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Book excerpt: 'Latin America's Turbulent Transitions: The future of 21st century socialism' (Zed Books)
Latin America's Turbulent Transitions: The Future of Twenty-First Century Socialism
by Roger Burbach, Michael Fox & Federico Fuentes
Zed Books, 2013.
Below is the Introduction to Latin America's Turbulent Transitions. For more information about the book or to purchase a copy please visit: http://www.zedbooks.co.uk/paperback/latin-americas-turbulent-transitions. Asia-Pacific readers can order it from Resistance Books.
[English at http://links.org.au/node/3264]
Por Luis Bilbao
09/03/13 -- America XXI -- No fue a causa del accionar de un individuo que en la última década el damero internacional sufrió un drástico vuelco. Fuerzas desatadas por la lógica interna del capital movilizaron cambios de tal magnitud que, en el fugaz lapso de una década, dibujaron un nuevo mapa geopolítico, todavía no cabalmente interpretado, en el cual Estados Unidos ha perdido su antiguo lugar de centro del equilibrio planetario y jefe inapelable en las cuestiones esenciales de la economía, la política y la guerra.
South African troops in the Central African Republic.
By Patrick Bond and Khadija Sharife, Durban
March 27, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The reach of the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) leaders far into the African continent was palpable this week, not just here in Durban where they are gathering to plan investments and infrastructure, but everywhere up-continent where extraction does extreme damage.
South African President Jacob Zuma and friend.
By Patrick Bond
March 20, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- “We reaffirm the character of the ANC as a disciplined force of the left, a multi-class mass movement and an internationalist movement with an anti-imperialist outlook” -- so said Jacob Zuma, orating to his masses at the year’s largest African National Congress celebration, in Durban on January 12, 2013.
By Luis Bilbao
March 19, 2013 – Links International journal of Socialist Renewal -- It takes more than an individual to upset the international chessboard as dramatically as in the last decade. Forces unleashed by the internal logic of capitalism have drawn a new geopolitical map, not yet fully understood, in which the United States has lost its former place as the planetary centre of gravity and the ultimate arbiter of the key issues of the economy, politics and war.
Yet, though changes of such magnitude were obviously not the work of one person, Hugo Chavez’s hallmark was a profound intuition of this impending change, combined with the will to intervene with a program and a strategy to shift the historical juncture towards consolidating a world suited to human needs.
And, assuredly, his role not only carried decisive weight in the early course of these changes, but will go on to transcend them. No one foresaw as Chavez did the dynamics that were breaking apart imperial power and even imperialism itself, nor acted with such lucidity and courage to position himself as a force leading this dynamic. This is why Venezuela is now in the centre of the world stage.
South Africa: brics-from-below! Civil society gathering during the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa summit
Whose turn to carve?
March 18, 2013 -- In Durban, South Africa, five heads of state meet on March 26-27, 2013, to assure the rest of Africa that their countries’ corporations are better investors in infrastructure, mining, oil and agriculture than the traditional European and US multinationals. The Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) summit will also include 16 heads of state from Africa, including some notorious tyrants. A new $50 billion bank will probably be launched.
'Latin America’s Turbulent Transitions': compelling contribution to our understanding of the 'pink tide'
Latin America’s Turbulent Transitions: The Future of Twenty-First-Century Socialism
By Roger Burbach, Michael Fox and Federico Fuentes
Fernwood Publishing and Zed Books, 2013. Order Here
Review by Richard Fidler
March 11, 2013 -- Climate & Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Latin America was the first region targeted by the neoliberal phase of capitalism, and it suffered some of its worst consequences. But it is in Latin America that neoliberalism has been most contested in recent years by new social movements of landless peasants, Indigenous communities and urban unemployed.
In a number of countries, this powerful democratic ferment has led to the election of anti-neoliberal, anti-imperialist governments — a process that started with the initial electoral victory of Hugo Chávez Frias in the late 1990s.
President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, Russian President Dimitry Medvedev, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chinese President Hu Jintao and President Jacob Zuma of South Africa pose prior to the BRICS summit in New Delhi on March 29, 2012.
By Patrick Bond, Durban
November 22, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The heads of state of the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) network of governments are coming to Durban, South Africa, in four months, meeting on March 26-27 at the International Convention Centre (ICC), Africa’s largest venue. Given their recent performance, it is reasonable to expect another “1%” summit, wreaking socioeconomic and ecological havoc. And that means it is time for the first BRICS countersummit, to critique top-down “sub-imperialist” bloc formation, and to offer bottom-up alternatives.
After all, we have had some bad experiences at the Durban ICC.
“Against Amazonian Genocide. Xingu (Afro-Brazilian freedom fighter) Lives Forever.” Photo by Anne Petermann/Global Justice Ecology Project. This photo was taken during the People's March through Rio on June 20, 2012, and first appeared at Climate Connections.
Introduction and notes by Chris Lang
June 19, 2012 -- REDD-Monitor -- Last week, the Global Alliance of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities on Climate Change against REDD and for Life held a press conference denouncing REDD and the green economy. The press conference was part of the People’s Summit, a nine-day event taking place in parallel to the UN Rio+20 conference.
Values versus prices at the Rio+20 Earth Summit: 'the Green Economy is the environmentalism of the rich'
Climate Connections, June 18, 2012 -- What’s wrong with the green economy?: Joanna Cabello of Carbon Trade Watch at Rio+20.
By Patrick Bond, Rio de Janeiro
June 18, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, a version of this article also appeared at Climate and Capitalism -- Given the worsening world economic crisis, the turn to "Green Economy" rhetoric looms as a potential saviour for footloose financial capital, and is also enormously welcome to those corporations panicking at market chaos in the topsy turvy fossil-fuel, water, infrastructure construction, technology and agriculture sectors.
On the other hand, for everyone else, the Rio+20 Earth Summit underway this week in Brazil, devoted to advancing Green Economy policies and projects, appears as an overall disaster zone for the people and planet.
Rio+20: Farmers, Indigenous peoples mobilise against green capitalism and the privatisation of nature
Rio de Janeiro, June 14, 2012 -- La Via Campesina -- About 3000 people from around the world will mobilise to say NO to the commodification of life and nature at the "Peoples Summit for Social and Environmental Justice and in Defense of the Commons", the parallel opposition activity to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development or Rio+20.
The peoples' summit is a space for discussion, debate and construction of alternative proposals by the global civil society, social movements and peoples collective organisations. La Via Campesina -- the international organisation of small farmers -- has been actively participating in the construction of this activity in order to denounce the false solutions of the same failed economic model that are now being dressed in green under the name “green economy”. La Via Campesina is instead promoting peasants' sustainable agriculture as a true solution to the global climatic and environmental crises.
Presidents Hugo Chávez (Venezuela), Rafael Correa (Ecuador) and Evo Morales (Bolivia).
By Steve Ellner
January 2012 -- Latin American Perspectives, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- Most political analysts place the governments of Hugo Chávez (Venezuela), Evo Morales (Bolivia) and Rafael Correa (Ecuador) in the same category but without defining their common characteristics.
Beginning with the publication of Leftovers in 2008, critics of the left sought to overcome the shortcoming by characterising the three presidents as “populist leftists”, which they distinguished from the “good leftists” taking in such moderates as Brazil’s Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. According to the book’s co-editors Jorge Castañeda and Marco Morales, the salient features of the populist left consist of a radical discourse devoid of ideological substance, disrespect for democratic institutions, pronounced authoritarian tendencies and vituperations against the United States designed to pay political dividends at the expense of their nation’s economic interests (Castañeda and Morales, 2008).
By Walden Bello
June 22, 2011 -- Foreign Policy In Focus -- "China is today the ideal capitalist state: freedom for capital, with the state doing the 'dirty job' of controlling the workers”, writes the prominent Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek. “China as the emerging power of the twenty first century … seems to embody a new kind of capitalism: disregard for ecological consequences, disdain for workers' rights, everything subordinated to the ruthless drive to develop and become the new world force."
Capital, however, is a fickle lover.
Recently, a growing number of corporate leaders are having second thoughts about the “Chinese model” that has been so central in the globalisation of production and markets over the last three decades.
The Devil’s Milk: A social history of rubber
By John Tully
Monthly Review Press, 2011
[Order the The Devil’s Milk from Monthly Review Press HERE. John Tully launched the book in Melbourne on February 17, at Readings Books, Carlton (309 Lygon St). He will also launch it in New York City on February 22, 7.30pm, at The Brecht Forum, 451 West Street.]
February 18, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This new book from Monthly Review Press – by Australian socialist John Tully -- documents the history of rubber and the role it has played in the development of capitalism.
Rubber is an essential industrial material, although underappreciated by most of us, even though we are surrounded by it. Since its industrial uses began to be fully appreciated in the 1800s, the quest for rubber has been, in Tully’s words, “a paradigm of imperialism”.
January 9, 2011 -- Socialist Voice -- Of all the commentaries and interviews coinciding with the anniversary of Haiti’s earthquake, none are likely to exceed in significance the interview granted by Organization of American States representative to Haiti, Ricardo Seitenfus, to the Swiss daily Le Temps on December 20, 2010.
The critique he delivered to the newspaper is especially significant for Latin America and the Caribbean because Seitenfus is Brazilian. Sensitivity is running high in the region over the evident failure of the international relief effort led by the big powers – the United States, Canada and Europe – whose interventionist policies had already done so much harm to Haiti before this latest catastrophe.
By Federico Fuentes
November 28, 2010 -- Green Left Weekly -- It should come as no surprise that Latin America, a region converted into a laboratory for ongoing experiments in social change, has increasingly become the topic of discussion and debate among the broader left.
Latin America has not only dealt blows to imperialism but also raised the banner of socialism on a global scale. It is of strategic importance for those fighting for a better world, especially at a time when capitalism is in systemic crisis.
Latin America’s landscape of powerful social movements, left governments of various shades, revolutionary insurrections, and growing expressions of indigenous resistance and worker control, provides a perfect scenario for leftists to learn about, and debate, revolutionary strategy and tactics.
This should not simply be an academic debate. It should look at how to best build solidarity with these movements for change and gain insight for struggles at home.
Of late, burning dispute has opened up, mostly among those writing from an anti-capitalist orientation: a debate over the complex relationship, or “dance” as Ben Dangl calls it, between social movements and states in Latin America.
July 28, 2010 -- www.alborada.net -- Oliver Stone’s new documentary South of the Border chronicles the emergence of progressive governments in Latin America, their quest for social and political transformation and their growing independence from Washington. Roberto Navarrete interviews Oliver Stone and Tariq Ali (one of the film’s scriptwriters) to find out some background.
By Raul Bassi
July 11, 2010 -- An attempt to forge greater unity among militant union sectors in Brazil has imploded. The Working Class Congress (Conclat) was held in Sao Paulo on June 5-6 to try and bring together various radical union currents. The key forces behind the congress were Conlutas and Intersindical, both formed in opposition to the main union confederation, the Unified Workers’ Confederation (CUT).
The CUT unites approximately 60 million formal or informal workers out of a total population of 200 million, making it the biggest workers confederation in the continent. The CUT has had a very close relationship with the governing Workers Party (PT), both during its period of ascendency as it emerged out of the militant workers' struggles of the 1970s, as well as during its transformation to what it is today.
March 3, 2010 -- Olivier Bonford and Eric Toussaint are members of the International Council of the World Social Forum (WSF) and of the the Committee for the Abolition of the Third World Debt (CADTM). In this interview with Marga Tojo Gonzales, they discuss the future and role of the World Social Forum as it enters its second decade. They also examine the relationship between the WSF and the call for a Fifth Socialist International by Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. Translated by Vicki Briault and Christine Pagnoulle.
* * *
Ten year after the first use of the slogan, "Another world is possible", a majority of humankind still lives in subhuman conditions, and with the international financial crisis, the situation has become even worse. Does this mean that the alternative globalisation movement has failed?
Eric Toussaint interviewed by Igor Ojeda for the Brazilian weekly paper Brasil de Fato. Translated from French by Judith Harris and Christine Pagnoulle.
February 2010 -- According to Eric Toussaint, a doctor in political science and one of the ideologists of the World Social Forum, now in its tenth edition, effective political action calls for the creation of a permanent national front of parties, social movements and international networks.
Eric Toussaint, a doctor in political science and a member of the International Council of the World Social Forum (WSF), is in favour of the WSF becoming a platform of greater political influence in social struggles throughout the world. He is not particularly worried about the resistance of certain sectors within the forum who would prefer this event to retain its original form. For him, the solution is simple. “If the World Social Forum cannot accommodate it, we must build another instrument, without leaving or scrapping the forum”.