May 03, 2013
from GlobalResearch Website
When looking at this question caution against oversimplification and romanticization is needed.
A case in point about this oversimplification and romanticization is that Paraguay’s President Fernando Luga was praised as a steward by the leftists, even though he had to politically work as a centrist. Linked to this, there is also an important question about what right-wing and left-wing really mean.
Do governments, groups, and movements that call
or consider themselves right-wing or left-wing really fit into such
Its proponents describe it as a position aimed at reducing or ending social inequality whereas its critics view it as either utopian or destabilizing.
On the other hand, the “right” would best be
operationalized or defined as a conservative and reactionary political
position. Its proponents describe it as traditional and a safeguard of
stability whereas its critics and opponents say that it supports social
hierarchies that maintain societal inequality.
The French Estates-General of the Bourbon monarchy and its revolutionary predecessor, the French National Assembly, became divided between those groups that supported the Bourbon monarchy, clergy, and “old regime” and those groups that opposed them in favor of revolution and republicanism.
The supporters of the “old regime” would sit to the right of the legislative president or speaker in the legislative chamber whereas those groups that supported change and a “new regime” would sit to the left.
It is also important to note that the “right”
emerged as a reaction to the formation of the calls for change from the
Things are actually not clear-cut. This means
that the above operationalized definitions of “right” and “left” are
These comprador elites can frankly be described as either the “House Negros” or racist upper class that have historically ruled Latin America and managed its wealth and resources for the changing centers of power in other parts of the world that have controlled the area.
Today, the regional comprador elites are mostly
aligned with the United States and prefer Miami or New York City to Caracas
There is even a debate over whether the Cuban socialist project is genuinely reforming or if it will eventually follow the paths of capitalist restoration like China and Vietnam. The typology of Latin America described by the sociologist James Petras will help frame this as the most workable way to conceptualize the “left” in Latin America.
Petras divides Latin America among “four competing blocs” or groups.
The Petras typology helps clarify why the US government considers certain left-wing governments in Latin America as being correct or good and other left-wing governments in Latin America as being wrong or bad.
This typology also does not consider the
Argentine, Brazilian, and Uruguayan governments leftist. It sees these Latin
American governments as neo-liberal regimes and supporters of big capital
that pragmatically adopt certain populist policies and project leftist
Hall argued that due to the rise of Thatcherism in Britain, the “left” in Britain was forced to imitate the right to gain power and popularity and that the leftists lacked a proper political program. Tony Blair’s right-wing orientation within the British Labour Party is a case in point.
What Hall says may be in reverse operation in Latin America where the “right” has either imitated the “left” or presented itself as centrist or oriented more leftwards.
It can also be true of the “left” orienting
For example, some supporters of Venezuela became uneasy around 2005. People like the Italian documentary maker Gabriel Muzio, who was praised in Caracas for his earlier work on Venezuela and then condemned as a falsifier for his later work (which the Venezuelan government itself funded), changed their positions on Venezuela.
They complained that they saw the idea of
popular power being upset by a concentration of power by the country’s
For example, the Chilean Socialists are committed to neo-liberal economics.
Although Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party is called a socialist party, it is doubtful that Mexico will dramatically change its politics and policies aside from cosmetic changes.
Even in Venezuela questionable business deals
are made with foreign companies, like the selling of the Deltana Platform to
Chevron-Texaco. Moreover, if leftists are protecting the status quo in their
respective societies then they are actually right-wing under the
operationalized definition of “right” that was outlined earlier.
For example, before he even became Brazil’s president, the Marxist sociologist Fernando Henrique Cardoso was appointed as finance minister by President Itamar Franco with the IMF becoming Cardoso’s most enthusiastic supporter after it had three different Brazilian finance ministers consecutively fired.
Cardoso pushed for neo-liberal de-regulation and the privatization of Brazil’s public sector. Like many other revolutionaries a lot of the Marxist guerrillas in Brazil who fought against the military junta in their country have put away their fatigues and copies of Das Kapital for IMF and World Bank economic manuals.
This is why union boss Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of the Brazilian Workers Party was renounced as traitor and a lackey of the IMF and World Bank by the workers of the Occupied Factories Movement of Brazil after he became president.
President Dilma Rousseff, Lula’s successor and a former Marxist guerrilla, is continuing his policies.
This is why there are those that pessimistically
say that you never know what to expect when you vote for the leftists in
Capitalist or Socialist
Before it started to reflect itself at the
national level, the leftward trend began at the level of the municipalities.
It has also been progressing in phases. Even the Bolivarian Movement has
gone through phases where it has progressively radicalized.
This means that the trend is about empowering and supporting local capital. The situation for domestic capital has actually improved and expanded in the societies of Latin America’s leftist countries, from Brazil to Venezuela.
Even Garcia Linera, the vice-president of
Bolivia, has viewed the leftist trend in his country in terms of a state-run
project for local capitalist development.
It is in the context of regional autonomy that foreign policy independence is a key feature of the “pink tide” and its “altermundialistas.”
Generally, what appears to exist regionally is
an alliance of interests between local capital and social movements that
have additionally turned to the international capitalist rivals of Wall
Street to oppose the United States in Latin America.