Other Voices: The Connexions Newsletter

April 23, 2015

This week: Eduardo Galeano, Latin America, the Vietnam War

In this issue of Other Voices, we mark the death of Eduardo Galeano by featuring two of his books, as well as an article about his life and work. Galeano once wrote that he was “obsessed with remembering, with remembering the past of America and above all that of Latin America, intimate land condemned to amnesia.” In his writing, especially Open Veins of Latin America and the mesmerizing Memory of Fire trilogy, Galeano contributed enormously to bringing alive, and keeping alive, the memories of Latin America, and especially of those whom he called the “nobodies” – the people “who do not appear in the history of the world.”

Next week also marks the 40th anniversary of the final victory of the Vietnamese war of resistance against the American invasion and occupation. On April 29-30, 1975, the last U.S. military and CIA personnel, along with their local collaborators, fled Saigon as the victorious Vietnamese resistance forces moved in to liberate the city. The American war against Vietnam stands as one of the greatest crimes of modern history, and the Vietnamese victory as an inspiring example of what popular resistance can accomplish even when faced with an ruthless superpower. We feature several items on the Vietnam War in this issue, including a brief history of the war by Neil Faulkner, a review of Nick Turse’s chilling history Kill Anything That Moves. The Real American War in Vietnam, and a short article about “fragging” and combat refusal, forms of resistance by American soldiers in Vietnam which forced the military command to recognize that it could no longer rely on its own men.

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This Week on Connexions.org

The Canadian Ministry of “Truth”: “Reality Is Whatever We Say It Is”

Canada’s new “anti-terrorism” law is ostensibly aimed at potential terrorists and “violent jihadists.” However, says Fred Guerin, this legislation is not meant to address the external threat posed by terrorists, but is rather the cynical employment of law as a tool for citizen control, political repression and population domestication. Guerin argues that the vague and overly broad language of Bill C-51 is specifically intended to create a chilling effect on any Canadian citizen who might have the audacity to show their disagreement with government policy or corporate kleptocracy by engaging in grass-roots dissent, protest or civil disobedience. Read More

Keywords: National Security - Ideology

Chávez and the Communal State: On the Transition to Socialism in Venezuela

Socialist and radical democratic strategies have often focused on seizing the state and using the state apparatus as the main means of instituting socialism. But in the process the revolutionary, constituent power becomes first subordinated and then negated. The Venezuelan revolution has attempted to cut through this dilemma by promoting participatory democracy and communal organization. In the communes, residents in geographical areas smaller than a city unite in a number of community councils with the object of self-governance through a communal parliament, constructed on participatory principles. The communes are political-economic-cultural structures engaged in such areas as food production, food security, housing, communications, culture, communal exchange, community banking, and justice systems. Read More

Keywords: Bolivarian Socialism - Venuzeula

South Africa xenophobic attacks: A view from below

According to Abahlali baseMjondolo, a South African shack dwellers’ movement, the recent attacks on African migrants in South Africa are connected to oppression of poor black people in general. To prevent the poor from organizing and standing up to their real enemies, the state is tacitly encouraging violence against foreigners. Read More

Keywords: Migrants - Xenophobia

Dagong Diary, Part 1: Job Hunting

An article on hunting for a factory job in the industrial city of Shenzhen. One of a series of articles on the chuangcn.org website on the lives of factory workers and migrant workers in China. Read More

Keywords: Precarious Work - Workers

Repair Cafes

Some people like fixing things - others have things to fix. Repair cafes bring the two together, writes Jade Herriman - giving satisfaction to both, sharing skills, keeping stuff out of landfill, fighting ‘designed obsolescence’, and building communities sustained by mutual help. Read More

Keywords: Alternative Lifestyles - Sustainable Communities

People’s History

Eduardo Galeano, ¡Presente!

Eduardo Galeano, the world-renowned leftist Uruguayan journalist and writer made famous with the publication in 1971 of his book The Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent, died April 13 at the age of 74 in Montevideo, Uruguay. Dan La Botz pays tribute. Read More

Keywords: History - Writers

Zapatista women’s stories

A collection of first-hand accounts by Zapatista women about their lives and struggles. These are stories of lives transformed by collective resistance, resistance above all against the appalling oppression of indigenous women in rural Mexico, as well as resistance against the state, but also resistance against machismo within the Zapatista organization.
The focus is especially on the time of the 1994 uprising, a watershed moment when “a tremendous amount of change was compressed into a very short period.” With women’s participation in the uprising - a reported 40 percent of the front-line rebel forces were female - as well as a backbone of tens of thousands of women in the communities, the cause of women advanced exponentially in just a few years before and after the rebellion. Zapatista women explain how it seemed that several generations of change seemed to take place in a condensed time of revolutionary upheaval.
Read More

Keywords: Women - Zapatistas

The Vietnam War: Part 98 of A Marxist History of the World

In a long and costly struggle, an army of peasant guerrillas defeated US imperialism in a full-scale war. They did not fight alone. During the struggle, millions of people around the world, including those in the United States, had become their allies. Read More

Keywords: Vietnam War - U.S. Imperialism

From the Archives

Political Smears in the U.S. Never Change

What is most striking about the U.S. government’s smears against Edward Snowden – apart from the utter lack of evidence for any of them – is how the same smears are constantly recycled against anyone whom the state sees as a threat. Daniel Ellsberg, the whistleblower who released the Pentagon Papers in 1971, was subjected to the same treatment. Martin Luther King Jr. was also attacked in the same way, for allegedly undermining the United States by calling the U.S. government “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.” Read More

Keywords: Lying - Propaganda

Kill Anything That Moves. The Real American War in Vietnam, by Nick Turse (book review)

A history of how the United States conducted its war against Vietnam, the war “that so many would like to forget, and so many others refuse to remember.” Turse’s book is based on extensive documentation from the archives, as well as interviews with hundreds U.S. veterans and Vietnamese survivors. This book should be read by anyone who doubts that the U.S. war against Vietnam was one of the greatest crimes of the twentieth century. Read More

Keywords: Vietnam War - War Crimes

Website of the Week: teleSUR

Venezuela-based media organization providing coverage of Latin American and world issues. Working to promote the struggle of peoples for peace, self-determination, respect for human rights and social justice. www.telesurtv.net/english

Keywords: Latin America - Alternative Media

Book of the Week: Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone By Eduardo Galeano

A collection of fragments, vignettes, and observations about history. The original subtitle was “a history of the world, refracted.” The refracting, of course, is through Galeano’s eyes as well as through the lenses of history, and the telling is at times humourous, wistful, wry, angry, or several at once.

An example: “Official history has it that Vasco Núñez de Balboa was the first man to see, from a summit in Panama, the two oceans at once. Were the people who lived there blind??”

Other entries are poetry without an overt message:
“Stalactites hang from the ceiling. Stalagmites grow from the floor.
All are fragile crystals, born from the sweat of rocks in the depths of caves etched into the mountains by water and time.
Stalactites and stalagmites spend thousands of years reaching down or reaching up, drop by drop, searching for each other in the darkness.
It takes some of them a million years to touch.
They are in no hurry.”

Keywords: History - People's History

Film of the Week: The War on Democracy

John Pilger’s 2007 film explores the current and past relationship of Washington with Latin American countries such as Venezuela, Bolivia and Chile. The film shows how serial US intervention, overt and covert, has toppled a series of elected governments in the Latin American region since the 1950s. The democratically elected Chilean government of Salvador Allende, for example, was ousted by a US backed coup in 1973 and replaced by the military dictatorship of General Pinochet. Guatemala, Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador have all been invaded by the United States. The film unearths the real story behind the attempted overthrow of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez in 2002 and tells how the people of the barrios of Caracas rose up to return Chavez to power and force the leaders of the coup to flee the country. It also looks at the wider rise of populist governments across South America led by indigenous leaders intent on loosening the shackles of Washington and bringing about a fairer redistribution of the continent’s natural wealth.

Keywords: Latin America - U.S. Imperialism

Topic of the Week: Latin America

In marking the recent death of Eduardo Galeano, it seems appropriate to make Latin America the Topic of the Week. The Connexions Library catalogue features a wide range of articles and books on Latin America. More materials can be found under related headings, such as the names of individual countries, and under topics such as Bolivarian Socialism.

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Connexions Calendar

April 23, 2015
Dignity: The Essential Role It Plays in Resolving Conflict
, Canada

April 25, 2015
Greater Sudbury Earth Day Festival

Sudbury, Canada

April 26, 2015
South Shore NS: Coming together to boost youth voter turnout in 2015 --

Nova Scotia, Canada

April 26, 2015
Peace And Planet Mobilization

New York City, United States

April 29, 2015

Kamloops: Walk for Peace

Kamloops, Canada

The Connexions Calendar is an online calendar that exists to advertise events that support social justice, democracy, human rights, ecology, and other causes. We invite you to use it to promote your events. Adding events to the Connexions Calendar is FREE. We’ll give you a username and password which you use to log on. Use the contact form to arrange for a username and password.

Read more →

Seeds of Fire

April 23, 1968

Columbia University Protests: Students at Columbia University in New York protest against the proposed construction of a gymnasium which would take over a public park and have separate entrances for students and for black residents of Harlem. The demonstration ends in a takeover of university buildings. Police storm the buildings on April 30 and violently evict the occupiers, but protests, and police violence directed against them, continue throughout the spring.

April 24, 1916

The Easter Rising: Irish rebels launch a rebellion against British colonial rule. They seize key buildings in Dublin and declare an Irish Republic, independent of Britain. The rising is suppressed after six days of fighting, and the key leaders of the rebellion are executed. Nevertheless support for independence continues to grow in Ireland, leading to another declaration of independence in 1919, and an Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921 recognizing the Irish Free State.

April 24, 1967

Abbie Hoffman & Co. at New York Stock Exchange: A small group of protesters, including Abbie Hoffman, cause chaos on the New York Stock Exchange by throwing down fistfuls of both real and fake dollars. Traders on the floor scramble to grab the money as quickly as they can.

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Thanks to Ulli Diemer and Darien Rickwood for their work on this newsletter. A special thanks to Tahmid Khan for his work in coordinating the production of Other Voices ever since issue #1.


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