What are we to do when “democracy” is the signifier and “imperialism” is the signified?
In Nicaragua the past few months was plagued by protests. The “Nicaraguan people” were protesting for “democratic reforms” and “the United States” was “deeply concerned about… the violence perpetuated by security forces against demonstrators.” Daniel “I-used-to-be-super-cool” Ortega, the president of Nicaragua, was facing an onslaught of slanderous attacks at the bidding of the Amerikkkan state. But the attacks continue.
Hell, even Noam “My-politics-are-unreliable” Chomsky jumped on board. This is the man who stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the Sandinistas against imperialism not that long ago.
The Huffington Post warns us that “we may be witnessing the rise of fascism in Nicaragua.”
Remember when there really was fascism in Nicaragua? For decades, the country was ruled by the Somoza family dictatorship as a U.$. client state. Following the revolution in 1979, the Sandinistas came to power and returned Nicaragua to the people.
Like all good Marxist-Leninist governments, the Sandinistas completely reformed the country – increasing literacy, access to healthcare, women’s rights, nationalizing industries, and improving housing, education, and working conditions for everyone.
After Ronald “I’m-a-huge-fucking-piece-of-shit” Reagan was elected president by the Amerikkkan people, his regime set out on funding paramilitaries to destroy Nicaragua. The Contras, U.$.-backed terrorists, stalked throughout the country and sowed chaos, murdering men, women, and children with unbelievable savagery.
Ortega lost the rigged elections of 1990 and the Sandinista revolution was dismantled. This is what happens when you hold elections in a country that the U.$. wants to control, but that’s neither here nor there.
Violeta “I’m-an-anti-feminist-asshole” Chamorro became the head of state and instituted Amerikkkan shock therapy, which Wikipedia summarizes thus:
The Chamorro years initiated a period of significant economic and social decline for Nicaragua. From 1990 to 2001, the country fell from 60th to 116th in the world in terms of human development, and has become the poorest of America after Haiti, according to United Nations Development Programme.
But, of course, she was the first elected female head of state in Latin America, so liberals should just love her, right?
In 2006, Ortega ran again and narrowly won to join our comrades in the Pink Tide: Chavez, Correa, Lula, Morales, Zelaya, Mujica, Kirchner, and the list goes on and on…
Of course, by this time, Ortega had made his peace with capitalism (unfortunately). Since 2006, Ortega has simply mimicked much of Chavez’s 21st Century Socialism – food programs, labor programs, social security.
Is it really a coincidence that the protests in Nicaragua in 2018 are so similar to the protests in Venezuela in 2017?
“Student Protests” & (Amerikkkan-backed) “democracy” being “repressed” by “an authoritarian leader” – it’s the same old script.
Interestingly, these new rounds of protests started in April, when the government planned to cut social security and pensions.
You mean the social security and pensions that they created?
That’s exactly what I mean.
And installing some pro-Amerikkkan leader will help them get better social security and pensions!?
Obviously not, dear reader.
But this is all a game, of course.
Some people, such as Jeffrey “Super-wonderful-academic” Gould, are insisting that those of us on the left need to recognize that “Daniel Ortega of today is not the Daniel Ortega of the Sandinista Revolution“, as published in the liberal-left pages of Jacobin.
Gould’s argument is directed at “a segment of the international left whose hatred of US imperialism has affected their capacity for critical thought.”
“Critical thought” here apparently means openly criticizing Ortega’s government and siding with an opposition that, according to Gould, “includes rightists, social democrats, and anarchists, and undoubtedly receives some support from some very dark corners of the hemisphere.”
Admittedly, anti-imperialists do have a hatred of U.$. imperialism, although it seems to me that the lack of critical thought here is on the part of these pseudo-leftists who are eager to write damning texts about leftist governments in Euro-Amerikkkan journals and blogs primarily written for people in imperialist countries (shout-out to this blog!).
Here’s some critical thought: if we accept that there is an Amerikkkan hand here (which Gould admits), then we ought to side with Ortega against imperialism. Not because Ortega does everything perfectly or because Nicaragua is some utopia, but because imperialism is the primary contradiction. Imperialism is not the solution.
If there is “regime change” in Nicaragua, the situation won’t get better – it will get much, much worse!
Just as it did, by the way, in 1990.
This is the reason that real leftists need to take a step back and analyze the situation before they go around huffing and puffing about “the increasingly authoritarian tendencies of the Ortega administration”.
The international left needs to engage in some real critical thinking, because otherwise this strain of Amerikkkan liberalism is going to continue to establish barricades (like the protestors) to choke out small, poor, leftist countries and replace them with Western-backed regimes.
The United $tates is clearly involved in the attempt here to destabilize Nicaragua, everyone can see that.
Despite Ortega’s willingness to play ball, it isn’t enough (it’s never enough). There are good reasons for leftists to be dissatisfied with Ortega, but the answer is never to side with Amerikkkan fascists dressed up as democrats.
The Nicaraguan people know this and that’s why they came out in huge numbers in the middle of July to celebrate the anniversary of the revolution. What was aptly called a “coup attempt” was soundly defeated, the protests were quelled, and things have already returned to normalcy.
The Nicaraguan people won’t let Daniel be thrown in the lion’s den. We shouldn’t either.