Nothing Is More Exciting Than A Hunger Strike

Hunger-strikes always struck me as kind of passive-aggressive, you know? Like, “I’m going to slowly and painfully kill myself, while you go on doing whatever horrible shit you like.” But that’s not how it works. Hunger striking is effective because the single most powerful force in the world is shame.

But what happens when you have two groups trying to achieve contradictory aims, and both of them start in on hunger strikes?

Yeah, this is a Bolivia update: Prostitutes in El Alto, the poor suburb outside La Paz, have sewn their lips shut in protest over last week’s protests that shuttered their (legal) brothels.

Yeah, it’s legal there. You have to have a license, though. And after violent protests, the city government revoked some licenses. But that’s people’s livelihood, you know. So, the hookers are on hunger strike. So are some bar-owners and karaoke operators. And also some of the student groups who want the bars and brothels shut down. And finally some people from the truckers union are on a hunger strike, over some kind of blockade being carried out by a rival union. It’s a giant clusterfuck of starvation.

The NYT has an English summary, but there’s more detail in Spanish in La Razón.

History notes that this is not the first hunger strike by prostitutes in El Alto. Last year, there was one over corrupt police and city officials who demanded bribes and sexual favors in exchange for licensing permission.

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