Friday, January 20, 2006

Morales as Pacifier?

An excerpt from a recent COHA release:
Evo Morales has inspired the country to believe in politics once again, but there is no guarantee that he too will not disappoint it and break its heart. Since the colonial era, the indigenous were fed first class promises, which eventually led to steerage class realities. Such betrayals traditionally have registered few political repercussions. Morales, however, faces a startling new element in the equation as a result of recent experiences, namely the realization by highland Bolivians that they have the power to unseat governments. Therefore, Evo sits on a very troubled throne, and the indigenous will soon discover whether they have a principled leader or some sweet-talking political hustler. In a very real sense, Morales is untested and the next four months will reveal whether he has the right stuff.
["Bolivia’s Morales to be Inaugurated on Sunday," COHA Memorandum to the Press, January 20, 2006]

The "the realization by highland Bolivians that they have the power to unseat governments" is a profoundly hopeful phenomenon that moves the country towards a much more meaningful form of democracy than exists in most of the world's variations of the parliamentary system (such as the U.S.). It isn't Evo's (or Lula's, etc) right to determine how much compromise with the forces of neoliberalism is necessary - only the citizens themselves can decide that. The situation in Bolivia almost amounts to a form of unofficial instant recall, the mechanism so sorely lacking in almost all standard democracies. Recall that many global elites were content with Morales' election because they felt it would bring stability to the country. As leftists, we can only hope it won't bring too much.


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