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Evo's Bolivia according to The Economist

The Economist has just published an interesting article (particularly compared to their usual tripe) on Bolivia under Morales. The article asks the question is Evo the same as Chavez and answers, "not really, perhaps, but we are still unsure". The article can be read here

Three parts of the article are interesting in what they show about how at least one important section of the international ruling elite views the situation in Bolivia today.

1) Analysis of conflict in Bolivia
The Economist writes
"Many of Mr Morales's gestures in the 17 months since he took office as Bolivia's first-ever elected president of Andean Indian descent have been more divisive. His most popular policy, the nationalisation of oil and gas, has irritated foreign governments and investors. The "democratic revolution" he promises—a transfer of wealth and power from Bolivia's white and mestizo (mixed race) elite to the mainly Andean Indian poor—alarms the prosperous eastern provinces. He calls the media the "main adversary" of his government and wants to hold them accountable to the people. "

Here we see that at least for the Economist the dividing line in Bolivia is clear: on one side stands Evo, his government; on the other, "foreign governments and investors", "Bolivia's white and mestizo (mixed race) elite" in "the prosperous eastern provinces" and the media, the "'main adversary' of his government". This analysis is miles ahead of the usual ultraleft nonsense that tries to pit the masses against MAS.

2) Where to next in Bolivia - the importance of the Constituent Assembly
The Economist writes
"Greater clarity should soon come from a constituent assembly that is writing a new constitution (another device used by Mr Chávez to consolidate his power). Mr Morales's Movement to Socialism (MAS) proposes to redefine Bolivia as a "unitary, pluri-national, communitarian" state that gives pride of place to three dozen indigenous "nations". These groups would control territory and natural resources and would be represented as communities in a single-chamber legislature alongside individual citizens. Private enterprise would be protected when it "contributes to economic and socio-cultural development". A fourth "social power" would oversee the traditional three."

Again a fairly accurate summary of what Morales and MAS aims to get out of the Constituent Assembly, and why the opposition have threaten to take the battle outside the halls of the Constituent Assembly and onto the streets to put a halt to MAS' project. There is still clearly some sections of the ruling international and domestic elite that believe Morales' government can be bought off and that the necessary approach to take to Morales, unlike Chavez, is to negotiated with the Bolivian government. But many are looking to see what comes out of the Constituent Assembly and happens after the new constitution (if there is a new one) comes into being, the Economist being one of the advocates of this outlook. (Look out in next issue of Green Left Weekly for an update article on the Constituent Assembly)

3) What the Evo government represents
Here the Economist can see something that much of the left miss, except it is looking from the otherside
"But charging ahead when he can, and retreating when he must, is not a strategy for governance. The inexperienced, often inept, government has achieved little beyond boosting ethnic and national pride, and gas royalties. "

It may not be a strategy for government, but seems like a sensible strategy to winning real power. Having captured control the government, Bolivia's indigenous, campesinos and workers are using this position to, as they say, "move from resistance to power". But power in this instance does not mean government, rather the creation of a new decolonised Bolivian state. To day in Bolivia, as opposed to the strategy of "changing the world without taking power" ala the Zapatistas, or the "take power to not change much at all' strategy of Lula in Brazil, we are seeing an attempt to implement the "take power to change the world" strategy. How it will finish is unclear. What is clear though is the driving force behind this national revolution, which charges ahead when it can, retreats when it must - the seeming unimportant (at least to the white foreign gringo journalist) "ethnic and national pride". This simple fact is something that not only most bourgeois journalist but many of the white first world left just don't get. Today's Bolivian revolution is not a workers revolution, at least in its fist instance, but an indigenous revolution, or, to put it another way, the worker-peasant alliance has taken a different form, an indigenous led national revolution. The old mole of revolution has definitely reared its head again, this time in Bolivia, and but this time it is not weaaring the traditional miners hat but rather a poncho and waving a whipala AND Bolivian flag.

2 Com:

Renegade Eye | June 12, 2007

This is a really good blog.

Atleast Chavez and Morales, are raising expectations of the masses. It makes for discussion and openings, not available to the left before.

Dave Riley | June 12, 2007

Thanks for the support Ren Eye. We'll make a point to watching your blog for the sort of discourse we need in cyberspace. I've added you to our left blogs aggregator.
For those at home watching:
Renegade Eye lives heres. Go bookmark and/or subscribe.

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