[News] Bolivia - The Power Of The People by Evo Morales

Anti-Imperialist News News at freedomarchives.org
Mon Dec 26 08:40:44 EST 2005

I Believe Only In The Power Of The People

by Evo Morales; December 24, 2005

Thank you for the invitation to this great 
meeting of intellectuals "In Defense of 
Humanity." Thank you for your applause for the 
Bolivian people, who have mobilized in these 
recent days of struggle, drawing on our 
consciousness and our regarding how to reclaim our natural resources.

What happened these past days in Bolivia was a 
great revolt by those who have been oppressed for 
more than 500 years. The will of the people was 
imposed this September and October, and has begun 
to overcome the empire's cannons. We have lived 
for so many years through the confrontation of 
two cultures: the culture of life represented by 
the indigenous people, and the culture of death 
represented by West. When we the indigenous 
people ­ together with the workers and even the 
businessmen of our country ­ fight for life and 
justice, the State responds with its "democratic rule of law."

What does the "rule of law" mean for indigenous 
people? For the poor, the marginalized, the 
excluded, the "rule of law" means the targeted 
assassinations and collective massacres that we 
have endured. Not just this September and 
October, but for many years, in which they have 
tried to impose policies of hunger and poverty on 
the Bolivian people. Above all, the "rule of law" 
means the accusations that we, the Quechuas, 
Aymaras and Guaranties of Bolivia keep hearing 
from our governments: that we are narcos, that we 
are anarchists. This uprising of the Bolivian 
people has been not only about gas and 
hydrocarbons, but an intersection of many issues: 
discrimination, marginalization , and most 
importantly, the failure of neoliberalism.

The cause of all these acts of bloodshed, and for 
the uprising of the Bolivian people, has a name: 
neoliberalism. With courage and defiance, we 
brought down Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada ­ the 
symbol of neoliberalism in our country ­ on 
October 17, the Bolivians' day of dignity and 
identity. We began to bring down the symbol of 
corruption and the political mafia.

And I want to tell you, companeras and 
companeros, how we have built the consciousness 
of the Bolivian people from the bottom up. How 
quickly the Bolivian people have reacted, have 
said ­ as Subcomandate Marcos says ­ ¡ya basta!, 
enough policies of hunger and misery.

For us, October 17th is the beginning of a new 
phase of construction. Most importantly, we face 
the task of ending selfishness and individualism, 
and creating ­ from the rural campesino and 
indigenous communities to the urban slums ­ other 
forms of living, based on solidarity and mutual 
aid. We must think about how to redistribute the 
wealth that is concentrated among few hands. This 
is the great task we Bolivian people face after this great uprising.

It has been very important to organize and 
mobilize ourselves in a way based on 
transparency, honesty, and control over our own 
organizations. And it has been important not only 
to organize but also to unite. Here we are now, 
united intellectuals in defense of humanity ­ I 
think we must have not only unity among the 
social movements, but also that we must 
coordinate with the intellectual movements. Every 
gathering, every event of this nature for we 
labor leaders who come from the social struggle, 
is a great lesson that allows us to exchange 
experiences and to keep strengthening our people 
and our grassroots organizations.

Thus, in Bolivia, our social movements, our 
intellectuals, our workers ­ even those political 
parties which support the popular struggle 
­joined together to drive out Gonzalo Sánchez 
Lozada. Sadly, we paid the price with many of our 
lives, because the empire's arrogance and tyranny 
continue humiliating the Bolivian people.

It must be said, compañeras and compañeros, that 
we must serve the social and popular movements 
rather than the transnational corporations. I am 
new to politics; I had hated it and had been 
afraid of becoming a career politician. But I 
realized that politics had once been the science 
of serving the people, and that getting involved 
in politics is important if you want to help your 
people. By getting involved, I mean living for 
politics, rather than living off of politics. We 
have coordinated our struggles between the social 
movements and political parties, with the support 
of our academic institutions, in a way that has 
created a greater national consciousness. That is 
what made it possible for the people to rise up in these recent days.

When we speak of the "defense of humanity," as we 
do at this event, I think that this only happens 
by eliminating neoliberalism and imperialism. But 
I think that in this we are not so alone, because 
we see, every day that anti-imperialist thinking 
is spreading, especially after Bush's bloody 
"intervention" policy in Iraq. Our way of 
organizing and uniting against the system, 
against the empire's aggression towards our 
people, is spreading, as are the strategies for 
creating and strengthening the power of the people.

I believe only in the power of the people. That 
was my experience in my own region, a single 
province ­ the importance of local power. And 
now, with all that has happened in Bolivia, I 
have seen the importance of the power of a whole 
people, of a whole nation. For those of us who 
believe it important to defend humanity, the best 
contribution we can make is to help create that 
popular power. This happens when we check our 
personal interests with those of the group. 
Sometimes, we commit to the social movements in 
order to win power. We need to be led by the 
people, not use or manipulate them.

We may have differences among our popular leaders 
­ and it's true that we have them in Bolivia. But 
when the people are conscious, when the people 
know what needs to be done, any difference among 
the different local leaders ends. We've been 
making progress in this for a long time, so that 
our people are finally able to rise up, together.

What I want to tell you, compañeras and 
compañeros ­ what I dream of and what we as 
leaders from Bolivia dream of‹ is that our task 
at this moment should be to strengthen 
anti-imperialist thinking. Some leaders are now 
talking about how we ­ the intellectuals, the 
social and political movements ­ can organize a 
great summit of people like Fidel, Chávez. and 
Lula to say to everyone: "We are here, taking a 
stand against the aggression of the US 
imperialism." A summit at which we are joined by 
compañera Rigoberta Menchú, by other social and 
labor leaders, great personalities like Pérez 
Ezquivel. A great summit to say to our people 
that we are together, united, and defending 
humanity. We have no other choice, compañeros and 
compañeras ­ if we want to defend humanity we 
must change system, and this means overthrowing US imperialism.

That is all. Thank you very much.

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