From Gulf to Gulf

Celso Alvarez Cáccamo lxalvarz at UDC.ES
Fri Sep 2 15:46:34 UTC 2005

(I apologize for cross-posting)

Dear all,

I have just listened in CNN International to four full, forceful speeches 
on the hurricane Katrina crisis by four USA Afro-American representatives 
talking to the Black Caucus. In my opinion, all the speakers indirectly 
brought to fore the deepest political crisis that the USA regime and the 
USA as a country have experienced in recent years, a much greater crisis 
than 9/11, which "united" the country in tragedy. In powerful and 
transparent ways, class and race (poverty, slavery, and the empire of the 
market) in the USA have been linked, and sometimes nuanced with elements of 
a religious ideology (a representative quoting the Bible to his "fellow 
Christian" president Bush) that clearly parallel the convergence of state, 
politics and religion in so-called fundamentalist Muslim countries that the 
USA army is supposed to be fighting.

In such a terrible situation as the one that thousands of people are 
experiencing now in the USA, I believe it is not time for refined exercises 
of discourse analysis (at least, I would be unable to do them) that, for 
the sake of academic "rigor" and self-complacency (which too often are one 
and the same issue) would obscure the fundamental issues at stake in this 
crisis. The simple issue is that the bodies and minds of poor people always 
DIE in greater quantities and SUFFER more than other economic classes under 
critical circumstances. If you have an opportunity, do search for and 
listen to these speeches, for example. I doubt that CNN will make them 
available on line.

And to the international academic community (particularly the US scholars) 
I can only suggest, with all due respect and humbleness, to consider anew 
or review the role that the material bases of society, and particularly 
objects such as "class", "class relations", "poverty", or the like, play in 
the models (?) that inform (?) their respective forms of discourse analyses.

Please understand me: I am not trying to raise an unfruitful "academic" 
controversy in which I myself would not be able to defend my own, 
unelaborated position, if I indeed have one. Simply put, realizing that one 
is alive to be able to continue to do academic work just because one had 
the MATERIAL means, for example, to flee from an upcoming disaster (or to 
survive an earthquake, or to escape bombings) is not a matter of academic 
controversies, but of ethics.


Celso Alvarez Cáccamo
lxalvarz at

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