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From Rebellion to Reform in Bolivia
Class Struggle, Indigenous Liberation, and the Politics of Evo Morales
An accessible, yet insightful, look into the promise, potential, and political contradictions of Evo Morales' first term.

Evo Morales rode to power on a wave of popular mobilizations against the neoliberal policies enforced by his predecessors. Yet many of his economic policies bare striking resemblance to the status quo he was meant to displace. Based in part on dozens of interviews with leading Bolivian activists, Jeffery R. Webber examines the contradictions of Morales' first term in office.

Reviews
  • "With reforms coming in just the past few years, Jeffrey R. Webber provides a studious break down of the dynamics the country has faced and where it is going. From Rebellion to Reform in Bolivia is a strong addition to any modern issues and social issues community library collection.” —Mid West Book Review

    “For a decade now, social movements in Bolivia have been in the forefront of struggles for global justice, and no commentator has more perceptively mapped this process than Jeffery Webber. In this exciting new study, Webber brings together his deep knowledge, critical powers and social justice commitments to provide a stunning overview of Bolivia’s movement from rebellion to reform. Everyone concerned with contemporary social movements and class struggles urgently needs this book. Not only does From Rebellion to Reform in Bolivia bring us up to speed about what is happening in the heart of the Bolivian struggle – it also offers enormous lessons for struggles for global justice across the planet.”
    —David McNally, author of Global Slump: The Economics and Politics of Crisis and Resistance and Another World is Possible: Globalization and Anti-Capitalism.

    “Much of his book is taken up with an unabashed Marxist critique of the MAS government for its ‘new’ reformist course; for failing even to reduce appreciably the acute levels of poverty among indigenous people at a time of high national income from gas exports; and for allowing the ‘re-articulation of rightwing forces’.... [Of the three books under review] Webber offers the most informative account of the confrontations of 2008, which many observers at the time predicted would lead either to secession or to civil war.”
    —Philip Chrimes, International Affairs

    “Webber’s book cuts bravely against the grain of the fashionable left-wing romanticizing of Evo Morales and the Bolivian process. It meticulously documents the extent to which neoliberalism still shapes Morales’s economic policies, and it successfully theorizes the contradictions of attempting to overlay an older model of state-led development—ECLAC’s structuralism, or import substitution—on top of an intact neoliberal foundation dominated by the export of non-value-added raw materials. The result is a ground-breaking expansion and application of the concept of ‘neostructuralism’ to the Bolivian experience, an analysis that also has implications for Venezuela and Brazil.”
    —Tom Lewis, Co-author with Oscar Olivera of ¡Cochabamba! Water War in Bolivia

    “Jeffery Webber makes a provocative argument about contemporary Bolivian political economy. He says that, despite all its anti-neoliberalism rhetoric, Evo Morales’ government has continued many of the features of Bolivia’s neoliberal past, instituting what he calls ‘reconstituted neoliberalism’ …. Webber is aware that his interpretation of events in Bolivia will go against the grain for many on the Left, who hoped Morales would bring about the ‘cultural and democratic revolution’ he promised. Yet he argues forcefully for a reading that goes beyond discourse and rhetoric to a careful accounting of what the Morales government has actually done…. This book will be a significant intervention to the ongoing scholarly discussion about post-neoliberalism…. Webber’s book gives us more to think about as we observe this fascinating political process.”
    —Nancy Postero and Devin Beaulieu, Journal of Latin American Studies

    "With reforms coming in just the past few years, Jeffrey R. Webber provides a studious break down of the dynamics [Bolivia] has faced and where it is going. From Rebellion to Reform in Bolivia is a strong addition to any modern issues and social issues community library collections."
    —The Midwest Book Review

    “In understanding and explaining the social forces at work in Bolivia, Webber's book is a model of the application of Marxism to contemporary history.”
    — Lance Selfa, Socialist Worker

    “Webber … lays out sixteen theses in a methodical and convincing work… well-researched, interesting, and important.”
     — Jason Farbman, International Socialist Review

    "From Rebellion to Reform is a scientific, serious, and at times almost severe work, marching the reader through a meticulous argument of how a revolutionary epoch in Bolivia could so quickly slide back into neoliberalism with a different face … Webber... represents a more measured, academic Left that is generally uncompromising in criticizing political missteps, even if that criticism happens to be unpopular."
    — Ethan Earle, Working USA: The Journal of Labor and Society

    “From Rebellion to Reform in Bolivia … is one of the few attempts to honestly analyse the impasse that appears to have been reached by the Latin American left, for all its great achievements. This is a question of global importance, and for this we should be very grateful to the author.”
    —Jacqueline Mulhallen, Counterfire

    “Webber’s study focuses on the mass movements ‘from below’ of 2000–2005 and how these have been canalised into parliamentary reform by Evo Morales’ MAS government. Where the general strikes and mass demonstrations of the first half of the decade displayed an epic degree of participation, radicalism and popular empowerment, the Morales government has been marked by cautious change initiated by the state apparatus alone... a major strength of the book is that the author punctures the myth that Morales’ critics are mere ‘armchair revolutionaries’. He portrays a vibrant and continuing movement from below, for instance the Huanuni miners’ struggles, and the mass resistance to the oligarchs’ September 2008 coup attempt at a time when the government merely preached ‘calm’.”
    —David Broder in Red Pepper (UK)

    “Two terms into Bolivia's first indigenous led government, this book by Jeffery Webber presents a sober intervention in a climate where all too often Morales and the Movimiento al Socialismo (Movement Toward Socialism, MAS) are either demonised by the right or lauded uncritically by the left.... Webber's politically engaged analysis is meticulous yet always clearly presented and accessible throughout. It assumes no prior knowledge of Bolivian history or politics, making it ideal for anyone who is concerned with contemporary social movements and class struggles regardless of familiarity with the subject matter.”?? 
    —Marcos Schneider, Socialist Review (UK)

    “This is an excellent book, well informed and politically engaging. It deserves to be read, especially by those on the Left interested in the present day political developments in Bolivia. It provides an incisive and in-depth critique of the politics and economics of the MAS government of Evo Morales.”
    —David Spence, Permanent Revolution

    From Rebellion to Reform in Bolivia offers well documented critiques of how the Morales administration is failing to live up to the expectations of those who expected radical change to come through a state that has been reclaimed, at least in part, by individuals who come through social movements.”
    —Dawn Paley, Against the Current

    “….Webber’s book provides a badly needed corrective to the uncritical and celebratory views often presented about Evo Morales and the MAS, and their role in contemporary Bolivian politics. It is also a courageous and principled defense of Bolivian workers and communities engaged in class struggle on the ground, whether against transnational corporations or the MAS. This book therefore demands that we rethink our common sense assumptions about Bolivia, but also Latin America’s ‘pink tide’ more broadly.”
    —Manuel Larrabure, Socialist Studies


  • "With reforms coming in just the past few years, Jeffrey R. Webber provides a studious break down of the dynamics the country has faced and where it is going. From Rebellion to Reform in Bolivia is a strong addition to any modern issues and social issues community library collection.” —Mid West Book Review

    “For a decade now, social movements in Bolivia have been in the forefront of struggles for global justice, and no commentator has more perceptively mapped this process than Jeffery Webber. In this exciting new study, Webber brings together his deep knowledge, critical powers and social justice commitments to provide a stunning overview of Bolivia’s movement from rebellion to reform. Everyone concerned with contemporary social movements and class struggles urgently needs this book. Not only does From Rebellion to Reform in Bolivia bring us up to speed about what is happening in the heart of the Bolivian struggle – it also offers enormous lessons for struggles for global justice across the planet.”
    —David McNally, author of Global Slump: The Economics and Politics of Crisis and Resistance and Another World is Possible: Globalization and Anti-Capitalism.

    “Much of his book is taken up with an unabashed Marxist critique of the MAS government for its ‘new’ reformist course; for failing even to reduce appreciably the acute levels of poverty among indigenous people at a time of high national income from gas exports; and for allowing the ‘re-articulation of rightwing forces’.... [Of the three books under review] Webber offers the most informative account of the confrontations of 2008, which many observers at the time predicted would lead either to secession or to civil war.”
    —Philip Chrimes, International Affairs

    “Webber’s book cuts bravely against the grain of the fashionable left-wing romanticizing of Evo Morales and the Bolivian process. It meticulously documents the extent to which neoliberalism still shapes Morales’s economic policies, and it successfully theorizes the contradictions of attempting to overlay an older model of state-led development—ECLAC’s structuralism, or import substitution—on top of an intact neoliberal foundation dominated by the export of non-value-added raw materials. The result is a ground-breaking expansion and application of the concept of ‘neostructuralism’ to the Bolivian experience, an analysis that also has implications for Venezuela and Brazil.”
    —Tom Lewis, Co-author with Oscar Olivera of ¡Cochabamba! Water War in Bolivia

    “Jeffery Webber makes a provocative argument about contemporary Bolivian political economy. He says that, despite all its anti-neoliberalism rhetoric, Evo Morales’ government has continued many of the features of Bolivia’s neoliberal past, instituting what he calls ‘reconstituted neoliberalism’ …. Webber is aware that his interpretation of events in Bolivia will go against the grain for many on the Left, who hoped Morales would bring about the ‘cultural and democratic revolution’ he promised. Yet he argues forcefully for a reading that goes beyond discourse and rhetoric to a careful accounting of what the Morales government has actually done…. This book will be a significant intervention to the ongoing scholarly discussion about post-neoliberalism…. Webber’s book gives us more to think about as we observe this fascinating political process.”
    —Nancy Postero and Devin Beaulieu, Journal of Latin American Studies

    "With reforms coming in just the past few years, Jeffrey R. Webber provides a studious break down of the dynamics [Bolivia] has faced and where it is going. From Rebellion to Reform in Bolivia is a strong addition to any modern issues and social issues community library collections."
    The Midwest Book Review

    “In understanding and explaining the social forces at work in Bolivia, Webber's book is a model of the application of Marxism to contemporary history.”
    — Lance Selfa, Socialist Worker

    “Webber … lays out sixteen theses in a methodical and convincing work… well-researched, interesting, and important.”
     — Jason Farbman, International Socialist Review

    "From Rebellion to Reform is a scientific, serious, and at times almost severe work, marching the reader through a meticulous argument of how a revolutionary epoch in Bolivia could so quickly slide back into neoliberalism with a different face … Webber... represents a more measured, academic Left that is generally uncompromising in criticizing political missteps, even if that criticism happens to be unpopular."
    — Ethan Earle, Working USA: The Journal of Labor and Society

    “From Rebellion to Reform in Bolivia … is one of the few attempts to honestly analyse the impasse that appears to have been reached by the Latin American left, for all its great achievements. This is a question of global importance, and for this we should be very grateful to the author.”
    —Jacqueline Mulhallen, Counterfire

    “Webber’s study focuses on the mass movements ‘from below’ of 2000–2005 and how these have been canalised into parliamentary reform by Evo Morales’ MAS government. Where the general strikes and mass demonstrations of the first half of the decade displayed an epic degree of participation, radicalism and popular empowerment, the Morales government has been marked by cautious change initiated by the state apparatus alone... a major strength of the book is that the author punctures the myth that Morales’ critics are mere ‘armchair revolutionaries’. He portrays a vibrant and continuing movement from below, for instance the Huanuni miners’ struggles, and the mass resistance to the oligarchs’ September 2008 coup attempt at a time when the government merely preached ‘calm’.”
    —David Broder in Red Pepper (UK)

    “Two terms into Bolivia's first indigenous led government, this book by Jeffery Webber presents a sober intervention in a climate where all too often Morales and the Movimiento al Socialismo (Movement Toward Socialism, MAS) are either demonised by the right or lauded uncritically by the left.... Webber's politically engaged analysis is meticulous yet always clearly presented and accessible throughout. It assumes no prior knowledge of Bolivian history or politics, making it ideal for anyone who is concerned with contemporary social movements and class struggles regardless of familiarity with the subject matter.”?? 
    —Marcos Schneider, Socialist Review (UK)

    “This is an excellent book, well informed and politically engaging. It deserves to be read, especially by those on the Left interested in the present day political developments in Bolivia. It provides an incisive and in-depth critique of the politics and economics of the MAS government of Evo Morales.”
    —David Spence, Permanent Revolution

    From Rebellion to Reform in Bolivia offers well documented critiques of how the Morales administration is failing to live up to the expectations of those who expected radical change to come through a state that has been reclaimed, at least in part, by individuals who come through social movements.”
    —Dawn Paley, Against the Current

    “….Webber’s book provides a badly needed corrective to the uncritical and celebratory views often presented about Evo Morales and the MAS, and their role in contemporary Bolivian politics. It is also a courageous and principled defense of Bolivian workers and communities engaged in class struggle on the ground, whether against transnational corporations or the MAS. This book therefore demands that we rethink our common sense assumptions about Bolivia, but also Latin America’s ‘pink tide’ more broadly.”
    —Manuel Larrabure, Socialist Studies


Other books by Jeffery R. Webber

  • The Last Day of Oppression, and the First Day of the Same

    This book offers an overarching political and economic evaluation of the Latin American Left between the late 1990s and 2016.
  • Crisis and Contradiction

    In this wide-ranging collection, experts from around the world analyze political and economic trends in Latin America since the 1990s.
  • Red October

    Using extensive field data from hundreds of interviews, Webber surveys the origins of Bolivia's revolutionary wave of 2000 to 2005.