Originally published April 5, 2022, by the Partido Socialista de los Trabajadores (PST) of Peru
The PST expresses its solidarity and unconditional support to the popular struggle unleashed against hunger and the disastrous government of Pedro Castillo. In almost all the country there are popular revolts with road blockades, and in some places looting and attacks on entities that symbolize state and private abuse.
The popular explosion occurs within the framework of the strike and stoppage called by various transport unions, including motorcycle taxi drivers, cab drivers, and informal workers, and includes organizations of small farmers and above all the poor people who spontaneously joined the protest for one reason: hunger.
Fuel and basic food prices have doubled and no one with a precarious salary or without a job can bear them.
The government’s response to this legitimate protest has been the most vile. Castillo accused the demonstrators of being “paid” by the right wing, and in that line unleashed on them a brutal repression, which in the case of Huancayo caused the blindness of two young people and the death of four. And now, he decrees a curfew in Lima and Callao, further inflaming tempers.
It is true that the bosses, and especially their right-wing sectors, have not let the government breathe since day one. But to attribute to them the popular outburst is not only nonsense that overestimates their true strength, but it also leads to not understanding the suffering and desperation that the people are experiencing due to the increases and the disinterest shown by the government.
On the contrary, now the right wing is alarmed by the popular uprising and applauds the repressive measures ordered by the government. It wants to control the situation and protect the property of the rich, and then return to the front line with its plans for impeachment. We expect nothing else from them. The one doing the dirty work is Castillo, who has been conceding to his enemies from day one, and now, instead of meeting the demands and getting back in touch with the people who put him in the Palace, he capitulates to his harassers and launches the National Police and the Armed Forces against the people.
The social explosion not only expresses immense discontent but also frustration with the government. The election of Castillo was the hope of the poor people to recover what they lost in the pandemic, the product not only of the virus but also of the bosses’ policies applied by the government. But Castillo did nothing: he did not fulfill any promise, did not meet any demand, and contributed to worsening the situation. In the factories where the problems are raging, the government does nothing. And it did nothing in the face of the brutal rise in food and fuel prices; and now, under popular pressure, it dictates lukewarm measures that do not solve the problem.
The Castillo government not only shows the absolute failure of the “left” of Juntos por el Perú and Perú Libre and their total incapacity to carry out a program of changes from within the State. Moreover, it has shown that it is not possible to make those changes in agreement or conciliation with the bourgeoisie as they proclaim, even these days.
Faced with this situation, what we need is to support, strengthen and extend the struggle that has begun. To decisively unite the whole of the working class in it on April 7. Our demands are:
- Freezing of fuel, gas, and food prices.
- General increase of salaries and pensions to the level of the basic family basket.
- Support for the poor peasantry with fertilizers, technical assistance, and purchase of their products at fair prices.
- Reinstatement of dismissed workers, cancellation of collective dismissals, workers’ administration of closed factories, end of labor intermediation, and CAS in the State.
- Effective attention to the pandemic, public education, and the demand for water and basic services, with financing.
There are resources. And if they are lacking, they must be taken from the large corporations, along the lines of the peasant communities that are reclaiming what is theirs from the mining companies. We paid with many lives and more poverty for the government policy of saving business first during the pandemic. Not anymore! Let the crisis and the price increases attributed to international effects be paid by the big capitalists and the rich.
The workers’ and popular frustration against the Castillo government, manifested in the streets, demands that we take into our own hands the government of our destinies. In the blockades and strikes, in the countryside and in the factories, we need to set up committees of struggle, today for the demands put forward and tomorrow to confront the pretensions of the right wing to regain power. Only from these organizations, in the face of the failure and collapse of the Castillo government, will we be able to forge an alternative of a true workers’ and popular government. And to carry out this task, from the PST, we call to set up a true revolutionary party of the workers.