A new book compiles analyses from different points of view on multiple Latin American processes.
By: Andrés Figueroa Cornejo / Resumen Latinoamericano / 18 de Diciembre 2015.-
Latin America: Emancipation Under Construction is a compilation book recently published by the Doctor in Political Science Franck Gaudichaud, and translated by Rocio Gajardo, with the unconditional support of Darío G. G.. For its publication in Chile, two independent publishers united: Tiempo Robado and América en Movimiento.
This text is made of many texts of powerful analytical depth (a real novelty in the poor Chilean publishing scene, with counted exceptions, like Plataforma Nexos, Quimantú Editorial, Proyección Bookstore, Crisis de Valparaíso Bookstore, Le Monde diplomatique – Chile, El Desconcierto, among others).
The analytical mosaic covers meaningful expressions of anti-capitalist resistance in Latin American countries: Chile, Mexico, Bolivia, Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Argentina and Uruguay. Its tones are liberating, lucid, spacious, dynamic, unfolding, and are based on concrete analysis of the facts about each of the experiences, critically reviewed.
The reporter interviewed the book’s editors, Franck Gaudichaud, and Ignacio Ponce, one of the representatives of Tiempo Robado (Stolen Time) Editors.
What is the purpose of the publication?
Franck Gaudichaud: The book seeks to bring together several exemplary struggles from different countries of the region, including indigenous communities, peasants, workers, women in struggle, feminists, etc., that allow us to draw some lessons from emancipatory paths and their problems. The text reflects experiences marked by self-management, the break with neoliberalism, patriarchy and empire.
And from your perspective, Ignacio?
Ignacio Ponce: The edition done by Franck succeeds in bringing forward these daily struggles from the grassroots that occur among various Latin American peoples. What is relevant in the case of Chile, is that today different struggles are also occurring in different places, right here. The book also allows to find similar and different struggles across the continent, and understand that other countries live conflicts and tensions, as in Chile, even in those that are transiting progressive processes. The text teaches us that, if there ever is a leftist government in Chile, this does not mean the end of all conflict. As was seen during the Popular Unity government.
What conflicts do the chosen texts reveal?
F. G.: We are in the midst of an ongoing debate where we find, on the one hand, authors like Emir Sader and Atilio Boron; and on the other side, Alberto Acosta, Maristella Svampa and Raúl Sibechi. Here we discuss whether we are at a turning point, reflux, exhaustion, a new stage, according to the positions, of what at some point was called a ‘turn left’ or ‘progressive-national reorientation’ of several governments in Latin America. But, beyond the issue of whether we are facing a new cycle or not, what you see is that tensions between popular movements and governments are becoming more acute. Perhaps the most clear case is what happens in Ecuador, where sectors of indigenous peoples are struggling against the extractivist policies of the Executive. At the same time, popular struggles against extractivism are being revived across the region, regardless their governments. There are rural and urban battles. They are facing the extractive predation caused by transnational capital and supported by governments. In this regard, there is still a developmentalist vision in the progresist and leftist sectors. Although the debate, of course, is not, like the vice president of Bolivia, García Linera, said: that Northern ecologists and Southern NGOs ‘want to condemn us to freeze nature, become forest rangers and remain poor’. No, of course that is not the discussion, nor whether we want a more sovereign neo-capitalism. In order to leave the misguided development, the social urgency and the dependency, of course we must exploit the riches in nature, but the problem is whether the exploitation of nature is done towards a post-extractivist economy or not. The resistance of communities and indigenous peoples are critical. In Chile, the cases of Freirina and the Mapuche, among others, are essential.
Power and class struggle
Now, beyond extractivism as one of the world expressions of capital to slow down the downward trend of average profit rate, and its incessant movement characterized by primitive accumulation, what about the crucial issue of power?
F. G.: The book is also a field of fraternal debate between the various strategies of the Latin American left in the past two decades. To cartoonishly summarize the state of the discussion would be to say that the visions range from ones who propose the takeover of power for the transformation of society, to those who want to erode capitalism by the emergence of self-managing alternatives and avoid seizing the government. The book proves that these views correspond to an absurd contradiction, and rather advocates how these tensions can be articulated with the prospect of taking power to change it without being trapped by it. In this regard, there are various experiences described in the book. For example, manifestations of radical ecologists in Colombia where there is real power, built from the ground, but unable of gaining enough strength nationwide. At the same time, the communal councils in Venezuela enroll in the state public policy, but sometimes suffer the weight of the bureaucracy of a state that remains annuitant. In general, we start from the idea that if we are willing to rearm the left, we must abandon sectarianism, but without falling into an opportunistic electioneering.
How does the book address the institutionalization of struggles?
I .P.: In that sense, the book shows the dispute between different projects. It is clear that, unlike what was thought in the twentieth century, today nobody has the ‘master key’ to establish a post-capitalist project. The decision on whether the ‘electoral process’ or building ‘from below’ are the solution, is in transit. I think this fight will be clarified in accordance with the cohesion strengths of each people. The road ahead will necessarily be different in each country.