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Archive for May 21st, 2006

democracy and democratic solutions

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Today:

CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Sunday that Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone was planning to film a movie about the 2002 coup in Venezuela that briefly ousted the former army officer.

Just to review, from the NYT, April 17, 2002:

Administration officials vigorously denied today that they had encouraged plotters or had any advance knowledge of plans to oust Mr. Chávez, a populist leader whose leftist policies have long antagonized the United States.

But Mr. Reich’s advice to Mr. Carmona on the very day that military officers took Mr. Chávez into custody at an army base suggests an early and urgent administration interest in seeing Mr. Carmona succeed and maintain the appearance of democratic continuity. It was not clear what time Mr. Reich placed his call on Friday.

Administration officials notified members of Congress on Friday that Mr. Chávez had resigned. The report was erroneous, and he insists that he never relinquished his office. The United States did not condemn the action against Mr. Chávez, a democratically elected leader, until Saturday evening after angry protesters forced Mr. Carmona to resign.

Asked to explain the discrepancy, administration officials have said they were acting on the best information they had during a chaotic situation.

”Those events were not anticipated,” Ari Fleischer, the White House spokesman, said today. ”And once those events took place, the United States did move to condemn it.”

Mr. Carmona, who heads Venezuela’s largest business association, was one of numerous critics of Mr. Chavez to call on administration officials in recent weeks. Officials from the White House, State Department and Pentagon, among others, were hosts to a stream of Chávez opponents, some of them seeking help in removing him from office.

Administration officials insisted today that, despite their disdain for Mr. Chávez, they categorically ruled out an ouster during their conversations with his opponents. But American officials did discuss replacing Mr. Chávez through a referendum or by impeachment, and did not disguise their eagerness to see him gone, officials acknowledged.

”The United States policy is to support democracy and democratic solutions to any type of problems in nations around the world,” Mr. Fleischer said. He added, ”We explicitly told opposition leaders that the United States would not support a coup.”

Oh, and go check out a nice report from Chavez’s recent visit to England.

How enjoyable to escape from the careful political tacking carried on year in and year out by parties dancing around each other in a bloodless political dance devoid of passion and ideology. Whatever one’s political views, it was a shot in the arm to hear a political leader having no difficulty in condemning capitalism and condemning the United States government in terms which no European politician would ever dare to use in public. And in recommending “socialism of the twenty-first century” as part of green platform of care for the environment and of husbanding the earth’s resources for the benefit of future generations.

(Lots of this material via Wolcott…)

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Written by adswithoutproducts

May 21, 2006 at 10:52 pm

Posted in america, socialism

forthcoming

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Always exciting to see Verso’s new list come out.

The ones I’m most interested in, roughly in order of my interest:

Frederic Jameson, The Modernist Papers

Fredric Jameson, one of America’s finest cultural critics, offers his dynamic insight into modernist literature and art. A companion to the classic A Singular Modernity, this stunning tour de force looks at the innovative literary experiments of Joyce and Proust, the poetry of Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams and Gertrude Stein and the writing of Kafka, Mann and Mallarmé, to provide a distinct perspective on the culture of new beginnings and avant-garde endeavors.

Raymond Williams, The Politics of Modernism: Against the New Conformists

Considered to be the founding father of British cultural theory, Williams was concerned throughout his life to apply a materialist and socialist analysis to all forms of culture, defined generously and inclusively as “structures of feeling.” In this major work, Williams applies himself to the problem of modernism. Rejecting stereotypes and simplifications, he is especially preoccupied with the ambivalent relationship between revolutionary socialist politics and the artistic avant-garde. Judiciously assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the modernist project, Williams shifts the framework of discussion from merely formal analysis of artistic techniques to one which grounds these cultural expressions in particular social formations. Animating the whole book is the question which Williams poses and brings us significantly closer to answering: namely, what does it mean to develop a cultural analysis that goes ”beyond the modern” and yet avoids the trap of postmodernism’s “new conformism”?

Raphael Samuel, The Lost World of British Communism

The Lost World of British Communism is a vivid account of the Communist Party of Great Britain. Raphael Samuel, one of post-war Britain’s most notable historians, draws on novels of the period and childhood recollections of London’s East End, as well as memoirs and Party archives. He evokes the world of British Communism in the 1940s, when the movement was at the height of its political and theoretical power, and raises prophetic questions about socialist motivation, collective identity, and historicizing the Communist past

Mao Zedong / Slavoj Zizek, On Practice and Contradiction

These early philosophical writings underpinned the Chinese revolutions and their clarion calls to insurrection remain some of the most stirring of all time. Drawing on a dizzying array of references from contemporary culture and politics, Zizek’s firecracker commentary reaches unsettling conclusions about the place of Mao’s thought in the revolutionary canon.

“Communism is not love. Communism is a hammer, which we use to crush the enemy.” — Mao Zedong

Boaventura De Sousa Santos,Another Knowledge is Possible

This is the third volume of the series Reinventing Social Emancipation: Towards New Manifestoes series. Another Knowledge Is Possible explores the struggles against moral and cultural imperialism and neoliberal globalization that have taken place over the past few decades, and the alternatives that have emerged in countries throughout the developing world from Brazil and Colombia, to India, South Africa and Mozambique. In particular it looks at the issue of biodiversity, the confrontation between scientific and non-scientific knowledges, and the increasing difficulty experienced by great numbers of people in accessing information and scientific-technological knowledge.

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Written by adswithoutproducts

May 21, 2006 at 1:18 am

Posted in socialism