A historical and wonderful thing is happening in the small country of Honduras in Central America. Despite terror imposed by the U.S. and Honduran ruling classes; despite beatings and assassinations; despite centuries-old poverty and misery, the masses and their organizations are organizing, mobilizing and fighting back.
In fact, developments in Honduras today brilliantly bring to life the old saying, “Repression breeds resistance.”
Three years ago, in June of 2009, the democratically elected and popular president, Manuel Zelaya, was illegally ousted in a U.S.-backed coup. The coup ushered in a reign of terror. But it also gave birth to resistance.
The coup was symptomatic of the desperate attempt of U.S. imperialism and its corrupt cronies in Latin America to turn back the revolutionary tide sweeping Latin America and the Caribbean.
Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and other countries are part of a left-leaning movement that is breaking from U.S. imperialism and attempting to build societies that put the people’s needs before Wall Street profits.
Honduras was no exception. Zelaya attempted to carry out changes that would alleviate the misery of the Honduran masses, such as raising the minimum wage and taking control of Honduras’ natural resources.
For his efforts, a right-wing coup was carried out with the full knowledge and complicity of Washington. In fact, the concept for the coup was hatched at the Palmerola U.S. Airbase, which Zelaya had attempted to turn into a civilian international airport.
A thoroughly pro-capitalist, anti-poor, anti-worker administration of the elite was imposed when the fraudulent president, Pepe Lobo, took over the government illegitimately despite popular resistance.
But, as Karl Marx stated, the capitalist class creates its own gravediggers. That is what is happening in Honduras today.
New phase in resistance struggle
The coup has opened up a new chapter of revolutionary struggle in Honduras. The masses have awakened and are taking matters into their own hands. Longtime militants and activists have joined together with the youth, workers, students, women, campesinos, the lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender community, the Garifunas and Indigenous organizations, and formed mass organizations and united fronts.
This includes the Frente Nacional de Resistancia Popular, or FNRP (the National Popular Resistance Front), a 3-year-old formation which is getting stronger every day.
On July 1, the Resistance announced to the world a new phase in the struggle. This extraordinary announcement is summarized with the FNRP slogan, “¡Vamos de la Resistencia al Socialismo!” (“Let’s go from Resistance to Socialism!”)
This announcement of a call to build socialism in Honduras is a signal to both the allies of Honduras as well as to its enemies that the movement is prepared to take the struggle as far as it can possibly go.
The historic announcement has bearing for the worldwide class struggle. It should be heard in every barrio, neighborhood, community center, union hall and plaza around the world. Every youth and worker who occupied in Wisconsin, Zuccotti Park, Tahrir Square or the Zócalo should know what is going on in Honduras.
Revolutionary election campaign
A few months ago, the FNRP decided — through assemblies, meetings and rich debates — that the Resistance would be entering the 2013 presidential elections. The movement formed a new party, Partido Libertad y Refundación (Partido Libre or Libre Party), that would organize the necessary steps to enter the electoral arena.
Revolutionaries and Marxists around the world know that elections do not make fundamental change. It is the masses who are the real agents of change, not elections. Ending capitalist relations and expropriating the means of production from the bosses for the workers — that is what is necessary to end exploitation. Cuba, for example, took its revolution all the way — the Cubans ousted Wall Street and Washington from their country forever and began to organize society for the benefit of all the workers.
Revolutionaries also know that there are many steps and complicated processes on the road to liberation.
The 2013 elections in Honduras may well be a watershed event that marks a turning point in that road to liberation.
On July 1, in the province of Galeras in Santa Bárbara, Honduras, the Libre Party formally launched the candidacies of Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, who was nominated for president, and Juan Barahona, president of the union confederation (FUTH), nominated for vice president. The masses, by their own means, traveled more than 130 miles over difficult terrain from the main city of Tegucigalpa and from throughout the country to gather in Santa Bárbara, where Castro was born and raised.
Both candidates are well known, not just in Honduras but outside the country as well. Castro — affectionately called by her first name, Xiomara — was the “First Lady” under the Zelaya administration, while Barahona is a long-time, leading union activist. Both are members and leaders of the Resistance.
Workers who come from outside of Tegucigalpa know to go to the Beverages Union (STIBYS) hall to get not only information on where the next action will be held, but food, shelter and water as well. Much of the movement gathers and meets in the union hall.
Hope for change brings out masses
The people of Honduras are some of the most impoverished in the world. It is the second-poorest country in the hemisphere after Haiti. According to the World Bank, 65 percent of the people live below the poverty line. More than 30 percent of the population, in a country of about 8 million, lives in extreme poverty.
So it is no small thing for a worker to travel from one city to another of their own volition to participate in a campaign event for an election that is more than a year away. Yet thousands and thousands of people came. What propelled them?
This writer had the privilege to travel to Honduras not long after the coup, and also had the privilege to watch the video of the July 1 campaign launch with some of the Resistance leaders in the U.S.
It is clear, both from Workers World interviews with Hondurans and from listening carefully to the candidates’ words on July 1, that what drove the masses to Santa Bárbara was hope. Hope that life in Honduras is not going to be the same. Hope that society is changing for the better, that the hundreds of campesinos, journalists, unionists and LGBT people who have been killed since 2009 will not have died in vain.
What motivated the masses was the prospect that many sectors of society are finally coming together in unprecedented revolutionary unity to fundamentally change Honduran society.
This unity occurs in the context of the last three years when the movement has not stopped despite repression and brutality. The main point of unity among all social sectors put forth by the FNRP and Partido Libre appears to be refusing to bow down to the golpe (coup). This is no small thing in light of the repression and the ever-present U.S. soldiers and U.S. Drug Enforcement agents.
Whether they are students or campesinos, women or the unemployed, gay or straight, from the intelligentsia or from the union hall, the people of Honduras are heroically building a broad united front not just against the golpe, but for a radical and revolutionary step forward.
Read the words of the presidential candidate the day of her nomination and it becomes clear that a new day is comingin Honduras.
‘Let us build a socialist society’
Xiomara Castro de Zelaya — on the platform surrounded by campesinos and union members, with her son, daughter and spouse, former President Zelaya — said under the bright morning sun, “Come people of Honduras, let us build a socialist and democratic society. Let us bring down the bourgeois state and build a socialist one.”
Xiomara evoked the global struggle as she paid tribute to the resistance in the Middle East, the Occupy Wall Street movement and the “indignados” (indignant ones) in Spain.
The talk, a call to arms, sounded more like a rally speech in socialist Cuba than a presidential nomination speech. It was an example of how the struggle of the Honduran masses and the unity of the movement have spurred on a revolutionary consciousness.
A grouping of leaders in Honduras has chosen to commit class suicide, to break with the elite and to join the masses in their struggle for liberation. To help assure these leaders stay with the masses, it becomes more important than ever to do the necessary work to build the struggle, a painstaking and difficult task but one that the Resistance is clearly waging — and winning.
The clarion call being made in Honduras today will earn the ire of the U.S. ruling class forever. For Xiomara, Barahona, Mel Zelaya, the Frente and the Libre Party to declare socialism with the Honduran masses is to declare war with Washington, a war the Hondurans must win.
Progressives and revolutionaries want to be a part of this moment in history, part of the revolutionary process, not outside of it. The masses were awakened by the golpe, but so were other sectors of society.
That is why it is time to close ranks around the revolutionary movement in Honduras. Building the struggle for solidarity and unity with Honduras, especially from inside the belly of the U.S. imperialist beast, will help ensure that the movement can take further steps to transform Honduras into a nation that defends the interests of the workers and not the capitalist elites.
Long live the FNRP and Partido Libre! Long live the Resistance and long live the struggling people of Honduras!
To read the full version of the talks by Xiomara Castro and Juan Barahona, visit resistenciahonduras.net.