Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Separatism and Class Politics in Latin America

A Very Good Article
By James Petras

"Throughout the world there is an upsurge of regional, ‘sub- national’ movements whose demands range from greater ‘autonomy’ to complete independence. Many analysts have commented on the apparent paradox of increasing global integration of economies and the increasing fragmentation of nation-states.

A deeper look at the internal dynamics of regional conflicts and external imperial strategies unravels the ‘paradox’ – by revealing the inter-relationships between competing empire building strategies and national fragmentation and regional conflicts.

Several points of reference highlight the underlying dynamic of regional and global politics.....


The promotion of regionalism and ethnic diversity is not the same as ending class inequality and injustice. In many cases the politics of ethnic identities have been a vehicle to oppose oppressive national regimes, in the name of an undifferentiated “people” in order to construct local power base and negotiate quotas of national power.

Rural based ethno-regional movements have turned ‘inward’ to vindicating traditions and linguistic hegemony but frequently have been deflected from challenging national class power structures.

Not an insignificant role has been played by imperialist funded NGO’s who call for “respect” of “cultural-autonomy” at the local level and fragment and divide class based movements as is the case in some regions of Ecuador.

On the other hand, traditional solidarity of language, family religion and community has played a major role in overthrowing reactionary regimes and putting forth a progressive agenda when it is combined with modern class and anti-imperialist analysis.

Untangling the confused and apparently contradictory response of the left to the issue of self-determination and therefore to separatist movements revolves around recognizing that other basic principles have greater salience. By revitalizing the notion of self-determination and locating it in the context of the class and anti-imperialist struggle, we can begin to approximate an answer to when, where and with whom we side in the national and social liberation struggle."

No comments: