Utopia and the Dialectic in Latin American Liberation


Utopia and the Dialectic in Latin American Liberation begins by examining the concept of utopia in Latin American thought, particularly its roots within indigenous emancipatory practice, and suggests that within this concept of utopia can be found a resonance with the dialectic of negativity that Hegel developed under the impact of the French Revolution, further developed by such thinker-activists as Marx, Lenin and Raya Dunayevskaya. From this theoretical-philosophical plane, the study moves to the liberation practices of social movements in recent Latin American history. Movements such as the Zapatistas in Mexico, Indigenous feminism throughout the Americas, and Indigenous struggles in Bolivia and Colombia, are among those taken up--most often in the words of the participants. The study concludes by discussing a dialectic of philosophy and organization in the context of Latin American liberation.
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Biographical Note

Eugene Gogol is a Marxist-Humanist activist and writer. Previous works on Latin America: Utopía y dialéctica en la liberación latinoamericana / Utopia and the Dialectic in Latin American Liberation (Juan Pablos Editor 2014), El concepto del otro en la liberación latinoamericana / The concept of the other in Latin American Liberation (Juan Pablos Editor 2004). Other work: Toward a Dialectic of Philosophy and Organization (Brill 2012).

Review Quote

"The key question driving Utopia and the Dialectic in Latin American Liberation is this: ‘[a]re there living threads which connect a concept of utopia found in many of today’s Latin American movements and the dialectic as found in Hegel, created anew in Marx, and by others?’ (4). In Parts 1 and 2 of the volume, Eugene Gogol approaches this question directly: first, he unveils ‘certain concepts of dialectical thought […] that can aid us in grasping the dialectic in Hegel as in life’ (28); second, he looks for ‘strands of the dialectic as they emerge from within Latin America itself’ (4). The result is impressive. In clear and unhurried prose, Gogol offers an erudite exploration of some complex theoretical ground, and then deftly applies it to a few instances of popular rebellion in the region." – Eduardo Frajman, in: Marx &Philosoph, 27 July 2016

Table of contents

Acknowledgements XI Introduction 1 I Utopia and the Dialectic as Contested Terrain 1 II The Present Moment 5 III Origins—Dunayevskaya and the Dialectic of Organization and Philosophy 8 IV Structure of the Present Study 10 PART 1: PHILOSOPHIC FOUNDATIONS 1 The Meaning of Utopia in Latin America 15 I “The Right to One’s (Latin America’s) Own Utopia” 15 II “Utopia as Space (Place) of Social Resistance” 17 III Utopia and Latin American Thinkers 20 2 Dialectical Thought—from Hegel to Marx, from Lenin to Dunayevskaya. What is the Power of Negativity for Our Day? 25 I Moments in the Hegelian Dialectic 25 II Marx-Hegel—from “Critique of the Hegelian Dialectic” to Capital 33 III Lenin-Hegel—Philosophical Preparation for Revolution? 37 IV Dunayevskaya-Hegel—Reading Absolute Negativity “As New Beginning” 45 3 Are There Emancipatory Threads between Utopia and the Dialectic in Latin America? 57 I Preliminary Note: The Dialectic of Universal-Particular-Individual Reaching toward Utopias-Projects-Masses 57 II The Challenge in Practice and in Theory: Will Latin America Arrive. Only on the Threshold of a New Society, or Enter into the Realm of Absolute Liberation? 58 III How Do a Latin American Concept of Utopia and the Dialectic of Absolute Negativity Speak to Each Other? 63 PART 2: THE STATE AND SOCIAL MOVEMENTS IN LATIN AMERICA 4 Haiti, 1986–1993: The Uprooting (Dejoucki), the Flood (Lavalas) and the Repression 75 I Haiti was the First: A Brief Note on the Significance of the Haitian Revolution, 1791–1804 75 II Haiti in Books and in Life 76 III Theology of Liberation in Concrete Practice: Aristide’s Sermons and Actions 83 IV Epilogue: Post-the Jan. 12, 2012 Earthquake 88 5 The Revolutionary Process in Venezuela—Advances, Contradictions, Questions 95 I The Passing of Hugo Chavez 95 II Preliminary Moments: The Oil Addiction; The First Period of the Chavez Government 96 III Under the Whip of the Counter-Revolution a Revolutionary Process Begins 98 IV Chavez’s Call to Build “21st Century Socialism”—What is Its Meaning? How Can It Move “Beyond Capital”? Who are the Social Subjects of Revolutionary Change? What is the Role of the State? The Unions? The Party? 100 V The Venezuelan Debate on 21st Century Socialism: Relation of Party and Mass Movement; What Kind of Party? What Kind of Leadership? The Role of the Intellectual: Excerpts from Forum on “Intellectuals, Socialism and Democracy” 112 VI Is There a Missing Ingredient in Venezuela Today? 116 6 Mexico’s Revolutionary Forms of Organization: The Zapatistas and the Indigenous Autonomous Communities in Resistance 119 I Indigenous and Zapatista Organizational Praxis—The Building of Autonomy in Rebel Lands 119 II Anti-Capitalist and from the Left: The 6th Declaration and La Otra Campaña 127 III Once Again, the Building of Autonomy in Rebel Lands: The Second Encuentro of the Zapatistas and the Peoples of the World—The Power of Indigenous Voices in Rebellion 132 IV The Zapatistas and Mexico’s Left Intellectuals 135 Appendix 1: Zapatista Document: Them and Us— Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos 140 Appendix 2: Zapatista Document: Them and Us— Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés 146 7 Bolivia: In Revolutionary Transformation, 2000–2005; The Pull of State-Capitalism, 2006–2013 152 I The Revolutionary Social Process, 2000–2005 153 II What Happens After? Social Movements under the Threat of State-ism and Neoliberalism in Unity, 2006–2013 161 PART 3: REVOLUTIONARY PROCESSES IN LATIN AMERICA: VOICES FROM BELOW 8 Social Movements in Argentina 171 Francisco T. Sobrino I Background 171 II The Movement of the Unemployed 172 III The Movement of “Recovered Factories” 175 IV The Meaning of the Protests of December 2001 and the Mobilizations of 2002 178 V The Local Assemblies 179 VI Attempts by the New Government and the Dominant Classes to Resolve the Crisis 182 VII The Cooptation of Sectors of Intellectuals, Human Right Organizations and a Part of the Left 184 VIII Other Measures Used by the Ruling Classes in order to Solve the Crisis of Legitimacy 186 IX In a Way, a Provisional Conclusion 186 Appendix: Excerpts from an interview with Paula, an Argentine feminist and member of the Gay, Lesbian, Transvestite, Transgender, and Bisexual (glttb) Collective 188 9 Indigenous Struggles for Territory, Autonomy and Natural Resources 195 I The Meaning of Autonomy in Mexico: The Case of the Autonomous Municipality of San Juan Cópala 197 Brenda Porras Rodríguez and Fernando Alan López Bonifacio II The Nasa: Subjects of Dignity 208 Appendix: Interview with Nasa Activists 225 III The Community Police in Guerrero An Interview with Marciano, an Indigenous Mixtec, on His Work and Experience 228 10 Women as Force and Reason of Social Transformations 231 I Feminisms and Liberations in Our America [Nuestra América] 233 Francesca Gargallo II The Role of Women in the Struggle for Autonomy in Mexico 260 Raquel Vázquez Appendix 1: Women in the Montaña Region of Guerrero: The Other Arm of Community Justice 270 Appendix 2: Political Statement of the Xinka Communitarian Feminist Women: There is No Decolonialization without Depatriarchalization! 279 11 Youth, Popular Education, Teachers 281 I The tipnis March: New Horizons for Popular Education 283 Benito Fernandez II On Urban Resistance and Processes of Formation of Subjects for Emancipatory Action: An Examination of the Cultural Breakthrough Brought about by the Medellin Youth Network, 1991–2011 302 Edison Villa Holguín III The Battle for Oaxaca: Repression and Revolutionary Resistance 328 Eugene Gogol Appendix 1: Yo Soy #132 338 Appendix 2: Chilean Student Protests 351 Camila Vallejo Appendix 3: The Books of the Zapatista Little School Zapatistas from the Indigenous Communities in Resistance 357 PART 4: BATTLE OF IDEAS AND PRACTICES; CONCLUSIONS 12 Horizontal-ism, State-ism, Marxism and the Indigenous Dimension—Raul Zibechi, Álvaro García Linera, Hugo Blanco 375 I Raul Zibechi, Chronicler of Latin America in Social Rebellion 375 II The Statist Marxism of Álvaro García Linera 380 III Hugo Blanco—Peruvian Revolutionary: From Trotskyism and the Peasantry to the Indigenous Movement for Land and Mother Earth 385 Appendix 1: The Organization and Building of Mass Power: Horizontalism and Verticalism, Utopia and Project 389 Rubén Dri Appendix 2: The “Top-Down” State and the “Bottom-Up” State 399 Guillermo Almeyra 13 The Zapatistas and the Dialectic 402 I “The Time of the No and the Time of the Yes” 404 II The Zapatista Concept of Time 404 III The Rewinds: Our Dead, the Living, Biographies, Diversity, Stories, Our History, and Other Subjects 406 14 Marx, Hegel and Dunayevskaya—Toward a Dialectic of Philosophy and Organization in the Context of Latin American Liberation 414 I Marx and the Present Moment in Latin America 414 II Hegel’s Revolution in Philosophy—From Master Slave to Absolute Negativity 416 III Dunayevskaya’s Reading of the Dialectic in Marx—Its Significance for Today 419 IV Conclusion: Toward a Dialectic of Organization and Philosophy 424 Bibliography 431 Index 438


Activists and academics interested in today’s Latin American social movements and their relation to developing emancipatory philosophy.