The battle is not really over gas, but over who calls the shots in Bolivia. And remarkably, it is the mass-based organisations, representing indigenous and peasant populations, which are setting the political agenda. Next year a constituent assembly will draw up a new constitution to incorporate them in Bolivia’s political institutions. This is revolutionary change, yet it remains, so far, constitutional, dem-ocratic and largely non-violent.
The fact that indigenous organizations are leading such change must be making the elite in power quite nervous. However, I wouldn’t be so quick to rush to the conclusion that this is really solely a popular and democratic revolution. There are many indigenous leaders who can manipulate the masses for their own personal gain as well.