Monday, July 20, 2009
Typically, though, Giordano concludes with his new line of defense to exonerate Obama from the deficiencies of US policy:
Strip away all the sensationalism, distortion, simulation, ideological axe-grinding, flotsam and jetsam of media coverage of events in Honduras over the past month and it still boils down to one central conflict:
The coup regime fears, and was imposed as a last line of defense against, Citizen Power.
Citizen Power – Poder Ciudadano, in Spanish, which was the credo on the posters and ads of Manuel Zelaya’s victorious 2005 presidential campaign – manifested itself this year in popular demands for a referendum on whether to write a new Honduran Constitution via democratically elected representatives to a constitutional convention.
It’s that simple, and the coup regime’s fear of authentic democracy is exactly why the failed talks in Costa Rica between the two sides have now ended without agreement on anything at all, as foreseen here and elsewhere.
Sigh. Giordano at his ludicrous, irrational best, utilizing his favorite rhetorical technique, the invocation of false binary oppositions. Please, someone tell him that the left and its intellectual advocates have moved beyond structuralism.
The analyses that assign all the responsibility for the coup’s success or failure to Washington are, in reality, quite dismissive of – and insulting to the people who organized - those victories from below and their consequences.
Immanuel Wallerstein, however, hits the nail on the head with this point:That’s not to say that efforts to unforce that hand in Washington aren’t worthy. We’ve done plenty of that, too. But to obsess upon a weakened empire that no longer has the absolute power to determine history in Latin American lands while also largely ignoring the struggle from below inside Honduras – a faux pas that most of the Washington-centric leftish analysis has committed – is to dismiss and disrespect the strides already made by organized peoples throughout this hemisphere.
What about the United States? When the coup occurred, some of the raucous left commentators in the blogosphere called it Obama's coup. That misses the point of what happened. Neither Zelaya nor his supporters on the street, nor indeed Chavez or Fidel Castro, have such a simplistic view. They all note the difference between Obama and the U.S. right (political leaders or military figures) and have expressed repeatedly a far more nuanced analysis.
“It seems quite clear that the last thing the Obama administration wanted was this coup. The coup has been an attempt to force Obama's hand.
To state the obvious, we do not dismiss and disrepect the efforts of the Hondurans and their supporters in Central America to reverse the coup by observing that the Obama administration is perfectly willing to harvest the rewards of it, the disempowerment of Zelaya and the social movements associated with him, through the work of its mediator, Oscar Arias. Instead, it is complimentary, because it encourages people here in the US to pressure the Obama adminstration to take more forceful action on behalf of the coup resistance on the ground.
So far, regardless of whether the Obama administration knowingly assisted the coup plotters, or greenlighted their plan, it is evident that they have become his adoptive children, a means by which he believes that he can achieve his aspiration of rendering Central Americans as deferential to elites as Americans. In this respect, I disagree with one of the primary themes of the Wallerstein piece linked by Giordano. Wallerstein maintains that Obama has been wiggling ever since the coup.
Well, maybe he is, after all, isn't that usually the case these days? But Secretary of State Clinton hasn't been, and neither has Oscar Arias, and Obama is allowing them to speak and act on his behalf. Both have acted in a calculated, deliberate way to force Zelaya to return to Honduras under terms that legitimize the coup (the Arias coaliton government proposal, now dead, required that the coup pepetrators be granted political amnesty and permitted to serve in the government). There has not been anything erratic or confused about what they have done.
Meanwhile, US and European media now describe Zelaya and Micheletti as rivals, and the current government of Honduras as an interim one. One suspects that Lanny Davis has passed this public relations strategy along to appropriate State Department personnel for use in off the record, background briefings. Fortunately, it hasn't deterred the people of Honduras from taking to the streets to demand the return of their president.
For Giordano to suggest that Obama could not bring this coup down today (even if it might take several days to play out) by observing that the US no longer has the absolute power to determine history in Latin American lands is disingenous in the extreme. Of course, no country has the absolute power to do anything (yes, we are dealing with one of those calculated, manipulative word choices by Giordano), but there are clearly measures that Obama could undertake to bring this situation to a conclusion, such as cutting off all military and economic assistance. Of course, Obama has no interest in them, because it would empower the people of Honduras to pursue an alternative to the neoliberalism imposed by the US.
And, finally, we are treated to the factionalism that so characterizes Giordano these days: But to obsess upon a weakened empire that no longer has the absolute power to determine history in Latin American lands while also largely ignoring the struggle from below inside Honduras – a faux pas that most of the Washington-centric leftish analysis has committed – is to dismiss and disrespect the strides already made by organized peoples throughout this hemisphere.
Where to begin? First, there is no Washington-centric leftist analysis, merely one that recognizes the existing power relationships between the coup perpetrators in Honduras and their historic allies in the US government. Second, as already noted, to expose these relationships, something that, rather contradictory, Narco News also does, and urge Americans to confront them, are acts of solidarity with the people of Honduras, not an attempt to push them to the margins.