Re: [OPE-L] How to Change Bolivia Without Taking Power?

From: Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM
Date: Mon Jun 13 2005 - 08:13:17 EDT

>  I think what's happening in Bolivia is very important and very difficult.
>     As I understand it, the real force behind the revolution is coming
> from  the people organised in local mass assemblies (cabildos) which
> are meeting  almost daily in El Alto and throughout the country, who have
> no interest in  taking power.

Hi John H:

I agree that what is happening is very difficult (i.e. complex) and I'm
still trying to piece together what has been happening ... and so I
appreciate the thoughts of others on the list.

When you say that the local assemblies "have no interest in taking power",
isn't this an exaggeration?  That may be the perspective of  Abel Mamani
(in El Alto) and Jaime Solares, but surely there are different perspectives
in the assemblies about whether or not they will have to "take power"?

> The more moderate forces around Evo Morales are trying to
> channel the uprising into state forms, focusing on the calling of new
> elections and the winning of power, but certainly the tempo and tone for
> the moment is being set by the radical forces with their seizure of oil
> installations, their calls for nationalisation and drive towards the
> immediate calling of a Constituent Assembly. I think the future of the
> revolution and the prevention of military intervention depends very much
> on the capacity of this assembly-based movement to continue
> developing its strength. This is surely the central issue, but complex and
> difficult.

After forcing the resignation of Mesa _and_ Vaca Diez (the President of
the National Congress who was constitutionally in line to become
President),  the Supreme Court Chief  Justice (Eduardo Rodraguez)
became President.  The whole point of Rodraguez becoming President
was that he could call for new elections and thereby demobilize the popular
blockades and protests and channel protest into the electoral process.
It is unclear to what extent that bourgeois strategy will work: i.e.  it is
unclear at this time (at least to me) whether "stability" will be restored
and the "crisis" ended  or whether the assemblies will refuse to be
subverted and de-fused.  We shall see.

Already the US government (of course) blamed Chavez for "interfering"
in Bolivia.  The Chavez government  denied this and said that the
situation in Bolivia must be resolved by the Bolivians in accord with
the Bolivian Constitution.  (Yet,  one of the demands of the struggle is
to _change_ the Constitution).   In this context (especially given the
popular demands to nationalize the natural gas and oil industries and
the emergence of popular assemblies outside of the control of the state)
I agree with you that there is a real threat of military intervention (by
the Bolivian generals, with the support of the US) and repression.
So, I guess I agree with you that the key issue will be whether the
popular assemblies will continue to be an independent, militant force.
I don't think it's too soon for them to think about arming the people
for self-defense and as a deterrent from attack by the state.

It is clear that developments in Venezuela have had some impact
on the situation in Bolivia (where Chavez is a popular figure with at
least some segment of the Left).  What is less clear to me is how
developments in Bolivia have impacted the popular struggles in
Venezuela and elsewhere (e.g. Argentina and Brazil).  I imagine
that the situation in Bolivia is being closely followed by the
Zapatistas in Chiapas.  Have they released any statements about

In solidarity, Jerry

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