Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Gas is just the beginning

BBC announces Morales nationalises the gas industry here and here

Speaking at an oilfield in the south of the country on Monday, Bolivia's left-wing president called it an "historic day".

"The pillage of our natural resources by foreign companies is over," he declared.

About 100 soldiers peacefully took control of the Palmasola refinery in the south-eastern city of Santa Cruz, reported the news agency Associated press.

The government said soldiers and engineers were sent to 56 locations around the country.

Mr Morales said the gas fields were "just the beginning, because tomorrow it will be the mines, the forest resources and the land".


AN said...

I think this is very interesting news, and I think most of us had some doubts about whether Morales would disappoint.

I think it is also important for its impact on British political debate. The composition of the left in Britain has changed. Some years ago the largest part of the British left would be in the Labour Party or Communist party, and the wisdom that governments could move the political agenda to the left by nationalisation and socially progressive legislation was second nature.

It was against this presumption that the left could actually achieve gains by holding office in a bourgois society, that the “socialism from below” argument was a corrective, and a necessary corrective towards grass roots campaigning, and participation of trade union activists. But as Tariq Ali has pointed out, Venezuela has changed the whole course of South Smerican politics, by presenting a totally different paradigm to the Zapatista argument of “changing the world without taking power”. The argument coming loud from Caracas is that to change the world the left must take power.

Bolivia, and more especially Venezuela, are showing the contribution that left governments can have in not only directly improving workers’ lives, but also moving the whole political debate to the left. I also think there is an exciting prospect of the Venezuelan experience having a deep impact on Cuba, opening up the possibility of greater democracy, while the left continue to hold power. Cuban contributions to Venezuela in terms of health and education have also had a direct beneficial impact on the Bolivarian revolution.

That is not to say that I think that Cuba, Venezuela or Bolivia are socialist societies, but they are societies that have left governments, who are resisting neo-liberalism.

Jim Jay said...

Bolivia Solidarity Campaign is worth taking a look at