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A revolutionary process that is different

Sunday 5 March 2006, by Hugo Blanco

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I was in Bolivia when the presidential mandate was transferred to Evo Morales. I was invited by comrade Evo.
An atmosphere of revolutionary process floated in the air and imbued the people. It could be seen by the numbers who assembled and by the revolutionary fervour of people on the occasion of the big rallies.

You felt it on the occasion of the fighting speeches of Evo, who referred to Che and to the expression of Sub-commandant Marcos: “command by obeying”. Evo spoke clearly against neo-liberalism. This atmosphere is also reflected in the fact that the Ministry of Justice is headed by a woman domestic servant who suffered physical, psychological and sexual abuse, which are a sort of “custom” in our countries.

It can be seen by the fact that the Ministry of Labour, is occupied by a trade unionist, it is expressed by the fact that a large number of generals have been dismissed, etc.

Here, I want to concentrate on only one aspect: the type of revolution.

Obviously, we greatly respect the Cuban Revolution and its principal instrument, the guerrilla army. In the same way we greatly respect the Venezuelan process. There we had an officer who made a coup d’etat against a corrupt government and who subsequently won against the bourgeois parties in the elections, faced with these parties that had disgusted people.

We recognize that what they did is good and that it was the right road to follow.

The Bolivian revolutionary process is completely different. It is marked by a rise of progressive and combative popular struggles, without a centralized organization. Part of the combatants decided to organize in order to conduct the struggle on the enemy’s terrain: the elections. This fraction built a party: the Political instrument for the Sovereignty of the Peoples (IPSP). Since the government set legal traps against this party being registered, this fraction decided to enter an organization which had a legal status: the MAS. That is why today we refer to the MAS-IPSP.

In the Bolivian revolutionary movement, including in the MAS, there is a great diversity of points of view. It is in a completely natural way that people express differences with Evo. But there are no expulsions, as there are in the PT in Brazil. Evo affirms: “I can make mistakes, but I won’t betray”. He adds: “If I stop, push me!”

Cuba and Venezuela each have their commander. Not Bolivia. Evo systematically speaks of the re-founding of Bolivia. He mentions that during the first founding of Bolivia, the indigenous populations were excluded from it.

In this re-founding, these populations will be present. But not only they will be present, the entire Bolivian people will also be present.

Evo reaffirms that on August 6th 2006 the Constituent Assembly will be set up. This Assembly represents the great and ardent desire of the Bolivian people. Everyone is conscious that what they do not want is a Constituent Assembly made up of the traditional parties, as so many others have been.

They know clearly that it must be a Constituent Assembly which brings together the representatives of the indigenous peoples and of all the popular sectors of Bolivia. There is already discussion on the objectives that this Constituent Assembly will have to adopt. People see in the government of Evo a guarantee that this Assembly will come into being. If we want to make a comparison with the Russian Revolution, it will be, as it were, the Congress of Soviets.

Veteran peasant leader Huge Blanco addresses crowds in La Paz

I hope that the absence of the “revolutionary party” is an advantage and not a disadvantage. History will tell us. I don’t want to make theories about it. I would simply like to point out that we are in the “Russian February” and that August 6th will be “October”. Although, here in February, everyone - the rank and file as well as the leaderships - hopes that in October it won’t be necessary to overthrow anyone.

The process that is under way in Peru has analogies with the one in Bolivia - in an embryonic form, certainly. We see appearing there victorious revolts by social movements which are not under the control of any leadership or any party. The Bolivian process will have a great influence on our country. We have an obligation to make it known.