Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Bolivia: Morales represses landless occupations

Statement of the ORI (International Red October)

The government of Evo Morales savagely represses workers and farmers who occupy land. Free the prisoners of struggle! For a National Committee of Struggle! It is necessary to coordinate the struggles to regroup the workers ranks and to prepare the campaign to defeat the government of the popular front!

Spurred on by the numerous declarations of the government of Evo to make an “agrarian reform”, thousands of landless farmers, homeless unemployed and even “cooperative” miners (1) , have seized land in different departments of the country. Some land has even been seized from big landowners in Santa Cruz. In Oruro too, hundreds of poor farmers, - many led by the Movement Without a Roof (2), “cooperativistas” and members of the Movement Without Land (MST), have camped in tents, facing cold and hunger in the hope that the government will make grants of land to those who have occupied it.

On the contrary, Evo Morales, the “government of the people”, the defender of the indigenous peoples ordered that the occupations be savagely repressed and the poor farmers evicted from the land which was then occupied by the military. This action of the government has already caused one death and a number of children are now missing. With tear gas, rubber bullets and dogs, the police savagely attacked the demonstration the landless peasants (MST) with their supporters and relatives staged days after in Oruro.

But not only this, in Caracollo, - a town near Oruro – there was another forced eviction and brutal repression. The government returned to attack and injure the poor farmers with rubber bullets and ferocious dogs, arresting the leaders of the MST.

Is this the government “of the indigenous people” that is going to give land to the poor farmers? Or, on the contrary, while it beats, jails or kills those poor farmers who fight for their right to have shelter, house and land to produce and to be able to live, it defends by force the private property and large farms of the big landowners. The fact is: this is the ‘agrarian reform’ of Evo Morales, representative of the big estate owners; a ‘reform’ in the service of the interests of landowners and the church.

  • No confidence in this repressive government that defends the interests of large estate owners and big farmers, the coca bourgeoisie!
  • Immediate expropriation of the properties of the landowners and big estate owners!
  • Distribute all the land among the poor farmers!

The agrarian reform that returns the land to the poor farmers will not come from the hand of Evo Morales - nor his concocted Constituent Assembly. He has demonstrated that he is representing and defending the private property of the landowners. Only a workers and poor farmers’ government based on organs of self-determination and workers and poor farmers militias, that expropriates the large estate owners and landowners, will be able to take the land for the poor farmers.

The bourgeois government of Evo Morales is already killing the people!

The government of Evo Morales is another government of the Rosca (3), a servant of the transnational companies and the Santa Cruz bourgeoisie. And as such it defends the property and the interests of the classes it represents.

We saw the so-called “nationalization” made by Evo on May 1st. It was same policy of the Chinese ex-bureaucrats who became the new bourgeoisie of the “mixed economy” when they restored capitalism in China. In Bolivia it only made the state company – YPFB - into a 51% shareholder and partner of the transnational companies that produce most of the hydrocarbons in Bolivia. Thus, this nationalization of Evo Morales, - devised and defended by Chávez, Castro and the WSF along with the fake Trotskyists - was an attempt to expropriate the heroic anti-imperialist struggle of the masses to throw out the transnational companies, to truly expropriate without compensation their assets. Instead Morales protects the right of these companies to make super profits, and in exchange for strangling the revolution, negotiates for a larger share of the profits.

Morales’ policy toward the so much promised “nationalization of the mines” of COMIBOL applies the same principle as his ‘land reform’. So not to frighten the landlords Morales will only make available the state owned barren land of the desert of the high plateau! Nevertheless, the poor farmers have already paid the price of his ‘land reform’ with their dead and wounded and imprisoned. That is the price they have paid for believing in his promises and trying to act accordingly solving the problem of land reform themselves.

On the other hand, while he promises the nationalization of the COMIBOL and all the mines, it has isolated and threatened the wage-earning miners by forming an alliance with the leaders of the cooperatives who employ thousands of rank and file cooperative workers as virtual slaves without any rights (4).

But this nationalisation promise is worthless when Morales has just granted the right to exploit the El Mutún Mountain, the greatest iron (5) reserve of the world, to the greedy imperialistic monopolies, like Jeindal Steel, in a joint venture with the fascist bourgeoisie of Santa Cruz!

It is obvious that the bourgeois semi-nationalization of Evo Morales, along with his promised nationalization of the mines and ‘land reform’, are a fraud perpetrated against the masses! They are part of a plan devised by a popular demagogic bourgeois nationalist leader to deceive the masses, so that the imperialistic monopolies, as well as the mining bourgeoisie and the great landowners, make small concessions to the masses to prevent a real expropriation of their property, and by this means are guaranteed both their property rights and their super profits.


Break with the treacherous labor leaders, agents of the bourgeoisie!

Before these serious attacks on the more radicalized sectors of the peasantry, as with the attacks on the LAB airline workers, and the health female workers in Santa Cruz, the leaders of the main workers and peasants organizations have maintained a shameful silence. Neither the COB, CODs, CORs, nor even the CSTUB have done anything to free the militants imprisoned by the ruling class. A few leaders have made lukewarm declarations of support of the members of the MST and poor farmers butally repressed by the government. But this is not enough! We need to break the silence now and turn those weak declarations of support into actions to release our prisoners from the claws of the ruling class!

The rank and file teachers of La Paz have shown they are part of the revolutionary vanguard that confronts the repressive government of Evo Morales. Nevertheless, their leaders who claim to be revolutionary Trotskyist members of the POR, did nothing to coordinate the workers struggles, not even with the militant rank and file students that the POR leads in Cochabamba and La Paz (where they are fighting against the university authorities). But this is nothing new, since the bureaucracy of Solares guarantees that the left will maintain the social peace so that the government can try to strangle the revolution and not alarm business interests.

While this situation remains, the COB does not have any weight nor the strength to attack the government because Solares –while he remains in charge - is in fact the guarantor of the destruction of the COB. Yet, the workers still see the COB as their organization. For that reason the congress of the COB planned for the 19th June, must be transformed into a congress of real rank and file delegates with revocable mandate to prepare it for the struggle against the government and the treacherous leaders. This is the only possible way to arm the the COB. Enough of bureaucratic congresses that do not serve the workers fight. For a national congress of delegates of the broad base of workers, farmers, students, etc. Unite the workers ranks and all the sectors in fight to declare war on this repressive government which represents the ruling class.

Following Evo Morales, Chávez, and all whole World Social Forum that defend the interests of the national bourgeoisie, the landowners and the imperialistic monopolies, there will be no gas for the Bolivians, nor land for the peasants, nor liberation of the nation from imperialistic oppression.

Only by defeating the “Bolivarian revolution” – the caricature of socialism of Evo Morales, Chávez, Castro and all the WSF –can the workers and poor farmers of Bolivia return to the revolutionary road of October 2003 and May-June 2005 to take up again their demands raised almost 3 years ago, and go on to the victory of the workers and peasants revolution!

For that reason, against the conspiracy that confuses the masses, there is no time to lose in reviving the semi-soviet of the El Alto workers, miners and peasants as the “headquarters of the revolution”, and to raise once more the demand:

‘Neither 30 nor 50%, nationalization!" "Kick out the transnational companies!"

  • Neither 30% nor 50%! Nationalization without compensation and under worker control of hydrocarbons, all the refineries, pipelines, oilfields, plants, facilities, and all the properties and funds of the bloodsucking transnational companies!

The only way to win minimum demands, for land, the mines, and the gas for all the Bolivian masses, health, decent jobs and wages, etc., is to return to the road of October and May-June. We have to centralize and coordinate our struggles.

It is necessary to create a National Congress of rank and file workers and peasants’ delegates to unite the worker ranks, to defeat the collaborationist leaderships, to organize a great fight to revive the road of May-June, 2005, the road to the workers and peasants revolution. A congress that unifies immediately the CODs, CORs and returns to the tradition of the revolutionary COB of the Theses of Pulacayo so that the workers can prepare for a general strike to defeat the counterrevolutionary government of the popular front and to win all our revolutionary demands:

  • Immediate nationalization under workers control of the iron deposit of El Mutún!
  • Renationalisation without compensation and under workers’ control of all the mines, LAB, Illimani Water, and all other privatised companies!
  • Down with the trap of the concocted Constituent Assembly and the autonomy referendum!
  • Immediate freedom to the poor farmers, the cooperativista workers, and of those in the Movement Without Roof and the Movement Without Land, the comuneros of Ayo-Ayo and other political prisoners in the jails of Evo Morales and La Rosca!
  • Punish the assassins of over one hundred worker martyrs of October!
  • Sack the murderous officer caste of the Armed Forces!
  • For committees of soldiers who democratically choose their officials and who send their delegates to the Workers’ and Peasants’ Congress!
  • For immediate wage increases, with a minimum wage sufficient for the family shopping basket and indexed to inflation! Reducing working hours until all who want to work have jobs!
  • Expropriate without payment of all the large estates, startong with the territories of the big landowners of the East, and distribute the land among the poor farmers! This is the only and true ‘land reform’!

Only a workers’ and peasants’ government, supported by the independently organised, armed masses, can achieve a true nationalization, fulfil the demands of October 2003 and May-June 2005, and guarantee a truly democratic and sovereign Constituent Assembly!

  • Unite now all those who are in struggle!
  • Form a National Committee of struggle!
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ORI (International Red October) Bolivia, member of the Fraction Leninist-Trotskyist, June 2006
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Notes

(1) Self-employed miners organised in cooperatives. When the Bolivian tin mines ceased to be profitable, the government “privatised” the least operative by leasing them to groups of the previously sacked miners –organised into cooperatives- to exploit the remaining few, poor, and laborious to mine, deposits of the mineral.
(2) i.e homeless movement. Many unemployed or poor employed workers do not have theur own houses – that they cannot afford an apartment or small house- and have to live many packed into each room of an old or derelict apartment-house. Or they set up cardboard, tin or adobe huts on an abandoned piece of land, risking eviction by the owner with the help of the police or the gendarmes. Or they go to shantytowns, where they are harassed by the police and the petty criminals. Like in Brazil, in Bolivia these Dwellers Without a Roof are organized in a movement.
(3) Rosca used to mean the group of very rich tin mine-owners that “owned” Bolivia and controlled governments up to the 1950s. But now the word refers to the Bolivian national ruling class, mostly landowners who are also oil barons or small partners of the oil and gas companies, and more recently, also big coca growers.
(4) While it is supposed that the cooperatives have a democratically elected and recallable board of cooperative directors as leaders, the reality is that they are led by an entrenched and treacherous bureaucracy – the equal of that of the COB that seeks agreements with the government and the ruling class. These bureaucrats act as agents of the bosses, deciding about everything (investment, purchase of tools, etc.) , not paying the rest of their fellow miners their share of profits, subcontracting other miners, etc. The rank and file cooperative miners earn even less than a common miner, because the bureaucrats use the excuse of ‘low’ profits and ‘high’ costs to rob the cooparative and fill their own pockets. They have lost the basic conditions of ordinary workers such as health services, pensions, etc. because they are legally considered as “owners”, not as workers under a boss. The same has happened – thanks to the fake Trotskyists that covered for the bureaucrats or became bureaucrats themselves – with the workers of the “recuperated” factories in Argentina, all of which have been turned into “coooperatives”.
(5) In fact, the El Mutun Mountain contains huge reserves of iron and manganese.
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