2883 - The capitalist origins of indigenous national identity in Bolivia

My paper explains the sources of the particular variant of indigenous-based ideology or Katarismo that, in turn, was essential to the successful political transformation that has recently occurred in Bolivia. With the collapse of the preceding regime over the course of 2003-2005 and the elections in 2005 and 2009 of Evo Morales with large popular majorities to the presidency, Bolivia has experienced a political and social revolution driven by the assertion of a new national identity rooted in the “indianist” nationalism of Fausto Reinaga. The racial-based polemics of Reinaga gave birth to an ideology that came to be known by the 1980s as Katarismo. Though the collapse of the pre-existing regime requires its own explanation, the existence of social movements that were then given political focus by Evo Morales and his political party—MAS—requires another explanation. Broadly speaking, Katarismo may be classified into three variants: the militant “primordial nationalist” strand of Felipe Quispe; the liberal or accommodations strand of Hugo Cardenas; and, thirdly, the successful strand used and propelled by Evo Morales—“coca Katarismo” or, perhaps better, capitalist Katarismo. This variant, unlike Quispe’s, accepts an inclusive construction of indigenous identity that relies more on values than blood. Unlike Cardenas, though, this ideology contains a revolutionary nationalist vision of a new Bolivia. My explanation for the ready adoption of that inclusiveness is that this variation of Katarismo is derived from within the capitalist and urban sectors of Bolivia as opposed to the, strictly speaking, indígena sectors of Bolivian society.

Palabras claves: indianist, katarismo, social transformation, Evo Morales, nationalism, MAS

Autores: Hahn, Dwight (John Carroll University, Ud States of Am / USA)


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