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Revolutionary Social Change in Colombia: The Origin and Direction of the FARC-EP Paperback – February 2, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0745328751 ISBN-10: 074532875X

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Pluto Press (February 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074532875X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745328751
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #949,685 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A theoretically and empirically rich analysis of the insurgency and its historical origins. This will become a reference point for scholars seeking to understanding the structural origins of Colombia's ongoing conflict." —Dr Doug Stokes, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK.
 
"A valuable study of the causes, meaning and significance of the armed insurgency in Colombia. It [presents a welcome break from the hegemony of the apolitical discourses that have dominated the scholarship on Colombia's conflict."—Nazih Richani, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of Latin American Studies, Kean University 
 
"Based on extensive first-hand research in guerrilla-controlled regions, Brittain chronicles the origins, development and achievements of Colombia’s FARC-EP while dispelling many of the myths surrounding the rebel group. This book is a must-read for any scholars and activists interested in both the history of social struggle and its future directions." —Terry Gibbs, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Centre for International Studies, Cape Breton University, Canada

About the Author

Bernd Hamm is Professor of Sociology, Jean Monnet Professor of European Studies, and UNESCO Chair in Europe in a Global Perspective at the University of Trier, Germany. He is the co-editor of Sustainable Development and the Future of Cities ( 1999) and of Cultural Imperialism – Essays in the Political Economy of Cultural Domination (2005).

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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By T. J. Kennedy on September 14, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book "Revolutionary Social Change In Colombia" by James Brittain is a history of the revolutionary movement in Colombia from the early part of the last century to the present. The book is copyrighted in 2010 but does not include the change in political leadership from Mr. Uribe to Mr. Santos in August 2010. This book is not a "call to arms" but rather a scholarly account of left-wing political and revolutionary activity in Colombia for almost a century. The book is heavily referenced. Clarifying notes at the back of the book consist of 43 pages. The bibiography is 49 pages long.

The FARC-EP was formally begun as an organization in 1964. My own familiarity with Colombia began in 1964 when I went there as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I never heard about the FARC-EP while I was in Colombia. But since my return to the United States, over the years, I have read various newspaper articles about the FARC-EP. This organization is always described by pejorative phrases. Words typicall used include "terrorists, leftist rebel fighters, drug trafficking organization."

The book will dispel any notion that such references are true. Indeed, the governments of Colombia and the US have painted the FARC-EP as a terrorist organization and the American press has bought into that designation. I have never read an article on the FARC-EP that was sympathetic. This book is such an eye-opener that I am embarrassed at how complicit our government has been in trying to destroy the FARC-EP. The book details what happened when the Colombian military used napalm against peasants in Marquetalia in 1964. Some have even suggested the US which gave napalm to Colombia was trying it out before using it extensively in Viet Nam.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By J. Sykes on February 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
Book Review
Revolutionary Social Change in Colombia: The Origin and Direction of the FARC-EP
By Josh Sykes | February 6, 2010

[...] Professor James J. Brittain's new book, Revolutionary Social Change in Colombia: The Origin and Direction of the FARC-EP (Pluto Press, London: 2010), is a thoroughly researched and documented academic study of the Colombian revolution and of its largest and longest lasting guerrilla organization, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People's Army (FARC-EP). This alone makes it almost unique. Add to this the fact that it is based on five years of extensive research in Colombia's countryside, both with the FARC and with the rural population, and it becomes clear that we have a one-of-a-kind book. What this study amounts to is a systematic and thorough defense of the FARC, facing the myths and allegations against the FARC squarely and putting them to rest. On this point, the book is invaluable.

In the book's forward, James Petras puts it well in discussing "the political practice of demonology," whereby the FARC have been vilified and slandered to such an extent that such characterizations have found their way into most academic accounts of the FARC. As Petras says, "this is vice's tribute to virtue." Brittain's book addresses the claims that the FARC are a degenerated `narco-terrorist' organization, devoid of politics, just another criminal gang in a country that has been corrupted from top to bottom by the cocaine trade.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Pescador de Caña on February 15, 2011
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The author James J. Brittain is an assistant professor in sociology. His primary research and teaching interests include social change in Latin America. He is considered as an expert in the Colombian domestic conflict and his work has been widely published in many journals. This book is essential if you want to understand the Colombian domestic conflict and its origin. Because the focus of this book is exclusively on the FARC-EP and Colombia's socio-economic situation, it's to be expected that the author, being a sociologist, is somewhat biased regarding the conflict. However, if you've read the title of this book, this shouldn't come as a surprise to you. Brittain is trying to be as neutral as possible in this study by citing and referencing authors for almost every statement he makes. To give you an idea, about one third of the book consists of references, notes and bibliography. When reading the book, the frequent in-text referencing can be irritating. Sometimes Brittain is even citing incorrectly by not mentioning the original source; he's quoting authors who are citing too. Also a simple citation is not proof that a statement is true. Never the less the great merit of this study is that Brittain is presenting a complete overview and connecting the dots from a sociologist's point of view. Brittain is blaming neo-liberal policies of the last decades for increasing the gap between the poor and the rich in Colombia to some extent. Personally, I think it's not neo-liberalism as such, it's just a bad implementation of neo-liberal policies by subsequent oligarchic governments. But even if you are a Uribe supporter or a neo-liberal, this book is absolutely worth to read, it will give you a better overview.Read more ›
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