Workers’ movements and strikes in the Twenty-First Century
Indigenous Peoples Contesting Neoliberal Governance

Modern Revolutions in Latin America II

by Robert Austin on May 31, 2018

After an overview of early Latin American independence struggles from the slave revolution in Haiti (1791-1803), immortalised by C.L.R. James in The Black Jacobins, we examine in this course on Modern Revolutions in Latin America at WEA Sydney the history and influence of seven iconic twentieth-century revolutions in chronological order: Mexico (1910-1920), Bolivia (1952), Cuba (1959-present), Chile (1970-73), Grenada (1979-83), Nicaragua (1979-1990), and Venezuela (1998-present) in the receding “Pink Tide” context.

In addressing themes like popular culture, women revolutionaries, internationalism, imperialism, neocolonialism and indigenous societies, the course will integrate poetry, novel, music and film, as well as primary sources and secondary texts. One chapter-length reading will be distributed in advance for each class, for discussion, drawing inter alia from Mark Becker, Twentieth-Century Latin American Revolutions.

Course outline, 6 July-24 August

  • Historical background and overview of Latin American independence struggles
  • The Mexican RevolutionGuest Speaker: Professor Adam David Morton – Political economist, University of Sydney, author of Revolution and State in Modern Mexico and published in Spanish with Siglo XXI Editores;
  • The Bolivian Revolution. Guest Speaker: Amancay Colque, who witnessed dictatorships and massacres in her native Bolivia from 1965 to 1984. In Europe she co-founded the Bolivia Solidarity Campaign, inspired by the Water War (Cochabamba, 2000) and Gas War (La Paz, 2003). See:;
  • The Cuban Revolution. Guest Speakers: Danay Quintana Nedelcu, Cuban feminist scholar; professor, University of Havana (2003-11) and now UNAM-Mexico, see and Rosa García-Chediak, Cuban sociologist educated in Cuba & Spain; professor, Political and Social Sciences, UNAM-Mexico. See;
  • The Chilean Revolution. Guest Speaker: Viviana Ramírez, Popular Unity government supporter and later member of Chilean Resistance. See
  • The Grenadian RevolutionGuest Speaker: Bernard Coard, Deputy prime-minister, Revolutionary Government, imprisoned for 25 years with “Grenada 17”. See
  • The Nicaraguan Revolution. Guest Speaker: Dora María Téllez – Iconic Sandinista “Comandante 2”, banned from the USA as a “terrorist”. See
  • The Venezuelan Revolution. Guest Speaker: Professor Manuel Sutherland – Political economist; director, Centre for Labour Research & Training, Caracas. See

Please see and/or contact the WEA on (02) 9264 2781 or email via

Robert Austin
Robert Austin holds a Ph.D in History & Latin American Studies (La Trobe). His books include The State, Literacy and Popular Education in Chile, 1964-1990 (2003); (ed.) Diálogos sobre Estado y Educación Popular en Chile: de Frei a Frei, 1964-1993 (2004); (ed.) Intelectuales y Educación Superior en Chile: de la Independencia a la Democracia Transicional, 1810-2001 (2004, 2005); and (ed.) Imperialismo Cultural en la Historiografía Latinoamericana: Teoría y Praxis (2007). Over the past decade and with invaluable collaboration from Viviana Ramírez, he has been developing, inter alia, a history of Australian-based solidarity movements with Latin America since the 1970s.

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