deadlock in venezuela vote

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. Continue reading “deadlock in venezuela vote”

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”

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

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?

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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. Continue reading “imperialism and populism in latin america: the case of peru 1968-75”

the commune’s pamphlets: reprints now available

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.

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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. Continue reading “the commune’s pamphlets: reprints now available”

new pamphlet on chávez’s venezuela

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.

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

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 Continue reading “the revolution delayed: 10 years of hugo chávez’s rule”