INDIGENOUS ANARCHISM IN BOLIVIA
An Interview with Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui by Andalusia Knoll:
AK. Could you talk about some of the things that you have uncovered in your research about anarchism in Bolivia as related to the struggles of the Aymara and Quecha people?
Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui: We started as an Aymara collective that basically wanted to uncover the Aymara and Quechua struggles and we discovered that there were many links with urban Aymara communities that had organizations linked both to the indigenous communities and to the union movement, which in the 20’s was basically anarchist. What happened in Bolivia is that there have been two official histories: the official history written by the [Revolutionary] Nationalist Party—MNR—that basically denies all the agency of both workers and peasants and indigenous peoples; and the official history of the left that forgets about anything that was not Marxist, thus eclipsing or distorting the autonomous history of anarchist unions,
It's the links between the anarchists and the indigenous people that gave them another nuance, because their communities are self-sustained entities and they basically are places where anti-authoritarian type of organization can take roots. They don’t need this leadership that is like permanent leadership. The communities have leaders, but as a rotational thing that is a service to the community. It’s kind of a burden to be a leader for a community, you know? It’s something you do once in a lifetime and you do because you ought to do, and that the community says its your turn or the turn of your family. So, that creates a totally different relationship with power structures and, in a way, it decolonizes power and to a certain extent gives it back to the people.
That is what fascinated us most about the communities and, on the other hand, it led us to discover that communities were not only rural but also urban and worked with [1920s anarchist] Luis Cusicanqui and other anarchist leaders because they had such an affinity between the way they saw struggle, autonomy, domination, and oppression.
Continued at http://www.ainfos.ca/en/ainfos19906.html