Sunday, July 11, 2010

"How Democractic Should Democracy Be?": Oscar Estrada

Note: The original in Spanish was posted today on Quotha, with the first half translated there in a comment by Charles II and the second half in a comment by me. In the following translation, I make slight changes to the original translation of the first half.

For those of us who didn’t go to the national assembly of the FNRP in Tocoa because we weren’t elected as delegates by our organizations or simply because we weren’t active in any organization other than the Frente, the accomplishments of this week still seem unclear. In the afternoon, the assembly will have ended and we hope that everything will be more broadly known. Meanwhile, various ideas occurred to me which I think are important to explore to better understand the “conflict” which we live internally.

The Liberal Party, which historically had a moderately progressive origin, has been controlled by the right for at least the last 60 years. I previously wrote on the 17th of June, about the role which the Liberal Party played in the most key stages of Honduran history, such as the ‘54 strike, the coup d’état of ’63, the different military governments of the ‘70s, the dirty war of the ‘80s, the neoliberalism of the ‘90s, and about how always, with rare individual exceptions, it bent itself to the interests of the national oligarchy and transnational capital. And while the labor code, voluntary military service, and certain legal changes were given in Liberal administrations, it would be remote from history to try to say now, that the changes that have been achieved in social matters correspond to the political will of the Party alone, making invisible the social and popular movements which drove those changes. One should understand that in Honduras, nothing is ever done except through pressure.

The crisis which the Honduran people lives in actuality originates in essence in a struggle of classes [class war]. It is the product of the erosion of an economic and political model which favors the most wealthy, displacing from wealth a broad sector of the population which lacks representation within the power structures.

The Liberal Party as a an institution never, through its individual leaders, owners, and caudillos, will be able to understand the urgencies of the dispossessed classes of the country, simply because they belong to another class, and therefore to another Honduras. This is not to say that there aren’t Liberals who belong to the popular classes. It’s clear that there are such and that they understand very well what it is to be poor in Honduras. But those who take decisions, those who today urge the rescue of the party, because without it they are nothing politically, those are NOT of the same class which filled the streets in repudiation of the coup d’état.

This is the basic contradiction of the Liberal Party in Resistance. To form a part of the FNRP and to propose to “rescue” the Liberal Party which amounts to rescuing the bipartisanship reigning for more than 100 years. To rescue the Liberal Party, the same Liberal Party would have to seize the Party. [To rescue the Liberal Party they will have to seize the Party, the Liberal Party itself.]

It has not been clear up till now what would be the strategy for the Liberals in Resistance to rescue their party. At times they can be seen seated in the gringo embassy, then in the office of Rosenthal and their goal seems remarkably similar to that of Elvin Santos or Micheletti: to return to power in the next elections.

They, the Liberals in Resistance, now accuse a faction of the left of the Frente of not being “inclusive” on blocking them from “storming the assembly,” placing 29 delegates more than those which by agreement they had obtained in the previous assembly in Siguatepeque. This strategy reminds me a great deal of the assemblies of the 90s in the UNAH, when it was a common practice to bring 100 delegates from another campus, normally from the north of the country, to flip the results and to impose a directive according to the interests of the caudillo of the student front and it was naive to think, that with all those years of experience, we would not have learned.

The ideological separation within the Frente has been evidenced basically among what the Liberals call "los bloqueros", in reference to the bloque popular, but that is composed as well by the parties of the left (PSOCA, TR, MND, OPLN, CNRP, BP, unions, guilds and social movements) on one side and on the other the Liberals, who independently of the name that they use continue being a party of the right with all the practices and vices of traditional politics.

We have all always said that the FNRP is a diverse and pluralistic organization. And although pluralism as a concept can seem sound to us, what is certain is that this has pushed us to accept, on some occasions, actions contrary to the will of the base, both by political organizations as well as by individuals, that far from unifying in their political pragmatism have weakened us.

I would put as an example the decision of the UD to participate in the elections of last November, legitimating the same and their inflated results, and later to participate in the Government of National Unity of Lobo Sosa, permitting him to say internationally that his government is of Reconciliation since he counts among his ministers one that is "of the resistance". This action, accepted by that mistaken sense of plurality, has brought a great political cost for the Frente and will continue doing so.

On the other side, and as a prelude to the assembly, the COPINH launched a communique that has had a certain replication, both by the Feminists in Resistance, as well as by some independent authors. The basic propositions of the public communique of COPINH, far from representing differences in the objectives of FNRP, show a discussion that sooner or later it will be necessary to have.

What those communiques demand, more than representation in the leadership of the Frente, is a different vision of power. It is a call to attention to the traditional left that continues thinking about democratic centralism, the political bureau or the negotiations of realpolitik distant from the will of the base. It is a questioning about the concept of popular representation and democracy as an expression of the will of the majority (denying voice to minorities). It is a demand, to the entire FNRP, that it see power as something that is constructed from the base, from below, because the history of the peoples has demonstrated to us that in the end, a revolutionary government without popular power is nothing more than a reactionary government with a populist discourse.

While all this happens, the machinery of terror does not stop. Lobo journeyed to Miami on a lightning visit to meet with Insulza in relation to the return (in August, according to CODEH) of the expresident Manuel Zelaya, as a prior requisite for there to be total recognition of Lobo Sosa in the extraordinary Assembly of the OAS at the end of July.

"We are near a solution, but I don't believe that it is possible to speak of a solution still nor to be overly optimistic", said Insulza.

And that's something the un-government understands very well, because its master Colombia has demonstrated it, that international recognition is one thing and internal legitimacy is another very distinct thing.

In Tocoa, the same municipio where the Assembly was carried out, "various police and military commandoes advanced toward the land where more than 190 families in the Bajo Aguan are found" according to a report of COFADEH, violating in this form the accord signed by the president with MUCA the past month of April, throwing fire on the powder keg of the national agrarian conflict.

And the repression continues and while this week in Tegucigalpa we say goodbye to two known fighters of the Bloque Popular (dead of natural causes), Luis Morel and Oscar Padilla, on the north coast they assassinated in front of his house Julio Fúnez Benítez (57), union member of SANAA and member of the frente, and Jorge Alberto Castro Ramírez, of 41 years, horchata vendor in the numerous marches of 2009.

Oscar Estrada
11 de Julio de 2010


phoenixwoman said...

Thanks for cleaning up my hasty work and for completing the task.


RAJ said...

It's a pleasure...