4 PUNTOS, NADA MÁS

[Ed. Today, we stumbled upon a post on Facebook from Nicaraguan scholar and author Carlos Corea regarding recent events in his country. After reaching out to Corea for permission to share his words, we have decided the best way to disseminate his analysis is to publish it here on our blog – so that those who don’t use Facebook can also have full access to his perspective and gain from his insights on recent events.]

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4 PUNTOS, NADA MÁS…
por Carlos Corea

I-Algo General…

Lo que está pasando en Nicaragua es muy serio asonadas, y la violencia colectiva, sin asumir la responsabilidad de ese tipo de liderazgos. He visto gente pidiendo armas, otros proclamando que Daniel se fue o que murió, que Aminta renunció, que hay cuentas en Suiza a nombre de fulanito y fulanita para el exilio de los Ortegas, que hay 100 muertos aquí, 200 allá, y que el padre tal recibió 100 balazos y que el padre tal no fue, sino que el otro padre y que por lo tanto el régimen no va a poder aguantarse mas.

Pero botar a un régimen no es así de fácil como de soplar y hacer botellas en FB.

El FSLN, objetivamente hablando, es la maquinaria política mas grande y mejor organizada de la historia política nicaragüense y botarlo a pura manifestación es iluso. Aún si esas manifestaciones son parte de un guión elaborado y financiado desde el exterior. 


A lo mejor esto es un ensayo para medir fuerzas y estudiar la reacción interna, y esos grupos de marcha son simplemente palancas de presión para sacarle concesiones al gobierno y desacelerar el proceso de cambios estructurales que el FSLN ha emprendido-a como fue la Contra en los 80s (un instrumento de presión política para desgastar al Frente pero no para derrocarlo).


También puede ser un instrumento de medida para ver hasta que punto el Frente puede sobre-reaccionar ante las provocaciones. Según el guión del norte, “una sobre reacción Sandinista sería un error que contribuiría a su propia destrucción”

Pero el FSLN tiene amplia experiencia y hay que estar consciente que no ha mandado ni a la policía ni al ejército a parar el festival callejero de vandalismo y este ha sido un punto cívico que hay que reconocerle al Frente. Se imagina si el Frente fuera lo que dice la oposición que es y diera la orden a su estructura territorial que se defienda y agreda a los que marchan. No quedaría nadie!….por eso creo que los provocadores de la violencia puede que estén participando de una acción sumamente irresponsable que podría traer un luto nacional nunca visto. La suerte que tenemos es que el FSLN no es lo que dice la derecha que es y cualquier posibilidad de matanza generalizada es una pieza de propaganda para incitar al miedo y a perpetuar el ciclo de la violencia, que hace un mes inició la derecha nacional.

Hasta el momento, la derecha ha matado a unas 50 personas (según su sistema de contabilidad de muertos y sin contar con los que han “resucitado” en Miami-y sí, si creo que la derecha es la que ha asesinado a los que han muerto)-crear mártires es un buen mecanismo de desgaste para el régimen y una buena bandera para atraer gente inocente a marchar con la derecha (incluso a unos cuantos que han sido simpatizantes del Sandinismo) y a volverse militantes en FB y redes sociales.

II-Numeritos hablan…

En las elecciones del 2011, 943,000 personas no votaron por el FSLN, mientras 1.569,287 lo hicieron por el FSLN.


En las del 2016, el FSLN tuvo 1,806,651 votos contra 687,000 votos en contra.


Como simple conclusión se puede decir claramente que hay un poco mas de medio millón de personas del patrón electoral que rechazaron al FSLN en el Poder Ejecutivo y esas personas al votar en contra manifestaron su derecho democrático y constitucional de decir NO, no queremos al Frente.


Ese medio millón ha estado allí por un buen tiempo pero la oposición no había encontrado la manera de unificarlo en una bandera de oposición ni de hacer que saliera a las calles (las manifestaciones de los miércoles ante el Consejo Supremo Electoral reunían entre 15 y 40 personas y daba lástima pues el jugoso presupuesto de las ONGs y partidos de oposición se esfumaba sin resultados concretos).
Esta vez la oposición a través de operaciones psicológicas que se ajustan a la perfección al modelo de lo que se llama las “unidades armadas de propaganda”, han hecho posible dos cosas fundamentales:

A-mostrarle a los que rechazan al FSLN, la dinámica de “opresión” que han estado padeciendo bajo la “dictadura”;

B-hacerlos protagonistas de su propia “liberación” al modelar las operaciones psicológicas como copia al carbón del movimiento revolucionario que derrocó a Somoza. Es decir, han creado el simulacro al vestir a una contrarrevolución como si fuera una revolución. De cierta manera, esta operación psicológica de inseguridad, desgaste y violencia carnavalezca le da “sentido” a la impotencia de la derecha que ha votado 3 veces consecutivas contra el FSLN, sin poder obtener resultados para hacer la restauración neoliberal tan soñada.

C-coloca en el epicentro político a un montón de gente que odia al Frente y que han estado en los márgenes políticos (esto del odio histórico al Sandinismo tiene que ver con muchos detalles de clase, y otras cosas dignas de verse en un estudio amplio). Estos marchan, sacan comunicados en FB, se toman fotos con un adoquín o una bandera mientras ponen “caras heroicas” que imaginan en afiches adornando los cuartos de adolescentes latinoamericanos. Una mamá “heroica” expresa que su pobre niño dijo que cuando participó en una marcha tuvo la misma sensación de “cuando dio su primera comunión”…imagínense la montaña rusa emocional y el imbalance psicológico de quienes no pueden ver mas allá de sus narices! y no se dan cuenta de la diferencia: la revolución crea consciencia; la contrarrevolución manipulación.

Esta euforia colectiva de la derecha, les ha creado la cortina de humo tan soñada y les da la sensación de estar al lado de la historia y ser “mayoría” y los ha ilusionado a:

– Daniel y el FSLN están con un pie en el avión para algún exilio imaginario.

-Hay que hacer planes concretos para la “transición” y entonces ya se han gastado miles de ristras de papel con miles de galones de tinta elaborando listas de gabinetes en donde aparecen nombres-los mismos de siempre que tienen años-si no generaciones enteras, de estar ordeñando la vaca de la política, tanto en agrupaciones políticas sin efectividad, sin arrastre y sin contacto popular, como en ONGs del enjambre creado y financiado por el National Endowment for Democracy (NED-ned.org)

-algunos miembros de ese “gabinete” ya están sacando videos en FB exigiendo cárcel para todos los Sandinistas y devolución de plata, bienes, etc., en muchos casos completamente imaginarios (también para seguir con la consistencia de lo absurdo muchos de esos “Ministros” ya están recibiendo curriculums para puestos altos nada mas pues estar de “funcionario chiquito no es bonito”-según un aspirante de Twitter). Esto es parte del show pues mantiene la consistencia del clima de inestabilidad y le da esperanzas a los “creyentes” de la “causa democratizadora” apelando a sus emociones y creando la ilusión de estar en una causa “invencible”.

Contemplando este comportamiento tan ridículo es que uno puede medir de manera mas apropiada la magnitud del poder ilusorio de la guerra psicológica y los mecanismos de los golpes suaves, dentro del marco general de la GBI (Guerra de Baja Intensidad) tan practicada en el teatro de operaciones centroamericano.

III-el guión…o el Script, para decirlo en inglés…

el guión anti Sandinista en aplicación en este momento, fue escrito en los 80s… específicamente en octubre de 1983 la CIA escribió el manual titulado “Manual for Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare” [Ed. LINK]. Edgard Chamorro Coronel, Jefe de Relaciones Públicas del FDN-FARN (la contra en Honduras) lo publicó en 1983 y luego los oficiales estadounidenses en Honduras le entregaron una copia a cada comando contra para crear lo que ellos llamaron en esos días, los “guerreros políticos”.
Cuando los medios estadounidenses “descubrieron” el manual, produjo un escándalo porque incentivaba a ataques terroristas, a la contratación de criminales para generar violencia y a “la creación de la violencia generalizada para la producción de mártires porque los mártires son buenas banderas”. La CIA negó la autoría del manual y se olvidó un poco. Pero el 7 de noviembre del 2017 (ni siquiera hace un año!) fue desclasificado, por lo que no hay duda alguna que es un documento oficial del gobierno estadounidense. El manual no ha sido publicado en español pero en el está una descripción punto por punto de lo que está pasando en estos momentos en Nicaragua. Absolutamente con puntos y comas. 


De cierta manera la impresión que tengo es que los gringuitos con sus ONGs y partiditos políticos asalariados del NED, están dándole una refrescadita a los métodos de la Guerra Fría y a la Doctrina Reagan, tan cuestionable por el uso de la violencia y la agresión como arma política.

IV-El Diálogo

Ante la presión generalizada por la atmósfera de incertidumbre marcada con la violencia que amenaza con retroceder los avances de los últimos 10 años, se ha buscado un diálogo que trate de encontrar una solución al problema. Sin embargo a veces un diálogo es simplemente un mecanismo para extorsionar; y a continuación doy dos ejemplos:

A- Se exigió el diálogo con la esperanza de que el FSLN no lo aceptara y ahora que el Frente llega, sectores de la oposición rechazan el diálogo porque “lo único que hay que dialogar es al salida de Daniel”, en uno de esos absurdos que solamente aparecen en las malas novelas de intriga política internacional. La pregunta es entonces, Quiénes son los intransigentes?

B- Se septiembre de 1983 a septiembre de 1984 el Grupo Contadora tuvo una ronda de negociaciones para solucionar la “crisis” centroamericana (describir esta crisis es complicadísimo pues tendríamos que ir al contexto geopolítico y geoestratégico de la Guerra Fría, a la Doctrina Reagan, al Síndrome PosVietnam, y a todos los factores que estaban presentes y coordinados en contra la Revolución Popular Sandinista).
Pero bueno, los Estados Unidos se opone al draft que presenta Contadora y hace lo que se conoce como el “Tratado Revisado de Contadora”, en donde ponen condiciones que aparentan ser imposibles para que el FSLN acepte pues interferían con el proceso político interno de la RPS y ofrecía mecanismos que podían desmantelar el estado revolucionario y el poder popular. El propósito era hacer aparecer a Nicaragua-al rechazar el Tratado, como la fuerza intransigente y raíz del problema centroamericano.
Nicaragua cogió a los Estados Unidos y sus aliados por sorpresa: aceptó la firma del tratado inmediatamente y sin modificaciones pues los Sandinistas creíamos que podíamos sobrevivir a las concesiones mientras los Estados Unidos cumpliera con su parte (la de parar la guerra contra Nicaragua). 


Con esto Nicaragua empujó a los Estados Unidos a un dilema sin salida: habían modificado Contadora exigiendo la firma de un nuevo tratado, y cuando Nicaragua parecía estar arrinconada y acepta las condiciones, los Estados Unidos se echan para atrás y hasta forzaron a sus aliados Costa Rica y El Salvador a hacer lo mismo, en una clara violación al compromiso adquirido después de mas de un año de negociaciones en un período de agresión en donde murieron miles de inocentes.

Así que en algunas ocasiones, los llamados a un diálogo son llamados a emboscadas políticas y diplomáticas.

Esperamos que este Diálogo Nacional puede desarrollarse en buenos términos y que la paz retorne a Nicaragua. El FSLN tiene mucha experiencia política-militar y diplomática y este es el factor crucial para neutralizar efectivamente estos intentos de un “golpe suave”, estos intentos de hacer una contrarrevolución disfrazada de revolución.

FINALMENTE…

Como un punto adicional quiero dejar algo de importancia extrema para mencionarlo brevemente y dejarlo como una reflexión para un trabajo mas extenso que el tiempo se va a encargar de resolver:

Qué pasa con toda esta gente que salió a las calles, que quemó cuarteles, que vandalizó y que de manera directa entorpeció el proceso económico y la buena imagen del país?

Primero, la gente tiene derecho a la protesta, tienen la protección constitucional de disentir, de expresar su desacuerdo…incluso su odio…pero no tienen derecho a la violencia.

Segundo, una vez que se calmen las cosas y que el impulso pierda fuerza y regrese la normalidad, va el FSLN a tomar venganza contra quienes se prestaron a tanta violencia? Mi impresión es que el FSLN debería de ser consistente con su pragmatismo político y su ética revolucionaria: “IMPLACABLES EN EL COMBATE, GENEROSOS EN LA VICTORIA”. El problema central es Cómo es que esta gente que ya incorporó la violencia a su dinámica política, va a poder participar en el juego político sin recurrir cicliquicamente a la violencia?

Tercero, Nicaragua es de todos y todas con toda su diversidad: de culto, de género, de credo político, de carácter étnico, etc. Es nuestro deber revolucionario el hacer de Nicaragua una comunidad pacífica que busque la coexistencia en el mas profundo respeto al pensamiento otro-cualquiera que este sea. Necesitamos mecanismos efectivos y concretos de reconciliación para que nadie tenga temor de pensar diferente y para que el respeto hacia la diversidad existente sea la bandera que cubra todo el territorio nacional.

Esa es mi posición de Sandinista comprometido con el futuro del país.

Ahora, que lluevan los insultos…

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Los tatuajes de un pasado bucanero

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“Por mis sueños va ligero de equipaje, sobre un cascarón de nuez mi corazón de viaje, luciendo los tatuajes de un pasado bucanero, de un velero al abordaje” – Joaquin Sabina

 

Otro viaje de visa se acerca y mi incomodidad aumenta, cada tres meses tengo que estar haciendo lo mismo, buscando una camisa manga larga o suéter, cualquier cosa que me ayude a cubrir mis tatuajes para evitar un mal entendido.

En lo personal pues no se si es lo mismo para todos mis compatriotas pero mi experiencia personal siempre a sido caótica.

Siempre e sido fan de los tatuajes, ya sean utilizados como recordatorios de personas o situaciones, expresiones artísticas o un diario personal. El tatuaje siempre viene acompañado de historias, los usaban mis antepasados los antiguos mayas se tatuaban con distintos fines, a veces procurando protección, tatuándose guerreros y dioses, otras veces para diferenciarse de los enemigos de otra tribu, con tatuajes en el rostro a modo de identificación y demás. Los mayas también solían utilizar los tatuajes para representar su devoción politeísta a distintos dioses.

Los marinos también los utilizaban a para relatar las historias de viajes, hace unas cuantas décadas, los marineros y pescadores quedaron sorprendidos cuando visitaron pueblos del Pacífico Sur y conocieron el arte corporal de los nativos.

En mi país el tatuaje tomo otro rumbo gracias a la violencia que vivimos a diario, siendo por una parte reconocido su uso por miembros de pandillas. Existe otro porcentaje de la población como yo que simplemente nos gusta su arte y lo utilizamos valientemente de esa manera.

Es también por esa misma razón que esto se vuelve un problema a la hora de salir del país por tierra, el Salvadoreño esta estigmatizado y somos víctimas de discriminación, corriendo riesgos que nos desaparezcan por temor, que nos hagan las mil una preguntas en un cuarto lejano en las fronteras o que simplemente no te dejen entrar.

Es incomodo, muchas veces me causa rabia, me siento impotente o expuesta. La ultima vez que me toco cruzar la frontera de Costa Rica y Nicaragua un policía me paro para disimuladamente tomarme fotos de mis tatuajes alegando “admiración” cuando en realidad era para ponerlo en mi record por cualquier circunstancia desfavorable.

Esta son actos de discriminación que vivimos a diario en cualquier lugar a donde vamos, si nos alojamos en algún hotel y existe un robo somos los primeros en ser señalados o cada vez que me preguntan acerca de mi país viene acompañado de un comentario negativo, gestos de inconformidad o pierden interés.

Todo lo anterior me llevo inclinó a dedicarme al turismo, me siento menos extraña y mas aceptada por lo menos se conocen personas que tienen los cuerpos cubiertos de tatuajes y nuestras conversaciones se vuelven mas digeribles.

También una de las razones más importantes por las cuales sueño con tener nuestro propio negocio, lejos del capitalismo que rodea esta idea, es una de las medidas que puedo encontrar para poder abrirme mis propias oportunidades, encontrar trabajo ya es difícil imaginen cuan duro es ser Salvadoreña y ademas tatuada. Ser bartender toda la vida no es una opción, más vieja me pongo menos propinas percibos, todo aquel que a sido bartender sabe que hacemos más dinero con propinas que con el sueldo que percibimos.

Tampoco quiero trabajar para el Hotel de otra persona, si bien esta a sido otra de mis experiencias laborales tampoco fue una de las mejores en mi vida, te explotan, pagan poquito  o en mi caso nunca te pagan y por la “imagen” difícilmente hay oportunidad de escalar a una mejor posición.

Yo no considero que tener un pequeño negocio me convierte automáticamente en parte de los grandes capitalistas como Coca Cola, Mc Donald, Selina’s Hostal y mucho menos el Hilton.

Nuestra idea es pequeña suficiente para darnos como pareja que esta en los 30’s una vida más digna y acorde a las oportunidades que se pueden tener a nuestra edad y niveles educativos no universitarios.

También nos abre la puerta a ayudar a nuestra colorida comunidad atrayendo nuevos visitantes que invertirán tiempo, dinero en pequeñas pulperías y restaurantes locales.

Para que todo esto sea una realidad es necesario sacar residencia, que no solo me evitara muchos problemas cada tres meses, si no también nos ayudara a que nuestro camino en Nicaragua sea más estable y duradero.

Para mi prometido es mucho mas fácil, el tiene pasaporte Norte Americano, el puede ir y venir sin problemas o quedarse aquí como turista permanente, pero yo no corro con la misma suerte, en cualquier momento me pueden cerrar las puertas y no entrar por algún tiempo indefinido. No quiero estar lejos de mi familia (Craig, Canela, Cena), por lo tanto necesitamos hacer hasta lo imposible por mantenernos en el mismo lugar sin correr ningún riesgo.

Nuestra campaña esta llena de buenas intenciones y de muchos sueños, pero necesitamos de su ayuda para volver todo una realidad, los días se nos están agotando y todavía estamos lejos de nuestra meta, con pequeñas donaciones hacen la diferencia y si su situación económica no permite donar pueden siempre compartir y así nos ayudan a recaudar los fondos que necesitamos.

“Hoy por ti mañana por mi”.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-black-cat-hostel-cafe-community-travel/x/17569113#/

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Love In A Time of Crowdsourcing

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“We’re fucked.”

I don’t know exactly when I came to this sad realization.

It might have been while I was methodically deconstructing my own cigarette butts a few weeks ago, searching for the few flakes of unsmoked tobacco that often hide near the filter. I hadn’t done this in years – reconstituting cigarettes out of the ashes of the old in desperate times to sate my addiction – but this time I had a family sharing scarce resources with me. Prioritizing what precious few cordobas we had for cigarettes while nobody in our house was eating was unconscionable to me. Digging through last week’s trash was far less so. So I did.

Of course, it might have been when our rescue dog and rescue kitten met me in the morning, clamoring for the food we didn’t have. There’s something decidedly fucked about looking at the street dog you took from a successful life begging and saying, “I thought we’d do better out here in the country, but maybe you’re actually better off without us back in the city?”

It might have been when we were pleading at the local pulperia for yet another line of credit to just see us through one more weekend. It might have been when we were sitting slouched and defeated in front of our landlord, yet again, making desperate promises that the wire transfer was just a few days away. It might have been when I made dinner out of empanizador and grape jelly. It doesn’t really matter when I realized it. We were fucked.

I’d been fucked before. As a high school dropout and on-again-off-again bartender, waiter, delivery boy or whatever-service-job-I-can-clean-myself-up-to-get worker, I’m always building cardboard castles on the tremulous sand of “fucked-adjacent” property. What was new – and what was newly devastating to me this time – was that I’d never been part of a “we” before. Now, we were fucked. And it wasn’t supposed to happen again – not to me – and definitely not to the newly-constituted “we.”

It wasn’t supposed to happen, not because I had failed to live up to patriarchal duties to “provide for my family,” but instead because we had a plan. My partner Marcela and I are in this together. And we had secured the promise of a rare, personal loan from a rarer-still family member who thought they could afford to help make that plan happen.

 

——-

 

I’ve wandered around lost for most of my life, usually from couch to couch and often without any discernible purpose. I grew up in a very affluent community just outside DC, with a world of possibilities presented to me, but my rejection of that life came very early (and, I might add, very recklessly). I dropped out of one of the best public high schools in the country, choosing instead to spend my time at a local coffee shop embarrassingly agonizing over French Existentialist and communist writers.

Dropping out of school isn’t what many might think it is. You don’t formally renounce school. You just kind of slip away. One day you’re reading Sartre in a Greek diner instead of attending French II class and the next thing you know all your friends are away at prestigious universities and you’re shrink-wrapping DVDs at the local Blockbuster Video. At least, that’s how it was for me.

I continued wandering – in fits and starts in my life always orbiting around anarchism (from the punk scene in DC to Occupy in Los Angeles) – for a long time before I finally made it to Nicaragua, a country I had always held in special regard. I had read all my life about the people here overthrowing their US-backed oppressor in the same year I was born – 1979 – and their resistance was something I had always wanted to see firsthand. Three years later, it’s something I only admire more now. It definitely isn’t anarchism, but there is here a living memory of a kind of resistance that goes a lot deeper than buying a Keurig coffeemaker.

In Granada, I somehow became a bar manager, but I tried to be the kind of manager who was in the trenches every night bartending the same as anyone else. Over two years, we turned a tourist bar that thrived on the free labor of backpackers and catered almost exclusively to them in a different direction. With a Nicaraguan staff, we became the busiest bar in town by reaching a more mixed clientele – becoming a place where Nicaraguans and tourists came together as strangers and left as friends. This was done with purpose – and it worked!

Somehow, despite all of this, I was still miserable. One night, I broke my hand punching a wall in frustration after a busy night. I had checked the manager’s log and – despite all our hard work and corresponding success – the owner of the bar had left yet another passive-aggressive and disgustingly racist note in our manager’s log. I was simmering.

When I met Marce, I immediately ran out and bought two books so I could learn more about her home, El Salvador. After our very first conversation, I knew I wanted to know more about her and her country and I dedicated myself to that. We talked often of a solidarity that once existed between El Salvador and Nicaragua and dreamed of doing something together where she could actively make that real again.

Marce quickly opened my eyes to a lot of other things, too. The owners of the bar we worked at together were horrible – I knew that already. From the first day, they always told me they wanted to use their bar in Granada as a stepping stone to get to Ecuador – to beautiful beaches they fantasized about there for their impending retirement. They wanted to build an empire around Nicaragua, an empire around Central America and an empire around Latin America. They had no particular love for Nicaragua, Nicaraguans or Granada at all. And they regularly demonstrated that with abuse directed at my coworkers. Thinking I was some bulwark between them and the staff, as I had been doing, was only sapping me of any happiness I might ever know and was actually helping them achieve their extractive, gringo empire at the same time. Marce helped me realize this. So we quit. Together.

When she told me should would leave me if I ever asked her to go with me to the United States, I knew I was in love. I happily promised I never would. When Marce had the same “Sabocat” tattoo I had emblazoned on her own left shoulder, although she protested it wasn’t “anarchist” because she added “Marcelismo” underneath it, I only loved her more. I proposed to her with a cheap plastic ring that our young friend Miguelito, a homeless kid we loved and cared for over our boss’ objections, had given us outside of the bar we were now also banned from entering.

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I said we had a plan. We did. And it was a good one, I thought. It is a good one.

We weren’t going to work for someone else, particularly not an extractive, racist employer bent on taking their profit and running elsewhere. That’s not who we are. So we brainstormed. Marce found a property – a failed hostel that we could rent and still rent out rooms on AirBnB to sustain us. But that wasn’t adequate for our politics – or our lives – either. We wanted to do something more reflective of our politics and we needed to do more in order to get legal residency here.

In Nicaragua, the best way – perhaps the only way – for someone who isn’t retired and on a demonstrable pension (or with similarly demonstrable finances) is to become “an investor.” What that means – practically speaking – is that you need to have a registered association and invest a certain amount of money. in Nicaragua to get residency. As an anarchist and anticapitalist, I’m not excited about the prospect of starting a business – but it is a necessary evil if we want to stay in Nicaragua. This is one obvious contradiction we struggle with, but there are many more.

So, settling our uneasiness, we raised a few hundred dollars on the Internet to get out of Granada and make it to Ometepe, a beautiful island formed by two volcanoes in Central America’s largest lake. Like many “entrepreneurs” before us, we reached out to one of Marce’s family members who runs a small construction company in El Salvador for a loan to get started on our idea, and he committed to helping us. We were dependent upon his help, but his situation in El Salvador changed and that help quickly dried up. That’s when we realized we we’re fucked and needed help.

Marce has run hotels and was educated in San Salvador in hospitality and tourism. Our plan, and we still think it is a good one, is to try our best every day to marry our politics with a business that can sustain our family. We’re committed to doing something that isn’t destructive to our new community or at least can help mitigate the harm capitalism does to communities everywhere. We’re committed to using our access, particularly mine, to redistribute resources to those who don’t have that same access. I have 11k followers on Twitter, so I’m pleading for their help to spread the word. I’m white and from North America, so I’m asking people I know to contribute. It’s difficult terrain to navigate and we don’t always succeed, but we’re trying. Ours is a small project, but we hope to be able to do a lot of good.

We’re up against a lot. A well-financed hostel chain is sweeping across Latin America, backed by a real estate development firm with millions of dollars and flying an Israeli flag. They have a plan to open 90 hostels in the next four years and just opened their first two in Nicaragua. They’re gobbling up elite properties from Mexico to Peru, destroying locally-owned-and-controlled businesses by bringing everything in-house and carving out an empire that will extract every tourist dollar from Latin America rather than keep that money in local communities. We want to be on the frontline of that fight. It’s everything we know. And yes, it fits our very real, material needs, too. But we also know we can make it work. We can show people another way, reach our clients and spark conversations without preaching at them and help other, local businesses remain locally-controlled at the same time. Is it perfect? No. Is it “The Revolution.” Hardly.

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I’m 38 now. Honestly, I don’t have much time left to be behind a bar anymore. At some point soon, it’s just going to be creepy. And I don’t have any savings to show or the education to do much else. Having only held precarious service jobs, I haven’t seen a dentist since I was 18 and the only time I have ever seen a doctor was when I broke my hand in Granada ($20 for an ex-ray and a cast!) punching a wall because of my former boss. I’m getting older. I’m going to need to see doctors and dentists someday. To do that, I need to find something stable, something that will help me enjoy my newfound family far into the future. And I want to do that here in Nicaragua.

When I was growing up, it wasn’t a question of supporting the local record shop when Tower Records exploded on the scene. You just did it. Tourist dollars are flooding Latin America and we have particular access to those dollars that we might be able to redirect locally rather than extract in their tired, imperial formula. This will also help us to survive and to do more politically and personally ourselves.

We also need to find a way to get ourselves unfucked and to do so in a way that doesn’t fuck anyone else. We think this is the best way to do exactly that.

I hope you’ll consider helping us. We have 9 days left on our IndieGogo campaign and need all the help we can get.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-black-cat-hostel-cafe-community-travel/x/17569113

 

 

Posted in Action, Liberalism, Patriarchy, Uncategorized, War on the Poor, white supremacy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Berkeley College Republicans “Turning Into A Fascist Front Group”

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It seems there are two kinds of journalists in the world today: those who pal around with fascists to hear their story – to find out what makes them tick and share supposed fascist “fragility” in their own, self-centering and glamorous profile pieces  – and those who seize the opportunity to take a photograph of an email signup sheet left unattended in a public building at a public event. Happily, I’ve found friends among the latter. The former can fuck off back to Oxford – or back to shared champagne in greenrooms with fascists.

Contrary to Berkeley College Republicans’ incendiary (and false) claims that, “a man on a bike road by Sproul Plaza and snatched their email list,” the provenance of this list is exactly as described above. An intrepid journalist with free and unencumbered access to a public building saw this list unattended on a table filled with promotional materials and sagely snapped a photograph. Which they then sent to me. To publish. While adding, almost desperately, “Please do this. The CRs are turning into a fascist front group really, really fast.”

Complaints by Berkeley College Republicans that publishing this list will invite “targeted harassment” ring more than a little hollow when the event they sponsored featured a fascist who actually has made his name in targeted harassment; Milo Yiannopoulos. That harassment continued on his current college tour at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where Yiannopoulos himself targeted a student for harassment. It has also been suggested that Yiannopoulos planned to out undocumented students at Cal, a claim supported by a campaign he himself planned to inaugurate there against “sanctuary campuses.” When your currency is targeted harassment, you should expect a refund in full and in kind from those who don’t buy your bullshit. All of this, of course, serves only to justify the militant resistance seen at Berkeley by students concerned about their own classmates’ safety and the bold actions of my source to out those who actually support targeted harassment.

But this isn’t about maintaining some lofty, liberal high ground – this is about fighting fascist fire with revolutionary steam. So without further ado, here is the list itself as it was conveyed to me:

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The List 

I saw the list and was immediately concerned; what if some people had planned to disrupt this event? But I also wondered, why then – would they signup on the BCR’s mailing list? So I sent a query letter, as any ethical journalist might, to gauge their thoughts on both the BCR’s lack of operational security and their feelings on Yiannopoulos and give them a chance to speak for themselves. I’m nothing if not fair. So I wrote them all a letter giving them ample time to respond and defend their own voluntary inclusion on that list:

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Several students responded to the letter immediately. The list includes a Cal baseball player and a Cal football player. They chose not to respond. However, the BCR’s did respond, making extraordinary (and false) claims of a brazen theft of their list on local media and to a rightwing “Campus Reform” website. The calls for my head came in loud and clear, as did the calls for outing me, which has already been done. I’m not afraid; my name is Craig Toennies and I’m against fascism.

Jon Rich responded:

Hi,
This mail was sent to me by mistake. I am not aware of being on any list. I did not attend the event. I do not condone or support Milo and his views, and I voted for Hillary Clinton in this last election.
Thanks.

Mason Cummings was a little more engaging, first responding:

Greetings,
I gave them my email via their website to hear about their upcoming events in order to have stimulating conversations that confront my own biases (given I consider myself a “liberal”). I did not have tickets to the Milo event nor did I attend the protests, so I don’t know why I am included in this list. I also believe satire/ridicule is the best remedy to such hateful speech, rather than covering one’s ears and demanding dissenting opinions be silenced. Unfortunately this is not the way in which the world works, you cannot simply hide from voices you do not wish to hear, you must confront them in order to extinguish them. If hate speech is a disease, open criticism is its treatment, and censorship merely acts as an aggravate.

But to the greater point, you really think anyone who was interested in the event was therefore a supporter of Mr Yiannopoulos? I find that patently absurd. I believe most rational people could see that an email list from the College Republicans does not imply that those on the list are: 1.) republican to begin with and 2.) even if they were republican that they necessarily agree or support the views of Milo. Of course, given I find myself on this list, one must realize that it in fact does not contain those who were attending the event, just those who had provided their email to the College Republicans.

I also would point out the hypocrisy in criticizing the non-consentual release of a person’s identity, yet in response turning around and doing the exact same thing.

Why would they need to protect my identity in the first place anyway? I can’t join political clubs at the university I attend? I really don’t care that people know I’m on the email list for a political club on my campus, especially given the fact that I myself am not a republican and did not have admission to the Milo event.

You’re really just making our side look more and more pathetic by doing this. I keep leaning farther and farther right as I cringe at the encroachment of liberties perpetrated by the party that once stood strongest for them.

Release my name anyway I really could care less- if it makes it so I can have engaging discussions with people that I disagree with then that’s something that should be appreciated, not feared.

Unfortunately for Cummings, his actual signature appeared on the list and he checked in at the event himself on Facebook. This seemed to contradict his claims of giving his “email via their website” and that he “did not attend.”

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I pressed Cummings on this point, and he continued:

Okay while writing this i just finished reading the article on his mocking of a trans student at UWM and that reallyyyyyyy pisses me off. Did he just straight up reveal their identity to the whole crowd? Did that student undergo any violence afterward? If that’s the case and that’s what he was planning on doing at UCB then i actually would not agree that he should have a platform to speak because that’s an incitement of violence. (I swear i’m not just saying this to appease you). I was told he was giving a talk on cultural appropriation and the conservative perspective on it, something that should I think in fact be allowed.

Yes, Mason. That’s pretty much what he did. And very likely what he planned to do at Cal.

Noah Jacobs, protested his inclusion and insisted he attended because liberal Professor Robert Reich suggested it:

To be honest, I went to a talk by Robert Reich about public discourse and political engagement. He urged us liberals to reach out across the aisle and bridge gaps and engage in constructive dialogue. I thought that by seeing what the College Republicans were up to (particularly what they organize week to week after that Milo stunt), would help provide more clarity and insight.
I by no means align myself with that group, but cutting myself off from people who think that way and resorting to my social media echo chamber would cut off information about the other side, and the roughly 66 million people who did vote for Trump.
Best,
Noah

Fair enough.

The rest of the list remained silent, which is their right – whether you’re a Cal baseball player like Trevin Haseltine or a Cal football player like Ryan Gibson. They’ll have to defend why they signed up to hear more from a campus group actively promoting the harassment of their classmates to their own teammates and classmates. And to you. But my work here  – for now – is done.

Again, I’m Craig Toennies and I’m against fascism. I’m down with punching actual fucking Nazis and I’m down with shutting down events that feature fascists. You can put me on that fucking list. I’m pretty sure I already am.

 

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Posted in ACAB/FTP, Action, California, Liberalism, Media, Queer, Uncategorized, War on the Poor, white supremacy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Erased By False Victory: Obama Hasn’t Stopped DAPL

This…

Transformative Spaces

14067704_1246845795349461_128050987172044891_n #NoDAPL protesters gather for a boat action in Standing Rock on August 20. (Photo: Kelly Hayes)

All Native struggles in the United States are a struggle against erasure. The poisoning of our land, the theft of our children, the state violence committed against us — we are forced to not only live in opposition to these ills, but also to live in opposition to the fact that they are often erased from public view and public discourse, outside of Indian Country. The truth of our history and our struggle does not match the myth of American exceptionalism, and thus, we are frequently boxed out of the narrative.

The struggle at Standing Rock, North Dakota, has been no exception, with Water Protectors fighting tooth and nail for visibility, ever since the Sacred Stone prayer encampment began on April 1.

For months, major news outlets have ignored what’s become the largest convergence of Native…

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John Oliver isn’t Mad Max, he’s part of the problem

READ:

Popaganda

When I was first recommended John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight, I knew it wouldn’t be the last time. Oliver had the benefit of coming from The Daily Show, which became a cherished liberal institution under Jon Stewart and had a unique power to shape conversations among a lot of progressive internet users. If anything, Oliver has the potential to be more influential than the show that birthed him. “That John Oliver’s weekly video(s) will go viral is a given,” wrote John Herrman in a post on a clickbait ritual he calls the “John Oliver video sweepstakes.” John Oliver is “winning the internet.” More than just a content factory, though, on his HBO show Oliver is getting credit for something like prime-time activism—Time lauds what they call the “John Oliver effect.”

He’s really, really, popular. When I watched the first clip I…

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White Cop Does Not Kill Black Motorist, Becomes National Hero

This. #Copaganda:

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White Cop Does Not Kill Black Motorist, Becomes National Hero ( Or: Why America Should Not Be Saved)

Posted by Bay Area Intifada

Written by Jabar

In 2015’s United States of America, a white police officer that does NOT shoot and kill a black motorist is considered a hero. In recent mainstream media (MSM) reports a white police officer named Matt Okes is being praised as a “hero” for not brutalizing or killing a young black male, Joseph Owusu, who was pulled over to the side of a road due to a flat tire.

Joseph, a Virginia Tech University student and son of Doctor Nada Owusu, has become famous overnight for not becoming the next victim of police murder.

The sheer fact that this story has been shared nearly a million times on social media and has been picked up by MSM tells another story altogether. One in which dark people; young…

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Copaganda Theater: “End of Watch”

A really great expansion on “copaganda” through the lens provided by Hollywood’s “End of Watch.”

Popaganda

Occupy LA Anti-Social Media (OLAASM) has published an excellent piece on the historical role of the Los Angeles police department, called “The LAPD: Not Your Model Police Department – But Definitely Theirs.” OLAASM writes that:

Los Angeles has long served as a proving ground where the counterinsurgency tactics later adopted by police throughout the United States were first domestically deployed. Ever since the nation’s very first no-knock SWAT raid on the Black Panther Party headquarters at 41st & Central and the CIA-facilitated, “crack cocaine explosion” that was first unleashed on South Central to more recent, repressive innovations like so-called “Community Policing” and today’s “Predpol,” (Minority Report-style pre-crime tactics –ed) the City of Angels has repeatedly been lauded as a “model” for “modern” policing.

OLAASM’s piece about how the LAPD is a “model” police department got me thinking about a film I just watched, which struck me as one…

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The LAPD: Not Your Model Police Department

The LAPD: Not Your Model Police Department – But Definitely Theirs

(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

 

Los Angeles has long served as a proving ground where the counterinsurgency tactics later adopted by police throughout the United States were first domestically deployed. Ever since the nation’s very first no-knock SWAT raid on the Black Panther Party headquarters at 41st & Central and the CIA-facilitated, “crack cocaine explosion” that was first unleashed on South Central to more recent, repressive innovations like so-called “Community Policing” and today’s “Predpol,” the City of Angels has repeatedly been lauded as a “model” for “modern” policing. But what is the Los Angeles model, really? And why is it being exalted again now?

In August, when people in Ferguson, Missouri bravely erupted in open revolt against the police after Darren Wilson murdered Mike Brown – their spirited resistance inspired and reenergized a movement nationwide. The collective rejection of establishment collaborators like Jessie Jackson, Al Sharpton and even newcomers like Antonio French also signaled a renewed challenge to the “negotiated management” of black rage. And power trembled.

Seemingly overlooked, however, Ferguson also exposed Police Chief Tom Jackson’s not-quite-ready-for-primetime media inexperience. When Jackson first got before cameras, he stuttered and stumbled. Pressured to face his critics (after several masterful, hug-filled photo ops by “star” Captain Ron Johnson), Jackson and his henchmen mucked their own PR stunt up and turned a peaceful march into a melee. Even after a canned, too-little-too-late apology to the Brown family, Jackson proved unable to recuperate his own public perception or that of his department.

That’s where the “LA model” comes in. As the media tells it, the LAPD have built an exemplary “bank of trust” with the community. But what community is that? Not us. The “private sector,” like real estate billionaires. The media. Self-selected “Civil Rights leaders” like Connie Rice, Earl Hutchinson and Najee Ali – that’s who. And that’s the core of “the LAPD model;” what I call “copaganda.” Highly managed dissent, maintained through the threat and actualization of the same old violence, but now reimagined for the public through relentless propaganda and the very deliberate tokenization of a very select few police collaborators. In short: the careful management of public perception.

In modern policing, preserving a positive public perception, what Feruson’s police couldn’t maintain, is paramount because – no matter what power says to the contrary – professional policing in the US is foundationally racist. As is true with capitalism itself, the bedrock our police were built upon is the ultraviolent management, hyperviolent exploitation and forced warehousing of black bodies and the protection of (white) private property. This has been the case since chattel slavery, where black bodies were the property itself, through the “ethnoracial exclusion” of the 20th Century ghetto system – and it continues today with what Glen Ford calls “Mass Black Incarceration” and Michelle Alexander calls “The New Jim Crow.”

You can’t reform that. And you certainly can’t alter the way it is enforced by police without even acknowledging it. Not with some technological pseudo-panacea like bodycameras. Not with empty slogans like “community policing.” And definitely not with mere “diversity.”

The truth that Los Angeles and other diverse police forces reveal is that non-white cops enforce the same order, the same racist laws, that white cops do. Diversity in policing, then, is clearly no real inhibitor to police violence; the system is violence. As Annalee Newitz once observed, “the police uniform, the badge, are like white skin, and the person who wears that skin is allowed to enforce laws which he doesn’t himself intend to follow.” After the Marikana Massacre in South Africa in 2012, Margaret Kimberley further explained, “White supremacy doesn’t necessarily need white people in order to function. It only needs people who understand clearly where whites stand vis a vis other groups. The black police who ordered the shootings and who carried them out were as much white supremacists as the white police who killed in the days of minority rule.”

White supremacy is the cudgel of capitalism and is the driving force of modern policing; the sine qua non, not some unintended and easily-tweakable consequence. What Loïc Wacquant called the “anti-black animus” that motivates modern policing is, indeed, fundamentally inseparable from it. Therefore, maintaining the current, racist order – and the inextricable role our police play in maintaining it – necessitates a constant obfuscation of that very fact. Or, in other words, it requires successful public relations. And that’s exactly where the LAPD excel.

 

The Carrot and the Stick: A Case Study in the LAPD “Model”

(MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

(MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

 

In a recent interview with CNN, President Bill Clinton shared his thoughts on the current incarnation of a movement he himself deftly undermined during his own Presidency by both bolstering police nationwide and accelerating the expansion of the carceral complex while championing obfuscating slogans like “community policing.” As reported by Andrew Romano, who investigated the topic of the Los Angeles model at some length – yet who still dutifully perpetuated its core tenets of faith – Clinton remarked:

“We used to have a terrible problem in Los Angeles,” he said. “And almost no one in the world has noticed that while the Ferguson controversy was going on, a civilian in Los Angeles was killed in a confrontation with the police. But because of the dramatic improvements in community relations and the sense of the people in the community that their lives had dignity, the process unfolded there as it should, and there were no mass demonstrations.”

“That’s what we’ve got to do everywhere in America,” Clinton concluded.

  Continue reading

Posted in ACAB/FTP, Action, Archival, California, Liberalism, Los Angeles, Media, Prisons, War on the Poor, white supremacy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The Agency

“Playing up agency while ignoring structure is associated with the political right. “

100 Flamingos

Here’s a cool conspiracy theory: writers are purposely injecting popular left discourse with a perverted interpretation of the concept of “agency.” And I don’t mean in university settings but more democratic spaces like Twitter. It’s being used by ostensible lefts only in service to US foreign policy and never in opposition.

Agency is “the capacity of individuals to act independently and to make their own free choices.” Typically, however, this is considered against the problem of Structure: “those factors of influence (such as social class, religion, gender, ethnicity, customs, etc.) that determine or limit an agent and his or her decisions.” Playing up agency while ignoring structure is associated with the political right. That’s why it’s been surprising to see this tendency among left-identifying figures.

An example of right-wing playing up of agency is when my Fox-watching dad complains, for instance, that black people “know better” and slavery and Jim Crow and the drug…

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