Roger Burbach – USA

Linked with Global Alternatives.

Roger Burbach is director of the Center for the Study of the Americas in Berkeley, California, and a visiting scholar at the Institute of International Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Peru in the late 1960s, resided in Chile at the time of the military coup by Augusto Pinochet in 1973, and reported on Central America during the revolutionary conflicts of the 1980s. He has written widely on US foreign policy, Latin America and globalization, publishing ten books. His most recent is Imperial Overstretch: George W Bush and the Hubris of Empire, co-authored with Jim Tarbell. The updated Spanish edition of The Pinochet Affair: State Terrorism and Global Justice was released in January in Santiago, Chile. (The Guardian).

Read: The Battle in Bolivia, ‘New Left’ President Evo Morales Faces Opposition to New Constitution, Dec 01, 2007; and: Oil Billions Fuel Venezuela’s ‘Petro Power’ Socialist Dream, Nov. 30, 2007.

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Roger Burbach – USA

Electoral Fraud and Rebellion in Mexico, 2006/07/10.

While international attention is focusing on President Hugo Chavez and the Sunday referendum on the Venezuelan constitution, a conflict that is just as profound is shaking Bolivia. Evo Morales, the first Indian president of the country, is forcing a showdown with the oligarchy and the right wing political parties that have stymied efforts to draft a new constitution to transform the nation. He declares, “Dead or alive I will have a new constitution for the country by December 14,” the mandated date for the specially elected Constituent Assembly to present a constitution for the country to vote on by popular referendum. (full text, Dec. 1, 2007).

Ecuador’s Leftist New Leader Sizes Up the U.S., March 6, 2007.

He writes: … But the real problem of Mexico runs much deeper. The entrenched political classes along with the Electoral Tribunal, and the Federal Electoral Institute before it, will not make any concessions to Lopez Obrador because they are afraid the entire system of privileges will collapse if they make even modest concessions. The campaign slogan of Lopez Obrador was straightforward: “For the good of all, the poor first.” His program during the campaign was actually quite reformist. In a country where half the population lives below the poverty line Lopez Obrador pledged to provide a stipend to the elderly and healthcare for the poor. Millions of jobs would also be created, particularly by undertaking large construction projects to modernize Mexico’s dilapidated transportation system. He also promised to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with the United States, particularly the clauses that allow the importation of cheap subsidized grains that undermine Mexico’s peasant producers … (full text).

After Pinochet, prosecute Kissinger, Dec. 15, 2004.

He writes also: Whether or not the IMF attempts to “rescue” the Argentine political establishment with new loans, history will record that the Argentine people rose up against the post-Cold War order of neo-liberalism and corporate driven globalization. Two previous rebellions that transformed the country have occurred against the dominant order in modern Argentine history. In 1945 the descamisados, the shirtless workers of the international meat packing plants of Buenos Aires, along with other sectors of the popular classes took to the streets. They were protesting against the imprisonment and deposition of Juan Domingo Peron as labour secretary and vice-president, largely because of his ambitious populist policies favouring the working class. The second uprising took place in 1969 with the Cordobazo, when tens of thousands of workers rose up and seized control of Argentina’s second largest city, Córdoba, precipitating the eventual downfall of the military dictator, General Juan Onganía. (full text).

JUDGE JUAN GUZMAN, Chile, 25 February 2001.

Socialism’s Dead: … Twentieth century socialism is moribund. In the Americas, socialist-oriented movements were dealt severe blows by the electoral defeat of the Sandinistas in 1990, the general impasse of Central American revolutionary movements, and the crisis of Cuban Communism with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Radical grassroots movements, as Judith Hellman noted in a previous anniversary essay, have by no means disappeared in the Americas, but those that enunciate socialist goals are few and far between. … (full text, November/December 1998).

And he writes:

In the Brazilian state of Paraná, Valmir Mota de Oliveira of Via Campesina, an international peasant organization, was shot twice in the chest at point blank range by armed gunmen on an experimental farm of Syngenta Seeds, a multinational agribusiness corporation. The cold blooded murder took place on Sunday, October 21 after Via Campesina had occupied the site because of Syngenta’s illegal development of genetically modified (GM) seeds. Via Campesina and the Movement of the Landless Rural Workers (MST), the main Brazilian organization involved in Via Campesina’s actions, are calling the murder an execution, declaring, ‘Syngenta used the services of an armed militia’. (full text, Oct. 29, 2007).

His publications: on questia; on Find articles; on amazon; on bookplace; on Counterpunch; on Global Research; on Freedom Voices; on Google Book-search; on Google Blog-search; on Google Group-search; on Google Scholar-search.

Evo Morales and the Roots of Revolution, Jan 23, 2006.

President Nestor Kirchner of Argentina is emerging as the leading nemesis of the International Monetary Fund and the private financial speculators in South America. Assuming office in May 2003 with less than a quarter of the popular vote, he now enjoys 85 percent support in the opinion polls, due in large part to his determination to take on the neoliberal policies that led to the country’s economic collapse in 2001-2002. During the crisis Argentina defaulted on portions of its $140 billion international debt. Kirchner has now thrown the G-7 nations, the leading capitalist countries, into a quandary with his declaration that the private investors who bought about $50 billion in government bonds in Argentina in the 1990s will receive only 25 percent of the face value of their bonds … (full text, April 2004).

Confrontation In Bolivia Over Agrarian Reform, Dec. 2, 2006.

In the wake of the economic and political collapse in late 2001 and early 2002, Argentina became a cauldron of social ferment. Mammoth demonstrations erupted across the country. Protesters chanted: ‘Que se vayan lodos’–meaning that the entire political class and its international financial backers should be tossed out. The IMF, along with private banks like the Bank of Boston and Citibank, were denounced for their role in precipitating the country’s crisis. The demonstrators demanded an end to the wealth-draining policies of prior years.

In neighbourhoods and municipalities, ‘popular assemblies’ were set up to debate issues and to protect local interests. People helped keep shop owners from being closed for not paying taxes or rent. Some assemblies urged residents not to pay their property taxes and instead to turn the revenue over to neighbourhood hospitals. The assemblies also discussed international issues. According to assembly organizer, Lidia Pertieria: ‘One of the rallying cries coming from our communities is “No more foreign loans”. New loans only mean more swindling and robbery by our government officials.’

The piquetereos are the most persistent and intransigent of the protesters. They spring from an underclass that is suffering the brunt of the country’s 20 per cent unemployment. They pour into the streets, blocking traffic, to demand jobs, government help for their families and land to grow their own food. Many of the piqueteros have been active since the late 1990s protesting the Government’s made-in-Washington economic policy.

Today the IMF’s Number Two boss, Anne Krueger, insists that one of the ‘mistakes’ of the Menem era was that the Government didn’t go far enough in following the dictates of the IMF – particularly with regard to the ‘flexibility’ of labour legislation. She argues that with a fixed exchange rate ‘labour flexibility is necessary for the economy to respond to economic shocks’. Translation: workers should bear the brunt of any adjustments imposed by the twists and turns of the global economy. (full text, 12/1/2004).

links:

Global Ethics & Civil Society, page 141;

The Coup Against Bush and Cheney, by ALEXANDER COCKBURN, December 8/9, 2007;

The Geneva Conventions: the core of international humanitarian law, Published on OCRC, 1-09-2006;

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, G.A. res. 2200A (XXI), 21 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 16) at 52, U.N. Doc. A/6316 (1966), 999 U.N.T.S. 171, entered into force Mar. 23, 1976;

Voltairenet.org;

The Political Economy of Global Consumer Culture, Fall 2000;

Latinalainen Amerikka — Latin America;

What’s wrong with the WTO? Alternative paths to fairer trade rules;

Hardt-Negri’s ‘Empire’, a Marxist critique;

The ‘Solidarity Economy’ – Off the Beaten Track, Oct. 15, 2007;

Catharina’s Journal.

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