XXIII MEETING OF THE SAO PAULO FORUM
BETWEEN NEOLIBERAL GLOBALIZATION AND IMPERIAL PROTECTION
27 years after its founding, the Sao Paulo Forum observes an atomized world reality, a product of end-of-period changes that are disrupting and weakening the national and international political, economic and social institutions inherited from the liberalism of the 19th century. These institutions are severely questioned by not responding to the times that society demands. Corruption, influence peddling, diversion of resources and illicit enrichment of political sectors are undermining the politics and institutions of the State as we have been conceiving since the formation of the Nation State. Today in the 21st century the state is questioned, its institutions are cracked and the functioning of the same does not respond, does not solve and less convinces the people and more particularly the citizen in their daily lives.
National and international economies are working at particular interests; oligarchies at both levels are vigilant for their profits and use local and international regulations to exploit workers and speculate over states to make millions. They oblige governments to give up a fundamental part of their sovereignty for the sake of the macroeconomic stability dictated by the international financial organisms, finding themselves with reduced margins of action and contributing in a significant way to the traffic of influences and corruption as a determining act to attract mediocre investments, simulating Before the citizens fictitious growths that only contribute to the discredit political and of the State. The superstructure continues to operate with great capital and exerts its destructive power against the State and the State subjugates the people who support and legitimize it.
Society is being alienated by the media at the service of the political right and local and global business, today it attacks against the institutions of the State, nourishes animadversion against politics, politicians, state institutions, Parliament, Congress and Instances of procuring justice. They subject the adversaries of leftist or progressive governments to corrupt and use these institutions to forge soft coups, cases of all known and that we must continue to counteract with decisive political actions. This same society reacts with imagination and speed, but this imagination denounces us to use the social networks to which we do not give answers. We are behind in this management and we lack imagination to fight them, the influencers are the young people who observe total obsolescence in politics, in the politicians, in the parties of the left and they take away the opposition discourse to us and they submerge us in an anarchy that they weighed us, Which forces us to be up to date without losing values, principles and sense of opportunity.
This phenomenon is an opportunity for the revolutionary forces, left and progressive, which, based on our analysis, we must face them. We must not start from the economic context but from the political context to give creative answers to the reactionary lefts and anti-systemic rights to which we must absorb and respond.
The Sao Paulo Forum meets for the eighth time in Central America and is the fourth time in Nicaragua, the centenary of the October Revolution and the 50th anniversary of Che’s fall. And we do it under the sign of a double struggle. On the one hand, competition between major imperialist capitalist economies pressured by market saturation, in which neoliberal globalizing forces with imperialist protectionism are involved, are confronted or complement each other. On the other hand, a struggle of resistance against the neoliberal onslaught in those nations less favored by globalization, among which are the countries most subordinated to the world capitalist market, including some European countries; In this struggle the progressive peoples and governments face the most reactive elites prepared to a greater precarization of its population to save to the great national and transnational companies. Faced with these contradictions we must emerge with systemic solutions in order to break this bipolarity that afflicts us and propose a different form of economic project and new social political organization.
Neoliberal globalization was designed and acted to favor the imperial powers, who never renounced or renounced to protect their borders or to have profitable companies in all the confines of the world, especially those companies that extract raw materials for their industry. Eliminating extractivism is not on Trump’s agenda or any imperial power. Powers that neither renounced nor renounced to eliminate the tariff borders of our countries, being disposed rather to eliminate all effort to construct a social State, delivering the public sector to the service of the interests of the corporations and that the imperial protectionism of Donald Trump does not have I am embarrassed to confess that he wants to amend trade agreements to improve the deteriorating situation of the US empire in the field of industrial competition.
In the current regional scenario, with neoliberal globalization and to favor imperial interests, have been imposed by the major world powers a questioning of the most important norms and principles of international law, with a view to giving credibility to new ones that are being promoted And which endanger the principles of sovereignty, nonintervention and self-determination. In this way, it seems that a reconsideration of the validity and / or importance for international law of a series of pillar principles of international political relations is being considered, which we should not accept and construct a strategy that strengthens international law and Influence their reforms and orientation to our global interests.
There are theses such as those of limited sovereignty, and the questioning of the principle of non-interference, that the aim is to support the legitimacy of a right of intervention or interference, supported by alleged violations of human rights that have been internally On an international, universal theme. The real reasons for questioning the principle of non-interference must be sought in today’s particular international economic and political context and are the real arguments for explaining the current conflict from regions such as the Middle East to the current political situation in Latin America .
Therefore, the use of new forms of interference in international relations have not ended with their more traditional mechanisms, linked to earlier stages of evolution of the world capitalist system, so it is important to note the unusual progress that these new forms have achieved, Its subtle nature and the fact that it is very likely to reach a privileged place in the actions of the great powers and international organizations. Injerencismo adopts, among others, the form of conditioning: demands imposed on the states (of the underdeveloped countries) by industrialized nations and international organizations.
And it is that neoliberalism is not only: the domination of the speculative financial sector as the main axis of accumulation of capital, the dismantling of tariff barriers, the privatization of the public sector, fiscal support to commercial, industrial and financial enterprises, including Subsidies to companies by way of taxation and prices, establishing regressive tax regimes, which prioritize the payment of indirect taxes, in which the dispossessed population leaves seriously affected, but also the state bailout bank failures Generated by periodic financial crises. Neoliberalism also implies the decision of the governments of the right at the service of the capitalist system to precarize by all means to their populations.
Most countries in the so-called Mesoamerican North Triangle (Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras) lose day-to-day viability, not only because of inequality and impoverishment, but also because of a pandemic of hegemony dominated by international drug trafficking, organized crime And organized crime gangs originated in the United States, which were exported through the deportations of criminals, many of them serving sentences in US jails, living off of extortion and the drug business, inheriting daily violence sprinkled with feminicide , Trafficking in persons, mainly women and children, youth drug abuse, a situation in which the old liberal states confess their incapacity, and where the public and private authorities, still in the hands of progressive or left-handed currents, face great difficulties. Stop this vortex. In addition, the United States and the Northern Triangle divide and further weaken the efforts of the regional integration process, and maintain greater control and political interference through the resources allocated to these three countries. This situation constitutes a serious problem of political, social and economic instability, added to which the oligarchic right takes advantage to delegitimize, wear out and block using any institutional means to attack the good management of the left governments. Without a doubt, we have to face with great responsibility and commitment these great challenges, which not only affect the nations already mentioned, but which has become widespread in all the countries of our region, a matter which clearly expresses the incapacity of the neoliberal capitalist system To achieve social, economic and political balances.
Therefore, it would be a mistake to think that this new version of protectionism will abandon its imperial battle for raw materials, agricultural or mineral, at the expense of the vital resources of our peoples, such as the soil, biodiversity, labor force, resources Energy, food, preservation of ethnic identities, security of populations; In synthesis, the contradiction between the state property of natural resources and the global economy is accentuated. The whole neoliberal discourse is focused on demonstrating that nations do not have the right to own their resources and that these must be privatized, such contradiction is addressed by the imperialist powers, and how to doubt it, through wars, direct military intervention, Financial blackmail of multilateral institutions, and the deployment of-increasingly sophisticated-plans for political destabilization in peripheral nations.
Neoliberal globalization is not dead and renewed protectionism waged by President Trump will not end the hell exported to the great periphery of the world-system.
It is of utmost importance for the policy of the democratic forces of the continent to deepen criticism of the international financial system, the absence of controls and regulations, as evidenced in the crack of 2008, a historical fact that is in the substrate of the Current crisis The bursting of the financial bubble, the bankruptcy of large banks and insurers on a planetary scale, and the economic recession have revealed that the theoretical premises of neoliberalism, market fundamentalism, or the so-called “Washington Consensus” are wrong, . It is important to note that the root cause of the rise in capital income is closely related to the fall in global labor income, a phenomenon that has always existed but has deepened in recent decades.
Despite the failures, neoliberal ideology remains hegemonic in the decision-making centers of the planetary economy, such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, the US Federal Reserve and the Central Bank European Parliament, which expressly represent the interests of financial capitalism and, therefore, no effective control applies to global financial flows. These political decisions result in a sharp contraction of peripheral economies, the problem of foreign debt, and the sharp fall in the incomes of nations whose main source is the export of raw materials. To all this, we must add that, now, world trade is no longer the fundamental engine of the economy. The growth of the Chinese economy was the driving force of the economy as a whole, this situation will change in the coming years, the result of a decision by the Chinese government, which chose to focus on strengthening its domestic market.
Most important from the political point of view is that the questioning of the practices of the international financial system and the mega-projects of integration, the deepening of social inequalities derived from neoliberal politics, and the decision of the Federal Reserve of the States United States to provoke a rise of the dollar, which is the exchange currency, is generating the conditions to raise a broad movement of opinion that unites the popular actions of the Latin American, American and European peoples.
As we affirmed in last year’s document in San Salvador, and we reaffirm it now, the VI Forum Meeting in Sao Paulo (1996) adopted a document where the analysis emphasized an agenda of struggle against neoliberal policies, which After two decades the political and social left was able to stop, compensating the damages through progressive policies in favor of the majority. This document, entitled ” Crisis and alternatives to neoliberalism , was constituted in a working document and debate where we reaffirm the fundamental thesis that neoliberalism is incompatible with and antagonistic to social development and democratization.
Today, after the political setbacks of the left in several countries of the continent and where the right again strikes with policies of precarization of work and life, we will have to say that the struggle continues, perhaps in more difficult conditions due to the A rush of US-led financial capital. It is necessary that we begin to discuss the concrete alternatives to the prevailing system, beyond the electoral agenda that will remain important, aware that we can also move forward by pushing the new popular classes to take all those sections of the economy that capitalism is leaving Vacant because for large companies are not profitable. Based on this consideration, we see it important that the XXIII Meeting can appreciate the FSLN’s annexed document on the popular-social economy and accompanied by another reflection on popular power, an important contribution for the construction of new economic, social and political paradigms For a socialist society.
When referring to the electoral setbacks of the progressive forces in Latin America, it is necessary to explain that since 2012 there has been a slowdown in the processes of change, the irradiation of our projects – which have always been plural and different – has slowed down, Politics raised from the last electoral defeats of the popular movements and the coup d’etat against the companion Dilma Rousseff, imposes a deep self-critical debate, in order to identify the reasons why important social sectors have moved away from the processes of change , Both in the nations with popular governments, and in those who struggle to achieve a national electoral victory. If we consider – and there is a coincidence – the repoliticization of the popular forces, it is because there were important political deficiencies.
It is necessary to identify, then, the errors committed, above all, as far as economic policy is concerned, to work for the strengthening of the social block of change, and to address, first of all, the hard core of the popular base, Of indestructible links with social movements and to make an important social, economic and political commitment to two large population groups: women and young people. There is no doubt that the economic management of popular governments has been put to the test. All the investment effort made in the social area has had a strong positive impact on the quality of life worthy of the vast majority of our peoples.
I. The context in which the XXIII Meeting of Managua
This document, destined to be a subsidy to the preparatory debates for the plenary session that will be held on 16-17-18 July in Managua, is marked by several events worthy of mention in the measure that places us in our reality And characterize the global situation and Latin American. First, because it will be carried out again in Central America, particularly in Nicaragua, where the left maintains and consolidates political and civil power in favor of the majorities. Second, because it is accompanied by the first programmatic document of the Forum, known as the Consensus of Our America (CdeNA). Third is the emergence of renewed protectionism, accompanied by an aggressive export policy by the USA and other powers from the economic point of view, without neo-liberal globalization ceasing to continue to wreak havoc in our countries. Fourth, because one of our Latin American countries, such as Mexico, is besieged by these policies. Fifthly, because the signaling of the previous documents (Base Document 2016 and Consensus of Our America) is strengthened in terms of the belligerent counter-offensive of the oligarchies and of US and European imperialism, to erode and destabilize those countries where the left has acceded to Control of public institutions.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, the colonial domination of various peoples by several European powers and the United States prevails. Colonialism is a shameful historical anachronism that has been repeatedly denounced by the international community. Contributing to the total and definitive eradication of colonial domination in Our America is one of the great challenges and responsibilities of the Latin American and Caribbean left.
Puerto Rico is a Caribbean and Latin American nation that has been subjected to US colonial domination since the military invasion of July 25, 1898. This situation has had dire political, economic, cultural, social, population, and human consequences. Which has led the country to economic bankruptcy and the progressive deterioration of the living conditions of the population. Puerto Rico has the inalienable right to self-determination and independence and to the recovery of its national sovereignty, an objective that has been endorsed on numerous occasions by the UN Decolonization Committee, CELAC, the Non-Aligned Movement and the international community in general.
Based on these points, this Base Document 2017 will be characterized by the above points, as well as those reflections of the Base Document 2016 that maintain their validity for the current conjuncture. The following is a brief overview of the points mentioned, notwithstanding the continuation of them throughout the document on the situation.
1. The triumph of the left in Nicaragua and the resistance in Latin America
In Latin America, a number of revolutionary processes are under way that have succeeded in establishing new constitutions, including Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia, which are currently resisting and struggling to change Latin America, and although the correlation of existing forces and Given the strategy followed by the revolutionary forces was different from that of the immediate convocation of constituent assemblies that established a new political and legal basis, constitutional reforms were given by the peace accords in El Salvador that ended the dictatorship, Of change in Uruguay and dangerous setbacks in Argentina and Brazil, which made possible a change in the correlation of forces, particularly in South America.
In November 2016 elections were held in Nicaragua, in which the FSLN won a decisive victory. Our brother, President Daniel Ortega won 72% of the vote, defeating the old Liberal-conservative parties , Who are in a virtual bankruptcy due to the significant advances of 10 years of administration of the Sandinista Front and with the advantage of having previously taken power by arms, which has allowed him to make structural changes in the economy, which were partially Preserved when it was 17 years in the opposition and consolidated in the last ten years of government, as well as the existence of an Army and a Police emerged from the guerrilla struggle, with an institutional strength that is fundamental characteristic of both institutions.
The achievements have been recognized by international and national organizations, including the most reactionary and reactionary sector in Nicaragua, which, a few days after the Sandinista victory, on January 9, 2017, devotes two central pages to the newspaper that opposes what it calls “The 10 most positive policies in the midst of authoritarianism during the last ten years”: Y points out: “Macroeconomic stability (inflation, international reserves, fiscal balance, means of change), economic growth (the highest in Latin America after Panama), foreign investment (the highest and most stable in recent years), road infrastructure (including penetration paths where the least-resourced population lives), conventional and alternative energy coverage (from 50% to 95%), road infrastructure (streets and sewers), citizen security (the highest in Latin America), social housing Attention to natural disasters (seismic movements and overflow of water), the rescue of old Managua on the shores of Lake Xolotlán (formerly used as a wastewater tank), sport and entertainment (high State policy), parks, lighting. ” All these policies and achievements of the Sandinista revolution are similar to the achievements of the Bolivarian revolution, from Cuba to Argentina, through Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Uruguay and Brazil.
The victory of the Sandinista Front in Nicaragua in 2016, the 2014 victories of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front in El Salvador and the Frente Amplio in Uruguay, and in 2017 the victory of Lenin Moreno in Ecuador, as well as the resistance Of the governments and peoples of Cuba, Venezuela and Brazil, show what is unfounded in those sectors that have been putting an end to the progressive cycle in Latin America. As part of the current situation, we must always highlight the heroic victory of the Cuban Revolution in its battle of more than half a century against the aggressiveness of US imperialism, with the United States recognizing the defeat of its policy toward Cuba and with the The beginning of the process of normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries, which will not be possible if the economic blockade (which has already been declared obsolete by the US government) and the occupation of Guantanamo cease.
To that we should point out the level of struggle and proposals reached by the social movements, who together with the leftist political organizations have decided to form a social bloc that not only makes the accusations , and participates in the struggles, but also incorporates in the proposals More and more workers, workers, peasants, artisans, small traders, entrepreneurs and family economic units in general, young people, women, ethnic communities and indigenous peoples, people in general who protest for particular and general rights trampled by the current established order.
The resounding triumph of the FSLN in Nicaragua in November 2016, and the victory of Comrade Lenin Moreno in Ecuador, should encourage left-wing forces to reflect on the model we must promote in each of our countries with their own peculiarities. The strategies implemented by the Sandinista Front in Nicaragua, the PSUV in Venezuela, the Alianza Pais in Ecuador, the Movement to Socialism in Bolivia, and the particularities of the process of historical accumulation and the consolidation of the Frente Amplio in Uruguay must be studied and shared With the members of the Forum, not as a recipe but as an example of the construction of a transformative model in which the subject of transformation and the instruments of action are clearly defined, enabling us to move forward, access, defend and maintain control Of institutions.
In the case of Nicaragua, a model of reconciliation and national unity stands out, with strategic alliances with the forces of the extinct contra-revolution of the 1980s, social movements, the sector of the popular and social economy, the national business sector, Christian organizations . Its motto of “Christianity, Socialism and Solidarity”, aims to recover the revolutionary values of Christianity rooted in the population from the integration of Christian grassroots communities to the insurrection of 1979, the socialist orientation in the present economy from the transformations of the 1980s and strengthened by a model of popular power and support for the social economy, as well as the bonds of solidarity and unity with Latin America.
It would be desirable to divulge, in addition, the experiences of democracy and socialism in Cuba, little known abroad; The experience of the Missions in Bolivarian socialism in Venezuela; the experience of the Citizen’s Revolution in Ecuador, as well as the experience of Community Socialism in Bolivia.
2. The consensus of Our America, as the first programmatic document.
The document entitled The Consensus of Our America, which was drafted at the working session of the Sao Paulo Forum held in Managua, Nicaragua, in January 2017, is in consultation throughout Latin America and will be approved in Managua in July Of the year 2017. This document is dedicated to Commander Fidel Castro and is a response to the imperial offensive of our adversaries, since it is the first programmatic document offered by the Forum of Sao Paulo to the leftist forces and the Latin American people. In it are found the principles and purposes that inspire us, the diagnosis of the reality to be transformed, the subjects and the project by which we fight, the objectives, the strategy of struggle and the priority tasks; Points that we then synthesize, since they are a permanent weapon of struggle and work.
The document begins by stating the principles that unite us, namely: “democracy and social justice, freedom and common good, peace and ethics, citizen security and the fight against corruption wherever it comes from, the Unity of political and social organizations, the fight against all forms of discrimination, Latin American unity, solidarity among peoples, patriotism and the internationalist.
The document goes on to point out that the purpose of our work is the combination of a struggle for resistance, a struggle for the seizure of power and the struggle for the transformation of our societies. From above and below we continue to struggle for the seizure of power of public institutions and for the spaces of power that exist in all social relations, improving the correlation of forces in all fields: political, cultural, economic. Taking into account the specific conditions of each country, the entire continent must increase and share its days of struggle. Progressive and leftist political parties, whether from the opposition or from the government, must continue to fight in opposition to the system, whether we stand in opposition to governments or whether we form our own governments. In this struggle we are advancing side by side with the social movements. Despite the temporary setbacks and aggressiveness of contemporary capitalism, our struggle for power does not stop.
The diagnosis goes on to describe the current situation of the system that we precisely want to transform, as is capitalism in its imperialist stage. “Today, humanity is under the onslaught of speculative financial capitalism in constant crisis. The accumulation of capital is rather directed to the concentration and centralization of it, under neoliberal policies aimed at privatization and private appropriation of state enterprises, as well as the use of public budgets to socialize the losses of private companies.
The globalization of capital has established the rules of the market and of capital in all corners of the earth, sharpening competition between powers and corporations. In this decade, this globalization is combined with the protectionist option of the great powers that believe they can overcome the crisis of overproduction, particularly the United States. In truth, what is shown are the systemic contradictions and limitations of capitalism, originated in their original divorce between production and consumption. The capitalist powers are at a crossroads where countries and states lose hegemony vis-a-vis transnational corporations located throughout the world. The greatest expression of this contradiction is the obsolete industrial structure of the United States, which loses ground to emerging countries, but its financial, military and cultural expressions do not.
In relation to the objectives the document is sufficiently clear, pointing out the struggles of resistance, the struggle for the takeover of institutional power and all those powers established in civil society, all of them becoming a means to transform public institutions and relations Production and distribution. “Our goal is to build a correlation of forces in favor of the popular democratic field to continue advancing against savage capitalism and towards a socialist horizon.
The analysis of the document advances qualitatively in the signaling of the strategic project and the social classes in conflict. On the one hand the working class in its different expressions, under a socialist orientation, on the other hand the rentier oligarchy in synergy with the interests of the great powers and their transnational corporations. In this regard, the document states: “Two hundred years of industrial economic growth and technological applications have been displacing the working class, which in many countries, particularly the Third World, has lost its majority, changing the structure of classes, Which forces us to modify the political strategy. Indeed, what the liberal economy calls informal workers are small producers who live off their labor and who, in the face of enormous unemployment, have resorted to emigration, but also to dispute the means of production and economic protagonism to the increasingly parasitic oligarchies. In Latin America, these workers account for about 50% of the labor force, differing according to the economic and class structure of each country. We are talking about families of peasants, artisans, fishermen, small manufactures and small shops. In some countries, these workers are cooperating and forming an emerging social economy that should make us reflect on the possibility of undertaking an associative path towards socialism, complementary to the way of public socialization of the means of production. This new emerging class, the economic base of many social movements, accompanies the unionized and mobilized working class around the interests of labor, against the interests of capital. Alliance that has been strategic in the offensive accompaniment of leftist political organizations to win local and national elections, as well as to occupy spaces in the public sector, thus enriching the struggles from above with the struggles from below. However, the most important of the case is that the left has an extended subject to bet on, from the opposition or from the governments and is disputing economic means to the bourgeoisie and is directed to the formation of a social economy, through the cooperativism and other associative forms.
Among the tasks we recommend a priority attention to our work with social movements and youth, from their experiences of popular power. “Social and popular movements accumulate a long experience of struggles and resistance against the predatory capitalist, patriarchal and hegemonic model of imperialism. Their forms of struggle are very diverse, plural, generally affirming their sectoral origin and their nature of protest, but they are legitimate expressions of the popular clamor for deep social changes. The essence of the essential tactical and strategic relationship and coordination between political organizations and social movements is that it must be a virtuous relationship that preserves identities and autonomies. The active and militant incorporation of the new generations in the struggle for superior societies is an urgent necessity. Youth is already the main protagonist in many scenarios and we must recognize the importance of their participation as one of the main historical subjects, together with the working class, so we must fight to prevent the enemy and the system depoliticize, neutralize or seize Of this great sector of society.
3. A new phase of imperial protectionism.
The Yankee empire and imperialism of the great powers hegemonized by the United States, was always protectionist, imposing a globalization in favor of metropolitan interests. The performance of the bourgeoisie, monopoly-oligopolistic and monopsony-oligopsonic in favor of its interests, is not another, but demanding the free competition of other small and medium producers.
President Donald Trump, as an official and businessman at the same time, will move within the state’s possibilities (the dollar, arms and their ideological apparatuses) and the limitations of it (industrial obsolescence, internal and external opposition). As a representative of the imperialist world-system, it will move supported by the close corporations and under the resistance of those groups linked to the external and internal capitals that collide with their national and international policies. The truth is that he will not be able to do everything at once, although he still has enough strength to annoy the whole world and try to improve the position of the United States and the hegemonic groups. Its main line of action seems to favor bilateral treaties, such as those it is undertaking with England and Japan. It will be interesting to confirm its line of work against Europe, Russia and China and of course against Latin America.
4. The aggressiveness of US neo-protectionism against Mexico and the resistance of the Mexican people.
During the first hundred days of government, Donald Trump has taken a neo-protectionist and anti-immigration approach as a sample of what his aggressive foreign policy towards Latin America will be. Mexico was the target of these attacks. The deportations of Latin Americans, especially against Mexicans and Central Americans, violating their human rights recognized in United Nations conventions, are an example of this retrograde policy. Meanwhile, the narrative of the current US president regarding the construction of the border wall to the north of Mexico and the relocation of transnational corporations in its territory show the new directions of xenophobia and search for a useless economic and commercial strategy with respect to the economies Latin American countries.
Faced with these facts, we must establish actions of permanent campaigns of denunciation to the violation of human rights in the USA against our compatriots; And to call for solidarity and Latin American unity for our peoples, both from our countries and within the United States, to organize to resist unjust deportations. Our compatriots are undocumented, not illegal.
Just as Mexico has historically been the geographical frontier between the United States and Latin America, so is the economic and political frontier between the pretensions of the imperialist empire and the fate of other Latin American countries, as it begins to manifest itself In resistance and unity against the measures of the empire.
Faced with these facts, we must respond with days of resistance, belligerence, solidarity and Latin American unity of our peoples and countries. Taking advantage of the common enemy and being aware that in Mexico we must build our own trench of struggle. In this regard, we pledge the efforts made by the PRD of Mexico in the framework of the 4 × 4 strategy and invite FSP members to join efforts in this campaign.
5. The oligarchic offensive for the destabilization of progressive governments and popular resistance.
In the last base documents, as well as in the Consensus of Our America, we referred to the political setbacks of progressive and leftist Latin American governments, whether by coups d’état, aborted or consummated, or by elections where we do not reach the majority : Military coups as in Honduras, aborted coups d’état as in Venezuela and Ecuador, or institutional coups d’état as in Paraguay and Brazil; In terms of elections or referendums we count Venezuela, Argentina and Bolivia. Despite electoral defeats and despite the aforementioned panorama, the march of the revolution advances through resistance and popular struggles and in the defense of the improvements in the quality of life of our peoples, by actions of our governments and through Of institutional changes achieved.
It should not be forgotten that an electoral setback does not completely displace the leftist forces from their institutional presence; on the contrary, in all cases, the left, despite being defeated at the polls, remains the first or second political force In each of the Latin American societies, which shows a significant strategic advance, compared to the last century where the contending forces in most cases were between liberals and conservatives.
As we noted in the declaration of San Salvador in 2016: “The continental right subordinated to US imperialism has intensified the actions with which it intends to dismantle the processes of social change that are developing throughout our continent, Is emerging as an imperial counter-offensive.
Latin American radical democracies emerge – among many other causes – in response to the application of neoliberal policies imposed by the International Monetary Fund, which provoked popular insurgencies unprecedented in recent history, political power crises, and electoral victories of broad political fronts and Social, that initiated a change of era in a part of Our America. The resistance and debate of revolutionary parties and movements made it possible not only to confront neoliberalism but also to propose future projects, which millions and millions of citizens support, based on reality and, most importantly, the experiences of popular governments have Demonstrated that it is feasible to carry out democratic and popular programs. That the pro-imperialist right be entrenched and fight by all means to the processes of change, is what confirms that we have achieved successes in the route of national and social liberation.
If it were necessary to highlight a fact that responds to the leftward turn of Latin America and the Caribbean, it can be affirmed that the first great defeat of neoliberal globalization occurred when the project: Free Trade Area of the Americas, FTAA, was rejected At the Summit of the Americas, held in Mar del Plata, Argentina, in November 2005. The people of all countries had as their spokesmen Chavez, Kirchner, and Lula. The revolutionary moment that is lived, is extraordinary, a few days later Evo Morales wins conclusively the presidential elections in Bolivia; A few months later, the Sandinista Revolution resurfaced in its second stage with the arrival of its historic leader, Daniel Ortega, and the Ecuadorian citizen revolution comes to power with the powerful leadership of Rafael Correa Delgado. And as an alternative to the ALCA project, and the leaders, Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, begin the construction of ALBA, a sign of times of change.
The brutal offensive aimed at dislodging progressive and leftist forces from all social, political and institutional spaces conquered by them in good faith, indicate the need to speed up the construction of the new paradigms of the left of the 21st century. It is vital not to lose sight of the instrumental character of any political system as a means of legitimizing class power, regardless of who exercises it, which grounds the need for structural changes, not only in the economic sphere, which is often To refer exclusively, but in the political sphere, as to the formulation of a general strategy and the necessary tactics, which should lead us to a democracy that is participatory and protagonist, as an instrument of popular power that ensures victories Local and national.
The left must define strategies to increase its presence in the integrality of political power, advancing in the change of the correlation of forces in the institutionality of the State, which requires not reducing the political struggle to the Executive Branch. We must not forget that the institutions of functional democracy, power groups and empire in most of our countries have been built to limit the exercise of the democratic rights of the majorities, in the interest of local oligarchies. Power groups use all institutional mechanisms to undermine democracy, peace and processes of change driven by leftist governments; A living example is the judicialization of politics, using the judiciary to slow down the progress of the revolutionary process and obstruct the strengthening of our own parties.
Both leftist governments that take the presidency and win majorities in parliaments, such as those advancing in cities, municipalities or governorates, implement policies that collaborate at the root of poverty in millions of Latin American families with access to a health system , Education, more permanent jobs or legal self-employment for full human development. It is obvious that class interests are affected with their history of patrimonial dominion; Therefore, they will not lose the opportunity to recover governments and return to old authoritarian, undemocratic practices with policies that impose new social inequality.
A fundamental issue to bear in mind is that when in a multi-party system the political forces with the option of power represent class interests antagonistic to each other, institutions become trenches of struggle and therefore, the use of these spaces becomes a Strategic priority of the struggle as long as the old political model has not been replaced by the new one.
We must promote the revolution in communications so that we can fight the ideas and defeat the political and dirty media war of the mass media. This struggle is transversal in all areas we must develop combined media, networks and popular forms of communication.
In order to advance the project we must develop culture and the arts, in all our work, to gain the hegemony of the project in society is vital and has to do with everything we do and as we do, the battle for conscience.
II. The international conjuncture
In all previous documents the analysis of the international situation revolved around the colonial and imperialist domination of the United States and the European Union, where we accused neoliberal policies and their aftermath in the rest of the peripheral and semi-peripheral countries in this The last case concerned sanctions against Russia, a country belonging to the so-called emerging countries (BRICS).
Persistence and no possibility of a cease-and-desist in the Western military invasion by NATO, led by the United States and with the main seat in Europe, is in the offing. Particularly we were referring to the damage caused by Western military troops in the Middle East, where Israel’s Zionist aggression against the Palestinian people is still staged.
We also denounced the emergence of Al Qaeda terrorist troops and the so-called Islamic Caliphate (ISIS), which were promoted by the United States and Saudi Arabia as their main ally in the region, along with Israel, groups clearly used The goal of overthrowing governments not subordinate to US hegemony and as an argument to unleash and legitimize punitive actions against those governments and against their Muslim populations.
Following the attacks on Europe, particularly Paris, by ISIS terrorists, France modifies its foreign policy and at the same time Russia decides to fight ISIS military camps on the borders of Syria and Turkey. Suddenly the correlation of forces in the Middle East changes, the terrorist camps are bombed and the order restored in Syria. As a result of that situation, Russia forms a block of alliances with Turkey, Syria and Iran. The situation in Syria is still fluid, although it is true that the Syrian Army, with the support of Russian aviation, has given them hard blows to the terrorists, the war continues.
In November 2016, Donald Trump wins the presidential election in the United States, which is presented with an aggressive protectionist cut-off program, which is expressed in the expulsion of migrants from Arab countries, the construction of a wall on the Mexican border, The revision of the TTIP and NAFTA megaprojects, the withdrawal of the Pacific cooperation agreement, TPP (which dismantles an area of trade cooperation between right-wing countries in Latin America: Chile, Peru, Colombia, and Mexico, at the same time Which yields an important commercial space to China, which is soon enough to size properly), resumes the construction of a project classified as ecological hazard, the Keystone Pipeline. It also ordered the expulsion of undocumented migrants and threatens to deepen this policy, but in this direction has had some setbacks, announced the implementation of a plan to expand the United States nuclear war capacity, is facing some means Of communication and pushes hard on China, while highlighting its links with the ultra-right Israeli government. It maintains a line of close cooperation with London, which begins its departure from the European Union, after the victory of BREXIT last year.
This is a plan for the readjustment of the imperialist capitalist system, in the most powerful nation on the planet, the objective is very clear: to reverse the crisis of accumulation and its hegemony, however, within a few days of its mandate, strong protest movements have been made Feel in major American cities.
Keeping all the empirical differences with respect to the past empires, the United States of America behaves as an empire, but with the difference that from the political independence of the so-called Third World against the colonial empires, hegemony does not revolve around a Territory or a population subordinated administratively to the US government, such as the old empires, or as the US empire itself in its stage of occupation of neighboring territories, but its hegemony revolves around the US state that behaves as a World State together With the systemic presence of the measures of its international organizations and of its great corporations, both expressions of capitalist and imperialist relations that dominate the world economically. Indeed, the American metropolis is at the head of the capitalist-imperialist system and until now its troops, international organizations, ideological apparatuses and lifestyle guiding the rules of the game of the world-system, regardless of the contradictions that exist between the different governments, the different international organizations and the different branches and corporations of the world-economy.
1. US as a State at the Head of Imperialism
The center of the empire is the United States, and has as allies to the main western powers and Japan. The United States considers or disregards United Nations resolutions, whether or not it serves their interests, using them to legitimize their actions and policies, or ignore them when they go against their imperialist and bellicose strategy. Although, formally, decisions are made by majority, in practice it is the imperial powers that guide the final decision. There is an executive committee, called the Security Council, composed of 15 Western-majority members, where five countries (USA, Britain, France, Russia and China) have the power to veto any decision of the United Nations Assembly or members Of the Security Council. Often in recent decades, these countries have been unable to avoid, with their veto, the US military invasion in both parts of the world. The United States has the largest budget and largest military apparatus on the planet, with possibilities for military intervention in many countries, except for those with atomic weapons. Its armed forces have practically crossed the whole world and still maintains military bases throughout the world, even in countries with atomic weapons, but which are its allies.
The international financial institutions respond to the interests of international financial capital, the main link of the capitalist system and its hegemonic nucleus, led by the United States, but also exerts a heavy weight in political decisions, through multiple institutions of the most diverse kinds (Sometimes even using the UN, when it suits its interests), as well as, has built an ideological and counter-cultural apparatus, based – obviously – on market fundamentalism.
In spite of the above, as industrial, commercial and financial capitalism develops, with all its contradictions, hegemony is maintained through an alliance between the Imperial States and the hegemony of the capitalist market, made up of a set of Multinational corporations set up around the world, without exception, ie including Russia, China and all those countries governed by political groups that support or oppose the US government. It is useful to note that the Russian Federation, like the rest of the BRICS, has a market economy and competes in the world capitalist market.
In the past, protectionism has been accompanied by rampant wars, feuding with raw materials in the Third World, at least until the invasion of NATO in Yugoslavia and the oil countries of the Middle East. Today, neo-colonial and imperialist incursions accompany their adventures on the battlefield of the market, including veiled protectionism to compete with their opponents. This competition within the world-system appears as the civilized path chosen by all countries to resolve competition and to deal with the crises of the world system: financial, industrial and commercial crises, food and water crisis, energy and biodiversity, but on All crisis of realization of merchandise, surplus value and current capitals, including surpluses amassed throughout history.
The crisis of capitalism is one of accumulation and can be characterized as organic, multidimensional and simultaneous, which has the direct consequence of the absence of social and economic equilibrium, and it is increasingly emphasized that the liberal political system – Plutocratic in essence – today has serious limitations to be the instrument of consensus, to which every political regime aspires, on the contrary, the current political reality, is that authoritarian forces, neo-fascist and xenophobic, expand their radius of influence and grow in Popular support in Europe and the United States, and it is openly undemocratic forces that now challenge Latin American popular governments.
2. The situation of the empire vis-à-vis its main competitors
With the implosion of the socialist camp due to the crisis of a distributive regime without correlation in the development of productive forces and in competition with a world market, hegemonized by the imperialist powers born after World War II, the center of world power Displaced the United States and its major allies in Europe and the rest of the world.
In the midst of this globalization appeared at the end of the last century several countries that managed to appropriate the technology and under their complementary advantages reached the status of emerging countries (BRICS). These countries that have multiplied, particularly in Southeast Asia, began to flood with competitive goods to the whole world, including Europe and the United States.
One of the aspects of the set of contradictions that neoliberal globalization generates is the emergence of new poles, or nuclei, that will have to become new poles of power, that is, the development of a great planetary geopolitical transition can be identified. Which requires special attention by the Forum of Sao Paulo. Does a multipolar world break through? Is this multipolar world democratic? There is a datum to take into account, the confluence of the emerging economies in the BRICS, ie Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, which is the great competitor of the US-EU alliance, but what is going to happen With the BRICS, after the coup in Brazil and the establishment of a regime that goes in the opposite direction to the policy adopted by the governments of Lula and Dilma in the South American giant.
It was thus that Europe and the United States were lagging behind, especially in the new industrial technologies of consumer goods, taking refuge in the financial mechanisms that allowed the monopoly of the dollar as a world currency, as well as in the theft of Third World raw materials and the imposition of disadvantageous neoliberal policies for peripheral countries.
This situation of competition between the US empire and the rest of the countries was pointed out in the basic document of XXII of the Forum of Sao Paulo, and we can not add too little in this document, as can be seen in the text that follows.
An essential component of the imperialist strategy aimed at discharging the effects of the systemic crisis of capitalism on others is its offensive with the aim of weakening the BRICS, in which the geopolitical fence and the imposition of economic sanctions against Russia stand out. Speculative manipulation of information on the behavior of China’s economy, political-economic rapprochement with India, seeking to separate it from the group, and the political destabilization of Brazil, where pro-imperialist and oligarchic forces executed a legislative and judicial coup Of which President Dilma Rousseff was removed from her position. The latter is at the same time an essential component of the offensive against the governments and leftist and progressive forces in the region.
Despite the imperial onslaught, the unipolar world that emerged after the collapse of the so-called European socialist camp and underpinned by US hegemonic power has diminished. The enormous advance of China and Russia, the shift in favor of the left and the progressive forces in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the US bogged down in their wars of conquest, created an increasingly multipolar world in which traditional powers They no longer decide everything.
The USA remains, however, the world’s leading power in all fields, but its industrial and cybernetic economic structure declines in world competition. Its fiscal deficit is of great proportions. It makes it manageable by issuing billions of dollars every year without backing that dependent countries are forced to buy.
It should be noted that the United States substantially reduced its levels of energy dependence, with respect to the countries grouped in OPEC, first, by the application of new techniques, which allow it to extract oil in its own territory, through the method Fracking, which increased its domestic production by approximately four million barrels per day, (although it should be noted the high cost of investment in technology that requires this method, so that the investment to be amortized demand prices around or greater than $ 50 And the serious environmental consequences it produces), and secondly – this is crucial – now transnational corporations are in control of Iraq’s crude oil production, which could increase production in a few years, as well As well as controlling the Libyan production, in addition to the well-known alliance that maintains with Saudi Arabia, clearly, the Largest producer and exporter of oil in the world. The strong pressure on Venezuela and the ongoing destabilizing plans are linked to this situation in the oil market and to the United States’ strategy of total control over oil, an essential component of the functioning of the military, industrial, commercial, transport and Communications world.
The US continues to recede in world GDP and trade, and its currency tends to be displaced by other strong currencies. Of the 50% of world GDP many years ago (at current prices), the US economy grew to 31% in 2000 and 21% in 2014. Meanwhile, China already has 15% of world GDP At current prices, already surpassed Japan, Germany and other major capitalist economies and is heading to replace the US in the field of production. The US went from having more than 30% of world exports to 9%, ie 1% less than China, which leads the planet with 10%. These data show that the dollar has to increasingly share its global space with other currencies, such as the Chinese yuan.
The BRICS countries account for 50% of the world’s population and 30% of the world’s land surface, generate 22% of global GDP, own 45% of foreign exchange reserves, have abundant oil and gas reserves ( Especially Russia and Brazil), coal and other minerals, produce many foods and their economies are complementary. Brazil is also very integrated to South America through MERCOSUR and UNASUR.
South America owns 65% of the world’s lithium reserves, 42% of copper, 33% of tin, 30% of petroleum, 21% of iron, 18% of bauxite, 14% of nickel and 83% of biological diversity. Only Brazil owns the third part of the world’s nitrate. The Asian nations that make up the BRICS (to a lesser extent Russia) need to buy these raw materials because their economies do not have them in the quantities they require. According to ECLAC, China is consuming about 40% of the world’s aluminum, copper, lead, nickel, tin and zinc.
The growth of the economies of Asia that belong to the BRICS, which in a few years will leave behind the European ones (and China did), supposes a greater demand of the minerals that abound in South America. In other words, the economic growth of the great nations of Asia is directly linked to the growth of South America. According to an analysis done in 2013, for every 1% of China’s GDP growth, it increased by 0.4% in South America, and for every 10% that China grew, exports from Latin America to that nation increased in 25%.
Industries in Europe and the US also need the raw materials of Latin America and the Caribbean, but their possibilities of penetrating the region were complicated by the emergence of progressive and leftist governments that defeated the FTAA and expanded their ties with the BRICS All with China and Russia. This is one of the most powerful reasons for the imperialist offensive unleashed in recent years, both against Russia and China, and against leftist and progressive governments in the subcontinent. (See Background Paper-Encuentro de San Salvador, 2016).
3. Neoliberal globalization and imperial protectionism
However, the protectionism of any nation-state is not the same as the protectionism of a world-state or what is the same as that of an imperial state. And when we speak of the United States of America, we are speaking precisely of an imperial state, incarnation and rector of financial capitalism and imperialism, the latter understood as a set of policies to preserve, recompose and strengthen its hegemony and those corporations of its choice.
Up to now the empire had decided on a globalizing economic policy, privatizing all the States of the world, including the excommunicated states, breaking down the tariff barriers, especially for the goods of the imperial powers, relocating metropolitan companies outside its borders, But amassing capital that is sent to the center, breaking all the censures that capitalism had previously respected, such as ecological destruction, trafficking in people, the debauchery of world trade, the export of capital-technology abroad, the drug trade, etc.
But it turns out that suddenly there are too many emerging countries that begin to erode the economic base of US imperialism, such as the shares of the world market of goods and capital, which not only replace the imports of the western powers, but compete with these powers Within their own markets. This situation is accompanied by successive and increasingly recurrent crises of overproduction, the basis of financial crises, where all economies, including the United States, find a global market saturated with merchandise. And as has been customary in these cases, the great states or imperial centers have no other way, apart from the wars of prey, than to rescue their enterprises with state taxes or to undertake protectionist measures. And this is what President Trump is doing, choosing the path of radical protectionism. Capitalist globalization has already been carried out through neoliberal policies. Now, once the world market has become saturated with commodities, the time has come for these disadvantaged powers to resort to new protectionism to redress their disadvantage.
It is not that the administration headed by President Trump will eliminate trade agreements, but will tighten its clauses, currently leonine, for the countries of the South. Not that the empire will remove the bulk of its companies that plunder the planet (minerals, oil or food) of raw materials but will choose those that suit you to keep the job and a solid domestic market. Not that it will suppress wars, but will be more selective and rational from the economic point of view, forcing its partners to share their spending.
In other words, globalization, understood as the capitalist domination of the center on the periphery, already performed the tasks it had to carry out through neoliberal policies, such as the dismantling of tariff barriers and the privatization of public enterprises; Now it is for the imperial center to make the necessary adjustments, as a result of the new contradictions engendered. And one of them is precisely the saturation of the world market, a product of the export of capital that moved from the center to the periphery, increasing the old capitalist sin, such as the dissociation between production and consumption: With greater restrictions of effective demand to consume it and to specify the expected profit (to realize the surplus value).
In short, it is a matter of transferring global competition for surpluses, from a military geopolitics to an economic geopolitics, first of all strengthening its internal market and hoping that the rest of nations will be suffocated by the lack of external markets or what is Because of the lack of spaces in the world market, which is formed precisely by all foreign nations or by the sum of their markets.
Indeed, this policy began after the neo-liberal and globalizing boom of the end of the last century and lasted until the crisis of 2008. Since then, some countries, including China and the great bloc of the West (EU-USA), had begun To look inward, trying to strengthen its internal market and penetrating some protectionist policies, as in the case of sanctions of Europe and the United States towards Russia and other smaller countries. Now, the United States is strengthening its protectionism and moving aggressively to signal the change in its economic policies, beginning with those countries that most affect its economic hegemony, as in the case of China, Mexico and some Arab countries. A policy that began by withdrawing from the Transpacific Treaty, revising the treaty with Canada and Mexico and imposing taxes on the importation of Mexican products, reinforcing a retaining wall on its borders and prohibiting the entry of citizens of some Middle Eastern countries of origin Islamic.
However, the situation will not be as easy for the United States as before, because the world is so interdependent and especially transnational corporations, that protectionism of a country usually appears protectionism of other countries. The United States runs the risk of being isolated from an international trade where no one is indispensable and where there are countries like China as powerful to offer their goods as the United States itself in international trade.
All nations will have to keep looking for how to sell their products in the world market, whether raw materials or industrial products. Likewise, they will have to continue to buy industrial products in the centers of the imperial system, particularly those nations and markets that have not been able to substitute their imports. So it is not difficult to predict that Trump’s protectionism in the United States will lead to a much more bitter trade war than globalization has meant. In other words, it seems that the foreign policy that we are going to observe by all countries will be the end of a stage of globalization as we knew it until a few months ago, to move to a new phase of neoliberal globalization with selective protectionism.
4. Imperialism will not renounce either the globalization of capital or neo-liberal policies in the periphery
Imperialism will not renounce either the globalization of capital or the capitalist market or the imposition of neoliberal measures on the periphery, irrespective of its efforts to protect its frontiers in the face of competition that threatens its hegemony.
Globalization as the global interdependence of capital and international corporations, roaming all nations and all social spaces, neoliberalism as policies of privatization of the state, as well as imperial protectionism, can have many contradictions, such as Every system, but do not think that they are antagonistic.
The large transnational corporations and, fundamentally, what forms the main axis of capitalism today: the highly integrated financial system is at the same time the space of the most acute contradictions, which are antagonistic or not dependent on the depth of the Crisis and its political effects, its impact on the economy, the best example is the crack of 2008 that highlighted the theoretical inconsistency of the approach of neoliberals. “Globalization is a historical law – explained Fidel in the hall of the UCV in 1999 – is a consequence of the development of the productive forces – and excuse me for using that phrase that perhaps frighten some by its author – a product of development Of science and technology to such an extent that even the author of the phrase, Karl Marx, who had great confidence in human talent, was probably unable to imagine “…” Neoliberal globalization wants to convert all countries , Especially to all our countries, on private property. ”
A subject of such caliber requires a brief reflection, as to what some economists express about the origin of the high profits in the international financial system, as “value that values itself”, that is, the capitalist gets fabulous Profits without going through the risks that every production process entails. Theorists of capitalism pretend to hide the phenomenon of exploitation of the working class. But the reality is another: the capitalist gain by means of financial speculation is in which capitalist exploitation is condensed, “is when capital reaches its most cosmic form, its purest form of fetish,” as Marx explains . This is a process that now reaches very complex levels, and has global reach because it has the material basis that gives the intensive development of new technologies. Not a few analysts affirm that with the development of science and technology, the composition of capitalism changes so much that we are dealing with new phenomena, it is true that they are new phenomena, but when we observe the “fracture” of the system Financial, is exposed its plot of contradictions, however, what the ideologists of neoliberalism claim is to hide the antagonism between capital and work, and that, is not a ghost, there it is.
Here is a list of the concrete expressions of the neoliberal measures imposed on our countries and which neoliberal globalization or imperialism and imperial protectionism are not willing to give up. These points have been pointed out by left-wing intellectual criticism. It would be good to do a simulation exercise, wondering if we believe that the influence of the United States and all its paraphernalia of international organizations on which it influences daily think of abandoning the neoliberal policies imposed on us daily.
A) Bilateral commercial treaties favorable to imperial countries and corporations and to the detriment of disadvantaged nations in the world capitalist market.
B) Tariff dismantling by different means, privatization of companies and public services, tax reforms in favor of corporations and to the detriment of other producers, including evasion mechanism and exception of taxes.
C) Disappearance or subordination of central banks and promotion to international financial institutions and the Bank for International Settlements, as well as loss of control of monetary and credit policy. Stimulus to vulture loans.
D) Discouragement and discrimination against small-medium producers and cooperatives, accompanied by the dispossession of their soils and natural resources.
E) Privatization, denationalization and disappearance of public services: health, education, housing, transport, surveillance, recreation.
(F) Fiscal deficit and progressive indebtedness leading to imbalance in public expenditure, as a mechanism to impose unfavorable economic policies on the weaker countries.
G) Control of the public budget to feed private investment and rescue companies and commercial banks from their periodic bankruptcies.
H) Orientation of credits to stimulate consumerism.
I) Delivery of mining resources, fishing resources, tourist resources, aquifers to the chains of extractive transnational companies.
J) Stimulation of bubbles and financial crises for greater concentration and centralization of capital.
K) Freezing and reduction of wages, increase in unskilled employment, inflation, increase in rates for services in private hands, increased generation of young people who do not study or work.
L) Social and personal development.
M) Increase of inequalities and repression to all manifestations of discontent.
N) Confiscation of individual and social rights.
O) Linking government apparatuses with organized crime circles, drug trafficking organizations, increased extortion and corruption of public institutions, and inciting impunity.
P) Discouragement and criminalization of popular organizations; Use of imperial power for their punitive adventures against our institutions and against public officials.
Q) Substitution of political values for market values. Depoliticization of youth and parties, or their reconversion as mercantile enterprises aimed at accumulation from the control of government institutions.
We could continue to expand the list. What is important is to know that imperial neo-protectionism will not abandon its foreign policy in the periphery or semi-periphery of the system, not even the slightest expression of what was once the liberal states.
In any case, and being reiterated the allusion to the functioning of capitalism, imperialism, globalization, neoliberal policies, we suggest that we advance in the approach and discussion on an alternative project that can be implemented from the opposition and from the government, as it did The bourgeoisie in its time, which even before taking power was already class and project dominant in society. For which we offer two annexed references that we believe are obligatory in the discussion, such as the possibilities of an alternative economy, a process in progress in Latin America, although silent and even invisible to many sectors of the left that nevertheless work with it, as well as Possibilities of another model of political and economic management in progress, we refer to popular power.
III. Final Considerations
Trump’s executive actions have raised a wave of protests among migrants, Islamists, women and other social sectors. Even with the judicial system has begun to have friction.
While President Trump’s protectionist policies and his attempts to change multinational trade relations through binational agreements that benefit US interests will economically affect our countries, they can provide an opportunity for the strengthening of our regional instruments and the drive for The establishment of new relations with other economic blocs.
Today more than ever we have to keep the excitement so that our Latin American compatriots living in the United States are mobilized against the pretensions of imperial protectionism. As we said in the final declaration in San Salvador: In the United States, more than 55 million people from Latin America and the Caribbean contribute to the economic and social development of that country. A significant percentage of the 11 million undocumented people in the United States are from Latin America and the Caribbean and the government of that country has not kept its promise of a comprehensive reform for the rights of the migrant population, a part of which suffers from Humanitarian crisis, as is the case of boys and girls held at borders.
It is necessary for the Sao Paulo Forum to strengthen efforts to build a continental political and social front, made up of political, social and popular movements in our region, encompassing broad sectors of society, including those that demand respect for Their collective and personal rights, such as their sexual orientation in the case of LGBT groups, the youth sectors, gender struggles for equal rights for men and women, indigenous peoples, Do not necessarily act on a partisan basis, but who struggle in the streets for their rights and the exercise of their cultural expressions. A task that must include the motivation to the militants and supporters of their parties in the United States to join as a community to the struggle and demand for their rights and denounce the interventionist policy of the United States government towards our countries.
The Sao Paulo Forum must be alert to any US action to tighten its policy towards Cuba based on Trump’s statements and the greater influence of the Cuban right wing of Miami in the US Congress. So far, no action has taken place because the new administration is trying to establish domestic measures.
The Sao Paulo Forum should continue to follow up on and follow up on the peace process in Colombia, both in the implementation of the agreements with the FARC and in negotiation with the ELN. We express our deep rejection of the militarization that is attempted to restore in our continent and we advocate for the defense of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, as proclaimed by CELAC.
Latin America and the Caribbean are at the moment and will continue to be at the forefront of the struggle of peoples for a society with justice and freedom, without exploitation or oppression; A struggle in which peoples, their political and social organizations, and governments defending popular interests, face the most powerful forces in the world, but whose economic and military might can not be against the power of reason, Ideas, and the highest values of humanity, “as the Cuban Revolution proclaimed in Havana’s Second Declaration,” BASTA has said, and has begun to move … “We will continue to build popular power to ensure economic, social and Policies of the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean.
A fundamental challenge for the peoples in struggle and for the Latin American revolutionary movement are two very high priority fronts. Unoque is the battle in Venezuela, whose revolutionary people led by their organized forces have demonstrated a capacity for struggle and resistance seldom seen in the history of our peoples’ struggle against the brutal onslaughts of the stateless oligarchy and imperialism confirming that defense Of the national sovereignty of Venezuela and the right of its people to give themselves the form of government they desire, must be preserved. And the second front of struggle is no less important because of its strategy, both regionally and globally, in the struggle that unfolds at all levels in Brazil, especially since the last events that triggered the last denunciations against the Illegitimate president Temer and who carried out the coup against President Comrade Dilma Rousseff.
An essential element in preserving, expanding, and strengthening the correlation of forces favorable to the political forces and leftist and progressive governments of Latin America and the Caribbean is the defense of the integrity and popular, anti-neoliberal orientation of intergovernmental mechanisms of Cooperation, and integration that have been created since the arrival of the left to the government, namely the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our America – the People’s Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP), the Union of Nations Suramericanas (UNASUR) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). The ALBA and PETROCARIBE project has been and continues to be an example of the capacity of peoples to exercise solidarity, complementarity and move towards a better destiny. We should not forget those countries of the small Antilles that have progressive governments, some of them They integrated with PETROCARIBE.
As the left, it is incumbent on us to promote transparency, honesty in the use and hands of public resources, and protest against the pretension of the United States, to arrogate control prerogatives in confronting corruption, disrespecting the sovereignty of our peoples through unconstitutional mechanisms , As a result of which it is striking that political figures linked to the oligarchy, from which the greatest acts of corruption come, have not been identified or affected, which is also a product of imperialist interventionism. The case of CICIG in Guatemala is emblematic in that sense, but the Guatemalan people themselves have demonstrated that imperial protection is not necessary through interventionist organizations to deal with corruption, since the guarantee for this is the capacity of struggle of the popular sectors, Provided that there is a united revolutionary movement, organized and at the height of its historical mission. The judicialization of politics through local judicial powers controlled by the right and interventions to sovereignty through the formation of anti-corruption commissions composed of international organizations must be prevented at all costs. Likewise, we must reject tax havens, tax evasion and the opacity of big capital in each country.
Finally it would be advisable to take these documents to all organized expressions of our societies, in order to accumulate ideological and cultural forces that in the hands of the people become social and political force to raise awareness, organize and mobilize the entire society, aimed at Change the established order.
CONTRIBUTION OF THE FSLN TO DEBATE
Social economy and popular power
While we believe that the analysis of the international and regional conjuncture is a necessary input to enrich political awareness and feed our programmatic work, we believe that we must advance in the strategy of transformation, even from the opposition, so that hopes in the struggle Are not limited to the possibilities of controlling the institutions, which of course we consider strategic. In this sense, and taking into account the wealth of experiences of popular-social economy and popular power, we think it pertinent to outline these two points, with the aim of beginning to discuss them. At the same time, it is necessary, along with its analysis, to start systematizing and socializing both experiences in the different countries of Latin America.
The social economy that begins as a popular economy, composed of family economic units, low income wage earners and small producers of goods and services; Popular economy that acquires its maturity when it associates, needs a popular power that develops it, as did the bourgeoisie when it was born as emergent class, otherwise all this myriad small family economic units or small producers will be sentenced to live in a A kind of popular capitalism, where competition will crush them without mercy, submerging them in poverty and social precariousness. Hence the need for social movements and leftist political organizations to accompany it with a class consciousness and towards an associative and self-managed practice.
The social economy
1. The social economy as part of the agenda of the Latin American left
The objective of this section is to discuss and agree a general political agenda that allows the Latin American left and its national expressions to orient their political action against the power of the prevailing system, incorporating the task of building an alternative economy to the capitalist business economy.
On the left, we understand all political forces that oppose, through discourse, organization and mobilization, to the established order, characterized by: a) The predominance of an increasingly competitive capitalist and imperialist market, exclusive and predatory, b) A group of patriarchal and authoritarian institutions; c) The intervention of the different political, military, economic and cultural forces of imperialism, both public and private. Capitalism and imperialism that must be faced under a socialist orientation, combining the contributions of statist socialism, in terms of the possession of public enterprises and planning, with those of associative socialism, in terms of social relations, or what is the same, To undertake revolution and socialism from above and below.
And it is from this perspective that it is important to bet on a new economy, the popular and social economy, those that are not based on worker-employer relations, but on small units of producers-workers associated with each other, in order to access business Of greater scale where they can capture a greater added value, complemented with public policies that favor it. By popular-social economy we mean those economic subjects where living labor is as important as capital and where accumulation ceases to be an end, as in capitalism, to become a means for the well-being of its associates. The social economy has its quarry in small producers, settlers, consumers and workers in general, incorporated into the management of the economy in its different aspects, from family economic units, small producers, small artisans and fishermen, small businesses Generally grouped around production, transport services, distribution and consumption. These subjects acquire the status of social economy when they associate to articulate each other and scale the chain of value that allows them to grow and appropriate the surplus that today, the capital drains them through the market. As part of this economy, it is necessary to incorporate the people who are associated in consumer or credit cooperatives or other associative or communal forms to manage different types of services, aimed at obtaining income or reducing their expenses.
Within this economy, it is necessary to include indigenous communities, based on social, cultural and economic relations that confer a different identity to the contractual relations of the identities of a mercantile society.
The advantage for the left of betting on a new class, new relations of production and a new economy, is that it allows it to begin to construct an alternative from here and now, lacking in which, both in opposition and in power , Its action will be limited to suffer, administer and criticize the ravages and the functioning of the capitalist system. On the other hand, supporting the development of a new class and a new economy would allow us to begin to build relations closer to socialism, at least as Marx understood it, that is to say: “The union of freely associated producers.”
This strategy is more like the path taken by the bourgeoisie at birth, competing with earlier forms of production, until it reached its economic hegemony, which led it to carry out its political revolution in order to fully develop. In other words, the bourgeoisie as a class, technically and economically dominant, was born before making its political revolution. A different course than statist socialism, where the socialization of the means of production and change was undertaken from economic units nationalized and managed by a technocracy, but maintaining the old relations of production with the working class; Class in the name of which the political revolution is made, but at a time when it is not yet an economically dominant class, but rather a class exploited and subordinated to private and / or public capital.
From the social economy, we would be proposing a much more democratic and more associative mixed economy project (state-owned companies + producer-worker associations), which can be started even before political power is seized. Scheme that is being carried out in Venezuela and other Latin American countries and seems to be rooted in Cuban society, judging by the existence of more than 500,000 account-holders and the promotion of cooperativism.
This is what we point out as a proposal is already happening in Latin America in different fields of the economy, at the hands of a new economic subject, which we call workers-producers or self-employed, who make up about 50% of the workforce and who Together with the organized working class and the great majority of inhabitants and consumers, form the majority of the labor force, a part of which is progressing significantly under cooperative, self-managed, associative and communitarian forms. The bourgeois nomenclature calls them Sector Informal or of unfair competition. (See attached table of the Central American Monetary Council).
Informal economy in relation to GDP (%)
|País||Size of the informal economy in relation to IPP|
Regional Economic Notes No.72, February, 2015.
Executive Secretariat of the Central American Monetary Council.
This proposal is based on several assumptions, one of which is that, on the one hand, not necessarily the possession of the power of a leftist political force guarantees or facilitates social transformations, lacking an alternative economic class, on the other hand, no Being protected by power does not prevent some social transformations. These can be undertaken from the opposition, that is, even if the left is not protected by power.
Consider, for example, the struggles for land that peasants undertake against landowners and against repressive governments, which contrasts with left-wing governments that have excluded agrarian reform from their plan of government. We have recently observed leftist political organizations that, while in government, behaved as if they were economically dominant class, with a position that was not critical to the system in aspects such as predation and extractivism by transnational corporations, marginalization of peasantry and communities Indigenous peoples, authoritarianism and abandonment of alliances with social movements, which contrasts with the complacency and permissibility granted to the right. Under current conditions, those experiences, where left-wing political organizations in government, even having achieved the status of a ruling and ruling political class, should have maintained themselves as a governing political class, but in opposition to the system.
We live in a phase of transition where the bourgeoisie has lost its capacity to lead a national capitalism, precisely because of its subordination to foreign capital. A situation that also conditions and limits a leftist political force to undertake a national project, not counting the competition, not only the wage-earning working class and small producers, but local entrepreneurs. Thus, a social economy (small producers in the process of association), coexisting with the economy of medium and large entrepreneurs, national and foreign, appears as an opportunity to undertake a conscious process of social transformation; Where a new social bloc should be formed articulating that range of interests.
As we know, historically, the new alternative classes are born and begin to form in the bosom of the previous society, in this case in the heart of the capitalism. By capitalism we understand the organization of society according to the rules of the market and under the hegemony of capital, understood as a generalized economic relationship where the different forms of extraction and transfer of surpluses are carried out. In the capitalist mode of production, labor-management relations predominate, although, as we said earlier, in Latin America, these relations are being reduced and / or replaced by a popular economy in transit to a social economy where neither employers nor wage earners exist.
Capitalism in Latin America develops under the hegemony of the predatory transnational corporations, supported by the neoliberal policies imposed and established at the end of the twentieth century by imperial power, which has weakened national sovereignty and made it impossible for the local ruling classes to undertake the Tasks of national capitalism: agrarian reform, industrialization of raw materials, increase of the internal market, reduction of social inequalities, as well as the development of an inclusive democracy.
The national bourgeoisies are being progressively displaced by an internationally and locally organized oligarchy, while at the same time diminishing the absolute and relative weight of the working class. Unemployment has pushed people to seek their survival by engaging in self-employment, both in the countryside and in the city; In the Mesoamerican-Caribbean countries, unemployment has also resulted in migration to the United States and other countries in the North.
Under these conditions and given that it is a process in transition, the treatment and position that a leftist political force confers on property, a subject that confers identity to any political process, would be the following: a) Respect for all forms Of property, b) Defense of small property, c) Promotion of associative property. The former makes it a democratic political force, the second a popular political force, the third in a revolutionary political force.
In those countries where there is greater capitalist relations of production of the worker-factory type, the auto-management route would be the equivalent of the associativity of the small and medium producers organized in cooperatives.
2. The political forces of the social economy
Political organizations (fronts or parties) and social movements (popular mobilizations) are based on the class structure existing at the level of the nation and become reality to the extent that they are projected and mobilized according to national and popular interests and objectives In each country or at the regional level.
A politically and socially organized force is defined by a political position committed to access to influence and control of public institutions of the State (political society + civil society + hegemonic apparatuses): government, parliament, municipalities, judicial and electoral power , armed forces; As well as for the construction of a public opinion that challenges the moral and intellectual orientation of society.
A leftist political and social force incarnates and embodies the most advanced political and social positions within the struggle against the prevailing system. The struggle is expressed in a discourse and in a political action, whose results are aimed at achieving the transformations of a social system congested in its own contradictions and conflicts.
Any project of defense or transformation of the existing order needs a political force or organization to lead it. So far political parties have been organized as a political force in the interests of the oligarchy (conservative parties), the national bourgeoisie (liberal parties), the transnational bourgeoisie (neoliberal parties) or the working class (communist parties), for only To quote the most famous. Organization is the mediation between theory (the project) and practice (struggles). Every political project obeys the interests of the historical subjects (main classes in the management of society), although all present themselves as representatives of the whole nation or of civilization. Here we are proposing that the different leftist political organizations assume the interests of a new economic subject, incorporating not only the working class, but also the working class of the family, associative and community economy, as well as a new historical- Social in the functioning of the economy, as in this case the workers-producers, organized in an associative way, that is, as a social economy.
It is a question of explaining the relationship between the historical project, the main social subject, in this case composed of the economically dominant actors, the political organization that represents them, the program that corresponds to them and the political actions to be triggered.
Just as before we talked about organizing the working class politically, today we must add, as a political task, the economic organization of the popular economy, where the working class is no longer the only one and therefore will have to work together with the organization of the small Producers who are already covered by multiple means of production, individually or associatively, in order to strengthen and develop this new economic class.
Nowadays, political organizations are not depleted in political parties, but what has become known as social movements or advocacy groups vis-à-vis the state, which represent the different popular sectors. In other words, social movements are to the popular and social economy, what the political parties have been to the businessmen or to the working class.
A leftist political force must bet on representing both the general interests of society and the particular interests of the popular and social economy. From now on, any political organization that bets on a new economic class and a new form of extraction and appropriation of surpluses, in order to manage the economy, must incorporate the leaders of the social economy to the public positions: councilors, mayors , Deputies, others, so that the social economy can tilt the state policies in their favor. In other words, the subjects of the social economy must be politically empowered, in order to strengthen their economic interests.
3. Reform and revolution
In any transformation (reform or revolution) we must distinguish the political revolution from the social revolution. The former manifests itself as the substitution of a political and ruling class for another political class, the second manifests itself as the replacement of the old economic classes by a new economic class, however small it may be at its dawn. Recall the smallness of the bourgeoisie in its beginnings, compared with the great feudal lords, royalty, the great clergy and nobility in general.
In turn, the transformations tending to modify the capitalist and imperialist order are undertaken under a set of evolutionary or revolutionary forms. In other words, we see no contradiction between reform and revolution; Betting or rather emphasizing one and / or other will depend on the needs and possibilities of each historical moment. Reform is undertaken by peaceful and moderate forms, albeit belligerent; The revolution refers to violent and radical forms. The first aims to reform the system, the second aims to change it, and both point, together, to transform it.
Given the correlation of forces at the international level, political independence (sovereign power), social (autonomous classes) and economic independence (sustained growth and social welfare of the nation and the people), becomes very difficult for each of the countries in particular , Necessitating a concertation at the national and Latin American levels to deal with imperial dependence, domination and exploitation; But above all to have the capital, the market and the scale sufficient to enable it to undertake its original accumulation.
The revolution is a long process, and in Latin America we can divide it into three moments. A) The guerrilla fights and their contribution in the eradication of the Latin American military dictatorships. This is our main contribution to democracy in Latin America, b) The dispute for hegemony, where we are tied 55/45 according to the times; We must be aware that having more than 40% of the votes is enough, compared to the situation in the last century, which allows us to advance in the formation of a new political class. C) The third moment has to do with the taking of the economy by the people, not only by the public sector at the service of the nation, where we are very bad after neoliberal policies, but includes the possession of means of production and Business in general by the workers-producers, a process that is being carried out by self-employed workers (land and food production by peasants and small commercial producers, fishing businesses, manufacturing, transport and Trade, by our artisan workers, cooperatives, remittances that generate foreign exchange and move the economy of spending, among others).
4. The market and representative democracy
For both the capitalist system and the first socialist effort made by humanity, including the socialist orientation of the Latin American revolutions, the distribution has been its Achilles heel. For capitalism the divorce between production and consumption congests it, once the distribution or purchasing power of its buyers is not enough to consume relative overproduction, thus plunging it into periodic and permanent crises.
Socialism suffers the same problem, but in reverse. A progressive and excessive distribution of the scarcely produced wealth, violating the law of value or the remuneration according to the work, add it in serious crises of supply that derail the market and the economy as a whole. And, once the masses find a market that is out of stock, they begin to express their discontent, regardless of whether the cause is a supply disproportionate to productive capacity, as with any economic or family unit.
Learning and assimilating the lessons of Soviet communism, which, having successfully fought against capital and having absolutely controlled the political apparatus, was defeated by the market and by those sectors that demanded supply and representative democracy associated with it. A bitter struggle in the battlefield of the market and democracy is what we are seeing in Venezuela and relatively in Cuba, regardless of the control of capital, both nationally and internationally.
It is necessary to recognize the importance that the market and the representative democracy have in the management of any project, either in defense of order or according to an alternative order. Every revolution and every alternative project must have a new class that shows its superiority in all fields, as well as maintaining the libertarian and egalitarian spirit of past revolutions. Thus, the struggle against capital takes place on the battlefield of the market and public opinion, an omission that can be expensive to compete with other economic forces and other political forces. And we all know that the left is not vaccinated against the excesses of voluntarism, economic verticalism, political authoritarianism, sectarianism, corruption and other attitudes that generate popular antipathy.
The fight against capital is not the same as fighting the market. It is much more difficult to eliminate the market than to replace private capital with public capital or with private-collective capital. The biggest problem within the experiences of transition to socialism during the last century was the struggle against the market rather than the struggle against private capital.
The fight against and control and transformation of institutions implies a struggle for hegemony, which is a much more difficult task insofar as we do not have a political majority that supports political, economic and cultural transformations.
Therefore, if there is any difference between Soviet-oriented communism and socialism that we have to undertake, it is the importance that must be given to the market and to representative democracy. We must take into account the market to maintain economic and political stability, as we grow, transform or replace the institutions of capital by labor institutions. Likewise, we must take into account representative democracy, when undertaking social transformations, to measure the pulse of the popular masses and to educate ourselves in those tasks related to freedom and human rights. Undertaking social transformations without taking into account the people puts at risk the former, regardless of whether they are for the benefit of the people. Valuing the importance of the market and of representative democracy does not mean excluding one’s own strategy that surpasses them, democratizing bourgeois democracy and making it work in favor of new interests.
The capitalist class maintains its original sin, as it is to produce more and more, but counting with fewer and fewer buyers, thus precluding the realization of surplus value in the market, generating periodically crises of relative overproduction, where millions are sent to the streets Of the unemployed, including millions of small and medium entrepreneurs who succumb to every crisis in the face of the implacable laws of the capitalist market. The new social class we are talking about has the advantage of working to supply itself, by allocating surpluses to the market; Think of the peasant production of food, for example, consumed in the first place by themselves, allocating the remainder to the market.
However, in order for this new class of small producers or self-employed workers to compete in the market, it must precisely associate and thus benefit from an economy of scale that allows it to access the higher links of the value chain and thus recover The surplus that capital drains through the market.
It should be clear that the exercise of representative democracy in general and of elections in particular has among other intentions to divide the people. In our case, at least, the division necessarily has to be between the neocolonial-neoliberal project and the nationalist and social transformation project, between the capital project and the work project.
Today, and despite the political-electoral setbacks of the Latin American political left, we have practically overcome that stage in which electoral contests were between liberals and conservatives; Now the contest is between right and left. Political setbacks that must function as a laboratory to correct mistakes, crimes, prejudices and complexities of a newly formed (or in formation) political class that needs to fight with their class brothers, in order to better incarnate in an alternative project.
The left must propose the taking of all the institutions and not only the presidency or the deputations. It is very important to take the judiciary, military apparatus and the media. The left must take advantage of the electoral days as a forum to denounce the right and position their project. Using not only what happens in each country, but what happens in the rest of the world, either in our favor or questioning imperialism. The left should aim to take all possible radio, press and television spaces, even at the level of paid programs to erode right-wing parties and propagandize our project, locally, nationally and internationally, understanding that every citizen, regardless of Their political positions, is the object and subject of our attention and for which there must always be a discourse, otherwise we will continue to waste time going only to convinced sectors and from a more sectarian than educational position.
Finally, thinking especially of the Mesoamerican and Caribbean countries, including Cuba, we must include as part of the popular economy migrant workers who, with their foreign exchange, contribute to the social wages of their families; Being in such countries a contribution in net currencies of the most important for the economy as a whole.
5. The social economy and the need to combine revolution from above (via the public sector) with revolution from below (via associative)
The revolution was always understood as the seizure of power or public political apparatus. Equally, socialism was also understood as superstructural actions confiscating capital goods, managing them for the benefit of the workers and the people in general, which is still valid. However, we have realized that power is not only composed of political and military apparatuses, but that ultimately power is the conscientized and organized people, directly managing politics and economy. Likewise, socialism should not be limited to central planning in the hands of the bureaucracy and the management of public enterprises by the technocracy, but should be combined with decentralized forms of planning and self-managed forms of economy (trade unions and cooperatives).
The first conception led to revolutions from above, without a solid counterpart from below, as did and capitalism during bourgeois revolutions. The difference is that capitalist and imperialist revolutions have always had their own agents and classes to implement their project, while socialism and despite having proposed to the councils (soviets), had in the bureaucracy and technocracy its main protagonist, forgetting Or weakening workers’ self-management and even cooperativism as ways of building the new hegemonic class.
However, we must recognize multiple experiences where public sector policies were combined with associative forms of production and consumption, including planning. We also know that the social-democratic European project, which also originated in Marxism, reached acceptable levels of mixed economy where, until the advent of neoliberalism, private entrepreneurs, cooperatives and state-owned enterprises have reached unprecedented levels of management and well-being.
The social economy project involves a combination of public policies, strategic companies in the hands of the state (central government and mayor), with associative forms that control significant parts of the economy; Where different forms of grassroots assemblies participate in the management of the state or communal budget.
Taking this conception into account allows the revolution to begin, in parallel with the taking of institutional power by a socialist-oriented political organization, as we are seeing in many Latin American experiences; However, not having a visibilized story prevents us from seeing the importance and potential of these experiences.
Recapitalizing that the social economy project involves taking action from above with actions from below, in all political, economic and cultural fields. Following up on this project will make it possible to perceive the accumulation of forces of the alternative project, which should be undertaken through indicators of the social economy that go beyond the general indicators of international organizations. Indicators that can also serve as programs and flags of struggle and work, visibility of goals and horizons: land in the hands of the peasantry, minimum wage versus basic basket, income taxes versus Gross Domestic Product, social budget versus budget Total, the weight of the popular economy and of cooperatives within the economy in general, distribution of the budget of the State and of the mayors, among others.
It is not less important to point out the fiscal mechanisms to change the distribution of wealth and combat the impoverishment of workers and the population. Keeping our position that the subject of the revolution is not the poor, but the workers and knowing that eradicating poverty, being a necessary and necessary task, will not progress as long as there is a system that reproduces it day by day.
In other words, the project of strengthening and consolidating the progress of the social economy implies inserting it into a strategy of revolution and socialism, where the tasks of political revolution, understood as the influence, control and democratic transformation of The public institutions, remain important, in the ways that are possible. To undertake the tasks in this way will allow to promote and take advantage of the electoral contests, as well as the partial or total presence within the State (political society + civil society).
The flags of struggle have to do with social demands, the strategy has to do with the taking of political power and if social revolution is about, with the taking of economic power. Except in this case, the possession of political and economic power must be more democratic, that is, it must be in the hands not only of the State or the economically dominant classes, but of the subjects of the popular and social economy.
It may be good to add that it may well be the case that a class is the economically dominant class, insofar as it produces wealth, without being the class that appropriates that wealth, as happened with the bourgeoisie at the beginning of its historical journey And as happens with the popular economic classes of the social economy, which, despite generating wealth, do not control surpluses. Reason why they have to climb the indicated place within the economic structure to be able to capture the wealth that produces, we refer to the upper links of the value chain, precisely to capture the added value and recover the surplus that the capital drains Through the market. In order to achieve its three objectives: (a) To protect itself from the means of production and to produce wealth; (b) To protect itself from the links where wealth is captured; Necessarily capture in the immediate process of production, but in circulation, c) To rely on political power, that is, on the institutions responsible for economic policies, where it is decided who to favor.
If we understand socialism as a transition, and have been and will be multiple and sometimes contradictory socialist experiences, it is important, then, to emphasize that at the political level, only the deepening of a real, authentic, fertile democracy that serves to defeat The hegemony of the ruling classes, can be described as having a socialist orientation; At the social level, equality, which is nothing other than the struggle against inequality, has an economic base and diverse cultural and political manifestations, only a strategy aimed at addressing the issue of equality, is useful to the socialist transition; As well as, if economic policy does not serve to solve the basic needs of the population – not those that the advertising machinery manufactures as exacerbated consumerism, but as concrete basic necessities, it is as can be said that the orientation is socialist or not.
To this discussion we must add two topics of great interest, first of all, that socialist experiences, until now, have developed in countries whose development of the productive forces is low or very low: and on the other hand, that there may be transitional developments To socialism from societies that have not reached a high development of the productive forces, and only within the framework of a revolutionary reality, in which the movement is of an international character or, at least, encompasses broad geographic zones, with political, military capacity And economic that supports, such efforts of emancipation of the working class.
The fundamental factor to deal with the imperial offensive that seeks to overthrow the left, progressive and revolutionary governments in Latin America is the consolidation of the processes of social change in progress, by deepening these changes, so that they can achieve The transformation of economic structures and the political system, given that within the framework of inherited structures and systems, changes tend to stagnate, which means the exhaustion of the transformative possibilities of the forces of the left and the popular movement in our continent. And, in addition to the popular and social economy in progress, there are excellent experiences of popular power in Latin America that we need to systematize and socialize, for pedagogical purposes and the construction of the revolutionary agenda along the paths drawn by political and social organizations in progress.
The popular power is expressed as the control of the political power of the State, by a historical block of popular forces, that have a program that proposes the structural transformations that emanate from the study of the reality in each country, and put it in march, that Initiate and unfold the creative powers of the people, based on a concept that is fundamental: “sovereignty resides intransferably in the people”, a process in which the different organized expressions of the people exercise the management of politics, economics and culture . It appears as a proposal and an ongoing experience, aimed at overcoming bourgeois liberal democracy, the starting point of our transformations. Popular power is based on direct and proactive participatory democracy in the political and economic fields, in which the class struggle is raised to the highest level, as well as in the struggle for ideological-cultural hegemony. Their march is undertaken both from the transfer of power from the government, and from the delegation of representation in the Base Assemblies to the Popular Councils of workers and other existing social categories.
It is necessary that the organization, structure and functioning of left-wing parties – both those who govern and those who struggle to do so -, each one adequate to their own reality, respect the autonomous agenda of popular power, its open and participatory nature . Popular Power as a programmatic national expression of the sum of dual local and social powers, is the foundation of a new type of political and ideological relations between rulers and ruled, in all spheres of society. It is a concrete expression of hegemony at a given moment. The People’s Power is a source of legitimacy. As a people organized in permanent self-construction and formation it is also the guarantee of the correct performance and functioning of progressive and left governments, and the antidote against “soft strikes” and other forms of destabilization.
1. The political point of view
It is necessary to combine certain characteristics of the old political model, such as multipartyism in cases where this is the framework within which the left has arrived, with the characteristics of the new model to be created. Without renouncing some characteristics of representative democracy that may be valid for the new political model, another democracy must gradually be established, whose fundamental characteristic is the direct exercise of power by citizens as new protagonists of political life, thus suppressing political mediatization Traditionally exercised by the ruling classes through the usurpation of popular sovereignty. Usually, in political representation, elected officials and representatives replace their electors in decision-making that affect the life of society, acting as intermediaries between the people and delegated power in the different institutions.
In the socialist or state socialist experiences, the cardinal problem of ‘moral and intellectual hegemony of the revolutionary social bloc’ was not solved, even in the most unified communist parties of the USSR, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, At the time of the counterrevolution, clearly anti-socialist, openly neoliberal forces nested in those same parties. On the other hand, when there are processes of change of socialist orientation and a political system that is multi-party, the possibility of the development of counterrevolutionary forces is obvious, they appear from the same moment in which the revolutionary forces arrive to the power. The debate on revolution and counter-revolution, on hegemony, is a central point of this problem.
The protagonic democracy, in which the people not only choose their leaders and representatives, but also decide what they must do, will be realized by the growing direct exercise of political power by the citizens, considered as a whole as a New social subject, active and protagonist, different from its liberal origin as individual and passive subject. This requires the gradual but continuous establishment of a new political institutionality through which new spaces are created from which the working class exercises power directly.
The protagonic democracy necessarily implies the participation of the social movements in the organisms for the making of decisions in the political, social and economic scope. The organized expression of the protagonic democracy at the base would unite those at other levels are two areas of political action: government and social.
2. The economic point of view
Socialism requires a new economic subject that benefits itself, benefits the system under construction, within the framework of the creation of a new economic model based on a type of socialization of property over the means of production that allows and encourages control Direct from the worker on the production and the economy from his productive activity and creator of riches, thus surpassing the economic mediation exerted by the great individual private property, through which the private appropriation of the socially produced wealth is carried out And where large private owners act as intermediaries between workers and the wealth produced by them.
This does not mean that traditional forms of ownership should be abolished in the case of countries where they exist, since their role in the development of the productive forces for socialism is historically necessary. Our formula around property should be a) Respect for all forms of property, b) The defense of small property, c) The promotion of associative property.
This leads us to the need for self-managed socialization of property, either through the self-management or worker co-management in the factories or through the cooperativization or general associativity of small economic units, that is, Through the organization and consolidation of the people’s economy through the massive creation of associations of self-employed workers, associative companies, self-managed companies, cooperatives, mutuals, including trade unions, self-management, and community associations in all areas Of the economy: agricultural production, industry, commerce, transport, to which we would have to add consumer cooperatives and other services such as the distribution of energy, in the hands of settlers; Which implies a specifically targeted credit policy that could not function without the levels of popular organization characteristic of protagonic democracy, since it is through the politically organized expressions of society for the direct exercise of power by citizens , That the State may implement policies aimed at the stated objective.
This would create the economic subject of a new socialist model, protagonist and self-management, whose economic expression would be in the growing weight of the popular sectors in the economy, within the framework of a mixed economy model, coexisting emerging economic expressions with Traditional, for the necessary development of the productive forces and in a context of mercantile relations from which they would be growing and consolidating the new relations of production as an expression of the transit of the competition to the cooperation like director of the economic activity.
3. Ideological and cultural hegemony
This is the longer-term and more difficult-to-reach goal, but without it there is no possible revolutionary change, since socialism is the only socio-economic and political system whose establishment is not possible if it is not consciously assumed, since Revolution requires the taking of control by the human being of the objective conditions that determine his conscience, since on the other hand, the revolution consists in the creation of a social reality that corresponds to the human condition of its creators, the only way to create The material and spiritual conditions that allow society to achieve the maximum sum of happiness possible, the maximum sum of social security and the maximum sum of political stability, as proclaimed the Liberator of our great homeland, Simon Bolivar.
Achieving revolutionary hegemony in the ideological-cultural is the most important revolutionary goal, since it depends on the predominance in the social conscience and the attitude of individuals, moral values and ethical principles respectively, indispensable for the effectiveness of social order To which we aspire to revolutionaries, in which each one contributes according to his ability and receives according to his work in a first phase, and according to his needs in a higher phase.
This goal is impossible to achieve without the permanent political and ideological action of the political instrument conducting the transforming process from all spheres of social life; A political instrument whose raison d’être is intimately linked to one of the reasons for ideological-cultural hegemony, which is the necessarily conscious character of the construction of socialism.
This instrument for the revolutionary transformation of society is the political subject with socialist orientation, and its political and ideological action to achieve revolutionary hegemony can only be effective if its content includes:
- The creation of growing spaces in the mass media and communication media, including conventional media (radio, television, newspapers, magazines) and others, such as social networks, websites, blogs, electronic media and information, Electronic means of contact between people.
- The political and organic link with intellectuals and artists as decisively influential actors in the cultural imaginary of society.
- The definition from left-wing governments, curricular content in educational institutions, oriented to patriotism, anti-imperialism and revolutionary ideology.
- The political, discursive and organizational treatment of the family as a spontaneous social subject is constituted as a fundamental cell of society in which the current values are reproduced, but in which the reproduction of the new values can also be ensured. Which is propitiated by the fact that spontaneous social relations are practiced within the family, from which it is possible to promote the ethical values that correspond to the type of society to be created as a fundamental expression of the Political and economic transformations promoted by the revolutionary movement.
As for the ideological struggle, attention must be paid to political education led by leftist parties, focusing on the leaders of each of the main and allied forces. In addition, it should expand the use of social networks in the ideological political field, take advantage of the immense coverage of these and their effects. Those parties that are governing must pay particular attention to the educational programs and policies of their government, both in terms of their content and in terms of methods and ways of promoting education.
As we pointed out in the declaration of San Salvador in the last year: Culture is today one of the main weapons of domination of the national oligarchies of the big corporations that pretend to control the world and to stop all emancipatory project. It is necessary to strengthen the battle of ideas in all its expressions and through all means the struggle, indispensable task to defeat the ideological invasion of the ruling classes and thus to mobilize the peoples in the defense of their interests. We must articulate a counter-hegemonic thought front that incorporates without prejudice to our struggle individuals and groups of the most diverse political affiliations.
4. On education and propaganda
It is necessary to include in our programs the concrete history of that great battle of socialism that staged almost fifty countries of the whole world during century XX. Critical and valuable history at the same time, allowing to take advantage of all the lessons, positive and negative, inherited from that experience, as well as from the experiences, positive and negative, acquired by the Latin American left, having been protected by significant segments of government and Of power in the last decades of the twentieth century and the first decades of the twenty-first century. An important message to discuss is the need to know and remain in opposition to the system, even if a particular leftist political organization is in power; Which will allow to be more critical with the surrounding reality, in all aspects.
Education should not be limited to our own schools, but we must take our program to conventional schools, through teachers ‘and students’ unions, the media and other forms of propaganda. The content of education and propaganda must include the many experiences of social economy that exist in our subcontinent.
Electoral periods, where public opinion is disputed intensely, may well become days of propaganda and agitation, which combined with multiple forms of struggle, will allow the population to assimilate that we are in a process of confrontation, although prolonged, that will progress depending Of the degree of awareness, organization and mobilization of all the popular links of the population, as much in its political, ideological-cultural, as economic expression.
Program of education and propaganda that we must place it according to the level and interests of each of the participants, a position that includes the existence of more radical nuclei than others; Understanding radicalization not only as a radical action undertaken by a radical sector, but as the ability to progressively incorporate the program to the largest number of sectors, even within a minimum program. It is preferable to win the support of many sectors, albeit with less radical demands, to win over few sectors, with more radical demands; Subjecting the process in a way that progressively progresses towards its goal horizon.
It is not less important to point out that the revolution is a struggle against the regime (neo-liberal or repressive), the system (capitalist and imperialist) and civilization (patriarchal, predatory and alienating), understanding that all these struggles are made today Simultaneously.
In the base document of San Salvador, in 2016, arguments, tasks and possibilities were offered to strengthen the ideological-cultural hegemony, through sections on the cultural battle and the media offensives, the infrastructure and control of cyberspace, sovereignty in Internet, the role of the State in the face of the communication market, the growing role of social networks and digital media. But in any case, it is necessary for the left to take as much space as possible in all areas of communication.
5. Hegemony and partnership policy
Knowing that there is no hegemony without alliances, it is necessary to undertake a policy of alliances that can counteract the unfavorable correlation of forces in which the Latin American left and the popular classes are (workers, self-employed, settlers and consumers).
Taking into account that in most of our Latin American countries the exploitation takes place not only within the factories and not only within the nation, but also in the national and international market, it is necessary to incorporate not only the working class And to the self-employed, but also to all existing social categories, including local people, consumers and entrepreneurs; Supporting them in their project to associate to empower the economy, against foreign capital and against the local oligarchy or capitalist elite. Agreeing that we need to ally ourselves with small and medium producers, even with national capital, because we do not have capital to deal with development and employment, it is also essential to advance in Latin American unity, including nationalist governments, Although they are not of the left, in order to face with greater possibility the greater adversaries.
In the struggle for institutions, we must prioritize the strategic alliance between political organizations and social movements, including students and professors, progressive churches, city neighborhoods, and people in rural areas, as well as workers’ movements , Peasants, artisans, fishermen, women, neighborhood residents and consumers, among others. Villagers and consumers can well integrate as economic subjects, facing prices, tariffs, taxes, products and harmful practices. There are extraordinary examples where residents and consumers manage water or electricity services, as well as being associated as consumer and distribution cooperatives, credit unions and service.
Given the offensive of the right and imperialism, it is necessary to radicalize the struggles at all levels, particularly street mobilizations, incorporating all sectoral flags, along with strategic flags. Among these struggles we should return to the struggle for land, self-management or union co-management, credit to small production units, capital transfers to small farmers in the countryside and the city, struggle for the emancipation of women from capitalism Patriarchal, the struggle of indigenous peoples for their resources and community forms of management; Without abandoning the protests and strikes, passive or active, regardless of whether or not we are in power: being protected by power does not freeze the class struggle, although it can modify and modulate their ways of manifesting themselves.
While workers in general are the driving forces behind change, all social categories, including young people, women, indigenous communities and other excluded and marginalized sectors deserve attention. Within a policy of alliances we must include the local productive bourgeoisies, not only because they have the material and technical capital necessary for economic growth, but also because they are being displaced by large foreign capital.
Lenin said that the fundamental problem of revolution (…) is the problem of power, and that what is decisive is what class has power. In the same way we can say that the fundamental problem of the revolutionary struggle by which power is won and replaced by another, responding to new predominant class interests, is the problem of the revolutionary subject, and what is decisive is what social class Is in a position to lead this struggle, because the revolutionary transformation of society by substituting capitalist production relations for socialist production relations corresponds more to the interests of that social class than to that of any other class.
In Marx’s and Lenin’s time it was clear that the revolutionary subject was the industrial proletariat, because it was the social class exploited that least fear could have to revolutionary change, being the least to lose with it. But Lenin was able to see and correctly characterize the beginning of the phase of capitalist development in which, as Mao pointed out, exploitation between individuals was replaced by exploitation among nations as a fundamental manifestation of capitalist production relations. It was the era of imperialism.
As a result of this, exploitation benefited the proletariat of the imperialist powers, thereby losing its status as a revolutionary subject, the agricultural proletariat and the peasantry of the exploited nations occupying this role, with the disadvantage that there The development of the productive forces was not sufficient for the change in the relations of production, which was solved by the previous existence of a socialist superpower, the Soviet Union, which established mutually beneficial economic relations with the new non-industrialized socialist countries and Economically dependent on the imperialist metropolis. But it was still the era of industrial development as the fundamental impeller of the productive forces, so the industrial proletariat remained, in Mao’s opinion, the ruling class, even though the main class was the peasantry; Forming as a whole the revolutionary subject on the basis of Lenin’s alliance between workers and peasants, from which emerged the symbol of communism: the sickle and the hammer, representing each of these two social classes; Peasants and workers, respectively.
Now capitalism in its imperialist phase has reached a situation in which industrial development is no longer the main driver of the development of productive forces, but cybernetic development, while many economically dependent nations, already without Soviet support, are still Far from industrializing.
The electronic revolution that has given rise to cybernetic development as the main driver of the productive forces has put wage relations in a real crisis through the mass expulsion of the conventional economy – governed by wage relations – of a collective labor force that has owed To survive as a self-employed working class, that is, without employers or wage earners, outside the so-called “formal economy”.
That is why socialism in its new model, protagónico associative and self-managing, acquires for the first time what has already been called here as an economic subject for an associative path to socialism. But the social subject of the new socialism has also been defined as the active citizen, the negation of the passive citizen as an individual bourgeois-democratic subject. In the same way, we have identified the political instrument necessary for the conduct of the revolutionary process, as the political subject of protagonic and self-managing socialism.
The self-employed worker and the associated workers, managing the control of the means of production as economic subject of the new socialism is the maximum expression of the citizen in the terms here indicated as the social subject of the model. It is, therefore, a multiple revolutionary subject, but whose class expression is the workers as such, so that the revolutionary social class in these times would be the working class, understanding as such everyone who lives from his work and not Of the exploitation of the work of others. This subject has also been conceived as the set of the popular classes, but it is a less precise definition, because it does not refer to a condition specific to the economic structure, from which social classes arise.
*ENGLISH TRANSLATION BY