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Indigenous struggles

Bolivia's vice-president, Álvaro García Linera: ‘We are going through the most radical ... social transformation’

Álvaro García Linera (right) with Bolivia's President Evo Morales

By Álvaro García Linera, introduced and translated by Richard Fidler

In the following interview, the vice-president of Bolivia, Álvaro García Linera, explains his interpretation of the changes that were made in the draft constitution, originally drafted in December 2007 by the country’s constituent assembly, as a result of the recent negotiations involving the parties represented in Bolivia’s National Congress. A popular referendum to adopt the new draft constitution is to be held on January 25, 2009. Álvaro García Linera also discusses his view of the role of constitutional change in the social transformation of Bolivia that is now under way.

Hugo Blanco: `No contradiction between my indigenous struggle and dialectical materialism'

Interview with veteran Peruvian Marxist Hugo Blanco, conducted by Yásser Gómez for Mariátegui magazine, September 9, 2008. Translated by Sean Seymour Jones for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal.

“The Self-organised Legislative Coup of the FTA [Free Trade Agreement], Indigenous Peoples and Social Movements” was the name of the national gathering of originario [indigenous] peoples, peasant communities and social movements that took place in Lima. There Mariátegui magazine interviewed Hugo Blanco, who in the 1970s led land takeovers in La Convención, Cusco, before the agrarian reform of Juan Velasco Alvarado was implemented. Today he continues in political combat from the trenches together with the peasantry, and as director of the newspaper Lucha Indigena (Indigenous Struggle).

What is your analysis of the Peruvian indigenous movement?

Racism, domination and revolution in Bolivia

By Adolfo Gilly

September 22, 2008 -- Mexico -- “The problem in Bolivia is that the country is undergoing a process of reforms, without abandoning the democratic framework, but both the opposition and the government act as if they were facing a revolution”, stated Marco Aurelio García, a close international affairs advisor to [Brazil's president] Lula, according to an article by José Natanson in the newspaper Pagina 12.

Allowing myself to not take this declaration literally, but instead in an ironic sense, Marco Aurelio García, an intelligent and well-informed man, can’t help but realise that if the two protagonists of the Bolivian confrontation believe that they are dealing with a revolution, this belief is the best confirmation that, in effect, it is. The vice-president of Bolivia, Álvaro García Linera, on the other hand, has said that what is happening is “an increase in elites, an increase in rights, and a redistribution of wealth. This, in Bolivia, is a revolution.”

Philippines: Towards a memorandum for self-determination for the Moro people

By Herbert Docena

Force has kept the Moro people within the Philippines. Against their will, beginning in the early twentieth century, the Moros, who were already living in their own states in the south, were incorporated into what became the nation-state of the Philippines by US colonisers and their Filipino partners from the north. [i]

Canada: Saying `sorry' with a forked tongue

By Mike Krebs

“I want to get rid of the Indian problem. I do not think as a matter of fact, that the country ought to continuously protect a class of people who are able to stand alone… Our objective is to continue until there is not a single Indian in Canada that has not been absorbed into the body politic and there is no Indian question, and no Indian Department, that is the whole object of this Bill” — Duncan Campbell Scott, head of the Department of Indian Affairs and founder of the residential school system, 1920.

July 1, 2008 -- On June 11, 2008, Stephen Harper, prime minister of Canada and leader of the Conservative Party, issued an “apology” for the residential school system that more than 150,000 Indigenous children were forced through. The hype before and after the statement was enormous, with extensive coverage in all major media.

Peru: Miners, Moqueguanos win victory following violent government attacks

By Carlos Quiroz, peruanista.blogspot.com

June 19, 2008 (updated June 26) -- The videos you are about to see are a bit shocking. For 18 months the people of the Moquegua region (southeastern Peru) and the mining workers from that region have been seeking for peaceful negotiations with the Peruvian government in Lima.

Photo essay: Mexican indigenous front agitates for rights of migrants in the US

Text and photos by David Bacon

SANTIAGO DE JUXTLAHUACA, OAXACA, MEXICO

MAY 31, 2008 -- The assembly of the Indigenous Front of Binational Organisations in the Mixteca region of Oaxaca, one of the poorest areas in Mexico. A large percentage of the indigenous population of Oaxaca and other states has left to work in northern Mexico and in the United States. The FIOB is a political organisation of indigenous communities and migrants, with chapters in Mexico and the US. It advocates for the rights of migrants, and for the right not to migrate -- for economic development which would enable people to stay home.

From Marx to Morales: Indigenous socialism and the Latin Americanisation of Marxism

By John Riddell

June 16, 2008 -- Over the past decade, a new rise of mass struggles in Latin America has sparked an encounter between revolutionists of that region and many of those based in the imperialist countries. In many of these struggles, as in Bolivia under the presidency of Evo Morales, Indigenous peoples are in the lead.

Latin American revolutionists are enriching Marxism in the field of theory as well as of action. This article offers some introductory comments indicating ways in which their ideas are linking up with and drawing attention to important but little-known aspects of Marxist thought.

Bolivia: When minorities deny the rights of the majorities

By Miguel Lora Fuentes, Bolpress (translation by David Montoute)

How true it is that nothing lasts forever. Bolivia’s exploited classes, of mainly indigenous origin, are now confronting more than five centuries of exclusion. This territory’s original inhabitants were subjugated by the cross and the sword during the colonial period, they were harassed and had their lands taken from them under the Republic, and their culture was ignored during the bourgeois-democratic revolution of 1952. Now, as they finally take state power by democratic means at the beginning of the 21st century, the dominant minority accuses them of wanting to install the ``first racist, fascist state in Latin America’’.

The current historical juncture is characterised by a profound crisis of the market economy, of liberal democracy and of the very foundations of the old republican colonial state, a monocultural, centralist and exclusionary state that has remained intact since the foundation of the Republic.

Video: Evo Morales on the Emergence of Bolivia's Indigenous Movement

Click here to watch Bolivia's President Evo Morales on the emergence of Bolivia's Indigenous movement.

Thanks to http://boliviarising.blogspot.com

Indianismo and Marxism: The mismatch of two revolutionary rationales

Introduction by Richard Fidler -- This important article by Álvaro García Linera, now vice-president of Bolivia, was first published in 2005. It traces the contradictory evolution of the two most influential revolutionary currents in the country's 20th century history and argues that Marxism, as originally interpreted by its Bolivian adherents, failed to address the outstanding concerns of the Indigenous majority. García Linera suggests, however, that the evolution of indianismo in recent decades opens perspectives for a renewal of Marxist thought and potentially the reconciliation of the two currents in a higher synthesis. Although framed within the Bolivian context, his argument clearly has implications for the national and anti-imperialist struggle in other parts of Abya Yale (the indigenous name for the western hemisphere).

Although Bolivia won formal independence from Spain in 1825, its national character remained fragile and incomplete. Not only did it lose significant territories over the years — to Brazil, Chile and, in the 1930s, Paraguay (the Chaco War) — the continuing existence of semifeudal property relations in agriculture deprived its overwhelmingly campesino Indigenous majority of property in land and was the material basis for their oppression as peoples. Indianismo developed among Bolivia's three dozen Indigenous peoples as an ideological reaction to this oppression, but only in recent years has it emerged as a dominant force in the political life of the country, in a process outlined by García Linera in the following article.

Contours of the Mexican left

By Phil Hearse

The left in Mexico is a huge and incredibly diverse phenomenon and one which is potentially extremely powerful. It encompasses tens of thousands of tenacious, devoted and often very brave men and women, fighting against a state which, despite the democratic space created in the past 20 years, still routinely responds to its worker and peasant opponents with disappearances, assassinations, imprisonment and torture. Every critical point made here has to be seen against that background.

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