In 1979, the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN) overthrew the US-sponsored dictatorship that had ruled the Central American Republic Nicaragua. The revolutionaries were Marxists,... More > and they worked together with Cuba and the Soviet Union. The USA funded a civil war against the new government and maintained an economic boycott of the country, which crippled it severely. In 1990, the FSLN then lost the presidential elections to a US-friendly alternative. In 2006, José Daniel Ortega Saavedra, the same Sandinista who ruled in the 1980s, was elected president of the country and ended thereby 16 years of neoliberal rule. Or did he? 40% of Nicaragua's population call themselves Sandinista, but since the 1980s the meaning of what a Sandinista is has changed. This book attempts to explain what Sandinismo meant in the past and what it is now.< Less
Johannes Wilm, an organizer and activist from Oslo, Norway, goes off to live in and study Douglas, AZ, a border town to Mexico, for half a year. At first sight, Douglas looks like nothing but a run... More > down company town - after the Phelps Dodge smelter left in the 1980s. Interestingly though, Wilm discovers that old modes of social stratification disappeared together with the jobs. This book has to be seen as a tribute to the progressive sides of the lumpenproletariat.
"This is a well written, experience-near ethnography of marginality in every sense of the word: Douglas is literally on the margins between the USA and Mexico, it is geographically marginal, economically marginal and culturally marginal in the US context. Wilm weaves a convincing and compelling picture of the precarious, reckless and often paradoxical lives led by people in Douglas."
—Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Professor of Social Anthropology