[Marxism] On the 1812 war [and Nuestro Himno]

Joaquín Bustelo jbustelo at bellsouth.net
Sun Apr 30 10:50:57 MDT 2006

Sartesian: "This is inane.  Having a Spanish language version of the SSB is
meaningless.  It's like having bilingual torturers at Guantanamo."

I could go on about how this sounds just like a certain president I heard on
Friday... But why bother. Bush says you dirty spics, hands off my
imperialist anthem. Sartesian ... agrees!

But I'll let that pass because this is a follow-up really to my
Kirchner-Alarcon-Lula post. Once again we see here the same idealist method
at work. What is the *essence* of that bit of doggerel set to the tune of a
British drinking song post-festum and latterly adopted as the U.S. national
anthem, quite appropriately, I might add, as it is a supreme expression of
the very peaks of U.S. bourgeois aesthetics and culture?

Why, it's bourgeois. As someone suggested in a post I was reading, sing it
and you get the bourgeois cooties.

And what is this glorious mass movement of millions of immigrant Latino
workers, the most powerful from-below expression of ANY social sector in the
U.S. in decades, and to boot, a movement that is clearly of, by and for one
of the most oppressed and exploited sections of the proletariat? It is an
empty vessel, which the overpowering bourgeois essences of things like the
flag, the anthem, preachers and bourgeois politicians then fill. 

Have our sectarian idealist friends even HEARD "Nuestro Himno"? As an acute
social critic who I spend much time with, my 11 year old son, explained as
we were driving home last night after I picked him up from a marathon
Xbox-and-PS2 game playing session at a friend's house, because I had loaded
the song into my Treo 650 and was now playing it over and over on the car's
stereo, "even without understanding the words, you can tell from the music
it is totally different. I like this one, I don't like the other one." 

I'm quite the proud father: not just a social critic, but an instinctive
dialectician. It IS and IS NOT the Star Spangled Banner, JUST AS he U.S.
flag is one thing in the hands of an undocumented worker marching with
thousands of others to demand her rights, and quite another in the lapel pin
of Lou Dobbs as he rants about a Mexican invasion.

And it is precisely from those events, millions of undocumented workers
using the flag to demand their rights that this NEW anthem comes from, and
it takes that differentiation further. The Lou Dobbs flag and the ones waved
by the immigrants were in all respects identical. But this is about the star
spangled banner these artists saw at those demonstrations, and to express
that they took the old anthem, ripped it, mixed it and burned it,
deconstructing and reconstructing it into something quite different.

The old anthem was chock full of words, so much so if you tried to pronounce
them all you couldn't do it, some words with two syllables become one: over
become o'er.

The new one is so sparse, so that one vowel becomes three or four syllables.
Gone are the rockets and bombs burstin' in air. It is a strange yet somehow
alluring mixture of the most classical Castilian Spanish and what's almost
Spanglish. "Decid!" Second person imperative, there isn't a single person
who grew up in Latin America who was raised learning to speak that way, it's
as if I started telling Sartesian, "Thou hast fallen into sectarian and
idealist error." 

But that command is preceded and followed by phrases in which all sorts of
articles get dropped, quite typical of the Spanish spoken by those born or
raised in the United States where normal syntax has been influenced by
English, which makes much less use of articles. And so you get things like,
"tierra de libres," where libres is used in the way "illegals" is and the
question becomes ambiguous: Does the flag still wave over the "land of the
free"? Or, is it still a land of the frees that this flag is waving over?

And, no, don't expect the producers to go no CNN to explain it. This is a
secret closely guarded by a few million people in a giant conspiracy of
silence. As one of the leaders of the immigrant rights movement here said as
we were listening to it, yes, I noticed it too, but it isn't convenient to
highlight it for the gringos. Our people understand, that part is just for

Sartesian, that, of course is of little import because thou has fallen into
sectarian and idealist error. But it is tremendously important from the
point of view of the millions of people involved in a powerful social
movement. This is an expression of THEIR movement. This is NOT your old Star
Spangled Banner. This is "Nuestro Himno" our anthem, not theirs.


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