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Bolivia: Evo Morales’ “Manifesto of the Island of the Sun“

Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia gave a speech calling for a more sustainable and just future.

Translated by Kristina Wischenkamper and reviewed by Henry Crapo.

On December 21, Evo Morales, President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia chose to celebrate the Summer Solstice on the Island of the Sun. Here he gave a speech: “The Manifesto of the Island of the Sun”. In view of its importance, this text deserves to be widely known, and we have translated some passages that seem most representative.

“From the island of the sun, from our sacred Lake Titicaca, we tell you that we are here on December 21, not to await the end of the world (…), but on this new dawn to give hope to the people “(…).

“This island is where time began and history began with the sons of the Sun. But then darkness fell with the arrival of foreign invaders.” (…) “Today from this island, the birthplace of the ‘Tahuantinsuyo’ (Inca Empire), we proclaim the end of that age of darkness and ‘non-time’ and the beginning of the age of light, the ‘Pachakuti’ (Andean legend of renaissance, new age, and regeneration of cosmic harmony. OJ). Once again it is time for the peoples of the world, social movements, and all those who have been marginalized, discriminated against or humiliated to unite, organize, mobilize, become aware and rise up as in the times of the ‘Pachakuti’. The world has been plunged into a global crisis (…). This age of capitalism and unbridled consumerism, this age where man thinks himself superior to Mother Earth and makes her the object of his ruthless domination and predation has come to an end.”

“On the one hand there is ever more capitalism, ever more privatization, commodification, irrational exploitation and destruction of natural resources, and increasing protection for businesses and private profits.

On the other there are fewer and fewer social rights, less public health, less free and public education, less protection of human rights. Today, the companies and the people of developed countries are living through this dramatic crisis of capitalism, which has been generated by market forces. Their capitalist governments believe that saving the banks is more important than saving the people. (…) In this capitalist system, banks have privileged economic rights and are treated as first class citizens, so that the banks have become more important than life itself. In this savage jungle, men and women and peoples are not brothers and sisters, are not citizens (…). They are only bad debtors, those living on benefits, tenants, customers.”

“We are witnessing the Green Reign: monetary policy, sustainable development and ecological policy are all green like the dollar. Faced with a new wave of capitalist systemic crisis, its ideologues advocate the privatization of nature through what they call ’the green economy’, or ’green capitalism’. But market forces, liberalism and privatization, have only ever brought poverty, exclusion, hunger and marginalization. ” (…)

“On this 21 December, the first day of ’Pachakuti’ (…) let us witness the end of this age of violence against human beings and nature and let us move into a new age. An age where human beings and Mother Earth are one, and where all people live in harmony and balance with the entire cosmos. (…) We are the Rainbow Warriors, the Warriors of the ’vivir bien’, the Rebels of the world. Here we give you ten ways to confront capitalism and start building a culture of life:

  • Rebuild democracy and politics, transferring power to the poor and putting it at the service of the people
  • More social and human rights, not the commodification of human needs
  • Decolonize our peoples and cultures to build a “socialisme communautaire du buen vivir” (communitarian socialism of well-living)
  • A real environmental policy to stand against the ‘environmental colonialism of the green economy’
  • Sovereignty over natural resources as a prerequisite for the emancipation from neocolonial domination and a movement towards integral development of peoples
  • Food sovereignty and the human right to food
  • The alliance of the peoples of the south against interventionism, neo-liberalism and colonialism
  • The development of knowledge and technology for all
  • The construction of a global institutional union of peoples
  • Economic development should not have as its goal capital accumulation and profit, nor market income, but must be ’holistic’, and seek people’s happiness and harmony with Mother Earth.”

(These ten points are largely detailed by Evo Morales in the Manifesto.)

“This new age is one of the power of work, of the power of ’communities’, of the solidarity of all peoples, of the communion of all living beings with Mother Earth, all working together towards building the ’communitarian socialism of well-living.’

Our vision of a communitarian socialism of well-living is based on rights and not on market forces; it is based on the fulfillment and happiness of humankind.”

ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Bolivie : le “Manifeste de l’Ile du Soleil” d’Evo Morales.

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