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Biography and Acknowledgements

Marta Harnecker is a Chilean psychologist, writer, journalist and among the most prominent investigators and analysts of the experience of social transformation in Latin America. She was a student of Louis Althusser, translated his two most important works into Spanish, and is one of the key proponents of his ideas.

After her return to Chile in 1968 she began a life-long process of spreading the ideas of Marxism-Leninism, specifically in forms most likely to be of use in the training of revolutionary workers and peasants.

She is the author of more than eighty books, all of which can be found online at Her first book was Los conceptos elementales del materialismo histórico (The Basic Concepts of Historical Materialism), which was published in 1969, and has been republished in sixty-six editions and translated into French, English, Portuguese, and Greek. A revised and expanded version was published in 1985.

After the imperialist counter-revolutionary coup against Allende in Chile in 1973, she moved to Cuba where she became Director of the research center “Memoria Popular Latinoamericana” in Havana.

Since the 1980s, she has dedicated a great part of her time to collecting the testimony of revolutionaries. Her book Haciendo camino al andar, which brings together various experiences of popular participation at the local government level in Latin America (Brazil, Venezuela, and Uruguay), won the 2006 National Book Prize in Venezuela.

She now lives in Caracas, Venezuela. Based at the Centro Internacional Miranda research institute, she serves as an advisor to various Venezuelan institutions. Among her recent publications is Hugo Chávez Frías: un hombre, un pueblo (2002), published in English by Monthly Review Press as Understanding the Venezuelan Revolution: Hugo Chávez Talks with Marta Harnecker (2005).

Acknowledgement: I wish to thank all who, in various ways, have helped to make this book possible. Special thanks go to my partner Michael Lebowitz many of whose ideas have been incorporated into this book; to my assistants Fred Fuentes, Militza Pérez, and Roselia Martínez; and to Janet Duckworth and to the comrades of the Centro Internacional Miranda.