The Constituent Assembly where the transnational companies and the national bourgeoisie negotiate the rent of hydrocarbons is a transitional regime that usurps the revolution
The true democratic tasks of the Bolivian revolution: the liberation of the nation from imperialist dominion and the agrarian revolution
(11) The installation of the Constituent Assembly on the 6 of August marked a significant step in the theft of the Bolivian revolution in the name of ‘national unity’.
On 2 July the bourgeois election of deputies to the Constituent Assembly, and the referendum on autonomy was held. The fascist bourgeoisie of the Medialuna won a big “yes” majority for autonomy in the referendum in Beni, Pando, Tarija and Santa Cruz which was a huge political victory over the exploited people.
The MAS won 35.62% of the votes (137 deputies) in the CA, followed by PODEMOS of Tuto Quiroga – (party of the Santa Cruz bourgeoisie and the Rosca [mine-owning oligarchy]) with 11% (60 deputies), and a collection of small parties that got between 1% and 5% with a total of 42 deputies.
On 6th of August the Constituent Assembly met in Sucre. On the next day there was a huge rally of ‘national reconciliation’ where indigenous and peasant organisations march next to the Bolivian army and its West Point trained officers. This act of “unity” between the oppressed and oppressors would have been lacking without the true architects of this act, the treacherous leaders of the workers organisations of El Alto, including the FSTMB, the Huanuni mines, appearing next to the representatives of Kirchner, Chávez, Tabaré Vázquez, Bachelet, etc.
This act was part of plan of to relegitimate the Armed Forces and the officer caste so that the workers and peasants would not seek their own revenge or popular justice for the martyrs killed by the military. To restore confidence in the army, as soon as he assumed office, Morales dismissed some of the most hated officers before using the now “popular” army to suppress the striking LAB workers that demanded the re-nationalisation of the airline and gave support to the strikes of workers and peasants.
Then, on May 1 the army occupied the oil wells and gas fields when Evo announced his decree “nationalizing” the hydrocarbons, apprearing to be the “guardians of the hydrocarbons” when in fact, his purpose was to prevent any possibility that workers and peasants would re-occupy the facilties of the transnational companies as in October 2003 and May-June 2005.
Today, Evo Morales calls on the masses, especially the peasants, “to defend the Constituent Assembly”, saying that “only with the Armed Forces next to the social mobilizations will we recover all the natural resources - not only the hydrocarbons. The best guarantee is the people organized legitimately next to the Armed Forces” (Clarin, Argentina, 4/09/06).
(12) The Constituent Assembly completely is rigged and undemocratic.
In the first place, it is the brainchild of a back room deal between the national bourgeoisie, the Santa Cruz oligarchy and the transnational companies. Second, it has only 250 deputies divided unqually between 8 million workers and peasants by the MAS and the old bourgeois parties of the Rosca, grouped in PODEMOS. Third, they will be get big salaries and privileges and are not mandated by the electors.
After a year “to debate” a constitution, that is, diverting the worker and peasant masses to discussions of the languages of the indigenous peoples, or how to combine their codes of conduct with bourgeois justice, and a million secondary other questions about formalities, the results of that “debate” will be presented by the Executive which will then hold another referendum to vote “yes” or “no” on a new Constitution.
This CA will not give anything to the exploited masses. It cannot solve one of its basic demands: not a break with imperialism, not the nationalization of natural resources, or the land, or bread and decent work. Not even the punishment of the killers of October 2003, since the army officers still command an army with a monopoly of arms – thus protecting the continuity of the bourgeois state, and with it the growth of the fascist bands.
This CA farcically shows, in that was necessary, that the Morales bourgeois government is incapable if delivering the farmers a truely free and sovereign Constituent Assembly as the most radical form of bourgeois democracy. That is to say, they are incapable of forming a truely democratic CA, with deputies elected across the whole country for each district, each representing 10,000 people, with maximum powers to dissolve the existing constitution, the presidential office, parliament, and replacing these with a single unicameral house, with mandated and revocable representatives paid not more than a workers wage, that has the power to determine the destiny of the country. Why? Because though such as CA is still a bourgeois institution, its representatives would be bound to question and challenge the rights of private property and the interests of imperialism. The Armed Forces would be ordered immediately to dissolve it by force.
Instead, the CA acts as a seductive institution to subordinate the organs of struggle of the masses to the rigged and undemocratic process of completing the task of destroying all vestige of workers and peasants’ power. Thus, before the installation of the CA, tens of organizations of the masses made congresses, meetings, etc., to discuss and to resolve what projects, proposals and demands would be presented to the CA.
We see that today in Bolivia, the treacherous policy applied by German social democracy in the first decades of the 20th century that was devised by Hilferding the leading theoretician of the bourgeoisie. This consisted of “combining” soviets with the Constituent Assembly. That is to say the organs of dual power of the proletariat were dissolved by means of subordinating them to a bourgeois institution such as the CA. Thus they strangled the glorious revolution of the working class of 1918-1919 in Germany, first with sweet phrases to deceive the revolutionary workers, and then with a ferocious repression and a massacre perpetrated by the Noske, the head of Social-Democratic police.
(13) The Constituent Assembly is the place where the workers revolution is being expropriated.
Not least by the debates between the different fractions of the national bourgeoisie and the transnational companies who publicly squabble over the shares of the profits that they want to plunder from the nation’s resources and the workers and peasants labor.
In the discussions over whether the Constituent Assembly will be “supreme” over the executive, legislature and judiciary or not; on the question of whether the vote must be approved by absolute majority (giving the MAS the majority) or by two thirds of the votes (so the MAS would have agree with PODEMOS) the delegates came to blows, and the representatives of PODEMOS left the Assembly. There have also been a number of scandals, resignations such as that of the gas minister for resisting the pressure of the transnationals, and changes in the Morales cabinet. These activities all reflect the disagreements between the monopolies of the different imperialistic powers and the national bourgeoisie over the division of the spoils from gas and minerals wealth. They can occur openly and blatantly reveal the true nature of the CA as a den of thieves only because the popular front has temporarily coopted the masses and subordinated them to the bourgeoisie.
That is what is behind the scandal of “re-nationalisation” of the YPFB. The head of YPFB Alvarado was accused of signing a contract for refining diesel oil that went outside the terms of the semi-bourgeois “nationalization” fantoche of Morales. Repsol and Petrobras are renegotiating contracts under the “nationalization” decree. To drive down the price they pay for Bolivian gas Petrobras (that controls the two refineries of Bolivia and 400 gas stations), stopped producing diesel oil, creating a shortage of supply. Not to be pressured by Petrobras, Alvarado negotiated a contract with a Brazilian refinery (US and Belgium owned) to provide diesel to Bolivia, in exchange for Bolilvian crude. Petrobras, the subsidiary of French imperialism, hit the roof.
The result was that Alvarado was sacked and the the task of negotiating gas contracts was put in the hands of the vice-president Garcia Linera – an agent of the imperialists, in particular the FrenchTotalfina . He immediately went to Brazil to embrace Lula and assure him that “the asscociation with Petrobras is strategic for Bolivia”. A few days later he returned to stop the gas minister Soliz from putting the three main gas fields controlled by Petrobras and Totalfina into the hands of YPFB! This led to the resignation of Soliz and the ‘freezing’ of the measure.
The disputes that paralyze the Constituent Assembly and sack ministers and administrators, are the expression of the interests of the national bourgeoisie in the West – that is the Altiplano.
This is the fraction that is using the popular front and the Morales government to control the negotiations with imperialism so it can increase its ‘share’ of the oil, gas rent and mineral wealth.That is why it needs a Constituent Assembly with a MAS majority, but also a CA that is ‘supreme’ in writing a new constitution that legitimates the supremacy of the West over the Eastern bourgeoisie of the Medialuna. So while Morales continues to appeal to the imperialist ‘partners’ and claims that he will not ‘expropriate’ them, he is doing this to the advantage of the West bourgeoisie at the expense of the interests of the Eastern bourgeoisie of the Medialuna, which is why PODEMOS walked out of the CA, and why it makes ‘strikes’ against the government and threatens secession.
(14) In Bolivia –as in all semi-colonial and colonial nations –the fundamental democratic tasks of national independence and the agrarian revolution, remain unresolved.
The Constituent Assembly is completely undemocratic because it is controlled by the national bourgeosie and is not going to resolve either of those two democratic tasks. On the contrary, all it can resolve the amount of gas rent allowed to the national bourgeoisie as the junior partner of imperialism, as the price it pays for the containment of the masses.
National independence and the agrarian revolution were tasks that historically had to be completed to destroy feudalism and allow the bourgeoisie to become the dominant class. The bourgeois revolutions - England in 1640, the United States in 1778 war of independence against England (followed by the civil war of 1865); France in 1789, etc. – all created a bourgeois nation-state by eliminating feudal property and distributing land to capitalist farmers.
However, the arrival of imperialism on the historical scene by 1914, blocked all independent development of the backward countries - like China, India, the nations of Latin America and Africa, etc. The rule of imperialist financial capital dominated those nations combining capitalist property and the most modern technique with the subordination of pre-capitalist production. This trapped the weak national bourgeoisies as the junior partners of the imperialistic monopolies, bound by thousands of economic threads of dependency to finance capital, and powerless to fight it to complete the national democratic tasks of the bourgeois revolution. At the same time, it gave forced birth to a strong proletariat concentrated in the cities of the colonial and semi colonial nations, alongside a sea of exploited peasants in the countryside.
As the national bourgeoisies of the backward countries were incapable of fulfilling its tasks historical, that is to say, national independence and the agrarian revolution, these tasks were handed on to the only class that does not have any interest that ties it to imperialism – the proletariat.
As the theory-program of the Permanent Revolution of the Fourth International says:
“With respect to the countries of delayed bourgeois development, and in particular the colonies and semi- colonies, the theory of permanent revolution means that the complete and effective resolution of its democratic aims and their national fufillment can only be achieved by means of the dictatorship of the proletariat, taking power as the leader of the oppressed nation, and first in line, its peasant masses (...) There are occasions when revolutionary episodes occur in various counttries, but the fulfillment of the revolutionary alliance of the proletariat and the peasant masses is only conceivable under the political leadership of the organized proletarian vanguard organised in a Communist Party. This means, as well, that the democratic revolution can only succeed by means of the dictatorship of proletariat, supported in an alliance with the farmers and committed to the immediate realisation of the tasks of the democratic revolution. (...) The dictatorship of the proletariat, which raises the proletariat to the head of the democratic revolution, is inevitably committed to the deep transformations of bourgeois property rights, so the democratic revolution is transformed immediately into the socialist revolutionm, thus becoming permanent”.
Life has passed judgement on the Permanent Revolution. Only in those nations where the working class, become the leader of the oppressed nation, expropriating the bourgeoisie – as in China, the ex-Yugoeslavia, as in Cuba –could the break with imperialism, national independence and the agrarian revolution be won. Similarly, with the treason of the Stalinist bureaucracy, capitalist restoration has seen these historic conquests lost, proving that only by defending the dictatorship of the proletariat can the expropriation of the bourgeoisie be guaranteed.
On the contrary, in those nations where the national bourgeoisie has expropriated the anti-imperialist struggle of the masses, the revolution has turned to counter-revolution, with the masses remaining under imperialist oppression, and in most cases, smashed by bloodthirsty military dictatorships, e.g. Chile 1973, Indonesia1965, and China 1925-27, etc.
Today in Bolivia we see once again proof of the correctness of the theory of Permanent Revolution. While the national bourgeoisie usurps the democratic revolution the only result is to divide the profits at the expense of the exploited classes. To increase its bargaining power it uses the “threat” of the anti-imperialist hatred of the masses, but at the same time it must control the masses to prevent that hatred spilling over into a revolution that can not only remove the bourgeoisie but expropriate the imperialists. For that reason, the national bourgeoisie has a greater fear of proletarian revolution and will ally with its imperialistic boss to smash it.
The double game of the Bolivian bourgeoisie that uses and at the same time represses the mass struggle to increase its bargaining power is the secret of the CS and determines its character. The CA is rigged because it allows the existing bourgeois parties to dominate it. It is totally undemocratic since it prevents the masses in struggle from carrying through their demands to break with imperialism and exproproate the transnational companies without compensation and under workers control. Nor does it nationalise a single hectare of fertile land of the great large estates and redistribute it to the poor peasantry; or nationalize the banks and the foreign trade to provide cheap credit and to prevent wealth being drained out of the country.
This farce of a CA, with its “fictitious nationalization” of hydrocarbons, its “agrarian reforms” that only distributes barren land, which continues to ‘bargain’ with imperialists and with the great landowners, at the expense of the continued hunger and misery of the poor workers and peasants, is the maximum expression of the “democratic revolution” – that is, “the Bolivian” version of the “Bolivarian Revolution” –of Evo Morales and his vice-president Garcia Linera!
On the contrary, and it has already demonstrated with its heroic combat for the nationalization of hydrocarbons, for land, bread and jobs, only the Bolivian working class, independent of all the fractions of the bourgeoisie, commanding the poor peasants, and led by a revolutionary party, can take the power, make a dictatorship of the proletariat, expropriate the bourgeoisie, and realise the tasks of the democratic revolution, to break with imperialism and to nationalize the natural wealth, to expropiar to the large estate owners and give the land to the peasants, and to guarantee the bread, jobs and a living wage for workers.
The Constituent Assembly of Morales is a fraud against the Quechua and Aymará peoples
(15) Morales and the popular front have deceived millions of Aymara and Quechua poor peasants, making them think that his rigged and undemocratic CA will restore its rights and dignity stripped first by the Spanish colonizer, and then by imperialism and the bourgeoisie, turning back the wheel from history to return to the mythic “collectivism of the indigenous peoples”.
This is a swindle. Today the Aymara and Quechua are workers and poor peasants without land, and while the CA can proclaim the indigenous languages as national languages, make education in these languages obligatory, incorporate the uses and customs into the civil code and adopt hundreds of formal cultural practices, it will not give land, tractors, or cheap credit to the peasants, nor fully nationalize mines or hydrocarbons, or provide work and a living wage to the worker. This only can be guaranteed by workers expropriating the landowners, and nationalizing the banks, foreign trade, etc.
Many Bolivian bourgeois governments have partly collectivised the land. Yet all the land reforms and nationalizations that have been a byproduct of the masses struggles in the past have been reclaimed by privatisations. Today in Bolivia, 87% of the fertile land is in the hands of 7% of the landowners, while most of the mines have been privatised.
The salvation of the Quechua and Aymara, that is to say, the miniing and peasant families oppressed for over five centuries, will not come from the hands of the national bourgeoisie nor its farcical CA. It will only come from the victory of the proletarian revolution led by its revolutionary party, that expropriates the bourgeoisie and imposes a workers’ and farmers’ government –a Workers’ Republic – a million times more democratic that the most democratic bourgeois republic that serves to mask the rule of capital, and distributes land and natural resources to the vast majority of workers and peasants families of the indigenous peoples.
Only a Workers Republic, which is part of a Socialist United States of South and Central America, can provide the land, tractors, electricity, health, schooling, respect and democratic rights, guarantee traditional language and culture, and the right to the self-determination of the indigenous peoples oppressed for centuries.
Evo Morales’ swindle: no gas, no land, no bread, no work for the people, no justice for the dead of October
(16) So much is the greed of the imperialist monopolies and the Bolivian and Mercosur bourgeoisies, that they have robbed most of the hydrocarbons rent, minerals, etc. and left nothing for the workers and poor peasants who put their bodies on the streets, the pickets, road blocks, and sacrificed over 100 martyrs. They overthrew Goni and Mesa to expel the transnational companies, to nationalization the hydrocarbons 100%, for land, bread and the good jobs, but all of these demands were robbed when the revolution was stolen.
Thus, the supposed “nationalization of hydrocarbons” of Evo Morales is being stripped naked and exposed as a swindle: a policy of “mixed companies”, of “joint ventures” between imperialist big oil and the Bolivian state. The national bourgeoisie guarantees the transnational companies property and all its facilities as well as their large profits, and in return gets a small slice of the of the profits, while the workers and peasants must use guanaco as fuel for their fires, and now pay high prices for diesel on the black market.
The lauded “renationalisation of the YPFB” is a swindle against the workers and the exploited people. The YPFB is only a painted office front, a state oil company that has no wells, fields, pipelines, refineries, machinery, in fact, nothing.
The proclaimed “nationalisation of the natural resources” is also a swindle with the contract to mine the enormous mineral wealth of the Mutún hill –40,000 million tons of iron ore –being given to Jindal Steel and Power.
This gigantic mineral wealth is added to the traditional minerals such as tin, gold, silver, zinc, bismuth, wolfram and copper that today have a high price in the world-wide market, because of the enormous demand of the imperialist monopolies located in China. The high prices have mobilised an offensive by the cooperativista miners –petty capitalists exploiting their workers without rights, the allies of Evo Morales and his minister Villaroel –to ally with the petty bourgeois peasants, to seize the state mines of COMIBOL, like those at Huanuni, Colquiri, Caracoles, Bolivar and other centers, and expel the wage-earning miners from them.
Thus, recently the petty bourgeois peasants of the of the mining district of Caracoles used whips to attack the wage-earning miners, and threatened to take the Matilde mine for the cooperativistas.
The “legalization of the coca cultivation” promised by Evo Morales in his electoral campaign, ended up as a another swindle. The “legalization” of the coca cultivation is reserved for the rich peasants of Chapare, while the poor peasants like those of Las Yungas, who survive on small coca plotsl, face an intensified policy of compulsory eradication, with the Bolivian police and the Yankee DEA kidnapping and attacking the farmers, burning their crops, and condemning them to starvation.
The supposed “agrarian revolution” and “mechanization of the field” fiasco is another swindle of the poor peasantry. The barren land of the Altiplano will be distributed, but in the few cases where fertile but non-productive land is taken, the owners will be compensated. But the swindle does not stop there. Without expropriating the banks and creating a state bank under the control of the workers, there will be no cheap credit, tractors, machinery, fertilizers, etc. to allow the poor peasants to produce. The peasants will become indebted and one more each parcel of land will finish up again in the hands of the great landowners.
The supposed “reform of the education” was also a swindle that ended up with a pact between the government and the catholic Church to keep religious education in the state schools large subsidies going to the poorer catholic schools. There has been no increase in the education budget, and no increase in the miserable wages of the teachers, as is the case for all wage-earning workers.
So the popular front is no more than a fifth column, the “Trojan horse” of the bourgeoisie inside the ranks of the working class and the exploited people, to strangle the proletarian revolution from within. The popular front is the most treacherous enemy. As the great revolutionary Karl Liebcknecht said during the heroic German revolution of 1918-919, the workers can easily recognise the bourgeoisie, their state, their institutions, their police as the class enemy. But the treacherous leaders that betray the proletariat to the bourgeoisie, are camouflaged inside the ranks of the workers and for that reason are much more difficult to recognise as the enemy of the workers!
Chaper 4: The active betrayal of the reformist working class leadership was the decisive factor in the stolen revolution by acting as the left wing of the popular front and splitting the worker-peasant alliance
(17) The theft of the heroic revolution of the Bolivian workers and peasants could not have succeeded without the active betrayal of the reformist leaders of the working class and without the open collaboration of the fake Trotkyists. Because the leaders of the COB – then in the hands of the Castroite Solares, and now his successor, Pedro Montes – along with POR Lora, engineered the dissolution of the organs of struggle of the masses and the collapse of the semi-dual power regime which they had won in the two revolutionary offensives of October of 2003 and May-June 2005.
They promised the workers and poor peasants a thousand times they would summon an indigenous national Popular Assembly; and then delayed it as many times so that it never happened. That is why when Mesa fell in June 2005 at the hands of the masses, there was no centralised armed organisation of workers and peasants power that could carry out an insurrection and sieze state power. Against the centralisation of workers power, the leaders of the COB imposed a reformist policy of doing “what is possible”, that is to say, support of Morales in the elections “so that the right does not win”; then, as Morales himself argued, the election of a CA and the referendum on autonomy etc.
By that route, they guaranteed that the proletariat lost the leadership of the poor peasants which it had won again in the streets to the shout of “Neither 30 nor 50, (100%) nationalization”. The active betrayal of the workers leaders broke the worker-peasant alliance, and again threw the impoverished masses of the countryside into the arms of the bourgeoisie, allowing the regime of transition and the class collaborationist government of Morales to win a big social base in the urban and rural middle-class.
(18) In the middle of June 2006 the congress of the COB was held. Pedro Montes, leader of the miners of Huanuni and ex- Executive of the COD Oruro, was elected at the main leader of the COB. This leader, who boasted of his “Trotskyist” origins, gave critical support to the government of Morales as soon as he was elected.
This bureaucratic ‘fifth wheel’ of the leadership of the COB became essential for the government to enable the class collaborationist politics of the popular front to continue. Solares had been completely discredited, after leading the COB to support Mesa from October of 2003. That is why the COB was badly weakened and did not play a key role in the revolutionary events of May-June of 2005. On the contrary, it was the CORs and the CODs that, against the national leadership of the COB, played the revolutionary role in creating the organs of dual power in the second uprising of the third Bolivian revolution. After the workers had created these embryonic organs of dual power against the state in May-June of 2005, it became critical for the bourgeois regime to smash every last vestige of these organs. That is the role of the new leadership of the COB, Montes dressed in “Trotskyist” clothes had the task of nailing the last nail in the coffin of the Bolivian revolution.
For that reason, the immediate aim Montes was to isolate the miners rank and file of Huanuni from the workers and peasants base of El Alto –that is, to break the unity that was at the heart of the revolutionary struggles of 2003 and 2005 –refusing to call to for delegates of the COR to the COB Executive. This allowed Patana to suspend to representatives of the revolutionary COR of El Alto in the COB.
From there on , the policy of the COB was limited to pressuring the government as a “friend” of Morales, demanded that he fulfil his election promises made to the workers. The policy of the leadership of the COB under the leadership of Montes, shows that he has been faithful in continuing the policy of Solares to giving ‘leftwing’ support to the Morales popular front and the Rosca regime, deceiving and lulling the masses to sleep.
This policy continues unchanged today. The day after the referendum on autonomy, the fascist bands linked to the COB bureaucracy, attacked the COD of Santa Cruz. They beat up the unionists and workers, and they occupied the union office to the shout or “Autonomy for Carajo” “Collas are shit”. Montes, instead of calling on the working class to create its own militias and march to Santa Cruz to smash the facists, called for a “unity congress” between the assaulted workers and the pro-fascist bureaucracy, to “maintain unity in the COD”.
The same position was raised by POR Lora, saying there was ‘racism on both sides’, trying the make it seem that a fascist attack against a workers organization was a racial confrontation!
While the fascist reaction prepares to smash the revolution, the leaders of the COB keeps the proletariat inside the “democratic front” with the bourgeoisie, the government of Morales and the killer Armed Forces of the martyrs of October
(19) Against these attacks, hard but as yet only partial, the Bolivian working class has begun to resist and recover its strength. But Montes, like Solares, has refused to mobilise the COB to coordinate and centralize these pockets of resistance.
When the bourgeoisie of the Media Luna announced their “strike” the local unions called for action. The leaders of the COB, and the POR Lora, quickly took control of the teachers, health workers, drivers etc and opened negotiations with the government. The COB then summoned a national congress for 6th of September to put pressure on Morales’ government.
The COB resolution says:
“1. The national congress of the COB emphatically rejects a political and civic strike summoned by the Civic Committees of the Media Luna, instructing its affiliates to oppose strike action to maintain the unity of the Bolivian people in dignity and sovereignty against all the actions of the right.
2. The national congress is unanimous in demanded that the government of Don Evo Morales Ayma the completion of the Agenda of October of 2003. (...)
8. Facing the failure of the Constituent Assembly, the national congress resolves to summon an indigious popular Constituent Assembly of the COB.
The leadership of the COB, headed by Montes, far from calling on the working class to break with the popular front government which ties the masses hands and opens the way to defeat hands of the fascist bands; far from calling for workers’ militias to smash the facists, “it instructs” the proletariado to maintain “the rock like unity of the people”. That is, to be subordinated to the government of Morales and the CA of the MAS and Rosca to “defend the dignity and the sovereignty of the nation against the right”. This is political treachery, tieing the working class to “the democratic” fraction of the bourgeoisie to fight fascism, when at the same time the popular front government, kept in power by “the left”, is preparing the ground for the fascist reaction.
The resolutions of the COB congress prove clearly that the policy of the COB under the Montes leadership, the “friend” of Evo, is part of the policy of the popular front to lull the masses to sleep. The “democratic front” against fascism is a policy to pressure Morales’ government that steals the revolution from the masses, to fulfil the demands of the masses, by threatening to call an indigenous popular Assembly, a threat the COB does not intend to keep.
Part 3 to come.