Better not to be, than to not be revolutionary

ser.jpg Cuban poster by René Mederos, 1968

In the aftermath of the Colombian attack on Ecuador, the media rushed to attack the victims. But some on the left rushed to disassociate themselves from the dead and wounded as well. That was part of the plan.

Machetera brings you this translation on behalf of the Tlaxcala collective.

Nothing to be Ashamed Of

Gilberto López y Rivas – La Jornada

The Colombian government’s slaughter in Ecuadoran territory on March 1st of this year showed the manipulative nature of imperialist ideology: its control of the majority of the mass communication media which with a scarcity of ethics became spokesmen for Uribe and the U.S., Colombian and Mexican intelligence services. During the past few weeks, Mexico’s El Universal and Spain’s El País, among others, made themselves into official prosecutors in order to investigate, denounce and even condemn the victims of the summary executions perpetrated by the Colombian armed forces, while remaining conveniently silent about the violations of Ecuador’s sovereignty and human rights in war. They concealed the United States’ role in creating this strategy of war against the Colombian people, and ultimately against the progressive governments of Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador.

However, even more surprising was the complicit silence and opportunism of certain political organizations and self-proclaimed leftist analysts who, assuming the mantle of imperialist ideology, were more concerned with demonstrating their innocence and showing off their social pacifism in the face of the ongoing campaign, than they were in expressing indignation for what had occurred and lending basic solidarity with the insurgent victims and the Mexican students who were wounded and killed as they spent the night in the rebel camp.

Like Bush, these political sectors equate guerrillas with terrorists and drug traffickers and reiterate their condemnation of the people’s armed struggle against their oppressors at any time, place or for any reason. Weren’t popular armed rebellions what brought about the greatest changes for humanity in its long march toward liberty, equality and fraternity? Paradoxically for example, the first independence struggle of this kind against a colonial power, Great Britain, the hegemon of its time, resulted in the establishment of the United States as a nation.

Is it the historical amnesia of the powerful that makes these leftists forget the gains of contemporary revolutionary processes in Mexico (1910), Russia (1917), China (1949), Cuba (1959), Nicragua (1979), etcetera, as well as the great anti-colonial, anti-dictatorial independence movements of Africa, Asia and Latin America? Do they disavow the armed resistance exercised by Europeans against the fascist Nazi invasion of their territory? Do they have another path they suggest for the Iraqis to recover their independence and expel the invaders in their country five years after the invasion? Faced with the existing armed organizations in Latin America, particularly the FARC and the ELN in Colombia and the armed groups such as the EZLN and EPR in Mexico, one must ask these political groups and analysts if the relentless violence of the state and capitalist system is not what brought about their founding, development and retention? In the intellectual and political sphere of our countries, we often see those who distance themselves from past social, union, or revolutionary struggles, even reneging on their own part in them, some to the point of considering them a youthful sin supplanted by a critical and realistic maturity. This has led some to convert themselves into advisers to the government they once fought, even becoming informants for the security apparatuses. Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Colombia all offer concrete examples of this pathetic conversion.

It’s true that some revolutionary and democratic movements have committed fatal errors that have led to practices and policies that go against their founding principles and have polluted and discredited their causes, and in fact have become the opposite of what they proclaim to defend. Such moral attrition and deterioration of basic principles has often defeated the revolutionary process. But even in such conditions they must be seen in light of the continuing struggle, not only against imperialist enemies but also against ideological and political infiltration of the revolutionary movements against hegemony. Who could deny the greatness of the Soviet people’s struggle against national socialism, despite the horrors of Stalinism? Often leaders fall short of the sacrifice and generosity committed to the democratic and revolutionary process by their people. Does this corruption, erosion and loss of compass bearing at the head of many movements make them less great and therefore deserving of desertion and even treason?

The crises and dishonest actions of the trade unions, parties and political organizations should not result in the abandonment of these types of organizations nor should it justify anti-union and even pro-employer positions. Often such crises are the direct responsibility of those who at a given moment abandon these spaces to the bureaucracies that have taken hold internally, provoking an implosion that destroys from within the possibility of social transformation.

Militancy in the ranks of rebellion and the social struggle is nothing to be ashamed of, much less when the imperialist enemy and its partner nations are laboriously engaged in seeing the left appropriate their values, paradigms and classification criteria. It must not be confused: they are the terrorists and to them belongs the shame of existence.

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