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Who said what

3 August 2010

“Is it a misfortune that magnificent California was seized from the lazy Mexicans who did not know what to do with it?”

I’ve run across this quote a couple of times lately — attributed to the wrong person… (which is a clue: think Laurel and Hardy, Simon and Garfunkel, Batman and Robin)… on extreme rightist sites, both in Mexico and in the United States, although the author is neither connected to the far right, nor lived in the Americas.

It’s attributed to Karl Marx, and it’s no secret that Marx favored the United States in the 1846-48 “War of Northamerican Intervention” (and I even footnoted that in my own book).  As the paragraph in question goes on to say,  “All impotent nations must in the last analysis, owe a debt to those who, under the laws of historic necessity, incorporate them into a great empire”  and Karl — being a stickler for “historical necessity”  (capitalism — a la the United States — by “historical necessity” replacing agrarianism– as in the Mexico of the 1840s) — was a step towards the eventual withering away of the state and dictatorship of the proletariat) — the quote makes perfect sense in terms of his theories.

What’s weird about the quote isn’t that a 19th century German felt comfortable using stereotypes, but that it’s quoted both by Mexican “reconquistadores” and by U.S. xenophobes.

On the xenophobic sites, the enthusiasm for the quote is based on that great logical argument, “MOMMY… he did it too!” — somehow Karl Marx, being a leftist (although a long dead one) once said something rather rude about Mexicans, ergo, if such statements are considered rude in the 21st century, it indicates “leftist hypocrisy” and any arguments against xenophobia are invalid. Or something like that. Damned if I can figure out the xenophobes.

The reconquistadors in question (and, no, I’m not going to link to them) is a rather exclusive group (their national convention almost filled up a small meeting room in the San Miguel de Allede public library) of generic Falangists — going on about the Jews and the Masons and the Protestants and the decadent Anglo-Saxons and the glories of Francisco Franco… and how much better everyone was back in the days of the Spanish Inquisition… (and — in a rather charming touch — pussyfooting around the fact that they’re not only fascists, they’re fashionists:  denying membership to “those who … wear urban styles which denigrate the human person and the nation” — meaning, I suppose, punkers… punkers, emos, skateros, girls in miniskirts (and boys in miniskirts).

But, at least — Marx being a Jew and saying something kinda rude about Mexicans, and a Marxist, of course — I guess the Falangists are more logical in their use of the quote.

A shame it wasn’t Karl Marx who wrote it.  OK, Marx could have said it, and wrote and thought a lot of thing very similar, but the quote was from an article in the 15 February 1849 Neue Rheinische Zeitung, written by Fredrick Engels.

I donno… maybe  Marx’s beard was too much of an urban style and Engels’ beard didn’t degrade the human person.  Or all commies look alike.  Or getting it right is just too hard for the hard right.

People easily confused by people easily confused

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jose Garcia permalink
    3 August 2010 9:00 am

    I remember meeting some of these “reconquistadores”, (or Mexican Americans with that same mentality)I met them after joining MECHA. How foolish I thought, for someone actually bringing up such a subject during a mecha meeting; first of all- that land is lost forever, second- why the hell would you want it to be part of a corrupt system, and not to mention, if this was Mexico, you wouldn’t be going to school on a scholarship dumbass. I didn’t last long at MECHA. I had better things to do with my time.

  2. 7 August 2010 3:38 pm

    I am always interested in info about Marx and Lenin, and by that I mean The Marx Brothers, and John Lennon of course. My wife is part Jewish and part Mexican, also Scottish. So I am frequently offended by racist remarks. They always then say, “Oh, Sarah, she’s OK though!!!”

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