bristol reading group 28th november: 21st century socialism in latin america?

22 11 2010

The next Bristol reading group session is on socialism in Latin America. It will be on Sunday 28th November at Cafe Kino, Ninetree Hill, Stokes Croft, from 6pm.

All welcome. See below for suggested reading. It is not expected that you read all the texts – focus on the country or countries you are most interested in. Read the rest of this entry »





deadlock in venezuela vote

3 10 2010

The 26th September parliamentary elections saw a fresh clash between President Hugo Chávez’s PSUV and the right-wing opposition. Chávez has won a series of elections since 1998, with the American-backed opposition resorting to military means with their short-lived 2002 coup attempt.

However, today Chávez is presiding over a sharp fall in working-class living standards thanks to the economic crisis and diminishing oil revenue. Claudio Testa reports. Read the rest of this entry »





maoism meets chavismo? a review of badiou workshop ‘subject and appearance’

23 11 2009

by Nathan Coombs

Nowadays it is hard to find many examples of academic leftism crossing paths with real left wing politics. One could even argue that the former might have a negative effect on the latter – the UK is, after all, home to one of the strongest left wing publishing empires and conference circuits in the world, and yet its organised, political left is drearily weak by all continental comparisons.

There was something a bit edgy, then, about the recent workshop on the philosophy of Alain Badiou  taking place in the Venezuelan Embassy’s Bolivar Hall on 20th November. One half expected to be spending the day staring at an enormous portrait of Hugo Chavez hung at the back of the hall during the proceedings. Thankfully, the large hall was graced by a more tasteful/less piece of generic modern art and there was not a trace of Chavez propaganda in sight. Read the rest of this entry »





state capitalism and communism-from-below in latin america

28 09 2009

David Broder’s talk to The Commune’s recent Manchester forum

The class struggle in Latin America is one that has always roused great interest and a certain romanticism among the western left. The continent has seen a number of heroic struggles against often savage exploitation and state repression, whether by the industrial working class, landless peasants or indigenous peoples. But the politics of the Latin American left are complex and often mischaracterised.

zelayacorreachavezortegamorales

I’m going to talk about the recent history of Latin America and the relationship of US imperialism to national ruling classes; in what ways this has shaped the major left trends and the workers’ movement on the continent; and the different types of movement that exist today.  Read the rest of this entry »





manchester public meeting: populism and class struggle in latin america

26 09 2009

The Commune’s first Manchester forum, Saturday 26th September

The last decade has seen a wave of class struggle shaking neo-liberalism in Latin America, with trade unions, social movements and indigenous people across the continent stirred to action.

26thseptlatam

Many also think that leaders like Hugo Chávez in Venezuela and Evo Morales in Bolivia are ‘building socialism’, and the radical right and US imperialism have mobilised to try and crush them. July saw the most outrageous action yet as the Honduran military overthrew the centre-left president Manuel Zelaya.

Where is the class struggle in Latin America headed? What does the Obama administration mean for US relations with the continent? Are systems like Venezuela and Cuba a model for communists to follow? Come and join the debate at The Commune’s forum. Read the rest of this entry »





manchester public meeting: populism and class struggle in latin america

15 09 2009

The Commune’s first Manchester forum, Saturday 26th September

The last decade has seen a wave of class struggle shaking neo-liberalism in Latin America, with trade unions, social movements and indigenous people across the continent stirred to action.

26thseptlatam

Many also think that leaders like Hugo Chávez in Venezuela and Evo Morales in Bolivia are ‘building socialism’, and the radical right and US imperialism have mobilised to try and crush them. July saw the most outrageous action yet as the Honduran military overthrew the centre-left president Manuel Zelaya.

Where is the class struggle in Latin America headed? What does the Obama administration mean for US relations with the continent? Are systems like Venezuela and Cuba a model for communists to follow? Come and join the debate at The Commune’s forum. Read the rest of this entry »





latin america’s future is being played out in honduras

13 08 2009

Roberto Sáenz writes of a new situation of crisis, reactionary offensives, polarisation and growing popular resistance in the region, as exemplified by the recent military coup against Honduras’s centre-left president Zelaya.

hondurasposter

“What happened in Honduras is no trivial matter. There is no use taking the word of the constitutionalists who claim that no coup took place since the executive was saved and the other powers of state have been kept ‘intact’. It is not a question of yes to Zelaya, no to Zelaya, yes to Chávez, no to Chávez. They took the president away in his pyjamas: the outcome which is concretising represents a massive backwards step for the democracies of the region and a serious threat to their political systems. Two years ago not even the most fervent conspirator could have imagined a military coup in Latin America. Today, given certain circumstances and taking certain factors into consideration, once again all such options are on the table. This is well-known to those who would split Bolivia, the banana magnates of Guatemala and Ecuador, the followers of General Lino Oviedo in Paraguay and Major Roberto D’Aubuisson Arrieta in El Salvador, the ex-contras in Nicaragua, the Venezuelan employers’ federation and the Argentinian landowners with their blockades”[1]. Read the rest of this entry »





reprints of the commune’s pamphlets – buy online

7 08 2009

We have printed more copies of our series of pamphlets, several of which (in particular the long-unavailable Venezuela pamphlet) were out of print. See below for a list of the seven pamphlets available. They cost £1 +50p postage per copy. To order online, work out the total of your purchases then ‘donate’ the money here, making sure to specify in the text box what you are ordering.

communestall

Alternatively, write to uncaptiveminds@gmail.com to place your order. We take payment by cheque (addressed to ‘The Commune’, at The Commune, 2nd Floor, 145-157 St. John Street, London EC1V 4PY) or by transfer to Co-op account S/C 089299, A/C 65317440. Read the rest of this entry »





imperialism and populism in latin america: the case of peru 1968-75

25 07 2009

by David Broder

For many mainstream commentators, the clashes following the coup against soft-left Honduran president Manuel Zelaya fit into the usual analysis of a continent-wide battle between pro-US conservative parties and a radical “pink tide”.  It is indeed striking how prominently supporters of the Honduran military coup allege interference in the country by Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez, a theme also particularly commonplace in the political discourse of the right in Nicaragua, Ecuador and Bolivia. The Times[1] this week approvingly quoted one observer to the effect that “Chávism versus anti-Chávism is a new version of Communism versus anti-Communism”.

However, while the Venezuelan president is evidently an influential and controversial figure and the focus of much attention, we must go beyond the typical media epithets about his personality – ‘firebrand’, ‘outspoken’, and so on – and ask: what dynamics and social forces do these conflicts represent? Why has Chávism and anti-Chávism generalized across Latin America, how irreconcilable are the divisions, and to what extent are these questions of anti-imperialism and class struggle?

perucolonels

To understand what is taking place, it is important to contextualize the supposed “pink tide” led by Chávez in the history of Latin America, and in particular the continent’s many examples of ‘populist’ governments with supposedly ‘anti-imperialist’ and statist agendas. This article looks in particular at the case of the ‘Revolutionary Government of the Armed Forces’, which governed Peru from 1968 to 1975. Read the rest of this entry »





honduras: mass movement to defeat “pinocheletti”

6 07 2009

by Roberto Ramírez

The coup d’état against president Manuel “Mel” Zelaya is first of all a sign of how the global crisis has opened up a new political situation across the world. Last year, at the outbreak of the crisis, we warned that it would mean more polarised politics, as much in a right-wing direction as to the left, and that this would mean increasing abandonment of the  political “centre” and sharper confrontations.

coup

Honduras, a country hit hard by the global crisis, is itself one of the weakest links in the Central American semi-colonial chain… which for more than three years has seen the highest level of struggle in Central America, with national mobilisations (the “civic stoppages”) which have several times managed to paralyse the country. One aspect of this previous polarisation was the birth of the CNRP (National Popular Resistance Council) which brought together union federations and social movements calling for “civic stoppages” and other mobilisations. Read the rest of this entry »





the commune’s pamphlets: reprints now available

10 06 2009

More copies of our pamphlet series, many of which had sold out, are now available. The text of each of  the seven pamphlets is online (see the list of subjects below), but you can also order paper copies – £1 +50p postage per copy.

communestall

Write to uncaptiveminds@gmail.com to place your order. We take payment by cheque (addressed to ‘The Commune’, at The Commune, 2nd Floor, 145-157 St. John Street, London EC1V 4PY) or by transfer to Co-op account S/C 089299, A/C 65317440. Read the rest of this entry »





new pamphlet on chávez’s venezuela

16 02 2009

We are pleased to announce the publication of our seventh pamphlet, “The revolution delayed: a decade of Hugo Chávez”.

The pamphlet features the translation of an interview conducted with El Libertario in Caracas by the French anarchist ‘Charles Reeve’, alongside an interview with Loren Goldner, author of Ubu saved from drowning: worker insurgency and statist containment in Spain and Portugal. These documents are prefaced by a chronology of recent developments in Venezuela. Click the image below to read it online.

You can order the pamphlet for £1 + postage by writing to uncaptiveminds@gmail.com or The Commune, 2nd Floor, 145-157 St John Street, London EC1V 4PY.

chavezcover





the revolution delayed: 10 years of hugo chávez’s rule

9 02 2009

This month marks the tenth anniversary of Hugo Chávez’s coming to power in Venezuela, and ten years of the “Bolivarian revolution”. This process has included waves of state intervention in the economy and fervent rhetoric against US imperialism. But while some on the  left see this Chavista movement as the new “socialism for the 21st century”, groups such as ours have argued that it is actually more like an old-fashioned attempt at modernisation by a technocratic élite; that  increased bureaucratic power over capital is not inherently progressive;  and that the “revolution” in Venezuela allows for very little working-class control or initiative from below.

Here we present a translation of a March 2008 interview conducted by the French anarchist ‘Charles Reeve’ with two members of the El Libertario group in Caracas, the nation’s capital, which offers some stark insights into the reality of the situation. Looking at various aspects of the Venezuelan economy and living standards in the country, it argues that Chavismo and the mythology of the “Bolivarian revolution” conceal a raft of neo-liberal reforms and attacks on workers’ rights, and that we must break out of the dynamics of Chávez vs. the opposition in order to build an autonomous working-class alternative.

chavezreviewstroops Read the rest of this entry »





evo morales and the constitutional referendum in bolivia

23 01 2009

In September 2008 we carried extensive coverage of the coup attempt by white right-wing oligarchs in the east of Bolivia, who wanted to split the country, overthrow Evo Morales’ soft-left MAS government and crush the mighty workers’ movement. There were numerous racist attacks on indigenous people, with dozens massacred by fascist militias. As Morales vacillated and called on the mass movement triggered by the coup attempts to keep ‘calm’, it was up to the urban poor, indigenous peasants and workers to defend themselves. Eventually the failure of the coup resulted in Morales sitting down to talks with the oligarchy, and after making concessions over his planned State Political Constitution, the document will go to a country-wide referendum on Sunday 25th. The article below examining the issues is a translation of a piece by Socialismo o Barbarie.

Before the constitutional referendum of Sunday 25th January 2009, we say…

Neither the ‘no’ of the reactionary racist oligarchy in the east…

Nor the ‘yes’ of MAS, which wants to introduce “Andean capitalism…

We call for abstention!

Declaration by Socialismo o Barbarie Bolivia
La Paz, 22nd January 2009

Read the rest of this entry »








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