Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

December 9, 2016

Narcos and the Story of Colombia’s Unhappiness

Filed under: Counterpunch,drugs,Latin America,television — louisproyect @ 5:59 pm

Narcos and the Story of Colombia’s Unhappiness

Notwithstanding my advice to CounterPunch readers to junk Netflix, it is still worth the membership fee for many of the European television shows they reprise such as Wallander and for their own productions such as Narcos that I have been watching for the past several weeks. As you may know, this series now in Season Two is about the rise and fall of Pablo Escobar, the leader of the Medellín cartel that shipped billions of dollars worth of cocaine into the USA in the 1980s, and who is played brilliantly by Brazilian actor Wagner Moura.

Narcos has very few deep insights about the social and economic context for the rise of the drug industry so why would a Marxist film critic recommend it? The answer is that it is vastly entertaining and has enough background about the Colombian political context of the 1980s to motivate reading about the “war on drugs”. Like the “war on terror” and the Cold War that preceded it, it was one in a series of conflicts that were designed to mobilize Americans against a dreaded enemy after the fashion of the permanent warfare in Orwell’s 1984. When a population grows restive over declining economic prospects, what better way to suppress resistance than to redirect anger against an external threat? Indeed, you will find striking affinities between the hunt for Pablo Escobar and the one for Osama bin-Laden.

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2 Comments »

  1. […] via Narcos and the Story of Colombia’s Unhappiness — Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist […]

    Pingback by Narcos and the Story of Colombia’s Unhappiness — Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist | gramirezblog — December 9, 2016 @ 7:12 pm

  2. The war in Mexico has similar infamy, given its provenance in the midsts of uprisings in Chiapas, Oaxaca, and Atenco among others. A convenient war that diverted attention, militarised the nation, publicising a steady stream of horrendous murders, faceless victims and culprites both, all attributed to many armies of gangs and criminals never before heard or imagined. And government heroes protecting the very viability of the Nation. All this certainly chilled any nasty thoughts of previous years. That is, on the cusp of something really big (that must have worried authorities on a national scale), from outright rebellion, to massive political participation, strikes, mobilisation, education, solidarity and optimism,,, It was replaced by a stifling fear and submissiveness. Draw your own conclusions…

    Comment by seaspan — December 9, 2016 @ 9:02 pm


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