dinsdag, juli 27, 2004

Lula, Kirchner imperialist running dogs

[A tad Maoist, je sais, but I just love that phrase]

Stan Goff, writing in a recent issue of Haiti Progres, is rightfully incensed by the craven decision of the so-called progressive leadership of Argentina, Brazil and Chile to join the US-French-Canadian occupation of Haiti:

"Has Argentina’s Kirchner forgotten the US’s supportive role during the Dirty War? Has Chile’s Lagos forgotten 1973 and the CIA attack on Chilean popular sovereignty? And has Brazil’s da Silva developed amnesia with regard to Goulart’s ouster at the hands of the same CIA in 1964?

"How is it, then, that these nations, of all nations, can send their militaries to prop up the transparent coup d’etat against yet another democratically elected government? How have they become obliged, in the face of their own histories of struggle against US plotters and assassins, to support this racist subjugation of a fellow Latin American nation?"

US support for anti-government militias with direct links to death squads under the previous 'Papa Doc' Duvalier regime was to be expected. One would be surprised at anything else. As would one be if Paris and Ottawa did not view collaboration in the subsequent US-orchestrated coup d'etat as an easy rapprochement with Washington, following their recent falling out over Iraq. Further, the American lapdog that is the United Nations also had no choice but to support the endeavour to oust a popular social democrat from office as it had failed so spectacularly to perform its assigned task in endorsing the Iraq invasion. Time to get with the programme, dude. Even the participation of Chile (apart from Colombia, America's main point man in the southern cone) in the obscenely mis-named UN 'peace-keeping force' in Haiti is predictable, however disappointing. But the decision of Lula and Kirchner to send troops is a grotesque betrayal, the sole revenge for which will, sadly, be when the US, turns its guns on Brazil and Argentina, as it certainly will sooner rather than later. Indeed, though the leaders may wish that their collusion in the crushing of Haitian democracy may aid in the preservation of theirs—feeding the monster a virgin in the hope that he will be satisfied and leave them alone—the opposite is true. As true as it is in every other field of field of struggle, the Wobbly commandment is apt: An injury to one is an injury to all. Far from saving themselves, they open the door to US military intervention further south in what the US continues to this day to be their own dominion by right of Manifest Destiny.

"Lending the US a hand in one imperial enterprise will not protect them from the predations of the US. In fact, it only strengthens the hand of the US foreign policy establishment to commit the same crimes against them when it’s expedient," says Goff.

Their capitulation is all the more cowardly given that most Caribbean nations continue to refuse to even recognise Haiti's coup-plotters as the new government—and they are in a far weaker position economically to do so vis-à-vis the US.

However foreseeable Lula's move from red to blue of Brazil's may have been, his dispatch in doing so is nonetheless breathtaking.

As Tariq Ali recently told Venezuelan solidarity news website Venezuelanalysis.com:

"Before Lula was elected, a possibility emerged, an image emerged of the following: Argentina had collapsed, in Venezuela there was Chávez, that if you had a Bolivarian federation, of Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela and Cuba, together you could produce a completely different way of looking at the world and a different form of society, which would not be repressive, which would not be vicious, which would transform the everyday lives of the poor. That has not happened…"

The advent of loosely social democratic/progressive regimes in six (if you dubiously included Cuba) Latin American countries seemed that it might have created enough of a critical mass to at least make the masters of the universe blink, to create a region in the world that successfully rejected the Washington Consensus. Of course, as Nicaragua and a half-dozen other examples prove, there can be not even no socialism in one country but not even social democracy in one country in Latin America. However, for a very brief moment there seemed as though, through a Bolivarian Front of these nations, that there could be something-approaching-social-democracy in one region in the world.

That moment has clearly passed.

This is very far from saying that there is no hope in
Latin America. On the contrary, it was only the very easily convinced who truly expected anything other than capitulation by the Andean progressives. No, the hope lies in the tinderbox that is the Latin American working class and peasantry. In the last few years we have seen successful rebellions that have toppled four administrations in Argentina, chased off water, electric and (we'll see about this last one—it's still in play) gas privatisation in Peru and Bolivia and aggressive self-emancipating land occupation by the MST in Brazil, not to mention the contradictory and top-down 'Bolivarian Revolution' in Venezuela and the Zapatistas of Chiapas. There are enormous problems with the strategies of these movements (especially that of the 'walk-around-the-state' Zapatistas)—in large part due to the lack of on-the-ground leadership with a knowledge of the defeats and successes of the workers' movement (the knowledge base needed in order to know that this or that strategy will work or not work)—but it is an explosive movement of people nonetheless of which only victory or fascism can produce a subsidence. [Why this lack of leadership? Easy answer: those who would have been leaders were almost all murdered by the military dictatorships of the last thirty years. The collective memory of struggle (in terms of what tactics work, etc., not in terms of a memory that there was a struggle) was quite literally killed off]

And this movement is in vital need of solidarity work from us in the north. With so much of the left's (justifiable) focus on the Middle East, events like the Haitian coup d'etat are often missed. What is happening in Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Columbia and Venezuela (and they are all very different cases—Colombia to a crimson extreme) is forgotten too, even if there is considerable awareness of Chiapas. Solidarity work will help the movements strengthen themselves, especially in the face of such Quisling leaders as Lula and Kirchner.


One final related point: Tariq, in his comments to Venezuelanalysis, presents this extremely useful corrective to that trend within the Global Justice Movement that rejects the hazard for power:

"I don’t think [the US will attempt to contain the social explosion in Latin America by proposing a softer version of neoliberalism]. They will only do that if they feel threatened. And they don’t feel threatened at the moment. And one reason—I have to be very blunt here—they don’t feel threatened is because there is an idealistic slogan within the social movements, which goes like this: ‘We can change the world without taking power.’ This slogan doesn’t threaten anyone; it’s a moral slogan. The Zapatistas—who I admire—you know, when they marched from Chiapas to Mexico City, what did they think was going to happen? Nothing happened. It was a moral symbol, it was not even a moral victory because nothing happened…But I think, from that point of view, the Venezuelan example is the most interesting one. It says: ‘in order to change the world you have to take power, and you have to begin to implement change—in small doses if necessary—but you have to do it. Without it nothing will change.’"

Put that in your water-bong and smoke it, crusty deodorant-is-a-capitalist-conspiracy anarcho-abstentionists!


For more detail on the US-orchestrated coup against democratically elected President Bertrand Aristide, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now radio out of New York perhaps did the best investigative coverage of the events of any left outlet. She and her team are more than generally good in many other ways and any progressive could do far worse than starting his day by downloading her latest programme.