February 10, 2007

Speculating About the Movement Toward Socialism

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There is a curious trend showing up within the ranks of the MAS-IP (from the Spanish Movement Toward Socialism - Political Instrument), which seems to indicate internal troubles. Division within is the trend, and it affects the much needed unity of the 'party' (pls., click here to know why I put the word party in quotation marks). In a previous post I talked about two strong currents dividing MAS. The intellectuals and the bases, are two groups which have different agendas and expectations of MAS. It often comes that these two groups disagree on what should be done. One example is the voting method in the Constitutional Assembly, which the intellectuals favoring the 2/3 and the bases wanting simple majority.

This time there is a schism being noted in regional terms, more specifically, the national versus the departmental. Lately, this division has become more evident after the MAS' La Paz wing called to a party congress, where the new directory was supposed to be elected. Also, according to the organizers, Morales himself was supposed to attend along with all departmental organizations. However, the leaders at the national level called all supporters in La Paz to boycott this congress because it did not have permission from the national leadership. Mutual attacks followed between the two levels of leadership and until now it is not know whether this congress is supported by Morales or not.

Now, puting into practice the title of this post, and based on some reports in the press, it could be said that the differences highlighted are really the outcome of an internal power struggle among factions with not necessarily socio-economic, socio-political or ideological motives, but with more mundane ones. Some people in MAS have been complaining that the IP (political instrument), in order to win the elections has compromised its soul and thus has allowed politicians of other parties to take advantage and join the cause. This would really mean, for these individuals, what has traditionally meant for many others like them, that they would support MAS in exchange for jobs in government. This particular issue, I think is grounded in the urban-country divide. On the one side, the country supporters of the IP are more true to its ideals (fighting exclusion and taking over power to change Bolivia, for example). On the other side, MAS supporters who live in the urban areas, have other priorities and thus other expectations from MAS. That would be jobs mainly. This is mostly curious when think we are talking about mostly of indigenous people in both cases.

At the urban level there are a host of problems which have been showing up all along since MAS came to power. They are more conspicuous in La Paz and Santa Cruz where many times MAS people have been fighting for governmental jobs. Different groups of people accuse each other of not being true MAS supporters and thus not having claim to those jobs. This, I think, will be a big problem for MAS. To put it simply.