Experiences of the Left in Power: State Formation, Class Formation and the Production of Space in Urban Bolivia
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This thesis traces the experiences of urban working-class groups in the cities of El Alto and Santa Cruz during the government of Evo Morales through the dynamics of state formation, class formation and the production of space. Using material gather in over 100 semi-structured interviews and participant observation during seventeenmonths of fieldwork in the cities of El Alto, La Paz and Santa Cruz, it seeks to analyse the experience of different working-class groups under what I frame as the passive revolution of Morales’ government. Critical support for Morales in the city of El Alto continues, even as conditions of precarity, informality and poverty persist for many of the working-classes there. In Santa Cruz, the working-classes were never mobilised to the same extent and remained outside the influence or the interest of Morales’ government. Faced with adverse conditions, working-class organisations here have followed more pragmatic forms of politics, building local alliances with different political and state actors to pursue more limited localised goals. This thesis thus attempts to contribute, on the one hand, to theoretical perspectives on passive revolution as a process that is constantly contested through class struggle and being reinforced by different modes of statecraft. It also, on the other hand, illuminates the quotidian realities of the urban working-classes under the leftwing government of Evo Morales, arguing that the possibility of political action is simultaneously affected by processes of class formation and the subjective experience of class of different groups in different places as well as by processes of transformism.
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