[Marxism] El Sal. Pres-elect sets cautious course; faces strong violent right

sabocat59 at mac.com sabocat59 at mac.com
Tue Mar 17 05:22:07 MDT 2009

Fred Feldman wrote:

The plan was simple: benefit the poor at the expense of the rich to strengthen the country. 

Fred's discourse is right on target. And the plan IS simple. Here in Boston the FMLN base committee is very clear that the rich must also share in responsibility for the misery of the pueblo. They will be TAXED, no doubt for the first time in many cases.  Capital flight is of course a concern and I think this fear is what lies behind much of Funes' moderate message. Of course Funes is a moderate, and there is no point ignoring that fact.   

Jobs need to be created and capital will be an important part of that. In a country where unemployment is very high, workers who do have jobs only make $6 a day, while the rural proletariat receives $3 a day.  And these starvation wages exist in the context of a dollarized economy where basic subsistence is more costly than in the USA. 

Now that Funes has won the committee here is quite clear on the need to unify and rally behind the new leadership. People are VERY optimistic that this will happen. At the same time there is a generous amount of political will flowing from the top to embrace all sectors of Salvadoran society willing to engage in the process of reconstruction. All the diverse sectors and tendencies will be respected. I think we will see a mosaic of unification based on the common project of reconstructing a country torn asunder by years of war and plunder. This does not mean everyone has to agree with every dotted i and crossed t coming out of the mouth of the new president.  

Yesterday in the space of a few hours a huge celebratory caravan was organized and then proceeded slowly through Chelsea in East Boston. It was a massive and spontaneous affair which came off without a hitch. We had the help of an AM radio broadcast to get the message out. A rally was held in a nearby park and finally our group retired to a local restaurant for food, discussion, and organizing. The proverbial legal pad was passed around and dozens of new names and numbers were added to the list.  The local base committee here is now much larger than it was even a week ago. 

If we consider the possibility of the energizing effect of Funes' victory multiplied a thousand times throughout the exile community and of course within the country, I think we are about to see written in words and deeds a new and very positive chapter in Salvadoran and Latin American history. 

In terms of the legacy of Allende and  Romero, my FMLN companero spoke on the subject as we drove home last night. First of all the right wing ran a very dirty campaign filled with violence, lies and bribes. Not only was there the usual violence designed to intimidate Salvadorans from expressing their political will, but thousands of Hondurans, Nicaraguans and Guatemalans were bused in to vote ilegally for the ARENA party. They were given $25, a bus ticket and a meal.  Some Salvadorans followed the Tammany Hall version of democracy, voting "early and often". One was arrested with 25 fake Id's on his person. 

In spite of all that the fruits of victory are like a healing balm. I did not speak to a single angry Salvadoran last night. All I saw were joyful smiles. This active and ORGANIZED optimism in the face of adversity is testimony to the resilient, and yes, forgiving spirit of the Salvadoran people. It is an intelligent forgiveness which does not forget the past but seeks to overcome it.  

Now that the political space has been created I think we are about to see a tsunami of popular organizing, and this is what is needed to prevent another Allende: the popular organization and sustained mobilization of the people. This was my friend's key point. He also reminded me that it would be very stupid of the right at this point to engage in political assassination.      Moreover they do not have a partner in washington who would support such a plan. No, I think their attempt at sabotage will be less direct. 

Greg McDonald
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