Saturday, September 14, 2013

A cautionary tale

I have my reasons for being rather suspicious of various efforts to create left/right coalitions against the current political status quo. Of course I could point to the experience of those involved in the National Bolshevik Party that emerged in the aftermath of the collapse of the USSR in the early 1990s. Although the rightists were purged, as near as I can tell, early last decade, the party's reputation continues to suffer. But even closer to home, it's pretty obvious that right-wing elements have been infiltrating and corrupting various leftist and left-leaning organizations for the past several decades. For one detailed history and analysis regarding right-wing infiltration in the US, read Right Woos Left by Chip Berlet. It's a bit dated, but does give, from a liberal/progressive angle, a detailed accounting that should, I hope, give pause to any avowed leftist or progressive who advocates for the Pauls (Ron or Rand) as our last great hope against the US war machine, or who quotes at length from Alex Jones' various websites, etc.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Chile: The Other 9/11

Go forward knowing that sooner rather than later, the great avenues will open again where free men will walk to build a better society.

-- Salvador Allende, from his final speech.
Today marks 40 years since the democratically elected government of Chile and its President Allende were overthrown in a US-backed coup that resulted in Allende's death. Countless thousands of people were executed, "disappeared", and/or tortured during Pinochet's reign of terror that subsequently followed September 11, 1973. As Socialist World noted a few years ago:
Under the iron heel of Chile’s military dictatorship, a laboratory economic experiment was conducted. The neo-liberal policies of privatisation, open markets, de-regulation and private pension schemes were all first tested out in Chile following the coup. They were then applied in the 1980/90’s and continued in this new century, by the ruling classes internationally. The ‘Chicago Boys’, economic students of Milton Freidman, arrived in Chile in the aftermath of Pinochet’s coup. The military regime gave them a free hand to test out their theories. These were the policies later to be pursued by Thatcher, Reagan and other capitalist leaders.
In addition to remembering those who perished, and listening to the voices of those who survived, let us use this day as an opportunity to begin building a better world for ourselves and for our children.