". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Friday, September 28, 2007


The Nation online
September 27, 2007 (October 15, 2007 issue)
Chávez: 'Galbraithiano'
Greg Grandin

Last year, the New York Times reported that Hugo Chávez, in his speech before the United Nations--the one in which he called George W. Bush the Devil and urged Americans to read Noam Chomsky--expressed regret that he hadn't had a chance to meet the linguist before he died. A call to Mr. Chomsky's house, the Times writer quipped, found him very much alive. The Times, though, had to issue a quick correction when, upon review of the original Spanish, it became clear that Chávez was referring not to Chomsky but rather to John Kenneth Galbraith, who had indeed passed away a few months before.

There is something more than a little ironic about this incident, where the press, in a rush to ridicule the controversial Hugo Chávez, lost John Kenneth Galbraith in translation, for it is exactly the Harvard economist's brand of New Deal social democracy, itself long expunged from public discussion, that would allow for a more honest consideration not just of Chavismo but the broader Latin American left of which it is a vital part. ]

The rest of the article is available only to subscribers. But the short piece concludes:

[ The re-emergence of the Latin American left signals a revival ofdemocratic developmentalism, but with a key difference. While in the1940s reformers sought to extend political power through unions andpeasant associations vertically linked to parties or leaders, todaythey rely on a diverse, horizontal array of "new social movements" tocounter their countries' extreme concentration of wealth and politicalpower--Brazil's Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra, forexample, or Bolivia's Movimiento al Socialismo, less a political partythan a coalition of social movements, or Ecuador's powerful indigenousgroups. ]

And with this:

[ Chávez often repeats an observation by one of his favorite economists to bring homethe point. "Never before," the Venezuelan president quotes Galbraithas saying, "has the distance between reality and 'conventional wisdom'been as great as it is today." ]


Sontín said...

I had not heard that John Kenneth Galbraith had died. While I do not agree with everthing he writes, he was always interesting to read.

That Time should mess up that seriously shows how eager they are to make Chavez appear a fool, and how bad their Spanish must be...

Foxessa said...

No kidding. Just like the forever stories for the last 40 years that Fidel is dying, dead, etc.

Love, C.

Sontín said...

It must be difficult to want something so badly and suffer decades of disapointment.

Foxessa said...

Indeed. On the other hand, who has more than earned this disappointment?

Into each life comes disappointment.

Think of how much has come into mine!

These disappointed, are at least, you known, rich and running things.

Love, C.