April 19 Movement

   When populist candidate Rojas Pimilla of the National Popular Alliance party (Alianza Nacional Popular— ANAPO) was defeated in the Colombian presidential elections of 1970, outraged socialist party members who insisted the result was fraudulent formed a break-away anti-government group. Naming themselves after the date on which the election result was declared, the April 19 Movement (Movimiento 19 de Abril, M-19) pledged itself to a guerrilla battle for political reform and the alleviation of poverty in Colombia. Though ANAPO explicitly repudiated suggestions of links with the group, M-19 regarded itself as the military wing of the nonviolent party. M-19 became renowned for audacious stunts that ranged from the theft of Latin American liberator Simon Bolivar’s sword and spurs from their museum home, to the seizure and occupation of the Dominican Republic’s Bogotá embassy. Its motivation was to highlight the impoverished nature of their country, and M-19 protests soon took on the form of economic sabotage as it sought to rid foreign capitalist business and interest from Colombia. In 1985, with its influence at its apex given its status as the largest left-wing guerrilla group in the state, it forceably occupied the chief power base of Colombia’s judiciary, the Palace of Justice in Bogotá. One hundred people from either side perished during the occupation, prompting moves two years later by M-19 to begin the process of negotiations toward peace with the government. By March 1989, M-19 had pledged to demobilize and become a political party in main- stream society. As the Democratic Alliance M-19 (Alianza Democrática M-19, ADM-19) it enjoyed early local electoral success and played a pivotal role in the 1991 reshaping of the traditionalist Colombian constitution into a more modern document. In 2003, ADM-19 became part of the Independent Democratic Pole coalition. M-19 never explicitly committed itself to Marxism, offering instead a hybrid communistic interpretation of ideology that mixed revolutionary left-wing ideas drawn directly from the Marxist canon with deeply nationalistic elements motivated by populism. In this manner, like the Zapatistas after it, M-19 presented a post-modernist take on Marxism.

Historical dictionary of Marxism. . 2014.

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