By STAN OREGANO
The situation in Bolivia currently is one of ferment. Within the last week, the government has been overthrown in a coup with the support of the military and armed forces in the country. Before that, the country had been rocked by right-wing and anti-indigenous protests in opposition to the Evo Morales government for its perceived support for indigenous rights and opposition to imperialist interests in the country. At the same time, there are reports of protests of indigenous people in the city of El Alto and calls by organizations in support of the government for the working-class and indigenous population to come out into the streets and fight against the coup.
This is not a new situation for the Bolivian people. Nor is it a crisis which has fallen out of the sky without material foundations in the social structure of Bolivia. The coup against the Morales government today has its foundations in centuries-old inequalities within Bolivia. It is the only indigenous majority country in Latin America, but that indigenous majority has always been oppressed and prevented from expressing their own interests within the country. It is one of the most impoverished countries in Latin America, but its natural resources have furnished enormous wealth to foreign capital and to its own domestic bourgeoisie.
These two facts are in themselves also intertwined. The bourgeoisie in Bolivia are almost universally non-indigenous, and their fundamental separation from the Bolivian majority population means that under bourgeois rule the Bolivian people can never have truly majority rule. This has meant that Bolivia is a country marked by intense class conflict throughout its history; the current situation facing the Morales government mirrors past Bolivian crises and historical turning points.
In 1952, they faced the same circumstances: An ineffectual left-wing nationalist government, elected with the broad support of the population, brought down by a coup based in the same social sectors, and the people coming out into the streets in opposition to that coup. In 1952 that uprising against the coup was successful. A new government was established from the same party that had its candidate overthrown; it effectively abolished the Bolivian army and police force at the time, and established organs of workers power to rule in the aftermath of the coup.
However, the government established by this uprising did not actually wish for any of those things to happen. They were happy to occupy the role of administering the oppressive apparatus of the old government in their own interests and for their own cause. They had no more interest in genuine workers’ rule in the country than the bourgeois forces that had overthrown them. So they fought and crushed that revolution, and the forces that had brought it about in the first place.
The tragic events for the working class in that year meant the maintenance of bourgeois rule and the continuation of the oppression of the indigeous majority in Bolivia. Ultimately, all of the contradictions baked into Bolivia’s social make-up that produced the coup in 1952 are still there.
It needs to be said, though, that the Bolivian working class in 1952 was not simply fighting for the reformist bourgeois government that had been overthrown. The politics they were fighting for, and which many in Bolivia still harbor as an ambition, were the politics expressed in the Thesis of Pulacayo. It was a document written in 1946 by a Trotskyist party, the Partido Obrero Revolucionario, and published in the name of the Bolivian trade unions, which outlined the working class’s answer to the contradictions within the Bolivian state. In it, you can hear the authentic voice of the revolution of 1952, which never had a full expression in transforming the state power, but still stands as a clear clarion cry of what needs to be done in 2019.
The Thesis of Pulacayo (1946)
Central Thesis of the Union Federation of Bolivian Miners (FSTMB)
(Approved on the basis of the project presented by the delegation from Llallagua)
- The proletariat in Bolivia constitutes the most revolutionary social class. The miners, the most combative and advanced sector of the national proletariat, define the course of the struggle of the FSTMB.
- Bolivia is a backward capitalist country. Within an amalgamation of the most diverse states of economic evolution, what predominates qualitatively is capitalist exploitation. The other social-economic formations are the heritage of our historical past. This is why the proletariat has a predominant role in national politics.
- Bolivia, as a backward nation, is only one link in the chain of world capitalism. The national particularities represent in themselves a combination of the fundamental particularities of the world economy.
- The Bolivian particularity is that in the political scenario there has not emerged a bourgeoisie capable of liquidating the latifundia and other pre-capitalist economic formations; nor one able to achieve national unification and liberation from the yoke of imperialism. These incomplete bourgeois tasks are the democratic-bourgeois objectives which we should realize without delay. The central problems of semi-colonial countries are: the agrarian revolution and national independence – which is to say, the removal of the imperialist yoke- ; tasks which are closely linked one to the other.
- “The distinctive characteristics of the national economy, however great they may be, form an integral and ever growing part of a superior reality which is the world economy; in this reality lies the foundation of workers´ internationalism.” Capitalist development takes form through the intensification of international relations, which can be seen in the growing indexes of the volume of external trade.
- The backwards countries move under pressure from the imperialists, their development has a combined character: it brings together at the same time the most primitive economic forms with the latest technology and techniques of capitalist civilization. The proletariat of the backwards countries is obligated to combine the struggle for democratic-bourgeois demands with the struggle for socialist demands. Both stages — the democratic and the socialist- “Are not separated in the struggle by historic stages but surge immediately the one from the other.”
- The feudal lords have merged their interests with those of international imperialism and have become its unconditional servants. This is why the ruling elite is a true feudal-bourgeoisie. Given the technical backwardness of the latifundia its existence would be impossible without the scraps passed to it by imperialism. Imperialist domination cannot be imagined isolated from the domination of the Creole (“White”, Bolivians of European Ancestry) ruling class. The concentration of capital presents itself in Bolivia at a high level: three companies control the mining industry, the core of economic life in Bolivia. The ruling class is miserably incapable of realizing it`s own historical objectives and finds itself tied as much to the interests of the Latifundia as it does to imperialism. The feudal-bourgeois state justifies itself as an organ of violence to maintain the privileges of the rural elite and the capitalists. The state is a powerful instrument which the ruling class possesses to smash its adversary. Only traitors and imbeciles can continue to maintain that the State has the possibility of elevating itself above social classes and paternally decide what parts are due to each.
- The middle-class or petty-bourgeoisie, is the most numerous sector and yet is economically insignificant. The small business owners and small landlords, the engineers, the bureaucrats, the artisans and the peasants, have until now been completely unable to develop a politics of class independence and they will be even less capable of this in the future. The countryside follows the city, and the leader here is the proletariat. The petty-bourgeoisie follows the capitalists in times of “social tranquility” and when parliamentary activity prospers. It follows the proletariat in moments when there is a tremendous ascent in the class struggle (for example: a revolution) and when it is certain that the proletariat is the only class which leads it towards emancipation. In both extremes the class independence of the petty-bourgeoisie is a myth. Clearly there are enormous revolutionary possibilities among ample sectors of the middle class, one need only think of the objectives of the democratic-bourgeois revolution, but it is also certain that it cannot realize these objectives by itself.
- The proletariat is characterized by having sufficient strength to realize its own objectives as well as achieving the objectives of other classes. Its enormous weight in politics is due to the place which it occupies in the process of production, and not for its numerical weakness. The center of economic life will also be the center of political life for the future revolution.
The Bolivian miners movement is one of the most advanced of Latin America. The reformists argue that you cannot have a social movement in a backwards country more advanced than those of technologically developed countries. This is a mecanistic conception of the relation between the development of machinery and the development of the political conscioussness of the masses. It has been shown to be untrue an uncountable number of times throughout history.
The Bolivian proletariat, for its extreme youth and incomparable vigor, for having remained basically a virgin in politics, for not having had traditions of parliamentarianism and class collaboration, and finally for acting in a country in which the class struggle has reached an extreme level, we say that for all of this the Bolivian proletariat has been able to convert itself into one of the most radical. We respond to the reformists and those who have sold out to the oligarchy by declaring that a proletariat of such a quality requires revolutionary demands and a fearless audacity in the struggle.
II. The Kind of Revolution Which Must Be Realized
- The miners do not imply that we should ignore the democratic-bourgeois tasks: The struggle for basic democratic guarantess and for an anti-imperialist, agrarian revolution. Nor do we deny the existence of the petty-bourgeoisie, above all the peasants and the artisans. We point out that the bourgeois democratic revolution, if it is not to be strangled, must convert itself into merely a phase of the proletarian revolution.
Those who say we advocate an immediate socialist revolution in Bolvia are liars. We know well that the material conditions for this do not exist. We clearly state that the revolution will be a democratic-bourgois revolution for its objectives and only an episode of the proletarian revolution for the social class which leads its.
The proletarian revolution in Bolivia does not mean the exclusion of other exploited classes and social layers in the nation. Rather, it means the revolutionary alliance of the proletariat with the peasants, the artisans and other sectors of the petty-bourgeoisie.
- The dictatorship of the proletariat is a projection of this alliance on to the form of the state. The demand of revolution and proletarian dictatorship makes it clear the working class will be the central driving force of that transformation and that state. On the contrary, to maintain that the democratic-bourgeois revolution will be achieved by the “progressive” sectors of the bourgeoisie in a future state of national unity, lays clear the intentions of its advocates to strangle the revolutionary movement under the banner of bourgeois democracy. The workers once in power will not be able to indefinitely keep themselves within bourgeois-democratic limits and will find themselve forced, every day in greater measure, to cut deeper and deeper into the regime of private property. In this way the revolution will acquire a permanent character.
III. The Struggle Against Class Collaboration
- The class struggle is ultimately the struggle for the appopriation of surplus value. The proletarians who sell their labor power struggle to do so under better conditions and the capitalists struggle to continue robbing the unpaid part of labor. Both pursue conflicting objectives, with the result being that their interests are irrenconcilable. We cannot be blind to the evidence that the struggle against the bosses is a struggle to the death, because it is a struggle which decides the fate of private property. Unlike our enemies, we do not recognize any truce in the class struggle. The current historical stage, a stage of shame and humilliation for mankind, can only be overcome when social classes disappear and there are no longer exploited or exploiters. Those who claim we should not destroy the rich, but instead convert the poor into the rich, are engaging in stupid sophistry in defense of class collaboration. Our objective is the expropriation of the expropriators.
- Any attempt to collaborate with our executioners, any concession to the enemy in our struggle, is nothing less than a surrender of the workers to the bourgeoisie. Class collaboration means renouncing our objectives. Every workers conquest, even the smallest, has been achieved after bloody struggle against the capitalist system. We cannot think of any agreement with the oppressors because our program of transitional demands will subordinate this to the proletarian revolution.
We are not refomists, although we bring to the workers the most advanced reforms; we are above all revolutionaries because we drive towards the transformation of the social structure of society.
- We the reject the petty-bourgeois illusion of solving the problems of workers by leaving it in the hands of the state and other institutions which it is hoped will find balance between social classes in struggle. This solution as history teaches on the national and international level, has always been a solution in accord with the interests of capitalism and achieved at the cost of hunger and oppression for the proletariat. Forced arbitration and the legal regulation of the methods of struggle have in the majority of cases been the beginning of the defeat.
When possible, we work to destroy forced arbitration.
- The realization of our program of transitional demands, which will drive us to the proletarian revolution, is always subordinated to the class struggle. We are proud to be the most intransigent in the face of compromises with the bosses. This is why it is a central task to struggle against and destroy the reformists who advance class collaboration, those who advise us to tighten our belts in the name of saving the nation. When there is hunger and oppression for the workers, there can be no national greatness: this is national misery and decadence. We will abolish capitalist exploitation.
IV. The Struggle Against Imperialism
- For the miners class struggle means above all the struggle against the big mining companies – which is to say the struggle against a sector of American Imperialism which oppresses us. The liberation of the exploited is only possible through the struggle against international capitalism.
Since we struggle against international capitalism we represent the interests of all of society and we have objectives in common with all of the exploited of the world. The destruction of imperialism must be achieved before we can industrialzie agriculture and create small and heavy industry.
We stand alongside the international proletariat because we are comitted to destroying a force which is also international: imperialism.
- We denounce as declared enemies of the proletariat those “leftists” rented by US imperialism who talk to us of the greatness of the northern “Democracy” and its power. You cannot speak of democracy when sixty families dominate the United States and when those families suck the blood of semicolonial countries like ours. Alongside the power of the United States is an unequal accumulation and an intensification of the contradictions of the capitalist system. The US is a barrel of gunpowder which needs only a spark to explode. We declare our solidarity with the American proletariat and we declare ourselves irreconcilable enemies of the American bourgeoisie, which lives through robbery and oppression on a world scale.
- The politics of imperialism, which define the orientation of Bolivian politics, is determined by the current monopoly stage of capitalism. For this reason imperialist politics can be nothing other than robbery and oppression, the incessant transformation of the state into a docile instrument in the hands of the exploiters. The “Good Neighbor” and “Panamericanist” policies are nothing more than disguises used by US Imperialism and the feudal bourgeoisie to deceive the people of Latin America. The system of reciprocal diplomatic consultation, the creation of international banking institutions with the money of oppressed countries, the unequal contracts around the sale of raw resources, etc. are diverse forms of the undisguised surrender of the south american countries by their ruling elites to the appetities of voracious imperialists. To fight against and denounce this every time imperialism shows its claws is a fundamental duty of the proletariat.
The US Imperialists do not restrict themselves merely to deciding the composition of government ministries, they have gone further: they have taken on the task of organizing the police activity of the semi-colonial countries. This means nothing less than open struggle against the anti-imperialist revolutionaries.
V. The Struggle Against Fascism
- Our struggle against imperialism has to be waged alongside our struggle against the treachorous feudal-bourgeoisie. Anti-fascism has transformed in practice into an aspect of the following struggle: the defense and advancement of democratic rights and the destruction of the armed bands of the bourgeoisie.
- Fascism is a product of international capitalism. Fascism is the last stage of the decomposition of imperialism, but even with everything it remains a stage of imperialism. When violence is organized by the state to defend the privileges of the capitalists and to destroy the workers movement, we are in a fascistic regime. Bourgeois democracy is too expensive a luxury, a luxury which only countries that have accumulated great wealth at the cost of world-wide hunger can afford. In poor countries like ours, the workers are eventually forced to face down the barrels of rifles.
It is of little importance which political party has to resort to fascist methods to better serve the interests of the imperialists. If they insist on maintaining capitalist privileges, their destiny is already written: violence against the workers.
- The struggle against the fascist groups is waged as part of the struggle against imperialism and the feudal-bourgeoisie. Those who, under the pretext of fighting against fascism, ally with the “democratic” imperialists or the “democratic” feudal-bourgeoisie are only preparing the path for the inevitable creation of a fascist regime.
To definitively destroy the fascist threat, we must destroy the capitalist system.
To fight fascism, far from softening class contradictions, we must intensify the class struggle.
VI. The FSTMB (Bolivian Miners Federation) and the Current Situation
- The revolutionary situation of the 21st of July was created by the eruption on to the streets of the exploited, those who have been deprived of bread and liberty. There was also the fierce defensive action of the miners in defense of the social benefits already conquered and for more advanced ones. Thanks to the betrayal and complicity of the reformists who have made deals with the feudal bourgeoisie, the representatives of the big mining companies have taken control of the state. The blood of the people has been spent so that their oppressors can have a firmer grip on power. The fact that the government Junta is a temporary institution in no way changes the situation.
The miners are correct to create expectations in the new government and demand that it force the companies to follow the laws of the country. However we cannot and should not declare our solidarity with any government which is not our own, that is to say, which is not a workers government. We cannot do this because we know the the state represents the interests of the dominant social class.
- The “worker” ministers do not change the nature of bourgeois governments. While the state defends capitalist society, the “worker” ministers convert themselves into vulgar pimps at the service of the bourgeoisie. The worker who is weak enough to exchange his position in the struggle for a briefcase at a Ministry has become a traitor. The bourgeoisie uses “worker” ministers to more easily deceive the workers and convince them to abandon workers methods of struggle. They want the workers to deliver themselves heart and soul to the tutelage of the “worker” minister.
- The results of the next elections will be a government which serves the big mining companies, it will have nothing to do with democracy. The majority of the population, the indigenous people and a great portion of the proletariat, will be unable to participate due to the obstacles created by the electoral law and illiteracy. Sections of the petty-bourgeois, corrupted at the hands of the ruling class, will determine the electoral results. We have no illusions in this electoral struggle.
The workers will not take power through the ballot box, we will take power through social revolution. For this reason we can declare that our conduct as regards the new government will be the same as our conduct towards the current Junta. If they do not enforce the labor laws, they will face our most energetic protest.
VII. Transitional Demands
Every union and every mining region faces unique problems and unionists should adjust their daily struggle to fit these particularities. However there are problems which, in and of themselves shake up and unify worker-militants across the nation: growing misery and the bosses boycott, something which becomes more dangerous every day. Against these dangers the FSTMB proposes radical measures.
- A Basic Living Salary and a Sliding Scale of Wages
The suppression of the system of cheap labor and the excessive gap between real salaries and the standard of life, require the establishment of a basic living salary.
As was maintained by the Third Miners Congress (Catavi-Llallagua, March 1946), this living salary should be complemented by a sliding scale of wages. We must avoid the situation in which the periodic readjustment of salaries never keeps pace with the rising prices.
We will end the long-standing scheme through which the depreciation of the currency is artificially provoked in order to cut wages. The unions should take on the task of monitoring the cost of life and demand that companies increase wages to keep pace with this cost. The basic salary, far from being static, should follow the curve of the price increases among basic necessities.
- A 40 Hour Work Week and a Sliding Scale of Working Hours.
The advance of mining technology has accelerated the rate of work in the mines. The very nature of mining has made the 8 hour work day excessive and into something which inhumanely annihilates the health of workers. The struggle for a better world requires the liberation of man from the slavery of the mine. This is why the FSTMB will struggle for the 40 hour work week, something which should be complemented by a sliding scale of work hours
The only way to effectively fight against the permanent threat of a bosses boycott against the workers is through the implantation of the sliding scale of work hours. This would allow for the reduction of the work-day in proportion to the increase in the numbers of the unemployed. This reduction should not mean a reduction in salary as the living wage is considered necessary.
Only these measures can allow us to avoid worker militants being crushed by misery, as well as avoiding the artificial growth of the army of the unemployed caused by the bosses boycott.
- Occupation of the Mines
The capitalists will try to stop the ascent of the workers movement with the argument that they have been forced to close their mines due to losses. They aim to muzzle the unions with the specter of unemployment. Furthermore, as experience has shown, the temporary stoppages are used to make a mockery of labor laws and to recontract workers who are pressured by hunger into working in truly shameful conditions.
The large companies have a double system of accounting. One set of books to show the workers and pay taxes to the state, and another to establish the dividends paid out to investors. We cannot surrender our aspirations before the mathematical equations of accounting books.
The workers who have sacrificed their lives building the prosperity of these companies have the right to demand work, even when this is not profitable for the capitalists.
The right to work is not a demand aimed towards any one capitalist, but rather towards the system as a whole. For this reason we are uninterested in the lamentations of a few small businessmen.
If the bosses are unable to grant their slaves another piece of bead; if capitalism in order to survive is forced to attack the salary and the gains we’ve made; if the capitalists respond to all demands with the threat of closing their mines, there is no option open to the workers other than seizing the mines and organizing production ourselves.
Occupying the mines by itself goes beyond the limits of capitalism since it puts in questions who truly controls the mines: the capitalists or the workers. This occupation should not be confused with the socialization of the mines, it is a measure merely to counter the bosses’ boycott and ensure that the workers are not condemned to hunger and death. Strikes with occupations of the mines have become one of the central objectives of the FSTMB.
For these reasons it has also become evident that the occupation of the mines is illegal. It could not be any other way.
The supreme decree of the Government Junta prohibiting the occupation of the mines by workers does not affect our position. We know that we cannot count on government collaboration in these cases and being unable to operate under the law, we have no other option than to illegally occupy the mines, offering no indemnification for the capitalists.
The occupation of the mines should lead to the emergence of Mine Committees, which will form with the participation of all workers even those who are not unionized. The Mine Committees will decide the destinies of the mines and how to organize the workers who participate in production.
- Collective Working Contracts
Under current legislation the boss can choose freely between individual or collective contracts. Until now it has been impossible to achieve collective contracts as the bosses have an interest against this. We must struggle to establish the collective contract as the only form of contract.
We cannot allow for the power of the capitalist to overwhelm the individual worker. The worker is incapable of freely giving their consent, as there can be no free consent where the misery of living conditions forces the worker to accept the most shameful working contracts.
- a) The collective working contract should be, above all, revocable at any time by the will of the unions; b) Everyone will adhere to it, which is to say, it will be obligatory for the non-unionized workers. A worker who is newly contracted will already have their working conditions pre-established; c) This will not exclude more favorable conditions which anyone manages to achieve through individual contracts; d) The implementation and the contact itself should be controlled by the unions. The collective contract should take as a starting point our platform of transitional demands.
- Union Independence
We will only be able to achieve our goals if we are able to liberate ourselves from all sectors of the bouregoisie and of it’s “Left” agents. The syphilus of the workers movement is state controlled unions. The unions which have been transformed into government appendages lose their liberty of action and drag the masses behind them on to the path of defeat.
We denounce the CSTB (Union Confederation of the Workers of Bolivia) as a government agent within the workers camp. We cannot trust organizations which have a permanent secretary in the Labor Ministry and which sends its members to distribute pro-government propaganda.
The FSTMB has absolute independence in relation to the bourgeois sectors, the left reformists and the government. We will realize a revolutionary union politics and we denounce as treason any backroom deals with the bourgeoisie or the government.
The FSTMB supports any measure taken by the unions aimed to realize effective control over any aspect of the functioning of the mines. We must expose the bosses secrets of exploitation, from accounting, from technique, from the transformation of minerals, etc. in order to esablish the direct intervention of workers in these “secrets”. Since our objective is the occupation of the mines, we must bring to light all of the bosses secrets. The workers must control the techniques of exploitation, the accounting books, intervene in the appointment of employees and above all must be publish the benefits which the mining companies receive as well as how these companies defraud the state when paying taxes and contributing to social security and workers savings.
- Arming the Workers
We have declared that while capitalism exists, violent repression of the workers movement is an ever-present threat. If we wish to avoid a repeat of the massacre of Catavi we must arm the workers. To fend off the fascist bands and the strikebreakers, we will form armed pickets.
Where will we get the weapons…?
The important thing is to teach the workers that they must arm themselves to the teeth against the bourgeoisie; the methods for this will be easily improvised. Has it been forgotten that we work daily with powerful explosives?
The union pickets must be organized militarily and as soon as possible.
- Strike Fund
The companies have a powerful weapon of control in the subsidized company stores and the miserable salaries which force workers to have no other option than their daily wages. The worst enemy of the strike is the hunger which the strikers suffer. In order for the strike to achieve a happy end we must eliminate this adverse family pressure. The unions are obliged to put aside part of their income for strike funds which can be given to workers in need of help.
- Regulating the Suppression of Company Stores
The system of company stores allows the bosses to enrich themselves at the cost of the worker’s salary. The simple suppression of company stores alone would merely worsen the situation of workers and become a measure against them. For the supression of company stores to achieve its goal it must be complemented with the establishment of the sliding scale of wages and the living salary.
- Suppression of “Contract” Labor
The companies in order to extend the work day beyond its maximum legal limit have come up various forms of “contract” labor. We are obligated to break this new, greedy capitalist scheme. There must be a single salary system for a days work.
VIII. Direct Action of the Masses and the Parliamentary Struggle.
- We defend mass direct action as the central method of struggle of the proletariat. We know very well that only we can achieve our own liberation. We cannot expect the help of any force other than our own. For this reason in this era of a rising workers movement our preferred method of struggle is the direct action of the masses, particularly the strike and the occupation of the mines. When possible we avoid strikes for unimportant goals so as to not weaken our forces. We have gone beyond the stage of local strikes. Isolated strikes allow the bourgeoisie to concentrate all its force and attention at one point. Every strike must be born with the intention of becoming a general strike. A miners strike must also extend itself to other proletarain sectors and to the middle class. Strikes combined with the occupation of the mines are on today’s agenda. The strikers must from the start control all the key points of the mine and above all control where the explosives are stored.
We declare that while we prioritize the direct action of the masses, we do not negate the importance of other methods of struggle.
Revolutionaries should find themselves in every area where social life reflects the class struggle.
- The Parliamentary struggle is important, however when the revolutionary movement is in ascent it has a secondary role. In order for parliamentarianism to play an effective role it must be subordinated to the direct action of the masses.
In moments of retreat, when the masses have abandoned the struggle and the bourgeoisie has taken up the positions which the masses have left behind, parliamentarianism can have a primary importance. Generally speaking, bourgeois parliaments do not solve the fundamental problem of our time: the fate of private property. This fate will be decided by the workers in the streets. We do not negate the parliamentary struggle, but we do put certain conditions upon it. We should only bring to parliament proven revolutionaries who identify with our current of unionism. The representative must be a revolutionary tribune. We know that our representatives will be a minority, but one which will from the seats of parliament expose and unmask the maneuvers of the bourgeoisie. Above all, the parliamentary struggle should be linked to the direct action of the masses. Worker and miner deputies should act under a single direction: the principles of this Thesis.
- In the next electoral struggle our task will be to bring the strongest possible worker’s block to parliament. Even as anti-parliamentarians we cannot concede this battlefield to the enemy. Our voice will echo through the halls of parliament.
IX. Against the Bourgeois Slogan of National Unity, We Advance the United Proletarian Front
- We are soldiers of the class struggle. We have said that the war against the exploiters is a war to the death. For this reason we must smash any collaborationist attempts within the workers ranks. The path to treason was opened by the famous Popular Fronts, which is to say, the fronts which forgetting the class struggle united the proletariat, petty-bourgeois and some sectors of the bourgeoisie itself. The Popular Front has cost the international proletariat many defeats. The most cynical expression of the negation of the class struggle, the surrendering of the oppressed to their executioners, the culminating point of the degeneration of the Popular Fronts, is the call for “National Unity”. This bourgeois slogan has been launched from the mouths of the reformists. “National Unity” means uniting the Bourgeoisie with its servants to restrain the working class. “National Unity” means the defeat of the exploited and the victory of the Oligarchy. We cannot talk of “National Unity” when the nation is divided in social classes engaged in a war to the death. While the regime of private property exists only traitors and paid agents of imperialism can dare to speak of “National Unity.”
- To the bourgeois slogan of national unity we oppose the United Proletarian Front (FUP). The ironclad unification of the exploited and the revolutionary elements is an absolute necessity to smash a capitalism which is unified in one block.
Since we use revolutionary proletarian methods and because we remain comitted to the class struggle we will forge the United Proletarian Front.
- To avoid bourgeois influence, to make our goals a reality, to mobilize the masses for the proletarian revolution, we need the United Proletarian Front. The revolutionary elements which identify with our fundamental declarations and the proletarian organizations (railroad workers, factory workers, printers, drivers, etc.) will be very well recieved in the United Proletarian Front. In recent days the CSTB has raised the slogan of a Left Front. Until now we do not know on which basis it intends to establish this. If it is merely an electoral maneuver which aims to install a petty-bourgeois leadership – The CSTB is Petty-Bourgeois – we declare that we have nothing to do with such a left front… However if it will allow for Proletarian ideas and if its objectives will be the ones which this thesis is elaborating, we will support this front with all our forces. It would then be nothing more than a Proletarian Front with another name and some small differences.
X. Workers Center
The struggle of the proletariat requires a single leadership. We need to forge a powerful WORKERS CENTER. The history of the CSTB teaches us the way in which we should achieve our goal. When the federations are converted into docile servents of the petty-bourgeois political parties, when they sign pacts with the bourgeoisie, they stop representing the exploited. It is our mission to evade the manipulation of union bureaucrats and the artisanal layers corrupted by the bourgeoisie. We must organize a Center of the Bolivian Workers on a truly democratic basis. We are tired of the small frauds comitted to achieve majorities. We cannot allow for an organization with a hundred artisans to have an equal vote to an organization like the Miners Federation which has close to 70 thousand workers. The thoughts of the majority organizations should not be anulled by organizations which barely exist. The percentage of influence of the various federations should be determined by the number of workers affiliated.
Beyond this, it is our task to deliver to this Workers Center a truly revolutionary program which should be inspired by what we have elaborated in this document.
XI. Pacts and Compromises
- With the bourgeoisie we do not need to form any block or accept any compromise.
- With the petty-bourgeoisie as a class and not with its parties, we can forge blocks and sign compromises. The Left Front, the Workers Center, are examples of such blocks, but we must be careful and always struggle for the proletariat to lead this block. If it seems we will tail the petty-bourgeoisie we must reject and break these blocks.
- Many pacts and compromises with different sectors can go unfulfilled, but remain a powerful tool in our hands. Those compromises, if they have a revolutionary spirit, will allow us to unmask the treachery of the petty-bourgeois leaders and win their bases to our positions. The worker-student pact of July is an example of how an unfulfilled pact can become a powerful weapon against our enemies. When some students attacked our organization in Oruro, the workers and revolutionary sectors of the students oriented the students against the authors of the attack. In any pact the starting point should be the declarations and content of this document.
The fulfillment of a pact depends on the miners intitiating the attack on the bourgeoisie, we cannot expect this step to come from the petty-bourgeois sectors. The leader of the revolution will be the proletariat.
The revolutionary collaboration of miners and peasants is a central task of the FSTMB and this collaboration is the key to the future revolution. The workers should organize peasant unions and work together with the indigenous communities. For this the miners must support the struggle of the peasants against the Latifundio. We must sowe revolutionary activity among other proletarian sectors and unite ourselves together with those exploited in artisanal workshops: journeymen and apprentices.
Pulacayo, November 8, 1946.