Party of the Revolutionary Left (PIR)

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Party of the Revolutionary Left (PIR)

As is true of other mid-twentieth-century Bolivian parties, the roots of the PIR lie in the disappointment of the young members of the middle class over Bolivia's backwardness and defeat in the Chaco War. The PIR was organized in Oruro in July 1940 and the next year issued a detailed program marking it as a socialist party. Its leaders were the charismatic José Antonio Arze and Ricardo Anaya, both law professors from Cochabamba. For about three decades the PIR was an important party but never achieved a national electoral victory. It disbanded in 1952 following the victory of the Nationalist Revolutionary Movement (Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario—MNR) but regrouped in 1956. Eventually it faded into oblivion. The PIR's program, genuinely Marxist but unaffiliated with world communism, was closer to the prevalent Latin American socialist-indigenist thinking. It was strongly anti-imperialist, which its members interpreted as opposition to the pervasive influence of the United States. During the 1960s, the PIR began to break up. Some members formed the Communist Party of Bolivia. Internal conflicts continued to weaken and eventually ended the PIR.

See alsoArze, José Antonio; Bolivia, Political Parties: Bolivian Communist Party (PCB).


Alberto S. Corneyo, Programas políticos de Bolivia (1949), pp. 180-294.

Herbert S. Klein, Parties and Political Change in Bolivia, 1880–1952 (1969).

Additional Bibliography

Klein, Herbert S. A Concise History of Bolivia. Cambridge, U.K., and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Lavaud, Jean-Pierre. El embrollo boliviano: Turbulencias sociales y desplazamientos políticos, 1952–1982. Translated by Luis H. Antezana. Lima: IEFA; La Paz: Hisbol, 1998.

Lorini, Irma. El nacionalismo en Bolivia de la pre y posguerra del Chaco, 1910–1945. La Paz: Plural Editores, 2006.

                                       Charles W. Arnade