Week 12 – Speaking Truth to Power

For this week, several sources caught my attention. The first of these: “Revolutionary Womens’ Law”, reminded me of the Political Program of the Partido Independiente de Color’s declaration. Both are documents which lay out precise reforms for disenfranchised groups. However, a distinction between the two is that whilst “Revolutionary Womens’ Law” reaffirms that anyone, regardless of intersectionality, can join the fight so long as they share in the common goal, the Partido was a virtually exclusively African or mixed political body.

Rita De Grandis’ interview as well as the accompanying Doc 10.1 spoke on the fact that people, especially youth, were being “disappeared”. This really speaks to the perceived threat of the people, which seems to have increased alongside technology. The strength of the Chile Thriller Protest and the Chilean feminist anthem certainly owe some credit to the technology which enabled crucial parts of these demonstrations (an obvious observation being that they are immortalized through video). As a consequence of that, as the Guardian video shows, the “song and accompanying dance have spread throughout the world”. Furthermore, whereas the Madres may have started as “fourteen women in the Plaza de Mayo on April 30”, it is easier now than ever to mobilize large gatherings with the internet.

Rita speaks about “women not denying their gender roles but rather imbuing them with political value”. Even the innocence and “apolitical” role of motherhood, however, did not completely shield these women from the wrath of the Argentine regime (nor the 2 French nuns). In current day, it appears as though solidarity, such as what manifests in the feminist anthem, is cognizant of this. By likening the “oppressive state” to a “macho rapist” and further condemning the police, the state, and the president, the very institutions and most powerful forces of the country are directly reproached. The role of drug-dealers is also a crucial and interesting part of this week’s reading. In many ways, and as the classic example that Escobar shows (he was able to build his own prison, Le Catedral), the hierarchies in Latin America can be very particular. What Dawson says is the “balance of forces” may have been pivoted towards the state during the dirty wars, but in current time it looks as though many other forces have reclaimed their stake in national power (including narcos, as shown by doc. 10.8).

I recall in last week’s readings that Cameron mentioned how Peru may still have fresh wounds from the time preceding Fujimori. Therefore, while Fujimori committed crimes against humanity, he isn’t necessarily disliked by many Peruvians because he is associated with the capture of the Shining Path leader (even though this was orchestrated luckily by police). In fact, Cameron claims that there persists a fear in Peru that challenging the government threatens the stability of the country. This certainly has its precedent in Peru, what with the conflict fought by the Shining Path. My question is, do you think there are cases like this in Latin America, in which traumas of the recent period of “dirty wars” and terror may dissuade social protest or reform?

2 thoughts on “Week 12 – Speaking Truth to Power

  1. mirella reichenbach livoti

    Hi David,

    I think for sure trauma can hinder social protest but I think it also be used for mobilizing social and political reforms. For example, in the recent referendum Chilean people voted for a new constitution to be written as they recognized that the constitution written during the military dictatorship was holding them back and had been imposed onto the population. Moreover, I think it is the same trauma and pain that makes people stand against the threats that Bolsonaro and some of his followers have posed of installing a dictatorship and bringing back the Institutional Act Number Five, which was the most repressive decree passed and allowed the military to persecute anyone deemed subversive or suspicious.

    1. David Darbinian Post author

      Thanks for the comment, I’ll look into what you brought up. And I agree with you, it seems to be the case that societal trauma from the past can work both ways; to silence reform or amplify it.


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