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Alvaro Garcia Linera: Geopolitics of the Amazon -- Patrimonial-Hacendado power and capitalist accumulation

Introduction and translation by Richard Fidler

December 2012 -- This essay first appeared in English in five parts at Richard Fidler's Life on the Left and has been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Álvaro García Linera is one of Latin America’s leading Marxist intellectuals. He is also the vice-president of Bolivia — the “co-pilot”, as he says, to President Evo Morales, and an articulate exponent of the government’s policies and strategic orientation.

In a recent book-length essay, Geopolitics of the Amazon: Patrimonial-Hacendado Power and Capitalist Accumulation, published in September 2012, García Linera discusses a controversial issue of central importance to the development process in Latin America, and explains how Bolivia is attempting to address the intersection between economic development and environmental protection.

The issues he addresses are of great importance not only in Bolivia but throughout Latin America, and in fact in most of the countries of the imperialist periphery. They are especially important to understand in the “First World,” where there is an increasing campaign in parts of the left to turn against the progressive and anticapitalist governments in Latin America on the ground of their alleged “extractivism.”

Venezuela: Chavez’s socialist party wins 20 of 23 states in regional elections; PSUV activists debate party's role

Supporters rally for PSUV candidate for Merida, Alexis Ramirez. Photo from YVKE Mundial.

By Tamara Pearson, Merida

December 16, 2012 -- VenezuelAnalysis -- With all votes counted to the point of results being irreversible, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) has won 20 states, and the opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) coalition, three states in the December 16 regional elections.

The opposition lost control of Zulia, Tachira, Carabobo, Monagas and Nueva Esparta, but retained Amazonas and Miranda and Lara states.

In Miranda, one of the key states at stake, contested by PSUV ex-vice-president Elias Jaua, and the opposition presidential candidate and current governor of Miranda, Henrique Capriles, the opposition won with 50% to Jaua’s 46%.

In Bolivar state, where the results were very close, the opposition candidate Andres Velasquez is refusing to recognise his defeat and has called on locals to “defend” his “victory”.

Venezuelans and residents chose 23 state governors and 237 state legislators. The results of the state legislative voting have yet to be announced.

In the 2008 regional elections the PSUV won 17 of the 22 states being contested.

For state by state results see below.

Why is Cuba’s health-care system the best model for poor countries?

Cuba-trained medical student examines Peruvian child, Lima, Peru, December 2010. Photo by Don Fitz.

[Read more about Cuba's health-care system and its international health-care solidarity HERE.]

By Don Fitz

December 8, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Furious though it may be, the current debate over health care in the US is largely irrelevant to charting a path for the poor countries of Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Pacific Islands. That is because the US squanders perhaps 10 to 20 times what is needed for a good, affordable medical system. The waste is far more than the 30% overhead by private insurance companies. It includes an enormous amount of over-treatment, making the poor sicker by refusing them treatment, exorbitant over-pricing of medications and medical procedures, creation of illnesses, exposure to contagion through over-hospitalisation, and disease-focused instead of prevention-focused research.[1]

Poor countries simply cannot afford such a health system. Well over 100 countries are looking to the example of Cuba, which has the same 78-year life expectancy of the US while spending 4% per person annually of what the US does.[2]

'The Greek people are at the epicentre of the capitalism crisis'

Speech given by Eric Toussaint at the SYRIZA youth festival in Athens on October 6, 2012 (transcript below). More than 3000 people were present to listen to four speakers: Marisa Matias, EU deputy, member of the Left Bloc (Portugal); Lisaro Fernandez, miners’ union leader (Asturias, Spain); Alexis Tsipras, president of SYRIZA (Greece); Eric Toussaint, president of Committee for the Abolition of the Third World Debt (CADTM, Belgium).

* * *

By Eric Toussaint, translated by “Snake” Arbusto and Judith Harris

October 6, 2012 -- We are now experiencing one of the worst crises of the worldwide capitalist system. But capitalism will not die a peaceful, natural death. Crises are part of the metabolism of capitalism. Only conscious action by the people can destroy and supersede capitalism in order to open the way to democratic socialism.

The Greek people are currently at the epicentre of the capitalism crisis. The way in which the Greek people mobilise to confront and respond to this capitalism crisis will be a crucial factor for finding a solution at the international level. You are at the epicenter of both the crisis and the solution to this crisis.

Rafael Correa discusses Ecuador's 'Citizens' Revolution' and answers his left critics

Rafael Correa speaks at a rally in support of his re-election in next year's poll, Quito, November 10.

By Federico Fuentes

November 11, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly -- While European governments continue to impose policies aimed at making working people pay for a crisis they did not cause, the Ecuadorian government of Rafael Correa has taken a different course.

“Those who are earning too much will be giving more to the poorest of this country”, a November 1 Reuters dispatch quoted Correa as saying. He was announcing a new measure to raise taxes on banks to help fund social security payments.

Ecuador’s banking sector has registered US$349 million in after-tax profits, a November 8 El Telegrafo article said. “The time has arrived to redistribute those profits,” said Correa.

Reuters reported that by lifting the tax rate on bank holdings abroad and applying a new tax on financial services, the government hopes to raise between $200 million and $300 million a year.

The proceeds will fund a rise in the “human development bonus payment” from $35 to $50 a month. About 1.2 million Ecuadorians receive the payment, mainly single mothers and the elderly.

`Foro Social Latinamericano', Green Left Weekly's Spanish-language supplement, November 2012 issue

November 4, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Providing facts and analysis, and publicising and organising Latin America solidarity activities in Australia, Green Left Weekly and Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has sought to promote greater understanding and solidarity between the people of Australia and Latin America.

We are therefore delighted to publish Latin America Social Forum (Foro Social Latinamericano), a Spanish-language supplement produced regularly by the Latin America Social Forum in Sydney.

We hope the supplement will help build stronger links and solidarity between the Spanish-speaking communities in Australia and all those involved in the urgent struggles for the people and the planet. In the words of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez: “Time is short. If we don’t change the world now, there may be no 22nd century.”

GLW and Links congratulates the Latin America Social Forum for this important publication, and looks forward to continuing to help build solidarity in Australia, and around the world, with Latin America’s movements for freedom, democracy, sustainability and justice.

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Marta Harnecker: A la conquista de una nueva hegemonia

Por Marta Harnecker

[English at http://links.org.au/node/3038.]

29 Octunbre 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- En este texto pretendo reflexionar sobre los temas abordados en la mesa de trabajo que se realizó sobre el tema Estado, Revolución y Construcción de Hegemonía, en el VI Foro Internacional de Filosofía realizado en Maracaibo, del 28 de noviembre al 1 de diciembre 2011. Como es lógico, aquí retomo la mayor parte de las ideas de otros trabajos míos, pero en un ordenamiento diferente y agregando algunos matices. Las numerosas notas a pie de página sólo tienen la intención de permitir al lector interesado ir a las fuentes de las ideas aquí expuestas.

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El futuro del 'socialismo del siglo XXI' tras las elecciones

[In English at Venezuela: The future of ‘21st century socialism’ after Chavez's victory.]

Por Federico Fuentes, traducido para Rebelión por Paco Muñoz de Bustillo

La reelección del presidente venezolano Hugo Chávez el pasado 7 de octubre con más del 55 % de los votos fue vital por dos razones.

En primer lugar, el pueblo venezolano impidió el retorno de la derecha neoliberal al poder. De haber ganado ésta, hubiera intentado dado marcha atrás, con el apoyo de Estados Unidos, a los importantes avances conseguidos por la mayoría pobre desde el primer triunfo de Chávez en 1998. Entre estas mejoras se incluye un enorme aumento de los servicios básicos prestados por el gobierno (como educación, sanidad y vivienda), la nacionalización de sectores estratégicos anteriormente privatizados y la promoción de la participación popular en las comunidades y lugares de trabajo.

Paul Kellogg on Chavez: Are the Venezuelan people's gains `solely because of oil'?

Click HERE for more coverage and analysis of the Venezuelan revolutionary process.

By Paul Kellogg

November 1, 2012 – PolEcon.net, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with author's permission  -- While most eyes in North America have been on the presidential election in the United States, for people in the South America another election last month was actually of more interest. In the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, incumbent president Hugo Chávez was up against a strong challenge, from a – for once – united opposition.

Gwynne Dyer (2012) was not alone when he speculated, days before the vote, that this could be “Hugo Chávez’s swan song”. However, when the vote came, it wasn’t really close, with Chávez winning a third term as president with 55.08% of the vote, far ahead of the 44.3% obtained by his challenger Henrique Capriles Radonski (CNE 2012). Neither candidate in that other presidential election in the Americas can even dream about this kind of a victory margin.

Puerto Rico elections: New Partido del Pueblo Trabajador to challege neoliberal parties

By Antonio Carmona

October 31, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- After years of strategic dialogue and an arduous process of electoral inscription, Puerto Rico can now count on an organised alternative, a political party that is committed to defending the interests of the working class and marginalised sectors of the island’s population. On November 6, 2012, the new Working People’s Party (Partido del Pueblo Trabajador, PPT) will run 71 candidates, from governor to members of the municipal legislative assembly. “Breaking the electoral barrier” and “Puerto Rico should be governed by those who sweat for it” are the slogans that the PPT brings to the 2012 elections.

The PPT represents a radical break with traditional politics on the island, as it welcomes people who believe in social justice, democratic rights, (local) sustainable development and environmental protection, independently of the positions that individuals may hold concerning the country’s political status.

Venezuela: Hugo Chavez's six-year plan for the Bolivarian Revolution

October 31, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following document is the political platform on which Hugo Chavez successfully sought re-election as the president of Venezuela. It was released in Spanish in June 2012. English translation courtesy of the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Canberra, Australia.

Proposal of the Candidate of the Homeland,
Commander Hugo Chávez,
for the Socialist Bolivarian Government, 2013–2019

INTRODUCTION

I

Venezuela: The future of ‘21st century socialism’ after Chavez's victory

Supporters celebrate the president's re-election on October 7 outside the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas. Photo by Tamara Pearson/Venezuelanalysis.com.

Click HERE for more coverage and analysis of the Venezuelan revolutionary process.

By Federico Fuentes

[En espanol @ http://links.org.au/node/3085]

October 28, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly -- Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez’s re-election on October 7 with more than 55% of the vote was vital for two reasons. First, the Venezuelan people blocked the return to power of the neoliberal right. Had they won, these US-backed forces would have worked to roll back important advances for the poor majority won since Chavez was first elected in 1998.

These include a huge expansion in government providing basic services (such as education, health and housing), the nationalisation of previous privatised strategic industries, and the promotion of popular participation in communities and workplaces.

Cuba: The legacy of the October 1962 Missile Crisis

By Ike Nahem

[This is the third in a series of articles by Ike Nahem. The first can be found HERE and the second HERE. For more articles on Cuba, click HERE.]

October 22, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- October 1962 marks the 50th anniversary of the so-called “Cuban Missile Crisis”. The last two weeks of that October was the closest the world has come so far to a widespread nuclear exchange.

Venezuela: Eyewitness impressions of the Bolivarian revolution

October 25, 2012 -- Green Left TV -- Several European activists participated in the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN) brigade to Venezuela in September-October 2012, which witnessed the presidential election won convincingly by socialist President Hugo Chavez.

Brigade participant Pip Hinman spoke in Caracas to Christian, a writer and activist with the German solidarity online publication Amerika21.de, about his impressions of the Bolivarian revolution. Film footage of the 3 million-strong October 4, 2012, Chavista election rally provided by Poul-Erik Jørgensen, a Danish participant in the brigade.

Venezuela: Socialist transformation in an oil-dependent economy

Pablo Gimenez is a Professor of political economy at the Bolivarian University of Venezuela

Pablo Gimenez, a professor of political economy at the Bolivarian University of Venezuela.

October 21, 2012 -- The British Revolutionary Communist Group, publishers of the newspaper Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!, sent a delegation to Venezuela to cover the October 7, 2012, presidential election. The following interview, published at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission, was conducted in the aftermath of the poll. More interviews and articles can be found at the delegation's website. The delegation collaborated with the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network brigade that was visiting Venezuela at the same time.

* * *

Pablo Gimenez interviewed by Cat Allison and Sam McGill

Grassroots interviews from Venezuela: Developing the power of the community

Ana Marin talks about her revolutionary activity.

October 21, 2012 -- The British Revolutionary Communist Group, publishers of the newspaper Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!, sent a delegation to Venezuela to cover the October 7, 2012, presidential election. The following interviews, published at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission, were conducted in the lead-up and the aftermath of the poll. More interviews and articles can be found at the delegation's website. The delegation collaborated with the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network brigade that was visiting Venezuela at the same time.

* * *

Ana Marin interviewed by Sam McGill

Is Venezuela a 'one off'? A response to Richard Seymour's must-read analysis

Supporters of the Bolivarian revolution mobilise in their millions. Caracas, October 3, 2012.

Click HERE for more coverage and analysis of the Venezuelan revolutionary process.

By Stuart Munckton

October 13, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Richard Seymour has written a very interesting analysis on Venezuela that is a must read for a number of reasons. It is open ended in its assessments and deliberately poses as many questions as it seeks to answer. Fair enough, as the revolution is open ended and poses questions that only the struggle will answer.

It is far superior to the article written by the British Socialist Workers Party (SWP) Latin American "expert" Mike Gonzalez, that acknowledged reforms, victory against the right, but then presented the ongoing struggles in a basically distorted "from below counterposed to Chavez" line.

Gregory Wilpert on Venezuela: 'Major challenges face Chavez in new term'

Click HERE for more coverage and analysis of the Venezuelan revolutionary process.

October 9, 2012 -- Real News Network -- Gregory Wilpert, a German-American sociologist, earned a PhD in sociology from Brandeis University in 1994. Between 2000 and 2008 he lived in Venezuela, where he taught at the Central University of Venezuela and then worked as a freelance journalist, writing on Venezuelan politics for a wide range of publications. He founded Venezuelanalysis.com, an English-langugage website. In 2007, he published the book Changing Venezuela by Taking Power: The History and Policies of the Chavez Government (Verso Books). He moved back to the US in 2008 because his wife was named consul general of Venezuela in New York. Since returning to the US he has been working as an adjunct professor of political science at Brooklyn College.

* * *

Paul Jay, senior editor, Real News Network: On Sunday night, President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela was reelected. Now joining us from New York City to talk about his views on the election is Gregory Wilpert. Thanks very much for joining us, Greg.

Richard Seymour: Venezuela in the 21st century

With the announcement of Hugo Chavez’s reelection as president by 55% of the Venezuelan electorate, spontaneous crowds across the country gathered to celebrate the victory. More photos at http://venezuelanalysis.com/image.

By Richard Seymour

October 8, 2012 -- Lenin's Tomb, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Richard Seymour's permission -- Chavez lives. He has survived cancer, thus far, and will most likely survive the presidential election with a comfortable majority (update: yep). And what if he did not? Would not Venezuela still have a popular mass socialist party, a thriving democracy, an expanding union movement, a politically emasculated ruling class, a greatly enhanced welfare state which incorporates elements of grassroots participation, and probably one of the few societies in the world today where it's almost impossible to impose a vicious austerity project? Jealous much?

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