Mar 302013

Meanwhile after the continental shift of the hierarchy following the death of Hugo Chavez four weeks ago on March 5th -Our leader is never dead, los Pueblos Unidos announce – those of the left wishing to  lay claim to the radical tradition must now speak in Spanish. Think Latin America (ex-Europa). Consider the “Pink Tide” :

- 1998, Hugo Chavez (immortal.. or until 2030 at least), President  of Venezuela

- 2000, Ricardo Lagos (socialist), President of Chile

- 2002, Lula da Silva (centre left), President of Brazil… and his successor

… so that by 2009, 17 out of 20 of Latin America’s democratic republics left or centre-left (although these days Mexico, Peru, Chile and Colombia are back-peddling hard), and Argentina…

Republics of Hope: radical tradition and the space and rhetoric of Latin America. There are two strands of the strange overgrowth claiming to be ushering in happiness for its peoples, the new freedoms, the championing the poor, and the overthrowing of the old elitist patterns of culture and economic life; algae and jellyfish. The algae are the more productive strand of the radical left, pragmatic, technocratic, and social democratic (radical tradition) whose priority is to meet the social needs of los Pueblos Unidos and to provide economic stability. The aim and purpose of the more dangerous jellyfish is revolution, rooted in populism, continuing class struggle, and the distribution of land and hand-outs to the poor. By the $$$ measures of happiness  the algae appear to be being the more successful of the two strands  – but we wish to question the measuring instrument of happiness: as one Spanish speaking commentator put it, “Hope, a feeling of being listened to… you can’t put a dollar figure on that. It is a revolution of the mind”.

And hope in Argentina… as equivocal as us two naughties – los escualidos (a chavismo turn of phrase), the “squalid ones”- and the city of Buenos Aires… where cowds of earth spirit women (like LULU) stride the streets. And we also await how Papa Francesco will articulate the “Pink Tide”  at the Vatican. But is it not a strange coincidence that we spent so many months last year in the literary tragi-comedy and moral irony space and rhetoric in the pampas of Argentina on foot, horse and train, and in Buenos Aires (returning to the Villa Miserias of that city only recently)?