Michele Bachmann’s Vision of America

Michele Bachmann wants to brings us back to the great days of General Pinochet.

Reality-challenged Congressmember Michele Bachmann (R – Insane Asylum) said yesterday “we literally need to start banging garbage lids together” to fight against health care reform.

Where have I heard this before?

Oh, yes.  Here:

A cacerolazo or cacerolada is a form of popular protest practised in certain Spanish-speaking countries – in particular Argentina – which consists in a group of people creating noise by banging pots, pans, and other utensils in order to call for attention.

It is believed that the first cacerolazos took place in Chile between 1971 and 1973, led by middle and upper class women who were opposed to the socialist Allende government, primarily because of shortages of basic goods.

So what Bachmann’s real models are the people who brought us Augusto Pinochet.  If the shoe fits…

Author: Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees. Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses. Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.

9 thoughts on “Michele Bachmann’s Vision of America”

  1. More and more garbage cans these days have lids that are plastic and/or permanently attached by hinges. Probably a liberal plot to thwart righteous conservative protest.

  2. Whoah….Jonathan, I urge you to take another try at this post.

    First, a cacerolazo is literally a banging of pots and pans, hence cacerola (pan); it's not banging of trash can lids. Second of all, this form of protest became popular in Argentina in the early 80s as a way for women to draw attention to the various "disappeared" at the hands of the authoritarian Argentine regime.

    Michelle Bachmann may be certifiably insane, but a cacerolazo was a form of protest from victims of Augusto Pinochet, not his cabinet.

    And I'm pretty disappointed that you would confuse protesters for the CIA and Kissinger as the responsible party for Pinochet. Please re-submit.

  3. ¨R – Insane Asylum¨. The de-institutionalising of mental health care in the 70s or thereabouts closed most asylums. It was supposed to transfer the mentally ill to more civilised ¨community care¨ but in fact threw tens of thousands of men and women with really major problems on to the street – or in some cases apparently Congress. There´s a movement to bring back asylums in the original sense of the word: safe places for people who can´t cope in the world.

  4. HG —

    The cacerolazo started in 1973 as a protest against Allende. In the early 80's, the mothers of the disappeared starting using it in a sort of ironic way. But it was originally a right-wing protest against the socialists.

    And you are right about the CIA and Kissinger's complicity, but let us not forget that Pinochet had and still has a social base in Chile. It didn't come from nowhere.

  5. James, you're absolutely right. I worked for years serving this population, first delivering meals for people with AIDS (a large portion of which were "triple diagnosed" – AIDS, drug addiction & insanity) in San Francisco, then basically handing out meds in a temp home for the insane in Portland. There is a case to be made for ending the abusive nature of institutionalization and patients' rights, but from what I've seen the pendulum is has done a 180.

    So now instead of inhumane institutionalization, we have inhumane de-institutionalization. I can't tell you how many people I saw who were in no shape to manage their lives, let alone their meds. The Tenderloin of SF consists of block after block of slum single-occupancy rooms filled with this population. Nurse Ratchet is now an immigrant Bangladeshi family behind a padlocked office and everything else a patchwork of non-profits struggling to provide services.

    I'm sure this situation is repeated again and again in cities across the nation. And I fear in CA its gonna get real bad real soon. The Moral Midgets are finally coming to preside over a great failing state, and the shit rolling downhill will wipe many over the cliff. Starve the beast is literally being translated into "starve the beasts". And yet they have the nerve to paint horns on Obama.

  6. Zasloff's right. The most notorious "March of the Empty Pots" was held in Dec 1971; they were all part of the campaign that ended w/ Allende's death in the Moneda Palace.

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