Search Results

Left-Indigenous Struggles in Modern Bolivia
Bolivia witnessed a left-indigenous insurrectionary cycle between 2000 and 2005 that overthrew two neoliberal presidents and laid the foundation for Evo Morales’ successful bid to become the country’s first indigenous head of state in 2006. Building on the theoretical traditions of revolutionary Marxism and indigenous liberation, this book provides an analytical framework for understanding the fine-grained sociological and political nuances of twenty-first century Bolivian class-struggle, state-repression, and indigenous resistance, as well the deeply historical roots of today’s oppositional traditions. Drawing on extensive ethnographic fieldwork, including more than 80 in-depth interviews with social-movement and trade-union activists, Red October is a ground-breaking intervention in the study of contemporary Bolivia and the wider Latin American turn to the left over the last decade.

Abstract

This review-essay offers an extended engagement with Fernando Ignacio Leiva’s Latin American Neostructuralism, one of the most important contributions to contemporary Latin-American political economy. It situates Leiva’s critique of neostructuralism against the wider backdrop of Latin America’s contradictory turn to the Left since the late 1990s, and compares the treatments of change in Latin-American capitalism over the course of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries developed by the schools of classical structuralism, neostructuralism, and neoliberalism. The essay finds that Leiva’s critique of neostructuralism and his explanation for its influence on large segments of the region’s Left is the best work on the topic currently available in English. Leiva systematically demolishes neostructuralism’s claim to be a progressive alternative to neoliberalism. At the same time, it is argued that Leiva’s theoretical framework is compromised by its uncritical adoption of categories from French regulation-theory, and its nostalgia for elements of classical structuralism and its associated development-model of import-substitution industrialisation. Further, it is found that Leiva’s implicit attachment to certain myths propagated by the Marxism of the Second and, especially, Third Internationals regarding the national bourgeoisie’s role in Third-World capitalist development leaves him unduly dogmatic about the necessity, and unduly optimistic about the possibility, of building a progressive stage of capitalism in Latin America today. The same mythologies prevent Leiva from drawing the appropriate conclusions as regards the urgent necessity of rebuilding the socialist project in Latin America and internationally.

In: Historical Materialism

This article introduces the symposium on Glen Coulthard’s Red Skin, White Masks. It begins by situating the book’s publication in the wake of the extensive mobilisations of the Idle No More movement in Canada in 2012–13. Coulthard’s strategic hypotheses on the horizons of Indigenous liberation in the book are intimately linked to his participation in these recent struggles. The article then locates Red Skin, White Masks within a wider renaissance of Indigenous Studies in the North American context in recent years, highlighting Coulthard’s unique and sympathetic extension of Marx’s critique of capitalism, particularly through his use of the concept of ‘primitive accumulation’. Next, the article outlines the long arc of the argument in Red Skin, White Masks and the organisation of the book’s constituent parts, providing a backdrop to the critical engagements that follow from Peter Kulchyski, Geoff Mann, George Ciccariello-Maher, and Roxanne Dunbar-Oritz. The article closes with reflections on Coulthard’s engagement with Fanon, who, besides Marx, is the most important polestar in Red Skin, White Masks.

In: Historical Materialism

George Ciccariello-Maher’s We Created Chávez is the most important book available in English proposing an anti-capitalist framework for understanding the Bolivarian process in contemporary Venezuela, as well as its historical backdrop dating back to 1958. The book contains within it a laudable critique of Eurocentrism and a masterful combination of oral history, ethnography, and theoretical sophistication. It reveals with unusual clarity and insight the multiplicity of popular movements that allowed for Hugo Chávez’s eventual ascension to presidential office in the late 1990s. We Created Chávez has set a new scholarly bar for social histories of the Bolivarian process and demands serious engagement by Marxists. As a first attempt at such engagement, this paper reveals some critical theoretical and sociological flaws in the text and other areas of analytical imprecision. Divided into theoretical and historical parts, it unpacks some of the strengths and weaknesses by moving from the abstract to the concrete. The intervention begins with concepts – the mutually determining dialectic between Chávez and social movements; ‘the people’; and ‘dual power’. From here, it grounds these concepts, and Ciccariello-Maher’s use of them, in various themes and movements across specific historical periods of Venezuelan political development – the rural guerrillas of the 1960s, the urban guerrillas of the 1970s, the new urban socio-political formations of the 1980s, Afro-Indigenous struggles in the Bolivarian process, and formal and informal working-class transformations since the onset of neoliberalism and its present contestation in the Venezuelan context.

In: Historical Materialism
In: Crisis and Contradiction
In: Red October
In: Red October
In: Red October
In: Red October
In: Red October