Monday, 4 February 2013

Public Meeting: Vijay Prashad

At a time when neoliberal capitalism is undergoing a protracted crisis, popular movements advocating and probing alternatives to capitalism are sprouting up all across the world. The Left forces have made significant strides in Latin America – radical interventions by left-led governments in the region have reversed privatisation, nationalised oil and gas resources, implemented extensive land reforms, promoted collective enterprises and ushered in a democratisation of the political system. Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua along with Cuba have been in the forefront of challenging the stranglehold of US imperialism in the region. The platform of Bolivarianism draws from powerful political movements that have sprung up in Latin America over the past few decades, and takes them forward in an organized form. The challenges facing the left-leaning governments in the region are enormous, and it remains to be seen whether these regimes (socialist Cuba being the exception) have the mettle to go all the way to transcend capitalism rather than remaining content with “social democracy” or “radical democracy”.

In another part of the globe, the Arab Spring has echoed the intensifying anger among the people in various countries against the curbing of political and economic rights. The wave of people’s protests and mass actions that has swept across the Arab world, triggered by spiralling price rise and massive levels of poverty and unemployment, has articulated the demand for freedom, democracy and responsible governments. But the road ahead for the people of the region is a long and arduous one, as the newly elected governments have not shown the determination or vision to confront neoliberalism head on.

Europe and North America have seen massive protests against austerity measures in recent times. Youth protests have rocked Spain, while general strikes by workers have taken place in Greece, Portugal, Italy, France, Britain and other countries. The movement of the indignados in Spain and ‘Occupy’ movements in various countries confronted the regimes of austerity, but their gestures of opposition have neither gathered sufficient momentum, nor have they been able to put forward policy alternatives that are concrete enough. In Greece, the SYRIZA coalition was able to make some headway electorally, but has been shackled by its own limited vision, as it holds fast to the erroneous belief that neoliberalism can be effectively countered by remaining within the eurozone.

To assess the current state of struggles across the globe against neoliberalism, the possibilities thrown up by such movements along with their limitations, tonight we have in our midst Prof. Vijay Prashad, the George and Martha Kellner Chair in South Asian History and Professor of International Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, USA. He is the author of a number of books including Arab Spring, Libyan Winter (2012), The Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third  World (2007) and Dispatches from Latin America: On the Frontlines Against Neoliberalism (2006), and writes regularly for Frontline and Counterpunch.

Kopal, Secretary, SFI JNU Unit
Manu M R, President, SFI JNU Unit

Join the public meeting on

"Breaking the Crust of US Hegemony: 
Bolivarianism, Arab Spring… What's Next?"

Speaker: Vijay Prashad, Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, USA

Venue: Sutlej Mess
Tonight at 9.30 pm

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