What began as a protest against alleged electoral irregularities in the Bolivian presidential election, fomented by the business and landowning elites, with semi-fascist street gangs as enforcers, has ended in a police and military coup d’etat, forcing the resignation of Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first elected indigenous president. He resigned after receiving an ultimatum from the head of the armed forces following a police mutiny on 8 November, fleeing into exile in Mexico.
The vice-president of the Senate, Jeanine Anez, a right wing conservative, has usurped the functions of interim president and promised new elections.This is designed as a fig leaf of constitutional legitimacy to cover the determination of the country’s capitalist and landowning oligarchy to reverse the progressive social and economic gains won by mass struggles between 2000-2008 and the reforms of Morales’ and his party, the Movement towards Socialism, MAS, made in over 14 years in government.
The coup was supported from the outset by the US government, its tool, the Organisation of American States, OAS, and its allies in Latin America and Europe. The Argentine and Mexican governments both condemned it. The Parliament of the European Union, however, rushed to recognise Anez and thereby approve the coup.
To his credit, Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party in Britain stated
“To see Evo Morales who, along with a powerful movement, has brought so much social progress, forced from office by the military is appalling. I condemn this coup against the Bolivian people and stand with them for democracy, social justice and independence.”
The League for the Fifth International utterly condemns this coup and calls on the workers’ movement world wide to do all it can to support the resistance of the Bolivian workers, peasants and indigenous communities against this brazen counterrevolution and to prevent the recognition of the usurpers. The problem has not been that Evo Morales was too radical in his reforms or too dictatorial with the landowners and capitalists. Quite the opposite.
Morales’ fate shows that measures of partial redistribution and working within the military-police machine of the bourgeois state cannot achieve permanents reforms, let alone socialism. Only an anticapitalist revolution, made by the working masses themselves, one that does not stop half way, can do that.