The Good Neighbour

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The United States of America prides itself on being the strongest regional hegemon in the world. It sees itself as the worlds police force with the rights as well as the capability to impose its way of life on other states. Obviously, this is not always to be seen as a bad thing, however, the obnoxiousness in which it carries itself has tended to rub a lot of states the wrong way.


Being from England, as a child I grew up wanting to be American, my television was flooded with American shows as much as British, everything about Hollywood seemed newer and shinier. The trips we took as families were to hotspots Disneyland and New York, ethereal places which could not be recaptured in tiny rainy Britain. Time has changed my perspective. Behind the glamour lies an ugly history of genocide, gun violence and corruption. Being so close to the states in Canada has only affirmed this view in my mind. However, whilst Canada is generally respected by the States, Latin America is not nor has it ever been. The United States might be a good neighbour to us, but it has certainly not always been a great neighbour to Latin America.

Who can forget what Donald Trump has said about Mexico in the past.

The funniest thing is that Donald Trump is not the first president to not treat Latin America with respect, the anger felt is at times very justified


The Export Boom as Modernity

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I have always found the concept of “modernity” to be one to investigate. This drive for modernity came during the core period of the Second Industrial Revolution. Contextually, improvements in the transport industry and technology propelled states into untouchable power. Paired with the scramble for Africa, this desire for “modernization” is by no means unorthodox.

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But who do we give the power to choose what “modernization” is, and how many times it can be seemingly replaced for the word normal? Is modernization the harbouring of technology or a certain kind of dress, is it consuming a product because it is popular in a seemingly more powerful state. Maybe it is all of these things, but it does show how cognizant states in Latin America were of those around them.


I find it particularly striking that despite the fact that politically the Latin America ran so differently to the west. Ultimately, it competed with the major powers.

Citizenship and Rights in the New Republics III

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“She rejects equality in the name of the advantagess that (some) women felt they enjoyed under the existing regime: the “unequalled mastery” making them “strong, colossal in the midst of their weakness”

I think the concept of the past not necessarily being in the past to be incredibly striking. 1888 might seem like it was a while ago, but there are still widespread ramifications of slavery not just in the America’s but in Europe. I also think that the idea of “rights” and who gets to have them is also potent. For example voting and who gets to do it, even today in the Americas not every citizens vote has the same equal weight. When Pelliza de Sagasta was mentioned I found it compelling how she did not care for improvement as it might threaten her own comfort. Comparing that to politics today, I find voters apathy to be much of the same nature. Especially in terms of big voting events such as the American Election and Brexit, the amount of people who chose not to go out and vote simply because there lives were comfortable echos this.

The fact that de Sagasta was a middle class white woman speaks volumes, today, we are still debating the nuances of “white feminism” and what gravitas intersectionality plays in civil rights movements. All in all this video was very interesting and very relevant to everything that is happening in the world today.

Caudillos versus the nation state

It matters who you know and how well you know them

Before watching this video I had never heard of clientism, I had never heard of the caudillos, but I had heard of liberalism. In some ways, liberalism is the guise that leads much of the Western world, that if you work hard eventually you will rise up through the ranks. What is most potent about this, however, is that much of this notion is a lie. The idea of upward mobility is often a ruse to make people complacent with their lot in life when in reality most societies rely on a scheme of clientism.

Even today who you know and how well you know them often trumps how smart you are. There is a cycle of poverty and insecurity among the working classes that have not been fixed post-revolutionist times, and I believe that it is time that we realised this.