The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) condemns the forced resignation of Bolivia’s socialist President Evo Morales and his Vice President, Álvaro García Linera.

In reality this was nothing less than a coup by the capitalist ruling class and the armed forces, supported by some disgruntled sections of the middle class and workers in the more prosperous urban areas.

Morales said that he and his vice president, Álvaro García Linera, did not resign voluntarily but only because they “don’t want to see any more families attacked” by forces led by right-wing former president Carlos Mesa and opposition leader Luis Fernando Camacho.

“This is not a betrayal to social movements,” Morales added. “The fight continues. We are the people, and thanks to this political union, we have freed Bolivia. We leave this homeland freed.”

This coup followed a presidential election on 20 October which was won by Morales party, but on a much-reduced majority. The fact that he avoided a second round by a small margin was used by the right wing to falsely claim fraud and mobilise a campaign on the streets.

SAFTU joins socialists around the world in deploring this assault on a democratically elected workers’ leader from the country’s indigenous majority whose government has raised the living standards and quality of life in a poverty-stricken country.

Former Brazilian President Lula, just released from prison pending his appeal against his conviction of trumped-up charges, tweeted: “Evo Morales was forced to resign. It is unfortunate that Latin America has an economic elite that does not know how to live with democracy and the social inclusion of the poorest.”

U.K. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that to see Evo Morales who, along with a powerful movement, has brought so much social progress forced from office by the military is appalling. “I condemn this coup against the Bolivian people and stand with them for democracy, social justice, and independence.”

The federation sends a message of solidarity to the Bolivian workers and trade unions, including the powerful mine workers’ unions whose militant members are sure to be targeted by the army chiefs and whatever new government is now installed.

There are important lessons from the events in Bolivia, Brazil and elsewhere, for workers around the world. They show that victories of socialist parties in elections will not lead to the permanent transformation of the lives of workers and the poor majority while economic power remains in the hands of a capitalist class and their cohorts in the army and police.

Unless these left-wing governments democratically transfer the country’s wealth to the majority and build a solid power base of support within the working-class unions and communities, counter-revolutionary forces will use their continued domination to overthrow these governments.

They will use first their economic power to sabotage the governments’ reform policies and then demagogically blame the governments for the resulting problems that workers and the middle class face.

They will then exploit these people’s frustration to mobilise protests and finally use the army, police and courts to depose the elected government, impose a dictatorship and crush all opposition, particularly the unionised working class.

The Bolivian workers must now organise a massive campaign of resistance to the regime, fight to reinstate Morales and Linera and ensure that this time the forces of capitalism are defeated for good. SAFTU pledges its total support to our sisters and brothers in Bolivia.

SAFTU is extremely concerned by the rise of the fascist and extreme right wing which are gaining traction in Europe, America and South of America.  We have noted with concern the phenomenal growth of these xenophobic, sexist far right wing called the doubled its number of seats, from 24 to 52, to become the third-biggest party in the Spain Parliament.

This worrying trend is taking us to the opposite of a just and equitable world in which injustices of the past will be confronted and addressed. The risk of the rise of extremist from the right of the political spectrum will plunge the world into more instability and possible civil wars as the rightwing everywhere respond to the capitalist crisis by demanding the expulsion of “foreigners” and generally applying more rightwing solutions to the crisis faces humanity all over the world.

SAFTU calls for a more systematic response to this phenomenon here in south Africa and the world over. This must begin with the closing of the ranks amongst the left forces and agreeing on a minimum platforms to unite all the working class formations, feminists, youth, environmental activists, informal and small traders on the margins, etc.

Workers the world unite!

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