Monday, December 26, 2005

I Believe Only in the Power of the People

"I Believe Only In The Power Of The People"

By Evo Morales December 22, 2005

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

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

What does the "rule of law" mean for indigenous people?
For the poor, the marginalized, the excluded, the "rule
of law" means the targeted assassinations and
collective massacres that we have endured. Not just
this September and October, but for many years, in
which they have tried to impose policies of hunger and
poverty on the Bolivian people.

Above all, the "rule of law" means the accusations that
we, the Quechuas, Aymaras and Guaranties of Bolivia
keep hearing from our governments: that we are narcos,
that we are anarchists. This uprising of the Bolivian
people has been not only about gas and hydrocarbons,
but an intersection of many issues: discrimination,
marginalization , and most importantly, the failure of

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recorded by Adam Saytanides Translated by Ricardo Sala



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