Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Lukács

Friday, August 04, 2006

The legacy of Simon Bolivar (1783-1830)

I apologise for not having read the new biography of Latin American anti-colonialist leader Simon Bolivar by John Lynch, but I thought I would just highlight a couple of reviews of it - in the New Left Review by Tariq Ali and in Socialist Review by James Dunkerley. This is from Tariq Ali's piece on 'Simon B':

'Of all the revolutionary leaders that bestrode Europe and the Americas in the 18th and 19th centuries, Bolívar’s political goal was the most audacious. A republican, he wanted nothing less than the liberation and unification of the entire Spanish-speaking continent. All his energies were devoted to that end, on which he brooked no dissent. San Martín, O’Higgins and Sucre were undoubtedly brilliant generals, but Bolívar far excelled them in his capacity to think strategically. Experience taught him that if even a single Spanish base were allowed to exist in the Americas, it would always remain a focal point of counter-revolution. For fifteen years he led an epic resistance against the Spanish Empire, conducting a series of long marches across the Andes that have no equal in anti-colonial history, and in 1825 finally succeeded in expelling the Viceroys and Captains-General of the Spanish Army. But though the liberation movement now controlled a region that was five times larger than Europe, continental unity remained elusive. The idea and its originator had triumphed themselves to death. In 1830, as Bolívar lay dying from consumption in a remote farmhouse in Santa Marta, on the Caribbean coast of modern-day Colombia surrounded only by a few loyal friends and far away from the cities he had liberated, he compared his struggle for Spanish American unity to "ploughing the sea". It was necessary, he repeated, to start all over again.'

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At 12:58 pm, Blogger Clampett said...

yes, El Liberator.

"ploughing the sea".
... brilliant analogy.

I dare say that his work in drafting the Bolivian constitution is on par with his military career, even his cunning at Auacucho.


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