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Bolivians in El Alto persist

I wrote about Greenpepper magazine in the context of the “Precariat,” but I didn’t mention a great article in that issue about the social movement in El Alto, a city of 800,000 that controls all the access roads to La Paz in Bolivia… well, yesterday on Narco News there appeared an inspiring account of the past few months’ effort to throw out a French-owned water company Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux, the government’s various tactics to halt the popular movement and finally their acquiescence before the patient, militant and dedicated mass mobilization in the city of El Alto.

“…Imagine this place, encircled by snow-capped peaks and and a vast grassy plain, where the people grow potatoes and herd llamas. We are surrounded by red brick houses. The streets and plazas, poor but proud, are populated by these men and women armed only with their own bodies, with nothing holding them together but their own poverty. Many of them, 60 percent, barely survive on two dollars per day. More than half lack potable water and sewage facilities. They are craftspeople, construction workers, bus drivers, domestic servants, street vendors; they are the people of this part of the world, giving lessons in strength with each step they take.”

The prose is a bit purple, but well worth reading. Similar to the story of Cochabamba where the people rose up and threw out Bechtel and its absurd privatization of the water system, now they’ve thrown out the world’s second largest water company, and the government of Bolivia is teetering before an unstoppable revolutionary upsurge… or so it seems. Read it! And send NarcoNews some dough!

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