Watch: The Future of the Left in the Americas

Watch: The Future of the Left in the Americas

Watch videos of all eight panels at our conference on the Future of the Left in the Americas, October 5–6 at the New School.

On October 5–6, Dissent and the New School hosted a two-day conference on the Future of the Left in the Americas. The conference brought together scholars, activists, and journalists from more than a dozen different countries across the Americas to discuss the challenges and opportunities for left politics in the hemisphere today. Watch archived livestream broadcasts of all the panels below or on our Facebook page. Please note that the discussions alternate between English and Spanish.

Friday, October 5: Lessons from the Past

Panel 1: The Social-Democratic Option (9:00—11:15 a.m.)

Panel 2: The Bolivarian Option (11:30–1:15)

Panel 3: The Left and the Media (2:30–4:15 p.m.)

Panel 4: Learning from the Cuban Experience (4:30–6:15 p.m.)

Saturday, October 6: Visions for the Future and How to Get There

Panel 5: Foundational Ideas for a Future Left (9:30—11:15 a.m.)

Panel 6: Toward a Left Political Economy (11:30–1:15)

Panel 7: Resisting Extractivism and Climate Change (2:30–4:15 p.m.)

Panel 8: Solidarity in the Twenty-First Century (4:30–6:15 p.m.)

Panelist bios

Friday, October 5: Lessons from the Past

Welcome and Panel 1: The Social-Democratic Option (9:00—11:15 a.m.)

The Future of the Left in the Americas

Two days of discussion with scholars, activists, and journalists from across the Americas about the challenges and opportunities for left politics in the region today

Posted by Dissent Magazine on Friday–Saturday, October 5–6, 2018

Welcome (begins at 06:50)

  • Julia Ott (The New School)
  • Michael Kazin (Dissent)
  • Patrick Iber (University of Madison, Wisconsin)

Panel 1: The Social-Democratic Option (begins at 26:50)

This panel focuses on the achievements and limitations of left governments in Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, and Costa Rica. What kinds of political conditions did these social democratic governments face, and how did this determine their fate? How have social movements interacted with them, and how should they do so in the future?

  • Celso Rocha de Barros (Independent blogger and journalist, Brazil)
  • Gerardo Caetano (Universidad de la República, Uruguay)
  • Gemita Oyarzo (Universidad Diego Portales, Chile)
  • George García (Universidad de Costa Rica, Costa Rica)
  • Chair: Nara Milanich (Barnard College, USA)

Panel 2: The Bolivarian Option (11:30–1:15)

The Future of the Left in the Americas

Two days of discussion with scholars, activists, and journalists from across the Americas about the challenges and opportunities for left politics in the region today

Posted by Dissent Magazine on Friday–Saturday, October 5–6, 2018

What kinds of things were “populist” governments able to do that others were not? Drawing on the experiences of Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Ecuador, panelists discuss the Bolivarian option, and what this has meant for both governments and social movements.

  • María Pilar Garcia Guadilla (Universidad Simón Bolívar, Venezuela)
  • Pablo Ospina Peralta (Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar, Ecuador)
  • Pamela Calla (New York University, USA)
  • Miguel Gomez (Universidad Americana, Nicaragua)
  • Chair: Michael Kazin (Georgetown University and Dissent, USA)

Panel 3: The Left and the Media (2:30–4:15 p.m.)

The Future of the Left in the Americas

Two days of discussion with scholars, activists, and journalists from across the Americas about the challenges and opportunities for left politics in the region today

Posted by Dissent Magazine on Friday–Saturday, October 5–6, 2018

Discussion begins at 08:44

What sort of media should the left try to build? What challenges have Latin American journalists faced in reporting on left governments across the region? What other obstacles—including finance and security concerns—shape media coverage?

  • Carlos Dada (El Faro, El Salvador)
  • Alejandra Matus (Independent journalist, Chile)
  • Carlos Bravo Regidor (Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas, Mexico)
  • Chair: Kate Doyle (National Security Archive)

Panel 4: Learning from the Cuban Experience (4:30–6:15 p.m.)

The Future of the Left in the Americas

Two days of discussion with scholars, activists, and journalists from across the Americas about the challenges and opportunities for left politics in the region today

Posted by Dissent Magazine on Friday–Saturday, October 5–6, 2018

Discussion begins at 02:45

How should Cuba’s experiences with socialism inform the thinking of the left elsewhere? What should a “left” politics look like in Cuba?

  • Harold Cárdenas Lema (Columbia University; Cuba)
  • Yasmín S. Portales Machado (Northwestern University; Cuba)
  • Andrés Pertierra (Independent researcher, USA)
  • Ailynn Torres Santana (FLACSO Ecuador; Cuba)
  • Chair: Michelle Chase (Pace University, USA)

Saturday, October 6: Visions for the Future and How to Get There

Panel 5: Foundational Ideas for a Future Left (9:30—11:15 a.m.)

The Future of the Left in the Americas

Two days of discussion with scholars, activists, and journalists from across the Americas about the challenges and opportunities for left politics in the region today

Posted by Dissent Magazine on Friday–Saturday, October 5–6, 2018

Discussion begins at 16:10

What should democratic socialism look like in the 21st century? And what work does the left still need to do to build support for its goals?

  • Humberto Beck (Centro de Estudios Internacionales El Colegio de México, Mexico)
  • Maria Svart (Democratic Socialists of America)
  • Diosnara Ortega (Catholic University Silva Henríquez, Cuba, via Skype)
  • Pablo Stefanoni (editor-in-chief of New Society, Argentina/Bolivia)
  • Chair: Timothy Shenk (Dissent)

Panel 6: Toward a Left Political Economy (11:30–1:15)

The Future of the Left in the Americas

Two days of discussion with scholars, activists, and journalists from across the Americas about the challenges and opportunities for left politics in the region today

Posted by Dissent Magazine on Friday–Saturday, October 5–6, 2018

Discussion begins at 03:00

What models are available for building a left economy? How do we account for the role of markets? How do finance ambitious programs and redistribute national and international resources more equitably? What political constraints do economic conditions impose on left projects? What opportunities?

  • Jeffrey Webber (Queen Mary, University of London, UK)
  • Christy Thornton (Johns Hopkins University, USA)
  • Luis Godoy Rueda (Columbia University, USA)
  • Chair: Julia Ott (The New School, USA)

Panel 7: Resisting Extractivism and Climate Change (2:30–4:15 p.m.)

The Future of the Left in the Americas

Two days of discussion with scholars, activists, and journalists from across the Americas about the challenges and opportunities for left politics in the region today

Posted by Dissent Magazine on Friday–Saturday, October 5–6, 2018

Discussion begins at 10:00

How do we build a post-extractive left? How will climate change alter the needs of populations in Latin America? How do the demands and rights of indigenous communities interact with left governments? How can we protect environmental activists?

  • Kate Aronoff (Independent journalist, USA)
  • Thea Riofrancos (Providence College, USA)
  • Frederico Freitas (North Carolina State University, USA)
  • Daniel Aldana Cohen (University of Pennsylvania, USA)
  • Chair: Vera Candiani (Princeton University, USA)

Panel 8: Solidarity in the Twenty-First Century (4:30–6:15 p.m.)

The Future of the Left in the Americas

Two days of discussion with scholars, activists, and journalists from across the Americas about the challenges and opportunities for left politics in the region today

Posted by Dissent Magazine on Friday–Saturday, October 5–6, 2018

Discussion begins at 14:18

What should solidarity look like in the 21st century? How can like-minded organizations and people support each other internationally? How should Latin American migration to the US affect the way we do solidarity work?

  • Alejandro Velasco (New York University, USA)
  • Bill Fletcher, Jr. (Organizer and writer, USA)
  • Alexandra Delano (The New School, USA)
  • Lori Hanson (University of Saskatchewan, Canada)
  • Chair: Frances Negrón Muntaner (Columbia University, USA)

This conference was presented by Dissent with the support of the Open Society Foundations and in collaboration with the New School and NACLA. Special thanks to the New School’s Julián Gómez Delgado for his assistance throughout.


About the Panelists

Kate Aronoff is a member of the Dissent editorial board and a contributing writer at the Intercept.

Celso Rocha de Barros is a sociologist, analyst for the Central Bank of Brazil, and a political columnist at the newspaper Folha de São Paulo. He holds a degree in political science from Unicamp and a doctorate in sociology from Oxford University.

Humberto Beck is a professor at El Colegio de México, and a co-founder and editor of Horizontal.

Carlos Bravo Regidor is associate professor and coordinator of the journalism program at the Center for Economic Research and Teaching (CIDE) in Mexico City.

Gerardo Caetano is a Uruguayan historian and political scientist. At the University of the Republic, he is a Professor and Academic Coordinator of the Political Observatory of the Institute of Political Science, and he is President of the UNESCO Center of Montevideo. He is the author of over 100 books.

Pamela Calla is Clinical Associate Professor at the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at New York University and director of the Observatory on Racism of the Universidad de la Cordillera in La Paz, Bolivia.

Vera Candiani is an Associate Professor of History at Princeton University, where here work focuses on the intersection of social, economic and environmental history with the history of technology, particularly in Colonial Latin America. She is the author of Dreaming of Dry Land: Environmental Transformation in Colonial Mexico City.

Harold Cárdenas Lema is a Research Assistant at Columbia University, and the editor and co-founder of La Joven Cuba, a leftist alternative media outlet on Cuban politics.

Michelle Chase is an Assistant Professor at Pace University. She is an historian of modern Latin America, specializing in twentieth-century Cuba. She is the author of Revolution within the Revolution: Women and Gender Politics in Cuba, 1952-1962.

Daniel Aldana Cohen is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, where he directs the Socio-Spatial Climate Collaborative, or (SC)2. In 2018-19, he is a member of the School of Social Science at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Princeton.

Carlos Dada is the founder of the Salvadoran awarded news website El Faro. He spent most of the past year reporting from Honduras and Nicaragua. He is a NYPL Cullman Fellow and is currently working on a book about the assassination of archbishop Óscar Romero.

Alexandra Delano is Associate Professor and Chair of Global Studies at the New School. Her research focuses on diaspora policies, the transnational relationships between states and migrants, immigrant integration, and the politics of memory in relation to undocumented migration. She is the author of From Here and There: Diaspora Policies, Integration, and Social Rights Beyond Borders.

Kate Doyle is a Senior Analyst of U.S. policy in Latin America at the National Security Archive.

Bill Fletcher, Jr. is the former president of TransAfrica Forum. He is a syndicated writer and author of Solidarity Divided, and “They’re Bankrupting Us”: And Twenty Other Myths about Unions. He lives in Maryland.

Frederico Freitas is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at North Carolina State University. His research focuses on the intersection of the spatial and social implications of environmental policies, particularly in Brazil. He is the co-editor of Big Water: The Making of the Borderlands Between Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay.

George García Quesada is a Professor of philosophy and the director of the Journal of Philosophy at the University of Costa Rica. He has a PhD in philosophy from Kingston University London, and his work centers on social theory, social history, political aesthetics, philosophy of history and of historiography. In his most recent book, he interprets the making of the Costa Rican “middle class” between 1890 and 1950 from a Marxist perspective.

Luis Godoy Rueda is a Master of Public Administration at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, specialized in the intersection of technology and development. He has worked for the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribean, Data-Pop Alliance, OPI and the Center for Mexican Studies at Columbia University. He is a member of Democracia Deliberada, a left-wing collective in Mexico, and part of the local chapter of MORENA in New York.

Miguel Gómez is the postgraduate coordinator and a faculty researcher of legal studies and international relations at the Universidad Americana in Managua, Nicaragua.

Lori Hanson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, where her research focuses on the political economy of global health, activism and social movements, and extractivism, health and community resistance in Nicaragua.

Michael Kazin is co-editor of Dissent and a Professor in the Department of History at Georgetown University. He is the author, most recently, of War Against War: The American Fight for Peace, 1914-1918. He is currently a scholar in the School of Social Science at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Princeton.

Patrick Iber is assistant professor of history at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He is the author of Neither Peace nor Freedom: The Cultural Cold War in Latin America (Harvard University Press, 2015) and a member of the Dissent editorial board.

Alejandra Matus is a journalist, Master of Public Administration at the Harvard Kennedy School, and 2010 Harvard Nieman Fellow. She is the author, among other books, of The Black Book of Chilean Justice, whose censorship led her to live more than two years as a political asylee in the United States, and Doña Lucía, an unauthorized biography of the widow of dictator Augusto Pinochet. Her work has received awards in Chile and abroad. Currently, she writes for The Clinic magazine and it is an academic at the Journalism School of the Universidad Diego Portales.

Nara Milanich is a professor of Latin American history at Barnard College. Her scholarly interests include childhood, gender, reproduction, and law. Professor Milanich is a founding member of REHIAL, Red de Estudios de Historia de las Infancias en América Latina. She is the author of Children of Fate: Childhood, Class, and the State in Chile, 1850–1930.

Frances Negrón-Muntaner is an award-winning filmmaker, writer, curator, scholar and professor at Columbia University, where she is the founding director of the Media and Idea Lab and founding curator of the Latino Arts and Activism Archive at Columbia’s Rare Books and Manuscripts Library.

Diosnara Ortega is a PhD candidate in sociology at the Universidad Alberto Hurtado in Santiago, Chile and an academic at the Sociology School of the Universidad Católica Silva Henríquez, Chile.

Pablo Ospina Peralta is a Professor at Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar in Ecuador, where he specializes in Ecuadorian politics.

Julia Ott is Associate Professor in the History of Capitalism and the co-director of the Robert L. Heilbroner Center for Capitalism Studies at the New School, as well as a member of the Dissent editorial board.

Gemita Oyarzo is a postdoctoral fellow at Universidad Diego Portales in Chile. She holds a PhD in American Studies with a specialization in Social and Political Studies from the University of Santiago de Chile. Her current research seeks to investigate the transformations of political militancy in post-dictatorship Chile (1990-2016).

Andrés Pertierra is a historian specializing in Cuba and US-Cuban relations, and co-host of the AskHistorians Podcast. His writing has been published in Jacobin, The Nation, and elsewhere.

María Pilar García-Guadilla is Professor of Sociology and Political Sciences at the Universidad Simón Bolívar in Caracas. She is co-author of Venezuela´s Polarized Politics:The Paradox of Direct Democracy Under Chávez (First Forum Press, 2017). She studies social movements and how the Bolivarian Project and state policy in Venezuela are shaping grassroots democracy, and vice versa (1999-2018).

Yasmín S. Portales Machado is a Cuban science fiction scholar, gay rights activist, and PhD candidate at Northwestern University.

Thea Riofrancos is an assistant professor of Political Science at Providence College. She is currently working on a book Resource Radicals: From Petro-Nationalism to Post-Extractivism in Ecuador under contract with Duke University Press.

Timothy Shenk is co-editor of Dissent and a National Fellow at New America.

Pablo Stefanoni is a journalist and historian. He is editor-in-chief of the journal Nueva Sociedad and the author of Los inconformistas del Centenario. Intelectuales, socialismo y nación en una Bolivia en crisis (1925-1939).

Maria Svart is the National Director of Democratic Socialists of America.

Christy Thornton is Assistant Professor in Program in Latin American Studies at Johns Hopkins University. She is the core faculty member for the Latin America in a Globalizing World Initiative, and the former executive director of NACLA. She co-edited Real World Latin America: A Contemporary Economics and Social Policy Reader.

Ailynn Torres Santana obtained her PhD at Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO) in Ecuador. She studies political participation, local governance, and political culture in Cuba.

Alejandro Velasco is an Associate Professor at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. He is an historian of modern Latin America whose research and teaching interests are in the areas of social movements, urban culture and democratization. He is the author of Barrio Rising: Urban Popular Politics and the Making of Modern Venezuela.

Jeffery Webber is a Senior Lecturer at Queen Mary University of London, and the author, most recently, of The Last Day of Oppression, and the First Day of the Same: The Politics and Economics of the New Latin American Left. He writes regularly for Jacobin and Viewpoint.

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