Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1107/31567

From The Socialist newspaper, 28 October 2020

Bolivia elections: Crushing defeat for the right as MAS secures landslide victory

boliivia-FernandLeMarie-CC

boliivia-FernandLeMarie-CC   (Click to enlarge)

Tony Saunois, Committee for a Workers' International (CWI)

On 18 October, delayed elections in Bolivia brought a stunning victory for the left-populist Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS). Its presidential candidate Luis Arce was swept into office with 54.4% of the vote.

This was a crushing defeat for the right and 'centre' parties representing the Bolivian ruling class. Carlos Mesa from the right wing received 31.5% of the votes and the fascistic Fernando Camacho won 14.1%. The arch-reactionary former 'interim' president Jeanine ez saw a collapse of her support. She withdrew from the race following revelations of a sex scandal, which circulated on social media.

This election has major implications for Bolivia, and also contains important lessons for the working class internationally. The decisive defeat of the right in the election and the comeback scored by MAS illustrate the limits of reaction, which does not have a solid ideological base of support.

In many countries, electoral victories scored by right or even far-right parties have largely been a protest vote against the failure of previous governments to resolve the problems facing the working class and the poor.

Arce replaced Evo Morales as the MAS candidate. Morales had been ejected from power by a de-facto coup in 2019. He fled into exile, firstly to Mexico and then to Argentina, and was barred from standing in these elections.

Morales had changed the constitutional rules which prohibited him from seeking re-election, but he was accused of fraudulently winning the 2019 election by the Bolivian right, the Trump regime, and the Organisation of American States (OAS). They all enthusiastically welcomed the coup initiated by the right wing in Bolivia, which saw arch-reactionary ez sworn in as interim President.

Trump denounced Morales for unproven electoral fraud - an allegation which he is preparing to repeat in the US elections should he lose!

Morales had ruled for 14 years and presided over significant reforms, carried through on the basis of economic growth dubbed the "miracle". Overall poverty rates fell by 42% as big sections of the population were lifted out of poverty.

He was the first President from the indigenous community, which had suffered vicious discrimination by the white European ruling elite. Amerindians are approximately 55% of the population from 36 ethnic groups. 30% are 'mestizos' or mixed, and 15% white.

Under Morales, Bolivia was renamed a "plurinational Republic," which was enormously popular. The indigenous Wiphala flag was incorporated into the national flag and used at official ceremonies.

The economic boom was on the basis of high commodity prices, including gas exports. Bolivia has vast reserves of lithium, some of which Morales sold to China, which enraged the US and western imperialism, and was a key factor in the orchestrating of the coup in 2019.

Despite the reforms, Morales did not break with capitalism. For a time, he presided over one of the most stable periods in the history of Bolivian capitalism.

At the same time, he used top-down bureaucratic methods to govern. As the economic boom slowed in recent years, living standards began to decline and dissatisfaction with his government grew.

The right, with the backing of Trump and the OAS, seized the moment and grabbed power. Rather than mobilise his supporters and call a general strike against the coup, Morales capitulated and fled the country, arguing that he wanted to avoid bloodshed.

Repression

However, pro-Morales protesters were gunned down by the police. The initially all-white cabinet was sworn in under a crucifix using a massive bible, as the Whipala flag and all indigenous ceremonial symbols were removed.

Elections were twice postponed, provoking the calling of a massive general strike, which was then called off after the trade union leadership which reached an agreement with the reactionary government.

The new victory of MAS represents a significant and big defeat for the right, and also for US imperialism, which wanted MAS removed from power.

However, the crucial issue is what programme will Arce and the new MAS government adopt now?

Arce - an academic economist who studied at Warwick University in the UK - claims he started reading Marx at the age of 14. He says he has the same "ideological" position.

However, when finance minister under Morales, he was not on the left of the party but seen by the capitalists as a 'moderating' influence. The reforms he introduced were in a very different economic situation to that which Bolivia faces today.

A contraction of at least 6% in the economy is expected this year. As a warning to workers and the poor, Arce has already stated that, while he opposes public expenditure cuts, "some austerity measures will be necessary". He also pledges to govern for "all Bolivians" in the national interest.

The right will bide its time and prepare to strike further blows. If MAS fails to break with capitalism and introduce a democratic socialist plan of the economy, it will be compelled by capitalism to carry out attacks on the working class and the poor.

The task of building support for a socialist programme, and organisations of the working class that can implement it, is now facing the Bolivian working class and oppressed. A new chapter in the revolutionary traditions of the Bolivian working class has begun.

The Committee for a Workers' International (CWI) is the international socialist organisation which the Socialist Party is affiliated to. The CWI is organised in countries across the planet. We work to unite the working class and oppressed peoples against capitalism, and to fight for a socialist world. socialistworld.net

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 28 October 2020:


What we think

Tories' school meals outrage


Coronavirus News

Don't let Tories starve our kids

Tory 'Starve a Kid to Save a Quid' scheme

Boots launches 120, 12-minute Covid test

Under the microscope


Workplace News

Backing Hugo Pierre for Unison general secretary

Royal Mail: No more behind closed doors talks

Fight Leeds Labour council's massive cuts

Workplace news in brief


News

NHS England's 1bn winter shortfall: we need union action, not platitudes!

BAME Covid deaths due to capitalist inequality, confirms government

Mayor and government compete to attack London transport: fight for no cuts!

Grenfell watch: landlord's 800,000 saving


Food Standards

Food and a capitalist Brexit: No trust in Tory Deals!


International News

Nigeria protests shake regime

"We need a leadership that comes from the movement"

Bolivia elections: Crushing defeat for the right as MAS secures landslide victory

US presidential election


Campaigns

Online youth rally says: We won't pay with our futures

Birmingham: 'Refund our fees' protests

Solidarity with the movement in Nigeria

Evicted students can fight back and win

Waltham Forest Save Our Square:

Why I joined the Socialist Party - "I'm 15, and already I've lived through two global recessions and a pandemic"

Bristol jobs protest: We want 100% pay


Readers' Opinion

One rule for them, and another for us

Books that inspired me: Germinal

The Socialist Inbox


 

Home   |   The Socialist 28 October 2020   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Bolivia:

triangleBolivia: Right-wing coup ousts Morales

triangleVenezuela: resist the pro-imperialist coup!

triangle110 years ago: massacre at Santa Maria school in Chile - commemorate 21 December 1907

triangleChe Guevara 50 years on - revolutionary socialist and fighter

triangleIntimate insight into a revolutionary icon

Elections:

triangleTUSC sets out core policies for May 2021 local elections

triangleAfter the polarised elections - what way forward?

triangleUsdaw elections: the battle for a fighting union

triangleUsdaw elections: Defend members' right to participate

Working class:

triangleFriedrich Engels: A revolutionary who played a pivotal role in the development of socialism

triangleCapitalists vs working class - not in it together

triangleMayor and government compete to attack London transport: fight for no cuts!

Capitalism:

triangleTory U-turn: Free school meals

triangleNigeria protests shake regime

International

International

11/11/20

USA

After the polarised elections - what way forward?

4/11/20

US

US presidential election 2020

4/11/20

Chile

Chile: A defeat for the right!

4/11/20

Poland

Poland: Mass protests against abortion ban

28/10/20

Capitalist

Nigeria protests shake regime

28/10/20

Bolivia

Bolivia elections: Crushing defeat for the right as MAS secures landslide victory

28/10/20

Government

"We need a leadership that comes from the movement"

28/10/20

US

US presidential election

14/10/20

Fascists

Greek workers and socialists celebrate convictions of Golden Dawn fascists

14/10/20

Nigeria

Nigeria: Mass protests force government to disband killer cop unit

7/10/20

Azerbaijan

'Frozen conflict' reignites in Nagorno-Karabakh enclave

7/10/20

Germany

Germany: "Heroes" strike to demand a pay rise

30/9/20

US

Trump's failure over western US wildfires

30/9/20

Police

US: Police escape justice over Breonna Taylor killing

30/9/20

South Africa

South Africa: Working class unity to stop violence against women

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


November 2020

October 2020

September 2020

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999