation is a very complicated question, as much as we are all
thirsty for revolution.

 These guerrilla groups are peasant armies. Their aim is not the
construction of a workers' state, but rather the solution of the peasant
problem; in other words, bourgeois-democratic reforms. If the Colombian
ruling class were to give in, and distribute land and suchlike to the
Colombian peasantry, all would immediately lay down arms. Indeed, they have
made it quite clear in the "peace process" that if they achieve "social
justice" (i.e. bourgeois-democratic reforms), they will surrender. That is
the problem with the petty-bourgeoisie - they vacillate. I think this
illustrates just why we see the proletariat as the only consistently
revolutionary class.

 Indeed, I remember some article which drew parallels between them and a
Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel in which some Latin American rebel group kept
fighting except they had abandoned a belief in anything. The bourgeois press
consistently mocks the fact they have abandoned any trace of Marxism. If
this is true then only the vacillating nature of the petty-bourgeoisie can
be blamed.

 None of these armies will have the ability to seize power unless they have
the active support of the urban proletariat. Unfortunately, much of the
urban proletariat are not only not actively behind the insurrections, but
often are in fact hostile to them. If it were true that there had been a big
recent influx of rural peasants into Bogota from the countryside, then there
would be a strong link between the urban proletariat and the rural
petty-bourgeoisie and perhaps there would be a real chance of revolution.
Yet in regard to this civil war, the Colombian working class have been
passive. But it is only they who directly confront the Colombian bourgeoisie
on a day-to-day basis, and they have been engaged in acute class struggle
with the ruling class - not least with the general strike of last year. I
throw my bags in with them, not the peasantry, as revolutionary as
individual peasants are.

 Really, the only guarantee of success for the Colombian revolution is a
peasant-proletarian alliance - but with the working class in the driving
seat. I doubt very much whether the peasant armies have the capability of
expropriating the Colombian bourgeoisie; if, hypothetically, they manage to
take power, they will issue some radical bourgeois-democratic reforms, but
leave the ruling class in place. They have no interest in interfering with
the bourgeoisie, for they have no real quarrel with them. They just want
land, and when they get it, they will happily throw their arms over to the
Colombian State. There have been many such examples in recent Latin American
history. What I am worried about is that if they do attempt to storm the
city without active support or maybe even hostility from the proletariat,
the peasant bands will crush the organised working class. It would not be
the first time a petty-bourgeois movement has atomised a proletariat.

 If they had the active support of the proletariat, they would not have
spent thirty years of running around the jungle with Kalashnikovs with the
sole gain of winning a few large tracts of jungle, but would have seized
power a long time ago (comrades point out that they have seized about half
the country, but since nearly nobody lives in this half considering it is
covered in jungle, that is hardly a massive step forward for the world
revolution...). This is really the problem with peasant insurrections. It
took one day for the Bolsheviks to triumph in Petrograd...

 But I'm just a silly trotskyist cynic who doesn't know a real revolution
when he sees one, so maybe I should take Mac's advice and take some heart.



 P.S. Didn't one of the FARC leaders recently go on a tour of Europe, dine
with the Pope, and say how marvellous European social democracy was?

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