British Socialists Discuss the Latin American Radicalization

by the Editors / July 2006 issue of Socialist Action newspaper

The June 24 day school in Britain on the radicalization in Latin America was an important political event. It was organized by Socialist Resistance, a united-front newspaper that includes Socialist Action’s cothinkers of the International Socialist Group, the British section of the Fourth International.

The school was well attended and the panel of speakers was impressive. A prominent participant was Celia Hart, a Cuban publicist, who is the daughter of two of the most respected leaders of the Cuban Revolution, Armando Hart and Haydee Santamaria. She has become known in the international left for her embracing Trotsky’s theory of permanent revolution and her argument that the Cuban Revolution and its survival are a testimony to the validity of the theory.

In a report, ISG leader John Lister noted: “The people of Latin America are to the left of any of the governments in Latin America, argued Celia Hart: ‘We are witnessing a shift of the political pendulum to the left—in response to neoliberalism.’”

Hart commented on the ALBA project, a trade pact among Cuba, Venezuela, and Bolivia designed to offer an alternative to neoliberal imperialist domination: “In this context there have been attempts to integrate the Bolivarian alliance between Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia (Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, ALBA), and this has encountered some problems.”

“The ALBA was signed by the three governments in Havana on April 29 2006—with an appeal for other governments to join. It is seen as an alternative framework of cooperation to the U.S.-dominated neoliberal Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). … But I don’t think it is possible to integrate governments such as Lula’s in Brazil into such an alliance.”

According to Lister, Hart then continued, “ALBA can be a clear example of what can be done, underlining the fact that it is impossible to offer such benefits to the people under governments that hang on to the capitalist framework and neoliberal agenda.

“Che Guevara long ago concluded that the local bourgeoisies in the dependent countries had lost any capacity they may have had to mount any real opposition to imperialism.”

Jorge Martin spoke at the school on behalf of the campaign to oppose U.S. intervention against the Chavez government in Venezuela, the Hands Off Venezuela (HOV) committees. He stressed that HOV was a united front open to all who defended the democratic rights of the Venezuelan people.

Two speakers came from the Fourth International—Michel Lowy, a professor who is an expert on the liberation theology movement, and Edouardo Diago from the French Ligue Communiste Revolutionnaire.