The political treachery of the popular front and the theft of the workers and peasants revolution
(I) Almost three years since the onset of the Bolivian workers’ and peasants’ revolution in October of 2003, we are today facing an unfinished revolution that has been de-railed by the treachery of the workers leaders who prove that they still have the ability to usurp the heroic revolutionary uprising of the masses that brought that country to a halt.
The heroic workers and poor peasants revolution that began in 2003 is unfinished, despite the fall of Sanchez de Lozada, and despite the enormous spontaneity and independent organisation of the masses, because the treacherous leaders have prevented the the workers and poor peasants from taking power.
In October of 2003 the sellout leaders of the COB and the peasants’ unions conspired against the revolutionary uprising of the masses that had begun in February that year and which was on the point of sacking parliament, handed power to Carlos Mesa, the representative of the Bolivian landowning and mineowning oligarchy, the Rosca.
They actively conspired to prevent the revolutionary masses from forming militias, splitting the army and destroying the officer caste that had ordered the killilngs of more than 100 workers and peasants, and the killing of rank and file soldiers who refused to fire on the masses. They prevented the masses from forming organs of dual power and militias in the way that the COB did during the first Bolivian revolution of 1952.
That was the first attempt to usurp and destroy the revolution. The power of Mesa did not come from any part of the bourgeois state which had been severly weakened by the revolutionary struggle of the masses. His power came that developed by the masses over weeks of revolutionary struggle, and usurped by the leaders of the COB and the peasants unions, and then handed back to Mesa so that he could form a government out of thin air, propped up only by the treacherous leaders.
The historic revolution that had begun could only come to victory as a socialist revolution. That is to say, with the masses developing and centralizing the organs of dual power, creating workers and peasants militias, splitting the army and destroying the officer caste trained in West Point, organizing an insurrection of the working class leading the poor peasants to victory, expropriating the expropriators, socialising the hydrocarbons, ending imperialist plunder, and distributing land to the peasants and bread and work to the working class and the exploited people.
(2) But this act of treachery against the independent organisation of masses could find no answer that allowed the bourgeoisie to reverse the attacks of the masses, restore the institutions of the bourgeois nation state and allow the return of the transnational companies that plunder the resources and exploit the terrible labour conditions of the masses.
Mesa’s government failed in its objectives. The militancy of the workers could not be contained by this pact between the treacherous leaders and the government. Mesa tried rally the urban middle class in a reactionary offensive to strangle the revolution. But this only provoked a new revolutionary upsurge of the masses, Once more they rose to the demands “Gringos Out”, “Nationalization of the hydrocarbons”, “Justice for the October martyrs”, and “bread for the slaves”, in a nation whose natural wealth could supply the needs of most of the countries of Latin America.
This second revolutionary uprising took place from May to June of 2005. The exploited masses blockaded the centers of state power with an indefinite general strike, pickets, mass street fighting and roadblocks. This uprising also broke the political pact between the military and the peasants organisations on which the regime of the Rosca was built, creating a vacuum of power in the base of the state. Mesa fell when the CORs and the CODs, [the regional and departmental cells of the COB] led by the miners, the militant workers of El Alto and the combative peasants won control of the streets with the demands: “Neither 30% nor 50%, [100%] nationalization” and “Out with the transnationals”.
(3) So, two revolutionary uprisings, despite the dirtiest tricks of the reformist leaders, saw the revolutionary masses raise their demands to break with imperialism, for land reform, and for bread for the workers –demands that could not be met by the bourgeois Rosca regime, thus opening up a crisis in the state that raised the question of power.
In the process, the revolutionary workers and peasants created their central command in El Alto [the working class city above La Paz]. They also created organs of semi-dual power. But the treacherous role of the workers and peasants leaders prevented that power from developing to the point where a revolutionary insurrrection was possible.
Once more, the traitors of the Latin American revolution rallied all their forces to rescue the servile national capitalists and were able to isolate and quarantine, economically and militarily, the Bolivian revolution. So the uprising of May-June 2005 was also stolen. The thieves were the masses' leaders. Evo Morales and Jaime Solares, of the COB, backed by the leaders of the WSF. They stole the power from the workers and handed it back to Rodriguez, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, announcing that he would head an interim government until new elections were held for a Constituent Assembly and a referendum on regional autonomy.
So the Rosca was rescued by the skin of its teeth [Morales and Solares!]. The president of the House of Representatives that had fled the masses blockade in La Paz to reopen in Sucre, admitted that giving power to Rodriguez put the “lid back on Pandora’s box”; that is, returned the demons released by the insurrection and calmed the panic of the ruling class and its imperialist masters!
The rescue of the Rosca also strengthend the MAS of Evo Morales who now formed alliances with the local bosses in different cities. It also allowed the leaders of the COB and the COR to neutralise the organs of semi-dual power by making them subordinate to local authorities, mayors etc. The newly formed alliance between the workers and the poor peasants was broken and their organisations were drafted into supporting Morales in the election.
When the workers are threatening to take state power, the first form of defence of the ruling class is the popular front, the government of class collaboration. On the one hand Morales and the MAS promised the poor peasants and workers he would ‘nationalise’ the hydrocarbons and spend more gas revenue on their needs. On the other hand, the MAS promised the Rosca a Constituent Assembly and a referendum on regional autonomy in which they could manoevre to advance their class interests.
Thus, the revolutionary insurgents of October of 2003 and May-June of 2005 were made to submit to the Rosca, the national bourgeoisie of the landowing and mine owning oligarchy. The Constituent Assembly diverted the workers and poor peasants with sweet talk about new concessions and cheap demagoguery. Meanwhile the referendum on autonomy carries a threat of secession if the Rosca oligarchy does not win a large share of the hydrocarbon rents at the expense of the transnational companies and the Bolivian masses.
The first instalment of the deal between Morales/Solares and the Rosca, for a Constitutent Assembly and an autonomy referendum, was delivered in the form of the bourgeois semi-nationalization of the hydrocarbons of 1st May 2006. The Bolivian state ‘nationalised’ 50% of the ownership of the hydrocarbons on behalf of the national bourgeoisie and guaranteed the property of the monopolies, holding back the threat of revolution and the expropriation of both the Rosca and the imperialiists.
So the popular front, now expressed in the newly elected Constituent Assembly, contains the revolutionary leadership, divides and subordinates the workers and peasant masses and reconstitutes the army under the officer caste. It contains and diverts the exploited Bolivian people away from the only historic solution to their situation: the armed, revolutionary workers and peasants overthrow the bourgeois state, the formation of a workers’ and peasant’s government, and the expropriation of the transnationals and the national bourgeoisie.
In summary, the heroic workers and peasants revolution has been stolen by the pact between the treacherous leaders of the workers and peasants organisations, and the national bourgeoisie. The CA and the autonomy referendum has established a transitional popular front regime that contains the revolution and guarantees that the ownership and control of the wealth of Bolivia will be split beween the multnationals and the Bolivian bourgeosie which will haggle over the shares of the wealth plundered at the expense of the masses.
(4) Three landmarks mark the current stolen Bolivian revolution: first the conspiracy of the treacherous leaders of the workers and peasants in 2003 who handed over power to Mesa; second, the same treachery in 2005 when the power was handed over to Rodriguez; and third, today, the creation of the CA by the popular front government of Evo Morales to coopt the organs of struggle of the revolutionary working class and poor peasantry.
As yet the CA and the referendum are not seen by the masses as the enemy of the historic Bolivian revolution. This is because the popular front that came into existence to save the regime has suceeded in its purpose of deceiving the masses. But the popular front only can last a short period since imperialist finance capital cannot allow the power of the bourgeois state to hang in the balance for long.
For that reason, the imperialist corporations and the various fractions of the Bolivian national bourgeoisie are using the popular front to buy time to attempt to reach agreement and to form a more stable government of national unity. By keeping the masses submissive to the popular front, this allows the preparation of new authoritative institutions of class rule that will finish the task of definitively defeating the Bolivian revolution.
But if the bourgeois fractions cannot reach an agreement on sharing the profits with the imperialist corporations and the Morales' government, the Santa Cruz bourgeoisie will not hesitate to call out its fascist bands against the workers and peasants and begin to secede from the rest of the nation.
It would not be the first time that the oil monopolies cause secessions and national divisions to take control of the land and mineral wealth to plunder. These same monopolies today, along with their national bourgeois agents in the Mercosur - Brazil, Agentina etc - are pressuring the bourgeoisie of the Media Luna [the ‘crescent’ on the Amazonian side of Bolivia] centered on Santas Cruz, to secede from the Altiplano so as to gain complete control over the richest resources such as water, iron and hydrocarbons.
The pressure on Bolivia results from imperialism This is particularly serious in the case of Brazil which gets around half of its energy from Bolivia. Brazil is putting huge pressure on Morale’s government to maintain Petrobras’ ownership and control of a large share of Bolivian hydrocarbons. In the case of Chile, it is facing an energy crisis since its copper production must increase rapidly to meet contracts to supply the transnationals and China over the next decade. Bolivia refuses to sell to directly to Chile until it returns Bolivia’s access to the Pacific, so Chile must buy its energy from Argentina. However, Argentina cannot continue to supply Chile because it faces an energy shortage of its own.
In these fierce disputes, the Bolivian national bourgeoisie is split and aligned to different imperialistic powers and their monopolies. It is clear that the government of Evo Morales and Garcia Linera, allied to Chávez, Kirchner and Fidel Castro, are the agents of the Spanish Repsol – and that is why it is winning in the race for control of hydrocarbons in Latin America. On the other side, the bourgeoisie of the Media Luna, are allied to Lula and Petrobras, the French Totalfina, the Chilean bourgeoisie who are agents of British Petroleum, and Yankee big oil who want to pipe Bolivian hydrocarbons via the Pacific coast.
So in Bolivia there are two factions of the bourgeoisie each aligned to different factions of the Latin American national bourgeosies who are in turn the junior partners of Spanish or Anglo-French-US imperialism and their monopoly corporations. Each faction has the support of the union bureaucracies, the Stalinists and other treacherous leaders combined in the World Social Forum, the one side supporting Morales and Garcia Linera’s ‘Andean capitalism’, while the other side is supporting Lula, Santa Cruz fascism and the breakup of Bolivia!
In Bolivia and Latin America the “Bolivarian Revolution” of Chávez, Morales and Castro, is a popular front in the interests of the national bourgeoisies and imperialism
(5) To usurp the Bolivian revolution and to prepare for its historic defeat, Spanish and Anglo-US finance capital have joined forces to create a continental ‘counter-revolutionary alliance’ with the national bourgeoisies, the Castroite restorationist bureaucracy and the fake Trotskyists, all aligned to the World Social Forum.
That is why the imperialist client states of the Southern Cone - the regimes of Lula, Kirchner, Chávez, Lagos and Bachelet – have imposed a quarantine on the Bolivian revolution. With the signing of the “Commercial Treaty of the Peoples” between Fidel Castro, Evo and Chávez, the entry of Venezuela into the free trade agreement of the imperialist monopolies called the MERCOSUR, and the commercial agreement of MERCOSUR with Cuba, an economic, political and military barrier against the Bolivian revolution and the masses of Latin America has been put in place.
By this means, the reintegration of Bolivia into the world division of labour, interrupted by the masses insurrection in 2003, has been completed. Bolivia is once more a major supplier of hydrocarbons for the MERCOSUR and minerals for the world economy (more so after the discovery of the biggest iron deposits in the world at Mutún) to meet the huge demand of the transnationals and the restored capitalist economy of China.
In this way, imperialism and the client bourgeoisies of the continent have succeeded in rewelding the three weakest links of the imperialist chain broken after 1997 by the revolutionary mass insurrections in Ecuador, Argentina and Bolivia.
The treacherous leaders of the WSF and the union bureaucracies collaborate with the restorationist Castroite bureaucracy and fake Trotskyists as the left wing of the popular front
(6) The Bolivian workers’ and peasants’ revolution has for the moment been hijacked by the “Bolivarian revolution” of Hugo Chávez, Evo Morales, Fidel Castro, the treacherous labor bureaucracy and the fake Trotskyists. This continental popular front of class collaboration suobordinates the revolution to the national bourgeosie who haggle with the imperialists over the division of the spoils from the plunder of the resources and the super-exploited labour power of the workers and poor peasants.
The class collaboration of the “Bolivarian revolution” in Bolivia is evident in the bourgeois semi-nationalization of the hydrocarbons. The Bolivian bourgeoisie haggles with the oil multinationals of Repsol, British Petroleum, and Petrobras (dominated by the French Totalfina) for a share of the huge superprofits exproporiated from plundering the gas, petroleum, and the enormous mineral wealth of the Mutún, and the exploitation of the Bolivian workers and poor peasants.
Two fundamental pillars support this continental politics of class collaboration. First, the Brazilian labor aristocracy, the labor bureaucracy of the CUT, and the pro-imperialistic government of Lula. These play a key role in containing the Bolivian revolution because they all share in the benefits of the cheap gas supplied by Bolilvia, the huge profits of Petrobras in Bolivia, and from the consumption of this gas in the major industrial manufacturing sectors in Brazil dominated by imperialist monopolies.
Today, the government of Lula, pro-imperialistic and anti-worker to the core, is facing a crisis. Layers of workers have broken with the PT [Workers Party] and the bureaucracy of the CUT [central union federation], but have been contained by the ‘left’ bureaucracy of the P-SOL [Party of Socialism and Freedom] , the PSTU [fake ‘Trotskyist’ Unified Socialist Workers Party] and the PCB [Communist Party] with a bourgeois program of “redistribution of wealth” and politics of class collaboration. While the PT and the bureaucracy of the CUT are today in the government, openly administering the economy for the bourgeoisie, this “left front” of Trotskyists liquidators has the role of stopping the layers of left-moving workers from turning to revolution and thus guaranteeing the stability of the Lula-Alencar regime. The P-SOL and the “left front” are today acting as the left cover for the continental popular front under the ideological leadership of the Castroite Celia Hart. They are busy organising ‘united’ parties with the Stalinists for the “Bolivarian revolution”, e.g. PODEMOS in Chile, “Plenary of Auto-convenors” in Argentina, PRS in Venezuela, etc.
The second pillar is the Cuban Castroite bureaucracy, which has an interest in strangling the life out of the the Latin American revolution, expecially the heroic Bolivian revolution, to remove any obstacle to the completion of the restoration of capitalism in Cuba. Its key role is that of using the prestige of the Cuban revolution to make the working class and the exploited peoples kneel at the feet of their bourgeoisies. It was Castro who visited Argentina in 2003 to call on workers to support Kirchner. It was Castro who in 1973 went to Chile calling on the working class making the great revolution in the industrial sectors to support the bourgeois nationalist government of Allende and to follow the Communist Party’s “peaceful road to socialism”. This advice betrayed the workers to the bloody military coup of Pinochet and the US transnational ITT. A victorious workers' and peasants’ revolution in Bolivia would explode the reactionary utopia of “socialism in one country” - worse, “in one island” - of the restorationist Castro bureaucracy, and would greatly advance the victory of the Latin American revolution. For that reason, the life of the Castro bureaucracy means the death of the heroic revolution of the Bolivian workers and peasants.
The restorationist Castroite bureaucracy and the Brazilian labor aristocracy and bureaucracy are the main forces that support the counter-revolutionary continental alliance to defeat the revolutionary struggles of the workers and peasants of Latin America in Ecuador, Argentina, in Bolivia and before long, Venezuela.
The “Bolivarian revolution” is based on negotiation between the national bourgeoisies and imperialism over the division of the national wealth extracted from the oppressed and exploited people
(7) What we are seeing in Bolivia is the most recent example of the victory of the “Bolivarian Revolution” in containing and preparing the defeat of the Latin America revolution. Before this we have seen examples of the “Bolivariana revolution” intervening in 1997 in Ecuador, in Argentina in 2001, in the masses defeat of the pro-imperialistic coup in Venezuela in 2002 when Chávez surrendered, and the 2003 insurrection of the Bolivian masses. In every case the masses rose up not only against imperialism and its rapacious plundering of their nations but also against the client regimes of imperialism that grind down the workers and poor peasants into poverty, unemployement and misery.
In Venezuela, home of the celebrated “Bolivarian Revolution”, out of 10 million workers who comprise the workforce of that country, 5 million are casualised, without social or trade union rights, super-exploited and oppressed. Yet the national bourgeoisie makes fortunes from the high price of oil in the international market, and continues to sell oil to the US imperialists to fuel their killer army in Iraq and the Middle East. Despite five million enslaved workers, many others on starvation wages, and more than 60% of the population barely surviving below the poverty line, the fraudulent external debt is paid promptly by Chávez and he has not yet touched any imperialist property nor any property of the 31 big bourgeois families that control much of the Venenzuelan economy. So much for the “Bolivarian Revolution”!
Victory for the “Bolivarian Revolution” means that Cuba is able to introduce more “joint ventures” with the Canadian, Spanish and French monopolies. The deal wtih MERCOSUR is designed to further the restoration of capitalism in Cuba so that the bureaucracy can turn itself into a national bourgeoisie. It consolidates the system of dual currencies that guarantees the imperialist companies get their “chavitos” converted into US dollars, and condemns the great majority of the working masses and farmers to live on poverty wages paid in the devalued Cuban Pesos.
Uruguay, under the government of the Frente Amplio - with Tabaré Vázquez in the presidency and CP and Tupamaros as ministers and state functionaries, is being quickly transformed into a Yankee colony. The “popular government” is prepared to sign the FTA and to authorize the installation of a Yankee military base on Uruguayan territory. The monthly cost of living is US$ 1,500, but the average wage is no more than US$ 250. Yet the union bureaucracy of the PIT-CNT and Stalinism promises only to “pressure” the “popular government” for a minimum wage of US$ 500! This is the victory of the “Bolivarian Revolution” in Uruguay –the workers get to eat for ten days of the month!
In Argentina under the government of Kirchner, the victory of the “Bolivarian Revolution” means the abortion and strangling of the revolution that began in 2001; that all the enemies of the workers and people have retained power; that all the monopolies and the national bourgeoisie have redoubled their plundering of the national wealth, and their super-exploitation and enslaving of the working class, imposing historic low wages while the fighters of the Heras are prisoners of Kirchner and Repsol.
In Brazil, what have the proletariat and the poor peasants got from this “Bolivarian Revolution”? Sixty million workers and exploited enslaved in the factories and on the land do not even appear in the statistics. They are abandoned by the labor aristocracy, by their unions and their political parties –by the PT in government, but also by the P-SOL, PSTU and other fake Trotskyists who have gone over to open reformism. The landless peasants are killed by the armed thugs of the landowners and by the police without the intervention of the “Trotskyist” minister of Agrarian Reform, the Pabloite Rosetto etc. They are attacked by the employers such as Volkswagen, where they have lost 1,800 jobs with the threat of losing 6,000 more.
In Chile, as was signalled by the magnificent student rebellion in mid-2006, the working class threatens to break with the Pinochetista-Concertacionista government of Bachelet – the same regime congratulated and supported by Chávez, Castro, Morales and the World Social Forum. But the union bureaucracy of the CUT and the Communist Party with the complicity of all the left currents that support the regime, has prevented this so far, subordinating the poor workers, peasants and militant students to the government of Bachelet and the FTA by means of endless discussions, negotiations and talk of a “social parliament”.
These regimes of the “Bolivarian Revolution” which have contained and usurped the revolutionary anti-imperialist struggle of the masses, have as their objective the stabilising of bourgeois class rule. This was done in Central America when the Stalinist bureaucracy, led by Castro, strangled the Nicaraguan and Salvadoran revolutions in the' 80s and the' 90s, by agreeing to the counter-revolutionary pacts of Contadora and Esquipulas. For that reason, the objective today can be seen as being fulfilled in Nicaragua, where the “former guerrilla commanders” of the Sandinistas have beome new yuppies, with Daniel Ortega at the head, forming an electoral alliance with the party of the ex-dictator Somoza in order to become the government that administers the businesses that profit from CAFTA by turning the Nicaraguan proletariat into wage-slaves in their assembly plants.
The resistance of the Latin American masses against the ‘Bolivarian Revolution’ in Chile and Mexico opens the road to the proletarian revolution
(8) All the Latin American counter-revolutionary leaders, members of the World Social Forum, are playing their role in strengthening these bourgeois governments. They play the same role in the United States where they make the workers kneel before their imperialist Democratic Party so that they do not develop their opposition to the war in Iraq, or their blaming of the government for the deaths during the Hurricane Katrina, or their defense of the undocumented Latin immigrants, and make an historic break with the Democratic Party.
But while in the Southern Cone they have for the moment contained the resistance and while they have also kept the lid on the newly awakened US working class, they have not been able to prevent a great explosion of workers and peasants in Mexico. There, on the very doorstep of US imperialism, facing a major split in the ranks of the ruling class, and after twelve years of resistance to NAFTA, the Mexican proletariat is rising up in mass struggle, engaging in militant strikes such as the mines and steel works of Michoacán, and heroic three-month long teachers strike in Oaxaca.
The ghost of a revolutionary uprising of the poor Mexican masses terrifies the imperialist bourgeoisie because it knows that the Mexican revolution is overdue for completion and will inevitably strike a dagger blow into the bowels of US imperialism itself. This is why the US conspired with the PAN to steal the presidential election from Manuel Lopez Obrador and the PRD and try to suppress the masses fight “against fraud” and “for democracy” to contain them within the regime. The lessons of Bolivia are vital for the Mexican working class, because the “democratic revolution” of the PRD will be no more in the interests of Mexican workers than that of Evo Morales and Garcia Linera.
In Chile a pre-revolutionary situation has begun. The struggles of the students is escalating the as yet uncoordinated mobilisations of the workers such as the miners of La Escondida, the professors and the health workers, the dockers and workers in the fish industry. These directly confront the government “of the left” of Bachelet which is based on a ‘pact’ with the labor bureaucracy. But in only a few months this ‘pact’ it has been exposed before the masses as pro-imperialist, pro-FTA, anti-worker and repressive, in fact a continuation of the Pinochetista ‘civic-military regime’.
While the bourgeois and reformist leaders of the student movement have led the middle class students into fruitless negotiations with Bachelet in the “Presidential Advisory Council for Education”, young workers and exploited people in the communes of Greater Santiago have mobilised and begun taking action like those of their French brothers and sisters of the ‘Cites’. Against them, the treacherous Communist Party has proclaimed that it will organise its own militia to smash the protests of the young oppressed workers. For that reason, the youth call the Stalinists thugs “red pacos” (red gendarmes). Chile therefore shows the way of future combats of the masses in Latin America against the “Bolivarian Revolution” which will have to defeat not only the client regimes of imperialism, but the treacherous Stalinist leaders of the labor movement, and the other counter-revolutionary forces of the World Social Forum.
Alongside the heroic resistance of the Palestinian and Iraqian masses, the combat of the Mexican and Chilean masses confirms that, in spite of the victories won by imperialism in its counter-revolutionary offensives, it has not managed to decisively defeat the masses nor win a clear superiority in the balance of class forces in the world wide class struggle.
This is also expressed clearly in Bolivia, where the workers, the poor peasants and the students, have begun a difficult process of winning back their stolen revolution. The resistance of the Iraqi masses, of the masses in the south of Lebanon and in Palestine, inspires the workers and peasants uprising in Mexico and Chile, proving that the Latin American revolution still lives, and is driving the Bolivian proletariat to struggle to regain the revolution usurped by the class collaborationist popular front of the Bolivarian Revolution.
The vital condition for the victory of the revolution is the ongoing untiring struggle of the healthy forces of Trotskyism to create in Latin American a revolutionary internationalist party that can guide the heroic workers and poor peasants of Bolivia back onto the revolutionary road of October 2003 and May-June 2005, and on to the victory of the socialist revolution.
The historical alternative “Communism or fascism” becomes immediate in the stolen Bolivian revolution
(9) Because of the crisis of revolutionary leadership - that is, because the treacherous leaders are at the head of the masses and there is no revolutionary party ready to take the leadership, the working class and the poor farmers were robbed of their revolutionary anti-imperialist victory. The Bolivian revolution has been stolen and today it is on the edge of the abyss of fascism.
Resisting that theft Bolivian workers are fighting back. The teachers' 48 hour strike was met by Morales callng on the parents of students who ended up attacking the headquarters of the Federation of Teachers. The truck drivers' strike raised militant pickets in El Alto physically resisting the Morales’ police. The public health workers condeming the near total collapse of the health system, also took to the streets with strikes and demonstrations. Poor farmers threatened with the coca eradication program have formed civic strike committees and mobilised the masses in San Jose de Pocitos and Yacuiba, on the border with Argentina.
In this resistance of the workers, the stolen revolution lives on and is within the grasp of the workers. But imperialism and the client bourgeoisie knows this, and for that reason they are prepared to stop at nothing to destroy all resistance by means of violent counterrevolution.
The popular front, putting the masses to sleep while its revolution is stolen, gives a free hand to fascism to mobilise the reaction. Thus, while the poor peasantry are sold the illusion that the MAS majority in the Constituent Assembly willl be able to solve their problems and while the working class has been diverted from the class strugglle into the popular front, the bourgeoisie of the Media Luna – agents of the transnational companies – went on strike on Friday 8 September, with the fascist bands imposing terror in the streets of Santa Cruz and the cities of Beni, Pando and Tarija, using clubs to beat any workers, peasants, union members etc., that opposed the bosses’ strike.
In Tarija, the fascists of the “Youth Committee” distributed leaflets that said: “Tarijeños, stop the indians from taking power and finishing our society. Kick the Andean pirates out of Tarija. Kill the indians to stop them taking our gas. The gas belongs to pure Tarijenos only and not the Aymaran indian Evo Morales”. In the evening, armed with clubs, bottles and fireworks and led by the Constituent Assembly deputy of the MNR (Revolutionary National Militia –a right-wing party that smashed the 1952 Revolution) Ricardo Cuevas, they attacked a camp of homeless workers and peasants throwing kerosene on the body of a leader and setting fire to him, and beating and kicking the men, women and children. They set alight one of the tents in which 8 year old Alex Guevara was sleeping, and who later died with 90% of his body burned, and wounded two others, one with fractured bones and one shot.
The two main fractions of the national bourgeoisie haggle with imperialism and their monopolies over the price of the hydrocarbons and the share of the profits from mining. The MAS and the Rosca can do this openly in the Constituent Assembly because the popular front has for the moment lulled most of the workers into submission. But behind the scenes the imperialists and their local agents are organising the the fascist bands which have now begun to use their weapons openly against the workers and the poor peasants.
Leon Trotsky and the Fourth International in the 1930’s said that in the semi-colonial countries like Bolivia, “fascism is the expression of the most servile dependency on foreign imperialism. (...) In conclusion, it is impossible to fight fascism without fighting imperialism. The colonial and semi-colonial countries must fight first against the imperialistic country that directly oppresses them, whether it wears the mask of the fascism or the mask of democracy” (Leon Trotsky, To fight Imperialism, fight Fascism, 21 September 1938).
This means that today in Bolivia, to fight fascism it is necessary to expropriate the imperialist transnational companies that plunder the nation’s wealth, plan the breakup of Bolivia, and which organize the fascist bands and prepare a blood bath for the workers' and peasants' revolution. Fascism must be opposed by building armed organisations of the workers and poor peasants, especially workers' militias, led by a revolutionary party able to prepare and organise a victorious insurrection.
The popular front organised by the bourgeoisie to contain the workers and poor peasants, far from expropriating the imperialistic monopolies, calls on them to renegotiate the rent of hydrocarbons in the Constituent Assembly. Instead of calling on the masses to create workers' and peasants' militias to smash the fascist bands, it calls for “national unity” with the killer Armed Forces, leaving the exploited masses unarmed before the terror of the fascists.
Thus, the popular front - that induces sleep in the masses to strangle the revolution, and that saves the officer caste of the army that killed the people in October 2003 – now unveils the whip of the fascism to complete the task of destroying the revolution. In this way, as we will show below, the proletariat has been disarmed by the “democratic front” of Morales and Garcia Linera – true representatives of Repsol, Totalfina, BP etc, that is to say, of the same imperialist transnationals that are similtaneously arming the fascist bands that have already taken lives of the children of the people.
The present crossroads of the Bolivian revolution in the light of the lessons of the heroic Spanish revolution of the 1930s
(10) Against all the liquidators of the Fourth International and renegades of Trotskyism –today openly going over to Stalinism in calling on the masses to support Evo Morales –that is to say, the popular front; who welcomed the swindle of the “nationalization” of hydrocarbons; who since 2003 raised as their main demand the Constituent Assembly as the panacea for all evils that afflict the Bolivian nation; we oppose the program of the Trotskyism, of the Fourth International, that once more proves to be the program necessary for today.
To prove this we show how the lessons of the tragedy of Spain in the 1930s are invaluable as a compass to guide the revolutionary struggle in Bolivia today.
“The bourgeoisie is looking for revenge. A new social conflict which is being deliberately prepared in the general staffs of big capital will undoubtedly assume from the very first the character of a large-scale provocation or series of provocation directed at the workers.
(….) The more the leaders of the Popular Front ‘reconcile’ the class antagonisms and dampen the revolutionary struggle, the more explosive and convulsive character will it assume in the immediate future, the more sacrifices it will cause, the more defenseless the proletariat will find itself against fascism.
(...)For the second time in five years, the coalition of the labor parties with the radical bourgeoisie has brought the revolution to the edge of the abyss. Incapable of solving a single one of the tasks posed by the revolution, since all these tasks boil down to one, namely, the crushing of the bourgeoisie, the People’s Front renders the existence of the bourgeois regime inmpossible and thereby provokes the fascist coup d'etat. By lulling the workers and peasants with parliamentary illusions, by paralysing their will to struggle, the People’s Front creates the favorable conditions for the victory of fascism. The policy of coalition with the bourgeoisie must be paid for by the proletariat with years of new torments and sacrifices, if not by decades of fascist terror. The People’s Front government reveals its total inadequacy precisely at the most critical moment; one ministerial crisis follows the other because the bourgeois Radicals fear the armed workers more than they do the fascists.
(...)The administrative dissolution of the fascist leagues while the bourgeois state apparatus is maintained, is, as the Spanish example shows, a lie and a deception. Only the armed workers can resist fascism.
The conquest of the power by the proletariat is only possible only on the road of armed insurrection against the state apparatus of the bourgeoisie. The smashing of this apparatus and its replacement by worker, soldier and peasant councils is the necessary condition for the fulfillment of the socialist program. Without the carrying out of these tasks, the proletariat and the petty bourgeoisie have no way out of misery…” (Leon Trotsky, The New Revolutionary Upsurge and the Tasks of the Fourth International, 23 July 1936).
These lessons have immediate relevance to the stolen Bolivian revolution. Once again during the last three years, the coalition between the leaders of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie has taken the Bolivian revolution to the edge of the abyss. The class collaborationist government of Evo Morales supported by the leaders of the working class, proved that they were incapable of solving any of the tasks raised by the revolution - nationalization without compensation and under workers control of hydrocarbons, of land and the mines, nor the demands of the peasants, nor bread and decent work. These problems can only be resolved by overthrowing and expropriating the bourgeoisie.
But at the same time large sectors of the masses still have illusions in the government, the CA, etc., and they try to ‘pressure’ what they consider to be “their” government to meet their demands which are resisted and obstructed at each step by the bourgeois regime. Meanwhile, the other agent of the bourgeois General Staff, the fascist bands enter on the scene. But, enchanted by the siren sounds of the class collaborationist leaders, put to sleep by its illusions in the CA, many workers and farmers are unable to respond in time to the seriousness of the situation. Thus, the popular front calls on fascism not to break with the Constituent Assembly, sowing illusions in ‘administrative’ solutions, and creating the favorable conditions for the heroic revolutionary masses to be smashed by fascism.
The lessons of the tragedy of the Spanish working class are vital today for the Bolivian proletariat: the leaders of the COB call on workers to join in a coalition with Morales as a “democratic front” against the threat of the fascists, refusing to build workers and peasants militias and to attack the property of the transnational companies and the oligarchy of the Media Luna which is arming the fascist bands. It is doing no more than repeat the old treacherous politics of Stalinism in Spain, which said to the workers that to defeat to Franco and fascism first it was necessary to join forces with the republican bourgeoisie, and that only after the “bourgeois democratic republic” had been won, could the working class begin to fight for socialism.
Against this policy of Stalinist treachery, the Bolshevik-Leninist Leon Trotsky argued clearly, that, on the contrary, to defeat Franco and fascism it was necessary first to expropriate the landowners and give the land to the peasants; to impose workers control in the factories, to free the colonies like Morocco, etc. Thus, he said:
“The propaganda on their own front as well as on the enemy front and in both rears must be completely permeated with the spirit of social revolution. The slogan “First victory, then reforms” is the slogan of all oppressors and exploiters from the Biblical kings down to Stalin (...) The revolutionary army must not only proclaim but also immediately realize in life the more pressing measures of social revolution in the provinces won by them: expropriation of provisions, manufactured articles, and other stores on hand and the transfer of these to the needy; the redivision of shelter and housing in the interests of the toilers and especially of the families of the fighters; the expropriation of the land and agricultural instruments in the interests of the peasants; the establishment of workers’ control and Soviet power in place of the former bureaucracy” (The Lessons of Spain – The Last Warning, Leon Trotsky, 17 December 1937).
In Spain the policy of “first victory, then reforms” was that of Stalinism. The result was the smashing of the working class and decades of fascist terror.
This threat already exists for the Bolivian workers and peasants. The historical alternative “Communism or fascism” has become the immediate reality in Bolivia: either the working class, breaking with the popular front government and all ties to the bourgeoisie, creates workers militias and smashes the fascist bands, revives the alliance with the poor peasants in the streets, splits the bourgeois army, and with a victorious insurrection seizes power and expropriates the bourgeoisie, or ; it will fail to find any solution to its misery and will pay with years of sacrifice, and suffering, if not with years of fascist terror including the disintegration of the Bolivian nation at the hands of the imperialistic powers and secessionist fractions of the native bourgeoisie.
END OF PART ONE