Overflowing all estimates and expectations, lively crowds thronged the streets in a nationwide struggle against the APRA Alan Garcia administration the size of which was reminiscent of the Marcha de los 4 Suyos, which as we can remember spelled the beginning of the end of the dictatorial regime of Fujimori and Montesinos.
In Lima, over 50 000 workers crowded into over 20 central blocks in a three-hour compact mobilisation and flowed into Plaza San Martin, which remained full to the brim during the closure meeting. Previous to this, endless columns of teachers reached the starting line (Dos de Mayo square) representing different sectors of education in
Among other concentrated sectors, there were the civil builders and the textile trade union – among them Topy Top who had just achieved an important triumph when they had 93 laid-off workers reincorporate and San Sebastian and the Lima grassroots of university lecturers of the Fendup. Another major column, consisting of over a hundred correctly organised workers, was that of the Celima trade Union who were on their second day of a successful 48-hour strike.
Flaming over the crowds, there were also the banners of state health service and education, numerous industry groups in conflict, students’ grouping of universities of
Also present were the political organisations and the human rights joining in with the protest against the shocking sentence passed by the Chilean judge refusing extradition of the bloodthirsty and corrupt former dictator Alberto Fujimori.
Further inland, there were strikes and demonstrations in many cities and towns, many of them very radical and with the social forces overflowing the banks. Among the most outstanding we could see the peasants’ movements against the FTA and the communities confronting the havoc caused by the exploitation by internationals and great concerns in mining, gas and oil.
The 11th July was a clear response to the policy of the criminal repression and the constant provocations and mockery, behaviour of a reactionary government that has manifested their decision to mobilise the army so as to cause fear among the population.
If the police and military manoeuvres of the police and the army were anything to judge by that was a day of real panic for the government. The reactionary behaviour of this government has also become obvious when they almost immediately responded to these struggles by announcing the “caballazo”, the Law of the Public Teachers’ Career, a law that is precisely what the 200 000 elementary and high school teachers were fighting against by going on a strike of indefinite duration and with everyday demonstrations.
This is, therefore a government that has been driving on the confrontation all the measures of the neoliberal plan, the “reforms” of privatising and mass layoffs, the paying of the fake foreign debt and the approval for the FTA, the tool to drown our country even further in recolonisation by American imperialism. By doing so they have ensured the enthusiastic support of the employers and the multinationals as well as the most reactionary political sectors.
But from the toiling masses, the vast majority of the country, they have only received repudiation and rebuff. Yesterday’s struggle, which will no doubt raise the fighting spirit of the Peruvian toiling masses, shows the way to new great events. It is of fundamental importance to give continuity to this organised struggle with a general nation-wide strike.
(Published on the page of the PST, Peruvian section of the IW-FI).
(Statement emitted by the PST for the 11th July.).
NATIONAL STRIKE FOR THE TRIUMPH OF THE WORKING CLASS.
On 11 July the toiling masse will carry out activities to mark a milestone in the struggles and a severe beating and will expose their “responsible change” which has only meant more of the same thing, that is to say, more servile behaviour with imperialism and the multinationals with the vast majorities paying the price of it all.
The 11th July struggles have been heralded by a strike wave that has been gradually paralysing the country and flooding the streets with throngs of men and women in a fury about the current situation, just the way it happened 30 years ago, when a popular mobilisation defeated the Morales Bermudez military dictatorship.
In spite of all their bragging, the government has been giving responses that reveal great weakness. Day after day, they keep on clutching on to an economic pattern that enriches those on the top and maintains the poverty of the vast majorities is sliding down. This situation has started a possibility to defeat the government or, at least, to snatch away from them some important achievements such as the solution to the conflicts and demands mot affecting the people. Several of these are contained in the CGTP platform, presented to the government requesting the beginning of talks.
President Garcia has not yet found time to speak to the leaders of the central but from among the top-notches desperate movements are made to try and stifle the fires that keep on breaking out with the obvious purpose of weakening or deactivating the 11th July activity. It is within this context that the Topy Top struggle that led to the re-employment of the 39 dismissed workers; the granting of a law that acknowledged a fourth list of the dismissed under the Fujimori regime; the partial solution to he university workers’ strike and the opening of a path towards a solution in the strike of the Casapalca miners.
We must not, however, take what are the real achievements of the relentless struggle of the workers enhanced by a situation where gigantic social pressure is being exerted while the government is trying to deactivate it by attending to some of the requests for the real role that the leaders of the CGTP has been playing. This leadership now appears as the direct midwife of the solutions to the conflicts while the truth is they are entirely in the government trench and extremely delayed, due to the great social pressure, they have now been driven to summon for the 11th July demonstrations in order to negotiate with the government partial concessions and scraps of what is really needed.
The same can be said of the SUTEP. The bureaucratic leadership of Red Fatherland, after having been curtsying to the government, has now been forced to summon a national strike joining the heroic strike that the grassroots of the provinces have been carrying for several weeks now against the decision of the government to pass the Law of the Public Teachers’ Career which will make teachers liable of dismissal. What these leaders are trying to do is to make sure they will not lose the control of the teachers’ organisation and take the lead of the struggle so as to be able to negotiate it or betray it the way they did in the 2004 strike.
We are all overjoyed at the triumph of Topy Top and we hope to celebrate many triumphs more. But we cannot help seeing the difference between these triumphs and the use that is being made of them by the leaders of the CGTP in order to gain prestige as leaders and at the same time to deactivate the current gale of struggles. The service they are render to the administration could hardly be more conspicuous for this great mobilisation, led steadily and frontally against the government can easily defeat it and achieve the fulfilment of all the demands. That is why the hugs and smiles exchanged between the administration and this leadership that we have been witnessing for the past year or so will once more surface and bloom.
Partial triumphs are important and must serve to strengthen the struggles of the trade unions and popular organisations and the attainment of the fundamental objectives that are there on the CGTP platform and about which the administration says nothing. The need for a new General Law of Labour re-establishing the labour rights, suppressing outsourcing, the suspension of the signing of the FTA that creates slave-lime bonds with the USA allowing more privatising, paying the foreign debt and giving away our natural resources ()gas, oil, water, land). It consents to the corrupt murderers of the dictatorship and even Fujimori himself.
Essentially, the abolition of the ’93 Constitution as the legal scaffolding on which the government stands, together with the claim of a sovereign and democratic Constituent Assembly to work out a new one that would stand for national sovereignty, labour and democratic rights.
The 11th of July must not be placed in the service of saving the skin of the government in exchange for partial concessions It should serve the purpose of strengthening independent organisation and mobilisation of the toiling masses hinging round the struggle for the fundamental demands posed and should advance towards the defeat of the government and open the perspective of our own power as a way of attaining the real solution.
After that date we have to move towards a nation-wide strike. This is a task that the grassroots, especially those that are now fighting the battle, should boost and pose it to the National Assembly of the CGTP. This is a task for the new advance guard of the working class that is beginning to surface in the midst of the battles should promote as part of the challenge to build a new leadership, fighting and classiest.