In 2010 and 2011, grenades exploded at city hall buildings in Reynosa, Matamoros, Nuevo Laredo and Ciudad Victoria, four cities in the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas. Organized crime was blamed for the explosions, particularly members of the Zetas or of the Gulf Cartel. I visited the region in early 2011, at a loss for what could be driving criminal groups to fight against local governments that are, for all intents and purposes, under their control.
Imagine if a band of violent criminals stormed a building, fatally shot several people and injured hundreds of others. What if the local police department was busy playing cards instead of stopping the bandits? Shouldn’t those irresponsible cops be held partially responsible for those casualties, if not lose their jobs altogether?
In a newly translated and published letter, written around the time that he was completing "On Terrorism and the State" (1978), Gianfranco Sanguinetti reveals the attacks he was exposed to at the time. In this document, he speaks of,
The FBI added Assata Shakur to its Most Wanted Terrorist List today. In addition, the state of New Jersey announced it was adding $1 million to the FBI’s $1 million reward for her capture. Shakur becomes the first woman ever to make the list and only the second domestic terrorist to be added to the list. Assata Shakur, who was born Joanne Chesimard, was a member of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army. She was convicted in the May 2, 1973 killing of a New Jersey police officer during a shoot-out that left one of her fellow activists dead. She was shot twice by police during the incident. In 1979, she managed to escape from jail. Shakur fled to Cuba where she received political asylum. She once wrote, "I am a 20th century escaped slave. Because of government persecution, I was left with no other choice than to flee from the political repression, racism and violence that dominate the U.S. government’s policy towards people of color."
Prologue: In the 1999 film Run, Lola, Run, the female protagonist is magically given three chances to cope with a dodgy situation. Like having a reset button on a video game, if Lola screws up, she gets to go back and start from the beginning.
Many people imply that unless a critic expounds a specific strategy for change, his/her assessment is worthless or, at the very least, too negative. This reaction misses the essential role critical analysis plays in a society where problems -- and their causes -- are so cleverly disguised. When discussing the future, the first step is often an identification and demystification of the past and present.
Imagine a country in which the government pays convicted con artists and criminals to scour minority religious communities for disgruntled, financially desperate, or mentally ill patsies who can be talked into joining fake terror plots, even if only for money. Imagine that the country's government then busts its patsies with great fanfare to justify ever-increasing authority and ever-increasing funding. According to journalist Trevor Aaronson's The Terror Factory, this isn't the premise for a Kafka novel; it's reality in the post-9/11 United States.
Please allow me to remind you that we’re coming up on the 23rd anniversary of a somewhat forgotten American intervention into a little place David Lee Roth likes to call Panama.
On Dec. 20, 1989 -- just two weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall -- President George H.W. Bush ushered in the post-Cold War era by sending 25,000 U.S. troops into Manuel Noriega’s Panama. Called Operation Just (sic) Cause, the foray would have been deemed a “surprise attack” if any other nation had initiated it.
It is our great pleasure to announce that, one month after producing a good translation of Gianfranco Sanguinetti’s masterpiece, Truthful Report on the Last Chances to Save Capitalism in Italy, we have produced a good translation of his second book, On Terrorism and the State.
It is with both pride and some embarrassment that we announce that we have once again translated Gianfranco Sanguinetti’s masterpiece, Truthful Report on the Last Chances to Save Capitalism in Italy, from French into English. We are proud of our most recent translation because we know that it is good, and a bit embarrassed by our previous translation, which we completed in 2005 (at a time when we were just beginning to teach ourselves to read French), because it wasn’t.