The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'chile'
Speaking of the past vanquishing the future, today is the 40th anniversary of the Chilean coup which, signed off by Richard Nixon, overthrew the (democratic socialist) Allende government and established the Pinochet dictatorship, a combination of classic Franco-style Iberian fascism and radical free-market ideology (courtesy of Chicago economist Milton Friedman, whom Nixon had parachuted in; Friedman went on to far greater things; advising Ronald Reagan and becoming the father of the neoliberal economic order we live in today). The Pinochet dictatorship ruled for seventeen years and crushed dissent, real and imagined, with stunning brutality, murdering Communists, trade unionists, human-rights activists, nuns and owners of suspicious literature (for example, books of art by Picasso—he was a Communist, you know—were enough) indiscriminately. Other than the big landowners whose near-feudal grip on their vast tracts of land and the lives of the peasants who came with it had been threatened by Allende, the big winners were multinational corporations (Friedman brought in a spree of privatisations, and the regime kept labour costs low and suppressed industrial complaints) and the Catholic Church (which was given a central role in the ultra-conservative society Pinochet built).
The Pinochet regime had its defenders for a long time after it fell; the most infamous was the late Margaret Thatcher, a close friend of Pinochet's who went to her grave proclaiming him to be a champion of freedom. (Either Thatcher's views or her outspokenness in them weren't widely shared at the time.) Other than that, it's mostly trolls and cranks these days, with most respectable conservatives tactfully keeping shtum (the Daily Torygraph's front page, for instance, is conspicuous in its lack of mention of this anniversary). As memory of the dictatorship's atrocities recedes into the past and witnesses die, however, we will undoubtedly see it rehabilitated by the self-styled mavericks of the Right, in the way that Spain's conservatives are rehabilitating the Franco regime, and the cult of Mussolini is enjoying renewed popularity in Italy; perhaps in ten years' time, we'll see a spate of articles by the rising stars of free-market thinktanks about the 50th anniversary of the Liberation Of Chile From Socialism.
Across Mexico, hundreds of kids gather to beat up emo kids in violent riots. The emo-bashers have come from all walks of life, with other youth fashion tribes (goths, metalheads, mohican punks, Elvis-pompadoured rockabillies) and football fans uniting to whale on a common foe in a spectacularly violent fashion (the word "pogrom" has come up repeatedly in reports). And there is more analysis here:
Anger against the emos has come from many quarters: punks and goths who think emos are ripping off their culture, homophobes who don’t find emos masculine enough, and those who simply seem threatened by a group that is so different than the mainstream.
Here are a couple examples of anti-emo anger from a Mexican website: “I HATE EMOS!!! They are not even people, they are so stupid, they cry over meaningless things…My school is infested with them, I want to kill them all!” and “We’ve never seen all the urban tribes unite against one single tribe before…Emos, their way of thinking is for crap, if you are so depressed please do us all a favor and kill yourselves!”Meanwhile, anti-emo riots have also taken place in Chile, where emo kids are known, for some reason, as "pokEMOnes". They don't seem to have spread outside of Latin America, though; perhaps the explosion of anti-emo violence (rather than mere mocking comments posted on online forums) is a result of emo and "crying over meaningless things" being a particularly unpardonable infraction against the unwritten codes of masculinity in Latin American machismo?
Chilean free-market reformer General Pinochet is dead. Former British PM Margaret Thatcher is greatly saddened. Meanwhile, left-wing troublemakers such as Geoffrey Robertson QC and the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture are unhappy that he'll never face justice for the 3,000 people who were killed or "disappeared" and the numerous others tortured as part of his reforms.
Paul Schaefer was a Nazi officer during World War 2; after the war, he fled to Chile, where he established a religious cult named "Colonia Dignidad". Surrounded by barbed wire and guard towers with searchlights, inside it resembled one of those German pastoral scenes the Nazis were so fond of, where the men wore lederhosen and the women wore their hair in pigtails, except for the bit about young boys receiving electric shocks to their genitals to condition them against sexual desires, and secret tunnels under the compound where Schaefer's friend, Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, had dissidents tortured to the strains of Wagner. Schaefer, who fled to Argentina in 1997, is now facing trial for sexually abusing young boys. (thanks to Conrad for bringing this to my attention)
A somewhat vague look at Cybersyn, an experimental communications network used by the Allende socialist government in Chile to more efficiently manage a command economy. It sounds something like what the Internet would have been like had it been invented by Soviet scientists out of a Ken Macleod novel.
There's a Slashdot discussion about this (undoubtedly due to devolve into a Godwin-invoking flamewar at any time), in which one poster mentioned that the network was so designed to prevent centralisation of information and prevent it being used as the backbone of a totalitarian state; the idealistic British engineer who designed it made sure of that. Interesting that the Guardian article never mentions that; could it be that the writer is an old-guard leftist, of the sort sometimes found writing for the Guardian, who would perish the thought that such a worthy socialist experiment could have possibly been at risk of turning into an Orwellian dystopia?
Those comsymps at the Grauniad are having a minute's silence for September 11 victims -- September 11, 1973, when the CIA-backed Pinochet regime overthrew Allende in Chile. Mind you, the estimated 30,000 men, women and children who were killed were all Communists, who would have enslaved Chile under a hellish Stalinist dictatorship had the CIA not intervened in the name of defending freedom worldwide.
(Wasn't it Kissinger or someone who articulated the difference between "totalitarianism", which is uniformly evil (and ideologically "left-wing"), and "authoritarianism", which can be benign, a strong state concerned about defending cherished values and such?)
On a similar tangent, I once heard that one of the reason for the West's toleration of the Indonesian invasion of East Timor was that Fretilin had troublingly leftist leanings; an independent East Timor would have been a probable Soviet client state, and Australia could have had its own Cuban Missile Crisis. And what better experts on Communist eradication in the asia-pacific region than Suharto's New Order?