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«by Kirsten Francescone A thesis submitted to the Faculty o f Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the ...»

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Paths of Development in Bolivia: Contradictions o f the

Proceso de Cambio


Kirsten Francescone

A thesis submitted to the Faculty o f Graduate and Postdoctoral

Affairs in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree o f

Master of Arts


Political Econom y'

Carleton University

Ottawa, Ontario

© 2012, Kirsten Francescone

Library and Archives Bibliotheque et

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In compliance with the Canadian

–  –  –

Canada Abstract This study seeks to explore and challenge B olivia’s Movimiento al Socialism o’s (M AS) proceso de cambio by accessing the possibilities and limitations in their strategy for agricultural development. As a product o f seven months o f engaged fieldwork methods, I examine the M AS’ most recent agricultural policy (Ley de la Revolucion Productiva Comunitaria Agropecuaria (LRPCA)) and follow two interconnected political mobilizations, the mobilizations against the LRPCA and the infamous “TIPN IS” highway-project. I argue that the M A S’ agricultural strategy reflects the larger political economic tendencies o f the government across industries. The LPRCA serves to benefit and promote the expansion o f the agro-industry further solidifying its position as a primary-resource producing nation. This failure to radically re-organize production has contributed to the increasing conflict and tension within and between B olivia’s popular sectors. 1 conclude by examining the limitations and possibilities for cross-sectorial political alliances that are looking to reclaim their vision o f the proceso de cambio and alter the political-economic landscape o f Bolivia.

Resumen Esta investigacion trata entender y cuestionar el llamado “proceso de cam bio” conducido por el gobiemo del M ovimiento al Socialismo en Bolivia, evaluando las posibilidades asi como limitaciones de su estrategia para el desarrollo agricola. Como producto de siete meses de trabajo de campo, examino la actual legislacion agricola (Ley de la Revolucion Productiva Comunitaria Agropecuaria (LRPCA)) y hago seguimiento a dos movilizaciones interconectadas: la movilizacion contra los transgenicos y el famoso conflicto del T1PN1S. Arguyo que la estrategia agricola del MAS refleja las tendencias estructurales del actual gobiemo para la industria. La (LRPCA) sirve para beneficiar y promover la expansion de la agro-industria y resulta solidificando la posicion neo-colonial que mantenga a Bolivia como nacion productora de materias primas. La decision politica por el MAS de no re-organizar radicalm ente la produccion agricola ha contribuido al crecimiento de los conflictos y tensiones dentro de los sectores populares. En la conclusion examino las limitaciones y posibilidades para las alianzas entre sectores que, en alguna medida, estan re-posicionandose (rente a llamado “proceso de cambio”.

Acknowledgements I would like to acknowledge the guidance and support ] have received from my supervisor for this project, Justin Paulson, w hose intellectual and emotional support cannot be understated and will continue to shape my understanding o f the world. I would also like to thank the following people: Susan Spronk, Cristina Rojas and Peter Gose for their insightful and much appreciated comments and criticisms o f this work. I would also like to extend particular recognition to Donna Coghill, the adm inistrator o f the department of Political Economy at Carleton University for her comments, criticisms, encouragement, and labour that made the completion o f this thesis possible.

The Centro de Documentacion e Informacion de Bolivia (CEDIB) was an invaluable wealth of resources, documents and literature over the course of my fieldwork and became my home base for debate and discussion regarding this project. I learned a lot from their investigators and resource aids and their library has an incredible collection o f works that cannot be found elsewhere. In particular Georgina Jim enez, Pablo Villegas, Vladimir Diaz, Rosemary Amils, and Jorge Campanini were extremely beneficial to my intellectual development and growth, and insightful for my understanding of the Bolivia’s past and present history.

I would also like to acknowledge the invaluable contribution of all o f the people with whom I had conversations about this study, especially the women leaders o f CONAMAQ who allowed me to stay with them in the Vigilia San Francisco over the course of their struggle. Their time and labour was greatly appreciated, and significantly contributed to the ways in which I framed and understood the issue, and Bolivia more generally. I learned more about the politics o f struggle and mobilization from listening and debating with those involved in the moments I describe than I could have hoped for.

Also this work could not have been completed without the funding support o f the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) funding opportunities that enabled m e to travel to Bolivia and return there the following year for follow-ups.

Table of Contents Abstract



Table of Contents

List of T ables

List of M aps

List of Appendices


Chapter 1: Community Production and the Development of Capitalist Agricultural Production

1.1 S p an ish c o lo n ia lis m, lib era tio n and th e c o lo n ia l d estru ctio n o f c o m m u n ity

1.2 T h e A grarian R efo rm and the ‘R o llin g -O u t’ o f c a p it a lis m

1.3 Land and the y ears f o llo w in g the A grarian R e fo r m

–  –  –

Chapter 2: The Ley de La Revolucion Productiva and the Contradictions of Capital

2.1 L e y de la D ecad a: T w o y ea rs o f hard w o r k

–  –  –

C on trad iction and C o n s e n t

2.3 G e n e tic a lly M o d ifie d O r g a n is m s

2.4 G e n e tic a lly m o d ifie d O rg a n ism s in B o liv ia : P a st and P r e s e n t

Chapter 3: La Via Campesina or the Industrial Route

–  –  –

d angers o f rom a n tisizin g the lo c a l

3.2 T he L R P C A : T w o -s id e s o f the c a p ita list c o i n

Chapter 4: The Complexities between "the State" and"Civil Society".................. 82

4.1 P opular (? ) p olitical p articip a tio n and th e A sa m b le a C o n stitu y e n te

4.2 T h e L R P C A : C on tro v ersy and “C o n se n t”

4.3 jE sto e s el p u e b lo, e l p u e b lo n o es p a g a d o !

4.4 T h e X III M arch for T erritory and D ig n it y

4.5 P o litic a l c o n s c io u s n e s s and th e co n stra in ts o f h e g e m o n y

Chapter 5: Strategic Alliances and a Politics of Possibility

5.1 O rgan ic in tellectu a ls and the p ro d u ctio n o f p ra ctica l k n o w le d g e

5.2 C r itic ism, d eb ate and the In te lle ctu a l and U rban C la s s

5.3 “ A hora es la ep o q u a d e lo s m in e ro s”

–  –  –

s e c to r s

–  –  –

p o s s ib ilit y


A p p en d ix A : A b b r e v ia tio n s

A p p en d ix B: M e th o d o lo g y

References List of Tables Table I: Agricultural Production in B olivia

Table II: Top Five Agricultural Exports/Imports in B olivia

Table III: FONTAGRO Projects in Bolivia 2011

–  –  –

Map I: Physical Map of Bolivia

Map II: Forest Coverage in 1986 and 2005, Santa Cruz Map III: TIPN1S Territory and Projected Highway Project List of Appendices Appendix A: Abbreviations

Appendix B. M ethodology

–  –  –

Bolivia is a landlocked country situated in central South America (See Map I). Given its geographic positioning and geological composition, it has three distinct climate zones which are roughly divided as the highland (red-brown), valley (yellow), and lowland (green) region making its agricultural production both varied and diversified and the modes o f production equally so. Its geological variation has also contributed to intense and highly concentrated zones o f mineralization, which, since the arrival o f the Spanish, contributed to maintaining imperialist and neo-imperialist economic and political dependency for the extraction and exportation o f raw materials. Agriculture in Bolivia has consistently been tied to the boom and bust cycles o f the mining industry, due to its necessity for maintaining subsistence for the miners.1 Map I: Physical Map of Bolivia

–  –  –

1 Herbert K lein, H istoria d e B olivia (La Paz: Libreria Editorial G.U.M, 2000).

resistance. From indigenous uprisings against land liberalization policies, campesino insurgency leading up to the popular revolution in ’52, clandestine m ining resistance during the dictators and the large popular and middle-class uprisings against neoliberalization in the 90s and 2000s, Bolivians provide not only an exam ple but also a case o f hope for struggle internationally.

In fact as many have argued, the national-popular and indigenous uprising that began to re-surface in the 90’s with the lowland indigenous uprisings and the resurgence o f the national-popular movements in the 2000s led to the development o f the popular assemblies, the creation o f the Pacto de Unidad,2 and the propulsion o f the election o f the M ovimiento al Socialismo (MAS) and Evo M orales in 2 0 0 5.3 The generalized movements that lead up to the expulsion o f Gonzalez Sanchez de Lozado were nationwide, with key indigenous uprisings emerging from the Junta Vecinales in the political capital of La Paz.

Following their election, the MAS under the leadership o f Morales has been touted as one o f the emerging “Pink Tide” or 21st Century Socialist governments o f Latin America, and 2 The Pacto de Unidad is a collection o f indigenous and cam pesino organizations that, posterior to its creation, has served to participate both in the production o f legislation, but also in organizing m ass m obilizations prior to, and continuing with the election o f the M AS. It originally w as com posed o f the Consejo Nacional de A yllus Markas Qullasuyu (CONAM.AQ), the Confederacion Sindical U nica de Trabajadores (CSUTCB), Bartolina Sisa (C N M C IO B -B S), Confederacion Indigena de B olivia (C ID O B ), Interculturales y el M ovim iento Sin Tierra (M ST). S ee Pablo R egalsky, “Las paradojas del proceso constituyente boliviano,” A ccessed August 12, 2011: w w w.constituyentesoberana.ore: C havez and Mokrani, Los M ovim ientos Societies en la A sem blea C onstituyente: H acia la reconftguracion d e la p o litic o (Buenos Aires: CLASCO, 2009).

3 S ee Jim Shultz and M elissa Draper, D ign ity a n d D efiance: Stories from B olivia's C hallenge to

G lobalization (Los Angeles: U niversity o f California Press, 2008); N ancy Postero, N o w we a re C itizens:

Indigenous P olitics in Postm ulticultural B o livia (California: Stanford University, 2008); and Mark Goodale, “Reclaim ing Modernity: Indigenous cosm opolitanism and the coming o f the second revolution o f B olivia,” Am erican Ethnologist, 33(2006): 634-649.

has been labeled as a symbol o f hope and change for the global revolutionary Left.4 W ith the approval o f the New Political Constitution o f the State by the MAS government, and the M AS’ relentless and somewhat radical denunciations o f capitalism and imperialism, the Morales government has most certainly emerged in the international arena as an anti­ capitalist force to be reckoned with.

Simultaneously and somewhat paradoxically, however, neo-colonial financial institutions like the World Bank and the International M onetary Fund have also appraised Bolivia under M orales.5 The MAS has also repeatedly announced investing energy into strengthening their relationship with the United States and despite claim s from the MAS administration o f the nationalization o f the hydrocarbon and mining industries, Bolivian and foreign researchers have argued things have not happened as neatly as the MAS is claiming. Further tensions continue to emerge within the popular classes that once united, overthrew the neoliberal governments in the early 2000s, and w hose “O ctober agenda” in 2003 demanded the expulsion o f private enterprise’s ransacking o f the country’s natural resources.

4 H einz Dieterich, “The A dvance o f 21st Century Socialism in Latin America and Europe,” The 4th Forum o f the W orld A ssociation for P olitical Econom y, (2010): 143-147.

3 Jeff Webber, “Revolution against “progress”: the TIPNIS struggle and class contradictions in B olivia.” International Socialism 133(2012).

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