National Reconciliation or Class War? The Choice for Nicaragua
“The Marxists are the class enemies of the bourgeoisie and of imperialist wars but they are the supporters of national liberationist and revolutionary wars, both offensive and defensive.”
—Trotsky, Writings, 1934-36, p. 266
The events in Central America over the past two weeks have demonstrated the aptness of Trotsky’s words, written against centrists in the 1930’s, for the present period. As Marxists, we unconditionally defend the actions of the Nicaraguan army in their efforts to mop up the U.S.-backed contra mercenaries. The peace agreement, signed March 23, however, points in rather a different direction. Instead of any kind of “Victory for Peace,” itself an abstract and class-neutral term, the agreement was a sell-out and a betrayal of the Nicaraguan revolution. While it would be premature to pronounce the Sandinistas as having definitely crossed the rubicon, the path they are now following leads to the consolidation of a bourgeois state.
In reaching an accommodation with the contras, the Sandinistas have gone beyond the designs of the pro-imperialist Esquipulus II accord. Although the ostensible result has been the end of the war, conditional that bourgeois property rights are respected, the real issue has been the reintegration of the contras into Nicaraguan society. Put another way, national reconciliation. It is no coincidence that at the conclusion of the talks, both sides joined in singing the Nicaraguan national anthem! Such practices spit on those who have died fighting the contras. The concessions made by the Sandinistas, rather than taking the revolution forward, act to block it. The release of a further 3,000 contra prisoners and a guarantee of a full democratic rights, access to the media and “non-CIA” (!) humanitarian aid from the U.S., together with the bourgeoisie’s control of the economy are the noose around the neck of the revolution. Even the New York Times, the respectable voice of the American bourgeoisie, has argued that now the U.S. must apply diplomatic pressure not military.
It is not too late to reverse this trend, but time grows short. The way forward is to break with the bourgeoisie and repudiate this peace treaty. No propaganda victory will save the revolution, only the spreading of the revolution and the disarming of the imperialists by the working class.
March 27, 1988