By Taking Power

Spring 2017

Out now

Issue 25

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Bolívar prophesied shrewdly that the United States seemed fated by Providence to plague America with woes in the name of liberty. General Motors or IBM will not step graciously into our shoes and raise the old banners of unity and emancipation which fell in battle; nor can heroes betrayed yesterday be redeemed by the traitors of today. It is a big load of rottenness that has to be sent to the bottom of the sea on the march to Latin America’s reconstruction. The task lies in the hands of the dispossessed, the humiliated, the accursed. The Latin American cause is about all a social cause: the rebirth of Latin America must start with the overthrow of its masters, country by country. We are entering times of rebellion and change. There are those who believe that destiny rests on the knees of the gods; but the truth is that it confronts the conscience of man with a burning challenge.
— Eduardo Galeano, Open Veins of Latin America (1971)

Front Matters

A healthy start to a nutritious magazine.

Illustration by The Diggers


Letters & Internet Speaks (print only)

“Intellectuals tend to focus attention, understandably, on critical analysis of intellectuals. But for me personally it’s been a rather peripheral concern.”
— Noam Chomsky, Cambridge, MA

Friends & Foes

Not Going Back

Hilary Goodfriend

Lorena Peña and a generation of FMLN militants adjust to the promise and limits of state power.


The Long Struggle Against Dependency

Kyla Sankey

The Pink Tide governments’ efforts to break from the tyrannies of world market dependence are not new. Neither are their failures to do so.

The Empire’s Amnesia

Greg Grandin

When it comes to imperialism, Latin America never forgets, and the United States never remembers.

Down, But Not Out

Jeffery R. Webber

The Latin American left was on life-support in 1990. A decade later, it was in power.

Illustrations by Atolón de Mororoa

Means of Deduction

We got more graphs than Ross Perot.

Misery Index

Fairly Arbitrary (print only)

The Vulgar Empiricist

The Spoils of Class War (print only)

Years of Pink Tide governance saw tremendous gains for ordinary Latin Americans.

Uneven and Combined

We Have Been Naught (print only)

Chávez performed best in poor districts, worst in rich ones.

Reading Materiel

We Read Things You Shouldn’t Read, So We Could Tell You What to Read.

Field Notes

Red is the New Red, White, and Blue (print only)

Jonah Walters

Chinese investments in Latin America have skyrocketed over the past ten years. But not everyone is thrilled about the new superpower in the region.

China’s interest in Latin America remains primarily economic — securing natural resources and diversifying export markets amid the global economic downturn... China’s strategy in Latin America is clear: it wants to “control the supply of commodities,” said the Brazilian Consul General in Shanghai. Chinese investors, encouraged by the Chinese Government, are rushing to invest in Brazil’s natural resources.

With exports to developed countries plummeting, China is looking to Latin America, which China thinks is still in relatively good shape, to pick up some of the slack .... China sees the need to “pay more attention” to large emerging countries like Brazil and Mexico amid the changing global economic balance of power.


The Left in Power

Linda Farthing

Evo Morales’s presidency made real gains for working people. But could it have charted a more radical course?

Illustrations by Daniël Roozendaal

Cultural Capital


Illustration by Sam Taylor

Red Channels

The South is Our North

Patrick Iber

TeleSUR’s trajectory reminds us that the task of criticizing the Left cannot be abandoned to the Right.

Beyond a Boundary

El Diego

Mike Meehall Wood

Just as every party in Argentina tries to claim Juan Perón’s legacy, so every government tries to bring Maradona into its fold.

The Tumbrel

Righteous haterade against the great enemies of proletarian progress.

Illustration by The Diggers


Lesson Learned

What have we learned from the Pink Tide's years in power?

Left parties must take measures to stay connected to their bases.

Sean Purdy

The “patriotic bourgeoisie” is a myth.

Mike Gonzalez

Challenging the dominance of foreign capital requires far stronger regional integration.

Kristin Ciupa

Left governments need to pursue long-term programs of economic diversification.

Benjamin Fogel


Our work here is not yet done.

The Cookshop

Build It Now

Peter Frase

Creating institutions where people exercise control over their lives is important in itself as a goal of socialist politics.

Means & Ends

Doom and Gloom

Bhaskar Sunkara

We may not be very good, but we’re better than Vox.

“Bush is turning socialist.
How are you, Comrade Bush?”
— Hugo Chávez

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