Latin America

Location: 
LA
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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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This panel will provide first hand accounts of the political, economic, social, and cultural issues at play in contemporary Venezuela. It will dispel the misinformation about the Bolivarian Republic and put its significance into context for a US left audience.

Location: 
LA
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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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The sharp decline of international commodity prices has taken a heavy toll on the popularity of Latin American leftist and center leftist governments. In Argentina, Venezuela, Bolivia progressive governments have recently suffered serious electoral setbacks, while impeachment procedures were initiated in the Brazilian congress. The panel will discuss the following relevant issues: the extent to which unsustainable “populist” measures have contributed to economic problems; the validity of the self-criticisms of leftist governments coming from within the governing party; the effectiveness of strategies of negotiations with sectors of the opposition; leftist government relations with a sector of the bourgeoisie considered “productive” if not “progressive”; what recent leftist experiences say about the transformation, through democratic means, of the “old state” into one that promotes socialism; the importance of recently created continental blocs such as UNASUR, CELAC and ALBA in countering U.S. intervention; the relative autonomy of social movements in their relations with the government; and the short and long-term prospects for leftist governments.

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For at least five hundred years of global colonial occupation and imperial plunder, the devaluation, abuse, and exploitation of womxn has gone hand-in-hand with the depletion and degradation of the Earth. By the same token, however, Indigenous, peasant, racially marginalized, and other womxn targeted by cishteropatriarchy and anthropocentrism have been on the frontlines of mobilizations for broad-based autonomy, dignity, equity, justice, and sustainability, from the Chipko movement of India to the neo-Zapatista uprising of southwestern Mexico. As interlocking global crises intensify, the ecofeminist alternatives articulated by these womxn become more important than ever to the fight for another world. This panel will feature reportbacks on ecofeminist interventions from the Americas and South Asia. Its presenters will discuss how community gardens and urban farms, permaculture and agroecology projects, biodiversity farms, traditional medical practices, and counter-hegemonic learning initiatives across these parts of the world are recentering multiply marginalized womxn at the same time as they address pressing threats to land, food, and water sovereignty.

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Location: 
NYC
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For the past two decades, Latin America — particularly the Southern Cone — was characterized by a leftward turn under the so-called “Pink Tide” governments. However, deepening economic crisis and mass discontent spurred by increasing austerity has resulted in reactionary trends and new right-wing governments assuming power. In Argentina, the neoliberal president, Mauricio Macri represents this backlash against the Pink Tide. In Brazil, the right-wing government of Michel Temer came to presidential power through an institutional coup d’etat with an explicit agenda to gut pensions and labor protections. This regressive power grab was achieved by imprisoning political oppositionists and bypassing popular elections.

Mexico, which had been a privileged partner of the United States is in the midst of a humanitarian crisis as a result of the war against drug trafficking and U.S. imperialist oppression. Right now, there is a strong possibility that the candidate of the center left, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, may win the next presidential election. As new regimes attempt to take political control, workers, the Left and the popular movement are beginning to struggle. In Argentina, there has been mass mobilization against the austerity program and the repression of the government, most notably in the case of the disappearance of activist Santiago Maldonado. In Brazil, there has been significant resistance against the coup, the assassination of the socialist city council member Marielle Franco, and new austerity. In Mexico, organized struggle has emerged against militarization, imperialist dispossession, and for the rights of migrant workers. This panel will deal with this and other questions of the current Latin American reality. The panel includes socialist militants and authors from Argentina, Brazil and Mexico.

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Since the outbreak of the global financial crisis, we have seen the rise of authoritarian regimes, of populist parties, of growing inequality… These trends diminish social cohesion and undermine democratic governance. Our future depends on how we will address the unprecedented number of political, social, and economic challenges. It is necessary to revitalize democratic governance and preserve civil rights and fundamental liberties. Arts, Culture, Humanism play a vital role in contemporary societies, and can contribute to achieving this goal. The current panel aspires to present some visions on creative democracy: in what ways the current wave of authoritarianism can be transformed through the Arts, Culture, Health Visions and Humanism. In particular, the speakers will examine how poets use language as a way to stabilize their sense of self, reclaim language and resist homogenized meaninglessness; how to narrate from a path of unity in diversity and embrace integration; some cultural perspectives from migrants in the US, and today´s initiatives on creative attempts to promote social change and civic engagement.