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Archive article from The Socialist Issue 319

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A Movement Of Insurrectionary Scale

FOR THE second time this year Bolivia's ruling class is facing a workers' and peasants' movement of insurrectionary proportions. President Sanchez de Lozada - who took office last August with only 25% of the popular vote - became increasingly isolated and has now resigned.

Dave Carr

His deployment of the armed forces to quell the protests (which has led to the deaths of over 45 people), has divided his government allies.

Last weekend saw fierce clashes in El Alto the industrial suburb of the capital La Paz between workers and police. The police stopping their attacks only after running out of rubber bullets and tear gas.

The protests by trade unionists, ethnic Indian groups and farmers began five weeks' ago, ostensibly to oppose the export of natural gas to the US and Mexico. The protesters fear that the export revenues will simply boost the profits of foreign energy companies and are demanding the nationalisation of the industry. Now, in a sign of desperation to placate the strikers, the president has shelved plans to export the gas until 31 December.

But the general strike movement, involving road blocks, has broadened in scope to demand the government scrap its 'free market' capitalist policies.

Sanchez' presidency was in dire straits as the working class, farmers and peasantry refuse to pay for the country's deep capitalist crisis. Unemployment is officially 12% of the workforce and 60% of Bolivians live on or below the poverty line - many existing on $2 a day.

The government is squeezed between the International Monetary Fund which demands austerity measures to reduce the government's $240 million deficit and an impoverished but defiant working class. What is required is a mass socialist party to challenge the rule of capitalism and to form a workers' and peasants' government.

The Economist described clashes between police and armed forces, followed by a movement of the working class, in February 2003 as: "The worst period of civil disorder the country has seen since its 'popular revolution' of 1952". The current movement could surpass February's upheavals.


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In this issue

United Action To End Low Pay

Save Our Health Service

London Workers Lead Fight For A Living Wage

Stand Together To Scrap The SATS

Socialist Party news and analysis

Can The Nasty Party Win Again?

Fighting Women's Oppression

Socialist Alliance Trade Union Convention


Apparently it's all my fault...

Socialist Party feature

More Jailings But Deeper Anger

Greater Dublin City Bin service shut down!

Anti Bin Tax Campaigns Thank Bin Workers; Call for End to Non-Collection and Jailings

War and occupation

Iraq's 'Liberation' Nightmare

Protest Against Warmonger Bush

Democracy And The Stop The War Coalition

Socialist Party Marxist analysis

World economy: Will There Be A Recovery?


ISR conference:

Stop Fees Now!

International socialist news and analysis

Bolivia: A Movement Of Insurrectionary Scale

California: Last Action Hero Will Let Down Voters

Nigeria: General Strike Suspended After Government Backs Down

Poland: An Explosion Of Class Struggle


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