[Marxism] How Evo Morales's Third Term Will Challenge Bolivia's Social Movements

Richard Fidler rfidler_8 at sympatico.ca
Wed Apr 1 13:31:19 MDT 2015


Andrew Pollack writes, in part: "... recent analyses have reminded me of the 2005 events,
when Morales played a key role in diffusing [defusing? - RF] momentum toward a mass,
worker-farmer/indigenous-based revolution. See, for instance:
http://socialistaction.org/bolivian-crisis-ends-in-uneasy-truce/.

Strangely, the ten-year old article Andrew references is from a US sect, Socialist Action (SA); it argues that Evo Morales and the MAS had in June 2005 betrayed a "plan to form a revolutionary government" proposed by the miners unions, the COB and the neighborhood councils in El Alto. The only Bolivian source for this view cited by SA is a web site called Econoticias -- a site that had apparently disappeared by the time the SA article was published, in August 2005. However, as Andrew notes, that is also the view promoted even now by Jeff Webber -- an analysis that to my knowledge is not shared by any reputable Marxist in Latin America.

In 2005 the COB (Bolivian Workers Central) and the miners union were only a shadow of their former existence, terribly weakened by the vicious neoliberal program that had privatized the mines in 1986 and fired most of the miners. The radical neighborhood councils in El Alto were, like the majority indigenous movements and most of Bolivian civil society, calling for a constituent assembly, nationalization of hydrocarbons, and a development strategy that would break from neoliberalism. That was the core of the "revolutionary government" demanded by the mass mobilizations of June 2005. 

And that is what the Bolivian masses won a few months later, when they elected the MAS in the December 2005 national elections. The MAS government, in collaboration and sometimes conflictual interaction with powerful mass movements, has implemented much of the 2005 program and is of course still engaged in what promises to be a long-term effort to eradicate neoliberalism and move toward the socialism promised in its name.

So where was the betrayal? What SA (and Pollack?) objected to was apparently that the MAS took the electoral road, not their hoped-for insurrection -- which would have failed in 2005, in a country and continent that had long since opted for mass mobilization from below coupled with an electoral strategy for state power.

Even stranger is that Emily Achtenberg, author of the NACLA article that provoked this exchange ("How Evo Morales's Third Term Will Challenge Bolivia's Social Movements"), should post her account on March 28, one day before Bolivia's subnational (departmental, regional, municipal and autonomies elections) so clearly refuted her main thesis that the MAS has since incorporated most of the lowlands agribusiness and ranching elite (characterized as "fascists" in the SA article) into its ranks. Although the MAS vote declined somewhat country-wide, and it lost the governorship of La Paz and the mayoralty in El Alto, it now controls the legislative assemblies in eight of Bolivia's nine departments, including a two-thirds majority in La Paz. 

And in Santa Cruz, the one department where the MAS still failed to gain a legislative majority (it has 6 seats), it was Rubén Costas' party that took the governorship, the mayoralty of Santa Cruz, and will control the legislature (with 17 seats). Costas is the major political leader of the "lowlands agribusiness and ranching elite," which staged an unsuccessful counterrevolutionary uprising in 2008 and has never reconciled politically with the MAS leadership.

There is much more to be said about the subnational election results (and I intend to write my own piece, which I will post to this list). But isn't it time that we all paid more attention to the facts "on the ground" and a little less to simply reposting the occasional article that serves mainly to sustain someone's particular schema? 

Richard
http://lifeonleft.blogspot.ca/

-----Original Message-----
From: Marxism [mailto:marxism-bounces at lists.csbs.utah.edu] On Behalf Of Andrew Pollack via Marxism
Sent: Wednesday, April 01, 2015 12:29 PM
To: rfidler_8 at sympatico.ca
Subject: Re: [Marxism] How Evo Morales's Third Term Will Challenge Bolivia's Social Movements

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Really important evidence, thanks Dennis.

Frankly, even though I'm a regular reader of Jeffery Webber and agree with
his history and analysis, I was still taken aback by the starkness of the
picture painted by NACLA.

On the other hand, recent analyses have reminded me of the 2005 events,
when Morales played a key role in diffusing momentum toward a mass,
worker-farmer/indigenous-based revolution. See, for instance:
http://socialistaction.org/bolivian-crisis-ends-in-uneasy-truce/

On Wed, Apr 1, 2015 at 11:51 AM, Dennis Brasky via Marxism <
marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote:

> ********************  POSTING RULES & NOTES  ********************
> #1 YOU MUST clip all extraneous text when replying to a message.
> #2 This mail-list, like most, is publicly & permanently archived.
> #3 Subscribe and post under an alias if #2 is a concern.
> *****************************************************************
>
> >
> >
> > How Evo Morales's Third Term Will Challenge Bolivia's Social Movements
> >
> > The strategy of “defeating” the political right by incorporating elite
> > sectors into Bolivia's ruling MAS party will be put to the test in Evo
> > Morales’s third term.
> >
> >     ...........................
>
> > As popular movements continue to struggle for land, economic security,
> > environmental justice, true gender equality, and the rights of peasant,
> > indigenous, and urban communities, the viability of MAS’s political
> > strategy for “defeating” the right through fragmentation and cooptation
> > could well be put to the test—along with Morales’s political credibility.
> >
> >
> >
> https://nacla.org/blog/2015/03/28/how-evo-morales%27s-third-term-will-challenge-bolivia%27s-social-movements
> >
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