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Bolivia and the Transition to Socialism

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[stoppress Morales Army kills miners at Ururo August 5]

While most of the global socialist left looks to the Morales led regime in Bolivia as a popular, indigenous government in transition to socialism, others see only a repeat of the fatal return to a popular ‘patriotic’ front that traps and immobilizes the mass of workers and peasants and prepares the way for imperialist reaction. How is it that socialists can be so ignorant of recent history that they look to popular front regimes as instrumental in the transition to socialism?

I think the answer to this question is that the exchange theory of capitalism promoted by the petty bourgeoisie reinforces the illusion among the masses that progressive populist regimes can negotiate class compromise deals with imperialism.

As I have argued elsewhere, exchange theory views capitalism as a system in which one class exploits another (leaving aside for the moment questions of intermediary classes, the multitude etc) by underpaying the full value of the commodity it sells as wage labor or as direct producers. This is the classic under-development theory today promoted by James Petras to name one prominent contemporary exponent. It is also the ideology that underpins the populist regimes in Latin America which propose that a petty bourgeois state bureaucracy can come to power and implement a national economic development strategy. Cuba is seen to be a partial model of this strategy as it opens up its state socialism to market socialism, while Venezuela is a success story in transition from a neo-liberal market towards market socialism.

This convergence on ‘market socialism’ places the state at centre stage. According to exchange whichever
class controls the state controls the economy. That is, the state is the instrument of the ruling class by definition. The only question is which class rules? Exchange theorists advocate a transition from a capitalist state to a socialist state. But what does this mean exactly? Exchange theory proposes that a national state voted into power by a majority of all patriotic classes, is necessary if not sufficient, to take control of the state as the primary instrument of popular national development. In other words the patriotic front of all classes managed by a state bureaucracy is the instrument of the socialist transition.

Bolivia as a test case

Bolivia is a good test case. Like Venezuela it has a populist regime voted into power by a majority of the electorate of different classes on a program of equalising exchange and national development. However, unlike Venezuela it has not yet won control over its gas and mineral wealth sufficient to convince its supporters that it can deliver the fruits of equal exchange. This is because the major contradiction faced by semi-colonial states-between the needs of the people and the power of international capital-is dramatically expressed as the geographic division between the Media Luna and Altiplano. More than 80% of the mineral wealth of Bolivia is located in the Media Luna and the move to secede from the rest of Bolivia would starve the populist regime of the resources it needs to fulfill its program for the masses.

Yet while Bolivia faces the stark contradiction between imperialism that demands resources on terms which
return high profits, and the desperate poverty of the majority of its citizens, the Morales government is committed to a policy of compromise, attempting to negotiate terms of exchange between the two sectors. A lot is a stake here. The populist regime claims to represent the indigenous peasantry and the depleted and displaced mine workers, who have historically paid the price of having their wage labor and direct production expropriated by the Eastern ruling class that still monopolizes the land and mine ownership. It is not an exaggeration to say that Bolivia today is the test case of the capacity of exchange theory/program to break the nation from his history of underdevelopment, while directly confronting an intensified and irreconcilable contradiction between the impoverished masses and rich minority.

Enter Garcia Linera

Alvaro Garcia Linera, Morales vice president, is a powerful figure in the regime. He was a former guerrilla fighter in the indigenous Tupac Katari. He was jailed for a period when he studied sociology and Marxism and emerged as a leading intellectual advocate of development theory in Bolivia. In that sense, Linera’s theory of ‘Andean Capitalism’ is the key to understanding the framework which guides the MAS politics and the new Constitution. Linera shares with other dependency theorists the view that Bolivia has been under-developed as a backward capitalist neo-colony. He sees the solution as the building of a national state that can control the national resources and develop the forces of production within the framework of ‘Andean’ capitalism (i.e. Bolivia along with the bordering original Andean states, Peru, Equador etc.) This process was begun with the national revolution in 1952 but was setback and then defeated by the emergence of the neo-liberal state in 1986. Today, the popular MAS regime and constitution represents a new situation in which the weakened neo-liberal state and emerging national state are at a point of ‘catastrophic equilibrium’, or ‘tipping point’ between the neo-liberal state and the national state.

Despite the Gramscian language he uses, Linera’s theory is a variation on underdevelopment theory
which simply reverses the terms of development theory. Development theory holds poor nations responsible for their backwardness due to political and cultural defects that prevent the emergence of market culture and behavior allowing market exchange to develop. Under-development theory rejected this racist imperialist cover up for colonial exploitation outright. Colonization established exchange, but on hugely unequal terms, where the poor masses has their labor and mineral wealth virtually stolen. The precondition for the reversal of this unequal exchange is therefore the national revolution and control of the national state. While the period of national revolutions, especially that of Bolivar, in the early 1800s went some way, they failed to free Latin America from a parasitic mestizo ruling class of land owners and mine-owners who ruled as ‘compradors’ for the ‘western’ imperialist powers.

Completing the national revolution

Despite the fact that the 1952 revolution in Bolivia, and a number of other revolutions where also driven
back and failed, under-development theorists hold up the current populist regimes as marking the possibility of escaping under-development and completing the national revolution. Yet exchange theorists are adopting the same failed political strategy of popular front politics based on cross class alliances including workers, poor peasants, rich peasants, and patriotic national capitalists. It is precisely the failure of such popular front governments to maintain a hold on power and to nationalize economic resources to meet the needs of the masses that has failed again and again. From the Trotskyist left this is because only the workers and poor peasants have a class interest in breaking with imperialism, and with the national bourgeoisie that serve it. A ‘patriotic’ popular front which includes petty bourgeois and bourgeois forces, no matter how small, will inevitably side with imperialism and betray the national revolution.

The model of a popular front regime can redistribute power inside the existing state and displace the old ruling class without overthrowing the social relations of production has been proven as wrong over and over again. Yet it is still being recycled today as the basis of Garcia Linera’s ‘Andean capitalism’. However, if it was only a question of bourgeois intellectuals around the MAS, which has its support among the richer peasants, the masses of workers and poor peasants would not retain their loyalty towards a regime that represents a disastrous failed model of the national revolution, but has already through its actions, continued to demonstrate its inability to deliver the answer to the basic needs of the masses.

In Bolivia (and elsewhere) a number of left currents in the labor movement also serve to defend the popular front and the exchange theory/program on which it is based. These include Stalinists, Maoists, Castroists, Guevaraists and fake Trotskyists. Again the reactionary role of these left currents in the ‘shadow’ of the popular front is well established historically. The more the revolution threatens to overthrow capitalist social relations, the more the extreme left is needed to contain the insurrection within the popular front. In Bolivia this is very clear. In 1952 the Trotskyist POR-Lora supported the MNR regime which it called a ‘petty bourgeois’ regime,[1] trying to gain influence for the workers by nominating trade union ministers in the government. The result was that the petty bourgeois MNR became a rallying point for the weak national bourgeoisie to drive back the revolution over the next two decades. Garcia Linera does not acknowledge the real cause of the defeat of the 1952 national revolution as the cross class MNR regime itself. Thus he wants to replay this first tragedy as another an even more terrible tragedy.

Morales regime as a popular front

As Linera himself recognizes, the current Gramscian ‘catastrophic equilibrium’ can also be conceived as a Leninist ‘revolutionary situation’. However Linera misinterprets Lenin here. For Lenin a revolutionary situation opens up the possibility of a socialist revolution. For Linera the critical situation is poised between two forms of bourgeois regime, either the consolidation of a national popular regime or a reactionary slide back to a neo-liberal regime. Without exception the reformist left follows Linera and the MAS in arguing for a negotiated solution within the framework of the new Constitution. The so-called ‘Marxist’ left of all shades makes a similar analysis. This became clear before the events leading up to the election of the MAS majority government in 2005.

There is an interesting exchange between socialists on the possibility that the organized workers and poor peasants were capable of taking power in October 2005. Following the mass mobilizations of 2003 which forced President Sanchez Lozada (Goni) to flee the country, his deputy Carlos Mesa came to power. Mesa failed to deliver on his promises and in October 2005 another wave of mass demonstrations took place. These included blockades of La Paz, occupations of gas fields, and the emergence in El Alto of a popular ‘originary’ congress with a program for radical 100% nationalization of gas. Such was the pressure on Mesa he resigned, and the congress shifted to Sucre where it was surrounded by a peasant mobilisation. Those who argue that this was a situation of dual power, also point to the fact that the army had split in 2003, so that the ruling class could not rely on the army to defend the power of the land and mine owning Rosca.

Over this pre-revolutionary period the MAS had continued to work alongside Mesa and attempted to increase the tax of gas from 30% to 50%. The popular slogan “not 30%, 50% but 100%” clearly rejected this position. The popular demand was not for renegotiating the price of gas, but for complete nationalization of gas. During October Morales was out of the country for 6 weeks. When the masses surrounded the congress in Sucre, Morales intervened proposing that the chief justice take over as interim president and that new elections be held as soon as possible. The danger that dual power might provoke a further revolutionary surge and seizure of power saw the rallying of the reformist left around the MAS proposal for a national patriotic popular front.

The Castroists role in the popular front

Because of the centrality of the Cuban Revolution in Latin America, old fashioned Soviet style Stalinism
is no longer significant. After the end of Sendero Luminoso and the weakening of the FARC the Maoists are also isolated and weak. In their place we find Castroism and its twin, Guevarism. Castroism is the ideology of the Cuban bureaucracy – it is privileged caste, statist and defending ‘socialism in one country’. That is it subordinates the revolutions in Latin America to the popular front with ‘progressive’ national bourgeoisie and imperialism that ‘defends’ Cuba and the role of the parasitic bureaucracy open to recycling as a national bourgeoisie. Guevarism is the radical twin of Castroism since it nominally rejects the state bureaucracy and seeks to build guerrilla movements in the peasantry against imperialism and the compradors in the manner of the Vietnamese revolution. The petty bourgeois peasantry is its class base rather than the bureaucratic caste in the working class. Celia Hart’s revival of Guevarism as an unconscious Latin American Trotskyism subordinates the leading role of the proletariat to the peasantry in the national revolution.

These currents have in common a tradition that goes back to Menshevism and Stalinism both of which
were dedicated followers of exchange theory. These traditions are now widely discredited because of the so-called ‘failure of 20th century socialism’. But is their recycling under the new label of ‘21st century
socialism’ any different? Despite their credentials as ‘left’ in Latin America they are associated with numerous betrayals and defeats. We need only mention Castro’s visit to Chile in 1972 when he lectured the top military officers, including Pinochet, that “socialism was not the enemy of the army”.[2]

Castroism does not represent bright unspoiled flags to head the revolution. Castro always backed national revolutions with its armed forces e.g. Congo, but only on the invitation of nationalist regimes. It refused to arm the masses in Nicaragua, Salvador and Chile against the populist regimes. In other words Castro lent his armies to boost the popular front regimes. Guevara did not wait for the invitation. He set about trying to mobilize the Bolivian peasantry to rescue the national regime from its right-wing degeneration under Barrientos.

Today in Bolivia, the Castroists in the unions and as advisors and agents of the MAS and play a critical role in boosting the popular front. In 2005 they backed Morales’ rescue of the Rosca regime from the organized anger of the people. With the election of MAS they help subordinate the unions to the popular front. The do
this by presenting Morales regime and the ‘popular army’ in Bolivia as on the side of the masses.[3] In the recent autonomy referenda, the Castroists kept the union actions disorganized and impotent. They followed
Morales orders and prevented a united march on Cochabamba to protest the recent autonomy referendum. But in this task the Castroites have exposed their complicity with the popular front policy of appeasing the oligarchy, so they need the left cover of the Guevarists and the fake Trotskyists of the POR-Lora and COR.

Guevara as an unconscious Trotskyist

In 1967 Guevara died in Bolivia trying to create a peasant revolution. He failed to understand the history of the national revolution of 1952 led by the miners’ vanguard. When he arrived in Bolivia the peasants were in a bloc with the military to suppress that revolution and Guevara stumbled into the wrong trench.

“We consider that the Cuban Revolution made three fundamental contributions to the laws of the revolutionary movement in the current situation in America. First, people’s forces can win a war against the army. Second, one need not always wait for all conditions favorable to revolution to be present; the insurrection itself can create them. Third, in the underdeveloped parts of America, the battleground for armed struggle should in the main be the countryside.” Che Guevara, Guerrilla Warfare (1961)

Guevara’s self-imposed isolation in the countryside, did not stop the miners whose tradition was based on the Trotskyist Theses of Pulacayo from striking in solidarity with Guevara months before his capture leading to the massacre of miners by the military on San Juan’s day, 24th June, 1967.

Despite his mistakes due to his Stalinist and Maoist influences, Guevara’s conception of “100 Vietnams” and “either socialist revolution, or the caricature of revolution” are portrayed today by Celia Hart Santamaria,
a Cuban writer, as evidence that Guevara subscribed to the concept of ‘permanent revolution’ and was an unconscious Trotskyist. But since Hart is a full-blown Castroite and has never challenged Castro over his betrayal of Latin American revolutions, we can only assume that the “Trotsky” that Hart has in mind is not the original but rather the fake Trotsky represented by the POR and COR of Bolivia who trample on the Trotskyist flag when they operate in the shadow of the popular front to cover it up and deceive the workers and poor peasants.

In reality, Guevara’s concept of the ‘socialist revolution’ does not break from the popular front bloc of four classes that are central to Stalinism and Castroism. In that sense, Guevara’s approach was also part of the theory/program of market socialism. It can be understood as developing a peasants’ leadership in a bloc
with the Castroists who dominate the workers union bureaucracy to pressure the progressive bourgeoisie to the left and to create a socialist regime. In this he is indistinguishable from the fake Trotskyist POR and COR.

Fake Trotskyists left wing of the popular front

The history of fake Trotskyism in Bolivia starts with the POR Lora. In the most important event in modern history, the April 1952 revolution, the POR led the COB (Bolivian Workers Central) which dominated the MNR (National Revolutionary Movement) government in the first months of the revolution. But it did not adopt a
Leninist/Trotskyist position in this revolution.[4] Instead of using the power it had already taken and forming a workers and peasants state, the POR Menshevik strategy was to pressure the bourgeois government to the left! The POR was so disoriented that it thought the failure of the MNR to complete the revolution was an oversight![5] This was an historic betrayal of the only revolution in Latin America led by a Trotskyist organization! Other Trotskyists, in this case Moreno, claimed to have taken the position of ‘All power to the COB” to break with the MNR government. Villa points out that this was just another variant of the popular front.[6] The POR never owned up to this betrayal in front of the workers and still plays the same role today on the left of the popular front.[7]

As in 1952 and 1971, the Bolivian proletariat rose up in a huge revolution from 2003-5 that did not succeed. Again the POR played the same role, this time by preventing any move by workers’ organizations to form armed workers and poor peasant councils. Once the popular front was in power, the POR covered for the liquidation of the independent workers and peasants organizations by the bureaucracy of the COB led by the Castroite Solares, refusing to fight for the centralizing of the rank and file vanguard to defeat the class collaborationist leadership.

When the fascist reaction raised its head in the Media Luna, the POR adopted a Stalinist 3rd period posture, opposing the MAS and the Media Luna fascists as equally reactionary. This did not challenge the Castroite COB bureaucracy reliance on Morales’ ‘red troops’ or raise the need for the renewal of the worker poor peasant alliance that could have mobilized the rural poor independently of the MAS government to form armed militias to smash the fascist organizations and also break from the popular front.[8]

We saw also the LOR-CI group (a satellite of the Argentinean PTS) spent the entire revolutionary period
opposing the formation of centralized bodies of dual power and instead raising its slogan for a “Constituent Assembly”. When Morales Constituent Assembly came to power to strangle the revolution, allowing the Rosca ruling class to regain its tenuous hold on power, this tendency lectured workers on how to overcome their backward ‘consciousness’.

But the LOR-CI fails to draw the lesson that the backwardness of its own program to sow illusions at the feet of the popular front was responsible for the failure to realize the revolution, not the backwardness of the revolutionary vanguard of El Alto. The LOR-CI does not take any responsibility for this defeat and for putting the workers and poor peasants at the mercy of fascism. So while Morales popular front isolates and
traps the workers and poor peasants, the POR points to heaven while the COR points to the horizon.

For a revolutionary party

The fundamental conclusion to be drawn by the proletarian vanguard and the youth is that without a
revolutionary internationalist leadership, struggling to create Soviets, there can be no defeat the reformist leaders or break with the popular front which strangles the revolution. Therefore, with the lessons of 1952, 1971 and now the lessons revolutionary from 2003-2005 and all the other revolutions prove that without an organized revolutionary leadership they will end in defeat. These lessons of history prove that for the proletariat to win they must break from their treacherous leaders. What is urgently needed is a revolutionary party in Bolivia that is part of a united revolutionary party of the whole of Latin America.

The immediate task of the workers and youth vanguard in Bolivia today is to build a Trotskyist party capable of leading the next Bolivian revolution as part of a Latin American and global revolution. The Bolivian Trotskyists who are part of the Leninist Trotskyist Fraction are fighting for an international conference of principled Trotskyists and workers revolutionary groups to regroup revolutionary internationalists as a new world party of socialist revolution.

During June2008 the ORI founded the International Trotskyist League (ITL) in Bolivia to fight to recover the healthy tradition of Trotskyism in Bolivia alongside the workers of Huanuni, the people of El Alto and the students of Cochabamba.


[1] Lora wanted to uphold this reformist position by characterising the regime as petty bourgeois. The petty bourgeoisie is
incapable of installing its own mode of production and regime. Small property engenders large property. A society of small owners is impossible and cannot avoid competition so forcing some to enrich themselves to accumulate while others become poor and are turned into proletarians. When the petty bourgeoisie is not allied to the proletariat it is marching behind the bourgeoisie aiming to reform its state. A government that is not subordinate to the Soviets and workers militias is one that is against the proletariat. A petty bourgeois government which oscillates between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie cannot exist. By upholding such a possibility, Lora put forward the view that these `petty bourgeois’ governments, should have pressure put on them to try to fill them with extra labour ministers, with the aim of gradually achieving a workers and peasants government. This is a gradualist and reformist conception that led the POR to prop up the military socialist dictatorship, and it would later lead them to ask for ministers in the cabinet of General Torres. Whenever you try to put `red’ ministers in the populist governments of the bourgeoisie and sow further illusions, the more the ruling class is helped make use of these demagogues so as to confuse and disorientate the masses and to prepare a reactionary coup. Neither the MNR government nor the party were petty bourgeois. The MNR, like every party with popular support, reflects the composition of the society in which it operates. A populist party, even though it has a majority of members from the most oppressed strata, just as elsewhere within capitalism, is run from the top down. Almost all the top leadership of the MNR were people who came from the oligarchic families, who had collaborated with German imperialism, propped up the bloody nationalist dictatorship of Villarroel and who were socially, ideologically and organically, an expression of a sector of the national bourgeoisie. The MNR, like Bolivian society, might have a majority of members and voters in the petty bourgeoisie, but it was led by politicians of and for the bourgeoisie.

[2]
“Many Army chiefs in the different regions and their general staffs wanted to converse with me wherever I was and showed considerable interest in issues related to our war of liberation and the experience of the Missile Crisis in 1962. The meetings, which lasted hours, would be held in the early morning, which was the only time I had available. I would agree to these to help Allende, to familiarize them with the idea that socialism was not an enemy of armed institutions. Pinochet, as a military leader, was not an exception. Allende considered those meetings useful.” Fidel Castro. Salvador Allende: His example lives on. http://www.lankamission.org/content/view/459/44/

[4] “…there was a huge difference between the POR and Bolsheviks. The Bolsheviks demanded of the Soviets that they should give no class support to the bourgeois-democratic, reformist coalition government and that instead they should break with the bourgeoisie and take all power in their own hands. The POR, in contrast, gave `critical support’ to the bourgeois government and asked to be given ministerial posts. While the Bolsheviks attacked the Mensheviks and the SRs without pity, seeking to remove them from leadership positions, the POR identified itself with the labour bureaucracy (for whom they drafted speeches and ministerial plans) and sought to transform the bourgeois party and its government. The Bolshevik strategy was to make a new revolution while that of the POR was to reform the MNR and its government. In short, while Bolshevism was Leninist, the POR was Lechínist.” Introduction toThe 1952 Revolution: How the 4th International and the POR betrayed the revolution which
could have carried Trotskyism to Power
.”

[5] In June, Lucha Obrera maintained that the MNR should thank the POR for helping it achieve power and for its support. Its task would now be to put pressure on the MNR to carry out reforms which would benefit the working and middle classes.”If the MNR has to give thanks to anyone, and greatly for our help, it is without doubt, to the POR (…) The POR will continue in carrying out its task of guiding the proletariat and of ensuring that the actions which deposed one government and raised up another, which enjoys the support of all the people, are carried out in a way beneficial to the proletariat and the oppressed sectors of the middle class”. (LO, 12.6.52, p.3). “Never before had a party like the MNR, that can count on uniform backing from an armed people and proletariat, achieved power; and never, therefore, did anyone have the opportunity of adopting measures with a real revolutionary content. The government has closed its eyes, or has not wanted to see the magnificent opportunity, and has preferred to deceive the proletariat which supported it unconditionally”. (LO, 29.6.52, p.4) Never before had the party had such an opportunity to make a social revolution, but the MNR hesitated. The POR opposed the view that the deficiency was because of the bourgeois class character of the MNR, but said it was due to its lack of tactical ability. The task was to open its eyes and make it see the magnificent opportunity. The whole policy of the POR was completely Menshevik. Instead of calling on the workers to reject the MNR and to struggle to put the COB into power, the POR boasted of having served the MNR and of wanting it to mull over things and see reality – an orientation that was simply limited to seeking to serve as an adviser to the MNR in order to reform it.

[6] Nahuel Moreno always claimed that he called for `All Power to the COB’, as opposed to the POR policy of adaptation to the MNR
left-wing. But Moreno’s slogan was only a variant of the popular-frontist resolutions of the 3rd congress of the 4th International and the `government of the MNR left-wing’ position. In May, his paper put forward the “Demand that the worker ministers elected and controlled by the Miners Federation and the new Workers Centre are taken into the Paz Estenssoro government”. (Frente Proletario, 29.5.52. Quoted in Prensa Obrera 131, 3.5.86 – presumably `PO’ Argentine – eds). Moreno’s position was akin to Lora’s. In reality, co-government was a cabinet of all the wings of the MNR. The worker ministers constantly reported back in detail to the COB, but that, instead of modifying the government and changing it into a proletarian one (an impossibility) simply confused the class. Moreno’s paper said that “the two wings which now exist within the MNR express the interests of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie”. (ibid.). Presumably Lechín represented the proletariat. But a sector that stays within a bourgeois party cannot represent the interests of the proletariat. By 1953 Moreno was proposing the “development, support and strengthening of a left wing inside the MNR”. (Estrategia, April 1966, quoted in ibid.). One proposed a government of Lechín’s faction of the MNR, while the other preferred a
government of Lechín’s bureaucracy of the COB – the same jam but in different jars. Anyway the slogan `All Power to the COB is invalid once a dual power situation no longer exists (that is since 1952.) It only generates illusions in its bureaucracy.

[7] POR and LOR: The Role of the fake Trotskyists at Huanuni http://redrave.blogspot.com/2006/10/bolivia-leninist-trotskyist-statement.html

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Written by raved

July 7, 2008 at 10:10 am

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Bolivia: 5th August. We must stop the murderous repression of Evo Morales!
    http://redrave.blogspot.com/2008/08/bolivia-5th-august-we-must-stop.html

    Evo Morales and his “popular” army is killing Bolivian miners, already 3 miners are dead and hundreds seriously wounded by gunfire.

    The government of Evo Morales has made a pact with the prefects of fascist Crescent to make a trap of the recall referendum, meanwhile it kils the miners of Huanuni and represses the blockades of the workers.

    Thousands of miners are at this time resisting the repression of the government troops of Evo Morales on the roads of Oruro. Many others are outside the General Hospital where 3 young miners are dead and dozens fight for their life. The government of Evo Morales is killing the Bolivian working class!

    Tbis follows the general strike at the end of July organised by the COB [Bolivian Workers Central] to demand the replacement of the “Pensions Act”.[i] The government of Morales had rejected these demands and defended the neo-liberal law. Teachers, transport workers, miners and factory workers then went on strike and set up road blockades. The government responded with its “popular” pólice using live ammunition, smashing blockades, and imprisoning and torturing workers.

    The miners of Oruro went on strike blocking the roads that connect the Altiplano [between Ururo, La Paz and Cochabamba]. On Saturday, August 2 a general assembly of Huanuni miners rejected the unión officials call to end the strike and wait for the results of the bourgeois referendum to be held on August 10. They voted for an indefinite strike and blockades.

    On August 4 the government sent its army with dogs, tanks and live ammunition to unleash a repression against the mining proletariat. With snipers, the government murdered 3 young miners and hundreds were wounded by bullets, while on Tuesday, August 5 it continued a brutal gunfire in Oruro against two blockades maintained by angry workers.

    They seek to impose the recall referendum of the MAS, in agreement with the right-wing PODEMOS by shooting workers, and staining their damned polls with the blood of the miners. Here we see the results of Evo Morales’ popular front policy of a pact with fascism to repress the workers while the transnationals continue plundering the nation. Today, Evo Morales tries to prove to the imperialist transnationals that his government can defeat the workers and that it is not necessary to use the fascists to control the Bolivian proletariat.

    While the treacherous leadership of the COB mobilizes workers to pressure Morales to negotiate reforms in the pension law and waits for the recall referéndum, the government responds with this repression, prison and death. This proves clearly that to win bread, labour, land, education and dignified retirement, and to have the right to protest without being shot, workers must build their own democratic organisations and militias.

    We must replace the current leaders of the COB and the FSTMB [miners union] with a Popular Assembly of delegates of the base of the combative labour movement, poor peasants and students in Huanuni to build now a workers’ militia to defend ourselves from the repression of Evo Morales government and to crush fascism, and to return to the path of revolution with the struggle for nationalisation under workers control of hydrocarbons and the entire mining sector, the expropriation of landowners to give land to the rural poor and thus ensure the bread, work, education and health for workers.

    This assembly can creat a workers and popular tribunal to punish the murderers of the working class killed in 2003-2005, and being killed today by the regime of Evo Morales. This Assembly will be the alternative for the poor farmers to the government of Evo Morales that protects the transnationals and the landowners and acts as their agents. This assembly must break from the bourgeois popular front of Evo Morales and from the class collaborator leaders of the COB, Montes and Solares.

    [i] The main demand of the COB [Bolivian Workers Central] is the end of the neoliberal pension law and for a new ‘solidarity’ law under the joint management of employed workers, the employers and the state. The neoliberal system is managed by the AFPs Zurich Financial Services and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria. It is limited to 10% of retired workers so that the other 90% must beg, starve or work to death! It is based on individual contributions of 12.5% of wages, the employers make no contribution, and the private administrator makes millions in profits from the $3.2 Billion fund. Morales want to keep this neoliberal system but have the fund jointly managed by the state. The COB, however wants: i) reducing the retirement age of 65 years to 55 for workers, ii) return to the solidarity system for workers to control the pension fund iii) remove the administration from the private pension funds iv) that the State , TNCs and private companies make compulsory contribution to pension funds at a level that guarantees an adequate level of retirement income.

    raved

    August 6, 2008 at 1:11 am


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