[Marxism] The accidental revolutionary

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Mar 26 20:10:10 MST 2006


Che Rides Again (On a Mountain Bike)
By Nick Miroff

Has Latin America ever had such a unifying figure?

At political rallies, his visage is held aloft as a beacon to regional 
independence and self-determination. He's helped forge new trade 
partnerships to spur economic growth and alleviate poverty. And his 
leadership has fanned a gale-force electoral trend that's sweeping the 
hemisphere to topple one pro-Washington government after the next.

Who is this grand inductor of Latin American leftism? Venezuelan fireball 
Hugo Chavez? Blue-collar Brazilian Lula Ignacio da Silva? Bolivia's 
coca-farmer-cum-president, Evo Morales?

¡Epa! It's George W. Bush, the accidental revolutionary.

In the past five years, the swaggering Texan has inspired a leftward surge 
that is uniting Latin America and threatening to knock Che Guevara right 
off all those natty t-shirts.

When Che's ill-fated insurgency ended in the jungles of Bolivia with his 
death in 1967, his vision of a single, unified, socialist continent 
remained utterly unfulfilled. U.S.-backed right-wing military dictators 
would rule much of Latin America over the ensuing two decades, and many of 
Che's followers would be tortured and killed in efforts to overthrow them.

As democracy returned to the region at the end of the Cold War, most Latin 
American governments rushed to embrace the "Washington consensus" -- 
market-oriented liberalization policies that cut social spending and 
privatized national industries in order to pay down national debts. But the 
formula, pushed on the region by successive American presidents, largely 
failed to deliver the goods and left entire governments bankrupt and 
beholden to foreign lenders. For Latin America's angry, marginalized, 
impoverished masses, already-threadbare social safety nets only unraveled 
further.

"The macroeconomic proposals of the Washington consensus have not been 
working," says Guillermo Delgado, professor of Latin American Studies at UC 
Santa Cruz. "That model was supposed to create prosperity and, after so 
many years, such prosperity has not been seen and class polarization has 
grown deeper."

Sensing an opportunity, new social and political movements in the region 
began marshalling their forces. Then George W. Bush came along, combining 
Yankee hubris with a Che-worthy radicalizing touch.

full: http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?emx=x&pid=71996





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