Lessons from El Salvador for the Columbian FARC – Published on Dissident Voice, by James Petras, July 25, 2013.
… Method of Evaluating the Peace Accord:
- In approaching the analysis of the Peace Accord it is important to begin by focusing on the evolution of the FMLN – the ideological, organizational and political changes that led to the negotiations, the eventual pact with the rightwing regime and the socio-economic and political results. The second part of the essay compares and contrasts the socio-economic and political results and policies which followed from the pact and how they affected the mass of the people. This allows us to see who benefited and who lost; what socio-economic class and political structures emerged; what foreign policies were followed.
- The third section of the paper will focus on drawing lessons which can be learned from the El Salvador experience which are applicable to the current Colombian peace negotiations between the FARC and the Santos regime.
The FMLN: From Socialist Revolution to Capitalist Electoralism: … //
… Evaluating the Politics of the FMLN in Opposition and Government: … //
… Salvadorian Society After the Peace Pact: … //
Political Consequences of Peace Pact: … //
Conclusion: Why the Peace Pact Failed:
From any objective analysis, it is clear that the peace pact signed by the FMLN has failed to meet the most minimum socio-economic and political demands of its mass supporters. Despite great sacrifices and untold examples of personal heroism, the great mass of Salvadorians were defrauded of any positive outcome. The powerful movements were dismantled by decree of the guerilla commanders. The top leaders who dictated policy either because collaborators with the US military (Villalobos) or allies of the so-called “progressive” bourgeoisie.
Various lessons can be drawn:
- (1) A militant military past is no guarantee of progressive socio-economic commitments after a negotiated settlement.
- (2) A peace agreement dictated by an elite is likely to sacrifice mass socio-economic interests in order to secure political respectability.
- (3) Foreign ‘radical’ allies, like Cuba, have their own political interests in securing regional stability and peace, which may not coincide with the socio-economic needs of a revolutionary mass movement.
- (4) Peace agreements must include the direct influence of the representatives of mass popular movements and incorporate their demands.
- (5) Peace agreements which disarm the insurgents and maintain the military, which sustain the economic ruling class and its control over all the strategic sectors of the economy, results in the continuation of neo-liberal policies, US military bases and the incorporation of former guerilla leaders into a corrupt, reactionary political system.
- (6) A peace pact that does not lead to massive public investments in jobs, public works, agrarian reform and other productive activity will result in unemployed armed young people turning to violent crime and drug trafficking.
- (7) Ex-guerilla leaders who promote their electoral careers and work within the system, adopt neo-liberal policies — as numerous examples demonstrate. In Colombia, for example, Antonio Navarro Wolff formerly of the M-19 became an ally of then President Alvaro Uribe’s death squad regime when he was governor of Nariño. Teodoro Petkoff, the Venezuelan ex-guerilla, became the architect of the IMF austerity program of President Caldera. Joaquin Villalobos the former Salvadorian guerilla leader of the ERP became an adviser to the CIA and any murderous regime which paid his lucrative consultation fees.
The people’s movements must establish their socio-economic priorities and presence in any “peace process”. Incorporation of the guerillas into the electoral system should have the lowest priority.
The vast majority of the workers, peasants and students want peace that is accompanied by structural changes in the socio-economic system. This includes expropriation of fertile, irrigated land; the end of trade union repression and new labor laws protecting large scale unionization; doubling the minimum wage and the formation of workers’ committees to oversee management.
Large scale public program to create employment require new progressive taxes on the rich to provide financing of infrastructures and productive enterprises. Environmental agencies composed of ecologists and Indigenous and peasant leaders need to be empowered to regulate mining operations and to enforce an equitable distribution of tax receipts and royalty payments … //
… (full long text).
In Memory of Manuel Marulanda, Farabundo Marti and Augusto Sandino.
(James Petras, a former Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York, owns a 50-year membership in the class struggle, is an adviser to the landless and jobless in Brazil and Argentina, and is co-author of Globalization Unmasked (Zed Books). Petras’ most recent book is The Arab Revolt and the Imperialist Counterattack. He can be reached here. Read other articles by James, or visit James’s website.
James Petras on en.wikipedia with it’s External Links).