8th Seminar: Mele Pesti
PhD Mele Pesti
What happened to the global left? Some Latin American insights
On Monday, May 20th 2019
Jakobi 2-114 at 18.15
"Is it possible to boil a spicy borsch in one end of a huge soup pot, while the rest of it is full of smooth broccoli puree, when the guys with the scoops are constantly on the move? The upcoming talk will consider the potential of this metaphor to think about the decay of the traditional global left from a Latin American perspective.
Throughout the 20th Century, Latin America has been something of a laboratory for political programmes associated with the extreme ends of the political spectrum - from the extreme right to its opposing left. The Latin American case is distinct from the European experience in that these programmes have been implemented at a much faster pace than in Europe, resulting in a perception of a lack of political alternatives for Latin America. However, during the last decades, especially during the Pink Tide in the beginning of the 21st century, political observers suggested that new "3rd and 4th ways" were being developed in the Latin American Laboratory, which represented alternatives to neoliberal capitalism and its subsequent alienation.
Some of the most recent success stories, like Brazil, have dramatically stopped and reversed this process. The more radical and perhaps old-fashioned leftist projects such as Venezuela and Nicaragua are in deep crises, and Cuba is instituting reforms that would open the island to the neoliberal world. Simultaneously, Bolivia and Ecuador keep on their projects of "21st century socialism" without too much fuss about it. Mexico has made a sharp turn to the left in December 2018, with incredible success for now. Why do Latin American countries keep on trying to cook this leftist borsch given that the global chefs seem to be against them? How do those projects relate to the contemporary political scene, where left-right scale is losing its significance?"
Mele Pesti has a PhD from Tallinn University on Brazilian Cultural History. She has worked, researched, observed elections, and travelled extensively throughout Latin America. She has also translated Brazilian fiction into Estonian language, written a travel book, and a children’s encyclopedia on Brazil.
Everybody is welcome!