Friday, December 3, 2010

The Bolivian Road to Socialism

Mike Geddes argues we can learn from the Bolivian experiences of working in and against the state.

Bolivia Rising

Politics in the UK and the EU is likely to be dominated for the foreseeable future by massive cuts in public service provision.The furious demonstrations that have taken place in Greece may be a harbinger of the popular protest to come. These demonstrations would have looked very familiar in Bolivia, where in the early years of this century a sustained popular uprising over several years succeeded in overthrowing a hated neoliberal regime and installing the progressive and radical government of the MAS (Movement towards Socialism) led by President Evo Morales. Can we learn from Bolivia about resistance to the neoliberal agenda and building an alternative? The answer is certainly yes - but that means understanding what has been happening there.

There is much debate on the left in Bolivia about whether the MAS government is heading towards socialism, or whether the revolutionary struggles of social movements and trade unions that brought it to power in 2005 are now giving way to electoralist, parliamentary politics and an accommodation with neoliberalism. In particular, the Bolivian experience raises questions about the state as a terrain of struggle. Is taking office within the state, as the MAS has done, essential to push through radical change? Or, as some would argue, is the state apparatus so inherently hostile to radical change that such a strategy is bound to fail and the world can and must be changed without taking 'power'?

Read more HERE.

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