March of Patriots: A Political and Social Movement

A Political Statement

 Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN volunteer translator

Firm in their convictions, people are coming from the most distant points in the country’s geography and joining together in the city of Bogotá for the March of Hope, of Joy, and of Dignity.  Coming from the mountains, the plains, the piedmont and the coast, more than 1700 organizations have gathered.  With a deliberative and constructive spirit, we are taking another step toward building our second and definitive Independence.  In the most profound brotherhood and solidarity with all the people who are fighting for sovereignty and self-determination, delegates from Latin America, Europe, Australia and North America have come together in solidarity to carry out the National Council of Patriots.  Unhesitatingly, we declare:

We announce to everybody, and to all of the Colombian people, as well as to the international community, that throughout the days of April 21 and 22, 2012, we are putting together a political and social movement, the March of Patriots.  Our purpose is to contribute to the production of the political change that our country needs, overcoming the hegemony imposed by the dominant classes, advancing the construction of an alternative for social change and for the achievement of a second and definitive Independence.  Because at this moment capitalism faces one of its greatest crises, demonstrating its more and more obvious historical limitations.

The March is the place where multiple systems of organization, resistance and struggle can meet.  They have decided to make the exercise of politics their own and they aspire to be an organized expression of the real movement of resistance and struggle of the common people and of the social sectors that every day, in every corner of the country, work heroically, in spite of adversities, for a great, dignified and sovereign country.

In spite of the fact that the Santos government has made an effort to appear innovative and modernizing, we in the March believe that this just represents the continuation of its plan for hegemony and its attempts make adjustments for the bloc in power, precisely in order to guarantee its perpetuation.  Without overlooking the conflicts and differences among the factions that make up that bloc, promoted by the most warlike and far-right contingent, linked with narco-paramilitarism, they don’t pay attention—except in their rhetoric—to the blossoming of new conditions that make clear that we are on a path to overcome the authoritarian, criminal, mafiosa, and corrupt systems that characterize the Colombian political regime.  Recent legislative developments in various areas appear rather to strengthen the cloak of impunity that has prevailed in this country.  They are trying to institutionalize the exercise of violence against the people at the same time they are trying to persecute and criminalize protest and social mobilization.

The Santos government has been intensifying the neoliberalization of the economy and of the society, a process initiated more than twenty years ago.  That continuation essentially favors transnational capital financing and the huge economic groups that, thinking exclusively of their greed for profit, have imposed an economic model that increases poverty.

That model has de-industrialized the country, depressed agricultural production, and, especially, has lowered food production until it is in deep crisis.  It has led to a precarious division, stimulated to the extreme by financial speculation, and to the promotion—especially during the last decade—of the intensive exploitation of our riches in hydrocarbons, minerals and sources of water.  This has been accompanied by the production of agro-fuels, of forest exploitation and of infrastructure megaprojects.  In the development of this model they have designed an entire juridical-institutional scaffolding and a military to protect the interests of big capital.  They have been perfecting this during the current government through numerous constitutional and legal reforms.  The taking effect of the Free Trade Agreement with the United States, and other treaties with similar provisions are clear evidence of that.

This economic model has led to an increasing degradation of sovereignty, to increased concentration and centralization of wealth, and to growing social inequality, making work precarious and pauperizing workers.  It has also led to social and environmental depredation, as well as to the continual surrendering of social resources and the fruits of labor through the dispossession and forced displacement of the population.  It has also led to the extreme and complete mercantilization of all social life.  Likewise, they have built a source for the appropriation of public money, by means of a generalized evolution of corrupt systems.

In the March of Patriots we are pointing out that people at the bottom feel the necessity for political change in this country.  They feel a need to overturn the dominant power bloc and create the conditions for the systemic economic, political, social and cultural transformations that the common people and the Colombian population in general are demanding.  We in the March will place our funds and our influence at the service of this purpose.  We will call for much greater unity of the Colombian people and, especially, for the unity of the different existing social and public movements, such as the Alternative Democratic Pole and other parties and political organizations of the left, the People’s Congress, the Social and Indigenous Minga (Gathering), the National Coordinator of Social and Political Movements and Organizations, the COMOSOC (Coalition of Social Movements and Organizations of Colombia), the MANE (Students’ National Roundtable), as well as other economic, social and political forces that want to work for agreement on programs that will lead to overcoming the way of life and its tyrannical result and to a structural transformation of the government, of the economy, and of the culture.

In the March of Patriots we are announcing a political decision to fight for a new economic model for the government and for the society.  We want a model that will make possible a structural transformation of that way of life and its results,  and that will allow the guarantee and actualization of integral human rights.  It will dignify and humanize work, it will repay with integrity the damage to the victims of violence and government and paramilitary terror, organize land democratically, and carry out complete agrarian and urban reform.  It will undertake the corresponding socio-cultural transformations, dignifying art and culture, and fight for a new international order based on the principles of sovereignty, non-intervention, self-determination and internationalism for the people, and will contribute to the integration of Our America.  All of that works toward the construction of an alternative system that will overcome the prevailing capitalistic organization of the society.  The March of Patriots is committed to the development of its programmatic platform with the widest participation of the common people and, in general, of the social and popular sectors. To achieve that, we will undertake open public meetings.

In the present situation, considering the dynamics of the struggle, as well as the political tendencies of the current government, the March of Patriots believes it to be of vital importance and extreme urgency to reach agreements among the different political forces and organizations leading the people, as well as among the other political, economic and social interest groups.  That way we can face issues immediately and build alternatives relating to land policy, defense, recovery of jobs, higher education, health and social security, the free trade agreements, etc.  In every case it means that we must work together to move forward in our efforts.  The only way is to act collectively to carry out a huge National Civic Strike.

In spite of the government’s rhetoric, which from time to time calls for peace in our country, there is every indication that that purpose is conceived in terms of a military solution.  What is more, the military and far-right sectors are continually and persistently pressing for that.  The current counter-insurgency policy is based on a growing foreign military interventionism with which, besides trying to make a change in the strategic balance of the war, responds to the economic and geopolitical interests of United States imperialism.  Their purpose is to guarantee access to strategic resources, protect the investments of the transnationals and contain any threat to these purposes, whether it be from a social movement or from insurgents, or to government sovereignty in the region.

The policy of the military solution finds its current expression in the Sword of Honor Plan, which joins other experiences of the recent past, all of them inscribed in Plan Colombia and the different phases of its execution.  It seeks the surrender and demobilization of the insurgency.  The experience of our country during the last fifty years teaches that, nevertheless, similar efforts have been no more than failed businesses that have ended up imposing new dynamics and methods of expression about the confrontation. And it cannot be any other way, given the historic roots and the political, economic and social roots of the Colombian conflict, as well as the specific dynamics of an irregular and asymmetrical war.

The indefinite prolongation of the social and armed conflict, in addition to what it represents in terms of the people’s suffering and the continual increase in expenditures for the war, expenditures that could be used to attend to the needs of the common people, leads to the dangerous militarization of political, economic, social and cultural life.  The March of Patriots announces its moral and political commitment to seeking a political solution to the social and armed conflict.  Considering that that needs to be socially appropriate, the March of Patriots declares its decision to begin regional and local constituent proceedings to find a political solution for peace with social justice, leading to the realization of a National Assembly.  At the same time, it will propose that all the political, economic and social forces join together to travel down a path that will allow us to achieve the yearning of the common people and the Colombian people in general for peace. That might make its first expression in the accomplishment of a national gathering for a political solution and for peace with social justice.

The March of Patriots presents its greetings in solidarity with all of the mobilizations, resistance efforts, and popular struggles.  It declares its commitment to accompany them, make them our own, and to participate actively in them.  As well, we greet all of the men and women who, in the city and in the country, devote the best part of their lives to work for a better life for the subjugated, oppressed, and exploited classes.  We call attention to the situation of the prisoners of war, and declare our solidarity with the political prisoners and prisoners of conscience.  At the same time, we announce our vocation as internationalists and our unrestricted support for all of the men and women in the world and in Our America who are fighting to overturn the way of life and of production imposed by capitalism.

In the March, we patriots have been able to assert the existence of our collective dreams, to walk down the path of dignity, to open the door to achievable hopes.  We follow the legacy of the liberators of the First Independence and of the people who were fighting for the resistance in our country.  We are taking part in this new chapter in the story that will forge a broader unity of our people.  We march convinced that the dream not only exists, but is attainable through the collective effort of every organization and the collective purpose that we continue to work on.  We are offering the country our support for this hope and determination.  We invite everyone to march, to walk, to struggle, and to build.


*  March for a political solution!


*  March for the sovereignty and integration of the people!


*  March for popular unity in support of the Second and final Independence!


Bogotá, April 22, 2012



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