Empire and Dissent

The United States and Latin America

Empire and Dissent

American Encounters/Global Interactions

More about this series

Book Pages: 288 Illustrations: 3 tables Published: September 2008

Editor: Fred Rosen

American Studies, Latin American Studies, Politics > Political Science

Since the early nineteenth century, the United States has repeatedly intervened in the affairs of Latin American nations to pursue its own interests and to “protect” those countries from other imperial powers or from internal “threats.” The resentment and opposition generated by the encroachment of U.S. power has been evident in the recurrent attempts of Latin American nations to pull away from U.S. dominance and in the frequent appearance of popular discontent and unrest directed against imperialist U.S. policies. In Empire and Dissent, senior Latin Americanists explore the interplay between various dimensions of imperial power and the resulting dissent and resistance.

Several essays provide historical perspective on contemporary U.S.–hemispheric relations. These include an analysis of the nature and dynamics of imperial domination, an assessment of financial relations between the United States and Latin America since the end of World War II, an account of Native American resistance to colonialism, and a consideration of the British government’s decision to abolish slavery in its colonies. Other essays focus on present-day conflicts in the Americas, highlighting various modes of domination and dissent, resistance and accommodation. Examining southern Mexico’s Zapatista movement, one contributor discusses dissent in the era of globalization. Other contributors investigate the surprisingly conventional economic policies of Brazil’s president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva; Argentina’s recovery from its massive 2001 debt default; the role of coca markets in the election of Bolivia’s first indigenous president, Evo Morales; and the possibilities for extensive social change in Venezuela. A readers’ guide offers a timeline of key events from 1823 through 2007, along with a list of important individuals, institutions, and places.

Contributors: Daniel A. Cieza, Gregory Evans Dowd, Steve Ellner, Neil Harvey, Alan Knight, Carlos Marichal, John Richard Oldfield, Silvia Rivera, Fred Rosen, Jeffrey W. Rubin


Empire and Dissent is a collection of essays that grew out of a pair of workshops on hegemony and empire in the Americas. The nine essays that make up the volume are expanded and revised versions of presentations originally given in Paris in 2004 and Cuernavaca, Mexico, in 2004. The first four examine broad historical themes in British and U.S. imperialism, while the final five discuss twentieth- and twenty-first-century resistance in Mexico, Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, and Venezuela, respectively.... [A] fine example of how conversations among different scholars can lead us down different, yet highly productive paths.” — Mark Jaede, Journal of World History

“[A]n interesting book on the US influence in Latin America and the current situation of five countries in the region.” — Gaston Fornes, Bulletin of Latin American Research

“In his introduction, Rosen does an excellent job in providing the reader not only with a summary, but also a practical conceptual framework as well. . . . [A]n important contribution that speaks to our global times. Though published before the current international financial meltdown, one cannot but notice the predictive relevance in many of the articles.” — Robert H. Duncan, The Americas

“The essays in this book do an excellent job of discussing how imperial expansion and control have, across the centuries, spurred opposition to such power. As such, it behooves students of empire today, and the multi-faceted social movements which oppose it, to carefully study the historical context skillfully and compelling presented in this fine edited collection.” — James Siekmeier, A Contracorriente

Empire and Dissent is uniformly informative, insightful, and often provocative in the best of senses. This outstanding collection pairs a conceptually innovative and historiographically superior set of essays on empire in the Americas (Spanish, British, and United States) with country-specific chapters on resistance, dissent, and negotiation in contemporary Latin America. These insightful chapters reach beyond traditional course material on Latin American history and politics to address questions of globalization, social movements, and the conceptualization of resistance in an era of U.S. hegemonic power.” — Steven Volk, Oberlin College

“You can’t have one without the other: empire and dissent have defined American politics for nearly two centuries, producing, in Latin America, an enduring social democracy and, in the United States, an equally persistent evangelical liberalism. Fred Rosen’s knowledge of Latin American politics is formidable, and in this edited collection of essays he has given us an indispensable guide to a critical topic.” — Greg Grandin, author of Empire’s Workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Fred Rosen is an independent journalist and political economist based in New York and Mexico City. He is a contributing editor to the NACLA Report on the Americas, a political columnist for the Mexico edition of The Miami Herald, and a co-editor of Latin America after Neoliberalism: Turning the Tide in the Twenty-first Century?

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments vii

A Reader's Guide ix

Introduction / Fred Rosen 1

Part I. Empire in the Americas: Historical Reflections

1. U.S. Imperialist/Hegemony and Latin American Resistance / Alan Knight 23

2. "We Are Heirs-apparent to the Romans": Imperial Myths and Indigenous Status / Gregory Evans Dowd 53

3. The Finances of Hegemony in Latin America: Debt Negotiations and the Role of the U.S. Government, 1945-2005 / Carlos Marichal 90

Part II. Empire and Resistance in the Twenth-First Century

5. Beyond Hegemony: Zapatismo, Empire, and Dissent / Neil Harvey 117

6. Colonialism and Ethnic Resistance in Bolivia: A View from the Coca Markets / Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui 137

7. High Stakes in Brazil: Can Democracy Take on Empire? / Jeffrey W. Rubin 162

8. From Menem to Kirchner: National Autonomy and Social Movements in Argentina / Daniel A. Cieza 188

9. The Hugo Chavez Phenomenon: Anti-imperialism from Above or Radical Democracy from Below? / Steve Ellner 205

Bibliography 229

Contributors 251

Index 253
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-4278-6 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-4255-7
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