Bill Weinberg speaks on land and freedom in Peru

World War 4 Report editor Bill Weinberg's presentation about Peru at the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space (MoRUS) on New York's Lower East Side last week is now on YouTube. The talk and slide show focused on struggles for urban space in Lima (community centers, squats, gardens); the movement for legalization of coca leaf, and against US-led eradication efforts; and peasant struggles for land and water against US mineral companies in the Andes. There was also a report on recent protests in Lima against the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, with a representative from NY Metro Trade Justice.

ANNOTATION: Some of the names referenced in the video, as correctly rendered… The current progressive mayor of Lima is Susana Villarán. The left-wing dictator who ruled from 1968 to 1975 was Juan Velasco Alvarado. The folksinger who participated in Peru's 1979 constitutional reform was El Jilguero del Huascarán. The Marxist thinker of the 1920s who looked to the indigenous past as a model for socialism was José Carlos Mariátegui. The Bagua massacre took place on June 5, 2009, the day before the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. The video cuts off just before a Skype connection was established to an activist in Lima who spoke about the protests against the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks. This may be uploaded at some point…

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  1. Mariátegui and the Permanent Revolution
    In Defense of Marxism, journal of the tendency to which the heroic and precocious Malala Yousafzai adheres, runs the most in-depth and intelligent exploration I have seen in English of the Peruvian Marxist thinker José Carlos Mariátegui… “Mariátegui and the Permanent Revolution” by José Pereira. However, these obvious Trotskyists don’t emphasize the point that Mariátegui was at best equivocal on the Trotsky-Stalin split, as evidenced in his 1929 essay on the topic, and explored (in Spanish) by one Rafael Herrera Robles in the monograph “Mariátegui, Trotsky y Stalin.”

  2. Deadly fire at Lima squat and community center

    One of the alternative spaces mentioned in the presentation above, the ironically named "Salón Imperial" squat and community center in Lima's bohemian enclave of Quilca, was gutted in a mysterious fire Feb. 13 that left two dead. (La Republica) The center actually dates back to the left-wing Velasco regime of the late 1960s, when an old office building was turned over to the community. Through the subsequent conservative regimes, it has been held by various community groups on a more or less informal basis, tolerated if not officially permitted by the authorities. The lead group in control there in recent years has been the "Fonavistas," citizens who were swindled by the scandal-plagued housing fund FONAVI (akin to the forclosure crisis around Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the US), and are demanding reparations. The building operated a big communal kitchen that fed hundreds of local residents daily, and provided space for numerous activist groups, including the Avancemos anarchist collective, punk rock shows, etc.