Thursday, August 6, 2009

Chavez’s “Revolutionary Reading Plan”

Under a new “Revolutionary Reading Plan,” Chavez is giving away tens of thousands of free books to Venezuelans. According to a BBC report, when first announcing the Plan in April of this year, Chavez commented, "Read, read, read, read. That should be our slogan for every day." Chavez hopes the books, which include Cervantes’s Don Quixote and Hugo’s Les Miserables, will "promote reading for the construction of socialism and humanist values."

Dissenters worry the free books are part of a secret indoctrination program, a kind of “thought police.” Controversial titles distributed under the Plan include Marx’s The Communist Manifesto, Selected Speeches of Hugo Chavez, and State Terrorism in Colombia. Others argue that giving away free books does nothing to actually promote reading the books. Perhaps the strangest part of the Plan is the “book squadrons”:
These are basically roving book clubs that are intended to encourage reading on the metro, in public squares and in parks. Each squadron wears a different colour to identify their type of book. For example, the red team promotes autobiographies while the black team discusses books on "militant resistance".

Isn’t a group of people wearing black and carrying books on militant resistance a bit intimidating?

(Via GalleyCat)

1 comment:

Zibilee said...

I like the idea of providing the citizens with free books and encouraging them to read, but it seems almost like bullying, which I am not a fan of. Why the need for color coded henchmen roaming areas to patrol for readers? I do think it's a bit threatening, and I don't think I would like it at all.