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The five organizations’ merger  

The currently known Front Farabundo Marti for National Liberation (FMLN) was, in the 1980s, a military political organization, whose origin dates from the time of great upheaval in our country. Because of the 10 October 1980 facts, the five strongest guerilla and political organizations joined in only one organization to fight against imperialism and the genocidal army of the Salvadoran bourgeoisie. 

Those five strongest guerilla and political organizations were: 1) the Popular Liberation Forces (FPL), 2) the National Resistance (RN), 3) the People Revolutionary Army (ERP), 4) the Revolutionary Party of the Central American Workers (PRTC) and 5) the Salvadorian Communist Party (PCS).  

The agreement among the five organizations had, from the beginning, strong contradictions and controversies regarding the design and program for the revolution that was happening in our country. The five organizations had different class backgrounds, different ideologies and different ways of thinking.  

For example, the ERP had its origin within the youth radicalized sectors of the Christian Democrats, while the FPL was born as an organization with working and popular presence. All the political differences on core issues such as the seizure of power, the concept of revolutionary party, and also how to deal with attempts to negotiate the beginning of the war would mark FMLN development and its resulting configuration, because these political differences and controversies were not treated using the workers’ democracy methods of discussion. On the contrary, there was lack of democratic space within FMLN since the beginning of the war, there was the use of accusations and slander to defeat the partner politically.  

It is very important to mention that one of the organizations that were part of this alliance was the FDR, which at that time had the social democracy leadership, as Guillermo Ungo, who, from the beginning were against the socialist revolution once what they proposed was fighting for a bourgeois regime with democratic freedoms. To that extent, they agreed with the imperialism proposals of giving a negotiated end to the war.  

The events of April 1983 and the program change to the Salvadoran revolution  

One of the most important and distorted controversies, revolves around the events of April 1983. Those events have to do with the murder of Ana Maria and the apparent suicide of Martial (Salvador Cayetano Carpio). In the official version given by the general command, it is stated that, Ana Maria’s murderer had been Marcial, and that Marcial, in a cowardly act, had committed suicide. What is not said is that the deaths of these two leaders happens at the precise moment when imperialism proposed, together with other Latin America bourgeois countries, to seek a negotiated solution to the revolutionary war which was even stronger in our country. At that time, as part of that policy, Contadora Group was born. Composed of Latin American countries and supported by Washington, Contadora Group established 21 points, on which rested a strong disarmament of Sandinist Popular Army and the prohibition of  “destabilizing Central American governments”. All this in a clear attempt to prevent the FSLN from supporting the Salvadoran revolution. Then Esquipulas agreements and other negotiations came to the scenario.  

At the beginning of the 1980s, FMLN program aimed at a Democratic Revolutionary Government (GDR) and its main points were: “to establish the revolutionary-democratic government, based in revolutionary and democratic forces unity, in the people’s army and in the Salvadoran people” in order to “definitely liquidate the political, economic and military dependency of our country in relation to American imperialism. The Provisional Government of Broad Participation (GAP) program, adopted in 1984, stated: “it will be a government where there will not be the domination of just a single force, but the expression of all forces broad participation in order to eliminate the oligarchy and where private property and foreign investment are not contrary to social interests”. At that time Cayetano’s tendency, which defended the GDR program, was isolated and then slandered, because its political program for the revolution was against the points established by Contadora Group to start negotiations. Therefore, after Cayetano’s death it was easier for the rest of the command to impose the GAP program, which coincided perfectly with the negotiations purpose and foremost, do not touch either the bourgeoisie private property or the imperialism interests.  

The revolutionary war and the treacherous negotiations  

In spite of the possibilities opened up to defeat the Salvadoran military and all U.S. military aid – FMLN had been victorious in several major fronts – in spite of all these victories, in spite of the triumph possibilities of a genuine Revolution, not only to end the dictatorship, but also to build up a socialist government to expropriate the bourgeoisie and imperialism, FMLN, in a clear contradiction, pushed in the opposite direction, getting closer to the imperialism field whose unique purpose was to give a political solution to the war, and make FMLN a party harmless to the capitalist system.  

In that sense, the Chapultepec agreements complied with what hade been FMLN leadership concerns since the beginning: to reconcile and compromise with the bourgeoisie, instead of seizing power together with the exploited classes of our country, and expropriate the bourgeoisie. Huge military operations like the military offensive of 1989 have just come to work as a boost to the negotiations pressuresand not as a move to take power and call an insurrection of the Salvadoran people.    

FMLN as a party in government – following the pace of the bourgeoisie and imperialism.  

Finally after 30 years of existence, FMLN, which had been in the past a revolutionary organization, has become an electoral apparatus, just to win votes and to have representatives. Currently, FMLN shares the government with the bourgeoisie and it looks like that its leadership has finally achieved the implementation of some GAP elements, considering that what they state today is that there must be a government of “national unity”. The same reality has shown that this government runs for imperialism and the bourgeoisie, once it has proposed to continue the trade agreements and economic policies that are leading the poor to pay for the crisis. This is so, because of the process of abandonment of revolutionary principles and values by FMLN leadership. As we have tried to explain, this abandonment process started more than 20 years ago but only now, it is evident. FMLN participation in a government of classes’ reconciliation turns their revolutionary principles abandonment deeply visible.  

We believe that the most serious is that these FMLN reformist policies have led the vast majority of revolutionary militants – who have deeply trusted the party to lead them to achieve the outstanding changes – to hard and successive defeats in face of the bourgeoisie and imperialism attacks. Due to this scenario nowadays, we find sectors that show harsh criticism in relation to FMLN direction, questioning whether the party is in the right path toward socialism or, on the contrary, it is further from this. This first article serves to start the debate. 

Translation: Wilma Olmo Corrêa