“As the left returns to power across Latin America, the lessons of the Pink Tide have become increasingly relevant. ” A review of The Impasse of the Latin American Left. Franck Gaudichaud, Jeffery R. Webber, and Massimo Modonesi, eds. Duke University Press, 2022.
“At the turn of the twenty-first century, Latin American politics experienced an upsurge in progressive movements, as popular uprisings for land and autonomy led to the election of left and center-left governments across Latin America. These progressive parties institutionalized social movements and established forms of state capitalism that sought to redistribute resources and challenge neoliberalism. Yet, as the authors demonstrate, these governments failed to transform the underlying class structures of their societies or challenge the imperial strategies of the United States and China. Now, as the Pink Tide has largely receded, the authors offer a portrait of this watershed period in Latin American history in order to evaluate the successes and failures of the left and to offer a clear-eyed account of the conditions that allowed for a right-wing resurgence.”
“From Chile to Ecuador, a wave of revolts against neoliberal austerity has swept through Latin America. Elections have brought the Peronists back to office in Argentina, and political crisis to Bolivia under Evo Morales. Brazil remains under the shadow of Jair Bolsonaro, but how enduring is his far-right politics, and what lessons does it signal for the rise of the right elsewhere in the region?”
“What is necessary then is a political response, based not just on moral commitment, but on an understanding of how migration itself, especially in the caravan’s notable collective and democratic form, is a political challenge to the capitalist state and a refusal to accept the conditions of exploitation offered in the capitalist system. … A political response would thus have to recognize the caravan as both a concrete act of refusal and as a movement of politicization.”
“What can the #MeToo movement learn from Latin American feminists? How can a global perspective help develop new insights into forms of violence and create a politics that challenges the fundamental basis of gender inequality?”
“The leftist governments in Latin America that swept to power in the early 21st century, known collectively as the Pink Tide, transformed the political landscape in the Americas and inspired popular and revolutionary struggles around the world. The Pink Tide governments came to power on the heels of mass popular resistance to the late 20th century juggernaut of neoliberalism and capitalist globalization in the region. Yet nearly two decades after the turn to the left, the right has resumed power with a vengeance in Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Honduras, while the Venezuelan revolution is in deep crisis and the leftist projects in Bolivia, Ecuador, Uruguay, Nicaragua and El Salvador have been emptied of much of their socialist pretensions. If this ebbing of the Pink Tide demonstrates the limits of parliamentary changes in the era of global capitalism, it also points to the renewed hegemony of the transnational capitalist class over the region.”
Our Sister Republics: The United States in an Age of American Revolutions “exhumes a forgotten moment in the history of the Americas, a time when residents of the newly formed United States came to see Latin Americans as partners in a shared revolutionary experiment. In the half century after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Fitz argues, faith in the egalitarian principles outlined by Thomas Jefferson trumped concerns about racial difference below the equator. That ecumenical attitude gave way in the 1820s to a rival interpretation of American exceptionalism grounded not in a common hemispheric project but in the dream of a white man’s republic.’
Fitz: ‘The inter-American universalism of the 1810s and early 1820s simultaneously fueled patriotic arrogance (or “particularism,” as you call it). When white people in the United States celebrated Latin American insurgents, there was often a sense that they’re following us, that we’re the center and they’re our satellites. That tension persists today: the United States often presents itself as defending freedom around the world, but we simultaneously prioritize our own particular interests, to a degree that sometimes alienates our allies. What most concerns me about our current moment, however, is the degree to which Donald Trump is actually spurning universalism with his “America First” foreign policy and his critique of “the false song of globalism.” It will be fascinating to see how his belligerent isolationism fares in our pluralistic electorate.’