"Cheating, Snooping, and Felonious Conduct," by Alpha Unit

A horrible crime has occurred in the state of Michigan. You may have heard by now. But the people of Michigan need not fear: a prosecutorial posse is pursuing this criminal with vigor.
A 33-year-old man who suspected his wife of cheating got into her e-mail account, using a password that he says she kept in a book next to the computer. A computer that the couple shared. Leon Walker says he had no choice but to snoop in his wife’s account. He cites concern for the couple’s child, whom he didn’t want around the man he suspected of being her lover.
His suspicions were confirmed, apparently. The couple’s subsequent divorce became final this month. But the state of Michigan isn’t done with Walker.
He’s been charged with unauthorized access to a computer in order to “acquire, alter, damage, delete, or destroy property.” The law is typically used to prosecute people for identity theft or for stealing trade secrets. Walker could possibly serve five years in prison.
At question is whether a spouse can expect privacy on a jointly owned computer. Walker’s attorney says no. Furthermore, he says:

If there’s going to be a concerted effort in the future to prosecute everybody who looks at somebody else’s e-mail under their roof, they had better build a bunch more courthouses because we don’t have enough courthouses.

I’ve heard some people raise the question: if a wife had gotten into her husband’s e-mail account and confirmed that he was cheating, would the state be going after her? Probably, if someone thought an example should be made of her, I’m guessing. That’s what seems to be happening here. Mrs. Walker filed a complaint about her husband’s actions, according to the prosecutor.
If a man were similarly caught, would he complain about his wife getting a hold of his e-mails? Or would he do as expected and “take it like a man”?

Our Class Enemies are Waging War on Us

Our class enemies may be defined in various ways:
A. The rich, in this case the top 5% making over 105,000/year.
B. The corporations.
C. Wall Street, a subset of (2).
I include the rich because it is obvious that there is a huge transfer of wealth going on. On the individual level, only those in the top 5% have seen their share of the pie rise.
It is hard to delineate the transfer of wealth from individuals to corporations, since corporations are tied in with individuals.
For instance, 60 years ago, corporations paid about 40% of all income taxes in the US and workers paid about 6%. Now the figures are reversed: workers pay about 40% of all taxes, and corporations pay about 6%. Yet corporations continue to scream that they are overtaxed, demand lower taxes, and threaten to move offshore for lower taxation. I realize that those figures only add up to 50% or so of taxation, and I don’t know where the rest comes from. But it’s clear that there has been a huge shift from corporations to workers over 60 years or so.
It’s hard to say who is losing money in the mass income shift. The upper middle class, those making $56,000-105,000, has seen their share of the pie stay the same. They are neither winning nor losing in the race. They are holding their own and growing with the economy.
I would guess that the bottom 80% of the population, those making less than $56,000/yr, are the ones that are seeing their slice of the pie decline. So there is a mass transfer of wealth probably from those making below $56,000 to those making above $105,000. Those at the bottom end of the 80% are probably losing the most of all.
Here is how they are doing it:

  1. First they destroyed our unions. This really started kicking in in about 1973, but unions have been declining since 1955 or so. This also seems to be ongoing.
  2. Next they sent the manufacturing jobs overseas. This is apparently still ongoing.
  3. Then they raided all the pension funds and stole the money that had been sacked away for workers for their retirement. This is also ongoing and apparently accelerating since the task is not yet complete.
  4. Presently, they are in the process of eliminating employer paid health insurance. This project is just getting underway and will probably accelerate over time.
  5. They have all but exempted the wealthy from taxes in line with the classic Third World model. This project is definitely ongoing, and Republican President Barack Obama just gave it a big jump start by saying the tax cut bill. This one is definitely ongoing and not yet completed, but seems to be accelerating. Part of the game is a shift of taxation off of rent, wealth and investment income and onto wages. The rentier class is to be more or less exempted from taxation.
  6. They are trying to destroy public education and affordable college education, once again along the lines of a Third World model where public schools are underfunded, ruined and lousy and the only way to get a good education is to send your kid to private school. There will be moves in the coming year to make huge cuts in Pell Grants for college students. This project is very much ongoing and has been for a good 30 years or so. It is very much accelerating lately in the wake of budget troubles.
  7. They destroyed the value of our homes. This is ongoing here in California, as home prices continue to decline.
  8. The next on the agenda is Social Security Trust Fund. Republican President Obama will announce the opening shots in the war to destroy Social Security in his State of the Union address.

What I don’t get is why has the media, across the board, been 100% behind 1-8 in toto? It is almost impossible to find a daily newspaper, newsmagazine, or TV or radio news station that is not backing this project to the hilt. I’m not sure I understand this. Is it because the US media is completely owned and controlled by people making $105,000/yr.?
Also nearly the entire American intelligentsia is behind it. Are they representing their class interests here, since they most all make good money? Both political parties are behind it. The Republican Party represents only the rich and the upper middle class and is the party of class war, so this is not surprising.
But why the Democrats? Are the top Democrats also wealthy people working for their class interests? Is the Democratic Party in the last 20 years with the onset of the DNC working for the interests of their large corporate and wealthy donors, A-C above?
It’s interesting that there are few people in either party and almost no one in the mass media representing the interests of the bottom 80% in this class war. Most in both parties and almost everyone in the media is on the side of the rich waging class war on all the rest of us.

Philippine Communist Party Celebrates 42nd Anniversary

Here it is.
I don’t get it. There was a huge rally, attended by 1000’s of CPP supporters in Mindanao, Philippines. There were also many CPP members there, many NPA fighters in uniform, and an NPA commander. Many reporters showed up. There were police and army checkpoints leading to the rally which backed up traffic for 2 miles.
I don’t get it. Why did the authorities allow this rally to take place in the first place? Doesn’t make sense to me. Someone explain.
Update: I get it. They were in the midst of a cease-fire at the time.

Why Would Anyone Do This?

What the Hell is wrong with this chick, Veronica Moser, the famous Austrian scat star? She’s been eating shit on camera for a good 18 years now. Why? And why doesn’t she get sick? She’s eaten the shit of a lot of people over her career. And she really eats it too, no fakery. She also puts it in her pussy, and that has to be a terrible idea. How does she get away with doing that?
I don’t think this is something I want to try, to be honest.
Why do people eat shit? I don’t get it.

Murdering Mao

Nice from a Maoist list I am on. The author is Harry Powell. He lays out pretty well the rightwing offensive to completely discredit the modern socialist experience as a total failure which was led by the worst homicidal maniacs that ever lived. How do we counteract that? For starters, Communists should quit killing people, no matter how much they deserve it. Communists kill one person, and the rightwingers will scream about it for the next century.
Note that this is not just a rightwing offensive, but it’s also being carried out by centrists, liberals and even Leftists like Trotskyites, who do themselves few favors by indulging in counterrevolutionary ideology.
Finally, the idea of a Labor figure accusing the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition of being “Maoist” is ridiculous!


Here are the opening paragraphs of a recent article in a British
national Sunday newspaper:

Chairman Cameron’s regime is not a million miles from Mao

Andrew Rawnsley, The Observer, Sunday 19 December 2010

I put it down to Tony Blair. Also to Margaret Thatcher. And to Mao Tse-tung. To understand this government, you need to appreciate the debts that it owes to these three influences: Labour’s triple election-winner, the Conservatives’ most radical postwar prime minister, and the Chinese dictator responsible for the deaths of more of his own people than any other leader in history.
To be fair to the coalition, it is not their ambition to replicate the body count heaped up by the Communist party of China during Mao’s lethal reign. Nor does this government share many of the late tyrant’s political ends. Yet in its methods, I am increasingly struck by the strange similarities between the regime of Chairman Mao and that of Chairman Cameron.
Some of the coalition’s senior figures are conscious of this; some of them are even proud to draw the parallels between themselves and the author of The Little Red Book. In recent weeks, I have heard one important figure in the government talk of unleashing a “cultural revolution” in the public services and another hailing devolution of power away from the centre using Mao’s old slogan: “Let a thousand flowers bloom.”

Further on:

I have actually heard more than one member of the cabinet explicitly refer to the government as “Maoist”.


They are urged on from within Number 10 by the prime minister’s principal strategist, Steve Hilton, who is probably the most Maoist person in the government.

It is but the latest episode in a never-ending barrage of propaganda to discredit the first wave of socialism in the world and those who led this revolutionary movement.
Andrew Rawnsley, a prominent apologist for the New Labour Government that was, now tries to undermine the current Conservative/ Liberal Democrat Government in Britain by likening it to the socialist regime in China during the period when Mao Tse-tung was its leader. Rawnsley is trading on an assumption, probably accurate, that most of his readers believe that Mao and his comrades were mass murderers.
Mao, he tells us, was “responsible for the deaths of more of his own people than any other leader in history”. This is the accolade normally reserved for Stalin but now, it seems, he has been overtaken by Mao.
Factual accuracy – like specifying just how many millions Mao was supposed to have killed – is not highly prized in this sort of writing. It was, of course, a hundred and not a “thousand” flowers which Mao called upon to bloom. But the facts don’t matter here. The main point is that Rawnsley thinks that the worst thing he can say about the Cameron/Clegg Government is that it is “Maoist”.
Rawnley’s article is based on what over the last twenty years or so has become a major trait in the dominant bourgeois ideology of Western capitalist societies: the idea that socialism has failed, that attempts to bring about socialist transformation were led by homicidal mass murders and have been complete disasters. Most people in countries such as Britain and America think that they “know” this to be “true”. Rawnsley feels confident that his readers will share this “knowledge” with him.
Recently I was talking with a Trotskyite, a history teacher, who told me that “Mao murdered millions”. I asked him to tell me something about which people were murdered, how, where, when and why. All he could say was that “there is this book which tells you about it” although he could not name the title and author and he had not read it.
Further discussion revealed that he knows nothing about the history of modern China and he conceded that this is the case. I quoted Mao to him: “No investigation, no right to speak.”
Here we have a person interested in history and socialism but his knowledge of People’s China has no doubt been picked up from exposure to the popular mass media. Like most of us, he assumes that the ideas he absorbs from the general culture in which he lives are true until he comes across contradictory evidence. Given this climate of opinion, communists have an ideological mountain to climb, something I have discussed in my pamphlet Media Representations of the Socialist Period.
There is a linguistic dimension to this reactionary ideological
obfuscation. In recent years in Britain I have encountered young people from mainland China, especially students, who think of themselves as “communists” but whose outlook is completely bourgeois. They find it confusing to encounter an English person calling himself a communist but who is highly critical of the present regime in China on the grounds that it is on the capitalist road.
One postgraduate journalism student tried to clarify my ideological confusion for me by quoting Teng Hsiao-ping: “For all to become rich, a few must become rich first.” Of course, most people in the West still think of China as “communist” and given the media images of billionaires, corruption and consumerism in China today this simply compounds this linguistic mess.
Is it possible for communists to undermine this sort of reactionary ideology which proclaims that socialism has been a disastrous failure? However hard we may strive to do so, we are only likely to meet with some success if the objective conditions are favourable for us to do so. Now in Western capitalist societies we may be entering a period when it is possible to begin to undermine some of this reactionary
The imperialist wars on Iraq and Afghanistan followed by the world-wide financial crisis of two years ago have considerably weakened bourgeois ideological hegemony, the dominance of reactionary ideas. The student protests in Britain over raising university fees together with the general movement across Europe against public spending cuts on
services and benefits could provide the right climate of opinion for an ideological fightback. But are there any communists left to do it?

More Illegal Immigration Madness

Repost from the old site.
First off, let me start out by saying that I am a Leftist. In fact, I am a Communist. However, unlike 99% of Leftists, I actually oppose illegal immigration. Why? Because it is one of the worst things that has ever happened to American workers of all colors.
In my town, I figure that 85% of local Hispanics support the illegals that run amok all over here. The reason for that is clear. Hispanics, like every other group except Whites, are allowed to be and even encouraged to be ethnocentric.
What’s completely insane about is that in their ethnocentrism, Hispanics are really hurting themselves. You never see a Help Wanted sign in this town. Why would you, when the unemployment rate is 11%? Yet I don’t know one single illegal alien who is out of work. It seems 100% of them are working.
My White friend has roofing skills. He goes down to the local hiring hall and tries to get hired, but he does demand $9/hr. That’s $1 over minimum wage. Yet every time, the employers say that some illegal over there will do it for $4-5/hr (that’s far below minimum wage).
Also, my friend says that every job he applies for demands bilingual skills in Spanish. As he is not bilingual, he is SOL.
I find this ridiculous. It might be slightly sensible if these Spanish speakers were natives who had lived here since 1850 and hence had some right to their native tongue.
Instead, almost all of the ones you will need to use Spanish with are illegal aliens who hopped the border in the past 20 years. The notion that one cannot get a job in the US unless one speaks a foreign language is preposterous. I think it ought to be illegal.
Bottom line is I know all sorts of young Americans around here who are out of work. Now, they aren’t always the most wonderful citizens, but if there were Help Wanted signs all over town, I think they could work somewhere.
Instead, they are unemployed and spend their days involved with gangs, crime, tagging, rolling drunks, fighting with gang rivals, leeching off their stupid girlfriends, engaging in petty thievery, and especially smoking dope. They just in general act highly uncivilized.
I would like to point out here that in a manner that is little discussed, illegal immigration has been partly responsible for gangsta culture, drug abuse, laziness, and just general cultural degeneration among young Americans of all races.
Studies have shown that as illegal immigration has increased over the past 20 years or so, the number of young Americans who count themselves as “discouraged workers” who have dropped out of the labor force has grown significantly.
The two things must be related.
Illegals are taking all the low-skilled labor and these were the sort of jobs young Americans cut their working teeth on in their youth. With no work to do, young Americans become discouraged, drop out and culturally degenerate in various ways.
In the comments section, commenter Lafayette brings up a highly pro-immigrant Weltanshauung in the UK involving Polish workers. The content is familiar. Britons are told endlessly the society will collapse if not for the immigrants. There are so many jobs that young Britons just will not do. If the immigrants go, the economy will tank. On and on.
I don’t know the dynamic of Polish immigrants in the UK, but I assume that they are working for lower wages than Britons work for. Otherwise the entire UK media would not be cheering them on. I also noticed an article recently that said that Polish workers were better workers than British workers.
This is part of the pro-immigrant culture that we went through in the West under Reagan. Starting under Reagan, a new culture developed in America whereby rightwingers repeatedly endlessly what crappy workers Americans were, especially blue collar workers. There was no evidence for this whatsoever, but the talk went on.
Americans, mostly young Whites, were also told that blue collar jobs were for losers. The only way to be a winner in America was to run a business or work in an office. Good, honest, US working class culture was degraded with an incessant drumbeat. At the same time, the illegals started to pour in.
I think that these two things were connected.
There was a concerted rightwing project to tell young Americans that working class jobs were for losers and that US working class workers were crappy workers, combined with the beginnings of a total flood of unskilled labor from south of the border. The unstated assumption: the US working class all needed to be replaced by immigrants, especially illegals from Mesoamerica.
At the same time, an all-out war was waged on unions, the organizations of the US working class. The notion was also promoted that Americans are some kind of sissy fussbudgets who will not do any kind low-status labor. Therefore, we needed to import millions of illegals to do this work or else the economy would collapse. We were also regularly harangued with stories about phantom labor shortages.
After about 15 years or so of mass unskilled illegal immigration, the US Left did an about-face and decided to represent the interests of immigrant scabs over native workers. The nasty and wicked notion that normal, sane and reasonable opposition to illegal immigration was racism (!) was promoted, and soon wormed its way through the whole culture to where it is now widely accepted.
After that, the labor unions themselves, the last holdout of the workers, went over to the immigrant scabs, and US workers were finally left completely high and dry.
I would like to point out that the entire MSM was complicit in this, and they are to this day. Realize that if the MSM is consistent about any one thing, it is their sheer and utter contempt for labor. There is not one single major US newsmagazine, TV news station or large daily newspaper that is the slightest bit friendly to labor, much less organized labor.
As the UK’s lunatic pro-immigrant culture continued, these same nasty memes wormed their way into the culture. One is the notion that there are certain jobs that Britons simply will not do. It’s not stated, but what’s implied is that Britons will not do this work for any amount of money. I don’t know about Britons, but here in the US, that’s manifestly untrue for anything other than field work.
A much more pernicious line soon followed, and this is that the foreigners are actually better workers than the natives. The Right will start this line, but soon the ultra-traitors of the Idiot Left will pick up on it.
I had an anarchist say straight to my face that US workers are lazy and incompetent, and that’s why we need illegals to replace them (!).
Lafayette also points out that in the UK, the entire Left has given up on the working class. Instead, it is supporting immigrant scabs who are being brought in for the sole purpose of driving down the cost of labor for UK native workers.
What followed after that is that the labor unions themselves got on board and supported the immigrant scabs over the interests of native workers. Since government and media never support native workers, and as Lafayette notes, the Left completely gave up on them, what this means is that native workers lost their last friend – their very own unions .
The Left here in the US and UK will respond with the pleasant-sounding nostrum that what is needed is to organize all of the immigrants, especially the illegals. The problem is that this feel-good fall-back position is utterly doomed to failure.
The notion that organizing these illegals is going to help anything is even more idiotic here in the US than it is in the UK. Unionization in the US has been plummeting since the 1950’s and in particular since 1973. Unions are now so weak that it’s ridiculous. That they are suddenly going to organize all of these immigrant scabs and regain all their power and glory is comical.
Even if they did organize the immigrants, as Lafayette notes, what good is it with ten or more workers lining up for every unskilled job? All the unions in the world are pretty useless in the face of a tidal wave and resulting massive glut in unskilled labor.
Under capitalism, labor is like pricing – it is based on supply and demand. Massive oversupply of low-skilled labor will result in the bottoming out of the price of labor just as massive oversupply in a type of goods will result in the collapse in the price of that particular widget.
So with fields like construction totally glutted with low to unskilled workers, the high-paying construction jobs of yesterday are never coming back, whether you organize the immigrant scabs or not.
US unions can’t even organize US workers and get them to join unions. How will they organize a bunch of illegals who can’t even speak English?
P.S. I am not a xenophobe. I do support limited (200,000 a year?), tightly controlled legal immigration. The immigrants should be rigorously analyzed, and the vast majority of potential immigrants should be rejected. Immigrants should be required to jump through many hoops in order to prove to us exactly how they will be an asset to our nation instead of adding to our nightmarish underclass.
Educational, legal and other histories should be reviewed. Those immigrants from whatever land who successfully run this tough gauntlet are likely to be net benefits as opposed to net detractors to our nation.
One of the principal problems with illegal immigrants is that it is unscreened, so instead of getting high-quality immigrants, we get the peasantry and urban poor of the Third World. They are unlikely to be net benefits to our land in either the short or long run. Chain migration (family reunification) should be drastically scaled back or ended altogether.

Open Borders is Bad For Workers

Repost from the old site.
Commenter James Schipper of Canada points out what any economics student or especially Marxist ought to be able to figure out: that open borders is terrible for workers in high-wage countries. That the Left in high-wage countries supports such an obviously detrimental to workers agenda means that it completely misunderstands the economics of modern capitalism.
Nowadays, the Western Left can only be said to be worker-hostile towards native workers. They support immigrant workers, and it is a known fact that immigrant workers in many cases in the West have been shown to actually lower wages for native workers. The Left responds that this is a lie.
Even worse, the Left calls any Western Leftist who opposes certain modes of immigration racist. At best, this is a grotesque abuse of the term similar to the way many objectively reactionary groups are overusing this word these days. At worst, it is slander and name-calling.
The Left’s objective hostility to native workers in the West has resulted in historic losses in recent days in Belgium, Italy and the UK. It seems that only right-wing nativist parties are appealing to workers in these countries. Much of the vote for the rightwing is due to anger at uncontrolled immigration in these countries.
The extent to which these rightwing and often fascist or proto-fascist parties will actually work for the interests of workers is not known, but historically, they have not benefited workers much and have tended to side with capital over workers every time. As the Left grows more and more irrelevant, it continues piping away at the same old losing tune.
Things are much different here in the US, where both parties are 100% pro-mass immigration, and indeed both are apparently 100% pro-illegal immigration. In the US, there is no candidate for a voter wishing to express an anti-immigrant agenda. This is ominous in that it means that a demagogue of the Right could potentially win many votes on this issue alone.
The election of either Obama or McCain would probably result in a renewed attempt at mass amnesty for 12 million illegal aliens, with resulting chain migration of up to 30 million of their often-hazy and not too cool relatives over the next 20 years or so.
Such a monumental mass migration of poorly screened immigrants with a known tendency to form a vast underclass should at least be discussed by American voters. Instead, the entire elite supports this project as do all of their media. Most especially, 100% of the large business class and much of the small business class of the US support illegal immigration, fake guest H-1B workers, and mass legal immigration.
Studies show that up to 75-80% of the US public opposes broad aspects of this mass immigration project. It is ridiculous to characterize 75-80% of the US as “racist” for opposing this project and harkens to the abuse of this term by reactionaries above.
Anyway, take a look at James’ comments:

Let’s take two swimming pools, one with 6 feet of water and the other with 2 feet. If they are at the same level and connected with an underground pipe, what is going to happen? Obviously, water will flow from the first pool to the second, thereby lower the water level of the first and raising that of the second.Similarly, if there is complete freedom of movement of goods, labor and capital between a high-wage and low-wage country, the wage level in the rich country will fall and that of the poor country will rise. The magnitude of the change will depend on the relative size of the high-wage and low-wage country.
If there are completely open borders between India and Australia, then wages in Australia will fall a lot, but they will barely rise in India. Conversely, if there are no barriers to the flow of goods, labor and capital between the US and Nicaragua, wages in the US will hardly go down, but they will rise a lot in Nicaragua. Numbers always matter.
Another problem with free international migration is that it creates an open demographic system. Open systems have the advantage that they make the import of solutions possible but they also have the disadvantage that they allow problems to be exported.
Suppose that Ruritania stabilizes its population, but that Slobodia’s population keeps growing. If there are open borders between the two countries, Slobodia will export people to Ruritania and Ruritania’s population will grow despite its demographic stabilization.
Likewise, if Ruritania succeeds in raising the standard of living of its workers while Slobodia does not, then, if there are open borders, many Slobodians will emigrate to Ruritania, thereby lower the standard of living of Ruritanian workers.
What is true of demographic open borders is also true of commercial open borders. If there is completely free trade between Ruritania and Slobodia, then any efforts to conserve non-renewable resources by Ruritania may be nullified by Slobodia. Under free trade, a country whose population remains below its carrying capacity may still experience starvation because a lot of its food will be exported to countries with populations above their carrying capacity.
If there is complete freedom of movement of goods, labor and capital between countries, the fast breeders will export their problems to the slow breeders, the slow economic growers will export their problems to the fast growers and the depleters will export their problems to the conservers.
Finally, a quote by Wouter Bos, the leader of the Dutch Labor Party: “We have to choose between a generous welfare state and restrictive immigration on the one hand and a stingy welfare state and liberal immigration on the other hand.” Sensible words! if only more leftists saw things that clearly.

Why US Business Loves Mass Immigration

Repost from the old site.
…And why every American who is not a businessmen should not.
This post will show how immigration is great for US business, but it’s bad for everyone else in the country. That includes everyone who doesn’t run a business, all of you, “What’s good for my boss is good for” worker-fools.
James Schipper has been laying out some excellent reasons in the comments threads about why immigration does not appear to make much sense for economics or society as a whole. In fact, mass immigration seems to be detrimental to your average person. His arguments seemed logical, but I had hardly heard them before.
But then I wondered, if it’s so obvious that mass immigration is bad for society and even for average income, why would business and the elites support it?
Turns out that business has no interest at all in the average income of workers. In the Third World, they are perfectly content to have millions starving or living in the streets every year, as in India. Or to have 90% of the population in poverty as Guatemala was for years and Haiti is now.
As long as the rich stay rich and business stays profitable, they don’t really give a flying fuck about anyone else and whether they are in poverty or not.
In Haiti, the elite has a monopoly on food sales, which they mostly import and mark up at very high rates. Since the poor have to eat or starve, they have no choice but to pay the high prices. So even a 90% poor country can still generate high profits for business. Fewer poor people would mean rising wages or more of returns going to wages than to owners. Of course, business always opposes rising wages and increased shares to workers.
Let’s let James show us just how supporting mass immigration is logical for businessmen:

The reason why the business community tends to support immigration is that more immigrants means more workers, more customers and more real estate users.The essential question is not whether immigrants work for less than natives but whether the presence of immigrants makes labor cheaper than it otherwise would be.
I think that mass immigration has a depressing effect on wages, or else its prevents wages from rising as fast as they would rise without immigration. Lower wages do not necessarily translate into fatter profits because, by lowering production costs, immigration may lead to lower prices.
Slavery also lowered production costs, so the ultimate beneficiaries of slavery may have been the consumers of goods produced with slave labor.
More immigrants likely means that there will be economic growth, and that can mean increased sales. What matters to business is not per capita sales but total sales. Let’s illustrate this. We have a town with 500 people and a restaurant. Let’s assume that on average each town resident consumes 6 restaurant meals per month, so the restaurant sells 3000 meals per month.
Now 200 immigrants enter the town. They lower average income, so that each town resident now consumes 5 meals instead of 6. The restaurant still benefits from the population increase because it now can sell 3500 meals per month instead of 3000. if you are in the business of selling widgets, you are better-off selling 1200 widgets to 150 people than 1000 widgets to 100 people.
Suppose that no immigrants had entered the US in the last 50 years, would average real estate prices be as high today as they are? I doubt it. The more people you put in a given space, the more property is likely to be worth in that space. Immigrants have to live somewhere. Since business owns a lot of real estate, they benefit from population growth.
For business, the important thing is usually total economic growth, not per capita economic growth, let alone per capita consumption. For ordinary people, the important thing is per capita income growth and its distribution.
Let me illustrate demographic investment once more. We have a country with 400,000 high school students and there are 400 high schools. Schools last 100 years, so each year the country has to build 4 schools. Let’s assume that a school costs 50 million dollars. That means 200 million in building costs per year.
In addition, the country spends 5,000 per year on each student. Adding the building costs to that amount, the cost of each high school student is 5,500 per year if the student population remains the same.
Now we make the assumption that the student population increases by 4000 each year. Since there are 1000 students per school, the country has to build 4 more schools to accommodate the new arrivals. Instead of building 4 schools, the country now has to build 8.
In the first year after the growth in the student population, the costs per student are (404,000 x 5,000) + 8 x 50 million = 2,420,000,000/404,000 = 5,990. In other words, the cost per student has increased from 5,500 to 5,990.
The increment of 490 can’t be used for consumption. That is the effect of demographic investments. It reduces consumption. Education is an investment.
The establishment can also believe in a lot nonsense. Many members of the elite may believe in immigration because it makes them look cosmopolitan, tolerant and sophisticated, so unlike the unwashed who don’t like immigrants because they are unenlightened and bigoted. It is a coalition of plutocrats and political correcties that keep the flow of immigrants going in Canada and the US.

Project Middle Class Death

Repost from the old site.
There have been quite a few articles lately about meatpacking plants in the US. Through the 1960’s and 1970’s, these were union jobs all filled by hard-working Americans. That’s all gone now, and all of the work is now being done by illegal aliens or more recently refugees from foreign lands. Most of these articles have screamed about how no Americans are willing to do this kind of work.
It’s quite interesting how plenty of Americans were willing to do this admittedly unpleasant work in 60’s and 70’s, albeit at union wages that you could buy a house and raise a family on. The unions were broken via a corporate conspiracy. This plot has been unveiled an Atlantic Monthly article, but I have not been able to find it.
First of all, the meatpacking companies moved their plants away from the large cities to smaller towns. It happened in LA – they moved to Las Vegas. There was no business reason at all to move to Vegas – it was done for the sole purpose of breaking the union. They hoped to break the unions by having the old employees stuck in Los Angeles and not being willing to move due to family ties.
The idea was to get the local rural people around Vegas to work for nothing, along with the few loyal workers who might move to Vegas to follow the company, who would work for less than previously, but not for as little as the new hires.
When they couldn’t find workers to be dupes for them (surprise!) they somehow managed to bus in Mexicans. From Mexico? Apparently. This was in the early 80’s, when Ronald Reagan, still champion of so many working class White Americans called Reagan Democrats, was President.
The US construction companies pretty much broke the unions, one by one, in the 1970’s and especially in the 1980’s. Somehow, an incredible cultural narrative has been constructed that tells us that only Hispanics, especially illegal aliens, are capable of or expected to do construction work.
When my friends worked construction in 1975-76, you could buy a house and raise a family on those wages, which would be the equivalent of $40-45/hour now for union jobs laying drywall. If you go around now looking at construction jobs, look hard, very hard, for the sight of a White man working construction. He barely exists.
It’s all Hispanics doing the work. Mostly illegals, but the market is so flooded with low-skilled labor that you even have a lot of legal Hispanic immigrants and even Hispanic Americans doing this work. The business owners scream and fuss and carry on that they can’t get White workers to do this work anymore. That’s because it doesn’t pay crap.
I do not really want to diss on any ethnic group. I’m sure back in the union days there were Hispanic-Americans who could cut the high standards of union work, where you cut it or you’re gone. Nowadays, for whatever reason, the private housing built by cheap-labor Hispanics – legal, illegal, whatever, is well-known to be garbage.
Everyone knows this, the White workers like my own brother who are constantly browbeaten by their bosses (“You better shut up and knock it off or I’m going to replace all of you with Mexicans!”), the hip Whites tuned in to the construction scene, probably even the businessmen-criminals themselves.
The problems often start cropping up within a year or so after the builder’s warranty ended. Sagging roofs, foundations so poorly laid they start cracking and splitting. Pipes so poorly fitted and installed they cause leaks; with the predictable high cost of ripping out wallboard to replace them.
That’s the price of that cheap Hispanic labor for you. One would think that after labor costs declined from $42/hour in 1976 to $4-10/hour in 2008 (2008 dollars), the businesses could “pass on a lot of those savings to the home buyer.
That’s what the right-wing and business crowd always tells us is so glorious about crap wages – the consumer saves bigtime. In the case of homes, not one nickel got knocked off the price, ever. All those savings just translated into extra profits for the builder.
There is a rightwing, classist line that the crushing of the US worker occurred because US union workers had gotten fat and lazy and were demanding too much money! The poor suffering businessmen just could not make a profit anymore! They were in danger of losing their yachts, and their mansions were about to be foreclosed!
In the 1970’s, a lot of US businesses started screaming hardship. That’s because our standard of living in this country was as high as it has ever been (1973). Wages were rising right along with productivity, and no capitalist will stand for that for very long.
At this time, most unions said that if the companies opened their books to independent auditors of the unions’ choosing, the unions would take the cuts the company was claiming were needed. The whole thing was just a massive lie because none of the companies ever opened their books. Chrysler did, but only because they were forced to.
The whole thing was a shell game – a plot to make it look like if they did not offshore, they were going to go out of business. As it turned out, they went ahead and offshored anyway.
All of the offshoring happened because at this time, business schools started teaching the profoundly unpatriotic notion that the purpose of a business is to generate vast paper profits for their skyrocketing bonus and stock option plans. Prior to the 80’s, most CEO’s weren’t compensated so lavishly for short term stock actions, and they managed it like a family business.
It really was a cultural shift, and it once again coincided with Mr. Reagan, whom 53% of Americans say is a hero.
On American Renaissance, a worker tells the saga of one of these shlock MBA’s:

The place I worked for just had a president of one of its divisions leave. The man was a complete failure. No product came in at schedule or expected cost. He instituted stupid money wasting policies that could be found in any of the CEO worshipping books around. He walked away with over $40 million for his 5 year stint as a lowly division president – $30 million from stock options.All the stock growth was just from being in the right place at the right time. Now that we can’t grow the top line, because our primary products have completely penetrated the market, we are talking about moving production overseas. There is nothing wrong with our workforce, nor are they greedy and lazy. We just can’t get the stock price up and too may bonuses are dependent on it.

There you have it. All the mergers, all the demands for wage and pension cuts, all the hiring of illegals and refugees and cheap labor this or that, all the breaking of unions, all of this is just to get the stock price up so executives can fatten their wallets on the bonuses. It’s doesn’t have anything to do with international competition or any of that.
You think any MSM media source will tell that? Dubious. Lou Dobbs, the sole populist voice in our nation’s mass media? Perhaps. Good luck finding another one.

Unions and Wage – Productivity Increases

Repost from the old site.
James Schipper’s comments suggest that productivity naturally leads to increased wages in capitalism due to the laws of capital and labor. I argue that productivity increases during conditions of labor surplus normal in most capitalist states probably come mostly due to the militant actions of Organized Labor.
James does aver that the replacement of American workers with illegal alien labor did have an effect on the destruction of wages in the construction industry. I argue that there were two stages to the process.
First they broke the unions, then they hired the illegals. Those were the two stages. The exact same thing occurred in many manufacturing plants, especially meat processing. Slaughterhouses, poultry-processing and seafood processing plants all used to be good union jobs with high wages as recently as the 1980’s.
First they took out the unions, then they brought in illegals or other immigrants to the work. Many other fields besides construction have been taken out by illegals, including painting and landscaping. My White friends did all of these jobs and made good or decent money doing it. Having your own landscaping business is still a good way for young White men to earn some decent money. So much for Americans won’t mow lawns. This is all gone now as most of this has gone straight on over to illegals.
James’ argument operates only in the cases of a labor shortage. With a vast surplus of labor, an “army of labor” as the capitalists call the teeming hordes of unemployed, there is not much need to raise wages to compete with other businesses for top employees, as there are 5 guys waiting to take the place of the guy who quits.
The notion that unions are not necessary for workers to have good working conditions is unique to union busters. If unions are superfluous, do nothing but harm workers, and don’t even raise wages or improve conditions, why would anyone join one? Better yet, why would capitalists oppose them so ferociously?
The record all over the West seems to be that the more unionized a labor force is or was, the higher wages were. Economic growth used to be spread out among all income classes in the US back in the 1950’s and 1960’s. In the 1970’s, this started to decline to the point now where, from 1980-1992, only the top 20% gained money and the entire bottom 80% of the population lost money.
I would argue that this is exactly how the capitalists wanted it. This occurred during the pro-business Reagan and Bush Administrations. Furthermore, the decline in US wages and the lack of filtering down of productivity dovetails perfectly with the devastation of US unions. Not only that, but the war on US unions, along with the theft of workers’ productivity growth, was all part of a project by US business.
To say that in the US, the businessman is the worker’s friend stretches reality. Unless the worker organizes to get a good wage, a share of economic and especially productivity growth and better conditions, thing look quite bleak.
James argues that it is better to work for a big business than a small one in Canada. This is probably true, but I would argue that workers are often treated better by very small businesses, who, around here anyway, often treat workers as if they are part of a family.

The Necessity and Benefits of Unions in Capitalism

Repost from the old site.
Responding to my Unions and Wage – Productivity Increases post, James Schipper notes:

You are quite right in arguing that no capitalist will increase wages as long as he can hire more workers at the going wage. That’s why it’s important to restrict the supply of labor within a country by immigration controls and by convincing workers to limit their offspring.One 19th French economist was once asked what advice he had for the proletariat, and he answered: “Faites moins d’enfants” = make fewer babies. Not bad advice. As long as the proletarians keep increasing their numbers, their chances of prospering are so much smaller.
With open borders, the very large number of unskilled workers in the Third World are a huge reserve army of the unemployed.
And then some people still wonder why so many capitalists like immigration.
I quite agree with you that unions can be very beneficial for their members. However, it is very doubtful that unions can do much for the wage-earning class as a whole.
Suppose that the entire workforce of Peru became unionized, then workers in that country would still receive very low wages simply because average Peruvian productivity is very low. People can’t consume more than they produce, unless they are subsidized from abroad.
A good case can even be made that the gains of unionized workers often comes at the expense of non-unionized workers. Suppose that in a country there are two sectors, A and B. Neither sector is unionized and in both sectors the hourly wage is 10 dollars. Now sector A becomes unionized and the union drives up the wages in that sector to 15 per hour.
As a result, sector A may employ fewer workers, and the laid-off workers then enter sector B, where they drive down wages to for instance 8 dollars.
What also may happen is that the products of sector A become more expensive, thereby reducing the purchasing power of workers in sector B, who also consume those products.
I’m certainly not a union basher, but there are limits to what unions can accomplish. If the economy is growing fast, then it becomes so much easier for unions to get wage increases. That’s what happened in Western Europe after WWII.
In Canada, some of the strongest unions are now in the public sector, which makes them rather unpopular because the high wages of their members will translate into tax increases. Everybody understands that, if teachers get big wage increases, this will mean higher taxes for the general public.

I respond:
James, your comments about restricting the labor supply as a necessity for the working class are spot on. I personally never met a labor shortage I could not love. Labor surpluses cannot ever be good for any workers, but it’s the capitalists’ dream.
That’s why they speak solemnly of such things as “the reserve army of surplus labor” – this entity, capitalist economics classes will ponderously intone, is necessary for the proper working of the capitalist system. Getting rid of this reserve army will be a disaster for the capitalist system.
I believe that we could easily have full employment in the US via public sector jobs at the minimum wage. I should be quite affordable, but the capitalist class would scream bloody murder at the tightening of the labor supply and the drying up of their “reserve army of surplus labor”.
In general, those countries that are the most unionized have the highest wages and best working conditions for their workers, along with the best social democratic societies for everyone as a whole. I point out that the Swedish workforce is about 90% unionized.
Also, the US labor force was 43% unionized during the 1950’s. During this period, all economic classes in the US were getting a fairly equivalent share of the economic pie. That means that if the top 20% gained an ~18% rise in income, the bottom 20% also gained about a ~18% rise in income.
It does not mean that the top 20% and the bottom 20% had anywhere near equivalent incomes. It only means that as the economic pie grew, each income sector was accorded a democratic slice of the pie.
Around 1973, this started to collapse, and things have been falling apart ever since. I pointed out in an earlier post that the bottom 80% of US workers have actually suffered a wage decline in the past 28 years, a time of good economic growth and great increases in productivity.
This can be attributed, more than anything else, to declines in the % of the US workforce that is unionized. We can practically match these two lines on a chart.
It is true that Latin America is not a paradise for workers. Nevertheless, many workers are in unions, and the unions are often very, very militant. They call strikes all the time, and the strikes are often violent street actions that bring out the police and even army.
It’s clear that Latin American workers benefit from their unions, but I’m not sure how unionized they are. Clearly they would be much worse off if they were not unionized.
Your comments about unions lowering wages are somewhat theoretical and that is not necessarily the way things work in the real world.
In the real world, when Sector A of an industry goes union, non-union companies, while still fighting off the unions ferociously, will often up wages and benefits to near the levels of the unionized sector just to compete for workers. In this way, unionizing even a part of an industry can benefit the whole industry, even the non-union sectors.
Any sensible union will work with management to get a fair share for the workers while still enabling the business to remain profitable and stay in business. If the company goes out of business, no one will have a job and the union will be superfluous, with no members.
Sensible unions have demanded that management open their books and in some cases, have even taken pay and benefit cuts in order to keep their jobs. A pay-benefit cut with a job is still better than no job and no benefits at all.
Without unions, the management – union power ratio is 100-0. Management has all the power and workers have zero. With the union, ideally it is now 50-50. Each side has the power that they ought to have. If for no other reason, unions are good only in that they guarantee the proper and moral democratic rights of workers in an enterprise.
With a growing economy, a raise in teacher pay does not necessarily result in a tax increase as long as tax revenues are increasing in tandem with economic growth.
In comments to the same post, huy, a bright commenter from the UK, notes:

To increase productivity, workers need decent pay in order to work at their most productive, and sometimes unions are needed for this.So capitalism actually needs unions to an extent, as sometimes a rich entrepreneur may forget that in order for his workers to work best, they need decent pay.

I respond:
Unions are *always* needed in capitalism. Otherwise the workers pretty much get zero, or less than zero. The capitalists automatically have all the power. Unions are just the way for workers to have power too. It equalizes the score.
Productivity increases are certainly possible during a period of declining wages and these increases are also caused by technology, not only workers themselves. So it is not really necessary for capitalists to pay workers more to get productivity increases. There are many other ways – speedup, technology, overwork.
Without a union, a capitalist is free to brutalize workers to get more per hour out of them. If they complain, he can fire them and there will be someone ready to take their place. In the past 28 years, wages for 80% of the US workforce declined while productivity had major increases. This shows you that capitalists need not pay workers more to get more productivity out of them.
The rich entrepreneur will not “sometimes” forget this, he will always forget this. Wages are a cost to the capitalist, and all costs are to be kept to a minimum using whatever means are possible. If you get an MBA these days at a business school, they will hammer this into your head until you have a headache.
Capitalism only works for workers, in general, to the extent that they are organized in unions. In the US, office workers have always resented unionization, due to class sensibilities. They tend to come from a bourgeois background, and they feel superior on cultural grounds to the working classes.
It’s the old white collar versus blue collar thing. Office workers associate unions with the blue collar workers they feel superior to. Joining a union would be like putting on overalls and a cap and bringing a lunch pail to work. It’s humiliating, and this is why they do not join unions.
Teachers and nurses are an exception to that trend. These are some of the last of the powerful unions in the US, and this is why there is so much rage directed against them in the corporate media and rightwing culture that is now equivalent to American culture.

Differential Diagnosis: Schizophrenia Versus OCD

From Yahoo Answers:

I have really aggressive thoughts sometimes. I don’t even understand why I have them. Usually (not limited to) they’re about hurting people. I feel really crappy about myself after these thoughts. I won’t go into all of my thoughts because some of them are really disturbing and they come out of no where sometimes. It’s surprising and then I start feeling like maybe I’m just a really evil person although I’m considerate of other people, most of the time.

I have a heart but sometimes I feel like how can I have a heart with these thoughts in my head! They don’t pop up in my head unless I think about it.

So then I thought well these thoughts might be schizophrenia, I started looking up what schizophrenia was. Then right as I saw the symptoms and examples of the symptoms I started like displaying the symptoms in my head. It’s almost like once I absorb an idea my mind plays on it.
Like when I saw this CSI episode where this person got poisoned with Cyanide, I started worrying about cyanide poisoning. When I read the symptoms of Schizophrenia where you have like hallucinations (Like voices in your head) I started making a voice in my head. Once these ideas are in my head I can’t get them out. It’s like they become apart of me.
Like sometimes I think “what if” all the time for every symptom of schizophrenia. Like people watching you. I started thinking: WELL, WHAT IF someone was watching me. Errr! I can’t get these thoughts out of my head and I think I’m starting to convince myself that I have schizophrenia. I’m scared.
I feel like a sicko.
My mind is also very contradicting: Like if I say I’m not a bad person my mind says “yes you are” and really self-deprecating thoughts. Every time I want to feel good about myself my mind will convince me that I shouldn’t and that I’m a sick freak who thinks horrible thoughts. I’m 19 about to be 20 soon and I heard schizo starts early 20s. I just don’t know what to do…I don’t have any insurance to go see a doctor. I’ve been a worry-wart ever since I was in elementary school.
Also, like schizo, I heard you hear voices in your head and you believe what they’re telling you. Like let’s say something says, “This is God talking to you!” and I’m an agnostic and I don’t really believe in God. I like create scenarios and voices in my head ever since I heard about schizophrenia. NEVER before.
It’s like my mind is trying to give me these symptoms it’s hard to explain. It’s like I know they’re my voices but I don’t understand why my voices are saying these things. It’s like WTF? :\

A most interesting case. This is a completely clear-cut case of OCD, screaming loud and clear across the landscape. I won’t tell you how I know this, but I know this illness like the back of my hand, since I have it. Been there, done that, ok?
Not that subtypes matter, but this person has a couple of subtypes of OCD.
The first is Harm OCD.
The second may as well be called Schiz OCD. This is a person who starts to worry that they have schizophrenia. In the case above, he is starting to invent crazy voices in his head due to his fear. These voices in his head are causing him to worry that he had schizophrenia.
This person clearly does not have schizophrenia. First of all, the voices in the head. The person with schiz hears these as actual voices with his ears, the same you would hear the voices of the people around you. The voices sound just like the external voices of persons near you, so much so that it is hard to figure out who is really talking and what’s just a hallucination. So the voices are not really in the head but in the ears, so to speak. We all have internal voices in our heads that we hear all day long. Nothing to be alarmed about.
The “what if” questions are typical of OCD. A person with schizophrenia or other psychosis simply says, “People are watching me.” If you try to question them about the belief, you run into a brick wall and get a big argument. It’s a rock-solid delusion, and all delusions are hard as stone.
The person also has “contradictory thoughts.” This is unfortunately quite common with OCD. The person thinks a good thought, like “I’m a good person,” and the OCD chimes in with a contradictory thought saying, for instance, “No you aren’t. You’re evil. You’re the most evil person on Earth.” These thoughts will probably be violently resisted.
When doing differential diagnosis, look first of all at how hard the person fights or resists the thought. The more ferociously the person fights or resists the thought, the more likely you are dealing with an obsession.
A good rule of thumb is: If you try to stop the thought, it’s an obsession.
Unfortunately, clinicians understand OCD very poorly, and I doubt if this person is going to get a good diagnosis or treatment. In particular, OCD patients these days are often diagnosed as psychotic and treated with anti-psychotic drugs.

A Bit About Harm OCD

This is particularly disturbing OCD subtype as the person has thoughts, feelings and even urges of violence to themselves or others. They can be quite intense, and they often feel like they are on the verge of doing the violent act. They feel absolutely terrified much of the time. Many of them feel like killers and develop a personality that says they are a killer of some sort.
I’ve done therapy with a guy who was convinced he was a serial killer. Of course he’d never hurt a soul and he never would, but I could not convince him of that. The obsessions were powerful, continuous, and 24-7. They were so persistent and tenacious that he had given up all hope of resisting them. They had also become quite strong in that the illness was actually telling him or ordering him to commit the violence.
He had suffered from this for 15 years in the time I met him. Of course, he had never come close to committing any violent act in that time. This is a case of a good person who is being mentally tortured every waking hour.
I spoke to another woman, a young schoolteacher, who had thoughts of killing her students all day. She was shaking like a leaf, as she put it.
A young man, a multimillionaire, has been more or less housebound with Harm OCD for 4 years. I talked to him on the phone for 1 1/2 hours and helped him more than the best and most expensive therapists in his country had in a long time. He was spending $1,500/week on therapy and not getting much better.
I told him he was fine and told him to put a knife into his pocket and go out shopping. Of course he could pull out the knife at any time and start carving up passerby, but he didn’t. He told me that I had gotten him out of the house for the first time in 4 years (an exaggeration).
The avoidance with this type of OCD is particularly severe. They start to avoid all human contact for fear of the violent thoughts, urges, etc. It’s also very disturbing for laypeople, and most laypeople think they are dangerous.
Curiously, these people either never or almost never (I’m not sure if there have been cases or not, but I’ve never heard of one) act on these strong violent feelings that may wrack them every waking hour or even minute. Something is preventing them from doing it. Fact is, they really don’t want to hurt anyone, and they are trying not to do it all the time. Furthermore, acting on the thoughts would violate their morals.
I’ve heard that a person with violent obsessions is actually the least likely person to ever commit any violent act. This does not seem clear to the general population, and I’ve talked to people with this condition who tell me that others are terrified of them, people often say that they are killers, criminals, etc.
This is clearly a most bizarre illness! The person least likely to commit any act of violence is wracked by violent thoughts, feelings and impulses day and night that they will never act on in a million years.
How can we make sense of this? We can’t, except maybe to consider that the best people have the worst thoughts. The least impulsive person (a person with Harm OCD is a very non-impulsive person) is wracked by terrible impulses through the day. The illness targets the persons least likely to do something and convinces them that they are most likely to do something.
It doesn’t make sense until you understand human nature. The best people feel the most guilt. The worst people feel the least guilt.
Obsessionals feel incredible guilt, yet they never do anything aggressive.
Antisocials commit tremendous aggression, yet they feel no guilt at all.
Here we go beyond psychology and into the realm of religion. Priests and ministers have always understood such things, going back hundreds of years. The best people do the least harm because they feel the most guilt. The guilt keeps them from doing bad things. The worst people do the most harm because they feel no guilt at all. The lack of guilt is what causes the bad behavior.
The worse the behavior = the less the guilt.
The better the behavior = the more the guilt.
It’s so paradoxical, but if you have any sense of human behavior, of course it all adds up. And a priest understand this intuitively. He’s nodding his head before you are done explaining it to him.
We wonder what the mindset is of the person who commits violent acts. Let us say the sociopath. For example, let us look at the serial killer.
This person typically has violent fantasies a good part of time. It’s how they like to pass the time. The crucial factor here is that the violent thoughts are not resisted and attempts are not made to stop them. This person enjoys thinking violent things, thinks them all day long to his heart’s content, and never tries once to stop them or resist them.
When he kills people, he’s simply doing what he likes to do. He feels no guilt and is incurable, since you can’t put a conscience into someone who lacks one, and anyway, he’s having fun. He doesn’t want to change. He doesn’t want to get better. He’s already fine. He’s in hog heaven, killing away, doing what he loves. Why give it up?
If you think this website is valuable to you, please consider a contribution to support the continuation of the site.

Letter from My Neck of the Woods

Out Here in the Sticks, by Bill Hatch. Hatch, who I have never heard of before, lives in Merced, California.
He gives you a pretty good feel of this part of California, the severe poverty, the rural nature of the landscape, the severe ignorance of the population, the huge Mexican illegal alien population, the Punjabis who run the local stores and gas stations, the working class Whites barely struggling to get by, the failed real estate boom, and last, the fundamentalist Christian nature of the local White population.
If you want to know what it’s like where I live, this gives you a nice little feel.

How Popular is Hezbollah in Lebanon?

A commenter writes:

I would love to see your sources of some of these numbers you dishing out. Your “83% of Lebanese people support Hizbollah” statement is fabricated.Where did you get this ridiculous number? If this were true, democracy would in Lebanon would be gone and it would be called “The Islamic Republic of Lebanon” which is what Hizbollah’s aim has been. They’ve always been in the minority and actually lost seats in the election of 2009, so if you do the math, their popularity is fading. You’re either fabricating numbers or your source is some FOX news editorial/opinion show.

Yes, that figure came out during the war. 83% of the population supported Hezbollah’s resistance to the Israelis during that war.
I believe that a large number of Lebanese have a positive opinion of Hezbollah, even those who support other parties like Amal, the SSNP, Sunnis and Christian supporters of Aoun.
At a large Hezbollah rally in Lebanon recently, there were 1 million people in attendance, including many Christians and seculars. There were many pretty young women not exactly wearing Islamist attire. Hezbollah’s popularity is widespread across the board, not that those women wearing Western clothes would vote for them. Hezbollah are seen as the defenders of Lebanon, for what it’s worth.
This whole “Lebanon hates Hezbollah” line is a lie perpetrated by the Phalangists.
Hezbollah’s aim is not to create “The Islamic Republic of Lebanon.” This is another lie of the Phalangists. Nasrallah has been interviewed and he said that an Islamic republic with Islamic laws or some variation would only be possible if 80%+ of the population of Lebanon agreed.
I understand that women are not required to wear the hijab in South Lebanon, and I believe that alcohol is also allowed to be sold and consumed. Hezbollah are some of the most moderate Islamists around.

Is There Something Wrong with Gay Men?

See here, here and here (NWS! Actually, not safe anywhere!) Careful, those links are really gross porn that will make you want to hurl.
This is actually a great big huge scene with gay men. 4-8% of gay men are into scat, either playing with it or eating it or both. What’s the % of straights, male and female, who are into such a thing? It must be very small. How many straights would rent a bar to engage in such sickening behavior? I can’t imagine it. Most straights are fairly normal sexually.
The more you read about the prevalence and intensity of extreme perversion among gay men, the more you start wondering if there actually isn’t something wrong with them somehow. What the Hell is the matter with queers? It’s like they are fucked in the head or something. Why are queers so sexually twisted? I don’t get it.

That Crap's Alive!

Holy crap, Batman! Your shit is actually alive!
Full of oodles of wonderful virii.
Positively swimming with gazillions of bacteria.
Saturated with armies of protozoa.
Crawling with countless little wormies.
Don’t eat that shit! Whatever you do, don’t eat that shit.
Can you eat your own? In minute quantities, surely. Obviously, we all do. We poop, we wipe, we touch ourselves, hey, it’s inevitable. We’re all still up and standing.
Can you eat other people’s? Don’t even think about it. On the other hand, once again, I suppose we do, in very tiny quantities anyway, so small you can’t even see it.
Wash your hands, dammit, wash your hands.
You’re wondering about how you get traveller’s diarrhea on the road. You’re eating other people’s shit. Eating their E.coli and campylobacter. This is why intestinal parasites, typhoid, dysentery and cholera are so common in the 3rd world. The worms are in the shit, the shit goes into the soil, the soil goes into you. You can also get shigellosis, amoebiasis, and giardiasis this way.
That shit is everywhere. Watch out for that shit.
Don’t eat that shit! Don’t eat that shit!

US Jewsmedia Completely Corrupted

As you can see. The Atlantic Monthly is one of the worst ones of them all. Apparently, it’s become little more than an arm of the Jewish Lobby. Might be interesting to see who their owners and editors are?
The video tells about a huge effort on the part of the Jewish Lobby in the US, involving $36 million, to plant stories and manipulate US news coverage in favor of Israel. It would not matter so much if the press had not gone along so willingly. The Atlantic Monthly apparently took money from the Jewish Lobby in order to run the Lobby’s stories or twist stories to towards their bias.
It’s obvious that the US jewspapers, jewsmagazines, TV jews stations and radio jews is seriously corrupted by and biased in favor of a certain group of people. Whether this has to do with direct ownership and employment of certain ethnics in the various jews outfits, with advertising threats and biases or with the biases of the US public remains to be seen.
I think we can rule out the US public’s biases, since the media never cares what Americans think about anything. The US media’s purpose is to propagandize the minds of Americans, not to reflect the views of Americans. It’s a gigantic brainwash machine for the ruling class.
One clear example of pro-Israel bias in the US jewsmedia is how the Israeli nuclear arsenal is reported on. Frankly, as far as the media is concerned, the less said about it the better. However, occasionally, Israel’s arsenal is brought up. The sane people all realize that Israel has 200-400 nuclear weapons. However, for Realpolitik reasons, Israel refuses to acknowledge the arsenal that everyone knows it has, therefore it is not subject to the relevant treaties.
The disgusting US government goes along with this charade. Republican President Barack Obama recently refused to acknowledge that Israel has a nuclear weapons program.
One would think that the Fourth Estate would be above this sort of Realpolitik crap, but think again. A typical article in a major US jewspaper or jewsmagazine follows the US and Israeli government line in refusing to confirm or deny Israel’s nuclear weapons program.
As if total ruling class domination of the US media were not bad enough, we have the added Jewish domination element to make things even more sickening.

Repeat After Me: There Was No Holodomor

Repeat after me. There was no Holodomor, there was no Holodomor, there was no Holodomor, there was no Holodomor.
The Holodomor is the terror famine that never happened.
According to Holodomor narrative, now official state policy of the Ukraine and also recognized officially by the US, there was a bumper harvest in the Ukraine in 1932. However, to punish the Ukrainians who were resisting collectivization, the USSR confiscated the wheat crop, herded the people into villages that were more like concentration camps and denied them food there. The “terror famine” or “deliberate famine” resulted in the deaths of 5-10 million Ukrainians and broke the back of the anti-collectivization movement there.
However, this narrative simply never occurred. It never happened. What happened instead was harvest failure, followed by other problems. Most died of disease in their malnourished state; there were few actual deaths of hunger.
The following is a Q and A with J. Arch Getty about the famine in the Ukraine.
I am not a specialist on the Ukrainian famine, but I am familiar with the recent research by several scholars on the matter, and think rather a lot of the deep and broad research that Mark Tauger has conducted over many years.
That familiarity leads me to believe that there are no simple answers to this. A “man-made” famine is not the same as a deliberate or “terror-famine”. A famine originally caused by crop failure and aggravated by poor policies is “man aggravated” but only partially “man-made”. Why in this field do we always insist on absolutes, especially categorical, binary
and polemical ones? True/false. Good/evil. Crop failure/Man made?
Reminds me of the Stalinist approach.
Many questions have ambiguous answers.
1. Why was the Ukraine sealed off by the Soviet authorities?
Not necessarily to punish Ukrainians. It was also done to prevent starving people from flocking into non-famine areas, putting pressure on scarce food supplies there, and thereby turning a regional disaster into a universal one. This was also the original reason for the internal passport system, which was adopted in the first instance to prevent the movement of hungry and desperate people and, with them, the spread of famine.
2. Why were foreign journalists, even Stalin apologists like Duranty, refused access to the famine areas?
For the same reason that US journalists are no longer allowed into US combat zones (Gulf War, Afghanistan) since Vietnam. No regime is anxious to take the chance on bad press if they can control the situation otherwise.
3. Why was aid from other countries refused?
Obviously to deny the “imperialists” a chance to trumpet the failure of socialism. Certainly politics triumphed over humanitarianism. Moreover, in the growing paranoia of the times (and based on experience in the Civil War) the regime believed that spies came along with relief administration.
4. Why do I read and hear stories of families who tried to take supplies from other regions to help their extended families through the period having all foodstuffs confiscated as they crossed back into the famine regions?
The regime believed, reasonably I think, that speculators were trying to take advantage of the disaster by buying up food in non-famine (but nevertheless food-short) regions, moving it to Ukraine, and reselling it at a higher price. In true Bolshevik fashion, there was no nuanced approach to this, no distinguishing between families and speculators, and everybody was stopped.
As with point 1 above, regimes facing famine typically try to contain the disaster geographically. This is not the same as intending to punish the victims.
5. If it was a harvest failure, why was the burden of that failure not simply shared across the Soviet Union?
It was. No region had a lot of food in 1932-33. Food was short and expensive everywhere. Everybody was hungry.
With the above suggestions, I do not mean to make excuses or apologies for the Stalinists. Their conduct in this was erratic, incompetent, and cruel, and millions of people suffered unimaginably and died as a result. But it is too simple to explain everything with a “Bolsheviks were just evil people” explanation more suitable to children than scholars.
It was more complex than that. Although the situation was aggravated in some ways by Bolshevik mistakes, their attempts to contain the famine, once it started, were not entirely stupid, nor were they necessarily gratuitously cruel. The Stalinists did, by the way, eventually cut grain exports and did, by the way, send food relief to Ukraine and other areas. It was too little too late, but there is no evidence (aside from constantly repeated assertions by some writers) that this was a deliberately inflicted
6. Finally, to deny the Jewish genocide quite rightly brings opprobrium. Surely to deny the terror famine of 1932-33 ought to provoke the same response.
This is a position that I personally find grotesque, insulting and at least shallow. Nobody is denying the famine or the huge scale of suffering, (as holocaust-deniers do), least of all Tauger and other researchers who have spent much of their careers trying to bring this tragedy to light and give us a factual account of it. Admittedly, what he and other scholars do is different from the work of journalists and polemicists who indiscriminately collect horror stories and layer them between repetitive statements about evil, piling it all up and calling it history.
A factual, careful account of horror in no way makes it less horrible.

Why Cuba Is a Democracy and the U.S. Is Not

Repost from the old site.
Interesting article at a neat website called Double Standards. Most of my media consumption is this sickening garbage called US media. One of the major annoying this about this US media addiction habit of mine is that the media is lying to me all the time. I don’t mind being lied to if I can figure out that I am being lied to. This is where I object. I can’t often tell that the US media is lying to me.
One thing that is clear is that the joke of a liberal media, not to mention a Communist media, in the US is some kind of a cruel. But head on over to American Renaissance (the racist right) or, really, any standard US conservative sites and you will find that many conservatives, in addition to being soulless pricks, are also stark raving bats insane.
They actually believe that there is a liberal media somewhere in the US, and many believe that the US media is actually socialist or Communist. There is not one speck of truth to this nonsense. There are five main US news stations – ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and CNN. Not one of these could be said to be liberal in any way.
No major US newspaper is liberal and none of the three major US newsmagazines – Time, Newsweek or US News and World Report – is liberal at all. There is but one liberal radio station and one liberal-Left radio station on my dial, and both are partly paid for by public funds. One of them has to go on continuous fund drives because it does not accept advertisements.
There are some liberal – Left magazines out there, but not many, and most are not large circulation. With the increased Gramscian hegemony of conservative ideas lately, more and more magazines have moved to the Right – The New Republic starting in 1980, The Atlantic sometime in the 1990’s, Esquire at some unknown point.
Any true liberal media, first and foremost, would support the rights of ordinary persons and workers over that of the rich and capital. By that yardstick, there is not a single major liberal media outlet anywhere in the US. All US newspapers, newsmagazines, TV stations and large radio stations are hostile to everyone but business, the upper middle class and the wealthy.
They use their media monopoly to flood America with propaganda in favor of the class interests of the rich and the upper middle classes and capital. This propaganda is objectively and demonstrably hostile to the interests of the majorities of the following groups: middle class, the working class, low-income persons, consumers, the environment, minority groups, the elderly, the disabled, women and small children.
Yet almost no one in these groups is able to ascertain the agenda they are being fed. Instead, the vast majority of members of the above groups actually believe the propaganda of the US media – the propaganda that is directed by their class enemies at them and their class.
This was what Gramsci was talking about, and in this way, the media under most capitalist systems is de facto controlled. Chomsky has also written a lot on this. In Europe, at least there are leftwing papers like Liberacion in France.
I assume that the continental media may be supportive of European social democracy, a form of capitalism is attempts to redistribute capitalist profits via government to all classes and groups. Can any of my continental readers help me on this one?
In Argentina, there is a large leftwing daily, and the Sandinista press continues in Nicaragua.
The situation in India and Venezuela are typical for the media under capitalism.
When Chavez took power, there were perhaps 5-10 large dailies in the state. There were also 5-10 major TV stations and some large newsmagazines. Every single one of these major media outlets was owned by the upper 1% of Venezuelan society and reflected their class interests in a cruel and soulless manner. All of these media outlets cooperated with imperialism in the coup that tried to remove Chavez from office.
For this reason, I supported Chavez shutting down the worst offender; but really, he ought to shut down any and every reactionary outlet that supported the coup. On the other hand, this would bring him widespread approbation that might make his situation even worse.
In India, almost all of the media is of course owned by the top 1% of earners. What I find baffling is that when I tell folks that when the wealthiest 1% owns the media, almost all of them will use that media to propagandize in favor of the interests of their top 1% class, I get a lot of resistance. Your average person refuses to believe that media barons actually do this.
Not only is Indian media owned by a tiny elite that continues to live in palaces like Rajas while tens of millions of Indians live on the street, and the system kills at least 4 million people every year, but the overwhelming majority of owners and top editors are members of the higher castes.
Here in the US, almost all reporting on India is done by Indian-American reporters. Dalit (untouchable) activists say that the overwhelming majority of Indian-American reporters for the US media are members of higher castes. Hence you almost never read anything in the US press about the horrible and wicked caste system in India.
I have only touched on the question of whether or not media can be said to be democratic in the US, or for that matter in any capitalist state. There are many more questions raised about the impoverished state of US democracy in the linked article – I would emphasize the money-based elections that characterize not only the US, but most capitalist states.
I don’t necessarily agree with all of his points, but it sure is great to read articles like this somewhere! God bless the Internet.

Manuel Marulanda (Sure Shot), Presente!

Repost from the old site.
One of my all-time heroes, and one of the Great Men of the Latin American revolution, is dead.
RIP Pedro Antonio Marin (Tiro Fijo) .
New leader? Alfonso Cano, an anthropologist and the group’s chief ideologist. There were many anthropologists among Sendero Luminoso’s top ideologists too, as I pointed out in a previous post. Nothing like field work among the oppressed to turn one into a raving revolutionary.
And yes, I do support the FARC, of course. Unequivocally and 100%, and so should all of you.
This movement is grotesquely misunderstood. If it existed in any kind of real democracy instead of in a terrorist death squad state, they never would have had to fire a shot, or at least would have laid down their weapons long ago. As is, they’d be insane to give up the gun. For the time being in Colombia, there is no other way.
In the 1980’s, a section of the FARC disarmed and formed a legal political party called the Patriotic Union. Despite unbelievable repression, they managed to gain a respectable showing in some elections.
They were slaughtered like flies by the Colombian state with US military and intelligence assistance until 5,000 UP activists lay dead. The movement disbanded and scattered and has not been heard from since. The FARC is not insane. They already tried to lay down their guns. Look at what happened. At this point, the FARC is not going to lay down their guns until they get a say in running the country.
There is hardly anyone on the Left running for any office anywhere in Colombia. Anyone who does can be and may well be targeted for death by US-Colombian military intelligence terror machine.
Any Left organizations, including environmental groups, labor unions, peasant organizations, Indian movements, neighborhood and citizens’ groups or peace communities who have declared themselves neutral, can be and may well be routinely targeted with death by the US and Colombia.
If I were a Colombian, I would either not write this blog, or, if I did, I would arm myself and join the FARC. After a while, it doesn’t make sense anymore to wait for the government to come out and kill you. If the US-Colombian military-intel death machine is going to come out and try to kill me anyway, I may as well be armed so I can fight back.
As you can see in the case of the Wayuu Indians, they got tired of the US-Colombian military coming out to kill them, so large numbers of them joined the FARC, and many others formed their own guerrilla organizations. Attacks on the group dropped way down after they took up arms to defend themselves.
Often, the US-Colombian military death squads will start to raid villages and stage killings and massacres of villagers. At some point, at least lately, a FARC unit will intervene and drive the attackers away, saving many lives. You can see that the FARC is the only thing keeping the US-Colombian military from staging vast massacres across the land.
It is said that the FARC adds to the violence in Colombia. Far be it. The FARC had an autonomous zone carved out for it a few years back. The main city in this jungle, a town of only 25,000, had an incredible homicide rate of 1 killing/day. After the FARC came in, that was reduced to 1 killing/year. Some murderous guerrillas!
The FARC has been an armed self-defense group from its origins in the peasant community of Marquetalia in 1964. The leftwing peasants of Marquetalia, tired of the mad violence that was sweeping the land in La Violencia, essentially seceded from the war and made their own private Idaho on some land they owned in Western Colombia.
It’s true that they were Communists, but there were only a few hundred of them, and they were nonviolent. The US and Colombian governments became alarmed at these live Communists existing openly on Colombia’s land, and plans were made to exterminate them. The US Ambassador and US military cooperated closely in these plans. The US recommended everything be thrown at the peasants, including chemical weapons.
The US-Colombian army (with US advisors on board) finally attacked the area, but the peasants of Marquetalia were not all killed. Some survived and armed themselves to fight back. This was the beginnings of the FARC, and this has been the story ever since.
There was a march a while back against the US-Colombian death squads that haunt the land. A huge number of persons showed up in cities all across Colombia. Very quickly afterwards, with only a couple of weeks, the US-Colombian military killed about a dozen marchers and leaders. Just like that. This is what happens to the unarmed opposition in Colombia.
If the FARC falls apart, nothing will change. Colombia will be as big of a shithole as ever, but now there will be no way for the people to fight back against the US-Colombian state and its killers.
I read this article in English a while back, but now it’s disappeared into some memory hole somewhere. Here it is in Spanish if you can read Spanish. Upshot of the piece is that the FARC does not depend on dope. They tax all crops in the areas they control, which is normally about 40% of the country.
This includes drug crops like coca. People grow coca because the state has not provided them the wherewithal to make a decent living growing anything else, despite the fake US-Colombian crop substitution program of recent years. During Plan Colombia in Putumayo Province, much of the land was devastated with herbicide, including perfectly legal crops, and most of the residents became ill with chemical poisoning.
US-Colombian death squads quickly appeared in the area and started murdering peasants right and left. This was around 2002. After a couple years of that, about 8,000 Indians in Putumayo had signed up with the FARC.
This is why people join the FARC, my doubting readers. Not because they feel like turning terrorist and destroying some glorious democracy because they are evildoers, but because the army keeps coming out to try kill them and spray poison all over them and their crops.
This article (dead link) lays out what Colombia is really like. It portrays a rural region in Colombia. The US-Colombian state does not touch the coca plantations of the rich in this region. Here, the rich own all the land, and the poor live in wretched misery.
It was not always this way. There used to be vast numbers of small landowners scattered through this whole region. They’re mostly gone now, part of a project by the US-Colombian military to steal the people’s land for the rich and kill anyone who resisted.
Most of this area has gone over to vast cattle ranches in the hands of a few ultra-rich landowners. These landowners hire death squads to keep this sick state of affairs as it is. This is why the FARC is always kidnapping these wealthy landowner “innocent civilians”. They are not so innocent! These are the people who run the death squads.
There are still peasant farmers in this region, but they are now crammed into miserable and tiny plots that are a shadow of the ones they farmed. It’s barely enough to feed oneself. The many peasants who were run off the land altogether now live crammed in teeming urban slums that never existed before.
If you drive through the area, there seems to be open land everywhere – for cows. You see a few miserable peasants with tiny plots, and then you see vast and teeming slums. On the highway is a death squad and US-Colombian military checkpoint to keep the peons from rising up about this fucked-up bullshit. To accomplish the sickening state of affairs in this blighted region, the US-Colombian military killed 100’s to 1000’s of people.
Now let us go to a large city – Medellin. The FARC militias were all run out a few years back, and the death squads run the show now. The poor are crammed into horrid slums on hillsides with no paved roads, no water, no sewage, no electricity, no nothing. The shit runs down the gutters, people gather rain for water, and when it rains, the hills slide down on the makeshift shanties.
Down below, watching the Dickensian slums above with cold eyes, are the death squads. If any slum dweller raises a peep about their miserable situation, they may just get a bullet. The death squads are put there by the US and Colombia to make sure that that disgusting state of affairs stays just the way it is.
Westerners have the temerity to ask why there is a revolution in Colombia.
How could there not be one?
The FARC has definitely been hit hard lately in a lot of ways. The Colombian military has doubled in size since 2000 (mostly due to an infusion of US money) and the FARC has been experiencing, since 2005, the most concerted military offensive that any Latin American revolutionary army has ever faced.
They may conceivably not make it, but if they don’t, the violence will not end. The state will continue to kill the people, and it will still be impossible for the Left to organize or run for office without getting killed. If the FARC goes, there will only be successors; there will be no justice.
Personally, dire as things are, I think that the FARC will pull through. One of the ways that they reacted to the offensive was to branch into other nations. The FARE is in Ecuador1, the FARV, with 1000’s of members, is in Venezuela2, the FARP is in Peru and doing very well3, and the FARB is in the Dog’s Head region of Brazil4. FARC is in Panama and Guyana, and they have activists in Bolivia helping Morales’ party.
A previous post gives details on all of these FARC splinters.
Great blog on Colombia. Machetera is also great and so’s People’s Movement Support Group.


1. This report from 2000 describes how both the FARC and the ELN had a growing presence across the border in Ecuador and how the FARE had just formed to protest against Plan Colombia. On May 15, 2000, the Ecuadorian military intercepted a FARE patrol in Sucumbios Province on the Peruvian border.
Two FARE members were killed and five more were wounded or captured in the shootout. In early 2000, the FARE blew up an oil pipeline in Ecuador. On August 28, 2002, the FARE set off a leaflet bomb in a McDonald’s in Guayaquil that caused serious damage to the property. As of 2000, it was still a small group in the country. Whether or not the FARE still exists in not known.
2. The FARV is nothing but the name of the FARC in its rear guard zone inside Venezuela. The FARC has such zones and forces in all of the countries bordering it.
3. The FARP is nothing but the FARC inside Peru. They have penetrated deep into Peru and has recruited many former members and supporters of Sendero Luminoso. Former commanders of the MRTA have also joined the FARC’s army in Peru. For now, they are not doing much except laying down base areas, but they are very popular with rural Peruvians who got sick of Sendero’s mad violence.
4. The FARB is very little known, but it probably just the name of the FARC in its rear-guard area inside Brazil (Dog’s Head region) There is another FARB inside Brazil that has been threatening and even killing some PT mayors and officials. It is supposedly a far Left group of PT dissidents angry at some PT officials for selling out the people.
Others think that the group does not even exist and instead is merely a fake name for rightwing death squads that rampage all across Brazil.

In the Shining Path of Ann Dunham

Repost from the old site.
It’s a lie that Sendero Luminoso never had much support. Simon Strong’s 1992 book gives the lie to that quite well. In the 18 months following Fujimori’s seizure of power, an unbelievable 1.5 million Peruvians were arrested on charges of being members of or collaborating with the Shining Path.
Surveys done at the height of their power indicated that they had the passive support of about 50% of the very poorest in society, with the full support of 16%. Really, to win any revolution you probably need 30% support, but the Bolsheviks did it with a lot less.
In the American Revolution, few Americans know that only 1/3 of Americans support George Washington’s bands, another 1/3 were basically traitors supporting the English crown and another 1/3 were pragmatic fence-sitters waiting to see which side was going to win before they decided who to support.
Most people don’t realize that in most civil wars you have a huge percentage of fence-sitters who are mostly just trying to stay alive.
Sendero had support even in the churches and in the military. They completely blew it in a lot of ways though, and though they still operate, they are a shadow of what they formerly were.
In my post, Sendero Fades and FARC Rises in Peru, I elaborate how Sendero has faded in Peru only to be replaced by the FARC of Colombia, who have been moving far down into Peru for some time now, and have been doing well with peasants fed up with Sendero’s mad violence.
The remains of the MRTA (yes, they still exist also) are up in the far north of Peru in San Martin Province where they always had their main base. Many former rebels from Sendero and the MRTA have basically left those groups and marched off to Colombia for retraining as members of the FARC.
This is part of a FARC regional strategy to expand into the countries surrounding it – there is the FARE in Ecuador, the FARV in Venezuela (which may have 2-3,000 members), the FARB that operates in the Dog’s Head region on the Brazilian border of Colombia and I believe the FARP that operates in Peru.
This article from La Rouche Publications (no, I do not endorse them) while a bit over the top, has an excellent roundup and analysis of the Sendero phenomenon. Particularly interesting is the huge support they had in the Peruvian diaspora in Europe, the US and Mexico, with a mind-numbing array of organizations.
In the US, the support was run by the Maoists in the RCP, a large US Maoist group. RCP’s homepage is here, and they actually run some decent articles, though I don’t support Communism in the US or anywhere else in the First World at the moment – I support some variety of socialism instead, and that can even mean social democracy.
El Diario International is the international paper of Sendero, or at least what remains of it. What is amazing is that this Belgium-based paper still prints a lot of issues, at least on the Net. It’s chock full of brand-new raving articles all the time.
I don’t read Spanish very well, but maybe someone who does could check it out and come back and report to us in the comments. El Diario del Hoy was Sendero’s paper in Peru, but it’s long been shut down. I think it reappears clandestinely from time to time.
I have read tons of Sendero propaganda and position statements. These people are completely off the deep end. All existing Communist states are “revisionist” (not real Communists but instead reformist traitors to the movement), and that includes North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos and of course China. They despise both Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Evo Morales of Bolivia. Chavez is pegged as some sort of “corporatist fascist”.
Sendero does support other armed Maoists like the revolutionaries in the Philippines, Nepal and India (but their most recent editorial condemns the Nepalese Maoists for “capitulation”). The Nepalese revolutionaries have done very well, the NPA in the Philippines is a vast organization, and the Indian Maoists are expanding like mad in the east. I don’t have a problem with any of these three movements.
Their position statements, and regular publications of their Red Sun Magazine (both here) are some of the rantingest, ravingest Commie stuff out there (Red Sun (Sol Rojo) 29 in Spanish, Red Sun 29 English supplement). As Peruvian society is evil and the system is a pile of garbage, Peruvian reality drove Senderistas insane. The crazier and more wicked the society, the crazier and more wicked the guerrilla reaction.
The La Rouche link (forget the nonsense about how Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch support Sendero, and forget anything about the UK – LaRouchies have always been insane on the subject of the Crown) makes clear the link between Sendero and radical anthropologists and academics, in particular psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, historians, teachers and agronomists.
The role of anthropologists , both Peruvian and even foreign, as essentially the brainchildren of Sendero is especially glaring.
Just for the record, this blog supports the ELN and FARC in Colombia, and supported the MRTA in Peru, but cannot support the project of Sendero.
The link with anthropologists is especially interesting in that Obama’s mother was an anthro, and she has been decried as an America-hater, and this America-hatred of hers can be seen supposedly in both Obama and his wife.
Though I do not care about whether or not Obama and his wife hate America, I think these latest America-hating charges may well be fatal for his campaign, especially with White ethnic working class types (Reagan Democrats), independents and Republicans who were voting for Obama for some bizarre reason.
This Asia Times piece by Spengler is worth reading along those lines. Though I am not a big fan of Spengler, he is definitely worth reading. He tells it like it is all right.
I’m for whichever Dem, the Black or the woman, can beat the Republican clown. At this point it’s starting to look like the lady. Women all over the country are fired up and hopping mad about the sexist BS directed at Hillary all through this whole campaign. A bunch of yahoo alpha male dogs showed up at one of Hilary’s appearances in New Hampshire and yelped, “Iron my shirts!”
Good for American women for standing up to this sexist crap. Everyone should stand up for their rights, and I applaud my sisters. This blog will never attack Hilary on sexist grounds.

Alt Left: George Habash, a Revolutionary Life

Repost from the old site.

The following tribute to George Habash, leader of the Palestinian Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) was delivered to a meeting organized by the CPGB-ML in Central London on Saturday 10 February 2008. The Communist Party Great Britain Marxist-Leninist, basically a hardline pro-Stalin group, last time I checked. This document is interesting for various reasons.

For one, it shows that hardline Communist rhetoric in the style of the former USSR is still popular. The PFLP are lauded for being a hardline Marxist-Leninist organization. It’s hard to say whether they still are or not, as they seem to be downplaying this in recent years, and no one really knows what Communism even means anymore.
It is true that there was a Communist state in South Yemen, but I am not sure if they accomplished much down there.
One of the biggest heroes of the Arab Left is Gamel Nasser, leader of Egypt. One great thing that he did do was to initiate a land reform. Most Arab states probably do not have feudal or semi-feudal land relations in the countryside anymore, but Egypt did in the 1950’s. 10% of landowners owned most land, and 25% of landowners owned almost all of the land.
The vast majority of the rural population was reduced to the status of landless laborers or sharecroppers in debt peonage on the land of the landlords.
Nasser was able to break up the large estates by buying them up via the government and giving the land to the sharecroppers. It was one of the great progressive events in modern Arab history. Back in the day in Yemen, you would go into the houses of the poor in South Yemen and see Nasser’s picture on the wall – they knew he was a hero to the Arab poor, and mostly for the land reform.
Unfortunately, land reform was not enough. Population was exploding and Egypt desperately needed to put more farmland into production. Hence the Aswan Dam, a necessary evil.
But even this did not solve the problems, as the rural poor continued to pour into the cities to look for nonexistent work. The landowners were bought off by assuring them a place in industry, which was and is heavily corrupt and tied in with the state. But the Egyptian economy was so shaky that the rich didn’t really feel like investing in it.
Socialism was and is a pretty easy sell across the Arab World, in part due to Islam. Islam is a pretty socialist religion, although fundamentalists will argue the point with you and point out that the Koran says that there are those who have more and those who have less and this is ok. Nevertheless, the Koran is hardly a raging individualist tract.
Nor are the deserts of the Arab World suited for individualism. In such an environment, the every man for himself libertarian is lost and probably dead quite quickly. One must form alliances or one will be destroyed. One must work cooperatively or the elements will take your life. In a world of perennial scarcity, mass hoarding by a few means death for many more.
Hence, in the past century, most independent Arab states have opted for some kind of socialism. Where the states could not do it, the religious or militant groups did. There is no hatred of welfare or government as we have it in the individualist US. Socialism is simply normal and free market libertarianism is seen as a bizarre and cruel aberration.
Nevertheless, in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and probably other places, the clergy did resist land reforms on the grounds that they were un-Islamic. Iraq, newly emerging from semi-feudal relations in the 1960’s, saw the Iraqi Communist Party become one of the largest parties in the country. It was particularly popular with poor Shia who flooded in from the countryside and poured into what later became Sadr City.
At that time, the Shia clergy were widely regarded as corrupt. They were tied in with large landowners, often involved in money-making scams, and were noted for enticing women into sexual relationships with them.
One of the few great things that the Shah of Iran did was to institute a land reform to realign the semi-feudal relations in the Iranian countryside. It went off pretty well, but some ethnic groups opposed it and hence were persecuted.
The tone of the Communist Party Great Britain Marxist-Leninist in the statement below is what might be called Stalinist or anti-revisionist.
Anti-revisionists hold that the problems with Communist states came from them leaving the path of true Communism and diluting their economies with capitalist relations. I do not know how much there is to that, so I can’t comment on revisionism. But even staunch Marxist sites nowadays post long pieces stating flat out that the Soviet model failed.
The North Star Compass is a pretty interesting site. It’s run by former Communists from the East Bloc and the USSR, and it is dedicated to the reestablishing of the Soviet Union as a socialist state. For these folks, Gorbachev was enemy #1. There are quite a few interesting essays there, and for those who think that Putin is a Communist, these guys really hate Putin.
For those who think that Russian Communists are all racists and anti-Semites, note that the North Star Compass despises the newly emerging fascist threat in the USSR.
There are many Trotskyite sites on the Net. The Trotskyites used to be totally nuts on the question of “Stalinists”. Can you believe that they supported the German attack on the USSR and opposed the Soviet army’s war in Afghanistan?
Trotskyites seem to have calmed down a lot lately. Many of them are supporting the Nepalese Maoists and the Colombian FARC. They even support Cuba. Usually this is measured with a tone that these states and movements would be better off if they adopted Trotskyism. Truth is that it is possible that Trotskyism has hardly even be tried anywhere, except possibly in the USSR from 1917-1922.
Trotskyites have a reputation as the ultimate splitters, and in the Philippines they have, incredibly, taken up arms alongside the feudal and fascist state against the Maoist NPA. In Defense of Marxism is a good example of a Trotskyite site.
It seems that many Communists nowadays in the West are Trotskyites of some sort. No one really knows what to make of them, and many Stalinists just laugh about them and regard them as irrelevant. Western Trotskyites seem to have a lot of money for some reason, and often put up nice websites. Non-Trotskyite Communist sites often have mild critiques of Trotskyism as some sort of irrelevant hairsplitting movement.
Western Trotskyites were heavily Jewish in the West until 1967 or possibly earlier. World Trotskyism opposed Israel in the Six Day War and Jewish Trotskyites consequently defected en masse. Many seem to have made their way into the neoconservative movement.
There are a variety of reasons for the heavy Jewish presence in Trotskyism, and that Trotsky himself was Jewish cannot be ignored. Trots have tended to oppose both Stalinism and Maoism as horribly brutal ideologies that committed atrocious human rights violations. Trotskyism has been a serious movement only in the West and it has tended to flounder in the rest of the world.
One of the Trots’ main points is that a rapid buildup of urban industry is essential for the development of a modern socialist state. Trots are almost the opposite of the Maoists and their emphasis on the peasantry.
There are sites that basically uphold the former USSR and even Stalin, but they are often angry at Maoists, whom they accuse of adventurism. In India, Maoists are killing traditional Communists in the state of Bengal, a state that has been run by pro-Soviet Communists for about 30 years now.
Marxism-Leninism Today is an example of a pro-USSR, pro-Cuba, anti-Maoist site. They support the CPI-M (Communist Party India-Marxist) in Bengal and are not too happy with the Indian Maoists for killing their comrades.
Here is a cool site by a Georgian artist who is the grandson of Joseph Stalin, showing the Stalin family tree among other things.
Stalinism.ru is a site run by Russian Stalinists, but if you can’t read Russian, it’s not for you.
The National Bolshevik Party is some sort of a bizarre marriage of Stalinism and racial nationalism (I don’t want to say Nazism, but I fear that is what it is). It’s Russian too, but check out the scary party image, complete with Nordic lettering, and the background on the homepage. Lots of related links at the bottom – looks like they have chapters all over the place.
Another great site, coming from a somewhat different point of view, a Maoist one, is the Single Spark. Although Maoists are often described as ultra-Stalinists, Maoists and Stalinists are not necessarily the same thing.
The Maoists have always been the real bomb-throwers on the Far Left.
Despite Cold War rhetoric, pro-Soviet Communists often did not take up armed struggle until all peaceful avenues for change were blocked, and the Left was up against a death squad state. Otherwise, the idea was to try to gain power through parliamentary means, despite Lenin’s denouncements of “parliamentary cretinism”.
If the state was reasonably democratic and not killing the Left, the pro-Soviets often argued that “an objectively revolutionary situation did not exist”. On the other hand, Maoists tend to reject all bourgeois democracy as invalid, particularly in very backward societies with mass extreme poverty and accompanying disease, hunger and premature death.
Hence, Maoists have launched insurgencies against formally democratic states as Peru, Sri Lanka, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Philippines, Nepal and India in recent years. In most of these cases, the pro-Soviet Left decided to sit out armed struggle, and the Maoists were denounced as adventurists irresponsibly taking up arms in spite of a lack of an objectively revolutionary situation.
In Peru, the war launched by the Shining Path led to a state that was less and less democratic and soon became just another Death Squad State. Thus in 1984, the pro-Cuban Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) took a vote and decided that “an objectively revolutionary situation existed” and opted to take up arms.
Another difference is that despite Cold War rhetoric, Maoists are often a lot more vicious than the Castroites and pro-Soviet rebels. Maoists have no qualms about killing “class enemies” – anyone prominent advocating rightwing politics or abusive landowners – whereas the Castroites often try to take the high ground in guerrilla war.
Examples in Latin America are the Castroite ELN in Colombia, URNG in Guatemala, FSLN in Nicaragua, FMLN in El Salvador, the aforementioned MRTA, and the FARC in Colombia. Despite crap from anti-Communists and the US government, all these groups have tried pretty hard to abide by the rules of war. At any rate, the overwhelming majority of grotesque human rights violations in each of these conflicts were committed by the state.
On the other hand, the Maoist Sendero Luminoso was a profoundly savage and cruel guerrilla group, though they almost seized power.
Communism doesn’t mean that much anymore. Cuba allows religious believers to join the party, and there are millions of liberation theology Leftist Catholics in Latin America and the Philippines. The Chinese and Vietnamese Communists have introduced major elements of capitalism into their economies, while retaining a great deal of socialism at the same time.
Over the course of a few years, from 2003 to 2005 and 2006, the Nepalese Maoists underwent a sea change in politics. They went from hardline Maoists railing against revisionists and opposing anything but the dictatorship of the proletariat, to an embrace of multiparty democracy and a mixed economy and measured critiques of Mao, Lenin and Stalin as outdated for the needs and realities of today.
I think this is fantastic. I care nothing about dogma. I just want results, and I don’t really care how you get there – capitalism, socialism, communism or whatever. If Marxism is indeed an ever-evolving science (which, if it is a science, it must be) then there must be no treating its elementary texts as some sort of religious books.
The works of Marx, Lenin, Mao and others must be regarded as the works of men, not Gods, positing theories. These theories must be tested in praxis to see how well they test out, as in any empirical investigation. The theories of these mortals will either test out or they will not, and if not, we need to adjust them accordingly.
We know what our goals are; all that is at stake is how to get there.
Let us listen to top leader Prachanda and other Nepalese Maoist leaders, from the Single Spark site:

Since MLM is a progressive science, the people’s war calls for ideology and leadership that is capable to complete a new People’s War in the 21st century. Our Party’s CC Extended Meeting last September held that the ideologies of Lenin and Mao have become old and inadequate to lead the present international revolution.
The political and organizational report passed by the meeting says, ‘The proletariat revolutionaries of the 21st century need to pay their serious attention towards that fact that in today’s ground reality, Lenin and Mao’s analysis of imperialism and various notions relation to proletariat strategies based on it have lagged behind.’
As Marxism was born in an age of competitive capitalism, the strategies and working policy formulated during the times of Marx had become old when they arrived at Lenin’s times of imperialism and proletariat revolution.
Similarly, the ideologies developed by Lenin and Mao at the initial phase of international imperialism and proletariat revolution have become inadequate and lagged behind at the present imperialistic phase. Therefore, ‘the main issue is to develop MLM in the 21st century and to determine a new proletariat strategy.1
The second [wrong trend] …is not to concentrate on how
revolutionary struggle can be developed in one’s country by developing correct strategy and tactics, but to talk more of world revolution, enjoy classical debate, eulogize strategy and tactic of the past successful revolutions, teach other fraternal parties as if they know everything about the concrete situation in that country and stick to what Lenin and Mao had said before. This trend represents dogmatism.2
What we think is that situation has undergone a considerable
change, so the communist revolutionaries must not stick to what Lenin had said about insurrection and what Mao had said on Protracted People’s War.3
Q. You have envisioned a people’s republic, no?
Prachanda: Mao Zedong’s People’s Republic cannot fulfill the needs of today’s world. It cannot address today’s political awareness appropriately. Mao said cooperative party theory; we called it competitive party theory. We have said let’s move ahead from the conventional People’s Republic and develop it as per the specialties of the 21st century.
Q. You do not follow the old concept of communism?
Prachanda: Definitely not. What happened without competition? In the USSR, Stalin gave no place to competition and went ahead in a monolithic way. What was the result?4
Does Communism make sense today?
P: It’s a big question, starting with Marx, Lenin and Mao Zedong, who wanted to apply the Marxist teachings in semi colonial countries. Now, we still need Marxism, but in accordance to the needs of the 21st century. We have to apply Marxist science in a very new context, understanding social, economic and also technological changes, without dogmatism and without sectarianism.
We are trying to develop a completely new concept, different from what happened in the past century. When we are in the government, our experiment will surprise everybody.
This will happen only if foreign investors trust a communist government…
P: Yes, I know. We cannot ignore the whole process of liberalization in the world. So, we will apply mixed economics to this country. Right now, we are not saying that we plan a total socialist economy, though we will not blindly follow western liberalism. We have some national priorities and we will welcome foreign investors, using capital from abroad for the well being of Nepal.5
Though Mao made some bold experiments to revive and develop socialist democracy, his efforts did not result in any qualitative advance. Why did socialist democracy ultimately fail? Why did it have to bear the stigma of ‘totalitarianism’ from its adversaries? If the revolutionary communists of the 21st century have ‘to win the battle for democracy’, as Marx and Engels had declared in the famous Communist Manifesto, we must dare to question the past practice in socialist democracy and take some bold initiatives.6.
All selections from this document7.

CPGB-ML Tribute to Habash

In his 1944 speech, “Serve the People”, Comrade Mao Zedong said these famous words:

All men must die, but death can vary in its significance. The ancient Chinese writer Szuma Chien said: ‘Though death befalls all men alike, it may be weightier than Mount Tai or lighter than a feather.’ To die for the people is weightier than Mount Tai, but to work for the fascists and die for the exploiters and oppressors is lighter than a feather.

Today, the heroic Palestinian people are continuing to resist, whether in the breaking of the barrier with Egypt to alleviate the genocidal siege of Gaza, or in the martyrdom operation at Dimona, the nuclear site where imperialism and its stooges do not demand inspections, to express a sense of grief at the loss of Al-Hakim, Dr George Habash, one of the greatest leaders of the Palestinian people, and, more importantly, to celebrate his glorious life and give real political vitality and clarity to the essential work of building solidarity with the Palestinian people in the British working class and in the anti-war and other progressive movements.

Nice memorial poster of PFLP leader George Habash. In all of the obits in the US news, few detailed the reason for the radicalization of Habash. At university in Lebanon, he was apolitical and preferred to play guitar. He raced home during the “Israeli War of Independence” to his home in Lydda. Jewish militias attacked the town and forced 95% of the city to flee.
Most were Palestinian Christians. His sister died of typhoid fever during the siege of the town and Habash buried her in the backyard. He blamed the Jews for blocking access to the hospital that could have saved her. There were some notorious massacres of Palestinians during the attack on Lydda, including the execution of many young men in a mosque.
The Jews forced Habash and others to line up and leave their homes and all of their possessions. One man asked if he could return to get the keys to his house and for making this request, he was shot dead in front of Habash’s eyes. From that point on, the apolitical future doctor was transformed into a revolutionary.

Comrade George Habash, who has passed away at the age of 82, gave more than six decades of his life to the revolution. He was born into a prosperous Greek Orthodox family in the Palestinian city of Lydda.
At that time, the Palestinian people were under the rule of the British colonial mandate, which was systematically preparing the way for the creation of a Zionist settler colonial state, which, in the words of Sir Roland Storrs, the first British governor of Jerusalem in the 1920s, would form “for England a ‘little loyal Jewish Ulster’ in a sea of potentially hostile Arabism”.
In the summer of 1948, whilst studying medicine in Beirut, George went back home to help organise resistance to the Zionist catastrophe that was sweeping over the Palestinian people, driving them from their ancestral homes and lands into exile and dispossession.
At this time, he and his whole family, along with 95 percent of the inhabitants of his native city, were forced out at gunpoint by the Zionist terrorists and ethnic cleansers commanded by Yitzhak Rabin. Years later, Habash was to observe:

It is a sight I shall never forget. Thousands of human beings expelled from their homes, running, crying, shouting in terror. After seeing such a thing, you cannot but become a revolutionary.

During al-Nakba, the catastrophe, more than 700,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes and lands, made stateless and refugees.
Graduating as the first in his class, Dr Habash eschewed the chance to pursue a lucrative career, opting instead to open a people’s clinic offering free treatment and a school for refugees in the Jordanian capital, Amman.
Around this same time, he and his comrades founded the Arab Nationalist Movement (ANM), the first pan-Arab movement to take up armed struggle against colonialism and to win back the lost lands.
The significance of the ANM should not be underestimated. Not only was it to be the root of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP); from its ranks also came revolutionary forces in many parts of the Arab homeland, including the National Liberation Front in Aden and South Yemen, which not only defeated British imperialism in a revolutionary armed struggle to win national liberation, but, later as the Yemen Socialist Party, leading the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, stood in the vanguard of to date the only real attempt to build an Arab socialist state on the basis of the scientific principles of Marxism-Leninism and the dictatorship of the proletariat.
In the 1960s, Comrade Habash, like many other anti-imperialist fighters then, before and since, came to accept that the liberation struggle of the oppressed people, if it was to be crowned with success and carried through to the end, needed to be based on Marxism-Leninism. Lamis Andoni, an analyst for al-Jazeera, who knew Comrade Habash well, expressed matters this way in his tribute to his friend:

He belonged to a generation influenced by Franz Fanon, Mao Zedong, General Vo Nguyen Giap and later by Che Guevara. In their views, colonialism epitomised systematic, institutional violence and subjugation of people under its control …
In the early 1960s, George Habash, already a paediatrician in Amman known for treating the poor for free, endorsed Marxism as he grew convinced that the national struggle should not be separate from the struggle for social justice.

After the founding of the PFLP in December 1967, following the Arabs’ bitter defeat in the June 1967 war, Habash declared that the struggle was “not merely to free Palestine from the Zionists but also to free the Arab world from remnants” of Western colonial rule. All Arab revolutionaries, he said, “must be Marxist, because Marxism is the expression of the aspirations of the working class”.
In a 1969 interview, he declared:

By 1967, we had understood the undeniable truth, that to liberate Palestine we have to follow the Chinese and Vietnamese examples.

Indeed, Comrade Habash paid close attention not only to the Chinese and Vietnamese revolutions, but to the experience of all the socialist countries and the revolutionary movement in all parts of the world.
Cuba and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea were also two countries close to his heart and with which he and the PFLP forged tight bonds of active solidarity. In the memorial hall for Comrade Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang, the Korean comrades proudly display the several awards and medals presented to their great leader by the PFLP over the years.
Under Habash’s leadership, the PFLP forged close and active ties of combat solidarity with national liberation movements in all parts of the world – the ANC in South Africa, the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, and the Irish Republican Movement, to name but a few, embracing training, material assistance, joint operations and moral encouragement.
In the September 1970 hijackings that gave the PFLP worldwide fame, Leila Khaled was joined by Patrick Arguello Ryan, a militant of the Sandinista National Liberation Front and the only martyr of those operations.
In 1983, after the Nicaraguan revolution, the Sandinistas commemorated Arguello by renaming the Geothermal Plant at Momotombo in his honour. A poster still available on the PFLP website describes Arguello as the “symbol of common Nicaraguan/Palestinian struggle”.
Comrade Habash sought to translate into reality, and himself embodied, these inspiring words of Che Guevara, which go to the very essence of proletarian internationalism:

Let the flag under which we fight be the sacred cause of the liberation of humanity so that to die under the colours of Vietnam, Venezuela, Guatemala, Bolivia, Brazil will be equally glorious and desirable for a Latin American, an Asian, an African and even a European.

Comrades, The Palestinian revolution is a complex and difficult one, throwing up many challenges and inevitably differences of view. Equally inevitably, Comrade Habash often found himself embroiled in internal controversy, particularly in terms of the sometimes painful compromises, concessions and retreats that have been forced on the Palestinian people at various times.
But what shines out is the fact that he never lost sight of the importance of unity in the national liberation movement.
In their own tribute to their leader, the PFLP put matters this way:

In 1987, with the outbreak of the great Intifada, Dr. Habash called for upholding Palestinian national unity, and convening the Palestinian National Congress in Algeria in 1988.
Comrade Al-Hakim always understood national unity as a necessary condition for the continuation of the struggle and the national liberation movement, whether in Beirut during internal fighting among Palestinians and after as well, recognising that the internal contradictions among Palestinians could not be solved through military mechanisms, but rather through the democratic processes of the liberation movement.

Lamis Andoni, to whom we have already referred, wrote:

‘His message to the Palestinians was to restore our unity,’ Issam Al Taher, a senior aide, who saw him a day before his death said.‘Unity, unity, unity — that was his only message,’ said Al Taher.

Andoni notes of the relationship between George Habash and Yasser Arafat:

The two men never severed ties and continued a complex relationship of camaraderie and rivalry until the end.

Andoni continued:

Tall and handsome, Habash exuded a certain charisma that disarmed his distracters who admired his persistence but criticised what they saw as rigidity. A stroke that partially paralysed half of his body changed his appearance later but did not affect his ardour for the cause.It was that Habash that I saw and met for the first time in Tunis in 1983. The PLO was expelled from Beirut too and most its leaders moved to this northern Mediterranean capital of Tunisia. Habash moved to Damascus, Syria instead.
On that day the PLO was holding a meeting. Most of the leaders had arrived and then there was a stir and silence. Habash entered slowly on crutches, hampered and subdued by his physical disability.
The hall, filled with hardened fighters, stood on their feet while Arafat hugged Habash and escorted him to his seat.

Of the final period of Habash’s life, Andoni notes:

He would get so distressed during conversations discussing the events in Palestine and most recently in Iraq, that his wife, and closest friend Hilda, would interfere to stop it.When Israel besieged Arafat in 2002 in his compound in Ramallah, Habash stood by his rival. When Arafat died, amid Palestinian suspicion that Israel may have been involved, Habash deeply mourned him.
The few times I was able to see him over the last three years, he never stopped monitoring and learning every detail about Palestinian life. His physical ailment deepened the sense of soulful pain he internalised.
Those who were with him during his last days recall how disturbed he was by the rift between Fatah and Hamas. He opposed the strategy of Mahmoud Abbas, the current Palestinian president, of accommodating US and Israeli demands but did not endorse Hamas’ military take over of Gaza.
His main concern was the damage brought upon the Palestinians by the most serious internal rift in their history.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the mourning for Comrade Habash has transcended the differences in the Palestinian ranks. President Mahmoud Abbas declared three days of national mourning, noting that Habash had dedicated his life to struggling for his people. Hamas leader Ismail Haneya said, “Dr. George Habash spent all his life struggling for the cause of the Palestinian people.”
Islamic Jihad described him as a “real leader” and other Palestinian organisations paying their tributes included the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Palestine Popular Struggle Front, who said that his path was and is one of liberation for the Palestinian and Arab people.
In its December 1967 Founding Statement, the PFLP declared:

The masses are the authority, the guide, and the resistance leadership from which victory will be achieved in the end. It is necessary to recruit the popular masses and mobilise them as active participants and leaders …
The only language that the enemy understands is the language of revolutionary violence …
The slogan of our masses must be resistance until victory, rooted in the heart with our feet planted on the ground in deep commitment to our land. Today, the Popular Front is hailing our masses with this call. This is the appeal. We must repeat it every day, through every breakthrough bullet and the fall of each martyr, that the land of Palestine today belongs to all the masses.
Every area of our land belongs to our masses who have defended it against the presence of the usurper, every piece of land, every rock and stone, our masses will not abandon one inch of them because they belong to the legions of the poor and hungry and displaced persons …
The struggle of the Palestinian people is linked with the struggle of the forces of revolution and progress in the world, the format of the coalition that we face requires a corresponding … coalition including all the forces of anti-imperialism in every part of the world.

Much more can be said on the life, work and legacy of Comrade Habash, but in summary these are some of the things he advocated and taught:
• That the fundamental way to liberation lies through armed struggle and people’s war based on the masses.
• That for the struggle to be successful and carried through to the end it needs to be based on Marxism-Leninism, the scientific world outlook of the working class.
• That the oppressed peoples must uphold proletarian internationalism in their struggle for liberation, based on militant unity within and between the three major currents of the world revolutionary process, the socialist countries, the national liberation movements, and the working-class movement in the imperialist heartlands.
• That the liberation of the nation necessitated the principled and democratic unity of all the forces of the nation, even though major differences will also exist and must be struggled over.
Clearly, all these are not just lessons for the Palestinian people alone.
In June 2000, age and ill health led Comrade Habash to step back from the day-to-day leadership of the PFLP. Giving an inspiring speech on that occasion, in many respects he wrote his own epitaph. He told his comrades:

What I have lived through over the course of these militant decades, and the rich experience I have acquired, is not a matter to be taken for granted. It is your right, and the right of coming generations to review the content and lessons of this experience with all of its many successes and failures.

As befits a man who gave all of his own life and strength to the revolution, Comrade Habash said of the martyrs, the prisoners and his comrades, and it is with Comrade Habash’s own words, from his farewell address, Palestine Between Dreams and Reality, that we conclude this tribute:

I remember each of the martyrs, one by one, and without exception – those martyrs to whom we are indebted, for whom we must continue the struggle, holding fast to the dream and holding fast to hope, and protecting the rights of the people for whom they shed their blood. Their children and their families have a right to be honoured and cared for. This is the least we can do for those blazing stars in the skies of our homeland.I also remember now the heroic prisoners in the jails of the occupation and the prisons of the Palestinian Authority – those militants who remind us morning and night of our patriotic duty by the fact that they are still there behind bars and by the fact that the occupation still squats on our chests. Each prisoner deserves the noblest signs of respect …
Now permit me to express my gratitude to all the comrades who have worked with me and helped me, whether in the Arab Nationalist Movement or in the Popular Front. They stood beside me during the hardest conditions and the darkest of times, and they were a great help and support for me. Without them I would not have been able to carry out my responsibilities.
They have been true comrades, in all that the word implies. Those comrades helped to create a congenial atmosphere, an environment of political, theoretical, and intellectual interaction that enabled me to do all that was required. Those comrades have a big place in my heart and mind.
I offer all my thanks and appreciation to each one of them by name. In addition, to the comrades who vigilantly guarded me, looking out for my safety, all these long years, I offer my gratitude …
As a last word, I feel it necessary to say that I know well that the goals for which I worked and struggled have not yet been attained. And I cannot say how or when they will be attained. But on the other hand, I know in light of my study of the march of history in general, and of Arab and Palestinian history in particular, that they will be attained.
In spite of this bitter truth, I leave my task as General Secretary of the Front with a contented mind and conscience. My conscience is content because I did my duty and worked with the greatest possible effort and with complete and deep sincerity. My mind is content because throughout my working years, I continually based myself on the practice of self-criticism.
It is important to say also that I will pay close attention to all your observations and assessments of the course taken by the Popular Front while I was its General Secretary. I must emphasise that with the same close attention, if not with greater attention, I will follow and take to heart the observations and assessments of the Palestinian and Arab people on this course and my role in it.
My aim in this closing speech has been to say to you – and not only to you, but to all the detainees, or those who experienced detention, to the families of the martyrs, to the children of the martyrs, to those who were wounded, to all who sacrificed and gave for the cause – that your sacrifice has not been in vain.
The just goals and legitimate rights which they have struggled and given their lives for will be attained, sooner or later. I say again that I don’t know when, but they will be attained.
And my aim, again and again, is to emphasise the need for you to persist in the struggle to serve our people, for the good of all Palestinians and Arabs – the good that lies in a just and legitimate cause, as it does in the realisation of the good for all those who are oppressed and wronged.
You must always be of calm mind, and of contented conscience, with a strong resolve and a steel will, for you have been and still are in the camp of justice and progress, the camp whose just goals will be attained and which will inevitably attain its legitimate rights. For these are the lessons of history and reality, and no right is lost as long as there is someone fighting for it.


1. Ashok. (May 2006). Our Experiences of Ten Tumultuous Years of People’s War, The Worker#10, pp. 68-73. On Lenin and Mao, p. 71.
2. Basanta. (May 2006). International Dimension of Prachanda Path. The Worker #10, pp. 82-90.
3. Ibid. On Models: Page 87.
4. Kishor Nepal. (June 2006). Prachanda Interview. Maoist Revolution Digest.
5. Alessandro Gilioli. (Early November 2006). Prachanda: Our Revolution Won . L’espresso, Italy. Excerpts.
6. Prachanda. (November 18, 2006). Democracy: The Forbidden Fruit or Nectar for Progress? Speech at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi.
7. MLM Revolutionary Study Group in the U.S. (Dec. 21, 2006). Assessing Recent Developments in Nepal: A Bibliography on the State, a Peaceful Transition to Socialism, Democracy and Dictatorship, Negotiations and Their Relevance to the International Communist Movement in the 21st Century.

The Real Reason for the Shining Path

Repost from the old site.
Rightwing anti-Communists (and for that matter, Centrist and liberal US anti-Communists also) have some very peculiar attitudes about Communism, shaped by the Cold War. Communism, it appears, is some strange, evil and insane system, a crazy, idiotic and totally failed economic and social system that brought nothing but misery, hunger, starvation and poverty to the world, while bringing nothing good.
The alternative was capitalism, which would at some point conquer hunger, poverty, starvation and all that. Capitalism is always supposed to conquer these things at some point in the future. Capitalist polemicists usually say, “Just give it some time…”
With the neoliberalism that has been pushed since 1980 and has brought nothing but misery and impoverishment to billions and caused many millions of deaths, we have always been told that it would start working pretty soon now…maybe next year…victory is right around the corner. The truth is that after 25 years of neoliberalism, the verdict is in and a long report has documented it quite well.
Nearly everywhere it has been tried, neoliberalism has benefited the top 20% of the population (often greatly) and screwed the bottom 80%.
Even in the US, from 1980-1992, the top 20% gained income (the top 1% had an incredible gain) while the bottom 80% (everyone with individual income of less than $56,000/yr) of the US population actually lost money. A similar scenario unfolded in Britain.
Neoliberalism, nearly everywhere, resulted in lowered economic growth rates, massive debt, plunging wages and living standards for the majority, reductions in access to health and eduction, and reductions in many health and education metrics like infant mortality, life expectancy and the percentage of children in school at various ages.
This is because neo-liberalism mandated massive cuts in all social services, especially education and health care. The outcome was foretold. The truth about neoliberalism is that it has always been a scam in which the West, especially Western banks, corporations and investors, ripped off the rest of the World blind and the people were always left holding the bag.
Nevertheless, the ripoff artists keep trying to sell their neoliberal snake oil around the world, but more and more nations are no longer buying. Most of the countries of Latin America have tired of the “checks in the mail” neoliberal snipe hunt, and collectively, they are trying, in their own often-limited ways, to dislodge themselves from the grip of the neoliberal plague.
Even mainstream economists admit that Latin America (macroeconomically) did not benefit from the neoliberal fad. Recently, Argentina paid off its foreign debt and said no more. In Venezuela, Chavez is trying to forge a completely new path that is, instead of the Communism his detractors libel him with, in truth nothing more than a reformation of capitalism.
President Lula in Brazil has been hampered by the death grip of both investor capital and the markets; he has not been able to do much at all. Uruguay has elected a strident Leftist, but it is not known what he can do given his restraints.
Chile, after the utter failure of Pinochet’s radical free market economics (something the free market crazies have never owned up to), has elected a socialist and a woman as President, Bachelet. It is not known what she can do in terms of progress, but Chile still has an education and health sector that is in pretty good shape and sports good metrics to show for it.
In Ecuador, Rafael Correa is President, and he has formed an alliance with Chavez. It remains to be seen what he can do in terms of progress, as his options, as usual, are limited.
In Bolivia, Evo Morales, an Indian, has won a very close election in a country where a small White elite has always run roughshod over the majority Indian population. His options are also limited, but Morales’ rhetoric has at least been almost as radical as Chavez’.
A major problem in Bolivia is the mestizos in the East of the country (Santa Cruz Province) who despise the Indians the West as inferior while they sit on top of Bolivia’s rich natural gas deposits. They are making noises about succession, but they will never try it.
In Mexico, AMLO (Lopez-Obrador), a Leftist, actually won the election, but due to the usual fraud, the PAN (a rightwing Catholic party that rose out of the religious hot war in Mexico in the 1920’s that left 70,000 dead) now holds the presidency. Felipe Calderon is the PAN President and he won’t do a damned thing to solve the problems that have caused an incredible 12% of Mexico’s population to move to the US.
As an example of such problems, the family of one man, Carlos Slim, the head of the private Mexican phone monopoly, controls 50% of the wealth in the entire country. That is why America is being overrun by illegal aliens.
There has been some resistance to this semi-feudal order.
A very radical movement has tried to overthrow the corrupt and brutal dictatorial government of Oaxaca state. The Zapatistas* are still alive, and recently a Leftist group, the EPL*, has started to blow stuff up again, after disappearing for three years.
In Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega was re-elected, but he appears to have softened his rhetoric to the point where he cannot do much. Still, he has formed an alliance with Chavez. Nicaragua, now the second poorest country in Latin America, lies in corrupt ruins.
Support for the considerably neutered Sandinistas is higher than reported in the ruling class media – although Ortega had 35% support, his rival, a Sandinista attacking Ortega from the Left, had another 20% of the vote, so the whole Left vote was a 55% majority, not 35% as the corporate media would have you believe.
Under the Sandinistas, Nicaragua went from one of the worst to one of the best in Central America for literacy and health care figures. In 1990, Violeta Chamorro, adored by the whole US political spectrum, including the Cruise Missile liberals of the US Democratic Party, won the election.
Right away, she ended free education, requiring students to spend $35 a year on uniforms, a fee that immediately threw large numbers of kids out of school. Most have yet to return. She also got rid of free health care, so most of the population is without health care again. The health and education figures for the nation have shown the expected collapse.
It is interesting that Democratic Party liberals are apparently overjoyed about this situation, showing the bankruptcy of their ideology.
Most of the rest of the continent is collapsed in the usual ruins. 1 million people die every year from hunger in Latin America, and this has been going on for decades. How come this stuff never makes it to the “Worst Killers in Recent History” contests?
The anti-Communist line about Communism divorces it from its concrete realities in the sort of totally rotten social and economic systems that have spawned peasant revolutions for centuries before Karl Marx was even born.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990’s and the fall of the Warsaw Pact, rightwingers rejoiced. It was the “end of history”, said Francis Fukuyama. The era of peasant revolts was over. Never again would humanity have to worry about any Marxist, Leftist, worker, peasant, or even populist revolution.
Capitalism was here to say, in all of its forms, from most enlightened to most hideous, and no one could do a damn thing about it!
Well, that is nonsense. Anti-Communists say that revolutions happen for no reason at all, other than the insane desire of Communist madmen to seize power and impose their failed system on an unwilling population. They say that revolutions do not arise from horrible social and economic systems – they arise from sick Marxist pathology.
Get rid of Marxism, they say, and capitalism can run wild on humanity again. Perhaps we can even re-instate feudalism and slavery while we are at it. After all, they were both great for business.
Amidst the deafening racket of nonsense, a series of economic figures looms up at us like a ghost from the recent Peruvian past.
In back of those figures, 15 years later in 1980, like an Inca God rising up from the grave to slay the Spanish invaders 450 years after they waded ashore, is the frightening shadow of the Peruvian Shining Path*, another “totally insane” Marxist group that arose “for no reason whatsoever other than sheer evil”.
Yet the figures below show us why a revolution, even one as insane as Sendero Luminoso, was inevitable:
From the Peruvian National Planning Institute in Bejar, Peru, in 1965, we learn that the 24,000 families of the White ruling class in Lima had an income of $62,000/yr*.
The entire rest of the country had an average family income of $157.
The Indians of the Sierra, who even now have a life expectancy of only 45 years, had an average family income of only $10 a year.
*All figures in 1965 US dollars.
Most people agree that things have only gotten worse in Peru since then. Look at those figures above and tell that that is not kindling and kerosene for bloody revolution. The match was called Sendero, and someone was going to toss a match sooner or later.
There were centuries in Peru before 1965, four of them, and they build on our tale. From 1526 (when the Spaniards came to Peru) to 1630, the Indian population declined from 13 million to 600,000 – a loss of 95% of the population. It was a Holocaust, and I don’t care how many crazy Jews scream “anti-Semite” at me for stealing their pet word.
For the next three centuries, the Indians were tied to the land like serfs, bonded in debt peonage in a feudal estate society. This continued until well into the 1970’s. The jungle Indians were enslaved and killed for sport starting in the 1800’s and continuing until 50 years or so ago.
It is 1980. The bump and lurch of the dialectic, from Hegel to Marx to Mariategui to Guzman, has brought us here, to Sendero’s nightmare. The weight of 450 years of oppression, enslavement and genocide buckled the roof of the sick system and created the Sendero virus, which infected much of the country and nearly killed the host.
But given history, it could not have been any other way.

This is an example, from the city of Cherboksary, Russia, of the most failed economic system ever known to mankind – Communism. The fountains you see are inferior and worthless – totally failed fountains, if you will.
The buildings in the background as are complete failures as buildings, since they are dull and boring. Those buildings are called “socialist housing” and everyone in the West agrees that this type of housing does not work. What works much better are the capitalist slums in the pictures to follow.
The river is quite clean and this is another example of complete failure. Much better are the black rivers of capitalist slums, stinking with garbage, animal corpses and raw sewage. Why? Because diseases and smells are exciting! Who wants to be bored, anyway?
Even the bright greenery in the foreground in a total failure – it’s much better to have live amidst the mounds of garbage you see below. Capitalist slums, with their thrill a minute and constant search for food, are the only way to go.
A slum in Brazil. This is the successful system that works. Much better than that failed, dull socialist housing above, no? When are you moving in, reader?
Men pick through a garbage dump, probably in Nairobi. Slums in Nairobi make up 6% of the city yet house 60% of the population. In many parts of the capitalist third world, human beings actually live in these garbage dumps. They often suffer from continuous infections and sores.
Slums of Nairobi. This is the only viable system on Earth, capitalism. All of the alternatives, especially Communism, are failed and don’t work. As you can see, this system works great.
Communist housing fails because it is dull, boring and lifeless. It is much better to live in lively, exciting surroundings like this Nairobi slum, where I assure you there is never a dull movement. How dare those evil Commies try to move these people into “failed” Soviet-style high-rises!
An excellent example of capitalist education from Africa. Capitalism hates education, everywhere and at all times, because the capitalists can’t make any money off of it, and the capitalists all send their kids to fancy private schools, hence they resent paying for a system they do not even use. So capitalism, under neoliberalism, has predictably devastated education systems around the Third World.
Who needs to get educated anyway? The problem of the 3rd World is too many kids! Besides, Black people are so dumb that all attempts to educate them are a waste of time, or so The Bell Curve told me.
Slums of Brazil. The problem is these Brazilians have too damn many kids! Yet the evidence shows that Brazil’s birthrate is actually below replacement level. Never matter, in that case, the poor should quit having babies altogether!
Somehow, Westerners always find a way to blame the victim.
Of course, Brazil having the worst rich-poor gap on Earth could not have anything to do with this situation, now would it? By 2020, 40% of the world will live in these awesome slums. Cool! At least they won’t have to suffer from Communism or any of that failed stuff.
The charming slums of Brazil. Rio de Janeiro is home to 12 million people – 4 million of them in 800 different favelas, or slums. All of these slums are run by gangs of drug dealers, who engage in continuous battles with each other and the police, that is, when they are not engaging in armed robberies, kidnappings and homicides. Recent articles in the Western press have hailed the dramatic improvements in these slums. As you can see here, they are so much better than they used to be!
Residents of a slum in Nairobi trudge through the garbage on their way home. Nairobi has an out of control crime rate, but of course that has nothing to do with the fact that these folks live in slums. It is because the criminals are evil and commit crimes for no reason at all. Furthermore, they are Black, and Black people are genetically natural born criminals. They’re just a race of Bad Seeds, and nothing can be done about them at all.
The wonderful slums of Mumbai again! This is the high tech economy that is taking the world by storm, the envy of the planet. Check out that high tech dishwasher this girl is using – I bet it was designed by those IT professionals down in Bangalore! Go, India go!
The truth about India is, of course, more tragic than Tom Friedman (see below) can figure out. By 1985, capitalism was killing between between 2.92 and 4 million every year in India, and 1.76 million were being killed in Bangladesh. That is 5.25 million people being killed by capitalism every year in just those two countries alone. But wait a minute! Capitalism doesn’t kill anyone. Stalin and Mao were the worst killers of the 20th century, dontcha know?
Since Communism doesn’t work, we have to go with the only alternative, the system that works, capitalism. This photo shows you just how great it works in Mumbai, India. Noam Chomsky reports that, comparing China and India, which had similar developmental figures in 1949, there have been 100 million excess deaths in Indian from 1947-1979.
This clearly shows the superiority of Chinese Communism, at least when it comes to saving lives. Note that China’s superior figures even include all of those killed by Maoism, which may number over 20 million people. But Maoism saved far more, and China set a world record with the fastest doubling of life expectancy by any country, going from 32 in 1949 to 65 in 1976, surpassing Joseph Stalin’s record set in 1956.
Now in China, gone heavily over to capitalism, millions are dying from lack of health care alone. Getting back to India, recent figures show that there are 4 million excess deaths in India every single year. Gideon Polya calculates that excess infant mortality alone, compared to a model of Sri Lanka, kills 2.7 million Indians per year.
Slums of Mumbai. 6 million people – 60% of the population – live on only 6% of the land. Pundits all across the West, especially Thomas Friedman in The World is Flat, rave about India’s booming economy . India’s capitalism is praised all across the West. As you can see here, it really works great!
Working backwards and forwards from Chomsky’s figures above of 4 million deaths per year in India from capitalism, which he got from Indian economist Amratya Sen, we can guess that capitalism may have killed 170 million Indians since 1949 as compared to the Chinese model. But wait, aren’t Communists the worst killers of them all?
Don’t like the way I do figures? Try these instead then. Capitalism kills 14 million people every single year just by starvation, mostly in South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Afghanistan).

*This blog does not support the project of Sendero Luminoso, as they kill people who are completely innocent. It does support the Zapatistas and the EPL in Mexico.

Sendero Fades and FARC Rises in Peru

Repost from the old site.
Web Archive is your friend.
What wonderful dead Internet things it has managed to preserve for us, little snapshots long expired, such as Argentine Jewish journalist Uki Goni’s interview with Nicholas Shakespeare, author of the novel The Dancer Upstairs, based on the Shining Path* insurgency.
The novel was later made into a movie. Goni asks Shakespeare about the years he spent in Peru searching for Abimael Guzman (Presidente Gonzalo, leader of the Shining Path).
He never found him of course, but he did find a man who he said was the real brains behind the Sendero Luminoso movement, anthropologist Efrain Morote Best, former rector at the University of San Cristobal of Huamanga in Ayacucho, Peru from 1962-1968. This is where philosophy professor Guzman started his movement.
Many of the administrators, professors and students at the university were the nucleus of the movement, and Shining Path probably started 20 years before they burned ballot boxes in Chuschi, Ayacucho, on May 17, 1980, almost exactly 200 years after the last Inca rebel, Tupac Amaru, on May 17, 1781, was drawn and quartered by Spaniards, the four pieces then buried at far corners of Peru.
The Chuschi ballots burning was an inauspicious affair. At 2 AM, five masked youths and one adult entered the office of the registrar, tied him up, burned the ballots and registry and retreated into the night. The attack had been led by a schoolteacher. The incident was scarcely even noted in the press. But the single spark to light the prairie fire had been lit.
The correlation with the execution of Tupac Amaru was not accidental, yet this little-noted fact has hardly been noticed by anyone who studied the insurgency. But it has profound implications for understanding the movement.
Best’s son was the head on the military wing of Sendero and was the 2nd in command of the group. His brother and sister were also members. All were arrested and are serving sentences in prison. Best himself died in 1992. Shakespeare describes meeting Best in his hideout in northern Lima, surrounded by books and classical records, and coming face to face with the first truly evil man he had ever met.
Drinking coffee in Best’s home and talking for three hours, Shakespeare was shaking the whole time. Best had “no emotions”, while Gonzalo had “no personality” – an ascetic, humorless brainy type who bragged that he drank a bottle of mineral water on his honeymoon – this was his idea of a wild time.
Shakespeare’s interview paints Sendero as calculating and completely evil, a new Khmer Rouge. I do not necessarily agree with that, but I never supported them either. I believe that Sendero rejected Pol Pot’s back to nature Year Zero agrarianism, and surely they had nothing against intellectuals.
Indeed, it was a product of Mestizo intellectuals from the neglected provinces, victims of omnipresent racism and discrimination at the hands of the White ruling class.
Most of the cadres were young Mestizos, male and female, high school to college age, from the big cities on the coast and the provinces. Later there were many supporters amongst settlers in the jungle, amongst the ever-oppressed Indians in the Highlands, some jungle Indians and the urban poor and working class in Lima.
Shakespeare acts as if Sendero cared not one bit about the Indians. This is not true. The funeral of Edith Lagos, a fighter killed in 1982, drew over 30,000 (in a city of 70,000 people) – mostly Indians – to her funeral in Ayacucho, the capital of the province where it all began. The huge crowd had defied a ban on her funeral.
Furthermore, Lagos (rare photos of the strikingly beautiful Lagos here and here) had recently graduated from a Catholic high school run by nuns in Ayacucho. She had been a model student at the high school.
Earlier, her parents had sent her to Lima to study to be an attorney. She often skipped school to watch movies from India, because, she said, she liked to cry. When she was not doing that, she was meeting with trade union workers in the city and talking revolution.
She was rapidly recruited into the Shining Path and her rousing speeches electrified Indians throughout the Southern Sierra. At age 17, she was already a guerrilla commander. Lagos was captured several times by government forces. There is a photo of her in government custody in 1981, face swollen by beatings, 18 year old eyes already hard with determination. By now, Sendero held the northern third of Ayacucho.
On May 2, 1982, in one of Sendero’s most impressive actions, 500 Senderistas raided and took over the university city of Huamanga, a city of 80,000 people. They blew up the local jail and liberated 304 Senderistas, including Lagos. They held the city for a short time, confiscated every weapon in sight, and left.
After that, Sendero went on the offensive in Ayacucho. Bridges, electrical towers, police stations, barracks, banks and businesses were attacked. Three months later, President Belaunde declared a state of emergency in nine districts in the southern Andes and put them under military control. At the end of 1983, 8,000 peasants lay dead. Maybe 5% were Senderistas. The war was on.
Once, with other fighters, she blew a hole in the Ayacucho jail and liberated all of the Senderista prisoners. In the months before her death, a legend was born, the heroic Robin Hood guerrilla, a female Che Guevara. In the market of Huancayo, Edith Lagos wooden statues were already being sold, a young woman standing before a budding tree.
Legend* has it she was wounded in a shootout with authorities soon afterwards, apparently taken prisoner while alive, raped, tortured and finally bayoneted to death by government forces. She was all of 19 years old. This was pretty typical behavior by government forces.
In contrast, Sendero often tended to wounded government soldiers’ wounds, took them prisoner, and asked them to defect from the security forces or join Sendero.
Her father was asked to come to Andahualyas to identify the body. He came, picked up the body and took it back to Ayacucho. All along the way, the procession was repeatedly stopped as throngs of peasants poured into the road to mourn their dead heroine.
Her funeral and mass were held in the main Catholic (Lagos was a Catholic, as were most of rank and file Senderistas and even some of the leadership – Abimael Guzman himself is said to be Catholic) cathedral in Ayacucho, where her coffin was draped with a hammer and sickle flag inside church, an odd sight.
There is a rare videotape of the funeral. The chapel is packed with peasants, storeowners, government workers, all dressed in Indian garb. As her coffin is borne out of the church, a rousing, clapping chant rises from the crowd as it presses forward and drapes a hammer and sickle flag over her coffin: “Commandante Edith presente! The people will never forget your spilled blood!”
The crowd circled the square three times, each time swelling the crowd as more and more people poured out of their homes to join the march. Marching into the cemetery was a solid wall of humanity. The Shining Path banner rode on the outstretched arms of the crowd.
There are those who swear that Abimael Guzman himself was in the crowd. He may as well have been. The commanding officer of the police had ordered all of his men to stay inside during the procession.
Lagos is still regarded as a heroine by the local Indians at the time and for a long time afterwards. Her grave become a local shrine. Three times, government death squads blew up her grave to kill her vision. Three times, her father painstakingly rebuilt it, even though after the first blast there was not that much to put in there.
Each time he rebuilds it, he rewrites the poem that Lagos had composed before her death as her epitaph. Every year on the anniversary of her death, her mother brings a bouquet of yellow broom flowers to put on the grave, Sendero’s symbol of resistance. Even now, Edith Lagos banners, poems and sculptures festoon the city of Huamanga. The myth of Commandante Edith lives.
Lagos’ funeral, along with reports that many Catholics, including nuns and priests, supported the Shining Path, also gives the lie to the anti-Sendero line that “Sendero deliberately targeted the Church”, while at the same time accentuating the dramatic role that women played in the Shining Path.
In 1993, an organizational chart of the top leadership of Sendero showed 12 men and 11 women.
The widow of one of Peru’s most famous novelists, Jose Maria Arguedas, Sybila Arredondo, was arrested as a member of Sendero, sending shock waves through Peruvian society. Arguedas, a mestizo born in the Andes, captured the true spirit of the Peruvian Indian better than perhaps any other Peruvian author. He died a suicide in 1969.
1/3 of Sendero’s members and leadership were female. One of Peru’s top ballerinas was an associate of the top Sendero leadership and was one of those arrested with Guzman in 1992.
Clearly, the notion that Sendero oppressed women in general, widely made after the group killed Maria Elena Moyano, “Mother Courage”, in 1991, is without merit. Further, Moyano was killed, albeit brutally, for organizing counterinsurgency patrols and turning in supporters and members of Sendero to the police. As such, she was no longer a civilian.
The very name of the group was the Peruvian Communist Party en el Sendero Luminoso de (in the shining path of) Jose Carlos Mariategui. Mariategui, who wrote his most famous work in 1928, was one of the Peru’s most famous Marxist thinkers.
He was particularly important for highlighting the Woman question and Indian question. He was also a Catholic and was particularly harsh about the way that the Marxists in Peru at the time criticized the spiritual beliefs of the peasants. For an extensive review of the role of Catholic believers in many Communist parties and movements in the 20th century, see this fascinating web page.
One cannot really understand Sendero without knowing about Mariategui. So from the start, Sendero raised feminism and the liberation of the Indians as two of their banners.
Simon Strong’s Shining Path (1992) is the finest book ever written on the movement. He spent a lot of time in Peru and concluded that at the time, the movement had a huge amount of support, even among the military, the Catholic church, teachers, students, workers, peasants, the urban poor and exiles.
They also had massive support among the Ashaninka Indians in the Amazon, and also with some other tribes. The notions that Sendero held 1000’s of Indians “prisoner“, or that they massacred scores of unarmed jungle Indians, are total nonsense. At the time Strong wrote his book, the movement was at the peak of their popularity. Later that year, Guzman was captured, and it has been all downhill ever since.
But the general assessment of anti-Sendero authors, that Sendero either had no understanding of, or was hostile to, Peruvian values and traditions is just not true.
I also disagree with the standard assessment that Sendero is widely despised in Peru. Many people do have ambivalent feelings about them, true.
When the media writes about the flap about Cameron Diaz infuriating Peruvians with her Maoist “Serve the People” purse (the rightwing blogosphere has had an idiotic field day with this, but I seriously doubt that Diaz supports or supported Sendero, so the whole affair is just the usual rightwing character assassination), the Peruvians they refer to are elite, the only ones the media ever talks to.
No one else in Peru matters or has a voice.
At the moment, Sendero is fairly unpopular, even among those who formerly supported them. These same people also despise the government, the system, and the White elite who exploit them. But Sendero was so vicious and crazy, killing so many people, including the masses and other Leftists, that they left a bad taste in the mouths of many.
These people have not given up on revolution by any means. After all, the Peruvian system is worthless, insane and evil, and it should be destroyed. It is only reasonable that such an insane and evil system should produce an insane and evil insurgency – Sendero.
Now, Guzman and his fellow leaders sue for peace in prison, while a few holdouts under Comrade Artemio wage armed struggle, mostly in Ayacucho, the Huallaga Valley, the Satipo River area and Huanuco. A few years back, they were recruiting in the squalid slums of Lima once again.
These days, a more intelligent group of guerrillas is in Peru – the FARC* of Colombia. A massive, wealthy movement with deep roots in the Colombian poor, especially the rural poor, FARC has been spreading out lately down into the Ucayali River area in the jungle. They are primarily in the area of Yurimangas and north.
They have been spotted as far south as the Apurimac River near Ayacucho (where Sendero is still active) and even in Lima. They are very well-supplied, upbeat, loaded with cell phones and radios, very well-disciplined and are making deep inroads in Peru.
They give medical care, food, cooking utensils and field tools to the people and don’t bother a soul. They are quite popular with the masses they are interacting with, who see them as better than Sendero.
Many former supporters and members of Sendero have lined up with the FARC in Peru. Earlier this year, a column of Senderistas went back to Colombia, probably for training. FARC has been urging Sendero to join with FARC and modify their line.
Another column of the remaining leadership of the MRTA* (Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement) from around Tarapoto and Moyobamba in San Martin Province (their longtime headquarters – photo here) also left for Colombia around the same time – FARC is trying to join together remnants of both Sendero and MRTA with FARC in Peru – a very interesting and possibly fruitful plan.
For a great webpage on Tarapoto, complete with awesome pics, by an American woman who spent some time there, see here.
The notion that the MRTA was finished after the hostage raid in 1998 is not true – as the century turned, they continued to build the movement in every province of Peru. One of the problems with the MRTA is that they never had much money. Even around Taratopo, where they had a lot of support, they were a sorry sight, often sickly, pale, thin, and broke, wearing ragged clothes.
Compared to that impotent picture, and Sendero’s madness and brutality, many of Peru’s peasants think that the FARC are just dandy. Even in Colombia, the FARC has been much more sane and less brutal towards the masses than Sendero was.
As such, you can now go into areas of Colombia where everyone for miles around is in the FARC in one way or another, every villager in every town, every ragged farmer in every field with a gun hidden in his clothes, every woman in apron cooking in her kitchen. And it has been this way for decades in Colombia in these areas. This is the reality of FARC’s roots in rural Colombia.
The interview with Shakespeare, who is hostile to revolution, nevertheless makes clear that Peru is one nasty place. It is the most racist country he has ever been to, Shakespeare opines. Sure it is.
If someone from a lower class (or caste, really) asks a white elite for the time of day in Lima, the rich man will not even speak to the lower-class person. In fact, he won’t speak to him virtually no matter what he wants. The Indians have been killed, enslaved, raped, abused, ignored and basically slaughtered with hunger, disease and out and out murder since Pizarro stepped ashore in 1521.
Shakespeare went to Ayacucho, where a white man had been murdered by Indians a week before. Everywhere he goes, the Indians whisper pistaco – the name for a mysterious white giant that murders Indians for their fat which he uses to run Western industry. Pistaco does not exist, but the Indians think he does.
Shakespeare said that Sendero started a myth that Tupac Amaru’s body, quartered and buried over 200 years before, was slowly growing underground and would regenerate as he rose with Sendero’s victory. The materialist Sendero would never make up such a story. The story could only come from the Indians themselves, and I am sure they believed it.
And in many ways, Peru today is the same as at any time in the decades and centuries after Pizarro waded ashore 500 years ago. Until that changes, Peru will always be in a revolutionary situation.
Peru created Sendero; it could not have grown in any sane or decent society. If Best was evil, so was the land that made him. The crimes of the Sendero Frankenstein rest in large part with its creator, the horror called Peruvian society itself.
Sendero carried out 96 actions last year, about 2 a week; clearly, it is still alive, though nowadays they are fighting to get their leaders and cadres released and negotiate and end to the war – reasonable demands that no Peruvian state will cotton to. A few years back, they were recruiting again in Lima’s horrid shantytowns (photo here).
Meanwhile, FARC expands with great success across Peru.
They combine this success with a group in Venezuela, FARV – Revolutionary Armed Forces of Venezuela – (which has 2,000-3,000 members but has not engaged in many actions yet) and another group in Ecuador called FARE – Revolutionary Armed Forces of Ecuador – mostly in the border area with Putamayo and just building a movement now.
FARB – Revolutionary Armed Forces of Brazil – exists in the Dog’s Head region of Brazil where Peru, Brazil and Colombia all come together, building a movement once again.
FARC also uses the border areas in Panama as an R and R area. The local Cuna Indians of the Darien are quite cooperative, but the Panamanian state has murdered some of them for allowing FARC to stay with them, though FARC has never done a thing in Panama.
Recently, FARC has been spotted all the way over in far northern Guyana, where they are trying to tax the gold mining operations. This sighting implies that FARC also has a presence all across far northern Brazil.
US media reports place FARC operatives recently in Bolivia, where they were giving political advice to groups associated with the new president Enrique Morales before his election.
Despite recent offensives by the Colombian state, FARC is alive and well and expanding across much of Latin America. This as the radical version of Sendero peters out.
Revolution is a bloody thing. If states don’t want 12 year old kids carrying AK-47’s professing revolution while roaming their slums*, they need only create a semblance of a decent society.
There is no end of history, and you can only push a man so far before he rises up to strike you back.
*A Salvadoran man I met in a San Mateo, California restaurant in 2001 told me he saw a 12 yr old boy in the San Salvador slums carrying an automatic weapon and chanting revolutionary slogans in 1969. He went home and told his family, and his parents resolved to sent him out of the country, saying that revolution was surely on its way. Their omniscience was keen. 11 years later, it exploded in full force via the FMLN*.
*This blog strongly supported the FMLN in El Salvador to the point of contributing money to their weapons fund. We also strongly support the FARC in Colombia, all of its regional split-offs and the MRTA in Peru. We do not support the project of Sendero Luminoso as they kill people who are completely innocent. All support for groups is with certain reservations.

Sugar-Free Products and Weight Gain

Repost from the old site.
I was as mystified as the rest of you when I heard that consumption of sugar-free drinks was associated with weight gain. There was a theory behind it – that the sugar-free stuff somehow made you crave actual sugary foods.
I’ve never liked these drinks much, but lately, I’ve been sick and living off Squirt and 7-Up. I decided to try some sugar-free stuff for the low-cal. I’ve been working on a bottle of Coke’s Fresca for the last two days. It tastes great for some reason, unlike most aspartame crap.
And I’ve been snacking on sweets, and food in general, all day. Before I was drinking Squirt and 7-up, full of real sugar, and I wasn’t craving any food, sugary or otherwise. Now I’m drinking Fresca and I can’t get enough sugary foods.
Now, I usually eat sugar a couple times a day. I eat one as a reward for dessert and maybe a small other one early in the day for a treat. Never had problems with sugar cravings.
How does this work? The real sugary drink doesn’t make you crave sugar, maybe because it is sugar. The fake sugar makes you crave sugar, because it tastes sweet, but somehow your body knows it’s not real sugar, and the more you drink, the more you want the real thing.
I guess there is something to the theory after all.

Juice Fasting

Repost from the old site.
Juice fasting is highly recommended for anyone who wishes to try it.
I just live off coffee, juice, wine and water for a few days. After about four days, things start getting kind of weird. You will start to get a lot more energy, but you will feel strange, like you are on LSD. The increased energy is because your body is not wasting energy digesting food all the time.
You may also find that aches and pains may also go away during the fast. I also found radical diminishment of anxiety and much clearer thinking. But that seems to go away as you start eating again.
Water fasts are dangerous, but are ok for a day or two. Juice fasts work great. Just drink around 32 oz of juice per day for 1-4 days. You can go up to 64 ounces or so. It’s completely harmless. Your body odor will start to stink after a well and so will your breath and your farts. This is probably because you are leaking out toxins.
You can exercise, but be careful as you may faint. Just go real easy. You may find yourself tired a lot. Just lie down and sleep. You can also lose weight this way, and I have lost 12 pounds doing juice fasting lately.
Make sure to drink 40 ounces of water per day. You can continue to drink coffee and alcohol. After all, what does a man need but coffee, wine, water, juice and sex? And maybe a steak once in a while?
In fact, alcohol will get you very intoxicated when you fast. Break the fast after 1-4 days. I don’t really care how I break it, but some say it is important.

The "Nazis and Soviets Were Friends" Lie

Wade writes:

The hatred between Nazi and Bolshevik was just a surface conflict. The real underlying conflict was between German and Russian which had been going on for long before WWII. 30 million dead is just a result of more advanced technology and policies based on Nazi race hatred.

In the beginning of WWII the Nazis and communists had actually signed a pact. When Hitler invaded the northern part of Poland, the Soviets went into the south. Hitler eventually turned east not because he didn’t trust Bolshevism, but because he didn’t trust the Soviet Union (the new Russian state).

You can’t have it both ways. Fascists and the Left have always been the deadliest of enemies. Sure, there are some crossover 3rd Position type groups like National Bolsheviks, but those are based on a faulty reading of history. You have to pick one or the other. Are you a fascist choosing the Right or an anti-fascist on the Left. You can’t order both.
Fascists and the Left don’t hate each other just because they think alike and are having a lover’s quarrel. They really are polar opposite ideologies in many ways.
Fascism is best seen as a “popular far rightwing authoritarian movement against the Left.”
I’ve spent a lot of time on Left sites. One group they will not abide is the fascists. I’ve also been on a fascist sites. What they hate more than anything else is the Left. They want to kill us.
This is complete nonsense about the Nazis and Soviets being allies. The Nazis raison d etre was the wipe Bolshevism off the face of the Earth. They were an anti-Communist party to the core.
They put people in the camps in this order:
1. Communists
2. Socialists
3. Trade unionists
4. (Last) Jews
If you read Hitler’s writings and those of other top Nazis, it’s all about the danger of Bolshevism to Europe and how it had to be wiped out. The Jews were tied in with Bolshevism, so that is why the Jews were targeted. They were out to wipe Judeo-Bolshevism off the face of the Earth. All the other fascists were like this too. Their deadly enemies were the Communists, socialists and union members everywhere, all through Europe. There was a hot war in Spain. When fascists came to power in Europe everywhere in WW2, they immediately went after the Communists.
Rightwingers the world over supported the fascists, including the Nazis, as the biggest, baddest Commie killers that ever lived.
Stalin knew that Hitler was out to wipe out the USSR from the very start. That was the reason for the breakneck collectivization and industrialization, and frankly for the paranoid purges of the 1937 – Stalin suspected a Nazi plot to overthrow him.
The 1940 pact was just a means of buying time temporarily in the war that Stalin knew was going to happen. The US and UK had been egging Hitler from 1938-1941, trying to get him to attack the USSR and take them out. In 1938 Chamberlain gave Hitler Austria not for peace in our time but as deal for Hitler taking out the Soviets.
For a long time, rightwingers in the US and UK had been hoping to use and control Hitler long enough so that he could be used as a weapon against the USSR. When Hitler first came to power in 1933, the NY Times praised him as an anti-Communist.
If the Left loved fascists so much, why was there a deadly hot war in Spain?
Mussolini came to power as a coup against a resurgent Left in Italy. In the early 1920’s, landless peasants were rioting in the streets and marching in the fields all over Italy.
The rich use fascism as a last ditch effort to save capitalism in the face of an overwhelming threat from the Left.
The postwar fascists of Latin America, the Philippines, Fiji, Ethiopia, Morocco, Indonesia, Turkey, Greece, Zaire, Spain, Portugal, Iran and many other places were admirers of Hitler, Mussolini and all of the other European fascists. The Indian Hindutva fascists hate no one so much as the Left and also admire Hitler.
Fascism is all about “exterminate the Left.”
The conflict is more nationalism versus internationalism than anything else, but it’s also about wealth and priveleges.
Fascists declare the class war dead in the name of class solidarity, but then it goes on nonetheless. All classes are locked into position forever as part of the eternal blood and soil national pact. The rich are rich, the poor are poor, and that’s that.
Especially after WW2, rightwing authoritarianism and fascism has been all about everything for the rich and corporations and screw the people. As the class war grinds the masses into the dirt, the fascists march them off to anti-Communist rallies and have them wave flags. They seek to negate the class struggle but prioritizing nationalism over class. With the cloak of nationalism, they seek to make the class struggle seem to disappear under the flag of the nation.

Why the Corporations Think the Bottom 80% of Us Can Go to Hell

Bernardo Carpio writes:

This is my analysis of what’s happening: US multinational corporations are now generating 50% of their revenues from overseas. At the same time, 70% of their domestic sales are made to the top 30% of the US population. I would hypothesize that the bulk of this 30%, say 20%, draw a large percentage of their income from the international sales of US firms.

That means that around 70+% of the revenue of the big corporations are obtained either overseas or from 20% of US citizens who derive their income primarily from overseas sales. As China, India, Brazil, etc. continue to develop rapidly and as the US stagnates the percentage of US corporate revenues generated abroad will grow even further in the next few years.

A drastic divergence has thus evolved between the interests of the top 20% or so of the US population that directly benefit from globalization and the rest of the US population. The economic collapse of the bottom 80% is of no consequence to the elite. They can thrive even if the bottom 80% becomes completely destitute. Observe how US corporations have recently been making record breaking profits despite the US’s 20%+ (in reality) unemployment rate.
Since a thriving domestic market seems to be of no importance to the health of the big corporations, the elite will among other things push for further outsourcing (to increase profits drawn from foreign revenues), cuts in welfare benefits, lower taxes, and other measures detrimental to the bottom 80% but favorable to their own material interest (and their globalization efforts).
So long as people at the bottom do not rebel, I believe that some form of economic equilibrium can be attained even with such a scenario. As pundits have been saying, the US has evolved into a banana republic with extreme economic inequality, fabulous wealth amidst widespread poverty, and a weak domestic manufacturing sector.
Robert, how do you think Americans can escape from this trap?

The era of Fordism has come and gone. For the longest time now, the capitalists have not pretended that a strong domestic market is a good thing to have. It’s been all class war, all the time for 30 years now. Primarily, only the top 5% have seen their income share rise in recent years. That’s people making over $110,000/year. So the people making over $110,000 year have been making out like bandits and wildly increasing their slice of the pie while everyone below that is either seeing their share stay the same or seeing it decrease.
As a vehicle for income redistribution, the US neoliberalism of the past 30 years has only benefited those making over $110,000/yr, who have been taking trainloads of cash from those below, mostly those making below $55,000/yr.
Between $55,000-$110,000, their share has been flat.
As a domestic market would seem to be key to the success of any business, I would expect Fordism to be more popular. But it’s been dead for decades now. I assume that corporations simply do not care about the domestic market at all. It doesn’t make sense, but show me any evidence that they do care.
Bernardo lays out very well why the reasons for this might be. Indeed, the top 20% of the income bracket seems to be driving most US sales. That is people making over $56,000/yr. I understand that they are spending the majority of US money in sales – possibly up to 60% or more. If your market is satisfied by selling to the upper middle class and people overseas, who cares about the bottom 80% – those of us making less than $56,000/yr.?
If you watch TV or read any major magazine, you can see this with your eyes. It seems like 80% of the ads in Rolling Stone and Time and on CNN are selling high end products. These ads are aimed only at those making over $56,000/yr. The rest of us don’t matter.
So the domestic market is defined as those making over $56,000/yr. That’s where all their sales are coming from. As long as this elite group is doing great, those making less than $56,000/yr can buzz off and be impoverished at will. As long as massive money transfer occurs from those making below $56,000/yr to those making over $110,000/yr, it will be in the interest of this top group to keep the game going.
Indeed this is something like a 3rd World country. A 3rd World Country is defined by an insanely wealthy elite, a tiny middle class and masses of teeming poor. There is typically not much of an internal market, as the poor have no money to buy anything, and the middle class is anemic. The rich often make their money via internal monopolies or export of goods, often agricultural products or minerals. Certainly they do not seem to rely much on an internal market.
The politics of any 3rd World is all class war, all the time. Whatever meager amount of money the bottom 80% have, the elite is constantly trying to take every last dollar. It’s amazing how this is sustained, because at some point you would assume that there is nothing more to squeeze out of the poor.
The 3rd World model also exemplifies Marx’s dictum that under capitalism, the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. This is exactly what happens, by design, in 3rd World countries. It is also what has been happening, also by design, in the US under 30 years of neoliberalism.
Outside of class consciousness, it is simply not possible that any remedies will take place, and things will just get worse.
However, we have a seriously confused and angry electorate that is engaging in “wave” elections. 2008 swept in Democrats, and there was talk of the Republican Party becoming extinct. Then in 2010 we had the biggest Republican sweep in 80 years or so. None of it makes sense. It’s just an angry electorate that has no clue about anything, much less the differences between the parties, randomly flying from one party to the next.
The most common question asked in a rural White area 35 miles from me, “What’s the difference between rightwing and leftwing?” No one seems to have a clue. This an area that has been voting strongly Republican for at least the last 20 years and probably much longer.
People are working class and don’t have much money. Everyone is a “conservative” by default, and if you aren’t, you are derided as an outsider or a weirdo. But no one seems to understand what “conservative” means. Knowledge of economics is essentially zero. Although working class, this group has less than zero working class consciousness.
I don’t foresee much hope except that with these wave elections and extremely volatile electorate, we might be able to get some progressive folks in with one of these crazy waves.
There does seem to be a mass base of very angry populism in the US these days. They are aroused against what they call elites, the “banksters,” and increasingly the rich and the corporations. But this populism is very confused, lashing out like a machine gun. Much of it is diffused into anti-Semitism as the rich and the banks are seen as synonyms for Jews. A lot of the rest is wasted in quixotic charges against the Federal Reserve (“End the Fed”).
I monitor comments on the Net a lot, especially Yahoo comments on their news stories. These comments are very rightwing, but lately I have seen more angry populism against the rich and corporations than I ever have in my lifetime.


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)