The Global Revolt of 2011 – A Turning Point in History

By Roger Burbach

Editor’s Note: Occupy Oakland is part of a global movement that is questioning the basic structures of the political and economic system to an extent not seen since 1968. Whether it will succeed in changing these structures is unclear. But it has already created something far more powerful: a global shift in consciousness.

OAKLAND, Calif.—“Shut It Down,” “No More Shipping for the 1 Percent” and “Death to Capitalism” proclaimed some of the banners near me as I joined thousands of demonstrators who converged on the Port of Oakland on a sunny afternoon. This city is part of a global movement that has changed the terms of the political debate, stealing much of the thunder from the Tea Party movement and shaking governments around the world in a way not seen since the 1960s.

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In Assange Asylum, A Stand Against Neo-colonialist Policies

By Roger Burbach and Marc Becker

New America Media

August 20, 2011

Rafael Correa, the president of one of South America’s smallest countries with almost 15 million inhabitants is taking a dramatic stand against Great Britain, Sweden and the United States by granting political asylum to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

Last Wednesday the Ecuadorian foreign minister, Ricardo Patino, told the press in the country’s capital, Quito: “Today we have received from the United Kingdom an explicit threat in writing that they could assault our embassy in London if Ecuador does not hand over Julian Assange.” Correa in an address to the Ecuadorian people on Saturday said, “I don’t know who they think I am or what they think our government is. But how could they expect us to yield to their threats or cower before them? My friends, they don’t know who they are dealing with.”

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Chilean Student Movement Leads Uprising For Transformation of the Country

New America Media

By Roger Burbach

Chile is becoming a part of the global movement of youth that is transforming the world bit by bit—the Arab Spring, the sit-ins and demonstrations in the Spanish plazas, and the rebellion of youth in London.

Weeks of demonstrations and strikes by Chilean students came to a head August 9, as an estimated 100,000 people poured into the streets of Santiago. Joined by professors and educators, they were demanding a free education for all, from the primary school level to the university.

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Communitarian Socialism in Bolivia

By Roger Burbach

When Bolivia’s president, Evo Morales, was sworn in to a second term in January, he proclaimed Bolivia a plurinational state that would construct “communitarian socialism.” In an accompanying address, Vice President Álvaro Garcia Linare, envisioned a “socialist horizon” for Bolivia, characterized by “well-being, making the wealth communal, drawing on our heritage . . .” The process “will not be easy, it could take decades, even centuries, but it is clear that the social movements cannot achieve true power without implanting a socialist and communitarian horizon.”[1]

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Chile’s Social Earthquake

By Roger Burbach

Chile is experiencing a social earthquake in the aftermath of the 8.8 magnitude quake that struck the country on February 27. “The fault lines of the Chilean Economic Miracle have been exposed,” says Elias Padilla, an anthropology professor at the Academic University of Christian Humanism in Santiago. “The free market, neo-liberal economic model that Chile has followed since the Pinochet dictatorship has feet of mud.”

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With Victory, Morales and Social Movements Confront New Challenges in Bolivia

By Tanya Kerssen

Bolivian president Evo Morales and his political party, the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS), won a resounding victory in the presidential elections this past Sunday, December 6. The nearest challengers, Manfred Reyes Villa and his running mate Leopoldo Fernández—whose current address is a La Paz prison, where he stands accused of ordering the murder of pro-government peasants —represent an old political and economic order that has used sedition and violence in an effort to obstruct and destabilize the Morales government.

The old order and the new are locked in a struggle for the future of Bolivia. “The social movements are critical for presidents to be able to create a new alternative,” declared Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca in the tropical city of Cochabamba in October at a summit of leftist Latin American presidents, including Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez and Ecuador’s Rafael Correa. At the parallel Social Movements Summit comprised of 700 delegates from 40 countries, Isaac Ávalos, leader of the Bolivian Peasants Federation promised to help “bury the opposition” in the election.

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Ecuador’s President Correa Faces Off With Indigenous and Social Movements

By Roger Burbach

Quito, Ecuador. Beginning his fourth year as president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa confronts a major challenge from some of the very social actors that propelled him into office. In an address to the country in early January, Correa expressed his ire with a “coming series of conflicts this month, including indigenous mobilizations, workers, media communications, and even a level of the armed forces.”

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Cuba Undertakes Reforms in Midst of Economic Crisis

By Roger Burbach

Carlos picks me up with his dated Soviet-made Lada at the Jose Marti International Airport on a hot sweltering day in Havana. It’s been eight months since I’ve seen him, last January to be precise, when I came to the island on the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution. “How’s it been?” I ask him as we begin the 20 minute drive to central Havana. With a scowl, he replies: “Not so good, nothing seems to get easier.” He goes on to say that foodstuffs are as difficult as ever to come by, necessitating long waits in line for rationed commodities.

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Obama and Hillary Nix Change in Honduras

By Roger Burbach

The situation in Honduras and Central America is growing increasingly tumultuous with each passing day as deposed President Manuel Zelaya confronts the de facto regime of Roberto Micheletti with thousands of partisans mobilizing in the border areas. While Honduran army officers in Washington and the capital of Tegucigalpa issue statements indicating they may accept Zelaya’s return—if the civilian coup leaders concur—military and police units continue to fire on and even murder demonstrators. It is impossible to predict the outcome of this confrontation. But one thing is increasingly clear—the growing conflict represents a failure of the Obama administration to reshape US policy towards Latin America in spite of its early rhetoric towards the leaders of the region.

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Honduran Coup Tries to Halt Advance of Latin American Left

By Roger Burbach

New America Media

The coup against Manuel Zelaya of Honduras represents a last ditch effort by Honduras’ entrenched economic and political interests to stave off the advance of the new left governments that have taken hold in Latin America over the past decade. As Zelaya proclaimed after being forcibly dumped in Costa Rica: “This is a vicious plot planned by elites. The elites only want to keep the country isolated and in extreme poverty.”

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