[Marxism] Background material on Bolivia: inteview with COR leader
dwalters at marxists.org
dwalters at marxists.org
Wed Jan 4 21:13:28 MST 2006
[This interview was conducted in El Alto prior to the Dec. 18th Elections. It is
good background material to the discussion on Bolivia, and the upcoming June
"Constituent Assembly" elections--David W.]
"We must build Popular Assemblies in the regions, coupling this call
with the demand for nationalisation of oil and gas and the
distribution of the land "
Interview with Limber Surco Callejas, Secretary of Education and
Culture of the El Alto COR (regional branch of the COB) and recently
elected Executive Committee member of the COR
Question: The National Workers and Popular Summit declared that the
elections to the June 2006 Constituent were illegitimate. Why?
Limber: It's because this year's May-June mobilisations were not
ready to accept an election set up through a curtailed democracy as a
solution. They demanded the convening of a Sovereign Constituent
Assembly and the nationalisation of oil and gas resources.
The June 2006 Constituent Assembly is actually being implemented at
the behest of the bourgeoisie to serve its purposes. It sets a
so-called representative system that in no way changes the present
Bolivian system of selecting the presidents or the deputies. This
means that the rich will continue dominating the Constituent
Assembly; the political parties, the NGOs and the foundations will
continue giving money to the candidates they want to see in the
Assembly. Let it be known that in the current Congress, 75% of the
deputies are agents of the U.S. Embassy and the recycled Bolivian
Question: The call for a Sovereign Constituent Assembly was withdrawn
at the last minute from the Summit's Final Declaration. What do you
think of the fact it was withdrawn?
Limber: The Popular Assembly slogan is embedded in the minds of trade
unionists and of all who think that in this manner, with the
participation of the COB, a workers' government could take state
power. They counterpose this to the call for a Constituent Assembly.
Our position is that the Sovereign Constituent Assembly is the slogan
that concretely opens the way to the creation of Popular Assemblies.
Question: You intervened in the plenary discussion to say you
supported this slogan ...
Limber: I did this to say that for the indigenous peoples, the
workers, and the students, the word Constituent Assembly is
synonymous with a change of the political system. Now we see that the
bourgeoisie has set limits on what the proposed "Constituent
Assembly" can say and do. It cannot, for example, modify in any
substantial way -- at least not in the interests of the workers and
peoples -- the State's present political Constitution.
We think that as we struggle for a Sovereign Constituent Assembly, we
will be able to take control of the State's three powers: judicial,
legislative, and executive -- all of this rolled up into one
Assembly, which, by whatever name it goes, will have to be sovereign,
which means total. The bourgeois class currently in power only
proposes a stunted "Constituent Assembly." But for the first time we
have a different perspective; we believe it is possible to take
action so that this Assembly actually will be sovereign. This is the
objective we wish to reach.
Question: What are the prospects now for pursuing the struggle?
Limber: I say it again, with this Summit, we took a historic first
step in the 21st century. It is not only a matter of signing a unity
agreement between disparate and disjointed sectors of the trade union
and popular movements. With the call for Local and Regional Popular
Assemblies -- and later, for the National Originary Popular Assembly
-- the COB, the COR and the Miners' Federation can become the axis
around which the masses' revolutionary mobilisation can be advanced.
But to reach that point, we first must build Popular Assemblies in
the regions, coupling this call with the demand for nationalisation
of oil and gas and the distribution of the land. This is the path we
must take. It is the path to renew what we already achieved in May
and June, when we launched the first Popular Assembly in El Alto on
June 8. There, we took this first step. We had no theory, no previous
experience. We achieved this in an empirical way because we
considered it was the right thing to do in the name of popular and
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