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Latin America: A Conservative Restoration? — Marc Becker

There is much to recommend in Marc Becker's essay Latin America: A Conservative Restoration? [See below, or at URL >> ].

There are, I would say, three areas that are not sufficiently explored in the article, or perhaps are themes requiring their own development and explication in different articles.

1) Do the electoral defeats or setbacks to some nationalist and/or left governments in some of the weightiest Latin American countries such as Argentina and Brazil indicate a major turn, a downturn in anti-imperialist and class struggle, to the historic advantage of the U.S.-based Empire and the spineless bourgeois classes throughout the Patria Grande?

2) If we are indeed entering a period of sustained downturn, can we look to the lessons of the historic rollback of the international working class in the interregnum between the two world wars of the last century for answers about what to do next? Following WW1 and an unsuccessful wave of revolutionary, anticapitalistic upsurges in Europe, a general rollback took place. It entailed the triumph (and subsequent military defeat) of fascism in Italy, Germany, and Spain; and the consolidation of Stalinist caste rule in both the USSR and later in China following the 1949 victory of the PLA-CP forces.

3) The fate of both the Cuban Revolution and of the broader continental anti-imperialist and class struggles are intimately connected. The decline or fall of the one will affect the other directly and possibly fatally. Beck provides some good insight into underlying objective limitations that stymie progress in Cuba. Left unexplored is how the strategic decisions Cuba is now implementing regarding the domestic economy will affect its relations with the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean Region.

Regarding the first question, I think it is critical not to conflate electoral defeats of traditional left or anti-imperialist forces with some great historic setback of the overall forces aligned with the oppressed masses and in battle with imperialism on varied fronts. One case worth considering and probing further is the situation on the ground in Brazil following the toppling of the Dilma Rousseff-PT presidency. Not too long afterwards, there was a sharp rise in class struggles that also drew in students and other social sectors not tied organically to the defensive organizations of workers and campesinos - the unions and agrarian movements such as the MST. A massive general strike dealt a blow to the ruling class determination to consolidate a stable, durable rightwing regime. It brought into question Temer's capacity to hang on to his illegitimate crown in the Palácio do Planalto.

2) Responses to the second question will have to take a more course-grained look back into history; to assess whether some of the measures adopted by the Comintern (such as the united front strategy, or special tactics to strengthen the battle against the extreme right and fascism) can be utilized today (suitable refashioned to take into account great changes since then, especially the collapse of the USSR, and also the extreme differences in youth culture and the flow and control of information.

That said, congrats to Marc Becker for a stimulating presentation of some of the ABCs of the current struggle in Latin America and the Caribbean. His article offers a good point of departure for fruitful ongoing discussion.

Felipe Stuart



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