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It can be very disheartening to contemplate the state of the world, these days. Climate change, growing wealth inequality, civil rights erosion, violence, violence and more violence. As a practitioner of bearing witness, it all gets overwhelming and can lead to despair, unless I find beacons of light. One of the beacons I've found is Evo Morales of Bolivia.

If you're not aware of him, he is the first indigenous president of Bolivia. That would be notable, in and of itself, but he has represented so much more than a demographic token. He's now a leading voice in a worldwide coalition for a sustainable future. Something he calls "Vivir Bien."

The concept of vivir bien (live well) defines the current climate change movement in Bolivia. The concept is usually contrasted with the capitalist entreaty to vivir mejor (live better). Proponents argue that living well means having all basic needs met while existing in harmony with the natural world; living better seeks to constantly amass materials goods at the expense of the environment.
This isn't just a vague "feel good" philosophy. It is a set of principles to live by and guide public policy. Let's take a look at what those principles are, how they've been applied in Bolivia and how they are being adopted beyond Bolivia, along with some of President Morales' personal background.

A young, farming Evo Morales
Per the Encyclopedia Britannica, Evo Morales was born in 1959, herded llamas as a child, served in the Bolivian military after high school and then worked on a family farm, where one of the crops was coca.

The coca plant is mostly known to those of us outside of the Western South America as the source of cocaine. However, it has very impressive nutritional and medicinal qualities and has been a significant part of the Andean culture. This is important to note because when the US launched it's "War on Drugs" it didn't limit it's enforcement of US laws to activities happening within it's borders. The US placed enormous pressure on Bolivians to shut down all coca farming. This led to unionization of the farmers. Evo Morales became active in that union. By the mid-1980s he became the executive secretary of a group of unions. This launched his political career that has ended up with him in the presidency. It has also shaped how he sees the impact of capitalist interests around the world.

In the mid-1990s, when the Bolivian government was suppressing coca production with assistance from the United States, Morales helped found a national political party—the leftist Movement Toward Socialism (Spanish: Movimiento al Socialismo; MAS)—at the same time serving as titular leader of the federation representing coca growers.

Morales won a seat in the House of Deputies (the lower house of the Bolivian legislature) in 1997 and was the MAS candidate for president in 2002, only narrowly losing to Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada. During the presidential campaign, Morales called for the expulsion from Bolivia of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents (his campaign was bolstered by the U.S. ambassador’s comment that aid to Bolivia would be reconsidered if Morales was elected). In the following years, Morales remained active in national affairs, helping force the resignation of Sánchez de Lozada in 2003 and extracting a concession from his successor, Carlos Mesa Gisbert, to consider changes to the highly unpopular U.S.-backed campaign to eradicate illegal coca production.

Two years later, he would run for president again. He was the first Bolivian president since 1982 to win by majority, taking 54% of the votes. Since being elected, he has pushed for policies which reflect the principles of Vivir Bien. In 2009, the principles of Vivir Bien were included in Bolivia's new constitution. When you read the text of the constitution, you can notice something a bit radically different from that of the US:
This Constitution determines a mixed economy: State, private, cooperative and communal ownership, but restricts private land ownership to a maximum of 5,000 hectares (12,400 acres).
That's a very definitive statement about limiting the accumulation of personal power via controlling land.

So, what are these principles?

There is one way in which the phrase "vivir bien" reminds me of the Brazilian phrase 'tenho saudade.' It is hard to translate into English, because it isn't just about the definition of the words. There is an ineffable cultural feeling, related to a way of perceiving life, embedded in the phrase. As this writer, trying to explain Vivir Bien, puts it:

The richness of the term is difficult to translate into English. It includes the classical ideas of quality of life, but with the specific idea that well-being is only possible within a community. Furthermore, in most approaches the community concept is understood in an expanded sense, to include Nature. Buen Vivir therefore embraces the broad notion of well-being and cohabitation with others and Nature. In this regard, the concept is also plural, as there are many different interpretations depending on cultural, historical and ecological setting.
When Vivir Bien was incorporated into the Bolivian constitution it was enacted as ethical and moral principles for the State:
In the Bolivian case, is presented in Spanish as ‘Vivir Bien’, and is included in the section devoted to the ethical and moral principles describing the values, ends and objectives of the State. The approach is multicultural, and Vivir Bien is referred to the aymara concept of suma qamaña, but also to the guaraní ideas of the harmonious living (ñandereko), good life (teko kavi), the land without evil (ivi maraei) and the path to the noble life (qhapaj ñan). These ideas come from different cultures but all are presented together at the same level, without hierarchies. They are part of a major set of principles linked to other well-known principles, such as unity, equality, dignity, freedom, solidarity, reciprocity, social and gender equity, social justice, responsibility and so on. Furthermore, all the ethical–moral principles, including Vivir Bien, are linked to the economic organization of the State. The Bolivian Constitution introduces an economic plural model (in the sense of diverse cultural origins of economic activities), and its objectives are to increase quality of life and ensure the Vivir Bien.
To see how that translates into policies, read this speech that President Morales gave in June. Bolivia is a member of the Group of 77 plus China. As host of this year's summit, Morales gave the opening talk. In it, policy ideas based on the principles of Vivir Bien are spelled out. I'm quoting snippets from each section. They will give you a taste of Vivir Bien. Read the entire thing to get a more comprehensive flavor.
First: We must move from sustainable development to comprehensive development [desarrollo integral] so that we can live well and in harmony and balance with Mother Earth.
 ...
Second: Sovereignty exercised over natural resources and strategic areas.

Countries that have raw materials should and can take sovereign control over production and processing of those materials.
...
Third: Well-being for everyone and the provision of basic services as a human right
...
Fourth: Emancipation from the existing international financial system and construction of a new financial architecture ... We also need to define limits to gains from speculation and to excessive accumulation of wealth.
...
Fifth: Build a major economic, scientific, technological and cultural partnership among the members of the group of 77 plus China ... Science must be an asset of humanity as a whole. Science must be placed at the service of everyone’s well-being, without exclusions or hegemonies.
...
Sixth: Eradicate hunger among the world’s peoples. It is imperative that hunger be eradicated and that the human right to food be fully exercised and enforced.
...
Seventh: Strengthen the sovereignty of states free from foreign interference, intervention and/or espionage. ... For this reason, the UN Security Council must be abolished. Rather than fostering peace among nations, this body has promoted wars and invasions by imperial powers in their quest for the natural resources available in the invaded countries. Instead of a Security Council, today we have an insecurity council of imperial wars.
...
Eighth: Democratic renewal of our states. The era of empires, colonial hierarchies and financial oligarchies is coming to an end. Everywhere we look, we see peoples around the world calling for their right to play their leading role in history. ... We must move away from limited parliamentary and party-based governance and into the social governance of democracy.
...
Ninth: A new world rising from the south for the whole of humanity. ... In the past, we were colonized and enslaved. Our stolen labour built empires in the North. ...
However, our liberation is not only the emancipation of the peoples of the South. Our liberation is also for the whole of humanity. We are not fighting to dominate anyone. We are fighting to ensure that no one becomes dominated.

"We are fighting to ensure that no one becomes dominated." That's a radical concept in today's world, where domination is the name of the capitalist game.

Morales gave this speech to a gathering of more than 130 developing countries. (The Group of 77 was established in the 1960s, as a subset of the UN. It has grown to include 133, but they've kept the original name.) I highly recommend that you read the entire speech. He is speaking to countries who have bonded over their histories with "developed" nations. They are rising in solidarity to resist colonization, exploitation and financial domination. In doing so, they are emerging with a new vision of what the world can look like and how we can all live in harmony. I found myself feeling a little hope for humanity, as I read it.

Evo Morales, President of Bolivia
That sense of hope comes not because of the speech alone. The speech would be only so many pretty but hollow words, but for the fact that Bolivia is living through this transformation. They have seen their economy strengthen.
This paper examines the Bolivian economy since President Evo Morales took office in 2006. It finds that Bolivia’s economic growth in the last four years has been higher than at any time in the last 30 years, averaging 4.9 percent annually since the current administration took office in 2006. Projected GDP growth for 2009 is the highest in the hemisphere and follows its peak growth rate in 2008.
And that is directly related to their rejection of capitalism:
Key to the Bolivian economy’s relative success has been expansionary fiscal policy and control over national resources, especially the hydrocarbons sector – a relatively recent development.

In the last three years the government has begun several programs targeted at the poorest Bolivians. These include payments to poor families to increase school enrollment; an expansion of public pensions to relive extreme poverty among the elderly; and most recently, payments for uninsured mothers to expand prenatal and post-natal care, to reduce infant and child mortality.

It hasn't been without it's hardships or opposition. Some of Bolivia's regions have more individually held wealth than others. In a bid to redistribute wealth, those who have to give up relative power are always going to resist. There was an attempt to foment disapproval of Morales, by the wealthy class. They were able to force a national referendum for a no-confidence vote on his presidency. They lost that battle soundly: two-thirds of the population supported him. That's a high approval rating in any circumstance, but given how much radical change they are undertaking, it's even more impressive. (We've seen a similar trajectory with Venezuela, where the wealthy class have tried to spark widespread violence during any functional democratic protest or election. Yet, Venezuelans continue to choose the difficult path of transition away from capitalism, as they've seen their quality of life vastly improve.)

What Bolivia and Ecuador  - who embedded their own Bien Vivir into their constitution - and Venezuela are doing is inspiring. More than that, in this age of communication, the signals they are sending out into the world are resonating. All of those who have been dominated have the means to reach out to each other and build solidarity, share ideas, support one another and build something new inside existing global socio-economic structures. As they do so, they will help hollow out the pillars of capitalism. More and more people will see the lack of values in capitalism and witness the quality of life improvement for those who eschew it. When capitalism finally collapses, Vivir Bien may be there to cushion the blow and guide us into a more sustainable and harmonious future.

If you're looking for a likely alternative future for human social organizing, keep your eyes on the Global South, particularly South America. You might notice, more and more, that cutting edge statements and perspectives are emanating from there. In Uruguay, they elected the "world's poorest president." He was one of the most successful guerrilla leaders during the 60s and 70s, he donates 90% of his salary to charity and maintains a very humble lifestyle farming chrysanthemums. He simply doesn't have the same worldview as leaders of industrialized nations.

In September 2013, Mujica addressed the United Nations General Assembly, with a very long discourse devoted to humanity and globalization.
Like Morales in Bolivia, he remains popular. South Americans have known the oppression of colonialism and they seem to be relishing their time of having their voice of resistance on the global stage. They are accepting the messiness of transition because that's still better than economic slavery. Just as we can't turn to the privileged classes here for radical change in our culture, we can't turn to the "industrialized nations" for a radical change in the course of human sustainability. Those who benefit from things as they are, aren't going to design a system which demands that they give up their privileges. So, as we try to bolster ourselves against the despair that the latest news cycle and ongoing US political discourse evokes in us, I recommend we look south. Watch what they're doing. Signal solidarity with that which resonates and hope. Hope they lead us to some breakthroughs. For, as Morales says:
Only we can save the source of life and society: Mother Earth. Our planet is under a death threat from the greed of predatory and insane capitalism.

Today, another world is not only possible, it is indispensable.

Today, another world is indispensable because, otherwise, no world will be possible.

And that other world of equality, complementarity and organic coexistence with Mother Earth can only emerge from the thousands of languages, colours and cultures existing in brotherhood and sisterhood among the Peoples of the South.

He's not out there preaching austerity to the masses. He's not telling us that if we would stop being lazy moochers and become better capitalists, everything would be better. He's not encouraging us to raise GDP and mortgage our lives away. He's letting us know that there are a significant number of people in the world who see that we need a completely new direction. Enough people to elect him and Mujica (Uruguay) and Maduro (Venezuela) and Correa (Ecuador) and many of those in the Group of 77, to represent their voices and carry this message:

"Today, another world is indispensable because, otherwise, no world will be possible."

Evo Morales in his presidential sweater.

Originally posted to Anti-Capitalist Meetup on Sun Aug 10, 2014 at 03:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Anti-Capitalist Chat and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks so much for an excellent diary (18+ / 0-)

    and reminding us of the breadth of the struggles in the hemisphere

    It’s not possible to advance if we don’t take a leap forward in the conquest of social hegemony, and at the same time, battle to revert current cultural domination. We still haven’t freed ourselves from the cultural hegemony of the bourgeoisie.....

    On the other hand, the tendencies of unity guided by the Bolivarian spirit are advancing, like the ALBA [the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America] could be. The alliance with the countries of the Mercosur [the Market of the South, which Venezuela joined as a formal member in July] is an advance in this sense. It needs to be assimilated in its proper measure, because it [joining Mercosur] supposes great challenges. It makes it indispensable for the Bolivarian revolution to take a leap forward in the expansion of its internal productive forces to develop a productive economy of a socialist nature. This process should be supported by the classes with the greatest vocation to construct socialism, but also by a leap forward in scientific-technological development. The construction of socialism isn’t possible in only one country, and in the case of Latin America this beautiful process of unity needs to be combined with the struggle for socialism.

    Amilcar Figueroa

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "If we appear to seek the unattainable, then let it be known that we do so to avoid the unimaginable." (@eState4Column5)

    by annieli on Sun Aug 10, 2014 at 03:06:49 PM PDT

  •  "Living well" is an imporant idea. Thanks for this (9+ / 0-)

    diary!

    I'm glad that at least some national leaders are capable of seeing the bigger picture.

  •  I beleive that, if it is to survive at all, the (11+ / 0-)

    spirit of liberty and cooperation that this nation has (falsely) claimed since the 19th century, it will be in South America.

    We'd have emigrated if not for the sway the Catholic Church still holds there.

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

    by Greyhound on Sun Aug 10, 2014 at 03:22:22 PM PDT

    •  the hold of the Catholic Church cannot last (13+ / 0-)

      as the people embrace autonomy.

      In Uruguay, Mujica has presided over the legalization of abortion. No one ever thought that could happen in such a Catholic-centered nation.

      In Bolivia, the concept of being plurinational is an interesting one. They recognize that within the State of Bolivia are multiple autonomous nations.

      I'm very convinced that the concepts of autonomy and a consent-based culture are the key to ending capitalism and  theocracy. I see a lot of that realization rising in Latin America. It may take a while for it to be fully realized. I imagine it will not be a linear progression, either. Still, I see more realization of it there than anywhere else, right now.

      (Though I need to check in on how Tunisia is living with it's new constitution. That one was also radical.)

      Building Community. Creating Jobs. Donating Art to Community Organizations. Support the Katalogue

      by UnaSpenser on Sun Aug 10, 2014 at 03:30:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Catholic church in many areas (11+ / 0-)

      has not only played a reactionary role; liberation theology reversed the power relations endemic to the religion and moved towards a horizonalist notion of community and support (but since it is religion, there is verticality inherently). Many hard core members of the left view themselves as Christians and that is specific to the history of the countries themselves. My concern with the religion lays in the church hierarchy many put into power by John Paul, but they were unable to remove completely liberation theology and its power in the base. However, it is still a patriarchal religion and even in countries where there are strong movements, there are still laws in place where women's right of control over her body and her reproduction is not free. The provision of health care is essential, but we need a bit more and none of these leaders are willing to overturn completely the patriarchal power either of the church or to more indigenous culture. Women are fighting, but it is a struggle.

      "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

      by NY brit expat on Sun Aug 10, 2014 at 03:41:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm curious to know why. (0+ / 0-)

      I'm not disputing what you say.  And it may be that an adequate answer is a bit much to bite off.  But if you can give some reasons, I'd appreciate hearing them.

      "It ain't so much the things we don't know that get us in trouble. It's the things we know that ain't so." (Artemus Ward)

      by Silencio on Sun Aug 10, 2014 at 07:08:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If you're interested, sure. (0+ / 0-)

        I guess that first, it's our familiarity and experience with many people throughout our lives from many of the cultures south of us.

        Everyone either of us has known, despite in some cases being the direct victims of U.S. criminality, admire the principles we consistently fail to live up to, but used to aspire to.

        How many nations have told the various global financial cabals to go fuck themselves? It's a very short list, but almost all of them are South/Central American. They have worked hard and made a lot of progress over the last 20 years to get out from under the master class. There's a long, long way to go, but I believe that they've decided on their goals, and that makes all the difference.

        The sense of community is very strong, which is a double edged sword for very white Americans like us.

        Stability is another concern, but my friends have assured me for years that as long as you're not stupid, it's OK. :-/

        The changes are going to keep coming and this may prove to be one of the world's most interesting times, and I like the position many South and Central American countries are taking in preparation.

        Riding out history is our main goal, now.

        "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

        by Greyhound on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 11:56:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The Catholic Church (4+ / 0-)

      is the single longest standing government & plutocracy the world has ever known.

      They will side with whoever is winning.... be it Nazis or Socialists.  That is the means by which they survive unscathed to influence and enrich themselves no matter who is in power.

      When the new Pope "Populist" was appointed, I knew damn well that the world was on the brink.... they must KNOW as we do, that inequality has reached a tipping point where the People will revolt, and they are afraid.  They need to have a face of the poor up there.

      Do I think it is sincere?  Perhaps the man is, but the cabal holding the most hidden wealth in the world is not.  

      I don't trust them further than I could throw them.

      I say this, as one who attended Catholic Schools K-12.

      Free Gaza! Free Donbass!

      by Diane Gee on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 05:29:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you, Una. (15+ / 0-)

    Well done. Morales is very impressive and I love the vivir bien thing. I hope that's the future because otherwise the future's going to be pretty grim. Unbridled capitalism will leave nothing but ashes.

  •  Bolivia has one thing in its favor. (7+ / 0-)

    Most of its inhabitants have, or are not too far removed from, a genuine alternative way of life that's not acquisitive capitalism.  They can define the alternative in something positive and the historically and culturally grounded, rather than as negation of something.  I don't think that would work in most other places in the hemisphere, even very poor ones like Honduras.  Mujica has a more modest agenda for Uruguay, and just as well because it's not a society that I see as willing to go back on 100 years of capitalist development that hasn't served it especially badly.

    It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

    by Rich in PA on Sun Aug 10, 2014 at 03:26:19 PM PDT

    •  I was thinking about this, too. Thinking about why (16+ / 0-)

      we can't get enough people here in The States to recognize the need for an alternative to capitalism. We don't have a strong enough connection, on a large enough scale, to any other economic system. It's not as though we don't have people whose ancerstors have lived here for thousands of years. The Algonquins have used Spokescouncils and direct democracy for their national governance forever. But there is a critical mass of people who remain connected to that. And we've had a successful campaign, over centuries, of fostering disrespect, that not enough people can even see their values as some worth considering. So, we are left imagining that without capitalism, there is nothing. A void. A total collapse of society. The all-frightening "anarchy." (Put in quotes because it such a misused word.)

      So, yes, I think you're right. There is a strong enough connection to traditional cultures which have alternative values to the capitalist one, that it was possible to build enough of a critical mass of support to get these changes through.

      And, yes, in Uruguay, a small, relatively wealthy country -  one allowed to be in the relative winner's circle of the capitalist invasion of South America - there is less inclination to have such strong feelings against capitalism. If I recall correctly, there isn't much of an indigenous population, either. I think the area was geographically situated such that it wasn't very populated before Europeans took it over. Is that true?

      I guess my hope is that by having nations which can embrace an alternative and demonstrate what that can look like, others can start to envision possibilities in ways they couldn't before.

      I don't expect it to be overnight. I don't expect I'll see a lot in my lifetime. (Though with climate change rearing it's apocalyptic head, maybe ... ) I simply see a glimmer of possibility. And it's coming from The Global South. So, that's where'd I'd keep looking, for now.

      Building Community. Creating Jobs. Donating Art to Community Organizations. Support the Katalogue

      by UnaSpenser on Sun Aug 10, 2014 at 03:43:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Beautiful diary and vision. It is the concept of (7+ / 0-)

        the group where we all gain together instead of the individualistic capitalist approach where we are expected to fight to play "King of the Hill" where just a few people live better than everyone else. Many traditional cultures who live in a subsistence mode find that this unity and sharing makes them stronger and enables them to survive better. I think we have to be careful not to idealize these societies though, because that can lead to losing their communal contribution.  Many of these societies, once they have surplus goods (this is where I follow the Marxist model that states that the objective economy influences our visions), start to distribute them unequally and often end up in hierarchies and inequalities (even before capitalism and, even more so with pressures of a world capitalist society based on money pressuring them. Two examples are the Inuit who give people who gain a surplus honorary titles and have them distribute the surplus among the rest of the community and the Kung in central Africa whose common phrase "Don't be so Greedy" --both communities recognize the danger of surplus and that people have greedy impulses as well as generous impulses and have set up structures to control for these things. And this requires recognizing that we are products not just of a vision, but of a dynamic interaction between our realistic economic needs and the cultures we create.

        I personally do not think, as some have suggested that the societies developing in South America must be limited in their technological development to some pastoral past -- I think technology can actually help us get to a more communal society in conjunction with Mother Earth instead imposing a capitalist paradigm of technological development for greater and greater profit instead of for social use, But I think we have to analyze both the objective conditions of where we are at economically and socially and develop our morality to include that reality as we strive for our dreams.

      •  I think the difference is that in Bolivia... (3+ / 0-)

        ...Morales is proposing a new model for society, while in Uruguay Mujica is proposing, more by example than anything else, a new model for politicians.  

        It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

        by Rich in PA on Sun Aug 10, 2014 at 06:06:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  My supposition (4+ / 0-)

        is the same reason we have not implemented even the simple things social democracies of the European models have, up to and including health care.

        Racism.

        Southern (and other) racists will vote for a right wing nut job who promises to cut the very SDI and food stamps they themselves LIVE ON, because they cannot abide the very thought that black people might benefit from these things too.

        In fact, I often postulate that Capitalism really cannot work without a form of racism - in a less homogenous population it is more xenophobia (i.e. Japanese loathing Koreans) - to keep one population as the lowest paid, kept down by an enabler class.

        In, say, France, you can get people to vote for something that benefits all the "French."  But the US, being the melting pot of so many cultures, will not vote for something that benefits what they perceive as "others."

        The media (owned by a very few, very rich people) constantly keeps negative imagery of minorities to keep us divided.

        The very fact that in the 70's when colleges were publicly funded and affordable beget a civil rights, and anti-war movement taught them they had to work harder to divide us and not let us interact peer to peer.  The Trilateral Commission pinpointed it, and wanted to curb the "excess of Democracy."

        So, institutions of higher learning became privatized (and as such could earmark the spending) and unaffordable for the poor - unions were demonized and busted.  

        Its going to take something really profound to unite USers.

        More likely, the greed heads will go Somalia on one another.

        Free Gaza! Free Donbass!

        by Diane Gee on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 05:46:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I tend to agree about capitalism requiring (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Diane Gee, Geminijen

          classes of people with different "worthiness." You can't have everyone with full worth because then you'd have to expect to share resources equitably.

          It's not just racism. It also explains entrenched misogyny and religious bigotry, classism, etc.

          The Bolivian concept of plurnationality, accepting that there are different autonomous constituent "nations" within their larger State and determining to see them all as equally valuable, is a concept that will be hard to embed in the conscious of the US. But, it's right there in the Bolivian pre-amble:

          In immemorial times mountains were raised,moved rivers, lakes were formed. Our Amazon, our flatlands, our highlands and our plains and valleys were covered with flowers and greeneries. We populate this sacred Mother Earth with different faces, since then we understood the existing plurality of all things and our diversity as beings and cultures. So we formed our peoples, and never understood racism until we suffer from the fateful days of the colony.
          It's nearly impossible to imagine a constitution here which defines the State's governmental role the way the Bolivian constitution does.

          I'd love to see us do a series on the articles within their constitution, looking at the language they used and the principles they established and how it differs from what we have been told is a democratic constitution. If we're going to ever have any transformation here, we have to start feeding people a new linguistic diet and nurturing better visions. There is so much right there in that Bolivian document.

          Building Community. Creating Jobs. Donating Art to Community Organizations. Support the Katalogue

          by UnaSpenser on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 07:34:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Tonight's ACM has been x-posted to: (10+ / 0-)

    "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

    by NY brit expat on Sun Aug 10, 2014 at 03:27:32 PM PDT

    •  I have also cross-posted this diary (6+ / 0-)

      at gardenvarietydemocraticsocialist.com, with the following note at the beginning:

      This is a cross-post of a wonderful diary by UnaSpenser published by Anti-Capitalist Meetup at Daily Kos. I am proud that it is the first ever post at this humble website by someone other than me! It discusses a subject of great importance to all of humanity, Evo Morales' "Vivir Bien" strategy for Bolivia, which I think holds great promise as a model for our world. By the way, I have benefited enormously by participating in Anti-Capitalist Meetup. The group "meets," virtually that is, every Sunday at 6:00 p.m., Eastern Time. Ya'll come. Solidarity, Brother Francisco
      The diary describing Hermano Evo's strategy, which is actually a way of life, and one worth living, states perfectly so much that matters to our solidarity work. I wanted to make sure it was part of my little website, which I am so pleased has Latin American readers. We so much need to see our commonality as human beings regardless of where we happen to be born.

      garden variety democratic socialist: accepting life's complexity|striving for global stewardship of our soil and other resources to meet everyone's basic needs|being a friend to the weak

      by Galtisalie on Sun Aug 10, 2014 at 09:18:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  ACM Schedule (6+ / 0-)

    AUGUST

    17th: NY Brit Expat
    24th:
    31st:
    Annieli

    SEPTEMBER

    7:
    14:
    21:
    28:

    Hi Comrades and Fellow Travellers!

    For August, we still have the 24th open and we will need a volunteer to cover the date! If you can write something for the 24th that would be extremely helpful! If you can volunteer for that date, please do so, we need you to keep the group going!

    And, September also is wide open for interested persons!

    We need you!

    Alternatively, if you could put a piece in queue that is NOT time sensitive, we can use it when need arises. That would help everyone out in organising the series!
    Please can you help by volunteering to post? It does not have to be fancy or theory ... it can be about anything from an anti-capitalist perspective ... perhaps an action that is happening that you think is important, a discussion of current events or serious debate ... whatever you feel comfortable with and what you can do!

    Please respond to this post or/and send a private message by kosmail to NY Brit Expat and/or send a message to our email group: dkanticapitalistgroup@gmail.com
    Please, the ACM needs you to write, can you volunteer to keep this great series going?!

    "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

    by NY brit expat on Sun Aug 10, 2014 at 03:30:59 PM PDT

  •  Beautifully done! (12+ / 0-)

    Evo Morales is also one of my shining lights when the world makes me demoralised and despairing! We really needed a positive piece to remind us that there are those that actually are fighting for something different and whom inspire so many. A desperately needed piece in a dark and bleak time for which I am grateful.

    I really love the idea of vivir bien which offers so much more in the context of a living community providing solidarity between each other than the usual crap of simply living a little better in the context of grotesque inequality and misery and which concentrates on individual concepts rather than humans as a collective. Such a wonderful piece!

    "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

    by NY brit expat on Sun Aug 10, 2014 at 03:35:43 PM PDT

  •  A wonderful diary UnaSpenser. Thank you. (12+ / 0-)

    I was feeling the blues of capitalist hegemony today. We do need these encouraging signs here in the northern hemisphere, so resigned and unquestioning. I will comment some later on social ownership of resources, but in the meantime time a hearty thanks and Solidarity!

    garden variety democratic socialist: accepting life's complexity|striving for global stewardship of our soil and other resources to meet everyone's basic needs|being a friend to the weak

    by Galtisalie on Sun Aug 10, 2014 at 03:45:11 PM PDT

  •  Good read and a great message. (11+ / 0-)

    I wish we could come up with an alternative to capitalism.   It is really ugly.

    I will not vote for Hillary..... #38067

    by dkmich on Sun Aug 10, 2014 at 04:09:43 PM PDT

  •  One of the sources of Evo's success (12+ / 0-)

    --And he is very popular among the indigenous majority in Bolivia--is how he nailed the connection between his genuinely progressive ideas and peoples' everyday lives.

    Not only is that lacking in Democratic politics, it's something Democratic political figures, with a handful of exceptions, are loath to do. That's a connection their masters surely don't want them to make.

    People are also proud that he looks out for Bolivians, and dignifies Bolivian culture, as with his insistence that Bolivians have a right to use coca as they have for millennia: Bolivians reject having to pay the price for the American addiction to cocaine.

    I lived there for a while. Evo was, and is, a great President and an impressive individual.

    “If there is no justice for the people, may there be no peace for the government.”

    by MrJayTee on Sun Aug 10, 2014 at 04:15:19 PM PDT

  •  Morales is also the first head of (10+ / 0-)

    …a sovereign nation in history  to ever have his jet yanked out of the sky and brought to earth to be searched by the United States.

    On 2 July 2013, Bolivia's foreign minister said that the diversion of Morales's presidential plane (FAB-001, a Dassault Falcon 900EX), when Portuguese, French, Spanish and Italian authorities denied access to their airspace due to suspicions that Edward Snowden was on board the aircraft, had put the president's life at risk. France apologized for the incident the next day. The presidents of Argentina, Ecuador, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela, Morales's political allies in the region, gathered to demand an explanation of the incident.
    That was the day the music stopped for the US.

    That was the day the US declared itself a terrorist nation against the entire world.

    It was an act so desperate on the part of the US, that it has only recently occurred to me that Edward Snowden has something/found something -- a secret that is so dangerous -- that it is unthinkable.

    And, it has nothing to do with the NSA.



    For an idea that does not at first seem insane, there is no hope.
    - Albert Einstein:  Leftist, socialist, emo-prog, cosmic visionary.

    by Pluto on Sun Aug 10, 2014 at 04:22:32 PM PDT

    •  Morales isn't shy about boarding planes of others. (0+ / 0-)

      In 2011 they boarded a Brazilian Air Force Plane with the defense minister aboard to search for an opposition senator. It seems Morales is not that fond of the people who disagree with him. Multi-plural or no. I sense he's just a politician. Not to say the ideas he exposes don't have merit.

      For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.” J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

      by Maroon watch on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 04:32:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  um, some context: (0+ / 0-)

        http://en.mercopress.com/...

        “Apologies to the Brazilian people, to its government” Morales said at a press conference, promising disciplinary action against those responsible for the search.

        Professing ignorance of the incident, Morales said neither he nor his cabinet had ordered the search.

        “I feel that some officials went overboard. Under the pretext of the battle against drug trafficking they don't respect official aircraft,” he said.

        As to why the incident was coming to light now, Morales said there were those both in Brazil and Bolivia who did not want their countries to get along.

        “Some of our subordinates are dedicated to setting us against each other,” he said.

        and the senator wasn't just a victim, he was up on charges for corruption and other crimes and he fled prosecution:
        Although Brazil offered temporary refuge, Bolivia refused safe passage across its borders, saying Pinto had to face accusations of corruption and 13 other criminal charges.
        and bad behavior on the part of a Brazilian diplomat has led to resignations and investigations, etc:
        The intervention has prompted an angry response by Bolivian officials, who accused Brazil of violating international agreements. The Brazilian government claims it had no prior knowledge of the escape, which it described to local media as a "disaster". An inquiry has been launched and heads have started to roll.

        After a 50-minute meeting with President Dilma Rousseff, Patriota took responsibility by standing down as foreign minister on Monday. He will swap jobs with Luiz Alberto Figueiredo, a veteran diplomat and climate negotiator who is the head of Brazil's UN mission in Washington.

        Oh, and that sweet senator who is being persecuted for being from the opposition?
        Pinto was accused of involvement in the September 11, 2008 massacre in Porvenir.[7]
        The right-wing party weren't pleased with the democratic outcome of their recall referendum, apparently. A coup attempt began with a massacre in one of the prefects which was still controlled by the right wing. That massacre was supported by the then US Ambassador, by the way.
        It was the most deadly act of political violence in Bolivia since 2003. The protesters were marching to the departmental capital of Cobija to protest departmental government actions during a national political crisis. An investigation by UNASUR found the massacre to be a crime against humanity.[2]
        So, let's not be so quick to claim that Morales is some tyrant who suppresses opposition via force.

        Building Community. Creating Jobs. Donating Art to Community Organizations. Support the Katalogue

        by UnaSpenser on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 09:00:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not saying he's a tyrant. (0+ / 0-)

          I just am not ready to call him a saint or savior of the world. I just feel he's a politician and a good one.

          I follow Bolivia a little because my wife is Bolivian.

          Her grandmother, who is staying with us to visit her great granddaughter, speaks  Arymara (which I find it peculiar that Evo doesn't given his promoted background) and loves the man. So I don't know all there is to know but I got the sense while visiting with my wife's family in La Paz that a lot of them felt the same as I do. When asked about him they would mimic a person putting money in his pocket. That's their opinion not mine. I have no information to back this view.

          The middle class is growing under him and there are rich enclaves and privileged young people cruising the plazas in fancy cars. There are also beggars and Cholitas selling that god awful maize product that looks and tastes like curled packing Styrofoam everywhere. I'm glad the Bolivians like it otherwise these women would have nothing not being the faves from El Alto.

          I did go to the winter solstice at Tiawanaku and the President flew in and gave a speech in Spanish.  I was there at 4am and the grass was frozen, as were my figures, so when the sun finally made its appearance and everyone held their hands up in celebration I was amazed by how warm it felt.  Later I was next to him when he took a photo op with my wife's niece. The family told me not to speak so no one would figure out I was American. I didn't get a clear understanding of what would happen but I though anyone looking at me would be able to make the connection.

          So you have your viewpoint and I have mine. I hope both of us can see all the truth in the end and if we can't then its not the end.

          For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.” J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

          by Maroon watch on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 06:04:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I never said he was a saint. But, the way (0+ / 0-)

            you presented the story about the convicted criminal who was used a Brazilian diplomat to escape punishment was really skewed.

            I'm sure the man is human and, therefore, flawed. I'm also sure that the process of getting to something better than they had is not linear, as it takes practice to really embody all the tenets of something new and let go of all the ways in which having lived with a different system has shaped you on a molecular level.

            The example of the road that he tried to push through some indigenous lands seems more fairly depicted. His insistence that the state would build that road even against the wished of a group the state has claimed is sovereign is an example of abuse of power. I don't know exactly what political pressures he was caving into, but if he's going to actualize the values of Vivir Bien and the new constitution, he can't be doing that shit. It was good to see that the people fought hard enough to get that project sidelined, for now. They all need to keep the ideals as a practice and work through regressions.

            I'm also concerned about the impact of having him as President for a third term. That's 15 years. That's too much like a dynasty. They need to have enough people trained and articulate enough in the new principles of operation to have faith that someone else can take on that role. No one should have such a role for too long.

            So, I do have critiques.

            Building Community. Creating Jobs. Donating Art to Community Organizations. Support the Katalogue

            by UnaSpenser on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 09:13:41 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I didn't think he was convicted. (0+ / 0-)

              The senator they were searching for didn't want to stand trial. The story talked about a Governor of the department.

              I will look into future but it's hard to get truthful information from or about Bolivia. One can read all day and only have confidence in a small potion of the stuff that can be gleaned from in between the lines. My eight grade civics teacher kept saying to us "Don't believe anything you read and half of what you see." Its as good advice today as it was back then.

              I think societal contracts can be changed and Vivir Bien sounds promising but if it is approached too quickly and unfairly and the baby is thrown out with the bath water then those people i know will suffer even more then they are now. But he is building the middle class and the investors like him. So Vivir Bien and capitalism may end up living side by side. Sort of like our blended market system.

              For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.” J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

              by Maroon watch on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 10:30:34 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Oh one more point - seven of the Souther American (12+ / 0-)

    countries have joined Alba, a group that fosters development based on the ideas of Morales and the Bolivarians, and they all did better after the economic collapse than any other countries in the world.

    Also, Nicaragua which is following a limited version of the ideals you have so eloquently portrayed, has the lowest rate of violence in Central American even though it is still poorer than other countries and Venezuelans have in a survey come out the fifth happiest people in the world even with all the poverty and harassment by the USA -- so democratic and sharing attitudes are more important than condos and new cars in societies with unequal wealth distribution!

  •  Thank you for this diary: "Vivir Bien" . n/t (4+ / 0-)

    "When wealth rules, democracy dies." Me

    by leema on Sun Aug 10, 2014 at 06:14:06 PM PDT

  •  Bolivia is refusing to submit to plundering. (9+ / 0-)

    By way of contrast, capitalist plunder is on full display in the Western Sahara, the world's only current fully colonially-occupied country, where the world's richest phosphate deposits are stolen each day by the "Kingdom" of Morocco to be shipped to the U.S. and other places for the benefit of transnational capital, another badge of dishonor of global neoliberalism. (Part of my genetic heritage as a 1/4 Canarian is among the Berbers, so I feel a bit of a personal connection to those who are victims of this particular oppression.) While Europe is learning to conserve and recycle phosphorus, the U.S. plans to simply steal it by proxy. Behind the world's largest military berm, paid for by the U.S. taxpayer to our "friends" in Morocco, the native population whose wealth is being stolen seethes. http://www.wsrw.org/...

    Well, low and behold, President Morales has a bad attitude and doesn't want to see his country plundered like the Western Sahara. Bolivia, like much of South America, has natural resources the U.S. wants for transnational companies. According to Michael Klare's book The Race for What's Left, p. 170-1 (http://michaelklare.com/...):

    Of all the potential sources of lithium, none appear to hold greater promise than the remote southern highlands of Bolivia. Near the Bolivia-Chile border lies the Salar de Uyuni, the world's largest salt flat and a treasure trove of lithium-infused brine. ... an amount roughly equivalent to all the other lithium deposits in the world combined. ...
       Morales insists that his government is willing to cooperate with foreign companies to develop the country's lithium deposits, but he is demanding a very high price: any prospective partners are expected not just to share profits from the extraction and processing of lithium, but also to help establish an electric battery and automobile manufacturing industry in Bolivia.
    The U.S. could not give two shits about democracy in Morocco, Western Sahara, Bolivia, or any place else. It does the bidding of capitalism. Meanwhile, in the U.S., including the territorial waters of the Gulf of Mexico, we virtually give away our sovereign wealth to transnational companies who pay incredibly low fees for their plunder. I have discussed these low fees with Professor Klare. Solidarity with Evo Morales and the workers of the world who refused to be plundered for the benefit of capitalism.

    garden variety democratic socialist: accepting life's complexity|striving for global stewardship of our soil and other resources to meet everyone's basic needs|being a friend to the weak

    by Galtisalie on Sun Aug 10, 2014 at 08:21:59 PM PDT

    •  Thank you for the Western Sahara reminder! (6+ / 0-)

      With all the egregious behavior of transnational corporations and their puppet governments, I can forget about Western Sahara.

      I was really hoping that during the Arab Spring, something would happen there.

      Would you write a diary about this? It is such a perfect example of the reprehensible nature of colonialism and capitalism.

      Building Community. Creating Jobs. Donating Art to Community Organizations. Support the Katalogue

      by UnaSpenser on Sun Aug 10, 2014 at 08:38:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Morocco (monarchy) gets away with defying the UN (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Galtisalie, Don midwest, UnaSpenser

      Funny thing about who gets Western cover to defy the UN, and continue to occupy territory that doesn't belong to them.

      The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war. ♥ ♥ ♥ Forget Neo — The One is Minori Urakawa

      by lotlizard on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 01:47:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Contrary to popular belief... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Galtisalie

      ... lithium is not the most expensive part of lithium-ion batteries. The entire battery pack of a Nissan Leaf contains only 4kg of lithium. That's equivalent to 21kg of lithium carbonate (the primary traded form), which at current market rates is about $120. That's about 1% of the battery pack's price. Even with the tech in its infancy, you can do seawater extraction of lithium (aka, unlimited) for 5x current market rates; the impact on li-ion battery price would be minimal. But that's somewhere around option #1812 on the list of lithium sources out there.

      Lithium carbonate is a cheap, common resource (to the point that it's widely used in commodity products like glasses and greases), and Bolivia's leverage is not unlimited. Of course the market will choose them if they offer the best price. But if the restrictions they impose on mining become too great, industry will just go elsewhere. It should also be pointed out that while Bolivia's Salar de Uyuni is both large and lithium rich, it's also a rather difficult development target. It's remote with little road access and it floods for a good chunk of the year. This further cuts into Bolivia's negotiating leverage.

      The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendant's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendant's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

      by Rei on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 03:10:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  At least Bolivia will do its best to help the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        earthling1

        people with the resources that it has, instead of giving them away to exploitative transnational companies for low fees, as in the U.S. As much of that "$120" or whatever it is at any point in time that might be recovered at the point of sale of an irreplaceable resource as a commodity, should be obtained and used for the people, which is all of the people present and future. Much better to build mutually-supportive trading networks of countries that agree to abide by a humane social contract, which includes meeting everyone's basic needs.

        To me the key is to steward what humanity has on behalf of humanity. That will not be done under capitalism. Under capitalism, the U.S. would giddily burn through its natural gas in a century with nothing lasting to show for it. Far better to safeguard the world's natural gas for the long term on behalf of humanity, the only true owner.

        Allowing the capitalists to chart humanity's course in terms of resource management is beyond foolish--it is suicidal. I trust "the market" to make good choices on how to make profits for capitalists. "We" cannot afford that.

        garden variety democratic socialist: accepting life's complexity|striving for global stewardship of our soil and other resources to meet everyone's basic needs|being a friend to the weak

        by Galtisalie on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 05:23:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  As was pointed out just moments earlier... (0+ / 0-)

          ... lithium is not a "irreplaceable resource", as you can extract it from seawater for prices that would have a minimum impact on li-ion battery price. Of course people will choose the even-cheaper methods like brine and pegmatites first, but calling it an "irreplaceable resource" is simply wrong.

          None of this is to argue against the importance of countries trying to ensure that the profit from their natural resources goes toward the public good rather than into private profits. Quite to the contrary, ensuring that is one of my big political issues here in Iceland - my view is that if the government doesn't negotiate so hard on deals with industry that one in four contracts doesn't altogether fall through, then they're not taking a hard enough stance in negotiations! I'm just pointing out that Bolivia's negotiating strength isn't actually all that strong in this regard.

          The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendant's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendant's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

          by Rei on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 06:34:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  What's the energy expenditure for lithium (0+ / 0-)

            extraction from seawater?  What's the source for that energy? Perhaps this can be debated in a technical blog. To me, I'll trust Bolivia to know the nature of its land and resources and hope that capitalists won't run the show.

            garden variety democratic socialist: accepting life's complexity|striving for global stewardship of our soil and other resources to meet everyone's basic needs|being a friend to the weak

            by Galtisalie on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 07:53:32 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Given the fact that it costs $20-30/kg... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              earthling1

              ... and that you only need about 20kg for a car like a Leaf, "not very significant". It depends tremendously on the details of your setup, mind you, and what you count as energy. For example, some approaches involve solar evaporation ponds to concentrate the sea salt into brine as a first step. Technically, that's a huge amount of energy. But it's all free sunlight and the ponds are trivial to build, your only energy is pumping the water in - if you even have to do that, rather than just letting the tide and/or waves do it for you. Some processes don't create a brine at all and go straight to absorption from undiluted seawater. Either way, absorption and recovery are done in a manner pretty similar to that done with the pre-concentrated brines found in salars.

              Many seawater proposals are not for single-chemical recovery (in fact, most lithium production from brines isn't, either), rather than a wider range. And some proposals involve pairing the process with a wide range of other techs for use of seawater ranging from desalination to OTEC to tidal power and so forth.

              But again, I only even mention that because that's the absolute worst case. The reality is that the US and many other places are covered with lithium mines that are shut down, and many huge resources (far larger than Bolivia has) are likewise totally untapped, all because they cost just a little bit more than producing from salar brines. There's no shortage of lithium in the world. Bolivia could indeed potentially offer the world an economically attractive source. But if they price it too high, investors are just going to go elsewhere. So they need to strike a balance.

              The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendant's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendant's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

              by Rei on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 09:18:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Capitalism is about ruthlessness. That's a big (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Galtisalie

          aspect of the inhumanity of capitalism.

          I woke up this morning contemplating this. I encountered the evocation of ruthlessness is a game with a friend, last night. As soon as we played in competition mode, ruthlessness came out. And when I said I didn't enjoy the game with the tactics that were underpinned with that the reply was, "I won't apologize. It's part of the game."

          That sums up capitalism, for me.

          Bolivia has determined that the State's role is to protect against ruthlessness and ensure harmonious living. That's a profoundly different approach to governance than we have known here in the US.

          Building Community. Creating Jobs. Donating Art to Community Organizations. Support the Katalogue

          by UnaSpenser on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 07:41:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Fantastic Diary, UnaSpenser! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ichibon, lotlizard, Diane Gee, UnaSpenser

    The words and demonstrable actions of Evo Morales -- the Ultimate grant him Peace and Success! -- comfort my heart and give it hope.

    Your caution about the word "anarchy" is well placed, also. Especially when those of us who have some familiarity with the history of pragmatic anarchism recognize at once the kind of mutually-aiding humanitarianism that his immediate predecessors, the Spanish anarquistos of the 1930's civil war era, were trying to establish in the Spain of their times. The Spanish anarquistos would recognize Bien Vivir as the world they were Working for, and they would recognize Evo Morales as one of their own.

    Now, more than ever, I say we need a Bolivarist Party right here in the United States!

    UnaSpenser, thank you again for this Diary. You make me feel like I'd need another 10 years of college just to keep up with you!

    ;-)

    "I have to remember that while Jesus dined with publicans, there is no record of his consorting with Republicans." -- entlord

    by thanatokephaloides on Sun Aug 10, 2014 at 10:04:53 PM PDT

  •  One additional note: (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ichibon, k9disc, lotlizard, Diane Gee

    When Presidente Morales said:

    However, our liberation is not only the emancipation of the peoples of the South. Our liberation is also for the whole of humanity. We are not fighting to dominate anyone. We are fighting to ensure that no one becomes dominated.
    he did two things:

    (1) He placed himself firmly in solidarity with every pragmatic anarchist in history -- most especially the anarquistos of the Spanish Civil War days. This is to be strongly contrasted with the extreme right-wing psychos who call themselves "libertarians", whose ideas essentially guarantee that most human beings end up dominated by others. (See also my last comment in this Diary.)

    and

    (2) He placed himself in a position of natural and indestructible Solidarity with every oppressed person on Earth, Northern OR Southern Hemisphere.

    I do wonder if Sr. Morales knows how many inhabitants of the Northern Hemisphere he's fighting for. (Starting with everyone I've seen make comments in this Diary!)

    :-)

    "I have to remember that while Jesus dined with publicans, there is no record of his consorting with Republicans." -- entlord

    by thanatokephaloides on Sun Aug 10, 2014 at 10:16:32 PM PDT

  •  Great diary on a true visionary...I've been.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Don midwest, Diane Gee, UnaSpenser

    following President Morales since he first took office.  The more I know about him, the more deep admiration and respect I have for him.  Thanks for a thoughtful perspective of a world leader.  Gandhi often comes to mind when I think of President Morales; quiet grace and dignity.

    "A weed is a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered." Ralph Waldo Emerson

    by Yo Bubba on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 04:06:59 AM PDT

  •  Viva Morales! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    UnaSpenser

    Viva Morales!

    I have long said - for decades now - that we must look to the wisdom of our southern brethren for wisdom on how to move forwards to a sane way of life.

    I needed this inspiration today. Great article!

    Free Gaza! Free Donbass!

    by Diane Gee on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 05:23:41 AM PDT

  •  meanwhile,congress added 439 new crimes 2008-20013 (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Diane Gee, UnaSpenser, capelza

    can't say that congress with an approval rating that I have seen up to 11% from 7% has not been doing something

    might I guess that they have been protecting the oligarchs, pandering to voters with a war on crime, and getting ready for when the pitchforks arrive?

    i added the bold - criminalization of America

    The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has issued a report that informed Congress that it has created 439 new criminal offenses between 2008 and 2013. This staggering figure gives a glimpse into the rapid criminalization of America where there are, by some estimates, around 4,500 federal offenses alone and tens of thousands of more on the state and federal levels. Politicians continue to add crimes, which tend to be popular with voters and do not require immediate budget demands (though they add huge costs not just in enforcement but the costs of citizens themselves in being pulled into the criminal justice system).
    CRS: Congress Added 439 New Crimes Between 2008 to 2013
    •  Yes. In my estimation the US Constitution and (0+ / 0-)

      and all of our laws are written backwards.

      That is, our Constitution tries to state which rights people DO have, rather than assuming we are born with all the rights of autonomy. This is why there is so much "debate" and confusion about people's rights. Instead of seeing citizens as persons with autonomy wherein the government's role is to foster all that will support autonomous citizens, we see citizens as subjects of the government who must figure out what the government allows them to do and are criminals if the government decides it doesn't want to abide certain behaviors.

      So, instead of the Constitution delineating what The State will do if someone breaches another person's autonomous rights - how they will help the victim retain autonomy - it delineates the few rights it claims to allow people - and to whom those rights are bestowed.

      Everything else flows from that.

      Building Community. Creating Jobs. Donating Art to Community Organizations. Support the Katalogue

      by UnaSpenser on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 07:48:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Morales is a complex case (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    UnaSpenser, Geminijen, capelza

    I don't want to rain on anyone's parade -- I respect him and if I were Bolivian I would vote for him in this October's election in a heartbeat. But I think it is important to give a more complete picture of his presidency and policies. First, yes, Morales has done a great job in sharing the wealth -- I have seen the increased investment in the poor rural areas of the country with my own eyes, and this has improved a lot of people's lives, no doubt. But it is also important to note just where all that new wealth comes from: oil and gas extraction, mostly. Bolivia is making a lot of money selling hydrocarbons to its energy hungry neighbours Argentina and Brazil.

    Writing in Jacobin Magazine, Jeffrey Webber points out that one of the major ironies of Morales's presidency is that he is actually managing the economy like an excellent capitalist, even while he redistributes the profits so much better than any of his predecessors. It's a sharp critique that gives credit where credit is due, and I highly recommend reading it.

    Also, one of the problems of the Morales presidency has been that not all indigenous peoples, so far, are equal in the eyes of his administration. I recommend reading up on what happened in TIPNIS -- good background here -- to summarize, when local indigenous groups opposed Morales's plans to build a new road through a sensitive ecological zone and area that, under the 2009 constitution, was supposed to be under more autonomous indigenous control, the government's response was to crack down on protestors with violence. Morales himself said that they would have the road there whether they want it or not, a statement that called into question his commitment to indigenous autonomy. After enough opposition and outcry, the project is currently on hold but not yet dead. But the government's reaction to indigenous opposition to this road seemed to suggest that some of these principles inscribed in the constitution would be discarded if they got in the way of the government's development goals. This road was greatly desired by Brazil in order to connect Brazil with Pacific ports.

    I'm not trashing Morales -- quite the opposite, I think that it is clear, and history will readily show, that he is the best president that Bolivia has had, and the country is advancing rapidly under his leadership. He'll easily win reelection this October and personally I think it would be unwise for people to vote for anyone else. But I think it is important to take a look at some of the less than stellar things on his record -- whether it is abusing indigenous protestors or continuing to rely on oil and gas extraction, an understandable choice for a country that needs money for poverty reduction but nevertheless which points to the fact that putting the principles of vivir bien into practice is a heck of a lot harder than giving speeches about them. I am still not sure how vivir bien plays out on the economic policy level in Bolivia. I appreciate your diary but, with all due respect, I'm not sure that you've been able to demonstrate how it plays out on the economic policy level here, and that is understandable because, as Webber points out, it's not clear that we have seen vivir bien enacted in Bolivia's economic policies yet.

    With that said, the USA could use some of that Bolivian redistributive capitalism, no doubt. Imagine if oil profits were regarded more to be something to invest in poverty reduction and infrastructure and educational improvements, rather than something only to pad shareholder's bank accounts. Morales seems to be doing a good job walking both lines here, keeping the international capitalists happy while also investing directly in improvements for his people, and that is a hard line to walk and praiseworthy in and of itself.

    Thank you for the diary and discussion.

    "As the madmen play on words, and make us all dance to their song / to the tune of starving millions, to make a better kind of gun..." -- Iron Maiden

    by Lost Left Coaster on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 06:15:48 AM PDT

    •  I suppose I'm not surprised. I see that irony (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lost Left Coaster, capelza

      with any state which tries to live by the principles of autonomy. As Mujica as stated in interviews, they have to function in relation to the rest of the world. They can't completely avoid the pressures of that.

      So, I wouldn't expect perfection. I expect that it's a practice. I'm also impressed that there was enough opposition to put that project on hold. Surely, if the government wanted to, it could use force to push the project through. But, in a way, it's letting the people be it's conscience, for now. We'll see how long they can hold out. But, the longer the people hold these principles in their collective consciousness, the less and less we'll see governments behaving in way which disrespects autonomy.

      Brazil is an interesting factor in South American development. So far, they have little interest in being anything but another player in the capitalist game. Given their size, they can really muddy the waters of anti-capitalist development down there.

      We also have to remember that the government is made up of people. As much as they have done to embrace a different set of principles, it will take time for people to transform internally and live those ideals more fully.

      Thank you for the reminder that the path will never be perfectly linear. It would undermine any progress if we started to devalue the vision because the execution isn't always perfect. You are clearly not doing that. But, that is the way opposition pulls at people's faith and encourages them to leave a vision behind. It is important to remain aware of the fact that there will be inconsistent acts and have ways of facing them, analyzing them and re-adjusting so that things get back on track. This is the way we strengthen the immune system against those would use those instances to foment a deeper discontent, rather than as a learning experience to further the commitment to the principles.

      Building Community. Creating Jobs. Donating Art to Community Organizations. Support the Katalogue

      by UnaSpenser on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 08:01:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  In my mind (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      UnaSpenser

      Protestors who are demanding autonomy, that agreements be respected, that indigenous traditions be respected, should be tolerated, since they are the people who would advance the very cause Morales would presumably support. They should be allies.

      That he would crack down on them is very troubling. We saw some of this in Venezuela as well.

      So often statism ends up being the standard approach, that of imposing central authority rather than allow people to determine the course of their own lives. In the anarchist model, imposing this kind of authority can destroy the spirit of the people.

      As an anarchist (it should go without saying, but I mean this in the traditional, historic sense of being one of the two broad socialist strains) I would be remiss if I didn't join in this criticism, even while clearly lauding the successes of Morales. The power of office is irresistible to most persons... which is why anarchists don't trust anyone with that kind of power.

      I think, from this perspective, this should not be off limits to discuss, but it sometimes produces heated debate among socialists.

      But given the reality today, how can we not give support and encourage what beginnings and successes one can find? Morales in this respect is a bright light in a dark world of capitalism.

      "Liberty without socialism is privilege, injustice; socialism without liberty is slavery and brutality." - Michael Bakunin (Economic Left/Right: -10.00 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -9.79)

      by ZhenRen on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 10:29:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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