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 Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Right Rises Up as Latin American Left Faces Setbacks

Click here to access article by Benjamin Dangl from Toward Freedom.

Dangl has been one of Latin America's leading leftist intellectuals, so I was looking forward to reading this piece for his assessment on all the recent right-wing gains in South America during the past year. I was profoundly disappointed. I googled his name to find out if he wrote other essays about this disturbing trend. I only found another brief article in Upside Down World of which he is the editor. I noticed that he is a doctoral student at McGill university in Montreal, Canada. I also noticed in my googling survey that his articles have been frequently published on liberal websites like the Nation, the Guardian, AlterNet, TruthOut, etc. So, my searches and perusals of his articles left me wondering if he was now trying to tone down his militant politics in order to protect his doctoral status and a future career. Anyway this brief article and another one posted on his Upside Down World website are both very disappointing. In the latter article he seems too casual in his brief sum up of this right-wing trend:
The new Latin American left, in all its shades of red or pink, has lately been experiencing perhaps its roughest string of months since it came to power. From embattled Venezuela to the possible political death of the Workers' Party in Brazil, from the demise of the Kirchners in Argentina to Bolivia's own turmoil, the situation is grim.
It seems to me that he and others are failing to acknowledge, or in denial of, the unsustainability of left-liberal regimes in which the left governments permit the existence of a major capitalist sectors within their countries. The latter can and do wreck havoc, with their Empire partners, on any such left-liberal government and can rather easily regain control of governments.

Capitalists in most countries in Latin America and elsewhere typically maintain close ties with the US capitalist ruling class and vice versa. These capitalists are keenly aware that their existence depends to a large extent on US support and protection. Any radical revolutionary movement will be opposed not only by the local capitalists, but by the powerful US Empire. 

Given this reality, it seems to me that revolutionaries in Latin America and other countries under the heel of the US Empire must coordinate their activities and collaborate to insure their ultimate victories. Capitalist ruling classes, under the direct or indirect influence of the Empire, do this as a matter of strategic practice to maintain their control over most of the world. As Russian revolutionaries knew even before their successful Soviet revolution, socialism in one large country (or several small countries) cannot survive in a capitalist world.