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Brazil

Brazil: João Pedro Stédile of the MST: 'We are in the midst of an ideological battle'

[For more on Brazil, click HERE.]

João Pedro Stédile Interviewed by Brasil de Fato, translated for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by Federico Fuentes

June 24, 2013 -- Brasil de Fato -- It is time for the government to ally itself with the people or pay the price in the future. This is one of the evaluations of João Pedro Stedile, national coordinator of the Movement of Landless Rural Workers (MST) on the recent mobilisations across the country.

According to Stédile, there is an urban crisis installed in Brazilian cities, provoked by the current stage of financial capitalism. “For people, large cities have becoming a living hell where they lose three or four hours a day in transit, which they could instead be using to spend with their family, studying or participating in cultural activities”, he says. For the MST leader, reducing public transport fare prices was of great interest to all the people and this was what the Free Fare Movement got right by calling for mobilisation on behalf of the interests of the people.

Free Fare Movement to Brazil president: 'What matters is meeting the demands of the social movements'

Military police fire on protesters in Sao Paulo. Photograph: Sebastiao Moreira/EPA.

By the Free Fare Movement São Paulo, translated by Federico Fuentes

June 24, 2013

To President Dilma Rousseff

We were surprised by your invitation to this meeting. We imagine that you were also taken by surprise by what has occurred in the country in recent weeks. This gesture of dialogue on the part of the federal government is in contradiction with the treatment you have given social movements, a policy that has remained consistent through this administration. It seems that the uprisings that have spread throughout the cities of Brazil since June 6 has broken old barriers and opened new paths.

From the beginning, the Free Fare Movement has been part of this process. We are an autonomous, horizontal and non-partisan social movement, that never intended to represent all of the protesters who took to the streets of the country. Our voice is just one more among those shouted in the streets, written on placards, scrawled on walls. In São Paulo, we initiated protests around a clear and concrete demand: repeal the fare increase. If previously this seemed impossible, we proved that it was not and have advanced the struggle for what is and always has been our central concern, a truly public transport system. That is why we came to Brasilia.

Ordinary Brazilians foot the FIFA bill -- some lessons from South Africa

[For more on Brazil, click HERE. For more on the soccer World Cup, click HERE.]

By Patrick Bond, Durban

June 24, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Over the last fortnight, Brazil’s millions of street protesters in 80 cities supporting the Free Fare Movement have declared how fed up they are with making multiple sacrifices to neoliberalism as revitalised by one Sepp Blatter, the Swiss emperor of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). While right-wing opportunists have been involved in some of the recent protests, the core grievances are apparently those of the left and of the disaffected youth.

PSOL leader: 'Brazil is changing! The people should not leave the streets'

[For more on Brazil, click HERE.]

By Roberto Robaina, translated by Federico Fuentes

June 23, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Brazil is changing! The youth uprising youth -- which has received active support from sections of the poorest people and more conscious middle classes -- has already had a greater impact on the history of the country than the "Collor Out" protest movement [of 1992, against then president Fernando Affonso Collor de Mello]. The current political system has fractured. And these facts are positive. We will be faithful to these developments, to borrow a concept from French philosopher Alain Badiou.

Public transport ticket prices were the trigger. Now multiple issues are being raised. All of them progressive. The argument that all this will open up space for a right-wing coup is simply ridiculous. This argument, put forward by sectors that want to demobilise the protests and protect the Workers Party (PT) government, seeks to hide the fact that the position of President Dilma Rousseff's PT government and Rede Globo [one of Brazil's main TV stations] are the same. They are united in their defence of the regime and share the common goal of propping up the current economic model.

Brazil: Massive protests fuelled by majority's lost expectations


Real News network report, June 24, 2013. More at The Real News.

[For more on Brazil, click HERE.]

By Charmain Levy

June 22, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The massive protests across Brazil have taken everyone – even the instigating group, the Movimento do Passe Livre (MPL, Free Fare Movement) – by surprise. Some international lefties and political analysts have repeated mainstream Brazilian journalists’ claim that they are the most important protests since the end of the military dictatorship in 1985. This is false.

Open letter to President Dilma Rousseff from Brazil’s social movements; A succinct report from the MST

In the midst of the largest street demonstrations Brazil has seen in decades, some of the country’s most important social movements – including the Movement of Landless Rural Workers (MST), the Unified Workers’ Central (CUT) and the National Union of Students (UNE) – sent the following open letter to Brazi’s president Dilma Rousseff on June 20, 2013. Translated by Federico Fuentes.

* * *

This week, Brazil has witnessed mobilisations across 15 capital cities and hundreds of other cities. We are in agreement with the statements coming out of these protests, which affirm the importance of these mobilisations for Brazilian democracy, because we are conscious of the fact that the changes we need in this country will come through popular mobilisation.

First reflections on the mass movement that has shaken Brazil

 More than 1 million people protested across Brazil -- in at least 80 cities -- on June 20.

See also "Open letter to President Dilma Rousseff from Brazil’s social movements; A succinct report from the MST". For more on Brazil, click HERE.

By Emir Sader, translated by Federico Fuentes and Kiraz Janicke

June 22, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The mass movement, that began as a protest against increased public transport prices, was unprecedented and surprising. Those who believe that they can immediately capture all its dimensions and future projections will most probably have a reductionist view of this phenomena, forcing reality to fit into previously elaborated schemas, in order to confirm their arguments, without taking into account the multifaceted and surprising character of these mobilisations.

Transiciones turbulentas en América Latina

Latin America's Turbulent Transitions: The Future of Twenty-First Century Socialism
Por Roger Burbach, Michael Fox & Federico Fuentes
Zed Books, 2013.

[English at http://links.org.au/node/3254. Haga clic aquí para más artículos en español.]

Por Richard Fidler

I movimenti sociali dell’America Latina delineano la solidarietà con l’alleanza ALBA

[English at http://links.org.au/node/3361.]

Di Federico Fuentes

28 maggio 2013 -- Znetitaly.altervista.org -- Un importante vertice di significato mondiale, svoltosi in Brasile dal 16 al 20 maggio, è passato in gran parte inosservato dalla maggior parte degli organi di stampa, comprese molte fonti di sinistra e progressiste.

Questo vertice non è stato del solito tipo, che coinvolge capi di stato e capitani di industria.

E’ stato invece un raduno di rappresentanti di movimenti sociali di tutta l’America Latina e dei Caraibi – luogo della maggior parte delle lotte e delle ribellioni popolari dei recenti decenni.

Questa regione rimane anche l’unica dove è comparsa un’alternativa al capitalismo neoliberale a mandare avanti questa alternativa è l’Alleanza Bolivariana dei Popoli della Nostra America (ALBA). Capeggiata dai governi liberali di Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador e Cuba, annovera 8 stati membri, ma cerca di rapportarsi con i movimenti popolari, non soltanto con i governi.

Latin America: Social movements map solidarity with ALBA alliance

By Federico Fuentes

May 27, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly -- An important summit of global significance, held in Brazil on May 16-20, 2013, has largely passed below the radar of most media outlets, including many left and progressive sources.

This summit was not the usual type, involving heads of states and business leaders. Instead, it was a gathering of social movement representatives from across Latin America and the Caribbean -- the site of some of the most intense struggles and popular rebellions of the past few decades.

This region also remains the only one where an alternative to neoliberal capitalism has emerged. Pushing this alternative is the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA). Spearheaded by the radical governments of Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Cuba, it has eight member states, but seeks to relate to people's movements, not just governments.

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

May 8, 2013 -- Alborada, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Federicio Fuentes' permission -- Latin America today is largely relegated to the back burner of global affairs. The conflicts in the Gulf and the Middle East, the economic crisis gripping Europe, China’s march onto the world scene, and the political dysfunctionality of the United States are the broad trends that shape our headlines. When Latin America does break into the news it is usually over the drug wars or immigration issues.

Chávez, geoestrategia y revolución

[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.

From Bangui to BRICS: If you carve Africa, Africa may carve you too

South African troops in the Central African Republic.

[See also "South Africa: brics-from-below!" For more on BRICS click HERE. For more articles by Patrick Bond, click HERE.]

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.

BRICS: ‘Anti-imperialist’ or ‘sub-imperialist’?

South African President Jacob Zuma and friend.

[See also "South Africa: brics-from-below!" For more on BRICS click HERE. For more articles by Patrick Bond, click HERE.]

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.[1]

Luis Bilbao: Hugo Chavez, internationalism and revolution

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.

BRICS bloc’s rising ‘sub-imperialism’: the latest threat to people and planet?

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.

NO REDD+! in Rio+20: A declaration to decolonise the earth and the sky

“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.

For more coverage of the Rio+20, click HERE.

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.

For more coverage of the Rio+20, click HERE.

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.

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