La Muerta, or The Dead Woman, was written by Pablo Neruda. I was reading a bilingual edition of this book at El Cafe de Otraparte and didn’t like the translation so have transcribed my own below on the right side, linked to where other translations are below and then explained why I think my translation is preferable to theirs.
Si de pronto no existes,
si de pronto no vives,
yo seguiré viviendo.No me atrevo,
no me atrevo a escribirlo,
si te mueres.Yo seguiré viviendo.Porque donde no tiene voz un hombre
allí, mi voz.
Donde los negros sean apaleados,
yo no puedo estar muerto.
Cuando entren en la cárcel mis hermanos
entraré yo con ellos.
Cuando la victoria,
no mi victoria,
sino la gran Victoria
aunque esté mudo debo hablar:
yo la veré llegar aunque esté ciego.
Si tú no vives,
si tú, querida, amor mío, si tú
te has muerto,
todas las hojas caerán en mi pecho,
lloverá sobre mi alma noche y día,
la nieve quemará mi corazón,
andaré con frío y fuego
y muerte y nieve,
mis pies querrán marchar hacia donde tú duermes, pero seguiré vivo,
porque tú me quisiste sobre
todas las cosas indomable,
y, amor, porque tú sabes que soy no sólo un hombre
sino todos los hombres.
If suddenly you do not exist,
if suddenly you no longer live,
I shall live on.I do not dare,
I do not dare to write it,
if you die.I’ll keep living.For where a man has no voice,
there, my voice.
Where blacks are beaten,
I cannot be without energy.
When into prison my brothers go,
I am with them.
not my victory,
but the great victory
even though I am mute I must speak;
I shall see it come
though I am blind.
No, forgive me.
If you don’t live,
if you, beloved, my love,
if you have died,
all the leaves will fall on my chest,
it will rain on my soul night and day,
the snow will burn my heart,
I shall walk with cold and fire and death and snow,
my feet will want to march to where you sleep, but
I’ll stay alive,
because you wanted me above all things indomitable,
and, my love, because you know that I am not only a man
but all humankind.
Why My Translation is Better
Where my translation differs from the otherversions is as follows.
In the third stanza seguiré should read as a statement of commitment to life rather a phrase that a book with some sort of platitudinous title on coping with grief would tell you to repeat over and over again in a mirror until you start to feel that you are “back amongst the land of the living” and thus no longer “trapped in the past/in death”.
The fifth stanza I’ve changed for the following reasons. First, the other translators incorrectly attributed the Castilian meaning of the word rather than the Chilean. While generally sensible, any Spanish speaker that’s travelled know that there is a wide variety regional dialects and meanings. Here’s an screenshot of a Chilean Spanish Slang Dictionary:
As it was worded,
it suggested that the “I” of the poem – which is later on characterized as indomitable – respond to racial oppression merely by oneself not succumbing to death. Using a dictionary definition rather than an informal one thus loses the implied need for material commitment to oppressed peoples liberation evidenced in my rendition of “I cannot be without energy”. People in perilous situations that require great physical endurance to survive are able to exert themselves past the point they would normally collapse because of the importance of their actions. My rendition captures this, and for similar reasons the next two lines of the stanza is also lacking verisimilitude to what I believe to be Neruda’s intent. Embed from Getty Images
In the eight stanza I changed “breast” for “chest” as pecho is both and. Following that I think the translation is again playing fast and loose for the sake of sound. Neruda uses the word marchar, to march, and in the translation it’s replaced with walk, or caminar. While one certainly walks in a march, the collective sense implied in the Spanish word is lost in the old translation.
Lastly, I changed the last line from “all men” to “all humankind” as the gender specificity within Spanish nouns need not apply to the English rendition given the alternative which more accurately symbolizes socialism’s aspiration for universal solidarity.
82 years after the Asturias Revolt, and 78 years after the end of the Spanish Civil War Republican unrest is now mobilized enough again that politicians in Catalonia believe that independence from Madrid is a possibility. Spain has always had a special place in my heart and thus I’ve been closely following the events in Catalonia regarding their movement for independence. As a populist movement not only does it’s development lend itself to new forms of art, which I will briefly talk about below, but it also allowed President Maduro of Venezuela to troll Prime Minister Rajoy with the phrase, “Who’s the Dictator Now?” after Rajoy was critical Maduro’s response to U.S. backed attempts to destabilize the country and to bolster indigenous people’s attempts to create their own national governments, like in Kurdish Iraq. Massive Social Mobilization Across Catalonia These photos show the millions of participants in the protests that were part of the huelga general (general strike) called for by all the Catalan trade unions. According to the Catalan government the general strike was the largest economic paralyzation in the history of Catalonia. Reports I’ve read state how one of the many chants that reverberated in dozens of cities across Catalonia, was “The streets will always be ours!” The reason for this stems from the fact that people were upset with Spanish state repression and police violence against the #CatalanReferendum, in which 90% of the voters voted for independence from Spain. Their claim that the streets belong to them reflects the fact that police from outside the region had to be brought in to control it.
Workers Against the State While the police were celebrated by small crowds in other regions for the oppression they would bring to their neighbors, Catalonian farmers blocked the ports to prevent more police officers from coming in, to prevent police vehicles from coming in and to otherwise hamper the movement of those that were already brought off shore to “reign in” the movement. The Huelga General, or General Strike, called by the Catalan unions is supposed to be the largest in history and has paralyzed commerce throughout the region.
The State Against Workers and Democracy
Not all social services workers were willing to fight for the status quo, here we see firefighters that are attempting to keep the police from preventing people from going to polling stations. Other powerful photos of what’s going on there depict ballot boxes connected by chains to large concrete blocks to prevent police from confiscating them. Reports from all outlets depict greater 90% of those that voted wanted independence.
100 Years on from the Russian Revolution and it is still inspiring people around the world trying to get free from oppression and exploitation. While reading some Spanish language news media, I came across the above poster on the right and was tinkled pink (or is tinkled red more appropriate here?) as it is a variation of the famous Lenin poster that I placed on the right. While the forces driving Catalonian independence are nationalist and not anti-capitalist – the region’s history as a Libertarian Communist/Radical Republican stronghold during the Civil War are well documented.
Or is History Adapting to the Conditions of the Present?
While I found myself resonating with the Escombrem Los! image and the illustration above to the left as it combines a famous photo by Robert Capa called Loyalist Militiaman at the Moment of Death, Cerro Muriano, September 5, 1936 with a depiction of the current suppression – this is one of the examples where historically powerfully iconography is repackaged in a way that’s not really appropriate. The anti-monarchic sentiment may be the same and there is similar dissatisfaction with the government on it’s spending choices – it’s not an international revolutionary movement.
The Future is Unwritten, But Has Certain Limits Brexit, massive youth unemployment and brain drain to Germany, growing nationalist movements – the hopes for a united European Union is starting to unravel. Just like the Catalonian independence movement is not likely to become a clarion even for those disaffected with the neoliberal world order nor is it that Catalonia will again be a testing ground for new weapons. And yet these historical images are still being used by those on the ground now as a reference for understanding the present.
While this is to be expected, it’s worth recalling Karl Marx’s famous quote on the subject: “Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living. And just as they seem to be occupied with revolutionizing themselves and things, creating something that did not exist before, precisely in such epochs of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service, borrowing from them names, battle slogans, and costumes in order to present this new scene in world history in time-honored disguise and borrowed language.”
A More Appropriate Art of Protest
While there are certainly groups within the Catalan nationalist movement that wish to make the referendum for nationhood similarly a vote for socialism, this is a vocal but small group.
Because of this, I believe, a more appropriate aesthetic is less that which pulls from a revolutionary tradition and more one that sees it as solely a transfer of powers. It’s a lot less sexy, but a lot more accurate. It’s also a lot more dangerous, as continuing the state in this regard will not necessarily ameliorate the anxieties expressed in such social mobilization and opens up the way for new ones.
Regardless of one’s position on Catalan independence, it’s worth noting the strong similarities with those against it and those that wish to make the United State a white ethno-state. It’s said that a picture says a thousands words, so notice the swastika tattoos on this anti-independence Catalan demonstrator at a National Unity rally in the centre of Barcelona during Catalonia National Day on September 1.
The struggles in the street over symbols, history and power will continue so long as profound dissatisfaction with the distribution of political and economic power continues. However, reliance upon old verities such as nationhood or race that once made people feel secure will not provide a genuine out for such problems. I hope that the electoral aspirations of the Catalonians are achieved, but also feel that should independence happen the hopes that they have will soon be lost given what will be their diminished power in the current world order.
The Para-State: An Ethnography of Colombia’s Death Squads by Alvo Civico is an engaging and at times haunting account of the armed conflict between various groups that has shaped Colombia’s political economy over the past forty years. The books anthropologically oriented methodology combines first person interviews with cocaine kingpins, leaders of para-military forces as well as the regulars, victims of paramilitary violence, as well as supporters of the paramilitary along with a historical account that contextualizes the events described in the interviewees stories. Through these accounts, Colombia’s rural interior comes to be seen as a space where actors project their desires for wealth and personally engage or organize horrific behavior in order to obtain it.
While it appears late in Para-State’s chapters, despo-capitalism is the term that Civio uses to describes the socio-economic dynamics of Colombia. It is a “threshold where the repressive forces of the despot combine with the liberating forces of capitalism” (140). His theoretical model for understanding the dynamics of despo-capitalism is decidedly Marxian with deference to Deleuze and a dash of Zizek. He states repeatedly, in fact, that the role of the AUC is what is described as a War Machine in the book A Thousand Plateaus. To bolster this positions, he includes a brief comparative political account based on interviews with an Italian prosecutor that illustrates the similarity of development of the Sicilian Mafia to the Colombian para-militaries.
Paisas Son Un Gente Muy Amable y Acogedoras
If you consume enough of the marketing content that encourages travel and investment in Colombia or various polls, you’ll soon notice that one of the recurring themes is of how wonderful and welcoming the people are here. While as of writing this I’ve only spent time in Antioquia, this combined with the many others I met from this region while living in South Florida makes me feel that this is a general truism. The irony, of course, is the happiness that they feel despite there being a longest standing civil war throughout any Latin American country.
The reason for the Civil War is long, and stems in part to the violence between Liberal and Conservative Parties before that. Each operated with tenuous. After a number of periods of sectarian killings, including La Violencia, the political elite united around the Frente Nacional (1959), which is incredibly similar to Venezuela’s Pact of Punto Fijo (1958). This specifically lead to the establishment of the FARC and would later open up the conditions for the death squads the books describes. Unable to get enough civilian support in regions rich with fecund land and extractable primary goods, the para-militaries became a means for the elite to establish control.
Limpiezas were right wing paramilitary that went throughout the rural and urban areas and liquidated those that they considered FARC sympathizers (real and imagined) as well as desechables, gamines, and those in combos. There were a large number of such groups, such as the Peasant Self-Defense Forces of Cordoba and Uraba (ACCU), that came to be united in name but not always in orientation under the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC). Regional groups were funded by either the upper classes with financial interests in a region or workers being under their total control or cocaine producers and distributors.
Death By BananasDespite what the above meme suggests, getting murdered because you don’t want to pick bananas for the wages offered is not something relegated to the not so distant past. In the period when the bi-lateral trade agreement between Colombia and the United States was being debated by the Legislative branches of government, the American trade unions pointed to the wave of over 450 assassinations of civil rights leaders, trade unionists and community leaders that was then going on. Chiquita Banana, may still face trial for its support of the AUC after the State Department deemed it a terrorist group.
The informant network created by the AUC deemed all such people as “collaborators to the FARC’s cause,” even if there was no such material support evidence. The mere belief that workers had a right to collectively bargain was considered cause for getting kidnapped, shot, dismembered by chainsaw and the remains left somewhere in the forest for animals to consume.
In regions with fecund soil that inhabitants had adopted a subsistence model of reproduction, market relations were either forced on them by paracos or they were dispossessed. In regions where wage-labor for agricultural production was pre-existent but drives for higher wages occurred, paracos enforced at gunpoint the continuation of work. In a word, the feudalistic model for enforcing labor participation for capitalist production was the norm.
The information network of the AUC would later identify and assassinate over 450 unionists, community rights leaders, and other “sympathizers” or collaborators to the FARC’s cause. If this seems high, well, the number of civilians the AUC killed is drastically higher. When a valley needed to be cleared of occupiers so that a foreign national company could grow bananas, for instance, or a gold lode was discovered that initial seismic wave readings indicated could be worth billions – paracos would declare that town a pueblo guerillero for resisting such displacement. After they’d encircle it with hundreds of heavily armed people, they’d raid a number of people specifically identified as trouble and then publicly execute them and put their bodies on display in an area with high pedestrian and automobile traffic.
The Direction of Colombia’s Economic Development is the Heart of its Civil Conflict
These capital and labor intensive industries along with cocaine production and trafficking are at the heart of the Colombian political economy. The latter more so as cocaine itself is a totem that organizes the distribution of bodies, practices, objects, symbols and words. The class divide determine by one’s placement in the such a system of capital circulation is both implicit by social norms but also by the legal system which designates people according to a legal class (estrata). Those that are lower class are not given much, if any, assistance by the state – hence the antagonism to it, as those on the lower end see the benefits given to those at the top – and thus can best earn through trafficking or muscle. An additional element driving the conflict has to do with US investment in the region.
Cocaine and the Development of Medellin
The Para-State’s account of cocaine’s role in the geographical and demographic development of Medellin describes evolving dangers from sundry violent actors working in unison and against each other. With vast amounts of capital coming into the country through sales via Miami and other points, the traffickers soon became the largest land holders in the country. Not all wanting to live in highly guarded fincas outside of the city center, they invested in different neighborhoods in Medellin.
As a result of the the aforementioned dispossessions and high level of unemployment, combos formed in these area. The effects that these two converging factors in one region is described on page 158 by Civico as follows:
“Medellin has long been crossed by these invisible but powerful boundaries, and transgression could trigger a death sentence from a rival armed group. These lives have shifted constantly, and residents have learned which streets to travel on, which ones to avoid, and which boundaries to cross. Walking on the wrong side of a street can get you killed. In several of the city’s barrios, survival has been a matter of such cartographic knowledge.
Having spent a few weeks now in Medellin, it’s worth noting that even now, 20-30 years after the period described the dynamic remain the same – with the higher areas along the mountains being more “dangerous” while the center is safer. That this is a dynamic caused by wealth inequality from the hegemonic economic capitalist enterprises is clearly shown to be the case.
De-armament, Reintegration and Politicization of the Struggle
Even before the recent FARC demobilization, those once in the AUC were in the process of demobilizing. As Civico describes it, however, this is not an easy process. The job prospects for those once involved pay significantly lower, making them ripe for recruitment by narcos, their history of violence makes them apt to end up in jail or dead over minor disputes and others that aware of their crimes – be they family members of those they killed or rival groups – sometimes take justice in their own hands. One of the interviewees that Civico writes about, in fact, is taken by a group that he was on bad terms with and is never seen again.
The politicization of the armed struggle is certainly a step in the right direction for a united Colombia, however as this book shows there is a lot of bloody history that will continue to make such a transition difficult. While it’s not clear if this will work, Civico is clear that if the massive modernization projects which dislocates thousands continue, if the assassination of leftists continues, if the state continues to fail in its ability to speak for all but the elite, that this project will fail.
Desechables – Literally means “disposable people”. This meant people that were drug addicts, petty thieves, homosexuals, domestic abusers and could sometime include people that had long hair.
Intreccio –the inter-twinement of the state and the parastate. First used to describe the relationship between the Italian Mafia and state
Traquetos – the people engaged in cocaine trafficking who make a show of their wealth with thick gold chains around their necks, expansive cars and stunning young women
Pajeria – literally means “squad”. People who enacted organized political violence
Vacuna – protection money
Farras – parties to get drunk
Urbano – a paramilitary working in an urban area
Bonification – a bonus according to the number of people you killed
Paracos – paramilitaries
Bara – The dynamic wherein a commander likes your performance and gives you frequent opportunities and recommends you
Limpieza – social cleansing accomplished through spectacular violence
Raspachin – coca gatherer
Pueblo guerillero – a town associated with guerillas
Gamine – street kids
Vallenato – romantic Colombian music from the coastal region with lyrical content similar to African griots
Pillos – a Medellin specific term for gang-members and junkies
Culebras – literally poisonous snakes. A term for one’s enemies.
Lazarillo de Tornes and The Swindler: Two Spanish Picaresque Novels continues my study of the titularly named genre. Two young boys follow paths to dissolute lives. Lacking the upward mobility available in economies that weren’t primarily based upon slave labor extraction of mineral resources, their birth in the lower classes itself made certain things impossible in the way of the Spanish World. Apprenticeship would thus not take the form of tutelage under craftsman or artisans but among some of the most dejected members of the lumper-proletariat.
Lazarillo is the tale of a 14 year old young man whose unfortunate mothers leads her to give away her soon to an itinerant blind man in order to be relieved of the effort of caring for him. The seemingly affable despite his misfortunate loss of eyesight demeanor quickly drops once they are far from the house and walking on the way to the next city. The blind man demands him verbally and hits him of the head with his staff. he further abuses him and as he is the one who holds all of the coins received while begging is stingy with how he feeds his ward. Lazzarillo finds a number of ways to out guile the clever man. But he does learn a lot, and through their conversations Lazarillo comes to see a much more skeptical view of the Spanish Catholic’s religious beliefs and practices. They break their relationship, however, after a number of altercations following the blind man’s discovery of the ruses. After Lazarillo picks off enough cash to make it on his own for a while he has the blind man unwittingly jump into a pylon and then leaves him bloody and concussed to look after himself.
He briefly comes under the employ of a provincial noble that is on his way to become a student at a school for the elite. As they enter an inn to find shelter for the night, they are both quickly worked over by a group of smooth talking con-men. Lazarillo only realizes their deceit after his master is forced to pay the bill for all of their food and drink and he has lost all of his money gambling. He is dismissed and is thus forced to begging. It is while he is walking the streets of Maqueda singing pleas that he’d learned while working with the blind man that a priest stops in front of him. He listens briefly and then tells him he is now under his employ and to follow him. His next master is not physically violent like the last, but is strict and like the blind man is stingy with food. As such, like before, he decides he mush rely upon deception in order to supplement his meagre caloric intake. The task of stealing from the bread box is no Oceans affair, but the length at which he carries it on is a testament to his cunning. The descriptions of the Priest getting so enraged over a few crumbs being removed from the bread box and the demands of austerity placed upon Lazarillo is another not so subtle criticism of the Church.
Without getting into every little twist and turn of the novel, I’ll just state that additional deeds of deviousness occurs. The writing style has a a faced based economy of language. It develops quickly from the tradition of writing about a young boys development to a series of deceits enacted upon superiors because of the belief that allegiance to the self is the only true allegiance that one should have if one wants to move forward in the world. The book ends with the patina of a dignified life, and whether the question of whether or not such self-deceit is worth the cost of no longer having to wonder from where he’ll next get his meal and a place to rest his head.
The Swindler is the other story contained in the Penguin Classics pairing. It’s longer the Lazarillo and does not depict a similar transition away from criminality to semi-respectability. As the book’s title, a reference to the protagonist, suggest the plot revolves around someone that is essentially bad. His badness, however, mainly accelerates as a result of his choices to accompany people. This rogue’s gallery isn’t the only one unfavorably depicted, the Church’s isn’t kind to them either. They are, alternately, schemers, pederasts, tight-wads, delusional in their adherence to certain ungodly practices.
The witches and heretics fair little better. In the opening of The Swindler, the protagonist is advised by his witch, whore of a mother’s Moorish thieving non-Church sanctioned husband: “If you’re crafty, you can get away with anything.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, many years after this exchange he is hung and dismembered by his mother’s brother the hangman. Seeing these pieces hung around the entrance to the city walls as as he comes home to receive his inheritance, shocks him. But he was going to carry on.
The confessor of this tale does not merely seek to shock and amaze with grotesque scenes, he advises that this is also a lesson book, if one so looked at it, to live a life based based upon deceit, swindles, subterfuges, lies, all around craftiness. Unlike Lazarillo, the writer’s character does not always have at least some of our sympathies. From unfortunate circumstances he adopts the wrong lessons and applies them in such a way that while getting admiration from a rotating band of conniving thieves he obtains a correct opprobrium from the well to do class which he aspires by false pretenses to marry himself into. A blow to the head leaves him with a telling disfigurement the exacerbates his willingness to commit criminal acts and live a debauched life. At this point, in no uncertain terms, he is a man that embodies a dangerous form of criminality. He takes a view similar to that of a N.W.A. anthem and goes on a drunk spree that results in a number of complications he must now flee with his whore lover.
I wasn’t feeling too well and a science fiction aficionado acquaintance of mine posted praise for a new SyFy show called The Expanse. I decided to give it a try and after watching the first episode I found myself thoroughly absorbed due to it’s compelling characters, intricate plot and high production values. I binged it over the next two days without regrets and look forward to subsequent seasons.
While watching it, I noticed a number of things that weren’t necessarily evident to the average viewer so wanted to share the information informing my enjoyment of it. Spoiler alert to those that have yet to see the show – in order to share my perspective, I have to speak in some detail about a number of points.
The ship Tachi has its name changed to Rocinante
It was upon viewing this name change that a number of previous events in the show took on a new meaning. Tachi is the name of the Mars Class ship that allows James Holden, Naomi Nagata and others to escape attack by an as of yet unknown enemy. Following escape from the battle, the ship is piloted to Tycho Station, an area controlled by Fred Johnson and the Outer Planet Alliance.
Now Rocinante is the name of the not so mighty nag of Don Quixote de la Mancha. Besides the fact that both Rocinantes transport people from adventure to adventure, there’s not much similarity beyond the name. It does, however, hint at a number of interesting signifiers that relates Iberian History and Literature which I touch on below.
Don Quixote is plagued by Enchanters, James Holden is plagued by an unknown Forces
In the first episode we see James Holden, the Executive Officer of The Canterbury, and a small crew launch off their main ship on a small craft to investigate a distress signal. Shortly after discovering that the signal was likely designed to get their main ship to stop its path – a cloaked ship destroys the Canterbury.
A number of Don Quixote’s adventures consist of him misinterpreting circumstances around him for situations that require him to intervene. These interventions, however, don’t actually assist those that he imagines in need of help and result in him getting hurt.
Now, I don’t believe that Holden is a variant or new incarnation of Quixote. From what we know of his character he’s not obsessed with knight-errantry or some other sort of fiction. However, following the death of his crewmates on the Canterbury which he blames himself for, he does seem to gain greater moral agency by uncovering and revealing the REAL truth about the Canterbury – which he is not yet aware of.
The viral spread of Holden’s video denouncing the Martians mirrors the publication of Don Quixote part II in Don Quixote Part II
In book two of Don Quixote, the eponymous character learns that the tales of his adventures have been published and he meets many people that are aware of who he is. Quixote does not mind this, but he does take qualm upon learning that a sequel, published by Alonso Fernández de Avellaneda, is also available for purchase at booksellers stalls and that it contains many falsehoods. Don Quixote criticizes this False Quixote and even adjusts some of his behaviors so as to not be mistaken for the fake one.
Holden’s transmits a video denouncing the Martians for their purported blowing up of the Canterbury. This video makes him known far and wide. Upon encountering Martian consumers of the material, however, this fame is turned into infamy. He later realizes that they are not the one responsible and thus tries to correct the false image of him that exists in people’s minds.
Episode 7, titled Windmills, features a copy of Cervantes’ Quixote that is the brief subject of conversation between Holden’s mother and Avasarala
That’s mostly it in the headline. The only additional comment worth making is how it is that here we learn that Holden doesn’t, according to his mother, recognize Don Quixote as a tragedy. While I’d argue that Don Quixote isn’t tragedy – though it does has elements of it – it’s interesting that this comment is made to provide insight into Holden’s character.
The Geographic relationship between the Outer Belt and the Core Planets mirrors that of Spain and the Colonies
Placing the two maps side by side ought to suffice to illustrate this point.
However I think that it’s worth reinforcing this point through the below one.
The Economic relationship between the Outer Belt and the Core Planets mirrors that of Spain and it’s Colonies
The Outer Planets exist in a relationship to Earth of complete economic dependence. Air and the technologies needed to survive are scarce. Belters lives on the physical and technical periphery of interplanetary trade. It is a large part of the reason that they have organized themselves into economic/political alliance. Why? Because resource extraction seems to be the primary economic activity and thus they are for the most part the suzerain partner to the much larger state. The Belt clearly demonstrates the qualities of a periphery as described in a historical context in Fernando Henrique Cardoso’s Dependency and Development in Latin America and Immanuel Wallerstein’s Modern World Systems series.
While there are numerous allusions to this dynamic within the conversations of the characters I could quote, I found the graphic depiction of this relationship as illustrated following the capture of an OPA smuggler by United Nations forces to be particularly compelling.Chrisjen Avasarala, a powerful UN executive, submits the smuggler to gravity torture. His body is so distorted that literally can’t even stand up on his own – thus drastically limiting the possibilities for occupational development elsewhere. This is the curse of many a export economy, which is unable to develop a middle class due to underdevelopment.
The OPA Symbol is the IWA Symbol
The International Workers Association, also called the First Internationale, was an umbrella group for Anarchist and Socialist groups organizing in Europe founded in 1864. It was internationalist in orientation, but split into two main factions that disagreed whether or not to engage in parliamentary struggle or not. The faction supporting Mikhail Bakunin – the wing that rejected such struggles and which would later advocate for propaganda by the deed in the form of bombings and assassinations found it’s most numerous and vibrant following in Spain.
I don’t mean by the above to put forward an argument that claims that Iberian History and Culture are as influential to The Expanse as Game of Thrones is to the War of the Roses – as shown below – but merely to shows some interesting overlaps that I noticed with an area of my study.
After I decided to move to Barcelona, Spain in order to study Spanish for a year I Bought a copy of Don Quixote in it’s original language. My intention in so doing was habitual, I enjoy reading the national literature of a country in the place it was produced. I learned that for this work, however, I was not up to the challenge. There was simply too much to see and all my free time was devoted to my young bride-to-be. Four years later I was anxious to re-read or really to start reading it in this fine edition that I got off eBay.
Now as any person with literary inclinations is sure to tell you, Don Quixote is often cited as the first modern novel and is also often named by writers as one of the best novels ever written. Though one may not have read the book, still one knows some of the details – a mad, older man considers himself a knight and then goes on a number of misadventures that includes battle with a windmill. The image of Quixote either with Sancho Panza is iconic, so much so that a good friend of mine even has a tattoo of them on their arm. These generalities aside, having just read the first part, I can understand why. Though with some reservations.
In a more conscious manner than Madame Bovary, Quixote is fixated upon literature. In his case it is not romance novels but tales of knight-errantry and the defunct even-at-the- time-the-book-was-written code of chivalry. Such books have, as those around him often say, warped his mind. This is not the limit of the role of literature in the novel – for throughout there are discussions between Don Quixote and other interlocutors on the values of chivalric literature. Don Quixote sees them as estimable, obviously, while those around him largely do not. They dislike them and it’s effect on him so much that at one point they burn a large portion of Quixote’s library.
One of the components of the book that I enjoyed was its use of multiple forms of writing. Be they letters or, as is more common, poetry and tales told in verse, the novel wends through a number of lives that Don Quixote touches and those that are literary productions. The last poem written by a shepherd that committed suicide over unrequited love, a didactic tale left at an inn by an old boarder the warns about the dangers of tempting virtue, and the tragic story of an offended lover wandering the countryside are just three of the many stories within the work. A majority of these tales of tragedy, however, lead to comedic – both in the telling of them as well as the improbable situations that emerge soon after their vocalization. Another literary element of the book that I liked is it’s meta-awareness. The character debate on what make a book meritorious in such a way that I felt as if Cervantes was laughing when writing it. Some of the lines within the presage purportedly written by the Censor for Spanish Books are hilarious.
For me the book really started to get going around 180 or so pages in. I was a little worried that the book was a paper version of Citizen Cane – something that is oft cited as an innovative stylistically but which has, to me, not aged well. Thankfully I was wrong. Shortly after this point the number of minor encounters introduced in this section starts to mesh together within the plot of Quixote and Panza. Characters that were thought to be passing figures take on a larger role, which allows for greater continuity as lacking them we have only the madmen Sancho Panza and Don Quixote bumping around aimlessly in misadventure. I also found the overwhelming number of quotes of chivalrous tales to be a bit overwhelming – but I can understand that at the time that it was printed his audience would be more informed of this. All in all I have so far enjoyed the book greatly and look forward to reading the second half.
Americanos focuses solely on Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula, unlike the other books I was considering that also include descriptions of developments in North America, I found it’s tight treatment of the various developments in the inchoate Latin American nations and their relationships to events in Europe more reading level appropriate to my students than the others. I wouldn’t say that it’s a simpler book, but that those not somewhat versed in political economy might miss the nuances described therein.
Following the American and French Revolutions criollos, who would later become americanos, began to feel that they had the tide of historical development on their side and thus a greater opportunity to greater press their claims for greater participation within the colonial governments and to liberalize trade relationship for greater personal profit.
Organized political action against the monarchy, however, was very limited due to the might of Spanish force and as there was little consensus as to how exactly this would occur. Following the invasion of Spain by France during the Peninsular War, the capture of the Spanish king Carlos IV, the ascension of Joseph Bonaparte to the throne, the formation of the Cadiz Cortes and Britain’s increased desire to establish enduring trading relationships with Latin America negated the traditional glues holding the colonies in thrall to Spain. Whereas previously those that had advocated for home rule were considered seditious, now one could make the same argument under what Chasteen calls the “Mask of Fernando” and attract supporters. After all, the self-elected bureaucratic body that was claiming to be the inheritor to the Spanish monarchy didn’t have the military personnel to protect themselves much less assert themselves across the ocean. While it was still dangerous to propagandize for a Republican model of government, a political orientation that was seen as French and thus unpalatable, those behind this mask were increasingly whipping up a nativist sentiment against “foreign” rule that though primarily elitist in its goals was populist in rhetoric.
Chasteen excels here at illustrating the cultural realities and historical situatedness and contradictions that the criollos and europeos faced and how circumstances across the ocean could rapidly change things in Latin America. National and regional developments were causing alliances to harden, split, pivot and reformulate with new political actors. Chasteen describes these shifts from the standpoint of the various Viceroyalties with great attention to the experiences of those leading them. Hidalgo, Morelos, San Martin, Simon Bolivar failures and success all lead to new conditions in a landscape of accelerating conflict and desire to eject the penninsulares/europes from power. Chasteen goes into extensive detail about Simon Rodriguez and his relationship to Simon Bolivar. From this vantage point the French inspiration for these conflicts comes to greater light.
While there are recurrent descriptions of the various forces and rhetorical tropes guiding the interests and actions of those seeking to overthrow the colonial yoke (and replace it with a neo-colonial one based upon raw goods exportation) I liked that Chasteen waited until the last chapter to have a thorough multi-page analysis of all of these social upheavals. Merely hinting at it in the prologue, here he goes into greater detail about the problems with importing the “Western” political values in Latin America. The previously only lightly touched upon nature of the state formation in these places is expounded upon (even deeper analysis can be found here) as well as the problematics of founding nations that are imagined predominantly by the elites and not the masses of workers.
Another aspect I liked about the book was how helpful it is to assisting students unfamiliar with the historical terms of political economy and those that have difficulty visualizing people. There is a directory of the people at the beginning that also contains pictures of those that are available in the front. My students expressed to me that this helped them picture the personages acting on the world historical stage with greater clarity. There is also a glossary in the back that contains definitions of the various racial caste terms and socio-economic terms used by the Spanish in the new world, i.e. encomienda, pardo, cabildo, etc. Also worth noting is that the book is well suited for viewing with the filmThe Liberator.
I first came across Pío Baroja y Nessi in connection with Ernest Hemmingway. A famous anecdote states that while on his deathbed Ernest visited him to state that he should have won the Pulitzer Prize for literature. Baroja’s response to him was to the effect of, “Claro, tonto.” After reading online reviews I decided to pick up Zalacain the Adventurer, the short, picaresque novel of Martin Zalacain’s exploits leading to and during the period of the Carlist Wars in Spain.
In the tradition of The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane, Baroja introduces us to a anti-hero that through his wit, daring, and ability to address people at the proper social register is able to make a fortune while having a number of exciting episodes. While I don’t have as much knowledge of the period as the translator James Diendl has, from my having spent some time in the northern region of Spain (Catalunya) and reading about the political turmoil there in the 1930’s I would concur that Zalacain does seem to typify the “Basque character”. He is poor, living in penury at the beginning of the novel until his grandfather take him under his wing, but proud, is energetic, individualistic, has a resilient character in the face of obstacles to his wishes and is able to “pass” as a number of different identities because of his awareness of the social milieu. Diendl states that this characterization stems from Nietzsche’s influence and once again I trust him as it is clear within the text.
The reader is first introduced to Martin during his formative years in the small town of Urbia. Martin foregoes a traditional education and instead learns about the nature and the land around him. He is able to set and later inherits various gardens that allow him to forego entering into the market economy, but later decides that he will do so in part in order to win the affection of a girl in the town named Catherine. While not fully giving up the vagabonding life that Tellagorri, his grandfather, schooled him in he decides to get into trading. This is an especially lucrative business given the region is an intermediary zone between Castilian-Spain and France. The relative peace that he has, when not avoiding border agents and tax collectors, is shattered however with the crisis over who is to be the proper regent of Spain. The details of the Carlist Wars are complicated. As it relates to Zalacain, the conflict leads to many developments that upsets the lassitude of this otherwise sleepy, sheltered town.
The war makes the business of smuggling goods more dangerous and thus more profitable. As representative of various armed factions come calling for people to join them, this also leads to heightened tension between the various classes and the church. One highlighted conflict is between Charles Ohando, the fey-aristocratic brother of Martin’s love interest Catherine, and Zalacain. Three generations back, the great-grandparents of these men fought each other in the first Carlist war and Martin’s great grandfather was killed in the exchange. Thus while bad blood is the norm, during the period of peace Zalacain is able to come out on top and even avoid one of the traps Charles sets.
As might be expected by his being on the periphery of the exchange economy, Martin doesn’t really care about who wins and sees the exercise not based upon any grand sentiment other then disguised greed for power. When faced with antagonists to the Pretender, he and his friends fool the troops as to their political sympathies. This causes him to be briefly pressed into service, a fate far preferable to death.
From here a cat and mouse game ensues between those he’s escaped. Following his freeing he learns of his loves deliverance to a nunnery on the order of her older brother. Before leaving to search for her, however, he gets contracted by a merchant to get requisition documents delivered to a Pretender general. This while searching for Catherine, he must now also deliver these documents and obtain signatures without being recognized as a deserter or of being suspected as sympathetic and in collusion with the other side. I won’t provide any more plot points that might spoil it for the person that hasn’t read it other than to say that a number of funny and tense scenes entail that highlight the hatred that exists between the numerous regions of Spain and the conniving powers of Zalacain.
Interspersed throughout the travel narrative are jokes and songs and poem fragments. In the taverns I found some of the characters described to be quite funny and the dialogue to be especially compelling. Here is an example of one that exemplifies Zalacain’s realpolitik worldview:
“You shouldn’t talk, Capistun, because you’re a trader.”
So you and I steal with our account books. Between stealing on the road and stealing with an account-book, I prefer those that steal on the road.”
“If business were there, there wouldn’t be any society.” Gason replied.
“So?” Martin said.
“So there wouldn’t be any cities.”
“As I see it cities are made by the wretched and are used as objects to be sacked by strong men,” said Martin, violently.
“That is being an enemy of humanity”
Martin shrugged his shoulders.
The novel is short, I read it in two sitting, but I found it to be a quite enjoyable tale of a Basque individualist dealing with tragic/humorous situations. I’m not quite sure from this particular work that Baroja was correct in asserting that he should win the Pulitzer Prize for Literature, but having read this I’m definitely interested in reading more of Baroja’s work.
Mi proyecto de narrativa digital propuesto se centrará en Chile , Perú y México (CPM ) para investigar algunos de los cambios que podrían introducirse por la Alianza Trans -Pacífico para luego ser ratificado (TPP). Documentales de larga duración – reportaje sobre este tema es oportuno, ya que sólo algunos de los numerosos e importantes cambios de la TPP hará que incluya la capacidad nacional signatarios para controlar las áreas de política relacionadas con la biodiversidad, el cambio climático, la autosuficiencia alimentaria, culturas políticas y ciudades composición por aceleración de la urbanización. Que yo sepa no hay en la actualidad los principales medios noticiosos abordando este, que es inusual, ya que los que han comentado que por lo general lo describen como un TLCAN ampliado , un acuerdo comercial que ha tenido enormes efectos sobre múltiples registros en los Estados Unidos y México . He elegido estos tres países ya que son ellos son los únicos países de América Latina (AL) a participar en las negociaciones del TPP, que hablan español, tienen un fondo en LA la economía política y la literatura, he crecido entre modo de América Latina sería culturalmente competente , mientras que en esos países, y soy capaz de utilizar los recursos personales y profesionales para conectar con varias personas e instituciones que estén dispuestos a ayudar en el proyecto de narración de cuentos.
Mientras que en México y Chile, voy a ser capaz de obtener cartas de presentación para los académicos, funcionarios públicos y los trabajadores de las ONG a través de mi antiguo profesor de Estudios Latinoamericanos, que ha trabajado mucho en los dos países. En Perú, voy a ser capaz de conectarse a las redes de empresas a través de un amigo personal cuyo padre está involucrado en el equivalente de la Cámara Americana de Comercio. ¿Cuál será, además, que me ayude a conocer a gente para las entrevistas es mi amable forma, saliente afilado de haber viajado mucho. Mi experiencia como educador, politólogo e historiador me permitirá contextualizar temas generales (Ciudades, culturas ) de una manera que permite centrarse en los aspectos más relevantes en relación con el lector. Algunos ejemplos de mi enfoque incluiría abordar preguntas a los políticos, ONG y activistas de la comunidad , tales como: ¿El componente ambiental del TPP significa que las regiones que actualmente protegidas para su uso en el turismo ecológico se convertirán en los sitios de las industrias extractivas? ¿Cómo son las leyes nacionales de protección de la biodiversidad va a verse afectada por un nuevo régimen de las leyes internacionales de derechos de autor? ¿Cómo son los gobiernos municipales y nacionales planean respuestas a su crecimiento proyectado de la población a raíz de la mayor capacidad de los inversores internacionales para comprar, infracapitalizadas pequeñas explotaciones tradicionales ? ¿Cómo son las culturas nacionales, tradicionales adaptándose a las presiones del mercado internacional, ya sea la migración o las nuevas prácticas? ¿Cuáles son algunos de los métodos que los grupos de la sociedad civil, así como los burócratas del gobierno local y nacional son el fomento del uso de nuevas tecnologías para ayudarles a gestionar estos temas? ¿Cómo es el acceso a los recursos oceánicos asignado, supervisado y regulado? ¿Qué impacto, si lo hay, el nacimiento argentino Papa Francisco y el fondo de los jesuitas tienen en estas áreas antes mencionadas? Además de esto, mi informe también posarse sobre temas de interés general más, como la cultura y la comida. Como tengo una amplia experiencia de viaje, soy un chef y entusiasta usuario de los alimentos y de intercambio de experiencias sitios web de medios sociales que planeo en tratar de incluir la mayor cantidad de contenido de este tipo de lo posible los viajes. Prácticas de abastecimiento de alimentos, recetas y costumbres generales pueden no parecer tan importante en un tema a la luz de estas otras preocupaciones, pero también son importantes para proporcionar una imagen global de la chilena, el estilo de vida peruana y mexicana en relación con estos cambios.
La presentación de este material tendrá un enfoque multi-media. Aunque me imagino que la mayoría de mis informes será una combinación de texto, fotos y varios cuadros y gráficos que pueden proporcionar una indicación visual de algunas de las áreas temáticas que estoy investigando También me gustaría obtener la mayor cantidad posible de metraje con los que soy capaz de conversar con en Inglés . Como soy experto en el uso de iMovie, creo que podría producir hábilmente segmentos cortos de vídeo para subir a donde se pide de mí.
Mi plan de viaje es pasar de la ubicación más al sur y luego hacia el norte, desde Chile a Perú para México. Este patrón se repite dentro de los propios países, ya que será el más eficiente para medir el tiempo y me permite evitar clima fuera de estación. En cada país que visito me gustaría pasar mi tiempo principalmente la investigación de los centros financieros, industriales, culturales y políticos, así el parque adyacente y regiones agrícolas, que también se ve afectada por el TPP. Lo que sigue es un itinerario general y una breve explicación de por qué se trata cada lugar que merece exploración relacionadas con los temas del proyecto en lo relativo a la conservación, el desarrollo y la innovación.
En Chile empezaría en Puerto Montt, una región, una vez independiente, que es ahora un centro de transporte clave conocida por su industria del salmón de tamaño considerable. En 2007 este sector tuvo que cambiar rápidamente sus prácticas cuando el hacinamiento y el virus ISA hecho perder gran parte de su población. Una característica adicional de Puerto Montt es su proximidad a la isla de Chiloé, el lugar de la comunidad indígena importante y una parte importante de la industria del mejillón de Chile. ¿Cómo los esfuerzos de conservación del medio ambiente de la vida marina y de la gente profundamente conectados con el mar se verán afectados por TPP serán sólo dos puntos de la investigación . A partir de ahí me gustaría tener un viaje a Concepción – la cultura juvenil y la música rock la capital del país. Una investigación de las diferencias entre la región, una vez independiente Puerto Montt y la segunda ciudad más grande se muestran las diferencias en cuanto a cómo se sintió el TPP en cada región. A partir de ahí me gustaría ir a Santiago, económicamente dividido el centro industrial del país. Yo creo que aquí iba a ser capaz de obtener una perspectiva más urbana en los puntos de vista contradictorios hacia el TPP. Una de esas historias, por ejemplo, podría incluir una investigación de Los Caimanes, justo al norte de Santiago. Este es el hogar de las minas que han sido un punto de controversia entre la comunidad indígena mapuche local y una empresa chilena sobre el uso de este último de agua. Desde aquí me gustaría ir a Valparaíso, que destaca por sus nuevas formas de transporte público, una fuerte herencia europea evidente en los estilos de vivienda de los diferentes barrios y un lugar para explorar cuestiones de la conservación frente a la innovación, tanto en la vivienda de la ciudad y el mercado de bienes raíces comerciales y también en lo que respecta a los parques protegidos a nivel nacional alrededor de él. Como los parques nacionales en la actualidad componen el 19% de la superficie del país y potencialmente podrían convertirse en sitios de la industria extractiva, me gustaría visitar la Reserva de la Biosfera de la Reserva Nacional Lago Peñuelas adyacente a Valparaíso. Además vale la pena mencionar es que ya que se considera la Tierra de poetas, me gustaría incorporar algunos elementos de la historia cultural en mi narración – ya sea de visita en la antigua casa de Pablo Neruda o una de las guaridas de Roberto Bolaño .
En Perú me gustaría comenzar mi proyecto de narración de cuentos en Arequipa mediante la investigación de cómo las nuevas capacidades de inversión fuera del centro industrial se acelerará la transición del campo de prácticas agrícolas artesanales hacia el aumento de la urbanización. Los problemas políticos y culturales creados por la propiedad de tierras altamente centralizado, en una cuestión política que se repite en América Latina, se ha dejado sentir con especial dureza en el Perú debido a las preocupaciones raciales y étnicos. ¿Cómo es que el gobierno y grupos de la sociedad civil están pensando en manejar este problema después de la exacerbación probable de la brecha económica con el paso del TPP será un tema importante me referiré. Un segundo es el uso cada vez más planificada de agua en la periferia a través de riego y tercera se refiere a la clara, la UNESCO reconoció la arquitectura Arequipeña y manera de hablar. Desde aquí me gustaría ir a Cusco, la antigua capital inca y ahora un destino turístico importante para resaltar los problemas alimenticios y de biodiversidad , tales como los efectos culturales provocadas por un aumento de seis veces en los ingresos mensuales producidos por la creciente demanda mundial de quinua. Cerca de Arequipa se encuentra el Parque Nacional del Manu, catalogado como el lugar de mayor diversidad biológica de la Tierra. También me gustaría visitar aquí, así como para que aparezca como el parque ha sido parcialmente privatizada para la explotación de gas natural a pesar de las protestas por parte de la ONU debido a su repercusión ambiental y la reubicación forzosa de numerosas comunidades indígenas. Una vez en Lima, la capital gastronómica y financiera , habría un mayor acceso a entrevistar a personas que trabajan en proyectos relacionados con el parque de Manu , así como el reciente aumento de los intentos de encontrar fuentes de petróleo, metales y explotación de minerales. De especial interés es cómo es que las operaciones mineras ilegales y los vertidos de petróleo están afectando a la Amazonía. Desde aquí voy a ir a Trujillo, la capital cultural del Perú y considerado por el Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo para ser primera ciudad sustentable de la región. Exposición en qué es exactamente lo que esto significa y cómo se relaciona con la preocupación por el cambio climático será un foco importante de investigación. Es condición de un modelo de ciudad y cómo se ha tratado con un crecimiento de la población de casi el 100 % en 20 años sería de temas clave a tener académicos y planificadores urbanos discutir. Continuando contrastar las culturas de los pueblos indígenas y los descendientes de inmigrantes europeos se hizo muy visible a través de los templos del Sol y la Luna.
Desde aquí me gustaría ir a Mazaltan en México. El “capital de camarones del mundo” y una fuente importante de pescado procesado en el país, que estarían aquí sondear cómo sus industrias pesqueras se enfrentan a problemas similares a los de Chile . Mientras se enfrentan ccsme en vez de ISA , como el gobierno, el sector privado y los organismos reguladores internacionales frente a esta y al mismo tiempo que compiten por el acceso al mar con buques de crucero turístico recién re- autorizados ofrece numerosos espacios de una idea de cómo la población local navega intereses en conflicto. El ir a Puerto Vallarta, además, me permitirá poner de relieve cómo aquí , a diferencia de Chile y Perú , el rápido crecimiento de la población ha dado lugar a numerosos efectos negativos en los cursos de agua , un problema importante teniendo en cuenta el gran papel que el turismo desempeña en la zona, y el acceso a los servicios básicos. Desde aquí me gustaría ir a Chiapas para poner de relieve las divisiones a veces graves que existen entre las zonas rurales del sur de México y es la región norte más industrializado. Para ilustrar mejor las diferencias entre estas regiones me permitiría ir a la Ciudad de México. Me gustaría aprovechar este tema , sino también investigar cómo es que los grupos civiles , como el Grupo Eólico México , han solicitado con éxito al gobierno a establecer una meta de tener 35% de ellos de uso de la energía producida por el viento en 2024. Adicionalmente digno de atención es los efectos de la reciente apertura de la inversión en la historia estatal del sector petrolero del país.
Es importante visitar todos estos lugares para ilustrar la variedad de las condiciones políticas y ambientales que el TPP en breve se implementará pulg Como el desencadenamiento de nuevas fuerzas de mercado y las normas comerciales no tendrá impacto en cada región de la misma manera, los consumidores de la contenido produzco obtendrá una perspectiva más amplia de lo que las condiciones son que el TPP se afecta.
Mariano Azuelo’s novel The Underdogs was first published in 1915 and is an account of the revolutionary war in Mexico against the Federal government of Porfirio Díaz. The novel predominantly follows the military actions of bandit-turned-general Demetrio Macías, against the Federal government and the manner in which his armed forces are housed, fed, paid, disciplined and interaccaudt with themselves and others segments of Mexican society. In the account of Demetrio’s rise it is possible to see the historical context of caudillismo and the structural limitations for enacting progressive development once the economic and political contradictions of dependent development have been contested. To the first point of caudillismo, we can trace it in the brief career of Demetrio, who leads a small rebellion for personal gain and then decides to join the “formal” army simply in order to potentially gain more. The second issue is shown in the environmental, institutional and social destruction as a result of the civil war itself.
We first encounter Demetrio and his band in armed confrontation with the federal troops. Demetrio is shown to be brave, strong and charismatic to those under his command. He frames his participation in the rebellion in a moralistic personal narrative devoid of notions of class or national solidarity. This desire for revancha similarly motivates the other members of his band that too could be taken as archetypes for the historical context within which they find themselves. Their attacks are not coordinated with any of the other forces fighting against Díaz in the country until they are joined by Luis Cervantes.
Luis is an outsider, both from his previous advocacy of conservative positions, as is evident from his writing in the El Pais and El Regional newspapers, and his class background, his parents could afford to pay tuition for him to be a medical student. Additionally he is described as having a handsome appearance, likely preserved from not engaging in taxing manual, agricultural labor and having a certain reservedness. For these reasons he is given the name Curro, or handsome, which could be interpreted as referring both to his looks and his refined habits.
However these do not alone compose his variations from Demetrio’s group. He states his decision to join forces with the revolutionary band is for idealistic reasons rather than naked material interest. Azuelo shows how ambiguous such a commitment is, however, in providing a backstory that shows Luis previously in the company of the government troops and deciding to desert after being humiliated by his commander, learning how many of the troops were untrained farmers pressed into service and how profitable the side of the rebellion could be. This last consideration is unknown to the group and thus he is viewed according to all in the band as being “made of different stuff”, which in this context means being looked up with suspicion. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, he soon becomes a mouthpiece for the values proclaimed by revolutionary leaders such as Villa and Zapata. While not specifically citing the Plan of Ayala as a motivating force for his action, he states “The revolution is for the benefit of the poor, the ignorant, those who have been slaves all their lives, the miserable ones…” (15).
Though Curro is new to the group and an outsider, his capacity for ratiocination is also recognized. When determining the next plan of action, Curro is able to convince Demetrio not just to be an insurgent, but to make an effort to join the revolutionary army of Natera so as to gain position within the new political organization. On this point he states to Demetrio:
“You are generous, and say: “My only ambition is to return to my land.” But is it fair to deprive your wife and children of the fortune that the Divine Providence is now placing in your hands? Is it fair to forsake the motherland at the solemn moment when she will need the abnegation of her humble children to save her, to keep her from falling into the hands of the eternal oppressors and torturers, the caciques?” (25-26)
Leaving aside the ambiguity of Curro’s commitment to egalitarian reform, in the crucible of Mexican class struggle that Curro has entered into his propounded values are soon confronted by the material realities and he soon transitions to an opportunistic pragmatism. The reasons for this are best voiced by an acquaintance, Sr. Solis, he meets in the camp of Natera. Before he is shot in battle, Solis states that “you either become a bandit like them or you leave the stage and hide behind the walls of a fierce and impenetrable egotism” (38). Stripping the abstract to its materiality, we see that Solis refers to a series of behaviors that Luis also witnesses that could be summed as lack of revolutionary discipline.
The men which are leading the military charge are not just querulous about their socio-economic position but also amongst themselves, their aggression leads to in-fighting that, when exacerbated by alcohol, lead to murder. They display their anti-intellectualism by cooking corn with books, destroying art and breaking objects such as crystal chandeliers simply because they are manifestations of the surplus capital extracted from peasant labor. The chain of command becomes difficult to maintain. There is tension between the insurgents and those that have abandoned their roles in the Federal Army that is compounded by the anti-hierarchical sentiments unleashed by the revolutionary cause. The role of women in the novel not only shows their marginal status within a society dominated by males and naked force but becomes yet another point of differentiation between Luis and the “revolutionary” group. After Luis finds a “currita” that he expresses the intention of marrying, she must lock herself away from the other men for fear of rape. This romantic subplot also highlights the recurring tensions, distrust and conflict that exists between city and urban-dwellers.
As these variances in acculturation accumulate, Luis realizes that his “place” in the revolution is not to be found amongst the armed services but in the urban, professional class. At this point he begins to trade loot with the other members of the group to get the most valuable objects and hides some of his loot from them. Demetrio catches him, but does nothing as Luis manipulates the impoverished leader’s rich moral self-conception by offering to prove his loyalty to the group by offering him his take, which is declined.
After Luis has accumulated enough loot he decides to leave the group. Realizing that the best use of the capital he has accumulated from his time with Demetrio would not be in unstable, impoverished Mexico, he relocates to Texas and invests in the completion of his medical studies. This depiction of capital and intellectual flight is not unique to this historical situation but a trend that still occurs in many Latin American countries. With Luis gone, Demetrio has no compass with which to interpret the vicissitudes of power politics. When asked by Natera who’s side he is on, the Carranca or Villa, his response is to recognize his ignorance on the matter and state that he will follow whoever Natera decides.
In the closing section of the novel the cost of the conflict takes on a greater potency. No longer is the conflict just between the opposing forces but between the purportedly liberated and themselves as well as them with the land. The fighting has claimed so many lives and horses that it has slowed or stopped agricultural production, the legacy of theft and pecuniary speculation has harmed trade and caused peasants to now prefer commodity to money exchange. The novel closes with a deep pessimism as to the future of the movement, best expressed by Demetrio himself. Demetrio returns home to his wife and child but finds that he no longer desires to do the farm work that helped instigate him to take up arms. Furthermore he starts to believe the grandiose, conquerors mythology he created about himself and when asked by his wife why it is that he continues to fight, he has no noble response but simply points to a stone he has just thrown and says: “See how that pebble can’t stop…” (86).
On a final note I think it’s worth commenting that the predominant translation of “Los De Abajo” has been “The Underdogs”. While I agree that the band depicted were “the underdogs” in the fighting that transpired, I believe that my short analysis of the novel indicates that Azuela did not intended this interpretation that these people were simply “those from below.” This is evident in the fact that the one surviving middle class characters, Luis, become so disgusted by what he witnesses that he deserts and the depiction of the rebels as brave, but ignorant bandits that cannot build but only destroy.