Latin American Marxist writers

Chris Brady chris_brady at
Tue May 16 11:42:35 MDT 2000

Sam, re.:
>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. …

 I have some catching up to do.  When I went to South America about two
years ago, NACLA Reports had just published an article by Tomas
Moulian about soccer fan clubs Los de Abajo (La U) and Gancha Blanca
(Colo-Colo) that I thought was very informative and insightful.
They also had a profile of the leftist head of the Teachers Union.
I know some people on the Board of NACLA are reds.  There must be
some struggles there and the critical left is outgunned.
Maybe it is like the case of The Nation whose stances are clearly more
and more drifting toward the Vital Center (not that they would call it
but in its pages we can read Robert McChesney on occasion, at least.
Marxist should always try to break on through by whatever means

As far as availability of alternative points of view is concerned, I
must remark
on the contrast between the United States and the Cone countries (I
lived in
Chile and visited Argentina).  The Home of the Free is free of
dissonance but in the streets of the Latin nations recently under the
heels of
dictators we can easily come across contrary publications.   Going
the checkout line at our local US supermarket we are confronted by a
wall of
sensationalist tabloids, almost nude smiling young women, Princess Diana
Oprah, diet manuals,
etc.  Meanwhile, no bookstore in my town carries The Nation even!  It is
in the
But Monthly Review is not in that library, and the college library
carrying it last year
although the library itself just completed a massive and extravagant

Back in Santiago, though, every street corner newspaper kiosk–along with
the mainstream dreck, yes—displays Punto Final and that hilarious
rag The Clinic (so named in honor of Pinochet’s London hospital where
old fart was arrested.).  Many also have El Siglo, the Communist Party’s
weekly.  It is not hard to get a copy of Encuentro.  Alejandra Matus had
her El Libro Negro de La Justicia Chilena banned by the courts but it
was effortlessly procured on the street for me as a present –in Viña del
--in front of a Falabella’s (upscale) department store!

Some friends and I rudely laughed uproariously while eating sandwiches
poring over a copy of Pagina 12 in Buenos Aires.  The USA has nothing
it.  And there is the crux.  Anything, no matter how wishy-washy, that
the absolute righteousness of the US status quo is beyond the pale and
toleration of the conduits of mass information.  The magazine racks are
deluged with muscle magazines, car glossies, fashion intimidation, pet
and diet miracles, and TIME, LIFE and Newsweek… but no Progressive.
No Nation.  Not even Mother Jones.  Peoples Weekly World?  Ha ha.
Even our food co-op has succumbed to yuppies swamping in for their
health and purging the rancorous Z Magazine and Covert Action Quarterly
and replacing them on the racks with the likes of Midwifery Today, and
Gnosis: A
Journal of Western Inner Traditions.

FYI, the student council president at La U de Chile is again a CPer.
And so is Etiel Moriaga the head of CUT (labor federation), although
the CUT election is in August and there is a big push to get rid of him.
Labor in Chile is pretty militant, considering… so...

El Mercurio is an excellent example that “Un fantasma recorre America
Latina: el fantasma del comunismo.”  There is always some anti-communist
content, and on the weekends whole pages with photos of Lenin and
other big shots.  You see more pictures of Marx and Lenin in El Mercurio
than in Punto Final and El Siglo put together! One example paired Lenin
with Hitler in an idiotic psychological examination of the two men –who
were significantly born on days very close in April, almost on the same
only a matter of a couple of score of hours!!!!  In different years, but
different.  After a while I started saving these ridiculous propaganda
in a special clippings file.

>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.

My first encounter with the “Red Set” prejudice was at a party where a
handsome young man sneered that the reds flew away until the danger
had passed… I replied that, yes, some did manage to get away.
(The young man had gone to a private school in the city.)
Carlos Altimirano inflamed and goaded the military with provocational
bellicosities made-to-order to incite the macho military men, then
dodged the shit when it hit the fan, spent time in Europe, and now
has recanted and lives back in the homeland.  But he is exceptional.
It is really unfair and amnesia ridden to condemn the red left in its
entirety when they for the most part did stand for their convictions and
ripped and rent limb from limb, tortured and humiliated, and slowly
by the thousands.

>I think the left is strongest outside of Santiago in the mining,
>forestry, fishing and agricultural communities.

It is strong in the ports, too. And in the poblacions in Santiago
where the working class lives.  But there are great divisions in the
capital because of the Church and the inundation of right-wing
money and propaganda expertise fortified by the likes of the
Manhattan Institute, etc.  There is certainly no left in Las Condes.
It is to laugh.

>How about the yuppies in Las Condes with their fake cellular phones?

YAH! How about that!  I’ve never come across anything so pathetic!
For those who haven’t heard the absurd reality: a while back
and stylish bourgeoisie posed in shopping malls with artificial cell
phones, or
devices that are not hooked up, so their acquaintances would believe
they were in
and with it.  So desperately pitiful, still, they are the pitiless ones.

The cell phones now are almost a give away, with the initial start up a
of a line phone, though the rates end up being way more by the end of
the year.

>…El Mercurio and other big reactionary papers were publishing
> excerpts form it. Have you or anyone else read it?

Not I, but El Mercurio sure gushed over that Black Book of Communism.
They print a weekly column by the conservative Vargas Llosa.
They loved it when he demanded Fidel Castro be held accountable to the
same charges as Augusto Pinochet because they are both dictators who
have tromped on human rights…  El Merc swallowed hard at the swipe
at Don Augusto, but it was worth a jab at Fidel. (Mercury was the Roman
god of commerce as well as getting the message across, by the way).

I agree that we must confront the conditions that are real and really in
our faces, and that means I concur whole-heartedly and level-headedly
with our Argentine comrades re. the locality of the struggle and the
to organize in that context.  But also, I think we should feel welcomed
our comrade Marxists wherever we are on this threatened home planet
of ours. Ultimately, we have the world to win.
And we can only get it together.

I am reminded by a comment made by Lenin, I think.
Maybe someone here can corroborate or correct for me.
It went something like:
Wherever I hear The Internationale being played or sung
I feel at home.

En solid.,
Chris Brady


More information about the Marxism mailing list