We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lapp√©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Contradictions in the Latin American Left

by Immanuel Wallerstein from CADTM

There are definitely contradictions in the policies being pursued in many of these left oriented Latin American countries. I'm not sure that I would describe them quite like this author does. 

One thing they have in common is that they are pursuing many more independent courses of economic development than they have in the past, particularly independent of US interests. However, the ethos of capitalism with its emphasis on economic growth to profit the few is still having a major influence on the decision makers of these countries. This is because the capitalist classes are still very powerful in all of them, thus any efforts to develop their economies democratically for the benefit of all is considerably weakened--it mostly takes the form of rhetoric from their political elites who wish to assert some independence from the Empire. 

Until their societies take the ownership of significant economic enterprises away from private ownership and put them into public ownership under the control of thoroughly bottom-up democratic system, we will continue to see these contradictions.