Social movements and struggles in Latin-America

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Ideas for understanding the development of the Latin American Left

This paper will be divided into three parts: 1) a very general historical recapitulation to contextualize; 2) the presentation of some debates that in my opinion are of importance to understand the Latin American left; 3) some ideas for conclusion and development towards the future.

1. Historical recapitulation and political phenomena of importance in the development of the Latin American Left

a. Warning about the complexity of speaking of Latin America as a closed unit of analysis.

b. Origins: From the Haitian revolution, to Julio Chávez, Rhodakanaty, Ricardo Flores Magón, Luis Emilio Recabarren and the Socialist Workers Party of Chile, Carrillo Puerto's Socialist Party of Yucatán, etc.

c. Beginning of the 20th Century: First socialist parties and revolutions (Löwy marks three periods: the revolutionary 20's to 1932 / the Stalinist from 1930 to 1959 / New revolutionary period after the Cuban revolution).

d. The Communist International and the Left Opposition in Latin America: Julio Antonio Mella, José Carlos Mariátegui, Aníbal Ponce.

e. Nationalist movements: Mexican Revolution (institutionalized), Peronism (Argentina), Prestes (Brazil), APRA (Haya de la Torre in Peru),

f. The Cuban revolution and Guevarism: New wave of revolutionary processes. Regis Debray and foquismo.

g. Liberation theology and fundamentalist counterrevolution: Thesis of the Second Vatican Council and approach of sectors of Catholicism to popular struggles. Basic Ecclesial Communities.

h. Latin American Trotskyisms: From Coyoacán to Buenos Aires. Experience of POR-Bolivia (1952 revolution), PRT-Argentina and original rupture with Morenoism (Nicaragua), PRT-Mexico and electoral experience, ELN and guerrilla experiences in the subcontinent.

i. End of the century and neoliberalism: In its different national forms, an important part of the political cultures of the left, of all currents, faced deep crises towards the end of the 80s and beginning of the 90s, in each country with more or less disastrous forms and results (against example the PT in Brazil).

j. Zapatismo and anti-globalization movement: 1994 and worldwide revitalization of the now alter-globalization struggle. World Social Forum beginning and balances to date.

k. First progressive wave: Electoral victories in Venezuela (1999), Bolivia (2006), Argentina (2003), Ecuador (2007). Problem of the qualifier "progressive", grouping different processes with different local implications.

l. Second progressive wave: With the victories of AMLO in Mexico (2018), Pedro Castillo (2021), Boric in Chile (2022), Petro in Colombia (2022), Lula again in Brazil (2022), can we speak of a new "progressive" moment? If so, what are the continuities and ruptures with the beginning of the century?

m. New social outbursts and spaces of political reconfiguration: Chile (2019), Colombia (2020), Ecuador (2022), Brazil (2022).

2. Some of the important debates that cross the Latin American Left

a. What revolution in Latin America, the updating of the theory of permanent revolution or "phases" of liberation.

b. Particularities of capitalism in Latin America: between Indo-American exceptionalism and Eurocentrism (Lowy) / Dependentistas / Pre-colonial economic formations, colonial, semi-colonial and dependent forms /

c. National bourgeoisies / populisms / nationalist anti-imperialist movements: How to understand the capitalist formation of the region? Dependence-competition relationship of the bourgeoisies / Sub-imperialisms / The populist phenomenon / How to understand "nationalist-anti-imperialist" movements?

d. Latin American states, political cultures and representativeness: Creole independence and constitution of the Latin American state.

e. The indigenous question: From Hugo Blanco to the EZLN and the MST. Problem of understanding and characterization of our societies (politically and culturally),

f. The agrarian question: Problem of land ownership as a legacy of the colonial past. The agrarian reform of the 20th century and its updating: defense of the territory.

g. Super-exploitation and the working class in the subcontinent: Specific conditions of exploitation of the working class below the survival line from the use and reconfiguration of pre-capitalist and family social formations.

h. Latin American feminisms: In recent years feminism in Latin America is a new massive, diverse and contradictory subject. It challenges all social institutions, including the left.

i. Developmentalism and ecosocialism: Between the search for a way out of underdevelopment and conservation of resources and territories.

3. Perspectives and possible developments at present

a. The so-called "progressive governments and progressive parties" Major differences in the "new wave". Relationship between governments vs. their political tools vs. social movements and other political expressions.

b. Sao Paulo Forum and campist rearticulation: Nicaragua and the campista bankruptcy.

c. Anti-capitalist left? Cash cuts and balance sheets: It seems that, under its different forms, there are spaces for a new rearticulation of the anti-capitalist left for which we struggle. There are new sectors in struggle and radicalized. What possibilities are there for the emergence of new lefts, of new revolutions?

Franck Gaudichaud - “Latin America has once again entered a period of strong social and political turbulence” [1]

FI Latin America: Dynamics of mass movements and feminist currents [2]

Recommended books:

Franck Gaudichaud, Massimo Modonesi, and Jeffery R. Webber: The Impasse of the Latin American Left

Michael Löwy: Marxism in Latin America from 1909 to the Present

Questions for the languages groups:

1. How to understand and position the anti-capitalist left in the face of the so-called "progressive governments"? Do we have to be part of the process? What is important is to maintain independence? What do these decisions depend on?

2. What are the specific characteristics of Latin American capitalism?

3. How has the relationship between the current feminist movement and the different expressions of the left in the region developed?

4. Is it possible to get out of underdevelopment without megaprojects?

5. What is the Latin American left of the 21st century like, the one that exists and the one we want?