‘A man whose soldier son was abducted by rebels a decade ago has completed a seven-week walk across Colombia in protest at the plight of hostages’, the BBC reports today 2 August 2007. After his arrival in the capital, Bogota, he asked President Alvaro Uribe to back a swap of prisoners for rebel captives. His son, Pablo Emilio, was captured in 1997. He was 19 years old at the time.

Moncayo carried out the 900km trek with his hands chained to symbolize the hostages’ plight. ‘Mr Uribe has reportedly agreed to meet the campaigner, who has vowed to camp out in a plaza near the president's palace until the government agrees a hostage deal. Scores of politicians, police and soldiers have been captured and held by the rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc)’, the BBC reports.

Mr. Moncayo has said he will do whatever is necessary for his son and for peace in Colombia.

Social change by peaceful means

This is what Moncayo’s march is all about. People want peace. The Farc may be the enemy, but they are fighting a corrupt and ruthless regime in and by itself. That was at any rate the situation when the struggle began. The Farc was set up in the sixties and has a socialist orientation. It is easy to brand the Farc as a terrorist organization as the US, Colombia and the EU has done. The truth is that the Colombian people are fleeing the poverty of their country whenever they get a chance. And the Farc wants to do something about the poverty and cannot see that the capitalist system will bring relief. In that they have a point.

The fact that the Labor Movement in Europe and the US managed to force the capital-owners into granting the workers at least enough income to be able to eat and live, was to a large extent due to the moral pressure exerted by the Communist East-bloc. It is granted that the East-bloc did not provide a workable solution to the poverty question either, but it is quite understandable that the Farc is not ready to concede that yet. The Farc needs a credible way out of their dilemma, just as the present Cuban leaders.

Social and economic justice

There is another way that will bring social and economic justice to the masses, which is based on political democracy. It is called ‘economic democracy’ and its economic theory is called ‘binary economics’. This system was developed by Louis Kelso and Mortimer Adler. The Center for Social and Economic Justice, www.cesj.org, has further extended it. It is absolutely vital that groups like the Farc find out about this system. They will then have a valid reason to turn themselves into political parties and to realize social and economic justice by means of the ballot instead of the bullet.

Knowledge of this genuine ‘third way’ will provide them with a way and a system to turn Colombia around and give the poor a chance to live peacefully and find happiness instead of constant scarcity. There are over 10.000 companies in the US that have already implemented this system and are functioning well. They can compete with purely capitalist companies. It is a practical way which can work and it is a credible alternative to communism or socialism 

This is what the Farc should know. They must give up their armed struggle. They are needed to continue the political struggle. Peace negotiations with and an amnesty for the Farc are necessary. The alternative to this is a continuation of the armed struggle, which helps nobody. The repressive brutality used by the Colombian government backed and spurred on by the US are not the right approach. This is a waste of effort and money and will only lead to more spilled blood and an endless cycle of violence.      

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