The victory of the NO was a surprise even for the launchers [of the referendum]. But this tight triumph (just 53.894 votes) shows the polarization before the call for a referendum without any possibility but to choose for YES or NO. The victory of the NO is the result of the combination of discredit and rejection that an important part of the population feels for the FARC, and the deep social discontent of sectors of the population that suffer daily the misery, unemployment and inequality and do not see how the Havana agreements can improve their situation.
By PST – Colombia.
The triumph of the NO is also product of the arrogant and repressive response that Santos gave to the social conflicts and the demonstrations for the most felt demands of the population. While Santos raises the speech of peace, he denies the social discomfort and refuses to solve the urgent necessities of the ones that are struggling. To these sectors, the economic and social policy of Santos and his promises of peace, prosperity and reconciliation were inextricable.
The 63% abstention rate is the expression of an immense majority of the population that does not believe in Santos’ peace neither in Uribe’s fuss. It responds to an immense majority that does not see the agreements with the FARC will modify the miserable conditions they live in. The abstention is the primary result of the referendum. Uribe could only drag 18.5% of the population, so he cannot claim to have the representation of the Colombian people.
The discontent of the population has been channeled by Uribe, that together with the most reactionary sectors, like the former attorney Alejandro Ordóñez and the ex president Pastrana raised the ghost of Castro-Chavism, taking advantage of the demoralization Maduro caused to the Venezuelan people, because his government and Chávez’s led the workers to a situation of starvation and misery, generating discredit in the left-wing options and soiling the meaning of socialism and revolution. The right-wing strengthening is the result of the nefarious policy of capitulation and agreement of most of the left-wing.
Uribe’s campaign, full of lies and fallacies to scare the voters, saying the country would be delivered to the FARC, was more powerful than the Santos’ campaign that had the entire State apparatus, the parties of the National Unity and most part of the “left” and the Union leaders serving the YES -while they raised the threat of the war if it were to win the NO. Be it Uribe’s or Santos’ fallacies, they are still insisting on the policy of fear, created by the bourgeoisie to keep the population under control.
The fact Uribe channeled part of the social discontent under the flags of the reaction can be explained mainly because the Union bureaucracy at the head of the Workers’ Federations, as well as most leftist leaderships, are loyal to the government and not the workers and the people. They prefer to agree political support to Santos than driving and centralizing the struggles –against this government- with an independent policy to achieve a victory. On the contrary, they betrayed the teachers’ struggles, refused to centralize the mobilization and support the social struggles, and they systematically refuse to call for a National Strike. This class collaboration policy was sealed when they called the workers to vote for Santos re-election in name of “peace”, causing the discontent to remain disorganized and later channeled by Uribe. This policy was so evident that it had to be openly assumed in the last statement of the Unitary National Command, by saying that “this scenario will reactivate all the actions aiming to support the social and labour conflicts and a national response to the regressive measures”. With this statement, they recognize such scenario left inactive the support to the conflicts for a year and denied to respond nationally to the regressive measures. It could not be clearer.
The question many ask is what will happen now. Before the political crisis opened with the defeat of the referendum, evidenced among other events by the resignation of Gina Parody to the Ministry of Education – plus other possible internal changes; the call to a national pact on the summit will be the new scenario to end the negotiations with the FARC and integrate the opposition bourgeoisie to this plan. This was the whole meaning of the statements after knowing the results of the referendum.
Santos ratified his decision of making peace effective, and he sated he will not desist until the last day of his turn; so the bilateral cease of fire remains on, and he acknowledges in the triumph of the NO the necessity of negotiating the adjustments to the demobilization of the guerrilla and its incorporation to the political regime with Uribe –in the frame of a broad National Unity agreement-.
The FARC, through Timochenko, ratified they “keep the will of peace and reiterate the disposal of using only the word as a weapon to construct the future”. This means that the political decision of demobilizing and the incorporation of the FARC to the regime remain current, as we said several times before, before the threat of Santos of going back to war if the YES were to lose.
Meanwhile, Uribe claims the victory putting on the table the reactionary demand by which he opposed to ratify the agreements: to keep intact the land usurpation by the land-owners and paramilitaries, to guarantee the “investors’ trust” without increasing the taxes to the businessmen, to punish with jail the guerrilla leaders while he demands “judicial relief” to the militaries implicated in crimes against the population, and to ban every vindication for women or LGBTIs questioning the conception of family defended by the former attorney Ordóñez and the ministers of Evangelic Churches supporting him on his campaign for the NO.
What took place was an impasse, but the demobilization process of the guerrilla has not stopped. We must not forget behind the decision of demobilizing by the insurgence, there is the imperialism and its transnational companies, the true owners of Santos and Uribe. They will not let the big business to decline because of an interruption of the demobilization process. The great National Unity pact Santos is calling –already mentioned in the point 3 of the agreements- will be the scenario in the summit, where the government and the “Uribists” will resolve the contradictions and finally reach an agreement regarding the participation in the juicy businesses of the post-conflict times, while they unify against the workers and the poor population, as it is already happening in Bogotá, with the support of the Mayor Peñaloza.
True peace, the one of the victims, the population sentenced to poverty, the exploited workers; the one that escapes the tight margins of a referendum that limits millions to ratify the decision of a few powerful ones, will need to be conquered on the streets, and imposed to all the executioners responsible for decades of violence and death; it will need to be conquered in the fights with no headquarters against the economic and social policies of Santos, now weakened by the result of the referendum. But this struggle on the streets is also against Uribe and his allies, against his pretension of more impunity to the businessmen, landowners, paramilitaries, ‘para-politicians’ and militaries responsible for the violence, and against the demand of less taxes for the multinationals. The struggle is against Santos and against Uribe, disputing to each other to defend the sector each one of them represents, while acting in unity against the workers and the poor, as they are unified by their class interests.
The Unitary National Command, the Workers’ Federations and the Unions now have the imperious responsibility of removing their political support to Santos’ government. The damage they already inflicted to the struggles, the organization, the workers’ consciousness and the mobilization because of their policy of conciliation and collaboration was used by Uribe, and it can only be reverted by leading a decisive struggle against Santos and the bourgeoisie as a whole. They must immediately call for a democratic, workers’ and popular and ethnic Encounter, to debate an independent solution “from below” and organize a National Strike, to take advantage of the political crisis opened with the defeat of Santos. So we can also defeat on the streets Uribe and the imperialism, struggling against the murders and threats that still exist, and against the tax reform, the social security reform, the police code and the privatization pro-imperialist policy of Santos.
It will be through the unity of the struggles and mobilization on the streets that we will impose a broad, free, democratic and sovereign Constituent Assembly, to solve ourselves, as working class and popular sectors, the problems we suffer, as much as to give the FARC and the political expressions of the workers currently banned by the authoritarian, bloody, anti-democratic regime, the guarantee of participation in legal politics, openly and facing the masses.
Under the yoke of capitalism, the workers, the poor and the oppressed ones will never have peace. Peace can only be achieved by a workers’ government and a socialist society, with the elimination of the dictatorship of the profit and the accumulation of capital. It is on this path we need to organize and struggle.
Socialist Workers’ Party – Colombia.
October 4, 2016.