Let’s Talk Revolution

by Irma Caal

In order to understand the term revolution one must fully comprehend the concept: a concept referring to certain collective and intentional behaviors, i.e. group action directed towards an end related to political power. Such intentional behaviors are defined by collective action demonstrative of a broad belief system based in preferences and repudiations driving those behaviors. In other words, ” wide-spread collective movements disrupting the social and judicial order attempting to replace the existing supreme power with something different”.

A suppressed culture, a suffocating society, an unforeseen union and a foreign betrayal were some of the causes which provoked the Revolution of 1944. A revolution which was a new generation’s response to the dictatorship based on a European fascist system. It was a rebellion against oppression, exploitation and fear.

What does the Spring of Democracy mean to me?

It represents a time of change, a struggle by a father, a son, a mother, a student, a shoemaker, a university student–with one end: the common good–when they transformed all of society and its future generations. Participatory democracy, how one identifies oneself, indigenous peoples’ rights, social and economic transformations favoring the great majority of Guatemalans–all were rescued.

It means that when a people are united they are able to achieve major changes for now and for the future by working together rather than as separate individuals.

How might the values of a revolution improve gender equality, education and participation? The principles of the October 20th, 1944 Revolution are in Article I of Decree 17 of the Revolutionary Council of Government from November 28, 1944, specifically: 1. Decentralization 2. Elimination of presidential appointments, substituting them with a vice president 3. Rotating the seat of power, abolishing re-election and recognizing the right of the people to rise up when they so attempt 4. a new constitution and organization of the armed forces 5. Democratic organization of municipalities 6. True autonomy for the Judiciary 7. An autonomous national university 8. Constitutional recognition of political parties 9. Obligatory suffrage and secret ballots for literate men 10. Administrators with true integrity.

In our lifetime revolutionary requests for decentralization, an independent judiciary, administrators with integrity and a representative democracy are weak, usually non-existent. We need an administration that is not filled with illegalities, abuse of power, lacking in protocols, wasteful, squandering funds, corrupt and ineffective. Turning justice into politic and politics into adjudication hamper immediate and full justice. It continues to allow for a state with little participation, which keeps its citizenry uninformed and in an environment with no respect for fundamental rights.

Recalling revolutionary values and principles would help to construct a truly just state where the best living conditions exist. One where education is prioritized as the basis for development, bringing with it an educational system of participation and equality among all sectors of the populace.

Irma is a young activist from Cobán, a primary school teacher who is finishing a degree in social and judicial sciences at the University of San Carlos, Guatemala. She currently serves as assistant coordinator of the Alliance and Cooperative for the World-wide Network of Political Youth in Guatemala. Additionally, she volunteers for the Network of Ibero-American Youth as under secretary for inter-cultural and indigenous peoples that make up America. From an early age, Irma dabbled in the world of story-writing, writing essays and short tales which have received various recognitions in the Juegos Florales for students, and recently she placed second in the national competition of Inter-collegiate Essays organized by the Foundation Esquipulas.