Monthly Archives: September 2006

Poem to be Read and Sung

César Vallejo wrote a ‘poem to be read and sung’, which we can read in English as well as the original Spanish. This and other Vallejo poems have actually been read, sung, and recorded by the late Noel Nicola.

My song sources this weekend are WWOZ and KPFA. On WWOZ, Saturday shows I particularly recommend are Tiene Sabor (salsa) and Tudo Bem (Brazilian). On KPFA, I recommend the stellar Sunday folk show Across the Great Divide.

I am sure Vallejo and all of these singers would agree that it is worth reading this article about China, where a version of the neoliberal economic model was instituted beginning in the late seventies.

I do not know how many examples it will take to finally show that this economic model is incompatible with – no, anitithetical to democracy.


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Chickens Roosting

One project of the 1976-1983 Argentine juntas was to serve the neoliberal mindset and institute it not only as policy but as ‘common sense’. One project of the Subcomandante Marcos (Delegate Zero) is to counter neoliberal ideology and practices.The September 18, 2006 issue of The Nation, dedicated to analyses of the Katrina disaster, contains an article by Adolph Reed entitled Undone by Neoliberalism. The piece ends thus:

Brown was in over his head. But the larger point is that he and his bosses – Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff and President Bush – have so little regard for government that they couldn’t conceive of the agency’s functions, even to go through the motions. They could connect only to do public relations damage control, punish enemies and outsource plunder to cronies. When the chief executive officers of the parishes hardest hit by Katrina and then Rita participated in a discussion on local public television in late October 2005, each of them was trenchantly critical of FEMA’s shoddy performance (and the Red Cross’s, by the way). They also complained bitterly about Halliburton and the other private contractors hired to do cleanup. The main charge was that the firms refused to coordinate with others and demanded additional pay for every action. Such is the practical truth of “market efficiency.”

There are groups and individuals struggling mightily to provide services and advocate for the interests of poor and displaced New Orleanians, renters and others likely to be simply cast aside by the market imperative. But they lack resources to be effective in the current political environment. On the national scale neither the labor movement (in either institutional variety), nor women’s, civil rights or environmentalist groups, nor, least of all, the Democratic Party seems prepared to advance and fight for a clear alternative vision.

As time goes on, fewer and fewer Americans will recall that government can do anything but make war and suppress dissent. Unless current patterns change, the struggle for New Orleans’s future may be a more extreme, condensed version of the future of many, many more people as the bipartisan neoliberal consensus reduces government to a tool of corporations and the investor class alone.

I have said before that my most brilliant research insight (which I had in 1981) was that the United States had started down a path of internal colonialism which would convert it into what Latin America had been, with our help, in the seventies. I was not wrong.



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Chickens Will Roost

This afternoon on Free Speech Radio News two stories were interestingly juxtaposed. One was of the Pakistani detained at his home in Islamabad by United States security forces. The other was of the September 18 disappearance in Buenos Aires of the construction worker Jorge Julio López. López had just testified successfully in court against one of the security officers he encountered at the clandestine prison Pozo Arana, where he was detained in 1976.

There are two points to be made. First, United States complicity in human rights violations elsewhere is not new. Second, trained torturers tend to continue as members of security forces long after the regime which initially deployed them, is defeated or voted out. This has long lasting effects. It is widely believed that López’ recent abduction was engineered by the same emanations who undertook his original one, thirty years ago.

Today the United States approved a higher military budget. We moved to expand our wiretapping program. We are about to legalize torture and void habeas corpus. It will take some time to revoke these decisions, and longer to remedy their effects.

It would be instructive to reread Tacitus, who was among other things an astute observer of the workings of power. Friday, however, is dedicated to Oxalá. Think of the light.



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The month of Ramadan brings good weather. The days are calm and clear, and the growing moon is spectacular in the sky.

Radio Tahrir, in New York, is a very good place to read and listen during Ramadan, and throughout the year. They offer news and commentary, but also poems and songs.

This year for Ramadan there is a fast against war and racism, and in solidarity with the Muslim communities now under fire from the West. You do not have to fast for the entire month, and there is still time to join.


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Salón Chingón

Now is an excellent time to watch Greg Berger’s Atenco footage. If you are interested in the question of the Mexican border, it is a good time to read The Qusan on the actual North American Free Trade Agreement.

In Los Angeles, immigrant hotel workers are blocking Century Boulevard in protest against unfair labor conditions. I am listening in live on KPFK.

It is said that in New Orleans, immigrant day laborers gather each morning at Lee Circle, where trucks arrive to take them to job sites. That sounds like home. I am sure it is not news to the Department of Homeland Security.


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A Picture

I am experimenting with images to crown this page. It is more difficult than I would have thought, to find one that works well.

The current header image is detail from the photograph of a Mardi Gras Indian. I took her picture several years ago, at the corner of Orleans Avenue and Broad Street, in New Orleans. I hope she is still in the city, and still masks.

I am finding that grayscale images work best in terms of design. I like this one for the purposes of this site because it is cultural, and local. It is not, however, a picture of any Comandante Cero, or of the Delegado Cero, or of me.



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Bom Dia

Bem-vindos ao meu sítio novo, no qual estou trabalhando ainda. Tem sugestões para o seu desenho? Quero ouví-los.

Não festejei o dia 7 de setembro, nem estou festejando o grito de Dolores hoje. Nem vou explicar nada: pouco a pouco, irei-me revelando, e pouco a pouco vai ficar entendendo quem quiser.

Eu antes tinha outro sítio, com o mesmo nome, Professor Zero. tem muito para ler, e ainda podemos conversar.


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