Colombia Woke Up: Down with Duque! All to the Streets!

On November 21, Colombia woke up: two million people took to the streets to protest against  the Duque government’s labor, pension and tax reforms (demanded by the OECD and IMF) and against the murder of social activists.
By: PST-Colombia   11/27/2019
These mobilizations have been driven by the awakening of Latin America and the Caribbean, by the examples of Chile, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, Haiti and Bolivia, which have made the working class, students, artists, intellectuals and popular sectors raise their voice in the streets.
On the night of November 21, neighborhoods performed cacerolazos  (banging of pots and pans) and people made calls to continue fighting, despite the refusal  of the trade union centrals leadership to continue in the streets. The mobilizations extended throughout the weekend and the government’s response was the repression of the mobilizations through ESMAD (Mobile Anti-Disturbance Squadron), which ended up killing a student, Dilan Cruz, in downtown Bogotá with an unconventional lethal ammunition.
Duque’s government response has been to strengthen the repression against mobilizations, to militarize the cities, and to call for a National Dialogue that began with the business associations and elected territorial leaders. On Tuesday, November 26, he met with trade union centrals, who attended this meeting without consulting the other sectors that have called and promoted for a National Strike.
This uprising’s structural causes are the plans of the bourgeoisie and imperialism that unload the economic crisis on the workers and the precarious masses, increasing the concentration of wealth in the hands of few and generalizing the misery and attacks on labor and social rights.
The fearless generation
This awakening of the masses in Colombia, this resistance in the streets to which the bourgeoisie has responded with the most brutal repression, criminalization and prosecution of fighters, has as protagonists the precarious youth at the vanguard, due to the fact that this sector of the population has suffered significantly under effects of the capitalist decline, together with other exploited and oppressed sectors of the population.
Their struggles, together with the popular sectors and the precarious working class, have surpassed trade union bureaucracies. Reformist political parties try to control this process by applying their nefarious class conciliation politics, trying to channel the struggles towards the Duque Dialogue.
Therefore, from the PST (Socialist Workers Party), we believe that a National Emergency Meeting is necessary with all the sectors that participate in the mobilizations, to democratize the current Strike Committee that controls the trade union centrals and prepare an Indefinite National Strike.
Stay in the streets, organize the struggles
We must demand the dismantling of ESMAD and stop the massacre of social fighters, we must fight against reforms that intend to leave us without pensions and labor rights, against the tax reform that makes companies pay less than 19% in taxes, that is, less than the taxes charged to the working class, we must fight for a minimum wage of one and a half million pesos and to reverse the privatization of public services and transportation.
To achieve these rights, we must maintain mobilizations and organize strike committees in neighborhoods, colleges and universities, in factories and in all other spaces. We must respond to Duque’s austerity package, in the streets and not at the dialogue tables.
Trade union centrals, who have refused to lead the struggles, must decide whether to break with their conciliatory policy and delivery of the rights of the working class and the poor, or start organizing an Indefinite National Strike that not only stops Duque’s plans, but also recovers lost rights now demanded by the masses of young people.
Down with Duque and his austerity package!!!
Dismantle ESMAD and no to the massacre of social fighters !!!
Down with the labor, tax and pension reforms !!!
No to the Duque Dialogue, the fight is in the streets !!!
Organize an Indefinite National Strike !!!
Translation by Blas (Corriente Obrera LIT-CI)

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