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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

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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.

1. Callinicos Alex Trotskyism 1990 Buckingham Open University Press
2. Choonara Joseph "‘The Relevance of Permanent Revolution: A Reply to Neil Davidson’" International Socialism 2011 Vol 2 131 available at: < >.
3. Cliff Tony "‘Permanent Revolution’" Selected Writings 2003 Vol Volume 3 London Bookmarks Marxist Theory After Trotsky
4. Davidson Neil "‘From Deflected Permanent Revolution to the Law of Uneven and Combined Development’" International Socialism 2010 Vol 2 128 available at: < >.
5. Dunkerley James Rebellion in the Veins: Political Struggle in Bolivia 1952–1982 1984 London Verso
6. Hylton Forrest , Thomson Sinclair Revolutionary Horizons: Past and Present in Bolivian Politics 2007 London Verso
7. ISFI "‘Draft Resolution Submitted for the Approval of the Twelfth Plenum of the International Executive Committee (November 1952)’" Revolutionary History 1992 Vol 4 3 available at: < >.
8. Justo Liborio "‘Bolivia: The Revolution Defeated’" Revolutionary History 1992 Vol 4 3 available at: < >.
9. Lora Guillermo A History of the Bolivian Labour Movement 1848–1971 1977 Cambridge Cambridge University Press http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511759598
10. Lora Guillermo "‘The Bolivian Revolution and the Activity of the POR’" Revolutionary History 1992 Vol 4 3 available at: < >.
11. Newsinger John "‘Revolution in Bolivia’" International Socialism 1983 Vol 2 18 60 86
12. Robles Juan "‘Trotskyism in Bolivia’" Revolutionary History 1992 Vol 4 3 available at: < >.
13. Sándor John S. Bolivia’s Radical Tradition: Permanent Revolution in the Andes 2009 Tucson University of Arizona
14. Smale Robert L. ‘I Sweat the Flavor of Tin’: Labor Activism in Early Twentieth-Century Bolivia 2010 Pittsburgh University of Pittsburgh
15. Trotsky Leon 1905 1973 [1907] Harmondsworth Pelican
16. Trotsky Leon Our Political Tasks 1979 [1904] New York New Park
17. Trotsky Leon The Permanent Revolution and Results and Prospects 1982 [1930/1906] New York New Park
18. Trotsky Leon The History of the Russian Revolution 1985 [1930] London Pluto
19. Webber Jeffery R. Red October: Left-Indigenous Struggles in Modern Bolivia 2011 Leiden Brill http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/ej.9789004201552.i-376
20. FN1 1. There were some fascinating nineteenth-century forerunners, for instance the ‘Egalitarians’, influenced by Proudhon and utopian socialism, who in 1876 took control of the isolated lowland city of Santa Cruz for six months. See Lora 1977, pp. 56–60.
21. FN2 2. Smale 2010, p. 62.
22. FN3 3. Lora 1977, pp. 74–9.
23. FN4 4. Smale 2010, p. 143.
24. FN5 5. Smale 2010, p. 170.
25. FN6 6. Smale 2010, p. 166.
26. FN7 7. Smale 2010, p. 174.
27. FN8 8. Sándor John 2009, p. 28.
28. FN9 9. Sándor John 2009, p. 34.
29. FN10 10. Sándor John 2009, p. 40.
30. FN11 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.
31. FN12 12. Sándor John 2009, p. 60.
32. FN13 13. Sándor John 2009, p. 70.
33. FN14 14. For the theory in various forms and stages of development, see Trotsky 1973, 1982 and 1985.
34. FN15 15. Sándor John 2009, p. 98.
35. FN16 16. Sándor John 2009, p. 88.
36. FN17 17. Sándor John 2009, p. 114.
37. FN18 18. Sándor John 2009, p. 97.
38. FN19 19. Sándor John 2009, p. 92.
39. FN20 20. Sándor John 2009, pp. 92–3.
40. FN21 21. Sándor John 2009, p. 119.
41. FN22 22. Quoted in Justo 1992, p. 42.
42. FN23 23. Lora later claimed to have opposed this position on his return from Paris, where he was attending a congress of the Fourth International, and expressed regret at not having thrown ‘the nationalists’ out of the POR prior to 1952. See Lora 1992, pp. 20–1. He was also critical of the draft resolution of the International Secretariat of the Fourth International that praised the POR for its ‘critical support granted [to] the MNR government’. See ISFI 1992, pp. 33–4.
43. FN24 24. Sándor John 2009, p. 96.
44. FN25 25. Robles 1992, pp. 8–9.
45. FN26 26. Sándor John 2009, p. 103.
46. FN27 27. Lora 1992, p. 18.
47. FN28 28. Dunkerley 1984, pp. 17–18.
48. FN29 29. Newsinger 1983, p. 71.
49. FN30 30. Newsinger 1983, p. 80.
50. FN31 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.
51. FN32 32. Lora 1992, p. 16.
52. FN33 33. Cited in Lora 1977, p. 297.
53. FN34 34. The relationship between indigenous and other forces in Bolivian history is a major theme of Hylton and Thomson 2007.
54. FN35 35. Sándor John 2009, p. 187.
55. FN36 36. Sándor John 2009, p. 218.
56. FN37 37. Sándor John 2009, p. 148.
57. FN38 38. Callinicos 1990, p. 41.
58. FN39 39. Trotsky 1979.
59. FN40 40. Sándor John 2009, pp. 176–80.
60. FN41 41. Dunkerley 1984.
61. FN42 42. Notably Webber 2011.
62. FN43 43. Lora 1977.
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/content/journals/10.1163/1569206x-12341236
2012-01-01
2015-08-04

Affiliations: 1: joseph_choonara@yahoo.co.uk

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