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The Price of Fire: Resource Wars and Social Movements in Bolivia

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ISBN13: 9781904859338
ISBN10: 190485933x
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Synopses & Reviews

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New social movements have emerged in Bolivia over the “price of fire”—access to basic elements of survival like water, gas, land, coca, employment, and other resources. Though these movements helped pave the way to the presidency for indigenous coca-grower Evo Morales in 2005, they have made it clear that their fight for self-determination doesn’t end at the ballot box. From the first moments of Spanish colonization to today’s headlines, The Price of Fire offers a gripping account of clashes in Bolivia between corporate and people’s power, contextualizing them regionally, culturally, and historically.

Benjamin Dangl has worked as an independent journalist throughout Latin America, writing for publications such as Z Magazine, The Nation, and The Progressive. He is the editor of TowardFreedom.com, a progressive perspective on world events, and UpsideDownWorld.org, an online magazine covering activism and politics in Latin America. Benjamin won a 2007 Project Censored Award for his coverage of US military operations in Paraguay.

Price of Fire is not yet another bleak ‘tell-all’ account of globalization, its pages are filled with stories of resistance, struggle and, above all, hope.”—Teo Ballvé, editor of the NACLA Report on the Americas and co-editor of Dispatches from Latin America

“Ben Dangl takes the reader on an unforgettable and inspiring journey through Bolivia and neighboring countries, providing a window on the revolutionary struggles of the poor and dispossessed, and particularly on the resurgence of indigenous resistance and leadership.”—Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War

“Most Americans know nothing of Bolivia, an ignorance that only plays into the hands of empire. Ben Dangl’s book is both informative and inspiring, a cure for the apathy that grows from that ignorance. A must-read for those already interested in solidarity with Latin America and indigenous people.”—Tom Hayden, author of The Zapatista Reader and Street Wars

“Ben Dangl has found himself under the skin of the Bolivian freedom struggle: he accurately represents its constraints, its opportunities, and its hopes.”—Vijay Prashad, author of The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World

“With great empathy and lucid prose, Dangl captures the exemplary courage that has put Latin America in the vanguard of the new internationalism and has made it one of the few bright spots on an otherwise dismal global landscape.”—Greg Grandin, author of Empire’s Workshop

"Price of Fire by Ben Dangl informs, outrages, and builds hope. People’s movements for societal betterment in South America are an inspiration for human rights activists worldwide and Dangl gives us a full serving of encouragement and hope. He documents how historical imperialism, dominated my US corporate/government capital interests, is being successfully challenged by indigenous activists. Price of Fire is the story of cultural resistance from the street to international geo-political alliances. I highly recommend this book for working people, students, and radical democrats to hear the voices of South American people and their chronicle of grassroots democratic empowerment."—Peter Phillips, Professor Sociology, Sonoma State University, Director Project Censored, and co-editor with Dennis Loo of Impeach the President: The Case Against Bush and Cheney

Synopsis:

Bolivia's powerful social movements and the forces they're up against.

Synopsis:

Cultural Writing. Latino/Latina Studies. New social movements have emerged in Bolivia over the "price of fire" - access to basic elements of survival like water, gas, land, coca, employment, and other resources. Though these movements helped pave the way to the presidency for indigenous coca-grower Evo Morales in 2005, they have made it clear that their fight for self-determination doesn't end at the ballot box. From the first moments of Spanish colonizatin to today's headlines, THE PRICE OF FIRE offers a gripping account of clashes in Bolivia between corporate and people's power, contextualizing them regionally, culturally, and historically.

Synopsis:

Bolivia has been at the forefront of Latin America's leftward shift. The country's recent history provides a case study of both the ravages of neo-liberal economic policies and the powerful social movements rising up to overturn them. Bolivia's social struggles over the ownership of resources such as water and gas have been as heroic as they are instructive. Conflicts related to International Monetary Fund policies and the war on drugs offer important lessons about corporate globalization and US foreign policy. The election of Evo Morales, Latin America's first indigenous president, as well as his delicate relationship with the social movements on which his administration depends, raises important questions for the future.

The Price of Firegives a blow-by-blow account of these battles, while also contextualizing them regionally and historically. From the first moments of Spanish colonization to today's headlines, it traces the story of a small nation whose natural resources helped fund the rise of capitalism and that has spent the subsequent four centuries suffering the consequences. A primer on the history of resistance to corporate globalization in Latin America, Benjamin Dangl's far-reaching and penetrating analysis uses Bolivia's story to tell a much larger tale that will only become more important to activists, academics, and general readers who want to understand the latest news.

About the Author

Benjamin Dangl is an independent journalist with one foot in Latin America and the other in the United States. He is the editor of TowardFreedom.com, which offers progressive perspectives on world events and UpsideDownWorld.org, an online magazine uncovering activism and politics in Latin America. He won a 2007 Project Censored Award for his reporting on US military operations in Paraguay.

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jgeneric, October 31, 2007 (view all comments by jgeneric)
Things across Latin America look like they've heating up in the last five years to the breaking point. After decades of military rule, right-wing forces, banana republics, and domination by foreign companies, governments in Latin America crushing left-wing movements and people fighting the old orders of extreme wealth and extreme poverty, it really looks like those days are through. Social movements are no longer an isolated thing. From the autonomous movements in Argentina, to the Landless People's Movement in Brazil, to even (to some extent) charismatic left-wing rulers like Hugo Chavez, to the Zapatistas and their supporters in southern Mexico, it looks like from this vantage point in the mid-atlantic region of the United States, that Latin America has some really big things going on right now. Bolivia is no different.

"The Price of Fire" explores struggles and movements in Bolivia, focusing on the last five years. The book's title refers to what many of the struggles there are tied around: the simple price of fire, or gas for heating. Dangl talks about many different issues going on there, and especially issues like the coca trade, access to water after the government privatizes the water and begins billing people for it, and the community mobilization across the country in response. These uprisings are called "wars", like the Water War and the Gas War, for very good reasons.

One interesting aspect is that the coca leaf is used as a symbol of resistance. Coca can be processed into cocaine, but it's also a main ingredient in coca-cola and is used locally as medicine. Because of the US insistence as a part of the "War on Drugs", the government and sometimes US Forces, regularly bomb, destroy, and prosecute coca farmers. Indeed, sometimes the soldiers themselves sent to destroy the crops are chewing coca leaves as they burn coca plants. The military also murders farmers who refuse to plead guilty to drug trafficking. In response, at the city of Chipiriri, the cocaleros formed a coca farmers union, and set up a tightly controlled market to sell their goods, while forbidding any drug dealing or usage at the market.

Two major uprisings, the Water War in Cochabamba of 1999 and the Gas War of 2003, are vividly described in the book. After three years of pressure by the World Bank to either privatize its water or face losses of billions of dollars in loans, the Bolivian government relented and pushed for the water of the nation to be places into corporate hands in 1999. This totally enraged the population of Cochabamba, which has around half a million people and is growing rapidly, after costs skyrocketed, distribution failed, and the poorest were completely cut off from water at all. Road blockades, huge street demonstrations, and occupation of the water company offices forced the government to act, and they made the company public.

On September 19th 2003, the Gas War starts in Cochabamba, and quickly escalates as cocaleros join in huge road blockades, made even more popular by events in Argentina as a form of protest. The issue is on whether to export natural gas to foreign countries when there is a shortage for the very poor in Bolivia. Large popular assemblies gather, and unions, community groups, and other organizations unite around this issue, which eventually brought down the President. An anarcha-feminist group, Mujeres Creando, agitates for the end of patriarchy and women's submission in their center "The Virgin". Neighbors in the neighborhood El Alto also emerge at the head of the mobilization. At the end, a left-wing President, former coca-grower and indigenous Evo Morales is elected, with the understanding that if he does not stand up against International Companies and the World Bank, that he can be forced out of office as well.

This book takes a wide view of the situation in Bolivia, as the author worked as an independent journalist throughout Latin America, writing for a variety of left-wing magazines like Z Magazine, The Nation, and the Progressive. I recommend that if you have read Marina Sitrin's Horizontalism, you read this one right afterwards. The two fit together like a hand in a glove, one focusing on Argentina and one focusing on Bolivia, but seemingly talking about the very same thing: poor people, indigenous people, and women rising up againstcorporations and the rulers of their lands. A lot of theory andanalysis makes you want to jump off a cliff with how depressing it is; books like this and Sitrin's fills you with hope and examples of how
people are organizing and fighting back.

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Product Details

ISBN:
9781904859338
Author:
Dangl, Benjamin
Publisher:
AK Press
Subject:
General
Subject:
Latin america
Subject:
Latin America - General
Subject:
Power (Social sciences)
Subject:
Social movements
Subject:
Bolivia Politics and government 1982-
Subject:
Social movements - Bolivia
Subject:
Latin America - South America
Subject:
Political History
Subject:
General Political Science
Subject:
World History-South America
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20070331
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
240
Dimensions:
8.4 x 5.3 x 0.7 in 11 oz

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Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General Medicine
History and Social Science » Economics » General
History and Social Science » Latin America » Bolivia
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » Regional Studies
History and Social Science » World History » South America

The Price of Fire: Resource Wars and Social Movements in Bolivia New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$15.25 In Stock
Product details 240 pages AK Press - English 9781904859338 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
Bolivia's powerful social movements and the forces they're up against.
"Synopsis" by , Cultural Writing. Latino/Latina Studies. New social movements have emerged in Bolivia over the "price of fire" - access to basic elements of survival like water, gas, land, coca, employment, and other resources. Though these movements helped pave the way to the presidency for indigenous coca-grower Evo Morales in 2005, they have made it clear that their fight for self-determination doesn't end at the ballot box. From the first moments of Spanish colonizatin to today's headlines, THE PRICE OF FIRE offers a gripping account of clashes in Bolivia between corporate and people's power, contextualizing them regionally, culturally, and historically.
"Synopsis" by , Bolivia has been at the forefront of Latin America's leftward shift. The country's recent history provides a case study of both the ravages of neo-liberal economic policies and the powerful social movements rising up to overturn them. Bolivia's social struggles over the ownership of resources such as water and gas have been as heroic as they are instructive. Conflicts related to International Monetary Fund policies and the war on drugs offer important lessons about corporate globalization and US foreign policy. The election of Evo Morales, Latin America's first indigenous president, as well as his delicate relationship with the social movements on which his administration depends, raises important questions for the future.

The Price of Firegives a blow-by-blow account of these battles, while also contextualizing them regionally and historically. From the first moments of Spanish colonization to today's headlines, it traces the story of a small nation whose natural resources helped fund the rise of capitalism and that has spent the subsequent four centuries suffering the consequences. A primer on the history of resistance to corporate globalization in Latin America, Benjamin Dangl's far-reaching and penetrating analysis uses Bolivia's story to tell a much larger tale that will only become more important to activists, academics, and general readers who want to understand the latest news.

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