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'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.
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?
Introduction and translation by Felipe Stuart Cournoyer
February 1, 2010 -- Below is a translation of a news report that appeared in the January 31, 2010, issue of the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo. One of the most vexing issues in Latin America’s relations with Haiti is the grievous lack of understanding on the part of anti-imperialist forces about the nature of the repeated imperialist occupations of the former French colony, and of the crushing of the Lavalas movement, including the ouster of the country's democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
I understand that at least some currents on the Brazilian left -- for example the PSOL -- understand that the UN occupation of Haiti was really a US-NATO occupation. This became clear when the US put an end to the pretense and used the January 12, 2010, earthquake devastation and catastrophe as a pretext to directly occupy Haiti with US troops.
However, to my knowledge, Brazil's Workers Party (PT) government has been silent on this issue. Its military has the lead role in the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), misnamed to be sure.
Bolivia also has troops in the same UN police force.
par Federico Fuentes
2 décembre 2009 -- CADTM/Green Left Weekly -- S’adressant aux délégués de la Rencontre Internationale des Partis de Gauche qui s’est tenue à Caracas du 19 au 21 novembre (2009), le président vénézuélien Hugo Chavez a déclaré : « il est temps de constituer la 5ème Internationale. » Face à la crise capitaliste et la menace d’une guerre qui représente un danger pour l’avenir de l’humanité, « les peuples réclament » une unité plus forte des partis de gauche et révolutionnaires qui sont prêts à lutter pour le socialisme, a-t-il dit.
A l’instar de son appel de 2005 pour la construction « d’un socialisme du 21ème siècle » et son appel de 2006 pour la création au Venezuela d’un nouveau parti de masse révolutionnaire – le Parti Socialiste Unifié du Venezuela – l’appel de Chavez à l’unité de la gauche et pour une nouvelle internationale est un événement historique.
por Federico Fuentes
2 de diciembre de 2009 -- CADTM/Green Left Weekly -- Hablando a los delegados del Encuentro International de Partidos de Izquierda realizado en Caracas, el presidente venezolano, Hugo Chávez señalo “que llegó la hora de que convoquemos a la Quinta Internacional. Frente la crisis capitalista y la amenaza de guerra que poner en peligro el futuro de la humanidad, la unidad de partidos de izquierda y revolucionario dispuesto a luchar para el socialismo “es un clamor del pueblo,” dijo Chávez.
Como su llamado en 2005 a construir el “Socialismo de Siglo XXI” y su anuncio de la construcción de un partido de la revolución al final del 2006, el llamado de Chávez a unificar la izquierda en torno a la Quinta Internacional representa en hecho histórico.
By Federico Fuentes, Caracas
November 27, 2009 -- Addressing delegates at the International Encounter of Left Parties held in Caracas, November 19-21, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez said that with the capitalist crisis and threat of war risking the future of humanity, “the people are clamoring” for greater unity of those willing to fight for socialism.
Chavez used his November 20 speech to the conference, which involved delegates from 55 left groups from 31 countries, to call for a new international socialist organisation to unite left groups and social movements: “The time has come for us to organise the Fifth International.”
By Kiraz Janicke, Caracas
November 23, 2009 – Venezuelanalysis.com – Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez called for the formation of a “Fifth International” of left parties and social movements to confront the challenge posed by the global crisis of capitalism. The president made the announcement during an international conference of more than 50 left organisations from 31 countries held in Caracas over November 19-21.
“I assume responsibility before the world. I think it is time to convene the Fifth International, and I dare to make the call, which I think is a necessity. I dare to request that we create my proposal,” Chavez said.
By Valter Pomar, secretary of international relations, Workers’ Party (PT) of Brazil
October 10, 2009 -- It has become commonplace to say that there are two lefts in Latin America: one would be “carnivore”, the other “vegetarian”; one would be radical, the other moderate; one would be revolutionary, the other reformist; one would be socialist, the other capitalist.
Dichotomous definitions of this kind are made by spokespersons (official or unofficial) of the US State Department, with the explicit purpose of bringing about discord in the Latin American left, making it fight itself rather than its common enemies.
By Federico Fuentes, Caracas
September 5, 2009 -- Caracas will play host to one of the most important international gatherings of left parties in years, when delegates from across the world meet for the First International Meeting of Left Parties over October 7-9, 2009.
The meeting has been called by the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), a mass revolutionary party headed by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. The gathering was agreed upon at the recent Sao Paulo Forum (FSP) held in Mexico City over August 20-22. There, the PSUV delegation presented the proposal to organise an international meeting of left parties.
The FSP was first established in 1990 at the initiative of the Workers’ Party (PT) of Brazil. At the time, the PT had a good reputation on the international left. It was forged out of the workers’ struggles against the Brazilian dictatorship and had developed into a mass workers’ party that spoke of the need to break with capitalism. Since then, the FSP has evolved in a reformist direction, although several important revolutionary parties such as the Cuban Communist Party continue to be involved.
Some of the member parties — like the PT — are now in government in Latin America and are carrying out policies they once strongly denounced.
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.
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.
By Ben Reid
Challenges in uniting the left
Previous issues of Links have frequently discussed internationalism and internationals, or the question of how socialists should collaborate on an international scale. This issue is devoted to the closely related matter of left regroupment, or how socialists can collaborate at the national level. It discusses the challenges of left regroupment through concrete experiences in Australia, England, Scotland, France and Brazil.
In Australia in 2002, the Socialist Alliance, grouping nearly all the far-left organisations, was able to overcome difficult electoral registration requirements in several states and attract as new members a significant number of activists who were not members of any of the component groups. In September, the Democratic Socialist Party (DSP), the largest member organisation of the Alliance, proposed to spur the process of left regroupment by becoming an internal tendency within the Alliance and carrying out all its public political activity through the Socialist Alliance.
A version of this article originally appeared in the March issue of Liberation, the central organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist). The author is an independent journalist and film-maker.
After they popularised the slogan "Another world is possible", it was inevitable that one day some wit would taunt the organisers of the World Social Forum with a parody of the original: "Another forum is possible?"
But mid-way, as we are, between the third WSF (concluded earlier this year in Porto Alegre, Brazil) and the fourth WSF (scheduled for January 2004 in Mumbai, India) this half-mocking, half-humorous quip is taking on more serious tones. Is indeed another WSF possible?