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Workers power in El Alto: class struggle in Bolivia 2000–2006

10:00am Sat 30 Mar

About this session

Bolivia saw five years of mass protest, led by Indigenous worker and peasant movements. These movements overthrew two neoliberal presidents and brought the country to a standstill several times.

Evo Morales and his party the Movement for Socialism (MAS) rose to prominence on the back of these movements and were elected in January 2006. MAS in parliament used radical slogans, embarked on limited nationalisations and increased taxes on the natural gas and oil sector. But they did not fundamentally break from much of the austerity politics that dominated Bolivia, continuing an export-oriented capitalism that relied on low-wage labour. Despite their limitations, MAS was opposed by the right and sections of capital, and eventually overthrew MAS temporarily in a coup in 2019.

This session will outline the incredible mass movements that took place in Bolivia before the election of Morales, discuss the nature of MAS in power and how revolutionary socialists should understand them.

Recommended Reading

Red October: Left-Indigenous Struggles in Modern Boliviaby Jeffery Webber
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