Revolutions do not happen suddenly, nor do they immediately transform a society. A revolution is a process, which moves at different speeds whose tempo can change rapidly if the motor of history is accelerated by intensified class conflict. But, most of the time, the building of the revolutionary momentum is glacial, and the attempt to transform a state and society can be even more slow.
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As threats to the environment increase across Latin America, new laws and police practices take aim against the front line activists defending their land and resources.
Berta Cáceres, assassinated in her home on March 3, 2016, was just one of hundreds of Latin American environmental activists attacked in recent years. At least 577 environmental human rights defenders (EHRDs) were killed in Latin America between 2010 and 2015—more than in any other region—as documented by Global Witness. But in addition to physical violence, EHRDs face threats and harassment through judicial proceedings, severely impeding their work. Before Cáceres’ murder, she faced trumped-up charges stemming from her leadership in opposition to hydroelectric dams on her indigenous community’s territory.
It is easy to understand scholarly and progressive interest in this year’s centennial of the Russian revolution, but harder to explain why there is little apparent enthusiasm for an anniversary that is arguably more important – that of Mexico’s 1917 constitution, signed on February 5, 1917. In fact, Mexico’s constitution provided the model for the first Soviet constitution. Its failure to inspire global interest may reside in an uncomfortable question facing the country: whether it should be celebrating or mourning.
If you are in U.S. academic, research, medical, or cultural fields, your assets are likely managed by pension fund giant TIAA(formerly TIAA-CREF). Though frequently neglected, pension funds constitute the largest sector of the financial industry. TIAA is among the 100 largest corporations in the United States, serving over five million active and retired employees from more than 16,000 institutions.
When the “pink tide” of left-leaning governments first rose to power on the back of anti-neoliberal protests across Latin America in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the initial reaction from the Left was euphoric. Striving to move beyond the “there is no alternative” mantra, many pinned their hopes on what seemed to be a new wave of actually existing alternatives to neoliberalism.
Amidst the revolutionary fervor of social forums, solidarity alliances, and peoples’ councils, it appeared an epochal shift was underway, which Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa optimistically dubbed “a genuine change in the times.”
But in retrospect, the 2005 political mobilizations that led to the defeat of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) may have been the high point of the pink tide project. Since then, the balance of power has slowly shifted back towards the Right, with the popularity and efficacy of left-wing governments rapidly diminishing.
Borón determines that present-day Marxism has to prove that alternatives to neoliberal capitalism exist, and that these alternatives can be useful as ‘guides to action’. Borón wittingly uses a prison break analogy demonstrating that in order to escape capitalism one must imagine a strategy and exit point for escape. Borón adamantly doubles down that in LACs (latin american countries) there is no other sustainable response, a revised socialism for the twenty-first century is the answer. The alternative – more capitalism – will doom human existence.
The hill overlooking the tailings pond—a vast, dammed tub of liquid residue—was littered with bones. Residents from the area said the goats and cattle that once grazed the land had died since mining operations began a few years ago. They held our hands as we crossed a river, directing us to jump from rock to rock to avoid plunging a foot into the polluted current. The human settlements tucked in the valley beneath the white smoke snaking into the sky appeared to be the only life remaining in the area. We were at Pueblo Viejo in the Dominican Republic, one of the largest gold mines in the world.
Earlier this year, a collection of papers was published under the title of Building Global Labor Solidarity in a Time of Accelerating Globalization (Scipes, ed., 2016). It was a strong effort by seven labor activists and scholars from different parts of the world to think out how workers today can support each other globally; initially so as to defend against attacks on workers’ and their unions’ power, but ultimately, to develop ideas on how we could more consciously develop our thinking and our organizations to move toward a more economically- and socially-just world.