[Marxism] Re: The Latin American-US Realignment

Julio Huato juliohuato at hotmail.com
Mon May 10 07:51:49 MDT 2004


Tony Abdo wrote:

>Julio's comment below is basically false, because it implies that all 
>thinking about the US, in widely different regions of Mexico, is much 
>alike.

Do you have *concrete evidence* that the views of people from the North are 
in favor of surrendering Mexico's policies to the Washington?  Not 
anecdotes, concrete evidence.  Show it.  If not, at least try a persuasive 
argument.

>People in Reynosa have quite different opinions and attitudes about the US 
>than people in southern Mexico, or people living in Mexico City. And the 
>ties of Mexico in the Northern regions to the US are much stronger than in 
>the Southren regions.  And the people in the north are more conservative as 
>a general rule.

Of course people in different regions are different, have different 
attitudes.  Attitudes are complex things.  You state that people from the 
"north" are "more conservative as a general rule."  I challenge that.  They 
are obviously conservative in some ways and progressive in other ways; but 
as far as their political attitudes towards the U.S., they don't seem 
inclined to surrender the control of their country's foreign policy to the 
U.S. interest.  Or prove me wrong.

>And maquilladoras are one major aspect that is different about the Mexican 
>North from the South.   That,and the flow of people constantly to and fro 
>across The Border does change perceptions about the US from the perceptions 
>Mexicans have further south.

The issue is, how do maquiladoras change these perceptions?  More 
importantly, how do maquiladoras change the overall reality in which people 
live?  It's not just black or just white. Read the Communist Manifesto.  
Nobody think of maquiladoras as gifts from the white men.  They are 
businesses.  People work for them and receive wages (low, but better than 
the alternative, otherwise people would not take those jobs).  The owners 
get their profits.  Quid pro quo.  Do maquiladoras force Mexicans to accept 
submission to U.S. policies?  How do you know?  Any evidence?

>Julio further comments...
><<People everywhere in Mexico admire the industriousness, ingenuity, 
>organizational talent, and unpretentiousness of the U.S. people, and those 
>are qualities to be admired.  At the same time, on average and by far, 
>people in Mexico -- and more so in the "North," IMO -- have a strong, 
>instinctive distrust of the intentions of the U.S., particularly when it 
>claims a God-given or self-given right to impose its will by force.  This 
>underlies the popularity of Mexico's independent foreign policy stance, and 
>it won't go away.>>
>
>Industriousness, ingenuity, organizational talent, and unpretentiousness of 
>the US people?  Come now? This is preposterous!

Okay, okay... I was talking in broad terms.  I know a lot of "Americans" who 
fit my description.  A lot!  But I know there are many who don't fit it.  So 
I'll leave it up to you to decide in what specific category you fall.  I 
won't presume anything.

>The fact that Julio makes such a nonsensical and self deprecating statement 
>(for what is implied is that the Mexicans are essentially lacking in all 
>the above attributes) proves to a great extent what Nestor fears about the 
>US's gravitational pull towards it of its nearest Southern neighbor, 
>Mexico.

You are very wrong!  Admiring the attributes of another nation does not 
entail submission or self-deprecation.  In this case, thinking otherwise is 
-- in fact -- assuming that Mexicans are not of full age, that they cannot 
see shades and understand complexity.  Why is admitting that someone else 
has admirable qualities equivalent to self-deprecation?  For what I 
understand, people who see things in stark terms of black or white, people 
who find it hard to see anything positive in others, are the insecure ones 
-- to the point of paranoia
 If you admire someone, you admit it.  Big 
fucking deal!

>The fear is that the Mexican intellectuals,elites, and middle classes have 
>become fatally attracted to the Consumerlandia to the north.  While that 
>doesn't translate into immediate 100% identification with all US foreign 
>policy 100% of the time, it certainly at least Puerto Riconizes- Costa 
>Ricanizes things a lot.

The socialization of human beings transforms them.  It better does.  Getting 
to really know people transforms a person.  There's something like a 
character of the U.S. people and, undeniably, white bread Americans of 
European descent have shaped it largely.  Not only them, of course.  No 
race, nation, nationality, or ethnic group is beyond shit.  We are all mixes 
of shit and glory in different proportions.  No exceptions to this rule.  
The basic framework of Marxism is that people are largely motivated to make 
decent or indecent choices depending on the conditions and circumstances in 
which they may find themselves, conditions and circumstances largely beyond 
their immediate control.  Since the Greek sophists, this distinction between 
nature and social convention is the foundation of every social critique.  
Turning this basic truth upside down is equivalent to giving up, because 
then nothing is left to redeem the human condition.

To the extent Mexicans interact with "Americans" (and that means a lot of 
diverse people, but I'm including here very prominently white bread 
Americans) and vice versa, people will have to adjust their mutual 
perception of one another.  People are different, and "one nation can and 
should learn from other" (Marx).  Not everything is progressive in the 
Mexican character, or in the "northern" or "southern" characters.  People 
are not caricatures.  Nothing about the character of a group is fixed 
either.  And I do not believe that everything in the character of the U.S. 
people is regressive (and people on this list may even be concrete proof of 
my statement).  Yes, I do include here white bread "Americans."  And I say 
this as the photos of the Abu Ghraib prison are everywhere.

>How can one expect much of the Mexican government, if the country is 
>admiring such false attributes that it's elites are seeing in the American 
>population, Julio?

Get a grip.

>When one looks at the photos of American Gis torturing Iraqi prisoners, 
>surely one can see "unpretentiousness " in their faces.  One can see 
>"ingenuity" too in their methods!  Donald Rumsfield has "industriousness " 
>and "organizational talent".

Every human being with a shred of decency has to share the rage of the 
victim and the shame of the victimizer.  We -- who live, work, and fund the 
government in this country -- have a larger obligation.  No doubt.  If 
there's nothing decent left in the character of the U.S. people, how do we 
think of ourselves as socialists or communists or revolutionaries?  What is 
a revolution if not the attempt to take the best in concrete human beings 
and generalize it?  Or are we just a bunch of depressed misfits unable to 
see light at the other end?

>This ga-ga attitude of total admiration for the US has come about, because 
>Mexico elites see in themselves only the old PRI dictatorship, and the US 
>has become seen as a savior from that, for them. The US represents 
>respectability for the Mexican elites. Not to mention money at junior 
>partners' pay. [etc.]

Ga-ga attitude my butt.  You have an arbitrary idea of the way Mexicans or 
"norteños" are supposed to behave to deserve your valuable praise.  Since 
they do not fit your pre-conception, you lash out.  These are Jurriaan's 
recent words:

>What anti-imperialist activists in the West should be concerned with, is 
>the policy of their own governments, and the collusion of those governments 
>with other governments, in a way which is contrary to the interests of the 
>working class and its allies at home and abroad. Telling people in other 
>countries unilaterally "how to conduct their politics" is itself an 
>adaptation, a concession to imperialism and imperialist ideology. A real 
>mandate for such "advice" would exist only, if the local people themselves 
>have specifically requested it.

Yours is an "adaptation" to imperialist assumptions about Mexico in the 
guise of radicalism.

>Fox represents only part of that sector of the Mexican population that 
>wants junior partnership with the US, and would die for it. [clip]
>
>If one thinks that I exagerate about the fatal attraction of the US as 
>being seen as sort of as a savior for the common folk of Mexico, then ask 
>oneself, why have there been such little protest on either side to the 
>militariazation of the Border Regions?  The poor see the US as employment 
>distributors and guaranteers and the elites see the US as the road to 
>respectability and profit sharing.  Neither group wants too much to bite 
>the hand that offers such deals.  That's why Mexico has been pulled into 
>the US camp.

Check and see the recent Pew survey on attitudes of Mexicans about the U.S. 
invasion and occupation of Iraq.  They are online.  And tell me how you make 
that compatible with your assertion that Mexicans view the U.S. "as a sort 
of as a savior."

And what are you doing on your side to stop the militarization of the 
border?  What control do undocumented workers -- who are poor and migrating 
at great pains and peril -- have over the migratory policy of our 
government?  Who's more responsible for this militarization?  Them or us 
here?

This sounds to me like perverse wishful thinking, like crybaby leftist 
grandstanding.  Let me speculate about the subtext -- "I, a White American 
(or a Latin American from a privileged background and racial makeup) who 
knows that U.S. capitalist life is actually shit, that consumerism is 
actually shit, feel very disappointed and resentful because you poor dark 
Mexicans haven't realize it yet.  You crave for this American shit.  Look at 
me, I don't care about it, I'm a native of this country, not a wetback, yet 
I've chosen to reject the shit, go against the white elites that rule it.  
And you don't follow me.  No.  You're seduced by the shit.  You fall for the 
shit of the white elites.  Fatal attraction!  Shame on you."

Well, shame on you!  You take the genuine, legitimate aspiration of Mexicans 
to seek a modicum of well-being and turn it upside down and perceive it as 
shameful Bambi-bedazzlement about U.S. power and wealth.  Yours is 
Puritanism under a leftist cloak.  Let me tell you something -- Mexicans 
will keep making the best choices they can under the circumstances.  If you 
want to help them, help them as they may ask to be helped.  If you don't 
want to help, get out of the way.  For what I can tell, their choices don't 
include folding to the imperial policy of the United States.  Not anytime 
soon.  The government of Mexico will come around, one way or another.

Stop ranting and act.

Julio

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