World Perspectives 2017: VI. The Reactionary Offensive of the Ruling Class and the Resistance in Latin America


1.                   Trump’s policy of anti-immigration chauvinism and protectionism will also have dramatic consequences for semi-colonial countries, in particular for Latin America. His plans for mass deportation of undocumented migrants, the strengthening of the migration control policy and the extension and expanding of a wall along the southern US border with Mexico, [1] and the renegotiation or even abolition of NAFTA will affect these countries in several ways.


2.                   Firstly, such steps will result in massive loss of remittances sent by migrants to their families in their countries of origin. In 2013, for example, migrants from Mexico in the US sent more than $23 billion to their families at home. Secondly, mass deportations of migrants back to Mexico will create additional burdens on that country, as these millions of people will have to be looked after by the Mexican state. It will also affect other Latin American countries, as the Mexican government will use the forced return of its own citizens as an excuse to deport migrants from other countries who have settled in Mexico itself.


3.                   Regardless of whether Trump abolishes or renegotiates NAFTA, the terms of trade for Mexico in relation to the US will certainly worsen. Unsurprisingly, Trump’s victory has already led to a substantial devaluation of the Mexican peso. In addition, Trump´s victory is likely to politically damage the conservative Mexican government of Enrique Peña Nieto. Peña already welcomed Trump in September, during the election campaign, which infuriated many people in his country. The PRI government has already become unpopular and his sympathies for Trump will only increase this.


4.                   It is crucial to defend the rights of migrants – both of the Latinos in the US as well as of the Central American migrants living in Mexico. Revolutionaries have to organize the struggle on both sides of the border in order to smash the wall, and to cancel the NAFTA along with other imperialist trades and security projects (ASPAN, Plan Mérida). They should work to forge close links between the workers and oppressed from both Mexico and the US. One opportunity for this in the near future will be the organization of coordinated mass protests against the inauguration of Trump on 20th January.


5.                   The coup d’état against Brazil’s popular front government of Dilma Rousseff and the establishment of the Temer government reflected an advance of the reactionary right-wing forces. The Temer government has already announced a number of outright reactionary attacks on the workers and oppressed – including attacks involving austerity measures and against labor rights, education and democratic rights. However, the hard-line conservative forces – extending from the PSDB to outright fascist forces – are not satisfied with these measures and are determined to go further.


6.                   At the same time there have been a number of mass protests against the Temer government. All this gives the government a rather weak and instable character as it is attacked both from the left as well as from the right. Revolutionaries in Brazil should mobilize for an unlimited general strike against the pro-austerity policies of the putschist regime. They should call for the setting up of action committees in factories, unions, neighborhoods, slums and outlying regions. The struggle to defend democratic rights should include the convocation of a national constituent assembly and – as the overriding task – the formation of a workers’ government in alliance with the peasants, urban poor and landless.


7.                   The continental ascent of reactionary forces also has led to an acceleration of the offensive of the right-wing opposition alliance, MUD, against the Maduro government in Venezuela. There can be no doubt that, should MUD come to power, they will launch a counterrevolutionary offensive aiming to liquidate all the, albeit limited, social and democratic reforms that have been achieved since 1999. However, revolutionaries point out that the bourgeois-populist government of Chavez and, since his death, Maduro himself, has always worked to maintain capitalist property relations in the country. Furthermore, Maduro’s government is constantly looking for compromises with the right-wing opposition instead of taking serious steps in the interest of the working class.


8.                   The strategic task in all these countries is to break up the popular fronts which bind trade unions, other workers organizations, as well as organizations of the poor peasants, to petty-bourgeois or outright bourgeois forces. (e.g., the alliance of the PT, CUT and MST with the PMDB in Brazil, the alliance of UNT and other mass organizations with the Chavista PSUV, MORENA in Mexico, the alliance of the trade unions with the Kirchnerist party in Argentina, etc.). Applying the united front tactic to these mass organizations in the struggle against the reactionary offensive of the right wing forces and for social and democratic reforms, revolutionaries call upon them, as well as upon all other progressive mass organizations, to fight for an independent Workers’ Party which would organize an energetic struggle in defense of the popular masses and against the bourgeoisie. We militants of the RCIT would propose a revolutionary program of action based on the transitional method for such a party, however, without making its adoption as a precondition for our participation.


9.                   The death of Fidel Castro represents the symbolic end of a period in Cuba’s modern history. However, contrary to the Stalinist song of praises for Castro’s regime, Marxists strictly distinguish wo things: On the one hand, our appreciation of the Cuban Revolution in the late 1950s and early 1960s and the social and economic gains of the Revolution and, it follows, our unconditional defense of the country against sanctions and the aggression of US imperialism; on the other hand, Marxists opposed the Stalinist regime and stood for a political revolution by the working class. Furthermore, revolutionaries also recognize that, in the past years, the regime led the country towards the restoration of capitalism – a process which went hand in hand with the advance of Chinese capital in Cuba, as well as the reconciliation process between Havana and Washington. [2]


10.                In Columbia President Juan Manuel Santos finally succeeded in signing a peace agreement with the petty-bourgeois guerilla movement FARC. The agreement was initially rejected in a referendum because of the resistance of the ultra right-wing conservative forces around former president Uribe. Marxists have always criticized the guerilla strategy as advocated by FARC or similar, petty-bourgeois nationalist rebel movements like the EPL. This strategy has always constituted a dead-end as it isolates militant fighters from the working class and the rural poor. Despite this criticism, revolutionaries have always supported guerillas in any conflict with the army and the right-wing death squads. The peace agreement cannot be supported by revolutionaries, as it effectively means the incorporation of the FARC leaders into the bourgeois-parliamentary system, the disarmament of the militants, and most likely a weakening of the forces fighting for the interests of the working class and poor peasants. This was so in the case of similar “peace processes” like that in El Salvador.


11.                One of the most encouraging recent phenomena in several Latin America countries has been the mass demonstrations against violence against women. On the backdrop of a series of rapes and murders of women (feminicide) – in Mexico 6 women are killed every day! – a mass movement recently emerged under the slogans “Ni Una Menos” and “Ni una muerta más” (“Not one more female death”). This has resulted in huge marches of hundreds of thousands of women (and men supporting the cause) in Argentina as well as Mexico, Peru, El Salvador, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. Revolutionaries unconditionally support these mass movements. They denounce the governments’ attempts to control and incorporate them. Contrary to the perspective of petty-bourgeois feminists, who currently dominate these movements, revolutionaries advocate the construction of a revolutionary working class women’s movement and of self-defense units dominated and controlled by women. Instead of trusting the system of bourgeois state justice, revolutionaries advocate the formation of workers’ tribunals which should be nominated by the workers' movement, and especially by the proletarian women's movement.  [3]


[1] To be precise, there has for a long time already been a wall along the US-Mexican border to prevent Mexican migrants from entering their northern neighbor. However, Trump wants to build an even bigger wall.

[2] See our book by Michael Pröbsting: Cuba’s Revolution Sold Out? The Road from Revolution to the Restoration of Capitalism, RCIT 2013,

[3] See on this the chapter on Latin America in our resolution Sisters – Let Us become Heroines of the Liberation Struggle of Our Gender, as Well as of All Oppressed! This resolution was adopted at the First World Congress of the RCIT in October 2016 and will be publish soon.