By Rafael Bautista S.*

An unjust and even useless war has been unleashed (against Vice President David Choquehuanca), because what it will provoke is not even to put an end to the supposed “competence” of the “sole leader”, but rather to irremediably disarticulate the popular bloc.

Manichaeism is disastrous in politics, especially on the left.

It was one of the contributory reasons for the coup, because dogmatic zeal and the “llunkerío”, led to censoring deliberation and internal criticism, as well as expropriating the people’s power of political decision and taking away their protagonism; in this way the government itself was deprived of noticing the tremendous mistakes and even betrayals which, consequently, were provoking a growing disenchantment in the popular camp, disabling its anticipated organic response to the coup escalation of 2019.

It is good to remember that, in politics, actors are not worth for themselves but for what they represent; believing that we are fighting against people means reducing politics to pure Manichaeism, where fundamentalism leads us to war as the only scenario. What political actors represent are perspectives and projects; not knowing how to distinguish between them leads, in political zeal, to their own suicide.

In this sense, the current and false dispute for leadership (besides being uselessly premature) will only lead us to misrule, mediated by an anachronistic leadership drunk on power, which cannot get out of the stupor of having been displaced and illegitimately takes on the powers of a parallel government, wearing down a government trapped in confusion.

This blindness not only leads us to anachronism (since this new moment of the “process” is based on another founding event, the resistance and defeat of the coup and the dictatorship), but also to the abduction of the political horizon itself, because the blackmail is obvious: “if it’s not with me, it’s not with anyone”. That is why the new event also called for a new kind of leadership. Not just a change of leader but a redefinition of what it means to be a leader.

A new moment in the process of change means the restitution of the plurinational horizon, decolonisation and living well. And what Vice-President Choquehuanca represents is precisely that. Because he is what has redefined the “process of change” and has recovered its initial banners; that which made possible the resistance to the coup of 2019 and the democratic recovery of 2020.

Therefore, the marginalisation and defamation unleashed against the vice-president not only dangerously divides the popular organisations and disarticulates the unity of the people as a political bloc, but, what is more serious, displaces the popular horizon for the crudest and most pedestrian political calculation, that is, the re-conquest of power at any cost.
Whose interest is it to dismantle the popular bloc? In a hypothetical situation, of attrition provoked by belligerence and growing conflict, not so much on the part of the right but, unhappily, provoked by the MAS itself, ungovernability would only achieve, once again, the undeserved return of the right; thus the left, in this case, the MAS, would reaffirm its eternal curse: once again, the popular horizon for the fascist enjoyment of an empowered right-wing.

If there is one thing that has been diluted, unhappily, in the last two administrations of the “government of change”, it was precisely the political horizon that had been embodied in the new constitution: the plurinational project of “living well”. And if anything encapsulates this horizon, graphs it in a diverse and plural way, and waves it as something alive and promising, it is the Wiphala. That is why the fascists were so furious against the Wiphala, because the spirit of the plurinational state was to be reborn in it.

Without spirit, that is, without ajayu, the people cease to be subjects and, consequently, they only obey and submit, they become objects. A people that recovers its ajayu does not submit; and that is what defeated the coup and the dictatorship: the recovery of our ajayu, the qamasa, our amuyu, the saphi, our thakhi. Recovering our spirit meant recovering our strength, our power, our thinking, our roots and our path. As a people we defeated the coup and the dictatorship. The political acronym did not win, and even less the displaced political leadership. The triumph was of the people, as a self-convened people, demonstrating, once again, their democratic vocation, restoring the plurinational state and its indigenous-popular content.

That is what Vice-President Choquehuanca represents; that is why it was he who re-articulated the popular vote around MAS (as did Felipe Quispe, the Mallku, or Orlando Gutiérrez, leaders despised by the leadership), restoring lost confidence and deferred hope.

The people, with the defeat of the coup and the dictatorship, opened a new moment in the “process of change”; a new moment that positioned new actors and new leaderships, restoring the deferred plurinational content of the state, “living well” and decolonisation.

This new moment was to consolidate popular power as a continuous deliberative exercise of the democratic-cultural revolution. But, once again, the whiff of triumph awakened, in the remnants of the previous leadership, the illusion that the triumph was theirs and that the people had voted for them. The blunder was demonstrated in the sub-national elections, when the “dedazo” was imposed once again and once again cornered the people, who were merely obedient to the decisions made by the leadership, which led to a new failure.

Popular resistance was ignored and marginalised, in the same way as the attempt is being made to marginalise, through deceit, the person who appears to be the new articulator of the necessary new leadership required by a process reborn in the worst of scenarios, such as the hybrid balkanising coup.

The binomial that was proposed by the people was, like the new constitution, “opened up” and revised in illegitimate decision-making spaces by those who, having abandoned the people, still gave themselves pretensions of power, always at the margin of popular decision. The “evismo” imposes its presence in this new moment and, by force, insists on a leadership that will only provoke a growing rejection, making the right unify, thanks to this misguided insistence.

The people bet on MAS, because the right wing had made of that acronym a racial stigma that unleashed urban-fascist lordly hatred against the people themselves. The fascist right wing seized political power with manifest arrogance because it believed that it was going to stay forever; that is why it stole with impunity, because in its calculations, the people had been defeated because, once again, it believed that, by putting an end to someone who had been singled out, it would put an end to the rest.

Two terrible political readings that transcend opposing ideologies and show that their disagreements coincide in their political calculations. For the same viciousness that they had for Evo, now his followers and even he himself unleashes it on the one who now synthesises the recovery of the plurinational horizon.

In this way, MAS not only undermines its own political projection but also puts the recovered democracy itself at risk; in such a scenario, the right wing does not need an offensive strategy, it is enough for it to see, from the sidelines, the infighting (provoked by the desire for absolute power) in the organisations.

When we referred, in previous essays, to the right-wingisation of the government of change, we highlighted the inability to distinguish between the plurinational project, as the political horizon, and the MAS government, as its circumstantial political determination; this led to confusing the project with the leader.

But true leadership is that which disappears, that is to say, that which knows how to withdraw behind the people and give them their place, to make the people the subject and definitive actor, the creator of their own transformation. That is why the true leader is the one who knows how to empower the historical-political capacities of the people, to awaken their own power, their potency and their self-determination. That is why he can retire with dignity, covered with the joy of a grateful people, becoming an advisor and mentor, an example always to be followed.

That is why the fury unleashed against the vice-president is not unusual; because it is not in the interests of any power elite that someone should sow wise rebellion, a critical spirit, the decolonisation of power, the culture of life, thinking in freedom, etc. among the rank and file.

The political calculation, which is the creed of traditional politicians and consists only in the accumulation of more power, is better off converting education into mere and basic information. Every power elite is not interested in educating the people, only in getting them to march and vote. In this respect, the left and the right are no different; their historical behaviour has also been in line with the aristocratic bet, with contempt for the people.

That is why the coup disconcerted a people who were already suffering the disenchantment of seeing their political expectations reduced. Only the Wiphala, its unworthy defenestration, could make possible the restoration of a humiliated spirit.

Then the people were able to activate their millenary memory and ascend to the peak of historical self-consciousness, raising the Wiphala, like those who raise their dejected bodies.

We are in another time, the time of the Pachakuti, of the overturning of the world.

That is why the vice-president speaks a language that the media do not understand, he makes a policy that upsets the orthodox and even presents himself as an “articulator” of the new young leaders.

This new moment has been decided by him. That is why the unleashed war is unjust and useless. What it represents is what the youth of change itself is giving birth to as a definitive horizon: “living well” as a new way of life, as the true alternative to the civilisational collapse of the modern-western world. A horizon that is incomprehensible to the traditional leaderships, who talk too much, but no longer say anything.

*Currently Director of Geopolitics at the Bolivian Vice-Presidency.