Monday, January 16, 2006

A Speech from a Real President

We in the USA have been inflicted with many presidents over the years. We have heard many speeches and learned in school and from the media that American democracy is "of, by and for the people." We learn from our president about "freedom" and the importance of "patriotism" although we are often left not quit sure what those things are. We are subjected to the lunatic gibbering of lunatics on a regular basis when our presidents are asked to engage in intellectual debate. We had a man with Alzheimer, albeit a tragic disease, representing us as our leader and literally worshipped as a national hero (even though he went by the nickname "Dutch," oddly enough). We have a president who refers to the richest 1% of the nation as "his base" with glee while sending the less fortunate to be ground into hamburger overseas (although as presidents go, he is far from unique in this regard, war and kowtowing to capital are national pastimes for American presidents).

So, ever wonder what it would be like to have a real president? One who had convictions he could intelligently elaborate upon? One who took representing "the People" seriously?
"Evo, what do you and the MAS understand by 'socialism,'" I asked him, when I was invited by the Executive Committee of the Bolivian Labor Central (COB). "To live in community and equality," he answered. "Fundamentally, in the peasant communities they have socialism. For example, if we speak of land. I come from the ayllu of the Department of Oruro. Clearly, where I live at this moment, in the East in Chapare, there are no ayllus. It is individual parceling, and there arise very serious problems, because it leads to small holdings, which you don't see in a peasant community where the land is communal."

"Does the socio-economic model of the MAS resemble more that of Lula, Cuba, or Hugo Chávez?" I insisted. "I believe it is something much deeper," he answered. "It is an economic model based on solidarity, reciprocity, community, and consensus. Because, for us, democracy is a consensus. In the community there is consensus, in the trade union there are majorities and minorities.

"Inside this official democracy of Bolivia they do not respect the thought, sentiments, and the sufferings of the national majorities. And within this framework we are seeking a communitarian socialism based on the community. A socialism, let's say, based on reciprocity and solidarity. And beyond that, respecting Mother Earth, the Pacha Mama. It is not possible within that model to convert Mother Earth to merchandise. In Bolivia with the agrarian reform it is better to be a vaccinated cow than a human being. For a vaccinated cow there are 25 hectares and for a human being there is nothing."

Read more here...

Evo Morales, Communitarian Socialism and the Regional Power Block
By Heinz Dieterich
Jan 14, 2006, 18:12

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