The situation of the energy sector in Latin America is determined by both internal and external correlations of political forces, the level of class organization and power within the ruling and the working classes, the condition of the world economy and the strength and weakness of US imperialism. A presentation by James Petras at a plenary session of the international meeting of electrical workers in Mexico organized by the Sindicato Mexicano de Electricistas (SME).
On February 15, 2009, Venezuelan voters will go to the polls in order to vote on a constitutional referendum, which would allow for the indefinite re-election of the President. The vote on the constitutional amendment has raised fundamental questions about the relation between electoral politics and democracy. The proposed constitutional change, and specifically the constitutional amendment allowing for the indefinite re-election of the President requires an examination of two basic concepts: electoral systems and democracy. The distinction between these two concepts dominates the political conflict between the supporters (pro-Chavez) and opponents (anti-Chavez) of the amendment,writes James Petras
"Colonial style empire-building is making a huge comeback, and most of the colonialists are late-comers, elbowing their way past the established European and US predators". James Petras on the land grab by emerging economic powers.
The role of the mass media (MM) in influencing mass and class behavior has been a central concern among critical writers, especially since the turn of the Twentieth century. Debates and studies on the MM have focused on its political bias, ownership and links to big business, relationships and ties to the state, relative openness and diversity, promotion of wars and corporate interests among other major issues affecting the relations of power, wealth and empire. Of particular interest to writers opposing and supporting the role of the MM is the impact of the MM in influencing mass outlook, opinions and behaviors. Essays, monographs and empirical studies have been published as to the extent of MM influence, the time frame in which it retains control, the ‘depth’ of loyalty to MM inculcated opinions, and the ‘place’ in which MM messages have the greatest influence in inducing mass opinion in conformity with ruling class interests.
An understanding of the role and power of the MM in contemporary capitalist society requires us to organize the debate according to three major schools – conservative, liberal and Marxist – before proceeding to a critical analysis and finally presenting notes towards setting alternatives to elite-controlled communications networks.
The spread of the crisis from the US-Europe to Latin America is a result of the Centre-Left Regimes' continuities of the neo-liberal policies, the maintenance of the same ruling economic classes and the pursuit of economic strategies dependent on inflows of speculative capital, debt financing and the agro-mineral export.
James Petras raises important questions about the changes and claims of independence, decoupling and post-liberal models, which many regime leaders, ideologues and progressive US-European Latin American writers made over the past several years.
Courtesy: Information Clearing House
James Petras, Socialist Intellectual weighs in on the US presidential elections with his views. Article courtesy www.informationclearinghouse.com
''There are two opposing approaches to the analysis of ecological destruction and the emergence of Indian movements in Latin America: the liberal and the Marxist.
Marxist class analysis highlights the centrality of property ownership, specifically the class nature of the ownership of the means of production and control over state power as central to understanding the destruction of the environment and the complex politics of Indian society''.
James Petras concludes ''Ecology and Indian liberation are essentially and inextricable part of the class struggle''. (Courtesy: Dissidentvoice)
In 2004 a US-led invasion force overthrew the democratically elected government of Jean Bertrand Aristide and subsequently promoted and organized an occupation army. This colonial military force has repeatedly violently repressed popular demonstrations, violently raided the neighborhoods of the poor and killed, wounded and arrested Haitians who were affirming their rights of self-determination and an end to foreign occupation.
"Pedro Antonio Marin, better know as Manuel Marulanda and ‘Tiro Fijo (Sure Shot)’, was the leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-Peoples Army (FARC-EP). He was without a doubt the greatest revolutionary peasant leader in the history of the Americas." - James Petras