Blaming the Left’s Losses on the Right?

Pedro Campos

To raise hard truths among our left creates many problems.

HAVANA TIMES, Feb. 9 – Why haven’t we been capable of uniting?  Why is it that when our programs triumph, they don’t convince?  Is it the fault of the right wing and imperialism?

Many left wing analysts and leaders have been identifying the causes of their losses in the activities of the right wing and imperialism.  Few look at what they themselves didn’t do well or assessed incorrectly, or what conditions existed that did or didn’t permit this or that left movement to advance.  What steps they took that possibly facilitated the actions of the right wing and imperialism, what programs are insufficient to inspire popular support, and other questions of that type.

It appears to be more comfortable and preferable to “throw stones” at imperialism.  To raise hard truths among our left creates many problems; what’s more, no one is paid to do that (though there are those paid to “defend” it).  In addition, it’s easier to justify our defeats speaking in terms of what the enemy does to us.

There is always a group of multi-causal relationships in the evolution of events, actions, reactions and general circumstances that come into play – both regionally and in particular countries.  Any analysis of losses or gains by the left in any country should keep all of that in mind.

If the left expects international imperialism and the right wing in a specific country to be passive, that they won’t defend their interests, everything done by progressives will have mistaken premises.  Facing imperialism and capitalism isn’t easy.

Analyzing new difficulties

Was it possible to prevent the coup d’état against Zelaya (which no one doubts was carried out by the Honduran right wing supported by the United States)?  Was the coup an opportunistic reaction to a poorly planned action?  Were the appropriate conditions in place for raising the idea of a Constituent Assembly?  How did Hondurans see Zelaya’s warming up to ALBA, which for many is synonymous with “Chavez–Castro”?  What control did Zelaya have over the armed forces?  Did he realize the party that brought him to power had distanced itself from him?  Did the “messiah syndrome” have anything to do with that?

When analyzing the coup, it’s necessary to keep in mind all those elements and many others – not just the aims and actions of the right wing and imperialism in curbing the advances of the left.

Freedom is only visible by those that sow it.

Equally, it’s necessary to analyze the strengthening of the US military presence in Colombia. Did anyone expect international imperialism and the Colombian right wing to stand around idly with their arms crossed, especially seeing how Colombian guerrilla forces have reorganized and the democratic movement of the left in that country has been revitalized?

Logically, it may be that the mere existence of the Chavez government and his statements are not a popular influence in the region, and that they instead generate reactions among the right wing and imperialism?

Difficulties in old analyses

Venezuela’s red colored government is under a heavy siege by the right wing and imperialism. Notwithstanding, intellectuals of that same country’s left recently assembled at the Centro Internacional Miranda to make a profound criticism of the government’s administration and of the president himself.  What has Chávez, his government and the PSUV (United Socialist Party) been doing to overcome those deficiencies, some which are quite serious and threaten his reelection?

There are sectors of the Venezuelan left that are very displeased with the government.  Are we going to stick with the simplistic reply that they’re “serving the imperialist enemy”?  What has to be asked is whether the president is offering enough to the workers —to the deprived and the middle classes that make up the majority in Venezuela— to win their support?  Have the “missions” (social programs) satisfied the immediate or long-term needs of the Venezuelan poor?

Recently, the right wing won the elections in Chile.  However, the left press is growing stale with its analyses, especially as to what role in the recapture of power may have been played by the Pinochetist right (supported by ultra-right US think tanks).

Few stop to analyze what was done well or poorly by the Bachelet government, what she offered and provided to the Chilean people, what promises were made by the left in the campaign and what marked the difference between those of the right wing, for example.  A good question may be posed: If the total number of left votes in the first round were more than those of the right, how did the right wing win the final round?

More than once it has been said: “They who expect to receive the blessing of the empire in attempting to build a new society are fishing where the fish don’t bite.”

Another difficult-to-find analysis is why Evo Morales has been able to consolidate his forces in Bolivia with few resources, contrary to Chavez, who has been losing ground.  Is Morales doing something better?  How was he able to reverse the right wing offensive?

And how has Correa been able to ride out the right wing storm that continuously threatens him?  Is he winning support among the people and the divided Ecuadorian left?  Is he resolving the serious contradictions of that society?  Has he been absorbed and neutralized by the system?

The wave of democratic and left governments that advanced on the continent at the end of the 20th century is beginning to be contained.  The Latin American left must make an analysis of the causes and take measures quickly if we don’t want to see a reversal in a couple of years; the situation for us is turning completely unfavorable on the continent.

Cuba has a great deal to do with everything that happens in the Latin American revolutionary process.  What has its role been?  What has been the influence of what Cuba has done or has ceased doing?  How do these factors influence these processes and how are events in Cuba being perceived by Latin American peoples?  Is the “socialist model” being attempted here of interest in the region, beyond our invitees who come to learn about the achievements of the Cuban Revolution?

More Questions than Answers

Is what is being offered by the left (progressive governments such as Chavez’s and Cuba’s) to the Latin American poor and the broad middle strata enough to inspire their mass support?  To what extent are the policies being put forth in the movement’s name really left.

Are the models of disinformation by the left wing only a mirror of the falsehoods disseminated by the right?  Has the discussion of human rights been renewed after being left to the right wing as an issue thanks to left extremist violations?

I invite the Latin American left to especially reflect on this and to examine itself from within.  Let’s hope we can unite communists, socialists, Trotskyists, anarchists and other revolutionaries of the region to come to some consensus.  But who will champion this?  In revolutionary Cuba we’ve been unable to achieve such unity with those on the “inside,” who are everyday more isolated.

“A united left will never be defeated.”  This was voiced thunderously in Allende’s Chile [1970-1973].  The slogan has another reading: The left divided will always be defeated.  This is what we have just seen.  Why haven’t we been capable of uniting?  Why is it that when our programs triumph, they don’t convince? A last question: Is it the fault of the right wing and imperialism?

2 thoughts on “Blaming the Left’s Losses on the Right?

  • Pedro’s question is: Why can’t the left unite? Our cooperative republic movement would like a shot at an answer.

    The left cannot unite b/c it does not have a common political program. The basis of such a “uniting” program would have to start with a core understanding of what “authentic,” that is, “workable” socialism actually is.

    In order to have a united left, the left must put forward a political program for a workable new society. Without such an “attractive” program and vision, the left will continue in disunity–all gains ultimately will be lost.

    We are not alone in saying that Cuba, by demonstrating a form of socialism that has a fundamental programmatic flaw, has not yet been able to show a workable model to the world. If she had, the world socialist transformation might have occurred long ago.

    What this means is that the present struggle of the Cuban Party to find a workable, exemplary mechanism for its economy is the key to unity on the left.

  • Thanks for asking the right questions! As individuals, as movements, as nations and as a species, we grow by questioning ourselves, by assessing ourselves, by ever revising ourselves.

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