London Review of Books
My knowledge of Cuba’s revolutionary offensive in Latin America is based on conversations with Cuban and Latin American protagonists, including – after two decades’ knocking at the door – a five-hour tête-à-tête with Castro in June 2015; as well as on documents from the US, the USSR, the GDR, Canada and Britain.
Presiding over last month’s honorary Gramsci conference in Buenos Aires was a sense of urgency: a need redress certain aspects of Gramsci’s thinking in light of a reactionary uptick throughout the continent. The ability of right-wing movements—in Venezuela, Brazil, and elsewhere—to mobilize mass demonstrations against progressive governments has led several commentators to orient themselves through a rereading of Gramsci’s writings on fascism.
Correísmo marked a turning point in Ecuador's history. Correa launched his administration with measures such as buying back the country’s debt, renegotiating oil contracts and better tax collection. As Lenin Moreno takes office he will seek to find ways to continue the progress made in reducing poverty while overcoming divisions in society. Moreno was Correa’s vice president between 2007 and 2013 where he was a strng advocate for people with disabilities.
International media has provided a constant stream of stories and editorials about the collapse of the Venezuelan economy. Shortages of food and medicine, hours-long lines, incomes eroded by triple-digit inflation have dominated press reports. Adherents to this explanation say the downward spiral will continue until the chavistas are removed from power, either through elections or through a coup (most pundits don't care which). The reality is more complicated.
Honduras, Venezuela, Argentina… is Brazil next? Will the progressive policies initiated by the Workers’ Party’s mythic hero Lula, carried forward by Pres. Dilma Rousseff, end in what many left and radical activists are calling “coups” without the military? The most repeated slogan at this year’s 15th World Social Forum in Porto Alegre was: “Not another coup.”
The word socialism is in the air these days. Socialism of many varieties has been enjoying a comeback in Latin America for some time. Evo Morales, Rafael Correa, Lula da Silva, the late Hugo Chavez have been the region's dominant leaders in this century. And now there is a remarkable resurgence of European socialism. And, and, the candidate everyone is talking about is...Bernie Sanders, democratic socialist.
Two weeks ago Portside published an essay by Michael Brie, The Tragedy of Party Communism. Here Kurt Stand, David Cohen and Jack Radey reflect on their participation in the socialist movement, what lessons there may be to draw on, as well as which to forget. For today's and tomorrow's socialists, they see socialism as a system that could be reformed, capitalism a system that needs to be abolished.
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