"This government is not at all different from the government of Sanchez de Lozada. Carlos Mesa has not listened to the message of the El Alto Indian rebellion against the sale of gas" These are the words of one of the leaders of the Bolivian October insurrection, Roberto de la Cruz.  They sum up very clearly the real meaning of the bourgeois government of Carlos Mesa and the conclusions sections of the masses and most of the revolutionary vanguard are already drawing.

The brutal repression of the teachers' protest in Ecudaor in December highlights the fact that the period of waiting on the part of the Ecuadorian masses is over. The movement of 2000 brought Lucio Gutierrez to power, but he has merely continued with IMF policies. Now Ecuador is poised for a new movement on a higher level, comparable to that of Bolivia.

My attention was recently drawn to an article signed by Luis Oviedo, entitled The Counterrevolutionary Position of Socialist Appeal. Having read the article, I could not decide whether it was the product of bad faith or simple ignorance. Certainly, the method used is contrary to every basic principle of Marxism and above all Trotskyism, which comrade Oviedo and the Partido Obrero claim to defend.

The national enlarged meeting of the Bolivian Workers’ Union (COB) gathered in Cochabamba on January 22, and decided to call for an indefinite general strike with road blockades in twenty days time if Mesa’s government does not concede the demands of the October insurrection and continues with its announced austerity measures. The COB meeting “ended with the decision to take power, by closing down Parliament." This decision marks the end of the truce given by the worker and peasant leaders to Carlos Mesa’s government.

In the three articles that Luis Oviedo has written in answer to my article published on January 7 (Marxism versus Sectarianism - Reply to Luis Oviedo) a number of very important issues are raised. These questions deserve the most careful consideration by Marxists in Britain, Argentina and internationally. However, in order to clarify the issues raised and to educate the cadres (which ought to be the aim of every polemic) it is necessary to avoid heated language, distortions and personal attacks that only serve to divert attention away from the political questions. Such an approach will only confuse matters instead of clarifying them.

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