[Marxism] Interesting comment on Galeano on FB by Suren Moodliar

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat May 24 07:52:45 MDT 2014

If anything, Galeano's alleged disavowal is a call for subtlety and 
careful analysis; the NYT's coverage of his remarks are anything but 
subtle and careful. It rests on these comments in the second para: 
'‘Open Veins’ tried to be a book of political economy, but I didn’t yet 
have the necessary training or preparation,” Mr. Galeano said last month 
while answering questions at a book fair in Brazil, where he was being 
honored on the 43rd anniversary of the book’s publication. He added: “I 
wouldn’t be capable of reading this book again; I’d keel over. For me, 
this prose of the traditional left is extremely leaden, and my physique 
can’t tolerate it.”' Fair enough! Later Galeano goes on to assert 
correctly I think, '“Reality is much more complex precisely because the 
human condition is diverse. Some political sectors close to me thought 
such diversity was a heresy. Even today, there are some survivors of 
this type who think that all diversity is a threat.

Fortunately, it is not.”' Anyone familiar with "political sectors close 
to [him]" will recognize that there used to a strong current that 
defined the working class and peasantry very narrowly and also dismissed 
the agency of women, indigenous people, Afro-latinos, gays and lesbians, 
many strata of the so-called middle class. And, of course, Galaeno is 
right, this diversity is anything but a threat to the left. For this 
reason, the Times has to concede, "But Mr. Galeano described himself as 
still very much a man of the left, and on other occasions he has praised 
the experiments in social democracy underway for the last decade in his 
own country, as well as in Brazil and Chile." [not-quite-an-aside: It 
should also be noted that his remarks on Venezuela, far from attacking 
Hugo Chavez's govt. are parodying of the opposition, calling Venezuela a 
"strange dictatorship [with] strange democrats" noting the government's 
electoral legitimacy and opposition's disproportionate access to mass 
media - 

Galeano's choice of the word "survivors" is interesting when referring 
that part of he errant left close to him. After all, that left came 
under blistering physical attack in the 70s and well into the 80s. Their 
dogmatism may be unacceptable, but it is also understandable. That total 
assault on left happened at time Galeano wrote his book and continued 
into the intervening decades. None of that history is to be found in the 
NYT's account. Ironic absence in an article about a man for whom 
historical memory and amnesia are everything. For an entirely more 
interesting recent encounter with Galeano, read this interview by Gary 
Younge - 
It includes this Galeano-ism: "History never really says goodbye," he 
says. "History says, see you later." Heed that New York Times! h/t Dan 
DiMaggio and Louis N. Proyect for sharing the NYT piece.

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