general strike in bolivia

The last two weeks have seen a series of general strikes in Bolivia, both called by the ‘official’ union federation COB and organised on the impulse of manufacturing workers and teachers. The workers are demanding a pay increase above the 5% figure advanced by Evo Morales’ left-populist government.

With occupations and some workers going on hunger strike for over a week, and police repression which has seen two deaths and thirty injuries (as well as the arrest of fifteen people occupying the Ministry of Work), the struggle is hard-fought. In this article Martín Camacho of Socialismo o Barbarie looks at the background to the struggle. Continue reading “general strike in bolivia”

bolivia: the working class and the morales government

Bolivia’s trade unions are increasingly being incorporated into the state, but some sections of the labour movement are arguing for the re-affirmation of the historic goals of the working class and reclaiming the political indepedence of the unions faced with Evo Morales’ MAS government and the right.

by Enrique Ormachea

Since its foundation, the Central Obrera Boliviana (COB – Bolivia’s main trade union federation) has incorporated into its political principles the central points of the Pulacayo Thesis, including the political independence of trade union organizations. Today, the MAS (Movimiento al Socialismo) government of Evo Morales is trying to take absolute control of the union leaderships, with the objective of converting them into feeble bodies which cover for his ever more blatantly anti-working class and anti-peasant policies.


Much of the trade union leadership has been developing policies openly contrary to the principles of political independence upheld by Bolivian trade unionism, acting against even the resolutions of the last COB Congress. Continue reading “bolivia: the working class and the morales government”

bolivia: the struggle for control of the unions

an Econoticias Bolivia editorial

La Paz, 30th April 2009 – the combative Bolivian working class has begun its May Day celebrations in the midst of a hard-fought struggle among the leadership of the Central Obrera Boliviana [the main union federation – COB], which has begun to fight actively as part of the ranks of the pro-indigenous government of president Evo Morales, whilst the radical miners’ and teachers’ unions are fighting to defend an independent class-struggle position and initiate a struggle over workers’ demands.

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Some believe that the unions should forget, at least for the moment, the poverty and exploitation workers suffer, putting their economic and social demands on hold in order to back the indigenous government which is working to humanise capitalism and make it fairer, and which is also confronted by the oligarchy and the fascists. Others argue in reply that workers must win back their independence, putting the brakes on mounting exploitation and taking back the agenda of October [2003’s general strike], smashing the power of the oligarchy by taking over the mines, factories and agricultural estates.
Continue reading “bolivia: the struggle for control of the unions”

the fascists make a mockery of morales’ dialogue

The Bolivian government has mobilised indigenous people and peasants to achieve an alliance with the separatist oligarchy. The “dialogue of the deaf” continues on Thursday. An Econoticias Bolivia editorial, translated from the Spanish. Continue reading “the fascists make a mockery of morales’ dialogue”

bolivian union disapproves of morales’ negotiations with fascists

translated from the spanish from econoticias bolivia

The Central Obrera Boliviana sees no value in the current dialogue between the indigenous-peasant government and the separatist oligarchy. The president is urging the fascist governors to sign a grand national accord in the next four to five days. Continue reading “bolivian union disapproves of morales’ negotiations with fascists”

morales, the bolivian oligarchy and the workers’ movement

by David Broder

The social crisis in Bolivia is deepening as the oligarchy and the far right step up their struggle to break off chunks of the country and lay their hands on its natural resources. Yesterday (Thursday 11th September) eight people were killed during a fascist attack in Cobija, at the same time as the right continued its occupation of municipal buildings, government treasury offices and natural gas regulators. They also set fire to the house of Lucio Vedia, the leading trade unionist in Santa Cruz, the country’s largest city. However, although Evo Morales has sent troops into the natural gas extraction plants and has now dismissed the United States ambassador for his role in supporting right-wing coup attempts, he still refuses to organise any effective action to stop the violence waged by the oligarchy and militias such as the fascist Union Juvenil Cruceñista. Instead, the Morales government offers talks on a “negotiated re-distribution of power” and has called on what it calls the “violent minority” on the right to “return to the negotiating table”. As he seeks the reconciliation of the “Andean” and oligarchic strata of the bourgeoisie, workers and indigenous people under attack from the UJC are having to organise against the violence themselves, once again showing that the class struggle underlies the near-civil war in Bolivia. Continue reading “morales, the bolivian oligarchy and the workers’ movement”

fascists attempt to split bolivia

evo morales’ plans to rule in concord with bolivia’s oligarchs are unravelling ever further, as the right wing of the ruling class have now effectively split the country in two and the central government has lost authority over five out of nine provinces, now patrolled by fascists. the workers’ movement betrayed by morales has been left with the task of fighting the gangs hired by the landowners to ‘keep order’. from la paz, september 3rd:

The oligarchy plans to consolidate its power in the east and in the valleys, with its fascist bands seizing control of roads and the streets as the Morales Government continues to place its trust in the ballot box.

With sticks and whips in hand and using their fascist bands as a spearhead, the oligarchy – governors, right-wingers and the 100 powerful clans who own the land and big business – are consolidating their power over the east of Bolivia and the valleys. Continue reading “fascists attempt to split bolivia”