The Socialist Triumph in Bolivia Marks a Turning Point in 2020
Luis Arce’s win demonstrates that leftist candidates are capable of trouncing fascists at the polls, even when conditions for free and fair elections are absent.
The victory of Luis Arce, the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) presidential candidate, in Bolivia’s presidential election Sunday marks the dramatic end of a deadly year.
Last November, a coup ushered into power a small group of openly fascist Bolivians who terrorized the overwhelmingly indigenous nation thanks to support from the Trump administration and international power brokers like Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and Luis Almagro, the secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS).
Arce’s win is great news for the hemisphere, and demonstrates that socialist candidates are capable of trouncing fascists at the polls, even when conditions for free and fair elections are absent.
The U.S. and Bolivian elections have much in common. Both start, for example, with racist presidents who came to power despite not winning popular elections and who have disastrously handled the Coronavirus pandemic. But defeating Trump in the United States won’t be a parallel victory.
Bolivians just dealt a crushing blow to U.S. empire. For U.S. voters to defeat fascism at home, we would need to follow their lead. But Joe Biden has promised to ramp up US interference in other countries’ sovereign affairs.
Unlike Arce, Biden has no plans to provide universal healthcare even during a pandemic. And like Trump, Biden supports strengthening police forces that indiscriminately murder Black and Indigenous people, despite popular demands to defund and even abolish police departments.
While corporate Democrats like Biden support neoliberal fascist policies at home and abroad, many candidates for statewide and local offices have more in common with Arce’s Movement Toward Socialism, than with the Democratic Party.
Electing these down-ballot candidates can help mitigate the worst bipartisan abuses in the short term. But if there is any hope for saving what’s left of this planet under a model of electoral democracy, it is through learning from and joining forces with social movements from Bolivia and around the world, that have refused to settle for fascism light.