18, 2005, Bolivians voted in their presidential election. They
chose Evo Morales, a socialist with close ties to and friendship
with Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and Cuban president Fidel
Castro, to be their president swinging the country hard to the
left. Contributing CNN correspondent, Lucia Newman, in her
article, "Leftist claims Bolivia poll win" describes
Morales as a candidate who "came to prominence blasting U.S.
backed 'neo-liberal' economic policies that Bolivian leaders adopted
in the 1980s..." Newman puts the term neo-liberalism in quotes
indicating that its use is somehow a grammatical aberration.
Just what does Ms. Newman think neo-liberalism is?
Elizabeth Martinez and Arnoldo García
in "What is Neo-Liberalism" writes,
Neo-liberalism is a set of economic
policies that have become widespread during the last 25 years or
so. Although the word is rarely heard in the United States, you
can clearly see the effects of neo-liberalism here as the rich
grow richer and the poor grow poorer....Around the world,
neo-liberalism has been imposed by powerful financial institutions
like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the
Inter-American Development Bank....the capitalist crisis over the
last 25 years, with its shrinking profit rates, inspired the
corporate elite to revive economic liberalism. That's what makes
it 'neo' or new.
The fact that the term neo-liberalism
is "rarely heard in the United States" does not warrant
Newman/CNN's inference that it is inappropriate or incorrect.
That is, of course, unless the inference is intentional. Few in
Newman's audience understand the meaning of the term. This
offers the corporate media the opportunity to "educate" the
public in a manner they deem appropriate. As the term,
neo-liberalism, inevitably becomes more prevalent in the United
States, why not disparage it before the public catches on to its real
meaning? US ignorance of global terminology commonly in use worldwide is
hardly new nor unexpected. What is new is the openness of the
manipulation of key phrases and phraseology within the media that
orchestrate the public toward a predetermined acceptable
internalization of the term's definition. We are barraged by newspeak and doublespeak telling
us what is happening in the world and what to think about
it. We are even told what words mean. We, consumers of
corporate media news, willingly self-incarcerate ourselves within
the virtual corporate re-education camp called television.
Newman goes on to quote Andres
Oppenheimer, a Latin American analyst and columnist for the Miami
Herald regarding Morales' electoral victory in Bolivia, "I think it would be the worst
nightmare scenario for Washington, because right now you have a
growing alliance between Venezuela and Cuba. What is now a duo
may become a trio." Oppenheimer, a member of the Fourth
Estate, apparently cares little about a people's democracy taking root in Bolivia.
When the people freely reject neo-liberalism in fair and open elections,
neo-liberals reject the outcome chosen by them. When neo-liberal ideas are
soundly defeated in the marketplace of ideas, the neo-liberals turn
to extreme measures to reverse the outcome. Neo-liberalism
does not tolerate rejection, even if it is democratically
achieved. To Oppenheimer, the corporate capitalists
and imperialists, wet dreams are when the world's people accept their
so-called free-market economic model. Nightmares are when
people reject it, and, worldwide, the people are rejecting it.
Martinez and Garcia, from the summarize the main points of neo-liberalism as
being the rule of the market which espouses:
- Cutting public expenditure for
- Eliminating the concept of
"the public good" or "community" and replacing it with "individual
Is it any wonder that one of the
un-elected chief architects of Washington's K Street
Project, the very
powerful, Grover Norquist, said, "Our goal is to shrink
government to the size where we can drown it in a
bathtub." Shrinking government to the K Street crowd
means shrinking it for the working people while taking all the power and
wealth for themselves. Hurricane Katrina showed the world just
drowns as a result of neo-liberal policies and shrinking government. When the times get
tough for the rich, the rich get tough. The working class,
however, gets abandoned. As Barbara Bush said on ABC's
"Good Morning America" on March 18, 2003. when describing
the bodies coming home in boxes as result of yet another rich man's war
(Iraq) fought with the canon fodder of the working class, "Why
should we hear about body bags and deaths...Oh, I mean, it's not
relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something
like that?" Indeed.
In times of economic and other
upheaval, the rich manage to bail out alive
taking their assets with them. They have the means to do
so. Often, they prosper through the tragedy of others. But,
there is a
substantial problem with their neo-liberalism. This can only
go on for just so long. John Acheson, writing in "The K Street Project. The Silent Coup the Media Forgot:
K Street versus Pennsylvania Avenue" puts it this
no matter how much you screw the people, you can't afford to give
rich people massive tax cuts while you give trillions to industry.
So, the second part of their strategy is to simply pass on the
inevitable bill to our children. If the K Street Consortium
implements their policy agenda, in ten years, every child born in
the US will "inherit" $36,000 of additional debt.
goes on to point out, "And that was before Katrina burst
through levees weakened by budget cuts..."
does this mean for Americans? Well, if we're talking about
South Americans, the Bolivians, Venezuelans, Brazilians, Argentineans, Cubans, etc., those of Jose Marti's "Our
America", it means that they have had enough. It means,
"Ya basta". As is typical of neo-liberalism, look
for its response to be more military action, destruction and death. Neo-liberalism
fails, refuses, or is otherwise, incapable of realizing that killing and maiming
people in the name of liberation and freedom makes them few
friends. Neo-liberalism also fails to realize that most of the
world is conscious of what it is up to. The
world is aware that dictators have done and continue to do neo-liberalism's bidding.
So do puppet regimes
put in place through overthrow and/or occupation. The world is
now well aware that neo-liberalism sees preventive-war as a
means to an end. And, that the ends always justifies its means. The world has awakened
and is now conscious that any democracy installed
through the barrel of a gun is not democracy at all.
the United States becomes more and more like the Soviet Union it
loved to hate, or worse, it will become more and more rejected in the
world marketplace of ideas. In turn, the United States will further
stifle the free marketplace of ideas as neo-liberalism sees itself
at risk. For
neo-liberalism, democracy means never having to say it lost an
election, a war, or power.
The people of America,
that is, those of Jose Marti's, Our America, are banding together and
showing that indeed another world is indeed possible. They
believe that a world without
exploitation and war is possible if the people want it. Such a
world without war can happen if war itself is made impossible.
Howard Zinn, historian and professor emeritus (Boston University),
author of "The People's History of the United States", and
many other books, in the January 2006 issue of the Progressive
Should we begin to think, even
before this shameful war is over, about ending our addiction to
massive violence and instead using the enormous wealth of our
country for human needs? That is, should we begin to speak about
ending war—not just this war or that war, but war itself?
Perhaps the time has come to bring an end to war, and turn the
human race onto a path of health and healing.
That time will come only when the
people demand it. The people of Central and South America have
started demanding it. The people of North America have yet to
Like stones rolling down hills,
fair ideas reach their objectives despite all obstacles and
barriers. It may be possible to speed or hinder them, but
impossible to stop them. -- Jose Marti