Violeta Tamayo: “Against the Coup in Bolivia, the Working Class Will Find a Way Out of the Crisis”

As part of the Trotskyist Fraction’s international rally this May Day, Violeta Tamayo, a member of the Revolutionary Workers League of Bolivia, explains how the right-wing coup against Evo Morales has exacerbated the coronavirus crisis and increased repression against the working class and oppressed sectors. She speaks about the brave resistance of Bolivia’s working class and women’s movement in the face of immense repression and persecution.
  • Left Voice | 
  • May 7, 2020

On May 1 this year, the Trotskyist Fraction (FT) — an international revolutionary socialist organization spanning multiple countries and continents — came together for a virtual international rally to celebrate May Day. Over 7,000 people across the world joined the livestream. Socialist leaders from 14 different countries spoke in 6 different languages to address a wide variety of topics, but they had one singular message: the current crisis is caused by capitalism and we will not pay for their crisis. Instead, we must build our own independent, international organizations that will fight for the working class and oppressed when they come under attack and that will join together in the fight for socialism. Left Voice is publishing transcripts and videos of each speech. Watch the entire livestream on Left Voice.

Violeta Tamayo is part of the Revolutionary Workers League of Bolivia (LOR-CI). She is a leader of the socialist feminist group, Pan y Rosas (Bread and Roses) and is currently one of the main editors for La Izquierda Diario Bolivia. She has been active in the resistance against Bolivia’s right-wing coup and the fight for socialism.

We send greetings to everyone taking part in this livestream from the Izquierda Diario international network. My name is Violeta Tamayo and I am a member of the Revolutionary Workers League of Bolivia (LOR-CI). This May Day, we want to commemorate workers across Bolivia, especially those in the middle of this political crisis, who bravely confronted the coup d’etat last November that was led by big business, the military, and the church — a coup that was supported by imperialism, the OAS, and far-right groups. 

We are proud, comrades, to be part of an international current that, through the Izquierda Diario news network, has helped to break the complete media blackout on the massacres, the tortures, and the arrests in Bolivia. We salute the brave communities of Senkata, Ovejuyo, and Sacaba, who have been the vanguard of this resistance, and who have also fought for the justice and freedom of all political prisoners. We, the LOR-CI, fought side by side with these comrades, and we have chanted with them that we will not negotiate with the leaders of the coup as the MAS (Movement for Socialism, the party of Evo Morales) has shamefully done — even in the face of the enormous will of the people to fight. 

We know that working-class, peasant, and indigenous women have been on the front lines of this struggle and we are proud to tell you that this past International Women’s Day, the women of Senkata — sisters, mothers, daughters, and comrades of the victims of the massacre — led what was the largest mobilization ever by the women’s movement  in Bolivia. This was achieved despite the interference of the liberal feminist movement, which made a pact with the coup leaders, took part in the coup itself and, in the end, capitulated to the extreme right. 

Our country has seen the combined effects of the pandemic and the political crisis. During this crisis the government which has stepped up its repression and militarization. It is criminalizing and persecuting the poorest sectors and political dissidents, and it is curtailing the freedom of expression. The government’s fight against the pandemic without widespread testing of health and safety measures, is reduced to nothing more than social isolation enforced by the armed forces and the police. 

The current illegitimate government is continuing and deepening attacks on the living and working conditions of the majority of people as well exacerbating the already dismal health system left by Evo Morales. In this moment, the lives of tens of thousands of workers who cannot stay at home are at risk, workers who today are maintaining the functioning of the country. Bolivia’s largest union federation, the Bolivian Workers Center (COB), says nothing about this situation. The COB has not only collaborated with the leaders of the coup d’état but refuses to even fight for basic conditions of the workers and the Bolivian people. That is why we workers must recover our tools of organization from the hands of this collaborationist bureaucracy. We must recover the best traditions of the Bolivian labor movement. We must fight for our political independence and the independence of our unions.

Today we have an enormous task in front of us. We must draw lessons not only from recent months but also from the 14 years of the MAS government in order to build a political force that will definitively end the exploitation, racism, and sexism in this country. For us, this means constructing a socialist society. We  believe the only tool to achieve this is the Fourth International. 

This rally, comrades, represents for us an important step by the workers, women, and youth toward this objective and toward the emancipation of the working class. We send you revolutionary greetings and we shout together with you: long live May Day, and long live the working class!

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