Posts Tagged ‘History’

Hi, I am Jack, and I am a recovering socialist

June 20, 2011

Canadian New Democratic Party (NDP) held in Vancouver its fiftieth national congress since its foundation. It is presently Canada’s official opposition in the House of Commons, and arguably one of strongest (nominally still) socialist political formations in the Western world. On the agenda, to be voted by delegates, was also a resolution that would change the language in the NDP’s statute, removing any reference to “socialism”. According to some of the Party’s éminences grises, “it is time for it to go”, to paraphrase a former US Vice President (although apparently it will stay for the time being).

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Excitement and… Relief

January 20, 2009

obama_shep_print_final2

I have to confess: for all the excitement that I feel about the 44th President of the United States, to me today it is not so much about what is starting, but what has finally come to an end.
Sure, the outgoing administration has been reduced to the status of “lame duck” for months, possibly as long as two years now; and I know it’s dismal thinking, for one should always look forward, not dwell into the past and all that, but… the thing is, entertaining a healthy and frank national conversation over the “mistakes” (let’s make this euphemism day) that were committed over the past eight years, leading to a clear attribution of responsibilities, is a necessary step to avoid the same “mistakes” in the future (apparently I am not the only one to think that way).
This is not about “revenge”, or “settling the score”. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it, wrote philosopher and poet George Santayana. So, as a huge fraction of the world population celebrates change this day, as a new US administration headed by a cool, intelligent, educated and well-spoken African American readies to tackle unprecedented challenges on all fronts, a clear collective assessment of what has prompted this desire, no, eagerness for change in the first place (beyond the simple exercise of democratic transfer of power) is still badly needed. Let’s not skip that part, please.

Watching history unfold

November 3, 2008

“This is the first thing you need to understand about this country: nobody with this color skin will ever be president”
(My African American neighbor in Tallahassee (FL), his finger pointing to his own skin, as we were discussing the US democratic primary, in 1988 — I had lived in the US for one year, at that time)

I still cannot believe this is happening, and here I am, witnessing it. Maybe I am just getting old, but there is something truly extraordinary about this election, regardless of its final outcome. I cannot recall feeling so excited about an election. Nervous, shocked, angry, flabbergasted, desperate, many times. But this excited, never.
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