Thirty years after the crisis in Central America, the region has once again appeared on the political agenda. However, it is now some time since intellectuals travelled to the Isthmus interested in seeing the outcome of civil wars in which the logic of mobilisation was black or white: a fight between insurgency and the status quo.
At that time, the social movements (called Organizaciones de Masas – Organisations of the Masses) held a closed loyalty towards the guerrilla groups: the FSLN in Nicaragua, the FMLN in El Salvador, and the URNG in Guatemala. For their part, the more low-key social movements in Honduras and Costa Rica showed solidarity towards the insurgents. Nevertheless, in each country the relationship between movements and guerrillas was different. In Nicaragua, from the second half of the 1970s and throughout the revolutionary period, the movements always obeyed the FSLN, which served as the vanguard. However, in Guatemala and El Salvador, the movements were more autonomous and had a greater capacity for negotiation with the guerrilla groups. Continue reading
John Holloway, Change the world without taking power: the meaning of revolution today (London & New York: Pluto Press, 2010)
Eleven years after its first publication (in 2002), John Holloway’s Change the World Without Taking Power remains one of the most contested and controversial books of contemporary Marxist theory, having been translated into ten languages and seen three English editions in 2002, 2005 and 2010 (Holloway 2010: ix-x). In response to a series of critiques to the first edition of his book, namely on how can we advance the struggle for society’s self-determination—or Communism—without taking state power, the 2005 edition presents a new epilogue. Upon continuing controversies, the 2010 edition includes an “extensive” preface, in which Holloway felt it necessary to reassert the timeliness of the book after the waning of the Zapatista movement and Argentine piquetero and neighborhood assembly movements. In his preface, he rather points to the so-called “state-centered developments” (Holloway 2010: xi) in Venezuela and Bolivia, and keeps asking: “how do we stop making capitalism?” (Holloway 2010: xii). He claims that he does not know the answer to this question, while, on the other hand, quite firmly asserting that “the state has no part” in the solution (Holloway 2010: xii).