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Latin America perspectives a series of information and comment about Latin America with Dr. C. Harvey Gardner research professor of history at Southern Illinois University. These programs are recorded by station w s r u FM. Here now is Dr. Gardner. At this moment the leftist French intellectual rageous de brézé is restricted by the four walls of a prison cell. His ideas however are being kicked about the four corners of the earth. De brézé you may recall was arrested in April 1967 in a guerrilla ridden area of eastern Bolivia an armed and wearing civilian clothes. The confidant of Cuba's Fidel Castro insisted that he was there as a journalist. However the Bolivian prosecutors produced documents which indicated that de brézé was acting as Lee is known between Castro and Che Guevara. The result for the Frenchman
was a 30 year prison sentence. Just as de brézé was making headlines as a prisoner and Vajra was meeting his death in Bolivia a book by the Frenchman in titled Revolution in the revolution ending with a question mark was published reaction to that book finds the ideas of the far from free. Frenchmen so widely discussed much in the form of violent dissent. One such expression is a volume of essays entitled re just to pray and the Latin American Revolution the publication of a Monthly Review Press the Cuban revolution was one of the major turning points in the history of modern Latin America and read just a braise book Revolution in the Revolution gave explicit form to the assumptions and perspectives of that revolution
the publication of the book by the young French philosopher in 1907 created a worldwide sensation all the more so because he was at that time being tried and imprisoned for his association with the Bolivian guerillas led by Che Guevara. The braes theory is based on the idea of the establishment and interrupted development of a gorilla focal. The latter term meaning a unified guerilla force as the key to revolutionary process in recognition of the widespread interest aroused by this thesis and also by de braze severe judgment handed down against all existing parties of the left. The editors of the magazine Monthly Review where de braze book originally appeared in English devoted the double summer issue of July August 1968 to a symposium on the
brae the nine essays contained in the present volume are a result of that symposium and to them have been added for more essays which appeared to merit inclusion in a serious discussion of racist de brézé and the Latin American Revolution. Debris goes far beyond the rejection of the traditional communist doctrine of revolutionary legitimacy that all must proceed from that fountain head. That is the Russian Revolution and he tries to deduce from the Cuban experience rules and principles intended to be valid for our future. Latin American revolutions to braise theory can be summarized in two parts. First Latin America is ripe for revolution. The existing system is maintained solely by the armed forces of the oligarchy is supported by the United States. The problems are
therefore how to destroy these armed forces and at the same time prepare the masses to play a very part in seizing power and beginning the construction of a new. A socialist society. The second part of the brace theory insists that both of these problems can and must be solved as they claim is they were in Cuba by the establishment an uninterrupted development of unitary guerilla forces the so-called focal. This is first and foremost a military process but it simultaneously accomplishes the three decisive political tasks of the revolution. A From the struggle itself a seasoned political leadership and Vanguard emerges and be the armed forces of the existing state are drawn into battle and presumably defeated and see the guerrilla struggle politicizes the masses are as de brézé puts it in a metaphor. The guerrilla force is a
small motor which sets a large motor. The masses into motion and thus lays the groundwork for the final act of the revolutionary drama. A general strike or an urban insurrection to seize and hold the now protected seats of power. This in brief is the theory that has been subjected to so much criticism at many points by the numerous contributors to this new volume. How does it happen. The question is asked that the brain commits what is from the Marxist point of view the elementary error emphasized by most of the contributors to this volume incidentally of elevating the military over the political. Does he really understand so little of Marxism as to assume that anyone who takes to the hills can by doing a good job of fighting create a political Vanguard. Activate a mass movement and lead a
socialist revolution doesn't he know that there are many cases in Latin American history of rebels fighting extremely well without accomplishing any such miracles. The names of such men as supporter and the Mexico and son Deno in Nicaragua come readily to mind. Obviously we cannot assume any such abysmal ignorance of Marxism and history on the braes part. We must therefore look for the explanation elsewhere and we believe it is to be found in an assumption which he never spells out and is perhaps not even conscious of making but which nevertheless underlies indeed permeates his entire work. This is the assumption that in Latin America today all the necessary political conditions for a successful revolution already exist just below the surface of social life. What is needed therefore is not to create these conditions through hard patient political work but to bring them to the surface where they can so to speak
operate freely and in the braes view only military action. His guerrilla focal can perform this function. The greatest weakness one writer insists of de braze theory is that it's specific errors and omissions are important because he attempts to prescribe a course which Latin American revolutions must follow. Noteworthy then is the fact that as the Cuban Revolution departed from the pattern of the Russian and believes it valid to do so now it is thought that the Cuban revolution is somewhat sacrosanct and that others must follow in the mold that there is perhaps for the Western Hemisphere a new legitimacy that of performing in the manner and only in the manner of the Cuban revolution. This is a basis of attack upon the braes argument. Another of the writers in this volume insists that the braes theses call for a critique on two fundamental
grounds. First they do not derive from a fundamental analysis of Latin American society and still less of its class structure. And secondly in consequence they divorce theory from practice and mistaking the nature of the Latin American Revolution. They underestimate the political role of military action and mass participation and their enter relationships. Another writer this one a Brazilian and incidentally the volume is contributed to by citizens from Brazil United States Canada Pakistan the Dominican Republic England indeed more than a half dozen nations. A Brazilian writing says the concept which is central to register braze revolution in the revolution of the subordination of the party to the guerrilla force of the political to the military is based on the assumption that the revolution is formed in the struggle
itself. The thesis defended by Castro and yet no one can deny that the Venezuelan Communist Party thought with arms in hand especially in 1963 and 1964. Today according to Fidel they have abandoned the struggle and taken the road of reformism. Here's the logic of the argument of de brézé appears to break down armed struggle is not enough for the forging of a revolutionary consciousness. A Continental revolution. Yet another of his critics asserts is a must. If a national revolution is to triumph if a country that is isolated from the rest of Latin America attempts a revolution it will immediately suffer an invasion. But if the revolution is extended to all the countries of the continent. Action by the United States will not be feasible. It is easy for the United States to invade a single
country and control its key points but is it possible for it to invade and control all of Latin America. Why if the enemy concentrates its forces it loses terrain if it disperses it loses strength. The US A revolutionary axiom being applied in Vietnam the revolutions prime enemy is tied imperialism. If it were only a matter of doing battle with national armies it would be relatively easy to defeat them. However the continental revolution will be carried out by means of national revolutions that have implied a coordination of national movements. It's noteworthy here that the thought that a successful communist revolution in the Western Hemisphere in Latin America must be an all inclusive approach to Latin America. This is indeed an appeal to perhaps indeed a lesson from history is to be remembered that in the wars of independence the people of Argentina sensed that if they won their
independence they would not be secure in it. If the people of neighboring or of y of neighboring Chile of neighboring Paraguayan were still in the hands of Spain and therefore there was a community spirit that found people from Argentina going to help the other areas and indeed making it a continental revolution. The thought being that no one area independent would be secure in its independence unless all were freed from the same master than mother country Spain. This revolutionary thought is then that if revolution does come to Continental Latin America it will have to be Continental in its proportions and this will then suggest that security for one revolutionary success will be gained only by virtue of the fact that other revolutions have won in the neighboring zones to braze book then is science a tool in the struggle to create a union of
communism and nationalism in Latin America which would seem to be Fidel Castro's aim as such a tool. It might have been more useful had it been written in a less elevated prose in a language more accessible to the masses. But the young European writer could not free himself from his own experience that of the French been taught to write brilliantly elegantly and with sharpness. It doesn't help matters incidentally that the title is cast in the form of a question although this can be taken as a sign of intellectual honesty. It is vague and denotes insecurity a provocative volume. Is that one entitled Ray just to bray on the Latin American Revolution published by Monthly Review Press. This was another programme in the series. Latin America perspectives with Dr. C. Harvey Gardner research professor of history at Southern Illinois University joined us for our next program when Dr.
Gardner will comment on another interesting aspect of Latin American affairs. These programs are recorded by station WFIU FM and are made available to this station by the national educational radio network.
Latin American perspectives II
Episode Number
Episode 36 of 38
Producing Organization
WSIU 8 (Television station : Carbondale, Ill.)
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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For series info, see Item 3544. This prog.: Regis Debray and the Latin American Revolution
Global Affairs
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Producing Organization: WSIU 8 (Television station : Carbondale, Ill.)
Producing Organization: Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-31-36 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:13:51
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Chicago: “Latin American perspectives II; Episode 36 of 38,” 1969-05-12, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 29, 2024,
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