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In the last few days Evo Morales, the first Indigenous president in Bolivian history, and as our comrades at The Red Nation explain — ‘the standard bearer of generations of Indigenous socialists’ has been forced to flee his own country as right-wing militia and police round up Indigenous and leftist organizers, burn the Wiphala Indigenous flag, and violently attack supporters of Morales’ political party: the Movement Toward Socialism. Let us be clear: this is a coup.
In October Morales won 47% of the popular vote in a democratic election. There has been little to no meaningful evidence to support that the elections were fraudulent, though organizations in service of US imperial interests, notably the Organization of American States have claimed there were voting irregularities. To put this into perspective, Donald Trump won 46% of the popular vote in the United States, with thousands of instances of voter suppression, and barriers to fair and free elections — the United States does not demonstrate pristine elections to anyone.
Yet the United States polices, bullies, and undermines other countries, particularly Black and brown nations that dare to elect socialists, with claims that these leaders are forcing their way into power, with or without any evidence to back it up. This is a recurring tactic in a long history of the United States intervening and destabilizing countries all over the world to serve their own interests.
With so much competing information available online, and so many voices in a chaotic global context it can be confusing to know how and why we demonstrate solidarity with particular groups, even disagreeing with some who are part of the Bolivian diaspora. As young people committed to challenging capitalism, and the immense misery and violence that capitalism has caused in our lives and in our communities, we are deeply inspired and moved by what the Movement Toward Socialism has accomplished:
Since coming to power in 2006 Evo Morales and his political party Movement Toward Socialism have been able to lift an enormous segment of the population out of poverty, establish a universal healthcare system, advance literacy and life expectancy, and ensure that thousands of women in Bolivia receive land tenure.
The main opposition to President Evo Morales comes from foreign corporations that want to mine and control Bolivia’s natural resources for their own profits. Along with this opposition, there is a local dangerous fascist segment that wants to subjugate the Indigenous people of Bolivia. Evo Morales, an Indigenous socialist leader, represents the people’s defense of Pachamama and the self-determination of Bolivia’s Indigenous people. His presidency has long been a thorn in the side of the imperialists and big monopoly capitalists.
We do not have all the answers, and we do not need to have all the answers to take an explicit position against the rise of right-wing fascism spreading all over the world from Brazil to India to Israel to Bolivia. We do not need to be experts in the nuances and contradictions of every single regime in order to love the people, to believe in peoples struggles for advancing toward the liberated world we seek, and unequivocally vocalizing our solidarity. We recognize the greatest threat to our lives globally is clear and present: the wealthy ruling class and the increasingly fanatical militarized violence they are using to smash opposition from young people, Indigenous people, working people, and migrants.
We do not need to be experts in the nuances and contradictions of every single regime in order to love the people, to believe in peoples struggles for advancing toward the liberated world we seek, and unequivocally vocalizing our solidarity.
Jeanine Añez has proclaimed herself interim president of Bolivia, making the announcement while holding a large bible, even though she failed to get the required quorum in the senate to do so. From socialist Indigenous scholar and organizer Nick Estes: “Next to her stood Luis Fernando Camacho, a member of the Christian far-right. After Evo’s resignation, Camacho stormed the presidential palace, a flag in one hand and a bible in the other. “The bible is returning to the government palace,” Camacho announced in front a camera while bowing before a bible and flag that he placed atop the presidential seal. “Pachamama will never return. Today Christ is returning to the Government Palace. Bolivia is for Christ.”
Meanwhile Indigenous socialists in Bolivia and the labor movement have mobilized throughout the country, refusing to back down to the coup led by corporate interests and the Union Juvenil Cruceñista, a right wing separatist militia. We see them. We trust them. We trust our comrades internationally who have shared letters, essays, and articles in solidarity with President Evo Morales and the Movement Toward Socialism. In times of crisis we look to the folks who have dedicated their lives to studying and supporting peoples struggles from below. So long as the people, anywhere in the world, are fighting for true democracy — control over the fruit of our labor, control over our bodily autonomy, and the right to live in our full dignity outside of and away from the tyranny of capitalism and empire, we will fight alongside of them.
As our comrade Vijay Prashad shared in a recent article in The Hindu Times, “This is a direct attack on the indigenous majority. Mr. Morales is aware of this terrible situation. He resigned to prevent this violence; it did not help. “We will come back,” he wrote. And then he quoted the Andean revolutionary Tupac Katari: “Volveré y seré millones.”
We, the Dream Defenders, upholding our commitment to building a world free from poverty, war, violence, and environmental destruction and towards building a world with a free, flourishing, democracy, condemn this coup and its corporate supporters here in the United States.