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Venezuela and ALBA: Counter-hegemonic regionalism and higher education for all ESRC-ECCC 23 Jan 2009 Thomas.Muhr@bristol.ac.uk Centre for Globalisation,

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Presentation on theme: "Venezuela and ALBA: Counter-hegemonic regionalism and higher education for all ESRC-ECCC 23 Jan 2009 Thomas.Muhr@bristol.ac.uk Centre for Globalisation,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Venezuela and ALBA: Counter-hegemonic regionalism and higher education for all
ESRC-ECCC 23 Jan 2009 Centre for Globalisation, Education & Societies (GES) Ricardo Cabrizas (Cuba, 2004) Rafael Correa (Ecuador, associate) Roosevelt Skerrit (Dominica, 2008) Manuel Zelaya (Hondura, 20008) Evo Morales (Bolivia, 2006) Hugo Chávez (Venezuela, 2004) Daniel Ortega (Nicaragua, 2007)

2 Regionalism and Regionalisation
Regionalism = “a state-led or states-led project designed to reorganise a particular regional space along defined economic and political lines” (Payne & Gamble, 1996: 2). Regionalisation = “the process whereby a geographical area is transformed from a passive object to an active subject capable of articulating the transnational interests of the emerging region” (“regions in the making”) (Hettne, 2003; Hettne & Söderbaum, 2000).

3 Levels of Regionness (Hettne, 2003; Hettne & Söderbaum, 2000)
Regional space: a region is rooted in territorial space (a geographical unit). Regional complex: widening trans-local relations, but constrained by the nation state system. Regional society: complex, multi-dimensional interaction of state and non-state actors. Regional community: the region becomes an active subject with a distinct identity. Convergence and compatibility of ideas, organisations and processes. Conflict resolution by non-violent means. Transnationalised regional society. Social equality mechanisms. Regional collective identity. Region state: cultural, ethnic heterogeneity - forced standardisation impracticable (e.g. Soviet Union). [the concept of ‘grannacional’]

4 Regional Governance Framework (Jayasuriya, 2003)
A stable set of international economic strategies (open regionalism vs bloc regionalism). A distinctive set of governance structures which enables regional economic governance (rules-based vs informal governance structures). A set of normative or ideational constructs that define the region (regional identity) and make possible a given set of regional governance structures. (ALBA: cultural, historico-political; solidarity) 4. A convergence of domestic coalitions and political economy structures across the region, that facilitate the coherent construction of regional political projects. (ALBA: political and economic simultaneously)

5 Geo-political project and strategy, and a counter-hegemonic idea
ALBA is the only genuine LAC regionalism. Venezuelan Foreign Policy Objectives (CBRV; NESD-2001/2007): LAC integration leading to a community of nations, a common foreign and defence policy, under the principles of solidarity, complementarity, cooperation (‘fair trade’), for “regional sovereignty”, a “democratisation of the international society”, and the construction of a multi-polar world order (“international equilibrium”). International promotion of participatory democracy. Redefining MERCOSUR. Oil as “an instrument of liberation and cooperation”. Two pillars of foreign policy: South-South cooperation (solidarity, e.g Mali, Malawi, Vietnam) Diversification of international relations (geo-strategic pragmatism, e.g. Iran, China, Russia, Belorussia)

6 Declaration 3rd Extraordinary ALBA-PTA Summit 26 Nov 08
…towards the institutional consolidation of ALBA...appointment of permanent representatives in the ALBA Coordination Headquarters in Caracas as well as of the executives of the ALBA Bank… …to construct an ALBA economic and monetary zone that protects our countries from the depredation of transnational capital…through the establishment of the SUCRE Common Currency Unit and a Chamber of Payment Compensation … the creation of this Monetary Zone is accompanied by the establishment of a Reserves Stability Fund … …study the creation of a World Monetary Council that coordinates the realisation of monetary agreements between regional blocs and whose principal functions would be international monetary, financial and banking regulation and the creation of a world currency that guarantees transparency and stability in the flotation of capitals, providing resources for development.

7 PETROAMERICA The ‘open’ sub-regionalisms are disappearing (G-3), in decline (CAN, CARICOM), and a redefined MERCOSUR may be absorbed into the emerging counter-hegemonic structures (ALBA/UNASUR). The case of PETROAMERICA illustrates that ALBA and UNASUR are overlapping projects.

8 ALBA Dimensions and Institutions
Emerging institutional geography: ALBA Bank Headquarters in VEN. Bank of the South Headquarters and sub-offices in VEN, ARG, BOL. UNASUR Permanent Secretariat in ECU.

9 Inter-/multi-/transnational processes: regionalising the Venezuelan (revolutionary) state
Formal regional bloc (de jure region): BOL-CUB-DOM-HON-NIC-VEN + ECU (associate) Sub-regional: PETROCARIBE, -SUR, -ANDINA Multi-/bi-national: Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay, Caribbean states, etc. Trans-national: state + non-state actors Federal states, e.g. Paraná (Brazil). Municipalities, e.g. in Nicaragua, El Salvador. Social-popular movements, e.g. Movimiento Sem Tierra (MST), Brazil. Organised society, e.g. Venezuela’s Community Councils. Transnational production networks: SPCs, cooperatives, recuperated factories, grand-national projects (GNPs), grand-national companies (GNCs) (regionalisation of capital)

10 ALBA Organisation Chart

11 Two pillars of counter-hegemonic regional integration
The state (revolutionary) formal regionalism (de jure region) The (transnational) organised society social processes of regionalisation within and beyond the formal region (de facto region) direct and participatory construction of counter-hegemony depends on local organisation Higher Education For All (HEFA): a culture of solidarity and cooperation (the two pillars cannot be separated: the revolutionary state organises the popular classes and depends on community organisation. The state also extends out into the de facto region, e.g. through GNPs/GNCs)

12 Higher Education For All (HEFA)
Free state-provided HE as a public good and constitutional right with a social, cultural (collectivist culture vs entrepreneurial-competitive), political, and economic role for social transformation, rather than specialisation for ‘the market’ and individual social mobility. Dimensions: The quantitative: access for all. The philosophical: a “new socialist ethics” (moral, ethical and social conscience). The qualitative: social relevance a) Scientific & technical capacities for the social popular economy. b) Social development in the local, i.e. for exercising citizenship and direct democracy (generating “popular power”). PAR in the communities through the municipalised UBV.

13 Municipalisation: about 2000 HE spaces since 2003

14 1st UBV-Community Meeting Participatory Student-Community Action Research day Barrio Cruz Verde, Coro, 12th Aug 2006

15 Collective action after the PAR day: squatting to
Barrio Cruz Verde Collective action after the PAR day: squatting to move the clinic and use the thus freed space for a community centre, complying with the legal requirements through support by the UBV law students. These facilities have been taken by the community to run the clinic


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