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Prospects for socialist revolution in Venezuela and Latin America -- Celia Hart

 

Cuban revolutionary Celia Hart addresses the ``A World in Revolt'' conference, Toronto, Canada, May 22-25, 2008. She discusses the reformist and revolutionary trends in Latin American politics, the right-wing ``autonomy'' moves in Bolivia and Venezuela, and the challenges that face the revolutions in Bolivia and Venezuela. She concludes by discussing the significance of Trotsky's theory of permanent revolution for Latin America.

 

 

The conference was sponsored by Socialist Action-Canada, Socialist Action-United States and the Socialist Unity League (LUS) of Mexico.

 

 

El Salvador: FMLN's Jorge Schafik Handal Vega discusses the 2009 election

May 24, 2008 -- Jorge Schafik Handal Vega --son of the legendary FMLN founder ``Comandante Simon''' Jorge Schafik Handal -- joined the militant left in El Salvador in 1968 as a student. He was a combatant commander throughout the people’s war in the 1970s and 1980s and, following the 1991 peace accords, was integral to the successful transition of the FMLN’s combatant structures into the political and civil institutions of El Salvador. He is currently a deputy for the FMLN in the Central American Parliament.

Handal Vega is toured Australia in May 2008 to build solidarity with the FMLN’s 2009 election campaign, a message that was enthusiastically received. All recent opinion polls in El Salvador indicate that the FMLN will win both the mayoral and presidential elections next year, wresting the last Central American country to be governed by the extreme right wing out of its control. Desperate to prevent this, the US-backed ruling Arena party has launched a massive campaign of bribery and intimidation, which is accompanied by a growing number of brutal attacks on, and murders of, FMLN leaders and activists.

The FMLN is expecting Arena to also use fraud to try to win the elections, and is urging Australian activists to travel to El Salvador in December-January to act as international observers of the election.

Bolivia: The letter of the law and the law of power

By Guillermo Almeyra, La Jornada, Mexico

May 18, 2008 -- The letter of the law is one thing, and quite another is the power that imposes it and makes it real. For this reason, it is absurd to fall for the fetish of the written legal text while forgetting the balance of power which gives it validity and allows its application. For if said balance is unfavourable, the legal or constitutional text is nothing more than a dead letter.

Photo essay: Silicon Valley janitors go on strike against Yahoo!, Cisco

Photos and text by David Bacon

Mountain View, California, May 20, 2008 -- Silicon Valley janitors, mostly immigrants from Mexico and Central America, walked out of Cisco Systems and Yahoo buildings in the first day of a Bay Area-wide strike intended to force building service contractors to sign a new agreement with their union, Service Employees Local 1877.

Myths answered: How the workers and peasants made the Cuban revolution

Review by Graham Matthews

Cuba: How the Workers & Peasants Made the Revolution

By Chris Slee

Resistance Books, 2008

55 pages, $6 (pb)

Available from <http://www.resistancebooks.com>

May 10, 2008 -- There is a myth perpetrated by some on the left, that there never really was a revolution in Cuba. The Cuban “revolution”, they claim, was just the result of the collapse of the brutal, US-backed Batista regime, followed by the filling of the political vacuum by the few hundred guerrillas that made up the July 26 Movement (J26M). These fighters simply marched down from the mountains to take power in Havana, installing the Castro brothers as virtual dictators.

Cuban VP: `Sustainable development requires a revolution in our values'

May 18, 2008

Address by José Ramón Machado Ventura, First Vice-President of Cuba’s Council of State, at a session on ``Sustainable Development: the Environment, Climate Change and Energy'', during the 5th EU/LAC (European Union/Latin America and Caribbean) summit meeting in Lima, Peru, May 16-17.

Your Excellency:

At the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro 16 years ago, Fidel Castro issued a prophetic warning, stating that ``an important biological species is at risk of disappearing as a result of the rapid and progressive destruction of its natural living conditions: humanity''.

Time has proven him right.

Let us not mince our words: we won’t attain sustainable development, the negative impacts of climate change will not be halted or reversed, and the environment will not be preserved for future generations, if the irrational patterns of production, distribution and consumption imposed upon us by capitalism prevail. The globalisation of neoliberal policies has drastically exacerbated the crisis.

Bolivia: Fraud, violence and mass resistance marks right-wing push

By Federico Fuentes
May 9, 2008 -- A day of violence, fraud and a “grand rebellion” against the Santa Cruz oligarchy.

This is how Bolivian president, Evo Morales Ayma, described the result of the unconstitutional May 4 “autonomy” referendum organised by the authorities in Santa Cruz — which many feared was aimed at dividing Bolivia.

* * *

Click here to watch and hear Bolivia expert Forrest Hylton discuss the background to the situation in Bolivia's Santa Cruz province

* * *

Resolutions adopted at the Latin America & Asia Pacific International Solidarity Forum in Melbourne, October 11-14, 2007

International Solidarity Forum resolution: Statement of Solidarity

http://solidarityforum2007.org/?q=node/32

 

We came and met together from many different countries.
We came because we are some of those who have to struggle.
We have to fight the capitalists. We have to fight and win.

To fight we need to meet, and talk about our problems.
The ways we get defeated, the ways in which we are winning.

We have to talk together about our common struggle:
The issues that unite us, and where we don’t agree.
We need to make a plan that is a clear way forward.

The world is really ours. But capitalists have stolen it.

Bolivia: Sign-on statement to oppose attempt to divide Bolivia

The conspiracy to divide Bolivia must be denounced

The process of changes in favor of the Bolivian majority is at risk of being brutally restrained. The rise to power of an Indigenous president with unprecedented support in that country and his programs of popular benefits and recovery of the natural resources have had to face the conspiracies of the oligarchy and United States interference from the very beginning.

In recent days the increase in conspiracy has reached its climax. The subversive and unconstitutional actions of the oligarchic groups to try to divide the Bolivian nation reflect the racist and elitist minds of these sectors and constitute a very dangerous precedent not only for the country’s integrity, but for other countries in our region.

History shows with ample eloquence, the terrible consequences that the divisionary and separatist processes supported and induced by foreign interests have had for humanity.

Buenos Aires, Argentina, October 30-November 1, 2008: Crisis and revolution in today’s world. Analysis and perspectives

International Congress of Research and Political Debate

Working People of All Countries, Unite!

Crisis and revolution in today’s world. Analysis and perspectives

October 30th to November 1st, 2008

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Facultad de Filosofìa y Letras, Universidad de Buenos Aires.


“The end of History” can be considered as one of most flawed predictions ever heard. Instead of accepting passively the painful consequences of capitalism, the world’s proletarians respond in different ways. Latin-American insurrections, Iraqi resistance and strikes in Europe show that class struggle remains at center stage in world politics. Fukuyama’s mistaken characterization exemplifies the inability of bourgeois science to analyse and understand reality.

São Paulo Forum meeting: Montevideo, Uruguay, May 22-25, 2008

Dear friends,

Please find attached the program of the XIV
Meeting of the Foro de São Paulo, which will take
place in Montevideo, Uruguay, in May 22-25 2008.
The central subject of this Meeting will be "The
Left in Latin America and the Caribbean in this
new time - The wealth of diversity".

 

Programación

XIV Encuentro del Foro de Sao Paulo

Montevideo, 22 al 25 de mayo de 2008

Müller Rojas: United Socialist Party of Venezuela is a `political necessity'

Alberto Müller Rojas, first vice president of the of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), speaks to Kiraz Janicke of Venezuelanalysis.com and to Federico Fuentes of Links - International Journal of Socialist Renewal about the significance of the formation of the PSUV for the Bolivarian Revolution -- debates within the new party, what its relationship with the government should be and the immediate tasks of the PSUV in the struggle for the socialist transformation of Venezuela

***

Venezuela: Revolution, party and a new international

By Luis Bilbao, translated exclusively for Links by Federico Fuentes

Venezuela has entered a decisive phase of its revolutionary process, which has advanced rapidly, and without pause, since 1999. The failed attempt to reform the constitution in the December 2, 2007, referendum opened up a conjuncture of sharp contradictions in the short and medium term and modified the institutional framework in which this period will develop; but it does not modify the content of the confrontation underway. The forces of the revolution will be unleashed, along with those of the counterrevolution.

Book review: Cuban Communist makes case for international revolution

By John Riddell

Latin America at the Crossroads. By Roberto Regalado. Translation by Peter Gellert. Ocean Press (www.oceanbooks.com.au), 2007, US$17.95; America latina entre siglos. Ocean Press, 2007, US$17.95.

This compact book by Roberto Regalado, a veteran member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, strongly reaffirms the need for revolution in Latin America and beyond.

Regalado, a section chief in the Cuban CP's Department of International Relations, is anything but dogmatic. He is attentive to recent new trends in Latin American economics and politics, and respectful toward the diverse currents of socialist opinion. He stresses the importance of the new features of Latin American social struggles: the role of peasants, the landless, indigenous peoples, women, environmentalists and others.

But his careful and unpretentious analysis leads toward a striking conclusion: only a revolutionary seizure of political power by the masses can open the road to social progress south of the Rio Bravo and even within the imperialist countries.

Advent of neoliberalism

In just 232 pages Regalado provides a handbook of Marxist politics, outlining Marxism's basic anti-capitalist premise and examining closely the evolution of revolutionary and reformist schools of thought through the 20th century.

Hugo Blanco: A triumphant advance in Ecuador - popular forces sweep constituent assembly elections

Hugo Blanco was leader of the Quechua peasant uprising in the Cuzco region of Peru in the early 1960s. He was captured by the military and sentenced to 25 years in El Fronton Island prison for his activities, but an international defence campaign won his freedom. He continues to play an active role in Peru's Indigenous, campesino, and environmental movements, and writes on Peruvian, indigenous and Latin American issues.

He wrote this article for Socialist Voice on the eve of the sweeping victory of the Country Alliance Movement (Movimiento Alianza Pai­s) and President Rafael Correa's anti-imperialist government in the September 30 elections for Ecuador's new Constituent Assembly.

Mercopress reported October 2 that "Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa received a landslide support in the Sunday election for a Constitutional Assembly which will be tasked with reforming the country's constitution and leading it towards what he has defined as XXI Century Socialism." Alianza Pais will end up with somewhere between 76 and 80 seats of the Assembly's 130 members, enabling Correa "to work, in alliance with smaller groups with a comfortable majority."

Venezuela: Building popular power through Communal Councils

By Jim McIlroy

October 3, 2007 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Living in Caracas, Venezuela, for a year during 2006, the most striking impression one gained is of a tumultuous mass movement, in which the social energies of the people have been released in an outpouring of revolutionary enthusiasm and creativity. One was constantly reminded of Vladimir Lenin’s description of revolution as a “festival of the oppressed”.

My partner Coral Wynter and myself spent last year in Venezuela as the Caracas Bureau of the Australian socialist newspaper Green Left Weekly. It was a life-changing experience. As long-time members of the revolutionary socialist movement in Australia, the practice of being a radical activist in the West has been, generally speaking, a hard slog over the past couple of decades.

A Marxist critique of post-Marxists

By James Petras

Introduction

“Post-Marxism” has become a fashionable intellectual posture, with the triumph of neo-liberalism and the retreat of the working class. The space vacated by the reformist left [in Latin America] has in part been occupied by capitalist politicians and ideologues, technocrats and the traditional and fundamentalist churches (Pentecostals and the Vatican). In the past, this space was occupied by socialist, nationalist and populist politicians and church activists associated with the “theology of liberation”. The centre-left was very influential within the political regimes (at the top) or the less politicised popular classes (at the bottom). The vacant space of the radical left refers to the political intellectuals and politicised sectors of the trade unions and urban and rural social movements. It is among these groups that the conflict between Marxism and “post-Marxism” is most intense today.

Contours of the Mexican left

By Phil Hearse

The left in Mexico is a huge and incredibly diverse phenomenon and one which is potentially extremely powerful. It encompasses tens of thousands of tenacious, devoted and often very brave men and women, fighting against a state which, despite the democratic space created in the past 20 years, still routinely responds to its worker and peasant opponents with disappearances, assassinations, imprisonment and torture. Every critical point made here has to be seen against that background.

The viability of Marxism

By Maria Luisa Fernández

Maria Luisa Fernández is the Cuban consul-general in Australia. This is the text of her opening address to the Marxism 2000 Conference in Sydney.

Dear friends: It is really an honour to have the opportunity of being here with all of you in this event. The study and understanding of Marxism are not easy. Many things have to be taken into account when those concepts are to be applied to any specific country, such as: history, culture, idiosyncrasies, economic development.

Cuba has a long history of wars of independence, of colonial and neo-colonial status, a school of revolutionary anti-imperialist thoughts whose leader was José Martí in the 19th century. Bearing in mind that we are far from being a perfect society, the Cuban revolution tried its best when applying Marxist concepts.

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