from rebellion to reform in bolivia, 18th april, london

London Commune forum, 7pm on Monday 18th at the Lucas Arms, near King’s Cross.

The next of our public meetings in London will see at talk by Jeffery Webber, author of ‘Rebellion to Reform in Bolivia’. He will be speaking on social movements in Bolivia and how these interact with the ‘reconstituted neoliberalism’ of the Evo Morales government.

For an interview with Jeffery which appeared in the last issue of The Commune, see here. Continue reading “from rebellion to reform in bolivia, 18th april, london”

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from rebellion to reform in bolivia

The Commune spoke to Jeffery Webber, author of a new book From Rebellion to Reform in Bolivia, about the country’s social movements and the course of Evo Morales’ MAS government.

What kind of politics did the 2000-2005 movements in Bolivia express?

The politics articulated through the movements of the 2000-2005 revolutionary epoch in Bolivia are best conceived through what I call the “combined oppositional consciousness” of their leading layers of activists and organisers. This consciousness drew on the two most important popular cultures of resistance and opposition in the last few centuries in the Bolivian context – an eclectic politics of revolutionary Marxism and indigenous liberation. These traditions were adapted and combined – not without tension and contradiction – in novel ways to the twenty-first century environs of urban shantytowns, mining enclaves, and the largely indigenous countryside. Continue reading “from rebellion to reform in bolivia”

bristol reading group 28th november: 21st century socialism in latin america?

The next Bristol reading group session is on socialism in Latin America. It will be on Sunday 28th November at Cafe Kino, Ninetree Hill, Stokes Croft, from 6pm.

All welcome. See below for suggested reading. It is not expected that you read all the texts – focus on the country or countries you are most interested in. Continue reading “bristol reading group 28th november: 21st century socialism in latin america?”

permanent revolution in the andes?

David Broder reviews S. Sándor John’s history of Bolivian Trotskyism

It is commonplace for western leftists to reduce Bolivia to a mere appendage of developments in Venezuela and Cuba. Yet it is in Bolivia itself that there is the strongest movement from below of any country in the Americas. Despite its relative economic underdevelopment and the small size of its working class, the rich heritage of class struggle in the country is the envy of most of the rest of the world.

Moreover, Bolivia is unique for its political culture. This has been shaped by the failure of Stalinism and classical social democracy to sink roots; significant indigenous and peasant movements; it is the only country apart from Sri Lanka and Vietnam where Trotskyism has found mass influence.

S. Sándor John’s book Bolivia’s Radical Tradition is a history of Bolivian Trotskyism written by a member of a Trotskyist organisation in the USA, the Internationalist Group. It offers a valuable insight into a much-ignored history, and is also important in what it tells us about Trotskyist politics more generally. Continue reading “permanent revolution in the andes?”

mujeres creando: rebellion, it’s your fault i’ll be happy

Translation of an article by Helen Álvarez Virreira about the Bolivian anarchist feminists, Mujeres Creando

To walk the streets of La Paz is also to walk through the story of Mujeres Creando (Women Creating) an anarchist and feminist movement which has used graffiti and creativity as its forms of struggle and has made the streets its canvas. “Women who get organised don’t have to iron shirts any more”,  “I don’t want to be the woman of your dreams, I want to be the woman of my dreams” and “Because Evo Morales doesn’t know how to be a father (he tried to disown his daughter), he doesn’t know what it means to be a mother” are among its graffiti.

They do not consider themselves artists but rather “agitators in the streets”. The group is a reference point for Bolivian society, a reference point of rebellion and challenging the patriarchal system and violence in all its forms for more than 15 years. Continue reading “mujeres creando: rebellion, it’s your fault i’ll be happy”

general strike in bolivia

The last two weeks have seen a series of general strikes in Bolivia, both called by the ‘official’ union federation COB and organised on the impulse of manufacturing workers and teachers. The workers are demanding a pay increase above the 5% figure advanced by Evo Morales’ left-populist government.

With occupations and some workers going on hunger strike for over a week, and police repression which has seen two deaths and thirty injuries (as well as the arrest of fifteen people occupying the Ministry of Work), the struggle is hard-fought. In this article Martín Camacho of Socialismo o Barbarie looks at the background to the struggle. Continue reading “general strike in bolivia”

el alto, bastion of social struggles in bolivia

by Bruno Miranda

Even if in the context of the 1952 revolution the centrality of mining workers was indisputable, today the shape of the working class has changed. It is true that manufacturing workers remain an important part of the Bolivian working class, but the casualisation of labour relations and informal economy have created a large majority of the working class facing unfavourable conditions for organising.

In Bolivia there have been at least seven important uprisings in the last decade, based on the struggle over the control of natural resources [1]. Among these it is worth mentioning the battle normally called the “Gas War” of September-October 2003, and the “Second Water War” in May-June 2005, both of them in the city of El Alto. Continue reading “el alto, bastion of social struggles in bolivia”