Rebuilding the Left

Marta Harnecker


Answers the question, what future is there for the left, faced with the challenges of the twenty-first century? This book addresses the crisis facing the left. It offers hope to those who believe that we can build a different world. It is aimed at activists as well as Latin American scholars.
What future is there for the left, faced with the challenges of the twenty-first century? Based on a lifetime's experience in politics, Marta Harnecker addresses the crisis facing the left today.

At its heart, this book is a critique of social democratic realpolitik. Harnecker reminds us that, contrary to today's orthodoxy, politics is not the art of the possible but the art of making the impossible possible by building a social and political force capable of changing reality.

She believes that the social experiments being carried out in Latin America today hold out hope that an alternative to capitalism is possible; they are essentially socialist, democratic projects in which the people are the driving force. To create a real alternative to capitalism, though, the left must change.

Rebuilding the Left offers real hope to those who still believe that we can create a different world.

Author Bio

Marta Harnecker is the director of Memoria Popular Latinoamericana, a research organisation focusing on the history of popular movements in Latin America.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Part I: The Left and the New World
    • 1. Profound Changes in the World
    • 2. Profound Discontent among Much of Humankind
    • 3. Towards the Creation of an Alternative Social Bloc
  • Part II: The Crises of 'Party' and Why we Need a New Left Political Culture
    • 4. Crisis of Theory
    • 5. Programmatic Crisis and the Crisis of Credibility
    • 6. The Organic Crisis
    • 7. The Theory Underlying this Concept of Party
    • 8. Politics as the Art of Making the Impossible Possible
    • 9. Why we Need a Political Organization
  • Part III: The New Political Instrument
    • 10. The Characteristics of the New Political Instrument
    • 11.  A New Paradigm for Internal Organization
  • Part IV: From Reforms to Revolution: The Bolivarian Revolutionary Process
    • 12. Local Governments: Signposts to an Alternative Path
    • 13. The Left and Reform
    • 14. The Bolivarian Revolution - Is It a Revolution?
  • Notes
  • Index


'This book is an illuminating overview of the revolutionary left, particularly in Latin America, and its failings in the second part of the 20th century. Essential reading for all those who are trying to revive the left to meet new challenges.'
Samir Amin

‘Full of observations, analyses and reflections which are extremely useful for the times we live in. Harnecker’s personal knowledge of so many social and political movements makes this book particularly important.'
Francois Houtart

`For Harnecker, politics is the art of discovering the potential in the present in order to make possible tomorrow what appears impossible today. In this book she does just this for Latin America and in particular Venezuela. But first she ditches the dogmas of the past with a disarming frankness. The result is an original and valuable contribution to rethinking left politics.'
Hilary Wainwright, author of Reclaim the State

'Here in Britain, we still have a lot to learn about participatory democracy and this book is an excellent place to start. Charley Allan recommends Marta Harnecker's in-depth study of left-wing movements to anyone aiming to change the system.'
Morning Star

'Marta's ideas about what the left should be doing is a great tonic; and not just for those in Latin America but for those of us on the British left in these dying days of Blairism.'
Hugh O' Shaughnessy, Tribune


Publication Date: 15 January 2007
176 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781842772577
eBook ePub: 9781848137622
eBook PDF: 9781848130784
eBook Kindle: 9781780328607
Library Edition: 9781842772560

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