Psicopatriotismo

Por una ley de 1994 (Holocaust Education Bill), en las escuelas públicas de Florida hay una materia llamada “Holocausto”, por la cual se estudian las atrocidades racistas ocurridas en Europa contra el pueblo judío. En 2020, el gobernador Ron DeSantis promulgó otra ley que exige que todas las escuelas primarias y secundarias certifiquen que están enseñando a las nuevas generaciones sobre el Holocausto. Por entonces, los senadores de la comunidad afro lograron que también se incluya en los programas la mención a la Masacre de Ocoee, donde 30 personas negras fueron asesinadas en 1920, lo que, para entender el racismo endémico y las injusticias sociales, viene a ser como explicar el cuerpo humano por su sombra.

Por ley, también, desde el año 2022, en esas mismas escuelas secundarias de Florida, está prohibido discutir la historia racista de Estados Unidos. La razón radica, según el gobernador Ron DeSantis, en que “no se debe instruir a nadie para que se sienta como si no fuera igual o avergonzado por su raza. En Florida, no permitiremos que la agenda de la extrema izquierda se apodere de nuestras escuelas y lugares de trabajo. No hay lugar para el adoctrinamiento o la discriminación en Florida”.

Si de eso no se habla, eso no existe. De este lado del Atlántico, el racismo no existe y nunca existió.

Los mismos esclavistas que definían como “propiedad privada” a millones de esclavos (la base de la prosperidad del país) en base a su color de piel, llamaron a ese sistema “bendición de la esclavitud”, la que querían “expandir por todo el mundo” para “luchar por la libertad”, al tiempo que a su sistema de gobierno llamaban “democracia” (Brown, 1858).

Los mismos que robaron y exterminaron a pueblos nativos mucho más democráticos y civilizados que la nueva nación de la fiebre del oro antes de la fiebre del oro, lo llamaron “defensa propia” ante “ataques no provocados” de los salvajes (Jackson, 1833; Wayne, 1972).

Los mismos que inventaron la independencia de Texas para reinstaurar la esclavitud y luego la guerra contra México para apropiarse de la mitad de su territorio, los mismos que mataron y violaron a mujeres frente a hijos y esposos, lo hicieron por el designio divino del “destino manifiesto” de Dios (Scott , 1846).

Los mismos que practicaban el deporte de matar negros en Filipinas lo hicieron para cumplir con “la pesada carga del hombre blanco” de civilizar el mundo (Kipling, 1899).

Los mismos que invadieron, corrompieron y plagaron América latina de repúblicas bananeras, destruyeron democracias y plantaron decenas y decenas de dictaduras sangrientas, lo hicieron para luchar por la libertad y la democracia (Beveridge, 1900; Washington Post, 1920; CIA, XXX).

Los mismos que regaron Asia con bombas atómicas, millones de bombas más benéficas sin un año de tregua, agentes químicos sobre millones de seres humanos y dejaron millares de muertos por donde pasaron, llamaron a ese ejercicio extremo de racismo “heroica victoria”, aun cuando fueron humillantes derrotas (Johnson, 1964; Bush, 2003).

Pero de eso no se puede hablar porque puede ofender a alguien de piel blanca que se sienta identificado con todos esos campeones de la libertad, la democracia y la justicia divina.

Como decía una canción popular para reclutar voluntarios para la guerra inventada contra México:

La justicia es el lema de nuestro país

el que siempre tiene razón (Pratt, 1847).

No por casualidad, cada vez que esos grupos de fanáticos sintieron que sus privilegios estaban amenazados por la nunca aceptada igualdad, inventaron teorías de auto victimización, como la teoría del “exterminio blanco”, articulada en el siglo XIX para justificar el colonialismo y la opresión de pueblos no caucásicos (Pearson, 1893) y ahora ha renacido como una novedad como la “Teoría del reemplazo” que criminaliza a los inmigrantes de países no europeos como “peligrosos invasores” (Camus, 2010).

No por casualidad, Adolf Hitler se inspiró en el por entonces institucionalizado racismo de la extrema derecha estadounidense que adoctrinó a millones de personas a sentirse superior por su color de piel y a otros millones a aceptar su inferioridad por la misma razón (Grant, 1916).

No por casualidad, Hitler condecoró a los grandes hombres de negocios de Estados Unidos y prohibió que en la educación pública se enseñe “cosas de izquierdistas”. Antes de perseguir y matar judíos, en 1933 cerró la célebre escuela Bauhaus por estar lleno de “anti-alemanes” y ser un “refugio de izquierdistas” que querían cuestionar y cambiar la historia.

En Florida y en todo el país, los sistemas de educación deberían empezar por una materia llamada “Hipocresía patriótica” para desarrollar en algo la capacidad intelectual de enfrentar la realidad histórica sin edulcorantes y sin las fantasías de Hollywood, de Disney World y del Ku Klux Klan.

No somos responsable de los crímenes de nuestros antepasados, pero somos responsables de adoptarlos como propios al negarlos o justificarlos. Somos responsables de los crímenes y de las injusticias que se cometen hoy gracias al negacionismo de la realidad que, no sin fanatismo, llamamos patriotismo. Un negacionismo criminal y racista, ya que, otra vez, niega justicia y el básico derecho a la verdad de las víctimas para no incomodar la sensibilidad de los demás, el grupo dominante desde hace más de dos siglos, el que insiste en la estrategia de la autocomplacencia y la auto victimización como forma de calmar sus frustraciones y su odio fundacional. Peor aun cuando ese derecho a la verdad se ha cercenado por leyes y una cultura llena de tabúes, todo en nombre de una democracia que les estorba y usan, como a los demagogos de la antigua Atenas la usaron para demonizar y luego ejecutar a Sócrates por andar cuestionando demasiado. Todo de forma legal, está de más decir, hasta que las leyes son escritas  por otros.

¿Qué mayor adoctrinación que el negacionismo o la prohibición de revisar la historia? ¿Qué más adoctrinación que imponer el silencio cómplice o una “historia patriótica” en las escuelas, recargada de mitos creados post factum y sin sustento documental?

jm, agosto 2022

https://www.pagina12.com.ar/476737-psicopatriotismo

Psychopatriotisme yankee

Jorge Majfud, 21/8/2022
Traduit par Fausto Giudice, Tlaxcala

En vertu d’une loi de 1994 (Holocaust Education Bill), les écoles publiques de Floride ont une matière appelée “Holocauste”, dans laquelle sont étudiées les atrocités racistes commises en Europe contre les juifs. En 2020, le gouverneur Ron DeSantis a promulgué une autre loi exigeant que toutes les écoles primaires et secondaires certifient qu’elles enseignent l’Holocauste aux nouvelles générations. Dans le même temps, les sénateurs de la communauté afro ont réussi à faire inclure dans le programme la mention du massacre d’Ocoee, où au moins 30 Noirs ont été tués en 1920, ce qui, pour comprendre le racisme endémique et les injustices sociales, revient à expliquer le corps humain par son ombre.

Par la loi également, à partir de 2022, dans ces mêmes lycées de Floride, il est interdit de discuter de l’histoire raciste usaméricaine. La raison, selon le gouverneur Ron DeSantis, est que « personne ne devrait apprendre à se sentir inégal ou à avoir honte de sa race. En Floride, nous ne laisserons pas l’agenda de l’extrême-gauche prendre le contrôle de nos écoles et de nos lieux de travail. Il n’y a pas de place pour l’endoctrinement ou la discrimination en Floride ».

Si on n’en parle pas, ça n’existe pas. De ce côté-ci de l’Atlantique, le racisme n’existe pas et n’a jamais existé.

Les mêmes esclavagistes qui définissaient des millions d’esclaves (la base de la prospérité du pays) comme “propriété privée” sur la base de leur couleur de peau, appelaient ce système une “bénédiction de l’esclavage”, qu’ils voulaient “répandre dans le monde entier” pour “lutter pour la liberté” tout en appelant leur système de gouvernement “démocratie” (Brown, 1858).

Les mêmes personnes qui ont volé et exterminé des peuples autochtones bien plus démocratiques et civilisés que la nouvelle nation de la ruée vers l’or avant la ruée vers l’or, ont appelé cela de la “légitime défense” contre des “attaques non provoquées” de sauvages (Jackson, 1833 ; Wayne, 1972).

Les mêmes personnes qui ont inventé l’indépendance du Texas pour rétablir l’esclavage, puis la guerre contre le Mexique pour s’approprier la moitié de son territoire, les mêmes personnes qui ont tué et violé des femmes devant leurs fils et leurs maris, l’ont fait selon le dessein divin de la “destinée manifeste” de Dieu (Scott, 1846).

Ceux qui pratiquaient le sport de tuer les Noirs aux Philippines le faisaient pour assumer “le lourd fardeau de l’homme blanc” de civiliser le monde (Kipling, 1899).

Ceux-là mêmes qui ont envahi, corrompu et affligé l’Amérique latine de républiques bananières, détruit des démocraties et implanté des dizaines et des dizaines de dictatures sanglantes, l’ont fait pour lutter pour la liberté et la démocratie (Beveridge, 1900 ; Washington Post, 1920 ; CIA, XXX).

Les mêmes personnes qui ont arrosé l’Asie de bombes atomiques, de millions d’autres bombes bénéfiques sans trêve, d’agents chimiques sur des millions d’êtres humains et qui ont laissé des milliers de morts partout où ils sont passés, ont qualifié cet exercice extrême du racisme de “victoire héroïque”, même s’il s’agissait de défaites humiliantes (Johnson, 1964 ; Bush, 2003).

Mais nous ne pouvons pas en parler car cela pourrait offenser une personne à la peau blanche qui s’identifie à tous ces champions de la liberté, de la démocratie et de la justice divine.

Comme le disait une chanson populaire utilisée pour recruter des volontaires pour la guerre inventée contre le Mexique :

La justice est la devise de notre pays
Celui qui a toujours raison (Pratt, 1847).

Ce n’est pas un hasard si, chaque fois que ces groupes de fanatiques ont senti que leurs privilèges étaient menacés par l’égalité jamais acceptée, ils ont inventé des théories d’auto-victimisation, comme la théorie de “l’extermination des Blancs”, formulée au XIXe siècle pour justifier le colonialisme et l’oppression des peuples non caucasiens (Pearson, 1893) et qui renaît aujourd’hui sous la forme d’une nouveauté, la “théorie du grand remplacement”, qui criminalise les immigrants des pays non européens en les qualifiant de “dangereux envahisseurs” (Camus, 2010).

Ce n’est pas une hasard si Adolf Hitler a été inspiré par le racisme institutionnalisé de l’extrême droite usaméricaine qui a endoctriné des millions de personnes à se sentir supérieures en raison de la couleur de leur peau et des millions d’autres à accepter leur infériorité pour la même raison (Grant, 1916).

Ce n’est pas un hasard si Hitler a décoré les grands hommes d’affaires usaméricains et a interdit l’enseignement des “choses de gauche” dans l’éducation publique. Avant de persécuter et de tuer les Juifs, il a fermé en 1933 la célèbre école du Bauhaus parce qu’elle était remplie d’“anti-allemands” et qu’elle était un “repaire de gauchistes” qui voulaient remettre en question et changer l’histoire.

En Floride et dans tout le pays, les systèmes éducatifs devraient commencer par une matière appelée “Hypocrisie patriotique” pour développer une certaine capacité intellectuelle à faire face à la réalité historique sans les édulcorants et les fantasmes d’Hollywood, de Disney World et du Ku Klux Klan.

Nous ne sommes pas responsables des crimes de nos ancêtres, mais nous sommes responsables de les faire nôtres en les niant ou en les justifiant. Nous sommes responsables des crimes et des injustices qui sont commis aujourd’hui grâce au déni de la réalité que, non sans fanatisme, nous appelons patriotisme. Un négationnisme criminel et raciste, car, une fois de plus, il nie la justice et le droit fondamental à la vérité des victimes pour ne pas froisser la sensibilité des autres, le groupe dominant depuis plus de deux siècles, celui qui insiste sur la stratégie de l’auto-indulgence et de l’auto-victimisation pour calmer ses frustrations et sa haine fondatrice. Pire encore lorsque ce droit à la vérité a été restreint par des lois et une culture pleine de tabous, tout cela au nom d’une démocratie qui les entrave et qu’ils utilisent, comme les démagogues de l’Athènes antique l’ont fait pour diaboliser puis exécuter Socrate pour avoir posé trop de questions. Tout cela est légal, cela va sans dire, jusqu’à ce que les lois soient écrites par d’autres.

Quel plus grand endoctrinement que le négationnisme ou l’interdiction de réviser l’histoire ? Quel plus grand endoctrinement que d’imposer un silence complice ou une “histoire patriotique” dans les écoles, surchargée de mythes créés post factum et sans support documentaire ?

The Great Crisis of the 21st Century: Hijacked Democracies, Propaganda, and Rebellions

The super-rich are the enemies of humanity.

JORGE MAJFUD July 18, 2022

Professor Walter Scheidel, in his book The Great Leveler, showed, more than convincingly, that from prehistory to the present day, all the socioeconomic systems known to humanity tended towards inequality and ended in global catastrophes. The first is quite obvious and we are seeing it today: those who have financial and economic power have inflamed political power, which produces a snowball effect. The rich and their corporations are the big donors to the political parties and then write the laws at their convenience. In 1971, a classic of political comics, The Wizard of Id summed it up best: “The golden rule is that he who has the gold makes the rules.”

The current corporate capitalism is a legacy of the Slave system: in the name of freedom, the exploitation of those below, the concentration of wealth, the sacralization of the masters-entrepreneurs, and the demonization of the workers-slaves.

In 2013, the French philosopher Thomas Piketty wrote his acclaimed book Capital in the Twenty-First Century in which he argued that, to a large extent, the growth of inequality is due to the fact that the wealth of the rich (based on stock of all assets) grew faster than the economy and the income of the rest, that is, faster than the wages of those who struggle to survive.

But inequality is not only economic; it is also racial, sexual, religious, ideological, and cultural. For generations, societies have debated the meaning of social inequality and whether this is good or bad. One of the conservative hypotheses (since they never reached the category of theories) was based on justifying inequality as a natural consequence of prosperity. In a tribe or in ancient times the differences were never as great as in our (proud) current societies. Hence the idea that (1) prosperity comes from inequality or (2) inequality is a necessary and inevitable consequence of prosperity prevailed. “Never before have the poor been less poor than today”, and we have to thank Capitalism and the rich for all this.

This show of radical ignorance is the banner of libertarians and neoliberals, missionaries against the intervention of governments (of their regulations and their taxes) in the social and economic livesof the peoples. Ironically, they have the US Corporations as their ideological model, whose prosperity, like Europe’s, was built on slavery and by force of brutal imperial interventions (by governments and their secret agencies) on the rest of humanity. Nor do they see corporations as dictatorships in the way fiefdoms were in the Middle Ages and Banana republics more recently.

Mere myths. Where is it shown that prosperity comes from the accumulated wealth of the rich? Why not see that development and wealth are products of humanity, based on the accumulated experience and knowledge of the millenary human history?

Another dogma of today’s world lies in a misreading of Adam Smith himself, according to whom all social progress is based on the ambition and selfishness of the individual. Hence, the social myth according to which progress and prosperity are based on the ambition of individuals to be millionaires, which is why there is no need to “punish success” with taxes. A popular but cheap myth, if we consider that all the progress, all or almost all the technical, scientific, and social inventions recorded in history (even in the Capitalist Age) have been made by people who were not thinking about the damn money.

Social myths do not come from the people. They come from power. Yes, (1) the Industrial Revolution multiplied (2) wealth and (3) inequality a hundredfold, but you can’t separate the three elements of (4) brutal Euro-American imperialism. If South America had plundered the rest of the world for centuries, today it would be a model of progress and development.

The fact that today the poor are less poor than yesterday is not proof of the benefits of Capitalism, since humanity has been making progress for millennia and all at an accelerated rate. No technical or scientific progress is not due to Capitalism or the capitalists. The millionaires just kidnapped them. The current corporate capitalism is a legacy of the Slave system: in the name of freedom, the exploitation of those below, the concentration of wealth, the sacralization of the masters-entrepreneurs, and the demonization of the workers-slaves.

At this moment, Capitalism is bringing nothing but existential problems, such as (1) the destruction of the planet by dint of growth based on consumption and destruction and (2) the aggravation of social differences, which will lead to greater conflicts. Capitalism is exhausted and the crisis lies in denying the socialization of human progress, which will be inevitable (after the breakdown) with massive robotization and the development of AI.

To suggest that the problem of inequality be solved with handouts is like fighting an infection with aspirin. Instead of being cured, the infection increases. The breakdown could be avoided by a global agreement, but if sanity were not a rare commodity, we would not be drowning in an environmental crisis now. The alternative is a global collapse, a dystopian situation where all the laws accepted today as dogmas, such as the value of the dollar and of private property are broken. A collapse where there are no winners but a definitive regression to the Middle Ages.

If in a town there were kids dying of hunger and someone happened to light a cigarette with a hundred-dollar bill, it would be described as immoral. Well, that’s the situation today. That is to say that we are in the first level of three:

1) Moral: It is immoral that children die of hunger in a super-rich and hyper-technological world. Basic needs covered would be the first step of a humanistic civilization.

2) Injustice: Then, there would be the discussion of the injustice of what falls to each one and based on what reason.

3) Convenience: A less relevant discussion is about the necessity or convenience of inequity. For many of us, equity favors development and even the production of wealth. Growth as a precondition for any redistribution is a dogma created by power.

The super-rich are the enemies of humanity. Not only do they kidnap wealth from the rest, they not only monopolize politics in democracies and dictatorships, but they keep them in a state of hypnosis through (1) the great propaganda media, (2) the media of distraction, toxic fun and fragmentary, and (3) by virtue of keeping millions of other humans in a state of need, as wage slaves with no time to think that their brothers and neighbors are not the pirates.

But a large part of humanity loves, admires, and desires the super-rich, as the slaves loved the masters who threw a potion at them at the end of an exhausting day. The master and the potion were received as a blessing and the rebels as the demons who wanted to turn the world upside down.

JM, july 2022

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2022/07/18/great-crisis-21st-century-hijacked-democracies-propaganda-and-rebellions

Gun fanaticism, foundational racism 

The holy verse of conservatives in America is the Second Amendment passed in 1789. Like any verse in any holy book, it is brief and open to different interpretations. As in any religion, they are theological interpretations, that is, political. 

A conservative interpretation leads us to conclusions unwelcome by conservatives. Thomas Jefferson (his books were banned for being an “atheist”) was of the undogmatic idea that all laws should be changed according to the needs of each generation. But both Jefferson and the rest of the “founding fathers” were racists, a detail that is not recognized even by today’s racists. 

The verse of the amendment reads: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” 

Five words are the keys to understanding what the amendment means: Militia, free State, people, and Arms. Let’s start with the last one. 

5. Arms. In the same way that the word “car” then meant something quite different from what “car” means today and hence the new traffic laws, the same occurs with the word which meant “arms” meant a flintlock or a musket rifle. In any case, for a person to be able to kill another, he had to be at a distance of a few yards, and, after shooting, he had to do some craft work to reload. For some decades, “the people” and the judges understand that with the word “weapons”, in 1789 the founding fathers also referred to an AR-15 and other assault rifles capable of killing, at a much greater distance, several dozens of people. 

4. People. From the same constitution of 1787, the word “people” in “We the people” meant “white man, a slaver, and owner”. By no means black, Indian, or poor white. But a word is an ideolexicon, that is, a bag used to load different ideological meanings. 

 3.,2. Free State. The idea of “free states” as opposed to “slave states” belongs to an advanced nineteenth century that was struggling to abolish slavery, long after expanding it over Indian and Mexican territories where slavery did not exist or was illegal. In 1789 and for a few generations thereafter, “the free state” was the slave state of whites. In fact, in all the letters, congressional transcripts, and newspaper articles it is assumed that “the free race” was the white race, since the others were incapable of understanding freedom. Slavery expanded in the name of Law, Order, and Freedom. The third stanza of the national anthem written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key, proclaims: 

No refuge could save the hireling and slave

From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave”. 

The song was prompted by the British burning of the government house in Washington, later painted white by the slaves to hide the memory of the fire. England punished a similar attack by the Americans on Canada, when they wanted that territory as the fourteenth state. Many black slaves sided with the invader, for obvious reasons, and the patriot Scott Key, a slaveholder by law, unleashed his poetic fury in the famous song, now the National Anthem. 

1. Militia. As anyone in their right mind can see, the expression “a well-regulated militia” does not mean individuals acting on their own. But that is not all. In both the 18th and 19th centuries these militias were the slavers’ police. How could a handful of white masters subdue a majority of black slaves? Not by the whip but by firearms. But since the masters formed a confederation in each state and among the slave states, the armed militias were of vital importance to safeguard the lives of the white masters and the system itself, which produced the richest men in the country, the slave capitalism of the 19th century, even when the north was already an old pole of commercial and industrial development. 

Every right is regulated, and all interpretation depends on the political interests of the moment. Let’s see an absurd example referred to the First Amendment, of which I count myself as a radical defender. 

In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Citizens United, a “non-profit” organization in favor of the rights of large corporations. Its founder, Floyd Brown, defined it as follows: “We’re just old-fashioned, blue-collar social conservatives. These are people who couldn’t care less about politics, want to be left alone by government, but if their country calls for them to fight abroad, will”. For this type of old Anglo-Saxon fanaticism, the brutal interventions in other countries are not political nor are they about racism and economic interests. 

In the lawsuit and in the final ruling, five members out of nine of the Court understood that the limitation of donations from any group to a candidate constituted a “violation of freedom of expression.” In addition, they began to have the right to do so anonymously, which is known as “dark money”. Of course, again, in the “Nation of Laws” everything is legal. Corruption is a thing of Latin Americans and poor blacks in Africa. 

As is often the case in a democracy hijacked by corporations, the citizens had a different opinion. In 2010, a survey by ABC and The Washington Post had revealed that 80 percent of Americans were opposed to the elimination of barriers and limits on donations to politicians proposed by Citizens United.

The (political) interpretations against regulations always favor those who are in power. Nobody says that in every airport in the United States the Constitution is violated because the carrying of weapons is not allowed. The age to buy assault rifles is 18 years, but if it were up to the fans, it would be six years, when the victim enters school and does not feel free and safe. Now, is the 18-year limit not a regulation? It is not in the Second Amendment.

Meanwhile, 40,000 people die each year in this country from gun violence. Not accidentally, the killings are often racially motivated against “inferior races,” since that obsession is in the DNA of this country’s history. Blacks, Asians, or Hispanics do not slaughter whites out of hatred. The problem of crime in black neighborhoods is due to this same history of discrimination: when they became citizens, they were immediately segregated at gunpoint and by various policies such as the layout of highways or the criminalization of certain drugs introduced by the same CIA to the country and used by Nixon, deliberately, to criminalize blacks and Latinos. 

This is the concept of freedom of those who suffer from a paranoia that does not let them be free. And they impose it on others in the name of freedom—and, as in times of legal slavery, are defended even by the “happy slaves”. 

Jorge Majfud, June 2022. 

Washington, let’s talk about reparations

President Joe Biden has announced his intention to exclude Cuba and Venezuela from the Summit of the Americas scheduled for June 22. Under Secretary of State, Brian Nichols explained that non-democratic countries should not be invited.

Deciding which countries can attend a regional summit is not considered authoritarian by a country that is historically responsible for thousands of military interventions in the region alone, for several dozen dictatorships, coups, destruction of democracies, and massacres of all kinds and colors since the nineteenth century until yesterday, under the authoritarian exercise of imposing its own laws on other countries and violating all agreements with inferior races that ceased to benefit it.

Washington and the big corporations it serves have not only been the promoters of the bloody capitalist dictatorships in the region since the 19th century, but also the main promoters of the much talked about communism and of the current social, political, and economic reality of Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. Now that Governor Florida has signed a law to teach about the evils of communism in schools, it would be refreshing if teachers aren’t limited to the McDonald’s menu.

All those crimes and robberies at gunpoint have gone unpunished without exception. In 2010, the Obama administration apologized for the syphilis experiments in Guatemala, but nothing more than a tear. Impunity, the mother of all corruption, has been reinforced by a kind of Hiroshima Syndrome, for which every year the Japanese apologize to Washington for the atomic bombs they dropped on their own cities full of innocents.

A large part of Latin America has suffered and is suffering from the Hiroshima Syndrome for which not only are reparations not demanded for two hundred years of crimes against humanity, but the victim feels guilty of a cultural corruption inoculated by this same brutality. A few days ago, a lady received her brother at the Miami airport wrapped in an American flag while she yelled at him in Spanish: “Welcome to the land of freedom!” It is the morality of the slave, by which, for centuries, the oppressed tried to be “good blacks”, “good Indians”, “good Hispanics”, “good women”, “good poor” … That is, obedient exploited.

All this is framed within the economic interests of an empire (“God put our resources in other countries”). Still, the racial factor was essential in the fanaticism of the white enslaver and the black slave, the rich businessman and the poor worker. Currently, anti-racism movements in the United States have yielded to a convenient divorce whereby global thought and sensibility, macro politics, is annulled to make room for the micro-politics of atomized claims. One of them, the heroic and justified fight against racism loses perspective when it is forgotten that imperialism is not only an exercise in racism but that historically it was fueled by this moral calamity.

Before the emergence of the excuse of “the fight against communism,” the open justification was “to put an order in the republics of blacks”, because “blacks do not know how to govern themselves” or exploit their own resources. Once the cold war ended, racism was resorted to disguised as a “clash of civilizations” (Samuel Huntington) or financial interventions in regions with “sick cultures”, such as Latin America, or in lands with terrorists of other religions such as the Middle East, where, in Iraq alone, they left more than a million dead, without a name and without a well-defined figure, as tradition establishes.

This slave morality was and is a common practice. In 2021, for example, the conservative’s favorite California gubernatorial candidate, Larry Elder, argued that it is reasonable for whites to demand compensation for the abolition of slavery since blacks were their property. “Like it or not, slavery was legal,” Elder said. “Their legal property was taken away from them after the Civil War, so you could make an argument that the people that are owed reparations are not only just Black people but also the people whose ‘property’ was taken away after the end of the Civil War.”

Elder is a black lawyer through his mother, father, grandparents, and great-great-grandparents. That is, a descendant of private property. By the same logic, Haiti paid this compensation to France for more than a century.

The California candidate’s proposal responded to movements calling for compensation for descendants of slaves. An argument against it is that we do not inherit the sufferings of our ancestors (something science has begun to question) and each one is responsible for their own destiny. Something very much of the Protestant ethic and world view: one is lost or saved alone. The Protestant doesn’t care if his brother or his daughter goes to hell if he deserves Paradise. Who is not happy in Paradise?

But the past is not only alive in culture. It is alive in our institutions and in how class privileges are organized. It would suffice to mention the electoral system of the United States, a direct legacy of the slave system, by which rural and white states have more representation than more diverse states and with ten times their approval. Through this system, in 2016 Trump became president with almost three million fewer votes than Clinton.

Post-slavery segregation is also alive today, with black, Chinese, and Latino ghettos crowded into large cities as an inheritance of the freedom won in 1865, but without economic support. In order not to continue with the policies of urban segregation with the layout of highways or the criminalization of certain drugs, all with the declared intention of keeping some ethnic groups in a state of perpetual servitude and demoralization. For not continuing with the fortunes amassed in the past that were transmitted to groups and families as in the Middle Ages, titles of nobility were transmitted.

I believe that Latin Americans are, at least, a few centuries behind in terms of economic reparation for destroyed democracies and dictatorships imposed at gunpoint. From the dispossession of half of the Mexican territory to reinstate slavery to the dictatorships in the protectorates, the banana wars at the beginning of the 20th century, the multiple massacres of workers, the destruction of democracies with the sole objective of eliminating popular protests and protecting the interests of large companies such as UFCo., ITT, Standard Oil Co., PepsiCo, or Anaconda Mining Co., all crimes officially recognized by Washington and the CIA, would be more than enough arguments to demand compensation.

However, as the logic of banks and investors indicates, reparation is always required from the victims. The same could be said of Europe that, for centuries, enriched itself with hundreds of tons of gold and thousands of tons of silver from Latin America, or massacred tens of millions of Africans while stealing astronomical fortunes that prove “the way success” according to Vargas Llosa.

Washington is not in a position to moralize, neither inside nor outside its borders. But his arrogance stems from his historical ignorance or, more likely, from his faith in popular forgetfulness. Of course, since we are here to contribute, we remind him of his long history of killings and sermons. We remind you that there are a few pending accounts.

Of course, I can understand that the solutions, although possible and fair, are “too utopian”. That is why I would like to suggest, as my grandmother used to say on her farm in Uruguay: “gentlemen, You look prettier with your mouth shut”.

JM, May 8, 2022

Hugo Godoy. Ecuador. Diagnóstico Social – La frontera salvaje 200 años de fanatismo anglosajón en América Latina. Mayo 3, 2022

Washington, hablemos de reparaciones

El presidente Joe Biden ha anunciado su intención de excluir a Cuba y Venezuela de la Cumbre de las Américas programada para el 22 de junio. El subsecretario de Estado, Brian Nichols, explicó que no se puede invitar a países no democráticos.

Decidir qué países pueden asistir a una cumbre regional no es considerado autoritario por un país que es el responsable histórico de miles de intervenciones militares sólo en la región, de varias decenas de dictaduras, golpes de Estado, destrucción de democracias y matanzas de todo tipo y color desde el siglo XIX hasta ayer, bajo el ejercicio autoritario de imponer a los demás países sus propias leyes y violar todos los acuerdos con las razas inferiores que dejaron de beneficiarlo.

Washington y las Corporaciones a las que sirve no sólo han sido los promotores de las sangrientas dictaduras capitalistas en la región desde el siglo XIX, sino también los principales promotores del tan mentado comunismo y de la realidad social, política y económica actual de Cuba y Venezuela. Ahora que el gobernador Florida ha firmado una ley para enseñar sobre los males del comunismo en las escuelas, sería estimulante que los maestros no se limitaran al menú de McDonald’s.

Todos esos crímenes y robos a punta de cañón han quedado impunes sin excepción. En 2010, el gobierno de Obama pidió perdón por los experimentos con sífilis en Guatemala, pero nada más que una lágrima. La impunidad, madre de todas las corrupciones, ha sido reforzada por una especie de Síndrome de Hiroshima, por el cual todos los años los japoneses le piden perdón a Washington por las bombas atómicas que le arrojaron sobre ciudades llenas de inocentes.

Gran parte de América latina ha sufrido y sufre el Síndrome de Hiroshima por el cual no sólo no se exigen reparaciones por doscientos años de crímenes de lesa humanidad, sino que la víctima se siente culpable de una corrupción cultural inoculada por esta misma brutalidad. Hace unos días una señora recibía a su hermano en el aeropuerto de Miami envuelta en una bandera estadounidense mientras le gritaba en castellano: “¡Bienvenido a la tierra de la libertad!”. Es la moral del esclavo, por el cual, durante siglos, los oprimidos se esforzaron en ser “buenos negros”, “buenos indios”, “buenos hispanos”, “buenas mujeres”, “buenos pobres”. Es decir, obedientes explotados.

Todo esto se enmarca dentro de los intereses económicos de un imperio (“Dios puso nuestros recursos en otros países”) pero el factor racial fue fundamental en el fanatismo del amo blanco y del esclavo negro, del empresario rico y del trabajador pobre. Actualmente, los movimientos contra el racismo en Estados Unidos han cedido a un divorcio conveniente por el cual el pensamiento y la sensibilidad global, macro política, se anula para dejar lugar a la micropolítica de las reivindicaciones atomizadas. Una de ellas, la heroica y justificada lucha contra el racismo pierde perspectiva cuando se olvida que el imperialismo no sólo es un ejercicio racista, sino que históricamente fue alimentado por esta calamidad moral.

Antes de la aparición de la excusa de “la lucha contra el comunismo” la justificación abierta era “poner orden en las repúblicas de negros”, porque “los negros no saben gobernarse” ni explotar sus propios recursos. Una vez terminada la guerra fría se recurrió al racismo disfrazado de “choque de civilizaciones” (Samuel Huntington) o las intervenciones financieras en regiones con “culturas enfermas”, como América latina, o en tierras con terroristas de otras religiones como en Medio Oriente, donde, sólo en Irak, dejaron más de un millón de muertos, sin nombre y sin una cifra bien definida, como lo establece la tradición.

Esta moral del esclavo fue y es una práctica común. En 2021, por ejemplo, el candidato favorito de los conservadores a la gobernación de California, Larry Elder, afirmó que es razonable que los blancos exijan una reparación por la abolición de la esclavitud, ya que los negros eran de su propiedad. “Guste o no, la esclavitud era legal”, dijo Elder. “La abolición de la esclavitud les arrebató a los amos blancos su propiedad”. Elder es un abogado negro por parte de madre, padre, abuelos y tatarabuelos. Es decir, descendiente de propiedad privada. Por la misma lógica, Haití pagó esta compensación a Francia por más de un siglo.

La propuesta del candidato de California fue una respuesta a los movimientos que reclaman una compensación para los descendientes de esclavos. Un argumento en contra es que no heredamos los sufrimientos de nuestros antepasados y cada uno es responsable de su propio destino. Algo muy de la ética y la visión del mundo protestante: uno se pierde o se salva solo. Al protestante no le importa si su hermano o su hija se van al infierno si él se merece el Paraíso. ¿Quién no es feliz en el Paraíso?

Pero el pasado no solo está vivo en la cultura. Está vivo en nuestras instituciones y en cómo se organizan los privilegios de clase. Bastaría con mencionar el sistema electoral de Estados Unidos, una herencia directa del sistema esclavista, por el cual estados rurales y blancos poseen más representación que estados más diversos y con diez veces su aprobación. Por este sistema, en 2016 Trump se convirtió en presidente con casi tres millones de votos menos que Clinton.

También la segregación post esclavista está viva hoy, con guetos de negros, chinos y latinos hacinados en las grandes urbes como una herencia de la libertad ganada en 1865, pero sin sustento económico. Para no seguir con las políticas de segregación urbana con el trazado de autopistas o la criminalización de ciertas drogas, todo con la declarada intención de mantener a unos grupos étnicos en estado de servidumbre y desmoralización. Por no seguir con las fortunas amasadas en el pasado que se trasmitieron a grupos y familias como en la Edad Media se transmitían los títulos de nobleza.

Creo que los latinoamericanos están, por lo menos, unos siglos atrasados en cuanto a una reparación económica por las democracias destruidas y por las dictaduras impuestas a punta de cañón. Desde el despojo de la mitad del territorio mexicano para reinstalar la esclavitud hasta las dictaduras en los protectorados, las guerras bananeras a principios del siglo XX, las múltiples matanzas de obreros, la destrucción de democracias con el único objetivo de eliminar protestas populares y proteger los intereses de grandes compañías como UFCo., ITT, Standard Oil Co., PepsiCo, o Anaconda Mining Co., todos crímenes reconocidos oficialmente por Washington y la CIA, serían argumentos más que suficientes para exigir una reparación.

Sin embargo, como lo indica la lógica de bancos e inversores, la reparación es siempre exigida a las víctimas. Lo mismo se podría decir de la Europa que, por siglos, se enriqueció con cientos de toneladas de oro y miles de toneladas de plata de América latina, o masacrando decenas de millones de africanos al tiempo que les robaban fortunas astronómicas que prueban “el camino correcto del éxito” según Vargas Llosa.

Washington no está en condiciones de moralizar, ni dentro ni fuera de fronteras. Pero su arrogancia procede de su ignorancia histórica o, más probable, de su fe en la desmemoria popular. Claro que, como estamos aquí para aportar, le recordamos su larga historia de matanzas y sermones. Le recordamos que hay unas cuantas cuentas pendientes.

Claro, puedo entender que las soluciones, aunque posibles y justas, son “demaiado utópicas”. Por eso quisiera sugerirle, como decía mi abuelita en el campo, “señores, calladitos se ven más bonitos”.

JM, 5 de mayo 2022.

Eternal return of the Nazis

Like a century ago, the Nazis continue to gain ground based on their own frustrations. Frustrations, not only for realizing, alarmed, that they are not a superior race but only pathologies of evolution. Frustrations, not to notice but to feel the inevitable decline in well-being that arises from the loss of vampiric power, that power enjoyed by all empires that call themselves civilized, developed, clean, orderly, peaceful, while they export their crimes and miseries to other corners of the planet in the name of civilization, progress, peace, and freedom.

We still don’t know if it will take another total war, like World War II, for all that human scum to go back where they belong, that is, to their private sewers, for another hundred years.

Nazism is not just an ideological issue. It is a deep and chronic moral illness with different names and with the ability to seduce even its own victims before sending them to concentration camps or before dropping two atomic bombs on them for being disobedient.

Fascism is like that. It has always been this way, and it will never, ever change. It doesn’t matter how pretty he looks, with his blue eyes and his phobia of personal hygiene.

JM. May 2022

The far right and the extreme rights

One specialty of a dominant power is its ability to hijack the achievements and merits of others, from material progress to social progress. Thus, capitalism, neoliberalism, and the new radical ideology of business (whereby even the small and long-suffering businessmen and entrepreneurs believe they are members of the same union as Elon Musk, the Walton family and Donald Trump), has convinced the world that we owe all the economic, technological, scientific advances and even the bread we eat to its benefactor order. This insanity, easily refutable but fossilized in popular superstition, is as absurd as the idea that capitalism and democracy go together, when history shows that, in the overwhelming majority of cases, it has meant the opposite. Big businesses and corporations have promoted multiple wars and dictatorships in multiple poor countries, with the exception of the country where the power and the interest of order and good example came from. One of these problems (only one but of vital importance), was noticed and denounced on the television network by the same President and General Dwight Eisenhower in 1961, at the time of saying goodbye to the presidency: the obscene alliance in his country between the military power and the corporations. Long before, president Rutherford Hayes had done the same in 1886: “This is not the government of the people, by the people, and for the people; it is a government of corporations, by corporations and for corporations ”.

Democracy is another example of perfect kidnapping, just as the official religions were, whereby even Jesus ends up being the protector of capitalism, the spokesman for the unbridled ambition of billionaires, and blesses wars, and dictatorships of all kinds. When democracies were unavoidable in multiple countries, they were colonized through the big press, and the new mass media such as radio and cinema.

In the United States, at the end of the 19th century, the white slavers, defeated in the Civil War, rebelled against the new rights of the blacks. They created the oldest terrorist group in existence, the KKK, and the uprisings, lynchings and even direct attempts at coups d’état, banana republic style, became popular. Some were successful. On November 9, 1898, a mob seized the court of Wilmington, the largest city in North Carolina, and declared “Independence of the White Race» based on the “superiority of the white man” and the constitution of the country, which “It had not been written to include ignorant people of African origin.” The blacks, the majority of this city, have managed to participate in the last elections, electing some representatives. The next day, two thousand armed whites stormed the streets, destroyed and burned businesses and the only newspaper in the city run by the inferior race. Unsurprisingly, word got out that some blacks have opened fire on the white hooligans, for which the order was “kill any bloody black who shows up.” To bring order, the governor ordered the soldiers who have returned from Cuba (where they kidnapped other blacks from their own revolution) to take the city. As a result, a few hundred blacks were executed and thousands had to leave their homes. The government and its representatives, elected at the ballot box, were replaced by a dictatorship that will never be called a dictatorship, but the government of responsible and peaceful citizens who restored «law and order» and the will of God. Sound recent?

Even feminists, fighters for the female vote like Rebecca Latimer Felton, will recommend lynching the blacks who won the 1898 elections in North Carolina, since the more educated and the more they participate in politics, the greater threat they pose to the virginity of the defenseless. White women. Lynching was (is) an institution established by the superior race that, not without irony, fears the physical and sexual superiority of the inferior races. Felton, a champion of modernizing education, kept insisting that the more money that goes into educating blacks, the more crimes they commit. For years, she argued that giving him the right to vote would lead to the rape of white women. Although from generations immemorial rapes were generally committed by white men against young black women, the pornographic fantasy of power never rested and Felton recommended a thousand lynchings a week to reduce the sexual appetites of these dark and ignorant men that she considers gorillas. In 1922, for 24 hours, the racist feminist became the first United States senator from Georgia. The second woman was Kelly Loeffler, also from Georgia, who, in January 2021, lost to an african american candidate Raphael Warnock. That same day, thousands of white fanatics stormed Congress in Washington, where the electoral college proved her defeat.

In the 20th century, as a way to avoid the catastrophe of the white race announced by Charles Pearson, the word race was replaced by communism. Semantic castling is so effective that it will outlive generations of misfit critics, unpatriotics, and all manner of radical left-wing extremists. In Latin America, the more radical extreme left was also an inevitable collateral effect of imperial power. Neither Cuba nor Venezuela nor any other pro-independence experience would have been what they were and what they are without the persistent and profound intervention of Washington and the megacorporations from the north. The extreme right however, from the military dictatorships to the sheltered democracies, also justified in the reaction against the reaction, too. Theodore Roosevelt had put it in writing in 1897: “the democracy of this century needs no more justification for its existence than the simple fact that it has been organized so that the white race will have the best lands in the New World.” Rich whites, to be more precise.

Now in the United States, the events present and to come will move the political spectrum a bit to the left, which, due to the generational change, was already going in that direction before the conservative reaction led by Trump. Trump will not win the support of the Pentagon because of a functional difference between the US and Latin American armies. They have always been complementary: that of the United States is in charge of the international level and those of the Third World of domestic matters, not fighting any war with other armies but repressing popular demands within their countries.

In the United States, popular and progressive movements were central to its most profound social changes, from the abolition of slavery, the struggle for labor rights, the women’s vote, to the civil rights struggle of the 1960s and 1970s ( as we recalled above, these movements were also frequently hijacked by the reaction of the wounded power). The extreme right, on the other hand, is the permanent reaction in favor of the masters, of those above, almost always led by the same slaves and foremen from below. Now, in the United States, as in Europe and Latin America, the extreme right is a collateral manifestation of social and political power that, with the frustration of its powerless members, creates a social instability that becomes a threat to them. interests of the power they serve. Suddenly, Wall Street and the dominant corporations cry out for the “restoration of order.” Unpredictability is the second biggest enemy of investors. Unpredictability is the second biggest enemy of investors.

By Jorge Majfud

Translated by Matthew M. Wilinski

The far right and the extreme rights

https://www.alainet.org/en/articulo/210793

The Latin American Migration Crisis Was Born Out of Greed and Myths About Race

published on Thursday, September 12, 2019

In Unwanted People, historian Aviva Chomsky’s essays explore the roots of this violent history.

For more than a century, Latin American governments have promoted a model of national development based on land privatization and privileging the interests of foreign investors rather than the rights of workers; policies that in fact promoted economic growth without development. In many cases, this kind of economic growth instead increased inequality and poverty. Democratic or dictatorial governments implemented these policies by hook or by crook, which often forced the people to choose between renouncing their rights or submitting to the brutality of power concretized in armies who served the creole oligarchy in the name of “national security” against foreign invaders. In such armies, often the most deprived individuals were the most zealous and violent guardians of the privileges of others.

This domestic and national economic policy was concretely connected to the interests of international corporations. The social structure in which creole elites of the postcolonial era served the ruling classes mirrored the relationship between the indigenous nobility who served the Spanish crown. In the 20th century, such power lodged itself in traditional commodities-export ruling classes and transnational foreign companies, which were often supported by direct interventions from superpower governments. Despite repeated attempts to prove otherwise, Latin American history cannot be understood without taking into account the history of U.S. interventions, from the Monroe Doctrine (1823) to the dozens of U.S. military interventions in Latin America. The latter includes the annexation of more than half of the Mexican territory in mid-19th century, a long list of military interventions leading to the dramatic establishment of bloody puppet dictators throughout the 20th century, which left hundreds of thousands murdered, and the destruction of democracies such as Guatemala or Chile in the name of freedom and democracy. Large multinational corporations, such as the United Fruit Company in Central America, Pepsi Cola in Chile and Volkswagen in Brazil, motivated or supported many of these coups d’état. The dominant creole classes in turn supported the overthrow of legitimate governments because they stood to gain more from the export business of cheap natural resources than from the internal development of their nations.

The extreme violence that resulted directly from these social inequities generated internal displacements and international migrations, especially to the United States, the world hegemonic economy. Yet many immigrants arrived in a country that denied them the same individual rights that had been withheld from them in their home countries. As Aviva Chomsky illustrates in her new book, Unwanted People: Histories of Race and Displacement in the Americas, the United States’ history of racially motivated class stratification and anti-labor policy dovetailed with the shape that the country’s immigration took in the 1960s.

Unwanted People presents a selection of historian Aviva Chomsky’s writings, which explores the roots of these problems from the concrete perspective of groups who have experienced the effects of this violent history. Chomsky’s work is always incisive and challenging. Each text dismantles modern myths about Latin American immigration, U.S. history, and the labor movement. Specifically, she highlights popular superstitions about immigration that are exacerbated by international reporting and the “master narratives” that have been consolidated by a strategic forgetting, both from U.S. and Latin American perspectives. Chomsky brings these challenges to the dominant narratives of colonial history to bear on topics ranging from the United States’ global and colonial economy to an analysis of the colonial history of Africa in the movie Black Panther.

In “The Logic of Displacement” and “A Central American Drama,” Chomsky analyzes two apparently different realities that are nevertheless connected by their subterranean logics. The historical displacement of Afro-Colombians, she argues, has been caused not only by racism but also by the logic of economic convenience. Chomsky questions the historical explanation of La Violencia in Colombia (initiated with the murder of Jorge Eliécer Gaitán in 1948) as a simple dichotomy, “liberal versus conservative,” and reviews the interests of the white Catholic elite of Antioquia over Afro-Colombian regions, rich in natural resources. Thus, in Colombia there is a case similar to that of others on the continent: the internal displacement of rural, indigenous or afro-descendant communities for economic reasons (gold, platinum, wood) is executed “voluntarily” through the purchase of property accompanied by violence inflicted by paramilitary groups, which functioned as an extralegal arm and ally of the armies and the governments of Latin American countries.

Leftist guerrilla groups emerged as a counter to the paramilitary groups that represented the typically conservative right interests of the government. These also served largely as an excuse for military and paramilitary violence. Although it could be argued that the guerrilla groups’ amplification of regional violence also played a role in the displacement of people, Chomsky argues that displacement was not one of their objectives, as it was in the case of paramilitaries, who furthered the interest of the big businesses laying claim to the land and its natural resources. Meanwhile, the impunity of those in power contributed dramatically to the scale of this movement’s violence.

Neoliberal economic policies combined with an increasingly militarized southern United States border had an impact on Central American migration and was the direct result of United States foreign policy.

Internationally, displacement was not always due to direct military actions, but it was always the result of economic forces. The United States increased control of immigration, especially immigration of the displaced poor, as a solution to the increased migration that resulted from years of interventionist foreign policy. The Mexican-American border, which had been permeable for centuries, became a violent wall in 1965, forcing job seekers to avoid returning to their homes in the south as they used to do. This reality was aggravated by the policies and international treaties of the new neoliberal wave of the 1990s, such as NAFTA, which financially ruined the Mexican peasants who could not compete with the subsidized agriculture of the United States. Meanwhile, U.S. conservatives attacked leftist guerrilla and community groups, such as the Zapatistas in southern Mexico, who resisted such policies.

Neoliberal economic policies combined with an increasingly militarized southern United States border had an impact on Central American migration and was the direct result of United States foreign policy. In Chomsky’s words:

“U.S. policies directly led to today’s crises in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. Since Washington orchestrated the overthrow of the reformist, democratically elected government of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954, it has consistently cultivated repressive military regimes, savagely repressed peasant and popular movements for social change, and imposed economic policies including so-called free trade ones that favor foreign investors and have proven devastating to the rural and urban poor.”

As Chomsky rightly points out in her book They Take Our Jobs! And 20 Other Myths about Immigration (2007), it is no coincidence that when racial discrimination became politically incorrect in the 1960s, it was replaced in the law and in the political and social discourse by national discrimination. This, coupled with the fact that Mexicans and other Latin American immigrants were no longer returning to their countries because of widespread violence, made the new border policies even more dangerous and sometimes deadly for both migrant workers and those fleeing political and social violence, mostly people from the Northern Triangle of Central America.

This sequence of historical events has countless consequences in the present. However, politicians, major media, and U.S. citizens only see the faces of children, men and women speaking a “foreign language” (though, of course, Spanish is older than English in the United States). Political and news discourse represents immigrants as “invading” cities to take advantage of the services and benefits of American democracy, which strips immigration politics of its historicity. It is a false logic that turns workers into idlers, imagines welfare abusers when in fact immigrants sustain the care economy with their labor and their taxes, and sees the victims of neocolonial trade policies as invading criminals. In a recent interview with Aviva Chomsky about the current myths that dominate the social narrative in the United States today, she explains:

“I’d say there are two [myths]: one, that immigrants are criminals, and two, that immigrants come here to take advantage of the United States. In a way, these are connected—by turning immigrants into ‘bad hombres,’ Trump helps to erase history and the disasters that U.S. policy has helped to create in the countries that immigrants are currently fleeing, especially in Central America.”

Unwanted People, a collection of Aviva Chomsky’s writings, approaches complex discussions about race, labor, and immigration in the United States from the more nuanced perspective of a historian. Often conversations about immigration center on the subject of labor, and yet, as Chomsky illustrates in the essays collected in her new book, labor in the United States has its own troubled history. With a focus on New England, and especially Boston, Chomsky connects the history of labor struggles dating back to the 19th century to modern-day discussions about race and immigration. By uncovering hidden histories that challenge the dominant narratives about the working class, Chomsky reveals the importance of discussing racial justice alongside economic justice. Rather than participating in the shrill and polarizing rhetoric of political and media hype, Chomsky invites us to look to the economic and political history that has led up to this point. As Chomsky points out, “Until we are able to acknowledge and understand the past, we will not be able to act in the present for a better future.”

This article was produced by Globetrotter, a project of the Independent Media Institute. It is an adapted excerpt from the foreword by Dr. Sarah Parker and Jorge Majfud to the new book by Aviva Chomsky, Unwanted People (University of Valencia Press, 2019).

 

Dr. Sarah Parker is an associate professor in the English department at Jacksonville University. She holds a PhD in comparative literature from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She is the author of numerous scholarly articles and book chapters on topics ranging from the history of medicine to French feminist theory.

 

Jorge Majfud

Jorge Majfud is a Uruguayan American writer and an associate professor at Jacksonville University.

 

 

Aviva Chomsky Cover 2

Why the Government’s Hunt for the Migrant Poor Is a Perfect Distraction From the Real Problems of Our Time

Published on Thursday, August 15, 2019 by 

This article was produced by Globetrotter, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

The powerful old men who rule the world have an existential advantage, which is that they won’t live to see the fruits of their hate and greed.

Immigrants not only don’t vote but likewise their economic power and ability to shape the media narrative are irrelevant. (Photo: Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

In June of 2019, President Donald Trump announced the scheduling of raids for hunting down illegal immigrants in the 10 biggest cities in the United States, which commenced on July 14. The fact that big cities were selected rather than big farms, which are unable to gather their harvests without illegal immigrants, most probably stems from a phenomenon that I have pointed out before, which is that in the United States, minorities (blacks, Latinos, Asians) are politically underrepresented, not just because illegal immigrants don’t vote but also because the votes from citizens of those groups are worth several times less than a white vote in a low-populated ultraconservative state, all of which calls into question the supposedly democratic nature of the entire political and electoral system, not to mention the economic and financial system: one citizen, one vote.

For historical reasons associated with the marginalization of land ownership and because of present-day necessities, minorities are concentrated in large cities in the service sector. They reside in the most populous states, each of which has as many senators as any sparsely populated state. Since the 19th century, such largely rural states have been conservative bastions. To come up with the same population as California (40 million) or New York (20 million), which are two progressive bastions known for being more receptive to all kinds of immigrants, it’s necessary to add together the populations of more than 10 conservative states (the gigantic state of Alaska has a population of less than 1 million people). Nonetheless, each of these large states possesses only two senators, while a dozen conservative and thinly populated states possess 24. Texas is the inverse exception but not according to its internal dynamics.

An accurate representation of this structural reality must also include, among other characteristics, the fact that so-called populist governments quite often strive to make a big splash with spectacular and symbolic decisions when they might have done the same thing in a more discreet way. Leftist populist movements tend to play this same card with more powerful antagonists, which is what empires of various stripes are. Right-wing populist movements tend to play the same card by attacking and demonizing the governments of poor countries when the latter get the idea of toying with independence, or by going after the most defenseless sectors in a society such as poor immigrants or workers. Immigrants not only don’t vote but likewise their economic power and ability to shape the media narrative are irrelevant.

In the case of right-wing populism, which is an expression of elite interests misleadingly conflated with the frustrations of the working class who are manipulated into directing their vigilante fury at the undesirables below their socioeconomic level, we can at least say that it’s a kind of cowardice raised to an exponential degree. Without even considering that post-humanist fanatics (fanatics are those working-class people who defend elite interests against their own interests, not those elites who simply defend their own interests) tend to wave the diverse and contradictory flag of the cross at the same time they rend their garments and thump their chests while claiming to be the followers of Jesus, a man who preached about indiscriminate love and surrounded himself with marginalized people. He who was crucified alongside two other criminals by the imperial power of the day and the always necessary local collaborators.

Different studies (Derek Epp and Enrico Borghetto) have shown that the greater the social and economic differences separating elites from the working class, the greater the media coverage given to problems related to immigration and crime. This is just as much the case in prominent countries as in peripheral ones, in rich ones as in poor ones. One other characteristic must be added, one that even shows up in papers written by university students. The debate (or perhaps more accurately “social verbalization”) is laid out with its axiom and corollary from the very beginning when it is presented as “the immigration problem” rather than “the challenge” or “the great immigration opportunity.”

Although President Donald Trump lost the election in 2016, he made it to the White House because of an electoral system invented for protecting Southern slaveholding states in the 18th century (today, liberal states like California need twice as many votes as the Southern states they subsidize through taxes to get an electoral vote) and characterized by racist discourse, as in Europe, barely disguised by the eternal and cowardly excuse of legality, which, as I’ve already analyzed previously, has historically been promoted and respected when doing so was convenient for the groups holding power. The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is another example: designed to favor Irish immigrants in the late 1980s (the least welcome immigrants throughout the 19th century before becoming “white” in the 20th century), suddenly it was considered absurd and inconvenient when politicians realized the law favors mostly non-white immigrants. Of course, there are a few notable and heroic exceptions to this rule, like the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965; these exceptions and examples of social progress have been always thanks to demonized people fighting for social justice. Racism is neither created nor destroyed. It is only transformed.

The date July 14, 2019, which marked the start of a round of raids on illegal immigrants, is an arbitrary one but is consistent with the fascist psychology that loves untimely and symbolic decisions taken against any specific working-class group that has been demonized as “the others,” such as everyday Jews, everyday Muslims, everyday immigrants. Of course, not just any illegal immigrant but rather the poorest, most desperate and with the darkest skin. The other illegal immigrants, if they are white, go unnoticed. Or if they are white women, they can even become the First Lady in spite of the fact that her parents were (by free choice and because it was required for registering as “mountain climbers”) members of the communist party in some European country. Further proof is that immigrants do the work that the nation’s citizens refuse to do.

Tribalism, the fascist, racist misogynistic horde and disgust for the equal rights of others—all of these will pass away. We don’t know when, but I’m convinced that it’s a global reaction to everything that has been accomplished in this sense, whether how little or how much, in the last few centuries. And it’s an entirely expected pretext for a worsening conflict between those who are increasingly fewer and have increasingly more and those who are increasingly numerous and feel but don’t understand that they are being pushed aside and, in the best-case scenarios, are being turned into docile, grazing consumers. It’s a historic process that cannot be perpetuated, that will explode in an uncontrolled catastrophe nobody wants, not even those at the top who are so accustomed to expanding their zones of influence during each controlled crisis, such as the one that will come in 2020.

The powerful old men who rule the world have an existential advantage, which is that they won’t live to see the fruits of their hate and greed. That’s why they don’t care about anything in the long run, even though they say the exact opposite over and over. This is especially true if they think they’ve managed to buy a penthouse in the kingdom of the Lord by virtue of paying alms and praying five minutes per day with their heads bowed. For them and for the working class, «time is money.» This is a myth that can only be busted by considering that no mountain of gold can buy them additional time. Since they can’t amass time, they instead amass gold while destroying the lives of the weakest and most desperate—of the youngest who far and away have more time than gold. It’s a sin for which they won’t be forgiven.

 

JM, August 2019.

This article was produced by Globetrotter, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

Immigration, History, Politics, and the Latino Vote

2019 Lectures

 

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IMMIGRATION AND THE LATINO VOTE 

January 30, 2019 4:30 pm McKee 113 

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WCU Humanities Initiative

WCU welcomes Uruguayan-American scholar and author Jorge Majfud. 

In the first event, Dr. Majfud will join Dr. Benjamin Francis-Fallon (WCU History) in a panel about Immigration and the evolution of the Latino Voting Bloc in the US. 

Join us also the following day, when Dr. Majfud will engage in a dialogue with Dr. Alberto Centeno-Pulido (WCU World Languages) about immigration, racism, and the role of intellectuals in the public sphere as explorers of the human experience.

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For more information, contact Alberto Centeno-Pulido at acentenopulido@wcu.edu

 

 

  

War of the Pigs and tribal politics

Jorge Majfud

Translated by  Fausto Giudice Фаусто Джудиче فاوستو جيوديشي

 

To distract attention from the global assault by 0.1 percent of the world’s population, we have a growing War of the Pig (Diary of the War of the Pig, novel by Bioy Casares, 1969, engL 1972) but extended to the most diverse extremes the Argentine novelist ever imagined: young against old, whites vs.  blacks, Latinos vs.  Anglos, fat vs.  skinny, truckers and miners vs.  university students, beer drinkers vs.  abstainers, vegans vs.  vegetarians and vegetarians vs.  carnivores, feminists of the first wave vs.  Instagram feminists and vs.  men, machistas vs.  feminists, men vs. women, lesbians vs. heteros and heteros vs. gays, Ford drivers vs. Chevrolet drivers, bearded Harley-Davidson bikers vs. beardless professors, third-generation vs. first-generation immigrants, gun lovers and Saturn believers vs. Uranus believers. Good haters vs. bad haters (another untranslatable word defecated in the centre of the world for consumption by the periphery).

At the beginning of this century (still with some optimistic faith in a new form of radical, direct democracy of a «disobedient society» liberated from its great leaders and from the manipulations of the financial aristocracy) we began to publish on the return of «The Mental Frontiers of Tribalism» (2004, tribal, in the European sense of the word, because the «wild tribes» I found in Africa were the most civilized and peaceful people I’ve ever known in my life), about the new «Culture of Hatred» (2006) and about the possible return of Western monsters («The Slow Suicide of the West», 2002) such as fascism, arrogance and intolerance towards «the other». The most recent article «The own opinion and other banalities» (2015), then read as satire, is now a reality: machines can easily opine on everyone based on their consumption habits or on their social, racial position, etc.

But we can still speculate that all that medieval mentality that has been installed in the world can be just a reaction to a major historical movement, deepened in the sixties or, in the worst case, a historical cycle in itself that has come to stay for many years. (I don’t believe that much in the latter. Most likely in a few decades we will be talking about a reaction from those from below. We haven’t crossed the inevitable break line yet and it’s not going to be pleasant for anyone.

The new interactive media have not helped significantly to know the other better (the other individual, the other culture) but, probably, the opposite.

Why? What happened?

Many years ago, with an outside view from within the great power, we were surprised that in the United States one could guess a person’s political affiliation just by looking at her face, seeing her walk, without the need for her to say a word. That apparent absurdity is currently the fashion trend in the world.

We did not foresee that one of the repressed monsters to which we had referred before that moment and which define us as human beings, opposed to altruism, to the search for justice and coexistence, would be strengthened thanks to the same interactive media. I am referring to the blind ego, to the need to feel superior to the rest at any price, to the «Trump syndrome» in everyone as an illusory source of pleasure (not happiness) that only causes more anxiety and frustration.

In other words, it is the politics of the aforementioned tribes (nationalisms) and micro tribes (social bubbles). Many times, bubbles prefabricated by the culture of consumption.

From this atomization of politics and society into tribes, into microbubbles, our global culture has become increasingly toxic, and hatred of the other into one of the common factors that organizes it. Hate and inevitable frustration exacerbated by the struggle for social recognition, by the five-minute fame, by the desire to become viral thanks to some frivolity, by the need for «visibility», the old word and obsession of USAmerican culture before it was adopted as its own and natural by the rest of the world. (A few months ago, a Uruguayan congresswoman, Graciela Bianchi, not a millennial but an older woman, defended herself in front of an Argentine journalist questioning her statements by saying that she had «a lot of visibility» in her country.)

But since not all individuals can be famous, «influencers» (much less when the individual no longer exists, when it is a flat, standard, repeated entity with minimal variations that each one considers fundamental), the need for individual recognition is projected in a larger group, in the tribe, in the irrational nationalist or racial feelings where the fury for a flag of a country or for the flag of a football club hardly differs but in scale. Thus, if even an individual named Donald Trump, a millionaire who has become president of the most powerful country in the world, needs to humiliate and degrade the rest in order to feel superior, it is not difficult to imagine what goes through the grey muscle of millions of other less fortunate abstainers.

The humanist idea of equality-in-diversity, the paradigm that most recently defined the Modern Era (apart from reason and secularism) and which was an absurd novelty until the 18th century, has suddenly lost much of its prestige.

Although it may seem absurd, people get tired of peace, they get tired of justice, they get tired of solidarity. That is why they need, from time to time, a great conflict, a catastrophe, in order to put aside again «the rage and pride» a la Oriana Fallaci, that toxin of the individual, of the race, of the tribe, of the group in front of  an enemy and to return to worry for the values of justice and the collective survival.

For this reason, certain periods of world peace and solidarity are possible, but humanity itself is doomed to self-destruction, sooner or later. Human nature is not content with discharging its most primitive energies in football stadiums, in presidential elections, but needs to humiliate, rape and kill. If others do it in its name and with a beautiful flag, so much the better.

History will continue to be written in the eternal struggle of power against justice, but moral arrogance, selfishness, individual or collective, will always have the sword of Damocles in their hand. The novel The City of the Moon, published late in 2009, was a clear metaphor for the world that came after this new medievalism in which we are slowly sinking as Calataid sank in the desert sands while its members hated each other in sects that considered themselves the moral reserve of the world.

No, nothing we see now was a surprise of history.

The old tale of corruption

The political narrative that justifies any option as a way to end corruption is as old as politics and as old as narrative. In Latin America, it’s a classic genre. It’s only possible to repeat it generation after generation as if it were a novelty thanks to the short memory of the people.

But this narrative, which only serves to consolidate or restore the power of a certain social class, focuses exclusively on minor corruption, such as when a politician, a senator or a president receives ten thousand or half a million dollars to bestow favors upon a large company. Rarely does a poor man offer half a million dollars to a politician to give him a retirement income of five hundred dollars a month.

He who pays a politician a million dollars to increase his company’s profits is corrupt, and the poor devil who votes for a candidate who buys him the tiles for the roof of his house in skid row is corrupt also.

But those who do not distinguish between the corruption of ambition and the corruption of those who desperately seek to survive are themselves even more corrupt. As the Mexican nun Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz said at the end of the seventeenth century, before she was crushed for her insubordination by the powers-that-be of that era:

Who is more to blame,

though either should do wrong?

She who sins for pay

or he who pays to sin?

Rarely do accusations of corruption refer to legal corruption. It does not matter if, thanks to a democracy proud of respecting the rules of the game, ten million voters contribute a hundred million dollars to a politician’s campaign and two millionaires contribute only ten million, a tip, to the same candidate. When that politician wins the election, he will have dinner with one of the two groups, and it is not necessary to be a genius to guess which one.

It does not matter if later on those gentlemen get the congress of their respective countries to pass laws that benefit their businesses (tax cuts, deregulation of wages and investments, etc.) because they will not need to violate any law, the law that they themselves wrote, unlike a damned thief who does not rob ten million honest and innocent citizens but rather just two or three poor workers who will only feel anger, rage and humiliation because of the plundering they witness and not because of the robbery they fail to perceive.

In spite of everything, we can still observe even greater corruption, greater than illegal corruption and greater than legal corruption. It is that corruption which lives in the collective unconsciousness of the people and comes from no other source but the persistent corruption of social power that, like a persistent dripping, eats away at rock over the years, over the centuries.

It is the corruption that lives in the same people who suffer from it, in that tired man with chapped hands or another worn down one with university degrees, in that suffering woman with dark circles under her eyes or in that other lady with a stuck-up nose. It is that same corruption that goes to bed and gets up with each of them, every day, to reproduce in the rest of their family and their friends, like the flu, like Ebola.

It is not simply the corruption of a few individuals who accept easy money for the mysterious shortcuts of the law.

No, it is not just the corruption of those in power, but instead that invisible corruption that lives as a virus feeding off the frustration of those who seek to put an end to corruption with old methods that have themselves proven to be corrupt.

Because corruption is not only when someone gives or receives illicit money, but also when someone hates the poor because they receive alms from the state.

Because corruption is not only when a politician gives a basket of food to a poor man in exchange for his vote, but also when those who do not go hungry accuse those poor people of being corrupt and lazy, as if lazy people did not exist in the privileged classes.

Because corruption is not only when a poor loafer gets a politician or the state to give him alms to devote himself to his miserable vices (cheap wine instead of Jameson Irish whiskey), but also when those in power are convinced and convince others that their privileges were won by them alone and by means of the purest, most finely distilled, most just law, while the poor (those who clean their bathrooms and buy their little mirrors) live off the intolerable sacrifice of the rich, something that only a general or a businessman with an iron fist can put an end to.

Because corruption is when a poor devil supports a candidate who promises to punish other poor devils, who are the only devils that the poor resentful devil knows, because he has crossed paths with them in the street, in bars and at work.

Because corruption is when a mulatto like Domingo Sarmiento or Antonio Hamilton Martins Mourão is ashamed of the blacks in his family and feels infinite hatred for other blacks.

Because corruption is when a self-declared chosen one of God, someone who confuses the fanatical interpretation of his pastor with the multiple texts of a Bible, someone who goes every Sunday to the church to pray to the God of Love, and when he goes outside he throws some coins to the poor. And the next day he marches against the same rights of different people, like gays, lesbians and transgendered people, and does it in the name of morality and of the son of God, Jesus. Yes, the same Jesus who had a thousand opportunities to condemn those same different and immoral people, and never did so, but rather did the exact opposite.

Because corruption is supporting candidates who promise violence as a way to eliminate violence.

Because corruption is believing and fanatically repeating that the military dictatorships that have ravaged Latin America since the nineteenth century and practiced all possible variations on corruption may themselves ever be able to put an end to corruption.

Because corruption is to hate and at the same time accuse everyone else of harboring hatred.

Because corruption is a part of culture and even in the hearts of society’s most honest individuals.

Because the worst corruption is not the kind that makes off with a million dollars but rather the kind that stops our ears to the shrieking cries of history and won’t let us hear them until it is too late.

JM, October 2018.

The old tale of corruption

The political narrative that justifies any option as a way to end corruption is as old as politics and as old as narrative. In Latin America, it’s a classic genre. It’s only possible to repeat it generation after generation as if it were a novelty thanks to the short memory of the people.

But this narrative, which only serves to consolidate or restore the power of a certain social class, focuses exclusively on minor corruption, such as when a politician, a senator or a president receives ten thousand or half a million dollars to bestow favors upon a large company. Rarely does a poor man offer half a million dollars to a politician to give him a retirement income of five hundred dollars a month.

He who pays a politician a million dollars to increase his company’s profits is corrupt, and the poor devil who votes for a candidate who buys him the tiles for the roof of his house in skid row is corrupt also.

But those who do not distinguish between the corruption of ambition and the corruption of those who desperately seek to survive are themselves even more corrupt. As the Mexican nun Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz said at the end of the seventeenth century, before she was crushed for her insubordination by the powers-that-be of that era:

Who is more to blame,

though either should do wrong?

She who sins for pay

or he who pays to sin?

Rarely do accusations of corruption refer to legal corruption. It does not matter if, thanks to a democracy proud of respecting the rules of the game, ten million voters contribute a hundred million dollars to a politician’s campaign and two millionaires contribute only ten million, a tip, to the same candidate. When that politician wins the election, he will have dinner with one of the two groups, and it is not necessary to be a genius to guess which one.

It does not matter if later on those gentlemen get the congress of their respective countries to pass laws that benefit their businesses (tax cuts, deregulation of wages and investments, etc.) because they will not need to violate any law, the law that they themselves wrote, unlike a damned thief who does not rob ten million honest and innocent citizens but rather just two or three poor workers who will only feel anger, rage and humiliation because of the plundering they witness and not because of the robbery they fail to perceive.

In spite of everything, we can still observe even greater corruption, greater than illegal corruption and greater than legal corruption. It is that corruption which lives in the collective unconsciousness of the people and comes from no other source but the persistent corruption of social power that, like a persistent dripping, eats away at rock over the years, over the centuries.

It is the corruption that lives in the same people who suffer from it, in that tired man with chapped hands or another worn down one with university degrees, in that suffering woman with dark circles under her eyes or in that other lady with a stuck-up nose. It is that same corruption that goes to bed and gets up with each of them, every day, to reproduce in the rest of their family and their friends, like the flu, like Ebola.

It is not simply the corruption of a few individuals who accept easy money for the mysterious shortcuts of the law.

No, it is not just the corruption of those in power, but instead that invisible corruption that lives as a virus feeding off the frustration of those who seek to put an end to corruption with old methods that have themselves proven to be corrupt.

Because corruption is not only when someone gives or receives illicit money, but also when someone hates the poor because they receive alms from the state.

Because corruption is not only when a politician gives a basket of food to a poor man in exchange for his vote, but also when those who do not go hungry accuse those poor people of being corrupt and lazy, as if lazy people did not exist in the privileged classes.

Because corruption is not only when a poor loafer gets a politician or the state to give him alms to devote himself to his miserable vices (cheap wine instead of Jameson Irish whiskey), but also when those in power are convinced and convince others that their privileges were won by them alone and by means of the purest, most finely distilled, most just law, while the poor (those who clean their bathrooms and buy their little mirrors) live off the intolerable sacrifice of the rich, something that only a general or a businessman with an iron fist can put an end to.

Because corruption is when a poor devil supports a candidate who promises to punish other poor devils, who are the only devils that the poor resentful devil knows, because he has crossed paths with them in the street, in bars and at work.

Because corruption is when a mulatto like Domingo Sarmiento or Antonio Hamilton Martins Mourão is ashamed of the blacks in his family and feels infinite hatred for other blacks.

Because corruption is when a self-declared chosen one of God, someone who confuses the fanatical interpretation of his pastor with the multiple texts of a Bible, someone who goes every Sunday to the church to pray to the God of Love, and when he goes outside he throws some coins to the poor. And the next day he marches against the same rights of different people, like gays, lesbians and transgendered people, and does it in the name of morality and of the son of God, Jesus. Yes, the same Jesus who had a thousand opportunities to condemn those same different and immoral people, and never did so, but rather did the exact opposite.

Because corruption is supporting candidates who promise violence as a way to eliminate violence.

Because corruption is believing and fanatically repeating that the military dictatorships that have ravaged Latin America since the nineteenth century and practiced all possible variations on corruption may themselves ever be able to put an end to corruption.

Because corruption is to hate and at the same time accuse everyone else of harboring hatred.

Because corruption is a part of culture and even in the hearts of society’s most honest individuals.

Because the worst corruption is not the kind that makes off with a million dollars but rather the kind that stops our ears to the shrieking cries of history and won’t let us hear them until it is too late.

Brazil: The Eternal Country of the Future Trapped in Its Colonial Past

Days before the elections in Brazil, a young Brazilian approached me and said, «God willing, Bolsonaro to win. He is a military man and will end corruption.” I did not want to answer. I esteem this boy as a good person, maybe too young to be anything else. But these two brief sentences summed up several volumes of Latin American history to its present.

Beginning with the obvious: if there were governments and corrupt regimes on the continent, those were the military regimes. First, because every dictatorship is corrupt by definition, and second, because direct robberies were always massive, by denouncing the disappearances, then only to reappear by floating in a river with evidence of torture. It would suffice to mention the most recent investigation into the fortune of General Pinochet, a military leader who accumulated several million dollars in salary as an unelected president, without mention of such details as the thousands killed and many more persecuted during his rule. There were shams of decorated honors for assuming «moral reserve» and for the «bastion of courage» by owning weapons financed by the people’s work, only to later be threatened by their own armies in «bringing order,» by garrison and cemeteries. That same barbaric culture of innumerable generals, soldiers, and scoundrels boasting to be “macho” and valiant fighters, never won or went to any war against other armies, but dedicated themselves to serving the rural oligarchy by terrorizing and threatening their own people. In the coining of a neologism, millions of thugs are now hidden within their new condition of digital cowangry.

This military mentality applied to civil practice and domestic life (deviates from any raison d’être of an army) is a Latin American tradition born prior to the Cold War and long before the new republics were born and consolidated with corruption, deep in hypocritical racism. This is especially true in Brazil, the last country in the continent to abolish slavery. Even Captain Bolsonaro’s vice presidential candidate, General Mourão, a mulatto man like most of his compatriots, is pleased that his grandson contributes to the “branqueamento da raça (whitening of the race).” Have any of us ever crossed paths with this kind of deep racial and social disregard for 90 percent of their own family? The same historical problems permeate in other regions that stand out for their brutality in Central America and the Caribbean.

The second, and less obvious, is the appeal to God. In the same way that the United States replaced Great Britain in its consolidation of Spanish colonial verticality, the Protestant churches did the same with those ultraconservative societies (limitless landowners and silent masses of obedient poor), which had been shaped by the previous hierarchy of the Catholic church. It took some Protestant sects like the Pentecostals and others at least a century more than the dollar and the cannons. The phenomenon probably started in the Sixties and Seventies: those innocent, presumably apolitical, gentlemen, who went door to door talking about God, should have a clear political translation. The paradoxical effect of Christian love (that radical love of Jesus, a rebel who was surrounded by poor and marginal people of all kinds, who did not believe in the chances of the rich reaching heaven, and did not recommend taking the sword but turning the other cheek, who broke several biblical laws such as the obligation to kill adulteresses with stones, who was executed as a political criminal) ended up leading to the hatred of gays and the poor, in the desire to fix everything with shots. Such is the case of medieval candidates like Captain Jair Messias Bolsonaro and many others throughout Latin America, who are supported by a strong and decisive evangelical vote. These people in a trance are watered in sweat and hysterical cries and say they «speak in tongues,» but just speak their disjointed language of political and social hatred in blind fanaticism that God prefers them with a gun in their hands rather than peaceably fighting for justice, respect for the different, and against arbitrary powers.

In the midst of the euphoric golden decade of progressive governments, such as Lula’s, we note two mistakes: naive optimism and the dangers of corruption, and the ramifications of a domino effect because corruption was not a creation of any government, but instead a mark of identity of the Brazilian culture. To name just one more case, this is also the state of affairs in neighboring Argentina.

We must add to all this that the traditional social narrators of a more rancid and powerful Latin America can be found in Maduro’s Venezuela where the equally pathetic opposition is never mentioned. As the example, this is the perfect excuse to continue terrorizing about something that almost all the countries of the continent have lived with since the colony: poverty, economic crises, dispossession, impunity, civil and military violence. So it is Venezuela that is exemplifying Brazilian propaganda and not the Brazil of Lula that took 30 million out of poverty, the one with super entrepreneurs, the one of «Deus é brasileiro (God is Brazilian),» the Brazil that was going away to eat the world and had passed the GDP of U.K.

 It was the perfect alibi: for others to believe that corruption did not have 200 years of brutal exercise but had been created by the last five to 10 years of a pair of leftist governments. On the contrary, these governments were an ideological exception within a deeply conservative, racist, classist, and sexist continent. Everything that now finds resonance from Europe to Latin America, to the United States, abandons the ideals of Enlightenment and plunges neurotically into a new Middle Ages.

We still don’t know whether this medieval reaction of the traditional forces in power is just that; a reaction, or a long historical tendency of several generations that began in the Eighties and stumbled 15 years ago.

For the second round in Brazil, the coalition against Bolsonaro has already launched the slogan: “Juntos pelo Brasil do diálogo e do respeito (Together for Brazil for dialogue and respect).” This motto only goes to show that those who oppose Bolsonaro in Brazil, like those who oppose Trump in the United States, do not understand the new cowangry mentality. The cowangry need to know that there is someone else (not them) who is going to return women to the kitchens, gays to their closets, blacks to work on the plantations, and poor to the industries, that someone is going to throw a bomb in some favela («dead the dog, dead to the rage»). Someone will torture all who think differently (especially poor blacks, teachers, journalists, feminists, critics, educated people without titles, and other dangerous subversives with foreign ideas, all in the name of God) and in that way, someone will punish and exterminate all those miserable people solely responsible for the personal frustrations of the cowangry

 

JM, October 2018

 

Psychopolitics of the scarecrow

Jorge Majfud 

Translated by  Fausto Giudice Фаусто Джудиче فاوستو جيوديشي

 

President Donald Trump has just announced that, to answer the endless list of books that criticize him (especially books written by his former friends and trusted men, who by now are almost all of them), the White House will publish «a real book». Obviously, he won’t write it, although, in our time, it wouldn’t be absurd for a person who never reads books to publish a book.

Nor is it a coincidence that his Twitter account (which is the main medium where the president of the world’s biggest power announces the decisions that will affect the rest of the world and where he expresses his mood according to the time of day) is @realDonaldTrump, while obsessively repeating that the rest of the world is fake. The world is fake, except me, who is real.

The psychological pattern is consistent and reveals a dark inverse feeling, similar to that of the homophobia of some men who get excited looking at images of men (according to laboratory tests), similar to the consumption, by a majority of women, of pornography where violence is exerted against women (according to the latest Big Data analysis), or the strict and puritanical public celibacy of rapist priests.

Nor could it be a coincidence that, in its etymology and in some of its archaic uses, the word trump means fake, false, invention, the noise produced by the elephant (don’t forget that the elephant is the symbol of the Republican party) with its trunk, a kind of fart or thrombotic noise without content, or a childish act. Of course, the latter could be an over-interpretation, since we are talking about an individual and not an entire linguistic tradition where the patterns leave little room for doubt. At least that the boy Donald has had some information about his wonderful surname, as much as his own children’s readings.

Nor should it be a coincidence that his youngest son is called Baron Trump, exactly like the character in the children’s novels that Ingersoll Lockwood wrote in the late 19th century about a German character (his father was a German illegal immigrant) called Baron Trump. The character, in addition to initiating his adventures in Russia, being a rowdy and fond of insulting each individual who came across him along the way, boasts of his own intelligence.

Too many coincidences, such as winning the lottery four times.

Nor is it a coincidence that it was Trump who made the term «fake news» fashionable. By action or omission, the big media have always manipulated reality, at least since the nineteenth century (we have already stopped on the case of Edward Bernays and many others) but power always finds a way to dispel doubts by mocking its own methods when they reach a point of maximum suspicion. In 1996, the narrative voice of my first novel said something with which I agree: «There is no better strategy against a true rumor than to invent a false rumor that pretends to confirm it”. The logic of the designed distraction is the same (although, in this case, I understand that it is not intentional but part of the inevitable Darwinian nature of power): it invents a visible enemy of power, that resembles true power and that is in such a way that even the very critics of power end up defending the means of power. In simpler words: design a good scarecrow, distract; call the fake real and the real fake.

This logic is tragically confirmed today: the mass media have always been real in their news and fake in the created reality. By the form and by the selection of real facts, they have always manipulated and continue to manipulate reality, even though they now seem to be the champions of the people, of the peoples, of truth and justice. But for a fake president, a ridiculous person like a scarecrow, someone who became president of the most powerful country in the world with fewer votes than his adversary, thanks to an electoral system inherited from the times of slavery, with a medieval discourse, makes decent and reasonable people take sides on the contrary, that is, by defending the traditional means of real power, now «under attack,» those very people who until not long ago defended, supported or, at least, never criticized criminal actions like the Iraq war or like so many other secret invasions and plots everywhere. With honorable and courageous exceptions, it goes without saying, because in every flock there are black sheep.

Power doesn’t even need to think to be great. It is part of its nature.

When someone obsessively calls himself «real» and everything else «fake,» it is because he is obsessively trying to hide a painfully contrary feeling: a repressed consciousness of not being «real,» of being «fake,» of being Trump. Otherwise, there is no need for a consistently obsessive habit. But Trump is just a scarecrow of power. Pathetic, a dangerous amplifier of popular fears and traumas, yes, but not much more than that.

To the traditional powers (the owners of the decisive capital, of the finances, of the business of war and the peace of the cemeteries, of the physical and moral exploitation of those from below), all that confusion, all that perfect inversion of roles comes as a ring to the finger. As if there were a Darwinian logic in the staging and narrative of the power that permanently adapts to survive. Even placing a scarecrow in the power of the world’s greatest power so that crows and seagulls alike remain stressed with an artefact that insists it is the only real thing in a fake world.

 

Courtesy of Tlaxcala
Source: https://majfud.org/2018/09/11/la-psicopolitica-del-espantapajaros/
Publication date of original article: 11/09/2018
URL of this page : http://www.tlaxcala-int.org/article.asp?reference=24055

Do we really owe modernity to capitalism?

The narrature of capitalism

 

One of the claims that the apologists of capitalism most repeat and last question is that which has been the system that has created the most wealth and progress in history. We owe you the Internet, the planes, YouTube, the computers from which we write and all the medical advancement and social and individual freedoms we can find today. Capitalism is not the worst or the least criminal of the systems that have existed, but this arrogant interpretation is also a kidnapping that ignorance makes history.

In absolute terms, capitalism is the period (not the system) that has produced more wealth in history. This truth would be enough if we do not consider it as misleading as when in the 1990s a Uruguayan minister boasted that his government had sold more mobile phones than in the rest of the country’s history.

The arrival of man on the moon was not a simple consequence of capitalism. To begin with, neither public nor private universities are, in their foundations, capitalist enterprises (except for a few examples, such as the Trump University fiasco). NASA was also never a private but a state-owned enterprise and was further developed through the hiring of more than a thousand German engineers, including Wernher von Braun, who had experimented and perfected rocket technology in Hitler’s laboratories. Invested fortunes (certainly, with some economic and moral aid from the great American companies). Everything, money and planning, were state. The Soviet Union, especially under the command of a dictator like Stalin, won the space race by putting for the first time in history the first satellite, the first dog and even the first man in orbit twelve years before Apollo 11 and just forty years after the revolution that turned a backward, rural country like Russia into a military and industrial power in a few decades. None of this is understood as capitalist.

Of course, the Soviet system was responsible for many moral sins. Crimes. But it is not the moral deficiencies that distinguished bureaucratic communism from capitalism. Capitalism is only associated with democracies and human rights by a narrative, repetitive and overwhelming (theorized by the Friedman and practiced by the Pinochets), but history shows that it can coexist perfectly with a liberal democracy; With the genocidal Latin American dictatorships that preceded the excuse of the war against communism; With communist governments like China or Vietnam; With racist systems such as South Africa; With destructive empires of democracies and millions of people in Asia, Africa and Latin America, as in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were England, Belgium, the United States, France, etc.

The arrival on the Moon as the creation of the Internet and the computers that are attributed to capitalism were basically (and, in cases, only) government projects, not companies like Apple or Microsoft. None of the scientists who worked on such revolutionary technological programs did it as an entrepreneur or seeking to become rich. In fact, many of them were ideologically anti-capitalist, such as Einstein, etc. Most were salaried teachers, not the now revered entrepreneurs.
To this reality must be added other facts and a basic concept: none of this emerged from scratch in the nineteenth century or the twentieth century. Atomic energy and bombs are direct daughters of Albert Einstein’s speculations and imaginary experiments, followed by other wage geniuses. The arrival of man on the Moon would have been impossible without basic concepts such as Newton’s Third Law. Neither Einstein nor Newton had developed their wonderful superior mathematics (none of them due to capitalism) without a plethora of mathematical discoveries introduced by other cultures centuries earlier. Does anyone imagine infinitesimal calculus without the concept of zero, without Arabic numerals and without algebra (al-jabr ), to name a few?

The algorithms used by computers and internet systems were not created by a capitalist or in any capitalist period but centuries ago. Conceptually it was developed in Baghdad, the capital of the sciences, by a Muslim mathematician of Persian origin in the ninth century called, precisely, Al-Juarismi. According to Oriana Fallaci, that culture gave nothing to the sciences (ironically, capitalism is born in the Muslim world and the Christian world develops it).

Neither the Phoenician alphabet, nor commerce, nor republics, nor democracies arose in the capitalist period but tens of centuries before. Not even the printing press in its different German or Chinese versions, an invention more revolutionary than Google, were thanks to capitalism. Neither gunpowder, nor money, nor checks, nor freedom of expression.

Although Marx and Edison are the consequence of capitalism, no great scientific revolution of the Renaissance and Modern Age (Averroes, Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Pascal, Newton, Einstein, Turing, Hawking) owed that system. Wild capitalism produced a lot of capital and many Donad Trump, but very few geniuses.

Not to mention more practical discoveries, such as the lever, screw or hydrostatic of Archimedes, discovered 2300 years ago. Or the IX century compass, one of the most transcendent discoveries in the history of mankind, by far more transcendent than any smartphone. Or the wheel, which has been used in the East for six thousand years and has not yet gone out of style.
Of course between the invention of the wheel and the invention of the compass passed several centuries. But the so vaunted «vertiginous progress» of the capitalist period is nothing new. Except for periods of catastrophe such as the Black Death during the fourteenth century, mankind has been accelerating the emergence of new technologies and resources available to a growing part of the population, such as the different agricultural revolutions. It is not necessary to be a genius to realize that this acceleration is due to the accumulation of knowledge and intellectual freedom.
In Europe, money and capitalism meant social progress before the static feudal order of the Middle Ages. But soon they became the engine of colonial genocides and then a new form of feudalism, like that of the twenty-first century, with a financial aristocracy (a handful of families accumulate most of the wealth in rich and poor countries), with dukes and political counts and villains and demobilized vassals.

Capitalism capitalized (and capitalists sequestered) centuries of social, scientific, and technological progress. For that reason, and being the dominant global system, it was able to produce more wealth than previous systems.

Capitalism is not the system of some countries. It is the hegemonic system of the world. Its problems can be mitigated, its myths can be dismantled, but it cannot be eliminated until it enters its crisis or decline like feudalism. Until it is replaced by another system. That in case there is a planet or humanity. Because capitalism is also the only system that has put the human species on the brink of global catastrophe.

 

JM, July 2017

Rebelión has published this article with the author’s permission under a Creative Commons license , respecting its freedom to publish it in other sources.

http://www.tlaxcala-int.org/article.asp?reference=21088

 

Capotean Interview

by Toni Montesinos (originally published in Spanish here >>)

 

In 1972, Truman Capote published an original text that became the autobiography that has never been written. He titled it «Self-portrait» (in The Dogs Bark, 1973), and in it he gave himself with cunning and brilliance. Those questions that serve to proclaim his frustrations, desires, and customs, now, extracted, for the most part, form the following «Capotean interview», with which they devote themselves to the other side, that of life, of Jorge Majfud. 

 

If you had to live in one place, never being able to leave it, which one would you choose?

In reality, that place exists: it is childhood. Now, if it were to be a physical, particular place, I think it would be that huge tree on my grandparents’ farm where I could see my loved ones who are no longer there and, somehow, those who were not there yet.

Do you prefer animals over people?

Sometimes. It does not depend on what animals but on what people.

Are you cruel?

So so, like everyone else. Frequently, truth is a form of cruelty and one must decide if it is worth it. Other times, one is cruel only through ignorance or petty passions, such as annoyance or frustration.

Do you have lots of friends?

I have a few friends sure and many friends maybe.

What characteristics do you look for in your friends?

I do not look for anything in particular. Each one is different and friendship, like love, is something that happens without any logic.

Do your friends usually disappoint you?

Yes, like any other kind of human being. But I worry much more about disappointing them.

Are you a sincere person?

I do not think anyone can answer that question sincerely. More than sincere, I try to be honest. 

How do you prefer to spend your free time?

Reading a book that does not kill my time. Talking to someone who does not kill me over time. 

What are you afraid of the most?

The suffering of my loved ones.

What scandalizes you, if there is anything that scandalizes you?

At my age almost nothing scandalizes me. I am disgusted with hypocrisy, the scandal of a kiss and the tolerance of violence, the death of a single child under smart bombs, the oppression of entire peoples, the Lies of Mass Destruction. 

If you had not decided to be a writer, to lead a creative life, what would you have done?

If I were not a writer walking or washing dishes would be a lot less interesting. I don’t know, I have done many different things in my life. Maybe I would have been a physicist. I was always attracted to Theory of Relativity.

Do you practice any type of physical exercise?

If walking on the beach is an exercise …

Can you cook?

No, but I try almost every day.

If Reader’s Digest commissioned you to write one of those articles on «an unforgettable character,» who would you choose?

I would not know who to write about. We are all forgettable.

What is the most hopeful word in any language?

«Sorry».

And the most dangerous?

«Patriotism.»

Have you ever wanted to kill someone?

Never, even as a child, despite having seen so many people die and kill themselves.

What are your political leanings?

I always resisted all temptations, which were not few, to associate with a political party. The parties split, divide in very arbitrary ways. They are a necessary evil, like the monolineal simplification of left and right. Now, among all the simplifications I prefer the less used up and down and take sides for those below. 

If you could be something else, what would you like to be?

Someone who could abolish pain and death.

What are your main addictions?

Read, drink two beers, travel to the past, imagine what will come, people’s timeless smile … I do not know, so many things. In short, life.

And your virtues?

I hope that I have some, although who knows if this has any importance.

Imagine that you are drowning. What images, within the classical scheme, would pass through your head?

The water, I suppose.

An Open Letter to Donald Trump

Not rapists: just abused*

EnglishFrench

An Open Letter to Donald Trump

 

Mr. President Trump:

Throughout the centuries, long before your mother arrived from Scotland, long before your grandparents arrived from Germany and had a lot of success in the hotel and brothel business in New York, the Mexicans had their families here and they had already named all of the Western states, rivers, valleys, mountains, and cities. The Californian architecture and the Texan cowboy, symbols of the “authentic American” are nothing more than the result of the hybridity—like everything else—of the new Anglo-Saxon culture with the long since established Mexican one. Can you imagine one of the founding fathers coming face-to-face with a cowboy?

When your mother arrived to this country in the 1930s, half a million Mexicans were deported. The majority of them were American citizens but they were very unlucky when the frustration nationwide, because of the Great Depression, got them speaking Chicano. They were blamed for the Depression since their faces looked as foreign as they could be.

Your idea that the Mexicans that come here are rapists, criminals, and invaders it’s nothing new and it couldn’t be farther from the truth. In this country’s prisons, you will find that immigrants—both legal and illegal—are underrepresented. Immigrants in American prisons make up only one-fourth of what would be the total percentage of the immigrant population in the United States.  In case you still don’t understand: the statistics say that “wetbacks” are four or five times less likely to commit a crime than your own beautiful children are, Mr. Trump. Where immigration dominates, the crime rate drops and prejudice and racism increase.

These people were seen as foreigners and rapists (you aren’t the first person to know this) since the United States took possession (it’s best to say it this way so we don’t offend anyone) of half the Mexican territory in the middle of the 19th century. And as those people that were already there didn’t stop speaking such an uncivilized language such as Spanish and refused to change their skin color, were persecuted, deported or simply murdered, accused of being bandits, rapists, and foreign invaders. The real Zorro was dark skinned and didn’t fight against any Mexican despotism (as Johnston McCully depicted the story in order to be able to sell it to Hollywood) but instead he fought against the Anglo-Saxon invaders who took his land. Dark skinned and rebellious like Jesus, even though you see this Nazarene man always depicted as blonde haired with blue eyes and rather docile in the holy paintings. The hegemonic powers of that age that crucified him had obvious political reasons for doing so. And they continued crucifying him three centuries later when the Christians stopped being illegal immigrants and were persecuted so much that they hid in the catacombs. Eventually, they became the official persecutors when they took power.

Fortunately, Mr. Donald, the European immigrants, like your parents and wife, didn’t look like foreigners. Of course, if your mother had arrived forty years before, then maybe she would have been confused with an Irishwoman. Those people certainly did look like invaders. Besides being Catholics, they had hair just like yours, red and curly, something that offended the local white people, and by white people I mean those that, at one time, had been discriminated against by their Polish, Russian or Italian accents. But fortunately, immigrants learn quickly. As González Prada wrote more than a century ago, when an individual rises above the level of his social group he usually becomes its worst enemy.

This is what you and many other people demand, of course: that the immigrants should assimilate to this culture, instead of just integrate into it. But, which culture is that exactly?

In a truly open and democratic society, no one ought to forget who is to be accepted or, as I understand it, the virtuous thing to do must involve integration and not assimilation. Assimilation is violence. In many societies, it’s a requirement, especially in all of the societies where fascism survives in one way or another. 

Mr. President, the creativity that you see among the businessmen and women in this country is admirable even though its importance is exaggerated and many negative aspects are forgotten: It wasn’t businessmen who promoted democracy in Latin American but rather, they did just the opposite. Various successful American businesses promoted bloody Coups d’état and supported a long list of bloody dictators.

It was businessmen like Henry Ford, who made interesting contributions to the industry, but it’s often forgotten that, like many other businessmen, Ford was an Anti-Semitist who collaborated with Hitler. While the US denied refuge to persecuted Jews in Germany—as they now deny it to Muslims today for almost the same reasons—Alcoa and Texaco worked together with the fascist regimes of that time period.

It wasn’t businessmen who developed new technology and science but amateur inventors or salaried professors instead; from the foundation of this country to the invention of the Internet, continuing with Einstein and finally, the arrival of the first man on the moon. Not to mention, the basis of the sciences—which were shaped by those horrible and uncivilized Arabs centuries before—from the numbers that we use to Algebra to algorithms and many other sciences and philosophies that are part of Western civilization today, continuing with the Europeans in the 17th century. None of these men were businessmen, of course.

It wasn’t businessmen who achieved, through resistance and popular activism, almost all the progress with the civil rights that are now known today in this country, when at the time they were demonized as dangerous revolutionists and anti-Americans.

Mr. President Trump, I know you have been all your life too busy making money, so you don’t know this simple evidence: a country is not a business, it’s not a company. As an employer, you can hire and fire as many employees as you wish, for the simple reason that there was a State that gave an education to those people before and there will be a State later on that will be responsible for them when they are fired, with social welfare services —or with the police, as a worst case scenario.

An employer doesn’t know how to resolve any of these externalities. He’s only concerned about his own success that he will later confuse it with the success of the whole country and sell it in that same way because that is what a businessman does best: selling. Call it what you want.

You always boast about being immensely rich. I admire you for your bravery. But, if we consider what you have done starting with what you received from your parents and grandparents—money aside—it could be said that almost any businessman, any worker in this country that has started from nothing—and in many cases incurring enormous amounts of debt from his educational costs—is much more successful than you.

The Turk Hamdi Ulukaya was a poor immigrant when he founded the yogurt company Chobani a few years ago, which is now valued at two billion dollars. That type of story is very common in a country as great as this one, without a doubt. But this creative businessman had the decency to recognize that he didn’t do all of this by himself. That it would have been impossible without his employees and having been in as free of a country as this one. And actually, recently, he donated 10 percent of the company’s stocks to his employees.

In Mexico, there are similar examples to yours. But better ones. The most well-known example is Carlos Slim, the son of Lebanese immigrants, who took advantage of the economic crisis at the time—as any man with money would—now has eleven times your fortune.

Mr. President Trump, democracy has its own Achilles tendons. It’s not the critics, as any fascist society normally considers them—it’s the demagogues. The ones that beat their nationalistic breast in order to abuse the power of their own nations.

Twenty-five centuries ago, the first democratic example, Athens, took pride in welcoming foreigners; this wasn’t her weakness—nor political or moral. Athens had slaves just like your country had for a couple of democratic centuries, and in a way it continued this disgrace with undocumented workers. Athens had its demagogues too: for example, Anytus, a successful businessman who convinced the rest of society, very democratically, so that they would put the thinking mind of their age to death. Socrates’ downfall was questioning everything too much, for believing too little in the gods of Athens and for ruining its youth with doubts.

Of course, almost no one remembers Anytus today and the same thing will happen to you. At least you can double your bet and turn into one of the figures just like we’ve seen in European history of the 20th century with your exacerbated nationalism and your hatred for those people who looked like foreigners without even being so. You will always find followers—because that is also part of the political game—and right now, we don’t have a better system.

 

Jorge Majfud

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/57dc39fee4b0d5920b5b2aac?timestamp=1474051083758

 

 

 

 

10 George Orwell Quotes that Predicted Life in 2014

 Jorge Majfud’s books at Amazon>>

George Orwell ranks among the most profound social critics of the modern era. Some of his quotations, more than a half a century old, show the depth of understanding an enlightened mind can have about the future.

“In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics.’ All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.”

Though many in the modern age have the will to bury their head in the sand when it comes to political matters, nobody can only concern themselves with the proverbial pebble in their shoe. If one is successful in avoiding politics, at some point the effects of the political decisions they abstained from participating in will reach their front door. More often than not, by that time the person has already lost whatever whisper of a voice the government has allowed them.

“All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting.”

Examining the nightly news in the run up to almost any military intervention will find scores of talking heads crying for blood to flow in the streets of some city the name of which they just learned to pronounce. Once the bullets start flying, those that clamored for war will still be safely on set bringing you up-to-the-minute coverage of the carnage while their stock in Raytheon climbs.

“War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.”

It’s pretty self-explanatory and while it may be hard to swallow, it’s certainly true. All it takes is a quick look at who benefited from the recent wars waged by the United States to see Orwell’s quip take life.

“The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history.”

My most prized books are a collection of history books from around the world. I have an Iraqi book that recounts the glory of Saddam Hussein’s victory over the United States in 1991. I have books from three different nations claiming that one of their citizens was the first to fly. As some of the most powerful nations in the world agree to let certain facts be “forgotten,” the trend will only get worse. History is written by the victor, and the victor will never be asked if he told the truth.

“In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

Even without commentary, the reader is probably picturing Edward Snowden or Chelsea Manning. The revolutions of the future will not be fought with bullets and explosives, but with little bits of data traveling around the world destroying the false narratives with which governments shackle their citizens.

“Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.”

Make no mistake about it; if an article does not anger someone, it is nothing more than a public relations piece. Most of what passes for news today is little more than an official sounding advertisement for a product, service, or belief.

“In real life it is always the anvil that breaks the hammer…”

In every conflict, it is not the side that can inflict the most damage, but the side that can sustain the most damage that ultimately prevails. History is full of situations in which a military “won the battles but lost the war.”

“The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.”

Haditha. Panjwai. Maywand District. Mahmudiyah. These names probably don’t ring a bell, but it is almost a certainty that the reader is aware of the brutality that occurred in Benghazi. The main difference is that in the first four incidents, those committing the acts of brutality were wearing an American flag on their shoulder.

“Threats to freedom of speech, writing and action, though often trivial in isolation, are cumulative in their effect and, unless checked, lead to a general disrespect for the rights of the citizen.”

Everyday there is a new form of censorship or a new method of forcing people into self-censorship, and the people shrug it off because it only relates to a small minority. By the time the people realize their ability to express disapproval has been completely restricted, it may be too late. That brings us to Orwell’s most haunting quote.

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.”

Once the people are indoctrinated with nationalistic beliefs, and the infrastructure to protect them from some constantly-changing and ever-expanding definition of an enemy is in place, there is no ability for the people to regain liberty. By the time all of the pieces are in place, not only is opportunity to regain freedom lost, but the will to achieve freedom has also evaporated. The reader will truly love Big Brother.

Republished from  TheAntiMedia.org under a Creative Commons license. Written by Justin King.

El pasado siempre vuelve

 

Jorge Majfud’s books at Amazon>>

What good is culture?

What Good Is Culture, Anyway?

Spanish: «¿Para qué sirve la cultura?»

It is understandable that in times of crisis, all sectors of a society suffer budget cuts and reduced profits. It is not totally comprehensible, but it is easy to understand that the first casualty of these cuts is culture. We accept that if we do not read a book, or if we deprive ourselves of a classic film, we will not be as bad off as if we stopped eating or dressing. While in the short term this is true, in the long term it is a very dangerous trap. 
In what sense? Take for example the practice of “sunset” rules.  These were known to the legislators of ancient Rome and preferred by the great political strategists, the parasites of democratic systems: establish a law or a rule, such as tax cuts for investors with specific expiration date, which makes it appear temporary. Usually that date falls in an election year, which means that no one will propose a tax increase and the law will likely be extended again. However now it has the advantage of being consolidated within the political discourse and the social narrative.

The problem of what is superfluous and what is not becomes multiplied when we pass from individual to public life; from a time measured in days or weeks to a social time measured in years; or to an historical time measured in decades. 
The men and women who access governments all around the world always use the dreams and hopes of their voters, then justify their unpopular government decisions not as dreamers but indeed the opposite: they repeat, they have real responsibilities (but with whom?); they are pragmatic people and those who disagree are dreamers; delusional, irresponsible street protesters that have nothing productive to do.

Therefore, the weapons of these pragmatic people is to point at the weakest flank of any government: first culture, then education. Actually, there are countless more useless items than culture and education, such as large sections of the administration itself. Nevertheless, we obviously need a strong administration when we do not have enough education or we have a precarious and primitive culture. This is true both in the so-called developed world and in the never-named underworld as well. 
It is natural that in times of economic crisis, culture is the first victim of these snipers, since it usually is even in good times: for example, to strip or strangle public programs such as state television channels, radio, symphony orchestras, stimulus to the various arts, to thought, to the humanities in general, and science in particular.

Why? It is argued and easily accepted that it is not fair, for example, that a private TV program on the sexual weaknesses of some entertainment producer or the entire industry of popular entertainment  must cope on its own, while other programs that have a small audience, like a series about the First World War or about Hemingway novels, unfairly receive government support. That is money from the rest of the population that does not look or is interested these cultural programs . It’s not fair, they argue, that a government could favor Don Quixote to Harry Potter, Leonard Cohen to Lady Gaga, or Tennessee Williams to Big Brother, and so on and so forth.

That is what is eloquently called free competition, which is nothing more than the tyranny of the market forces on the rest of human life. In fact, the central argument, explicit or sweetened, is that culture must also submit to the same rules to which we all are subjected, we all who that are dedicated to “more productive” activities (as if the productivity activities in consumer societies were not, in fact, a tiny minority.) If we do a study to identify those items actually “productive” or essential to human life, we probably will not reach ten percent of all the economic activity revolving around us.

Now, I understand that leaving culture in the hands of the market forces would be like leaving agriculture in the hands of the laws of meteorology and microbiology. Nobody can say that excessive rains, drought, locust invasions, worms, pests, and parasites are less natural phenomena than the always elusive and suspicious “invisible hand” of the market. If we were to abandon agriculture to its own fate, we would perish of hunger. Just like this, we need to understand that if we abandon culture to the hands of the market forces, we would perish from barbarism.

Jorge Majfud

Jacksonville University

Eduardo Galeano

Eduardo Galeano

“The Hoariest of Latin American Conspiracy Theorists”

 

Although I would say that the article “The Land of Too Many Summits” by Christopher Sabatini (Foreign Affairs, April 12, 2012) is right on some points, it nonetheless fails to give little more than unproved opinions on other matters — or as Karl Popper would say, certain statements lack the “refutability” condition of any scientific statement — and is inaccurate in terms of its overall meaning.

For years I have argued that Latin American victimhood and the habit of blaming “the Empire” for everything that is wrong is a way to avoid taking responsibility for one’s own destiny. Mr. Sabatini is probably right in the central point of his article: “If the number of summits were a measure of the quality of diplomacy, Latin America would be a utopia of harmony, cooperation, and understanding.” However, Latin American leaders continue to practice antiquated traditions founded upon an opposing ideology: a certain cult of personality, the love for perpetual leadership positions, the abuse of grandiloquent words and promises, and the sluggishness of concrete and pragmatic actions and reforms, all of which are highly ironic features of governments that consider themselves “progressive.» Regardless, not all that long ago, when conservative dictatorships or marionette governments in some banana republic or another manifested such regressive characteristics, it didn’t seem to bother the leaders of the world’s wealthiest populations all that much.  

On some other basic points, Sabatini demonstrates factual inaccuracies. For example, when he states that Eduardo Galeano “wrote the classic screed against the developed world’s exploitation and the region’s victimhood, Open Veins of Latin America, read by every undergraduate student of Latin America in the 1970s and 1980s,” he forgets — I cannot assume any kind of intellectual dishonesty since I don’t know much about him, but neither can I accuse him of ignorance, since he has followed “Latin American politics for a living” — that at that time Latin America was not the magic-realist land of colorful communist dictators (with the exception of Cuba) as many Anglo readers frequently assume, but rather the land of brutal, conservative, right-wing military dictatorships with a very long history.

Therefore — anyone can logically infer the true facts — that famous book was broadly forbidden in that continent at that time. Of course, in and of itself, the widespread prohibition against it made the publication even more popular year after year. But such popularity did not primarily stem from the book’s portrayal of the self-victimization of an entire continent — which I am not going to totally deny — but was more in response to Galeano’s frank representation of another reality, not the false imaginings of certain horrible conspiracy theorists, but rather the reality created throughout Latin American history by other hallucinating people, some of whom became intoxicated by their access to power, although they themselves did not actually wield it in the formal sense.

Therefore, if Eduardo Galeano — a writer, not a powerful CEO, a commander in chief of some army, another drunken president, nor the leader of some obscure sect or lobby — is “the hoariest of Latin American conspiracy theorists,” then who or what is and was the de facto hoariest of Latin American conspirators? Forget the fact that Galeano is completely bald and try to answer that question.

Regrettably, it has become commonplace for the mass media and other supporters of the status-quo to ridicule one of the most courageous and skillful writers in postmodern history, and to even label him an idiot. However, if Eduardo Galeano was wrong in his arguments — no one can say he was wrong in his means, because his means have always been words, not weapons or money — at least he was wrong on behalf of the right side, since he chose to side with the weak, the voiceless and the nobodies, those who never profit from power, and consequently, we may argue, always suffer at its hands.

He did not pick white or black pieces from the chessboard, but instead chose to side with the pawns, which historically fought in wars organized by the aristocracy from the rearguard (kings, queens, knights, and bishops). Upon the conclusion of battle, that same aristocracy always received the honors and conquered lands, while the pawns were forever the first to die.

Thus has it been in modern wars. With the ridiculous but traditional exception of some prince playing at war, real soldiers are mostly from middle and lower classes. Although a few people have real money and everyone has real blood, as a general rule, only poor people contribute to wars with their blood, whereas only rich people contribute to wars with their money — not so hard to do when one always has abundant material means, and even less difficult when such a monetary contribution is always an interest-bearing investment, whether in terms of actual financial gain or perceived moral rectitude, both of which may well be considered as two sides of the same coin.

Is it mere coincidence that the economically powerful, the politicians in office, the big media owners and a variety of seemingly official self-appointed spokespersons for the status quo are the ones who continuously repeat the same tired litany about the glory of heroism and patriotism? It can hardly be a matter of chance, considering that such individuals have a clear need to maintain high morale among those who are actually going to spill their own blood upon the sacrificial altar of war, and have an equally evident motive for demoralizing to the greatest extent possible those skeptics or critics such as Eduardo Galeano who cross the line, and who never buy those jewels of the Crown.

 

Jorge Majfud

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