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News :: International : Organizing : Politics
The Morales Victory and Bolivian Social Movements
19 Dec 2005
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.
South End Press
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Alexander Dwinell
alexander (at) southendpress.org

For Immediate Release

The Morales Victory and Bolivian Social Movements

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.

For more information:

http://www.narconews.com/Issue39/article1512.html
http://democracyctr.org/blog/
http://www.greenleft.org.au/back/2005/652/652p20b.htm
http://southendpress.org/2004/items/Cochabamba http://bolivia.indymedia.org/

This work is in the public domain
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Re: The Morales Victory and Bolivian Social Movements
20 Dec 2005
Wow, after reading this "news" I have an urge to buy a book or two from south end press.