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Thread: Conversation in Miami - The Neoliberal Left and Socialism (Counterpunch)

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    Active TRN Member dixietraveller's Avatar
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    Post Conversation in Miami - The Neoliberal Left and Socialism (Counterpunch)

    June 11, 2008 - By CLIFTON ROSS - I left the U.S. for Venezuela two days after the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) held a national vote for candidates in which nearly three million militants participated. In a country of roughly 26 million, three million militants in any party is a significant showing, especially if one considers that the party has 6 million members and many of the most militant revolutionaries of the country prefer to remain outside of the party structure. Many find it puzzling that the Socialist Spanish government maintains what might be described as icy relations with Socialists of Venezuela. According to a recent poll in Spain, as reported on May 30 by UPI, “The survey of 2,500 Spaniards in 2007 found the leftist Chavez ranks first among major world leaders the Spanish do not care for, ahead of the U.S. president and Cuba's former leader Fidel Castro.”

    I had a chance to reflect on this curious situation en route to Venezuela when, on a twelve hour lay over, I left the moderately warm, air-conditioned Miami airport for the steamy outdoors and waited for a ride to my hotel room. When the shuttle arrived, I boarded with two other men, who turned out to be Spaniards, deeply engaged in a conversation about Latin America. The younger man, perhaps twenty years younger than I, was coming from Brazil and the elder man, perhaps fifteen years my senior, although he looked twenty years older, was coming from Nicaragua. During a brief lull in the conversation I asked the elder man, in Spanish, how things were going in Nicaragua. He glanced down his nose at me to size me up and, in that moment, I don’t think he noticed the image of Sandino on my t-shirt. “Very well,” he replied, in his native tongue,” especially since no one suffers hunger any more.”

    “Oh really?” I asked, incredulously, “I didn’t think Nicaragua had ever been free of hunger.”

    No really, the man insisted, things were great in Nicaragua. I nodded. “It’s not like in Venezuela with that pinche Chavez, who’s ruined his country.”

    While not overly eager to attack Daniel Ortega, even while I’m never hesitant to hide my disgust for the former revolutionary-turned-pro-life-neoliberal, I couldn’t let this pass.

    “I suppose that’s a matter of opinion,” I said. Both men glared at me. I think the younger man now noticed my t-shirt. The elder man’s face turned slightly red.

    “No. It’s not a matter of opinion. I’ve had two friends whose businesses were ruined by that Chávez. His policies are ruining the country.”

    “I suppose there are winners and losers in every process, and most of my friends who are at the bottom seem better off,” I said.

    The old man continued for a few minutes as the shuttle made its way to the airport and then, as I ceased to respond, the old man turned his attention back to the young man and began talking about what good things Lula had done for Brazil.

    “It’s all about education, preparation of the people. With an apolitical education. That’s the problem. Like in Venezuela, where the education is all politicized,” the old man said. The young man readily agreed.

    I thought of pointing out that all education is politicized; that what these two dinosaurs of the Spanish Empire seemed to find objectionable would be the education that enables students to see that their neoliberal agendas only work for the empire, be it Spanish or U.S.; I considered pointing out that the neoliberal “left” of Spain might be better off moving into the twenty-first century and reexamining its admiration for Daniel Ortega, who former Sandinista Minister of Culture Ernesto Cardenal called a “dictator,” the repentant revolutionary, now neoliberal president heading a party (Sandinista) which recently criminalized abortion and cut a deal with the corrupt Arnoldo Alemán of the Liberal Party so as to return to power in Nicaragua. But instead I just let it go, dropped out of the conversation and slid inconspicuously back into my seat.

    For the complete article, go to
    http://www.counterpunch.org/ross06112008.html
    O quantum est in rebus inane! / A palabras necias, oídos sordos

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    Para aquí para acá Jonh's Avatar
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    It's hard to know where to start . . .

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    Active TRN Member dixietraveller's Avatar
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    Talking Diversity of opinion . . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by John View Post
    It's hard to know where to start . . .
    Well, you wanted diversity of opinion, you got it! (Besides this article kind of makes up for not having the Sage around!)
    O quantum est in rebus inane! / A palabras necias, oídos sordos

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    Para aquí para acá Jonh's Avatar
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    The Sage lives on!

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