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From: DonQuijote ( -
Subject: The Banana Revolution?
Date: August 29, 2004 at 3:51 pm PST

"If I can't dance, I don't want to join your revolution."
-Emma Goldman (1869-1940)

What if instead of using something totally abstract for national
identity--the flag, the anthem--or something which makes you different
in a suspicious way--religion, politics--we used something real that
everybody liked? Suppose that the symbol of national identity
was 'food' and suppose that we "spiced it up," wouldn't the people
prefer it?

Guess what, people love it! My first writing over 11 years ago was
the 'Guarapo Revolution' (denouncing scarcity in Cuba) and, after its
huge success, I modeled the Jalapeno (Mexico), Arepa (Venezuela,
Colombia), Banana 'Revolutions'...

While most other activists struggle to convince an overwhelmingly
skeptical public, I just say the 'Banana Revolution' and most people
take the literature with a smile. And along with it they get the
stories of the jungle with the solution being proposed...

Best of all, they want the Party, the promised Banana Party! So all we
got to do is throw the party. That's what the people want. At least
that's my experience among the Latin American people...

Among my arguments for it, I find:

-Nationalistic symbols--flag, anthem--divide and lead to conflict;
food differentiates yet unites.

-The leaflets are passed on, not wasted.

-The names really stick. It's not every day that you hear about
a "banana revolution."

-These names become a "protest vote" against corrupt politics, against
the foxes.

-It signals that the happiness of people is more important than

-It emphasizes food and things real (not risk the famines or
scarcities some revolutions--USSR, China, Cuba--are known for).

-It challenges junk food, a favorite method of globalization.

-It constitutes a 'back to basics' movement.

-It chases the lion away, since laughter and love is not part of his
aggressive language.

-The little people have something better to think other than the

-If we are addressing the "Banana Republic" syndrome, then it seems to
me that the perfect antidote to it would be a "Banana Revolution,"
would it not?

The "surveys" in English don't convey the full power of it, but if you
can visualize the Brazilian Carnival, you get the idea.

Here's a hint though...


In preparation for the VICTORY PARTY, we are doing the following
survey so there ain't nothing missing:

Do you like "Chiquita Banana" or "Grande Banana"?

__ I like Chiquita Banana (Banana Republic)

__ I like Grande Banana (Banana Revolution)

The answer is obvious, but HAVING OPTIONS is at the core of our


I guess you can call us an "Epicurean Revolution"...

"Pleasure and happiness here and now"

Epicurus of Samos, the Greek "philosopher of the garden" who lived 341-
270 BC, was an ancient sage who left us an enduring message of
optimism. His teachings conveyed a fundamental conviction that
individuals can live in serene happiness, fortified by the continual
experience of easily obtainable pleasures. All we really need to
satisfy ourselves, he informs us, are the sustenance of nutritious
food, the comfort of a secure living environment, the comradery of
good friends, and the assuring wisdom that the nature of the larger
universe is benign.

But although Epicurus' hedonistic ideal is easily achieved, it's not
quite as readily believed. Many of us are disposed to believe that a
pleasurable life necessarily entails the winning of riches, fame, and
power, only to come away feeling anxious that we still don't have
enough--the goal slides forever forward, like the proverbial carrot
hanging on a string. Meanwhile, religions proclaim that a pleasurable
life on earth is not even desirable, but that we must strive instead
for a blissful afterlife, which may be earned after a lifetime of toil
and strife. Here the carrot is so far deployed into the future, that
one cannot live long enough to seize it--nor can we really tell that
anyone else has ever succeeded in doing so. Epicurus, by contrast,
challenges us to examine the nature of the universe scientifically, to
analyze the root causes of grief and anxiety, and to put pleasure and
happiness in their place--here and now.


Make love, not war?

“Make love, not war,” was not just a protest against the indifference
and lack of humaneness in Vietnam; it was also a positive statement
that love between parent and child, teacher and pupil, fiancé and
fiancée, and husband and wife is an activity we should try to pursue
in the house when work is not necessary. It is the one real source of
truth, beauty, and salvation in a community where deceit, corruption,
and impersonality seem to be rampant.
-Jerome Kagan

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