from rebellion to reform in bolivia, 18th april, london

15 04 2011

London Commune forum, 7pm on Monday 18th at the Lucas Arms, near King’s Cross.

The next of our public meetings in London will see at talk by Jeffery Webber, author of ‘Rebellion to Reform in Bolivia’. He will be speaking on social movements in Bolivia and how these interact with the ‘reconstituted neoliberalism’ of the Evo Morales government.

For an interview with Jeffery which appeared in the last issue of The Commune, see here. Read the rest of this entry »





from rebellion to reform in bolivia

9 03 2011

The Commune spoke to Jeffery Webber, author of a new book From Rebellion to Reform in Bolivia, about the country’s social movements and the course of Evo Morales’ MAS government.

What kind of politics did the 2000-2005 movements in Bolivia express?

The politics articulated through the movements of the 2000-2005 revolutionary epoch in Bolivia are best conceived through what I call the “combined oppositional consciousness” of their leading layers of activists and organisers. This consciousness drew on the two most important popular cultures of resistance and opposition in the last few centuries in the Bolivian context – an eclectic politics of revolutionary Marxism and indigenous liberation. These traditions were adapted and combined – not without tension and contradiction – in novel ways to the twenty-first century environs of urban shantytowns, mining enclaves, and the largely indigenous countryside. Read the rest of this entry »





bristol reading group 28th november: 21st century socialism in latin america?

22 11 2010

The next Bristol reading group session is on socialism in Latin America. It will be on Sunday 28th November at Cafe Kino, Ninetree Hill, Stokes Croft, from 6pm.

All welcome. See below for suggested reading. It is not expected that you read all the texts – focus on the country or countries you are most interested in. Read the rest of this entry »





permanent revolution in the andes?

24 10 2010

David Broder reviews S. Sándor John’s history of Bolivian Trotskyism

It is commonplace for western leftists to reduce Bolivia to a mere appendage of developments in Venezuela and Cuba. Yet it is in Bolivia itself that there is the strongest movement from below of any country in the Americas. Despite its relative economic underdevelopment and the small size of its working class, the rich heritage of class struggle in the country is the envy of most of the rest of the world.

Moreover, Bolivia is unique for its political culture. This has been shaped by the failure of Stalinism and classical social democracy to sink roots; significant indigenous and peasant movements; it is the only country apart from Sri Lanka and Vietnam where Trotskyism has found mass influence.

S. Sándor John’s book Bolivia’s Radical Tradition is a history of Bolivian Trotskyism written by a member of a Trotskyist organisation in the USA, the Internationalist Group. It offers a valuable insight into a much-ignored history, and is also important in what it tells us about Trotskyist politics more generally. Read the rest of this entry »





mujeres creando: rebellion, it’s your fault i’ll be happy

10 07 2010

Translation of an article by Helen Álvarez Virreira about the Bolivian anarchist feminists, Mujeres Creando

To walk the streets of La Paz is also to walk through the story of Mujeres Creando (Women Creating) an anarchist and feminist movement which has used graffiti and creativity as its forms of struggle and has made the streets its canvas. “Women who get organised don’t have to iron shirts any more”,  “I don’t want to be the woman of your dreams, I want to be the woman of my dreams” and “Because Evo Morales doesn’t know how to be a father (he tried to disown his daughter), he doesn’t know what it means to be a mother” are among its graffiti.

They do not consider themselves artists but rather “agitators in the streets”. The group is a reference point for Bolivian society, a reference point of rebellion and challenging the patriarchal system and violence in all its forms for more than 15 years. Read the rest of this entry »





general strike in bolivia

17 05 2010

The last two weeks have seen a series of general strikes in Bolivia, both called by the ‘official’ union federation COB and organised on the impulse of manufacturing workers and teachers. The workers are demanding a pay increase above the 5% figure advanced by Evo Morales’ left-populist government.

With occupations and some workers going on hunger strike for over a week, and police repression which has seen two deaths and thirty injuries (as well as the arrest of fifteen people occupying the Ministry of Work), the struggle is hard-fought. In this article Martín Camacho of Socialismo o Barbarie looks at the background to the struggle. Read the rest of this entry »





el alto, bastion of social struggles in bolivia

9 02 2010

by Bruno Miranda

Even if in the context of the 1952 revolution the centrality of mining workers was indisputable, today the shape of the working class has changed. It is true that manufacturing workers remain an important part of the Bolivian working class, but the casualisation of labour relations and informal economy have created a large majority of the working class facing unfavourable conditions for organising.

In Bolivia there have been at least seven important uprisings in the last decade, based on the struggle over the control of natural resources [1]. Among these it is worth mentioning the battle normally called the “Gas War” of September-October 2003, and the “Second Water War” in May-June 2005, both of them in the city of El Alto. Read the rest of this entry »





state capitalism and communism-from-below in latin america

28 09 2009

David Broder’s talk to The Commune’s recent Manchester forum

The class struggle in Latin America is one that has always roused great interest and a certain romanticism among the western left. The continent has seen a number of heroic struggles against often savage exploitation and state repression, whether by the industrial working class, landless peasants or indigenous peoples. But the politics of the Latin American left are complex and often mischaracterised.

zelayacorreachavezortegamorales

I’m going to talk about the recent history of Latin America and the relationship of US imperialism to national ruling classes; in what ways this has shaped the major left trends and the workers’ movement on the continent; and the different types of movement that exist today.  Read the rest of this entry »





manchester public meeting: populism and class struggle in latin america

26 09 2009

The Commune’s first Manchester forum, Saturday 26th September

The last decade has seen a wave of class struggle shaking neo-liberalism in Latin America, with trade unions, social movements and indigenous people across the continent stirred to action.

26thseptlatam

Many also think that leaders like Hugo Chávez in Venezuela and Evo Morales in Bolivia are ‘building socialism’, and the radical right and US imperialism have mobilised to try and crush them. July saw the most outrageous action yet as the Honduran military overthrew the centre-left president Manuel Zelaya.

Where is the class struggle in Latin America headed? What does the Obama administration mean for US relations with the continent? Are systems like Venezuela and Cuba a model for communists to follow? Come and join the debate at The Commune’s forum. Read the rest of this entry »





manchester public meeting: populism and class struggle in latin america

15 09 2009

The Commune’s first Manchester forum, Saturday 26th September

The last decade has seen a wave of class struggle shaking neo-liberalism in Latin America, with trade unions, social movements and indigenous people across the continent stirred to action.

26thseptlatam

Many also think that leaders like Hugo Chávez in Venezuela and Evo Morales in Bolivia are ‘building socialism’, and the radical right and US imperialism have mobilised to try and crush them. July saw the most outrageous action yet as the Honduran military overthrew the centre-left president Manuel Zelaya.

Where is the class struggle in Latin America headed? What does the Obama administration mean for US relations with the continent? Are systems like Venezuela and Cuba a model for communists to follow? Come and join the debate at The Commune’s forum. Read the rest of this entry »





reprints of the commune’s pamphlets – buy online

7 08 2009

We have printed more copies of our series of pamphlets, several of which (in particular the long-unavailable Venezuela pamphlet) were out of print. See below for a list of the seven pamphlets available. They cost £1 +50p postage per copy. To order online, work out the total of your purchases then ‘donate’ the money here, making sure to specify in the text box what you are ordering.

communestall

Alternatively, write to uncaptiveminds@gmail.com to place your order. We take payment by cheque (addressed to ‘The Commune’, at The Commune, 2nd Floor, 145-157 St. John Street, London EC1V 4PY) or by transfer to Co-op account S/C 089299, A/C 65317440. Read the rest of this entry »





the commune’s pamphlets: reprints now available

10 06 2009

More copies of our pamphlet series, many of which had sold out, are now available. The text of each of  the seven pamphlets is online (see the list of subjects below), but you can also order paper copies – £1 +50p postage per copy.

communestall

Write to uncaptiveminds@gmail.com to place your order. We take payment by cheque (addressed to ‘The Commune’, at The Commune, 2nd Floor, 145-157 St. John Street, London EC1V 4PY) or by transfer to Co-op account S/C 089299, A/C 65317440. Read the rest of this entry »





bolivia: the working class and the morales government

16 05 2009

Bolivia’s trade unions are increasingly being incorporated into the state, but some sections of the labour movement are arguing for the re-affirmation of the historic goals of the working class and reclaiming the political indepedence of the unions faced with Evo Morales’ MAS government and the right.

by Enrique Ormachea

Since its foundation, the Central Obrera Boliviana (COB – Bolivia’s main trade union federation) has incorporated into its political principles the central points of the Pulacayo Thesis, including the political independence of trade union organizations. Today, the MAS (Movimiento al Socialismo) government of Evo Morales is trying to take absolute control of the union leaderships, with the objective of converting them into feeble bodies which cover for his ever more blatantly anti-working class and anti-peasant policies.

COB

Much of the trade union leadership has been developing policies openly contrary to the principles of political independence upheld by Bolivian trade unionism, acting against even the resolutions of the last COB Congress. Read the rest of this entry »





bolivia: the struggle for control of the unions

7 05 2009

an Econoticias Bolivia editorial

La Paz, 30th April 2009 – the combative Bolivian working class has begun its May Day celebrations in the midst of a hard-fought struggle among the leadership of the Central Obrera Boliviana [the main union federation - COB], which has begun to fight actively as part of the ranks of the pro-indigenous government of president Evo Morales, whilst the radical miners’ and teachers’ unions are fighting to defend an independent class-struggle position and initiate a struggle over workers’ demands.

bolivia 051

Some believe that the unions should forget, at least for the moment, the poverty and exploitation workers suffer, putting their economic and social demands on hold in order to back the indigenous government which is working to humanise capitalism and make it fairer, and which is also confronted by the oligarchy and the fascists. Others argue in reply that workers must win back their independence, putting the brakes on mounting exploitation and taking back the agenda of October [2003's general strike], smashing the power of the oligarchy by taking over the mines, factories and agricultural estates.
Read the rest of this entry »








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