Desde el pueblo de Oakland al pueblo Boliviano.

In honor of Human Rights Day, today December 10, 2012, I write to congratulate the Bolivian people on their victories against the corporate take-over of their nation. This morning, I read the following headline “Bolivia Set To Banish Coca-Cola To Mark Mayan End of Capitalism” and I was reminded that the power of the people and our capacity to make change is real. Over the years, I’ve followed the fight of the social and socialist movements in Bolivia since prior to the election of President Evo Morales. Their struggle has been a light that gives me hope and inspiration in my work as a social justice activist. I read this headline and knew that the pueblo (people) was boldly moving forward with their vision of human justice and respect for the Pacha Mama (Mother Earth).

This past fall when I signed away my personal life and weekends to work on the fall campaigns of Oakland Rising’s sister organization, Oakland Rising Action, it was no small decision. I made a personal choice to step into the world of electoral campaign work because of the unique promise that electoral work has to be a vehicle for building power for working-class people of color in today’s world. This belief is what Oakland Rising’s mission is founded upon and it’s what drives our work as we run our campaigns each year. In cities like ours, human rights for low-income, immigrant, and communtities of color are dependent on our ability to build and exercise our political power. One critical way we our build power is by protecting, expanding, and exercising our right to vote and to have a voice at the decision-making tables that determine our lives. This is our struggle at Oakland Rising.

I look to Bolivia’s struggles and victories today because they are an inspiring example of the power of electoral organizing. First, when unions and indigenous communities built grassroots alliances and mobilized the vote to elect indigenous labor leader, Evo Morales, as their president in 2006, and now as they take the powerful fist of their great brown nation and smash Coca Cola’s corporate empire with it. ¡Viva el pueblo Boliviano! Human rights advocates can assure us that the Coca Cola corporation has certainly caused enough oppression of working-class people in South America; they have murdered enough workers and labor leaders; they have suppressed and repressed the voice of enough citizens; they have profited enough at the expense of human life. All this for the empty promise of the corporate capitalist dream that puts profits before people. This is what we mean when we say “Ya Basta!”. One bold decision at a time, Bolivia is showing the world how people can truly bring peace back to our nations. At Oakland Rising, I work with a team of dedicated social justice fighters who believe in their hearts that a better promise is also possible for Oakland and working-class cities like ours. A promise of democracy and justice, of familly and human dignity. Bolivia is more than anything an indigenous nation of hard-working people rebuilding their dreams and fulfilling their destinies. On Human Rights Day 2012, I honor Bolivians for their victories from where I stand in Oakland. This is my pueblo, and together we stand. May victory be ours soon too! Written by Kopali Serna, Director of Community Partnerships Read Article on Bolivia Banishing Coca Cola Here>>>