Organize an indefinite general strike and an action plan to overthrow the criminal government of JOH!
The situation in Honduras has reached a critical point. At the end of April, the health and education workers, supported by students, started an impressive mass mobilization against Juan Orlando Hernández (JOH) government’s attempt to privatize and dismantle the public health and education systems. This has become a mass insurrection demanding the step down of the government. After the refusal of several police units to continue repressing the people, JOH has turned to the army and to the military and riot police in an attempt to crush this uprising violently.
A conspiracy of silence of the ruling class and its media
So far, the Honduran alternative media report that 3 people have been confirmed dead, and dozens injured and arrested throughout the country. On Monday, the 24th of June, the army militarily took the National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH), in the capital Tegucigalpa. The university had been occupied by students and professors demanding the exit of the government. So far the reports speak of 8 injured. Given the prevailing confusion, and the amount of repressive actions across the country, the number of deaths, injuries and detainees could be higher.
Both this savage repression and the criminal character of the Honduran regime are being hidden by the international bourgeoisie and its media. The newspapers, television channels and columnists who shout indignantly speaking of dictatorship in Venezuela whilst enthusiastically supporting the coup leader Juan Guaidó - appointed president by Trump - maintain a scandalous silence before the crimes of the JOH government.
He renewed his mandate in December 2017 through electoral fraud, which even imperialist organizations such as the OAS and the UN had to denounce. Since then it has been sustained through murder and repression, with several of its members, including the president himself, accused by the DEA of activities related to drug trafficking.
This silence is not a coincidence. The government of Juan Orlando Hernández, as well as all the previous governments of the corrupt National Party (PN) are faithful pawns of the White House and the American and European multinationals. The imperialists plunder the resources of the country in collusion with the Honduran oligarchy by subjecting workers and peasants to brutal exploitation. The fall of JOH as a result of the current mass insurrection would encourage the struggle of the oppressed for a government of the workers and the people, and it would threaten the capitalist system and this puppet political regime of imperialism. This, in addition, could serve as an inspiration for the workers and oppressed of the continent -including the USA itself- and, of course, for all other Central American countries, where the indices of poverty and inequality, and the corruption and looting of the Oligarchies and imperialism are similar.
From Guatemala to Panama, to El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica or Haiti, where popular demonstrations broke out a few days ago against government corruption in the handling of Petrocaribe's Venezuelan humanitarian aid, the entire region is a powder keg.
The strength of the working class shakes the ruling class
The National Party, to which JOH belongs, came to power ten years ago through a coup sponsored by US imperialism against the then-President Mel Zelaya, who after being elected by the oligarchic Liberal Party, under pressure of the masses declared himself a follower of Chávez and promised political and social changes.
The PN has maintained power over the past decade through electoral fraud, repression and murder, combined with the threat and bribery of union bureaucrats and social leaders and the brazen support of the Catholic Church and evangelicals. The latter have just declared their total and absolute support for government repression.
After several mass movements and popular uprisings during the last decade, the current mobilization, initiated by the working-class teachers and the health sector, has managed to group all the social unrest and put the regime on the ropes. The only thing that sustains JOH at this moment is the repression of the army and the support of the imperialist and reactionary government of Donald Trump.
After the impressive demonstration of strength that led to the national strikes of the 30th and 31st of May, the executive was paralyzed and important contradictions were opened up within imperialism and the oligarchy.
The US ambassador during the 2009 military coup against Zelaya, Hugo Llorens, blamed Juan Orlando Hernández for the political crisis and demanded his resignation. The Episcopal Conference also marked distances with the government. Leaders of the Liberal Party joined parties that openly criticize the regime -such as Zelaya’s (LIBRE)- and the journalist Salvador Nasralla, founder of the Anti-Corruption Party, to which JOH fraudulently snatched victory in the presidential elections of 2017.
Both LIBRE and Nasralla demand the immediate removal of the current president and have publicly supported the insurrection, calling on the army and police units that remain subject to the government to break with it and to join the insurrection.
On the other hand, the sectors of the ruling class that currently have the baton in their hands fear that sacrificing Juan Orlando Hernández, in a context of instability and deep crisis of Latin American capitalism, does not calm the masses but encourages them to fight even with more strength. This sector has closed ranks around the government and seems to have the support of the extreme right-wing Trump. The White House, which denies climate change, has announced the sending of 300 marines to Honduras "to fight against the effects of climate change." A crude excuse, which cannot hide the reality: the type of change they intend to avoid is very different.
A sector of the police joins the people
The conditions to paralyze the repressive machinery of the State, overthrow JOH and replace it with a government of the workers and the people are the most favorable in a long time. The rebellion and sit-down strike announced by several police units of the Basic Scale* on the 20th of June and the communiqué they made public demonstrate this: "In the name of the Basic Scale, all the different members of the National Police are summoned to (...) join our cause, we reiterate our support to the people since we are part of it and we benefit from the rights they are fighting for".
As in any process of revolution and counterrevolution, once arrived at a critical point like this, it is essential to have a leadership at the forefront of the struggle with very clear ideas and an action plan that transmits without any doubt, to the oppressed as a whole, and in particular to the soldiers and police officers who form the base of the repressive force, that the insurrection has a clear strategy to win.
The leaders of the Platform in Defense of Health and Education have gained enormous authority during these two months of struggle for having challenged JOH and not having conceded to the pressures, maneuvers and threats of the regime. But, until now, they have refused to accept the slogans which the people shout in the demonstrations: "Fuera JOH" (JOH out!) or "the dictatorship will fall" and continue to state that their demands are not political, limiting them to health and education. This represents a very serious error that is already having dramatic consequences for the struggle.
The absence of a plan which extends the demands of health and education workers to the rest of sectors, to the peasants, etc., and unifying all of them in a common program, not linking this movement to the struggle to overthrow and judge for its crimes JOH’s government, as well as not having immediately converted the stoppages of the 30th and 31st of May into an indefinite general strike, something demanded by the most combative sectors of the movement, have been some of the reasons which have allowed the government to take oxygen and recover from the commotion caused by the massive character of the stoppages, thus, it has retaken the initiative and launched the current repression. This offensive can still be defeated, but it is necessary to turn 180º in the direction of the movement and act urgently and decisively.
Indefinite strike until JOH is toppled and judged for his crimes!
For a government of the workers and the people!
In Honduras’ current circumstances, to refuse to repress the masses means openly rebelling against the regime and risk your life. According to different calculations -and despite the absence of a leadership with a clear program to seize power- until now between 10% and 20% of the police have joined the sit-down strike and refuse to participate in the repression.
In order to maintain this support, get many more to join, and paralyze the repressive machinery of the State, it is necessary to concentrate all that immense force which the masses are showing in the streets, with the high point being the national strike on the 30 and 31st of May. The tool for this is a new general strike that completely paralyzes the country and transmits all the strength and spirit of the working class to the oppressed as a whole and to the army base and the police. This general strike must be indefinite and be accompanied by a concrete plan to end JOH’s government, to arrest him for his crimes and to have him judged by the people. At the same time, an internationalist appeal must be made to the neighboring countries and to the workers and youth of the rest of the world to mobilize in solidarity with the Honduran revolution and against repression.
During the last two months of struggle the movement has created assemblies and action committees to organize the protest. These committees and assemblies must be extended to the workplaces and neighborhoods where they do not exist and, very importantly, to the army barracks. An immediate task of these committees should be to organize, together with the police and soldiers that support the people, worker and popular self-defense militias subject to the control of the assemblies. This will also be key to pushing undecided soldiers and police to the field of the revolution.
Each assembly must designate eligible and revocable delegates in each work center, neighborhood or barracks. These delegates must coordinate at local, regional and national levels. This would allow to elect a true National Assembly of the workers and oppressed people which would be an alternative to the corrupt parliament controlled by JOH. This assembly must add to all the demands already raised by the workers of health and education and the demands of the rest of the working class and the oppressed, as well as those presented by the police who support the struggle themselves, and elect a government of the workers and the people which will carry them out.
Along with the defense of this action plan, the activists on the left of the Platform in Defense of Education and Health, the revolutionary militants of LIBRE and the Honduran anti-capitalist left must propose a socialist program that defends the expropriation of the banks, the land, the big companies and the multinationals that today exploit the country's wealth and put them under the direct management of a government and a revolutionary state of the workers and the people. This would democratically plan the economy, end corruption, inequality and poverty and meet the needs of the population as a whole.
There is strength to defeat the counterrevolutionary plans of the oligarchy and imperialism and to achieve the victory of the Honduran revolution, but there is no time to lose. It is urgent to build a revolutionary alternative rooted in the working class and youth and armed with the program and methods of Marxism!