Tag Archives: James J. Brittain

Is the FARC-EP (Really) a Terrorist Organization?

The following analysis by James J. Brittain is from Fight Back! News:

In the Foreword to sociologist James Brittain’s Revolutionary Social Change in Colombia: The Origin and Direction of the FARC-EP, Pluto Press, 2010, James Petras states that during the period 1999-2001 the FARC-EP was recognized as “a belligerent force,* a legitimate interlocutor in peace negotiations by all major European and Latin American regimes. During this period FARC-EP was invited to France, Spain, Scandinavia, the Low Countries, Mexico, and elsewhere to discuss the peace process. During the same period, top US leaders and businesspeople, along with dozens of trade unionists and electoral politicians from across the spectrum, engaged the FARC-EP in a demilitarized zone in Colombia, where the United Nations mediated peace negotiations between the FARC and then President Pastrana. While Washington opposed the entire peace process and President Bill Clinton secured the passage of the huge multibillion dollar military package (Plan Colombia), the United States was not able to scuttle the process or pin the narco-terrorist label on the FARC-EP. It was only after Washington went to war against Iraq and Afghanistan, and the US-dominated mass media launched a massive and sustained propaganda blitz labeling all critics and adversaries of US global militarism that the ‘terrorist’ label was pinned on the FARC.” Testing the accuracy of the “terrorist” label, among other beliefs about the FARC, James Brittain embarked on an extensive examination of existing works, public documents, and other material, as well as five years of field studies in FARC territory.—Editor’s Note

*A belligerent force is defined as a state or entity engaged in war, a status recognized by international law. In report after report, it is not the FARC-EP, but state military and paramilitaries that have been named as by far the most egregious perpetrators of human rights violations in Colombia.

Is the FARC-EP (Really) a Terrorist Organization?

By James Brittain 

In light of the recent activities of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) throughout sectors of the social justice and peace movement within the United States, it is increasingly apparent that even those interested in solidarity with sociopolitical organizations struggling with issues of marginalization and equity are viewed as a domestic threat or, at the very least, a target of national significance. For example, longtime peace and justice activists have been subpoenaed by the FBI as a result of their work, which critiques the economic and militaristic involvement of their government and military in Colombia.

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Music and Culture of Struggle in the Colombian Revolution

The Marxist-Leninist has previously posted music by FARC-EP musician Julian Conrado. These songs and poems are by Jaime Nevado.

“The FARC-EP guerrilleros play, sing, write poetry and books, tell stories, put on plays and paint, etc. The most sensitive men and women, reflecting the reality around us, transform our culture into an orally and visually attractive form, nourishing the patriotic and revolutionary sentiment of thousands of fighters, their friends and thousands of people who today listen to the songs, read books, recite poetry and watch films made by the guerrilleros … Culture occupies a very large space and plays an important role in the life of each guerrillero in the FARC-EP … There is a cultural hour from 7 to 8 p.m. in all guerrilla camps, when the public order situation permits. In this hour there may be a book reading, a lecture, the reading of a poem, singing, or a fiesta to dance the current rhythms and compositions of the guerrilleros. This is a space created so that culture is present in the struggle of our people.”

“Revolutionary culture is present and is nurtured by the people. It is the expression of rebellion charged with social content that has flourished in spite of everything throughout our history – in spite of the massacres, the bullets and the negation with which they think they can silence the voice of the people.”

– FARC-EP, quoted in Revolutionary Social Change in Colombia: The Origin and Direction of the FARC-EP by James J. Brittain, pp. 200-201

See also the youtube page for the Bolivarian Movement for a New Colombia (MBNC): http://www.youtube.com/user/mbolivariano

The following video is from the MBNC:

Revolutionary Social Change in Colombia: The Origin and Direction of the FARC-EP

The following book review is from Fight Back!, the newspaper of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization:

Book Review
Revolutionary Social Change in Colombia: The Origin and Direction of the FARC-EP

By Josh Sykes | February 6, 2010

Professor James J. Brittain’s new book, Revolutionary Social Change in Colombia: The Origin and Direction of the FARC-EP (Pluto Press, London: 2010), is a thoroughly researched and documented academic study of the Colombian revolution and of its largest and longest lasting guerrilla organization, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP). This alone makes it almost unique. Add to this the fact that it is based on five years of extensive research in Colombia’s countryside, both with the FARC and with the rural population, and it becomes clear that we have a one-of-a-kind book. What this study amounts to is a systematic and thorough defense of the FARC, facing the myths and allegations against the FARC squarely and putting them to rest. On this point, the book is invaluable.

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Liliana Obando and the Rights of Colombian Workers

The following article is from Colombia Journal.

The Case of Liliana Obando and the Rights of Colombian Workers

by James J. Brittain

Liliana Obando

Liliana Obando

On August 8, 2008, film-maker, academic, unionist and women’s rights proponent Liliana Patricia Obando Villota was arrested and detained by a special wing of the Anti-Terrorism Unit of the Colombian National Police and the Criminal Investigation Directorate (DINJIN) under the direction of the National Prosecutors Office. She has been charged with “rebellion” and “managing resources related to terrorist activities.” The primary grounds for Obando’s incarceration is that she allegedly worked to obtain funding earmarked for Colombia’s largest rural-based labor organization FENSUAGRO, but instead delivered the collected finances to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)—an armed movement listed as a foreign terrorist organization in the United States, Canada and the European Union. The accusations against Obando are suspect due to the fact that no material evidence has been found to support the charge.

The only “proof” presented by the State against Obando is purely speculative as it was retrieved from FARC computers captured following an illegal air-raid and ground assault against an insurgent encampment on March 1, 2008 in Ecuador. Interpol confirmed that the Colombian State’s Anti-Terrorism Unit manipulated tens of thousands of files from these seized FARC-EP databases. Continue reading