Month: March, 2012
Petition to Repeal the Anti-Communist Law in Texas
| March 31, 2012 | 12:43 pm | Action | 1 Comment

Download your own copy here.

Text is as follows:

We, the undersigned, petition the Texas State Legislature to repeal the anti-communist law which is still in effect. We view this law as anti-democratic, highly discriminatory and unconstitutional as well as libelous. The law is as follows:

Title 5, Subtitle A, Chapter 557, Subchapter A. Sedition and Subchapter C. Communism.” Sec. 557.021 reads “DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter: (1) “Communist” means a person who commits an act reasonably calculated to further the overthrow of the government: (A) by force or violence; or (B) by unlawful or unconstitutional means and replace it with a communist government.” Sec. 557.022 reads “RESTRICTIONS. (a) The name of a communist may not be printed on the ballot for any primary or general election in this state or a political subdivision of this state. (b) A person may not hold a nonelected office or position with the state or any political subdivision of this state if: (1) any of the compensation for the office or position comes from public funds of this state or a political subdivision of this state; and (2) the employer or superior of the person has reasonable grounds to believe that the person is a communist.

This law is in direct contradiction with documents from the CPUSA constitution.

Article VI, Section 3 (Rights and Duties of Party Members) asserts:
It shall be the obligation of all party members to struggle for the unity of the working class, against all forms of national oppression, national chauvinism, discrimination and segregation, against all racist ideologies and practices, such as white chauvinism and anti-semitism. It shall be the duty of all party members to fight for the full social, political and economic equality of the African-American, Mexican-American, Puerto Rican, Native American Indians, Asian and Pacific Islanders, other oppressed minorities, immigrants and the foreign born, and to promote the unity of all people as essential to the advancement of their common interests … It shall be the obligation of all party members to struggle against all manifestations of male supremacy and discrimination against women, and to fight for the full social, political and economic equality for women … It shall be the obligation of all party members to struggle against homophobia and all manifestations of discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexual and trans-gender people, and to fight for their full social and civil rights.

Of course, there is nothing here or anywhere else in the constitution of the CPUSA about “violent overthrow of the government” except under disciplinary procedures.

Under Article VII, Section 2 (Disciplinary Procedures and Appeals), the CPUSA constitution declares:

Subject to the provisions of this article, any member shall be expelled from the party who is a strikebreaker, a provocateur, engaged in espionage, an informer, or who advocates force and violence or terrorism, or who participates in the activities of any group which acts to undermine or overthrow any democratic institutions through which the majority of the American people can express their right to determine their destiny.

The definition of “communist” held by the state of Texas excludes all members of the Communist Party USA.

For this reason we demand that this unreasonable law be repealed right away before the taxpayers of the state of Texas have to foot a very expensive bill in a legal battle which will inevitably overturn this injustice to Texans.

George Galloway victorious in Bradford, England
| March 30, 2012 | 10:03 pm | Action | No comments

Check out these videos on the victory of George Galloway:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30944.htm

World Federation of Trade Unions solidarity rally in Palestine
| March 29, 2012 | 9:01 pm | Action | No comments

Watch the WFTU video on the Solidarity Rally in Palestine and send it to your friends.

Vean el video de la FSM en la Manifestación de Solidaridad en Palestina y envíenlo a todos sus amigos.

Suivez le vidéo de la FSM pris à la manifestation de solidarité en Palestine et envoyez-le à vos amis.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTIvSyuYl0A&list=UUGVOfL_91xETHO-8p5cFYtw&index=1&feature=plcp

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4eJ0ugz6rs&list=UUGVOfL_91xETHO-8p5cFYtw&index=2&feature=plcp

International Conference in solidarity with Palestine
| March 27, 2012 | 9:02 pm | Action | No comments

Speech by the General Secretary, George Mavrikos

Via http://www.wftucentral.org/?p=4961&language=en

22 March 2012

Palestine, Ramallah, 22-3-2012

Speech by the General Secretary, George Mavrikos

Dear comrades,
Dear brother Ibrahim Haidar,
Dear brothers and sisters, Palestinians,

“Palestine” is a long lasting crime of Imperialism. Since 1916 when the English and the French “in the Sykes-Picot Agreement” defined their spheres of influence using a ruler and today the plots for the New Middle East, with the imperialist attacks and interventions in Afganistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Iran, the collar around Palestine narrows even more dangerously.

The Palestinians suffer under the barbarity of the Israeli Occupation, the occupation of the territories after the six-day war, the separation wall built by Israel, the organized attacks against the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Half of the Palestinians live under the poverty line. Unemployment is dramatic and it gets more difficult for the Palestinians to work having to pass through the check-points which humiliate them daily. More than 5.5 million Palestinians are refugees while more than 10.000 Palestinians are imprisoned in more than 30 detention locations. Torture and degradation is a daily routine for the Israeli army. More than 120 settlements have been built illegally in the occupied territories. The access to clean water and supplies is extremely limited. New numbers for more dead Palestinians are announced daily.

Those numbers may be showing the reality but they are not enough to describe the brutality experienced by the Palestinian People. Nor are they enough to describe the heroism and the self-sacrifice of the Palestinians who do not compromise, who continue to struggle against the imperialist barbarity against the murderous policy of Israel and the USA, for decades.

“Palestine” has also brought to light the dynamics and the power of the internationalist solidarity. The workers and the ordinary people around the world are on the side of the Palestinians. They have chosen sides. The World Federation of Trade Unions with a consistent and stable action is standing on the side of the Palestinian People in struggle. It supports morally and practically this struggle. It organized campaigns to inform and to mobilize the working class worldwide to express international solidarity.

We organized a three-day strike on the ports of the world in June 2010. We organized complaints in the ILO. We organized a solidarity campaign for the recognition of the Palestinian State in September 2011 where dozens of messages reached the International Organizations.

We state once more that we will not cease to support the struggle of our brothers in Palestine until the goal for an independent, viable and democratic Palestine in the borders of 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital is succeeded.

We will continue with action and initiatives to demand:

• The end of the settlements and the withdrawal of all settlers who have settled across the borders of 1967.

• The demolition of the separation wall in Jerusalem.

• All the Palestinian refugees to be granted the right to return to their homes, based on the relevant decisions of the UN

• The elimination of any exclusion against the Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza strip.

• The immediate release of imprisoned Palestinians and other political prisoners kept in the Israeli prisons.

• The withdrawal of the Israeli army from all the occupied territories of the 1967, including the Golan Heights and the Sheba area of Southern Lebanon.

Because history and its lessons teach us, brothers, that the force of overthrow are the class-oriented, internationalist struggles. No positive development for the people has come out of the imperialist mechanisms. They cannot and the will not implement the vindication of the Palestinian People, they cannot and they will not impose peace in the Middle East.

The imperialist interventions and the intra-imperialist rivalries in the countries of the North Africa, Middle East, in Afganistan, in Iraq etc. prove that the UN today is utilized to legitimize the attacks and the occupation and to equalize the perpetrator and the victim. While the decisions of the UN against Libya, Iraq, Afganistan are implemented rapidly, the dozens of decisions for a just solution for Palestine are still in papers, unapplied.

The real solution will come only through the continues heroic struggle of the Palestinian People with the support of the progressive popular and workers movement.

We have a duty, comrades, to do more.

We have a duty to edify the working class of our countries that the struggle for the wages, for the labour and social rights is inseparably connected with the struggle against imperialism, the struggle against the bourgeois-class which is squeezing the working class and our people, the struggle against the monopolies, the struggle for a society without exploitation.

The Palestinian People must be vindicated. This is our duty we are held accountable for every day.

The World Federation of Trade Unions with is members and friends who struggle in 120 countries of all the continents will continue to stand actively in the side of the Palestinian People.

This is a commitment we undertake here, in your presence. Until the final victory.

Viva the Palestinian People!

Viva the Palestinian Struggle!

There is a dirty little secret in Texas
| March 25, 2012 | 9:22 pm | Action | 1 Comment

By James Thompson

Via http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/117009

Here in the state of Texas in the United States there is a dirty little secret that has received little attention.

It is a repulsive, anti-democratic relic of the cold war McCarthy years of vicious anti-communism under which many patriotic people of this country suffered.

Some communists were imprisoned and Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were executed during this era.

The McCarthy years gave birth to the twin ugly monsters called the Smith Act and McCarran Act.

Both have been used to persecute communists and working people fighting for their rights.

The McCarran Act was vetoed by president Harry Truman as “anti-democratic,” but his veto was overturned by a Democratic-controlled Congress.

The Smith Act was signed into law by president Franklin Roosevelt during a Congress controlled by the Democratic Party. Both laws targeted immigrants as well as communists, socialists and others.

Many people refer to the US as “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” paraphrasing the revolutionary national anthem of this country written during a time when there was a monumental struggle against British colonialism and imperialism.

The word Texas is derived from a Caddo native American language word “teyshas” which means “friends” or “allies.” The Texas state motto, accordingly, is “friendship.”

However, most people associate Texans with the image of “toughness.” It is apt, given the inclement weather and politics inherent in this region of the country located in the deep south.

We have swamps, alligators, rattlesnakes, fire ants, deserts, mosquitoes the size of butterflies, cockroaches the size of small mammals, hurricanes, some of the worst pollution in the world and some of the nastiest right-wing politicians paid for by the ultra-wealthy.
These extremist politicians and their benefactors have subjected working people to constantly declining wages, benefits and social services. You have to be tough to live in Texas.

At the same time, the state has produced some of the greatest blues artists and has a very progressive organised labour movement with active involvement by both the AFL-CIO and SEIU. The ethnic and racial diversity of the state is one of its greatest assets.

Nevertheless, Texas state government has held on tightly to a repugnant remnant of the cold war era some 60 years later during a time when there is no Soviet Union.

In fact, the last revision of the legislation was passed in 1993, well after the Soviet Union ended.

During an email exchange with a comrade in North Devon, Gerrard Sables, I happened to mention the outrageous anti-democratic and anti-working-class legislation which is still on the books prohibiting communists from holding public office or even holding a state government job in Texas.

He expressed outrage at this human rights violation in Texas and encouraged me to fight it.

I had felt for a long time that it needed to be fought, but hesitated because of lack of support.

His support was invaluable in spurring me to begin the fight against this atrocity.

The Texas law appears as follows:

Title 5, Subtitle A, Chapter 557, Subchapter A. Sedition and Subchapter C. Communism.” Sec. 557.021 reads “DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter: (1) “Communist” means a person who commits an act reasonably calculated to further the overthrow of the government: (A) by force or violence; or (B) by unlawful or unconstitutional means and replace it with a communist government.” Sec. 557.022 reads “RESTRICTIONS. (a) The name of a communist may not be printed on the ballot for any primary or general election in this state or a political subdivision of this state. (b) A person may not hold a nonelected office or position with the state or any political subdivision of this state if: (1) any of the compensation for the office or position comes from public funds of this state or a political subdivision of this state; and (2) the employer or superior of the person has reasonable grounds to believe that the person is a communist.

There is also a provision for enforcement by state agencies and/or personnel.

The wording of this legislation is similar in many regards to the McCarran and Smith Acts which have been largely repudiated or repealed at the federal level. The people of the state of Indiana faced similar legislation and it was brought before the Supreme Court and was overturned.

The legislation is in direct contradiction with documents from the CPUSA constitution.

Article VI, Section 3 (Rights and Duties of Party Members) asserts:

It shall be the obligation of all party members to struggle for the unity of the working class, against all forms of national oppression, national chauvinism, discrimination and segregation, against all racist ideologies and practices, such as white chauvinism and anti-semitism. It shall be the duty of all party members to fight for the full social, political and economic equality of the African-American, Mexican-American, Puerto Rican, Native American Indians, Asian and Pacific Islanders, other oppressed minorities, immigrants and the foreign born, and to promote the unity of all people as essential to the advancement of their common interests … It shall be the obligation of all party members to struggle against all manifestations of male supremacy and discrimination against women, and to fight for the full social, political and economic equality for women … It shall be the obligation of all party members to struggle against homophobia and all manifestations of discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexual and trans-gender people, and to fight for their full social and civil rights.

Of course, there is nothing here or anywhere else in the constitution of the CPUSA about “violent overthrow of the government” except under disciplinary procedures.

Under Article VII, Section 2 (Disciplinary Procedures and Appeals), the CPUSA constitution declares:

Subject to the provisions of this article, any member shall be expelled from the party who is a strikebreaker, a provocateur, engaged in espionage, an informer, or who advocates force and violence or terrorism, or who participates in the activities of any group which acts to undermine or overthrow any democratic institutions through which the majority of the American people can express their right to determine their destiny.

Someone recently observed that the definition of “communist” held by the state of Texas excludes all members of the Communist Party USA.

In fact, most CPUSA members would probably support legislation which would prohibit individuals who meet the state definition of a “communist” from holding public office or a state government job as long as the inappropriate label of “communist” is not used to categorise such terrorists.

It is important to remember that communists work to form coalitions of people in an effort to build mass movements to fight injustice and advance the interests of working people. We must start in our own back yard. If we are unable to effectively fight for our interests as communists, how can we expect working people to fight for their rights and interests?

There needs to be a worldwide campaign to repeal anti-communist legislation in Texas and other states of the US.
Indeed, anti-communist legislation around the world should be fought and defeated once and for all.

Such an effort has the potential to force rightwingers into a corner.

If rightwingers oppose repealing anti-communist legislation, they will be opposing democracy.

If rightwingers support repealing anti-communist legislation, they will be voting to support communists.

Perhaps this effort will redefine what “freedom” means in the US.

To raise your objections please write to: Secretary of the Senate Patsy Spaw, The Senate of Texas, PO Box 12068, Austin, TX 78711-2068 or email: patsy.spaw@senate.state.tx.us  Messages of solidarity can be sent to to gerrard.sables@phonecoop.coop  which will be forwarded to Houston communists.

PHill1917@comcast.net

OUR LAND
| March 25, 2012 | 9:06 pm | Action | No comments

By Iván Márquez – Secretariat member, FARC-EP

February 15, 2012 – (Translated by W. T. Whitney Jr.)

Our land, which belongs to us because we were born on it – our own country –has been converted today into a treasure coveted by transnational piracy in a time of decadence and of systemic capitalist crisis.

Trans-nationals like Sarmiento Angulo, Santo Domingo, Efremovich, and the Francisco Santos [publishing] group, and many other ferocious plunderers have rushed in with patchwork and knife to steal wealth yet remaining in Colombia. President Santos provides clear, gangster-like consent.

Land investment is a strategic pursuit today. Capitalist greed has converted geography and territory into an obsession. Up against declining petroleum production on a world scale, businesses have turned their eyes to a perspective of quick profits through agro-fuels production and exploitation of what’s underground. The Amazon and Orinoco regions and the extensive Pacific fringe area represent new space for capital, ever on the lookout and wherever, to extract profits.

Land is of interest now not so much for cattle production and or attaining food sovereignty – No! Now businesses look to production of bio-fuels, ethanol, and growing corn, sugar cane, and African palm. They want to plunder whatever there is on or below the surface – oil, gold, coal, coltran, nickel, water, and bio-diversity. Ethical barriers and respect for social and environmental values don’t apply.

Recent governments going back 25 years prepared the ground for assault. We have lived through a quarter century of violent dispossession captained by the state – years of land expropriation, paramilitary massacres, and forced displacement. Paramilitarism for sure represents the dark hand of the state. Seven million family farmers were displaced and 10.5 million acres taken over within this time-frame. Paramilitaries backed by the State and U.S. interference in the form of Plan Colombia were utilized as a criminal battering ram to break the people and set up secure conditions for investors to come on the scene.

After eight years of illegitimate, illegal, and mafioso government, Uribe ended up bloodying even the top levels, and Santos now is simply washing away blood which splashed onto the regime. He’s a false Samaritan trying cosmetically to cover over international disparagement of a government. He’s different from Uribe because he doesn’t murder openly, but kills and dispossesses in the name of the Constitution and the law.

They fix up appearances, but profits and plunder aren’t touched. They’re sacrosanct. In that respect, it’s the same or worse than under Uribe. Investor confidence is a euphemism for covering up surrender of sovereignty. Uribe signed over contracts to the trans-nationals, legally secure for 20 years, then added incentives, tax exemptions, and guarantees for exploitation. How many bundles of bills and silver coins are stuffed into the wallet of this Judas of Colombia? And Santos? He’s the same. He’s determined to deepen neoliberal policies. With that framework, he’s pushed legislation privileging the rights of capital over common interests and the country itself. He’s made 90,000 Colombian army soldiers into silent watchmen for the transnationals, into guardians of infrastructure and earnings of foreign capital against disapproval from socially-based nonconformists. The Liberator, father of our country, didn’t assign that role to the army.

He spoke of defending frontiers and of social guarantees.

Night and day, hundreds of coal cars and around one million barrels of oil a day leave the country for international markets, and also spread huge environmental contamination around. And Santos, stuffed up with incomprehensible satisfaction, proclaims that exports are growing and the economy is up 7 percent. It’s reasonable to ask, along with experts and academicians in the country, how Colombian is the Colombian economy. Who exports the oil the coal, the nickel, the gold? Answer: the transnationals. Prosperity, therefore, belongs with the transnationals and sell-out rulers, not to the country. All that’s left for that are hollowed-out spaces and empty caves and socio-environmental disaster.

The entire population of Marmato in Caldas – a people with an old mining tradition – claims they are being displaced by the government so a Canadian trans-national can work its open pit gold mine.

Now they are trying to criminalize independent small scale mining, which provides sustenance for thousands and thousands of Colombians, so as to hand over a monopoly on gold exploitation to trans-nationals. The Minister of Mines and Energy is at the head of this campaign. One hears all over his old song of lies that that kind of mining is tied in with criminal bands (euphemism for paramilitaries) and terrorists. It’s the height of brazenness. Right away we have to tie down that crazy bureaucrat Santos put at the head of the ministry, Mauricio Cárdenas, and do so before he tears what little sovereignty miraculously still remains to us into little pieces.

Santos directs every strategic effort to legalize dispossession, that is to say, dispossession and expropriation in the name of the law carried out smoothly, without the bloodshed that so scandalizes international opinion. That’s the spirit of the legislative package Congress will be working on beginning in March.

The Law of Lands and Restitution to Victims promoted by Santos is a fraud, especially because it confuses the true identity of the victims. Outrageously they have taken to proclaiming indiscriminately that ultimately the insurgency promotes dispossession, when it’s known historically that the state, with its army, paramilitaries, landowners, cattlemen, and laws, has been responsible. It’s the same as the President coming out like a thief and shouting, “grab the thief!”

Sure, Santos has begun giving land titles to the presumed or even really displaced, but what he hands over is a right to the surface. An illusory paper makes the peasant believe he owns the land. In reality he is handing over a title so it can be sold or rented. Trans-nationals and industrial agriculture will soon be falling upon the peasant like carrion buzzards, so he can rent out land to them on 20 to 30 year terms. They will be producing ethanol or extracting gold, oil coal, and coltran, while peasants are confined for good in one of the misery belts around big cities, far from their land, living perhaps on marginal income.

Land put under circumstances like these ends up with the entity of Homeland being really appreciated now and taken fully into the hearts of Colombians. Struggle for sovereignty no longer plays out under an abstract, incomprehensible, and ethereal banner but morphs into what most people see as essential to their dignity. In that way, with the fist of the homeland held high against plunder of national wealth and devastation of the environment, struggle takes on new dimensions. It also signals a new level of consciousness of popular struggle. To defend what’s ours, our land, is to defend our dignity.

Mountains of Colombia, February, 2012

http://www.farc-ep.co/?p=1046

Nuestra tierra

Por Iván Márquez

Integrante del Secretariado de las FARC-EP – 15/02/2012

Nuestra tierra, la que nos pertenece porque nacimos en ella, nuestra patria, se ha convertido hoy en tesoro codiciado por la piratería transnacional en tiempos de decadencia y de crisis sistémica del capital

Las transnacionales, Sarmiento Angulo y Santodomingo, Efremovich y Francisco Santos, y muchos otros piratas feroces de parche y cuchillo, se han abalanzado al saqueo de las riquezas que aún le quedan a Colombia, con la anuencia gansteril y patente de corso del

Presidente Santos.

Invertir en la tierra, tiene hoy alcances estratégicos. La geografía, el territorio, se han convertido en la obsesión de la avaricia del capital. Ante la declinación de la producción petrolera a escala mundial las empresas han volcado sus ojos hacia la perspectiva de ganancias rápidas con la producción de agro-combustibles y la explotación del subsuelo. La Amazonía, la Orinoquía y la extensa franja del Pacífico son los nuevos espacios ambicionados por el capital para la extracción de ganancias, a como dé lugar.

La tierra ya no interesa tanto como medio de producción ganadera y de generación de soberanía alimentaria, no. El negocio está en la producción de bio-combustibles, de etanol, en el cultivo de maíz, caña y palma africana, y en el saqueo de lo que hay en la superficie y debajo de ella: petróleo, oro, carbón, coltán, ferroníquel, agua y biodiversidad, sin ningún tipo de barreras éticas ni socio-ambientales.
Durante 25 años, los últimos gobiernos prepararon el terreno para el asalto. Hemos vivido un cuarto de siglo de despojo violento capitaneado por el Estado, de expropiación de tierras, de masacres paramilitares, de desplazamiento forzoso. Definitivamente la mano negra del Estado es el paramilitarismo. En ese lapso fueron desplazados 5 millones de campesinos y expropiadas 7 millones de hectáreas. El Paramilitarismo de Estado, el Plan Colombia, la injerencia estadounidense en el conflicto interno, fueron utilizados como ariete criminal para quebrar al pueblo y generar condiciones de seguridad para la entrada en escena de los inversionistas.
Al cabo de 8 años de gobierno ilegítimo, ilegal y mafioso, Uribe terminó ensangrentado hasta la coronilla. Santos simplemente está lavando la sangre que salpica al régimen. Es un falso samaritano intentando tapar con cosméticos el desprestigio internacional de un gobierno. Se diferencia de Uribe porque no asesina desembozadamente, pero mata y despoja a nombre de la Constitución y la Ley.
Se modifican las apariencias, pero las ganancias y el saqueo, son sacrosantos. No se tocan. En eso es igualito o peor que Uribe. La confianza inversionista es un eufemismo que encubre la entrega de la soberanía. Uribe les firmó a las transnacionales, contratos de seguridad jurídica hasta por 20 años, los colmó de incentivos, de exenciones tributarias, de garantías para el expolio… Cuántos fajos de dólares y monedas de plata habrán acrecentado la bolsa de este Judas de Colombia. ¿Y Santos? Está haciendo lo mismo. Su empeño es profundizar la política neoliberal y en ese marco es el propulsor de una legislación que privilegia los derechos del capital frente al interés común y la patria misma. Ha convertido a 90 mil soldados del ejército colombiano en taciturnos guachimanes de las transnacionales, en guardianes de la infraestructura y de las ganancias del capital foráneo contra la inconformidad social. Ese no fue el papel que le asignó al ejército el padre Libertador. Él habló de defender las fronteras y las garantías sociales.

Noche y día, cientos de vagones de carbón y cerca de un millón de barriles diarios de petróleo salen del país rumbo al mercado internacional, asperjando además, gran contaminación ambiental, y Santos, henchido de incomprendida satisfacción, proclama que están creciendo las exportaciones, y la economía en un 7%. Vale preguntarse, tal como lo sugieren especialistas y académicos del país, ¿qué tan colombiana es la economía colombiana? ¿Quién exporta el petróleo, el carbón, el ferroníquel, el oro? Las transnacionales. La prosperidad es entonces de las transnacionales y de los gobernantes vendidos, no del país. A esté sólo le quedan los huecos y socavones vacíos y el desastre socio-ambiental.

Toda la población de Marmato, Caldas -pueblo de antigua tradición minera-, pretende ser desplazada por el gobierno para que una transnacional canadiense pueda explotar su oro a cielo abierto.

Ahora están tratando de criminalizar la minería artesanal de la que depende el sustento de miles y miles de colombianos, para entregarle el monopolio de la explotación aurífera a las transnacionales. Al frente de esa campaña está el ministro de Minas y Energía. Por todas partes se escucha su mentirosa cantilena que ésta minería está ligada a bandas criminales y al terrorismo. ¡El colmo de la desfachatez! Con urgencia hay que amarrar a ese burócrata loco que ha colocado Santos al frente del ministerio, Mauricio Cárdenas, antes de que haga trizas lo poco de soberanía que milagrosamente nos queda.

Todos los esfuerzos de la estrategia de Santos están dirigidos a legalizar el despojo, es decir, a despojar y expropiar a nombre de la ley; suavemente, sin ese derramamiento de sangre que tanto escandaliza a la opinión internacional. Ese es el espíritu que domina el paquete legislativo que hará trámite en el Congreso a partir de marzo.

La Ley de tierras y reparación de víctimas promovida por Santos es un engaño, como lo es también confundir sobre la verdadera identidad de los victimarios. De manera inaudita se le ha dado por pregonar últimamente, tirándole a las escopetas, que la insurgencia es la causante del despojo, cuando históricamente está demostrado que el responsable es el Estado con su ejército, sus paramilitares, sus terratenientes, sus ganaderos, y sus leyes. Se asemeja así el Presidente al ladrón que grita: ¡agarren al ladrón!

Sí. Santos ha empezado a titular tierras a presuntos o verdaderos desplazados, pero lo que está entregando es un derecho a la superficie, un papel de ilusiones que le hace creer al campesino que es dueño de la tierra, cuando en realidad lo que le está entregando es un título para que pueda vender o arrendar. Pronto le caerán al campesino, como buitres carroñeros, las transnacionales y la agro-industria, para que les arriende con derecho a 20 y 30 años para producir etanol y extraer oro, petróleo, carbón y coltán, mientras el campesino seguirá confinado en los mismos cinturones de miseria de las grandes ciudades, lejos de su tierra, viviendo tal vez de una renta precaria.

La tierra, en estas circunstancias, hace que la categoría PATRIA se perciba más nítida y se aferre con todas sus fuerzas al corazón de los colombianos. Luchar por la soberanía deja de ser una bandera abstracta, incomprendida y etérea, para convertirse en exigencia de dignidad de las mayorías. De esa manera, el puño de la patria en alto contra el saqueo de las riquezas nacionales y la devastación del medio ambiente, adquiere nuevas dimensiones y al mismo tiempo denota un nuevo nivel de conciencia de lucha popular. Defender lo nuestro, nuestra tierra, es defender nuestra dignidad.
Montañas de Colombia, febrero de 2012
http://www.farc-ep.co/?p=1046

Peace in Colombia, hostage to class war over land
| March 25, 2012 | 8:51 pm | Action | No comments

W. T. Whitney Jr.

In the face of seemingly endless suffering, impetus for peace in Colombia gathers momentum. Terror, political persecution, arbitrary detentions, and militarization dominate. State – mediated killings now run into the tens of thousands. More than four million rural inhabitants have been displaced from sustenance-providing land.

Having recently announced its last ten prisoners held for ransom would be released, and having signaled its decision no longer to raise money through hostage taking, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has propelled the movement toward peace. The insurgent group wants to “humanize the conflict,” said Piedad Cordoba, president of Colombians for Peace. The Brazilian government agreed to provide logistical support for any prisoner release. Justice Minister Juan Carlos Esguerra granted Cordoba’s request that representatives of her group visit FARC prisoners in state hands, and then reneged. Cordoba has proposed “a bilateral truce to open spaces for dialogue.”

Peace is on hold, however, for two reasons. One, peace proponents insist war be ended only through negotiations on issues propelling the war, foremost among them skewed division of land. Two, uncertainty prevails as to whether or not negotiations are possible while fighting continues.

In Colombia, decades of peasant uprisings morphed 60 years ago into war between agrarian-based insurgents and the state. The FARC, formed in 1964, immediately set forth an agrarian program. Its detailed proclamation of July 20 that year declared, “We are victims of big landowner fury,” and that “Great masters of the land prevail in this part of Colombia (Marquetalia).” They are allied “to financial monopolies connected with imperialism.” The FARC called for “handing over land completely free to farmers who will work it.”

Struggle in Colombia over land epitomizes class confrontation. The victim class today comprises millions of persons displaced from land. Now poverty in Colombia hovers around 65 percent, and most of the displaced suffer from poor schooling, inadequate health care, and under-nutrition. Perpetrators are mine owners, petroleum producers, dam builders, corporate farmers, narco-trafficking entrepreneurs, and financiers.

The land question emerged on March 6, International Day for Victims of State Crimes. The National Movement of Victims of State Crimes (MOVICE) that day organized national and international demonstrations centering on rejection of the government’s 2011 Law of Victims and Restitution of Land. MOVICE charged that the law provides no restitution for losses of non-land properties and that it parcels out land through “surface contracts” covering only habitation and “use contracts” opening the door for exploitative projects. For MOVICE, the law protects paramilitaries and their “collusion with military and police commanders, business interests, and political elites.”

Supporting the MOVICE position on “dispossessed lands and territories,” the Communist Party in Antioquia claimed that so far under the law, only 2,500 acres have y been returned.

Likewise, the recent, well-attended “Colombia behind Bars” forum in Bogota condemned “terror at the hands of major landowners in the interests of big money.” A concluding declaration called for “true agrarian reform” and demanded “political negotiation, structural changes.” It denounced U.S. imperialism.

Meanwhile, local, national and international demonstrations against the Quimbo hydroelectric project in Huila, projected to flood 20,400 acres, protested loss of land. The Spanish – Italian Endesa Corporation building the mega project is developing giant hydroelectric projects in Chilean Patagonia that have likewise provoked resistance.

FARC consistency on land was clear in the February, 2012 declaration “Our Land,” authored by secretariat member Ivan Márquez. “Amidst decadence and systematic capitalist crisis, our land, ours because we were born on it – our own country – has been converted today,” says Márquez, “into a treasure coveted by transnational piracy.” “Capitalist greed has converted geography and territory into an obsession… We have lived through a quarter century of violent dispossession captained by the state – years of land expropriation, paramilitary massacres, and forced displacement.”

Whether a military truce should precede peace negotiations, or vice versa, is now under intense discussion in Colombia. In an interview, Carlos Lozano, director of the Communist Party’s Voz newspaper, commended FARC prisoner release plans as “an historic decision.” While denouncing government fixation on military victory, Lozano called for government – FARC “pre-dialogue, in secret” followed by “national dialogue” centering on outstanding issues.

By contrast, MOVICE head and congressperson Iván Cepeda insisted, “We must look for the war to end as soon as possible.” Interviewed in early March, Cepeda held up military truce as a first step. During war, there’s an “absence of political forces necessary to achieve great structural changes.” Cepeda speaks as a victim: state agents in 1994 murdered his father Manuel Cepeda, a former senator and director of Voz.

An outside observer notes that Colombian discussion about a fragile peace process only infrequently touches upon the confounding factor of U.S. political, military, and economic support for repression there. It’s as if, perhaps, the onus for confronting that dimension of war in Colombia falls upon the U. S. solidarity community. The class-based nature of struggle in Colombia, especially over land, would seem to ground that obligation upon the understanding that peace and anti-imperialism go together.