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About Clifton Ross

          Clifton Ross has been reporting on Latin American social and revolutionary movements since 1982. For the past decade he’s been traveling to and fro in Latin America doing interviews for the book Until the Rulers Obey: Voices from Latin American Social Movements.

          Clif worked as a translator for the Guatemalan news agency CERIGUA in Managua, Nicaragua in 1986, and he has continued working sporadically as a

translator. His books of translations include Light and Truth: Manifestos and Interviews on Spirituality and Politics, by General Augusto Cesar Sandino (1984, CO-Press); A Dream Made of Stars: A Bilingual Anthology of Nicaraguan Poetry (1986, CO-Press); Quetzalcóatl, by Ernesto Cardenal (1990 New Earth Press; 1994 Stride Publications); and Voice of Fire: Interviews and Communiqués from the Zapatista National Liberation Army (1994, New Earth Publications), co-edited with Ben Clarke. Voice of Fire was the first collection of EZLN material to appear in English. Clif’s translations of poetry from Spanish have appeared in a number of publications and online sites including Americas Review, Sniper Logic, and The Underground Forest.

          A sampling of Clif’s poetry appeared in the collection, When Good Dogs Have Bad Dreams: Four American Poets (Stride Publications, UK, 1996) and his collection of interviews with the poet William Everson appeared the same year in the UK with the same publisher in book form as William Everson: The Light the Shadow Casts (reprinted in 2012 by Freedom Voices Publications in honor of the centenary of the poet’s birth).

          In 2005 Clif represented the U.S. in Venezuela's World Poetry Festival, along with Genny Lim. From 2005-2006 he reported from Mérida, Venezuela and began work on his movie, Venezuela: Revolution from the Inside Out, which was issued by PM Press in Oakland, California in May 2008. Clif’s book, Fables for an Open Field (1994, Trombone Press, New Earth Publications), was released in Spanish by La Casa Tomada of Venezuela in 2006. His book of poetry, Translations from Silence, won Oakland PEN’s Josephine Miles Award in 2010. That book was published in Spanish in 2011 by the Venezuelan Ministry of Culture’s Editorial Perro y Rana under the title Traducciones del Silencio.

          In 1997 Clif completed work on his BA in Creative Writing at San Francisco State University (SFSU) and he went on to get his MA in English at SFSU in 2003. He lives in Berkeley, CA with his wife, Marcy Rein, and their two cats.



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What they're saying about Until the Rulers Obey

A new world is dawning in Latin America from the bottom up.  This book brings an all-star cast of scholar-activists together with social movement and community leaders from throughout the region.  The reader will hear the clarion call for social justice from those who are on the front lines of grassroots resistance and popular struggles in this age of globalization, crisis, and transformation.  These are the voices that too often are suppressed by the powerful and the means of communication they control. I cannot imagine a more important and timely volume for scholars and activists who wish to understand the transformations that are sweeping the sub-continent.

 --William I. Robinson

Professor of Sociology, Global Studies,

and Latin American Studies

University of California at Santa Barbara

Author of Latin America and Global Capitalism



Until the Rulers Obey is a profoundly necessary book. Little has been published about Latin America in the way of an overview from 1989 to the present, even less in the voices of the protagonists themselves. The great experiments of the 1960s, '70s, and '80s failed, but new and in many cases less dogmatic approaches to social justice have taken root in a number of countries south of the border. This book explores those efforts, often in the words of the change-makers themselves. Clifton Ross and Marcy Rein have done us a great service. Read this book for access to what the U.S. corporate media still doesn't want us to know.

--Margaret Randall, author of Sandino's Daughters Revisited, When I Look Into the Mirror and See you, and Che on My Mind.


Latin America is the last region in the world that still has a vibrant Enlightenment left, which sets both the practical agenda in terms of policy and the horizon in terms of utopia.  This wonderful edited collection of analysis and first-person accounts by Clifton Ross and Marcy Rein, Until the Rulers Obey: Voices from Latin American Social Movements, shows why.  It assembles people who are both activists and analysts, who see no difference between interpreting and changing the world.  It deserves a wide audience.
--Greg Grandin, author of Empire's Workshop and Fordlandia


Until the Rulers Obey is the most exhaustive and comprehensive work of primary source material from social movements in Latin America to appear in English, presenting the testimony of the brave women and men who have challenged the old leaders, and are serving notice on the new aspirants to power that they can only rule legitimately if they listen to the voices and demands of the people. In addition to providing a report on the current state of popular struggles, this anthology compiled by Clifton Ross and Marcy Rein will also serve as a compendium for future writers and historians who want to understand the social movements that transformed Latin America during the early years of the new millennium.

--Roger Burbach, co-author of Latin America’s Turbulent Transitions: The Future of Twenty-First-Century Socialism with Michael Fox and Federico Fuentes



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