Not too much doing here…for the most part I’m back to the daily grind, although I’m headed out to La Paz, Bolivia this weekend so hopefully they’ll be some new photos up sometime next week. Otherwise I’ve just been studying, but luckily that hasn’t been at all boring.

We’ve started the next unit in history, which means I’m back to reading as fast as possible to finish in time. At the moment, I’m reading another piece by Gabriel Salazar, but this is more “applied history” or “history in action”–in other words, how we use the past to inform and shape the actions and thoughts of the future.

Specifically, this piece discusses the ways in which our understanding of 20th century social movements can be used by the “jóvenes chilenos que han sido abusados por el modelo neoliberal” (but more generally, the young radicals and revolutionaries of today) to create a potent New Left that is positioned to take on the unique challenges posed by an increasingly globalized Neoliberal-market-based oppressor class.

Salazar is careful not to provide the form of this New Left himself; he is adamant that it must be created by the youth themselves, based upon their experiences of oppression and repression at the hands of said oppressive system. Instead, he contains himself to a historical analysis of various failed 20th century reformist and revolutionary movements (specifically the various iterations of Chilean Marxism) with an eye towards illuminating theoretical failings rather than practical ones (which everyone and their mother have hashed out since the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution). It’s a short piece, so the historical analysis is lacking a bit in terms of proving his point (as I’m working my way through his other work I’m discovering that he’s got the data to back himself up although he doesn’t present it all here) but it’s definitely giving me a lot of food for thought. I’m only about half-way through at the moment, so I’ll post an update once I finish it to let you know if my opinion has changed at all. For the moment though…yes, I am impressed.

If you’d like to check out the piece yourself, click here. Just a heads up, it’s in Spanish, and it doesn’t look like there’s an English translation but I’ll try to translate it myself and post it when I get some free time. In the mean time, here’s an excerpt:

Por esto, porque las nuevas geenraciones juveniles están convirtiendo en pensamiento crítico su propio ser social, es que no se desbandarán de la crítica que llevan encarnada en ellas mismas. Su pensamiento no es sino su propio ser crítico. Equivalente a su identidad y su vida reales. Si han encarnado en sí mismos, hasta hoy, 30 años de liberalismo total ¿quién borrará esa “carne”de su memoria de su ser? ¿Quién, durante esas décadas, ha podido “rehabilitar” esta “dañada” juventud? Es decir: ¿quién ha podido transformar la “carne” de su victimización en el discurso “abstracto” de su victimario? ¿Quién ha logrado detener -a nombre de la gobernabilidad liberal- el avance epidémico del hip-hop, del rock rebelde, de los grupos de esquina, de los centros y “cordones” culturales, de los colectivos universitarios, de las barras bravas, de los grupos delicativos? ¿Quién eliminará el empleo precario que los margina, la educación mercantil que los filtra, la mascarada política que los apesta, la represión que los irrita? Es decir: ¿quién detendrá la historia que los “hace”?


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