« Pontifical protest | Main | Phases of the lunar cycle »

June 07, 2004

Comments

lbom

Will check it out - good to hear from someone who's been there rather than us armchair commenters.

janus

phew, just in time, he arrives, what we call in Lacanian parlance the 'subject supposed to know', the one who speaks from the place of truth. And yes, a few random anecdotal details are more than enough so set the record straight. If you want to do some real research about NIcaragua, here's a reading list:

www.tomfolio.com/bookssub.asp%3Fcatid%3D97%26subid%3D3054+nicaragua+testimony&hl=en&start=4

janus

phew, just in time, he arrives, what we call in Lacanian parlance the 'subject supposed to know', the one who speaks from the place of truth. And yes, a few random anecdotal details are more than enough so set the record straight. If you want to do some real research about NIcaragua, here's a reading list:

www.tomfolio.com/bookssub.asp%3Fcatid%3D97%26subid%3D3054+nicaragua+testimony&hl=en&start=4

George Lee

Mel--I very much appreciated your post.

It was striking how for much of the 80s Nicaragua was a cause celebre for Europe's Sandalistas, as they were jokingly called. Even more striking, however, was how quickly they lost interest in being part of efforts to improve the lives of Nicaraguans after the election threw the Sandinistas out--and the next one and the next one after that confirmed that ouster.

Why, it is almost as though they loved their dogmas more than the beleagured Nicaraguans, and once those poor people had "betrayed" The Revolution in the voting booth, their sufferings could be ignored, indeed, must be ignored.

As I say, I appreciated your post. You approached Nicaraguans with an open mind, not as a sermonizing missionary of the Left, a Sandalista. Your approach enlightened me. It beat the Hell out of the unvarying boilerplate of the supposedly caring posters on this thread for whom flesh and blood Nicaraguans became invisible after 1990. Their eyes remained fixed on the beautiful dream world.

But if you think that Nicaraguans were deserted by their professed champions, you ought to see what happened to the Vietnamese. The Nicaraguans had to be abandoned because The Revolution failed, but the Vietnamese had to be abandoned because it succeeded.

occam

"the unvarying boilerplate of the supposedly caring posters on this thread for whom flesh and blood Nicaraguans became invisible after 1990. Their eyes remained fixed on the beautiful dream world."

Genuinely bizarre

The groundless imputation of motive (supposedly), the equally groundless assumption about how i reacted after the Sandinistas fell, the assumption of ideological fixity eclipsing the real world. None of these statments is supported by logic or evidence. Or, put simply, these statments are simply false.

As they are not guided by reason or evidence, one has to assume they are guided only by ingrained preconceptions about 'the left' which are of only interest only to the sociologist.


George Lee

The dreamworld's boilerplate continues: "...after the Sandinisatas fell,..."

The Sandinistas didn't fall. Nicaraguans voted them out of power. Then they did it again. Then again.

In so doing, they became unworthy in the eyes of those who had sang their praises for a decade, travelled to Nicaragua to dig drainage ditches, teach reading, provide medical assistance, etc.

Though Nicaraguans still needed drainage ditches and all those other helpful things, mirabile dictu, Sandalistas cut them dead.

Readers can decide for themselves to whom and to what the Sandalistas were loyal to.

Janus

George,

Very generous of you to donate your brain to medical science. Might have been better done posthumously, though.

Janus

To 'fall' from power can take many forms, and an electoral defeat is only one. Your comments on the word 'fall' are therefore just embarassing. I had thought you merely politically illiterate, but now realise you are simply illiterate per se.

If you actually knew anything at all about Nicaragua, you would in any case realise that contra activity was stepped up immediately before the aforementioned election. It was basically an election held with a gun to the peoples' head.

If you're going to reproduce official doctrine, at least ensure you're getting paid for it.

occam

I must say, the 'fall' comment is a complete red herring. I offer you the following example, from a fairly conservative source: "Following the fall of Harold Wilson's Labour Government in 1970 the Conservatives re-entered government under the leadership of Edward Heath." Its common parlance and not really worthy of comment. It certainly has nothing to do with 'boilerplates'. What was interesting is that this comment was all that the contributor could muster in response to my post. i must say, the other repondents to the debate have engaged with the substance of what was actually said. I think that in a civilised society, ANYTHING has to be up for debate - all assumptions, all received wisdom, all taken for granted beliefs. i know that most of you will agree.

Mel

Janus,

Yes, I guess I would be the "Lacanian 'subject supposed to know'", and if that somehow offends your fashionable PoMo sensibilities than may I ask if you've ever been to Nicaragua? or are you happy to pontificate in self-righteous ignorance of something you've only read about, but actually have no experience of? Oh yeah, there is no place of privilege for anything according to your fadish French theories. It's all "power relations" right? Trust me Janus, I've read as much or more than you have about Nicaragua over the last 30 years and I've also been there. That doesn't mean that there are not Nicaraguans with very different opinions than the ones I described, but an anti-Sandinista, pro-American sentiment does exist in Nicaragua and if you want to at all think about this issue you cannot pretend it does not exist. Even under the Sandinistas, Nicaragua was a very divided society and since there have been three Presidential elections since 1990 none of which the Sandinistas won, which I hope you can understand indicates that the majority of the people don't want them to be in government and no matter how Lacanian, Foucaultian, Derridean or whatever other fadish theory you want to get that means that Reagan was supporting the side of the majority against a controlling minority.
I don't think that's a bad thing. It certainly was done in a far from perfect way, but the intention itself was, I believe, justified.

Mel

Janus,

Yes, I guess I would be the "Lacanian 'subject supposed to know'", and if that somehow offends your fashionable PoMo sensibilities than may I ask if you've ever been to Nicaragua? or are you happy to pontificate in self-righteous ignorance of something you've only read about, but actually have no experience of? Oh yeah, there is no place of privilege for anything according to your fadish French theories. It's all "power relations" right? Trust me Janus, I've read as much or more than you have about Nicaragua over the last 30 years and I've also been there. That doesn't mean that there are not Nicaraguans with very different opinions than the ones I described, but an anti-Sandinista, pro-American sentiment does exist in Nicaragua and if you want to at all think about this issue you cannot pretend it does not exist. Even under the Sandinistas, Nicaragua was a very divided society and since there have been three Presidential elections since 1990 none of which the Sandinistas won, which I hope you can understand indicates that the majority of the people didn't want them to be in government and no matter how Lacanian, Foucaultian, Derridean or whatever other fadish theory you want to get that means that Reagan was supporting the side of the majority against a controlling minority.
I don't think that's a bad thing. It certainly was done in a far from perfect way, but the intention itself was, I believe, justified.

janus

Sorry its taken me so long to post, but I’ve been in the Black Forest trying to think about the notion of ‘treeness’ and doing a bit of skateboarding. Anyway, just wanted to comment on Reagan’s domestic policy, speaking as someone who has actually been to the US. I went there with the explicit intention of identifying the major policy trends and power shifts of the Reagan years. Armed only with the rusty key of anecdotal detail, I was determined to unlock the supra-empirical truth. I got speaking to these guys in a bar and they told me that Reagan was a cool guy who’d seen off the commies. Then I quizzed some bum in Greenwich Village and he seemed pretty pro-Reagan too. Anyway, I hope that clears things up regarding the Reagan legacy.

Oh, just a few words on foreign policy. In 1954, the National Security Council produced a Top Secret Memorandum titled "US Policy Toward Latin America" (NSC 5432). The document describes how the biggest regional threat to US interests was "the trend in Latin America toward nationalistic regimes" that responded to "popular demand for immediate improvement in the low living standards of the masses" and for production geared to domestic needs. This trend was in direct collision with US policy, the report noted, which was committed to "encouraging a climate conducive to private investment," and had to "encourage" the Latin American countries "to base their economies on a system of private enterprise, and, as essential thereto, to create a political and economic climate conducive to private investment of both domestic and foreign capital," including guarantees for the "opportunity to earn and in the case of foreign capital to repatriate a reasonable return."
US internal documents have since restated these principles many times. The documents make clear that it was necessary for the US to control the Latin American military, which were explicitly assigned responsibility for overthrowing civilian governments that obstructed US interests. It was also necessary to block "subversion" and to prevent any challenge to US domination.
In other words, US policy in Central America had nothing to do with anti-Communism; it had to do with controlling Third World natural and human resources for the benefit of Western corporations at the expense of local peoples.

In short, it’s not permissible to talk about Nicaragua if you haven’t been there but you CAN wage war against it.

The comments to this entry are closed.