Jeffery Webber

Sidney Smith Hall, Room 5017A | 100 St. George Street, Toronto, ON, M5S 3G3 (map)

Rebellion & Reaction in Latin America

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In the aftermath of the commodities boom, Latin American progressive governments are in precipitous decline, and the right is reawakening across the continent. A shadow of reaction draws steadily more countries into a familiar darkness of violence and austerity, even as popular movements everywhere resist the dying of the light. The longstanding reach of American power, and the more recent entry of Chinese might, shape the shifting global terrains of finance and geopolitics in which Latin American states struggle to carve out some room to manoeuvre. Too often, the battle over Latin America’s recent past and coming future has been reduced to political personalities, the stories of Big Men. But simplistic personification of this kind obscures the gritty contradictions of the actual social forces contending for power.

Drawing on years of on-the-ground experience and interviews with figures stretching across enormous social divisions – from the highest echelons of institutional power to the shantytown infrastructures of popular revolt – this talk maps out the rise and exhaustion of the Bolivarian turn in Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela, and the balance of reform and reaction in the Southern Cone countries of Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. All of this is framed by theoretical reflections on regional patterns of capital accumulation, state formation, and class conflict, as well as Latin America’s subordinate incorporation into the world market.

Jeffery R. Webber is an Associate Professor in the Department of Politics at York University. He is the author of several books on Latin America including Red October, From Rebellion to Reform in Bolivia, and The Last Day of Oppression and the First Day of the Same. Webber has analyses of Brazil under Jair Bolsonaro forthcoming in Historical Materialism and Rethinking Marxism and is presently working on his next book, The Latin American Crucible: Politics and Power in the New Era, which is under contract with Verso.

Toronto is in the ‘Dish With One Spoon Territory’. The Dish With One Spoon is a treaty between the Anishinaabe, Mississaugas and Haudenosaunee that bound them to share the territory and protect the land. Subsequent Indigenous Nations and peoples, Europeans and all newcomers have been invited into this treaty in the spirit of peace, friendship and respect.

Sidney Smith Hall (100 St. George Street, Toronto, M5S3G3) is an accessible building, with a ramp located at the Huron Street entrance. Closest TTC locations: St. George and Spadina stations, the 510 Spadina streetcar at Harbord Street, and the 94 Wellesley/Ossington bus at St. George Street.

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