latin america

The state, social movements and revolution in Latin America

By Federico Fuentes

November 28, 2010 -- Green Left Weekly -- It should come as no surprise that Latin America, a region converted into a laboratory for ongoing experiments in social change, has increasingly become the topic of discussion and debate among the broader left.

Latin America has not only dealt blows to imperialism but also raised the banner of socialism on a global scale. It is of strategic importance for those fighting for a better world, especially at a time when capitalism is in systemic crisis.

Latin America’s landscape of powerful social movements, left governments of various shades, revolutionary insurrections, and growing expressions of indigenous resistance and worker control, provides a perfect scenario for leftists to learn about, and debate, revolutionary strategy and tactics.

This should not simply be an academic debate. It should look at how to best build solidarity with these movements for change and gain insight for struggles at home.

Of late, burning dispute has opened up, mostly among those writing from an anti-capitalist orientation: a debate over the complex relationship, or “dance” as Ben Dangl calls it, between social movements and states in Latin America.

`Foro Social Latinamericano', Green Left Weekly's Spanish-language supplement, November 2010 issue

November 22, 2010 -- For environmentalists, Indigenous rights activists, feminists, socialists and all progressive people, Latin America is a source of hope and inspiration today. The people of Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador and El Salvador, among others, are showing that radical social change is possible and a better, more just society can be imagined and built.

The tide of rebellion and revolution now sweeping Latin America is posing a serious challenge to imperialism’s brutal global rule. For anyone who wants an end to war, exploitation and oppression, Latin America’s struggles to create alternatives are crucially important.

Australia's leading socialist newspaper Green Left Weekly is strongly committed to supporting the growing “people’s power” movement in Latin America. We are proud of the fact that GLW is the only Australian newspaper to have a permanent bureau in Latin America, based in Caracas, Venezuela. Through our weekly articles on developments in the region, GLW strives to counter the corporate media’s many lies about Latin America’s revolutions, and to give a voice in English to the people’s movements for change.

Cubans discuss economic changes: `It is the people who will decide'

[For more analysis and discussion on the economic changes in Cuba, click HERE.]

November 19, 2010 -- Granma -- The 6th congress of the Communist Party of Cuba will take place in April 2011 and the only topic of discussion will be the analysis of the country's economic and social model. Prior to the congress, from December 2010 through February 2011, a process of popular debate will unfold based on a fundamental party document entitled "The Economic and Social Policy Development Project", which is already in the hands of the people, a sampling of whose opinions Granma offers.

`This is genuine socialist democracy'

Haiti: Sham `selection' serves interests of wealthy elite and foreign powers

November 18, 2010 -- Democracy Now! -- "Protests against UN continue over cholera outbreak". Protests are continuing in Haiti over the cholera outbreak that has now killed more than 1100 people and infected some 17,000. For the full transcript of the report, click here.

By the Canada Haiti Action Network

November 12, 2010 -- The Canada Haiti Action Network (CHAN) is once again expressing its grave concerns about exclusionary elections in Haiti.[1] It joins with the many Haitians as well as human rights organisations in Haiti and abroad in condemning these elections as serving the interests of Haiti's wealthy elite and the foreign powers that have dominated Haiti's past and present.

Join the May Day 2011 solidarity brigade to Venezuela! April 25–May 4, 2011

Photo taken by AVSN brigadista Raul Burbano during the September 2010 solidarity brigade to Venezuela. 

Join the May Day 2011 solidarity brigade to Venezuela! April 25–May 4, 2011

The Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network invites you to observe first-hand the inspiring Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela. The sweeping social changes being carried out by Venezuela’s “people’s power” movements are radically transforming life for the majority in that country - workers, women, Indigenous people, young people and all those who have suffered the injustices of poverty, exploitation and exclusion that accompany corporate globalisation.

Along the way, this remarkable revolution is showing the rest of the world that a more rational, socially just and sustainable future is possible.     

Cuba: Reversing the medical `brain drain’ – the many faces of ELAM

ELAM students.

By Don Fitz, Havana

November 7, 2010 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Cuba is doing more than any other country in the world to reverse the “brain drain” of doctors abandoning impoverished areas. A physician who leaves Sierra Leone for South Africa can earn 20 times as much. Higher pay in English-speaking countries lures medical graduates from India (10.6% of doctors), Pakistan (11.7%), Sri Lanka (27.5%), and Jamaica (41.7%). Only 50 of 600 doctors trained in Zambia remained there after independence. There are more Ethiopian doctors in Chicago than in Ethiopia.[1]

The Cuban alternative is the 11year old Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina (ELAM, Latin American School of Medicine). With their educational costs covered by the Cuban government, students focus on returning as doctors to under-served communities in their countries.

The more than 20,000 medical students in Cuba receive much, much more than a free education — they are participating in a project to build a new model of medicine for the world’s poor. Students are well aware that they represent 1 of 100 countries, each of which has a unique relationship to the yoke of imperialism.

Cuban Communist Oscar Martinez: `Our economic reforms are based on socialist principles'

"We are reorganising the workforce, not firing workers. We are directing them to other areas of work vital for the economy, mainly food production."

[For more analysis and discussion on the economic changes in Cuba, click HERE.]

November 3, 2010 -- Umsebenzi -- A South African Communist Party (SACP) delegation recently visited Cuba a part of its political interaction between South Africa and Cuba, and its quest to build socialism and strengthen ties between it and the Communist Party of Cuba.

Yunus Carrim, editor of  the SACP's monthly journal, Umsebenzi, interviewed Oscar Martinez, the deputy head of the International Relations Department of the Communist Party of Cuba. Published below is the full interview, as it appeared in Umsebenzi.

* * *

Yunus Carrim: What is the nature of the economic problems Cuba is currently experiencing?

Peter Hallward: Haiti 2010 -- Exploiting disaster

With Peter Hallward's permission, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is making available the Afterword to the 2010 paperback edition of Hallward's Damming the Flood: Haiti and the Politics of Containment (Verso, 2010), published in November. Readers can download the essay HERE, or read it on screen below.

Links' readers are urged to purchase Damming the Flood: Haiti and the Politics of Containment. Click here to do so.

Read more on the situation in Haiti HERE.

* * *

By Peter Hallward

Haiti nine months after the quake: Poor tell West, ‘Nothing! Nothing! We’ve seen nothing!’

By Isabeau Doucet

October 28, 2010 -- Pambazuka News -- "Nothing! Nothing! We’ve seen nothing!", chanted the crowd of internally displaced people (IDP). They were pursuing former US president Bill Clinton from his photo-op in their squalid camp on his way to the third Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission (IHRC) meeting in downtown Port-au-Prince on October 6, 2010.

The crowd protesting Clinton was from the IDP camp on the golf course of the former Pétionville Club, a bourgeois enclave created by US marines when they first occupied Haiti from 1915 to 1934. Ironically, the camp is considered one of the capital’s best, thanks to the attention brought to it by actor Sean Penn.

Behind the new economic measures in Cuba

[For more analysis and discussion on the economic changes in Cuba, click HERE.]

By Ike Nahem, Cuba Solidarity New York

Marxism is the concrete analysis of a concrete situation — Lenin

October 27, 2010 -- On September 13, 2010 the Confederation of Cuban Workers (CTC) – the mass trade-union organisation that is a central component and pillar of the Cuban workers’ state and the revolutionary government headed by Raul Castro – issued an announcement which codified and specified new measures and significant changes in economic, financial and commercial policies that will be implemented in Cuba over the coming months and years. These new economic policies have been long-debated and broadly discussed inside Cuba from local grassroots mass organisations and work places to the highest levels of government and state. They come as a surprise to no one in Cuba.

Currency wars and the privilege of empire

By Paul Kellogg

October 23, 2010 -- PolEconAnalysis -- In uncertain times, the headline was soothing: "Secretary Geithner vows not to devalue dollar".[1] United States Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner was saying, in other words, that if there were to be "currency wars" -- competitive devaluations by major economies in attempts to gain trade advantage with their rivals -- the United States would not be to blame. Who, then, would be the villain? China, of course.

Earlier this year, Democratic Party congressman Tim Murphy sponsored a bill authorising the United States to impose duties on Chinese imports, made too inexpensive (according to Murphy and most other commentators) by an artificially devalued Chinese currency. "It's time to deliver a strong message to Beijing on behalf of American manufacturing: Congress will do whatever it takes to protect American jobs."[2]

Roma punks rise at the right time

“To hell with your double standards — we’re coming rougher every time!”Gogol Bordello’s film clip for their defiant immigrant rights song “Immigraniada".

By Stuart Munckton

October 26, 2010“My next guests are a gypsy punk rock band that have been called the world’s most visionary band”, US TV show host Jay Leno said when he introduced Gogol Bordello to close the October 13, 2010. Jay Leno Show.

The US-based band, led by a charismatic Roma (or “gypsy”) refugee from the Ukraine, Eugene Hutz, performed “Pala Tute”, the opening track from this year’s Transcontinental Hustle.

If “most visionary” is an exaggeration, Gogol Bordello could at least lay claim to being one of the most interesting and important acts in popular music right now.

Ecuador, Venezuela: Danger south of the border

Supporters of Ecuador's President Rafael Correa celebrate his return following defeat of the attempted coup.

By Paul Kellogg

October 26, 2010 -- Polecon.net -- It is not difficult to see that the events of September 30, in the Latin American country of Ecuador, amounted to an attempted right-wing coup d’état. Mass mobilisations in the streets and plazas of Quito (the capital) and other cities – in conjunction with action by sections of the armed forces which stayed loyal to the government – stopped the coup before the day was out. But those few hours highlighted, again, the deep dangers facing those fighting for progressive change in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Remarkably, the first task is to re-assert that in fact a coup attempt took place. In the wake of the failure of the coup, commentator after commentator was trying to minimise what happened. Peruvian “libertarian” Álvaro Vargas Llosa – darling of the World Economic Forum and outspoken critic of Che Guevara and the current governments of Bolivia and Venezuela – insists that it was not a coup just an “ill-advised, violent protest by the police against a law that cut their benefits”.[1]

Borges: W kierunku demokratyzacji i jedności ruchu robotniczego

[2008-07-19]
W ostatnich wyborach w związku zawodowym Narodowa Unia Sił Nauczycielskich (Sindicato Nacional Fuerza Magisterial, Sinafum), skupiającym istotną część nauczycieli, zdecydowane zwycięstwo odniósł Orlando Pérez, zwolennik pozostania Sinafum w federacji związkowej Narodowa Unia Robotników (Unión Nacional de Trabajadores, UNT). Wybory ogłoszono także w Krajowej Federacji Pracowników Sektora Publicznego (Federación Nacional de Trabajadores del Sector Empleados Públicos, Fentrasep), do której należy około 90 proc. urzędników. Mają się one odbyć 1 października. Komisja Krajowa UNT wyznaczyła w sierpniu kongres i wybór nowych władz. Te informacje, podobnie jak pogłębianie się procesu rewolucyjnego, to świetne wiadomości dla wenezuelskich robotników.

`Foro Social Latinamericano', Green Left Weekly's Spanish-language supplement, October 2010 issue

October 13, 2010 -- For environmentalists, Indigenous rights activists, feminists, socialists and all progressive people, Latin America is a source of hope and inspiration today. The people of Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador and El Salvador, among others, are showing that radical social change is possible and a better, more just society can be imagined and built.

The tide of rebellion and revolution now sweeping Latin America is posing a serious challenge to imperialism’s brutal global rule. For anyone who wants an end to war, exploitation and oppression, Latin America’s struggles to create alternatives are crucially important.

Australia's leading socialist newspaper Green Left Weekly is strongly committed to supporting the growing “people’s power” movement in Latin America. We are proud of the fact that GLW is the only Australian newspaper to have a permanent bureau in Latin America, based in Caracas, Venezuela. Through our weekly articles on developments in the region, GLW strives to counter the corporate media’s many lies about Latin America’s revolutions, and to give a voice in English to the people’s movements for change.

Ecuador: Coup defeat reveals Correa's strengths and weaknesses

Supporters rally in support of Ecuador's President Rafael Correa.

By Duroyan Fertl

October 8, 2010 -- Green Left Weekly -- The attempted coup d’etat in Ecuador on September 30, 2010, against the left-wing government of Rafael Correa was defeated by loyal troops and the mass mobilisation of Correa’s supporters. The event underscores the turbulent history of the small Andean country. It also reveals some of the weaknesses of Ecuador’s revolutionary movement, which is part of a broader Latin American movement against US domination and for regional unity and social justice.

The coup attempt was led by a small core of police and soldiers, whose rebellion was triggered by a public service law that cut some of their benefits. This has led some commentators to assert that recent events were simply a wage dispute, rather than a coup attempt.

Workers in the Russian and Cuban revolutions

Fidel Castro addresses a huge crowd in front of the presidential palace in Havana, Cuba, in 1959. 

By Chris Slee

October 4, 2010 -- This is a response to "Cuba: Stalinism isn't socialism", by John Passant, a prominent member of Socialist Alternative in Australia.

John Passant writes:

One of Marx’s unique and profound contributions to socialism is his idea that the emancipation of the working class is the act of the working class. This is the very reason Cuba isn’t socialist... Castro took power, but the working class as the working class played no role whatsoever in the overthrow of Batista. In fact they ignored Fidel’s call for a general strike in 1958.

In reality the working class played a key role in the Cuban Revolution, through general strikes, mass demonstrations and by taking over their workplaces. For details, see my pamphlet Cuba: How the workers and peasants made the revolution.

Passant mentions the failed general strike of April 1958, but ignores the successful general strike of January 1959. According to historian Hugh Thomas:

Ecuador: Coup attempt encouraged by Washington

Huge numbers of people took to the streets of Quito, demanding the liberation of their president.

By Mark Weisbrot

October 1, 2010 -- the Guardian -- In June of last year, when the Honduran military overthrew the social-democratic government of Manuel Zelaya, President Rafael Correa of Ecuador took it personally. "We have intelligence reports that say that after Zelaya, I'm next," said Correa.

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