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Power and Impotence

The History of South America under Progressivism

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Fabio Luis Barbosa dos Santos

Fabio Luis Barbosa dos Santos delves into the history of South America to understand the rise and fall of the so-called 'progressive governments'. In the wake of mobilizations against neoliberalism in the 1990s, most countries elected presidents identified with change. However, less than twenty years after Hugo Chávez's victory, this trend seems to be reversed. The times of Lula are now Bolsonaro's. What happened? Supported by extensive bibliography and hundreds of interviews, the author addresses each South American country, including those who did not elect progressives, in addition to Cuba. The national focus is enriched by an analysis of regional integration attempts, providing a detailed and necessary recent history of the subcontinent.

Originally published in Portuguese as Uma história da onda progressista sul-americana (1998-2016) by Elefante, São Paulo, 2018.

Fabio Luis Barbosa dos Santos mergulha na história da América do Sul para compreender a ascensão e queda dos chamados ‘governos progressistas’. Na esteira de mobilizações contra o neoliberalismo nos anos 1990, a maioria dos países da região elegeu presidentes identificados com a mudança. Contudo, menos de vinte anos depois da vitória de Hugo Chávez, essa onda chega ao fim. Os tempos de Lula agora são de Bolsonaro. O que aconteceu? Apoiado em extensa bibliografia e centenas de entrevistas, o autor aborda cada país, inclusive os que não elegeram progressistas, além de Cuba. O enfoque nacional é enriquecido por uma análise das tentativas de integração regional, oferecendo uma detalhada e necessária história recente do subcontinente.

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Steve J. Shone

Steve Shone’s Women of Liberty explores the many overlaps between ten radical, feminist, and anarchist thinkers: Tennie C. Claflin, Noe Itō, Louise Michel, Rose Pesotta, Margaret Sanger, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Mollie Steimer, Lois Waisbrooker, Mercy Otis Warren, and Victoria C. Woodhull. In an age of great and understandable dissatisfaction with governments around the world, Shone illuminates both the lost wisdom of the anarchists and the considerable contribution of women to intellectual thought, influences that are currently missing from many classes documenting the history of political theory.

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Daniela Spenser

Vicente Lombardo Toledano was the founder of numerous labour union organisations in Mexico and Latin America between the 1920s to the 1960s. He was not only an organiser but also a broker between the unions, the government, and business leaders, able to disentangle difficult conflicts. He cooperated closely with the governments of Mexico and other Latin American nations and worked with the representatives of the Soviet Union when he considered it useful. As a result he was alternately seen as a government stooge or a communist, even though he was never a member of the party or of the Mexican government administration.

Daniela Spenser's is the first biography of Lombardo Toledano based on his extensive private papers, on primary sources from European, Mexican and American archives, and on personal interviews. Her even-keeled portrayal of the man counters previous hagiographies and/or vilifications.

Translating Marx

José Aricó and the New Latin American Marxism

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Martín Cortés

To speak of ‘Latin American Marxism’ is to announce a problem. To what extent can Marxism, a theoretical universe forged from nineteenth-century European experiences, also be productive for grasping other realities? How can we begin to make sense of the historical disconnection between that specific corpus of ideas and Latin America’s popular movements? Martín Cortés addresses these questions by considering the trajectory and works of José Aricó, who sought to rethink and disseminate in Spanish not only the works of Marx himself, but also those of foundational socialist thinkers such as Antonio Gramsci.
Guided by an interest in Marxism’s renovation, Cortés explores Aricó’s vital contributions to key topics in political theory, such as the nation, the state, the political subject, and hegemony.

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Robert Ovetz

The United States looks today much like it did in the late 19th to early 20th century. Open class conflict is disappearing, strikes are becoming rare, unions are declining, corporate power is growing, and work is insecure and contingent. When Workers Shot Back: Class Conflict from 1877 to 1921 explores one of the most tumultuous times in United States history. Self-organised workers recomposed their power by devising new strategies and tactics to disrupt the capitalist economy and extract concessions. Mine, railroad, steel, and iron workers pursued a strategy of tension that sometimes erupted into militant class conflict and general strikes in which workers took over and ran a number of cities. Turning common wisdom on its head, When Workers Shot Back argues that the escalation of working class conflict drives rather than reacts to the consolidation and reorganisation of capital and economic and political reform of the state. Studying the class composition of this period illustrates why workers escalated the intensity of their tactics, even using tactical violence, to extract concessions and reforms when all other efforts to do so were blocked, coopted or repressed.