by Raul Zibechi
Translated by Ramor Ryan
"Raúl Zibechi’s book is a clear demonstration that it is possible to trace the pulse of forms of domination, without ever losing sight of the struggles and resistances of the dominated.” —Gilberto López y Rivas, author of Las autonomías de los pueblos indígenas en México.
Once upon a time, Lula’s election in Brazil offered a pretense of hope to the international left. In the midst of a rapidly shifting global economy, Brazil has since emerged as a powerful new player on the geopolitical stage. With three short years of aggressive economic restructuring, Lula embraced the legacy of the country’s oligarchic past, paying off huge IMF loans years ahead of schedule and placing Brazil at the center of political and economic power in the region.
Brazil is now the poster child for neoliberal capitalism. Within its borders, vast inequities in wealth and access to social services still exist—a striking contrast to the nation's newfound prestige in world politics. At the same time, unrest is growing. Small protests against the costs of public transportation have grown to mass demonstrations that question the very foundations of capital and the state in Brazil.
Raúl Zibechi dedicates this book to “the new forces emerging in Latin America, to all the movements and acts of rebellion against current forms of oppression in mining, monoculture, hydroelectric dams—and against the new imperialism.” He makes it clear that movements and militants must understand the implications of Brazil's rise to the global power as part of changes happening in the world system. Toward that end, he provides a step-by-step history and analysis of the country’s trajectory in recent decades, including the new forms of militarization and “sub-imperialism” it has developed; the increasing collusion among its unions, multinational corporations, and the state; its devastating conquest of the Amazon; and, most importantly, the antisystemic movements that are getting stronger and smarter as they try to push the entire region in a more radical and humane direction.
Raúl Zibechi is a journalist and social-movement analyst based in Montevideo, Uruguay. He is the author of numerous books, including Dispersing Power and Territories in Resistance, both published by AK Press.
Ramor Ryan is an Irish writer and translator based in Chiapas, Mexico, and the author of Clandestines and Zapatista Spring (AK Press, 2011).