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Is South America’s ‘progressive cycle’ at an end? Neo-developmentalist attempts and socialist projects

Protest by Indigenous Women against Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa in August last year
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by Claudio Katz, introduction and translation by Richard Fidler

February 5, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left with permission — In this ambitious and compelling overview of the strategic and programmatic issues at stake in South America today, Argentine political economist Claudio Katz expands on many of the observations he made in an earlier interview while critically analyzing contrasting approaches to development that are being pursued or proposed. Translation from the Spanish and endnotes are by me. – Richard Fidler

Summary

Social Movements and Progressive Governments - Building a New Relationship in Latin America

Marta Harnecker (pictured) will be one of the keynote speakers at Socialism for the 21st century: Moving beyond capitalism, learning from global struggles being held in Sydney on May 13-15.

 

By Marta Harnecker, translated by Richard Fidler

 

January 2016 — Monthly Review, reposted on Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission — In recent years a major debate has emerged over the role that new social movements should adopt in relation to the progressive governments that have inspired hope in many Latin American nations. Before addressing this subject directly, though, I want to develop a few ideas.

 

The situation in the 1980s and ’90s in Latin America was comparable in some respects to the experience of pre-revolutionary Russia in the early twentieth century. The destructive impact on Russia of the imperialist First World War and its horrors was paralleled in Latin America by neoliberalism and its horrors: greater hunger and poverty, an increasingly unequal distribution of wealth, unemployment, the destruction of nature, and the erosion of sovereignty.

 

‘Venezuela defines the future of the progressive cycle’ An interview with Claudio Katz

 

Introduced and translated by Richard Fidler, article original published in Spanish in La Llamarada

 

July 14, 2013 -- Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Two recent events — the second-round victory on November 22 of right-wing candidate Mauricio Macri in Argentina’s presidential election, and the December 6 victory of the right-wing Democratic Unity Roundtable,[1] winning two thirds of the seats in Venezuela’s National Assembly elections — have radically altered the political map in South America. In the following interview, Argentine Marxist Claudio Katz discusses what these setbacks for the left mean for the progressive “process of change” that has unfolded on the continent over the last 10-15 years. My translation from the Spanish.

 

Katz is a professor of economics at the University of Buenos Aires, a researcher with the National Council of Science and Technology, and a member of Economists of the Left.[2]

 

Argentine Left presidential candidate: 'We want a hard left that denounces the political caste and fights with workers'

Initiated just over four years ago, the Left and Workers Front (FIT) in Argentina has become a key reference point on the left, and is quickly earning its place on the national political scene.

The FIT was formed as an alliance of three Trotskyist parties: the Socialist Workers’ Party (PTS), Workers Party (PO) and Socialist Left (IS). It began largely as an attempt to overcome new electoral obligations requiring parties to win more than 1.5% of the vote in Open, Simultaneous and Obligatory Primaries (PASO) in order to stand in elections.

In a context where the far left has traditionally performed poorly in presidential elections, the FIT were relatively successful in their first electoral venture – the 2011 PASO for that year’s national election - with presidential pre-candidate and historic figure on the left, Jorge Altamira, winning over half a million votes (2.46%).

In the PASO held July this year, more than 750,000 people voted for one of the two FIT presidential pre-candidates. Unable to come up with a united slate, the FIT used the mechanism of the primaries to let voters decide their candidate list for president-vice president.

Should Ecuador's left work with the right against Rafael Correa?

Banker and opposition leader Guillermo Lasso (second from right) meets with leaders from the Pachakutik political party in their offices in April 2015.

For more on Ecuador, click HERE.

By Pablo Vivanco

August 20, 2015 -- Originally published by TeleSUR English, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- For a relatively small nation, in terms of size, population and economics, Ecuador has been a major player in contemporary Latin American politics, particularly on the left.

The experience of toppled governments by popular uprisings, led by Indigenous organisations with radical left-oriented politics, has contributed to a regional shift that ushered in the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela and later the election of Evo Morales’ Movement Toward Socialism in Bolivia.

Ecuador: Zombie neoliberalism threatens 'Citizen's Revolution'

Rafael Correa (right) with Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (left) and Bolivia's President Evo Morales.

For more on Ecuador, click HERE.

By Denis Rogatyuk

August 15, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Ecuador'sPresident Rafael Correa and social movements behind Ecuador’s “Citizens' Revolution” are engaged in yet another battle against the South American country's entrenched elites.

Supporters of Correa marched through the capital of Quito on August 12 to the presidential palace, where they intend to maintain a permanent presence to help defend the elected government.

The next day, violent opposition protests led to 86 police officers being injured, the interior ministry said, along with 20 civilians and three members of the press.

What originally began as demonstrations by the country's right-wing opposition against a proposed new inheritance tax laws targetting the country's richest 2% have now turned into a full-blown attempt at a “soft coup”.

Chavez non c’è più ma il Chavismo è destinato a restare

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4546.]

Di Federico Fuentes

4 agosto 2015 -- ZNet Italy -- Se Hugo Chavez non fosse morto nel 2013, l’ex presidente venezuelano il 28 luglio avrebbe compiuto 61 anni. Tuttavia, anche se Chavez non c’è più, la sua impronta indelebile sul panorama politico del Venezuela, sopravvive.

Il 6 dicembre i venezuelani andranno alle urne per la ventesima volta da quando Chavez era stato eletto presidente per la prima volta nel 1998. L’elezione di dicembre per l’Assembela Nazionale si avvia a diventare   un’altra fondamentale battaglia tra le forze che per 15 anni hanno appoggiato o si sono opposte a Chavez.

Per le forze chaviste, la vittoria è vitale per la difesa  e l’intensificazione della loro “rivoluzione bolivariana.”

Per l’opposizione, il successo rappresenterebbe un passo importante verso la rimozione del successore di Chavez, Nicolas Maduro, o tramite un referendum  prima della scadenza del suo mandato nel 2016 o per mezzo del possibile uso del parlamento per metterlo in stato di accusa.

Nella maggio parte dei paesi, le persone in carica devono fare i conti  con un prevalente umore anti-politico riflesso nella maggiore mutevolezza  dei votanti e nei più rapidi  cambiamenti  di governo. Anche l’Australia, relativamente tranquilla, ha visto quattro diversi governi nello scorso decennio.

Venezuela: Chávez elment, de a chavizmus megmaradt

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4546.]

Írta: Federico Fuentes

2015. augusztus 06 -- Green Left Weekly/Latin-Amerika Társaság -- A 2013-ban elhunyt Hugo Chávez egykori venezuelai elnök és forradalmi szocialista július 28-án lett volna 61 éves. Bár Chávez eltávozott, emléke a venezuelai politikai színtér kitörölhetetlen része maradt.

December 6-án Venezuela huszadik alkalommal fog az urnákhoz járulni azóta, hogy Chávezt 1998-ban először elnökké választották. Eközött a két időpont között a szegénypárti átalakítási folyamat jelentősen visszavetette a szegénységet és hatalommal ruházta fel a szegény többséget.

Komoly akadályokkal is felmerültek, amely akadályozzák és veszélyeztetik a „bolivári forradalom” – ahogyan a Chávez által vezetett folyamatot hívják – fennmaradását.

A decemberi nemzetgyűlési választás egy újabb kritikus ütközetet jelent azok között, akik 15 éven keresztül támogatták vagy ellenezték Chávezt.

A chavista erők számára létfontosságú a győzelem, hogy megvédjék és elmélyítsék a forradalmat.

Venezuela: Chavez gone, but Chavismo here to stay

By Federico Fuentes

August 5, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Had Hugo Chavez not passed away in 2013, the former Venezuelan president and revolutionary socialist would have turned 61 on July 28. However, though Chavez is gone, his indelible imprint on Venezuela’s political landscape endures.

On December 6, Venezuelans will go to the polls for the 20th time since Chavez was first elected president in 1998. Between then and now, a process of pro-poor transformation has significantly cut poverty and empowered the poor majority.

It has also confronted serious obstacles blocking further advances and threatening the survival of the “Bolivarian revolution”, as the process pushed by Chavez is known.

The December election for the National Assembly is shaping up to be another critical battle between forces that for 15 years either supported or opposed Chavez.

For the Chavista forces, victory is vital to defending and deepening the revolution.

Puerto Rico, la Grecia americana

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4542.]

Por Barry Sheppard, traducción Faustino Eguberri para VIENTO SUR

31 de julio de 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, Viento Sur -- Mientras el mundo entero tiene su atención fija en el espectáculo que dan el FMI, la CE y el Banco Central Europeo (la troika) aplastando al pueblo griego, hay otros numerosos ejemplos de poderosos países imperialistas que utilizan la "crisis de la deuda" para extraer más riquezas de los países más débiles que ellos, así como de países imperialistas más pobres.

Un caso típico es el de la colonia de Puerto Rico (3,6 millones de habitantes). En una entrevista concedida al New York Times, el gobernador de la nación caribeña declaró: "Nuestra deuda, que asciende a 73 mil millones de dólares, no es pagable. No hay otra opción. Sería feliz si hubiera otra opción más fácil. Pero no es cuestión de política, sino de matemáticas". Puerto Rico no ha podido pagar un plazo de más de mil millones de dólares que vencía el pasado 1 de julio.

Barry Sheppard: Screwed by vulture funds, Puerto Rico is the Washington's 'Greece'

For more on Puerto Rico, click HERE, and more by Barry Sheppard.

By Barry Sheppard

July 27, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The world has been focused on the spectacle of the “Troika” of the International Monetary Fund, European Union and the European Central Bank crushing the Greek people, but it is far from the only example of strong nations using a “debt crisis” to extract more wealth from those that are weaker.

A case in point is the US colony of Puerto Rico. In a June 28 New York Times interview, the governor of the Caribbean archipelago nation declared its debt of US$73 billion “is not payable. There is no other option. I would love to have an easier option. This is not politics. This is math.”

Puerto Rico, which remains a territory of the US, has missed a July 1 deadline on a payment of more than $1 billion.

Porto Rico. La «Grèce» américaine

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4542.]

Par Barry Sheppard

18 juillet 2015 -- A l'encontre -- Pendant que le monde entier a eu son attention fixée sur le spectacle montrant le Fonds monétaire international, la Commission européenne et de la Banque centrale européenne (la « Troïka ») en train d’écraser le peuple grec, il y a de nombreux autres exemples de pays impérialistes parmi les plus puissants qui utilisent une «crise de la dette» pour extraire plus de richesse de pays plus faibles qu’eux, ainsi que de pays non impérialistes plus pauvres.

Bolivia's green gains the media and critics are not talking about

Bolivians receive free tree saplings as part of the "My Tree" program, which combats deforestation. Photo via TeleSUR.

For more on Bolivia, click HERE.

By Federico Fuentes

July 27, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- When Bolivia's President Evo Morales announced in May that his government was allowing oil and gas drilling in national parks, mainstream and progressive media outlets alike were quick to condemn his supposed hypocrisy on environmental issues.

Writing for the Associated Press, Frank Bajak argued that although Morales is known internationally for his outspoken campaigning on climate change, at home he faces constant criticism from conservationists “who say he puts extraction ahead of clean water and forests”.

Bajak said this contradiction was a result of Morales’ strategy of developing extractive industries as a means of cutting poverty, regardless of the environmental cost.

Puerto Rico: Washington's 'Greece' -- Party of the Working People fights austerity

Rafael Bernabe, spokesperson for the Partido del Pueblo Trabajador. He was its candidate for governor in 2012.

By Rafael Bernabe

July 2015 -- New Politics, posted at Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Partido del Pueblo Trabajador—the Party of the Working People (PPT)—is a political project of the Puerto Rican left addressed to working people in the context of the island’s deep economic crisis. It would be hard to exaggerate the gravity of Puerto Rico’s present social and economic situation, which can only be compared to the impact of the Great Depression in the 1930s.

United States/Cuba: Cuban embassy opens in Washington

Democracy Now! July 20, 2015 -- Report from the opening of Cuba's new embassy. Transcript available HERE.

By Robert Craven and Olivia Marple

July 20, 2015 -- COHA, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Amid cheers of “Cuba sí, bloqueo no” (Cuba yes, embargo no), hundreds gathered on Washington, DC’s busy 16th Street to bear witness to the symbolic close to one of the more misguided chapters of US foreign policy. Trumpeting fanfare sounded as Cuban honour guard soldiers raised their country’s flag above what is now Cuba’s embassy in the United States.

Cuba's foreign minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla presided over the flag raising and was accompanied by a large US delegation led by assistant secretary of state Roberta Jacobson.[1]

“It’s a new beginning, it’s a new opportunity for the people of Cuba,” said Karla Ramos, one of the spectators, in an interview with COHA, mirroring the sentiments of many others there to celebrate this momentous occasion 54 years in the making.

Venezuela: Millions vote in socialist party primaries

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro at the campaign close for primary elections for the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, June 26, 2015. Photo: AVN.

June 28, 2015 -- TeleSUR English, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Millions of members of the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) hit the ballot box on June 28 to vote for the left-wing party’s candidates for parliamentary elections to be held in December. "Here are these candidates, they are men and women who come from the people, they were nominated by the grassroots (of the party), now it is up to you to choose,” stated Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on June 26 during an event to celebrate the close of campaign.

Cuba 'will always be ready to help sister nations', says ICAP president

A Cuban literacy program operating in an Aboriginal community in Wilcannia, NSW.

June 15, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, post at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Kenia Serrano, president of the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) and a member of Cuba's National Assembly, attended the recent national consultation of the Australia-Cuba Friendship Society. Green Left Weekly's Denis Rogatyuk spoke with her about recent developments of the Cuban Revolution.

* * *

Cuba has just been removed from the list of state-sponsors of terrorism. How do you think this will affect Cuba’s relations with the United States?

First of all, there is no reason to have Cuba on such a list. We should have never been there. However, the US decided to do this back in 1992. On May 29, the removal was approved.

We consider this a very positive step in eliminating the different obstacles to forging stable bilateral relations with the US.

Balance de elecciones y resistencia en México

Contingente OPT-PYME en un desfile de protesta por la desaparición de los 43 estudiantes.

Haga clic aquí para más información sobre México.

Por Nevin Siders Vogt, corrección de estilo de Ayla Huerta Miranda

22 de junio 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- A la luz de las recientes elecciones a la mitad del sexenio y la creciente coyuntura entre las campañas de justicia por los 43 desaparecidos, los movimientos de resistencia luchan firmes contra la privatización de recursos naturales y las industrias nacionalizadas.

Mexico: President and his party re-elected; left divided and defeated

 Mexico's President Enrique Peña Nieto.

Click the following links for more by Dan La Botz, and more on Mexico.

By Dan La Botz

June 15, 2015 -- New Politics, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- Despite widespread disillusionment with the political system, an organised attempt to prevent the election from taking place in a few states and continuing economic doldrums, President Enrique Peña Nieto and his Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) were the big winners in Mexico's June 7 election, followed by the conservative National Action Party (PAN). Both parties are committed to continuing the deepening of the country's neoliberal, free-market economic reforms.

Mexico: Elections and resistance

OPT-SME contingent in a parade protesting the disappearance of the 43 students. 

Click HERE for more on Mexico.

By Nevin Siders Vogt, Mexico City

June 22, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – With the growing intersection among the campaigns for justice for the 43 disappeared students and the resistance movements’ struggle against the privatisation of natural resources and nationalised industries, the rhythm of resistance activities has not slackened over the last year, despite the mid-term elections. This is why the People’s and Worker’s Political Organization (OPT) sees the urgency to taking stock and projecting what immediate steps to take. This report is based on the gathering Mexico City’s OPT branch in Tlalpan organised preparatory to the campaigns it will participate in for the latter half of the year.

Elections

The world press covered the elections held throughout the country on June 7. Governors of half of the states were contested, along with half of each chamber of the national legislature and a large number of local officials in all jurisdictions. The capital, Mexico City, is demarcated into 16 districts (Delegaciones), and all 16 district heads changed.

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