Rebuilding from the South

favelas-1930.jpg!Blog

After an extended absence this blog will once again be utilized and regularly updated. Coming out of a period of personal political stagnation, followed by a very hard period of intensive learning on the other side of the world, I now feel in a position where I can finally begin to have something substantial to contribute to the left. The starting point of this project will be the translation of certain texts and the writing of articles about the unfolding political struggles in my new home, Brazil. The repression, gentrification and corruption which preparation for the World Cup has brought is outmatched only by the courage and ferocity of the resistance of the Brazilian working class. The lessons of these struggles so far, of the mass mobilizations of over 1 million in June, of the marches of tens of thousands since, of the strikes, of the student occupations of Universities, and of the everyday resistance of the poor to the ferocious police occupations of the Favelas; all of these have important lessons for the many people on the left unable to read Portuguese.

However the goal of this project will not be simply to recount the stories of so many radical struggles in Brazil. Even if it is understudied from a Marxist perspective in English, there is no pressing need for yet another disconnected article or book tracing the rise and fall of a social movement. This project will be conceived as a political intervention into Revolutionary Marxism and Trotskyism as it exists in the United States and most of the developed world. While it is true that Trotskyism itself is anything but euro-centric, there is almost little to no knowledge or discussion of the rich and deeply meaningful history of Latin American Trotskyism among the anglophone left. For those who have heard of the monumental acheivement of the Frente del Izquierda in the recent elections in Argentina (Over 1.2 million votes in a Country with some 20-something million voters) it has likely come as a surprise out of nowhere. Yet Argentina has been perhaps the single country with the proportionately strongest and most militant Trotskyist movement since at least the late 80’s.

It is fully in accord with the spirit of Revolutionary Marxism to declare that revolutionary theory and organization will be the most advanced where the class struggle has been the greatest. From the failed almost-revolution in Bolivia in the 1950’s, to the massive success of the Frente del Izqueirda today, Latin America has been a consistently important and consistently over-looked site of not only class struggle (plenty of academics have written books on that) but specifically of the growth of a Trotskyism which has real roots in that class struggle, with the sort of substantial connection to the workers movement that American Trotskyists have only been able to dream of since the 1930’s. It is also a location where one can see, from that failed Bolivian revolution, to the actions of so called trotskyists who support the neoliberal PT in Brazil today, that mere verbal affiliation to Trotskyism and Revolutionary Marxism is insufficient. The left itself must be subject to ruthless self-criticism on the basis of it’s own principles.  The sad spectacle of the Spartacist League in the United States has created a culture in which any criticism and debate from the left can be laughed at. Yet when the class struggle advances, as it has here in Brazil and as it surely will in the United States, you can plainly see that what might be laughed at one day as sectarian orthodoxy can determine what side of the barricades and what side of the struggle you are on tomorrow.  Some ‘trotskyists’ support the government, others support the police when they go on strike for higher salaries, and others still struggle against those police alongside militant anarchist youth.

This blog will set as an aim to advance and spread information about the militant Latin American trotskyism of the Fraccion Trotskista (PTS in Argentina, LER-QI here in Brazil, the LTS in Mexico). A current which is almost unknown and non-existent in the English speaking world. It is a political current which emerged as a left split from the collapse of Nahuel Moreno’s international in the late 80’s/early 90’s and which, since then, has proven itself consistently effective and militant in workers struggles from below. One which far from being able to be laughed at as a sectarian relic, is one of the largest and most dynamic parties in Argentina (where the size of their party alone dwarfs that of every US Trotskyist put together), with smaller but still significant sections in most of the rest of Latin America including Brazil.

Spreading the lessons of Trotskyism’s most militant wing and applying what has been developed in Latin America to the context of the United States will be the goal of this new project. It will be one aimed against both a left that has forgotten how to subject itself to ruthless self-criticism, and against academics who erase the role of the organized left from their coverage of Latin American social movements. In recovering the history and clarifying the present of one of the most important sections of the world left today, and in seeking to adapt and apply the lessons of that history to the United States, it is hoped that this intervention can play some small role in what will be the essential historical process of forging a real revolutionary party in the United States. One which will undoubtedly emerge from parts of the existing left, from groups and currents outside of it, and from movements and workers’ struggles which are yet to come. It is my firm conviction that the theory and practice of Trotskyism will be essential to that process, and that the very best of Trotskyism has been forged and re-forged in the rising volcano of Latin American class struggle.

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One response to “Rebuilding from the South

  1. Nice to see the page live again. I’ve been using Esperanto to communicate with Brazilians during the recent protests too, so excellent topics and I’m excited to see it.

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