EL SALVADOR — “If Funes wins, we’ll be more controlled by the right and the fake left,” remarked a comrade at a PLP communist school.
In the recent Presidential election, the FMLN’s Mauricio Funes won with 1,350,000 votes, 51.2% of the electorate. Thousands of workers celebrated in the streets of the country’s main cities, shouting, “Yes we could”; “The people united will never be defeated”; and, “Today is different. Funes is President.”
When Funes and the FMLN’s political commission declared victory, they said there were no winners or losers in this election — the victory was “for everyone”; that change had come and there were no distinctions between right and left.
It was very different from the speech people expected, which is why the right celebrated too. That same week, Vice-President-elect Sánchez Ceren stated, “Not all the promises made by the FMLN during the election can be fulfilled.”
The liberal rulers paid for much of Funes’ electoral campaign. They represented the group “Friends of Mauricio Funes,” which includes millionaire businessman Nicolas Salume. He also financed the previous campaign of Antonio Saca (the outgoing President from the right-wing Arena party). Two sectors of Funes supporters made a deal for the FMLN to continue to control the mayors and the representatives while the capitalist “Friends of Funes” would pick the cabinet ministers. The bosses made sure that whoever won would continue capitalist policies.
The workers who see Funes and the FMLN as the solution within the capitalist system to the international crisis of unemployment, poverty and hunger will be frustrated since capitalism is in decline; none of these politicians can solve the crisis. Actually, they’re part of the problem.
The sharpening inter-imperialist rivalry is also reflected here. Funes said he would follow the governing model of Obama and Brazil’s Lula, while an FMLN group continues to insist that Funes must offer an opening to Cuba, Russia and China through Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez.
The international capitalist crisis is intensifying here. The bosses can’t keep hiding the emptiness of state coffers, so empty that subsidies for energy, transportation and rent can’t be paid. Fiscal collections, consumption and sales have declined, and, according to the Central Reserve Bank, the country’s projected growth rate is nearly zero. This is one of many countries affected by the crisis due to its dependence on remittances from families in the U.S., down $250 million in the last year.
Progressive Labor Party has shown the only way forward amid the international capitalist crisis is to sharpen the workers’ struggles worldwide; this country is no exception. Only the working class can save the working class.
During the election campaign, union and social group leaders diverted the working class from any sign of protest against the bosses or their system. But PLP continued to struggle against, and denounce, the deals among the bosses who financed Arena and the FMLN.
This election was a multi-million dollar campaign by the FMLN and Arena. The FMLN leadership paid $36 million to the media companies while 20,000 people are losing their jobs.
All these electoral events are aimed at lining up both the leaders of the capitalist system, as well as the workers, behind a group of bosses, whether in the U.S., Europe, Russia or China. All of these latter forces face the growing necessity of wider war and World War III, a war over international markets.
Now, after the elections, workers’ anger is starting to surface. A worker on a local radio program said, “This Funes has already shown he’s allied with the right. He just won the election and he showed his capitalist leanings. He’ll respond to the capitalists’ interests, like those of his friends who financed his campaign. As the saying goes, ‘he who pays the piper calls the tune.’”
The election results mean a change in the governing party but not in the capitalist political and economic orientation. Those capitalists who now hold State power won’t change the way they exercise it.
Whether there’s a neo-liberal or a state capitalist government, both are bad for the working class. There’s only been a superficial change among the bosses.
The only solution for workers is the long-term struggle for the dictatorship of the working class and communism through the growth of an internationalist PLP. To all workers: lets all march worldwide on May Day!