Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Bolivia: Evo To Introduce Garcia Linera As His VP Pick

Evo Morales' is presenting sociologist Alvaro Garci­a Linera as his running mate, purportedly to "balance" the ticket with someone from the "middle class" (read "White").

However, Garcia Linera, far from being a moderate, is considered one of the main theoreticians of the Bolivia new left, with its view of "different" Bolivian nations

Some of his writings reminds me of the silliness you read in left wing rags in college towns in the U.S - and more than one unreadable ethnic studies journal. But his views are a big influence on Evo Morales and Quispe, and on the Aymara and Cocalero movements.

Garcia Linera, claims that Bolivia's native people's have been trapped by the power structure, to the point where they unconsciously act to favor the oppressors. In his view they need to assert their "will to power" to assert their "sovereignty", and once this process started they would recreate Bolivia in a "new structure of state power" with its own kind of "politics" "institutions", and "economy", based on the Indians own traditions, which would displace the "liberal" platitudes of modern government. In his view, such things as electoral politics and balances of power do not apply to the Aymaras of Bolivia.

It goes without saying that he doesn't approve much of the modern economy. With pronounced scorn he once publically criticized Quiroga - and other young, educated, Bolivian technocrats - for the sin of studying business administration and even worse, being actual managers in corporations. !! Of course, recycling Foucalt, Fanon, and Mariategui is better preparation for the day-to-day grind of running a government than anything taught at such sites of evil as the Kellog School and Wharton!!!!

Nothing new with this this kind of recycled ideology. Variations of this have been played and replayed, not only in Bolivia, but also in other third world countries. Garcia Linera's views, like similar ones elsewhere, also embody acurious paradox: on the one hand suggesting that Bolivia's native people's by digging within their traditions have the tools available to create a fair and just society from the ground up, but on the other hand, he also seems to imply that native people's are somehow not up to the task of living in a modern representative democracy with a free market economy. It is ultimately the scorn with which he refers to democratic institutions - which never have been able to consolidate in Bolivia - that worry me the most about the guy. And also the fact that the multi-ethnic and multi-layered society he aims to create, seems to always come down to one 'led' and organized by one ethnic group - the native peoples. This is the type of theorizing that works great for undergrads wanting to annoy college administrators with, but in Andean contexts can end up with the Sendero Luminoso.