[Marxism] Background of the class struggle in Bolivia

John Olmsted ctandjo at hotmail.com
Fri Jan 6 10:08:43 MST 2006

This article illustrates some fundemental points about the Morales victory.

Focusing on analyzing Morales as an individual and which way he may turn 
down the road misses the central question;  What kind of political space 
does this open for the mass organizations to push forward ?

The article call the election a "referendum" on imperialist penetration of 
Bolivia. The Morales victory opens the road to deepen and defend the 
democratic space that has been won not only in Bolivia but across the Latin 

Lest we forget what the political space looked like in the 80's under the 
various juntas and dictatorships tune into Telesur streaming from Caracas 
(http://www.arcoiris.tv/).  They are running a series of shows on those days 
from Arbenz in Guatamala south to Chile.

John Olmsted

The Morales Victory and Bolivian Social Movements
by Alexander Dwinell
from South End Press

News from Bolivia indicates that Evo Morales of the MAS party
(Movimiento Al Socialismo; Movement Toward Socialism) has been elected
that country's new president. This election is, among many other
things, a further referendum on and rejection of the neoliberal
policies that have dominated and impoverished Bolivia.

There is already much debate within the strong Bolivian social
movements over how Evo Morales and the MAS will respond to this
mandate. Oscar Olivera, who with the Coordinadora in 2000 led a
successful opposition to water privatization in Cochabamba and has
advanced the call for a Constituent Assembly, is but one of many who
raise such questions. As Olivera reportedly told The Guardian (UK),
"There's been a loss of confidence in him [Morales]. I'll vote for him,
but it's a critical support."

A December 2005 interview in Green Left Weekly makes Olivera's position
clearer? No matter which way you look at it, the elections are not the
solution for meeting the demands of the population. However, elections
are a space that has presented itself and which we, as autonomous
social movements, are taking up in order to accumulate forces to pass
over this bridge, towards these two grand demands [nationalization of
hydrocarbons and the Constituent Assembly]. Obviously, it interests us,
within the rules of this game established by the bourgeoisie, for Evo
Morales to enter into government. This would make it less difficult to
transition towards the two objectives that the people have put  forward.

As Jim Shultz of Democracy Center reported in August, many of the
social movements who are not keen on marching lockstep behind Evo but
who see the strategic pitfalls of a divorce, are charting a creative
course. The movements (and my intelligence on this is solid) will form
a united front behind the well-known and regarded political analyst
Alvaro García Linera. Rather than launch his own candidacy, García
Linera, representing the movements, will agree to be the MAS
Vice-Presidential candidate, in exchange for specific commitments on
issues such as the convening of an Asamblea Constituyente and
restoration of national control of Bolivia's gas and oil, the two
demands in the forefront of the May-June protests.

Alvaro García Linera, now the Vice-President-elect, is the author of a
number of books and articles published in Bolivia and Mexico. US
audiences will find the English translation of his essay "The
Multitude" published in ¡Cochabamba! Water War in Bolivia (South End
Press, 2004) a valuable look into the current situation. The essay
concludes: "The national constitution of the multitude, should it come
to pass, will be the result of long and patient work, unifying trust,
mutual support, leadership, and solidarity at the local level. May
this unprecedented election help build that trust."


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