[Marxism] Arizona: Their country -- and ours

Joaquín Bustelo jbustelo at bellsouth.net
Wed Jul 28 13:52:35 MDT 2010

	This is about their country -- and ours.

	Except that this time, "they" are us.

	Today at midnight, it becomes a crime for people --certain people-- to 
BE, to exist at all, in Arizona.

	And what does it have to do with us, the denizens of the Marxmail 
virtual community?

	Not much, it appears.

	I did full-text search for "Arizona" on my Thunderbird "Marxmail" 
folder. Got two hits from Monday, four in total in the last week.

	I know, we've talked about it a lot, this horse we've beaten to death.

	But if there had been a Marxmail in 1935, I hope the Nuremberg Laws as 
they went into effect would have evoked more concern. But actually, I 
don't think there was. It took years and an apocalyptic war for a 
pesticide to be repurposed and, when it was too late for millions, for 
people to understand.

	And that worries me. Because in my other "9-to-5" life, it's been all 
Arizona, all the time, and for weeks.

	And I don't just mean SB-1070, but everything connected to it.

	They found 8 bodiless heads in Durango yesterday.

	Colombia says that Venezuela's urging the incoming government to 
reconsider Uribe's bullshit accusations against the Bolivarian 
revolution is an "intolerable interference" in Colombia's internal affairs.

	In El Salvador, President Mauricio Funes is in hot water for vetoing a 
bill requiring Bible reading in all schools.

	The Argentine Football Federation's board *unanimously* fired Diego 
Maradona as coach of the Argentine team. And the fact that he's palls 
with Hugo Chavez and Fidel has nothing to do with it.

	And neither does --apparently-- the fact that he's the greatest 
football player that ever lived, or as close to as makes no difference.

	Brazil's foreign minister Celso Amorim is in the Middle East, where he 
said the Colombia-Venezuela conflict properly belongs in UNASUR and 
extra-regional players can, of course, be concerned, but should keep the 
hell out.

	And, yeah, that isolating Iran is not a way to solve nuclear 
differences. And that those who think the world is unipolar should think 
again. Because even with overwhelming military force, one of the old 
cold-war superpowers is demonstrating every day the limits of such 

	What the hell does Iran have to do with Arizona?! Well, at least this 
much: I tell my son about it, and he answers:


	It's "Here's to the State of Mississippi," changed to Arizona, the song 
that got Phil Ochs banned from American TV after he played it on "Les 
Crane" when I was even younger than my son is now.

	It seared itself into my memory because it was my first exposure to 
radical politics, or at least one of my first exposures to a political 
statement that expressed and even made me conscious of what I was *feeling.*

	I was talking about Iran and Brazil, and his connection to Arizona was 
instinctive. It *felt* right, just like the original version of the song 
had felt right to me almost a half century ago.

Here's to the state of Arizona,
Mexico's land stolen through conquest, war, and lies
If you walk her scorching deserts, nameless bodies you will find.
The border walls and ICE agents have hid a thousand crimes,
And the calendar is lying when it reads the present time.
Here's to the land you've torn out the heart of,
Arizona find yourself another country to be part of.

*  *  *

	And how do things stand with us?

	We are outraged at everything from Barcelona's ban on bullfighting to 
Israel. We're pouring over the wikileaks on Afghanistan, GE's bribery in 
Iraq, and of course, we are fully engaged in parsing abstract labor --or 
is it more Marxist to write "labour" with a u?-- after all, Das Kapital 
was written in the British Museum.

	It reminds me of another Phil Ochs song, virtually unknown when he was 
alive, and at any rate even less well known today.


But the hardest thing I’ll ask you, if you will only try
Is take your children by their hands and look into their eyes
And there you’ll see the answer you should have seen before
If you’ll win the wars at home, there’ll be no fighting anymore

	That was Phil Ochs.

	And from me, only a question: How go our battles now in the wars at 
home? Because sometimes, it seems, my 9-to-5 world and our Marxmail 
world have, at most, a very remote and scratchy connection. And, yes, I 
feel lonely back there.


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