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Climate ChangeHugo Blanco and ecosocialism

Hugo Blanco and ecosocialism

Trotsky, a key Marxist theorist throughout the Russian Revolution after which leader of the Red Army, had been exiled by Stalin from the Soviet Union. He formed the Fourth International as a world revolutionary party. ‘Trotskyists’ were thin on the bottom in Latin America, although they’ve are likely to be strongest in Argentina. 

Hugo left university and threw himself into political activity, working in factories and organising employees in Argentina and later in Peru. In Peru he organised an indication against Richard Nixon and created trade union bodies. 

One night he found himself in a police cell in Cusco. With him were three indigenous activists, who persuaded him to assist them fight for land rights. 

Free of prison, he joined the indigenous peasants in a region just next to the Amazon. They occupied land however the landowners responded with violence. The indigenous community had no protection from the police, who sided with the landowners. So he helped them organise self-defence militias.


A full scale rebellion took place, which modified Peruvian history, inspiring a level of land reform within the country. 

Hugo was placed on trial and imprisoned. He was released in 1970. Nevertheless, the brand new government hated his activism in supporting strikes and demonstrations, so captured him once more and put him on a plane to Mexico. 

The Seventies due to this fact saw him in exile, including in Argentina. He narrowly escaped death throughout the coup against the the socialist president Salvador Allende in Chile. He was rescued by the Swedish Embassy and because of this spent a few years in Sweden.

Towards the tip of the last decade Hugo returned to Peru, ran as a presidential candidate and eventually he became a senator. He hated electoral politics but his interest within the environment deepened when he was in office. He became a lifelong campaigner against pollution and the mining projects that devastated the environment and took land from the people. 

He received death threats from the Shining Path and the inner security services in Peru, and located himself once more in excile. Through the Nineteen Nineties he lived in Mexico, where he was increasingly influenced by the Zapatistas. While he maintained contacted with the Trotskyist Fourth International right up until his death this yr, his politics became more just like the Zapatistas during this era.


Hugo was also hugely inspired by the struggle of the Kurdish people in Rojava. The Zapatistas and the Kurds with their allies in Rojava promote a feminist confederal democratic politics – with more in common with the green anarchist thinker Murray Bookchin than Trotsky. 

He published Lucha Indigena, which suggests literally ‘Indigenous fight’. He argued that capitalism was a ‘mode of destruction’ and viewed each employees and peasants as being on the forefront of struggles to guard the Earth. 

Towards the tip of his life Hugo became increasingly concerned about climate change. He became a outstanding advocate of an ecosocialist approach, arguing that capitalism by promoting every increasing economic growth tends to wreck the planet. 

He saw how the environment was being devastated in Latin America, he also noted that to finish climate change we want to stop extracting coal and oil. For him indigenous movements opposing extraction were essential to stopping rising CO2 emissions. He supported the efforts of the Peruvian Amazonian people to defend the rainforests from gas and oil exploration.


Hugo made several speaking tours in Europe, once speaking at a Green Party conference in Birmingham. He also sent his solidarity greetings when employees on the Isle of Wight occupied the Vestas wind turbine factory to stop its closure. 

And in fact he got to fulfill and provides his support to Greta Thunberg in Stockholm in 2019. His last days this yr were spent in Sweden along with his family. 

Hugo Blanco was an inspiring green revolutionary who struggled for essential change nearly every single day. Almost every waking moment was an episode in ecological activist and liberation struggles. He championed an enormous number of causes.

As Che Guevara said, “Hugo Blanco has set an example”. We will learn from him. 

This Creator

Derek Wall is a former Green Party principal speaker and creator of Hugo Blanco: A revolutionary for all times, published by Merlin Press and Resistance Books in 2018.


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