15 November 2019 17:14

What the pro-American fascist coup in Bolivia reveals

If it is as yet unclear what will transpire in the aftermath of the coup in Bolivia, there are things that are clear today.

Photograph: Boris Vergara/AA

İhsan Çaralan

Bolivian President Evo Morales has been forced to stand down from his post in a coup. Following his resignation, Morales went to Mexico at the behest of the Mexican government.

The media has spent days debating reports about how the coup proceeded, how the coupists exploited the weaknesses of Morales and his administration and the siding by the police and military with the pro-American coupist forces.

If, on the other hand, news came of outbursts indicative of a popular desire to resist the coup following Morales’ resignation and of the Morales-supporting poor erecting barricades in the city centre in La Paz, also featuring among incoming news was the moving into action by the military, having remained silent at the coupists’ street actions of the preceding twenty days, their having used violence to subdue the people and such street actions as attacking and burning the homes and business premises of Morales supporters, and its being about to crush the resistance of the Morales-supporting forces in the name of “securing law and order” and “protecting order.”

Even if the coupists say that an election will be held in January, it is still unclear to what extent this election will be a “free election.” It is not yet clear whether Morales and his party will be barred from contesting the election. But it looks very difficult for Morales to return to Bolivia once more and contest the election.


If it is as yet unclear what will transpire in the aftermath of the coup, there are things that are clear today. We can list these as follows:

1- The US is behind the coup. The Bolivian coup, however much this was not a coup, as opposed to the coup attempt in Venezuela, in which Trump participated with his tweets and there was blatant CIA involvement, was clearly provoked and supported by the Washington-headquartered Organization of American States. In fact, it is a truth known to one and all that ever since the “Monroe Doctrine,” named in 1823 after the US president of the day, the US has been behind every dark deed in Latin America, not least coups, and everything to any extent worthwhile has been achievable by sidestepping the US.

2- In the Bolivian coup, with the US appearing to hold back a little as the lessons it has drawn from its intervention in Venezuela will have dictated, in the absence of serious opposition apart from countries like Cuba, Argentina, Mexico, Venezuela and Russia to the coup by fascist-reactionary forces acting as spokespersons of the oligarchy in Bolivia, those champions of the electoral process, the EU countries, and many more countries beside have preferred to ignore Morales’ ousting in a US-patented coup. Just as they did in the US coup in Venezuela.

WHAT THE COUP REVEALS: Morales is Latin America’s first indigenous head of state and he advocates the “socialism of the 21st century” approach. For the fifteen years of his rule, he made certain reforms that to a degree improved the lives of the poor and especially the indigenous. However, the police force blatantly joining the ranks of the coupists following his fifteen years’ rule and turning into an armed assault force against Morales supporters and, with the military having initially remained “impartial” with regard to the fascist-reactionary forces that had moved into action in collaboration with foreigners to stage a coup against the head of state, the chief of the general staff and top brass forcing Morales to resign as events escalated provide important lessons not for Bolivia, but for the various versions of socialism of the 21st century. For those willing to learn, of course! We can list these as follows:

Regarding the state-revolution relation: Morales and the Movement for Socialism tried to accomplish their programmes using the existing bourgeois-bureaucratic state and its institutions. This is because socialism of the 21st century à la Morales has failed to grasp why Marxism mandates a comprehensive treatment of the socialism-state-revolution relationship and the “destruction” not “takeover” of the bourgeois state apparatus. In fact, as has been indicated above, the existing oligarchic state institutions served as the key support by means of which the fascist-reactionary force’s strike forces took the stage and ousted Morales.

Regarding the relationship between the class struggle and the ruling powers: The “socialist” leaders of Latin America place great stress on socialism, but it becomes more evident from each fresh development that they have learnt nothing of Marxist socialism. Morales, too, who ruled for fifteen years, brought his own party rather than the people to power, kept workers and the indigenous and poor on a path of compromise, not class-struggle, that was limited to support for his party and he was consequently unable to secure the support to an adequate degree of the working class and the people in opposition to the coup. Basing his continued rule on compromising with the ruling classes in Bolivia as his support waned from the 2008 elections onwards, Morales prepared the way for the tragic end in which the balance of power within the compromise finally tilted towards the US-supported fascist-reactionary circles.

Regarding socialism of the 21st century: Undoubtedly, measures were attempted over Morales’ rule that would make life easier for the indigenous and poor. But, with the ruling classes who owned the means of production and the country’s underground and overground resources preserving their existence as the Morales administration’s partner, what befell the poor by way of socialism was reduced to “cooperativist socialism” that meted out equal privation to the poor! In fact, this practice, greeted with excitement by the poor at the outset, gradually fell out of favour.

The Bolivian Revolutionary Communist Party (PCR), making a statement containing an assessment of the past thirteen years in the aftermath of the coup, says, stressing the urgency of constructing “a true patriotic and populist alternative,” “We, the PCR, call on the working classes, villagers, students, youth, professionals, indigenous peoples, women and LGBTs to unify … and for an independent struggle for the establishing of true democracy in the country.”

As to what befalls us following this appeal, this is to wish success to the Bolivian people in their struggle against fascism, reaction and US imperialism and to offer our international support.

(Translated by Tim DRAYTON)