«by Kirsten Francescone A thesis submitted to the Faculty o f Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the ...»
The following section will examine the current MAS administration economic and political positioning on land and agricultural production, the recently approved, Ley de la Revolucion Productiva Communitaria Agropecuaria (LRCPA). In the next chapter I will argue that the LRPCA and the 2006 economic and political policy docum ent El Plan Nacional de Desarrollo “Bolivia Digna, Soberana, Productiva y D em ocrdtica para Vivir Bien ” in fact provide many opportunities for capitalist development to continue developing in the way that we have seen it explode since the Agrarian Reform by continuing to encourage small-scale campesino capitalist production alongside largescale industrialized agriculture. The small and medium size production, and communal production, as propagated as the new future for agricultural production by the M AS I argue is in fact an “anti-capitalist” myth. As such in this section, 1 will explore the possibilities o f what one government official, Lie. Gonzalo Vargas Rivas warned me in an interview we had regarding the law when he said, Creo que la ley de la revolucion productiva comunitaria, tiene una fuerte carga de la opinion y los intereses de esta capa dirigencia [campesino], que en este momento, mas esta en u n a estrategia de cooptar la institucionalidad estatal del mundo republicano liberal, antes que de su estrategia comunitario.
una adecuada relation de la sociedad humana con el medio ambiente. O sea en otras palabras, defensa de la madre, defensa de los derechos de la madre tierra, 84 Interviewee Requested that this statement be clearly identified as his personal opinion and not that o f the Department o f Cochabamba. Interview in Cochabamba, August 8, 2 0 1 1.
In this statement there are several allusions that are made which the following chapters will seek to tease out. Some o f the key questions that the next section will explore are “what model o f agricultural development is the M AS government pursuing with the LRPCA?” as well, “how does this model for agricultural development conflict, contradict or become negotiated with indigenous and campesino communities?” These questions are central to understand not only the present within which we can see the tendencies o f the past, but also for assessing the possibilities for the future o f agricultural developm ent in Bolivia.
Chapter 2: The Ley de la Revolucion Productiva and the Contradictions of Capital In the summer o f 2009, the mem ber organizations o f the Pacto de Unidad worked with its authorities, advisors and bases to produce La Estrategia Plurinacional de la D ecada Productiva Comunitaria (la Decada85). This national agricultural strategy sought to address national food sovereignty. The Pacto de U nidad86 developed this strategy over a process that spanned 2 years o f production, working and re-working, and debate.87 A ll o f the member organizations of the Pacto de Unidad participated in this long production process, which was headed by the CSUTCB, but included participation at all levels o f the CONAMAQ, CIDOB, Bartolina Sisas and Interculturales. La Decada w ould later becom e the LRPCA, simultaneously raising questions regarding its political-economic and social underpinnings.
The following chapter looks at both the historic developm ent of the LRPCA, as well as the present political-economic context o f agricultural production and land tenancy in Bolivia. Within this chapter I w ill look to the ways in which capitalist agricultural development in the context of national and international pressures has affected both 83 A lso com m only known as the “Ley de la D ecada”.
86 The Pacto de Unidad is a national umbrella representational body that directly collaborates with the government. Up until January 2012 the Pacto de Unidad officially included membership o f 5 cam pesino and indigenous organizations; C O N A M A Q, C SU TC B, Interculturales, Federation Bartolina Sisa, and the CIDOB (See appendix for short description). A s I w ill discuss in chapter four however, fo llo w in g the LRPCA and later TIPNIS conflict the CIDOB and C O N A M A Q began to distance them selves from this body, with C O NAM AQ ultimately announcing its withdrawal from the Pacto de Unidad in January 2 012.
A s I w ill explore in chapter 4, the Pacto de U nidad presents us with as a site of tension and contradiction illum inating both the possibilities and lim itations o f institutionalizing participation betw een civil society organizations and the government.
87 Interview with ex vice minister o f land and advisor to CSUTCB.
small-scale production and the possibilities for its expansion within a system o f industrial agricultural production.
2.1 Ley de la Decada: Two years of hard work The CSUTCB has a history o f developing agricultural Public Policy88 - their participation, along with that o f the Pacto de Unidad has also, since 2005, increased with the M AS’ encouragement o f popular participation. As a result, the Pacto de Unidad (w ith the CSUTCB heading the initiative) between 2009 and 2011 compiled their latest vision for agricultural production in Bolivia, La Decada.
Specifically, this strategy mapped out a plan for national food sovereignty which would emphasize ecological production with the goal o f the “reacti vacion econom ica de la actividad productiva de las comunidades sujetos de la economia comunitaria para el logro de la seguridad y la soberam'a alimentaria respetando los derechos de la m adre tierra para el vivir bien de las y los bolivianos.”89 The plan went on to outline the importance o f producing in ways that would preserve and protect mother earth and the environment, stating “promocion de practicas ecologicas...respeto por los derechos de la madre tierra para el bien com tin...’,90 88 The CSUTCB has historically produced counter-legislation to previous capitalist and neoliberal governments. Given that they have existed as a collection o f union bodies and cam pesinos since the eighties, they have actively been pursuing legislation around agriculture and land as a w ay o f d e concentrating power and wealth. In 1984, for exam ple, they produced the Ley de Agraria Fundamental which sought to question and dism antle the grow ing concentration o f elite landholders which prevented the ability for cam pesino production. See U rioste, Segunda R eform a A graria.
89 Article 4.
90 Article 5.2.
During the process o f construction, a point o f debate surrounded the question o f genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Ultim ately it was decided throughout the proceedings o f the production o f the law, that ecological production would be more beneficial for indigenous and campesino agricultural producers as well as the environment. In the next section we will return to this issue regarding the LRPCA where the issue o f genetically modified seeds resurfaced and catalyzed popular organizing.
What I wish to emphasize here is that the Pacto debated the issue, and ultimately decided not to allow them, opting to strengthen ecological “traditional” production.
One of the other significant propositions that La Decada outlined was the central importance o f the state. In the law they argue for the importance to “priorizar la inversion publica del E stado...en la produccion, transformacion y com ercializacion de la actividad agricola...”9 According to V ictor Comacho, ex-viceministro de Tierra and
advisor to the CSUTCB during the creation o f La Decada:
...[L a Decada] decia, primero que la priorizacion de recursos de la instancia nacional, gobiemos departamentales, municipales, que minimamente deberian destinarse en los presupuestos el 30%. Esa era clave. El 30% dentro los presupuestos para incentivo la produccion indigena originaria cam pesina... La CIDOB decia no hay problema, CONAM AQ decia no hay problema. Por que eso, en el fondo la teoria es facil, repetir bonito que... Pero en la practica, que aqui lo obligamos a este estado...9 2 And so, the MAS government was assigned a central role in encouraging production at the community level. In making the claim for 35% investment,9 the organizations and their membership were arguing that in order to truly begin producing, there would have 91 Article 6.1.
92 Interview: Cochabamba, 18th o f July, 2011.
93 Article 8, 1.
to be significant state investment. In emphasizing a plan centered on national food sovereignty, La Decada clearly defined the role o f the state as obligating the municipalities to actively and economically fortalize agricultural production. This ensured that the state would have a significant role in strengthening small-scale production.94 As we saw in chapter one several authors cited one of the key problems with the Agrarian Reform o f 1953 was a lack of state investment into small/community agriculture which lead to a concentration o f inequality and poverty.95 The report, in defining a ten year plan for the development o f agricultural production identified key areas for state investment including revitalizing soils, investments in research centers and in machinery, and the promotion o f “production tradicional, conventional y organica.”96 Therefore, over a two year period, La Decada developed into the written product o f debate, contestation and negotiation between member organizations o f the Pacto de Unidad, their leaders and their bases. This process was not only significant for developing agricultural policy, but it was also reflexive o f a much larger gain, that being the direct participation o f the popular classes in formal politics. What happened after its development, however, suggests something different.
94 It also important to note the autonomous role assigned to the cam pesino and indigenous com unities with regards to management o f funds. The law outlined the necessity not only for steep state investm ent, but also for its withdrawl o f the role o f the state with regards to m anaging and distribution o f funds, elim inating the bureaucratic process which can slow -dow n or prevent the transfer and u se o f funds. C om acho argued that this was in fact one o f the ways that the M A S could begin to decolonize the relationship between indigenous-cam pesino com m unities and the state.
93 Beltran & Fernandez, P o r Doncle va la Reform a A graria; and Gill, Peasants, E n trepren eu rs a n d S o cia l Change.
96 Article 9, II.4.
2.2 The Ley de la Revolucion Productlva Communitaria Agropecuaria:
Consultation, Contradiction and Consent Once La Decada was finalized and signed by the Pacto de Unidad it entered the newest phase (and end) o f its life. After the production process with the Pacto de Unidad, the law entered a process o f state revision. It should be noted that it is completely normal for laws to enter into this revision process after they have been put forth by various organizations. The significance, however, for this case as well as others, is how and in what ways the law becomes changed, and what the public consultation process yielded in terms o f propelling power upwards. Those who participate in the production o f the law, and those who have the power to change, modify, and/or influence its final form m ust be recognized as actors from different political and economic influences. As such, those who are invited to counter or enhance the political documents often created by the popular classes tend to have more political and economic power.
Several scholars have noted the limitations on the Bolivian consultative process when communities are fronted with capitalist interests.
Villegas97 and Vargas both argue that despite the protections o f rights within the NPCE, when fronted with capitalist interests 97 Pablo V illegas, “^Puede haber Consulta Previa entre la escopeta y las palomas?” P etro p ress 22 (2011):
9; and M iguel Vargas, “Participacion y consentim iento libre, previo e informado,” P e tro p re ss 16 (2011):
the state has demonstrated a tendency to act in favour o f capital. This tendency was also highlighted during the TIPNIS conflict.98 Such a theme was also evident in the case o f the LRPCA. A tri-commission o f the ministries o f Rural Development & Land, Environment & Water, and A utonom y & Health, Productive Development & Plural Economy, and Rural Development99 was assembled to “modify language and develop suggestions.” 1 0 From these m eetings emerged the Ley de la Revolucion Productiva Communitaria Agropecuaria (LRPCA) and an entirely different vision and plan for the development o f agriculture in Bolivia. Thus, despite the fact that La Decada had undergone a rigorous two-year process, upon entry into the tri-counsel it changed significantly. According to Heber Araujo, a Bolivian agricultural researcher, the LRPCA, contrary to its pro-environment and pro-com m unity
...no asume medidas contra el latifundio, la extranjerizacion de la tierra, m as por el contrario...En resumen, se consolidara a las empresas mixtas que controlan las semillas y su paquete tecnologico, se abrira nuevos nichos de m ercado para las transnacionales de seguros y de la banca comercial y se beneficiara a los grandes agropecuarios facilitandoles la introduccion de maquinaria y agro toxicos en desmedro de la Madre Tierra.1 10 What was released by the government in June o f 2010 barely resembled La Decada. In terms o f a surface analysis the law itself grew from a short 15 articles in La Decada to an extensive 47 articles, without adding much concrete political or economic content. For 98 See Francescone, M arching f o r Land, D ig n ity, and Webber, R evolution against "progress ”, 99 SOM OS SUR, Ley de la Revolucion P ro d u ctiva A gropecu aria y Com unitaria: Q uien G A N A y quien PIERD E (Cochabamba: SOMOS SUR, 2011).
101 Heber Araujo, L ey d e Revolucion P ro d u ctiva A gropecu aria p a ra el A gronegocio v la B anca (Cochabamba: CEN D A, 2011).