Constructing Worlds Otherwise: Societies in Movement and Anticolonial Paths in Latin America

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    Raúl Zibechi

    Publisher: AK Press

    Year: 2024

    Format: Paperback

    Size: 184 pages

    ISBN: 9781849355421

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A new collection from one of Latin America's most dynamic radical thinkers—in the tradition of Frantz Fanon and Eduardo Galeano.

Constructing Worlds Otherwise sets itself against the recolonization of Latin America by one-dimensional, ethnocentric perspectives that permeate the North American left and block fundamental social change in the Global South. In a provocative mix of polemic and on-the-ground analysis, Raúl Zibechi argues that it is time for radicals in the Global North to learn from the people their governments have colonized and oppressed for centuries. Through a survey of the most marginalized voices across Latin America—feminists, the Indigenous, people of African descent, and inhabitants of urban favelas and shantytowns—he introduces the Anglo world to a range of critical perspectives and new forms of struggle. 

For Zibechi, real change comes from “societies in movement,” the people already fighting for their survival using egalitarian and traditional models of world-building, without the state, without official representatives, and without vanguards of political experts. His book contributes to global geographies of autonomous and anti-state thinking, with Zibechi placing his work in conversation with the ideological theorist of Kurdish resistance, Abdullah Öcalan, for a rich and dynamic survey of global movements of decolonization. Now more urgent than ever, this translation by George Ygarza Quispe comes at a time when the global left—struggling to expand its vision in a time of climate chaos and rising authoritarianism—finds itself at an impasse, desperate to animate and renew its critical imaginary.

What People Are Saying

“A survey of sustained autonomous people’s movements in Latin America that helps us rethink survival in the context of the extractivist State. It reimagines change even as it raises the quintessential question of how to move from episodic to radical social transformation.” —Johanna Fernández, historian and author of The Young Lords: A Radical History

“This is a book that follows the lead of Latin America’s societies in movement, from below and to the left. Zibechi takes us to the streets in these pages, helping us think through and work beyond the world’s crises with solutions and theories made by movements themselves. It is essential reading for expanding the radical imagination.” —Benjamin Dangl, author of The Five Hundred Year Rebellion: Indigenous Movements and the Decolonization of History in Bolivia

“Raul has gifted us with a powerful tool for understanding pueblos/societies in movement—helping us to better understand what they are interrupting historically and breaking from theoretically—all grounded in movement practice-based theories. This is an absolute must read for everyone wanting to understand our world(s) and how they are already being changed, horizontally and affectively.” —Marina Sitrin, author of Everyday Revolutions: Horizontalism and Autonomy in Argentina

"Brilliant activist-scholar Zibechi takes us beyond the dogmatic, state-centric lefts of yesteryear to highlight the wisdom of emancipatory, antipatriarchal, and anticolonial thought and praxis from the global South. He offers insightful portrayals of place-based struggles of 'peoples in movement,' including the Zapatistas, Indigenous peoples of the Colombian Cauca region, Kurdish women of Rojava, and the Brazilian MST. Their radical non-state and non-capitalist practices are constructing other worlds." —Richard Stahler-Sholk, Professor Emeritus, Eastern Michigan University

About the Author

Raúl Zibechi is a writer, popular educator, and journalist working with social organizations and processes in Latin America. He has published twenty books on social movements in which he has criticized outmoded, state-centered political culture. The books translated into English include Dispersing Power (2010), Territories in Resistance (2012), and The New Brazil (2014). He also publishes in various media in the region La Jornada (Mexico), Desinformémonos, Rebelión, and NACLA Report on the Americas, among others. 

George Ygarza Quispe (translator) is a popular educator, critical scholar, and organic researcher on resistance and autonomous social and political formations. He has worked in Peru and North America thinking through hemispheric undercurrents. He teaches at Pitzer College.

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