Geoffroy de Laforcade. âIndigeneity, Gender, and Resistance: Critique and Contemporaneity of Bolivian Anarchism in the Historical Imagination of Silvia Rivera Cusicanquiâ
For Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, Evo Morales, President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia from 2006 to 2019, was âthe faÃ§ade of the Indianâ who âusurped the symbolic added value of all the social strugglesâ of the years leading up to his election. In January 2020, his right-wing successor Jeanine AÃ±ez, a white representative of the oligarchical restoration that followed the military coup against Morales, proposed a bill that would declare the âcholaâ to be an emblem of the countryâs national heritage. To mark the occasion, she staged a parade of fashion models posing as the urban indigenous/mestiza migrant women whom Rivera Cusicanqui had identified as the driving force behind the Bolivian anarchist movement of the 1920s to the 1940s. The scene was criticised by Aymara journalist Yolanda Mamani of the anarcho-feminist collective Mujeres Creando as a âcatwalkâ that excluded âcholas who sell their wares in the street or work the landâ, an electoral ploy designed to âwhitewash the racism of her governmentâ. Both Rivera Cusicanquiâs critique of the Morales government and Mamaniâs denunciation of the AÃ±ez regimeâs ploy emanated from an anarchist perspective on Bolivian history. It is fitting that Ãlvaro GarcÃa Linera, the former Katarista guerrilla and Marxist theorist turned Vice President of Bolivia, had warned against what he called âa kind of non-statehood dreamed of by primitive anarchismâ. When the socialist government collapsed, the spirit and legacy of anarchist critique (and years of popular mobilisations) appeared vindicated, even as the rightâs appropriation of multiculturalism demonstrated that the question of indigeneity as a core component of Bolivian history had made irreversible strides.
* Originally published at Anarchist Studies, num. 28.
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