Forwarded from Anthony, part 2 (response to NACLA & Colombia)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Thu Dec 7 13:18:53 MST 2000

(continued from previous email)

Government employees, and employees of state owned companies have had far
more job security, and have formed the back bone of the organized labor
movement here. Most important have been the teachers, oil workers, and
public utility workers.

For ten years the public utility workers here have fought a battle against
privatization. They have been losing, but very slowly.

Their stubborn - but so far losing - battle, is a symbol for the whole
organized labor movement of Colombia. It is in retreat, it is losing
battles, but it has not been defeated.

The trade union movement, and the working class of Colombia as a whole, has
no organized independent political party of its own. The reason is
historic, the most important rise of unionism in this country occurred
during the 1930's and 1940's. The unions were led by the CP and the
Gaitainistas. The CP was - for most of the time - a supporter of the
Liberal Party as part of its "popular frontism". Gaitan - for most of that
time - was a leader of the Liberal Party.

What the working class of Colombia does have however, is a strong memory of
a popular urban uprising: the Bogotazo.

What would it take to ignite another Bogotazo?

X. Plan Colombia

The implementation of the Plan Colombia is now going on. There has been no
sign of a peace deal coming out of the now-frozen peace negotiations.
Andres Pastrana has extended the despeje for only three months - and
conditioned on movement toward a peace deal.

Three months.

Three months in which Pastrana could lift the despeje at a moment's notice.

In other words, the political stage is set for a military offensive against
the FARC.

The army has been building fortified positions in all of the small towns
surrounding Bogota. It has been bulldozing the roads the FARC built, and
destroying FARC fortified positions in the mountains between Bogota and the

It has its first new battallions trained, armed, and (they hope) ready to
go into battle.

The paramilitaries are openly recruiting soldiers cashiered for involvement
in human rights violations. And they are trying to form real combat units.

In Putumayo, the chosen battle ground for "Plan Colombia" the
paramilitaries went in first - death squads against FARC sympathizers.

The failure of the government offensive in Putumayo so far is probably the
reason the despeje has been extended.

For three months.

If there is no peace deal very soon, the government will launch a major
offensive against the FARC.

Within three months.

If such an offensive is launched, its outcome will determine whether or not
the US decides to intervene openly and directly with US forces. (It is
already present with "trainers", technicians, pilots and covertly operating

If the FARC beats the army, or fights it to a draw - US intervention is

You concluded with the following remarks, with which I agree.

"But the peasantry could not rise to a nation-wide social perspective nor
offer a revolutionary solution for the insurgent nation. A national
revolutionary perspective, counterposed to the goals of the bourgeosie,
could only have come from the other basic class in society: the
proletariat. Yet the proletariat lacked an independent leadership, party
and class organization."

Obviously it will be up to the Colombian people to assemble such an
organization. Those of use in the United States have only one obligation:
to rally the American people against imperialist intervention and create
circumstances favorable to the revolutionary forces whatever their program
or class composition."

I would only add, that now is the time for those of you in the United
States to intensify your work hard against imperialist intervention. If
more serious intervention is going to be prevented, the next three months
are crucial.


Louis Proyect
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