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Viewpoint Magazine Reading Group, Meeting 7: Socialist Construction Past and Present

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Zen Dochterman will introduce “From Subaltern to State: Toward a Left Critique of the Pink Tide,” from Viewpoint #4, by Robert Cavooris (

We will examine Robert Cavooris's “From Subaltern to State: Toward a Left Critique of the Pink Tide,” from Viewpoint #4, which examines how leftist Latin American governments (notably in Bolivia and Venezuela) might reshape the instruments of state power in order to create political openings for popular mobilization and a rupture with capitalism.

Cavooris argues that, as opposed to social democratic governments, which aim to simply intervene in the economy and create a more equitable distribution of capital, the pink tide governments have the chance to “refigure class relationships that otherwise exclude direct producers from decision-making” and attack the social division of labor that makes the state the dominion of an intellectual and economic elite.

We will ask questions such as: to what extent have Bolivia and Venezuela achieved such aims? Can their experiment in “twenty-first century socialism” be seen as an appropriation and demobilizaton of popular movements? Does the top-down promotion of class antagonism inevitably collide with the interests of maintaining state power? What does it mean when the “subaltern” and excluded are given voice by a hegemonic state power? What is the contemporary role of political action outside of or even in opposition to the state in Latin America?

Sunday, March 1, 2015 - 02:00
The Public School Los Angeles, 951 Chung King Road, 90012 more
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