On the class character of the Morales regime and a response to IWL-FI statement of 12th Nov 2019

The International Workers’ League (Fourth International) claims that it is the biggest Trotskyist group in the world. Its statement on Bolivia of the 12th Nov 2019 (Down with the coup in Bolivia! Organise the resistance to defeat the coup! For free elections!) shows a lack of faith in the working class in determining its own destiny. In fact, it bows to a bourgeois framework and directs the mass action of the working class into a bourgeois dead-end, elections.

Here is an organization that has work among the working class sectors in Bolivia. Yet these sectors are tied behind a call for bourgeois elections. The IWL also calls for no support for Morales, even though they say that he should be allowed to participate. In other words, the workers should not vote for Morales and are left to choose between the other bourgeois candidates, including the right wing ones and the ones behind the coup. There is no call even for preparing the grounds for a general strike.

The IWL labels the mass protests from the 20th Oct 2019 (the day of the elections) to the 10th Nov 2019 when the coup took place, as ‘progressive’ and even compared these to the mass demonstrations in Chile, Iraq, etc. The IWL labels these protests as progressive even though they were led by the former President, the bourgeois Mesa. These were mobilisations primarily of the middle class against Morales. The mobilisations in Iraq, Chile and elsewhere are anti-state whereas the mobilisation in Bolivia was not anti-state but against one fraction of the bourgeois class led by Morales.  

Wherein lies the mistakes of the IWL? It comes down to the errors of their past leader Moreno, to whom ‘the movement of the masses is everything’. It was this analysis that led the IWL to claim that if the masses in South Africa had overthrown the apartheid regime with the ANC at its head the IWL would regard this as a Socialist revolution even though the class program of the ANC has always been capitalist. In Bolivia the bourgeois Mesa was leading the initial protests against Morales and the protests were regarded as progressive. Not all movements of the mass are progressive. It is important to distinguish between the superficial form and the class essence of any demonstration or protest. The movement is not everything.

If we oppose the coup, the question then arises as to what do we put in its place? If you say that the masses still have illusions in the parliamentary system then the minimum we should call for is an unrestricted Constituent Assembly. The IWL does not not make this call. Even if it did the question arises as to who will convene it? The IWL leaves the calling of the elections in the hands of the capitalist class. If we say that the coup regime must go then who will convene the Constituent Assembly? Can it be left in the hands of the bourgeois parties and the Senate or the bourgeois parliament? No. These structures are showing that they are prepared to shoot down protestors against the coup as well as obey the heads of the military and the police who are the real leaders of the coup. Therefore the only structure that can be put in charge of even convening the Constituent Assembly has to be a an interim revolutionary government that is based on rank and file committees of the workers and poor peasants. It cannot be left in the hands of the union leaders of the COB who failed even to organise a general strike against the coup.

The IWL labelled the mobilisations against Morales as ‘progressive’ yet these very mobilisations provided the base for the military coup. Even worse, the IWL is calling for the broadest possible unity of the masses against the coup, namely for collaboration with the base of the coup. Thus they are calling on workers and poor peasants to join with the mobilisations of the middle class and the capitalist class, the base of the coup, to fight the coup.

The very ABC of Marxism is of independent working class organization. The working class should organise independently and draw in other poorer sectors around it. The IWL has broken with Marxism and has broken from working class revolution.

Down with the coup regime

Forward to a general strike to bring down the coup regime

For independent committees of workers and poor peasants

Arm the workers and poor peasants

Forward to an interim revolutionary government based on the independent committees of the workers and poor peasants.

WIVL

24 Nov 2019