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#Colombia: Balance of the protest day of January 21, 2020 by grupo libertario vialibre

Colombia. On January 21, 2020, the first general day of protest of the new year was convened. Linked to the great November-December 2019 movement, different social and political organizations called for a new “strike” without a labor strike, which is already the sixth since the beginning of the government of Iván Duque and the fourth since the huge day started on on November 21, which was two months before. Machine Translation.

Originally published by Via Libre Grupo Libertatio. Machine Translation.

It is clear that on the day, except in public universities in student unemployment, there were no work stoppages, and the organizations of the National Unitary Command (CNU), especially the Unitary Central of Workers (CUT), do not make calls in that regard. If there was some modest agitation of socio-political organizations such as the People’s Congress in the streets, but much of the publicity that remains until today in the avenues, posts and facades is from the November-December national protest days. Before the call, the address of the disjointed National Committee of Unemployment (CNP), said that on January 21 there would be “cacerolazos and no marches”, ignoring different social calls already underway and that it was reproduced by various national media, generating confusion about the working day.

In the city of Bogotá, the so-called new protocol of control of the social protest developed by the administration of Mayor Claudia López of the Green Party was applied, which in general continues the policy of the Peñalosa administration as instances of dialogue and time of Response of the Available Force and the ESMAD of the Police. And although the mainstream media speak of a litmus test of the district government before the day, it is clear that the security policies of the new mayor López formed in the first Peñalosa administration, are not substantively different from those of the previous district governments, conservatives or progressives, who regularly resorted to repression against marches that impeded mobility. The new figure of the peace-making mothers as a civil organization coordinated with the local government, represents a discursive extension of the figure of the coexistence managers formed at the time of Luis Eduardo Garzón del Polo, but not a modification of this line of intervention created to contain the crudest forms of police repression. The rhetoric of the centrist government of Bogotá that: “shares and is part of the strike” made water everywhere, if its control policy and normality is reviewed against the already limited activity of state workers.

The national government of Iván Duque and the uribista-conservative and evangelical coalition, I seek to resume the political initiative by installing a communication campaign and a banner on the front of the Congress, calling to participate in the national conversation, while calling for greater judicialization of the violent elements of the protest. However, this instance of non-binding dialogue generated by the government within its national dialogue strategy and as a partial response to the movement of November 21, is dominated by participants chosen by finger and related to Uribism, methodologically oriented to search of supposed consensus without political deliberation, which are not viable or desirable for the popular movement.

The development of the day

That day we recorded in the capital 15 concentrations and mobilizations in the city and its metropolitan area. The day began with 9 small simultaneous blockages starring students and neighborhood organizations on main roads in the south east, south west, west and north west of the capital. The same force: 1) Intermittent blocking on Avenida Primero de Mayo with tenth race with dozens of participants who moved to the Antonio Nariño sector then repressed by the Police, 2) Intermittent concentrations at San Mateo de Soacha station, with dozens of Young workers, 3) Partial student blockade in the South Portal, 4) Concentration with partial block on 13th Street in Fontibón,

On the other hand, 8) a concentration of women workers, about half a morning there is a concentration of half a hundred Uber drivers in front of the Ministry of Transportation that partially cut off Esperanza Avenue, protesting against the exit of the country’s platform, after its declaration of illegality and the fines imposed by the authorities for continuing its illegal operation. Although the informal workers of this new virtual transport company mobilized, they did not raise any labor claim in front of their outsourcing employer and their difficult working conditions, so it is clear that it is a pro-business call, linked to the campaign deployed by the company itself to mobilize the sympathy of its upper and middle class users.

However, the main blockade was developed 9) in the Suba Portal, with concentrations since dawn, seeking to reissue the success of the day of November 21, with about 100 participants who moved along Suba Avenue, in successive clashes with the police. Then at night on that same road corridor, a wider mobilization was carried out starring popular youth, with more than 300 participants.

On the other hand, 6 mobilizations of small and medium size are developed, led by university students, particularly from the District University, on two major routes either to Banderas or to the center. They developed as follows: 1) A sit-in and blocking of a hundred students from Javeriana University, District University and other institutions in the 7th race with 40 with a hundred participants, in which a community pot is installed. 2) Youth block in front of the Hippies Park, with the participation of some artistic groups, which then moved to the center, with a few dozen attendees. 3) Blockade and march of students of the Technological headquarters of the District University in the Villavicencio Avenue with 2,000 participants, in which the small mobilizations coming from Soacha and the South Portal, which ends at the Banderas Portal, also converge. 4) The mobilization of students from the National University and other institutions with another 3,000 participants, who leave on Calle 26, take Avenida Boyacá and then the Americas, temporarily blocked by the ESMAD, which ends up coming together with the District University in Banderas, where there are scattered clashes with the police during the afternoon. 5) The march of students from Calle 80 with the city of Cali to the center of the city. temporarily blocked by the ESMAD, which ends up coming together with the District University in Banderas, where there are scattered clashes with the Police during the afternoon. 5) The march of students from Calle 80 with the city of Cali to the center of the city. temporarily blocked by the ESMAD, which ends up coming together with the District University in Banderas, where there are scattered clashes with the Police during the afternoon. 5) The march of students from Calle 80 with the city of Cali to the center of the city.

The last 6) call made by trade union organizations and small delegations of the District Association of Education Workers (ADE) that led the call and to a lesser extent the National Union of Banking Employees (UNEB) and the Trade Union Union of industry of oil (USO) that gathered about 3,000 people from the National Park to the Plaza de Bolívar, although it was affected by the shocks that already occurred in the city center

On the day the direction of the National Stop Committee convened a national cacerolazo with very limited compliance. On the other hand, there were clashes between sectors of young protesters and the police forces in Suba, the South East, Portal Américas on several occasions and especially the city center. In addition, at least 3 punk nightly musical events were organized in the Santander Park that moved to the Hippies Park, electronic music in the Independence Park and a decimated act in the Plaza de Bolívar.

In the rest of the country, calls were held in Cali where there were intermittent blockades in the morning, then clashes between students and police at noon and night trade union mobilization, youth and workers mobilizations in Medellín and Bucaramanga where there were some clashes, and popular marches in Barranquilla and Cartagena.

Some reflections

The January 21 was a day of significant protest in which we recorded in Bogotá 15 events with 9 blocks and 6 mobilizations and about 10,000 participants, with similarities to the day of December 4, the smallest of the calls for November-December cycle stop last year. It is clear that the movement failed as a work stoppage, said that the real capacity to organize was never proposed or had.

On the day three key moments of the November-December sessions were repeated as they are: a first moment of neighborhood blockades in the morning, a second moment of sectoral mobilizations during the day and a third time of clashes between protesters and police forces in The afternoon in different places. However, the weakness of the mobilizations made during the day was clear, as was clear the student reflux with the partial exception of the District University and the important absence of the workers organized until the evening.

The failure of the “national cacerolazo” call was also evident, since spontaneous popular concentrations at night were severely limited, with the very partial exceptions in Suba, massive and generalized cacerolazos that defined part of the massiveness and novelty of the previous movement .

The current leadership of the National Stop Committee chaired by the MOIR, played a role of severe containment of the mobilization with its role of denial of the marches and its majority orientation by parliamentarism. At the same time, however, it is clear that no other alternative sector has had or now has the capacity to mobilize the indignant people that broke out at the end of November, and the weak forms of local organization that were expressed in some popular assemblies at the end of the year they have reduced to their “normal” proportions of temporary coordination of territorial organizations. In other words, neither the Committee nor the organizations on its left have the capacity to represent the movement, although they are its clear drivers.

We think that the reflux of a movement as inorganic and frantic as last year has already occurred, and this has not only been due to the short-term factor of holidays and end of the year holidays. We believe that before condemning our people and imposing a policy of desperate mobilization without concrete perspectives, we must ask ourselves for the reasons for demobilization and inquire about our own weaknesses. Far from any avant-garde shortcut and device machinations, we think that the main task today is the re-encounter with the protagonists of the great day of national protest last year, where they have dispersed and exhausted, that is, in the workplaces , neighborhoods and educational institutions, to build alternative organizational boards from below,

Now to organize this great rebellion, in popular force!

Up those who fight!

Vía Libre Libertarian Group

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