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Brazil

Brazil: Landless Workers' Movement marks 25th anniversary, announces `new phase' in struggle

Joao Pedro Stedile addresses the January 24, 2009, national meeting of Brazil's Landless Workers' Movement, marking the MST's 25th anniversary. Stedile is co-founder of the MST. Below the videos Michael Fox reports on the MST's ``new phase'' in the agrarian reform struggle, against Brazil's mainly US-owned agro-industry.

Part 1

Latinoamérica: en pro de una integración regional y una desvinculación parcial del mercado capitalista mundial

Debemos aprender las lecciones del siglo XX para aplicarlas al comienzo del siglo XXI

Eric Toussaint

[Click HERE for the English translation]

La crisis económica y financiera internacional cuyo epicentro se halla en Estados Unidos tendría que ser aprovechada por los países latinoamericanos para construir una integración favorable a los pueblos y al mismo tiempo iniciar una desvinculación parcial.

Latin America: In support of regional integration and a partial delinking from the world capitalist market

By Eric Toussaint, translated by Federico Fuentes for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

[Click HERE for the Spanish version]

October 8, 2008 -- The economic and financial crisis, whose epicentre is found in the United States, has to be utilised by Latin American countries to build an integration favourable to the peoples and at the same initiate a partial delinking from the world capitalist market.[1]

Video: The Carbon Connection -- The human impact of carbon trading

Two communities affected by one new global market – the trade in carbon dioxide. In Scotland, a town has been polluted by oil and chemical companies since the 1940s. In Brazil, local people's water and land is being swallowed up by destructive monoculture eucalyptus tree plantations. Both communities now share a new threat.

As part of the deal to reduce greenhouse gases that cause dangerous climate change, major polluters can now buy carbon credits that allow them to pay someone else to reduce emissions instead of cutting their own pollution. What this means for those living next to the oil industry in Scotland is the continuation of pollution caused by their toxic neighbours. Meanwhile in Brazil, the schemes that generate carbon credits gives an injection of cash for more planting of the damaging eucalyptus plantations.

The two communities are now connected by bearing the brunt of the new trade in carbon credits. The Carbon Connection follows the story of two groups of people from each community who learned to use video cameras and made their own films about living with the impacts of the carbon market.

Latin America's struggle for integration and independence

By Federico Fuentes

Caracas, July 26, 2008 -- Commenting on how much the two had in common — same age, three children, similar music tastes — Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said to Mexican President Felipe Calderon on April 11 that “perhaps we represent the new generation of leaders in Latin America”. He added, however, that one difference still remained: Calderon had still not become a socialist. “Being right wing is out of fashion in Latin America … Join us, you are always welcome.”

The election of Fernando Lugo as Paraguayan president seems to confirm the idea of a new fashion for presidents. The former priest joins the ranks of current Latin American presidents that includes two women (Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in Argentina and Michelle Bachelet in Chile), an indigenous person (Evo Morales in Bolivia), a former militant trade unionist (Lula da Silva in Brazil), a radically minded economist (Rafael Correa in Ecuador), a doctor (Tabare Vasquez in Uruguay), a former guerrilla fighter (Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua) and a former rebel soldier (Hugo Chavez in Venezuela).

Stuffed and Starved: `Snapping' the power of agribusiness

Review by Leo Zeilig

Stuffed and Starved, by Raj Patel, Black Inc., 2007

At the end of the 19th century huge areas of the globe where violently incorporated into the world market. Whole regions that had for generations been farmed for local consumption were transformed for the production of cash crops. In captured and occupied lands new food crops were introduced that had little or no local nutritional use: ground nuts (peanuts) in what is now Senegal and Nigeria, cocoa in Cote d’Ivoire, cotton and rubber production across thousands of square kilometres of Central Africa.

Leo Panitch on movements, debates and struggles in Latin America

July 17, 2008 -- A report by Leo Panitch on an international seminar organised by the Brazilian Landless People's Movement (MST). Bringing together key ``organic'' intellectuals from the continent, the meeting discussed the advances and contradictions of the rise of the left movement across Latin America, one that seeks to change society by taking power. Leo Panitch is editor of Socialist Register. The meeting was sponsored by the Socialist Project in Canada.

 

Who’s afraid of Liberation Theology?

By Barry Healy

[This is the text of a talk presented at the Marxism Summer School conducted by the Australian Democratic Socialist Perspective in January 2005. The pope referred to is the then-reigning Pope John-Paul II. The current Pope Benedict XVI is mentioned, being Cardinal Ratzinger at the time this talk was presented. See the appendices for more on Ratzinger and his background.]

I have an acquaintance who is a staunch supporter of the Liberal Party and a fundamentalist Christian, she occasionally gives me a lift to the railway station in the morning, which I appreciate. I didn’t know her religious bent until one morning she started regaling me with her opinion of Marxism, which was entirely based on the one sentence written by Marx that she knew: “Religion is the opium of the people.”

I don’t think she could even give a coherent explanation of the sentence, let alone an understanding of its context. She just knew that it was godless communism and that was enough for her.

Pope's immoral stance a death sentence; protest the unholy father

By Tony Iltis

July 12, 2008 -- The visit to Sydney for World Youth Day (WYD), July 15-20, by Pope Benedict XVI and 300,000 Catholic pilgrims is set to become the scene for protests. Ironically, the protests are being fuelled by the clumsy efforts of the NSW state Labor Party government to suppress them — passing laws making it illegal to “annoy” pilgrims and defining “annoy” broadly enough to include having signs, or even wearing t-shirts, with messages that the doctrinally rigid pope or his followers disapprove of.

* * *

No to Pope Rallies, July 19, 2008

Characteristics of the experiences underway in Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia

By Eric Toussaint

June 27, 2008 -- In Latin America, if we exclude Cuba, we can point to three general categories of governments. First, the governments of the right, the allies of Washington, that play an active role in the region and occupy a strategic position: these are the governments of Álvaro Uribe in Colombia, Alan García in Peru and Felipe Calderón in México.

Second, we find supposed “left” governments that implement a neoliberal policy and support the national or regional bourgeoisies in their projects: Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Nicaragua and the government of Cristina Fernandez Kirchner, from Argentina’s Peronists. They are governments that implement a neoliberal policy that favour grand capital, covered up with some social assistance measures. In effect, they make it a bit easier to swallow the neoliberal pill by applying social programs. For example, in Brazil poor families receive a bit of help from the government, which assures them popular support in the poorest region of the country.

XIV Sao Paulo Forum: Left parties debate the current historic conjuncture

By Inés Hayes, with reports from Montevideo by Cristina Camusso and Julio Louis.

Dilemma: From May 22 to 25, the XIV Sao Paulo Forum was held in Montevideo, Uruguay. Under the banner `The Latin American and Caribbean left in the new time, richness in diversity’, 844 delegates from 35 countries in Latin America, Asia and Europe participated in this historic meeting. The first encounter was held in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 1990. The debates over the crucial issues of the 21st century are embodied today in the governments which have emerged through the electoral road. The historic dilemma of reform or revolution once again returns to centre stage.

The Brazilian Workers Party and the participatory budget in Rio Grande do Sul

By Ben Reid

CONTENTS

August-April 2003 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, no. 23 -- Many of the most important mass struggles today are occurring within Latin America—in Bolivia, Argentina, Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia and Brazil. These countries vary considerably in their political and economic crises. The decades of political and economic restructuring that followed the debt crisis of the early 1980s have sometimes been accompanied by formal democratisation. The forces of the working class and the oppressed have been obligated to contest the electoral sphere in the midst of crises generated by the implementation of neo-liberal policies of financial liberalisation and export production. A challenge is posed, however, as to how this space will be utilised.

Chavez ends WSF with call to transcend capitalism

By Cleto A. Sojo

This article was first published at Venezuelanalysis.com.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez was warmly received at the 2005 edition of the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil, where he held several meetings with local leaders, intellectuals and activists, and gave the closing speech in Gigantinho Stadium. Chávez generated great interest among forum participants, many of whom see him and his project of political transformations being implemented in Venezuela as an inspiration in the struggle for a better world.

The Venezuelan president visited the Lagoa do Junco agrarian settlement in Tapes set up by Brazil's Landless Movement (MST) and later held a press conference with more than 120 media organisations, where he criticised the US government for claiming to lead a fight against terrorism while undermining democracy in Venezuela.

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