Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 12, 2019

Lessons To Learn From The Coup In Bolivia

The coup in Bolivia is devastating for the majority of the people in that country. Are their lessons to be learnt from it?

Andrea Lobo writes at WSWS:

Bolivian president Evo Morales of the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) party was forced to resign Sunday evening by the Bolivian military in a coup backed by the United States. Last night, Morales tweeted that he is “leaving for Mexico” after that country agreed to grant him asylum.

After three weeks of protests following the disputed October 20 presidential elections, the imperialist powers and their Bolivian client elite have overthrown the government of Morales. In the context of a deepening crisis of global capitalism and a resurgence of the class struggle internationally, including recent mass strikes among miners and doctors in Bolivia, the ruling class lost confidence that Morales and the MAS apparatus can continue to suppress social opposition.

During his twelve years in office Evo Morales achieved quite a lot of good things:

Illiteracy rates:
2006 13.0%, 2018 2.4%
Unemployment rates
2006 9.2%, 2018 4.1%
Moderate poverty rates
2006 60.6%, 2018 34.6%
Extreme poverty rates
2006 38.2%, 2018 15.2%

But Morales failed to build the defenses that are necessary to make such changes permanent. The leadership of the military and police stood against him. Why were these men in such positions?

Jeb Sprague @JebSprague - 20:19 UTC · Nov 11, 2019
The US coup connection
Officials who forced #Evo to resign worked as #Bolivia's Mil. Attachés in DC. The CIA often seeks to recruit Attachés working in DC.
2013: Gen. Kaliman served as Mil. Attaché
2018: Police Com. Calderón Mariscal was Pres. of APALA in DC

The Agregados Policiales de América Latina (APALA) is supposed to fight international organized crime in Latin America. It is curiously hosted in Washington DC.

These police and military men cooperated with a racist Christian-fascist multi-millionaire to bring Morales down.

Morales had clearly won a fourth term in the the October 20 elections. The vote count was confusing (pdf) because it followed the process defined by the Organization of American States:

The [Tribunal Supremo Electoral, or TSE] has two vote-counting systems. The first is a quick count known as the Transmisión de Resultados Electorales Preliminares (TREP, hereafter referred to as the quick count). This is a system that Bolivia and several other Latin American countries have implemented following OAS recommendations. It was implemented for the 2019 election by a private company in conjunction with the Servicio de Registro Cívico (SERECÍ), the civil registry service, and is designed to deliver a swift —but incomplete and not definitive- result on the night of the elections to give the media an indication of the voting tendency and to inform the public.

The early and incomplete numbers let it seem that Morales had not won the 10% lead he needed to avert a second round of voting. The rural districts in which Morales has high support are usually late to report results and were not included. The complete results showed that Morales had won more than the 10% lead he needed to avoid a runoff.

Kevin Cashman @kevinmcashman - 1:36 UTC · Nov 11, 2019
Eventually, the official count was released: Morales won in the first round 47.08% to 36.51%. If you had been watching the polls before the election, 5 out of 6 of them predicted the same result. Weird to have a fraud that matches up with polls.
Poll Tracker: Bolivia's 2019 Presidential Race

To allege false election results to instigate color revolutions or coups is a typical instrument of U.S. interference. In 2009 Mahmoud Ahmedinejad won his second term in the Iranian presidential elections. The U.S. supported oppositions raised a ruckus even as the results fit perfectly with previous polling.

The OAS which recommended the quick count scheme that allows for such manipulations receives 60% of its budget from Washington DC.

Western media do not call the coup in Bolivia a coup because it was what the U.S. wanted to happen:

Army generals appearing on television to demand the resignation and arrest of an elected civilian head of state seems like a textbook example of a coup. And yet that is certainly not how corporate media are presenting the weekend’s events in Bolivia.

No establishment outlet framed the action as a coup; instead, President Evo Morales “resigned” (ABC News, 11/10/19), amid widespread “protests” (CBS News, 11/10/19) from an “infuriated population” (New York Times, 11/10/19) angry at the “election fraud” (Fox News, 11/10/19) of the “full-blown dictatorship” (Miami Herald, 11/9/19). When the word “coup” is used at all, it comes only as an accusation from Morales or another official from his government, which corporate media have been demonizing since his election in 2006 (, 5/6/09, 8/1/12, 4/11/19).

The poor and indigenous people who supported Morales will have little chance against the far right para-militaries and police (vid) who now go from door to door (vid) to round up leftists and Morales supporters.

Evo Morales found asylum in Mexico. Bolivia will now turn into a neoliberal hell and a quasi-dictatorship. It will take time, a lot of effort and probably a civil war to regain what was lost through this coup.

What can one learn from this?

  • As one person remarked to me: "When one wants to win and keep a socialist revolution one has to bring guillotines."
  • Socialist movements who come into power must neutralize their biggest local enemies. They need to build their own defenses. They can not rely on those institutions, like the military and police, they inherit from previous regimes.
  • Such movements must never rely on U.S. affiliated organizations like the OAS or on military and police personal that had come under U.S. indoctrination. 
  • A movement needs a public voice. It must build its own media locally and internationally.

Hugo Chavez knew this all this. As soon as he won the presidential election in Venezuela he built the necessary forces to defend the state. It is the only reason why his successor Nicolás Maduro defeated the coup attempt against him and is still in power.

Evo Morales unfortunately failed to follow that path.

Posted by b on November 12, 2019 at 18:08 UTC | Permalink

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Evo Morales is a far better man than any of those who try to belittle him.

Posted by: Copeland | Nov 13 2019 2:58 utc | 101

I'm glad to see Evo got out alive. Knowing when to run is very important in these things. Erdogan came withing a half-an-hour or so a while back. And now they can't control Evo or shut him up. And having the entire government resign was a good move too, denies the coup legitimacy, makes it harder to govern.

This could very well lead to a civil war, as othes have mentioned.

Chile looks like it's going to boil over soon too.

Posted by: Bemildred | Nov 13 2019 3:10 utc | 102

Do not fool yourselves. Marxism is an Empire even more disgusting than Capitalism.


Because that is the nonsense that has been implanted in your brain by massive indoctrination...?

No one moved to the Soviet Union while millions flock to the US is supposed to explain something...?

Ever heard of labor arbitrage...?

It's why millions of immigrants from poor countries [kept poor by centuries of colonialism, followed by decades of neocolonialism by the IMF and global capital] are DELIBERATELY IMPORTED IN by the US oligarchy...

John McCain once groused that Americans wouldn't do farm labor if you payed them fifty bucks an if that were somehow outrageous compared to the ill gotten riches of King Bezos and the Wall Street flim flam artists...

That's why people are brought to the the modern version of slave the ruling elite can keep fools like you on a short chain, by keeping everyone's wages down, and indebted all your miserable life just to have a roof over your head...

BTW how many foreign students from Africa did the US sponsor with free scholarships...there were literally tens of thousands in the USSR...

You're believing in is the case with most indoctrinated zombie slaves...

The best slave is the one that thinks he is free.

--Johann von Goethe

Posted by: flankerbandit | Nov 13 2019 3:12 utc | 103

I'll bite, karlos1 @ #76, and I'll leave God out of this. A quote I love:

"There is only one way in which one can endure man's inhumanity to man
and that is to try, in one's own life, to exemplify man's humanity to
man." [Alan Paton]

From what I am reading, Evo Morales sounds to be someone who tries to do that.

Posted by: juliania | Nov 13 2019 3:18 utc | 104

Don Bacon 98 "..succumbed to his own 14-year reign with dictatorial powers, and they protested against him."

So that's why the majority voted for him....

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Nov 13 2019 3:50 utc | 105

how bbc is framing the oas -
"The result was called into question by the Organization of American States, a regional body"

Bolivia crisis: Jeanine Áñez declares herself interim president

Posted by: james | Nov 13 2019 3:53 utc | 106

Lozion @ 70:

AFAIK Bolivia has been a much poorer and less stable country than Venezuela. The differences among the highland indigenous communities and the indigenous peoples in the tropical and subtropical areas of Santa Cruz department are considerable: they had very different histories and cultures even before the arrival of the conquistadores. We cannot assume that Morales had the support of all indigenous groups in Bolivia - his political base was among the western and central highland indigenous groups - and his path to power was one expected of most socialist leaders: they start as trade union officials (even Nicolas Maduro started out as a trade union official) and their leadership styles and the policies they follow once in government tend to draw on their limited experiences.

That's why with the benefit of hindsight we can see that Hugo Chavez was a genius in the way he used his time as a military officer to seize the opportunities offered him to build a wide and diverse political support. Even the army's attempt to isolate him and punish him for recruiting military students to his revolutionary cell backfired when Chavez went out to the people in the boondocks area where he was posted.

It is as you say, that Venezuela's particular demographic, cultural and historical context enabled a unique individual like Chavez to build a socialist movement to an extent possible only in countries with similar characteristics.

Posted by: Jen | Nov 13 2019 3:53 utc | 107

trump's a warmongering scumbag just like clinton. at least he hasn't gotten us into a hot war with russia, though.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Nov 13 2019 4:07 utc | 108

July 2017
"Bolivian president calls US ‘threat to international law, UN’ over ‘unilateral’ Russia sanctions"

April 2017
"‘Selfish, conceited mindset’: Bolivia president to RT on US handling of N. Korea (EXCLUSIVE)"

May 2018
"'World is Not Trump's Estate': Bolivia's Evo Morales Condemns US Sanctions on Venezuela"

September 18
"Bolivian president tears into Trump at UN Security Council meeting"

August 2019
"Bolivia supports Iran’s reduction of commitments to JCPOA'

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Nov 13 2019 4:07 utc | 109

dltravers @99
' Stalin murdered millions of loyal Marxists.'

fake news from yesteryear

stalin didnt murder millions of anybody.

Posted by: brian | Nov 13 2019 4:07 utc | 110

nyolci | Nov 12 2019 20:40 utc | 37

I agree with your sentiment. Moralis was most definitely not a fire brand leftist. He was a moderate socialist that worked to improve his peoples standard of living. He succeeded in that. In the course of his three terms he made a number of compromises with the capitalist and landed gentry. This pissed off the ultra left.

Those idiots joined the street demonstrations against his perfectly legal re-election. Now those fools must be very happy to see a real fascist/military government take over power.

One thing that these events remind me of is George Orwell's "Homage to Catalonia". To this day I still see anarchist types glorifying the Barcelona general strike in 1936. This was at a time when the Madrid government was under attack by Franco's fascist forces. If you go back and look at that insanity you will see that it was the Trotskyist left wing factions along with the anarchists that supported that general strike.

Of course the current street demonstrations in Bolivia were pushed primarily by the upper middle classes but look closely and you will see some crazy anarchist and Troskist factions stirring up trouble.

Posted by: ToivoS | Nov 13 2019 4:23 utc | 111

it is depressing isn't it. poor Bolivia.

And what kind of faith can ordinary people have in any kind of 'free elections' or 'democracy' when less than a week after re-electing a man and his progressive cabinet, there is a repressive and violent military backed coup d'etat, vigorously supported by "outside powers" - meaning of course the US, the CIA, and other regional reactionary actor-states? What does this portend for the future not only of Bolivia but the entire region - if the past is any guide, which it well is, poor Bolivia is in for hell

As doctor Jill Stein chillingly reminds us

Nov 11

Which US-backed coup will be the model for Bolivia?
-Chile: Pinochet's reign of terror
-Guatemala: Ríos Montt's genocide of indigenous
-Honduras: Hernandez' violent narco-state
-Haiti: Brutal misery long after Aristide's ouster

Denounce this Trump-backed right-wing takeover now!

Posted by: michaelj72 | Nov 13 2019 5:14 utc | 112


Expect the 70's and 80's south american death squads to make a comeback under the Trump regime.
Apart from oil gas lithium and other riches, south america is USA's backyard. Venezuela may end being the only holdout as they are fairly well united internally and Russia will support them.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Nov 13 2019 5:53 utc | 113

dltravers 99 "He made changes without the spilling of blood. He left to end the violence. He will return without having to chop heads off."

The only way he will be able to return is when somebody chops those heads of for him. As the saying goes, if you want something in life, you have to fight for it. Waving a gender bender humanitarian flag just doesn't cut it.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Nov 13 2019 6:08 utc | 114

@ Peter AU 1 in #114 who wrote
The only way he will be able to return is when somebody chops those heads of for him. As the saying goes, if you want something in life, you have to fight for it. Waving a gender bender humanitarian flag just doesn't cut it.

This is the Might-Makes-Right meme that China is not playing, as yet. I agree that is has been the modus operandi until MAD but will it continue to be the only way social change occurs? That jury is still out.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 13 2019 6:25 utc | 115

Lots of excellent comments on this thread. I agree with the consensus on the only way the left can retain power. The double standards set for right/left are rather ridiculously skewed in favor of the existing power structure.

@ 113 Peter, I think you are exactly right about seeing death squads. Not only was that the method on which dipshit neocon Trump was thinking the CIA would finally subdue Afghanistan, he still has Elliot Abrams in charge of theSouth American rape. Funny how that asshole, and convicted war criminal, has been kept off the radar since he was hired.

Posted by: sorghum | Nov 13 2019 6:37 utc | 116


Until the US goes under, I think the answer yes. In multi-polar world under the Russian vision that may not be the case, but the multi-polar world will have to be fought for. US, anglosphere neo-con types need to be treated the same as jihadis.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Nov 13 2019 7:15 utc | 117

US interference in South America - covert, overt, blackmail, bullying, threats, bribery - has only ever been about one thing; cracking open states to make things safe for US oligarchs and their business interests, i.e. making evil, disgustingly rich old men even more disgustingly rich and if 'the little people' have to die in the process, so be it. In that sense, nothing has changed since the days of General Smedley Butler, the whole horrible process of regime change is, always was, a racket...

Posted by: Richard | Nov 13 2019 7:58 utc | 118

@ vk | Nov 12 2019 22:31 utc | 60

On class struggle—absolutely correct. I would add to Marx Nietzsche's conclusions from On the Genealogy of Morals that the ruling class also establishes the standpoint of morality itself, which deprives the working class of the ability to evaluate itself other than in terms of deficiency and failure. The poor are driven to self-loathing and are prevented from escaping bourgeois mystification of class relations. The great fear of Morales et al. felt by the right lies here: that the proletariat will discover their virtue and that it will purify the terror (a la Robespierre). It's wonderful see so many articulate thinkers in the comments here.

Posted by: Patroklos | Nov 13 2019 8:00 utc | 119

"The Super Wealthy Have No Country"

This is a quote from Dylan Ratigan who Jimmy Dore recently interviewed. Dore posted the video below on November 11. I thought of trying to summarize the contents of this video, but it is so packed with information, that it is almost impossible to do it justice.

This video runs nearly two and a half hours so you will need time to watch it all. Some of the interview is on personal matters but when Ratigan gets into the financial collapse and other issues such as the Middle East, it is pure gold. In my mind, this is one of the best interviews I have ever seen because Ratigan gives us so much meat in his answers and opinions.

As well as having been a commentator on MSNBC, Ratigan actually worked in the financial field with Bloomberg as a reporter. He has a lot of inside insight to what really happened and called it early on. He links most of the problems in the world to the super wealthy and their control of the world's financial system. His insight into television news explains why we do not get "news." from television news shows.

Jimmy and Dylan cut this interview short at the two hour and 25 minute mark, but it could have gone on much longer. Ratigan said that he wants to come back on again. And I would look forward to seeing more of what he has to say.


Posted by: Mao | Nov 13 2019 8:23 utc | 120

Bolivia is better off without Morales just as Brazil is better off without Lula. For these two, having nominally been in power to fail to remove, disarm and neuter their respective intelligence, police and military plus judiciary makes them weak and stupid. Morales the coward wins the election and then flees - abandons his post, mandate and people. Lula, the one time Trotskyist militant who meekly gets railroaded into prison. Fire such bums. Get tougher and smarter leaders! Get guns and get organized. Don't wait like dumb ducks to get hammered. Strike first and hard.

Posted by: Robert Kett | Nov 13 2019 10:31 utc | 121

I call on all americans to go out on the street,unite and march on to Washington DC to pull out every single congress man and woman and put them in jail or on a lamppost.The only thing that could save us,people of the rest of the world ,from fascism everywhere is plain american folk standing up and kick out the jams!

Posted by: willie | Nov 13 2019 10:39 utc | 122

The Center for Economic and Policy Research has posted this: "No Evidence That Bolivian Election Results Were Affected by Irregularities or Fraud, Statistical Analysis Shows"

"The Co-Director of CEPR noted that it was very unusual, and highly questionable, for the OAS to issue a press statement questioning election results without providing any evidence for doing so. He noted that the OAS preliminary report on the election also provided no evidence that anything was wrong with the vote count".

Posted by: Great White | Nov 13 2019 10:50 utc | 123

Helicopter of Evo Morales made an emergency landing 7 days ago:

Google translaion:

November 4, 2019

The helicopter of the president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, made an emergency landing on Monday when he was transporting the president from the town of Colqiri to Oruro , in the western center of the country.

The Bolivian president and the Bolivian Air Force (FAB) confirmed the mishap. The FAB explained that it was due to tail rotor problems at the time of takeoff.

Posted by: Mao | Nov 13 2019 11:04 utc | 124

Roger Waters sends this message to Evo Morales

"I hope your exile is short, your people need you, they need a leader like you," Roger Waters said in a message to the former president of Bolivia, Evo Morales. The former member of the band Pink Floyd recorded this video during an interview with Argentine media La Garganta Poderosa, in which he added: 'Fuerza Evo. Today the world, truth and history are on your side. We reject the terror, fascism and totalitarianism that is where Bolivia has fallen this weekend."

Rock ’n’ Roll legend and former frontman of Pink Floyd Roger Waters sent Tuesday a message of support to democratically elected and forced out former Bolivian President Evo Morales.

“Evo Morales, if you see this, more power to you. I hope your exile is short, your people need you, they need a leader like you. You’re the first Indigenous leader in the whole of South America, you’ve done a great job, you’ve pulled so many of your people out of poverty and gave them a sense of dignity,” Waters said in video released on social media, adding that the Bolivian leader, after bringing "the rule of law and democracy" to his country, has been “ripped away from his people by greed.”

“You have right and history on your side and as soon as you are able to come out to your beloved Bolivia, the better it would be for the people and for you [...] but also for the rest of us,” the musician went on.

“I’m not a religious man but if I were I would be praying for that moment,” he concluded, telling Morales that “his heart is with him.”

The British activist is a long-standing supporter of leftist movements worldwide and a staunch opponent of the United States’ imperialistic practices. He publicly criticized the unilateral sanctions against Venezuela, as well as the lawfare strategy and jailing of Brazilian former president Lula.

Waters’ message of solidarity came as Morales landed Tuesday in Mexico as a political refugee.

The departure of Bolivia's and South America’s first indigenous president who was part of a wave of leftists leaders who dominated Latin America's politics at the start of the century, followed weeks of violent protests by far-right sectors pretexting fraud claims at the Oct. 20 re-election.

Bolivia under Morales was a rare example of stability, had one of the region's strongest economic growth rates and was able to lift millions out of poverty. The Andean country had an economy growing by an annual average of around 4.5 percent, well higher than the regional average.

Posted by: Mao | Nov 13 2019 11:05 utc | 125

@ Posted by: dltravers | Nov 13 2019 2:55 utc | 99

It's normal for new social systems, when they are born, to be born imperfect.

Capitalism itself was an abject failure in the empires of Portugal and Spain, as well as probably in China, before it unexpectedly flourished in the then tiny and insiginificant England some 250 years later. That is, capitalism had essentially three centuries of failure before succeding (and that at the cost of a lot of blood and suffering).

No new system is born ready, like Athena from the head of Zeus.

P.S.: well, if the USSR was a failure, then I would like very much my country to fail like that: from a bankrupt, crumbled second-rate empire to the world's superpower in less than 28 years. Even its faint shadow, the Russian Federation, is still a formidable enemy to the world's remaining superpower (USA). I don't even need to get into the technological innovations. Yes, the Soviet system was a failure in consumer goods (as Gorbachev stated when he took power), but not in technological innovation in general, in which it successfully competed against the USA until its very end (as evidence we can se Russia today).

The USSR era was, without the shadow of a doubt, the apex of Russian civilization, in any metric you want to choose.

And it's important to highlight that the system could be reformed, as we're witinessing now with China (who solved the "consumer goods" problem by creating a domesticated market).

Posted by: vk | Nov 13 2019 11:42 utc | 126

Audios indicate a multinational articulation to oust Morales

A series of recordings from Bolivian opposition members show there was an international to make a coup in Bolivia. The records make explicit the support of "evangelical churches and the Brazilian Government", and an articulation between American and Israeli agents to "burn structures of the party and also attack the Cuban embassy".

Posted by: vk | Nov 13 2019 11:51 utc | 127

Self-proclaimed Bolivia's interim president's nephew was arrested in Brazil with 480kg of cocaine

Praise the Lord, we have a narco governing Bolivia!

Posted by: vk | Nov 13 2019 11:55 utc | 128

Well "Clueless Joe" you are true to type ...Clueless! The problem is there are so many to kill you will run out of time to do what you need to do to improve the lives of those who need it. Unless you have good people who are mentally strong and smart enough you will fail because these leeches never go away.
Putin faced the same problem but the people he had and continue to support him are too smart for those you want to kill. So he has lasted for 20 years and would probably last for another 20. Maduro can thank his lucky stars Putin stood behind him and drew in China? It's all about planning to survive by outwitting these nasty blockheads, and if you don't they will get you.
Hope that clears your mind?

Posted by: William Kierath | Nov 13 2019 12:37 utc | 129

Don't wait like dumb ducks to get hammered. Strike first and hard.

I agree with this...especially in Latin America where the US empire and its comprador elites have very deep roots...

Cuba has been able to survive [and thrive...look at the health statistics compared to US] because Castro took decisive action [mostly he expelled or caused the scumbags to flee the island...but this is not a viable option in a continental country like Bolivia]...

Uncle Joe is touted in Western propaganda [mainly on the basis of one historical bullshitter Robert Conquest] to have killed 20 million...which is absurd...

But he did kill close to a million no-goodniks [about 770,000 by archival records...most of those, 650,000, in the single year 1936 to '37 purges]...

But what counts is the end result...the Red Army crushed the mightiest [and most aggressive] military machine that the world had ever seen...and it's a good thing that it did, because the Russian people [and many European peoples] would not exist in their present form today...

So maybe Uncle Joe knew what he was doing...?

Mao is similarly demonized by blatant historical lies...when he actually pulled a huge nation out of starvation, brought them literacy en masse and laid the infrastructure of an industrial nation...

The cultural revolution is considered again by western agit-prop as some kind of huge crime...but it was very much necessary, because the party had become corrupt and distanced itself from the people...

The Unknown Cultural Revolution: Life and Change in a Chinese Village,... by Dongping Han, a former Chinese villager himself, now a professor at a US university...cuts through the established bullshit like a knife through butter...

Here is the simple physical fact about people and how societies work...the scum rises to the top...

Yes, the worst of the worst...the psychos and sharks are the ones that fight tooth and nail and do every dirty deed that is necessary to claw their way to the top...

It is no great loss, nor occasion for moral reflection to simply send these folks to an early 'retirement' fact you are doing the world a favor...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Nov 13 2019 13:12 utc | 130

Off topic for this thread...but recently discussed elsewhere on this channel...

Bhadrakumar has an informative piece up today on the Iran situation...

We heard the EU, especially Germany's Heiko Maas making a lot of noise lately about Iran ratcheting back its JCPOA commitments and stepping up fuel enrichment...

As expected, Russia [speaking also presumably for China] was quick to put the kibosh on the little E3 puppet show about triggering the deal's dispute resolution mechanism...

Russia and China are unlikely to coordinate with the E3.

On November 9 in a TV interview, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova tore into E3 and squarely blamed the West for the emergent situation.

On November 10, Tehran and Moscow also began pouring concrete for a second reactor at Iran’s sole nuclear power plant in Bushehr on the Gulf coast.

As many have long surmised the EU poodles have shown once again that they have 'pathetic lapdog' baked into their genes...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Nov 13 2019 13:53 utc | 131

Killing and violence is not really a priority for revolution. To be certain, the socialist revolutionary must be prepared for violence as capitalists will always resort to it, but violence isn't a requirement to win and secure control by labor over the resources that labor creates. The big requirement of revolution is extensive organization of the working class.

There is a misunderstanding by many that the goal is to take control of the government. The flawed assumption is that you win the election and that somehow magically grants you "The Power". In liberal democracy, however, the "democratic" decorations on government are just a distraction; a smokescreen to hide the real power in society. That real power in society is always centered on economic power.

Another misunderstanding is that power in society arises from violence. While one can maintain control through violence, it is expensive. You have to buy off people to get them to supply the necessary violence and that is not sustainable in the longer run. All wealth in society is the product of labor of one form or another, and all wealth possessed by capitalists is wealth that laboring people created but were not paid for. Hired goons and bully-boys do not contribute to the production of wealth, so in order for capitalists to hire goons at wages higher than what their wealth-creating laborers are paid and still turn a profit, the number of goons must necessarily be significantly smaller than the number of laborers in capitalist society.

Since the violence has to be purchased, it provides power to those who can afford to purchase the most of it. This should make it clear that violence is just another expression of economic power.

Of course, the working class socialist who organizes her class into unions and into a mass-based revolutionary party can count on that mass-based party to be ready to supply some violence for free if the effort has been made to educate the membership in what it is that they are facing. But the economically savvy will recognize that volunteered violence isn't really free. The value of all things boils down to the labor invested in those things, and so volunteered labor to, let us say, defend a neighborhood from masked fascist goons resolves to the very purest form of payment. It is just another way to pay union/party dues.

More importantly, though, is that the organized working class can deny the capitalist class the means to buy violence. General strikes will quickly deplete the capitalists' cash reserves and leave them unable to hire goons. Nationalizing the capitalists' productive assets will make disempowering them a permanent state of affairs. The empire can step in and finance the goons for a time, but the empire runs its colonies as businesses. If the cost-benefit analysis goes negative for a given colony then either the empire begins bombing or the empire retreats from the colony, depending upon what difficulties the empire is facing at home at the time.

In any case, when socialists win political power, rather than trying to use the tools of capitalist government to manage and administer the gains of revolution, the government should instead be used to accelerate and reinforce working class organization, building the organized working class into an independent power in society roughly parallel to the government. To a small degree this is what Chavez and supporters did in Venezuela, and even this small amount resulted in a very powerful force that the empire is having a difficult time countering.

The point is that an organized workforce will always have the advantage over the capitalist class, regardless of what violence the capitalists resort to. The successful socialists will be fully expecting that violence and will work towards countering it judo-style without amplifying that violence. For instance, a tactic used in the Cuban revolution was when Batista's regime forces were were captured, they often were disarmed, held briefly, then released and allowed to go home. The dictator Batista's forces quickly learned that if they wanted to go home they just surrendered, turned over their weapons, and then they were free to leave. This resulted in the rebels winning many confrontations with minimal bloodshed.

In the struggle for dominance between labor and capital, violence is inevitable because capital will always employ it before conceding defeat and further because prior to capitalism's defeat it will be impossible to fully organize the working class 100%. If labor is well organized and its vision is cleared of delusions, it can still minimize the bloodshed.

Posted by: William Gruff | Nov 13 2019 15:25 utc | 132

As one person remarked to me: "When one wants to win and keep a socialist revolution one has to bring guillotines."

What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

As usual, the guillotine has not been used by the right people in the past .. like socialism.

Posted by: JaimeInTexas | Nov 13 2019 15:57 utc | 133

William...while I agree with your thesis in general, the problem is in the particulars...

We saw in Bolivia precisely that violence was used...and in fact the military threat of ultimate violence is what toppled Evo...

In Venezuela by comparison, the military has been with the revolution...

HOWEVER...the comprador elites in Venezuela have never been declawed...and have thus remained a mortal danger...

Would they have been able to sabotage the country's economy for nearly two decades if they had been sent to the gulag and the ringleaders 'retired'...?

I don't think so...

Like I said, in Latin America uprooting the very deep and powerful elites is a must for a long term survival of socialism...

We can see many more Brazil it was socialism 'lite' and look what happened...the US was able to upset that apple cart easy as pie...


The question of nonviolent struggle is not a simple one...I think a historical review shows that violence is in fact necessary in certain situations...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Nov 13 2019 16:09 utc | 134

Finally...Linera´s personal library was burnt...

This is all done with the aim of doing the most harm possible, while depriving the masses of knowledge...Librariés can be rebuilt, unless they host some irreplaceable piece....

The goal is getting the just recently empowered indigenous again complexed and despaiured and unable to rise their voice, as a sample this message from the usurper Presidenta Interina....

What the language of this human scum translates is deep fear of the rightful indigenous people, and, most than anything, the absolute conviction that, contrary to what they repeat all the time, so as to scare away their fear, God, in case it exists, can not be but with with the indigenous people...

Posted by: Sasha | Nov 13 2019 16:18 utc | 135

Thanks, William Gruff @ 132, that makes sense. Bolivia itself has more knowledge along these lines, and I was thinking of how urgently folk were berating Russia when Ukraine fell to its coup, saying that Russia should immediately come in guns blazing to correct the situation. Russia did not. When stupidity tries to take the reins illegitimately, it is only a matter of time before the evidence is in that the country has fallen apart. Then, the people themselves will undertake the hard task of repair, knowing their own country and countrymen so much better than any outsider. More force and more upheaval is not what Bolivia needs, and especially it does not need US intervention or 'help'.

It is still a terrible mess. Shame on the perpetrators. The best policies of those who cannot truly help the people would be to bear witness, document accurately any atrocities, follow the precepts of their departed president, and honor the legitimate vote of the people. It will be hard enough task to restore function to what had been a functioning democracy, but all that recognized achievement cannot have been in vain.

Posted by: juliania | Nov 13 2019 16:28 utc | 136

one way to move forward it to make sure you don't have a bunch of usa educated stooges in your upper armed forces position...the same goes for people who are given power politically like this Juan Ramón Quintana dude...

unfortunately a lot of these people who have been brainwashed in the usa educational system - school of americas, or other such rot as harvard and etc, is they tend to bring this view with them of how great everything is when it is done like in the usa... that is completely ass backwards as we see on a regular basis...

so, i would recommend anyone with any association to the usa educational system stay as far as fuck away from the corridors of power in any country that wants to be something other then a country that the usa has around its grubby hands..

Posted by: james | Nov 13 2019 16:28 utc | 137

Just to add a little granularity to my previous comment, specifically regarding Venezuela...

William's idea that things like a general strike can bring the elites to heel may not really apply in today's world of finance capital...

The Venezuelan elite's wealth relies mostly on rent extraction and speculation, not actual productive activity...

We saw that Chavez made huge progress for the people by land expropriating huge tracts of oligarch-owned land [at fair compensation], for redistribution to the landless poor...

I remember reading the stunning details of some of these huge landowners, who were in fact largely foreign...from the UK and Europe mostly...

This pissed off the comprador elites and their global cabal more than anything...but Chavez still let those same traitorous elites hold on to their massive wealth and media holdings etc...

This has been enough of an opening for these scumbags to continue undermining is these people who have done more than any alleged 'mismanagement' of the economy by the socialist government that has led to the dismal condition of today...that and the outside interference...

Venezuela is hardly out of the woods...and it will never be until it takes action to bring those comprador elites to heel...clearly the full FORCE of the state must be imposed...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Nov 13 2019 16:34 utc | 138

@vk #126
Interesting how you term the monarchy sponsored colonial empires of Spain and Portugal as "capitalist".

Posted by: c1ue | Nov 13 2019 16:35 utc | 139

Apart from likely being the easiest prey to catch ( because of lack of cadres and self-defense militias level organization...), what the US really feared from Evo Morales was that his country was offering the best growth indicators in the whole American continent, what would meant breaking of remaining neoliberal projects in LatinAmerica as a house of a proof the current revolts in Chile, Honduras, to what we must add recent victory of kirchneristas in Argentina and socialists in Mexico.....

In summary, empowered indigenous Bolivia was functioning as a lighthouse in the American continent equivalent to what was the USSR in Europe until the 80s...And this on the verge of the mother of all crisis where who most will suffer will be those whose economy is based on especulative finance....

As illustration....

Violence is taking the 32 from the southeast to the center in the capital of the richest country in the world and observing. It is to get off it and in 5 minutes on foot find every day, on average, 5 people lying on the ground who need help before the indifferent looks of the rest. #washingtonstories

Lesson to learn from Venezuela....

Posted by: Sasha | Nov 13 2019 16:35 utc | 140

It’s the same reason we have nonstop leaks and a full blown coup taking place in the US. It goes for anything in careful who you surround yourself with as those people may bring you down. Morales needed to take more care in cultivating the heads of the military and police. This is why it fails in Venezuela no matter how much money and nonsense that’s put into a regime change operation. Assad in Syria had a few defections, but no one major. Iranian government stands by one another as well. Morales made the critical mistake of sleeping too comfortably at night

Posted by: DannyC | Nov 13 2019 17:08 utc | 141

Sasha @135: Burning libraries, they really let you know who they are, like the old Conquistadores and their priestly hangers-on. An angry, spiteful lot, the rich. Afraid of everything and nothing.

Posted by: Bemildred | Nov 13 2019 17:35 utc | 142

Evo's hold on power was always tenuous. From the first Santa Cruz was in revolt and the MAS was never well established there. Its base has always been among the indigenous masses in the mountains and the poor, refugees from the mountains, of the cities.
The gamble MAS took was that its support would slowly be consolidated as the success of its policies-not unlike those Lula came up with in Brazil, so far as I (in my ignorance!) can tell. In both cases substantial gains were made and the lives of millions greatly improved. But the changes in society were only incremental, they were not immediately apparent. In Bolivia there are still fascists owning hundreds of thousands of acres, the economic basis for the criole class which, in collaboration with its imperial masters, carried out the coup are still there.
That I believe is the basic error of reform socialism: it does not weaken the capitalist class. It often makes a virtue out of what is actually cowardice- a refusal to face the fact that to survive socialists must replace the dominant class of capitalists with that of workers. And that this involves a massive transfer of property from rich to poor: without his land and capital the Croatian fascist is just another foreigner, a nasty racist but without power.
The key to sustaining socialist reforms in Latin America is to take the property that the rich defend as if their lives depended on it and give it to the poor to keep so long as they defend it. Once that has been done the basis for self defence militias which will wipe out any death squads or paramilitary formations sponsored by the rich will have been established.
Latin America does not have a large urbanised proletariat so that any political strategy based upon one is unlikely to work: what there is are hundreds of millions of victims of the creole elites, without property because it has been taken from them. To empower them begins with their demonstrating their power by insisting on taking back the land and resources which were stolen from their ancestors. That is what made the French Revolution successful: once the peasants had established that the land was theirs it could never be taken back from them.
There is, of course, much more to it than this-and Morales cannot be blamed for pursuing what probably seemed to be the only realistic course. He might even have succeeded had the imperialists in Washington not turned their attention to a continent wide campaign to recover absolute control over the continent. But the matter of transferring power and property from rich to poor has to be recognised as something that cannot be postponed. And this is because it has two aspects: the first being the impoverishing and disempowering of the capitalists, the second being the empowering of the poor who, in taking the property of the wealthy, come together as a class with common interests, a class for itself. A class ready to rule not through proxies in Parliament but through what the Russians once called soviets, local councils directly responsible to their community.

Posted by: bevin | Nov 13 2019 17:40 utc | 143

as a regular reader of this website and as someone who recommends this website to friends, I feel the necessity to express my personal view regarding political revolutions and the use of force:

Even if violence and use of force cannot always be avoided, it is unacceptable to use violence against the enemies. First, it is the same method the enemy is using. Second, it is not working. I want to make it perfectly clear that I distance myself from certain views and opinions in this discussion, especially from those who call for lynch law.

Finally I want to add a central thought about the enemy itself: the enemy is not a political system, nor the rich, nor the multinational corporations, nor the military industrial complex. The problem lies in the human kind's current development phase of materialism. When this materialistic phase is gone, in a couple of centuries or thousands of years, there will be no need anymore for absurd accumulation of wealth and resource wars. There will be no fear of losing something. There will be no concept of ownership and possession of goods. The problem will solve itself over time. Until then, and it's a gradual process, we will have war and violence. It is futile to search for culprits, because it is a zeitgeist phenomenon. We have to endure this culprit-victim game as best as we can, as we as individuals play both roles. Always remember: your dignity is your most precious good you have. If you lose it you've lost the game in that particular round. Keep your dignity, and you are on the save side. Whatever happens to you, your family, your country. Your dignity is something nobody can take away from you. It is your most precious good.

Posted by: Phil | Nov 13 2019 18:09 utc | 144

bevin @143--

Yes, retake the land from the Rentier Class and nullify the debt owed to the Creditor Class, thus impoverishing them aside from their loot stashed offshore while nationalizing everything. Enact a law making it a crime to steal the national wealth and ship it overseas, then arrest them all as they attempt to flee to their purloined loot, try them, then sentence them to life in prison. Sure is easy to write; far harder to implement.

Perhaps the most crucial BRICS Summit ever begins today in Brasilia. It bears close watching!

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 13 2019 18:24 utc | 145

A must read...

Posted by: notlurking | Nov 13 2019 18:37 utc | 146

@144 phil... thanks for chiming in... what do you think of @143 bevins idea of the poor taking back the land from the rich? bevin states it here - "But the matter of transferring power and property from rich to poor has to be recognized as something that cannot be postponed." personally i tend to agree with this... i don't know how it is done though...

Posted by: james | Nov 13 2019 18:43 utc | 147

@140 Sasha: "In summary, empowered indigenous Bolivia was functioning as a lighthouse in the American continent".
Which is why Haiti can never be allowed prosperity & sovereignty again..

Posted by: Lozion | Nov 13 2019 19:10 utc | 148

@ Posted by: Phil | Nov 13 2019 18:09 utc | 144

Violence can and must be used if for revolutionary goals.

But, of course, there is irrational violence (as that used by, e.g., fascism) and rational violence (that used in a scientifically way, organized in the form of a well-equiped, well trained and with clear revolutionary objective).

Socialists/communists are pro-rational violence. This means it must be used for a clear-cut goal, with clear tactic and strategic, strictly military, objectives. The Ancient Greeks already knew this difference, when they embodied rational violence in the form of Athena (the goddess of wisdom and strategy) and irrational violence in the form of Ares (carnage, massacre).

What makes fascists the irrevocable enemy of communism is not its use of violence, but that it is irrational (i.e. anti-Reason).

Fascism is anti-science par excellence; they know science is useful and they use it insofar as it produces immediately useful sociopolitical goals, but they don't want to know from where it comes from, much less for it to be democratized to the masses it rules (i.e. the enclosure of science).

Posted by: vk | Nov 13 2019 19:16 utc | 149

Purges, even effective ones, are deficient in creating long-term stability. An unequivocal victory by the forces of "good" over those of "evil" is merely the prelude for subdivision within those victorious to reinterpret the now dominant ideological dogma in a continuous struggle for control. An iron fist, in that instance, can only suppress the symptoms of ideological schism and collapse at the surface level, while beneath the surface an inevitable future battle between "good" and "evil" takes shape. There are tactics for guiding the process in a useful capacity, most notably steering these internal contradictions towards an "external enemy," but tactics don't change the vehicle itself, which functionally lacks any breaks and tends to alter its speed at inopportune moments.

A stable solution relies on the balance of power, which in turn is guaranteed by mutually assured destruction. MAD, in turn, is contingent on the value of the property under threat and the destructive potential of the armament. Disarming the "opposition" and shielding one's property from their influence may seem sensible, but in breaking the balance of power it eliminates the possibility of constructive co-existence and makes some form of violent insurrection inevitable as the only remaining method of regaining one's destructive potential. A discrepancy in the value of property under threat obviously makes a radical gamble more feasible, as one of the sides vying for power increasingly has less to lose from trying and potentially failing.

The system has major weaknesses. BOP predicated on MAD must be maintained artificially, meaning that major advances in the defining factors of MAD must be ceded voluntarily in favor of long-term benefits. Ergo, aggressive trigger discipline is necessary to deal with arising imbalances. Furthermore, the model breaks down outside of a closed system, as it doesn't inherently provide a method of dealing with outside influence, making it in essence a globalist model. Finally, although a constructive potential exists within the system, the general tendency may well drift towards stagnation and diminishing returns.

Just my two cents, obviously.

Posted by: Skiffer | Nov 13 2019 19:23 utc | 150

@bevin #143
The nationalization or confiscation you speak of is the one guaranteed way to get on the "shoot on sight" lists forever.
Cuba is an excellent example.
It will be more instructive to see how China reins in (or doesn't) its newly minted ultra-rich; the failures of most communist/socialist states was due to the shiny TV and radio examples of how well their capitalist neighbors were doing. This doesn't hold true for China, though, since China has been actually using the proceeds of increased wealth to build up the nation rather than pure self-enrichment, and has been doing it as part of the world system rather than an economic pariah like Cuba has been.

Posted by: c1ue | Nov 13 2019 19:44 utc | 151

NYT in an article about Kolomoyskyi: George D. Kent, a senior State Department official, said he had told Mr. Zelensky that his willingness to break with Mr. Kolomoisky — “somebody who had such a bad reputation” — would be a litmus test for his independence.

And William Taylor, the acting ambassador in Kiev, said he had warned Mr. Zelensky: “He, Mr. Kolomoisky, is increasing his influence in your government, which could cause you to fail.”
G.K. Kent and W. Taylor rather openly say that trying to be independent can cause the fall of Zelenskyi. Of course, in Western double-speak, obediently following Washington shows "independence".

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 13 2019 19:50 utc | 152

@ Posted by: c1ue | Nov 13 2019 16:35 utc | 139

The Spanish-Portuguese era, also known as mercantilism, was essential to the birth of industrial capitalism in England and Germany two centuries later, because it corresponded to the essential phase of the birth of capitalism Marx coined as the accumulation of the critical mass of precious metal to be used as money.

After this critical mass of money was reached, capitalism was able to get going on its own.

Posted by: vk | Nov 13 2019 19:50 utc | 153

@ c1ue who wrote
rather than an economic pariah like Cuba has been.

LOL! The Cuba I am familiar with has created more doctors per capita that any other country and sends them around the world to help others and you call them a pariah nation....I think you are sick in the head

You comparison of Cuba to China seems to have a bit of a scale problem. but keep deluding yourself...

Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 13 2019 20:07 utc | 154

i see there is a fair amount of disneyfied anti revolutionaries and anti violence murcanized/murcans in this comment section.
We will sadly never see peace unless we wage a war first, our childrens future is at risk ffs!
I wonder how the "we dont need violence" crowd feel about the resistance during ww2, the resistance axis of today? And if they believe they would have "won" anything without fighting back? Do they really believe our situation is less dire then it is/was for them? Do they really believe that a "just war" do not exist? are they npc`s or paid to type? I see several realists here too, so i am relieved that i am not alone in my "blackpilled" state.

God bless you all.

Posted by: Per/Norway | Nov 13 2019 20:22 utc | 155

@c1ue | Nov 13 2019 16:35 utc | 139

vk is spot on to refer to Spain and Portugal's imperial adventurism as capitalist. It was profit-seeking driven by Genovese finance, and the beginnings of sovereign debt, the international role of finance capitalism, the globalization of capital, the coercion of local populations into cheap labour forces (e.g. Peruvian silver operations in the late 16th century). The 'monarchy' was simply reduced to the facilitating state apparatus, the superstructural support for an emerging world-system based on capital flows. That the Genovese-Iberian epoch of world-capitalism (the long 16th century) was the first incarnation of globalized capital (including reserve currencies and so on) is well understood—first by Braudel, then Wallerstein and now in the work of Jason Moore. It was followed by the Dutch, the British and the US phases.

Posted by: Patroklos | Nov 13 2019 20:26 utc | 156

"If the goal of electrifying transportation was for real then we’d see a lot more trolleybus networks being built."

OT on this thread, but I do agree totally.
One of the first moves of the automobile industry cartel was to agitate politically for municipalities to rip up their trolley lines. For example, L.A. had an extensive electric trolley system. All gone. Now the USA does not have a single manufacturer of trolleys or trolley buses.

Posted by: Reallly?? | Nov 13 2019 20:28 utc | 157

Paycho...well done with your comment to that stooge about Cuba...'s not just the number of doctors...

Infant mortality rate...

Cuba 4.9 per 1,000 live births...US 6.06 ...24 percent higher...

Hospital beds per 1,000 people...

Cuba...4.9...US 3,3 [48 percent more for Cuba]

More info here...

Also this info is a bit shows both Cuban and US life expectancy about the same, but the US life expectancy has been plummeting lately...

Cuba is now well ahead of the US at 79.1 years vs 77.8...

I imagine all the other indicators, cancer rate and others are all even more strongly in Cuba's favor now...

Btw Cuba has nearly 3 times as many doctors per 1,000 people as the US...and they are world-renowned for their competence...

The stooge you responded to...I have been watching carefully his activity credibility and quite incoherent if trying to muddy the waters...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Nov 13 2019 21:01 utc | 158

16mFilomena Rocha
"We send our children to the barracks so they can learn, not kill us." Touching story of an indigenous woman mourning the victims of the massacre committed by the coup and genocidal army of #Bolivia

Tropa Digital Pablo Úbeda
#ULTIMAHORA "enviamos nuestros hijos al cuartel, para que vayan a aprender, no para que nos maten a nosotros" Desgarrador relato de indígena que llora a los asesinados por la masacre cometida por el ejército golpista y genocida de #Bolivia #EvoElMundoContigo .

Posted by: brian | Nov 13 2019 21:05 utc | 159

Senator Adriana Salvatierra speaks live about the attacks she received from the police when the MÁS stand tried to enter the Legislative Assembly

Posted by: brian | Nov 13 2019 21:13 utc | 160

Piotr...interesting article about Kolomoysky today in RT where he advocates for Ukraine forming a new 'Warsaw Pact' with Russia...

Seems he's disillusioned with the west...LOL

‘NATO will be soiling its pants’: Ukrainian tycoon seen as power behind president calls for ‘new Warsaw Pact’ with Moscow

Though described by Putin as a “swindler” and “one of a kind chancer,” Kolomoysky is certain that Kiev will drift towards Russia.

“I’m describing, objectively, what I’m seeing and where things are heading,” he said.

Posted by: flankerbandit | Nov 13 2019 21:35 utc | 161

juliania @104--

Thanks for your reply! You were the only one brave enough to make an attempt @76. But that was left unfinished as both Tolkien and Lucas used a series of tricks that allowed their Good to triumph over Evil. Actual human history hasn't worked out that way as Evil has held the upperhand for the last several millennia and is in charge as I type in the form of the Outlaw US Empire. Some thought Evil was vanquished during WW2; but what transpired was one, newly risen form of Evil being defeated by another pre-existing Evil. However, in one theatre, Good did vanquish Evil, and is seen by many as the future's guiding light. That Good was ignored as irrelevant then interpreted as having been conquered by the early 1990s. Then a big awakening occurred that prompted the Good into action--the great rapine visited upon Russia in the name of saving it from its past that was then followed by an even greater resurrection of Evil on 911.

Reduced to its most common denominators, today's Good v Evil Struggle consists of those seeking to establish a Win-Win, share the wealth world that empowers people Good versus a Winner-take-all Zero-sum world where a few drown in their gold while the vast majority are enslaved and disempowered to serve Evil. By an almost 2:1 margin, the world's nations favor the former over the latter--sentiments well known by both Good and Evil.

The battle is very much joined and the outcome nowhere close to being determined as yet, although some future possibilities can now be seen. The Good enjoys the advantage of having the majority of humanity on its side, although many don't know what the ultimate stakes are or that such a primeval Good v Evil struggle is real and ongoing. Evil profits by keeping those under its sway fat, ignorant and distracted and by maintaining iron-fist control over its Evil core--the 5-Eyes Anglo nations and their vassals. Good tries to win by trampling on as few people as possible; Evil doesn't care how many die in its pursuit of power. The lines are drawn. The people within the Outlaw US Empire have the power to dictate the outcome by refusing to again vote for the lesser evil and instead elect Good and then backing their choice to the hilt against the Reactionaries who'll certainly try to annul such an outcome. But then, only those reading MoA now know what's at stake in 2020.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 13 2019 21:39 utc | 162

Bevin #30

Very interesting post.
Thank you.

After WWI demobbed soldiers were a radicalized force. In Vietnam the experience of serving in the military---at least, the army---was radicalizing. Can comparisons be drawn between mercenaries (contractors) and "regular" troops? Somehow it seems that mercs would be more impervious to any kind of political awakening as a result of "serving" (working a military gig, actually) in military conflicts. Perhaps another reason for TPTB to prefer hiring mercs than sending own actual troops on these foreign adventures. Perhaps they actually are easier to control and less likely to develop any kind of insight/conscience/doubt as to what they are fighting for.

Posted by: Really? | Nov 13 2019 21:50 utc | 163

@ notlurking | Nov 13 2019 18:37 utc | 146

Yes, that was a VERY interesting article at CounterPunch

For those that haven't linked and read, the article describes the lithium industry in Bolivia and a case that Tesla or it's backers might be players involved in coup, trying for a better deal for Bolivia's lithium, than offered by the Morales government.

I recall reading somewhere about a week ago that the US was very concerned about China's near monopoly on lithium refinement. This move would make perfect sense from a US "strategic interest" (steal poor countries'resources) imperial position.

Depending upon who you read there are a few sources that make the claim that peak oil will occur somewhere between 2024 and 2036, including authors in Forbes.

Given that:
1) Bolivia controls 70% of all known lithium reserves;
2) it took China 20 years to develop their lithium capabilities, and
3) the US is way behind the curve, still suckling off the Petro-dollar,
the situation where the US does not control the primary energy source on the planet would be an economic Armageddon for the US.

The clincher in the article was that within two days following coup, Tesla's stock went up 20 points which, for that company, is amazing.

Posted by: Michael | Nov 13 2019 22:05 utc | 164

Patroklos@156: You are right, as is vk, about the crucial role that the 'discovery' of America preceded by the colonising of the Atlantic islands had in the founding of capitalism as a system rather than a series of isolated islands within the general economy. Incidentally the almost forgotten Oliver Cox, one of a generation of Trinidadian scholars, including James and Williams who made important contributions to marxist history, in Capitalism as a System should be remembered.

"Cuba is an excellent example." Writes c1ue@151
And he is right: it is an excellent example. Living in the shadow of the Empire for sixty years, it has maintained its independence, contributed mightily to the liberation movement in Africa and elsewhere and broken up the big plantations, creating peasant farmers out of landless labourers. It has better infant mortality rates than the US, its general living standards, despite sanctions and economic warfare, have risen, its population is literate, its medical system treats the poor of capitalist countries for free. And it is a beacon of hope in the Caribbean- a stark contrast with Puerto Rico.
You tell me that "The nationalization or confiscation you speak of is the one guaranteed way to get on the "shoot on sight" lists forever." Of course you are right: socialist countries are always at the top of 'shoot on sight' lists, and for the best of all reasons-they represent a living threat to the cannibal system of capitalism. Like socialists, revolutionary regimes are always 'Dead men on leave.'

Posted by: bevin | Nov 13 2019 22:12 utc | 165

bevin @165--

Nice outline of how Evil stalks Good and is always ready, willing and able to kill anything that gets in its way. The very longstanding Narrative of Socialists being the Evil and Capitalists the Good must be reversed, which is what I'm exploring. The Better dead than Red adage actually predates the rise of anti-Socialism and was aimed at those joining the Natives in their escaping servitude and slavery--and living better as a result: a poisonous truth requiring eradication.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 13 2019 22:45 utc | 166

Don @78
" many people were just tired of him, after 14 years."

Very very disappointed to hear such a sentiment coming out of Don Bacon at this blog.
This is the kind of BS I kept getting sent by two friends who kept sending me articles of that type published by the NTY. These articles sounded like adolescent popularity contests, not political analysis. I couldn't believe that college classmates of mine (class of '68) were taking seriously such "news" and justification for a violent coup and overthrow of an elected president. have such people learned nothing bout democracy? They are also in favor of the impeachment circus in the USA because they don't like Trump.

I am speechless when faced with such "evidence" that coups are A-OK by previously assumed to be intelligent people.

Posted by: Really?? | Nov 13 2019 22:46 utc | 167

I am speechless when faced with such "evidence" that coups are A-OK by previously assumed to be intelligent people.

Posted by: Really?? | Nov 13 2019 22:46 utc | 167

I would add to previously assumed intelligent, previsoulsy assumed decent...

Posted by: Sasha | Nov 13 2019 22:57 utc | 168

Per I like this one you came up with...

disneyfied anti revolutionaries

Agree with pain, no gain...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Nov 13 2019 23:02 utc | 169

@121 Kett

The only thing I can fault Morales on, maybe, is not seeing this coming and being prepared. Or, perhaps he did and was--one cannot know at this point. Who is/was in charge of his intelligence agency? Surely they should have enough humint to know who the traitors are among them and to see that the election, regardless of actual results, was a danger point. So one wonders why the legit. govt didn't preemptively round up these mutineers, instead of the other way around.

Posted by: Really?? | Nov 13 2019 23:43 utc | 170

@167 Really??

I meant to say, people were sending me similar types of NYT articles in connection with the Venezuela coup attempt. "hearsay" type popularity assessments of Maduro as legitimate justifications for a coup!

Posted by: Really?? | Nov 13 2019 23:45 utc | 171

It's not what is presented here in this article, or in counterpunch, or in truthout, or in wsws. Even Chomsky got it totally wrong and he has no excuse, he can read Spanish:
"These days I've had a lot of rage, a lot of anger... and I'm tired of seeing my brothers and sisters being used as cannon fodder, again and again, clinging to any warlord with a thread of hope, I'm tired of seeing the heroes proclaiming themselves saviors of Indians, while they publicly humiliate women and sign agreements with transnational corporations and grant mines over indigenous territories (Evo approved 207 mining contracts days before the elections), without mentioning that he signed an agreement with the Canadian transnational Prophecy Development Corp to exploit Pulacayo)... yes, the whipala will not hide again, but let's not forget that in this piece of the world there are more towns that have been trampled again and again and we have not heard the voices in defense of their rights, they have not been indignant against brother Evo for sending women, children and the elderly to be beaten... at the risk of being lynched I wonder if a symbol is worth more than the bodies of these sisters and brothers and sisters... at the risk of being lynched I wonder if a symbol is worth more than the bodies of these sisters and brothers and brothers and sisters... could it be that a symbol is worth more than the bodies of these sisters and brothers and sisters and brothers?"

Posted by: streamfortyseven | Nov 13 2019 23:47 utc | 172

Really?? @170--

The Grayzone has published a few answers. At first glance, Evo made numerous errors and trusted when the proper mode would be to always remain extremely skeptical and vigilant. Incorruptible people loyal to the nation are what's required by every nation in the camp opposite the Evil Outlaw US Empire.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 14 2019 0:13 utc | 173

Poor should have known that a comment like that would bring out the vigilantes. It may be true for all I know....people do get bored and fed up with the same leader over time. That said it seems Morales was fairly (?) re-elected so people who didn't like it should have been more patient.

Posted by: dh | Nov 14 2019 0:17 utc | 174

#UltimaHora: Police prevent the entry into Parliament of Adriana Salvatierra, Senate President of #Bolivia, the legislator of the Movement to Socialism of #EvoMorales, which according to the Constitution, was the next in the line of succession to occupy the headquarters of the government

Jeanine Añez self-proclaimed Presidenta of Bolivia in an almost empty she says Inna Afinogenova, the Timoshenko of Bolivia, with the same face of a witch, obviously is not who dictates orders there...

Posted by: Sasha | Nov 14 2019 0:21 utc | 175

In The Now video with Dan Cohen taking @8.5min to explain the events leading to the coup.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 14 2019 0:29 utc | 176

vk @ 153

"The Spanish-Portuguese era, also known as mercantilism, was essential to the birth of industrial capitalism in England and Germany two centuries later, because it corresponded to the essential phase of the birth of capitalism Marx coined as the accumulation of the critical mass of precious metal to be used as money."

Earlier I believe you said that the Genoese financed the voyages of discovery that then resulted in, among other things, the exploitation of Peruvian indigenous to mine silver. Where did the Genoese get the capital to start with?

John K. Thornton, in A Cultural History of the Atlantic World, explains things a bit differently (I think). Per Thornton, the collapse of the feudal system of military obligations meant that European monarchs had for the first time to finance their militaries with cash. But they didn't have much. The discovery of immense seams of silver in Peru and Mexico and its expatriation back to Spain and thence into royal and other coffers around Europe was what allowed those monarchies to keep going, instead of collapsing, and warmaking to continue. Thieving silver doesn't really sound like the "accumulation of precious metal" by capitalists, but no doubt New World silver was important in eventually priming the development of capitalism. But the original capital must have come from somewhere. I thought Columbus's voyages were in fact financed by Queen Isabella of Spain, even though Columbus himself was a Genoese. Not by Genoese bankers.

Posted by: Really?? | Nov 14 2019 0:36 utc | 177

Karlof1 @ 173

The info on APALA is a gigantic red flag. Why wasn't a list drawn up of all military and police personnel who had spent any time in DC, in particular, who had any truck with APALA?

It sure sounds as though any Latin American officer or official that has a connection with APALA, the FBI, or any other U.S. agency, should be considered guilty until proven innocent---tracked via electronic surveillance, monitored, spied on, etc. by all means possible. In other words, belled. Frankly, it seems like any left-wing govt in Latin America should have preemptively detained all such individuals prior to the election. It is called "preventive detention," "protective custody," etc.

Progressives have to be as ready to protect themselves and their government and administration as anyone else. Trying to claim the moral high ground while your face and those of your followers are ground into the dirt is pointless and unrealistic. This is not a game, it is life. To actually win at life---which means, for a government or a leader, to remain in power---is what counts.

Posted by: Really?? | Nov 14 2019 0:55 utc | 178

@ Really? | Nov 13 2019 21:50 utc | 163

I served in the military but did not see combat. Those who have faced enemy fire will tell us that, although mercenaries are perfectly happy about shooting for paychecks, they are not at all interested in dying for their country. Mercenaries are not reliable soldiers.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Nov 14 2019 1:04 utc | 179

Really?? @177--

The royal pair, Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile, who he'd been proposing his venture to since 1486, jointly financed Columbus, although Isabella was his primary interviewer. The primary contract between Columbus and the royals is known as "The Capitulations of Santa Fe", which was consummated in April 1492.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 14 2019 1:11 utc | 180

Really?? @178--

I agree 100%! The entire affair stinks to hell. What I've digested has me totally appalled to the point where it must be considered that Evo was "asking for it." Yes, any politician anywhere that's left of center must watch their back and mimic being paranoid given the Evil Empire's abilities at infiltration, subterfuge, and eavesdropping. Almost better to forego relations of all types with anyone from the Evil Outlaw US Empire, no matter how well vetted and reputable.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 14 2019 1:35 utc | 181

@Really?? | Nov 14 2019 0:36 utc | 177

It was I who raised the Genovese connection. This has all been discussed by Braudel, Wallerstein, Arrighi and Moore. The Genovese accumulated capital in Mediterranean mercantilism but were shut out of the lucrative Eastern Mediterranean by the Venetians. They redirected their funds into Iberian investments which were to bankroll the systematic looting of the Americas over the next century. If you look closely at the method of this exploitation you see economic systems developed that were radically different from late medieval economic behaviour. In fact it has a much greater family resemblance to our capital fund management and bond markets than anything that preceded it. It's the systematic nature of the practices which would become the emerging dominant approaches to labour, investment, money-capital over the course of the 16th century and lay the foundations for the replacement of the ancien regime monarchy-form of medieval state by the 1648-Westphalian nation-state model. The Peruvian silver operation was not a haphazard piratical approach, but a managed exploitation designed to increase capital investment through the interlocking, factory-like manufacture of a commodity (complete with managerialism, supply-chain development, carefully arranged labour practices). The same can be said of sugar plantations in the Azores in the late 15th century. The Genovese pioneered capital investment in sovereign states, intertwining for the first time the destiny of the state and capital finance. While the Genovese and the Iberian states generated a new system from New World adventurism, the Dutch did so from New World consolidation. The British reverted to wider global adventurism (extractive imperialism) while the long US 20th century (1890-present) has capitalized on the collapse and consolidation of 18-19th century empires. This is the pattern of world-system capitalism, pioneered by the unique circumstances of European society and economy from the late 14th century on.

Posted by: Patroklos | Nov 14 2019 1:48 utc | 182

@ Posted by: Really?? | Nov 14 2019 0:36 utc | 177

Commerce never fully stopped during the European Middle Ages. It continued to exist in some cities around the Mediterranean (most of them in the Italian Peninsula, but not only).

Europe was once awash with gold and silver (the Roman times). The last great discovery of gold reserves in Europe that we can deduce is from the mines of Dacia, when it was finally conquered by then emperor Marcus Ulpius Traianus (a.k.a. Trajan). He wrote a complete Commentaries on the Dacian Wars, a la Julius Caesar, but, contrary to the latter's, his commentaries didn't survive to us. Nowadays, the main evidence the Dacian Wars really happened is the Trajan Column, which still stands today in the Roman Forum, in Roma, modern Italy. We know for sure Dacia was conquered because two new Dacian provinces were created the following centuries (Hadrian briefly divided it into three Dacias). Dacia left Roman hands after the Crisis of the Third Century, the episode which ended the Roman Empire in all but name.

After Rome in the West finally ceased to exist, there was a period of some four centuries where the Goths and then the Germanics tried to revive the Roman society. There were two serious tries in this period: the Merovingians and the Carolingians. With the fall of the Carolingians, the main geopolitical forces of the European Peninsula finally gave up reviving Rome and shifted to a terrestrial society (which we nowadays call "feudalism"). With this shift, the center of power in the European Peninsula finally was transferred to the North (modern France and Germany) from the Mediterranean (Spain and Italy). With the Muslim Conquests, the Roman Empire in the East ceased to exist in all but name, becoming essentially a Greco-Anatolian kingdom -- albeit by far still the richest one (the Vikings called Constantinople "Mickelgard", that is, "powerful city").

Since at least the Bronze Age, the center of power in Europe always was the Mediterranean. The fall of the Carolingians marked the end of a 3,500+ streak of this dominance.

But just because Europe was now a landed society it didn't meant some fragments of the old Roman system didn't exist. Trade was, at first, timid, but after the Mongol conquests, the silk road was reopened, thus also reopening the influx of commodities from rich China to Europe. The rise of the Mongols marked the division between the High and Low/Late Middle Ages in Europe. Marco Polo, for example, travelled to China alone -- this was only possible because of the Mongol roads system, which was fully guarded and thus very secure to travel with goods an unarmed. The Arabs, meanwhile, inherited the Persian's old geopolitical role of serving (and profiting) as the "middle man" between Europe (Rome) and China.

Posted by: vk | Nov 14 2019 2:17 utc | 183

"The Better dead than Red adage actually predates the rise of anti-Socialism and was aimed at those joining the Natives in their escaping servitude and slavery--and living better as a result: a poisonous truth requiring eradication." karlofi@166

This is one of the great, untold/suppressed themes of modern history-the attraction that the indigenous way of life had for the immigrants, most of whom were over here as a last resort-debtors, copyholders cheated out of their holdings, indentured servants, Irish prisoners sold into slavery, bankrupts, kidnap victims, the religious outsiders, etc etc.
The superiority of the indigenous lifestyle, with its superior diets, its sexual freedom among other attractions, led many to defy every xenophobic cultural instinct and run... and meant that the 'victims' prisoners and hostages taken by the 'Indians' often refused every attempt to rescue them. Then, of course, there were the 'coureurs de bois'...where I live, close to one of the Great lakes, the basic local population is largely metis, with, historically, a leaven of African Americans dating back to the eighteenth century.

Posted by: bevin | Nov 14 2019 3:25 utc | 184

@174 dh... if don can't do better that offer links to or from shills working for the nyt, then he will continue to get the flack! and he says stupid shit to add to it too!

Posted by: james | Nov 14 2019 3:44 utc | 185

Really?? @177

Spain had been using Genoese bankers since the 12th century to convert short term debt into long term bonds.

"The core of the fiscal system of Castile was its long-term debt. In order to understand its funding mechanism and the interest reductions on the debt, it isnecessary to examine the financial instruments of this long-term debt, calledjuros.They had been introduced in the twelfth century as pension rewards for services during theReconquista."

From Debt Policy under constraints: Phillip II, the Cortes, and Genoese bankers

The seed money to get the New World mines up and running could easily have come from the increased mining of silver in Germany.

According to Michael North (1994) central European silver output doubled between 1470 and 1520, and increased even more in the 1520s with the new mine of Joachimsthal.[7] Also during this time the Spanish and Portuguese brought a large amount of gold from the New World to Europe.

Price Revolution (Wikipedia)

Posted by: john brewster | Nov 14 2019 5:18 utc | 186

Capitalism existed in Europe during the middle ages, ladies and gentlemen, it was just a marginal practice in the burgos due the attitude of the church. Even so, this is the period in which its roots lie. And since the eleventh century, an extremely strong practice in lot of Italian (state) cities, it had nothing to do with colonization of Americas. At the 13th century, 3 centuries prior Americas, The Serene Republic of Venice had stabilized itself as a financial hub empire in the middle of Mediterranean with sophisticated bank system and trade. With the rapid development of European trade and prosperity in the 13th century due a rise of crops through the development of agriculture mainly in what is today France and Germany, cities in Italy witness a creation of wealth which is capitalist in kind - because any merchant is in essence a capitalist, risking his pot of money each time he buys in one place to sell in another.

Colonization of Americas was a consequence of European capitalism itself, mostly due the closure of Silk Route and East routes through Eurasia by the Turks-Ottomans causing a decay of the Republic of Venice itself and rise of Iberian countries. But the Iberians were not sophisticated and trick like the Venetians were. The real sucessors of Venetian Republic were the Dutch merchants during the Dutch Golden Age republic, latter the French for some decades, so the British for almost 2 centuries and today its Wall Street (though in a decadent phase). Also its worth mentioning during the late medieval era, the German Hanseatic League, a guild trade organization, in Northern Europe, gave the rise to extremely rich bankers like the Fuggers and Wesels.

Posted by: Nick | Nov 14 2019 6:22 utc | 187

Everybody who is fawning over Lenin and his ilk here needs to:
1. Read Solschenizyn
2. Becomes complicit in the worldwide crimes of communism and thus needs to justify them

The love affair with communism directly contradicts the mantra of non-intervention and peace which is so fervently preached on these boards here

Posted by: diDrer | Nov 14 2019 6:48 utc | 188

@99 i agree with that. There is plenty of room to make corrections for the past without destroying everything

Posted by: diDrer | Nov 14 2019 6:53 utc | 189

Really?? 178 "Trying to claim the moral high ground while your face and those of your followers are ground into the dirt is pointless and unrealistic. This is not a game, it is life."

That is the guts of it. Morales wasa a decent person, but those that relied on him, that voted for him will now suffer.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Nov 14 2019 7:12 utc | 190

Re: the greyzone

Never forget that Max, the son of Clinton pal and Washington power broker Sidney Blumenthal, openly and loudly supported the War on Syria, right up until it became obvious that ISIS was a defeated force. He loudly, viciously and relentlessly attacked real journalists reporting on the imperialist attack on the Syrian people. Then he suddenly "saw the light" and switched sides, but only after Syrian Gov't victory was inevitable. He's scum, pure scum

He is no different than the treacherous Trotskites of WSWS.

Over the last year or two hes worked hard at selfpromotion, trying desperately to rehabilitate his shitty brand. Hes doing that so that he can use his rehabilitated shitty brand to attack some future opponent of Washington's imperialism. Hes probably waiting until another Clinton gets their grubby hands on some power again.

People pimping his Greyzone website need to just stfu. You're not helping by promoting such an obvious psudo-"progressive" tool of western imperialism

Posted by: Realist | Nov 14 2019 7:43 utc | 191

@ 191 i don't know much about blumenthal, i remember one of the blumenthals had a public break with the clintons in the 90's, and i found an article from him back in 2016 criticising the syrian war. this was well before the syrian government victory became inevitable, this year. do you have any links to this public support for the syrian war?

Posted by: pretzelattack | Nov 14 2019 8:41 utc | 192

@ Posted by: diDrer | Nov 14 2019 6:48 utc | 188

Acutally, Solzhenitsyn was already brought up and discussed in this blog many times.

It's now a consensus among historians that the works of Solzhenitsyn were largely of fiction, he being used as Cold War propaganda. That became specially clear after the USSR dissolved and its archives became open to the West.

Posted by: vk | Nov 14 2019 11:27 utc | 193

@ pretzelattack

Calling out your blatant untruthfulness:

The situation in Syria turned when the Russians started to actively involve itself. That was on 30 September 2015. The Syrian state has been successfully regaining terrain ever since. So, Max Blumenthal turning his coat somewhere in 2016 may very well point to opportunism of some kind. Your (careful?) suggestions otherwise are plain wrong.

About Sidney Blumenthal, he officially started working for the Clintons in 1997 and they have been part of an uninterrupted love fest ever since. Sidney is the Clinton toady par excellence. Your vague suggestions of a public break (before they even were involved?) are not rooted in truth.

Did you really fail to research even a little or did you intentionally make these things up? It wasn't particularly hard to check the facts in order to prevent making an impression of being a flaming shill.

Posted by: Lurk | Nov 14 2019 11:39 utc | 194

I believe Shirer's description of the Hitler/[german] nazis' assent to complete power was, as RT describes, repeated in Bolivia in so far as making it impossible for opposition representatives to be present and thus arguably, a sham election. and the implication is validated when we see that - gasp - they are actually real nazis...getting paid by? ubernazis? follow the money. it's the nazis....they're baaack. They never left, but jumped in costume and residence... you can say where...

Posted by: Walter | Nov 14 2019 12:20 utc | 195

The main lesson of Bolivia is: The Bolivarian Republic is a symbol but not a substantial break with capitalism. The Bolivian (and Venezuelan) bourgeoisie still exist and still control large swathes of the economy and financial system. And they're beholden to their imperialist overlords--the comprador bourgeoisie. Their state, despite the 'socialist' verbiage of the government and despite mass support and yearning for a socialist transformation, is still committed to defending their property and profits. Until the bourgeois state is shattered and replaced by a workers state that expropriates the ruling capitalist oligarchs, there will be no escaping this cycle of 'socialist' governments being swept away by the rulers when the opportunity arises. A political party, no matter what its complexion, at the head of a bourgeois state is still at the mercy of that state, its ruling class and social system it defends and upholds.

What we are witnessing is yet another predictable cycle, which will only repeat as long as the bourgeoisie and its state is allowed to persist.

Posted by: Stephen Morrell | Nov 14 2019 12:27 utc | 196

Lurk, thank you for dealing with the lying troll.

"do you have any links to this public support for the syrian war?

Posted by: pretzelattack | Nov 14 2019 8:41 utc | 192"

There were lots of examples on Twitter of scummy Max, fortunate son of Clintonite-imperialist Sidney, attacking REAL journalists, like Vanessa Beesley, for doing real journalism.

He frequently teamed up with Intercept-fake Jeremy Schaill, and Guardian fakes like Owen Jones, to Publicly denounce anyone dissenting from the Clintonite & fake-left party-line.

Once he announced his Damascene conversion he deleted all that evidence. But some of us were paying attention to his efforts at the time, and haven't forgotten what a two faced lying fake he really is.

Your fake "Mr Objective" act aint fooling anyone

Posted by: Realist | Nov 14 2019 12:36 utc | 197

Keep in mind the deletion of evidence by Blumenthal. A REAL journalist wouldn't do that. A cheap fake, trying to reinvent his brand, would though

Posted by: Realist | Nov 14 2019 12:39 utc | 198

The support of the military and the police in the coup is so extensive that it implies that Morales knew he had plenty of enemies but did not have the power to eliminate them. He also had such a clean escape that he probably anticipated this and took countermeasures well in advance. This is not the deluded, counterproductive actions of someone who foolishly gets himself killed. It is probably the best response under the circumstances and just another chapter for the Bolivian people.

Posted by: Turk 151 | Nov 14 2019 13:40 utc | 199

I would like to know what the peace-loving social-democrats here in this blog think about this. Do you agree with Corbyn?

‘What Planet is He on?’ Corbyn Slammed by Tories for Saying al-Baghdadi Should Have Been Arrested

Posted by: vk | Nov 14 2019 13:42 utc | 200

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