Latin America's Turbulent Transitions
The Future of Twenty-First Century Socialism
Roger Burbach, Michael Fox and Federico Fuentes
Published by Zed Books
2013, 224pp, ISBN 9781848135673, paperback
Over the past few years, something remarkable has occurred in Latin America. For the first time since the Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua in the 1980s, people within the region have turned toward radical left governments - specifically in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador. Why has this profound shift taken place and how does this new, so-called Twenty-First-Century Socialism actually manifest itself? What are we to make of the often fraught relationship between the social movements and governments in these countries and do, in fact, the latter even qualify as 'socialist' in reality?
These are the bold and critical questions that Latin America's Turbulent Transitions explores. The authors provocatively argue that although US hegemony in the region is on the wane, the traditional socialist project is also declining and something new is emerging. Going beyond simple conceptions of 'the left', the book reveals the true underpinnings of this powerful, transformative, and yet also complicated and contradictory process.
'As the Millennium opened, the World Social Forum met in Brazil with the slogan 'A New World is Possible,' part of a global reaction to the prevailing practices of neoliberal globalization that held that 'There is No Alternative.' The remarkable developments in Latin America in the years since demonstrate that a new world may be in the making, not just in Latin America but perhaps reaching well beyond. The insightful and informative studies collected here reveal what has been taking place in Latin America, and the implications of these developments for the emerging world order.'
- Noam Chomsky
'This book describes the political vision changing the lives of millions in Latin America. It is a manual of thrilling example for us all.'
- John Pilger, journalist and film-maker
‘This book is essential reading. It looks at the advances made by left forces in the region, the social struggles that preceded them, and the great challenges facing those governments that have set for themselves the goal of constructing an alternative to capitalism.’
- Marta Harnecker, Chilean journalist and author of Understanding the Venezuelan Revolution
'A fascinating and passionate overview of the most important social experiment on earth: Latin America's search for economic justice.'
- Michael Ryan Davis, author of Planet of Slums
'An intelligent and informed review of the Latin American left - its past, its prospects, and its internal debates. A first-rate contribution to our efforts to analyze and to transform the world.'
- Immanuel Wallerstein, Yale University
'Original and insightful analysis.'
- Saul Landau, Film Director and Author
'Burbach, Fox, and Fuentes have written a thoughtful account of the radical projects that have arisen in Latin America in the wake of the collapse of the 'old' socialism and the simultaneous weakening of U.S. hegemony in the region. Anyone who wishes to know more about the forces behind Latin America's 'left turn,' and the movements from below that have made that left turn possible, will benefit from reading this book.'
- Fred Rosen, Editor, NACLA Report on the Americas
'A vital guide for anyone seeking to understand where the left is headed in Latin America, as well as the vexing political and social challenges confronted by charismatic leaders and progressive forces on the ground.'
- Nikolas Kozloff, author of 'Revolution! South America and the Rise of the New Left'
'In a continent of ferment and change like Latin America, where we often live through tumultuous moments, a serious, documented, and critical book like Latin America's Turbulent Transitions is a valuable contribution to deepening our discussions and orienting us in the construction of a new world. Burbach, Fox, and Fuentes's vast and comprehensive chapters tackle many of the current themes and conflicts and serve as small compasses to help us understand where we are and suggest possible paths forward.'
- Raul Zibechi, Uruguayan Journalist, author of Dispersing Powers: Social Movements as Anti-State Forces
'Little by little, inch by inch the thick, dark velvet curtain thrown over daily events in Latin America by uninterested editors and nervous journalists in the Western media is being tugged back. Roger Burbach, Michael Fox and Federico Fuentes have produced a sparklingly up-to-date account of the 'pink tide' of new thinking for the general reader. The lives and politics of the present-day political giants of the Western Hemisphere - Chávez, Lula, Correa, Raúl Castro and many more - are set out with admirable clarity by three authors who know what they are talking about. No student of the New World should be without it.'
- Hugh O'Shaughnessy, author of Priest of Paraguay
'Turbulent Transitions makes sense of Latin America's leftward turn, both in terms of its origins and what this turn means for some of the main countries involved. As such, it is an essential resource for the general reader and for students of the region. The case study of Venezuela is especially useful in helping us understand Hugo Chavez' historic legacy and the advent of 21st century socialism.'
- Gregory Wilpert, author of Changing Venezuela by Taking Power: The History and Policies of the Chavez Government
'Anyone seeking to understand the complexities and tensions of the struggles to turn the radical social transformations in contemporary capitalist Latin America into a sustained socialist project, needs to encounter this book's rare combination of open-hearted commitment and hard-headed analysis.'
- Steve Ludlam, University of Sheffield
‘A profoundly important book. Latin America is the last place in the world where a broad enlightened left not only survives but thrives, setting an idealistic agenda of solidarity, equality, and freedom - though often times rhetoric doesn’t match reality. Deploying a rigorous comparative framework, Latin America’s Turbulent Transitions takes an unflinching look at socialism in the region, both as it is and as it could be.’
- Greg Grandin, Professor, New York University, author of Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City
Table of Contents
Introduction: Turbulent Transitions and the Specter of Socialism
1. Globalization, Neoliberalism, and the Rise of the Social Movements
2. The Pink Tide and the Challenge to US Hegemony
3. Between Neo-Extractivism and Twenty-First-Century Socialism
4. Venezuela's Twenty-First-Century Socialism
5. Bolivia's Communitarian Socialism
6. Ecuador's Buen Vivir Socialism (by Marc Becker)
7. Brazil: Between Challenging Hegemony and Embracing It
8. Cuba: 'Updating' Twentieth-Century Socialism?
9. Conclusion: Socialism and the Long Latin American Spring
Appendix: Nationwide Elections in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador
About the Authors:
Roger Burbach is director of the Center for the Study of the Americas and a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley. He has written extensively on Latin America and US foreign policy for over four decades. His first book, Agribusiness in the Americas (1980), co-authored with Patricia Flynn, is regarded as a classic in the research of transnational agribusiness corporations and their exploitative role in Latin America. His most notable book is Fire in the Americas (1987), co-authored with Orlando Núñez, which is an informal manifesto of the Nicaraguan revolution during the 1980s. With the collapse of twentieth-century socialism in the Soviet Union and eastern Europe he began to study the emergent system of globalization and to write about the new Latin American social movements and the renewed quest for socialism in the twenty-first century.
Michael Fox is a former editor of NACLA Report on the Americas. He has worked for many years as a freelance journalist, radio reporter, and documentary film-maker covering Latin America. He is the co-author of Venezuela Speaks!: Voices from the Grassroots (2010) and the co-director of the documentary films Beyond Elections: Redefining Democracy in the Americas and Crossing the American Crises: From Collapse to Action, both available through PM Press. He is on the board of Venezuelanalysis.com and his articles have been published in The Nation, Yes Magazine, Earth Island Journal, and more. His work can be found at blendingthelines.org.
Federico Fuentes edits Bolivia Rising, is on the board of Venezuelanalysis.com, and is a regular contributor to the Australian-based newspaper Green Left Weekly, serving as part of its Caracas bureau from 2007 to 2010. During his time in Caracas he was based at the Fundación Centro Internacional Miranda as a resident researcher investigating twenty-first-century political instruments and popular participation in public management. He has co-authored three books with Marta Harnecker on the new left in Bolivia, Ecuador, and Paraguay. His articles have been published with ZNet, Counterpunch, MRZine, Venezuelanalysis.com, Aporrea, Rebelión, America XXI, Comuna, and other publications and websites in both Spanish and English.
Export this product info to :