Monday, October 18, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Kari Lydersen, In These Times
Reviewed: Dancing with Dynamite: Social Movements and States in Latin America by Benjamin Dangl, (October, 2010: AK Press).
What happens after you win?
That is, as fearless grassroots social movements have brought leftist, pro-worker parties to power in one after another Latin American country during the past decade, how do these movements maintain true democracy and commitment to the rights of the marginalized once faced with the challenge of a neoliberal global economy?
After the wave of worker factory takeovers following its economic collapse a decade ago, such questions played out on smaller scales in Argentina. Taking cooperative control of the factories was only the first step; the workers had to actually run them competitively in a capitalist economy. Similarly, after movements of union members, indigenous activists and other previously marginalized people bring leaders like Bolivian Evo Morales and Venezuelan Hugo Chavez to power, how do they make sure their struggles aren't declawed and co-opted by the new government?
In his captivating book Dancing with Dynamite, Ben Dangl explores the complicated choreography between unfettered popular struggle and the state institutions that are necessary to a functioning civil society—yet by nature are forces of moderation, compromise and cooperation.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Andean Information Network
On October 8, Bolivian President Evo Morales signed the “Law against Racism and all Forms of Discrimination” (O45) into effect. Despite protests from journalists across the country, the Bolivian Legislative Assembly passed the law without modifying contested articles 16 and 23, which outline potential penalties for members of the media who publish racist or discriminatory ideas
While the majority of national and international criticism has focused on how this law might potentially limit freedom of speech in Bolivia, the measure’s twenty-four articles go far beyond simply regulating the media to combat racism and discrimination in all public and private institutions. International accords on racism and discrimination provide the foundation to address the long history of these problems in Bolivia.
The Bolivian representative of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (UNHCHR), Denis Racicot, declared support for this new law, but has cautioned the Bolivian government to implement these changes carefully and gradually, and concentrate on resolving the current dispute with the Bolivian press. It remains to be seen how the Morales administration will address the current conflict. Law 045 has the potential to bring much needed change to Bolivia, but its stipulations and penalties must be clearly defined and sensibly executed to quell the current conflict. Furthermore, press protests about the possible prosecution under the law fail to recognize, that, when accused, clauses in Article 23 allow the offender to formally apologize for racist or discriminatory insults to avoid penalties. The media should work with the MAS administration to ensure that penalties for the press are appropriate to the violation (e.g. community service over prison sentences) and do not limit free speech. Furthermore, Bolivian law has placed limits on freedom of the press since the passage of the Press Law in 1925. This new legislation includes racism and discrimination as additional limitations.
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Monday, October 04, 2010
From IKN: This is must-see footage. Over the weekend President Evo Morales played in a 'friendly' football (soccer if you like) game for the government MAS team versus the opposition MSM party, the party that holds the mayorship of La Paz. After a dirty tackle and some sort of mouthing off by the MSM team, Evo took justice into his own hands, footy field style
MSM is a center-left party that officially broke its coalition with MAS earlier this year before municipal and regional elections. Tension between the parties rose several weeks ago after it was announced that the Mayor of La Paz, here the MSM team captian, is under investigation for corruption.
Sunday, October 03, 2010
Andean Information Network
Marcela Sanchez’ article, “Ambition’s Costs — The Ongoing Evolution of Bolivia’s Evo Morales,” published in theLatin American Herald Tribune comments on U.S. decertification of Bolivian drug control efforts, the draft anti-racism law, and ex-president’s Jorge Quiroga’s defamation sentence. Sanchez she tries to connect these disparate issues with loose analysis and apparently little research.
In less than 800 words, Sanchez manages to misconstrue the dynamics of the drug trade, Morales’ alleged manipulation of the legal system and the potential impact of anti- racism legislation on freedom of the press in Bolivia.
Saturday, October 02, 2010
Letter from Morales to the indigenous peoples of the world:
Indigenous brothers of the world:
I am deeply concerned because some pretend to use leaders and indigenous groups to promote the commoditization of nature and in particular of forest through the establishment of the REDD mechanism (Reduction Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) and its versions REDD+ REED++.
Every day an extension of forests and rainforest equivalent to 36,000 football fields disappears in the world. Each year 13 million hectares of forest and rain forest are lost. At this rate, the forests will disappear by the end of the century.
The forests and rainforest are the largest source of biodiversity. If deforestation continues, thousands of species, animals and plants will be lost forever. More than three quarters of accessible fresh water zones come from uptake zones in forests, hence the worsening of water quality when the forest condition deteriorates. Forests provide protection from flooding, erosion and natural disasters. They provide non-timber goods as well as timber goods. Forests are a source of natural medicines and healing elements not yet discovered. Forests and the rainforest are the lungs of the atmosphere. 18% of all emissions of greenhouse gases occurring in the world are caused by deforestation.
It is essential to stop the destruction of our Mother Earth.