The law of diminishing returns does not have to operate in the field of international solidarity.
Author Archive | Chris Gilbert
A five-year-old revolutionary movement in Nepal brings together program and commitment in a way that powerfully prefigures communist society.
How can politics be a way of pursuing the same goals once pursued in war? And through what form of politics? The career of Pasang, from revolutionary military commander to Vice President of Nepal, raises a host of questions about the transition from war to politics and the conditions of victory in each sphere.
In the aftermath of Nepal’s near revolution, diverse Maoist leaders are attempting to regroup and move forward again.
Recovering the socialist character of Chavismo in Venezuela depends on activating its latent revolutionary component. This, in turn, hinges on re-encountering the aspiration toward substantive democracy and communal control of production that was once more present in the movement.
Letting the law of capitalist value govern society makes building socialism almost impossible because, even if the general guidelines of capitalist value seem to be acceptable, all it takes is for the market to plunge for you to lose your bearings entirely.
In a cabinet meeting in October 2012, months before his death, Hugo Chávez declared that the Bolivarian process needed to make a radical change of course, literally calling for a “golpe de timón” or “strike at the helm.” From that moment forward the slogan “golpe de timón” began to circulate in the most varied contexts […]
Chavism received a serious blow in the parliamentary elections this last Sunday, December 6. The strength of the blow is such that the movement is still reeling. The Venezuelan opposition, loosely organized in an electoral bloc called the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), achieved not just a majority of seats in the National Assembly but also […]
Why should one seek socialism? It is common to adduce that socialism would be more just and fair than capitalism, but that does not fully resolve the issue, since people are not always motivated by social justice. Moreover motivation — especially for undertakings that are difficult and risky, such as changing a whole society! — […]
It is common to understand the diverse “processes” in Latin America — in the period marked initially by Zapatismo in the mid-1990s and later by the emergence of left or popular governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador along with center-left governments in Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina — within the theoretical framework of a return or […]
Two features of contemporary imperialism are key to explaining the importance — or actually the relative unimportance — of the VII Summit of the Americas (organized by the OAS) recently held in Panama. One is that, in the post-World War II period, imperialism has operated in a context defined by the prevalence of relatively sovereign […]
Many Venezuelans think that fracking — the dangerous extraction of oil and gas through hydraulic fracturing of sedimentary rocks — is a conspiracy on the part of the United States to drive them into ruin. That is not the case, but it is an understandable error, in part because of the US’s long history of […]
The Ebola epidemic . . . whereas most of the world tightens frontier control and essentially flees from the problem, Cuba opens a new chapter of solidarity and faces the danger. By sending 255 doctors and nurses to West Africa to deal with the latest Ebola outbreak, the heroic island — with few resources except […]
One of the greatest Latin American authors, Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez, died last Thursday. As with any writer whose work becomes a mass culture phenomenon, his work is also the focus of diverse readings. These readings in turn have a direct bearing on the understanding of our continent’s reality. For this reason putting pressure […]
It was shortly after Moses’s encounter with the Burning Bush that God promised to take the people of Israel to the land of milk and honey. God, who could be extremely cryptic in his explanations (“I am that I am”), did not beat around the bush when it came to capturing his audience. For that […]
The progressivist view of history often goes hand in hand with the faith that a new class — sometimes the proletariat, at other times “the people” — has a privileged perspective or consciousness. If scientific (as opposed to vulgar) Marxism debunks this idea on a theoretical level — showing how commodity and money fetishism’s inversions […]
Praise, especially when empty, is often a way of dismissing a revolutionary historical figure more than preserving his legacy. That is what Lenin said about Marx: by making Marx into an icon, people had castrated and corrupted his thought. The late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez has also fallen prey to this common practice that polishes […]
In one of his last important public discourses, popularly known as the Golpe de Timón speech, the late President Hugo Chávez told a joke about an indigenous tribe and a priest. The priest baptized the indigenous people giving them Christian names, held communion, and told them not to eat meat on Friday but rather fish […]
The Venezuelan state is intervening in retail businesses around the country, principally those that trade in domestic appliances. This apparently modest decision, taken a week ago, has set in motion an interesting process of push and pull. Long lines outside the intervened stores and some disorder inside meet with predictable outcry about “mobs” and “communism” […]
In the many homages to Hugo Chávez in recent weeks, there is an important element that suffers almost complete neglect. For want of a better term we could call it “Leninism.” By this, of course, I do not mean the tired, formulaic (and basically anti-Leninist) doctrine that generally bears that name. It is precisely the […]