Article Reposts: A New Old Left and the Left States of Latin America

Everybody Wants A New Old Left

By Elliot Liu, http://www.linesblog.com/

Left_1.jpg picture by adam_freedom

A response piece by Elliott Liu of APOC-NYC to two proposals for new directions, along with cohesion and regroupment among the socialist left. The first piece, Which Way Is Left is by Freedom Road Socialist Organization, a nationwide soft/post-Maoist group formed during the 1980’s with the merger of several New Communist Movement remnants. The second, Manifesto For A Left Turn, was put together by a collection of professors from the east coast including Stanley Aronowitz and Rick Wolff. This piece makes me look back on my own attempt to respond to the resurgence of party building attempts in the left, which can be found here and is sorely in need of a re-write.

While I have major differences with the proposals put forward in Which Way and Manifesto, I know [the] anti-authoritarian movement in the U.S. has a long way to go before it can demonstrate that building struggle from below is more effective than strategies that rely on parties and the state. To critique the latter approach carries with it an implicit challenge: to build new kinds of horizontal power, capable of meeting people’s needs while outmaneuvering or outfighting the state form. We have our work cut out for us.

Everybodywantsanewleft.gif picture by adam_freedom

 

Lessons Learned: Latin American Left Has Much to Teach Obama Supporters

Written by Daniel Denvir
January 2009, The Indypendent

ObamandLA.jpg picture by adam_freedomAn interesting, but sadly all too brief overview on the election of left-wing governments across Latin America and their relationship with social movements. Raises interesting parallels and questions about the relationship between Obama and left social movements in the US.

In this context of ambiguous electoral victories, movements throughout the hemisphere have come to the conclusion that despite the importance of electing and defending progressive governments, real change cannot come without struggles in the workplaces, schools and streets. Workers making windows and doors in Chicago and landless farmers occupying oligarchs’ landholdings in Brazil and Bolivia legislate their own reality. While social movements in the U.S. should fight to hold Obama accountable for his business friendly tendencies, we must also fight to transform the political landscape from below. After all, it was the massive social movements of the 1930s and not the president’s ideological disposition that pushed FDR to enact his New Deal reforms. But an “inside-outside strategy” holds both promise and pitfalls, as movements navigate the blurry line between critical engagement and cheerleading. As Uruguayan writer Raúl Zibechi writes, “In love as in cooptation, you need two.” The same goes for social change.

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Elections, illusions and movements

So sorry that I haven’t been posting up anything of my own lately. I guess I’ve been too caught up and without the same amount of time in front of a computer to kill as I had before. This is a great piece with a fairly sophisticated analysis of how anarchists relate (or do not) to elections. What makes this piece more worthwhile though is the discussion on relating to mass movements and from what perspectives should anarchist-communists approach representative structures within social movements. The author outlines four basic princibles. I need to give it another read before giving comments. 

I recently heard a great little slogan that a friend posted up on my myspace page. I modified it a bit but I think it gets to the heart of the matter in a funny, almost poetic way:

“Capitalism is the poop,

Obama is the air freshener

and revolution is the shovel.”

-A. Weaver

 

Anarchist-Communism and Elections

by José Antonio Gutiérrez D.

This article was written back in 2003 and was part of the Chilean discussion on the coming local elections at the time and the way many comrades wanted to dedicate the bulk of our resources (both financial and human) to anti-electoralism. As well, there was a debate as we were starting to run into elections in universities, schools, trade unions and community organisations and some said that anarchists were against voting in any form. Some of the issues involved in these debates appear again and again, and they reflect deeper political questions. This article was originally published in the Chilean anarchist-communist magazine “Hombre y Sociedad”, No.18-19, second term of 2004.

 

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