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Issue #1573      14 November 2012

Colombian CP leaders: “The new country we want”

In this interview, Carlos Lozano, PCC Central committee member and director of the Colombian Communist Party’s (PCC) weekly Voz newspaper, looks at his country’s future. He surveys the PCC’s role in democratic struggle carried out amidst class-based violence. Lozano suggests the PCC remains faithful to Marxist-Leninist principles and to peaceful, democratic methods of struggle.

Carlos Lozano, PCC Central committee member and director of the Colombian Communist Party.

Lozano touches upon the PCC’s imminent expulsion from the Alternative Democratic Pole (Polo), the left-learning electoral coalition the PCC helped establish in 2005. On August 9, by a 16 to six vote, the 38 member Polo Executive Committee claimed the PCC’s role in supporting the new Patriotic March movement violates Polo bylaws on “double militancy.” Refusing to leave the Polo, the PCC says the Patriot March, comprising 2,000 national and region groups, is a social movement, not a political one, and that Polo and governmental requirements that political parties join only one electoral coalition do not apply.

Subsequently Lozano and other PCC defenders charged the Polo Executive Committee with trying to clean the Polo’s image in preparation for the Polo head Clara Lopez’ anticipated run for Colombia’s presidency. In a recent Polo Ideological Conference, Polo leaders aligned themselves with accusations from the Colombian Defence Minister that the Patriotic March is an initiative of the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) guerrilla group. They left the impression the PCC too has FARC ties.

Lozano ran as Polo candidate for Colombia’s House of Representatives in 2010. PCC members Gloria Inés Ramírez and Iván Cepeda serve as Polo members of the Senate and House respectively. The Polo’s action directly challenges the party’s lead strategy of left unity.

Freddy Vallejo’s widely circulated interview for, excerpted below, is titled “The new country we want.” (

Vellejo began by asking: “They say internal discussions of the PCC were intense. There are rumours of internal divisions and factions which endanger unity. How did the [recent] 21st National Congress conclude?

Carlos Lozano [CL]: For a long time in the PCC there have been internal debates, fundamentally democratic with the broadest possible participation of leaders and militants. There’s not the slightest need to prioritise unanimity. Unanimity is antidemocratic; it restricts free expression and freedom of expression. We communists build our politics collectively, the formulation of which is a synthesis of internal debate. Also, the party is no discussion club. Our decisions are adopted by a majority, and they apply throughout the party. The PCC has only one program, only one basic statute, only one political line, and only one national political leadership. All its leaders and militants are obliged to honour them after a democratic discussion process and approval of documents.

Freddy Vallejo [FV]: What were the Congress’ main conclusions?

CL: We adopted the new PCC program. It’s the strategic line, applying the Colombian reality as a function of our analysis. The program represents a Colombian political, social, and economic X-ray. It looks at the social composition and characteristics of the dominant power bloc and nature of the regime, dependent as it is on US imperialism. It functions in the interests of big capital, in particular finance capital, the industrial bourgeoisie, and landowner power in rural areas. It’s on that base that the changes and reforms we propose are formulated. The fundamental objective is achievement of socialism, democratic and humanistic above all else. It’s the forerunner of communism, which will bar capitalist exploitation forever.

Statutory reforms were approved for adapting the organisation to real institutional, administrative, political, social, and economic changes in the country, also in order to strengthen political militancy and the party’s tie to the masses. The idea is of a party in the middle of popular struggle and with absolute vocation for power.

The political line was also approved. It consists of tactical guidelines for immediate action and is sustained on the following basis: confronting the neoliberal model of capital accumulation built on the so-called capitalist free market economy; popular resistance to the prevailing frenzy of forcing the weight of national crisis onto workers and the people; and mass action and popular mobilisation for a minimal program that does not exclude preparing and carrying out a short term national civic strike.

It also includes struggle for peace, for a democratic and political solution of conflict in Colombia, which is to say, mobilisation for peace with democracy and social justice and left unity, with the understanding that only with a broad, popular, social, and left-leaning front will it be possible to forge an alternative to prevailing bourgeois and oligarchic power. It’s a proposal for a new country based on pluralism, democratic participation, and greater social equity, a new “social contract” based on a better and just political, social and economic order.

FV: Alternative Democratic Pole or Patriotic March? Where, in short, is the Colombian Communist Party going to end up?

CL: That’s not our problem. The unity we set forth is much broader and goes beyond the Polo and March, because we don’t have enemies on the left. The key to advancing toward democratic and people’s power is in unity. We are in the Polo because we believe it’s a valid space of convergence of politically advanced forces.

The Alternative Democratic Pole remains in force but it’s going to depend on its capacity to devise a clear policy defined by clear, left-leaning politics of democratic change and tight relations with the popular masses. That’s the key to necessary alliances. I believe that with alliances and agreements arrived at from above... we’ll end up with a “National Unity” story, or something else. The Polo has to abandon the idea it is an election device and instrument of electoral endorsements.

That said, elections are important, corrupt though they may be. They are a long way from being an expression of democracy. But they are important and allow us inside the space of parliamentary representation and popularly elected positions. But they are not enough unless a relation exists with the struggle and yearnings of the Colombian people. It’s not enough to go on a march or a protest. You have to be on the side of the masses, accompanying and suffering with them.

The Patriotic March is a social and political project that shouldn’t keep certain Polo leaders up at night. People’s organisations make up the social base, even though parties like Piedad Cordoba’s Liberal Party left wing and the PCC do have a presence. What’s most important is the presence of around 2,000 national and regional organisations of all sizes from the base.

That’s what guarantees its tight relation with daily struggles in the countryside and in cities. It calls for broader unity for the left ... [Lozano calls upon the Polo] to open discussion of the new state we ought to build, one based on eliminating violence in the relation between the governed and those who govern. Here the bourgeois, land-owning state invented the violence, because the ruling class is used to governing through repressive, authoritarian, and violent means. A democratic state doesn’t exist in Colombia. A totalitarian one does. One which supports violent methods to wipe out the opposition.

FV: What do you think about the FARC?

CL: It’s an organisation that came to the fore as a consequence of prevailing state violence and social exclusion. It’s been a protagonist in the forefront of this country’s history for more than half a century and is a reality that can’t be ignored. I don’t share their methods, but I understand their existence from the historical and sociological point of view. If the Colombian oligarchy had not resorted to violence to maintain its power and preserve the plutocratic regime of privileges, then the FARC would not exist...

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