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From The Socialist newspaper, 5 May 2021

Colombia: Mass trade union-led protests force tax retreat

Leon Hernandez/CC

Leon Hernandez/CC   (Click to enlarge)

A mass movement, initiated by Colombia's trade unions, has forced right-wing president Ivan Duque to withdraw his tax legislation that would have placed increased financial burdens on the country's poorest citizens.

Duque was intent on offloading the economic burden of dealing with the Covid pandemic from the capitalist class to the working class through a swingeing sales tax on public services and some foodstuffs, as well as lowering the income tax threshold. A teacher demonstrating in the capital, Bogota, told journalists: "They're robbing us poor people, while they give everything to the rich."

Police repression has taken a heavy toll on protesters with a number of reported deaths including several suspicious fatalities in the city of Cali. Nonetheless, in several working-class neighbourhoods in the capital there were celebrations involving the traditional banging of pots and pans after Duque announced his retreat.

Events in Colombia have shown the power of the organised working class when it moves into action, drawing behind it young people and the most oppressed in society.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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Related links:

Colombia:

triangleReaders' comments

triangleColombia: General strikes continue

triangleVenezuela: resist the pro-imperialist coup!

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