Global Alternatives is hosted and sponsored by the Center for the Study of the Americas, or CENSA. Founded in 1981 CENSA is a nonprofit organization based in Berkeley, California. It promotes dialogue and research, producing special studies, reports and books as well as news stories. CENSA collaborates with like-minded organizations throughout the hemisphere, and CENSA Associates are involved in consultancy work, particularly in the areas of agroecology and food security.
History of CENSA
During its first decade CENSA focused on Central America and the Sandinista revolution, publishing articles, essays, and books while cooperating with Central American organizations and research centers opposed to U.S. intervention.
With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union, CENSA expanded its activities into studying critical events in other parts of the world, including the transition to democracy in Chile, the Zapatista rebellion in Mexico, and the nature of the new societies taking shape in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.
In the late 1990’s, CENSA became active in the anti-globalization movement, publishing in 1997 “Globalization and Its Discontents: The Rise of Postmodern Socialisms.” The Battle of Seattle in late 1999 marked a turning point for CENSA, as more and more of our activities became focused on a critique of corporate dominated globalization and the search for alternatives rooted in popular movements and the quest for more just and egalitarian societies.
We believe that with the new millennium there is a new fire in the Americas, one that provides hope and inspiration in the midst of a world ravished by imperial wars. It is a fire that is burning on many fronts, with differing intensities, one that flares up at unexpected moments and unpredictable locations throughout the hemisphere. Along with popular grass roots rebellions in countries ranging from Mexico to Argentina, a new axis of hope is emerging as three South American countries—Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela—pose new alternatives to neoliberalism and the historic US domination of the region. And in the United States the growing militancy of immigrants along with the burgeoning anti-war movement, provide hope even in the entrails of the empire.
A common thread of CENSA’s work from its early days in Central America to the discussion of globalization has been a critique of the policies of a succession of U.S. administrations from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush. All too often a narrow clique of rulers in the United States with the acquiescence and collaboration of economic and political elites in other parts of the world have inflicted enormous suffering on millions of people. If we are to avoid new and more horrendous calamities, it is now more important than ever for peoples around the globe to cooperate in constructing “one world with room for many worlds.”
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