Padkos: “They thought they had taken power. In reality they were taken by it.”

This week in South Africa, political parties compete for votes in nation-wide local government elections.

As we in South Africa experience another round of party politics, we offer, attached, some brief reflective comments from Padkos and also share, from a Latin American context, an interview with Alvaro Reyes.

The respondent, in the interview attached as your Padkos reading, is Alvaro Reyes, and he speaks from this contemporary Latin American context. In the short piece titled “They Thought They Had Taken Power. In Reality They Were Taken By It”, he adds some particularly useful insights to these questions and suggests that the kind of “disheartening

outcome[s]” alluded to above are also “due in no small part to an underestimation of the global political situation”. He also responds to the suggestion “that social change won’t be the outcome of government action, but of the mobilization and the fight of those ‘below and to the left’”. Reyes recalls that the concept of ‘below and to the left’ comes from the Zapatistas. He says: “I think that it is important to mention this because they coined this concept in order to point out that given the structural constraints placed on the contemporary state…, they have concluded that today, ‘above and to the left”’ can exist only as an oxymoron”.