COLOMBIA: FARC Announces Return to Armed Struggle

Photo: FARC dissidents announce a return to armed struggle in a video posted to the internet

By Jakob Stein

On August 29, former second-in-command of the Revolutionary Armed forces of Colombia (FARC) Iván Márquez, along with former FARC leader Jesús Santrich, announced that a dissident faction of the group would return to armed struggle in response to recent government killings of former guerillas and other violations of the so-called “peace accords.”

In November 2016, the rebels had demobilized and turned in their arms to the United Nations after signing a peace agreement, brokered in part by the revisionist Cuban government. Márquez himself led the negotiating team for FARC in Havana, along with Santrich.

Cuba's President Raul Castro, Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC rebel leader Rodrigo Londono react after the signing of a historic ceasefire deal between the Colombian government and FARC rebels in Havana
Cuban President Raul Castro (center), Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos (left) and FARC rebel leader Rodrigo Londono (right), after the signing ceasefire in Havana, Cuba.

Since then, FARC regrouped as a social democratic party, keeping the same acronym but changing their name to the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force, basing itself on parliamentary cretinism and collaboration with the reactionary bourgeois-landowner state.

“FARC demobilized and the poor peasants remained landless; the conditions of exploitation and misery for the workers grew; the country was handed over (even more) to Yankee imperialism, fulfilling, among others, the function of a stick toward the Venezuelan government and people,” writes Ecuadorian revolutionary organization Defense Front of the People’s Struggle (FDLP-EC). They go on to note that, “more than 500 peasant and popular leaders were killed by the state repressive apparatus in collusion with paramilitarism. About 200 former guerrillas were also killed by these same reactionary forces.”

It should be noted that the end of the civil war also allowed for greater investment and plunder from foreign capital, mainly US imperialism, in the form of mining, energy, and agribusiness megaprojects.

When speaking about FARC’s return to armed struggle, Márquez noted that guerillas “are not targeting respectful soldiers or police officers of the popular interest,” but “this exclusionary and corrupt, mobster and violent oligarchy that believes it can continue to clutter the door to the future of a country.”  He goes on to say that they will seek “dialogue with the country’s businessmen, ranchers, traders and wealthy people, thus seeking their contribution to the progress of rural and urban communities.”

Iván Márquez (center) and Jesús Santrich (right) are leading the dissident faction of FARC

Despite claiming to be a Marxist organization, throughout its history FARC has practiced armed opportunism. In the areas controlled by FARC militants during the guerilla conflict, the organization failed to transform social relations or carry out proper land reform, instead choosing to tax landowners, drug traffickers, and multinational corporations. Their policy has always been to struggle against the government for the opportunity of greater participation in the old state.

Lacking a proper class analysis of the reactionary old state, FARC fails to recognize it as a lackey of US imperialism and an instrument of class domination for the great landowners and bourgeoisie. They shelve the armed struggle when opportune and take it back up when parliamentary cretinism is no longer convenient.

The group has been through ceasefires in the past; from 1984-87 they reached a truce with the Colombian government known as La Uribe Agreement, and attempted a legal path to power through elections by forming the the Patriotic Union (UP). The UP was a reformist party, seeking constitutional reform, more local elections, land redistribution, and nationalization of certain industries like transportation. The party ran in elections, winning hundreds of seats in of local councils as well as a handful of seats in the House and Senate, until the reactionary old state, which they were now a part of, murdered thousands of militants and activists over the course of the next few years.

The series of capitulations and subsequent assassinations demonstrate that there is no legal struggle available to the Colombian people and affirms the necessity of revolutionary violence. The resumption of armed struggle after the breakdown of the so-called “peace accords,” hailed by bourgeois media as the end to the world’s longest running civil war, also demonstrates the bankruptcy of Cuban revisionism as well as pink tide “democratic socialism.”

The eclecticism and revisionism embedded in FARC are the root of their opportunistic military strategy. By failing to take up the universal military strategy of the proletariat, People’s War, they also fail to adequately serve and fight for the Colombian people.

As the conditions created by US imperialism continue to worsen throughout Latin America, the masses are pushed further away from the electoral farce and toward armed struggle. Revisionists and opportunists will continually attempt to push the masses back into doomed peace agreements and capitulations, however this region is also home to some of the most ideologically advanced Maoist parties and organizations in the world. These revolutionaries are currently leading the fight for New Democracy against Yankee imperialism, semifeudalism, and bureaucrat capitalism, as well as the revisionists who have sold out years of armed struggle for their own benefit.

“The Colombian people, tempered through so many years of hard struggle, will counter the bureaucratic path of reaction and revisionism,” the Maoist Organization for the Reconstruction of the Community Party of Colombia writes. “The democratic path [in] the years to come will once again raise its armed fist to transform [this] sick society through People’s War led by its Communist Party, which raises, defends, applies, and develops Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.”