Bolivia’s Radical Tradition: Permanent Revolution in the Andes, S. Sándor John, Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2009

‘I Sweat the Flavor of Tin’: Labor Activism in Early Twentieth-Century Bolivia, Robert L. Smale, Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2010

In: Historical Materialism
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  • 1 joseph_choonara@yahoo.co.uk

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Abstract

Robert L. Smale’s work looks in detail at the origins of Bolivia’s labour movement in the tin mines of the early twentieth century. This provides a good starting point for an account of the rapid rise of Trotskyism in the period leading up to the national revolution of 1952, a phenomenon described in detail in S. Sándor John’s book. Sándor John’s work in particular is important in understanding both the strengths and limitations of the Trotskyist POR, which was not able to displace rival nationalist organisations to achieve political hegemony in the struggles of the second half of the twentieth century.

  • Callinicos Alex Trotskyism 1990 Buckingham Open University Press

  • Choonara Joseph ‘The Relevance of Permanent Revolution: A Reply to Neil Davidson’ International Socialism 2011 2 131 available at: <http://www.isj.org.uk/?id=745>.

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  • Cliff Tony ‘Permanent Revolution’ Selected Writings 2003 Volume 3 London Bookmarks Marxist Theory After Trotsky

  • Davidson Neil ‘From Deflected Permanent Revolution to the Law of Uneven and Combined Development’ International Socialism 2010 2 128 available at: <http://www.isj.org.uk/?id=686>.

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  • Dunkerley James Rebellion in the Veins: Political Struggle in Bolivia 1952–1982 1984 London Verso

  • Hylton Forrest & Thomson Sinclair Revolutionary Horizons: Past and Present in Bolivian Politics 2007 London Verso

  • ISFI ‘Draft Resolution Submitted for the Approval of the Twelfth Plenum of the International Executive Committee (November 1952)’ Revolutionary History 1992 4 3 available at: <http://www.marxists.org/history/etol/revhist/backiss/vol4/no3/iec.htm>.

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  • Justo Liborio ‘Bolivia: The Revolution Defeated’ Revolutionary History 1992 4 3 available at: <http://www.marxists.org/history/etol/revhist/backiss/vol4/no3/justo.htm>.

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  • Lora Guillermo A History of the Bolivian Labour Movement 1848–1971 1977 Cambridge Cambridge University Press

  • Lora Guillermo ‘The Bolivian Revolution and the Activity of the POR’ Revolutionary History 1992 4 3 available at: <http://www.marxists.org/history/etol/revhist/backiss/vol4/no3/lora.htm>.

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  • Newsinger John ‘Revolution in Bolivia’ International Socialism 1983 2 18 60 86

  • Robles Juan ‘Trotskyism in Bolivia’ Revolutionary History 1992 4 3 available at: <http://www.marxists.org/history/etol/revhist/backiss/vol4/no3/robles.htm>.

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  • Sándor John S. Bolivia’s Radical Tradition: Permanent Revolution in the Andes 2009 Tucson University of Arizona

  • Smale Robert L. ‘I Sweat the Flavor of Tin’: Labor Activism in Early Twentieth-Century Bolivia 2010 Pittsburgh University of Pittsburgh

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  • Trotsky Leon 1905 1973 [1907] Harmondsworth Pelican

  • Trotsky Leon Our Political Tasks 1979 [1904] New York New Park

  • Trotsky Leon The Permanent Revolution and Results and Prospects 1982 [1930/1906] New York New Park

  • Trotsky Leon The History of the Russian Revolution 1985 [1930] London Pluto

  • Webber Jeffery R. Red October: Left-Indigenous Struggles in Modern Bolivia 2011 Leiden Brill

  • 2.

    Smale 2010, p. 62.

  • 3.

    Lora 1977, pp. 74–9.

  • 4.

    Smale 2010, p. 143.

  • 5.

    Smale 2010, p. 170.

  • 6.

    Smale 2010, p. 166.

  • 7.

    Smale 2010, p. 174.

  • 8.

    Sándor John 2009, p. 28.

  • 9.

    Sándor John 2009, p. 34.

  • 10.

    Sándor John 2009, p. 40.

  • 11.

    Sándor John 2009, p. 58. Lora’s account, by contrast, emphasises the extent to which the 1936 strike was controlled from above by union leaders: ‘Although there was no written pact between the unionists and the conspirators, in practice they established a perfect division of labour . . . The strikers organised pickets to maintain order and defend private property against any possible excesses. The union leadership definitely did not want things to go any further than the strike, leaving others to settle the question of power by violence.’ See Lora 1977, p. 176.

  • 12.

    Sándor John 2009, p. 60.

  • 13.

    Sándor John 2009, p. 70.

  • 15.

    Sándor John 2009, p. 98.

  • 16.

    Sándor John 2009, p. 88.

  • 17.

    Sándor John 2009, p. 114.

  • 18.

    Sándor John 2009, p. 97.

  • 19.

    Sándor John 2009, p. 92.

  • 20.

    Sándor John 2009, pp. 92–3.

  • 21.

    Sándor John 2009, p. 119.

  • 22.

    Quoted in Justo 1992, p. 42.

  • 24.

    Sándor John 2009, p. 96.

  • 25.

    Robles 1992, pp. 8–9.

  • 26.

    Sándor John 2009, p. 103.

  • 27.

    Lora 1992, p. 18.

  • 28.

    Dunkerley 1984, pp. 17–18.

  • 29.

    Newsinger 1983, p. 71.

  • 30.

    Newsinger 1983, p. 80.

  • 31.

    Newsinger 1983, pp. 81–2. Newsinger sees parallels with Tony Cliff’s theory of deflected permanent revolution, which Cliff took as his starting point in his analysis of the Cuban and Chinese revolutions. See Cliff 2003. For a recent debate on the contemporary relevance of permanent revolution and deflected permanent revolution, within the same tradition as Newsinger and Cliff, see Davidson 2010 and Choonara 2011.

  • 32.

    Lora 1992, p. 16.

  • 33.

    Cited in Lora 1977, p. 297.

  • 35.

    Sándor John 2009, p. 187.

  • 36.

    Sándor John 2009, p. 218.

  • 37.

    Sándor John 2009, p. 148.

  • 38.

    Callinicos 1990, p. 41.

  • 39.

    Trotsky 1979.

  • 40.

    Sándor John 2009, pp. 176–80.

  • 41.

    Dunkerley 1984.

  • 42.

    Notably Webber 2011.

  • 43.

    Lora 1977.

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