Marta Harnecker, One of the Greatest Thinker of the Latin American Left, Passed Away

As author, Marta Harnecker published more than 80 books, including “Elemental Concepts of Historical Materialism”, written in 1969 and has already exceeded 70 editions.

This Saturday the writer, psychologist and Chilean journalist, Marta Harnecker, passed away .

This activist and thinker was born in Chile in 1937 and is recognized as one of the leading figures of the Latin American left . She lived in first person the socialist government of Salvador Allende and managed to survive the violence of Augusto Pinochet’s military coup.

There are many who were formed politically with her works. Her book ” Elemental Concepts of Historical Materialism “, written in 1969 and which has already exceeded 70 editions, has been part of the formation of the militants of the left parties.

President Evo Morales and Nicolas Maduro twitted today about this sad news and recognized Harnecker legacy.

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Harnecker with Austrian roots studied psychology at the Catholic University of Chile in 1962 . She did postgraduate studies in Paris with Paul Ricoeur and Louis Althusser. Upon her return to Chile in 1968, she was professor of Historical Materialism and Political Economy in Sociology at the University of Chile and was director of the political weekly Chile Hoy.

After the coup of 1973, she went into exile in Cuba, where she married Comandante Manuel Piñeiro with whom she had a daughter.


There she lived the heartbreaking “special period ” of that country, and described as “admirable the way Cuba faced the fall of socialism in Eastern Europe and the USSR.

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After becoming a widow in 1998, Harnecker continued with her investigative career and was nourished by the testimonies and experiences of Latin American political leaders that are part of the articles and texts that are today study material in multiple universities around the world.

Among those experiences is that of Venezuela, since she was (for several years) an advisor to former President Hugo Chávez and she was part of the management team of the Miranda International Center [CIM] in Caracas.

During her stay in the South American country she was able to study the flowering of people struggles in Latin America.


Marta Harnecker, an authentic Marxist

Marta Harnecker demonstrated that socialism is not a “project” thinkable without struggle and that it can not be done “from above”, since it must be the product of the struggles of the movement of the dominated peoples and classes.

«In this sense, she is a true Marxist, continuing the work initiated by Marx, without fear of enriching it -with the permanent taking into account of what is new in the reality of the world, of capitalism, of imperialism, of struggles- , thus renewing the conceptualizations, the theoretical proposals and those related to the strategies of action, “said the journalist Samir Amin in an article published by La Haine.

“She helped give living Marxism a Latin American dimension , as others have given it an Asian or African dimension. Marta Harnecker helped to give Marxism the universal dimension that must be its; she helped to make it be heard by the great majority of the peoples of the world, which are those of the three continents. She managed to escape Marxism from a deadly Eurocentric imprisonment. The experience of the advances in the struggles of the peoples of Latin America , have paved the way in recent decades, through the theoretical thinking of Marta Harnecker, which has been decisive in this regard, “he said.


Most recognized works

As author, Harnecker published more than 80 books, including: Capital: Fundamental Concepts (1971), Cuba: Dictatorship or Democracy? (1975), Peoples in arms (1983), The social revolution (Lenin and Latin America) (1985), What is society? (1986); Indigenous people, Christians and students in the revolution (1987); Latin America: Left and current crisis (1990); Making way to walk (1995); Making the impossible possible: The left at the threshold of the 21st century (1999); Rebuilding the Left (2006) and A World to Build (New Roads) (2013), for which she won the Libertador Critical Thinking Award.

Harnecker, who suffered from cancer , spent her last years between Cuba where her daughter lives and Canada, along with her husband, the prominent intellectual, Michael Lebowitz.

Featured photo: Courtesy of Nino Pagliccia took in May In Vancouver, Canada

Source URL: El Ciudadano 

Translated by JRE

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