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Dispersing Power: Social Movements as Anti-State Forces


5.0 average, based on 1 reviews

Manufacturer: AK Press

Product Information

This, Raúl Zibechi's first book translated into English, is an historical analysis of social struggles in Bolivia and the forms of community power instituted by that country's indigenous Aymara. Dispersing Power, like the movements it describes, explores new ways of doing politics beyond the state, gracefully mapping the "how" of revolution, offering valuable lessons to activists and new theoretical frameworks for understanding how social movements can and do operate independently of state-centered models for social change.

Raúl Zibechi is one of Latin America's leading political theorists, an international analyst for Brecha (Montevideo, Uruguay), professor at the Multiversidad Franciscana de América Latina, and author of Genealogía de la Revuelta and Autonomías y Emancipaciones: América Latina en Movimiento.

"Zibechi goes to Bolivia to learn. Like us, he goes with questions, questions that stretch far beyond the borders of Bolivia. How do we change the world and create a different one? How do we get rid of capitalism? How do we create a society based on dignity? What is the role of the state and what are the possibilities of changing society through anti-state movements?... the most important practical and theoretical questions that have risen from the struggles in Latin America and the world in the last fifteen years or so... The book is beautiful, exciting, stimulating... Do read it and also give it your friends." - John Holloway, from the Foreword

Raúl Zibechi. Translated by Ramor Ryan, with Forewords by Benjamin Dangl and John Holloway. AK Press, 2010.

Product Code: 9781849350112

Customer Reviews

Average Rating: 5

Top quality political science

This is, quite simply, a stunning little book. Zibechi analyses the indigenous Aymara community in Brazil and its social and political manifestations in the light of the indigenous struggles against the state and capital. In this he applies some postmodern methods of analysis exceptionally well. This is particularly impressive given that they are usually used abysmally. His analysis ranges from the contrasts between society and the state, Aymara community structures and methods of organising, social control in the absence of state crime prevention (or, more accurately, active state criminality), NGOs as agents of elite creation and gives a comparative example of indigenous social movement cooptation and absorption in Ecuador. In this analysis Zibechi makes some exceptionally pertinent observations such as the distinction between dispersion: power being spread throughout the community and fragmentation: groups are divided into different sections with leaders and dominated and co-opted more easily by state functionaries. Another notable strength of the text is its identification of the goals of state and capital to separate, or create fetishes, of community functions that are divorced from their social context. He identifies in the Aymara an attempt to reintegrate back into the community the political, economic and social functions that have effectively been stolen by the state. This is also done without glorifying all things indigenous. The only areas I saw as problematic were in the often implied and occasionally stated contrasts between Marx’s work and classical Marxism. With the huge disjuncture between Marx’s writings in his early years and the later stages of his career you can clearly see the basis of classical Marxism in his later work. This is being rather picky though. Amazing book. Highest recommendation.

Anonymous :: Aug 16 2010, 10:39 AM

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