January 24, 2010

Bolivia's New State: Aparent vs. Integral

MABB © ®

Re-elected Vice president Alvaro Garcia gave a speech as he was being appointed for the second time on January 22, 2010. In this speech, which was more of an academic lecture than a political statement, he laid out his "vision" of the new Bolivian state being created.

He distinguished between two kinds of states: Estado Aparente (Apparent State) and Estado Integral (Integral State). He borrowed the concepts from thinkers such as Rene Zavaleta (Bolivian political scientist, politician and philosopher) and Antonio Gramsci (Italian philosopher and politician).

Garcia said that in the apparent state, which was the one in place until 2005, the Bolivian society and the country's territory, in their entirety, were not integrated into the state. Instead, only some parts of that society were represented, while some parts of the territory were not taken into account. Furthermore, the apparent state did not incorporate culture and neither the different forms of sociopolitical organization present in the country. Garcia then argued that the apparent state was a liberal, republican, democratic and dictatorial state, which centralized its resources, engaged in partimonialism and was subordinated to external powers.

On the other hand, Garcia defined the integral state as one in which there is correspondence among citizens, civil society and the state representatives. In essence, it unites all society groups under a moral, intellectual, and political leadership. This state, rests on several pillars. First, economic sovereignty based on the pivotal role of the state. Second, this state recognizes the equality of rights of the indigenous as well as the mestizo groups. Third, the integral state is present in the entire territory. Fourth, it relies on a community based and plural economy where small, medium and large production takes place, and the state is the engine.

As you can see, Garcia's speech reveals many of his Marxist tendencies. That makes me think about what Felix Patzi has been saying about the MAS government. Patzi, an indigenous intellectual, has been arguing that the traditional left (including communists, socialist, marxists, Leninist, etc.) has hijacked the MAS and has surrounded Evo Morales in the government. Patzi argued that the new Bolivia is nothing that the indigenous movements wanted when they started the process to take over power. The indigenous movements seek an indigenous version of a state. Perhaps, one based on the ancient cultures of the Incas or Aymaras. By any means, they sought to implement socialism, Marxism, communism or any other ism that came from what they call the western world.

So, is Patzi right? Has Evo Morales lost his compass? Is he being used by the traditional left?