Sunday, March 20, 2011

Popular Uprisings

God help me, old tricky Dick Nixon might have been right when he said, "Communism isn't sleeping; it is, as always, plotting, scheming, working, fighting." Problem is that's how all systems operate.

Does it make a difference if the sanctions or bomb says Johnson or Carter, Reagan or Clinton, Bush or Obama? Made in China, made in Russia, made in Israel, made in the US?

Who do you think is behind "popular uprisings"? Capitalists? The US? Communists, pinkos, left, right? The people? Republican, democrats? Freemasons? Illuminati? Rockefellers? Jesus or Allah? Foppish Europeans?

Who or what is really behind the popular uprisings in Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, etc. ... let's take an uprising I'm familiar with - the Sandinistas versus the Contras.

Folklore tells us the Sandinistas were a group of poets and idealistic middle class college kids who wanted to bring hope and change to Nicaragua. They took the name of Augusto Sandino, the 1930s Nicaraguan rebel, freedom fighter, who also fought to throw off the yoke of imperialism, to rid the country of presidents who were puppets of the US, you know the slogans. Viva Sandino! Patria libre.

Sandino was the illegitimate son of a wealthy landowner, his mother a servant. He moved in with his father at age 9. Most wealthy latino men claim, raise, and educate their "outside" children, especially sons.

Pop culture sites say Sandino left home in 1921, around age 28, traveling to Mexico where he worked at Standard Oil and became involved with anti-imperialists, socialists, anarchist groups. True, but he fled Nicaragua because he had attempted to murder the son of a prominent "conservative" townsman, over remarks the man made about his momma. He returned to Nicaragua in 1926 or so when the statute of limitations ran out on his charges.

Isn't 28 a bit old to try and kill someone talking trash about your momma? In Sandino's own words he also returned to Nicaragua to marry his cousin Maria Mercedes, had saved enough money to open his own grain business in Managua, and his father had pleaded for him to come home now that the statute had ran out. So a poor indigenous peasant of the people or a favored son of a wealthy conservative landowner? Hard to separate fact from propaganda when studying dead heroes. When his business venture did not get off the ground he turned to making fame and fortune using the techniques he witnessed during his years in Mexico - become a rebel with a cause. There's a lot to Sandino but a good deal of it is myth and happenchance.

But until at least age 28 and until he fled to Mexico, Sandino was not all that political, although you'll find snips that say he was affected at 17 when he saw the body of General Zeledon being carried on an oxcart by the US Marines after a coup attempt. But if he hadn't tried to kill a guy for talking about his momma, had he stayed in Nicaragua and not spent those 5 years in Mexico's leftist community, had his grain business succeeded on his return, would he have become a rebel? Sandino was said to be a prolific writer and gifted speaker. So apparently someone provided a decent education. If you read far and wide, particularly Sandino's own writings you might begin to wonder if he was just a little man in a big hat with an even bigger ego.

The then president Bautista and his commandante Somoza within a year or so wiped out the band of Sandinistas and killed Sandino, who then became a people's hero, to be revived in the 1960s by the aforementioned older Nicaraguan poets, preppies and college kids, specifically Tomas Borge and Carlos Fonseca. Take it to the masses, the poor. Promise them anything if they support the popular uprising. Nicaragua's factions have always been the Liberal and Conservative. Which have today, like the US and elsewhere, blurred their platforms to the point it's hard to tell them apart. Say anything to get elected and reelected. Possibly because that's the only way governments can keep real revolution at bay - simply agree to take turns screwing the people and call it democracy. Would you like some ink on that finger? A sticker for you hon? says "I Voted."

Who organizes, trains, arms, funds, and manages these "popular uprisings"? Do guerrillas awake to find rifles and grenade launchers under their hammocks or camels or huts? Along with detailed logistics and long-term strategy?

No, my friends. The super players are their handlers. Super players grease the wheels of revolutions aka popular uprisings - once they see a certain group has serious potential and a leader to lead an armed rebellion.

Although still denied by old Sandinistas and lefties everywhere - Russia was in the mountains long before they began overtly supplying the junta that marched victoriously into Managua in1979. In fact, a Sandinista cofounder, Carlos Fonseca wrote a book in 1957, after a trip to Moscow, chronicling his visit to the USSR entitled Un Nicaraguense en Moscu (A Nicaraguan In Moscow). He praised the achievements of the USSR ... its "free press, complete freedom of religion and the efficiency of its worker-run industries". And Fonseca was a Sandinista intellectual.

Fonseca died long ago, 3 years before the Sandinista victory, but Borge lives on. Ambassador now, twittering for the little people about the awful conservative millionaires who despise him, and Hugo Chavez and other leftists (although Borge himself a millionaire). This from a man who believed "either the rich will exploit the poor, or the poor will free themselves by wiping out the privileges of the millionaires," excluding those millionaires like Borge who lead you to the millionaires who are to lose their privileges.

(One of Sandino's daughter, Blanca, and family lived in Cuba from 1961 to 1979 when grandson Walter Sandino returned to Nicaragua, about the same time the Sandinistas took power, and took a post in the Sandinista government for a while. Tubby and decadent Walt was educated in Russia. Daniel Ortega supposedly married into the Sandino bloodline and Danny too trained in Cuba in the 1960s. Still think USSR and Cuba weren't involved in the Sandinista's popular uprising? Maybe it really is just a family/clan activity.)

I knew 2 brothers in Nicaragua, actually knew the whole family of 22, counting the patriarch's outside children. Some were Sandinista, some were Contra, some managed to get to L.A. or Miami and sit the war out. Some sons were Sandinista, the others Contra. Truly brother against brother. Although the Contra sons initially fought with the Sandinistas, like many others a couple of years after "victory" they left disillusioned, to join the Contras. It took about 5 years for most campesinos to realize that the Sandinistas were not going to deliver much of that hope and change they had promised. Perhaps that is why pols favor 5-year plans - it takes that long for the people to recognize it's b.s. so they need a new plan every 5. And years ago I believed the results might have been different had the US left well enough alone in Nicaragua - but no longer believe that to be true. Isn't hindsight great.

The Contra presence, their threat, their engagement, their resistance was limited. Simply put - the Sandinistas lost the support of the people. And they lost that support because once in power, like all pols, they were too occupied with maintaining power to do what needed to be done for the people. The people (fodder) were their means to an end (power).

Oh sure, the Sandinistas confiscated some land from the rich absent landlords and set up co-op farms but that doesn't work on a large scale, unless you have a guy with a whip on a horse patrolling the fields. And more than a few of the remaining co-op farms today have been saved only because US or International nonprofits stepped in to pay off loans on the land, buy products (usually coffee) at above Fair Trade prices, charging the customers on the consumer end a whopping price for a cup of coffee. The 21st century style of how to make profit and feel warm fuzzies doing it. There are world fair trade organizations globally providing such aid - community organizing on a global scale. They help farmers survive. The third world farmers will not become rich nor even middle class, they will never have a car or a garage or 2 chickens in every pot, but they will survive, crop to crop, hand to mouth. They still do not own their land as the 40 other families on it are technically owners and bankers will forever hold the deed for equipment and seed, and they are still beholden to white progressive capitalists far away who help keep prices inflated by paying the difference. Twenty-first century "free market." Some day some of their children may move up and out, then who will work the farms. But let's not borrow trouble. As long as the underclasses breed like rabbits, and they will, there will always be plenty of field hands and uprisers.

Nicaraguans today are no better off than they were under Somoza. In fact, some might say worse as a local there told me as much as he says those who returned from the US brought their drugs and crime and immorality back with them. I suppose it depends solely on perception, as anywhere. If you're part of the class that has a bigger retaining wall around your house and heavier bars on the windows, you have a rosier outlook.

As I said before, it's not about "sharing the wealth" - it's who gets to control the wealth. One side offers the little people slightly more chance of lifting themselves up by their own abilities, the other side offers no chance of that but they will see that you "survive." And if you can't figure out which side is which you're probably supporting the wrong side.

Point is, if there is a point, is the men and women in government will never live up to their promises because they do not want to and never intend to, and we do not hold them to their promises. Anymore than Clinton brought peace and prosperity, or Bush the Boy brought back integrity, or Obama brought hope and change, or the Sandinistas a utopia of social equality. Heroes are rare. So they are invented out of any handy man (or woman) who steps up, after being properly groomed, to play the role and lead an uprising which more or less maintains the status quo but with slightly different rhetoric.

So Viva .... whomever!

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