Honduras: long road no matter what
Authentic democracy means that people at the grassroots level actually participate in shaping the policies and laws that affect their lives. We don't have that here, and we're not getting any closer to having it.
There's no mass movement to demand it, and there won't even begin to be for some time. Many of the people and organizations that might form part of such a movement in the U.S. are still waiting and hoping for some shadow of the changes they thought they were voting for last year. A few are beginning to grasp that in some fundamental ways, the major political parties here are not really so different than they are in Honduras: two wings of the rich overclass, one with a slightly more warm and fuzzy reputation, but neither willing to broaden the small group of people who really make decisions.
But there is such a movement in Honduras. It's been building for decades. Thanks to the arrogance of those who funded and organized the overthrow of the elected president, and to the half-support of our government, the coup regime has sparked sustained resistance that has fused that movement into a national organization.
They have a concrete goal: la constituyente, a national constituent assembly to rewrite Honduras' constitution. Restoring President Zelaya to office between now and the November 29 elections will not change that, because, as independent presidential candidate Carlos Reyes said this week, constitutional reform is the only way out of the country's social and political crisis.
A long-term, nonviolent organizing movement facing a repressive government that represents the rich needs every human resource it can call on. Faith is one such resource, and Honduras is blessed with several priests and bishops who recognize that the church needs to be with the people. International solidarity is another. The national resistance is devoting the fall to organizing itself down to the local level, and has called on supporters abroad, particularly in the United States, to form solidarity committees. The first international conference for a constituyente will take place in Tegucigalpa October 8-10.
Update: 3:30 pm, September 18 - Admin note: This post was begun and saved on the date shown, but posted today around noon. Another excellent video from RealNews's Jesse Freeston on the topic of this post is out today (link includes transcript). It features Oscar Estrada, the Honduran filmmaker and resistance participant whose dispatches have appeared on Adrienne Pine's blog since the coup.
[Image: marchers from La Esperanza heading to the capital for the national demonstration on August 11. Shaun Joseph, Quixote Center.]