No More Pinochets

Michael Walzer famously asked if there could be a decent Left. Well, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) proved that there certainly is no decent Right. The WSJ recent "After the Coup in Cairo" opined: "Egyptians would be lucky if their new ruling generals turn out to be in the mold of Chile's Augusto Pinochet, who took power amid chaos but hired free-market reformers and midwifed a transition to democracy."

                                                                                                                          Pinochett.jpeg

 

Translation: Egypt is not generating enough profit for international capital. Therefore, the country's rulers should prioritize the liberty of the "free market" over the freedom of Egyptian citizens.

Missing in this paragraph is any historical, much less humanitarian, context.  The early 1970s Chilean government of democratic socialist Salvador Allende suffered "chaos" partly due to actions by the Nixon administration to flood the world market with copper (Chile's primary mineral export), fund a covert propaganda campaign against the President, and sponsor disruptive activities by upper-class citizens.  Despite these problems, Popular Unity's (Allende's electoral coalition) congressional representation grew in the 1973 by-election, indicating the growing popularity of his government's reforms.

The overthrow of the government on September 11, 1973 marked an immediate end to Chile's democratic socialization.  Pinochet's "Chicago Boys" subsequent economic experiment dramatically increased poverty in the country, privatized pensions for nearly everyone (conveniently excluding the military leaders), and opened Chile up to unchecked neo-liberal thievery. 

Chile's transition back to democracy was hardly due to the General and his junta's midwifery skills.   In fact, a plebiscite in 1988 ended the dictatorship despite a large campaign by the government against a return to representative democracy.  The election results, made famous to many Americans by the 2012 movie "No," was partly solidified when the Americans decided to recognize the votes.  The message was clear: General Pinochet no longer could rely on Washington.  The Cold War was over; capitalism had won.  Embarrassments like Pinochet were no longer useful to D.C.

The American government then was honest in a way the WSJ was this week. For neo-liberals, if there must be a choice, then liberty and freedom of the market must triumph over democracy and liberties of people.  If people are "irresponsible," as Henry Kissinger described the pro-socialist Chilean electorate, then one can justify a state intervening to correct a market failure.  Freedom from state interference is only sacred for economies, not for the people who make them run. 

David Duhalde is the Treasurer of Boston DSA.  His parents met through Chile Solidarity. 

LGBT Activism: A Brief History with Thoughts about the Future

April 01, 2017
· 67 rsvps

Historian John D'Emilio's presentation will do 3 things: Provide a brief explanation of how sexual and gender identities have emerged; provide an overview of the progression of LGBT activism since its origins in the 1950s, highlighting key moments of change; and, finally, suggest what issues, from a democratic socialist perspective, deserve prioritizing now. John co-authored Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America, which was quoted by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision that ruled state sodomy laws unconstitutional. 1 pm ET; 12 pm CT; 11 am MT; 10 am PT.

  1. This webinar is free for any DSA member in good standing.
  2. You need a computer with good internet access.
  3. Your computer must have headphones (preferred) or speakers; you can speak thru a mic or use chat to "speak".
  4. If you have questions, contact Peg Strobel, peg.strobel@sbcglobal.net.
  5. If you have technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt, schmittaj@gmail.com, 608-355-6568.

Film Discussion: Documentaries of People's History in Texas

April 02, 2017
· 30 rsvps

Join DSA members Glenn Scott and Richard Croxdale to discuss videos produced by People’s History in Texas (PHIT), a project that brings to life the stories of ordinary people in significant socio-political movements in Texas. They will discuss The Rag, their newest documentary, which tells the story of an influential underground paper based in Austin, Texas, from 1966-77. Click here to view Part I (the early years as an all-volunteer paper covering the student, anti-Vietnam and Civil Rights movements), Part II (the impact of Women’s Liberation on the paper) and Part III (building community: covering local politics, nukes, co-ops, feminist institutions). But also check out the video on the Stand-Ins about a group of university students who led a movement to desegregate Austin’s movie theaters in 1961. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT. Here's a blog post about PHIT.

What Is DSA? Training Call

April 05, 2017
· 12 rsvps

If you're a new DSAer, have been on a new member call, but still have questions about DSA's core values/strategy/core work and how to express these ideas in an accessible way to the media, as well as to friends, family and others who might be interested in joining DSA, this call is for you. 

We will talk through the basics of DSA's political orientation and strategy for moving toward democratic socialism, and also have call participants practice discussing these issues with each other. By the end of the call you should feel much more comfortable thinking about and expressing what DSA does and what makes our organization/strategy unique. 8 pm ET; 7 pm CT; 6 pm MT; 5 pm PT. 70 minutes.

Feminist Working Group

April 12, 2017
· 30 rsvps

People of all genders are welcome to join this call to discuss DSA's work on women's and LGBTQ issues, especially in light of the new political reality that we face after the elections.  9 pm ET; 8 pm CT; 7 pm MT; 6 pm PT.

DSA New Member Orientation Call

April 16, 2017
· 37 rsvps

You've joined DSA - Great. Now register for this New Member Orientation call and find out more about our politics and our vision.  And, most importantly, how you can become involved.  8 pm ET; 7 pm CT; 6 pm MT; 5 pm PT.

Film Discussion: The Free State of Jones

June 11, 2017
· 10 rsvps

Join Victoria Bynum, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History, Texas State University, San Marcos, to discuss The Free State of Jones. STX Entertainment bought the film rights to Bynum's book of the same title. She also served as a consultant and appears in a cameo scene. What was the Free State of Jones? During the Civil War, an armed band of deserters led by Newt Knight, a non-slaveholding white farmer, took to the swamps of southeastern Mississippi and battled against the Confederacy in an uprising popularly known as “The Free State of Jones.” Joining Newt in this rebellion was Rachel, a slave. From their relationship, there developed a controversial mixed-race community that endured long after the Civil War had ended. View the film here for $6 before the discussion. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.