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Strategies to take power: reform and revolution in Latin America IIRE Youth School 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Strategies to take power: reform and revolution in Latin America IIRE Youth School 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Strategies to take power: reform and revolution in Latin America IIRE Youth School 2011

2 Outline I. Historical overview Latin America and its historical capitalism Latin America and its historical capitalism Struggles and strategies :from Haiti to the present day Struggles and strategies :from Haiti to the present day Permanent revolution Permanent revolution II. Modern strategies :social movements, electoral policies, revolution Debate :Hearse-Holloway Debate :Hearse-Holloway Problems with ‘autonomismo’ Problems with ‘autonomismo’ III. Anti-imperialism, Regionalism and Revolutionary Project Reform and revolution Reform and revolution Neoliberal experience and democratization Neoliberal experience and democratization Latin American integration, ALBA Latin American integration, ALBA Changes in Cuba Changes in Cuba

3 Why Latin America? “On no continent is neoliberalism so widely rejected as in Latin America, and no where has the resurgence of the Left been so powerful. The election of Evo Morles in Bolivia and the evolution of the Hugo Chavez government in Venezuela are hugely ideologically important. Whatever the direction and eventual outcome of these governments, they have already done an enormously important thing –given the arithmetic content to the algebraic formula that ‘another world is possible’, the only possible one is socialism.” “On no continent is neoliberalism so widely rejected as in Latin America, and no where has the resurgence of the Left been so powerful. The election of Evo Morles in Bolivia and the evolution of the Hugo Chavez government in Venezuela are hugely ideologically important. Whatever the direction and eventual outcome of these governments, they have already done an enormously important thing –given the arithmetic content to the algebraic formula that ‘another world is possible’, the only possible one is socialism.” _____ Phil Hearse

4 Socialism as a process Socialism as a process Renewal of the left in the fight against neoliberalism Renewal of the left in the fight against neoliberalism A new encounter with the struggles from the past A new encounter with the struggles from the past Getting rid of Eurocentrist ideas Getting rid of Eurocentrist ideas Competition between different political ideas Competition between different political ideas Working out new strategies Working out new strategies

5 I Historical reflections

6 Latin America and historical capitalism Necessity of understanding the history of Latin Necessity of understanding the history of Latin America in order to understand global capitalism America in order to understand global capitalism Capitalism and Colonialism as twins Capitalism and Colonialism as twins Resistance against the expansion of early European Resistance against the expansion of early European capitalism (racist, patriarchal, heterosexist, anti- capitalism (racist, patriarchal, heterosexist, anti- ecological) ecological) Further reading: The black Jacobins (1938) by Further reading: The black Jacobins (1938) by CRL James, on the Haitian revolution CRL James, on the Haitian revolution

7 Before, during and after the 19th Century Before: fragmented struggles against colonialism = important because part of revolutionary work today Before: fragmented struggles against colonialism = important because part of revolutionary work today During and a bit later: formation of first working class …coinciding with Europe (plantations and industrial) During and a bit later: formation of first working class …coinciding with Europe (plantations and industrial) –Trade Unions (legal and illegal) –Political organisations : communists, anarchists, socialists, nationalists/anti-imperialists –Strategies focused on unity between workers of different races and farmers against imperialism (in alliance with petty bourgeoisie) –Indigenous question is still not resolved (Read: Seven Interpretive Essays on Peruvian Reality by Jose Carlos Mariategui (1928) Seven Interpretive Essays on Peruvian RealitySeven Interpretive Essays on Peruvian Reality

8 Revolution : some benchmarks Revolution : some benchmarks 1811 – Proclamation of Bolivarian independence (Venezuela) 1811 – Proclamation of Bolivarian independence (Venezuela) 1868 – Uproar of Lares and of Yara 1868 – Uproar of Lares and of Yara 1891 – 1889 war between Spain and North America over Cuba 1891 – 1889 war between Spain and North America over Cuba 1910 – Mexican Revolution (Emilio Zapata against Porfirio Diaz) 1910 – Mexican Revolution (Emilio Zapata against Porfirio Diaz) 1927 – 1933 Agusto Sandino against Yankee occupation 1927 – 1933 Agusto Sandino against Yankee occupation Anti-imperialist alliances, industrial workers, farmers, (indigenous people) Anti-imperialist alliances, industrial workers, farmers, (indigenous people)

9 Stalinization of the communist movement Petty bourgeois character of the CP’s Petty bourgeois character of the CP’s Dependent on Moscou. Near the USA Dependent on Moscou. Near the USA Strange alliances and contradictions within populism, for example: Cuban PSP supports Fulgencio Batista or communists inside peronism; lombardism; Strange alliances and contradictions within populism, for example: Cuban PSP supports Fulgencio Batista or communists inside peronism; lombardism; Michael Löwy: Historia del marxismo en America Latina: 1908 hasta hoy (1980 primera edicion) Michael Löwy: Historia del marxismo en America Latina: 1908 hasta hoy (1980 primera edicion) Emergence of Trotskism (Mexico, Cuba, Argentine) Emergence of Trotskism (Mexico, Cuba, Argentine)

10 Strategies to take power 1950s nationalist revolts in Puerto Rico 1950s nationalist revolts in Puerto Rico Arbenz government in Guatemala Arbenz government in Guatemala 1959 Cuban revolution (50 years of socialist characteristics) and its legacy: guerrilla against dictatorship, foquismo and voluntarism (legacy of Che) = strategies historically dated – the Cold War; anti imperialism; many struggles in one; revisit Marxism 1959 Cuban revolution (50 years of socialist characteristics) and its legacy: guerrilla against dictatorship, foquismo and voluntarism (legacy of Che) = strategies historically dated – the Cold War; anti imperialism; many struggles in one; revisit Marxism Popular Front in Chili Popular Front in Chili Nicaragua and its legacy: the comrades who were present; revolution in a very poor Latin American country; liberation theology; the indigenous question (again); handing over to liberal democracy …why? Nicaragua and its legacy: the comrades who were present; revolution in a very poor Latin American country; liberation theology; the indigenous question (again); handing over to liberal democracy …why?

11 Summary Record of struggles and of strategies in Latin America shows us the validity of the Permanent Revolution Record of struggles and of strategies in Latin America shows us the validity of the Permanent Revolution Role and leadership of the working class in the anti imperialist and anti colonial struggles is essential Role and leadership of the working class in the anti imperialist and anti colonial struggles is essential The fight against capitalism is the fight against ideological colonialism The fight against capitalism is the fight against ideological colonialism

12 II Strategies and Debates

13 Debates on strategies Change the world and take the power (Hearse- Holloway): starts with the Chiapas Revolution of 1994 and Zapatismo Change the world and take the power (Hearse- Holloway): starts with the Chiapas Revolution of 1994 and Zapatismo Read: State and revolution (Lenin, 1917) and The damned of the Earth (Franz Fanon,1961) Read: State and revolution (Lenin, 1917) and The damned of the Earth (Franz Fanon,1961) Academic level: postmodernism versus amodernism Academic level: postmodernism versus amodernism Autonomism versus revolutionary socialism; Read: Los problemas del autonomismo (problems of autonomism) by Claudio Katz Autonomism versus revolutionary socialism; Read: Los problemas del autonomismo (problems of autonomism) by Claudio Katz

14 Background of the debates in Latin America Resistance against neoliberalism from the 1980’s on – economic/debt crisis, workers mobilizations, defeat/decomposition of workers movement, (1989 Caracazo in Venezuela) Resistance against neoliberalism from the 1980’s on – economic/debt crisis, workers mobilizations, defeat/decomposition of workers movement, (1989 Caracazo in Venezuela) Political/theoretical defeat post soviet/neoliberal thinking; F. Fukiyama; Castenada, Castells, Hardt and Negri (Empire); focus on local struggles Political/theoretical defeat post soviet/neoliberal thinking; F. Fukiyama; Castenada, Castells, Hardt and Negri (Empire); focus on local struggles The State=modern structure, power corrupts… The State=modern structure, power corrupts… The Cuban exception The Cuban exception

15 1994, Zapatistas and sub Commandant Marcos Positive points: the indigenous question indigenous and racism, anti-neoliberal, orientation towards the community, inclusiveness Positive points: the indigenous question indigenous and racism, anti-neoliberal, orientation towards the community, inclusiveness Differences: the example can not be reproduced outside Chiapas, the Mexican State (and its breakdown) remains the determining factor; ironically, authoritarian (see for ex. The Other Campaign, 2006) Differences: the example can not be reproduced outside Chiapas, the Mexican State (and its breakdown) remains the determining factor; ironically, authoritarian (see for ex. The Other Campaign, 2006)

16 Argentine, Popular revolts in reply to neoliberal measures and recipes of the IMF/World Bank; ends with defeat of 3 presidents in one month Popular revolts in reply to neoliberal measures and recipes of the IMF/World Bank; ends with defeat of 3 presidents in one month Not instigated by political parties Not instigated by political parties Several experiments of workers self- management, occupations, bailouts, communes, etc. Several experiments of workers self- management, occupations, bailouts, communes, etc. Today there is a coexistence between the Kichners and the piqueteros Today there is a coexistence between the Kichners and the piqueteros

17 Brazil, 2002 Historical elections, Lula from the PT wins presidential elections (but not absolute majority in parliament) Historical elections, Lula from the PT wins presidential elections (but not absolute majority in parliament) Important: a large country, fifth economy of the world, candidate from working class, left party with different tendencies (our section DS was important in the development of projects) Important: a large country, fifth economy of the world, candidate from working class, left party with different tendencies (our section DS was important in the development of projects) Participatory budget (since the nineties) Participatory budget (since the nineties) MST and PT MST and PT Lessons: reactionary character of social democracy Lessons: reactionary character of social democracy Debates after the purge, our party PSOL Debates after the purge, our party PSOL Continuity on the reformist road Continuity on the reformist road

18 1999, Venezuela State/Revolutionary Process? Process started with Caracazo in 1989, anti-neoliberal movement, coup attempt by Chavez 1992, movement for 5th Republic; Process started with Caracazo in 1989, anti-neoliberal movement, coup attempt by Chavez 1992, movement for 5th Republic; Historical elections, Chavez, mulatto from the working class Historical elections, Chavez, mulatto from the working class Immediate changes; military-civic movement; new constitution; creation of parallel structures in management to eventually finish with the bourgeois state structure Immediate changes; military-civic movement; new constitution; creation of parallel structures in management to eventually finish with the bourgeois state structure Radicalization after the coup of 2002 Radicalization after the coup of 2002 Building of the Party (different tendencies) after the victory (2007) Building of the Party (different tendencies) after the victory (2007) The nationalizations and EAS create a space from which the working class could take the power The nationalizations and EAS create a space from which the working class could take the power Ideological inconsistencies Ideological inconsistencies

19 2006, Bolivia Historic elections, first indigenous government in a modern State Historic elections, first indigenous government in a modern State MAS, a party with many tendencies, rooted in social movements, in indigenous movement and particularly in trade-unions MAS, a party with many tendencies, rooted in social movements, in indigenous movement and particularly in trade-unions Criticism of the modern State, new constitution = pluri- national Bolivia Criticism of the modern State, new constitution = pluri- national Bolivia Combination of autonomism and party politics (progressive). “Indigenous socialism” (a project of decolonization) Combination of autonomism and party politics (progressive). “Indigenous socialism” (a project of decolonization) Rapid changes in form but not in content Rapid changes in form but not in content What to do with the economy? Conflicts, contradictions What to do with the economy? Conflicts, contradictions

20 III Anti-imperialism, Regionalism and the Revolutionary Project

21 Three Tendencies at the national governments level Reactionary-conservative: (Colombia, Peru until recently, Mexico, Chile again, Honduras after the coup) Reactionary-conservative: (Colombia, Peru until recently, Mexico, Chile again, Honduras after the coup) Social liberal (latin american social democracy): Argentine, Chile (Bachelet), Brazil, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Nicaragua, El Salvador Social liberal (latin american social democracy): Argentine, Chile (Bachelet), Brazil, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Nicaragua, El Salvador Socialist tendency, revolutionary situation: Bolivia, Cuba, Venezuela, Socialist tendency, revolutionary situation: Bolivia, Cuba, Venezuela,

22 Imperialism as a current issue Cuba Cuba Haiti Haiti Honduras Honduras Colombia Colombia Ecuador Ecuador Puerto Rico (colony of the U.S.A.) Puerto Rico (colony of the U.S.A.) Suriname (former Dutch colony) Suriname (former Dutch colony) Dutch and French Antilles (colonies) Dutch and French Antilles (colonies)

23 Anti imperialist answers Against hegemony Capitalist integration (Mercosur, Banco del Sur, UNASUR) Capitalist integration (Mercosur, Banco del Sur, UNASUR) Post-neoliberal integration (ALBA) Post-neoliberal integration (ALBA) Decomposition of the OEA Decomposition of the OEA CELAC CELAC Telesur Telesur Capitalism of the State, neo-structuralism, Control of the Market Capitalism of the State, neo-structuralism, Control of the Market

24 Contradictions Indigenous protests in Bolivia and Ecuador Indigenous protests in Bolivia and Ecuador Abolition of unions in EAS/ cooperatives in Venezuela Abolition of unions in EAS/ cooperatives in Venezuela Religious influences against women/ homophobia in Nicaragua Religious influences against women/ homophobia in Nicaragua

25 Cuba after the sixth congress of the CCP Socialist? Socialist? State Capitalism? State Capitalism? Degenerating workers State? Degenerating workers State? Market Socialism? Market Socialism? Transition to Socialism? Transition to Socialism?

26 Sources

27 Questions proposed, suggestions for the discussion Questions proposed, suggestions for the discussion Theoretical consequences of the rejection of Eurocentrism? Theoretical consequences of the rejection of Eurocentrism? Lessons of the autonomous experience (in particular for the revolts in the Middle East, North Africa and the Mediterranean and the “Spanish Revolution”)? Lessons of the autonomous experience (in particular for the revolts in the Middle East, North Africa and the Mediterranean and the “Spanish Revolution”)? Role of revolutionary socialists in the process of change at the level of the State and at the regional level? Role of revolutionary socialists in the process of change at the level of the State and at the regional level?

28 Antonio Carmona Baez


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