By Guillermo Lora
This booklet is an abridgement and translation of Guillermo Lora's five-volume heritage. It bargains with the strengthening and radicalisation of Bolivia's organised labour circulate, which culminated within the drastic innovative adjustments of the Fifties. the 1st part deals a reinterpretation of Bolivian historical past within the century previous the revolution, considered from the viewpoint of the operating category. the second one part discusses in additional aspect the key political occasions and doctrinal problems with a interval during which the writer, as secretary of the Trotskyist Partido Obrero Revolucionario, himself usually performed an lively half. regardless of the novel upheaval that happened within the fifties and the mobilisation of wide sectors of the inhabitants round such radical targets as direct estate seizures, union-nominated ministers and union, army and employee regulate, the labour circulate used to be not able to take care of its conquests within the Nineteen Sixties. The concluding chapters describe the interval of renewed army repression and the continued efforts of the labour stream to withstand.
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Extra resources for A History of the Bolivian Labour Movement 1848–1971
Luis S. Crespo writes that on his return to La Paz after putting down the pro-Ballivian rebellion of March 1849 Belzu made the following speech to the impressive crowd which gathered to meet him: Comrades, an unfeeling bunch of aristocrats has become the arbiter of your wealth and your destinies. They exploit you ceaselessly but you don't see it; they trick you night and day but you don't feel it; they accumulate vast fortunes from your toil but you aren't aware of it. They share out the lands and jobs, the honours and dignities among themselves and leave you with the poverty, the shame and the hard work, and you keep silent.
17 However, the violent attacks launched on him by the opposition did not prevent their proposing an electoral pact with him in 1888. Indeed, the fact that politicians were continually changing from one party to another shows that it was very difficult to discern any differences between the Liberals or Reivindicacionistas, the Conservatives or Practicistas, and the Democrats headed by Pacheco. ElMunicipio, a La Paz newspaper, wrote that there were such similarities between the Conservatives and the Liberals that adept politicians switched from one group to the other in pursuit of favours or in response to the manoeuvres of leading personalities.
But these two arguments do not apply to the tailoring trade, which is of such a nature that it cannot be perfected beyond certain limits. ' It is interesting to note that the document makes no mention of the high costs of national production, which was entirely based on manual labour with rudimentary tools and antiquated techniques. What considerations motivated the artisans? The sacred principle of survival, not simply as individuals but as a guild. Desperately, passionately, they tried to defend an economic and social order which was inevitably doomed to crumble away.
A History of the Bolivian Labour Movement 1848–1971 by Guillermo Lora