a friend in need is a friend indeed…

David Broder’s thoughts on the cosy ruling-class ties being pulled apart by the Middle East uprising

Like many of the great revolutions in history, the current wave of democratic uprisings surprised all the intelligence experts and media pundits. Not only has the hated NUS chief Aaron Porter been displaced in a palace coup, but so too have dictators such as Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak.

This element of surprise in the Arab revolt has left many of the great and good caught with their pants down. If dictators are falling, it’s not the right ones, and the changed situation has left some cosy friendships rather exposed. Continue reading “a friend in need is a friend indeed…”

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

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. Continue reading “bristol reading group 28th november: 21st century socialism in latin america?”

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

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. Continue reading “maoism meets chavismo? a review of badiou workshop ‘subject and appearance’”

state capitalism and communism-from-below in latin america

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.

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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.  Continue reading “state capitalism and communism-from-below in latin america”

manchester public meeting: populism and class struggle in latin america

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.

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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. Continue reading “manchester public meeting: populism and class struggle in latin america”

latin america’s future is being played out in honduras

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.

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“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]. Continue reading “latin america’s future is being played out in honduras”

honduras: mass movement to defeat “pinocheletti”

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.

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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. Continue reading “honduras: mass movement to defeat “pinocheletti””