From Revolutionary Communist Group of Colombia:

¡To Strike!



Editors’ Note: The following is a flyer recently issued by the Grupo Comunista Revolucionario (Revolutionary Communist Group, GCR) of Colombia. The “strike” in the headline refers to the November 21 national strike when hundreds of thousands of people across the country took to the streets in protest against the repressive U.S.-backed government of Colombia. Protests have continued to rock the country since then, with many calling for the ouster of the president and his right-wing regime. The GCR has been in the midst of these struggles and, while speaking to the immediate crisis in Colombia and support for the people rising up, they are bringing forward the need for a thoroughgoing revolution against the system itself.

Right now there is much at stake that is important and urgent. Not only in Colombia, with the thousands of murders by the FFMM [Military Forces] (“false positives”1), the murder of social leaders, and the impunity of the murderers, economic reforms that are harmful to the people, shanty-townization, increasing informal work and unemployment; but worldwide: unfair wars, poverty and overwhelming inequality, oppression and degradation of women, environmental crises endangering life on the planet, without those who run the world do anything to stop it...

And people respond, especially the new generation. Since the beginning of the decade there have been major outbursts of protest and rebellion: the uprising in Egypt in 2011, the Occupy movements in the United States, the movements of the Indignados in Spain,2 derived from the 2008-2011 economic crisis, stating “We are not puppets in hands of politicians and bankers,” or, “Real Democracy NOW! We are not merchandise in the hands of politicians and bankers,” and reaching dozens of countries. From there to the 2013 uprisings in Brazil and Turkey and South Korea to the current ones in Hong Kong, Catalonia, Cairo (Egypt), Paris (France), Moscow (Russia), Beirut (Lebanon), Algeria, Baghdad (Iraq) and Jakarta (Indonesia) going through the growing global movements such as Extinction Rebellion and Fridays for Future, marked mainly by young people concerned about the environmental crisis, with important contributions, such as the firm defense of science by some of its leaders, including Greta Thunberg.

In Colombia, the decade began with the agrarian strikes3 (which the ruling classes despised to the point of pretending they did not exist) and the MANE student movement,4 inspired in several aspects by the marches of the Chilean Confederation of Students, but placated by McCarthyism and open repression, despite the stupid responses of “cuddling” and similar “cohabitation” with the same repressive forces that are the backbone of the system that exploits and oppresses. All in tune with the worldwide tendency to right-wing (even towards fascism), which has exacerbated the growing polarization of Colombian society.

Everywhere people are standing up, and looking for solutions and philosophies (within the same system). Several programs and political views have gained influence and followers: “movements without leadership,” “real democracy,” “anti-hierarchy,” anti-state and “horizontalism,” “economic democracy” and things like that, essentially showing a lack of hope of achieving a radically better life for everyone in this world, ultimately legitimizing the capitalist-imperialist system that crushes people and quenches the spirit, by presenting “solutions” that really are dead-ends, leaving the people trapped in the swamp of elections, lobbying, NGOs, and the like.

Here, there, or anywhere, protest after protest, independent of how radical they are in form, they have ended up defending the “welfare state,” or “capitalism with a human face,” with conclusions like, “pressure is the only way that they listen to you,” seeing the socioeconomic problem in the sphere of distribution without going to the real root. And here, there, and anywhere, despair has ended up justifying contempt for the achievement of truly radical transformations, calling them utopias, which enthroned movement for movement’s sake.

Thus, the Strike of 21-N, far from being a “Castro-Chávez-inspired conspiracy of the Forum of São Paulo,”5 is part of a global explosion of disagreement, because wealth is still concentrated, there’s growing discontent amongst the middle class due to increases to the cost of living, and there’s a huge sector of informal and precarious workers who remain invisible. It has more to do with the material conditions of existence. There are real cracks that open throughout society: patriarchal oppression, the destruction of the environment, the migration crisis, racism and xenophobia, wars for empire... problems that CANNOT be solved within this economic and social system that produces them.

The capitalist system is a “mode of production.” That is, the way in which society is organized to produce and distribute the necessities for life. Billions of people around the world work collectively to produce for those needs. However, the means to produce that wealth are privately owned and controlled by a minority ruling class, the imperialist capitalists. These capitalists exploit the billions of people on the planet who do not possess such means and have to exchange their ability to work for a salary, or find another way to survive. The capitalists set the framework for the entire society, including the hundreds of millions of people “in the middle classes” who may have a small business or work as a professional, teacher, etc. And those capitalists compete with each other in a ruthless struggle to expand-or-sink to stay on top. On the basis of such ownership and control over wealth, the capitalist-imperialist class dominates politics, culture and ideas, and builds a massive machine of repression and military power to maintain its dominance. They use force, they say, on those who do not accept that framework. And they fight each other on how to govern. Capitalism is the central cause of the cruel forms of oppression that people face today. [, #460]

But to address a solution there are real obstacles generated, even by many of the (once) revolutionaries who now adopt economist approaches, or epistemological problems such as simplism, inevitability, and confidence in linear progress, without seeing the possibility of turning the wheel back of history, or that have received the rigged verdicts on the two socialist experiences of the twentieth century, that of the USSR [Soviet Union] (1917-1956) and China (1949-1976), etc.... Or by generational prejudices (not always without some real bases) especially of the environmentalist youth movements that blame previous generations in general (no class distinctions), rather than capitalist-imperialists who have held power...

YES. Right now there is much at stake that is important and urgent. YES, people are standing up and looking for, and weighing up, solutions and philosophies. But most have been trained to think that the only solution that should be ruled out without further ado is the communist revolution. And this has been the product, in large part, of the distortions and shameless lies structured in a true ideological offensive after the collapse of the Soviet Union (after decades of being NO longer socialist), 30 years ago.

However, it is precisely, and only, the real communist revolution that can deal specifically with the problems of society and the world that cause so much agony, and that can realize the highest aspirations that have prompted people to protest. The idea of a “leaderless” movement that could somehow create a fundamental change has revealed itself as a dangerous and harmful illusion and impediment. We have seen the price of the implications of the lack of a truly communist direction, vision and program. YES, the “old” idea initially developed by Marx, which today, with the new synthesis by Bob Avakian of the previous theory and practice and put on a more firmly scientific basis, has become a new communism. YES. What is needed is a real revolution and nothing less!

A real revolution requires that millions of people participate, in an organized way, in a determined and conscious struggle to dismantle this state apparatus and this system, and to replace it with a completely different state apparatus and system, a completely different way of organizing society, with completely different goals and ways of life for the people. If a revolution is not made, we will protest against the same abuses, generation after generation.

As much about the root of the problems as about the solution, you have to look for the truth wherever it leads, with a spirit of critical thinking and scientific curiosity and continually learn about the world and be better able to contribute to change it in accordance with fundamental interests of humanity, because, as Bob Avakian rightly points out: “If you have had a chance to see the world as it really is, there are profoundly different roads you can take with your life. You can just get into the dog-eat-dog, and most likely get swallowed up by that while trying to get ahead in it. You can put your snout into the trough and try to scarf up as much as you can, while scrambling desperately to get more than others. Or you can try to do something that would change the whole direction of society and the whole way the world is. When you put those things alongside each other, which one has any meaning, which one really contributes to anything worthwhile? Your life is going to be about something—or it’s going to be about nothing. And there is nothing greater your life can be about than contributing whatever you can to the revolutionary transformation of society and the world, to put an end to all systems and relations of oppression and exploitation and all the unnecessary suffering and destruction that goes along with them. I have learned that more and more deeply through all the twists and turns and even the great setbacks, as well as the great achievements, of the communist revolution so far, in what are really still its early stages historically.”

¡STRIKE DOWN exploitation and oppression! ¡STRIKE DOWN the patriarchy and the war against women!

¡STRIKE DOWN the destruction of the environment! ¡STRIKE DOWN the war against the people!

Grupo Comunista Revolucionario, Colombia. November 21, 2019


1. “False positives” refers to the civilians killed by members of the Army who dressed in uniforms of anti-government forces or planted weapons on people they murdered and then presented them as guerrillas or paramilitaries killed in combat.  [back]

2. Indignados is a mass movement that arose in Spain in the summer of 2011, under the slogans, among others: “Homeless—Jobless—Futureless—Fearless,” “Our dreams can’t fit in your ballot boxes,” “System Error—Message from the Spanish Revolution.” See “From A World to Win News Service: Two weeks in May with Spain’s ‘Indignados.’”  [back]

3. These were strikes by peasants mainly over the question of land ownership. The strikes thrust this issue before the eyes of society.  [back]

4. The MANE movement in 2011 was a series of protests led by students, some professors and university employees, workers, and unions throughout Colombia against the Higher Education Reform Bill proposed by the Colombian government.  [back]

5. The Sao Paolo Forum is a conference of left parties and groups from Latin America and the Caribbean, founded in 1990 by the Brazilian Worker’s Party and including the Castro regime in Cuba and the Chávez regime in Venezuela.  [back]

Mass mobilizations began on November 21 in several cities against the government of Colombian president Iván Duque Márquez. Banner: “STOP the War on the People.” “Revolution, Nothing Less!” Anti-Imperialist Brigades.

Protests included university students and professors, workers’ unions, and civil society, as well as artists.

Protesters came out en masse expressing discontent on environmental, social and economic policies of the government of Iván Duque Márquez, as well as the repression against the guerrilla movement.

A banner in Valle del Cauca, November 21 says: “Humanity Needs REVOLUTION and the New Synthesis of Communism of Bob Avakian.” “REVOLUTION, NOTHING LESS!”

«Lack of real hope for a better life in this world is a heavy chain weighing down, suffocating, and deeply scarring the masses of humanity, including the youth who are concentrated in the ghettos and barrios of this country as well as its overflowing torture chamber prisons. And the extreme individualism promoted throughout this society, the obsessive focus on “the self,” has reinforced the heavy lid on the sights of people, obscuring their ability to recognize the possibility of a radically different and better world, beyond the narrow and confining limits of this system, with all its very real horrors.»

[Bob Avakian, 2019]

Banners: “STOP the War on the People.” “Revolution, Nothing Less!” and “Raise Resistance to Revolution.”  Anti-Imperialist Brigades.

Cartagena, November 21. To express discontent with the central government in June, Colombian president Duque was booed out of a March for Life to protest the murders of social leaders.

Anti-government protesters stage a die-in, blocking traffic in Bogotá, November 27. Photo: AP

Anti-government protesters march in Bogotá, Colombia, November 27. Photo: AP




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