“Bolivians want to export revolution”.

Miguel Jorquera, Sucre, Oct 30

“The development of multiple forms of communitarian, direct and participatory democracy. Democracy is not just casting a vote every four years but rather the capacity to participate in whatever is occurring in the country: from what is going to happen with investments into a municipality up to defining if a petroleum contract is signed or not.” That is how Bolivian vice president, Alvaro Garcia Linera, defined the principal of the fight for the socialism of the 21st century in the encounter which Evo Morales organized in Sucre under the slogan “Peoples and States for the Liberation of the Great Homeland”, which brought together some 1000 delegates from 14 Latin American countries, amongst them from Argentina. Neither the absence of Evo – caught up in negotiations with petroleum companies – nor the tiring effect of altitude at 2800 metres, took away the enthusiasm of the debate over “unity” of the indigenous, campesino and workers movements in Latin America; the economic model for the region; the defense of its natural resources and the “ecology of the Pachamama” as well as the form which socialism would assume in the future.

The delegations of originario peoples and campesinos injected colour into the three days, where the only “official beverages” were “water, coffee and coca mate”. With quenas and sikus, the Bolivian delegation entered the Coliseo, in Sucre. The Bolivian national anthem was sung by a university choir in Aymara, Quechua, Guarani and Spanish, to not only demonstrate cultural diversity and the communities that populate the country, but also the region.

The aboriginal communities from Peru, Ecuador, Paraguay, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Chile, Guatemala, Honduras and Argentina that participated in the encounter demonstrated this diversity, on top of which can be added those who came from Uruguay, Cuba and Venezuela.

For the Bolivians, the encounter achieved its first objective. It demonstrated the backing by various states and a wide range of Latin American social movements for the government of Evo Morales, which is being kept in check on various fronts, especially by the separatist movement which has been exacerbated by the xenophobia which is expressed in graffiti all over the streets. “Autonomy, no matter which way”, said the writing in Santa Cruz de la Sierra – the neurological centre of the Bolivian economy which wants to become autonomous – and was accompanied by others such as “Evo, Indian dictator” or “Killing a colla [used to refer to indigenous peoples from the west that have migrated to the east] is defending the homeland”. On some walls in Sucre, writing directed to those from Santa Cruz could be read: “Camba [refers to those non-indigenous people from the east] brothers, save us from the cholo [dark-skinned] Evo”.

The Bolivian president was going to participate in two of the three days of the encounter, but negotiations with the petroleum companies to accept the new regime of nationalization of hydrocarbons, meant he had to stay in La Paz. During the closing of the encounter yesterday, Garcia Linera took his spot.

“Only with a process of social re-appropriation of the wealth which belongs to all of us can we move ahead in demolishing the nucleus of neoliberalism. This is the experience of our Bolivia. Around the struggle for water, land and hydrocarbons, over these essential axes, society has recuperated it capacity to mobilise, constructed leadership, networks that unified the city and countryside. Thanks to this we can say that in Bolivia today we have a government of the social movements”, said Garcia Linera, summarizing the Bolivian experience and thanking the solidarity that the workers, indigenous and campesino groups, who formed part of the delegations, offered his government.

The vice president of Bolivia also put forward the necessity to rebuild a state which was “strong in the economic, political and cultural sphere and that would serve the social movements [as] a protection shield, an international armor that could expand the social struggles”. Although, he did warned that “this should be done in the way of the old state capitalism. It needs to be empowering a state that is subordinated, permanently controlled and crossed with the mark, insurgency and activity of the social movements, which is the only way for it not to become limited by new business owners or new privatisers.”

The plenary meetings – with expositions by different representatives – took up more time than anticipated, something which left various delegations uncomfortable, having deposited all their expectation in the debate inside the commissions, which only functioned yesterday. It was also there were it became visible that not all the movements who back the idea of constructing the “Great Homeland” agreed on all points, conserving more than one domestic quarrel to settle: both of the two numerous representations from Peru did not forget to pass on the bill for each others position in front of the frustrated presidential candidature of the ex-military figure Ollanta Humala.

Not everyone was totally happy with the debate, but they agreed that it “was the time to begin the discussion” on new forms of organization of the popular movement. By the afternoon, whilst some had already begun thinking of returning, the speech by Garcia Linera re-inspired the enthusiasm with which the delegations had come to Bolivia. “The struggle in one region, province, in one department or in only one state is insufficient, because neoliberalism and, even more so, capitalism is a global structure. The only way of surpassing it is with another global structure, through global struggles,” said Linera. One newspaper from Sucre had already carried the headline “Bolivians want to export revolution”.

Translated from Pagina 12

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