The International Committee of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA IC) is proud to stand in solidarity with the over 100 organizations in Colombia on strike November 21, 2019. Nationwide, over 40 trade unions totaling around 1.5 million members are striking with black and indigenous communities, as well as with student, feminist, environmentall and LGBTQ movements, among other sectors and coalitions defending the Peace Agreement.
On behalf of the largest socialist organization in the United States, we share our full solidarity with participants of the #21N strike and their demands against ongoing political violence and against the paquetazo, a set of neoliberal reforms imposed in part by the OECD that seek to intensify privatizations and workforce precaritization. We highlight the following demands of the Colombian left and progressive movements:
- No neoliberal labor reform
- No privatization of any public assets, including the public pension system
- No Financial Holding, as described in Duque’s National Development Plan (the national four-year socio-economic spending plan)
- Fulfillment of agreements negotiated with teachers, public workers, students, the agricultural sector and indigenous communities, including those of the Minga Indigena (a mass, indigenous-led mobilization earlier this year)
- The full implementation of the 2016 Peace Agreement, including guarantees for the demobilized
- No criminalization of social protest, no militarization, and an end to police brutality, namely by the ESMAD riot police
Beyond the specifics of the paquetazo, this national strike is about the economic and state violence of decades of neoliberal rule. In 2019 alone, reports have documented 591 acts of acute violence, including murders, death threats, violent attacks and arbitrary detentions primarily against movement and community leaders resisting megaprojects, militarization, extractivism and other manifestations of imposed development. Taking back the land, taking back power is what these strikes are fundamentally about.
The administration of President Iván Duque (who has a 70 percent disapproval rating) has systematically violated Colombia’s 2016 Peace Agreement, subjecting the country to a continued state of exception defined by state and political violence. DSA IC condemns the recent massacres in Cauca, the systematic murders of indigenous people, and the Army’s recent bombing in Caquetá that killed several children. We also condemn police raids of the offices and homes of strike supporters in the days leading up to the strike, which have been widely reported.
Lastly, we encourage DSA members to join the National Strike by sharing photos with the tags #21N #ContamosElParo #ParoNacional21N and sending them to a collective #21N archive here. The struggle for justice in Colombia is our struggle. ¡El pueblo no se rinde, carajo! [The people never surrender, carajo!]