1. CARLOS MEJÍA GODOY Y LOS DE PALACAGÜINA - LAS MUNICIONES (NICARAGUA, 1979]

    "I am the armor piercer, I am the guide,
    I’m forever an expert of the night
    The happy firefly of the guerrilla,
    I am the compass of a tough bullet.”

    Carlos & Luis Enrique Mejia Godoy's 1979 album Guitarra Armada may not have been a musical perfection; the rhymes were often simplistic, the singing sometimes subpar. Still, this remains one of my favorite albums if only for its incredible historical significance.

    Recorded shortly after the Sandinista National Liberation Front’s (FSLN) overthrow of Anastasio Somoza Debayle and its arrival in Managua on July 19, 1979, the album features a collection of songs which had dispersed among the revolutionary forces during the course of the popular insurrection, which had begun on a national scale in the final months of 1978 as a result of both the assassination of Pedro Joaquin Chamorro, editor of La Prensa, that January and the FSLN’s assault of the Presidential Palace in August.

    Despite this bold action, in 1978 the FSLN was a small, weak, and divided organization. Its leader, Carlos Fonseca, had been killed in action two years earlier, it was split into three factions, and by the beginning of that year had a membership of likely less than 200 militants, including its rural guerrilla army of 11 people.

    But as the insurrection took hold in previously inactive sections of the population, the FSLN took note that, despite the courage and audacity of the people, most had little to no military training, either in tactical maneuvering or in in the use of arms. Weapons manuals were not widely available, and would not do much good anyway: around half of the Nicaraguan population was functionally illiterate.

    The Mejía Godoy brothers Carlos and Luis Enrique, both members of the FSLN, took it upon themselves to try something creative. Given the small size of the Frente, it did not have the capacity to teach everyone street fighting or weapons use. So the brothers began writing and recording songs with the intention of creating easily dispersible and memorizable tracks with full instructions in military training. This song, called The Munitions, was written to instruct participants of the insurrection on the purpose and use of different kinds of ammunition—standard ammunition, incendiary bullets, tracers, and the fragmentation grenade. Four singers each take on the perspective of a particular ammunition and sing about their qualities in different battle scenarios. [Unfortunately I do not have the album booklet and can’t recognize any of the women singers except that of Mexican folk musician Amparo Ochoa, who takes on the perspective of the standard bullet.]

    This creativity and ability to respond to the moment was immensely helpful in allowing the FSLN (reunited into a single organization in January of 1979) and the Nicaraguan people to defeat Anastasio Somoza’s National Guard, one of the most disciplined and best armed military forces in Latin America, and to begin a revolutionary process based in new institutions of popular power.

    You’ll find an English translation below, done to the best of my abilities. Enjoy!

    SPANISH:

    Compañero, estas balas fueron recuperadas en la caida de Matagalpa. O sea, son balas que sirvieron al enemigo. Pero ahora que las tenemos nosotros, ya no son las mismas. Sabes por que, compita? Porque estas balas nos estan sirviendo ahora para conquistar la libertad.

    ESTRIBILLO:
    Echele borona compita Venancio, de las municiones écheme un sermón
    yo prefiero hermano, que por separado, haga cada bala su presentación.

    Yo por ser la común y ordinaria, me siento en un nivel muy inferior
    Soy la bala certera endemoniada, henchida de eficacia y de rigor
    Cobriza como un indio americano, por ser de furia voy a lo que voy
    desde que salgo al viento, voy buscando el mero corazón del opresor

    Yo soy la munición por excelencia, sin despreciar a nadie en esta lid
    mis posibilidades en la guerra explican el porque yo estoy aquí
    Como incendiaria grito “siempre lista!” y como perforante rauda voy
    Yo soy la rojinegra sandinista, yo soy por vocación la munición

    Yo soy la trazadora combativa, anaranjado vivo mi color
    No tengo propiedades expansivas, pero hago lo que puedo en mi fulgor
    Yo soy la quiebra placa, soy la guía, baqueana de la noche siempre fui
    Luciérnaga feliz de la guerrilla, soy brújula del recio proyectil.

    Yo que puedo decir de mis valores, si ni siquiera tengo proyectil?,
    Es como sin tener mecha ni llama, quisiera ser antorcha o ser candil
    En mi viudez de cápsula vacia, va el alma del hermano que cayó,
    lanzando en el umbral de su partida una granada de fragmentación.

    ENGLISH:

    Compañero, these bullets were recovered during the fall of Matagalpa. In other words, they are bullets that served the enemy. But now that we have them, they are no longer the same. Do you know why, comrade? Because these bullets are now serving us in the quest for freedom.

    CHORUS:
    Sing it, comrade Venancio, give me a sermon about our munitions
    and I’d prefer, brother, that they each give me a separate presentation

    I, being the common and ordinary one, feel like I’m on an inferior level
    I am a damn accurate bullet, bursting with efficiency and rigor
    Copper like an indigenous American, in my fury I go where I wish
    from the time I enter the wind, I search for the heart of the oppressor

    I am the most excellent bullet without belittling anyone in this contest
    my potential in war explains the reason that I am here
    As an incendiary I shout “always ready!”, and as an piercer I am swift
    I am the Sandinista red-and-black, I am a munition by profession

    I am the combative tracer, bright orange is my color
    I don’t have expansive properties, but I do what I can with my glow
    I am the armor piercer, I am the guide, I’m forever an expert of the night
    The happy firefly of the guerrilla, I am the compass of a tough bullet

    What can I say of my value if I don’t even have a projectile?
    It’s like not having a wick or flame, I’d love to be a torch or candle
    In my empty-capsule widowhood goes the soul of a fallen comrade,
    launching a fragmentation grenade on the eve of his departure

     
  2. ELA CALVO Y LA ORQUESTA ARAGON | CUBA, QUE LINDA ES CUBA

    Oye, tú que dices que tu patria no es tan linda 
    Oye, tú que dices que lo tuyo no es tan bello 
    yo te invito a que busques por el mundo, 
    otro cielo tan azul como tu cielo. 
    Una luna tan brillante como aquella, 
    que se infiltra en la dulzura de la caña 
    Un Fidel que vibra en la montaña. 
    Un rubí cinco franjas y una estrella 

    Cuba que linda es cuba 
    quien la defiende la quiere más 

    Quien te defiende mi cuba bella 
    ahora sin yanquis te quiero más 

    Cuba que linda es cuba 
    quien la defiende la quiere más 

    Qué linda es cuba! 
    Ahora el guajiro vive contento, vive feliz en comunidad 

    Cuba que linda es cuba 
    quien la defiende la quiere más 

    Qué linda es cuba! 
    Cuba que linda es cuba 
    ahora sin yanquis te quiero más 

    Qué linda es cuba! 
    Un fidel que vibra en la montaña 
    un rubí, cinco franjas y una estrella

     
     
  3. A video I just made… Nicaraguan revolutionary folk singer Luis Enrique Mejia Godoy sings about Gaspar Garcia Laviana, a guerrilla priest from Asturias who joined the Sandinistas in fighting the Somoza dictatorship. I embedded the translated lyrics along with some details on lyrical references. Enjoy!

     
     
  4. Corrido de Amor a Cuba | Judith Reyes | Mexico Oprimido | 1970

     
     

  5. Collective Study of Hugo Chavez’s Plan Socialista

    selucha:

    “No nos llamemos a engaño: la formación socioeconómica que todavía prevalece en Venezuela es de carácter capitalista y rentista. Ciertamente, el socialismo apenas ha comenzado a implantar su propio dinamismo interno entre nosotros. Éste es un programa precisamente para afianzarlo y profundizarlo; direccionado hacia una radical supresión de la lógica del capital que debe irse cumpliendo paso a paso, pero sin aminorar el ritmo de avance hacia el socialismo.”

    The leadership of the Bolivarian Revolution has released a new document, titled Propuesta del candidato de la Patria para la gestión Bolivariana socialista 2013-2019, which is worth study for socialists and revolutionaries. I’m putting together an ad-hoc, online Bolivarian Circle to study and analyze the document, so if you’re interested send me an email:

    companatalio@gmail.com

    Once I get some people together (and I already have a few folks on board), we can start reading chapter-by-chapter and get together on Skype or in a chat for a discussion. It’s 20 pages long, but it has really small text (don’t worry, you can zoom in very close), so it’s probably more like 40 pages. Reading the original text requires a solid comprehension of Spanish (unless a translation is made available very soon), though I’d like to have the discussion in English. You should also be generally supportive of the Bolivarian Revolution and have a basic understanding of it.

    Get at me, Tumblr!

    Alright I want to get this started so who’s down? Email meeeeeeeeee companatalio@gmail.com or just send a message to my Tumblr inbox.

    (via bolivarianos)

     

  6. Collective Study of Hugo Chavez’s Plan Socialista

    "No nos llamemos a engaño: la formación socioeconómica que todavía prevalece en Venezuela es de carácter capitalista y rentista. Ciertamente, el socialismo apenas ha comenzado a implantar su propio dinamismo interno entre nosotros. Éste es un programa precisamente para afianzarlo y profundizarlo; direccionado hacia una radical supresión de la lógica del capital que debe irse cumpliendo paso a paso, pero sin aminorar el ritmo de avance hacia el socialismo."

    The leadership of the Bolivarian Revolution has released a new document, titled Propuesta del candidato de la Patria para la gestión Bolivariana socialista 2013-2019, which is worth study for socialists and revolutionaries. I’m putting together an ad-hoc, online Bolivarian Circle to study and analyze the document, so if you’re interested send me an email:

    companatalio@gmail.com

    Once I get some people together (and I already have a few folks on board), we can start reading chapter-by-chapter and get together on Skype or in a chat for a discussion. It’s 20 pages long, but it has really small text (don’t worry, you can zoom in very close), so it’s probably more like 40 pages. Reading the original text requires a solid comprehension of Spanish (unless a translation is made available very soon), though I’d like to have the discussion in English. You should also be generally supportive of the Bolivarian Revolution and have a basic understanding of it.

    Get at me, Tumblr!

     
  7. Redesigning my page, so I made a new banner featuring International hero of the world
    Nicaragua, Augusto C. Sandino…. Like? Yes? No?

     

  8. industrialcracks:

    Why do all yall Latin American leftist bloggers come alive at this time when i should be sleeping!? seriously! i am looking at you amodernmanifesto and selucha >.< now my brain is stimulated and i cant sleep!!! 

    I was out all night trying to entertain The White People of Seattle by singing Mexican songs on karaoke, and now I can’t sleep either. I did a really awful version of “Tu Camino y el Mio” and I’M A LITTLE UPSET.

     

  9. I am making a declaration.

    communismkills:

    If you think that “socialists aren’t so bad”, “communists can be nice”, “mutualism is anarchy”, “capitalism is bad but markets are good”, “wages mean markets aren’t free”, “the relationship between employer and employee is authoritarian and it’s libertarian to destroy it”, “libertarians should join the social justice movement”, “liberals and libertarians have more in common than traditionalists and libertarians”, “there is nothing on the right about liberty”, “all your traditions are oppressive, viva la anarchy!” etc. you are not only a complete idiot, but you are an enemy of mine, an enemy of freedom, and I will dedicate my life to destroying you.

     
  10. Sangueo para el Regreso: Ali Primera for English-Speakers

    I put this video together last night for you guys. Here I’m going to explain, translate and sing (poorly) an homage to Simon Bolivar from the famous Venezuelan folklorist Ali Primera. This is specifically designed for those of you that don’t speak Spanish very well, but Spanish speakers might get a kick out of it also. The actual track occupies the last three and a half minutes of the video so that you can listen for all the things we discuss in the first section.

    Show me some love Tumblr!

     
     

  11. CULTURA PROFETICA - NO ME INTERESA [PUERTO RICO, 2005]

    "Te vistes de benevolencia pero no eres de dar, eres de acaparar."

    Sorry I haven’t given you guys any new stuff lately! I thought I’d come back with a bang and share this amazing song by Puerto Rican reggae band Cultura Profética (Prophetic Culture), called No Me Interesa (It Doesn’t Interest Me). The lyrics are an explicit rejection of North American colonialism and the destruction of Puerto Rican culture. Lead singer Willy Rodriguez denounces the luxury cars, big-screen TVs, and processed foods in juxtaposition to a different model of development based on respect and dignity. Below are the lyrics with the English translation afterward. Tumblr recently changed something and if I try to paste the lyrics directly it spaces them far too much, and I don’t want to take over your dash if I can avoid it.

     
  12. Fernando Gordillo, poeta sandinista

     

  13. ANA BELÉN - CANCIÓN DE CUNA PARA DESPERTAR A UN NEGRITO [ESPAÑA, 1976]

    Negrón, negrito, ciruela y pasa, salga y despierte, que el sol abraza,
    diga despierto lo que le pasa… ¡Que muera el amo, muera en la brasa!

    Buenos días compas! Quiero empezar este día con alegría, a pesar de la lluvia y las nubes negras, y así quisiera compartir una lindísima (y breve) canción con todos mis followers que apenas conocí hace poco.

    Esta es un poema del poeta afro-cubano afamado Nicolás Guillén, hecho canción por la cantante y actríz española Ana Belén en su álbum, La Paloma de Vuelo Popular. El poema tiene ya varias interpretaciones pero esta es la mejor, o a lo menos la mas alegre, de las versiones que conozco. Aquí hay otra pa ver si te guste más. Para descargar este álbum gratis (una gran obra de la doña Ana, neta) haz clic aquí. Contiene 25 poemas musicalizados de Guillén, inclusos Un largo lagarto verde, Son más en una mazorca, Me matan si no trabajo, Oh general en tu pentágono, y La muralla.

    This is a musicalized poem by famed Afro-Cuban poet Nicolas Guillen, here performed by Spanish singer and actress Ana Belén from her album, La Paloma de Vuelo Popular. The title of the song translates as Lullaby to Wake a Black Child. To download the album, click here.

    LETRA:

    Una paloma cantando pasa:

    —¡Upa, mi negro, que el sol abraza!
    Ya nadie duerme, ni está en su casa;
    ni el cocodrilo ni la yaguaza,
    ni la culebra, ni la torcaza…
    Coco, cacao, cacho, cachaza,
    ¡upa, mi negro, que el sol abraza!

    Negrazo, venga con su negraza.
    ¡Aire con aire, que el sol abraza!
    Mire la gente, llamando pasa;
    gente en la calle, gente en la plaza;
    ya nadie queda que esté en su casa…
    Coco, cacao, cacho, cachaza,
    ¡upa, mi negro que el sol abraza!

    Negrón, negrito, ciruela y pasa,
    salga y despierte, que el sol abraza,
    diga despierto lo que le pasa…
    ¡Que muera el amo, muera en la brasa!
    Ya nadie duerme, ni está en su casa:
    ¡coco, cacao, cacho, cachaza,
    upa, mi negro, que el sol abraza!

     

  14. Track Listing for First SELUCHA Compilation

    So the compilation album that I’m putting together is still in the works, but I finally decided on the songs that will be included, and I decided to share it with you all while I’m putting everything together. It is nowhere near done, and if anybody wants to help with transcribing lyrics, translating lyrics, or creating an album cover, I would love you forever.

    If you didn’t see the last post I wrote about this, the theme of this first compilation is Martyrs of the Latin American Revolution, so all the songs are about particular individuals that died during the struggle for national liberation. If the name of the martyr is not named fully in the song title, you’ll see it in brackets at the end. As you may notice, I tried to include songs mostly about relatively obscure figures, though some famous names are also included. And no, there are no songs about Che.

    The album booklet will include lyrics, translated lyrics, song information, artist information, and a brief biography of the figure to whom the song is dedicated.

    The first song will put the album into perspective: those who die so that we may live cannot really be considered dead. All these figures continue to live with us in spirit and in struggle, and recognizing their historic contributions is recognizing their presence. The closing song is dedicated not only to all the nameless martyrs in our history (most of whom do not have songs dedicated to them), but also to all those who continue to fight. In between, I reserve the right to adjust the order for optimal fluidity, but the songs will remain the same.

    Let me know what you think!

    1. Los Guaraguao - Los que Mueren por la Vida [Opening song]
    2. Luis Enrique Mejía Godoy - Allá Va el General [Augusto Sandino]
    3. Inti Illimani - Simón Bolívar
    4. Yolocamba i Ta - Corrido a Ernesto Barrera
    5. Expresión Joven - Francisco Alberto, Caramba [Francisco Alberto Caamaño]
    6. Soledad Bravo - Canción de Toribio García
    7. Los Auténticos del Vallenato - Palabra que Sí! [Carlos Pizarro Leongómez]
    8. Alí Primera - Alberto Lovera, Hermano (pictured)
    9. Gloria Martín - Jorge Rodríguez
    10. Huerque Mapu - Fernando y Gustavo [Fernando Abal Medina, Gustavo Ramus]
    11. Carlos Mejía Godoy - Un Zenzontle Pregunta por Arlen [Arlen Siu]
    12. Carlos Puebla - Canto a Camilo [Camilo Cienfuegos]
    13. Amparo Ochoa - Bola Suriana de la Muerte de Emiliano Zapata
    14. Norma Elena Gadea - Luisa Amanda Espinoza
    15. José de Molina - Canto por Génaro Vásquez
    16. Luis Enrique Mejía Godoy - A Gaspar García
    17. Alí Primera - Tania [Tamara Bunke]
    18. Yolocamba i Ta - Homenaje a María Elena Salinas
    19. Cutumay Camones - Brigada Rafael Arce Záblah
    20. Angel Parra - Miguel Enríquez
    21. Pablo Milanés - A Salvador Allende en su Combate por la Vida
    22. ¡Karaxú! - Solo Digo Compañeros [Closing song]
     
  15. Yours truly, Selucha, holdin’ it down at N17 today in NYC. Pic credit to comrade R.R.