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Endorsements for Voices of Latin America

Here are some of the endorsements for LAB’s new book, Voices of Latin America:


Dr Duncan Green, Senior Strategic Adviser, OXFAM:

This is a wonderful X-ray of modern Latin America, a vision of the continent’s struggles and potential futures through the eyes of its social movement leaders and intellectuals. Read it from end to end, whether as an introduction or an update, or mine it for quotes from inspirational figures across the region on a range of contemporary issues. Latin America (or most of it) has come the end of its progressive ‘pink tide’ years of the early 2000s. For the coming years, social movements will provide the grains of resistance and future directions. Tom Gatehouse has assembled an unparalleled set of views and insights from the leaders and intellectuals of that movement.


Louise Fortmann, Professor Emerita of Natural Resource Sociology, University of California at Berkeley:

Voices of Latin America is a gem. At its heart are extensive excerpts from powerful interviews across multiple subjects with Latin American activists and scholars such as Alicia Cawiya, vice-president of the Huaorani people, Ecuador;  Tania Montalvo, Animal Político, Mexico; and Eva Sánchez, director of the Lenca Women’s Rights Organization, Las Hormigas (The Ants), Honduras.

Editor Tom Gatehouse’s introductory essay lays out the political terrain for readers unfamiliar with contemporary Latin American politics and social activism. The format of organizing interview excerpts around ten themes allows for comparisons across themes and across fourteen countries. Activists everywhere will find much to learn from this readable text. It will certainly be a significant addition to courses on social movements, political ecology, gender, indigeneity, and development.


Professor Jenny  Pearce, Research Professor Latin America and Caribbean Centre, London School of Economics:

While much attention focusses on the return of  the right in many countries of Latin America, this book reminds us of the vibrant resistances and activisms for democratic change in Latin America. Far from disappearing from the political and social  landscape, this book gives us deep insights into their ongoing presence and new manifestations. While not uncritical of the left in government nor ignoring its redistributive contribution, this book shows us rather, the creativity at the grass roots, organised around land, social, cultural, sexual, environmental, educational and urban city rights. It thus brings together in a highly readable text, the learning from Latin America for all those interested in transforming the world.

Dr John Crabtree, Research Associate, Latin America Centre, School of Global and Area Studies, University of Oxford:

This is a book of hope. Against the backcloth of a return to right-wing governments across Latin America, the growing power of extractive enterprises, the rise of intolerant religious movements, and rampant consumerism, Voices of Latin America gives voice to those involved in a wide range of social movements. Indeed, it provides a refreshing and personalised view as to how social movements come into being, how they are organised, and how they tackle the many obstacles that they confront. It is a tale of rights, how to establish them and how to defend them. Here the people involved recount their experiences, analyse their present predicament, and tell of their dreams.


Grace Livingstone, affiliated lecturer at Centre of Latin American Studies, University of Cambridge, and visiting research fellow at the Institute of Latin American Studies, School of Advanced Studies, University of London:

An inspiring and thought-provoking book that gives voice to the courageous Latin American activists who speak out against violence to women and LBGT activists, the indigenous communities who stand up to multinational mining and oil companies, the students who have fought for free education, the shanty-town residents who have fought for decent homes and human rights activists who have shone a light on the abuses of US-funded military forces.  As well as exploring the tensions between social movements and the left-wing Pink Tide governments, this book gives crucial insights into how activists will confront the new right-wing governments in Latin America, from the neoliberal austerity of Argentina’s Macri to the authoritarian extremism of Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro. This book is a must read for anyone interested in Latin American politics.


James Dunkerley, Professor of Politics at Queen Mary, University of London, and former Director of the Institute for the Study of the Americas and the Institute of Latin American Studies of the University of London:

Voices of Latin America  gives fine expression to the rich diversity of the social movements of the region. The book’s chapters cover a wide range of human experience, public and private, from gender and sexuality, to indigenous peoples, state violence, struggles in education, the media and culture, as well as the environment and urban life. In each area we find a need to secure past achievements, often associated with the governments and popular movements of ‘The Pink Tide’, and to resist new and varied challenges, usually associated with ‘neoliberalism’ and the interests of the powerful. The voices collected here register not only resilience and determination but also a social and cultural originality that defies the headline messages of an uncontested right-wing advance.


Rachel Sieder, Senior Research Professor at the Center for Research and Graduate Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS) in Mexico City:

Voices of Latin America brings us urgent dispatches from the front line of struggle against the violent, racialized and gendered forms of dispossession that characterize the continent today. From the mothers of the disappeared in Mexico’s cartel wars fighting against state impunity, to indigenous and afro-descendant leaders organizing to defend their territory against the predations of global capital, to women resisting policies that criminalize them for exercising their reproductive rights, this book provides a vital overview of contemporary social movements in Latin America. Essential reading.


Anthony Bebbington, Higgins Professor of Environment and Society, Clark University, Worcester, MA; Member of the Board of Directors, Oxfam America; Professorial Fellow, Global Development Institute, University of Manchester

Voices of Latin America is a very distinct sort of book.  While it deals with the types of issue that one might expect to encounter in other textbooks or pieces of investigative journalism on Latin American politics and social change, it addresses these themes primarily through the words of the people who live them.  The key voices in this collection are not those of the authors or the editor but rather of the seventy or so people who were interviewed in the course of preparing the book.  Here the reader listens to activists, community authorities, public intellectuals, popular journalists, NGO workers and movement leaders as they talk of issues about which they care passionately and that affect their everyday lives and being. Voices of Latin America reflects the human experience of everyday oppressions, struggles, resistances, and hopes that animate so much day to day conversation and grassroots politics in the region. It will be tremendously helpful for teaching as well as being an important and inspiring read in its own right.

 

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