Revolution and reaction in Bolivia was the title of the meeting on 3 June 2009 organised by Rock around the Blockade, the Tawantinsuyu Movement and Bolivia Solidarity Campaign.
The meeting hall filled up quickly and the room was buzzing with excitement...on the platform was Marcelo from the Tawantinsuyu Movement, in the audience was Diana also from the Tawantinsuyu Movement...24 hours before they were both being held in Yarl's Wood detention centre, illegally abducted from Communications House and threatened with imminent deportation. An immediate campaign was launched by their friends and supporters, including members of all three organisations hosting this meeting. Action included excellent and urgent legal work, a barrage of faxes and phone calls to the Home Office, including the UK Border Agency and to the airline, preparations for demonstrations (and we were inspired by the recent successful actions coordinated by Colombia Solidarity Campaign to prevent the deportation of a young man)....at the eleventh hour the Home Office cancelled their removal and bail was granted. What a victory and what a lesson. As Nicki of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! said at the meeting, no one must be snatched in silence. It is clear that collective organisation is vital to raise the issue of Britain's racist immigration laws, the conditions in the detention centres and the deportations that go on daily, returning many people to situations where their lives are in danger.
The speakers spoke enthusiastically about their areas of knowledge:
Sam from Rock around the Blockade about the significance of the Cuban revolution to building socialism and the importance of Cuba's relationship with Bolivia, highlighting three areas in particular, ALBA (the Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America) and the cooperation between countries of the Americas undermining the dominance of US imperialism, the medical aid given to Bolivia by Cuba and the significance that is having in terms of health improvement and lives saved and the issue of literacy that Cuba is helping Bolivia with, so central to empowering people to take control of their futures, as Jose Marti said, to be educated is to be free.
Marcelo of the Tawantinsuyu Movement spoke of Bolivia as part of the Andean region, of socialism in the Andes and the issue of the indigenous people of the area. He made the audience aware of the central significant question of the land, always the issue in any revolutionary movement, and how the land belongs to all people and there is a balance of nature that must be respected in order for humanity to survive. He described Morales as the head of the indigenous movement of the world and the signficance of the new constitution in this context.
Amancay of the Bolivia Solidarity Campaign gave an excellent history, in a very short space of time, of Bolivia and its riches that have always been plundered for the benefits of others and not the Bolivians. She spoke of the revolutionary resistance of the peoples of Bolivia, in the water wars and the gas wars and the violent deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in the struggle. She spoke of the situation since the election of Evo Morales in 2005 and the overwhelming support for the new constituent assembly and above all came the message that the enemy of the people are the multinationals. As Amancay pointed out - London, where this meeting was being held, is the heart of imperialist Britain and the home to many of the vicious multinationals. We must act together to get information out about their role and put that in context of imperialist Britain, out on the streets we have the power to change the course of history.
From the floor speakers included activists from the Latin American community and in particular the Mitie strikers, on the street every Friday protesting outside Willis and HBOS, demanding the reinstatement of low paid workers sacked for demanding their rights. The issue of HBOS links with Lloyds TSB, where there will be demonstration this Saturday afternoon, 6 June, as part of the international days of action for the Cuban 5 exposing British banks for supporting the US blockade of Cuba.
Unity is strength!
Together we will win!
Hasta la victoria siempre!