Latin American Marxist writers

Sam Pawlett rsp at
Mon May 15 15:50:10 MDT 2000

Chris Brady wrote:
  For instance,
> NACLA and The Progressive may be leftist in the context of US politics
> in toto but they are not Marxist (although there are some Marxists who
> are in NACLA, The Progressive is by definition not).

I'd say these days Progressive is to the left of NACLA. P does publish
Marxist stuff; Zinn, Adolph Reed, Manning Marable. NACLA is sad, it is
like the Nation. It used to support LA socialist movements, now it is a
mouthpiece for Clintonesque NGO's and LA "think-tanks" whose politics
are oriented towards orgs like the Chilean Socialist Party(sic) and the
popular front in Uruguay and Argentina. It rarely  publishes Marxist
analysis and when it does the politics are watered down. I don't buy
these mags anymore now that there are listservs like this one where the
info and analysis is much better. A better magazine is Latin American
Perspectives, Punto Final from Chile and Proceso in Mexico.

> Sam:
> What’s “unfair” about what I wrote?  The further south you go = the more
> the ratio of class weights up, so that by the time you hit the
> expensively far-away Cone los extranjeros are proportionately less
> likely to be of the working class.

OK. I misunderstood you remarks. Chile, Brazil and especially Argentina
and much more expensive than the other S.America countries due to their
overvalued currencies. Most w-class gringos in those countries have come
overland (as I did) from the countries in the north. I could only afford
10 days in Arg.

> When I was in the Cone (Chile and Argentina) recently I likewise
> encountered gringophobia.

It's also prominent on the far right too e.g. Pinochetistas.

 I had just purchased a
> book of poems written for Chilean Communist Party leader Gladys Marin.

She has a good book on the EZLN. I was in Chile when she was arrested
for "defaming" the Generals. She was released just in time for Castro's
first visit to Chile since 1972. Thousands of people turned up at the
Santiago airport when he arrived and were disappointed whe he did not
address the left but went to speak at a high level trade meeting. His
visit coincided with the
Communists winning the student council at two of the largest
universities (including Catolica--the old training center for the
Chicago boys, student politics very important in CHile, Student council
people usually go on to high places in the gov't), a militant health
worker strike led by the PCC and a dramatic escape by a dozen jailed
FPMR (armed left wing group) men.  El Mercurio went into a state of
paroxysm not seen since the Chilean anbassador (Socialist)to Germany
gave asylum to Erich Honneker. Mercurio couldn't figure out why the
children of
the high elite at U Catolica would be voting for the Communist Party, it
certainly isn't chic in Chile. Mercurio thought this  an ominous
sign for the future of the country.

There was a big debate in the  CP over the returning exiles from Cuba
and fSU. They had not endured the dictatorship so why should they come
back--to a much different Chile-- and start telling everyone what to do?
Many people I spoke with in the working class barrios like La Victoria
in Santiago were
sympathetic to the left but felt that votes to the left and mass
demonstrations would only bring back dictatorship and all that that
means, while the leadres would flee to other countries.
I think the left is strongest outside of Santiago in the mining,
forestry, fishing and agricultural communities.
> On the other hand I was awed by the incursions of American culture
> (cultural imperialism?).

Sure. There is tendency there where American=Good, Chilean=Bad. The
products of cultural imperialism are still  products for the elite in
these countries. An I area I think where the nationalists can do some
good work.

 Rap music is the rage with Chilean youth, who
> have copied even the body language of Black Brooklynites, as well as
> clothing styles.  Most movies in the cineplexes are Made in Hollywood.
> The payphones have signs above them that read: PEYFON.

How about the plain clothesmen with jackets that say "Detective" on the
back? Ha. Straight out of a hollywood film. How about the yuppies in Las
Condes with their fake cellular phones? Sad,sad,sad.

> What I did find there (among other things) was, in the context of my
> original post on Latin American Marxist writers, a collection of small
> booklets put out by LOM Ediciones called Libros del Ciudadano.

There are a few Left publishers  there, I forget their names. Siglo
XX in Mexico D.F. puts out some indigenous Marxism as well as
translations of stuff from the North. When I was  there, there was a
lot of talk about a book written jointly by Vargas Llosa's(sp) son and
supposed ex-Tupamoro and ex-FARC gunmen called Manifesto of Idiots or
something like that. I read some of it : a crude anti-communist rant
agains the LA left. El Mercurio and other
big reactionary papers were publishing excerpts form it. Have you or
anyone else read it?

Nestor Miguel Gorojovsky wrote:
> But do you know what happens after they leave? This is also a display
> of power, an absolutely unintended display of power, an expression of
> the objective distance that exists between those excellent Swiss and
> the peasants. And, on the other hand, there would be a lot to say
> against that kind of Leftish tourism that goes and lives with the
> peasants, not with human people as such but with "the peasants".

Ok. But I think a good way to promote internationalism and
anti-imperialism is for people to visit each other's countries. The
display of power you talk about is also, I think, a reflection of the
class structure in the native country for the elite in said country are
also white skinned and descendents of mostly English colonialists. The
only place I've been
place where the distance between foreigners and the campesinos is non
existant is in Nicaragua. An amazing experience.

Sam Pawlett

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