Álvaro García Linera A marxist seduced book | Marxism | Bolivia

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  Álvaro García Linera: A Bolivian Marxist Seduced   Editor’s Introduction: A Bolivian Marxist Seduced  | Robert Cavooris From time to time, history throws some unsuspecting leftist intellectual the reins of state  power. Suddenly, theoretical practice meets its double, political practice; the complexities and stakes of each begin to multiply. We are seeing the beginning of this process, no doubt, with Greece’s Ale xis Tsipras and his coterie of Syriza MPs inspired by Louis Althusser and Antonio Gramsci. In Spain, Podemos’s Pablo Iglesias may find more theoretical affinity with Ernesto Laclau and Perry Anderson, but the situation is similar: a professional intellectual must begin to take seriously the idea of controlling a significant apparatus of state power. Years of writing, polemicizing, and organizing open up to an almost miraculous accession. As Georges Bataille says: Impossible, yet there it is! But the contradictions leading to a possible rejuvenation of the European Left have already left their mark elsewhere: Álvaro García Linera, vice-  president to Bolivia’s Evo Morales, was perhaps the first Marxist intellectual to sit in state power in the 21st century. His work reflects a continued engagement with a unique political experiment in Bolivia, and can be read, therefore, as a guide to a terrain on which some are trying to plow an eventual road to socialism. It is the wager of this dossier that much can be learned by more closely examining both Linera’s theory and his political practice –   not only to understand the man himself, but also, to understand the innovative political process from which he cannot be separated, and which may portend something of the future for the electoral Left in other  parts of the world. The Re-encounter of Indianismo and Marxism in the Work of  Álvaro García Linera | Irina Alexandra Feldman One of the crucial dimensions of Alvaro Garcia Linera’s contributions is to bring Marxism and Indianismo together. Linera shows that Marxists and Indianistas share parallel concerns. Namely, they denounce the injustice of exploitation of the workers and the  peasants, who happen to be, in the Bolivian case, mainly indigenous, as well as their alienation from the means of production, which yields their total dependency on the capitalist owners for the fulfillment of their basic needs. Ultimately, in the post-colonial Andean context, this alienation and exploitation is accompanied by the epistemic colonization, which robs the indigenous subalterns of their way of inhabiting the world, dispossessing them of their language, knowledge and cosmology. Thus, for Linera, Marxism can deepen the contributions of Indianismo, and Indianismo can sharpen some of the positions advanced by Marxism, in order to shed light on the reality of the post-colonial context, and to articulate relevant political projects. The Phantom, The Plebeian and the State: Grupo Comuna and the Intellectual Career of Álvaro García Linera | Peter Baker  In the year 1999, a collection of essays concerning the relevance of Karl Marx’s   Communist Manifesto  to the contemporary conjuncture in Bolivia was published. It may have gone by unnoticed, were it not for the fact that its authors were about to become the principal interpreters for the irruption of new social movements in the wake of a state crisis that took place in Bolivia between the years of 2000  –   2005. What this group of intellectuals were looking for, the project that would inaugurate their work, was no less than a reinvention of the left capable of identifying new strategies appropriate for the contemporary moment. Burdens of a State Manager  | Jeffery R. Webber The prolific writings of Vice President Álvaro García Linera offer one window into the complexities of the political, ideological, and economic developments that have transpired since Morales first assumed office. With that in mind, the following detailed exposition and critical interrogation of the core arguments advanced in his 2011 book, Tensiones creativas de la revolución , is meant to shed some light on what is at stake in the competing characterizations of the “process of change” unfolding in Bolivia since 2006. If for many readers, only passingly familiar with the country, García Linera might seem to represent Bolivian radical theory tout court, in fact his intellectual output over the last nine years has  been comparatively shallow, heavily determined by his role as second-in-command of the state apparatus. The rich and demanding provocations of his early work have largely been eclipsed by managerial apologia. The Re-encounter of Indianismo and Marxism in the Work of Álvaro García Linera In his important article about the history of Marxism and Indianismo in Bolivia, Álvaro García Linera tells the story of the “missed encounter of the two revolutionary reasons.” 1  He presents the post-colonial Bolivian context as a space of complex engagements for the Marxist tradition. One must contend, for instance, with the explicit rejection of Marxism in the case of Fausto Reinaga, founder of a forceful and radical current of “Indianismo,” which has inspired the    Indianista political parties and social movements since the 1970s. Reinaga claimed that Marxism, espoused by the  Movimiento  Nacionalista Revolucionario  (MNR) and the Bolivian National Revolution of 1952 (in which he had participated), did nothing for the emancipation of Indians, either theoretically or practically. He  proposed Indianismo as the ideology that would supplant what he came to regard as a useless, “foreign” theory. This “native”  proposal, historically tested on the Andean soil, would instead put the Indian at the center of history as its subject and actor, emphasize the racial and cultural roots of oppression in the Bolivian society, and call for Indian Revolution as the way out of this predicament. One of the crucial dimensions of Álvaro García Linera’s contribution is to bring Marxism and Indianismo together, in his explicit recognition of Reinaga’s importance in the history of Bolivian emancipatory struggle and Indianismo’s centrality to the current political project of the Evo Morales government. Linera shows that Marxists and Indianistas share parallel concerns. Namely, they denounce the unjust exploitation of workers and peasants, who in the Bolivian case happen to be mainly indigenous, as well as their alienation from the means of production, which results in their total dependency on the capitalist owners for the fulfillment of their basic needs. Ultimately, in the post-colonial Andean context, this alienation and exploitation are accompanied by epistemic colonization, which robs the indigenous subalterns of their way of inhabiting the world, dispossessing them of their language, knowledge, and cosmology. Thus, for Linera, Marxism can deepen the contribution of Indianismo, and Indianismo can sharpen some of the positions advanced by Marxism. Together these sets of ideas can shed light on the reality of the post-colonial context, and articulate relevant political projects. In terms of the genealogy of Bolivian  political theory, one could say that Reinaga relies on both the 18 th  century indigenous revolutionary Tupaj Katari and Karl Marx, despite claiming his total divorce from the latter; Linera knows and  publicly recognizes that he relies on Tupaj Katari, Marx, and Reinaga. In the present excursus, textual examples from Reinaga  offer the background for Linera’s deployment of Indianista and Marxist analytical vocabulary and for his projects of decolonization from the Vice-Presidency of the Plurinational State. As a concrete example, we will look at how this discourse conceptualizes and uses modern technology as a means to overcome the colonial condition,  by repairing the epistemic damage of the Conquest of the Americas and centuries of colonialism. “¡  Indios de Bolivia, uníos !” 2  With these words, Fausto Reinaga concludes his  Manifiesto del Partido Indio de Bolivia  published in 1970. Here, he calls together the Indians of Bolivia to join in a struggle against the “white -mestizo cholaje ” 3  represented by both the traditional elite, and the leadership of the post-1952 National Revolutionary government  –   both of whom, according to him, ignore in equal measure the necessities of the indigenous population. The disavowal of Marxism and the the established Left is at the heart of Reinaga’s document. However, as the languag e of the brief quote above immediately suggests, this stout negation is both necessary for Reinaga’s ideological positioning, and at the same time incomplete, methodologically speaking. The continued  presence of the formal and rhetorical components of the Marxist tradition within Reinaga’s text symptomatically signals to the fact that the Marxist categories of analysis are still active in and necessary to his reading of history, especially as he examines the continuous conditions of oppression and exploitations that the Bolivian indigenous persons endure. Reinaga puts forward the idea of “Two Bolivias” locked in a battle to the death: Indian Bolivia and white-mestizo Bolivia (  Bolivia del “cholaje blanco -mestizo ”). 4  The desired outcome of this battle would be the ousting of the mestizo colonial legacy and the formation of an Indian state; it would also be a culmination of a “hidden” current, the true historical struggle of the two above - mentioned “races.” 5  The influence of theories of decolonization, especiall y the work of Frantz Fanon, is evident in Reinaga’s texts, and is seen specifically in his rejection of the ideology of mestizaje  that was adapted at the state level in Bolivia after the Revolution of
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