Haitians took to the streets Feb. 7 against a long-simmering background of anger at government corruption.
What is socialism? From Left to Right, this question is becoming central to political discussion. For me, it raises another question, too: What is philosophy? This is where I will begin, with the young Karl Marx.
Many in Venezuela oppose both U.S. intervention—in league with the right wing and Juan Guaidó—and the government of President Nicolás Maduro and his generals. At the same time we cannot forget that what passed for constructing “21st Century socialism” has been a problem.
We share the Statement on Venezuela by the Anti-War Committees in Solidarity with The Struggles for Self-Determination, which looks at the situation today, its history, and takes the measure of today’s Left.
Maduro’s authoritarian rule must not give a green light to intervention from without, or to supporting a coup from within. That cannot be allowed to cover up the way that the attempt to construct socialism from the top down was no substitute for a social transformation from below.
We post this Dec. 24, 2018, commentary by Mohammed Elnaiem as a discussion article which begins: “On these holidays, we mourn for the Kurds in Syria who hopelessly fear an upcoming Turkish invasion, we mourn for the yellow vests in France who rise up in an empire built on colonial wealth but which continues to make destitute its working and unemployed poor…”
Days after the Saudi regime murdered Jamal Khashoggi, the Venezuelan regime of Nicolas Maduro murdered its own critic, Fernando Alban Salazar, in equally horrific fashion.
Colombia Humana presidential candidate Gustavo Petro, a former M19 guerrilla, has caught the imagination of Indigenous people, Afrocolombians, and many other poor Colombians.
The social crisis in Venezuela has taken a toll and earlier this year, Health Minister Antonieta Caporale was fired for releasing statistics showing that the number of women dying in childbirth had increased by 65% and children’s mortality increased 30%.
Editorial on the situation in Venezuela including the deterioration of living conditions; the repression practiced by the United Socialist Party of Venezuela and their attempt to gut Venezuela’s Bolivarian Constitution; and the personality cult built around Hugo Chávez, revealing contradictions in the movements for freedom. .
As Venezuela’s social crisis deepens, the contradictions always present in Chavismo are coming to a head. A look at the Bolivarian Constitution, Chavismo’s relationship to the Arab Spring, and its dependence on high oil prices and a top leader illuminate the crisis.
Despite difficulties, there are tendencies within the Left in Venezuela and Latin American who are critical of Maduro and trying to work out support of the Venezuelan masses, along with opposition to neoliberalism and U.S. imperialism.
During this time of economic, political and societal crisis, including shortages of food and medicine, can Venezuela’s people build a society that is truly human, thus showing the way for the rest of the world?
The essay takes a critical look at the “Latin American Pink Tide” (a decade of progressive governments in South America), its limits and contradictions, and poses the question: Is there a way forward that does not substitute statism for the action and thought of the masses?
Venezuela is in ever-deepening crisis–including electricity shortages, outrageous inflation, food shortages–because of neoliberal politics. Colombia sees a cease-fire agreement signed between the government and Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia/FARC while agricultural injustice, a major cause of increasing poverty, remains. Peru elects Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, a right-wing neoliberal, as their new president, defeating Keiko Fujimori, daughter of jailed former president Alberto Fujimori, who committed many human rights abuses while in office.
Part V of the Draft Perspectives 2016: Together with the depths of counter-revolution, the passion for philosophy points to both the need for and the potential for totally new beginnings in the transformation of society, for new banners of freedom as a polarizing force.
People’s suffering, no matter the price of oil, demonstrates capitalism’s inherent deep ties with climate change and economic destruction.
Official Call for national gathering of News and Letters Committees to work out Marxist-Humanist perspectives for 2016-2017
It was a stunning defeat. Where to now for the Venezuelan masses who supported Chavez in power, but many of whom feel disappointed in the post-Chavez period?
Governments which could never have come to power without the social movements’ mobilizations are using vague expressions of anti-capitalism, socialism, resource nationalism, anti-imperialism, etc., to impose developmentalism on their populations, often in collaboration with neoliberalism.
Real possibilities for social transformation in Latin America, and with it an end to U.S. domination with iron fist or velvet glove, lie not in the choreographed dance between the U.S. and the Latin American governments, including “Leftist” or progressive ones, inside or outside the “Summit of the Americas.”
From the July-August 2014 issue of News & Letters
RESPONSES TO MARXIST-HUMANIST PERSPECTIVES
The Marxist-Humanist Perspectives (N&L, May-June 2014) give a critical assessment of the polarization between the oppressive forces of capital’s social relations and humanity’s efforts to realize human dignity. It shows humans are not just passive victims of capital. First [=>]
What began in early February as a small student protest against a sexual assault at a university campus in the state of Tachira, which the government repressed, spread to a number of other campuses and cities, where demonstrations were also repressed and students arrested. Seizing the moment, a faction of the right-wing opposition party called for more protests, demanding the removal of President Maduro from office.
The close Venezuelan elections of recent years have likely represented the tensions inherent in Chavismo itself. While Hugo Chavez did do things to benefit many of the poorest Venezuelans, he also maintained a relationship with the business community.
Another devastating sign of capitalism’s degeneracy is its failure even to slow down climate change. Youth have spearheaded a new movement to control it. It is the actual social relations, relations of production, forms of labor, relationship to the land and other means of production, by which we can judge what must be uprooted, and to what extent any society has or has not moved to a path of development that breaks from capitalism’s never-ending growth of capital, or, as Marx put it, production for production’s sake.
News & Letters, Vol. 58, No. 3
May – June 2013
Draft for Marxist-Humanist Perspectives, 2013-2014
Capitalism’s violence, masses’ revolt show need for total view
The world today is riven between the creativity of masses in revolt and the violent degeneracy of counter-revolution, whose destructiveness even extends to the revived specter of nuclear war two decades after the collapse [=>]
The reelection of Hugo Chávez as president is an important moment in Venezuela and Latin America as a whole. After more than a decade in power—during which his administration practically eliminated illiteracy, drastically reduced misery and poverty, including far greater access to food and healthcare, and improved housing—the majority of the population continues to support [=>]
Obama’s re-election doesn’t end clash of two worlds
The two worlds of the rulers and the ruled shone through the suffocating blanket of propaganda surrounding the election in which Barack Obama won a second term. A pronounced gender gap and long lines at the polls in African-American and Latino areas reflected the determination to defeat the [=>]
Daraya, Aug. 25: the Assad regime continues its genocide, with 300-600 estimated killed in this Damascus suburb. The dead are unarmed men, women and children of the working class. This massacre was committed to terrorize the revolutionary people of Syria, and to guarantee the security of the nearby military airfield that Assad will use in [=>]
From the July-August 2011 issue of News & Letters:
- AS REVOLUTION AND COUNTER-REVOLUTION TAKE WORLD STAGE
- CHINESE ART PROJECT
- HEALTHCARE IN 2011
- NEW RIGHT=OLD LEFT?
- FREEDOM RIDES, 50 YEARS AFTER
- WOMEN’S LIBERATION SPEAKS IN MANY VOICES
- BURMA AND NORTH KOREA
- FIGHTING FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
- VOICES FROM BEHIND THE BARS
AS REVOLUTION AND COUNTER-REVOLUTION TAKE WORLD STAGE
Congratulations on a fine May-June issue. Thanks especially for [=>]