On 11 November 2019, Evo Morales was force out of office by a military coup. This organized by elements inside the Bolivian Armed Forces loyal to the capitalist establishment. After Morales made his ”resignation” speech, the violent right-wing started a campaign of intimation and violence against elected representatives of MAS, the Movement towards Socialism. One MAS mayor was painted red and thrown out of her office by a mob of far-right youth. These mobs are made up of young Bolivians belonging to the white establishment. Unlike native Bolivians they are very anti-leftist and hate-Morales, because he removed their privileges!
The supporters of Evo Morales have not accepted the coup and the self-appointed Interim-President. Indigenous farmers are saying that Jeanine Áñez has 48 hours to step down. If she does not comply then the farmers will block all roads in Bolivia. Áñez and her thugs may control the capital and administration centers, but the indigenous population control the rural country. 20% of Bolivia is made up of natives, 68% is a mixture between whites and natives named the Mestizo. The whites make up 5% of the population, yet they are the richest group who own most means of production. Until 2006, the small white minority was the ruling political class!
Morales and his ”Movement towards Socialism” (MAS) never moved away from capitalism. This is key factor in why the right-wing was able to overthrown him. In 13 years, the MAS government did improve the lives of ordinary workers. But the capitalist system was not abolished. Morales even started to make deals with the establishment after 2014. This alienated many indigenous workers who decided not to vote on their icon for the 2019 presidential elections. Former president Carlos Mesa used the failures of the Morales government to win support among the working class. In 2018, Mesa founded the Civic Community, a coalition between two traitorous social-democratic parties who betrayed their socialist agenda years ago!
Carlos Mesa is a member of the ”Revolutionary Left Front” (FRI). Although the name suggests a revolutionary socialist group, the party is in fact ”social-democratic” (neoliberal third-way). The FRI started revolutionary in 1978, but soon degenerated into a pro-capitalist group after the collapse of stalinism. The so called ”Revolutionary Left Front” remained marginal until Carlos Mesa used them as his base of operation against MAS and Evo Morales. Under the banner of the ”Revolutionary Left Front”, Mesa hoped to win the vote of alienated MAS voters. The tactic worked and Carlos Mesa won 36.51% against 47.08% of Evo Morales. Although he did not win, the right-wing called the elections unfair and started to plan a coup. On 11 November, Morales was forced out of office with Jeanine Áñez replacing him!
In exile, Evo Morales has said that he did not step down so voluntary as it seemed on 11 November. The coup plotters warned him that there was a price of 50.000 U.S dollars on his head. Meanwhile the right-wing started violent demonstrations and attacked MAS officials, forcing many out of offices. In a small town they pained a MAS mayor red and dragged her out on the streets into the arms of a far-right mob. She was turned over to the (traitorous) Bolivian police after hours of psychological intimidation. This is probably how most elected officials of MAS resigned, under fear of terror from the right-wing!
It is ironic to see how the police is now using brutal force to keep the population in line. Under Morales, many believed that the police would act as defenders of democracy. Revolutionary socialists always rejected this idea, because the Bolivian police remained deeply reactionary. We must also not forget that Bolivia until 2006 was ruled by a conservative white minority. These people had been in power since the establishment of the republic in 1825. Evo Morales and MAS changed the Republic of Bolivia into the Plurinational State of Bolivia, with help from indigenous and working class Bolivians. Just ten years ago a new constitution was accepted after a public referendum. It turned the nation into a secular democracy and a mixed market economy!
Now all gains made between 2009 and 2019 are a risk. Jeanine Áñez is part of the conservative opposition who rejected the 2009 constitution. She is a Christian fundamentalist who believes that Bolivia should be a Catholic state (as it was under the previous constitutions). She is in no way legitimate, yet the army and police accepted her. The Bolivian senate also did, despite the rejection of MAS who boycotted the sessions. Meanwhile police brutality is getting out of hand. At east 20 people are already death, murdered by the very officers Evo Morales and MAS trusted right until 11 November. By using force against MAS supporters, the police has proven that it is a reactionary institute that must be dissolved!
This is why revolutionary socialists call upon leftists not to think that the army and police are on their side. Military officials have their own agenda, this is why the Bolsheviks disbanded the old Imperial Army after the soviets took power in November 1917. Had Lenin trusted the officers and generals of the old czarist army like the Provisional Government did between February and November, he would not have lived to see 1918. A bourgeois army/police is a breeding ground for racism and conservatism. Recently it was reported that far-right Germans are allowed into the army to spread their hate speech. U.S Army troops have shown the Waffen SS symbol and in Ukraine far-right units are part of the regular army!
The biggest mistake of the ”Movement towards Socialism” (MAS) was their trust in a capitalist state and a capitalist economy. Although the name MAS means movement towards socialism, Evo Morales and his supporters have not moved Bolivia towards genuine socialism in 13 years. The same we say about Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, who also did not move towards a socialist society after taking power in 1999. Chavez supported Morales in 2006, yet both leaders failed to end the injustice of the capitalist system. After 2014, Morales made more deals with the establishment against the interests of workers and natives. It aliened him and MAS from their indigenous electorate!
If leftists leaders refuse to end capitalism then it will cost them. On 11 September 1973, Salvador Allende was betrayed by his military. Army soldiers under Augusto Pinochet overthrew the reformist government and installed the first neoliberal dictatorship of Latin America. Pinochet was praised by the right-wing for his austerity politics, which made the Chilean capitalist class very rich. His legacy is still visible as Chile is one of the most unequal societies in all of Latin America. Still the capitalist media praises Chile for its ”business friendly climate”. Revolutionary socialists therefore warm any leftist government: reformism is not the way towards socialism!
The situation on 19 November 2019 is tense. Indigenous Bolivians have cut off major roads into the cities. To take full control over the country Jeanine Áñez will have to use the Bolivian army. Far-right groups are already destroying the symbols of 13 years MAS rule. The native Wiphala flag has been thorn down in major cities. Soldiers loyal to Áñez also removed the Wiphala from their uniforms. This indicates that many soldiers are reactionary and very much against the native population of Bolivia. Under these conditions there can be no democratic election. This is because all ministers and important bureaucrats have been appointed by Jeanine Áñez, including army and police chiefs!
Workers who remain loyal to the democratic elected MAS government will have no choice but to fight back. Local militias must be set up and ready to fight police and army units. At the present movement the Bolivian Armed Forces make up 55.500 men, 31,500 are soldiers of the Bolivian Army. If a workers and peasants militia can be formed with enough fighters, it can overthrow the army/police. For this to work, the native population must link up with the working class of the country. Natives alone cannot defeat Jeanine Áñez. Trusting MAS leaders is also something that should be done only critical. Because some might be willing to compromise and work with the regime of Áñez. These MAS leaders cannot be trusted in any way!
Democracy in Bolivia is death and the Áñez regime will make sure that any election will favor the conservative establishment. The forceful removal of Evo Morales and the murder of 20 people since 11 November, proof that the army/police is reactionary and an enemy of the Bolivian working class. A resistance army of workers and peasants is needed to overthrow Jeanine Áñez and her capitalist masters. The Catholic Church has proven to be supportive of the regime as are the European Union and the United States of America. No surprise here since the EU and USA have vital interests in the wealth of Bolivia!
Revolutionary socialists call for the overthrow of the coup regime. We have zero trust in any elections organized by Jeanine Áñez. Workers and peasants need to unite in a people’s army to fight the traitorous Bolivian Armed Forces. There can be no compromise and no surrender!