December 10, 2010

That Bastard Chavez!

Freaking communist asshole, subverting capitalism by making socialism tasty!

From Wikileaks, confidential cable 10CARACAS43, from the embassy in Caracas to the office of the Hillary ("Big Balls") Clinton, cc the consuls in Dusseldorf, Leipzig, Thessaloniki, Quebec, Recife

1. (C) Summary: President Chavez made socialism taste better with
the December 22 opening of a "socialist arepera" serving
Venezuelan-style tortillas at a fraction of their usual price.
The "Arepera Socialista" is planned to be the first of a chain of
Venezuelan government (GBRV) restaurants run by the Ministry of
Commerce. This restaurant is the GBRV's latest effort at setting
up alternatives to the private market, branding national symbols,
like the "arepa," as part of the Bolivarian Revolution, and
providing tangible benefits to its electoral base before the
September legislative elections. End Summary.

Socialism's Tangible - and Tasty -- Benefits

2. (U) President Chavez opened the "Arepera Socialista" with much
fanfare on December 22, advertising its low price and high quality
as symbolic of the benefits of his socialist revolution. (Note:
"Arepas" are a Venezualan-style thick cornmeal tortilla usually
used for a type of sandwich. End Note.) The restaurant, located
in a lower middle class neighborhood of Caracas, serves "arepas"
for about a fourth of their regular price. It is currently only
open during weekday mornings, although there are plans to extend
its hours, add coffee and fresh juice to its menu, and open two new
locations in working class neighborhoods.

3. (SBU) On a January 8 visit, EmbOffs witnessed a long line of
people waiting to get into the restaurant but surprisingly rapid
service. Inside, one wall was dominated by a quote in large red
lettering from Simon Bolivar: "The best system of government is
that which produces the greatest happiness." An employee managing
the line said the restaurant served 1,200 customers per day. One
man in line said he worked in the neighborhood and came every day
since the food was excellent and cheap.

Money is Secondary in Socialist Restaurants

4. (U) According to Minister of Commerce Eduardo Saman, people
can count on low prices at the "arepera socialista" because the
ingredients come from government-owned companies and other
products, such as boxed juices, come from government-owned
companies. Saman claimed the prices were sufficient to cover the
store's operating costs. He also announced on December 23 that a
chain of "Arepera Socialista" restaurants would be opened
throughout Venezuela as part of the Socialist Market Cooperatives
run by the Ministry of Commerce. Saman himself worked at the
restaurant on December 24; other Ministry of Commerce employees
were "volunteering" at the restaurant on the day of the Emboffs'
visit. About 30 people work at the restaurant.

4. (U) Besides the price, Saman highlighted another key difference
between socialist and capitalist "arepera": customers pay only
after eating, while "in fast food chains . . . they only think
about money." In the "Arepera Socialista," the cash register is in
a corner of the room and customers pay only after eating,
self-reporting how many of the "arepas" they ate.

5. (C) Facing high inflation, electricity and water rationing,
and failing public services, Chavez may see the "arepera
socialista" as a relatively quick and easy way to promote the
benefits of "socialism" to his electoral base before the September
legislative elections. The challenge will be meeting demand
without raising the subsidized price or cutting quality.

THIS IS SERIOUS!  "Tasty" products of a socialist state, undercutting the rightful, god-given flavor of capitalism, and flouting "low price and high quality" as benefits of the "socialist revolution"?  BASTARDS!  How dare they strive for quality AND low price!  And, on top of that, the "long lines" of customers are subjected to "SURPRISINGLY RAPID SERVICE"?

I must pause.

Will these godless Marxists stop at nothing to bring down our way of life?

You see, this is exactly the false utopia* that Marxism poisons us with: you don't get food that is good, cheap, and fast.  It doesn't happen.  It's a pipe dream.

But wait, there's more:

"The customers pay only after they eat" . . . ???!!!?  WTF?!  This isn't Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, this is freaking Trotsky's South American Bread Thing!  If you want to eat at a place what takes your money AFTER you eat, you need to sweat and save!  You need to climb the ladder of capital!  You don't just get this shit given to you!  Communist!!

And, on top of that, you have the leering Simon Bolivar: "The best system of government is that which produces the greatest happiness".  Is it?  Is it really?  "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" . . . yeah, that's right, that's another communist by the name of John F. Kennedy.  Except JFK, being a rich white boy, was a communist who ultimately knew the value of a buck, so he knew: capital doesn't serve you, you serve capital.  And, if you want that fuckin' biscuit, you're going to fuckin' pay for it first.

This subversion of the American way of life will not be tolerated.  This tasty threat will not stand.

Soon, the CIA will hook up Bobby Flay, and then there'll be REAL "Throwdown".  He'll get down into the streets of Caracas, and he'll whip up some of that sweet chili sauce, work up a base with cumin and parsley, maybe milk some cilantro, and he'll have some FUCKING BACON (the REAL secret weapon of Capital), and the working class will be eating out of his hand . . . the dictatorship of the proletariat will be overthrown by PORK . . . 

 . . . and, at the moment of triumph, the grinning effigy of Flay will intone "if you want that biscuit, you're going to have to FUCKING PAY for that biscuit" . . . 

 . . . and order will be restored to the universe, and the 23rd Carrier Group can just wander off toward Puerto Rico, "nothing to see here . . . "

The price of security is vigilance.  Or something like that.
*  "Utopia", from the Greek ou (not) + topos (place) . . . utopia is "no place" . . . just in case you forgot.


Frangipan said...

Marxism doesn't work, but in some ways it is a nice dream. What's the general feeling towards wikileaks in America? I was reading somewhere the other day that David Jones was better received in America at the time of publication than in England. It reminded me of what you were saying, seems strange that this initial interest must have faded fairly fast!

Bill Zink said...

I'm not convinced that Marxism works any worse than any other form of government when it comes to taking care of its people . . .

I wouldn't presume to speak for Americans (who can?), but there is a high level of support for wikilinks here - Michael Moore posted his bail, after all - as well as a bunch of people who hate Assange because they are told to hate him. His personality has a whiff of megalomania (really, his picture on the wikileaks header is too much), and that rape charge does complicate things because, if it is true, no one wants to support anything having to do with a rapist. Of course, there are the idiots (unfortunately typical of the loudest voices in current American political dialogue) who want him tried in America for treason, which conveniently ignores the fact that only Australia can try him for treason, since he is an Australian citizen. Such is the current level of our discourse, not to mention the general IQ of our politicians.

I've always felt that David Jones was a practitioner of a very rustic hue of modernism, and, as such, wasn't a "sexy" choice for study or discussion among hipsters of any era. I personally do not connect with his stubborn (and ironic, given the nature of his writing) traditionalist streak, and I do not at all share his affinity for the magic of signs, but his concepts of the maturity and richness of a sign (language generally) right before its death is very interesting to me, as is his concept of the cultural scrapheap . . . which, probably much to his chagrin if he were ever confronted with it, can very easily fit into a postmodernist scheme.

Not to mention, of course, that I find Jones's writing astoundingly beautiful at times.

Bill Zink said...

"Michael Moore posted his bail, after all"

Or he was trying to, or something like that. He supposedly wired in $20,000, but I heard today the bail was over $300,000. I'm not sure what is going on.

If I were Micheal Moore, I would be trying to find out what I could do BEHIND THE SCENES to make sure wikilinks remains viable instead of making another grandstand move, but that's not his style (a trait he apparently shares with Assange). Sometimes a grandstand move is called for, sometimes subtlety is your friend.

josh said...

Wikileaks had very little support in the US until very recently. The power-serving media here finally realized that if Assange is tried for espionage based on the laughably flimsy premise the US DOJ wants to charge him every media outlet in the US could be tried on the same charges. Besides, whether Assange is a rapist, a-hole, narcissist, etc is utterly irrelevant. Wikileaks sole importance is that it provides a model for containing power.

Bill, "taking care of its people" isn't the goal of any government. Maybe that was your point, but I just wanted to make sure we're on the same page there.

Bill Zink said...

Every government ostensibly forms to take care of its people ("promote general welfare"), but the real purpose of any system is to propagate and expand itself . . . so yeah, I think we're on the same page.

And sure, it doesn't matter re: wikilinks if Assange is a rapist, but in the real world it will, especially since he has so publicly made himself the face of the organization. I'm pretty sure it can survive whatever legal traumas he undergoes, though.

My only problem with wikilinks: is there any news there? Really, I'm asking. It seems that everything I've heard is kind of a "duh" moment, like King Abdullah wanting Iran out of the way . . . it seems that I've heard all these stories from other sources before. Not that that reduces the importance of wikilinks, necessarily.

Or, maybe there's gold there that the media hasn't yet touched (or are afraid to touch). I've spent some time wandering through the links, and so far the only thing that really caught my eye is the link that is the source of this Chavez gag.

josh said...

I can't help but see an implicit criticism of Assange in the statement "he [Assange] has so publicly made himself the face of the organization." But, what else would you have Assange or anyone in his position do? Wikileaks requires that whistle-blowers trust Wikileaks with very sensitive and very dangerous information. Assange deserves a lot of credit for creating an environment where whistle-blowers feel they can trust Wikileaks. A less charismatic and convincing front man probably could not have achieved that. I mean, look what the US government is doing to Bradley Manning? If you had evidence of government or corporate wickedness, would you want to risk spending the rest of your life in a cage (or worse) just to expose this wickedness only to have it all go for naught because you leaked the information to the wrong outlet?

Moreover, it should be very easy for free-thinking individuals to separate the Assange story from the Wikileaks story. The fact that so many people can't is a testament to the overwhelming success of corporate and government propaganda and the overwhelming desire of most people to not think for themselves (or think at all).

For me, the real story isn't what Wikileaks has published. It's the US government's response to Wikileaks that I find both interesting and terrifying. If there really is "nothing to see here" why are we trying to re-write (I mean, "reinterpret") our Constitution to prosecute a pale, creepy, Australian computer nerd who doesn't like wearing condoms? Either the US gov't knows the worst leaks are yet to come or it has simply decided to stop pretending the US isn't a totalitarian state.

What's really frightening about all this is how complacent most Americans have been about our rapid slide into overt fascism. It's as if the likes of Fromm and Arendt (not to mention that carpenter's son from Nazareth) never existed.

Who makes the Nazis? We do.

Bill Zink said...

Deep at its core, I don't think the government really cares about the specific details revealed . . . which makes the attempted suppression even more cynical.

"Moreover, it should be very easy for free-thinking individuals to separate the Assange story from the Wikileaks story. The fact that so many people can't is a testament to the overwhelming success of corporate and government propaganda and the overwhelming desire of most people to not think for themselves (or think at all)."

- Yeah, I'm with you 100% here.

And yeah, there is a criticism of Assange there, but not a major one. I think anyone in that role would do better with less of a public personality, though I suppose he would become public real quick one way or another. Remember that "starfish" metaphor that the tea party was so fond of? This would be a good "headless" organization. The government/corporate media has managed to make this about Assange, and I think he has made that easier for them. But I'm assuming (or at least hoping) that the wikilinks would be able to withstand anything that happens to Assange.

And as far as Bradley Manning is concerned, what is happening to him is the real story, and nobody is telling it. I think the next step that wikilinks needs to take is to augment their information collecting with an underground railroad of sorts to get the whistleblowers out of the country and to a place without extradition . . .

. . . which brings us back to THAT BASTARD CHAVEZ!