An essay “written on the occasion of the premier of the documentary film, ‘Asfaltar Bolivia’” [Paving Bolivia] in Barcelona (2015), denouncing the destructive impact of capitalist development and its hypocritical rhetoric of “progress”, “development” and “modernization”, in the context of the recent nationalist upsurge based on extractive industries and a modified form of globalization that has swept over Latin America as the new populist leaders attempt to impose “modern, consumerist, individualist and predatory lifestyles” to create a “social base” so the “extractivist bureaucracy can consolidate its power” at the expense of indigenous communities and “collective ways of life”.
This is an excerpt from the declarations of the American Continental Association of Workers IWA-AIT from 1929. It consists of the principles and tactics adopted by the constitutive organizations drawn from Latin America at that time, and is translated into English with an introduction by the translator, SN Nappalos.
Like many Americans, I knew very little about the workings of the American Peace Corps. It wasn’t until I met a starry eyed graduate in Bangkok, Thailand who could only wax poetics about helping the poor set up businesses and take out micro-loans, that I felt I needed to know more.