Global Left Midweek – February 8, 2023
- Peru: No Turning Back
- Europe’s Labor Explosion
- Leftist Party Excluded From Guatemala Election
- Myanmar People Fight for Democracy
- Electoral Reform Movements in Canada
- The West and the Uprising in Iran
- India’s CPIML (Liberation) on the International Situation
- Berlin: Social Democrats’ Dilemma
- A Look Back at the African Women’s Movement Press
- Reinvestigating Martov
Peru: No Turning Back
Róger Rumrrill / OtraMirada (Lima)
[Translated from Spanish by Portside. Read the original here]
Peru has reached a point of no return from a systemic and structural crisis that is 200 years old. Now there is only one Andean Pachakuti and an Amazonian Ipámamu left [referring to particular cataclysmic moments marking the advent of a new epoch, new times, the beginning of a new history - Portside]. “The only thing that can get us out of this situation is utopia, or in other words — what does this mean? That this system has come to an end, has died,” says social scientist and university professor Héctor Béjar Rivera.
Who is fighting to build utopia? And what will make possible this Copernican turn of Peruvian history? According to analyst Alberto Adrianzén, it’s the “democratic fury” of the people who are now mobilizing and expressing their anger and rebellion from one end of the country to the other. In these tumultuous, violent, dramatic and tragic days, Peru “is living through the largest and most diverse democratic movement in the republic’s history,” says sociologist Sinesio López Jiménez.
Because, just as it has not been possible to return to “normality” with the coronavirus; neither can we return to “normality” with a Peruvian state captured by the elites and with a democracy seated and functional to these same oligarchic groups. The sandcastle of Western civilization was about to collapse due to the attack of an invisible virus, and that same virus revealed the precariousness of the Peruvian state, custom made according to the insatiable appetites of the powerful. Now, that same state and that economic model, after 200 years, can no longer be just the bastion and celebration of a minority hell-bent on killing any changes and transformations in society.
The underlying cause of this political and social earthquake that now shakes Peru, with a tragic cost of more than a hundred Peruvians killed by state repression and the destruction of public and private goods, goes way back. It is 200 years old. Because as historians like Jorge Basadre have pointed out, the political independence of 1821 did not structurally change the economic, social and cultural system of the colony. The colonial character of power, culture and subjectivity, as the thinker Aníbal Quijano says, continued and continues to dominate Peru.
In any case, 1821 was a trade of snot for drool. To the extent that the colonial system of the encomiendas [enslavement of indigenous] was transformed into the great republican haciendas and latifundia, the basis and structure of the disgraceful feudalization of the republic, that was only canceled in 1969 with the Agrarian Reform of General Velasco.
The construction of the Peruvian nation is still a pending agenda. Because the Peruvian nation is multilingual, multiethnic and multicultural, and the Peruvian state is of colonial origin, dysfunctional to the nation. Therefore, the construction of the Peruvian nation, inevitably and irreversibly, passes through a profound reform of the neocolonial state, in the economy, culture, health, education and justice, among other reforms.
Just one example. The justice carried out by judges, prosecutors and magistrates is the application and execution of Roman positive law. For them, the customary law of the Andean-Ahazónic peoples—of a third of the Peruvian population, with 55 ethnolinguistic families, four in the Andes (Kichwa, Uru, Aymara and Jacaru) and 51 in the Amazon—is dead letter.
This huge fracture between the multilingual, multicultural and multiethnic nation and the monocultural state has come to the surface these days in the behavior of the aggressive and authoritarian state and politicians and the media in these days of citizen anger: racism, centralism, the disintegration of the country, extreme polarization, contempt for the poor and worse if they are Indians, among other evils and problems of Peruvian society.
Without the structural reform of the Peruvian neocolonial state, as a first step, and the refoundation of the Peruvian nation, as a subsequent step, Peru could be knocked down to a failed state in the coming decades.
The founding crisis of the Peruvian state deepened even more with the advent of Fujimori kleptocracy. Alberto Fujimori and his alter ego [former domestic intelligence czar] Vladimiro Montesinos increased many times over the serpent’s egg of corruption in Peruvian society. But not only that. Together with the violence of the Shining Path (SL) and the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) they dynamited the country and further opened the cracks and splits of the disintegrating country, breaking the social and institutional fabric, weakening political parties almost to extinction and holding the State captive and hostage to the great national and international economic power.
Fujimorismo’s and the right’s philosopher’s stone was the political Constitution of 1993. It was the master key to lock the door of the state and open all the doors to the market, and it turned into the bible of economy and development. The economic and political far right has ordered its lapdogs in Congress to defend that Constitution as an untouchable mantra.
The immense social and political explosion of these days has exposed one of the country’s great problems: hypercentralism, which, in the case of Peru, is not only political, but also economic, social and cultural. Lima's centralist vision and conception of the regions, especially Andean-Afriendistic, is colonial. They only see the Andes and the Amazon as territories to extract minerals, copper, zinc, gold, oil, gas, wood.
The 18,000 laws that were passed for the Amazon between 1821 and 1960 reveal that myopia and almost blindness. That is why I hypothesize that an Andean-Amazonian alliance that is now being woven will transform the Amazon and the Andes into Peru’s geopolitical, geoeconomic and hydropolitical space in the 21st century. The protection, conservation and sustainable management of the Amazon forest, the largest freshwater factory in the world, is one of the axes of this strategic alliance.
The battle that is being held in the streets and cities of Peru at the moment is a struggle for power. All the criminalizing, tricky, conspiratorial and confrontational discourse (without denying that there are vandals and destroyers of property that have other purposes) of the civil-military government of Mrs. Dina Boluarte points in a precise direction: to continue to maintain political and economic power and therefore the permanence of that same State, Congress and government.
As analyst Víctor Caballero Martín writes: “What is at the center of the conflict is a matter of power, the reforms that the Peruvian state requires, for the debate on a new consensus on the balance of power in which the people demand to participate. He demands that they be considered as valid political actors and interlocutors with whom to establish the foundations of a political agenda of reforms and in which the mobilized people, their organizations and leaders are included as political actors with whom to dialogue.”
For this reason, President Dina Boluarte will continue to insist in her blather that the agenda with the multitudes across the whole country is only social and not political. Because the ideal for her and the power that holds her as a captive and prisoner is, as Avelino Guillén, former supreme prosecutor and former minister of the interior, says, “to escalate the level of violence [in order] to stay until 2026.”
The current crisis also reveals a kind of fatality in Peruvian politics and politicians. The choice of Pedro Castillo was a kind of symbol and emblem. The first cholo [dark-skinned] president, a rural teacher, of popular origin, elected president precisely in the celebration of the Bicentennial of Independence. Many of us believed that Castillo came to the government to break the colonial atavism of the politicians who for a bicentennial built the sandcastle of the Peruvian state. But Pedro Castillo was really a sand castle that collapsed.
Dina Boluarte, who succeeded Castillo, the first Peruvian woman to arrive in the government of Peru in 200 years, should have resumed the entire transformation agenda that Castillo had promised in his campaign and that she later abandoned. But instead, Mrs. Boluarte co-governs with Fujimorismo and the right, political factions that were rejected in a titanic clean electoral contest. “She has abandoned not only her political banners, but the popular will,” says political scientist Ariela Ruiz Caro.
The “taking of Lima” [the mass protests since November] has to become the taking of power. That is, elections brought forward in this year of 2023. A large coalition of center, left and even democratic right, added to the crowds that are now mobilizing throughout the country, to win the elections and start the great transformations: a new Constitution, structural reforms of the State and the refoundation of the Peruvian Nation.
Europe’s Labor Explosion
- Press Review: Winter of Discontent / euro|topics (Bonn)
- UK Labor Digs In Ellen Ioanes / Vox (Washington DC)
- Up Against Macron Kenny Stancil / Common Dreams (Portland ME)
Thorben Austen / The Rio Times
The Guatemalan Electoral Tribunal TSE has informed the leftist party Movimiento para la Liberación de los Pueblos that it will not allow its candidacy for the presidential election. The party is considered a “political instrument” of the rural workers’ organization Comité de Desarrollo Campesino (Codeca) and has its backing primarily among the indigenous rural population.
Myanmar People Fight for Democracy
- Ethnic Armed Groups Buttress Resistance / Frontier Myanmar (Bangkok)
- The Left in Myanmar Robert Narai / Red Flag (Melbourne)
- Labor Leader Ma Tin Tin Wai Speaks Ma Cheria / Asia Labour Review (Hong Kong)
Electoral Reform Movements in Canada
Anita Nickerson and Gisela Ruckert / The Tyee (Vancouver)
Far from the machinations in party backrooms, citizens in the Yukon are stubbornly fighting for their own democratic revolution. As one reform advocate observed, “I have come to believe that there is something in the water that brings out people’s best selves when the going gets hard.” That spirit has brought a scrappy team of electoral reformers to the verge of a major leap forward.
Fereshteh Ahmadi and Sharareh Akhavan / Socialist Project (Toronto)
A change in Iran cannot be implemented through interventions from the US and the West. Change of regime, election of leaders, and a coalition for a future free and democratic Iran must come from within the country. Support is needed for the movement from the international community, in the form of political pressure and sharp condemnations against the Islamic regime.
Liberation (New Delhi)
The global crisis of capitalism – which is also a climate crisis, has led to deep insecurity and deprivation which has been fertile ground for the rise of fascist and authoritarian forces all over the world, that have blamed inequality and insecurity, not on neoliberal policies but on minorities and immigrants.
Berlin: Social Democrats’ Dilemma
Andreas Thomsen / Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung (Berlin)
The SPD find themselves in a paradoxical situation: their policies have been fairly successful at the state level, but primarily due to the social policies that have largely been shaped by Die Linke senators. These successes would not have been possible with Mayor Franziska Giffey’s former partner of choice, the centre-right FDP.
Rama Salla Dieng and Korka Sall / African Arguments (London)
The magazine AWA: la revue de la femme noire (1964–73) was launched by a network of women’s rights activists, in shaping the emergence of a pan-Africanist political consciousness through transnational organising. In addition, the magazine promoted women’s literacy and professional training to help contribute to nation-building efforts especially after independence.
Paul Kellogg / Links (Sydney)
In his era, Julius Martov was without question one of the most important intellectuals and leaders of the Russian Left, including its principal organization, the RSDRP. For the Bolsheviks, support for democracy and resort to terror were tactical, contingent questions. For Martov, support for democracy and opposition to terror were matters of principle.