El Salvador: 2021 – perspectives of the class struggle and the Bukele government

This document was unanimously approved at the congress of the Salvadoran section of the International Marxist Tendency held on 15 November 2020.

The current discussion is of utmost importance to clarify our tasks in the next period. The study and analysis of the most relevant aspects of the previous period are the basis for drawing perspectives for the possible scenarios that could develop and mark the way forward in the near future. To date, the analysis of our past perspectives has been broadly confirmed, which confirms that our political approach is correct. Perspectives for Marxists are a science and must be elaborated and studied seriously. There can by no means be a total prediction of events; the intention is to point out the most probable trends in the development of future processes. It is impossible to predict such dynamic events as the evolution of the consciousness of the working class and its entrance into the arena of the class struggle. We hope that this document sheds light to guide us on the path of revolutionary struggle.

Read the original in Spanish here |

Context

The first year of the Bukele government has passed, and as we had defined it before, far from being a powerful and stable government, it has been nothing more than a giant with clay feet. To date, more than six ministers and officials have resigned or been removed from their positions, political and practical errors are continuous and cases of clumsily hidden corruption have been the order of the day during the pandemic.

This is very different from what the empirical and cynical “analysts” of the pseudo-left claim, who, unable to describe the characteristics and nature of the government, have no choice but to shout nonsense about the danger of fascism in an abstract way without explaining the reason for using those categories. On the contrary, the Bukele government, far from demonstrating the strength of fascism, has turned out to be totally mediocre, basing its policy on bullying and the extreme use of demagogy. This does not really represent a strength, as some in the opposition continue to erroneously affirm, instilling fear and inaction in the masses, who, on the other hand, are drawing conclusions from the process.

What has worked in this government’s favour are mainly two fundamental characteristics of local politics: one, the enormous disappointment and frustration of the masses about the traditional parties, together with the deep distrust towards the old institutions of bourgeois democracy (AL, CSJ, Fiscalía); and on the other hand, the absence of a bold and clear opposition movement, with a revolutionary class programme and sufficient clarity to strengthen the fighting capacity of the working class in the face of attacks on their living conditions. This is what keeps Bukele at peak popularity.

But since everything in life has a limit, the use of these methods to stay in government without disruption will not last forever. The margins of popularity and acceptance continue to be high, surpassing all predictions. However, for Marxists who understand the process of the development of consciousness and the conditions under which the Bukele phenomenon came up, it is not surprising and inexplicable for us. Trotsky said that theory is the superiority of foresight over astonishment, and he was not wrong.

As Marxists, we are sure that, from one moment to the next, the masses will enter a process of radicalisation where they will begin by demanding from the government the promises it made in its campaign, which it later discarded. After this, it is most likely that they will mobilise again to find an alternative solution to their problems.

Bukele, as we have already warned, is not the preferred candidate of the most intelligent sector of the bourgeoisie in Washington, which tolerates him because they have no choice but to reluctantly support him. However, this situation may change after the elections in the USA. In the US, next November, there is a possibility of a party change in the White House. Without a doubt, even a minimal change in Washington may have consequences in relations with Latin American governments. We know that Trump is not bothered by the presence of Bukele, whom he sees as a lapdog. However, the Democrats are usually not in favour of abrupt acts and ill-conceived policies, clearly something Bukele is not lacking. Hence, a change in the US situation will have consequences for Bukele's policy making.

Bukele is also not loved within a sector of the national bourgeoisie, who see him as an upstart that they should get rid of. What prevents the bourgeoisie from being able to get rid of him effectively is his high level of popularity. The most recalcitrant sectors of the right would be happy to disqualify him by constitutional means, as has been expressed by the president of the Nuestro Tiempo party, Johnny Wright Sol. However, when the masses rise up demanding that he fulfil his promises, these same sectors will not hesitate to give him all their support and form a united front against the working class to crush their struggle.

The empiricists, impressionists, and sectarians who shouted about the working class' “turn to the right", or their inability to see the deception of Bukele's demagogy, will be stunned by the movement of the workers. They will run to hide under the beds in a state of shock, horrified by the events and unable, as always, to act in a revolutionary way in the movement. More than a few will act as a brake on the action of the masses, calling for calm and moderation.

Covid-19 and the Bukele government

Bukele Trump Image public domainCovid-19 has been the accident that accelerated a crisis of the system that was already underway / Image: public domain

As we in the IMT have stated, Covid-19 has been the accident that accelerated a crisis of the system that was already underway long before. Covid-19 has not been the cause of the world economic crisis. All the forecasts of Marxists and serious economists warned that a precipitous collapse of the world economy would occur at any moment. For years, we have warned about this, criticising the false hopes of bourgeois economists, such as the “green shoots", the “BRICS", and the exceptional growth of China during the 2008 crisis and after.

The crisis is now a fact; however, it is much worse than could have been predicted. The GDP of the United States plummeted abruptly in the first quarter of this year, and a sharp decline in the world economy is forecasted. This is a fall that does not seem to have a floor, as the economists are speaking of a crisis that will last 300 years. This situation is already having serious effects on the weak economy of El Salvador, sending any hope of recovery and investment to hell. Without a doubt, the international struggle for better living conditions will have great effects on the consciousness of the Central American masses.

The conditions of the working class before the pandemic

Before the pandemic, the Salvadoran economy had not experienced a major recovery. It remained in a stagnation which hovered between 1.5 and 2.5 percent growth after the 2008 crisis, which was one of the lowest “growth” rates in the Central American region, thus condemning millions of people to unemployment, low wages and extreme poverty. This is how Ricardo Castaneda of the Central American Institute for Fiscal Studies (ICEFI) describes the conditions of Salvadorans before the pandemic:

“Before the arrival of the coronavirus, El Salvador was the country in Central America that had grown the least in the last two decades. More than two million Salvadorans were mired in poverty and more than two and a half million did not get enough to eat or suffered from hunger. Only 1 in 4 people who had a paid job contributed to social security. In the last 15 years, while workers suffered a drop in the share of wages and salaries in national production, companies experienced an increase in profits in the share of GDP”.

These were the material conditions under which we faced the pandemic. Not only that, but the government of Nayib Bukele had an underfunded budget deficit of around $755.8 million, and the priority of said budget was at no time the basic health of the poorest. On the contrary, funds for community health services had been redirected and financial resources for defence and security increased significantly: a totally disastrous scenario for a country facing a health crisis that had no precedent in history.

The beginning of strict quarantine

Quarantine Image PixabayThe brutality of the pandemic has been directly proportional to the ineptitude, corruption and improvisation of the government / Image: Pixabay

After the militarisation of the government on 9 February, Bukele lost some followers and his prestige was damaged in the eyes of the liberal forces that supported him. The international press aimed their sights at him. With the arrival of the pandemic, he managed to capture an opportunity to raise his international profile. With the management of the health crisis that was looming in the country, Bukele made some predictions that he could come out of this situation with a positive reputation, thus recovering in terms of public opinion what was lost during his outburst against the Legislative Assembly (AL). And so the government prepared to decree extreme measures to “avoid” massive contagion, but not before reaching an agreement with the Constitutional Chamber, private enterprise, and the Ambassador of the United States. Nothing out of the ordinary for how the big decisions of this country are made. Here we see that nothing is decided without taking into account the interests of the transnationals and the super rich in the country such as Murray Meza, Ricardo Poma, and Roberto Kriet, among others.

However, the brutality of the pandemic has been directly proportional to the ineptitude, corruption and improvisation of the government, something that the Constitutional Chamber and ANEP (National Association of Private Enterprise) could not fully predict when they decided to withdraw their support from Bukele when three months of strict measures had already passed and the expected results of being able to return to operating their large companies were not achieved. The perspective of the ruling class and the government was to get out of the pandemic as soon as possible; however, the ineptitude of the government, the deplorable conditions of the health system, extreme poverty, and the virulence of the virus quickly negated this perspective. Therefore, the great profits of national and transnational companies were at stake, and this made it impossible to maintain the unity of the agreements with Bukele.

During the more than three months that the strict quarantine lasted, we witnessed a police state that was deployed throughout the country, committing a series of crimes, violating human rights, and imposing itself on citizens in an authoritarian manner. In addition to the mismanagement of the containment centres, that became centres of contagion, the crowds at the health centres (CENADE) and the political rallies amidst torrential rain helped increase cases and consequently increase the number of deaths due to Covid-19.

The deepening of poverty, the criminal violence of Bloody April, and the increase in domestic violence and unemployment (where more than 82,884 of formal jobs were lost according to Social Security figures as of September of this year) all harshly exposed the failures of capitalism.

The strategy of endless indebtedness, from neoliberalism to Keynesianism

Like all governments in the world, the Bukele regime tries to resolve the effects of economic stagnation and losses by injecting money into consumption. At first, two billion dollars in debt were requested, which was approved in the name of “Public Health” by all the legislative benches, as was a later request of 1.5 billion more for the bailout of companies.

We have recently learned from statements by the now-former president of the Central Reserve Bank that the government has spent more than three billion dollars during the quarantine period to date, using Treasury Certificates CETES (short-term debt) and Treasury Bills (LETES). We can define the Bukele government as a ship adrift in a sea of debt that is far from landing on the mainland.

The policies implemented had the main objective of injecting money to reactivate consumption, so the Bukele government spent 350 million dollars in subsidies of 300 dollars each to the poorest families, money that ended up flowing back into the capitalists' coffers. Then they invested 79 million more in basic food packets that also served to promote the commodities of large national and international companies, and one billion from the trust was used to subsidise big business. The objective of these policies was not to help the working class, but clearly to save companies from catastrophe and create economic stability, as a brutal fall was forecast by the end of the year.

In the current crisis, all governments are getting into debt to save the capitalists. The negative speeches about state intervention in the economy are abandoned, and now they all extend their hands to save themselves from disaster. The state, as a good-natured father, resorts to helping them with money from the taxpayers, who will have to pay off this mountain of debt. This situation fits perfectly within the axiom of privatising profits and socialising losses.

For years, previous governments were in charge of dismantling the state institutions that “supposedly” guarantee us our rights. State healthcare is deficient, or rather non-existent, and the privatised pension system condemns us to a starvation pension. The Regulatory Institute of Food was dismantled, agriculture was totally abandoned and the sugar mills were privatised (the last ones during the FMLN governments). How was the state supposed to be able to meet the needs of investing in emergency health policies? If it does not have any state-owned company to generate income, to a certain extent and from a capitalist point of view, the indebtedness is justified.

Was there an alternative?

From a capitalist perspective, the state's indebtedness is logical. However, under a revolutionary government controlled by the working masses, the health crisis could have been solved in a satisfactory way for the benefit of the most deprived. For example, by taking over the pharmaceutical and textile industry to produce medicines and necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect health personnel and citizens from the virus; taking over the great halls of the bourgeoisie: hotels, buildings, country houses, ranches and clubs, to establish quarantine centres with social distancing measures without paying a penny for them in the name of public health; unifying the private and national hospital system into one universal and free system; using the great wealth of the country's multimillionaires to invest in more hospitals, clinics, containment centres and in the necessary supplements to face the virus (health kit, masks, alcohol gel, etc.). All these means could be produced by the working class in the industry, and on the basis of this approach, it would have been possible to avoid the suffering and deaths of thousands.

However, none of these measures were on the lips of the politicians, much less in their minds. In their devotion and respect for the sanctity of private property, as established by the constitution, they dedicated themselves to talking about more debt or a good administration of the debt. Even some on the left adopted absurd positions, denying all political principles, stating that indebtedness with international banks is not bad, but that what was bad is the bad management of the debt.

In this sense, we can affirm that the plundering and looting of the working class through financial organisations has never been a problem for the false left and much less for the capitalists, but that it has only been about good or bad administrators. This is nothing more than the capitulation of the intellectuals and left reformist politicians to class collaboration. They despise the masses and distrust their ability to understand the logic of debt under capitalism.

Far from criticising the privileges and great fortunes of the rich and fighting to increase the constant criticism of the accumulation of capital under the exploitative system imposed on us by the ruling class, for which thousands died and continue to die in the pandemic, the reformist left was dedicated to a parliamentary struggle. It was empty of political content and based on respect for the bourgeois constitution and the “orderly administration of funds” for the benefit of the poor. As if this could be done via a state that is an instrument of domination at the service of capital, and under the framework of laws that are the scaffolding that support the state itself, which maintains the exploitation of the majority in favour of a privileged minority.

They present themselves before the masses as the greatest defenders of the system of bourgeois law, as if they were made to truly guarantee the rights of the poorest. They argued that Bukele must respect the law, the independence of powers, the constitution, etc. But will that really solve the problems of the masses? Of course not, they simply show a lack of understanding of the logic of the bourgeois state.

It is impossible to put an end to corruption and the waste of resources from the labour of the working class in the capitalist framework. This servile attitude to the system of the parliamentary left only increased its unpopularity by playing into the government’s game. They have entered a single block that is against the interests of the people.

The debate on the constitution

The speeches in favour of the constitution do not find an echo amongst the poor, who are tired of this bourgeois phrase-mongering, since they recognise within it the deceit of past governments. It is not contradictory that the working class, under a demagogic discourse, is willing to listen to and even support a constitutional reform, hoping that this will facilitate the work of the Bukele government. However, the intentions that Bukele may have are quite different and not likely to really change the conditions of the working class.

Nayib Buekele en Madrid Image PorTTadaHow long Bukele's popularity will be sustained, we cannot know exactly, but it is unlikely that it will last long / Image: PorTTada

There are two specific points on which Bukele will try to remain stable in the government. First is the one we have heard about in his first year. In the absence of parliamentary support, he seeks a parliamentary majority. Second is the constitutional reform, which we will discuss in more detail later on. That will help him to generate new enemies and justifications of why he cannot govern for the people. They will say that there are laws of the powerful that prevent us, therefore we must change these laws and we must mobilise for this. How long this new excuse will extend Bukele's popularity we cannot know exactly, but it is unlikely that it will last long.

We as Marxists are clear about what the bourgeois constitution means. In a few words, it is the legal framework that sets the rules of the game of exploitation and commercialisation of commodities. Through the workers' struggle, some rights have been incorporated into it. But this is basically an oppressive constitution that serves as an instrument of the ruling class to dominate the oppressed.

Even where bourgeois constitutions are better written, where they advocate more rights, the more veiled is the capitalist exploitation, and it does not mean that exploitation and oppression will cease. It only means that the bourgeoisie is capable of dropping a few crumbs for the lower classes. It is a luxury that capitalists can afford when the economy is doing “well”. However, in the current period, even the most “democratic” countries are discarding this democratic cover, exposing the true face of capital.

Our task is not to feed illusions in bourgeois democracy and its legal framework, but to unmask these laws, get to the bottom of their nature and defend the democratic conquests of the working class. We do not advocate a change of the constitution, but rather a change of property and production relations.

We advocate for a society where the means of production (factories, land and banks) are collectively owned by the workers and the surplus production is used to raise the living standards of the majority and not of the minority. On this basis, a new system of laws must be established that is dictated by the organised working class. Our strength must not be focused on reforming or changing the bourgeois constitution but on changing the material basis that sustains it to replace it with a new one.

Faced with this debate, we must be clear to approach the working class and separate the fundamental issues implicit in this scenario. We must not fall into the abstract defence of democracy and the bourgeois constitution. To say that Bukele must respect democracy (in the abstract), the Constitution, the separation of powers, and other phrases that the left now uses, is to fuel false hopes that under the bourgeois system of government the problems of the masses can be solved, while we understand that this is not the case.

This kind of discourse only leads to continued deception of the working masses by feeding their hopes in a system of laws that does not favour them at all. It is defending the ideology of the ruling class and its superstructure. Our task is to demystify it, to show the working class that another system is possible, that another democracy, workers' democracy, is possible and that other institutions that serve our interests must be built, that we must dispose of the old, useless institutions of the bourgeoisie.

The impact of the pandemic and divisions in the regime

The impact of the pandemic in El Salvador revealed the divisions in the ruling class, and the impossibility of controlling the Bukele government at will. The breaking of the pact to maintain strict quarantine was a sign of this, and so far this division between the interests of the big bourgeoisie and the objectives pursued by the government, at least electorally, have been maintained.

This does not mean that the Bukele government is defending the interests of the exploited. It means that the Bukele government, at certain times, acts independently of the interests of the ruling class, all while maintaining the basic conditions of the capitalist system, as they are the lines that cannot be crossed. Bukele struggles to fulfill his role of acting as an arbiter between the classes, with Bonapartist overtones that are not completely expressed in a clear and open way.

The divisions above only express the tremendous pressure that is building below the surface, Bukele balances between the two classes and tries to maintain an independent character, something that for now is impossible. In the end, he is intimately linked and committed to the interests of national and international capital. His enormous popularity exerts a tremendous weight on his shoulders that does not allow him to promote the attacks that the system needs to alleviate the effects of the economic crisis. However, his room for manoeuvre is running out and, sooner or later, Bukele will have to show his true face, forced by the economic and social conditions in which his government is developing and the pressures of big capital.

Most likely, the deputies supporting the government will achieve a majority in parliament this year, so far there are no signs of disproving this scenario. On the contrary, the trend according to the polls continues toward the deepening of discontent against the traditional parties, which is logical due to the ineffective left that has not been able to raise its head. Rather, the centre parties seem to already be winning some important followers from among the middle layers of society.

However, Bukele's joy at victory in parliament may be very ephemeral. The truth is that the scenario on which these delegates will act is not at all encouraging, it is really a mined ground. They will need more situations favourable to demagogy, in order to contain the rage of the masses, who will demand immediate changes. This is an increasingly difficult task in an international environment of struggle and anger, while the alternative of deception is less and less effective.

The economy and unemployment

Let's look at some data to visualise the future that awaits us. According to ECLAC (Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean), the entire economy in Latin America will enter a deep recession and the economy will fall by 6.4 percent this 2020. El Salvador will experience a drop in its GDP not seen since the civil war of between 6 percent and 8 percent, according to the Central Reserve Bank (BCR) and the IMF, and it may be worse. This trend towards decline will continue throughout next year. To that, we must add the more than 200,000 will be lost this year, and debt levels will exceed 90 percent of GDP. This is in addition to a list of commitments signed with the IMF that imply the reduction of state spending for 2021 onwards (meaning cuts in health, education, housing, salaries and state jobs), a VAT (sales tax) increase, and the implementation of new regressive taxes.

El Salvador COVID Image USAIDWhat has stopped the outbreak of the processes of struggle in the country is the demagogic phenomenon of Bukele / Image: USAID

We see the fall in remittances due to the crisis in the United States, which has already begun, from the 222,792 lost in manufacturing and the 22,053 in hotel and restaurant services. There is also the fall in coffee prices and low productivity. This year alone, productivity has been reduced by 58 percent, with a production of 30 million kg. This figure is the lowest in history according to the National Coffee Council, a sector that has lost more than 11,000 direct jobs and around 20,000 ancillary jobs.

The Bukele government is standing on truly explosive terrain and worst of all is that these ladies and gentlemen have no idea how to solve these problems, much less will their delegates. So it is highly likely that reality will explode in their faces sooner or later, and the working class will not be able to resist even the slightest attempt to attack their living conditions.

Once the elections are over, the demands will increase. “We are putting them in parliament as our representatives in the hope that they will solve our problems”, will be the reasoning. The true betrayal will not take long to express itself. There is a strong possibility that the rupture will be in the year 2021.

In fact, for us, the delay in the development of consciousness of the working class is positive in some ways, because that means that we have more time to prepare our organisation for the decisive battles against exploitation and poverty. The more time we get before events, the better for us.

Under the current crisis, the pandemic and its effects on the economy, all these contradictions of the system are being exposed and will be more exposed in the eyes of the workers. And they act as a dynamo of the molecular process of the development of consciousness, which as we know is not mechanical nor gradual, but extremely dynamic; it can stagnate or accelerate suddenly. As Engels said: there are decades in history in which nothing happens, but there are years where decades are concentrated, referring to sudden changes in the consciousness of the masses.

What has stopped the outbreak of the processes of struggle in the country is the demagogic phenomenon of Bukele. The masses do not act like the activists; they tend to be extremely conservative and usually exhaust all existing legal possibilities before taking action. They put their leaders to the test, just as they put the FMLN to the test. It took two governments to understand their betrayal, but as soon as the masses understood it, they radicalised and turned towards another alternative looking for a way out. How much time the masses will give Bukele, we don't know. We cannot think about this mechanically and say that it will take them another 10 years.

The best way to measure the process of development of the consciousness of the masses is to maintain a participatory and attentive attitude in the workers' movement, to listen to the workers and understand their thought process. And when we refer to the workers' movement, we mean those who go out to work day in and day out, not their pundits, academics, and commentators in the mainstream and social media, who do not understand anything and complain bitterly about the masses.

The organisations of the working class and the most pressing demands

We must observe and participate in the struggle of the working class. Only by having one foot and one ear inside the organisations of the working class can we understand how the organised workers are interpreting the situation. Oftentimes, great changes are preceded by internal struggles in the mass organisations. These changes are developing silently and some have already taken place. The drums of battle may sound first in the old organisations. Even though the international trend of insurrectionary struggles tends to develop at the expense of the mass organisations, we must not lose sight of what is happening in the old organisations.

The union movement may take on greater strength in the coming years. There are pending and urgent battles that will come into everyone's view sooner or later. For certain, these struggles will have an ambiguous and confusing character, it cannot be otherwise. For us, it is clear that the union leaderships are beholden to the bosses and some to the government, as always happens. Whoever expects to see a perfectly revolutionary and pure unionism will never see it, as it does not exist. In proportion to our forces, we must participate in the struggles that arise, evaluating every step, and proposing to ourselves objectives to grow and extend our influence.

The fight for pensions is an unfinished and worrying task not only for the workers but also for the bourgeoisie itself. The state is undoubtedly a link that can be broken at any moment and unleash dangerous events for the interests of the bourgeoisie. The weight of the state debt will come to the fore again soon. The plasters that were put on during the FMLN government will not be able to contain the problems any longer, in addition to the growing criticism of pensioners who have to endure worsening pensions. The fight to change these conditions cannot wait any longer.

Bukele also has the pending task of decreeing a salary increase. As of the year 2020, it has been three years since the last salary increase. In 2021, we should experience a new increase; however, Bukele has not even started negotiations on this point. Undoubtedly, the coronavirus has frozen certain demands. This has offered respite for the government of the bourgeoisie; however, a cocktail of problems is accumulating for them, creating the ideal conditions for a great explosion of the workers. This government is between a rock and a hard place, unable to act calmly in the coming years. Its fall may not be imminent, but it will not be able to carry on with the same usual passivity and tranquility. The path for open struggle is laid out.

When these events come, the myth of the “strong government” will fall under its own weight. The bourgeoisie and the government will abandon their differences and unite in an unholy alliance to crush any resistance and the people's struggle. The possibility of the victory of the people over the interests of the government and the ruling class will depend not on their courage and willingness to fight, but on the possibility of having a tool of struggle: a party, with a leadership befitting the level of events, which can guide the masses towards the seizure of power.

The year 2020 has been revealing not only for the Salvadoran working class but for all classes at a general and global level. An epoch of revolution has begun. Great events are in the immediate future. We must prepare assiduously to take advantage of all opportunities to build and fight for a different society.

The danger of government repression

We have warned of and explained time and again the character of the Bukele regime. It is not fascist, firstly because the concrete conditions that gave rise to the fascist regimes of the past do not exist. The current generation of workers and youth has not been defeated in the arena of class struggle. The organisations of the working class are intact and are preparing for struggle. The students, one of the most fundamental pillars that fascism had in the past, are now more oriented to left-wing ideas than to the ideas of reaction. The peasantry has been reduced to the condition of countryside workers, impoverished to the maximum, without land and without credit. From where would a fascist government draw support to fulfill the objective of ending the resistance of the working class, assassinating its main leaders and beheading the organisations of opposition?

Nayib Bukele 2 Image FsocietyThe Bukele regime is not fascist, but that doesn't mean it won't use repression / Image: Fsociety

However, although we have rejected such claims, we are not saying that the Bukele regime cannot make use of state violence, and repress, persecute, and assassinate at any time. To carry out these crimes it is not necessary to erect a fascist regime; the bourgeois state already has a monopoly on violence with the armed forces and the police. The moment it feels threatened, it does not hesitate to use them to impose order. This is the recent experience of the revolutionary struggles in the USA, Colombia, Ecuador, and Chile, and in the bloody dictatorship of Juan Orlando Hernández in Honduras.

Nor should we forget Bukele’s alliance with the lumpenproletariat, to whom he has extended his hand and negotiated. The unions in the past have already been intimidated by these scum of society, even in the FMLN governments. Gang members served as scabs against the workers' struggles in the maquila textile factories. Bukele, if feeling threatened, will not hesitate to use these reactionary forces to crush the struggle.

Of course, if we are talking about an awakening of the working class, of a process of struggle by the youth, women, and all the oppressed against the attacks of the Bukele regime, we must warn that this struggle will not be peaceful. As we have been able to observe, Bukele is not the type to beat around the bush. He knows how to use the armed forces to demonstrate “strength”. We do not doubt that, at the slightest hint of a strong movement, he will use all kinds of violence to crush and get rid of it. These governments are dangerous because, in desperate situations they do not usually hold back to consider the consequences of their action.

Therefore, the preparation of our organisation and of the unions must take into account this factor in the equation. We must also organise the resistance through self-defence committees or community guards, such as those shown by the struggles of our class brothers and sisters from Ecuador, Chile, and the United States.

The only thing that can neutralise the brutal violence of the regime is the audacious organisation of the workers and the unity of the movement. Therefore, the movement must refine its methods of struggle and advance towards unity to face the attacks of the state when the movement reaches an explosive fighting situation.

Conclusions

The next elections are a great stage to agitate regarding our demands. Today, as in the past, the working class has no alternative. We must continue raising the slogan that we raised in the presidential elections. There are no alternatives; the solution to our problems is in the streets, the workplace, the neighbourhoods, and the educational centres, in the revolutionary struggle.

We will not nurture in the masses any confidence in bourgeois democracy. We fight for workers' democracy beginning with the management and administration of our resources, a democracy totally different from bourgeois democracy. However, the masses will go through a series of successive experiences that will help them understand this correct idea. The more conscious sector of the working class may understand the farce of bourgeois democracy, but nine-tenths of the working class still have illusions in it. Our task therefore is not to turn our back on it, but we must show them the easiest way to understand that bourgeois parliamentarism does not solve anything.

When the workers were united in their own organisation, we participated there only with the aim of explaining the impossibility of achieving our objectives through bourgeois democracy, through the electoral route. Our task was not to show that by winning councils we could change society, quite the opposite: to demonstrate that it is impossible to change society from the assemblies and ministerial halls.

However, now that the movement is currently atomised and disorganised, without a direct party of the working class, the direct participation of Marxists in the elections makes no sense. Although we will continue to give our point of view on the programmes and proposals, accompanying the process of assimilation of the farce that is democracy under capital while we prepare to build an independent party of the working class to fight for socialism – to expropriate the wealth, factories, banks, and land, and put them at the service of society – that is our main task, for that we must build the party.

For these tasks we must professionalise our propaganda work, move towards the professionalisation of the press. Our articles must be oriented towards describing the disastrous scenarios of where capitalism is taking us, agitating as to the need to fight for socialism, showing that only under socialism will the great problems be solved once and for all.

Based on our national and international analysis of the struggle for socialism, we cannot afford even a drop of routinism and pessimism. We have entered an exceptional period of class struggle, a turning point that marks a global revolutionary situation. Our growth and influence provides abundant confirmation. Never in the history of the organisation have we had so many opportunities to grow and strengthen ourselves.

Without a doubt, the construction of the embryo of the future Marxist workers' party has taken on an unparalleled speed, but we must recognise that we are still an insignificant minority. Our objective in the next period is not to reach the masses directly, but, as long as we are a tiny group, we must fight to reach the most advanced cadres of the labour movement to train them in the ideas of Marxism and in the conviction of the revolutionary struggle for socialism. The more committed elements we win over, the larger our voice will become, and thus we will be able to reach the masses directly.

These are our tasks at the present time. We must assume them in a militant and disciplined way, with optimism and energy, so that nothing can stop us from achieving our objectives. Let us trust in our forces and in the clarity and strength of our ideas. Our objectives rest for now on the shoulders of the theoretical giants of Marxism who bequeathed us an arsenal to fight against capital, oppression, and exploitation.

As Victor Hugo said: there is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come. Let's wave the red flag of socialism and build the organisation that the working class has needed throughout its entire history in the struggle for liberation. This is our most ambitious goal; let's fight to build it.

26 September, 2020