New Resources

September 25, 2007

NICARAGUA The Pope: Pilgrim of Peace? Few events have been so nar- rowly or negatively reported as the Pope's visit to Nicaragua last March. This 38-minute videotape, by the makers of the film "Thank God and the Revolution," fills the gap by al- lowing spokespersons for and against the government and knowledgeable observers to speak for themselves about the issues surrounding the events. The film is designed to encour- age discussion by an inquiring audience familiar with the basic elements of the revolution but confused by media coverage of this controversial subject. A discussion sheet accompanying the tape provides the context for key themes. (3/4 inch color videotape. Purchase price: $250, Rental: $50. Icarus Films, 200 Park Avenue South, Suite 1319, New York, NY 10003.) ARGENTINA Richard Gillespie, Soldiers of PerOn: Argentina's Montoneros (Oxford University Press, 1982). $29.95, cloth, 293 pgs. Gillespie has prepared a carefully detailed study of the success and failure of Peronism and of the consequential rise of the Montonero movement. This work is particularly helpful in sorting out the myriad political tendencies that were Peron- ism, and in understanding how all these trends came together under the aegis of one man. As Gillespie points out, Peron assumed his power in the traditional style of the caudillo. His position was tenacious and yet deeply ambiguous-he was the workers' champion who was repulsed by the proletarian masses. Gillespie draws com- parisons to Castro and Mussolini, parallels which would seem inconsistent, but are strangely appropriate. And if anything, Per6n's hold over the national consciousness grew during his years in exile. His call for the amorphous socialismo nacional (a term first used on his euphoric tour of Mussolini's Italy in 1937) was heralded by all of the Peronist factions, each of which attached its own preferred interpretation to the phrase. The Montoneros, however, took their inspiration from the militaristic posturings of the phenomenal Eva Peron. Gillespie presents a comprehensive history of the Montonero move- ment and an assessment of its violently erratic strategies. The lasting picture is of the caudillo, comfortably rubbing shoul- ders with the most notorious dictators in Latin America, while exhorting his revolutionary fighters to battle. (Oxford Uni- versity Press, 200 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016.) PERU David G. Becker, The New Bourgeoisie and the Limits of Dependency: Mining, Class and Power in "Revolutionary" Peru (Princeton University Press, 1983) $45, cloth, 430 pgs. Becker centers his development model for Peru around that nation's chief export industry: non-ferrous metal mining. Ac- cording to Becker, this sector is ripe for what he terms "bonanza development"-meaning that in Peru's present state of late-capitalist development, the combined interests of the transnationals and the Peruvian state mining enterprises can operate to benefit the economy and facilitate an integration of the lower classes, an expanded democracy and the eventual establishment of democratic socialism. Becker argues that the 50 military government that restored power to President Belaunde in 1980 generally shied away from nationalizations and so did little to alter the preeminence of private capital, leaving the conditions for a stage of "positive, dynamic capitalism." Becker invalidates the dependency theorists' analysis of the metropolis/satellite role of transnationals in the third world, and illustrates his contention with case studies of two U.S. mining concerns in Peru. One, which prospered by accom- modating the state; another, which clung to its old, pater- nalistic ties and exploitative labor practices and promptly found itself nationalized. Based in Marxism, Becker's plan is carefully explained-if not as concrete as it might be in treating major social transitions-and provides provocative and informative reading. (Princeton University Press, 3175 Princeton Pike, Lawrence, NJ 08648.) GUATEMALA Days of the Jungle-The Testimony of a Guatemalan Guer- rillero, 1972-1976. First published in 1980 in Spanish, this is a reminiscence of the early days of Guatemala's EGP by a founding member, Mario Payeras. Payeras' observations drive home the raw reality of the guerrilla experience. NACLA's George Black provides a lucid introduction. Monthly Review, Vol. 35, no. 3, July-August 1983, 155 West 23rd Street, New York, NY 10011.) REFERENCE Pete Ayrton, ed., World View 1983 (Pantheon Books, 1982) $22.50, cloth, $9.95, paper, 486 pgs. World View 1983, originally published in Britain by Pluto Press as an expanded English-language edition of Masp6ro's L'Etatdu Monde, sets itself up as a sort of anti-yearbook. Both sophisticated and unashamedly partisan, it presents a startling compendium of last year's global events. The volume opens with an excellent chronology of 1982, complete with recommended articles selected from the London Times, The New York Times and New Statesman. Following chapters include discussions of the year's most strategic issues, from third world debt to the European peace movement; a collection of essays covering key topics that are generally overlooked by the major dailies; country and regional profiles; maps, tables and carefully analyzed statistics; and a radical research directory. Intelligent and entertaining, the text should be read as a companion guide to media coverage of international relations. (Pantheon Books, 201 East 50th Street, New York, NY 10022.) Jack W. Hopkins, ed., Latin America and Caribbean Con- temporary Record (Holmes & Meier, 1983) $149.50, cloth, 879 pgs. A prestigious and knowledgable group of academic authors have contributed essays to this Latin American re- gional volume of Holmes & Meier's well-respected interna- tional series. This massive volume is a welcome addition to the category of Latin American yearbooks, being concise and reliable and convenient for quick reference. The opening chap- ter provides a general overview of events in Latin America during the 1981-82 period that is impressive in its breadth and clarity. A second section contains historical and topical analyses of north-south relations followed by commentaries on the most focal areas in the continent. The country profiles are comprehensive and eloquent, detailing a thoughtful array of historical, political and socioeconomic considerations, and a final section provides statistics and documentation. (Holmes & Meier, 30 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003.) NACLA Reportupdate * update update * update UNITED STATES Bruce Johansen and Roberto Maestas, El Pueblo: The Gal- legos Family's American Journey 1503-1980 (Monthly Re- view Press, 1983). $20, cloth, 205 pgs. The Gallegos family ancestry includes a number of successful conquistadors who settled in the New World. Their descendants farmed small holdings in the western valleys of the United States until mechanization forced them off their land to migrant camps, mines and factories. The authors of ElPueblo have documented the Gallegos' painful assimilation into the urban working classes during the xenophobic years of.the 1940s and 1950s. Later, the study focuses on how the Gallegos family responded to the changing social climate of the 1960s and on their experiments with nationalism and activism. The authors play too heavily on the notion of proud warriors broken by a hostile culture and at times the overly simplistic text borders on condescension. But this book does present a unique biographic profile of one family's history. (Monthly Review Press, 155 West 23rd Street, New York, NY 10011.) CUBA Sergio Dlaz-Briquets, The Health Revolution in Cuba (Uni- versity of Texas Press, 1983). $19.95, cloth, 227 pgs. Dlaz- Briquets uses the classic model of the mortality rate as a barometer of changing social and health conditions in 20th century Cuba. Before the turn of the century, disastrous living conditions coupled with frequent and severe epidemics main- tained a high, yet fluctuating, mortality rate. The U.S. military occupation after the Spanish-American War helped to stabilize health conditions and triggered the decline of the mortality rate which has persisted to the present. The revolution brought radical income redistribution, extended medical services and advanced sanitation systems. This study is copious and tech- nical, but does provide a useful historical overview of the demographics and social conditions of modern Cuba. (Uni- versity of Texas Press, PO Box 7819, Austin, TX 78712.) John M. Kirk, Josd Marti: Mentor of the Cuban Nation (Uni- versity Presses of Florida, 1983). $17.95, cloth, 201 pgs. John M. Kirk is clearly enamored of his subject. In the preface to this biographical study, Kirk starts to compare Marti to Gandhi, Lincoln, Bolivar and Mao, but abandons this list of illuminaries because such comparisons "all fall short of de- picting the true importance of Marti's nation-building role.' But Kirk's book is an intelligent study of Martf's transforma- tion from poet to politician to martyr, and of the manipulation of "Marti mania." The author delves into lengthy discussions of Marti's political visions for a liberated Cuba while noting the private idiosyncracies of the poet. Mart[ was both an eloquent writer and a persuasive statesman, and Kirk's biography pro- vides a lucid analysis of his collective work. (University Presses of Florida, 15 NW 15th Street, Gainesville, FL32603.) INTERNATIONAL FINANCE Gerald M. Meier, Problems of a World Monetary Order, Second Edition (Oxford University Press, 1982). $12.95, paper, 343 pgs. Meier's book is a fascinating and very read- able history of the development of an international financial order. The study begins after World War I, with Churchill's ill-advised return to the pre-war parity gold standard, and continues with an analysis of the two institutions which came out of the 1944 Bretton Woods conference, the IMF and the World Bank. Meier presents a number of neo-classical Sept/Oct 1983 scenarios, discussing the Eurocurrency market, petrodollars, international capital movements, gold and exchange rate man- agement and evaluates several proposed corrective measures, including Keynes' model for a world central bank. The first historical section is the most interesting, and in it Keynes steals the show with his inimitable caustic humor and casual Bloomsbury style. In a letter to the editor of The Economist, Keynes prefaces his address on "the real purpose of the monetary fund" with, "In case the matter is of any interest," then reviles that "barbarous relic"--the gold stan- dard. (Oxford University Press, 200 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016.) GRENADA Pathfinder Press, Forward Evert Three Years of the Grena- dian Revolution, Speeches of Maurice Bishop (Pathfinder Press, 1982). $6.95, paper, 287 pgs. Helping to fill the void of information on revolutionary Grenada, this collection of speeches by Prime Minister Maurice Bishop covers numerous aspects of the movement--domestic priorities, foreign policy, press freedom. An introduction-by an Australian leader of the Socialist Workers Party--profiles the New Jewel Move- ment, the popular force which seized power in 1979. Two further preparatory chapters are reprinted fron the Cuban Granma: a wide ranging and enlightening interview with Bishop and a brief history of the "spice island" from colonization in the 1600s. (Pathfinder Press, 410 West Street, New York, NY 10014.) D. Sinclair DaBreo, The Grenada Revolution (Management Advertising and Publicity Services, 1979). Write for price, paper, 352 pgs. DaBreo, a St. Lucia journalist, offers a read- able history of Grenada that is anecdotal while providing the necessary chronological road map. Seemingly based on in- terviews with participants, the viewpoint is supportive yet independent of the New Jewel. Particularly useful is DaBreo's account of the social climate which accomodated the rise of Eric Gairy (including a lively rendition of the 1951 general strike which launched the dictator's career), shedding light on how he was able to capture the confidence of a great many Grenadians. Completed just four months after the victory, the book is most useful as an account of the transition to power and as an ideological and programmatic profile of Grenada's governing party. (Management Advertising and Publicity Ser- vices, PO Box 852, Castries, St. Lucia.) Chris Searle and Ron Rojas, eds., 'To Construct From Morn- ing'---Making The People's Budget In Grenada (Fedon Pub- lishers, 1982). Write for price, paper, 168 pgs. This govern- ment pamphlet documents the three-month process which resulted in Grenada's 1982 budget. Consultation began with a national seminar attended by 1000 members of mass organi- zations, who then carried the discussions out to zonal councils throughout the island. Each drew up suggestions and priori- ties: "encourage the local manufacture of soap by reducing the cost of imported caustic soda"; "local businessmen should cooperate in finding the brands of necessary imports that combine the highest quality with the most reasonable cost"; "free milk distribution should be better organized, so that it reaches all villages." Interviews with workers involved in the process as well as professional planners provide a glimpse of participatory democracy at work. (Fedon Publishers, St. George's, Grenada.)


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