Crises and Uprisings in Latin America Today

Four Thursdays with Gerardo Rénique and Fred Murphy

Join us for a closer look at the political and economic background to dramatic recent events in Latin America, where a tremendous struggle is taking place between popular movements opposed to neoliberalism and authoritarianism, and capitalist elites determined to defend their profits and privileges. Recent months have seen enormous uprisings by popular movements in Ecuador and Chile, a violent right-wing coup in Bolivia, the rise of a massive feminist movement in Argentina, and in Haiti prolonged protests against President Jovenel Moïse. These developments come in the wake of crises and setbacks experienced by so-called “pink tide” governments that had sought to redistribute wealth and challenge decades of domination by US imperialism, the IMF, and local elites.

Gerardo Rénique teaches history at the City College of the City University of New York. He is a frequent contributor to Socialism and Democracy and NACLA: Report on the Americas. His research interests include the political traditions of popular movements in Latin America, and race, national identity and state formation in Mexico.

Fred Murphy has led numerous study groups at the Marxist Education Project since 2015. He studied and taught Latin American history at the New School for Social Research. In the 1980s he traveled in Latin America as a journalist for several socialist publications.

All fees are sliding scale. No one is turned away for inability to pay

Please follow and like us:

Punk Crisis

The Global Punk Rock Revolution
with author Ray Patton

In March 1977, Johnny Rotten Lydon of the Sex Pistols looked over the Berlin wall onto the grey, militarized landscape of East Berlin. He then went up to the wall and gave it the finger. He didn’t know it at the time, but the Sex Pistols’ reputation had preceded his gesture, as young people in the Second World busily appropriated news reports on degenerate Western culture as punk instruction manuals. Soon after, burgeoning Polish punk impresario Henryk Gajewski brought the London punk band the Raincoats to perform at his art gallery and student club-the epicenter for Warsaw’s nascent punk scene. When the Raincoats returned to England, they found London erupting at the Rock Against Racism concert, which brought together 100,000 First World UK punks and Third World Caribbean immigrants who contributed their cultures of reggae and Rastafarianism. Punk had formed networks reaching across all three of the Cold War’s worlds.

The first global narrative of punk, Punk Crisis examines how transnational punk movements challenged the global order of the Cold War, blurring the boundaries between East and West, North and South, communism and capitalism through performances of creative dissent. Raymond Patton studies the relationship between popular culture, aesthetics, identity, and politics in the modern world, with an emphasis on reexamining the relationship between the “first,” “second,” and “third” worlds of the Cold War era. As a History professor, he has taught on a wide range of subject matter, including World History, Fascism and Nazi Germany, East European and Soviet history, Music and Resistance, The Meaning of Life, and Global Foundations: Consumerism. He has also played sax in a 3rd wave ska punk band. He currently serves as Director of Educational Partnerships and General Education at John Jay College, CUNY.

Please follow and like us:

Marx, Capital and the Madness of Economic Reason

A reading group of David Harvey’s Marx, Capital and the Madness of Economic Reason

The MEP’s Capital Studies Group will readand discuss David Harvey’s recently published Marx, Capital, and the Madness of Economic Reason over four weeks in January. Session one will cover the Prologue and the first two chapters. Arrangements can be made for purchasing the Oxford University Press book by contacting the MEP at
sliding scale: $30 / $45 / $60
no one turned away for inability to pay

Please follow and like us:

Day 4, Session 3—Sexuality, Gender and Globalization

Sexuality, Gender and Globalization
Kate Doyle Griffiths and Lisa Maya Knauer

What do sexuality and gender have to do with the global economy? What role do sex and desire — some of the most intimate aspects of our lives — play in the emergence and evolution of capitalism, and how are they in turn shaped by capital? Why have women, particularly in the global South, often been at the forefront of resistance to neoliberal capitalism? How can Marxism(s) help us understand these issues, and formulate strategies for change? This workshop will explore these questions from multiple perspectives — spanning generations and different local, regional and national contexts.

Lisa Maya Knauer is a founding member of the MEP and its predecessor, the Brecht Forum. She has taught a variety of classes on feminism and Marxism, and gender and capitalism. She is currently working with indigenous resistance movements in Guatemala, and with immigrant women workers in the U.S. In her day job, she is the chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. (you don’t need to include the academic affiliation if you don’t want)

Kate Doyle Griffiths is a doctoral candidate in Anthropology at the CUNY Graduate Center, and teaches at Hunter College. She has conducted research in South Africa, on reproductive labor, health, gender and politics.

Please follow and like us:

When Droplets Become Rain

A film on the anti-austerity movement in Spain
Colectivo Miradas, 2015 (77 mins)
Director and photographer: José Gayà
Producer and assistant director: Enrique González
Music: Oscar Jareño
In co-production with Telesur

Introduction and discussion with Enrique González

Human rights vs. neoliberal “democracy”
When Droplets Become Rain is a feature length-documentary that explores the dynamics of capitalism in present-day Spain, and the increasingly disobedient social movements that are challenging the social and political landscape in the “kingdom”. The documentary is a “sui generis” road movie that takes place in five different regions of the State, portraying several social movements in collective struggle for basic human rights and needs: right to health, right to education, right to housing, right to land and labor, and right to the city and to social services.
Social movements on the move:
• We witness the occupation of a building by the Platform of People Affected by the Crisis and the Mortgage Credits (PAHC), a massive social movement that has sprung to life as a result of countless evictions that followed the housing bubble.
• We accompany the failed occupation of large estate land by Andalusian Workers’ Union (SAT), a social movement whose leader, Juan Manuel Gordillo, has been in office in the small township of Marinaleda for almost four decades, setting out a collective, participatory and alternative organization model that aims at guaranteeing social rights for all.
• We smile at the debate of young students discussing the exploitative nature of the education system, who later take to the streets to protest against the Free Trade Agreement that is being secretly negotiated between the government of the US and the unelected elite that rules the European Union.
• We feel the rage of Hepatits C patients that struggle for a life-saving treatment that is been denied by the government, in a criminal twist of the decades long process of privatization of the social health public system.
Reflection leads to action:
The documentary aims at promoting reflection, through an emotional, collective portrayal from the inside of these and other social movements, in collective action for social struggle. It offers a historical background to authoritarianism, inequality and the debt crisis in Spain, emphasizes alternative organization and increasing disobedience of popular movements affected by the so called “austerity measures”, and includes a radical critique of capitalism and its present and future consequences through the action of both urban and peasant social movements, and the voice of intellectual activists.
Increasing repression against social movements and police violence are put in the spotlight, and critique includes mainstream media, climate change denial, migration crisis and more. At the same time, When Droplets Become Rain is a celebration of collective values and organization, and offers a message of hope through popular mobilization and love for living beings and mother earth, as summarized in the title.
The film takes place in five different regions, along five areas of concern of social struggle, and portrays several social movements in action:

Andalucía – Right to land and to work
Sindicato Andaluz de Trabajadores and Coordinadora Unitaria de los Trabajadores (SAT/CUT) – rural and urban worker’s union struggling for land and collective self-labor, and corresponding labor party that leads for decades now the alternative anti-capitalistic government of the rural township of Marinaleda
Madrid – Right to health
Marea Blanca – social movement for the defense of public health
Plataforma de Afectados por la Hepatitis (PlafHC) – plataform of Hepatitis C patients fighting for last generation live-saving treatment
Yo Sí Sanidad Universal – doctors/activists desobedient plataform against a decree excluding migrants with no papers from health assistance service
Madres contra la Represión (Mothers against Repression) – part of the movement against increasing represion of social and political activism
Sabadell (Barcelona) – Right to housing
Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca y la Crisis – plataform of people affected by mortgage credits and the crisis
Gamonal (Burgos) – Ritght to the city and to social services
Asamblea de Gamonal – popular assembly of a workers’ barrio
La Marina Alta (Alicante) – Right to education
Moviment Juvenil L’Espenta – youth organization

Director José Gayà has spent over a decade between Chiapas, Central America, Venezuela and Cuba, documenting social struggle, alternative organization, and crimes against humanity, among other subjects. He has directed over 30 documentaries about issues such as the Guatemalan genocide, the Honduran resistance movement against the US-backed 2009 coup, Plan Puebla Panama (an extension of CAFTA that is related with the recent killing of indigenous leader Berta Cáceres, whom he was close friends with), the Caracazo (the Venezuelan 1989 uprising against neoliberal agenda imposed by the IMF and so-called liberal “democracy”), and more.
Producer Enrique González has lived for over 15 years in Caracas, where he worked as a human rights activist, was involved in alternative communication movement, and took part in several documentary projects. They both met in Venezuela, and teamed for the first time to produce this film, when coming home to Spain where they are both from.
Composer and musician Oscar Jareño is leader of the Valencian folk fussion group Felah Mengus. His brilliant work for the movie is key for the cinematographic experience sought by Colectivo Miradas.

Please follow and like us: