Reality Check, Reality Balance
This sober analysis is from James Petras on Axis of Logic: Leftist intellectuals exaggerate the radicalism or revolutionary reality of Cuba and Venezuela, overlook the contradictory realities and their pragmatic accommodations with neo-liberals of all stripes. The Left, with little historical perspicacity, continues to categorize pragmatic neo-liberals like Lula, Kirchner and Vazquez as ‘progressives’, lumping them together with pragmatic leftists like Chavez, Castro and Morales, basing their inclusion on their twenty year-old political identities rather than their current free market, pro-agro-mineral elite policies. Worse still, the Left confuses the pragmatic neo-liberal regimes’ efforts to negotiate symmetrical free market trade agreements with the US to better the terms for national agro-mineral exporters as some sort of ‘anti-globalization’ policy or as a ‘counter-weight’ to US power.
The Left – or sectors of the Latin American Left – has to face up to the fact that while US power has declined relative to the ‘Golden Age of Pillage’ during the 1990’s, it has recovered and advanced since the mass rebellions and overthrow of client regimes of 2000-2002. The hopes that the Left had that the presidential victories of former center-left electoral parties in Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina, would augur a reversion of the neo-liberal policies of their predecessors have been demonstrably dashed. The attempt to redefine the conversion of the ex-leftist-turned-pragmatic neo-liberals into something progressive or as a ‘counter-weight’ to US power is ingenuous at best and at worst compounds the initial error. The Left’s lack of political clarity on the political changes has led it into a blind alley as damaging to its future growth as Washington’s failed efforts to recognize the new realities of the new millennia.
He makes valid points and many of the same criticisms were expressed by myself and other comrades (Che Bob,etc) after returning from our delegations to Venezuela. What Petras perhaps misses though, is the force of the undercurrent of grassroots revolutionary consciousness and indigenous organization. Something "endogenous" is happening there, though it may not happen overnight, or in a "rupture" form at all. For a more enthusiastic, optimistic assesment here is Alvaro Garcia Linera , Vice President of the Republic of Bolivia:
Here in Bolivia, the great mechanisms of mobilization were the defense of the coca leaf, the defense of water, the defense of the land and the defense of the hydrocarbons. Around these axes, the society regained confidence; around these axes society regained the ability to mobilize, constructed leaderships, constructed networks which unified city and country. And it has been thanks to that, that we can now say that in Bolivia we have a government of social movements.
If we proceed to the gradual unfolding of these four pillars, I have not the slightest doubt that the so called postneoliberalism or the society which is beyond neoliberalism will have to consolidate itself initially in the continent, and from here, if we have sufficient force and ability, to irradiate to the other continents. Latin America is in the vanguard of the construction, of the debate and of the organization of the postneoliberal societies.
I want to believe this is the vanguard movement for a worldwide reassessment of who owns what. I also believe we need to remain critical and realistic about it's unfolding.