Latin America

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

A panel-led discussion on the Venezuelan Left Opposition’s perspectives on the grave political and economic crisis facing the country. Venezuela has undergone a catastrophic economic recession over the past 6 years accompanied and exacerbated by sanctions aimed at crippling the regime’s ability to carry out international trade and access credit. This crisis seemed to peak in 2019, with the self-proclamation and Western recognition of Juan Guaido as interim president. However, as the Venezuelan Left Opposition reminds us, our activism against imperialist intervention need not include defense, justification or faith in the Maduro government. To them, Maduro represents a coalition of military, bureaucratic, entrepreneurial and corporate interests legitimized by the social advances of the Chavez years, that has imposed austerity measures and issued an onslaught against workers, peasants and indigenous peoples under the cover of hyper-inflation and the crisis cast as an “economic war”. Our panel seeks to flesh out, the nature and sources of the crisis in Venezuela through discussion of the programs and critiques issued by diverse bodies in an uncoalesced Left Opposition (Partido Socialismo y Libertad, Marea Socialista, Observatorio Venezolano de Ecología Política, Centro de Investigación y Formación Obrera, El Libertario, among others). We want to elucidate how the Venezuelan tragedy is experienced and perceived across the working class of the country, and how different unions and coalitions are carrying out attempts to break the Government-Opposition binary to allow for the emergence of independent Socialist politics. The purpose of the panel is to bring to the US Left the appeals of our comrades in Venezuela, and inspire a discussion about our pending tasks here in the US to stand in solidarity with the Venezuelan people. We believe that a simple defense of the legitimacy of the Maduro government is not only insufficient, but counter-productive to the project of the self-emancipation of the Venezuelan working class

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

A farmworker leader from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) will share the history of the organization, conditions faced by farmworkers in the U.S. agricultural industry — including abuses such as sexual harassment and forced labor — and the transformative changes now in effect in the U.S. tomato industry as a result of the award-winning Fair Food Program in setting new farm labor standards, implementing fair wages, and eliminating abuses through its groundbreaking model of Worker Driven Social Responsibility. The workshop will also focus on the models through which the CIW has built power-- from the early days of general strikes and labor stoppages in the tomato fields of Southwest Florida, to the Campaign for Fair Food with successful boycotts of powerful multinational corporations, and then to the implementation of new worker directed standards in the agricultural industry. The workshop will be facilitated in both Spanish and English. There will be a question and answer session in which attendees can engage with farmworker leaders on their experiences as farmworkers, the movement for Fair Food and how they can be involved in the movement for farmworker justice.

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LA
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Description/Abstract of your Event: 

In many ways, the challenges faced by Hugo Chávez’s successor Nicolás Maduro are a continuation of those dating back to 1998. Nevertheless, the economic crisis caused by shortages and currency speculation is more intense than during the Chávez presidency. The Maduro government’s reaction both at the level of discourse and specific actions is also distinct in some ways. The panel will attempt to determine what elements are relatively new. It will discuss the government’s activist role against business and political groups responsible for acute shortages, sharp price increases often far above that set by the government, currency speculation and refusal of the opposition to recognize the government’s legitimacy.

The panel will also analyze the reaction of the radical current of the Chavista movement and many in the rank and file who fear that Maduro’s overtures to the opposition signal a softening of government positions and possible concessions to powerful interests. The panel will also examine Maduro’s record in combating corruption. In addition, the panel will discuss developments over the last year on the social front, specifically the amalgamation of community councils into communes and the attempts to promote worker participation in the decision making of state companies. Finally, the experiences of Chavista rule, and specifically over the last year, will be examined for what they tell us about the nature of the state in the democratic transition to socialism.

Location: 
LA
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Description/Abstract of your Event: 

A mixed picture for the Latin American radical left has emerged over the last two years. On the one hand, leftist and moderate leftist governments have won presidential elections in Ecuador, Bolivia, El Salvador and Brazil, while right-wing presidential candidates with strong possibilities of success were defeated in Chile, Panama and Colombia. On the other hand, some left-leaning governments have faced increasing economic difficulties which have contributed to weaker results in recent elections. In Venezuela the government of Nicolás Maduro has been subject to an all-out destabilization campaign and will now face a congressional election that the opposition wants to characterize as a plebiscite. In addition, the sharp decline in international hydrocarbon prices has negatively affected the economies of Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador. In Venezuela and elsewhere the role of the market in nations committed to socialism has become a major issue of debate, as is currently the case in Cuba. The presentations on this panel will look at the challenges facing the Latin radical left as well as factors that favor the political survival of those governments, such as the emergence of UNASUR, MERCOSUR, CELAC, ALBA and other international bodies free of U.S. domination. Finally, it will look at the role of the United States in efforts to counter the radical left in the region.

Location: 
LA
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Description/Abstract of your Event: 

President Nicolás Maduro attributed the defeat of the Chavista candidates in December’s National Assembly elections to the “economic war” waged against his government by powerful interests, but the rank and file of his movement is calling for a thorough examination of errors committed, as well as accusations of corruption. Three factors explain the defeat and the pressing economic and political challenges facing the government: the plunge of international oil prices; the “economic war” unleashed by the private sector; and government errors, including its failure to maintain a manageable ratio between official prices of goods and the dollar, on the one hand, and open market prices, on the other. What is the relative weight of each one of these factors? In addition the panel will address the following issues: the extent to which unsustainable “populist” measures have contributed to economic problems; the validity of the self-criticisms coming from within the governing PSUV as well as social movements; the effectiveness of strategies of negotiations with sectors of the opposition including the private sector; the role of the “old state” in promoting transformation or holding it back.

Location: 
LA
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Description/Abstract of your Event: 

The new democratic leaders that have been elected in Latin America have initiated a process whereby their countries are starting to become more autonomous vis-a-vis the United States. This panel will examine to what extend and how the new democratic leaders have accomplished their goals.

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LA
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Uncritically lauded by many on the left, and impulsively denounced by the right, the Cuban revolution is almost universally viewed in one-dimensional terms. Samuel Farber, one of its most informed left-wing critics, provides a much-needed critical assessment of the revolutionѓ??s impact and legacy in his new book Cuba Since the Revolution of 1959: A Critical Assessment. Here he debates some of his critics and we present a range of perspectives on this challenging topic.

Location: 
LA
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The Policy Perspective
Description: Given that Venezuelaѓ??s President Ch?­vez could not complete his presidential term, we want to examine what this means for Venezuela from the policy perspective on politics, economics, social policies, and foreign policy. Where is Venezuela heading in the post-Ch?­vez era?