The Final Battle in Bolivia By Roger Burbach

Dandelion Salad

By Roger Burbach

11/30/07 “Counterpunch”

Evo Morales, the first Indian president of Bolivia, is forcing a showdown with the oligarchy and the right wing political parties that have stymied efforts to draft a new constitution to transform the nation. He declares, “Dead or alive I will have a new constitution for the country by December 14,” the mandated date for the specially elected Constituent Assembly to present the constitution.

Vice-President Alvaro Garcia Linares states, “Either we now consolidate the new statewith the new dominant forces behind us, or we will move backwards and the old forces will again predominate.” A leading trade union leader, Edgar Patana, put it bluntly: “The final battle has begun, and the people are prepared for it.”

For over a year the oligarchy centered in the eastern city of Santa Cruz has conspired to frustrate the efforts of the Constituent Assembly in which the governing party, the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS), and its allies hold 60 percent of the seats. First the right wing parties in the Assembly, led by Podemos, insisted that a two-thirds vote was needed even for committees to approve the different sections of the new constitution.

When the opposition was overruled on this point, the oligarchy then won allies in the city of Sucre, where the Constituent Assembly is being held, by asserting that the executive and congressional branches of government should be moved from La Paz to Sucre, which used to be the center of government until the late nineteenth century. This was also a racial strategy as La Paz and its sister city El Alto are at the heart of the country’s majority Indian population that support Morales and mobilized in 2003 to topple an oligarchic president in La Paz who murdered Indian demonstrators in the streets.

In Sucre in recent months right wing militants have menaced and assaulted delegates of MAS, including Silvia Lazarte, the Assembly’s indigenous women president. The Assembly has been effectively prevented from functioning since August 15.

Then in a move to more equitably redistribute the country growing oil and gas revenues, Morales in mid-October declared that a retirement pension equal to the minimum wage would be extended to all Bolivians that would come directly out of a special hydrocarbon fund. Morales simultaneously cut the payments from the fund that go to municipal governments like Santa Cruz with no congressional oversight. This caused an uproar in the Media Luna (Half Moon) region, comprised of the department of Santa Cruz and allied departments, with many of the business interests of the country threatening to create shortages and sew economic chaos by withholding their produce from the market.

Three hundred peasants, who came to Sucre last week to protect the Assembly members in its efforts to reconvene, were violently expelled from their sleeping quarters at the Pedagogical Institute by right wing students and Lazarte was prevented from convening the Assembly. Then Morales moved the Assembly meeting site to an old castle on the outskirts of Sucre that also serves as a military school and barracks. The head of the armed forces, General Wilfredo Vargas, backed the meeting of the Assembly at the castle, saying “it has to meet to continue to modernize the state in all its features.”

Then Vargas in a swipe at one of the regional political leaders allied with the Media Luna who claimed that Cuban and Venezuelan military units where in the country, declared: “No information exists of such units. And if it were the case, they are military units of the State and as part of the State they represent the Bolivian people.”

The Bush administration is also jumping into the fray. Earlier this year Morales denounced that US backed agencies and non- governmental organizations that are providing direct support to right-wing political parties and allied institutions, ordering that all such funding would now be channeled directly through the government. Then at the recent Ibero-American Summit in Santiago Chile, Morales declared that “while we are trying to change Boliviasmall groups of the oligarchy are conspiring in alliance with the representative of the government of the United States,” referring to the US ambassador to Bolivia, Philip Goldberg. To support his claims a photo was shown of Goldberg in Santa Cruz with a leading right wing business magnet and a well known Colombian narco-trafficker, who had been detained by the local police.

On November 15, the US State Department spokesperson, Sean McCormick, responded by demanding that Morales stop launching “false” and “unfounded” allegations of conspiracy by the ambassador. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called the Bolivian ambassador in Washington to deliver the same tough message.

The delegates of the right wing parties led by Podemos boycotted the meetings at the castle, declaring that the Assembly is “illegal.” On Friday 139 of the 255 Assembly members met and approved the broad outlines of a new constitution to carry out the reforms championed by Morales and the country’s social movements. The next step is for the Assembly to adopt the specific clauses and content of the constitution.

But before that process could begin, the opposition in Sucre, led mainly by students and young people, violently took over all the major public buildings using dynamite and Molotov coctails, demanding the resignation of “the shitty Indian Morales.” Parts of the city were in flames as the members of the Assembly abandoned the castle on Saturday, and by Sunday rioting mobs controlled Sucre, forcing the police to retreat to the mining town of Potosi, two hours away. Three people, including one policemen, are dead, with hundreds injured. The right wing and the business organizations in Santa Cruz and allied departments are threatening to declare autonomy and even talking of cession.

“We are at a national impasse” says Manuel Urisote, a political analyst and director of the Land Foundation, an independent research center in La Paz. “The right wing led by the Santa Cruz oligarchy is in open rebellion, but Morales, the Movement Towards Socialism and the popular movements will not back down. The military is supporting the president. As a national institution it intends to maintain the territorial integrity of Bolivia and it will not accept decrees of cession by Santa Cruz.”

Roger Burbach is director of the Center for the Study of the Americas (CENSA) and a Visiting Scholar at the Institute of International Studies, University of California, Berkeley. He is co-author with Jim Tarbell of “Imperial Overstretch: George W. Bush and the Hubris of Empire,” His latest book is: “The Pinochet Affair: State Terrorism and Global Justice.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Neoliberalism: The Economic Model: Origins, Theory, Definition (2005)

Enjoy Capitalism

Image by Isaías Campbell via Flickr

Dandelion Salad

Original source: Neoliberalism

Neoliberalism: The economic model: origins, theory, definition

Since the 1990’s activists use the word ‘neoliberalism’ for global market-liberalism (’capitalism’) and for free-trade policies. In this sense, it is widely used in South America. ‘Neoliberalism’ is often used interchangeably with ‘globalisation’. But free markets and global free trade are not new, and this use of the word ignores developments in the advanced economies. The analysis here compares neoliberalism with its historical predecessors. Neoliberalism is not just economics: it is a social and moral philosophy, in some aspects qualitatively different from liberalism.

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Kucinich Calls For Investigation Into Delay Of Veterans’ Benefits

Dandelion Salad

by Dennis Kucinich

Washington, Nov 30

Congressman Dennis Kucinich will announce his call for an investigation into delays, of up to four and one-half years, in the delivery of federal benefits to combat-injured veterans.

More than 48,000 retired veterans are still waiting for a determination of eligibility and payment of benefits.

10 a.m.
Monday, December 3, 2007
Congressman Kucinich’s Congressional Office
14400 Detroit Avenue
Lakewood, OH 44107

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


Kucinich/Paul Ticket: A Fatal Error by KatherineHollyday

Kucinich Speech at the DNC Fall Meeting (video link) (updated)

Throwing the Baby Out with the Bath Water by PeaceLoveVegan (Kucinich; Paul)

Vote in 2nd Round of Presidential Idol Poll

Dec. 15th Kucinich Money Bomb: Pay It Forward (video)

Kucinich/Paul Ticket: A Fatal Error by Katherine Hollyday

by Katherine Hollyday
Guest Writer
Dandelion Salad

I’ve said it before, and I’m gonna say it again, because it seems to be coming up A LOT suddenly–even more than usual.  Both Kucinich and Paul supporters keep suggesting it, and they keep pestering Dennis with questions about it…and I’ve seen tons and tons of posts about it all over the internet for months now…  Enough is enough!

A Kucinich/Paul ticket is a HORRIBLE idea.

Yes, they do agree on some points, but their basic philosophy is DIAMETRICALLY OPPOSITE.

Ron Paul is a LIBERTARIAN in republican clothing.  Libertarians are basically SELFISH, GREEDY people who fundamentally ONLY care about preserving THEIR OWN rights and freedoms, EVERYONE ELSE BE DAMNED.  The only reason they support constitutionalist thinking is that it preserves THEIR OWN rights, not because it really protects anyone else.

Libertarians don’t want to pay taxes because they don’t want to be forced to support social programs, because they don’t want to part with what they believe to be their “hard-earned” money, and then have it given to people they don’t like, or feel are unworthy.

Libertarians don’t understand, or won’t admit, that a civil society is what enables them to be prosperous.  Maintaining a civil society is a group effort, and is a necessary prerequisite to personal prosperity, and required to live in peace.  We must lift up the ENTIRE SOCIETY, and we must ALL contribute–BECAUSE WE ALL BENEFIT FROM IT.  Desperation caused by poverty is what causes violence and crimes, and results in the oppression and violence we see in countries like Rwanda and Darfur.  Heck, its what causes most crimes and violence. We have relative peace in the United States BECAUSE WE DO TAKE CARE OF OUR OWN with all the social programs that Libertarians hate so much, and want to abolish.  The Canadians have dramatically less violence BECAUSE THEY DO IT BETTER–THEY HAVE UNIVERSAL NOT FOR PROFIT HEALTH CARE.

The Libertarian point of view that social programs should be privatized under the umbrella of private charities, is a SCAM.  Most social programs are run by religious groups.  This very fact UNDERMINES FREEDOM OF RELIGION, because that forces the poor to grovel before these churches, and have religious dogma shoved down their throats, for fear of being denied access to aid, or having their benefits reduced.

Privatized charities are NEVER going to offer the needy any form of AUTONOMY.  The services they provide will be very limited to things like basic meals (Forget about getting things like organic food, or high quality meals.  Charities are always trying to stretch a buck, and generally opt for the cheapest, lowest quality foods, and probably won’t offer quality food options for special dietary needs like vegetarians, vegans, food sensitivities, life-threatening food allergies, diabetics, cancer, macrobiotics, etc.), very basic second hand clothing, used and abused household goods, and slums and flop houses for shelter.

It’s very doubtful that they would provide a cash stipend the way Welfare programs do to pay basic bills, and provide any kind of choice, autonomy or dignity.  A privatized system wouldn’t allow people to live where they wanted to live.  A privatized charity system would make the poor feel like they are constantly under siege, and at the mercy of the whims of the organization that they get help from, and it’s just plain WRONG.

Furthermore, the average person probably wouldn’t donate very much.  It’s the ULTRA RICH OLIGARCHY that would be really funding these programs–THE SAME FOLKS WHO BRING US THINGS LIKE FAUX NEWS, BIASED REPORTING, AND WAR-MONGERING MEDIA, so if a particular charity organization or  program opposed their policies, or belief system, they could readily withdraw their support, so these private charity organizations would be forced to comply with the agenda of the elites who give them funds.

The ECONOMIC POLICIES of Libertarians are diametrically opposite to the liberal/progressive philosophy.  Libertarians are laissez-faire capitalists, and don’t really believe in things like government regulation.  They probably LOVE NAFTA and the WTO.  They aren’t for WORKERS RIGHTS…they want to be FREE to rape and pillage our economy and take advantage of consumers as best they can, without inteference from the government.  Let the market decide… after it’s too late, mind you, and millions have already been harmed.

We’ll NEVER get universal, not-for-profit healthcare with Libertarians in power.  They don’t believe healthcare is a fundamental right.  It’s everyone for themselves in their view.


FURTHERMORE, with a Kucinich/Paul administration, Dennis would be under the constant threat of ASSASSINATION.

What more motive could there be for the corporatist oligarachy to assassinate the President, if not to get back in control so they can gut our social programs, and make the work force so desperate and maliable that they will work for nothing, and sell their souls for a basic subsistance wage.

DENNIS, IF YOU’RE LISTENING, PLEASE DON’T DO IT.  DON’T EVEN CONSIDER RON PAUL AS A RUNNING MATE. He may seem like a nice guy, but your core policies and personal values are in serious conflict, and it won’t be good for America.  AND, you will be putting your life in danger.



P.S.  Don’t forget, you will also be setting Ron Paul up as the next president after you, assuming you do survive two terms in office.  And he will likely UNDO EVERYTHING YOU WILL HAVE ACCOMPLISHED IN PUTTING SOCIAL PROGRAMS IN PLACE.


Throwing the Baby Out with the Bath Water by PeaceLoveVegan (Kucinich; Paul)

Kucinich at the DNC Fall Meeting (video link)

Kucinich considers GOP Ron Paul as his running mate by Sabrina Eaton (audio)

After the Rep Debate: Don’t Ask Don’t Tell + Ron Paul VP Question (videos)

Kucinich suggests a Republican running mate by Sabrina Eaton & Stephen Koff

Ron Paul asked about Dennis Kucinich as a running mate (video)

Dec. 15th Kucinich Money Bomb: Pay It Forward (video)