Friday, October 06, 2006

Latin American Populism

Here is a brief overview of Latin American movements I wrote for a discussion group.

First off, Mexico. In the state of Chiapas, the Zapatista Movement has created a web of autonomous, direct democratically governed villages as well as coops and land reform. The State of Oaxaca has seen a similar movement among indigenous villages as well as the openly anarchist CIPO-RFM. (also a village federation) As I write there is a situation of dual power in Oaxaca with the different movements coming together to non-violently remove the corrupt PRI government. The CIPO-RFM and the Zapatistas have very close relations with the Spanish and French anarcho-syndicalists (more on them later)

In Costa Rica there is a very strong anti-globalist movement that has influenced one of the main parties, coming within a hair's breadth of being elected in the last election.

In Venezuela the democratically elected Chavez government has enacted land reform, built cooperatives, instituted a certain level of self-management and decentralization at the village and neighborhood level. Venezuela is working on a Bolivarian concept, by which the individual nations of Latin America ought to come together for mutual benefit.

In Argentina, while the neighborhood assembly movement has largely faded, due to the meddling of political parties, at least 10,000 workers remain in the worker-managed factories.

In Bolivia, the indigenous majority is, for the first time being empowered. They have rejected statist nationalization of the water, preferring a form of community control. The wealth of the natural resources, chiefly natural gas, will be used to improve the lives of the majority, instead of fattening the profits of some multinational.

In Chile, the social movements are reborn. Evidence of this was the massive (1million) student strike recently. Populism and indigenism are very strong in Peru and Ecuador, populist movements could take power there in the future.
In Columbia, in spite of heavy attacks and death squads the FARC guerrilla army remains undefeated and has at least 18,000 soldiers. It has adopted the concept of Bolivarian Revolution and thus has seemingly moved away from orthodox Marxist Leninism.

Left-wing governments are also found in Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, and Brazil. The Sandinistas are poised to return in Nicaragua. Anarchist groups are now found in most Latin American countries, the largest of which are in Brazil.
The general tendency is away from either the Fabian or Marxist Leninist concepts (heavy statism) and towards the populist emphasis upon empowerment of the people and cooperatives.


Blogger Renegade Eye said...

Interesting post.

I agree Leninism isn't what is happening in Latin America, I don't think anarchism is the norm either. If anything it's populism.

Oaxaca is the most interesting to me. As you know, dual power is a contradiction, and one side has to give.

10:26 PM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

I checked out your blog. I like your taste in music! I think populism is the natural form of radicalism in Latin America with anarchism the second historical tendency, which is just now starting to revive after 50 years.

10:55 PM  

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