Rafael Correa: With God On Our Side

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In the same week as Rafael Correa announced that Ecuador would eradicate illiteracy by 2009 he also used anti-consumerist rhetoric to denounce a pagan celebration, which the Christian church, unlike most other pagan days, have not yet managed to appropriate; but, of course, the capitalist have seized the day.

What is Correa saying, then? Well, firstly he is saying that in two years there will be no one who cannot read and write in Ecuador – so perhaps he is going to nuke the last bit of the Amazon – or deprive those who live there of their citizenship (not that they ever asked for it in the first place, but still..)?

Once more he is speaking as if the people who live in the Ecuadorean rain forest just don’t count…..

How do you teach entire communities of grown people, living remotely, to read and write in two years’ time? Perhaps he will ask his Christian Gods for a miracle?

Then onto the consumer issue:

“President Rafael Correa called on Ecuadoreans to reject Halloween on Wednesday, railing against the holiday for encouraging consumerism. Halloween “has been deformed by consumerism, including in the United States and other English-speaking countries,” said Correa, who calls himself a Christian leftist.

“These promoters of insane and senseless consumption lead human beings to supposedly need things they don’t require,” Correa said at a ceremony for National Shield Day, commemorating the country’s coat of arms — which he urged Ecuadoreans to celebrate instead.

“We will not fall for these attempts to make us foreign,” said Correa, a close ally of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. “Let’s love what’s ours and reject ridiculousness like Halloween.”

In Mexico, Catholic Church officials earlier this week criticized the holiday as part of a pagan “culture of death,” urging parents to keep children from wearing Halloween costumes and dress them as Biblical characters instead.”

Surely the anti-capitalist and people’s power argument in this context would be:Let’s reclaim Halloween from the commodity fetishists and put this important change of seasons moment back into the hands of the people as a liberatory, carnival moment!

But no, rather, let us have a little convenient, opportunistic moment of anti-consumerist rhetoric deployed as an instrument of the patriarchal Christian church’s continued mission to destroy all other forms of living and being.

With God On Our Side


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