Britain OKs Extradition of Pinochet

Chris Burford cburford at
Wed Dec 9 14:24:08 PST 1998

Straw has given a studiously low beat opinion but one that closes off every legal argument that has been raised during the period of debate to oppose the right of Spain to extradite Pinochet for trial. He has defended himself from judicial review.

He has not stepped forward as a spurious revolutionary to mislead the people of the world. He has adjusted very slightly to the new balance of forces, and created a precedent that has shifted the balance of forces in the world still further. It has been commented tonight that had he blocked the extradition, Europe would have been highly indignant.

This is a reform, but there is no danger of reformism here. It is a reform that suddenly allows the mass of poor people in Chile to raise up their expectations, and likewise people in Argentina and Haiti. And the people of Colombia.

It gives insecurity to those who wish ruthlessly to trample on the democratic rights of people by force on the grounds that they must have power by right of knowing how the economy must be run in the interests of the minority, in the interests of capital.

But there are some on this list who *as a matter of principle* must fail to hail this victory for the people of the world.

Who must treat it with patronising "revolutionary" condescension.

Who as a matter of principle muffle their joy and cannot analyse the signficance of this step, and leave it to Tom Kruse alone to greet the good news.

To save them the trouble of more tedious displays of revolutionary contempt I shall quote for them from the Essay on Man:

"Behold the child, by nature's kindly law Pleased with a rattle, tickled with a straw."

Chris Burford


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