By PST (SOCIALIST WORKERS PARTY), PERU

Pedro Castillo, President of Peru, has been deposed. After having totally abandoned the changes promised in his electoral campaign, and after being entangled in accusations of corruption that he never knew how to deal with, he found himself up against a wall. On the verge of a new motion of impeachment promoted by various business sectors in Congress, he embarked down an imprudent path, demanding the closure of parliament, taking control of the judiciary, and attempting to impose a government that intended to rule by decree. He called a Constituent Congress, but guaranteeing “the economic model and private property…”.

Without strength in the streets to sustain it, after 17 months in office, Castillo did not execute any measure that would effectively improve the living conditions of the poor and working people. Nor did he strengthen his support in the barracks, since the officers of the Armed Forces are always an instrument for the interests of the bosses. The saga ended in the only possible way it could: disaster.

Castillo has gone from being the president of peasant and teacher origin to a bad imitation of the dictator Fujimori. What is more, he has given fuel to the most reactionary sectors of the political right. The parliament he ruled over distilled racism and classism. Since the beginning, the opposition tried to remove him, demonstrating a relentless will to eject him from the government.

Castillo had resorted to the OEA to try to gain time, but the imperialists immediately withdrew their support. So ineffective was Castillo’s presidency that on Dec. 7, even his “leftist” allies in Congress, such as Perú Libre, the “Bloque Magisterial” and Juntos por el Perú, voted for his dismissal. It was those 16 votes that allowed the impeachment to be approved since the right-wing opposition benches only had 86 votes out of the 87 required by the parliamentary procedure.

The Boluarte government and the situation of the working class

Vice President Dina Boluarte, quickly sworn in as President of the Republic, quickly called for a “truce” with the parties in Congress, and for a government of “national unity,” with the consent of the high command of the Armed Forces. This means inviting into the government the same parties that did not win the presidential elections, and consequently, opens the possibility of a hardening of the bosses’ positions. This political front will inevitably seek to unleash an offensive against the poor and working people.

Therefore, from the Peruvian Socialist Workers’ Party, we call for no trust or expectation in the Boluarte government. On the contrary, we reject any possibility of “dialogue” raised by the new government, which is based on an agreement with a Congress that does not represent the working people.

Let’s be clear: the bosses will not give us any truce, nor will they attend to our demands. On the contrary, they will come for our rights and will try to unload even more of the economic crisis on our backs, now under the Boluarte government. A crisis that for the working class and the people has meant the rising cost of living, the lack of work, wages and pensions sufficient to make ends meet.

This situation is compounded by a food crisis of serious proportions due to poor harvests this year caused by a lack of fertilizers, an issue that the Castillo government was not able to resolve. And now we are experiencing the impact of the worst drought in 50 years in our highlands, which has been wiping out crop fields and farm animals by the thousands.

Nor will there be solutions for poor and working women, who in addition to bearing the burden of caring for children, elderly and sick people at home, are incessantly threatened by violence, harassment, low wages and femicide. The youth, for their part, suffocated by the lack of work and low wages, are losing sight and fall into disillusionment.

The responsibility attributed to reformism and the leaderships of the central trade unions

For working people, the only path is one of unified mobilization. This begins on day one of the Boluarte government.

However, the main obstacle to concretizing this need, raised since before the resounding failure of Castillo’s adventurism, has been the policy of the reformist parties, like the Communist Party, Patria Roja or Nuevo Perú. They call themselves leftist, yet renounced leading the struggle demanding a solution to these issues, and instead concentrated their efforts on the defense of Castillo. Until just the day before Dec. 7, they lent their full support to Castillo. They called unsuccessfully to defend the “rule of law against the corporate coup,” only to end up voting, themselves, for his dismissal hours later.

Returning to the path of independent mobilization

In Peru, only those who have adopted the strategy of consistent and unwavering mobilization until their demands are met have managed to stop the big bosses and the government in power. This is demonstrated by the people of Islay and their struggle against the imposition of Tía María [1]. Or the people of Cajamarca against Conga [2]. We see it in the struggle of the native peoples of the Amazon in the “Baguazo” [3]. Or by the teachers who launched a momentous strike in 2017 [4]. And in the strikes that explode in factories and mines throughout the length and breadth of the country against the intransigence of the bosses.

That is the road to take up again! Only by fighting together, unified, can we win our demands! No parliament, and no president, will give us what we do not take thanks to our strength and mobilization!

That is why today, as yesterday, we continue to raise the independent banners of the working class and the people unified for the mobilization of a National Strike that demands immediate solutions to our most urgent demands:

  • General increase in wages and pensions. Minimum wage equal to the cost of the basic consumer basket.
  • A 4-hour workday without reduction of wages to distribute the work among all those who need it.
  • Reinstatement of all workers laid off in the last 3 years.
  • Expropriation of the factories that have been closed so that they begin to operate under the control of their workers.
  • Confiscation of the urea hoarded by agroindustrial companies to be distributed among the poor peasantry.
  • Emergency plan in the face of drought to bring water to the poor peasantry. Distribution of basic foodstuffs, by the State, among the poorest population of the countryside and the city.
  • Sanction those who raise the prices of fuel and basic necessities.
  • Nationalization of the mines and oil wells to put these resources at the service of the education and health of the working people.
  • Building a workers’ and popular alternative from the struggles

The working class is not responsible for the end of the Castillo government. A government that kept intact the application of the neoliberal economic plan, that did not deign to take a single effective measure in favor of the living conditions of the poor and working people of the country, and that renounced its campaign promises on the very day of its swearing in is not a government of the working class.

In this context, we are aware that with the fall of Castillo and the assumption of Boluarte, hand in hand with the Congress, the crisis of the rotten Peruvian democracy has not been closed.

We are entering a new moment in which the bosses and their traditional parties, together with the reformist and “progressive” parties that claim to be of the left, will seek to negotiate their way out. They foresee the powder keg on which they are sitting, and which threatens to explode at any moment due to the worsening of living conditions.

In this context, it will only be through the mobilization of the workers’ and popular organizations, putting forward their banners of struggle, forming committees to coordinate action in the factories, neighborhoods, districts and cities, that we will be able to build a political, workers’ and popular alternative to the debacle of this corrupt, anti-worker and anti-popular state.

An alternative that, against those who have remained in government and intend to crush the just desires of the working people, imposes the convocation of a sovereign Constituent Assembly composed of the organizations of struggle. We must recover our natural resources, guarantee full employment and labor rights to the workers of the countryside and the city, and return the lands appropriated by agro-industry and mining to the peasant and native communities, and a long etc.

However, we know that we will only be able to achieve this through the construction of democratic and fighting organizations that become the basis of workers’ and popular power itself. A power that guarantees that we take the destiny of the country in our hands. That is to say, only with a true government of the workers’ and popular organizations, will we see a solution to our demands. Only with workers in control will guarantee a working-class constitution that truly expresses the needs and interests of the poor and working people, all on the road to the construction of socialism in Peru and Latin America. It is time to return to the streets to fight!

NOTES

[1] The farming community of the Tambo Valley, in the province of Islay (department of Arequipa), has been fighting since 2009 against the construction of the Tia Maria mining project owned by Southern Copper Corporation (SCC). The project represents an investment of US$1.4 billion and would generate 120,000 MT/year of refined copper during the 20 years of operations. The people of Islay denounce the project for bringing contamination to the valley, using its waters and the transfer, by wind, of contaminated soils. The project has been paralyzed since 2015.

[2] The Conga mining project, owned by the transnational mining company Newmont and its partners, the Peruvian Buenaventura and the World Bank investment fund, was paralyzed in 2011 after a strong regional strike in the department of Cajamarca (northern highlands of Peru), during the first months of the government of Ollanta Humala. The project aims to empty two ponds to extract gold from their beds.

[3] In 2009, during Alan Garcia’s second administration, after three months of strike with road blockades and blockades of the rivers entering the Peruvian Amazon, the national police tried to free a pass on the Fernando Belaunde Terry highway, called “La curva del diablo” (the devil’s curve). In the action, which lasted all day on June 5, the native Amazonian population that controlled the road crossing (approximately 5,000 people of the Awajún and Wampis peoples) faced police repression with a toll of 33 deaths: 23 policemen and 10 natives. A few days later, the cabinet headed by Yehude Simon resigned and the laws that had given rise to the protest were repealed.

[4] Strike by the rank and file of the Unitary Union of Education Workers of Peru (SUTEP) in the interior of the country. Its main spokesman was Pedro Castillo. The strike, which minimally achieved its objectives, would end up causing the rupture of these union bases with SUTEP and building the National Federation of Education Workers of Peru (FENATEP) of which Castillo was a leader before running for the presidency.

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