Category Archives: tragic politics

Dimitrina Petrova: “The Egalitarian Promise of 1989—and Its Betrayal”

The paradox of 1989 is that communism was stormed and brought down from the left, by people with unfulfilled egalitarian aspirations, but the revolutionary road led to a new society that has been experienced as more unfair than communism.”

Lorissa Rinehart: “A Graphic Novel Looks at the Limits of Freedom in Revolutionary Cuba”

“In Goodbye, My Havana, the Cuban revolution’s prescribed limits of freedom are most evident in the relegation of women and LGBTQ individuals to the periphery, where their rights quickly erode and their personhood is more easily dismissed. The benefit of hindsight shows Castro’s regime working inward from there. Once it had stripped the most vulnerable of their rights, it was easier to impose a system of authoritarianism on the remainder of the populace.”

John McClure: “Something Darker than Farce: the Spanish Left again Turns Victory to Defeat”

“In the end, history repeats itself, although what occurs is something darker than farce. As they did in 2016, the Socialists fail on July 25th to get the support they need in order to form a government. As for Podemos, it once again strikes a pose of stubborn, puerile defiance that will almost certainly cost it dearly in the next elections.”

Luis Hessel: “Women and a revolution betrayed: Nicaragua”

‘During the revolution we knew situations that we disapproved of, but we were not aware of the damage they would eventually cause by not correcting them in time. The “defence” of the Revolution, the early and fierce attack of the US, the economic and military blockade, the formation of the counterrevolution, the emotional commitment and the personal and collective cost that was necessary to pay to achieve Somoza’s departure, as well as many other factors, affected the lack of criticism or its limits of those who had already committed abuses since the beginning of the Revolution.’

Alex Press: “The Conscience of a Revolutionary: Victor Serge’s commitment to the individual as collective hero”

Serge is committed “to the individual seen as a collective hero and the product of generations of struggle. … If people, not just revolutions, are centuries in the making, bearing the traces of prior social relations, of political domination and uprisings, it’s important to chronicle them as flesh and blood.”

Amador Fernández-Savater: “Reaching for a politics of pure potentiality, or trying to keep power at bay”

‘In the state of disappointment, we no longer have any position to “defend”, no formula to “sell”, we are all, as it is said, “in the same shit”. It is a moment of not knowing where new knowledge can be elaborated, if we avoid falling into the crossroads of accusations, the settling of accounts, the search for the guilty and the logic of the court.’

A.O. Scott: “Review: ‘Edge of Democracy’ Looks at Brazil with Outrage and Heartbreak”

‘One of the implications of “The Edge of Democracy” is that as Lula and the Workers’ Party lost touch with the mass movement that brought them to power and mastered the levers of the political system, they made themselves vulnerable to popular anger on the right. Corruption and back room dealing were longstanding norms of Brazilian governance that the party didn’t do much to challenge.’

Carlos Delclós: “Fear of the far right and the collapse of Podemos gave Spain’s socialists victory”

“The second trend that explains Sánchez’s staggering victory is the decline of Unidas Podemos, the radical-left party that emerged in the wake of the anti-austerity indignados movement. Though the party initially promised to implement a progressively participatory new style of politics, over time its leadership has adopted a more traditional top-down approach that has been overly reliant on individual personalities.”

Raquel Varela: “Learning from Portugal’s Carnation Revolution”

“A revolution took place in Portugal. We can date this precisely: between April 25, 1974 and November 25, 1975. The revolution was the most profound to have taken place in Europe since the Second World War. During those 19 months, hundreds of thousands of workers went on strike, hundreds of workplaces were occupied sometimes for months and perhaps almost three million people took part in demonstrations, occupations and commissions. A great many workplaces were taken over and run by the workers.  Land in much of southern and central Portugal was taken over by the workers themselves. Women won, almost overnight, a host of concessions and made massive strides towards equal pay and equality. Thousands of houses were occupied. Tens of thousands of soldiers rebelled.”

“Tierra y libertad: The Mexican Revolution”

“The 100th anniversary of the murder of Emiliano Zapata by the Mexican military (10/04/1919) is the occasion to share texts on the country’s revolution (1910-1920), a revolution profoundly marked by anarchist ideals and practices, ideals and practices which very often found expression in much older indigenous social relations, and which have continued to resonate through the history of this land’s peoples.”