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by Ben Chacko and Steve Sweeney
in central London
LESSONS from Latin America demonstrate the need to overturn the existing order to resolve three crises threatening humanity’s future, Labour MP John McDonnell told the Adelante conference on Saturday.
The Hayes and Harlington MP said that the pandemic had illustrated the need to confront Big Pharma and secure shared access to the technologies to defeat disease.
The second crisis was growing inequality both within and between nations, requiring a reckoning with finance capital, and the third was climate change that risks making the planet uninhabitable for future generations.
All point to the need for “systemic change,” Mr McDonnell warned, saying the left needed to confront global institutions such as the IMF, World Bank and even the UN which work to “impose poverty and undermine freedom” worldwide.
He slammed the Boris Johnson government for having started a new nuclear arms race and for working “to prop up the forces of reaction across Latin America,” supporting the Jair Bolsonaro regime in Brazil and a Colombian government that brutally represses trade unionists while backing the 2019 coup in Bolivia and multiple attempted coups in Venezuela.
But speakers also praised the green shoots of a renewed socialism in Latin America, with CND general secretary Kate Hudson saluting the victory of Xiomara Castro in the Honduran presidential election as a reversal of the 2009 coup. “Honduras will begin the process of building a democratic socialist society.”
Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn addressed the gathering by videolink from Mexico, pointing to the significance upcoming elections in Chile and Brazil in which the progressive left will face off against the far right candidates Jose Antonio Kast, an open admirer of the Pinochet dictatorship, and Brazilian President Bolsonaro.
And Venezuelan ambassador to Britain Rocio Maneiro said the recent elections there had “painted the country red” but were a victory too in a deeper sense, as the opposition had “abandoned the path of violence” and taken part.
In a rousing finale Roger McKenzie, general secretary of the anti-imperialist campaign Liberation, said: “Internationalism isn’t just meeting at a conference and having a discussion. It’s building a platform so we can go out and organise.
“It’s about a new world, a different world from the one where how much money you’ve got in your pocket is more important than who you are and what you can contribute.”
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