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Let’s build a revolutionary youth in Latin America and all over the world
The worsening of the pandemic matches with an ever-increasing escalation of the global crisis. The growth of infections adds to the economic recession, company bankruptcies, layoffs and suspensions. In this scenario, the different governments, regardless of their political sign, have deepened a line of austerity measures and therefore, of clashes against the masses of young people and workers. The trade war, with the US and China as protagonists, deepens because of the former’s economic recession and the latter’s economic slowdown. Trade sanctions and threats to ban the operation of apps like Tik Tok continue to escalate.
Latin America rises up
The region has been shaken since last year by huge protests and rebellions from Tierra del Fuego to Rio Grande in Bolivia. Here the governments of both the Lima Group and Puebla have drawn up a brutal austerity policy tailored to the IMF’s interests so that the youth and the working class pay for the crisis. Chile has been the country in our continent where the rebellion reached its peak and where the youth stood as a pioneer and a vanguard. The struggle experience led by the Chilean students’ movement, after years of strikes and mobilizations, found its outbreak last year with the increasing rates and the slogan “It’s not 30 pesos, it’s 30 years.” This contrasts with the policy of the Communist Party, the Broad Front, and the Workers’ United Center of Chile, who have agreed with Piñera’s government on a “national deal”. Brazil, the region’s giant, has reached an increase of almost 30 % in unemployment rates during the pandemic. The environmental crisis in the Amazon and the Pantanal that followed the unprecedented increase in fires not only affects nature but also the thousands and thousands of peasants and indigenous people who are deprived of their means of survival.
Colombia, which comes from an enormous student protest at the end of last year, is facing a huge wave of new protests against the increase in para-police violence and repression, and in rejection of Iván Duque’s anti-worker labor reform. The student movement has joined these manifestations, despite the bureaucracy’s containment attempts, against the intention to return to classes at the peak of contagion, and for the end of fees in universities. In Paraguay, the student movement has been at the forefront of popular mobilizations for two months, demanding the end of university fees in response to a dropout rate of around 45%.
Puerto Rican students staged a huge student strike against university emptying and sexual abuse by teachers. In Ecuador, protests against the budget cut for Education (of about 32 million dollars) multiplied. Another milestone in the popular rebellions of the continent has been the fight against the coup perpetrated in Bolivia. There, the Bolivian University Confederation oscillated between explicit support and complicit silence.
The United States and Europe: Between Crises and Rebellions
The American rebellion is more alive than ever, as demonstrated by the mobilizations and clashes with the police that have taken place two months ago in many states. Youth has been, without a doubt, the main protagonist of these events. Police repression blends with the actions of numerous fascist armed gangs, which are encouraged by the State. But the ongoing popular rebellion – which erupted after the assassination of George Floyd and exacerbated with the shooting of Jacob Blake – continues to rise.
The economic collapse, meanwhile, has reached historic levels, as well as unemployment, despite presidential sayings about its “attenuation”. Youth is the most affected sector as it is the most precarious and persecuted. In this context, the electoral campaign is taking place where, despite the slight increase in Trump’s voting intention, all polls put the Democratic candidate as the winner. But Trump, in addition to stirring up the ghost of possible fraud, has already hinted at his reluctance to “hand over power” in case of defeat, fostering a scenario of open outcome.
The DSA (Democratic Socialists of America), which received the broad sympathy of the youth, bows to the line of the Democratic party and turns its back on the huge rebellion where a sector of the vanguard demands Trump Out in the streets. For his part, Bernie Sanders has put all his efforts into campaigning for Joe Biden, who has launched a right-wing political platform that includes the rescue of the police institution, which turns his back on the most elementary claims of the protests. The independent intervention of the youth and the american working class is crucial for the triumph of the rebellion that the Trump/Biden binomial wants to bury. In Europe, the new peak of contagion has brought to light something that we already knew: the bourgeoisie does not intend, under any point of view, to put corporate profits at risk with a new quarantine. They have left millions of young people and workers exposed to the pandemic. In response there have been large protests by health workers like those in Spain.
The crisis at the old continent is also taking place in a convulsed scenario. The important workers’ strikes in France and the resurgence of movements such as the yellow vests where the youth and the most precarious workers took the main stage are the best expression of this. In this country, unemployment and youth poverty increased more than 50 % in recent years. In addition, Macron’s government has proposed a return to classes at the peak of infections. In this framework, the young people of the lyceums have begun to debate how to organize a struggle.
The protests in the former eastern bloc countries are the continuation of this rebellion: Bulgaria, Montenegro and Belarus are being shaken by huge crises. This last case has received a worldwide stir, not only because of its size, but also because of the role that the youth and the working class are playing with assemblies in all workplaces. The threat of NATO intervention on one hand, and Putin’s offer of military support on the other, place the need to reinforce a pole of workers and youth, independent of Lukashenko and the European Union.
How should the youth intervene?
The different rebellions and fights have had a clear obstacle to fully develop: the union and student bureaucracies that run the main federations of the continent. The Chilean case, again, is a clear example. The Communist Party and the Broad Front, which lead the CUT union center and almost all the student federations, have been the first to seek that the rebellion is channeled through institutional and electoral lanes. The first line of combat, made up mostly of young people, must intervene independently from these directions for the triumph of the rebellion. In Colombia, the leadership of the Student’s Federation of the Catholic University of Chile repudiates the repression in word, but does not organize the struggle, and supports the Alianza Verde, a center-left party that governs in Bogotá and applies the same repressive methods as the Duque government. In Paraguay, students have organized outside the UNA Student’s Federation, which, given the restrictions imposed by the government on the Zero Fee project, has capitulated due to its links with the right-wing Mario Abdo.
The student movement in Costa Rica comes from starring in important takeovers of university schools in 2019 in the face of budget cuts and the closure of venues. The Costa Rica Student’s Federation, led by the Broad Front, has not proposed a single measure of struggle against this situation. The BF has also let the closure of the National Institute for Women pass. The Caribbean and Latin American Organization of Students (CLAOS), which organizes almost all of the student federations of our continent, has limited itself to broadcast official statements on its page, without calling a single instance of struggle and organization this last two years minimum. In 2019, before the Latin American and Caribbean Student Congress (LACSC) was held in Venezuela, there was practically no mention of the struggles on the continent, much less a fight plan. The Federations of Argentina, Ecuador and Costa Rica called for a “boycott” not with an independent position, but rather a pro-imperialist one.
For a socialist and revolutionary organization of the youth
The youth must stand up against the governments of austerity. They have nothing to offer to young people more than economic tightening, budget cuts and job insecurity. To stand up against all this, it is necessary to bond the youth who study or work, with the rest of the working class and seek for our political independence from the State, the bourgeoisie and its agents, since you cannot fight against the austerity plans and be with those who apply them at the same time. The youth, in Latin America and around the world, has a vast experience of fighting against repression, anti-educational reforms, and for women and diversity’s rights. Therefore, the fight for our political independence is crucial. Governments are doing everything they can to take away our future. Setting up socialist and revolutionary organizations of the youth around the world has not only become a challenge, but also a necessity.