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UPSIDE DOWN by Eduardo Galeano


A Primer for the Looking-Glass World

by Eduardo Galeano & translated by Mark Fried

Pub Date: Oct. 10th, 2000
ISBN: 0-8050-6375-7
Publisher: Henry Holt

Galeano (The Memory of Fire Trilogy, etc.) has set to paper an astonishingly straight-faced indictment of yanqui capitalism that—for all its freshness and wit—could well have been freeze-dried at about the time of Che Guevara's assassination.

The author views the world as essentially a matter of conflict between North and South, rich and poor, First World and Third World, big business and the small guy, and man against nature. Big business pollutes the Third World, uses their cheap labor, and sells them Big Macs, unleashing its power (and power is everything to Galeano) on the poor and voiceless. Galeano sees the US as heavy-handed and heavily armed—using its might to quell any uprising it doesn't like and to impose any government it prefers. The North he holds responsible for most social injustices—“free trade" being his euphemism for the slave trade. He also believes that whites were responsible for the annihilation of Jews, Gypsies, blacks, and gays during the Holocaust. Hitler, he points out, sterilized Gypsies—not very different, he believes, from the sterilizations performed in America during the 1930s on criminals, blacks, and alcoholics. Yet Americans, he believes, feel inexplicably superior. Blacks have been treated poorly in both the northern and southern hemispheres; dark-skinned black or Indian Brazilians form an underclass, rarely seen in the media or at universities. The author writes of the Argentine death squads, and he sees drug trafficking as a plot of the banks and gun manufacturers: "An illegal industry of death thus serves the legal industry of death." Galeano brings an almost Manichean dualism to his disquisitions on stock markets, capitalism, unemployment, nuclear arms—-and much, much more.

Old-time agitprop from south of the border.