Alt Left: Labour Isn’t Working: A Radical Program for the Party to Reacquaint Itself with Victory

A most interesting text out of the UK but a group calling itself Alt Left. Though I don’t agree with them on everything, in a broad sense what they are arguing for is more or less within the broad scope of what I had in mind when I founded the Alt Left. This group calls itself Alt Left Publishing.

I had to cringe at some of the more rightwing things this group wants Labour to do, but the fact is that Labour needs to win elections, and if they have to be a bit more conservative to do that, well so be it. As long as we are not electing Blairites, Labour will always be much better than the Conservatives, and UKIP doesn’t look very good either (sort of neoliberal Trump Republicans-lite).

As usual with the Democratic Party here, the Left is shooting itself in the foot with massive overreach by being wildly SJW in ways that the majority of people do not support, and by being fantatically anti-immigration when 70% of the British public want a slow-down on immigration.

Labour is getting massacred on this issue, as many working class folks are anti-immigrant and feel that immigrants are taking their jobs and in addition, these people feel that they are losing a sense of their country.

Working class Labour voters are left on economics while being rather socially conservative, and that’s the Alt Left right there. What’s the point of alienating working class voters, screaming racist at them, shoving hundreds of thousands of unwanted immigrants down their throat, and bombarding them with SJW extremism that most of them reject as too radical?

As the piece points out all this is doing is making more and more of these socially conservative working class Labour voters defect to UKIP, mostly over the immigration issue.

Labour is also alienating people by being openly unpatriotic. I’m not a patriotard myself, but I do want the best for my country, so I suppose I love my country more than a corporate types who deliberately harm our country. I certainly don’t want to do my country any harm! I may disagree with domestic and especially foreign policy, but I’m not so angry about it that I want to screw the country over. I mean I have to live here too you know.

At any rate, the people around Corbyn are openly unpatriotic and do not pay proper deference to national symbols and institutions. Most British people are patriots, particularly socially conservative working class folks.

While I love Hezbollah myself and even have a soft spot for Irish Republicans, most British people despise both Hezbollah and in particular the IRA. The latter is heavily due to anti-Catholic sentiment in mostly Protestant UK, a tendency that goes back to at least the 19th Century to “anti-papist” and “anti-Romist” sentiment at that time. At any rate it does no good when Corbyn lauds these groups. All it does is create more UKIP voters.

What’s the point? Politics is after all the art of the possible.

While I love Jeremy Corbyn of course, most British people dislike him, and Labour has been shedding votes since he took over. It doesn’t matter whether I love Corbyn or not. What matters is that most British people hate him. And a leader hated by most of the population should definitely go in favor of someone more popular.

There are other good suggestions here about being tough on crime and the causes of crime. This is an issue near and dear to socially conservative working class voters, and Labour, like the Democratic Party, suffers from a soft on crime problem. That’s not necessary and anyway, crime hurts the working class.

This is a very long document, 12,000 words and 25 pages. I edited it quite heavily. The Alt Left Publishing website can be reached by clicking on the title below.

Happy reading!

Labour Isn’t Working: A Radical Program for the Party to Reacquaint Itself with Victory

Labour Isn’t Working in many ways lays the foundations for the Alt-Left. It establishes fundamental principles like the importance of group identity, the need to restrain the free market, and rejection of radical social justice.

It’s my view that whether your interest in politics is keen or fair-weather, you’ll be intrigued by the book, though I do recommend it particularly strongly to Labour party members and to those interested in the Alt Left and what it stands for.

The transcript can be read in full below, or alternatively downloaded for free here.

If you’d like to purchase the text in E-book format you can do so here.

T. James

Cover JPEG

Preface

The modern Labour party is out of touch with the working class whom it exists to represent, and many of whom turn increasingly to the Tories and UKIP for answers. Labour has been too scared to address immigration, too complacent to address jobs and too divided to address Europe.

The working class is dead. Long gone are the days of the Welsh miners’ choir and the workplace union meetings. The flat cap is worn now by avant-garde members of the rural middle class, men too old to shake a habit, and metropolitan hipsters.

Blackface isn’t the inevitable consequence of a day spent hewing coal from the center of the earth, but is now a racial faux pas. Where once a hard day’s work involved forging world-class steel, for many it’s now manning a call center in order to best resolve Mrs Smith’s broadband issues.

The modern economy necessitates that even the bricklayer has his own local advertising, Facebook page, and website. He doesn’t consider himself part of a homogeneous working class, but instead an entrepreneur, and rightly so.

The production and harvesting of real resources has been shamelessly outsourced to third-world countries. We allow the rest of the world to grow our food, forge our steel, and sew our shirts, and in doing so, we not only deprive our own people of work, but we impose it on others without the benefit of health and safety, a minimum wage, regulations, or any semblance of automation.

Britain’s economy is overly reliant on the financial sector, leaving us vulnerable to the next U.S.-born crash. Where people once took pride in their work as builders, now they are resigned to employment in this coffee chain or that.

Nationalism now rises in tandem with uncontrolled migration leading to names like Le Pen, Wilders, and Farage taking the establishment by storm. What appeared to be a consistently declining level of global violence has begun to reverse itself in recent years, as the wildfire of extremism continues to ravage the Middle East, prompting the worst migrant crisis yet seen in human history.

Humanity is on the precipice of upheaval, there are new questions, and few answers. Left-wing parties across the West are struggling to rally support, caught between the relentless march of globalization and the toll it takes on workers the world over.

The British Labour party is no exception to this trend, and its inability to mount a competent opposition to the government is enabling a period of unchecked Conservative rule. Exerting scrutiny on the executive is essential to ensure that its policies reflect national needs and not self-serving ends. Thus it is in the interests of both Conservative and Labour supporters that the Labour party resurface as a government in waiting and not persist as a party of protest.

In the wake of the 2015 shock general election defeat, long-time backbencher and maverick Jeremy Corbyn, assumed power in the Labour party. Propelled by an anti-establishment appeal and left-wing policies thought to have been consigned to history, he easily defeated his three opponents.

His unprecedented victory prompted a surge in party membership, from some 200,000 to over 500,000, making it notable for being the largest left-wing party in Europe. It appeared that the man to reverse Labour’s fortune had made himself known.

Yet at the time of writing, far from arresting the party’s decline, the Corbyn administration has only exacerbated it. Polling shows Labour now trail the Conservatives by as much as 18%. The 23rd of February 2017 marked a historic by-election defeat for Labour, not just because they had held the seat of Copeland since 1935, but also because it was lost to the governing party.

Owing to resignations, the shadow cabinet is more of a skeleton crew, much of it manned by newly elected and inexperienced MPs.  The vast membership, which was seen as the formation of a campaigning vanguard, has since been shown to be in large part idle, indicative of a niche opinion in the country, and a thorn in the side of the parliamentary party.

That’s not to say that Jeremy Corbyn killed the Labour party. He merely sits atop its coffin. The party has been in a state of managed decline since de-industrialization stripped it of a clear reason to exist. The program detailed herein will therefore not lay blame exclusively at Corbyn’s door, though it will do so where appropriate, but instead will lay blame where deserved, and offer remedies where needed.

It’s not enough to insist that the electorate are deficient or suffering from a false consciousness when they reject you time after time. Nor is it good enough to abandon the values upon which the party was founded in order to pursue public opinion at the expense of all else.

Instead the party must align its core principles with the will of the people, conceding ground on either side where necessary. It’s essential that in order to recover, the party enter a period of reflection, and in doing so it must produce a meaningful answer to the question so many are asking: “Just what is the Labour party for?”.

If it’s to defend the NHS, then that’s an insufficient reason for the electorate to eject a sitting government. No doubt the creation of the NHS was Labour’s finest hour, but to relentlessly invoke its name at every public rally like a war cry is to cement in the mind of the public the idea of Labour as a one-trick pony.

If it’s to be a nicer version of the Tories, this too is inadequate. Aside from the fact that the Liberal Democrats already occupy that ground, the public at large will always opt for competency over compassion.

It’s vital that should Labour ever seek to win again, it must first rediscover its identity. It should reforge its raison d’être from an anti-Tory think tank to a government in waiting, able to steady the nation through what promises to be a turbulent future. Drawing from various tendencies within the party, significant research, personal experience, and observable reality, what follows is a detailed roadmap for Labour’s return to government.

Chapter I – The New Working Class

Labour once had a core demographic on which they could rely: the working class – a monolithic block who worked almost entirely in heavy industry. Commonly united in tight-knit communities centered on a factory or pit, they were class conscious and proudly so.

To inherit one’s father’s job was not just an expectation but a de facto right. The membership of the Labour party and consequently its leadership still holds to these antiquated views of what it means to be a worker. So long as they fail to recognize the nature and needs of modern workers, they will fail to produce policies that appeal to them.

This isn’t a failure exclusive to the left of the party. After all, Blair did once assert that, “We’re all middle class now”, a view still manifest among those of his ilk who exist in substantial number within the parliamentary party.

It’s not so much that this view denies the existence of the poverty-stricken or the manual worker but that it sidelines them. It relies on those people to vote for Labour consistently and is unconcerned when they stay at home, since most such people live within Labour safe seats won on a minimal turnout.

This leads us to a divergence in approach: one that caters to a romanticized and now largely deceased working class and the other which overlooks it entirely. To portray the party as these two schools of thought and nothing but would be disingenuous, but they do have the most to say on the subject. The so-called ‘soft left’ offers little thought on the matter, and the Kendallites have been too preoccupied with plots in recent times to set out any clear views at all.

In order to identify those whom Labour must bring into the fold, we must first establish those who vote for it currently:

Old Labourites. Blue-collar chaps for whom the memories of Thatcherism are still all too vivid. Formerly miners and manufacturers, many now live in the deprived post-industrial communities of Wales, the Midlands, the North, and Scotland. Increasingly, their inherent social conservatism and skepticism regarding immigration has led them to vote Conservative and UKIP in increasing numbers.

Londoners. Labour enjoys ever-growing support within London, a crowd often misidentified as being part of the ‘metropolitan elite’. While much of this demographic could be characterized by the sort of person who hangs a picture of Marx in their parents’ Kensington 4-bed, such people are a minority. Labour’s London support base can be differentiated by its social liberalism, particularly in its concern for LGBT rights, feminism, and police practices.

Public sector workers. Over 56.5% are unionized and the Tories have been slashing their wages for 7 years. They vote Labour consistently, although they do so in worryingly declining numbers. Guarantee a wage rise above inflation and increased expenditure on our public services, and these voters are locked down.

Ethnic minorities. This demographic can be more or less divided between those of African and Asian descent. The black British demographic is concentrated predominantly in London and Birmingham, the product of a generation who were invited to the UK to rebuild in the wake of the Second World War.

Now living in overwhelmingly deprived communities, over 70% vote Labour. Similarly, Asians of both Islamic and Sikh denominations vote by a substantial margin in favor of Labour[i],  despite having (in common with the Black British community) a deep social conservatism and entrepreneurial spirit that would perhaps more naturally put them in the Conservative camp.

As these groups continue to move out into the suburbs and expand their businesses, it’s likely their transition from being staunch Labourites to reliably Conservative will only accelerate.

Entryists. Often hailing from Trotskyist outfits, their influence is at a peak within the Labour party since the days of militant expulsions. Such people are self-professed associates of groups such as the Alliance for Workers Liberty and the Socialist Workers Party. Though not great in number, it seems Tom Watson had it right when he suggested there are some “old hands twisting young wrists”.

This coalition cannot win elections; it lost in 2010, 2015, and it will do so again in 2020, if not before. Where previously Labour had a clear platform that spoke directly to workers the country over, they have so far failed to adapt to the new nature of work in the 21st century.

Talk of workers’ rights to the 4.6 million self-employed[ii] means precisely nothing. When Jeremy Corbyn gives speeches about Keir Hardy, he might as well be reading from Istanbul’s phonebook for all the relevance it has to the voters he’s attempting to reach.

This sort of rhetoric would suggest that Labour now stands on a platform of reviving heavy industry when in fact no such plans exist. It’s evident that such populist polices are not incompatible with electoral success in modern times.

We can look to Donald Trump’s rise to power as evidence of this. A campaign punctuated with the cry – “We’re gonna put the miners back to work!” – roars which carried the rust belt states and Trump himself to an electoral college victory.

While such an agenda should never constitute the headline of a Labour campaign, there is room for it to form a fractional element of a wider economic plan. With the benefits of automation and clean coal, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t create new jobs in coal, steel and manufacturing: industries whose revival would be predicated on a new regime of tariffs and public infrastructure spending.

Though Labour are often happy to ingratiate themselves with the attendees of events like the Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival and the Durham Miners’ Gala, they have nothing substantial to offer on the issue of heavy industry yet are content to bask in the romanticism of it.

While the decline of the British steel industry predates recent governments, it now faces a crisis that threatens to end its very existence. The proximate cause of this crisis is China dumping its own steel at below cost price on the world market. This is comparable to a supermarket opening next to a corner shop and offering loaves of bread for 10p.

Inevitably, the former will put the latter out of business, and then, when it’s free of competition, it is able to raise its prices with impunity. Similarly, if we surrender ourselves to a reliance on Chinese steel, we’ll face higher prices in the long run. Failing to protect them would deliver a coup de grâce to the last bastions of our national manufacturing industries, prompting the decline of communities and our capacity for self-sufficiency.

It’s for these reasons Labour would do well to adopt policies to the effect of the following:

  • Introduce tariffs on Chinese steel to such a point that it becomes unaffordable in the UK.
  • Lobby other European nations to form a steel block, not dissimilar from the Common Agricultural Policy, which will allow for free trade in steel amongst nations with comparable wage levels and health and safety standards.
  • Legislate that all public works must use British steel with appropriate caveats (e.g. certain types of steel are not produced in the UK).
  • Cut the disproportionately large foreign aid budget from 0.7% and put some of that money into retraining post-steel communities and investing in new technology for existing plants

As the supply of steel drops, the free market will necessitate investment leading to the construction of new steel plants, not only in the UK but across Europe. It’s an excellent example of triangulating socialism with capitalism and reaping the rewards of the free market in the 21st century.

Now, I don’t suggest that such policies should be the focal point of a Labour manifesto by any means, on the contrary, they should be towards the bottom of the list, but they most certainly should be on that list.

Such a policy, though necessary, is not an election winner, and speaks only to a specific group of people. It should be brought about in tandem with policies that resonate with the 4.6 million self-employed individuals who are in dire need of strong representation.

These people are more inclined to identify as entrepreneurs than as part of the working class. Mechanics and carpenters are now business people not proles. They don’t care about the history of struggle, or talk of how the EU is essential because it ‘protects workers’ rights’ which is nonsense in its own right, but they do want to have constant work with good pay and little else.

Indeed, until pressure from the Tory-supporting press prompted a u-turn, the Chancellor meant to levy upon self-employed people an even higher tax rate. In the wake of such a clear display of contempt towards the self-employed by the Conservatives, no better opportunity exists for Labour to launch an appeal to white van men the country over.

So, what problems do self-employed people face, and what policy platforms can appeal to them?

By definition they don’t have an employer from whom they can claim sick, maternity, or paternity pay, their work can be inconsistent, and they must continually reinvest their earnings to facilitate the survival of their trade or business.

Such policies should include:

  • Cutting taxes for the self-employed, allowing them to free up income they can use to cover the cost of sick pay and other work-related benefits (alternatively, introduce self-employment working tax credits where feasible).
  • Lowering VAT so that consumer spending increases, thus pushing up demand for new wardrobes, landscaped gardens, vehicle modifications, and so on.
  • Forcing the banks that we taxpayers bailed out to provide loans where feasible to self-employed individuals at a special low interest rate for the purpose of buying tools, refurbishing workshops, or taking on trainees.
  • Sending apprentices to work with the self-employed rather than with huge multinational chains, where they exist as little more than wage slaves.

Again, such policies won’t provoke a landslide electoral victory, but they are essential to attract to the Labour cause the sort of voters who are not only needed to win an election but whose interests lie in the Labour camp; the clue is in the name, after all.

But policy isn’t enough. We can’t expect people who work two jobs and maintain other responsibilities besides to read complex manifestos and pay attention to policy documents – to do so would be an unreasonable burden. Instead we need to talk in a language that ordinary people understand. That is to say: we should speak like normal people.

In 1917 the Bolsheviks condensed a complex economic program into three simple words: ‘PEACE, LAND, BREAD’. It was a message that was understood by every echelon of Russian society without exception. This is no means to advocate Bolshevism, but it serves to demonstrate that exactly 100 years ago, without the benefit of social media, YouTube, spin doctors, and hashtags, it was possible to create easily digestible slogans that summarize a policy platform.

Yet somehow the modern Labour party is entirely incapable of developing a slogan, sentence, paragraph, or message of any length or format that appeals even remotely to its core vote or to those it needs to incorporate into it.

In 2015 Labour produced “A Better Plan for a Better Future” as its campaign slogan. This inspired precisely nobody and means exactly nothing. Given that unemployment in 2015 was 1.9 million[iii], how about this: “Labour Will Give You a High-paying Job”. Or with a little more finesse “Higher Pay, More Jobs”.

At the end of the day, despite the Twitterati’s various obsessions, jobs are the primary concern of most voters, and they have been and should continue to be at the forefront of any Labour campaign. Moreover, nobody speaks the language of the 60’s union bosses or the Marxist Politburo; talk of ‘comrades’ and ‘struggle’ should be consigned to the dustbin of history unless in the context of a historical discussion.

This chapter has thus far dealt with the need for and the avenue by which the traditional northern post-industrial vote can be shored up, and how best the 4.6 million self-employed can begin to be brought across to Labour in greater numbers, as well as a brief mention of language and communication which will be dealt with in greater depth in a subsequent chapter.

With all that said, there remains one ever-growing and crucial voting block who cannot bring themselves to vote Labour for reasons easily condensed into one word.: Immigration.

Blue-collar blokes are sick of being called racists for daring to criticize immigration. There is nothing left wing or liberal about the free movement of people; to the contrary it’s a right–wing, neoliberal idea that disproportionately favors employers.

The Labour party has no need to become radically nationalist, but by God it should be patriotic. It should fly the Union Flag and St. George’s Cross at every speech and every office, and the same for the Welsh and Scottish flags. But above all, Labour should call for a points-based immigration system that guarantees people the world over get a fair shake at entering the country on the basis of having the skills we need in the economy.

Let’s take India’s best scientists and China’s best students and do so on the understanding that they will commit themselves to the country for a specific amount of time. Let’s not feel obliged to take unskilled workers, of which we already have a surplus, in order to further drive down the wages of construction site laborers, baristas, and private hire drivers.

So, here’s a ‘radical’ suggestion for a slogan “British Jobs for British Workers” the words of one Gordon Brown as recently as 2007. This is the sort of slogan that should be plastered so thickly on the walls that they begin to be structurally integral to the building they occupy. Like communication, immigration will be dealt with in detail in a subsequent chapter, but in relation to appealing to the forgotten working class, it must be a cornerstone.

Over 900,000 people are apprentices[iv], mostly young women – an  ideal demographic for Labour voters. Since an apprentice in their first year is entitled to a below-subsistence wage of £3.40 an hour, and those most likely to enroll in an apprenticeship are poorer to begin with, it’s a total no-brainer: Labour should be promising every apprentice in the country a pay rise.

To those who suggest this would be irresponsible spending, we’ll be enjoying the benefit within two years of not having to send the EU hundreds of millions of pounds a year, of which a fraction could be spent on improving apprentices’ pay.

Here’s another groundbreaking slogan “A Pay Rise for Apprentices”. It’s time the unions with their multi-million bound budgets and 6-figure wage packets stopped resting on their laurels and actively began unionizing young apprentices the nation over. An offer of free membership for a year would be hard to refuse.

Others talk of an ‘anti-boss’ brand of populism, but as well as being counterproductive, since we absolutely want bosses to vote for Labour, time has rendered it irrelevant. We now live in an age where peoples’ bosses are oftentimes a relative or a friend, where this isn’t the case, it’s rare that employees don’t know their manager or supervisor outside of the workplace on a casual basis, at the very least as acquaintances.

Any anti-business or anti-boss talk cannot be part of a modern Labour party’s rhetoric or policy. Where there is room for populism, it’s anti-corporate populism.

Let’s make sure Google, Starbucks, and Facebook pay the taxes they’re duty bound to, given that without a taxpayer-funded education system they would have no employees, without the NHS they would have to provide insurance, without public roads they would have no means of haulage, and without internet and phone-line infrastructure they would have no means to even exist.

From the gains made by appropriating the correct levels of tax owed by such corporations, let’s move these profits into delivering tax cuts for small business owners, incentivize them to take on new employees, and expand their trades. It’s by means such as these that Labour can successfully convert traditional Conservative voters simply by offering them a better deal.

We can also reach the middle classes. For the first time in their history, junior doctors went out on strike, and did so on several occasions in the wake of Jeremy Hunt’s punishing reform proposals. Legal professionals are in the process of a mass exodus from the legal aid program, with Scottish wages having dropped over 20% from 2007/8-2013/2014 and trainee barristers earning salaries as low as £12,000 per anum (with training costs of £17,000)[v].

While an opportunity clearly presents itself to launch an appeal to traditional middle class Conservative voters, the Labour party is too embroiled with internal affairs to mount any effective effort.

On this point of traditional Conservative voters, it’s time to speak to farmers once again. We will soon have control over farming subsidies, let’s outbid the Tories on this issue and in addition offer an innovative rural apprenticeship program in order to train future generations in the ways of agriculture, while also aiding overworked and beleaguered farmers.

Furthermore, let’s force supermarkets to pay a fair price for dairy, meat, and vegetables, while subsidizing the cost to the consumer, paid for by an equivalent tax on sugary foods in order to ensure farms thrive while still protecting consumers and simultaneously improving the health of the nation.

Once free from the Common Fisheries Policy, let’s put our fisherman back to work and become the fishing capital of Europe. It makes no sense to subsidize corporations through working tax credits. Labour should promise an increase in the minimum wage and use the welfare savings to fund new infrastructure in our now-decrepit seaside towns.

Through this dual approach, we can not only increase the quality of life of those left behind by globalism while once again making British seaside towns worthy tourist attractions, but also bring back into the fold voters who have long since deserted Labour for UKIP.

Through these methods, we can expand our ever-shrinking coalition to include people from all walks of life, while still staying true to Labour values in a modern and relevant way. Let’s go forward in lockstep with farmers, fishermen, carpenters, shopkeepers, laborers, dockers, lorry drivers, and lawyers.

Some may ponder, then, might this not alienate the metropolitan middle classes, who as of this moment form the last bastion of the Labour bloc vote? Well, the biggest genuine issue for such people is the absurdly high house prices which keep people off the property ladder to middle age, and some of the highest rents in the world.

All the while we spend £25 billion every single year on housing benefit[vi], money which goes straight into landlords’ pockets, (not that we don’t want landlords to prosper).

It’s time to announce a national house building program that takes the money straight out of the housing benefit budget and puts it into building 250,000 homes a year until the housing shortage becomes a surplus, at which point the free market will dictate rents, house prices will return to affordable levels, and the UK will once again become a home-owning democracy.

This is how we can offer concrete solutions to clear issues that will resonate with the 8 million people who live in London. Such a program would also lead to the employment of hundreds of thousands of people, prompting a higher tax revenue and increased spending in local economies throughout the country.

In summary, in order for Labour to properly construct policy that appeals to the working class, it must first understand how the working class has evolved over the past century. It should adopt a dual approach that halts the decline of traditional manufacturing and shores up our export market, while simultaneously engendering job growth in emerging markets, with an eye to appealing to those whose new nature of work leaves them without a natural party to vote for.

This program should incorporate the good work done by Ed Miliband in formulating policies to re-introduce security into the workplace, particularly in dealing with ‘zero-hour’ contracts, while also acknowledging that such policies do not have a broad enough appeal amongst swing voters. Labour must push for full, proud, and secure employment. By these means, Labour will rally all elements of the modern working class to their cause. 

Chapter II Foreign Policy and the Military

Foreign policy is not an election winner. Even when Blair’s hated decision to invade Iraq prompted the largest marches ever seen in the UK, the Labour government comfortably held on to power in the 2005 elections.

However, it’s important to remain principled and strive always to do what is right and best, both for the people of our nation and for those abroad but never at the expense of either. Moreover, Labour faces challenges from the left, notably the Liberal Democrats and the Greens, whenever it assumes an overtly pro-war posture.

There is scarcely a sentient being on earth who still believes Iraq, Libya, or Afghanistan were successful interventions, and for all the times it’s been said, it’s clear we haven’t learnt the lessons of the past. The Labour party should make it clear that they will not involve themselves in foreign military entanglements that do not directly concern the security of the United Kingdom and its allies.

British blood should not be expended to remove a foreign dictator only for that nation’s people to find liberation give way to an unimaginably worse kind of tyranny as has happened when ISIS filled the vacuum that Western bombs created.

Having said that, it is crucial that Labour demonstrate that it does not take security lightly, and its commitment to having first-class armed forces should be clear to everyone.

We have a Conservative government that has sacked soldiers before they could claim their full pensions, moved hundreds of thousands of positions into the reserve army, has aircraft carriers that we can’t land aircraft on, and now, most bizarrely, is offering troops the option of not serving in combat zones in return for a pay cut.

In uncertain global times, Labour should put itself forward as a patriotic party committed to the primary duty of the state: the protection of its own people. It’s essential that a commitment to at least 2% of GDP on defense be made in line with NATO requirements as well as a commitment to nuclear weaponry.

The latter is contentious, particularly within Labour circles, but there are some universal truths on this matter. Firstly, Trident has been commissioned, and should Labour win power, they will inherit the system no matter what their policy is. Secondly, the majority of the population are in favor of nuclear weapons, and confusion on the issue only allows the Tories to portray Labour as a threat to national security, philosophical arguments about MAD aside.

It’s also right that we reverse the horrible mistreatment suffered by our veterans. No individual who has laid their life on the line for the nation should be allowed to sleep on the streets, and as part of the aforementioned house building program, there should be guaranteed homes for veterans with subsidized mortgages, a cost to be taken from the 2% of GDP mentioned earlier.

There should also be jobs in the public sector reserved for them, particularly in the police and border forces. It’s my view that the treatment of veterans is a legitimate use of the term ‘military spending’.

Our foreign aid spending is disproportionate, badly allocated, and unsustainable. We are running a budget deficit of £40 billion, and continue to borrow more money to spend abroad, often sponsoring foreign militaries in proxy wars, or putting money into the pocket of despots to secure exploitative trade deals.

After the United States of America, we are the second biggest foreign aid donor on the planet in real terms. We spend $18 billion compared to the U.S. spending of $31 billion[vii]. That is over half of their expenditure despite being significantly less than half the size of their economy.

There are many cases in which it is not only right but morally incumbent upon us as a nation to send funds and resources abroad, to combat Ebola as a recent example.

But setting an annual target of 0.7% of GDP and dispersing that money across the globe, borrowed money in the first place, only exacerbates the economic conditions this country currently faces, and in the long run will prevent us as a nation aiding other countries to our fullest capacity, since our economic growth is constantly hampered by this gross cost.

Foreign aid does a lot of good, and where it does so it should continue to do so, but where reasonable savings can be made, this is exactly the course of action that should be pursued. The liberal, Guardian–reading, mocha-sipping elites will tweet furiously in response to such a suggestion, as if there’s something essential about the budget being set at 0.7% rather than 0.6%.

It’s important to ignore these people, whose numbers appear  more significant online, as they represent a minority as has been shown time and time again, with only 1 in 4 supporting the current foreign aid policy[viii].

For those who suggest that giving money to space-program-pushing India will somehow engender good relations with developing countries, I’d suggest we could better build relations by ceasing to hinder their economic growth through climate regulation (with caveats) and ending the practice of Western and Chinese companies exploiting the developing countries’ natural resources.

We currently face the worst refugee crisis the world has yet known, and as a party, people, and species, we have a duty to help those in need. In the immediate future, we should accept lone child refugees and house them with willing volunteers in the UK.

Subsequent to this, we should quiz every local council in the country and see what facilities they can spare to house other refugees, prioritizing families. However, there are 60 million displaced people globally and counting. The UK cannot effectively double its population by accepting every single individual – even 5% of that number would bring the country’s infrastructure to its knees.

Thus, longer-term solutions must be found, and they begin with rich Middle Eastern countries which have so far allowed the burden to be shouldered by their neighbors like Lebanon as well as Western nations, namely Germany.

It is time we lobbied Saudi Arabia, to whom we sell jets and whose pilots we train in order to better fly them, we gave a free ride when they invaded Bahrain, and continue to do so as they fight in Yemen killing civilians with British bombs, and whose disgusting head-chopping record gives ISIS a run for their money.

This is not a suggestion to cut ties with the Saudis or the UAE, but given the support both militarily and diplomatically that we provide for them, it’s reasonable to assume we can make demands of them: and if ever there was a need to, it is now. These countries should be taking in great numbers of refugees. They have the infrastructure; they just lack the will.

Further to this, the foreign aid budget should be used to contribute to a wider transnational program to build U.N.-protected safe zones across the Middle East, to prevent refugees making the treacherous journey across the Mediterranean, which in itself will save thousands of lives but also to keep them safe from terrorism and keep them fed, watered, and sheltered until such time that they can return to their country or region of origin.

The geopolitical landscape has suffered a seismic shift in the past year alone, and upcoming European elections look to continue that trend. The long and short of the matter is that we have distanced ourselves from our European neighbors so long as their current rulers last anyway, and thus we must move closer to our historic allies in the U.S.

However, Jeremy Corbyn (perhaps out of some need for the adoration of the echo chamber of his cult of no personality) is making a frequent habit of attacking President Trump vocally, viciously and publicly. He’s joined in such attacks by other high-profile liberals, notably the speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow.

When the Cameron government shamelessly courted the Chinese into buying out our public infrastructure, John Bercow was front and center in welcoming Xi Jinping to address both houses of Parliament.

Yet in a stunningly hypocritical fashion which must require Olympic levels of mental gymnastics to justify, Bercow has come out against Trump addressing Parliament and intends to block him from doing so, all the while being supported in these efforts by the leader of the Labour party. Part of the problem is the disingenuous hysteria around Trump that you’ll find in the Guardian, Mirror or indy100.

But putting that aside, even a blind man can see that it’s absolutely within British interests to foster closer cooperation and trade with the U.S.A., the biggest economy in the world, which also has in common with us in language, culture, and history.  In fact, for anybody who considers themselves on the left, a closer relationship with Trump can only be a good thing for world peace, given his thus-far successful moves towards détente with Russia.

On this point, there’s no need to paint Putin as the eternal bogeyman. There are elements of his governance which we can all criticize from one angle or another, but to invoke the words of a separate J. C. for a moment, “Those without sin should cast the first stone”.

The domestic policies of Russia are entirely an issue for the Russian people, and continuing to burden Russia with ever worsening sanctions not only destroys diplomatic relations but is mutually harmful for both our economies. Let’s work with Trump and Putin to defeat ISIS, and in doing so we will position ourselves closer to their ears to best influence them on any human rights issues we find significant.

We claim ownership of an island over 7,000 miles away from our shores on the basis that its citizens voted in a referendum to remain British. This is no bad thing and we should continue to respect the right to self-determination.

However, when those in Crimea, who are 65% Russian by ethnicity[ix], vote overwhelmingly to join the Russian state, the Western political class sees this as grounds for a proxy war in Ukraine.

This is made even more bizarre by the fact Crimea was part of Russia as recently as 1954, when Khrushchev gave it to Ukraine, and now over 60 years on, it’s reasonable that its inhabitants would rather unite themselves to a superpower rather than a failed state.

Some will surely cry ‘appeasement’ to the idea that we should improve relations with Russia. To those people, I say: compromise is essential in international relations, we can’t preach to the world how they should live and operate, and it’s arrogant and pseudo-supremacist to try and push our liberal democratic model on every culture and people of the earth.

That’s not to mention that Putin did little when we invaded Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, supported French action in Mali, and imposed sanctions against their Iranian allies, yet liberals appear indignant at any suggestion that the Russians be allowed the same freedom in their international actions.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t assume a strong posture – we absolutely should – which is one of the reasons this text has hitherto advocated the maintenance of Trident and spending of 2% of GDP on defense.

Working closely with our American allies, we should aim to maintain peace through strength, but this is by no means mutually exclusive with closer cooperation with Russia, with whom we should be seeking to strike trade deals, closer ties, and better relations. In short, we should make allies, not enemies, wherever possible.

Most people aren’t concerned with international relations. They want food on their table, a roof over their heads, and enough disposable income to live a good life. However, it will never be the case that Jeremy Corbyn could be elected Prime Minister on an anti-American ticket.

It’s a simple truism that the U.S. is a crucial ally, and to worsen our relations in the context of Brexit would leave the UK essentially isolated. Trump’s lewd comments about women are not a hill Labour should be dying on, nor a hill they should have even assumed a position atop in the first instance.

Instead Labour should have a foreign policy that doesn’t indulge in 3-dimensional chess and virtue signalling but instead sends a very clear message. Labour will be second to none in defense of the nation, second to none in rebuilding relations, and unwilling to expend British blood or treasure in foreign wars that do not concern us.

In Europe, let’s form bilateral trade agreements and maintain the same standard of intelligence sharing as exists today, both of which are perfectly possible without power sharing in a technocratic bureaucracy.

The upshot of this in messaging terms is that Labour should state loud and clear that Labour will keep you safe, prioritize our own citizens, and maintain a humanitarian outlook on global affairs. Little else is necessary, and Corbyn’s famous hand-holding with the IRA and Hamas are enough to set him up for a decisive defeat in any British election.

Chapter III – Immigration

Immigration became a taboo subject in the realm of political discourse with the dawn of the Blair Age. Conversation on the matter was shut down, and dissidents were branded racists, outcasts, and forced into silence. A mixture of concern and outrage boiled up amongst those left behind by New Labour, leading to the return of two British National Party candidates in the European Elections of 2009.

Fortunately, both of those vile individuals have since lost their seats and faded into obscurity, with those voters now opting to side with the far more moderate UKIP. Nigel Farage single-handedly put immigration at the center of British politics, and his influence led to a vote to leave the European Union, within which the primary concern amongst Out voters was immigration.

This had been a sleeping giant for some time, and Farage was able to awaken it. However, even now in a post-Brexit world, the issue of immigration is still taboo for many, particularly in the mainstream media. It’s rare that anyone advocating a merit-based immigration system as opposed to no controls at all isn’t branded a racist by a ‘Question Time’ panelist or political opponent.

It’s an issue that’s particularly pernicious on university campuses and in inner cities. In the former, anyone to the right of Chairman Mao on the issue is considered Hitler’s earthly avatar, and in the latter, it’s a common occurrence to find your trip through Central London punctuated with stalls of the Socialist Workers Party distributing leaflets that read along of the lines of ‘Let all refugees in now! Stop racism!’.

Speaking of the SWP, whilst Labour seems curious about its own credibility gap, meanwhile its own shadow chancellor is giving interviews to the SWP[x], so whoever is running the Labour PR machine should enjoy the ‘benefit’ of instant dismissal.

The fact that the views of a tiny vocal minority are over-represented on television and online media makes people scared to air their true opinions, only taking action within the security and anonymity of the ballot box. Over 70% of the country believe immigration controls are not tough enough[xi], and this is a figure Labour leaders should be more concerned with than the number of retweets a platitude about multiculturalism can receive online.

Overwhelmingly, the country is dissatisfied with current levels of immigration. This includes Black and minority ethnic voters of all stripes who believe the number of immigrants should be reduced, and they do so by sizeable majorities[xii].

It’s pertinent to mention that immigration is disproportionately a concern for the working classes, and many of them have fled Labour, leading UKIP to be the main challenger to Labour in a great many constituencies in the 2015 election. Although it’s proven difficult for UKIP to directly take seats from Labour, there are two problems that this bleeding of voters poses.

The first is that it will lead the Labour vote in northern communities to be split with UKIP, thus allowing a Tory candidate to take a seat with as little as 30% of the vote. The second problem is that these UKIP voters distance themselves so far from Labour when they look at its middle class-centric tone that they jump ship to the Conservatives, and if that happened in large enough numbers, a Labour general election victory would be inconceivable for a generation.

We are in the process of leaving the European Union, and thus we will no longer be shackled to the free movement of labor which has given every citizen of the EU the right to live and work in the UK. However, neither the Conservatives nor Labour have made clear the path ahead.

What better opportunity then for Labour to appeal to its forgotten voters, take back the defectors, and win over Conservatives by proposing a strict points–based,Australian-style immigration system. Let’s legislate in order to ensure that only immigrants who possess the skills and resources we need have the ability to settle and work in this country.

Let’s mandate that immigrants should have an excellent grasp of the English language, not just because such a skill is essential (particularly in the medical profession) but also because it will ensure universally beneficial integration.

At the same time, we should make it clear that this country already has enough unskilled workers, unemployed, and disabled people who are struggling to cope as it is, and it should not be incumbent on the country to take more such people in.

It’s here the points-based system comes into its own: for example, if there is a shortage of unskilled labor, we can adjust the requisite points for entry and mandate that people who enter under such circumstances have jobs waiting for them.

Some suggest a migration system based on merit is xenophobic, and to those people it’s worth mentioning that we’ve applied a points-based system to non-EU citizens for years, and as members of the EU, we were giving preference to European migrants who were predominantly White over Indian and African migrants.

A points-based system is totally equitable and accepts people based on ability, irrespective of skin color, creed, or nationality. This is entirely in keeping with the sort of values that led to Labour’s foundation and should remain at the forefront of any respectable leftwing movement.

There is a myth that there is something ‘left wing’ or ‘progressive’ about uncontrolled migration, or that it would be desirable to have an unlimited number of unknown individuals entering the country every year.

Let’s be clear: the free movement of labor is a rightwing, neoliberal, capitalist policy, not dissimilar to the free movement of capital. It’s a symptom of an anarchic free market system that serves the elites extremely well; it drives down the price of labor for corporations, affords the middle classes cheap gardeners and nannies, and perpetually rigs the job market in the employers’ favor.

It’s a fundamental leftist belief that the free market is not infallible, requires regulation, and this regulation should pertain not just to levels of taxation and regulation but also to the distribution of workers.

This is not advocacy of immigration control on the basis of electoral populism, or economic philosophy, though it would indeed be popular, and it does follow philosophically; instead it’s an advocacy on the grounds of basic math.

Plainly, the UK cannot sustain the number of immigrants coming into the country every year. 300,000 is the rough annual net migration figure to the UK per annum. Many point out rightly that a large number of these people are students, and they’re right to do so.

However, whether student or worker, they still take the same toll on transport, health, and social infrastructure.  As a nation, we are building around half the number of houses we need every single year, at around 135,000[xiii], creating a clear deficit in housing availability. That’s not to mention that our own domestic birth rate is over 800,000 per year[xiv].

We already have a dangerous housing bubble which threatens to collapse at any moment, pulling our entire economy down with it, and it’s only exacerbated by such migrant numbers. Of course, part of this problem is that we don’t build enough houses, and issues pertaining to that were detailed in the first chapter.

However, the costs of building such enormous numbers of houses and providing the associated infrastructure would be to say the least prohibitive, and even if it were feasible, it would not be desirable.

Aside from housing there are huge costs associated with the NHS, when people who have never contributed arrive able to take full advantage of it without question. This is one of the factors that has led to a record NHS deficit of £1.85 billion[xv]; although of course underfunding remains the direct cause of this crisis, immigration serves to aggravate it.

You’ll hear from Labour politicians and often to the thunderous applause of their echo chambers, the following platitude: “You’re more likely to see an immigrant working in the NHS than using it”.

Aside from being disingenuous, since it’s entirely determined by happenstance and geography, the point they are trying to make is that because immigrants work in the NHS, we should allow an unlimited number of immigrants to enter the country, as if the former warrants the latter, which is a total non-sequitur.

Yes, we have a large number of migrants working in the NHS, and that’s a good thing to. Let’s keep them there and continue to allow medical professionals into the country in line with demand. Having controlled immigration and having Indian doctors are not mutually exclusive; in actuality an equitable points-based system will incentivize and drive up the number of highly qualified migrant workers relative to unskilled workers.

The people are crying out for a credible party to come out strongly on immigration, and if Labour did so, they would take the country by storm.

Chapter IV – And the Rest

Regarding inertia

As of this writing the most commonly seen Labour slogan is “Working together for real change”. The problem is the party is not working together, and presents no change. The conflict within and between the constituency and parliamentary Labour parties is wreaking havoc on Labour’s public image, and as the well-known adage tells us, voters don’t vote for divided parties.

However, this text will not attempt to dissect the intricacies that have led to this point; instead suffice it to mention a couple of key issues.

Jeremy Corbyn will never receive the support of the current MPs and therefore must go. The only alternative would be to begin a process of deselection across the country –  a sort of Trotskyist Night of the Long Knives, which would only leave the party’s reputation in tatters and replace experienced MPs with amateurs.

There is a divide within the parliamentary party between those representing constituents who are socially conservative working class and middle class social liberals. While Labour has always been a broad church that has incorporated numerous factions, the divisions now seem to be intensifying like never before.

Party loyalty is at record low rates, and people are now more likely than ever to throw out of office the candidate of their forefather’s choice and often on the basis of a single issue. This is more contentious than ever post-Brexit, given that some Labour MPs represent constituencies that voted overwhelmingly to Remain and others the reverse. Inevitably MPs jostle with one another to represent their diverse constituents.

The remedies are imperfect for both issues. For the first, Corbyn must go, which is easier said than done; and secondly the Labour party must support the will of the people and push for a real Brexit that rejects freedom of movement. Neither solution is ideal, but both are necessary, not least because the majority of the country hate Corbyn, and the majority of the country voted for Brexit.

On to the second, and more important, element of the slogan: “Real Change.” The most obvious change that has taken place in the last couple of years is the transformation of the Labour party from a party of government to one that wallows in political oblivion. Change is an important message to transmit, but the kind of change needs to be clear, and Corbyn’s Labour has thus far advocated very few changes indeed.

In fact, in my research for this work, I wanted to see exactly what policies Jeremy Corbyn had promoted in order to deal with them individually. However, when I tried to access Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘priorities’ on his website, it returned an error page reading “Unfortunately the page you were looking for was not found”, which is so patently ironic that no explanation is needed.

Further hunting will lead you to an article in the Mirror listing several flagship policies, which range from unpopular and bizarre like abolishing the monarchy to leftist clichés like ‘tax the rich’, and standard Labour talking points like re-nationalizing rail.

An eager hunter will find a more exhaustive list in a Telegraph article, which is pretty damming for the Labour party PR machine when the right-wing pro-Tory paper gives more policy detail than Labour themselves do. Eventually, one will stumble upon the ‘Jeremy for Labour’ page detailing ten broad policy positions. A brief glance is enough to know it’s a slight rewording of Ed Miliband’s 2015 manifesto combined with some broad meaningless jargon.

“We will build a progressive tax system so that wealth and the highest earners are fairly taxed, act against executive pay excess, and shrink the gap between the highest and lowest paid – FTSE 100 CEOs are now paid 183 times the wage of the average UK worker, and Britain’s wages are the most unequal in Europe. We will act to create a more equal society, boost the incomes of the poorest, and close the gender pay gap.”[xvi]

Do we not already have a progressive tax system? What rate should the highest earners pay? Will you cap executive bonuses? How will you boost the incomes of the poorest? How will you close the gender pay gap?

Such questions could be the only reasonable response to reading such general non-offensive meaningless milk-and-honey talking points. Anyone who feels the media hasn’t given Corbyn’s Labour a fair shake and has undertaken to do their own research will only be doubly disappointed when they discover that in the two years of his leadership, there’s scarcely a new policy to speak of.

For those who seek out concrete information, they should be rewarded with definitive and detailed policy proposals signed off by renowned economists, think tanks, and financial organizations.

Such policies should include pledges to build huge tidal power stations taking advantage of the fact that our nation is surrounded by water, to build offshore wind farms (including specifications on how many of them, at what cost and where the money is coming from), and to build new motorways, detailing how many people such a project would employ and projecting the economic benefits it would bring to this city or that. Alas, nothing of the sort exists.

Not to harp on about political antiquity, but Harold Wilson talked of the ‘white heat of the technological revolution.’ It’s not something that was ever truly delivered on, but it’s a phrase that stuck. What better time than now is there to renew the scientific and technological revolution? In the age of drones, self-driving cars, nanotechnology, and interstellar rovers, the modern Labour party has very little or nothing to say about it.

As a people we have the potential and as a country we have the need to host research and development facilities for the world’s leading technology firms and to have factories producing technology for the modern age. Labour Shadow Ministers should be meeting with Tesla and Microsoft, putting out press releases and winning support amongst the firms of the future, letting them know Britain is open for business.

In tandem with this we need new and forward-looking training schemes. The youth vote is overwhelmingly Labour but also the least likely to turn out.

Labour councilors, MPs and its half million members (Where are they?) should be knocking on every door of every council estate, meeting the unemployed, disenfranchised youth, and giving them a clear, concise piece of paper offering them a world-class training program that Labour guarantees to introduce if it wins the election.

Give these people something to aspire to and something to vote for outside of the Blue and Red tribal dichotomy which means very little to most people.

AddendumI have returned to this section to note that shortly after the time of writing, the Conservative government has unveiled so called ‘T-levels’, which promise to train youngsters in the practical and technical fields of the future. Once again, Labour has been too slow on the draw and attempts to do so now would appear to be a derivative imitation.

Put before people a plan that they can understand and offer them a future: through training programs, scientific advancement, industrialization, automation, pay rises, and tax breaks. Talking points must give way to the tangible.

What matters to most people when all is said and done is the food on their table, the money in their pockets and the roof over their head. Naturally, a sense of community drives many voters, but elections cannot be won through street marches in aid of the NHS. It’s an established truism that Labour will best serve the NHS, and people understand that all too well, but it cannot rely on this one-trick pony to carry it through to government.

Tough on Crime, Tough on the Causes of Crime

Possibly the best thing to come out of the Blair era was the acknowledgment that the great mass of Labour voters were not ultra-liberal, as the Westminster establishment would have you believe but are in fact deeply socially conservative. As such, it’s crucial not only for the execution of justice, but for the electability of the party that Labour are seen to come down hard on criminals and serve justice to victims.

This should come in tandem with core Labour values about alleviating poverty, which we know to be the leading cause of crime since the devil will find work for idle hands to do. Any attempt to crack down on crime must do so heavily and stringently on perpetrators, while simultaneously delivering a revolutionary jobs program to put those idle hands to work.

As a consequence, such people will be able to sustain a family and home, thus giving people a stake in society they would be unwilling to discard with wanton criminality. The Tories have shamelessly cut back the numbers of police to levels last seen in 2003[xvii]. Prisons are being sold to private companies and the conditions that occur within them as a result is nothing short of disgraceful.

Prison guards are striking, and criminals are forcibly taking control of their own prisons, if such a thing could be believed to be true in 21st century Britain. Not only is this a national crisis that warrants an urgent response, but it’s a political opportunity Labour has thus far made no move to exploit.

It should call for and develop credible plans to introduce an increase in police numbers, prison reform, and higher wages for those on the frontline keeping our streets safe. Labour should be tough on crime because it’s the working class who suffer disproportionately at the hands of criminals without the benefits of gated drives and suburbia to protect them.

The Labour party has thus far failed to make political capital from any of these issues. It should go forth hand in hand with the police unions and declare that Labour will be second to none in its commitment and strength of purpose to cut down crime and clean up our prisons. Labour will serve the interests of victims and not criminals once again.

Corbyn’s irreparably damaging comments that he was ‘unhappy’ with the shoot-to-kill policy have done nothing to reduce the idea that Labour are soft on crime. The party needs to push the message night and day until it’s accepted as a truism that under Labour the streets will be safe again. 

Speaking to the People

Many in the Labour party have become totally removed from the voters they serve. Famously, Emily Thornberry poured scorn on a white van man for daring to hang the English flag on his own home. She was roundly attacked by people living outside the ultra-liberal Westminster bubble and was forced to resign from her then position as Shadow Attorney General, though since then Corbyn has secured her promotion to even greater heights.

It’s no surprise that working-class people continue to turn to UKIP in such numbers, when Labour’s North London elite mocks anyone patriotic or traditional in outlook. The voters of Rochester and Strood where the comments were made had nothing in common with Emily Thornberry and the beliefs she manifests, yet she felt perfectly entitled to go there and belittle the very people whose support she should have been trying to secure.

Unsurprisingly, Labour came 3rd in the constituency, losing over 10% of their vote share on the 2010 election. Seats like these are essential to take in order for Labour to have any hope of winning a general election.

Such events are symptomatic of a wider problem, which at the moment is embodied within the Labour leadership. The public watched in outrage as Jeremy Corbyn failed to sing the national anthem during a Battle of Britain commemoration. The papers made hay when Corbyn made a half-hearted bow at the Cenotaph, and did so, by the way, in a tatty suit. When the Red Flag is sung, it brings a smile to activists’ faces but confusion to the country at large.

Corbyn is known to be a republican. There is no problem with that. But he must understand that the vast majority of the country are in favor of the British monarchy because it speaks to their patriotism, is synonymous with their British identity, and is associated with the wars from times gone by and those lost in them.

Any leader of any party should sing the national anthem with gusto, and do so in the finest black suit with the boldest red tie. A refusal or failure to engage in the traditions that venerate the nation and honor our war dead sends a clear signal to the working class of this country that Labour is not the party for them. Indeed, many in the country view Corbyn as directly ‘anti-British’ given his close ties to IRA figures and his now infamous comments calling Hezbollah his ‘friends’.

Some will suggest that the aforementioned are merely superficial issues. In many ways, they are an issue of presentation, but the image the Labour party and its present leadership is not a secondary or tertiary concern, it should be the primary concern for any party seeking to win power.

It’s all well and good having an excellent manifesto, but if no one reads it or gives it credence because they believe its authors are intrinsically unpatriotic, then the manifesto is entirely useless.

Jeremy Corbyn’s tenure as leader is essentially a job interview with the British people at large. He must win their approval in order for them to grant him power. Yet he can’t be bothered to wear a decent suit, which in the opening days of his leadership campaign was endearing and charming, but at this point marks him as an unprepared amateur.

The Labour party has a war coffer of funds at its disposal, including membership subscriptions of over 500,000 individuals, a long list of big private donors, and a great deal more cash donated by trade unions. Yet for all these resources, there isn’t a single advisor who can tell Corbyn not to wear black suit trousers with a blue suit jacket during Prime Minister’s question time. When members of the public go for a job interview, they dress to impress, and they expect their leaders to do the same.

We need a leader of the Labour party flanked by the Union Flag, bellowing the national anthem, and embracing patriotism the same way the people do. Sadly, it appears the liberal elite feels shame and embarrassment at any suggestion of national pride.

There are people who understand this. Andy Burnham makes a particularly good example. A working-class lad who graduated from Cambridge, he returned to his home town to represent Leigh as a member of parliament, where he notably worked to secure justice for the victims of the Hillsborough disaster cover-up.

From a cold reception in a speech at the Anfield Football Grounds in 2009, he returned after five tireless years of fighting for justice to a well-earned hero’s reception. He wasn’t afraid to speak about that which for so long Labour had considered taboo, namely immigration, and during his bid for the leadership in 2015, he did just that.

Burnham rightly acknowledged all the good that immigration brings, from economic growth to cultural enrichment, while at the same time talking about those left behind by uncontrolled immigration. He talked of a factory worker in his constituency who sat alone during lunch times as he was the only English-speaking worker.

He rightly identified that immigration had disproportionately taken a toll on Labour’s industrial and post-industrial heartlands, and since his failed campaign, he has become even more vocal on this issue.

Alas, for some reason he lacked a certain spark during the campaign, though that aside, he spoke directly to the country, but yet it was the niche Labour party membership who had for the first time the total say on the new leader. Consequently Corbyn won. Burnham has moved out of the front line of national politics towards a campaign to be the mayor of Manchester. Let’s hope that he and his fellows plan a return in the near future.

Chapter V – Conclusions

There absolutely is a place for social liberals within the modern Labour party. The Labour party has a history of pushing through excellent liberal reforms from Barbra Castle legislating equal pay for equal work between the genders to the introduction of civil partnerships under Blair.

Throughout its history, Labour has been at the forefront of liberal reforms that have liberated people of all stripes, and it’s a good thing too. It’s also right that the Labour party platform deals with discrimination against transgender, gay, and black and minority ethnic individuals, but it should not do so at the expense of all else.

Too often, Labour party circles have discussion dominated by issues that (while important) effect .01% of the population or less. The cry of ‘racist’ or ‘transphobe’ is too often an excuse to shut down freedom of speech, particularly on university campuses and by individuals associated with Labour at a student level.

How can it be that lifelong gay activist Peter Tatchell, feminist icon Germaine Greer, and the left-of-Labour George Galloway have all been no-platformed or attacked on our university campuses. The attitudes that lead to such absurd action are rife among Labour party members and less often to be seen amongst the general populace, for whom these individuals would be considered far left, not something-or-other-ophobic.

There’s a false equivalence between parties like UKIP, a liberal isolationist organization, on the one hand, and fascism or racism on the other, and the comparison between them is consistently pushed by groups like Momentum, the Alliance for Workers Liberty and the Socialist Workers Party, all of which are groups operating with or within the Labour party.

Here’s an excerpt from the SWP publication the Socialist Worker, which I have seen distributed by Labour party members outside meetings and talks:

“And in Stoke Central the racist UKIP party, which came second there at the last general election, wants to whip up racism to take the seat from Labour. Socialist Worker is calling for a vote for Labour in both elections. They will be seen as referendums on Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour—and Corbyn could be forced to resign as leader if Labour does badly.

The racist right will feel ecstatic if UKIP leader Paul Nuttall wins in Stoke. Labour has rightly attacked Nuttall for his previous statements supporting privatization of the NHS. But Labour’s official campaign has not challenged UKIP over its racism. Labour will be most effective if it both attacks the cuts and also confronts UKIP divisive racism.”[xviii]

It’s simply not enough to shout ‘racist’ and expect to win an argument. In fact, at this point it’s no longer even a case of diminishing returns, but it’s actually backfiring, making people more inclined to vote for UKIP when their concerns about migration are met with insult by leftists. We on the left should be trying to win debates, not shut them down.

This isn’t an appeal to the SWP to change their tactics. They are free agents and can do as they please. But the fact that the Labour party leadership meets with them, gives them interviews and is commonly seen marching alongside them is indicative of the sort of attitudes that fester in Labour and also appears to be a soft endorsement of such views.

It’s part of a wider problem where certain social liberals are going so far in their anti-racism campaigns that they shut down free speech within the media, on university campuses, and on the streets, more often than not targeting people who were never racist in the first place.

In short, these liberals have become the very illiberal people they believe they’re fighting against. Such people are fooled into believing the rest of the country is on their wavelength, buoyed up by thousands of retweets and Facebook likes, yet they do not appear to understand that their online presence is an echo chamber. The more their preaching is welcomed by the converted, the more steadfast they become in their initial beliefs.

Most people in the country are not anything close to this level of ultra-liberal, and such attitudes do not resonate with them. The great mass of people are patriotic and socially conservative, and their concern with politics extends to ensuring the system provides them with a safety net and the opportunity for employment.

That doesn’t mean the country at large doesn’t have a sense of and desire for social justice. Of course it does. But the best way to ensure it is to first establish economic justice. When Labour party figures engage in extended diatribes about intersectional feminism, which to most people of both genders means nothing, it turns the public off.

Liberalism is a welcome element of the Labour coalition, but it cannot continue in such an extreme form, nor can it override concern for the economy and for jobs. Labour need to talk less about rules surrounding transgender usage of bathrooms in North Carolina, and more, much more, about jobs.

Corbyn’s position is untenable. He has had second chance upon second chance and failed to rehabilitate his image or reform his party. His name is toxic and his leadership destructive, and for these reasons, he must go.

In his place, we need a strong man or woman who understands the patriotism that stirs within Labour’s core vote, who understands the nation’s deep social conservatism, and who is prepared to meet the electorate’s demands for homes and jobs. Perhaps an Andy Burnham, a Gisela Stewart, a Dan Jarvis, a Richard Burgeon, or someone else entirely.

Labour must overcome its misconceptions about the people’s wants by breaking free of both Westminster and its online echo chambers.

The public are not shocked or angered about cuts to the benefits bill, in fact it’s a popular position[xix]. On this, let’s deliver the biggest benefits cut yet seen, and let them fall on the corporate welfare that now costs over £50 billion a year between working tax credits and housing benefit alone.

Let’s force corporations to pay a living wage, and put the working tax credit savings into a jobs program that will mop up any collateral unemployment. Let’s build houses until prices fall and housing benefit drops to record lows. Let’s cut old-age benefits for the very richest pensioners who have no need of them, and distribute that money to the needy elderly according to their ability and means.

Over a million food parcels were distributed by food banks to hungry citizens throughout the country in 2015[xx], evidence if any more were needed that our infrastructure, welfare, and employment programs are totally failing the British people.

Unfortunately, the people accessing these food banks are the least likely to turn out in a general election. Let’s take Labour’s mass membership and send it to deprived communities to knock on doors and win support from those who have never voted before. Such an effort should be supported by its hundreds of MPs, thousands of councilors, and hundreds of thousands of trade union affiliated members.

Labour’s war coffers are full enough to help out its members when they sacrifice their time for the party. Travel and other associated costs should be subsidized in such campaigns.

Let’s take a strong message into the heart of the country, into Scotland, Wales, the Midlands and the North, that Labour will deliver British jobs for British workers.  It will carry through to the agricultural areas which the Tories presume to sit upon since time immemorial and deliver a program to get British farms working again.

Let’s go into London and make clear that Labour is the party for social justice, and that begins with housing. Guarantee the construction of at least 250,000 homes every year and provide credible plans on how it will be done because whether you’re Black, White, trans, gay, straight, male or female, your primary concern is shelter, of which there is currently a dire shortage.

Let’s spark off a renaissance in 21st century manufacturing, now with the benefits of automation and renewable energy. Take to the public a message that cuts in the foreign aid budget will deliver a program of nuclear, tidal, wind, and solar energy expansion that will not just create innumerable high-paying jobs but will have the added advantage of saving the climate.

Let’s wade into the realm of the intelligentsia and say loud and clear that Labour is the party for true liberals, those who believe in rationalism, freedom of speech, and tolerance. Let’s talk to those who face the prospect of a life behind bars and deliver to them a place behind a college desk, a workbench or the wheel of a JCB.

Let us go to the people and promise them; Jobs, Homes and Health.

[i] Khan, O. (2015 May 15) Race and the 2015 General Election Part 1: Black and Minority Ethnic Voters. Retrieved from http://www.runnymedetrust.org/blog/race-and-the-2015-general-election-black-and-minority-ethnic-voters

[ii] Monegan, A. (2014 August 20) Self-employment in UK at Highest Level Since Records Began. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/aug/20/self-employment-uk-highest-level

[iii] BBC Business. (2015 March 18) Economy Tracker: Unemployment. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10604117

[iv] Mirza-Davies J. (2016 November 21) Apprenticeship Statistics: England. Retrieved from http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN06113/SN06113.pdf

[v] Blacking, D. (2014 July) So You Want to Be a Legal Aid Lawyer? Retrieved from http://lacuna.org.uk/justice/so-you-want-to-be-a-legal-aid-lawyer/

[vi] BBC Business (2015 September 21) Why Is the UK’s Housing Benefit Bill so High? Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-34290727

[vii] OECD. (2016 April 13) Development Aid in 2015 Continues to Grow despite Costs for In-donor Refugees. Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/dac/stats/ODA-2015-detailed-summary.pdf

[viii] Leach, B. (2012 December 19) One in Four Support Britain’s Foreign Aid Policies. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/david-cameron/9770644/One-in-four-support-Britains-foreign-aid-policies.html

[ix] Lubin, G. (2014 March 16) How Russians Became Crimea’s Largest Ethnic Group, in One Haunting Chart. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/crimea-demographics-chart-2014-3?IR=T

[x] Socialist Worker (2017 February 28) Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell Spoke to Socialist Worker on the Recent By-election Results. Retrieved from https://socialistworker.co.uk/art/44161/Shadow+chancellor+John+McDonnell+spoke+to+Socialist+Worker+on+the+recent+by+election+results

[xi] Migration Watch UK (2014 November 18) Opinion Poll Results on Immigration. Retrieved from https://www.migrationwatchuk.org/briefingPaper/document/249

[xii] Migration Watch UK (2015 March 25) Immigration Policy and Black and Minority Ethnic Voters. Retrieved from https://www.migrationwatchuk.org/briefing-paper/11.37

[xiii] Castella, T. (2015 January 13) Why Can’t the UK Build 240,000 Houses a Year? Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-30776306

[xiv] BBC News (2013 August 8) More UK births Than any Year Since 1972, Says ONS. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23618487

[xv] Dunne, P. Mckenna, H. and Murray, R. (2016 July) Deficits in the NHS 2016. Retrieved from https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/sites/files/kf/field/field_publication_file/Deficits_in_the_NHS_Kings_Fund_July_2016_1.pdf

[xvi] Our Ten Pledges to Rebuild and Transform Britain. Retrieved from http://www.jeremyforlabour.com/pledges

[xvii] Newburn, T. (2015 November 24) What’s Happening to Police Numbers? Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34899060

[xviii] Clark, N. (2017 February 14) Clive Lewis Backs off, but the Labour Right is out for Corbyn’s Blood. Retrieved from https://socialistworker.co.uk/art/44091/Clive+Lewis+backs+off%2C+but+the+Labour+right+is+out+for+Corbyns+blood

[xix] Wells, A. (2011 May 16) Strong Public Support for Benefit Cuts. Retrieved from https://yougov.co.uk/news/2011/05/16/strong-public-support-benefit-cuts/

[xx] BBC News. (2015 April 22) Record Numbers Use Food Banks – Trussell Trust. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-32406120

Alt Left: Many Illegal Immigrant Trump Supporters Do Want What Is Best for Our Country

Incidentally, a lot of the anti-illegal immigration Trumpies actually want what’s best for the country too. I dislike a lot of the fanatical attitude about these folks and in particular the way Trump is going about it which is unnecessarily harsh and yes, divisive. But I do believe in giving credit where it’s due. Just because I dislike Trump supporters doesn’t mean that their hearts are in the right place on some issues.

Importing vast numbers of low-IQ, poorly educated peasants from Third World Mesoamerican countries doesn’t seem to benefit the US one bit. Everywhere these people settle in large numbers turns into something of a slum. Not nearly as bad as a Black ghetto but usually a decline from a previously existing White locale.

Illegal aliens are not good for America. Illegals are bad for America. They drive down wages while driving up rents. Their descendants increase the crime rate by 3.3X. And there are no jobs that Americans won’t do. I lived in a White working class town for many years and there was not one job that a White person would not do, including many that are the illegal-lovers say Americans won’t do.

Farm work is a bit different, but around here, a lot of legal immigrants and even 2nd generation American citizens (possibly anchor babies) go out and work in the fields. In fact, by age 18-23, many former gang associated types are out working in the fields! Isn’t that incredible? From gangbanging to picking crops in the fields, something Americans won’t do.

It’s not all illegals out in the fields or in the packing houses. I hear about jobs in those places regularly and I often hear, “You need papers.” So they’re only hiring people who are here legally. In fact I have heard in the last few years that a lot of the farms and ranches are requiring papers for field work.

I was told that this is one reason why a lot of the illegals are going home. I suppose I am guilty of furthering this problem. After all, I like to hire young illegal alien Mexican women as maids. I mostly do this to try to seduce them because I’m a scumbag, but I also like to get the place cleaned up and help them out.

Alt Left: All That Glitters Is Not Capitalist: Various Types of Non-Capitalist Forms of Production That Work Well

Rahul:

I would argue that being pragmatic while being a communist is almost impossible. Communism doesn’t work, because humans are too greedy.

A mixture of a bunch of ideologies is probably the way to go.

If you are talking about hardcore Communism with the state running everything and no market or private enterprise as in the USSR, nobody wants to go back to that anyway. Even most Communists don’t want to go back to that.

But otherwise, you are just wrong. Most Communists nowadays see some sort of a role for a market. There are lots of ways to do this.

For instance, in Venezuela, various neighborhood groups and communities operate bread factories, farms, on and on. They sell the bread at a small reasonable profit to the community. The proceeds and profits are invested back into the enterprise and used to pay the salaries of the employees.

The farms and animal husbandry industries work along the same lines. A community will be organized as a commune. They will raise chickens for eggs or pigs or they will grow various crops.

They then sell the eggs, pigs, or crops to other communities for a reasonable profit. The proceeds and profits are invested back into the company, used to pay the salaries of the workers, and if there is anything left over, they are invested in the community itself – new sidewalks, new roads, a new health facility, water treatment, a community center, on and on.

The Venezuelan communes are considered to be a non-capitalist form of development.

Communists all around the world have supported this model. The Chinese Communists are operating a form of market socialism that utilizes a market mechanism. The Vietnamese Communists are doing the same. The Cuban Communists are doing something similar.

Most Communists also support the cooperative movement, where workers own the enterprise and compete against other firms, including capitalist firms. The enterprise either sinks or swims.

The proceeds and profits are best collected by a regional bank, which reinvests them in the enterprise, uses them to pay salaries, or even gives bonuses to the workers. So a very successful enterprise that made a lot of profits could end up having some workers who were making some good money if they were pocketing some of the profits.

When you give the workers the control over what to do with the money – whether to sink it back into the enterprise or to take it home as increased paychecks, workers tend to choose to take home the bigger checks. This is what happened with Yugoslavia’s otherwise very successful worker self-managed Communism.

The workers would not put enough money back into the firms to keep them going, and the firms would start to deteriorate to the point where they were no longer operative. So everyone was out of a job. But no worries as everyone got a bigger paycheck!

In the Mondragon Cooperatives in the Basque Country in Spain, a similar system has unfolded and has been successful for a long time now. There, the workers elect their own management, which is a great idea in my opinion. You would think that workers would elect management that let them slide and screw off, but they elect very good managers.

The decisions about what to do with the proceeds and profits – whether to sink them back into the enterprise or to take them home in higher worker wages – is left up to management and ultimately large regional banks.

These large regional banks are the ultimate owners of all of the Mondragon cooperatives. These are public banks so they are not run on the typical profit motive. They resemble more the customer-owned credit unions in the US which give much better customer service than the capitalist banks do.

I’m not even entirely sure that credit unions are a capitalist enterprise. How can you have a capitalist enterprise that is owned by the consumers of its service? That does not seem possible.

The banks tend to make the best decisions for the firm. Keep in mind that Mondragon cooperatives utilize a non-capitalist form of development.

The problem with Mondragon is that they have to compete against capitalist firms. So all of the cutthroat behaviors that capitalists engage in to reduce costs and maximize profits – exploitation of labor, shafting consumers, investors and the public at large – means that Mondragon is forced to some extent to lower their own costs however they can to keep pace with these firms.

So Mondragon is a non-capitalist system that is still privy to the logic of capitalism in which they are ensnared.

In North Korea in the far north of the country there is a lot of private gold mining going on now in new-found reserves. They are often just one man enterprises of small groups of men working together.

The state’s footprint up there is small, and the state has stepped aside and simply lets these miners mine whatever they want. They only ask for a 25% tax cut on all mining proceeds. As long as you give them your cut, it’s all good. Most of these miners would not be described as capitalists.

In North Korea and Cuba there are now farmer’s markets where farmers can bring their produce directly to farmer’s markets to sell to the public. These are generally not capitalist enterprises. These are just farmers selling the product of their labor to consumers (other workers) buying their crops. There’s no tendency to maximize profits, as the prices are set by the market.

The entire cooperative sector all around the world is a non-capitalist form of development. The workers actually own the firm so there is no exploitation of labor, which is the definition of capitalism. No exploitation, no capitalism.

In this way these cooperatives have gotten rid of the division between Labor and Capital which is the backbone of any capitalist system because capitalist systems work by marking up the products of workers’ labor and then adding onto it something called surplus value when is then pocketed by the capitalist as a profit.

So a worker producing a product that is paid say $20 in labor has his product taken by the owner of the firm, which then proceeds to mark up the worker’s labor cost to $25-30, and thereby make a profit. This is called the Labor Law of Value, and it has been proven to be the backbone of the capitalist system.

As you can see here, the worker is not getting the full value of the product he produced. He produced a product worth $25-30, and he only received $20 for it, with his owner taking the $5-10 surplus value and pocketing it as profit.

Independent contractors such as electricians, plumbers, painters, attorneys, physicians, accountants, etc. are not usually capitalists at all. Instead these are just workers – albeit highly paid workers – who are simply selling their labor time to  others, mostly workers, who purchase their labor time when they hire them or use their services.

Middlemen and traders who simply intervene between the producer and walnuts and the seller of say walnuts, adding on their profit, are not capitalists. Those are simply traders or merchants. They are not exploiting anyone. They can be thought of as a form of workers who act as go-betweens vis a vis producers and sellers, adding their small amount on as a fee for helping to get the two together.

Finance capital or people who buy and sell stocks are not usually capitalists. These are like people who trade in rare books, stamps, coins, precious metals, or anything else.

The stocks and bonds are like rare coins or precious metals. They simply try to buy them at a lower rate and sell them at a higher rate, which merchants have been doing forever even long before capitalism. They have no employees so they are not exploiting anyone.

Music groups and other performers, authors, artists, sculptors, etc. are mostly just workers who sell their labor time as performers or the product of their labor as books, paintings, sculpture, DVD’s, etc. Most of these people, even bands, do not hire employees.

Now granted the book publishers, record companies, galleries, etc. are marking up the labor time and labor products of these entertainment workers and taking the surplus value, hence they are capitalists.

A big rock music band can be thought of simply as performers (workers) who make a musical product and sell it to fans, mostly other workers, who enjoy their entertainment product so much they are willing to pay good money for it. So most bands, artists, authors, sculptors, etc. are not capitalists. They’re just workers for the most part marketing their labor time or the products of their labor time.

Now granted finance capital and speculative capital, while generally not capitalist, are nevertheless regarded as “parasitic” industries because they don’t produce anything.

They can be thought of as gigantic casinos in the sky (the stock market in particular can be seen this way). Speculative capital produces nothing and often has bad effects on society. Look at the wildly inflated housing markets on the US West Coast and in New York and Paris for example.

In China under what they call market socialism or socialism with Chinese characteristics, a Communist party cell sits on the board of directors of every large corporation. When corporations get a certain size the state usually takes them over in a sense. However, the managers have large leeway how to operate their company.

All private enterprises are underneath the state or the Communist Party. The CP sees the market or the private sector as a tool for the development of the productive forces. However, the capitalists are underneath the state. They have to do what the state says.

They have to adhere to 5-year plans. Yes, the 5-year plans that were said to be so devastating to the USSR and other Communist countries are working great in China.

The government, the party, and the private sector all work together on economic goals. In this way it is similar to the state capitalism of South Korea and Japan or even Nazi Germany.

That state capitalism is a non-capitalist form of development because the state works closely with the capitalists on economic goals which are supposed to serve the nation and not just the petty temporal demands of capital for maximal profits come Hell or high water, forget about consumers, workers, society, the environment or the nation.

Under state capitalism, the state controls the commanding heights of the economy. In Japan this boils down to a several huge banks which effectively run all economic development in Japan.

Nazi Germany was similar. Yes, you could have your corporation but you had to do what the state said, or they would just take you over and confiscate your firm. So the firms in Nazi Germany in effect all worked for the state.

In China, if firms do not follow guidelines and do as they are told, the state will simply go in and seize the firm, confiscating all of its assets. The state will then take over the firm or hand it over to  a more obedient capitalist. You see here that the state rules capital. Capital has to do what the state says.

Here in the US, the market is not a tool for the development of productive forces. Instead it is a form of politics. In other words, the market or the corporations basically run society. The market is over the state. The state has to do what the corporations demand, or the corporations will get rid of the state and put in a new state.

The state obeys the demands of capital and not the other way around. Capital, the market, and the corporations are our true rulers in the US. The government simply acts as if they are employees of capital. The state does not rule us except to the extent that it carries out ruling directives that Capital gives to the state to enforce on the people.

In China state firms are often run by local municipalities. So if we had their system,  say Los Angeles and San Fransisco might both have steel mills. These mills would then compete against each other and against private firms both domestic and foreign. It’s sink or swim for all public firms in China.

Firms that are more successful see their incomes rise and more workers move to those cities to be part of those enterprises.

The workers still officially own the enterprises, but the city takes 95% of the income that the enterprise brings in in the form of a paycheck for every worker. 95% of each workers paycheck is taken by the city and reinvested in the firm or in the city itself (similar to the Venezuelan model). The workers get 5% of their check to take home as pay.

Keep in mind that this can be a good paycheck, as cities running successful firms pay their workers more.

There are large cities in Southern China with 700,000 workers where 1/3 of the population works for one of the many enterprises that the city runs. The residents of the city, who are also workers for the city, have a say in how these firms are run.

For instance, they try to fight corruption, since it hurts the firms, which hurts the city, which hurts them in the end. So the firms of the city in a sense are under the control of the people who live and work in there in the sense that their input is used to make decisions about how to run the firms.

"They’re Not Oysters," by Alpha Unit

Connecticut, West Virginia, Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, Idaho, Nebraska, and Alaska have at least one thing in common: each has a Panhandle (WV has two). The Nebraska Panhandle is the westernmost part of Nebraska, where the prairie turns into rocky mesas, buttes, and pillars, such as Chimney Rock. It’s where the Midwest becomes the West.

Cattle outnumber people by about three to one in Nebraska. While Eastern Nebraska has excellent cropland for corn, the rest of the state is abundant with grassland for cattle grazing. In the semi-arid Panhandle, cattle ranching dominates. That means Rocky Mountain Oysters are a celebrated delicacy.

This past April the Sidney Shooting Park held its 8th Annual Rocky Mountain Oyster Fry and Fundraiser at the Cheyenne County Fairgrounds west of Sidney, Nebraska. At the Silver Dollar Bar and Grill, also in Sidney, you can stop in for cold beer, onion rings, and Rocky Mountain Oysters – described by one satisfied customer as hot, fresh, and tender.

They might have been hot, fresh, and tender, but you and I know that there aren’t any oyster reefs in Nebraska. These Oysters are bull testicles – or, more accurately, calf testicles. In spring or early summer, ranchers dehorn and castrate bull calves that they won’t be using as breeding stock. They call these non-breeding stock steers. The males that keep their testicles and are later used as breeding stock they call bulls. The main purpose of castration is to calm their tempers, says Dr. Jake Geis, cattle rancher and veterinarian.

Simply put, bulls like to fight. They fight to establish dominance and even after they settle the hierarchy, they fight to re-assert dominance. Dr. Geis says that he’s worked on bulls that have been banged up fighting each other; sometimes the animal is so badly injured that a rancher has no choice but to put it down. Breeding bulls are essential so the problem can’t be entirely avoided, but castrating the non-breeding animals reduces the number of bulls from half the calf crop to three or four.

Also, bulls are more aggressive toward people than steers. Castrating bulls makes them mellower and safer to work with. A herdsman could be seriously injured or killed by a bull while loading or unloading them via trailers.

Another problem, says Dr. Geis, is that when bull calves reach puberty, they want to start breeding. Young females, or heifers, on the other hand, aren’t ready to breed. They can get pregnant but they can’t yet safely deliver and raise a calf. Castration eliminates this problem.

Arguably the most important reason for castrating bull calves is that Americans prefer the taste of steer meat to that of bull meat. The hormone profile of steers with their reduced testosterone changes the flavor of the meat. Dr. Geis says that not all cultures share this preference. He mentions that in Italian culture bull meat is preferred. This means they raise the bulls to harvest weight but have to manage all the problems with aggressiveness and fighting.

With a pair of organs coming off each calf, ranchers could easily end up with scores of them in a day’s work. The dogs get their share before the ranchers, herdsmen, and their families cook the rest just as they would any other part of the animal. The same as cattlemen have done for centuries all over the world.

When they’re not castrating bulls, beef cattle herdsmen are doing various other things with cattle such as feeding, giving vaccinations, tagging or branding, trimming hooves, assisting with births, performing artificial insemination, loading animals onto trailers, driving feed trucks, maintaining pastures, mending fences, and just about anything else that needs to be done on the ranch or feedlot.

Setting the Record Straight About Pre-Contact Africa

John Engelman: Agriculture and civilization select a race for intelligence. Caucasians began agriculture about eleven thousand years ago. We began civilization about five thousand years ago. Negroes only adopted agriculture about four thousand years ago. They never developed their own civilizations. They have only recently been exposed to White civilization.

Agriculture was probably developed by Africans before it was developed by anyone else. There is evidence for agriculture or pre-agriculture in Africa (West African Guinea Highlands) as early as 12,000 YBP. You must realize that Africans originated many things that we as humans do. The next to develop agriculture were the Mayans (corn), the Chinese (rice) and the Papuans (yams), all at 9,000 YBP. The Egyptians and Mesopotamians were not far behind. Africans even had plantation agriculture as early as 900 CE in Tanzania.
I doubt if Caucasians developed agriculture 11,000 YBP. Are we referring to Mesopotamia, the Levant or Egypt here?
Animal husbandry was also developed very early on in Africa. It may have been developed in the Western Sahara before anywhere else on Earth. A figure of 9,000 YBP is suggested for animal husbandry in the Sahara. However, pigs may have been domesticated in Papua around this time also. Animal husbandry was widespread in Africa, particularly in the Sahara, the Sahel and Ethiopia, on contact. I don’t know much about animal husbandry further south, but I have heard there was a shortage of animals to domesticate.
At any rate, the invention of the hoe and subsequent hoe agriculture along with the spear played a major role in the history of Africa. Both derived from the early development of metallurgy in the form or iron. Indeed, the Iron Age came to Africa before it came to Europe. The development of iron metallurgy and the subsequent creation of those two iron tools allowed the Bantus to expand massively all over Central and South Africa in only the last 2-3,000 years.
Africans definitely had civilizations, that’s for sure. Mostly in West Africa but quite a few in the Sahel too. There was even a civilization in Rhodesia. Early European explorers drew drawings of large African cities. Looks like civilization to me. Civilizations were especially common in Nigeria. They had manufacture, trade, agriculture for export, all sorts of things.

The Real Story of Zimbabwe: I Would Rather Starve on My Feet Than Feast on My Knees

RL: Reminds me of the situation in Zimbabwe when the Blacks destroyed all the White farms and drove the farmers out of the country and then all the Blacks sat around and said, “Whoa! We ain’t gots no food! Someone please gibs us some food! We hungry!”
Jason Y: Yeah, but didn’t you say Zimbabwe was a justified state. Aren’t you a fan?

I wrote some long posts on what happened.
2,000 White farmers from the UK owned half of all the land and about all of the decent arable land. The crops were all grown for export, and most of the Blacks were starving and malnourished. The Blacks were forced onto marginal lands which they farmed. However, yields were poor, and most importantly, the land was eroding away due to its poor nature for farming. So this situation was not working out.
Mugabe came in and said we have to deal with this land situation. He offered to buy out the White farmers, and then the state was going to deal with the land with state farms, leasing it out to small Black farmers or whatever.
However, no matter how much money he offered, the UK kept saying they were going to pay and then never paid, and the negotiations went on forever. The truth was the UK never intended to allow the farmers to be bought out ever, and they wanted to drag this out until the end of time. The US was helping the UK in this disgusting racist charade. This went on for a long time, and nothing happened, and people started getting mad. The US and UK started slapping all these sanctions on Zimbabwe for no good reason, and the economy started going down the tubes.
Meanwhile, Mugabe’s base were the war veterans. There had been a revolutionary war that ousted the White racist regime, and Mugabe had led the war, so he was a revolutionary war hero. He was also a Black power guy along the lines of Mandela.
The war veterans wanted land, and Mugabe kept saying it was coming. But the US and UK kept putting more and more sanctions on. Mugabe kept telling them that if they did not let him buy out those farmers, he could not hold his supporters back forever, and at some point, they would just go grab the land themselves. Mugabe kept urging peace with his supporters.
Well, at some point the war veterans had enough and they invaded all of the White farms. Nothing much happened. The Whites mostly took off and only 8% of Whites were latifundista farm owners anyway. But if you include their families, maybe it was 1/3 of the Whites. There was no genocide of Whites. It was a very ugly situation, very aggressive and menacing and some violent stuff happened. But all the Whites left. Seven whole Whites were killed in the “White genocide.” Like 1 in every 3,500 Whites got killed. It’s said when anyone is killed, but there was no genocide.
The Blacks were fine at small farming, but they could not run big farms. So like complete idiots, they simply dismantled the White farms and took everything they could. So the farms were left nonoperational, stripped of equipment, and the Blacks could not run the farms. So now there were food problems.
Mugabe knew that the Blacks could not run those large farms, and he always wanted to do this in an orderly way. He saw the whole mess as catastrophic and stupid. But it was his supporters who raided the farms, so he felt that he had to cheer them on, which is what he did, though he didn’t really want to do that. The project was more to have the state take over the farms in some way because it was assumed that the state could figure out how to run them, or even hire the Whites back to run farms for the people.
The White farmers never got paid off. A lot of the Whites stayed, and nothing happened to them. Now a lot of the Whites are coming back because Mugabe says you can farm your own lands, but we own them now, and you have to lease the land from the state. I think you have to grow food for the people too. And I think a lot of the Blacks are small farmers now. The situation is fixing itself. The government is socialist and dedicated to helping the people, which is the main reason we in the West hate them.
Mugabe has not been nice to the opposition, but they are in bed with the US, UK and the West. Their project is neoliberalism. They lack majority support because nobody wants this crap, and the Opposition basically fronts for the US and the UK. Most people see them as traitors and carpetbaggers. Mugabe is still a patriotic hero. The opposition has maybe 30% support, and no matter how bad things got, people would still not support them. They stuck with Mugabe through thick and thin. Yes elections were not fair, but Mugabe would have won a fair election anyway. The Opposition offered nothing but surrender to the nation’s worst enemies, selling out the country to the same enemies, and frankly treason and being puppets for the hated West. Their economic project was privatization and selling the whole place off to Western money.
There was a big deal about Mugabe tearing down some neighborhoods where a lot of Opposition supporters lived. He called it Operation Tear Down Trash. It was not handled well. The West lied, went crazy and said that Mugabe was tearing down all the homes of the Opposition people, leaving them homeless. But this was not true. The operation was done in a mean way, but their homes were shantytowns, and Mugabe tore down their shantytowns and built a lot of much better, decent modern state housing. Then he invited the former residents, many Opposition people, to come live in the new houses.
People stuck with Mugabe all the way. The sanctions ruined the economy because they were locked out of the world banking system. This was all done for some racist bullshit that the UK wanted to let 2,000 White farmers continue to monopolize the land and create a system of gross injustice. The British acted very bad in this case, and their behavior was quite racist. We shamefully went along with them.
The US and UK media wrote the situation up in a disgusting racist way which basically said that the Blacks destroyed the White farms and were now hungry because niggers are so dumb they can’t even grow food and they need superior White people to even grow food for them so they don’t starve. Yep that’s how dumb niggers are. That was the actual subtext of the West’s reporting on this case, and the openly racist tone was disgusting for the supposedly nonracist Western media.
Anyway it’s not true that niggers are so stupid they can’t even grow food. Blacks have been growing food in Africa forever, and they even started plantation agriculture in East Africa 900 years ago. They also excelled at animal husbandry for thousands of years. Granted Blacks mostly ran small farms, but they were generally able to grow enough food to survive. How hard is it to grow food? The Papuans grow yams and raise pigs. It’s not real hard to do. You don’t have to be a genius to do it. Any human can do this.
However, Blacks never got good at running large modern farms which are run more like a good-sized business. You need higher education, accounting skills and a lot of others smart brain skills to run large farms. It’s almost like running a big factory, or harder.
There are still Whites in Zimbabwe. I watched a video recently of downtown Harare. Crowded parking lot, lot of Blacks but some Whites, everyone dressed nicely, nice cars. They went into a nice restaurant where there were Blacks and Whites both in there, and everything was cool. Apparently a number of Blacks have some money, and there are still moneyed Whites there. If you have some money, it does looks like a nice place to live. You go to downtown Harare on a weekday afternoon, and there are workers in office clothes eating lunch in the park. There’s a brand new fancy radiology center that Mugabe built. Most people are pretty chill and laid back.
You can go to the slums which are not great, but I would say that Harare has the least bad slums in all of Africa. The slums are state housing, and the state spends a lot of money on the people.
This just goes to show you that people would rather stand in misery than die on their knees in comfort. It was very bad under Mugabe due to sanctions, but he represented African pride and self-determination against the predatory West that was trying to screw them over.
It was like the Blacks not wanting to live under White rule in South Africa or the Palestinians not wanting to live under Israeli rule. People have pride, and idiots who think humans are only about money are wrong. Not all people are capitalist hogs who worship money. A lot of people will take poverty with pride over more stuff and living in indignity under people who think you are inferior. The West can’t seem to figure out that humans have pride and don’t want to be lorded over by those who act superior to them. You can’t even buy people off to live under supremacist rule as inferiors. The West doesn’t get it because our only value is money, and we can’t see how many humans will gladly trade money for pride and prefer poverty over being ruled by condescending supremacists.

The Lie of the 20 (or 40, or 60, or 80, or 110) Million: How Many People Did Stalin Kill?

Here.
In 1991, after the Soviet archives were opened, a wild debate raged in the journals for many years. The subject of the debate was how many people did Joseph Stalin kill. Most people assume that Joseph Stalin killed 20 million people at the very least. That figure is considered unassailable. Other figures of 40-60 million are considered to also be possible.
The fascist hero and traitor Solzhenitsyn said that Stalin killed 110 million people. We have little data about how many were killed by early Bolsheviks in peacetime. Much of their time was spent in a brutal Civil War and there were many deaths associated with that. There was also a brutal famine that occurred in the context of war. But all indications are that the Leninists were not responsible for a lot of deaths. I would be surprised if they killed 100,000 people in 10 years. From 1926-1953, we have readily accessible data however.

                     Deaths
Executions           900,000
Anti-Kulak Campaign  400,000
Gulag                1,200,000
Total                2,500,000

I am leaving out deaths during wartime here, as we should not be counting those. However, there were some serious population transfers during World War which ended about 10 years later. The death tolls from these transfers were very high. Populations in the Baltics, Crimean Tatars, Chechens, Ingush and other Caucasian people were transferred, sometimes en masse, to gulags in Siberia. Death tolls were extremely high. I am not sure whether to include these totals, so I am leaving them out. Anyway, I do not have a good source for the deaths.
Surely there were executions and deaths in the gulags after 1943, but after Stalin died, the system was very much loosened up under Khrushchev and certainly under his followers. I doubt once again if there were 100,000 people killed between 1953-1989, a 36 year period.
I am also leaving off deaths due to famines because there is no evidence that these famines were artificially engineered. The most famous fake famine of all, the fake Holodomor, simply never even happened. What I mean was, yes, there was a famine, and many people died – 5.4 million in fact. But those deaths were not all in the Ukraine. Many died in the cities and 1 million died in Siberia. The death toll was higher in the fanatically pro-Stalin Volga than it was in Western Ukraine.
Even in Ukraine, the deaths were as high in the pro-Stalin East as in the anti-USSR nationalist West and Center. There is simply no evidence whatsoever that any “terror famine” occurred at all. There was simply a famine that occurred for a variety of causes, mostly a simple harvest collapse. Most died of disease instead of starvation. Much of the death toll was due to the kulaks.
The kulaks killed 50% of the livestock in the USSR to keep them from being turned over to the state. In the famine year, wheat fields were torched all over the Ukraine. Harvests were piled in the fields and left out to be rained on until they spoiled. Much of the crop failure was due to these dumbasses setting their fields on fire or piling harvests in the rain to spoil. They destroyed all their food crops, and then they sat around and said, “We ain’t got no food!” Duh. Reminds me of the situation in Zimbabwe when the Blacks destroyed all the White farms and drove the farmers out of the country and then all the Blacks sat around and said, “Whoa! We ain’t gots no food! Someone please gibs us some food! We hungry!”
There was an armed revolution in the Ukraine with 20-30 armed attacks per day. Collective farms were attacked and set on fire. Workers in the collective farms would be shot and the women would be raped. This went on all through the years around the famine. The state crackdown was very brutal and that is why I listed 400,000 deaths during this time. If you want to count those 400,000 as “Holodomor” deaths, be my guest. But it ain’t no 6 million and there was no terror famine.
Look, if anti-Communists want to go on and on about Stalin killing 2 1/2 million people, please knock yourselves out. But they’ll never do that because it’s not sensational enough. You say the phrase “20 million killed in Communism” and everyone sits up and takes notice. You say Stalin killed 2 million and most will yawn and ask, “That’s all?” and turn back to the TV show.
This crap is all about propaganda. It’s not about real history or social science of any of that. It’s about lying for political purposes, which is what most of modern history is anyway.
How shameful that is.

North Korean Update

EPGAH: What was that bit about North Korea? They invaded South Korea, they massacred and kidnapped South Koreans, and in general, they deserved to be reduced to rubble and cowering.
If it hadn’t been for China’s interference–who didn’t want a thriving democracy at their border, rather than a country who would rather be illegal immigrant slaves than starve in their own country–there wouldn’t be a North Korea anymore, just a unified thriving Korea.
Why does North Korea get a pass, and why is there deafening silence over all the bad guys Russia and China became butt buddies with (And still are, like Kim Jong) and/or gave guns&bombs to?

Your average North Korean really hates the US and regards us as a deadly enemy and that first paragraph would be exhibit #1 for that attitude. I would not get your hopes up about a US invasion of North Korea being an easy win.
I do not know if it is fair to say that North Korea attacked South Korea. They had been attacking each other back and forth across the line for some time. Who started that back and forth is the subject of a good debate. The best evidence shows that the “North Korean invasion” that started the war was actually a case of two large armies attacking each other at about the same time. It is true that the North overran much of the South though.
Nobody is actually starving in North Korea anymore is how I see it. If you go there, you won’t see any starving people. Most people will look pretty well fed. But you might see a few middle aged men who seem far too thin for their age. That may be due to what they went through in the past. If you go to the rural areas, there are trucks full of smiling field workers everywhere, people pushing carts or with horses on all the roads and the fields full of happy workers. The rural villages look very respectable by 3rd World standards. If you go at harvest season, you will see fields full of harvested crops, in particular corn.
There are day care centers in many places that are open 24 hours a day so workers working any shift can drop their kids off.
North Korean industry is better than you might think. They have made a knockoff of a Mercedes Benz that looks and reportedly drives almost exactly like the real thing. I doubt if many could afford one though. Workers in factories are treated very well, much better than their counterparts in most capitalist countries.
The cities are full of workers too. Everywhere you go in Pyongyang, you see men working on the streets or on construction. You also see truckloads of working men going to wherever. They’re definitely pretty busy in North Korea.
The nights are a bit weird as they are short on electricity due to the oil problem. You will see tall buildings everywhere in Pyongyang at night with most of the lights out. The streets are not well lit up either. Nevertheless, there are some people out and about often, especially teenagers and young people, including girls and young women. They don’t seem to be worried about the lack of lighting. You even see people with their stands out selling things at night in the poorly-lighted streets. There are lone women out there manning their street stands on very dark streets after dark. They don’t seem to be worried about crime. I would gather based on the behavior of people out in these poorly lit streets that the crime rate must be awfully low.
And you will see people chatting and texting away on cellphones everywhere you go in Pyongyang. There’s an Internet, but it is mostly a North Korean intranet. Smuggled in South Korean soap opera tapes are very popular and many people watch them. Not much is done about this. Things are loosening up so much that they are having a mini-STD epidemic because so many married women are now having affairs. No one much cares about that either.
The price of oil went up 10X overnight with the fall of the USSR. I ask you how would the US fare if the price of gasoline suddenly went from 2.50 to 25.00? You think everything would be just fine. As a result of that, the heavily mechanized agriculture in the rural areas nearly came to a halt and many factories simply shut down and were not able to function anymore. That’s one reason that they wanted those nuclear power plants.
In the far north, there is a lot of gold mining going on, mostly illegally due to new finds of gold. I think a lot of it is hydraulic mining. The situation is pretty out of control and the state can’t get a handle on the mining. So instead they are just letting any North Korean who wants to go up there and mine gold, however, the state very much wants a hefty portion of your proceeds in tax. Still, gold miners are quite happy to keep at it as even with the tax, you make a lot more mining gold than being an ordinary worker.
They are allowing some business, and they even have a few rich people now. A few people have a net worth of over $100,000 in North Korea now, which qualifies as very rich. This was unheard of before.
The border in the north is actually somewhat open. They catch people going across all the time but not much is done to them as so many people are doing it. Guards on both sides of the border are easily bribed and it is not extremely difficult to get across other than some large rivers that are in the way. There is even a fair amount of cross-border traffic going on, as many North Koreans who cross the border to China do not stay in China but instead travel back and forth periodically.
Considering that North Korea is probably the most sanctioned country on Earth (quote from George Bush) with new sanctions being put on all the time, it is amazing that they economy even runs at all. They are locked out of the vast majority of the world’s banking system via SWIFT bans and although they are very rich in minerals, they are unable to export nearly all of their minerals. Their only real trade is with China. They do a lot of illegal arms trading though as it is one of the only ways they can make money.
Of course the treatment of dissidents is utterly appalling.

"Old-Fashioned Pig Farming," by Alpha Unit

Woodlands are a pig’s natural habitat. But pigs are adaptable to just about any environment. They live on every continent (except Antarctica).

In the forests and woodlands where wild pigs live, trees and vegetation provide them with shelter and their preferred foods. They like places where they’ll have year-round access to water and moist ground for wallowing, such as swamps and marshes.

In spring they graze on grasses and clover. Throughout the year they’ll forage for berries, nuts, acorns, mushrooms, insects, and sometimes small rodents. But one thing a pig was designed to do is root. A pig’s snout allows it to navigate and interact with its environment – sort of like a cat’s whiskers.

The nasal disc of a pig’s snout, while rigid enough to be used for digging, has numerous sensory receptors. In addition to being useful as a fine and powerful tool for manipulating objects, the extensive innervation in the snout provides pigs with an extremely well-developed sense of smell.

Pigs can smell roots and tubers that are deep underground and in the wild can spend up to 75 percent of their day rooting and foraging. Some homesteaders put pigs’ rooting instinct to work for them and use pigs to “till” garden plots.

Daniel MacPhee and his wife use Guinea Hog piglets on their New England farm, but unlike some farmers, they don’t plan to eat their pigs.

Instead, the piglets are meant as an environmentally- and -budget-friendly cleanup crew of sorts, rooting around to clean out tough, tangled roots after a small flock of sheep has grazed at the couple’s farm, Blackbird Rise in Palermo [Maine].
By having the animals do the work, “we’re not buying machinery and we’re not wasting fossil fuels,” said MacPhee, 35. “They’re eating the roots and vegetable matter, processing that and putting nutrients back in the soil through manure. They’re doing all the same things a tractor does but without the environmental impact.”

The Guinea Hogs on their farm are a “heritage breed,” the name given to any of the distinct breeds that can be traced back to the period before industrial farming. Generations ago, there were hundreds of pig breeds on homesteads in Europe and the United States. But a lot of the historic breeds fell out of favor as the pork industry moved toward leaner carcasses and began large-scale confinement operations. This was in part the result of corn production.

As the larger settled farms of the Midwest began to produce excess corn, the availability and low cost of this feed attracted pig production and processing to the region. By the mid-1800s the states that produced the most corn also produced the most pigs, and production declined in the East and New England. The industry was becoming geographically centralized as well and the number of breeds of pigs began to decline. Several breeds became extinct by the early 1900s.

Pigs are for the most part no longer produced and sold by independent producers on open markets. Since the late 20th century, pig production in the United States has come to be dominated by a few large, vertically-integrated corporations that control every step along the way from the selection of breeding stock to the retailing of pork. A lot of the farmers who are still in the business are contract growers for the corporations. But there are independent pig farmers who are dedicated to bringing back the old breeds and are raising them in the traditional way, on pasture and in woodlands.

Some heritage breeds are very rare and are listed as critically endangered by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. Among heritage breeds is the very popular Berkshire pig, a black pig designated “first class”. Farmers say that Berkshires have an excellent disposition and are very friendly and curious.

The Tamworth is a golden-red pig and a direct descendant of the wild boars that roamed the forests of Staffordshire. They are considered very outdoorsy and athletic. (They make the best bacon in the United States, according to some fans.)

The Large Black retains the traits of its ancestors that lived on the pastures and woods of England in the 16th and 17th centuries. They are hardy animals that can withstand cold and heat. They are well-known as docile hogs.

The Hereford is a medium-size pig that is unique to the United States. Its name is inspired by its striking color pattern of intense red with white trim, the same as that of Hereford cattle. These pigs also have a reputation for being easy-going.

The Red Wattle is especially in danger of extinction. It is a large red hog with a fleshy wattle attached to each side of the neck. These pigs are very hardy with an especially mild temperament.

There are other heritage breeds, some of which number as low as a few hundred worldwide. Heritage pig farmers want to increase demand for their breeds, because to eat them is to preserve them, they say. There is, in fact, a growing market for heritage pork, which is more tender and tastes much better than mass-produced pork. Just looking at a cut of heritage pork you see a striking difference. It’s typically darker than pork from industrial farms, some as red as beef.

Of course, there are heritage pig farmers like the MacPhees, who just like having pigs on the farm, performing those unique tasks that pigs do.

If you’ve got children, there are heritage pig breeds they would easily get along with. Brian Wright raises heritage pigs and says that some are considered docile while others are seen as “evil, killer hogs” – in other words, very aggressive. You’ve got to do your homework before picking a breed.

The Rossi Farm in Rhode Island began breeding Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs several years ago and the pigs have become a favorite. Nicknamed Orchard Hogs, these pigs originally foraged for windfall apples and are distinguished by the black spots on their white coats.
The Rossis say Gloucestershire Old Spots are extremely friendly and laid-back. When the pigs are in the pasture, the children are often out there with them. And the pigs love having their ears scratched by the kids.

"Time of Monsters," by Peter Tobin

Peter Tobin is a Marxist activist and author who is an experiment on the recent goings in in Nepal especially with regard to the Maoist revolutionaries who recently fought a brutal civil war there and are now part of the government. Turns out that with disarmament, a lot of the Maoists sold out completely on almost all of their revolutionary principles, become rightwingers and in the process become millionaires with huge mansions. In addition, as you might have guessed, all and I mean all of the Maoist leaders were Brahmins.
And this was an anti-caste revolution.
In this part of the world, caste is like dirt. No matter how many times try wash the dirt off, there’s always some on your skin. And no matter how many attempts are made by South Asians to cleanse the body politic of caste, there’s always some of it remaining on the skin of their culture. you can’t take enough showers to wash all the dirt off and you can’t do enough reforms to wash caste out of the culture. It’s looking like caste in now an integral part of South Asian culture like curry, saris or gurus.
Warning: This work is very long. If it was a book, it would be 60 pages, long enough for a novella if it was fiction.

Time of Monsters

by Peter Tobin

The cartoon above reflects a widespread perception among many Nepalese that the four parliamentary parties are servants – in varying degrees – of New Delhi. It appeared in the 2013, August edition of Nepal – a popular monthly – showing Prachanda (UCPN(M), Nepal (UML), Sitaula (NC) and Gaddachhar (MJN), (Brahmins all!) blubbing uncontrollably as Nepal against history and the odds beat India 2-1 in the South Asia Football Championships in July 2013.

Nepal’s Brahminical State and Problems of Legitimacy

From Machiavelli:

What’s more, you can’t in good faith give the nobles what they want without doing harm to others; but you can with the people. Because the people’s aspirations are more honorable than those of the nobles: the nobles want to oppress the people, while the people want to be free from oppression.
Machiavelli, The Prince, 1516, p.39. Penguin 2009.

To the present day:

How can people trust them to run the state? Our boycott is therefore a political act to expose the failure of this parliamentary system. To build a new democracy and renew the revolutionary process we must go in a different direction.
– Mohan Baidya, ‘Kiran’, Chairman, CPN-Maoist, October, 2013

Introduction

Political parties in all societies reflect specific histories and display the balance of social and political forces at any point in their narratives. Nepal is no exception to this truism; the classes and strata arising from the socio-economic conditions obtaining in the country’s history gave rise to caste, party and faction. The aim of this article is to provide detail of their historical gestation as a means of examining and explaining the present impasse in Nepalese society.
This is presently evidenced by argument as to whether a Consultative Assembly, elected in November 2013 in a disputed ballot, has authority to promulgate a new constitution and is another issue of serious division that pervades every sphere of Nepalese society – political, cultural, social and economic – that cumulatively call into question the legitimacy of the essentially unreconstructed state founded by Prithvi Nararyan Shah in 1769.
The article will argue that discord has been inherent since the state’s inception in the mid-18th century, with the campaign of unification driven by a minority elite imposing a nationality upon a multi-ethnic majority and which despite changing modalities of state power in the succeeding two-hundred and fifty years, remains the dominant power in Nepalese society, surviving monarchical absolutism, feudal clan autocracy, constitutional monarchy and multiparty democracy, successively appearing as contrasting if not antagonistic systems.
It is certainly the case that internecine power struggles among ruling Nepalese elites, regarding modalities of power, are crucial to understanding the forces shaping the present. However, evident systemic discontinuity should not obscure persistence of upper caste, particularly Brahmin ascendancy, surmounting every upheaval, and turning every change of polity into a vehicle for retention of power and privilege.
Responding to the pressures of the modern world, and with long experience in judging the vagaries of historic authority, these same castes have melded seamlessly into the local bourgeoisie – domestically hegemonic but internationally subservient.
Not every ancien regime is oblivious or impervious to demands for change from formerly subaltern classes. Note the nationalist leader Tancredi’s maxim, in di Lampedusa’s epic novel The Leopard about the 19th century Risorgimento (Italian unification):

“Things have to change so that everything can stay the same.” (“Tutto deve cambiar perche tutto reste uguale.”) (Il Gattopardo, G. di Lampedusa, 1958)

The Nepalese ruling castes are exemplars of this paradox, having survived successive changes in polity, a point underlined in contemporary Nepal where the major constitutional parties and organs of state are dominated by the same higher caste/class, as supreme in the new democratic republic as they were under the preceding Hindu God-Kingdom created through war and conquest by their Brahmin/Rajput ancestors in the 18th century. Unification was more empire than nation building, pitting a warlike Indo-Aryan warrior caste against a rural majority comprised of over sixty Tibeto-Burman ethnic groups, each with its own languages and specific Buddhist/pantheist/shamanist cultures.
Over time this may not have precluded the forging of national identity: consider the example of Britain, which emerged from English subjugation and colonization of the tribal Celtic peoples that flourished on the periphery of the later named, with breast-beating triumphalism, British Isles.
Similarly the English had emerged as a distinct people following military invasion and occupation by French Normans over Anglo-Saxon natives. Christianity in the form of Roman Catholicism already provided a common ideology for conqueror and conquered. In the centuries following, the former lost both their French language and territories with the European feudal system they imposed upon Anglo-Saxon England taking root and dominating until the emergence of bourgeois capitalism in the Late Middle Ages.
Nepal has never overcome the contradictions engendered by its violent birth which was compromised by its Hindu ruling castes retaining political, cultural and economic ties with caste peers governing India the sub-continental empire, and who, since Bhimsen Thapa, Jonge Bahadur and the Ranas, have, unlike the nation-builders of medieval Europe, proved unable or unwilling to act with national impunity.
The notion of the present ruling caste elite representing the national interest is presently even more unlikely as their growing cosmopolitan class interests political, ideological and economic necessitate the country continuing as neo-colony of Brahminical India, subject to the ubiquitous, all-conquering global market and the multinational institutions established by US and other First World powers after 1945.
The last serious threat to centralized caste power was the People’s War from 1996-2006, which saw a 12-point peace agreement between parliamentarians and revolutionaries, following the success of these two former bitter enemies allying to overthrow King Gyenendra in the 2006 second Thulo Jana Andolan (Great People’s Uprising/Revolution). It did not, as promised, lead to a ‘New Nepal’, instead seeing the elites of ‘Old Nepal’ regrouping, and remaining ensconced in power.
This had also happened after the 1990 Jana Andolan, when the Brahmin leaders of the democratic movement summoned the Janjatis (ethnic minorities) and oppressed castes and classes to join the struggle for democracy against King Birendra and the feudal Panchayat system.
Promises made, offering cultural and political autonomy to redress historical injustices, were later reneged on, with the subsequent constitution drawn up by the victorious New Delhi-backed political parties even retaining Nepal’s status as a divine Hindu Kingdom. It was not until 2008, with the declaration of a republic, that the monarchial system was finally abolished.
However, that was the only tangible political gain from ten years of People’s War, while the major socioeconomic and cultural inequities that had provoked it were left in place, with attempts to ameliorate them blocked or sabotaged by a resurgent rightist bloc that seized the political and military initiative in the years following the 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
Nepal’s political parties are defined by which side they take in relation to this history; whether they want to either preserve the existing system, albeit with minor tweaks and modest reform, or completely replace it with a new dispensation. Conservatives and revolutionaries are adversaries in the struggle for the body and soul of the nation.
First, some empirical details about the country that provide the inescapable, epidemiological conclusion that the socio-economic antagonisms fermenting in Nepalese society point inevitably to further eruption.

Economy and Society

Nepal is an aid-dependent, landlocked country, accessed principally from India, with a population of approximately 28 million. It has over sixty ethnic groups or Janjatis (called Adivasis in India) reflecting a rich linguistic and cultural diversity. Over 80% of its peoples are rural inhabitants, mostly dependent on subsistence farming. The agricultural sector contributes approximately 38-40% to GDP, with the tourism/service industry adding 47-50%, and the industrial/craft sector contributing 10-13% (1).
The CIA World Factbook estimates its labor force at 16 million: 70% of those employed are in agriculture and 18% in the services sector with the remainder in industry and craft production. The imbalance between numbers of population engaged respectively in these sectors and the value each one adds to GDP is striking. What distorts the figures is that 25-30% of the tourism/service GDP (where it measured by income) comes from Gurkha pensions and increasingly over the last decade from émigré labor remittances (2).
As its contribution to GDP shows, the manufacturing sector is small, with carpet weaving dominating its light industrial sector and the rest made up of skilled handcraft production in metal, stone and wood. Since the decline of the jute industry based in Biratnagar, heavy industry is negligible, and Nepal has to import everything from cars to computers – necessities of modern life – which add to its trade deficit.
Nepal has always faced the difficult situation of being a small economic power next to a big one that is denied economies of scale that accrue from size, thus insuring that Nepali companies could not compete with bigger Indian ones in the home market. This problem has, for example, caused the virtual collapse of its cotton and garment industry. Exports are inhibited because India imposes high import duties to protect its own industries.
The pan-Indian Marwari Corporation/Clan dominate the domestic industrial and commercial sector in collusion with the traditional caste elites of Ranas/Shahs. A further aspect of its neocolonial status is that Nepal is forced to concede an open border with India and must endure a ‘take or leave it’ in terms of trade with India, a market that accounts for nearly 70% of Nepal’s total exports. In some instances Delhi has even reneged on prior agreements in order to sabotage specific Nepalese attempts at establishing nascent industry (3).
Nepal’s manufacturing base was further weakened by the global march of neoliberal capitalism (4) that saw, for example, Structural Adjustment Programs introduced in Nepal from the mid-1980s’.
SAP’s are loans to aid-dependent, underdeveloped or economically unstable countries that have strong conditional clauses requiring adoption of rigorous free market policies, including privatization, trade and finance-sector liberalization, prices determined by the market and precluding and retreating from state intervention in any form.
They were implemented by the IMF and World Bank, acting in a ‘bad cop/bad cop’ scenario and affected all sections of Nepalese society; the removal of subsidies on such items as cooking gas hit many homes, while those on fertilizers reduced agricultural production. Privatization programs ended public enterprises, many of which had been initiated by a dirigiste Rana regime in the 1930’s in a desperate attempt to modernize.
There was, for example, sustained pressure from multilateral development financial institutions – the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank in particular – forcing a sale of water utilities, resulting in their complete privatization by 2006. Tariffs protecting indigenous industries were also removed and the penetration of multinational capital was facilitated across all sectors.

Inequality and Poverty

This regime, which does not even manufacture a needle in the name of a self-reliant and national economy, has handed the whole economy to a dozen families of foreign compradors and bureaucratic capitalists. This handful of plunderers has become billionaires, whereas the real owners of this country and the national property – the toiling masses of Nepal – are forced to eke out a meager existence of deprivation and poverty.
– (CPN(M) leaflet, distributed on the eve of the start of the People’s War, 13th February, 1996.

The UN Human Development Report 2014 listed Nepal as the 31st poorest country in the world and among those classified low in Human Development indices with glaring inequalities in incomes and lifestyles that has the top 10% owning 42% of wealth and the bottom 10% accruing 2.7%. The Multidimensional Poverty Index, which measures schooling, nutrition, infant mortality, sanitation, and access to clean water among its criteria for standards of modern life, puts incidences of poverty at 65% whereas an income-poverty criteria at $1.25 per day gives a 55% figure of those suffering deprivation. (5)
Government Household Survey statistics for 2010/11, by contrast, estimated deprivation at 25% of population but only by using a smaller cohort, with the sole criterion defining poverty as daily consumption of less than 2,220 calories. By whatever measure, poverty is endemic and exacerbated by increased levels of unemployment that since 2000 have inexorably risen to nearly 50% of the working population in 2014. By conflating the above figures along with other relevant indices, the Gini Coefficient statistics for 2010 (6) showed that inequality has worsened over past two decades of western-style parliamentary democracy and capitalism. (7)
While the majority of Nepalese are rural dwellers, the agriculture sector is weak and inefficient; hilly and mountainous topography with subsequent scarcity of arable soil apart from the southern Terai plains allows mostly for only subsistence farming. A poor infrastructure of roads and communications inhibits movement of produce. The continuing failure to reform land ownership sees huge, growing numbers of landless Dalits, Muslims and other minorities, especially in feudal and populous Terai. The failures to implement scientific management and introduce modern technology combine to render Nepal dependent on importing foodstuffs from or through India.
The failure of the present system to provide necessary conditions of existence for an expanding demographic adds greater urgency to the antagonisms between the Establishment Right and Radical Left. These will be further accentuated given that India’s newly elected BJP administration has signaled the intention of pursuing more aggressively expansionist policies and is fully committed to the neoliberal economic project. The latter is being promoted as ‘shock therapy’ necessary for economic lift-off that will rescue the Indian people from poverty and deprivation.
It is it problematic because it is set out as an ideological as opposed to an economically rational project deliberately masking the aim of increasing the penetration of Western monopoly capitalism into the Indian economy through the mediation of the Brahmin/Banyia oligarchy. One of the new regime’s first acts was to increase hikes in diesel prices, allowing the state subsidy to shrivel, while signaling an intention to do the same to fertilizer subsidies. It has since announced that the health budget is to be slashed in a country that already has one of world’s lowest expenditures in this sector.
When all such state aid is rolled back, if wealth ‘trickles down’ perhaps by the conspicuous consumption of luxury commodities and lifestyle of a privileged cosmopolitan caste elite or charity (not a noted Brahmin characteristic) and alleviates some poverty – so be it, but it will be serendipitous. Such an outcome is not what drives au courant ‘capitalism with its coat off’ mutation, (4) so eagerly embraced by India’s caste elite as greed is a noted Brahmin characteristic.
However, for all the Hindutva histrionics and bravura posturing of the demagogue Modi, his BJP regime is in fact morphing effortlessly from Mohan Singh’s Congress Party Administration’s line of march. This became apparent in 2005 US/India Memos of Understanding (MOU) which, inter alia, initiated opening up India’s agricultural research establishments to American monopolies and activated policies of ‘rapid commercialization’ of already hard-pressed Indian farmers.
One commentator noted at the time:

The treaty is a partnership between two unequal partners. American agriculture is highly mechanized and organized, energy-intensive and market-centric. Indian agriculture, by contrast, has been for millennia the way of life for the vast majority of the population. (8)

The present Nepalese establishment invariably marches in step with New Delhi and accordingly rolled out the red carpet for the newly-elected PM Modi’s August 2014 official visit to Kathmandu. Addressing the Nepalese Parliament, he emphasized his government’s neoliberal economic priorities and the benefit Nepal would derive from deepening existing bilateral links by “…taking our relationship to an entirely new level.”
Nepal’s establishment parties were receptive, as the post-1990 administrations had closely shadowed India’s descent into neoliberal policies, and Modi’s regime was seen as continuation of this course.
The August visit was also marked by concluding agreements that increased Indian access to Nepal’s vast untapped water resources, which the revolutionary opposition denounced as a blatant example of neocolonial subservience to Indian expansionists and betrayal of the national interest.
The argument over this abundant but as yet untapped natural resource constitutes a longstanding fault line in Nepalese politics that bears examination; it concentrates many existing socioeconomic and political contradictions in one issue.

The Politics of Water and Unequal Treaties

On September 6th 2014 the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist announced its intention to publicly burn copies of the Power Trade Agreement (PTA) recently negotiated between India and Nepal which allows for the construction of hydropower projects by Indian companies so as to facilitate energy trading, cross-border transmission lines and grid connections between the two countries. (9)
The coalition government concluded a further agreement with the Indian company GMR to construct a 900MW hydropower project on the Upper Karnali. It was claimed that combining these two accords would enable Nepal to utilize its hydropower resources to produce enough surplus to permit the already agreed export of electricity to India and help reduce the country’s trade deficit.
The extraction of Nepal’s water resources began in 1920 when the Indian Raj signed the 1920 Treaty of Sarda that secured access to the Mahakali. After independence, India’s Nehru’s Administration continued in a similar manner with the 1954 Koshi and 1959 Gandak Treaties that saw dams constructed solely to irrigate the thirsty Gangetic Plains of North India. There was outrage at these one-sided deals from Nepalese nationalists and communists, which led to greater caution by successive regimes faced with India’s insatiable water demands paralleled with failed attempts in securing international aid or a loan from the World Bank to develop the country’s hydropower resources independently.
After the 1990 upheaval that ostensibly reduced Birendra to constitutional status, the fledgling democracy experienced renewed pressure from New Delhi that led to the 1996 Mahakali Treaty which was described as revealing:

“…the larger neighbor as bulldozer and the smaller one as hapless and internally divided.” (10).

While this treaty was supported by the both the constitutional communist party, the Unified Marxist-Leninist Communist Party which turned full circle from the anti-Indian position of its mother party in the 1950’s, and the always reliable pro-Delhi Congress Party (NC), it was denounced by CPN (Maoist) spokespersons who pointed out that Nepal would only get 7 out of the projected 125 megawatts output. (11)
The symbolic burning of the present PTA as ‘against the national interest’ by the new Maoist party was manifestation of an ongoing campaign for retaining Nepalese jurisdiction over its water resources, resisting New Delhi’s strategy to monopolize them. This is underscored by observation that Nepal has huge hydropower potential estimated at 40,000 MW but is presently realizing only 600 MW.
All of this is happening against a backdrop of daily power cuts and the fact that 60% of the population have no access to electricity. Harnessing hydropower resources will provide the means of modernizing and enriching the country, putting its growing young unemployed to work and ending its dependent, underdeveloped status.
Lenin famously stated that for USSR: ‘Communism was Soviet power plus electrification’ to which Nepal’s unreconstructed Marxist-Leninists paraphrase the end as: ‘plus hydropower’; reflecting the importance of this power source for realizing an independent socialist Nepal.
The PTA is described by patriots of left and right as yet another unequal treaty among the many that began with the 1816 Treaty of Sugauli imposed by the East India Company. This is now seen a British land grab that resulted in Nepal ceding one-third of its territory to the Company, including Sikkim and what is now called Uttarakhand.
The reduction of ‘Greater Nepal’ to its present territory resulted from military invasion and defeat. Treaties covering trade and resources have been facilitated by the Nepalese ruling caste/class acting in collusion with first imperial Britain then Brahminical India .
The Brahmin/upper caste supporters of the power deal tend either to not recognize or to remain oblivious to the idea that any treaty agreed with brother India has ever been ‘unequal’. The same political class once again faced a 2011 furor over by the ‘Bilateral’ Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) which allowed for greater penetration and increased security for Indian capital in Nepal. This sellout document earned the parliamentary apparatchiks, parties and the Bhatterai Administration who negotiated and agreed to it epithets from the stooges and hirelings of the extra-parliamentary Maoist opposition and royalist factions.
The definition of unequal agreement is where an imbalance of power, political, military or economic, exists between the parties to the agreement. Chinese nationalists and communists in the 20th century used the term to describe all treaties extracted from China in its ‘century of humiliation’ at the hands of Western imperialists in the 19th century.
These treaties between Nepal and India involved loss of Nepalese sovereignty over territory and domestic markets and facilitated imports of commodities, including, notoriously, opium produced by East India Company, accompanied by the threat or use of superior military force. The period also saw the emergence of indigenous merchants acting as East India Company agents/intermediaries described as ‘compradors’.
Nepalese patriots use the term “unequal treaties” to describe a history that began with Sugauli, was carried over from the East India Company to the Raj and continued in postcolonial India with the 1950 Peace and Friendship Treaty formalizing Nepal’s neocolonial status by allowing India increased access and control of the Nepalese economy and veto over Nepal’s foreign relations with third parties.
It guaranteed Nepal as a captive market for Indian commodities and along with further revisions and succeeding agreements allowed exploitation of Nepal’s natural resources, principally water as described above, and access to cheap Nepalese migrant labor.
New Delhi was driven as much by geopolitical considerations; Nehru saw Himalayan Nepal as a bulwark on India’s northern frontier against Communist China, and serving along with Bhutan and Sikkim as part of a “chain of protectorates,” so described by Curzon, a particularly bellicose, expansionist Raj Viceroy at the turn of the 20th century.
Nehru was a ruthless autocrat and saved his fine words regarding nonintervention and non-aggression for the Pansheel Principles set out as a stratagem to bamboozle Mao’s Communists, burnishing India’s Gandhian credentials and non-aligned status in 1954 Treaty with the PRC. Nehru accordingly extracted the 1950 Treaty from the last Rana PM three months before he authorized an invasion of Nepal from India by a joint royalist/ democratic army which signaled the beginning of the end for Rana rule.
Independent India under the imperious Pandit owed more to the martial warrior spirit of the Maharbarata than it ever did to the myth of Hinduism’s essential ahimsa (pacifism) peddled by the casteist charlatan Gandhi. Recent information shows that Nehru may have slaughtered even more Muslims in Manipur in 1947 than Modi managed in Gujarat in 2001.

Constitution or Revolution?

The new Maoist party, the CPN-M, is extra-parliamentary and does not accord legitimacy to the present institutions of state, distinguishing it from the three major parties in the Constituent Assembly, who supported and negotiated the PTA. In descending order of electoral strength, they are: Nepali Congress, Unified Marxist-Leninist CPN; and Unified CPN (Maoist). The first two are in coalition government, with the NC leader GP Koirala as Prime Minister. Koirala’s family is a Nepalese political dynasty akin to India’s Gandhis.
A split in the third biggest party, the UCPN(M), in 2012 led to the launch of the CPN-M by cadre led by veteran Maoist leader, Mohan Baidya (‘Kiran’) (12), increasingly disillusioned with perceived growing revisionism of the UCPN(M) under the leadership of Prachanda and Bhatterai. They concluded that following the 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the UCPN(M)’s political practice had degraded into reformism, conforming to Lenin’s bitter reasoning for the ultimate treachery of the German SPD’s voting for war credits in 1914:

…by making a fetish of the necessary utilization of bourgeois parliamentarianism and bourgeois legality.

In the view of many cadre, the party had lost its revolutionary edge and has been remade to suit New Delhi’s requirements. The party was guided by two leaders, Dahal (Prachanda) and Bhatterai, reconnecting with their Brahminical caste roots.
The final betrayal was the surrender by Bhatterai’s ostensibly Maoist-led administration of the People’s Liberation Army and its weapons to the Nepalese Army in 2011 after being laagered in UN cantonments following the 2006 CPA. In reaction to this and policies such as handing back expropriated land to the feudal landlords, the new CPN-M declared a return to revolutionary first principles and building on the foundation of the principle of People’s War as a precondition for future political work.
A fourth political bloc represented in the Constituent Assembly (the National Assembly – an upper house created in 1990, was abolished in 2007, and Nepal now has a unicameral system) is the United Democratic Madeshi Front representing landed property class parties from the Terai, a region of flatlands in southern Nepal and topographically an extension of the Gangetic Plains of North India.
Ethnically and culturally the Terai’s upper castes are closer to India, so this group’s political support for increasing bonds between the countries is guaranteed. The Terai was formally a NC fiefdom, but party membership collapsed when leaders and activists principally drawn from the Bhadraloks (Terai upper castes) deserted the party which they believed had become dominated by the Brahmins of the Kathmandu and the Central Hill regions referred to as Pahadis (Hill People).
This political bloc, following the 2006 Peace Agreement, appeared to upper caste Madeshis to be too weak to stand up to the Maoists, perceived as all-powerful after ten years of People’s War and a real threat to feudal and zamindar (landlord) interests in the Terai. Madeshi parties subsequently emerged seeking either regional autonomy or direct integration with India.
The more militant among them advocated armed struggle and were instrumental in driving the 2006/7 murderous conflict with the Maobaadi (Nepali for Maoists) in order to defend the status quo in the region. Indian security services were rumored to have been heavily involved in arming and funding these groups, signaling New Delhi’s growing alarm at the threat to Indian interests posed by the Nepalese Maoists as they stood on the verge of a takeover.
There are 22 other parties represented in the CA, the largest two being royalist – the Rastriya Prajantra Party (Nepal) and the Rastriya Prajantra Party – representing the ancient regime and seeking in one form or another a return to divine Hindu monarchy abolished when the Prachanda’s 2008 UCPN(M)/UML coalition government declared the republic. However, many monarchists are patriots with a deep distrust of India to the extent that some prefer China in all circumstances.
After the RRP(N) and the RPP, there are many small socialist, communist and peasant parties reflecting the patchwork and multirepresentational nature of Nepalese politics. This plethora of parties is also apparent among the forces outside the CA led by CPN-M in a 33-party alliance.
The CPN-M (13) and its allies – other communist, socialist and social democratic parties along with Janjati (ethnic) organizations – came together in 2013 to boycott the November election for a second Constituent Assembly. They argued it was a ‘phony, rigged election’, promoted by the same forces that had blocked a progressive federal constitution in the first CA. Now the parliamentary ‘Four Party Syndicate’ was seeking a mandate to forge an anti-people constitution ensuring that power was retained by upper castes and that in any event, asserted the boycotters, would be written in New Delhi.
Among the international supporters of the second CA election were the US, China, EU, India, the UN, NGOs like the Carter Center, ANFREL etc. 70,000 police, army and paramilitaries along with 50,000 temporary police personnel were mobilized to counter the campaign organized by the CPN-M, leading a 33 party alliance around the slogan:

Boycott this corrupt/so-called election (Kathit nirbaachan bahiskaar gare).

The election duly took place, pre-weighted through the creation of a High Level Commission that excluded all other parties, ensuring the ‘Four Party Syndicate’s unchallenged control of proceedings. Rs 30 billion was allocated to pay for it, a staggering amount considering only Rs 2.8 billion was spent on the 2008 election. The election was further tainted as turnout figures were disputed, with nearly five million voters disappearing from the 2008 election rolls. There was also no postal vote provision for the estimated two million émigré workers scattered through the Gulf States and South East Asia.
Each side claimed higher or lower percentage turnouts, but the significant result was the major setback for Prachanda and Bhatterai’s revisionist UCPN (M). The party lost its place as the biggest party gained by a shock victory in 2008 election, where it garnered 40% of the vote but was now reduced to third party status after the NC and the UML.
In any event, the CPN-Maoist ‘Dashists’ did not halt the election, but held their nerve in spite of powerful domestic and international enemies, a sustained hate campaign from the Brahmin/bourgeois controlled media sequestered in Kathmandu led by the Kantipur Corporation, Nepal’s largest media house, and internal party tensions. Notwithstanding the final number of votes cast, the election showed that the boycotters represented a critical mass of the citizenry. Whatever the outcome of the charade, Kiran said emphatically, they would burn any constitutional declaration emerging from the new CA and “write one in the streets.”

The Caste System & Democratic Deficit

However, it may also be stated that most Dalit leaders are right when they blame the ‘Brahminical’ order of society for the grievous discrimination practiced against them…the reification of the caste system, even to this date, depends for its authority on the socioreligious observances of Brahmins, the high priests of Hinduism.
– V. Rajan “Dalits” and the Caste System in India, p 3, 2010)

As in India, it is formally illegal under the Nepalese Constitution to discriminate on grounds of caste, and the education system is also nominally open to all. In reality though, the caste system remains pervasive with the upper castes constituting 70-80% of personnel in all institutions of the state, education, media, commerce and health sectors, while forming  only approximately 20% of the population.
The Kathmandu Valley Newaris, for example, form 3% of the population but occupy 13% of civil service posts. In the 1990’s it was shown that 80% of civil service, army and police posts were shared among Brahmin and Chetri castes. (14)
A more recent study in 2004 showed little change. Brahmins, while forming 13% of the population, accounted for 74% of top civil service posts. (15) Brahmins also lead the establishment parties which espouse the virtues of western-style multiparty democracy and the global market.
Nepalese Brahmins in politics, culture and business defer easily to fellow Brahmins ascendant in India, claiming a realism similar to the pragmatism of a small boy before a bigger sibling.
This assumes that Nepal and India are ‘family’, albeit one where might confirms right. They also note admiringly that Indian Brahmins have since Independence retained power and privilege in alliance with the Kshatriyas, the military caste, and the Banyias, the commercial and merchant caste, making a mockery of the great Dalit scholar/statesman Ambedkar’s 1947 Constitution prohibiting discrimination on grounds of caste and guaranteeing equality for all citizens.
Words were also cheap in the 1972 Amendment to the Indian Constitution that added the words ‘socialist’ and ‘secular’ to the original declaration of ‘sovereign, democratic republic’. Against the evidence and from the beginning India was also touted in the capitalist West as rival to Red China’s ‘totalitarian ant heap’ and gushingly described as the ‘World’s Biggest Democracy’.
Yet caste and democracy are mutually exclusive; caste rule is anti-egalitarian, and democracy requires equality. India and Nepal are clear examples, still controlled by the same caste configuration that in the political sphere refracts into parties and factions with acquired skills, resources and enough cohesion to collectively jump through regular electoral hoops. Effective democratic camouflage disguises elective oligarchy. A lesson well learned from the White Sahib’s mastery over and increasing sophistication in the dark arts of electoral manipulation and illusion, important because the popular mandate confers legitimacy to uninterrupted ascendancy of the bourgeois capitalism.
The Dashists and their allies program the end of the upper caste monopoly of state power by establishing a New Federal People’s Democracy that represents the hitherto excluded Janjatis, Dalits, minorities, working classes and urban underclasses. Federalism is crucial to New Democracy as it means breaking up the centralized Brahminical state by devolving power to previously oppressed national minorities.
It will correct the historic wrong that began with the autocracy founded by Narayan Shah and extended by the Ranas through King Mahendra’s Panchayaat and continued since 1990 with elective dictatorship coalescing around establishment parties as they cartelized political and state power.
It was significant that one of the organized manifestations that followed victory in the 2006 Andolan was the mocking of Prithvi Narayan Shah’s statue in Kathmandu by Janjatis, indicating both that there is continuing antipathy to the oppressive central power he founded and that this historical wound remains very much open. The event was complemented by royalist outrage at such desecration, further testament to the irreconcilability of contending forces in Nepalese society.

Maoist “New Nepal”

From Marx:

…the entanglement of all peoples in the net of the world market, and with this, the international character of the capitalist regime. Along with the constantly diminishing number of the magnates of capital, who usurp and monopolize all advantages of this process of transformation, grows the mass of misery, oppression, slavery, degradation, exploitation…
Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. 1, p. 73

To the present day:

Gender, Dalit and regional issues are important, and they are tied into the class struggle. But working to solve just these issues will not bring a full solution. This can only be reached by completing the class struggle.
– KB Bishwokarma, Prakanda.

The CPN-M Dashists affirm their wish to break with global capitalism and establish economic autarky featuring tariff walls to protect infant industries along with land reform and infrastructural development, all through socialist state planning and ownership. Nepal, they argue, has failed to straddle the transition from feudalism to capitalism, and its traditional ruling classes have been incapable and unwilling to provide effective governance to tackle deprivation, poverty and inequality. Since 1990 it has increasingly aped India’s development, a huckster capitalism overseen by wholly corrupt caste elites dressed in “emperor’s new clothes” of bourgeois Western multiparty democracy.
Maoists maintain that socialist transformation will improve conditions for the people and ensure genuine national sovereignty. Kiran, citing Mao and Stalin, argues that the national question in the case of Third World countries like Nepal is a class question. These weaker states have become subject to the interests of a dominant First World requiring them to be maintained in various stages of underdevelopment and to enable open markets for imported goods and foreign investment and to increase the plunder of their natural resources to feed insatiable Western consumer societies.
Third World countries are further valuable sources of low-paid indigenous labor for production of cheap commodities intended for the Western market, dramatically highlighted by the 2013 Rana Plaza clothing factory tragedy in Dhaka. These nations also provide a reservoir of migrant labor for international capital projects, graphically exposed by the slave-like conditions endured by émigré workers, many of them Nepalese, on the notorious Qatar World Cup project.
Even if not dramatically affected as migrant workers, neoliberalism, through international institutions led by IMF and World Bank, impacts on the Nepalese masses by shackling its government along with those in other impoverished, underdeveloped Third World countries to market-based austerity policies and denying whole populations benefits of modernity, decent infrastructure, modern schools, basic health care, access to clean water and sanitation, decent housing &c. Measuring everything by market criteria also blocked welfare programs, food subsidies and all state intervention aimed at reduction of poverty or stimulating domestic growth.
In Nepal it has led to growing numbers of Sukumbasi (squatters), increasing, persistent mass unemployment, landlessness, rural flight to towns/cities, especially Kathmandu, exacerbating already high urban poverty, bonded, émigré and child labor; all salient features of a failed state, where a traditional elite continue to flourish, retaining social and economic privilege.
This elite increasingly lives in ‘forts of gold’, while the world and the city outside crumbles over the head of the excluded and increasingly impoverished majority. Kathmandu is symptomatic, where, as in many Third World urban centers, the spectacle of private affluence for the few contrasts starkly with increasing public squalor for the many.
Hope for a more egalitarian Nepal following the 1990 transition from monarchical absolutism to multiparty democracy was quickly dashed in the years of corruption and reaction that followed, when a newly empowered political elite proved even more venal than the Panchas they had supplanted. Ideologically colonized, like the Brahmins of Congress India, they were transfixed by western liberal democracy, whose representative institutions and personal freedoms, they were conditioned to believe, enshrined universally applicable and superior European Enlightenment values.
Whereas imperialists once hawked a Christian Bible, their contemporaries now peddle the snake oil of capitalist democracy as salvation for, in Kipling’s infamous phrase from the poem Recessional, “lesser breeds without the Law”. Just as missionary societies once flourished, now Human Rights industries thrive and NGO’s promoting Western values and practices proliferate, employing some indigenous educated and enlisting them into the comprador class while sustaining patchwork schemes in a parody of development.
From the beginning the conditioning of native elites through education invariably inculcated western values and ideologies which, on one hand informed and articulated claims to national independence and produced the leadership for anticolonial struggle, while one the other, ensured the same leadership was sufficiently psychologically colonized to slavishly adopt after independence the parliamentary model, including the flummery. An exotic plant in wholly unsuitable conditions. (16)
As Franz Fanon caustically opined:

 The colonialist bourgeoisie, in its narcissistic dialogue, expounded by the members of its universities, had in fact deeply implanted in the minds of the colonized intellectual that the essential qualities remain eternal in spite of all the blunders men may make: the essential qualities of the West, of course.(17)

Bourgeois parliamentary institutions emerged in the Europe of the Late Middle Ages as a revolutionary and contingent challenge to residual feudal control by divinely mandated monarchs scattered across the kingdoms of Europe. Increasingly, with bourgeois power assured, they became functional requirements for regulation of class interests and instruments of chauvinist aggression against other nations, initially in Europe. In their early gestation they provided an arena for systemic compromise where differences could be aired and reconciled by parties representing old and new forms of propertied ruling classes in given historical transitions.
This occurred in England following the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688, establishing a constitutional rapport between Whigs, the nascent bourgeoisie, and Tories, the old landowning class, but significantly this same transformation did not emerge from Les Etats Generaux of Bourbon France, making inevitable the 1789 Revolution and bloody, bourgeois victory over L’Ancien Regime. However, modern First World states, despite the potential democratic threat of universal suffrage, increasingly stabilized, and bourgeois capitalism established unchallenged supremacy.
Parties are now even less class-based, representing sectional interests within the ruling class competing for control of the state apparatus, with elections determining which of the intraclass rivals accedes to government, enabling exercise of executive power and policy implementation until the next poll. Among the mature Western democracies this increasing homogenization of parties barely masks elective bourgeois dictatorship, now tricked out in ballot box ritualism, steeped in what Marx derided as ‘parliamentary cretinism’ and nailed by Engels as:

…an incurable disease, an ailment whose unfortunate victims are permeated by the lofty conviction that the whole world, its history and its future are directed and determined by a majority of votes in just that very representative institution that has the honor of having them in the capacity of its members.
– Frederick Engels, Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Germany, 1852, ME Selected Works, Vol 1, p. 370)

Yet this system was adopted by the ex-colonies of the British Empire in Asia and Africa, all of which have signally failed. India is the worst example, especially after the collapse of Nehru’s dreams of socialist democracy involving state ownership, five year plans, and deficit spending within integument of a mixed economy, etc. all evaporated in the early 1960’s, following the disastrous defeat in the war of aggression launched against China in the Kashmir Aksai Chin. Nehru had always allowed for a degree of corruption, but after him it was unchecked; reflected in the Lok Sabha which degenerated into the kleptocracy presently extant.
In Nepal, similarly, after 1990, the new democratic state institutions quickly became synonymous with cronyism, nepotism and carpetbagging. A pervasive corruption disfigured Nepalese society and subsequently Nepal scored 2.2 on the 2011 World Corruption Perception Index, where 10 is ‘very clean’ and 0 is ‘highly corrupt’. (18) The economist Arun Kumar further estimated that the Nepalese black economy, in 2006, accounted for $4 billion in contrast to an official GDP of $7 billion, an even higher percentage than India where the same phenomenon accounts for a still eye-watering 50% of GDP.
Like a fish stinking from the head, the godfathers or Thulo Hakimharu of NC and UML contributed to this state of affairs by pursuing a brazen policy of enrichessez-vous as vigorously as the state campaign of terror and foreign-funded mayhem they unleashed before and during People’s War against the Left and rural agitators who challenged the new corruption.
Nevertheless, communists are not anarchists, grasping that participation in bourgeois elections is often a tactical necessity, so that if on occasion normative bourgeois control of electoral process as a result of political, economic or military crises is problematic, then communist parties should participate, particularly if it offers them the possibility of advancing proletarian interests. It was on such practical eventualities as well as principles that Marx and Engels campaigned for universal suffrage in the Communist Manifesto. They saw communists using the extended franchise to subvert the elective dictatorship of the bourgeoisie:

Transforme, de moyen de duperie qu’il a ete jusqu’ici, en instrument d’emancipation. (Changed by them from the usual means of deception, into one of transformation.)
(K. Marx, Manifesto for French Workers’ Party, 1880. ME Selected Works, Vol 1, p. 546)

It was in this spirit that the  CPN (M) following the CPA entered the 2008
election campaign for a Constituent Assembly from which it emerged as the biggest party with 40% of the vote, to the surprise of many and to the particular alarm of domestic and foreign reactionaries. Prachanda had used his premature cult of personality, giving him unique authority over the party, PLA and United Front, to promise that the CPA would provide access to the towns and cities, enabling the party to use a CA as an engine for bringing the urban masses into the revolution.
The Maoists were aware that they had considerable support in towns and cities but could not connect with it as People’s War had reached military stalemate, with the PLA controlling the countryside and the RNA and Armed Police Force (APF) paramilitaries the urban centers, particularly Kathmandu. It was a logjam that had to be broken if the Prachanda Path strategy, the fusion of Maoist protracted rural struggle and Leninist urban insurrection, was to succeed and the revolution carried through.
In any event, the CPN (M) formed an administration in alliance with the UML with Prachanda as Prime Minister.
The administration’s first act was to abolish the monarchy and declare a republic, but an attempt by Prachanda to bring the army under civilian control by sacking the insubordinate CoS, Katawal and the royalist generals around him for refusing to integrate PLA ex-combatants en corps into the NA as per the CPA provoked a virtual coup openly orchestrated from New Delhi involving its Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) foreign intelligence service acting in collusion with NA officers and apparatchiks from NC, UML and UDMF.
This resulted in Yadhev, Nepal’s first President, significantly one of the few remaining prominent NC Terai Madeshis, exceeding his constitutional authority and reinstating the insubordinate Katawal.
The UML, following instructions from New Delhi, pulled out of the coalition, and with the Maoists now unable to secure a majority in the CA, Nepal’s first Maoist-led government collapsed after only eight months in office.
What provoked New Delhi to act with such speed and malice was triggered by Prachanda’s challenge to India’s right of veto over Nepal’s foreign policy by ‘playing the China card’, repeating Birendra’s ‘mistake’ with an attempted arms purchase from the PRC. Any hint of a China/Nepal alliance was anathema also to the Nepalese officer class and high command, who were historically close to India, and had, post-9/11, forged a deep relationship with Washington and the Pentagon, based on dollars, weaponry and training in return for allowing Nepal to become another link in the US chain surrounding the People’s Republic.
When Biplav (Netra Bikram Chand) was asked during the 2013 boycott campaign why he opposed elections, he replied that Maoists were not opposed to them per se as they were a ‘relative matter’. He opposed this specific one as political and financial larceny on a grand scale, attesting:
“It is a criminal conspiracy against the Nepalese working class.”
The 2009 coup showed that electoral results as democratic expressions of the popular will are also, when the occasion demands, a ‘relative matter’ even for those who peddle democracy as a universal panacea at least when it serves class interest but are as quick to ignore or subvert it when it doesn’t.

Class and Patriotism

It would not be incorrect, if very insulting, to say that Nepal’s top leadership vis-à-vis India, has been morally bankrupt, greedy, hypocritical and have served as no more than errand boys. People are tired of these slick, fast-talking politicians. In fact their reputation has gone down the drain. In a culture aimed above all at seizing power, with material motivations, political democracy and thereby sustained peace is unlikely.
– G. Thapa, Republica, Nepalese daily newspaper, September 30, 2013.

Marxist-Leninists argue that nation and class are linked in Third World countries. In these countries, traditional ruling elites and the emerging bourgeoisie have been suborned by transnational capitalism and accept
neocolonial status as preferable to revolutionary change and national independence. It is therefore not in their increasingly cosmopolitan class interests to seek genuine self-determination; only the exploited working and marginalized classes have a genuine interest in such an outcome. (19) The symbiosis of communism and patriotism is therefore contingent to the epoch of imperialism.
The lack of concern of the present ruling elite for its people is shown in the case of Nepali migrant workers in Qatar, cited above, because their remittances contribute over 25% when included within the tourist/service sector’s contribution to GDP. At the macro level they improve the immediate balance of payments but over a longer term contribute to decline in manufacturing and agriculture, which leads to rises in imports, augmenting the structural weaknesses noted earlier in the economy.
Aside from BOP advantages, the money sent back also reduces governmental responsibility for the alleviation of poverty, especially in rural areas. Consequently there has been little or no representation from successive governments for the rights and well-being of the estimated 2.2 million émigré Nepalese presently working in India, Malaysia and the Middle East. (20)
This echoes an early initiative of Jonge Bahadur, who established Rana power after 1846 Red Kot Massacre by reducing the monarchy to titular status. He negotiated a payment per head for every Ghurkha recruited into the British Army. (21) This was one aspect of a new strategic alliance with the East India Company through which the new rulers began to draw material benefit from trading their subjects as commodities in the form of mercenaries, while being left unchallenged in Nepal to establish Rana monopoly control over all trade and to plunder state coffers and lands with impunity.
The arc that connects the establishment of Gurkha mercenaries with migrant labor is one where benefit accrues to the same high castes exercising state power, albeit under superficially different political systems by different means of extraction in different epochs.
Kiran’s Maoists, in this sense, expand the concept of patriotism beyond concern for territory and existing culture into one that includes the justice and welfare of the people. This criterion goes beyond but does not ignore traditional concerns: the defense of borders against constant Indian encroachments, ending the shameless political obedience to Delhi, the rolling back of foreign ownership in vital economic sectors, and protecting Nepal’s largely untapped vast hydro resources from continued Indian predation.
The CPN-M Dashists are equally quick to point out that they are only anti-Indian to the extent that they oppose the Indian government’s neocolonialist meddling in Nepal. The hatred of Brahminical expansionist policies does not extend to the Indian people, who they argue have and are beginning to make their own revolution against the same enemy.
This internationalist perspective is axiomatic for the patriotism of national liberation struggles in countries oppressed by imperialism and distinguishes it from bourgeois chauvinist nationalism that breeds racist hatred and jingoist aggression. This was the ideology that fueled rivalry between the nascent European states and then mutated into the racial superiority engendered by the subsequent colonization and subjugation of native peoples in Africa, Asia and the Americas.
Imperialism no longer requires direct colonial occupation but operates in neo- or semi-colonial form. Exploitation of peoples and resources continue, and even intensify, but are now fronted by local ruling elites, comprador upper castes and classes, conditioned and rewarded to front for and spare imperialist powers from the obloquy and resistance engendered by 19th century European colonial empires.
Mao described the modus operandi:

When imperialism carries on its oppression not by war but by milder means – political, economic and cultural – the ruling classes in semi-colonial countries capitulate to imperialism, and the two form an alliance for the joint oppression of the masses of the people.
– Mao Zedong, On Contradiction, Selected Works, Vol 1, p.331

The present Nepalese ruling class, in this respect, cannot represent the national interest, Maoists aver, as they constitute an anti-patriotic bloc sustained by and servant to international capital and great power geopolitics. Kiran concluded:

Both the King and the Nepali Congress Party represent the feudal, bureaucratic and comprador bourgeoisie.

Patriotism in Nepal and similar Third World countries, is not, argue the Maoists, ‘a refuge for the scoundrel’, but rather a home for the homeless and the hope of the hopeless. In this regard Pushpa Lal, when founding the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) in 1949, absorbed Mao’s definition of patriotism and learned how the Koumintang degenerated from the patriots of Sun Yat Sen into the quislings of Chiang Kai Chek. He also derived lessons from the Soviet Union’s Great Patriotic War against Germany’s virulent, fascist imperialism. Patriotism in the modern age was, by these examples, anti-imperialist by definition.
Therefore, in the epoch of imperialism, the mantle of patriotism falls upon the shoulders of the proletariat in the oppressed Third World. The bourgeoisie in the metropolitan heartlands invoke it to mask imperial aggression and aggrandizement, while the big bourgeoisie of monopoly financial and industrial capital have transcended the nation-state and its parochial ideology, instead pledging allegiance to the ascending global megalopolis of money.

Communist Politics: 1949-2014

Inspired by China’s liberation in 1949, the newly founded Communist Party of Nepal took up arms against the Rana regime, which was in power via an alliance with NC led by the Koirala brothers and royalist forces under King Tribhuvan (Nepal’s Ivan the Terrible to the Ranas’ Boyars) Together they forged a Mukti Senaa (Liberation Army) which invaded from India in 1950/51.
These activities were supported, with arms, funds and facilities and funded by Nehru’s Congress government, and even included providing officer staff from Bose’s recently demobilized Indian National Army. Nehru had already godfathered the creation of Nepali Congress in 1948 from progressive Nepalese democrats exiled in India, and wanted to settle accounts with the pro-British Ranas. In the final event India limited their support to the NC, forcing it into a three-way peace agreement with the Ranas and the King.
There followed a short-lived NC/Rana coalition government, the collapse of which signaled a decade of political struggle between the NC and the King, followed by thirty years of monarchial executive government, with New Delhi steering a seemingly contradictory ‘Two-Pillar’ policy of supporting the monarchy and the aspiring democrats of Nepali Congress.
Lal, who, in 1949 first translated the Communist Manifesto into Nepalese, linked armed struggle to a domestic program, principally advocating a ‘Land to the Tiller’ policy in tandem with breaking up big feudal estates and following the example of China’s ‘New Democracy’ also proclaimed the intention of promoting state-sponsored national capitalism.
The party also advocated a Constitutional Assembly, which was agreed among all the parties, foreign and domestic, but reneged on by Tribhuvan’s successor, Mahendra, who, following the 1960 coup, replaced the parliamentary system with a feudal Panchayat, a series of interlocked consultative committees, starting at village level and ending with the King as final arbiter.
It was in these conditions of a Shah/Brahmin autocracy and the international US-led post-1945 onslaught to roll back Communism that saw the Communist Party and movement grow, recruiting from the intelligentsia, disillusioned radical NC members, urban workers, Dalits and oppressed rural minorities.
However, aside from having to operate underground, it faced the same problem as that of succeeding communist parties and cadre in maintaining a united revolutionary line. Lal’s CPN split in the early 1960’s between pro-Moscow reformists such as Tulsi Lal Amatya and pro-Beijing revolutionaries.
There was a parallel split between the Rayamajhi faction which scuttled off to serve the Panchayat system and Puspha Lal, who remained committed to proletarian revolution against domestic reaction and international US imperialism, supported by Mao’s communist China,  at least until Deng Xiaoping’s 1976 Rightist coup left the proletariat at home and abroad to its own devices.
After the Japha Uprising in 1971, Nepal’s first communist armed struggle, the UML emerged. But by 1990, it was fully committed to multiparty democracy and conciliation with Delhi, following the lead set by its homologues in Communist Party of India (Marxist).
Its transformation into a comprador bourgeois parliamentary party epitomized when the short-lived 1994 UML Adhikary administration instigated the Integrated Mahakali Treaty, which, under its NC successor, signed after an orgy of corruption, ceded sovereignty of the river to India. The UCPN (Maoist) path from People’s War into parliamentary politics and accommodation with Delhi has already been noted.
However, Nepalese communism, while disputatious, has shown great vigor, and unlike the post-1945 Western communist parties has never surrendered intellectual or political hegemony to the bourgeoisie. Schisms and splits followed deviations, but the result always ensured that the torch of patriotic, anti-imperialist revolution was passed to a new generation and party. The CPN-M is the latest manifestation of this cycle of action and reaction and may not be the last, but it has inherited the legacy of Puspha Lal Shrestha at a time when Luxemburg’s historical option of ‘Socialism or barbarism?’ confronts with even greater urgency, a century after she coined her prophetic question.

Jo Chor Usko Thulo Sor (Proverb: ‘He Who Steals Shouts Aloud’)

The feudal system was by no means brought complete from Germany, but had its origin, as far as the conquerors were concerned, in the martial organization of the army during the actual conquest, and this evolved after the conquest into the feudal system proper through the action of the productive forces found in the conquered countries.
– K Marx, Feuerbach – Opposition of Materialist and Idealist Outlook, Selected Works, Vol 1, p.72)

Nepal was unified in 1769 when the Gorkhali warrior state subdued the three kingdoms in the Kathmandu Valley and created a myriad of fifty or more smaller principalities under the leadership of Prithi Narayan, who became its first Shah and centralized royal power in Kathmandu. It was not an organic process with common national identity evolving from a shared history, economy, language or culture but one of force majeure that involved conquest and subjugation over many indigenous ethnicities, each with their own language and customs.
Narayan Shah’s ruthless empire building was partly driven by desire to forestall the inexorable northeastern expansion of the East Indian Company, then easily colonizing small kingdoms in its path. The creation of a martial Greater Nepal did indeed halt the feringhees (foreigners) advance, which appeared unstoppable following Clive’s decisive victory at Palashi (Plassey) over the Nawab of Bengal in 1757. This battle secured Company rule over India until the precise centennial challenge of the first War of Independence in 1857, denigrated by the British using the euphemism, ‘The Indian Mutiny’.
However, a decade after Plassey, in 1767, Narayan Shah’s Gurkhali army routed a British expeditionary force under Captain Kinloch at Sindhulighadi and kept the greedy, expansionist British in the guise of the East India Company out of Nepal until the second decade of the 19th century and, many claim, helped ensure that the country was never formally colonized. It necessitated creating a domestic power imbalance with a minority ruling a majority that, apart from some cosmetic modification, exists to the present day and for a century was marked by Rana regimes so servile to British interests that invasion and colonization were rendered unnecessary.

1769 – The Dawn of the Hindu Kingdom

The extent of dominion had been acquired entirely during the last fifty years, by the systematic prosecution of a policy likened by the Goorkhas themselves, and not inaptly so, to that which had gained for us the empire of Hindoostan.
– HT Prinsep, The Goorkha War, p 9, 1825)

Prithvi Narayan Shah established a state in Nepal that in many way was analogous with those of European feudalism that emerged from the collapse of the Roman Empire and lasted until the rise of capitalism in the late Middle Ages. It also was an agricultural society presided over by a divinely ordained monarch, nobility and priesthood existing on the labor and produce of a mass of serfs. Even the manner of its inception by force of arms echoes Marx’s comments on the origins of feudalism in Northern Europe as a response to anarchy and decay of the times:

From these conditions and the mode of organization determined by them, feudal property developed under the influence of the Germanic military constitution. (Marx-Engels, Feuerbach – Opposition of Materialist & Idealist Outlook, p.23. ME Selected Works, Vol. 1)

In this respect, Narayan Shah’s unification of Nepal was similar to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, where advanced military forces involving disciplined infantry and cavalry in integrated battle tactics was decisive in sweeping aside patchy and ill-coordinated Anglo-Saxon resistance.
In terms of comparative logistics and technical support, it was complemented by Narayan Shah’s adoption of modern weaponry and training of a third of his army along British lines that proved crucial to eventual success in a grueling twenty-year campaign culminating in the declaration of Nepal as a Hindu Kingdom in 1769.
Gorkhalis and Normans conquered foreign lands and peoples, and Kings William and Narayan used countrywide grants of confiscated lands to their warrior and clerical castes as both reward for past service and to secure the future of the central regime. In each case repression was used to entrench the system and reduce respective populations to serf/Shudra servility. The speed and ruthless nature of Norman expropriations was such that by the end of William’s reign in 1087, 20% of the land was owned by the royal family, 25% by ten of his leading nobles and another 25% by the Church.
It was a more attenuated process in Nepal, but by the time of the Ranas in mid-19th century, similar patterns in ownership and access to land were firmly established that, despite some fragmentation and formal abolition of feudal land titles, remain into the 21st century for want of serious reform. A 2004 Human Development Report, UNDP, reported the top 5% owning 37% of the land, with the bottom 47% in possession of 15% (22). A decade earlier the Maoists presented more dramatic statistics calculating the top 10% as owning 65% of the cultivable land with exactly reversed percentages for poor peasant possession of land. (23)
From the birth of the new state, each of the subjugated peoples were subject to feudal rent in labor, goods or money in the case of Nepal where a sizable portion took immediate monetary form, while in Europe such remittance mode emerged gradually, attenuated by feudal society fragmenting under the impact of a growing urban society of flourishing markets and small-scale commodity production. In this situation money’s use-value as means of facilitating commodity exchange enriched and accelerated the rise of an increasingly prosperous merchant burger class that finally burst the constraints of European feudalism.

Land Tenure Post-1769

Should the direct producers not be confronted by a private landlord, but rather, as in Asia under direct subordination to a state which stands over them as their landlord and simultaneously as sovereign, then rent and taxes coincide, or rather, there exists no tax which differs from this form of ground-rent. Under such circumstances there need exist no stronger political or economic pressure than that common to all subjection to that state. The state is then the supreme lord. Sovereignty here consists in the ownership of land concentrated on a national scale.
– Marx, Capital Vol 3, p 791, New World edition)

Aside from the geopolitical considerations of blocking the feringhees, the Gorkha state was driven by hunger for land, and Narayan Shah particularly desired the fertile Kathmandu Valley. Brahmins and Rajputs who had settled across Nepal, having being uprooted from North India by Mughal invasion and settlement, were also instrumental in securing the new system established by Narayan Shah from the Kathmandu center.
They were particularly enthusiastic participants in the abolition of tribal land rights and the creation of a royal monopoly over all land under the Raikar Law. This allowed for individual/family use and transfer as long as taxes were paid to the King’s state treasury. Private ownership of land eventually mutated from this private use, creating a largely Brahmin landlord class.
When Raikar was abolished in 1950, the system accounted for 50% of cultivated land. Equally important for the Shahs and especially the later Ranas was Birta tenure where land was allotted to servants and soldiers of the King free of tax. When it was abolished in 1959, it accounted for 36% of cultivated land. (24)
The Guthi system further allowed for state or private grants of land to religious institutions and was free from tax and repossession by the donor. This continues to the present time but accounts for only 2% of cultivated land.
A specific subset of Birta was Jagir tenure, which was land in lieu of pay to army personnel, both officers and privates, which intensified expropriations of a scarce resource and entrenched the new order by, as one historian notes:

…granting of Jagir lands to such of them as received appointments in the government and army was an important factor contributing to the stability and organization of the newly established regime. Without the Jagir system it would have been virtually impossible for the government to distribute rewards to its nobility and military personnel.
Land Ownership in Nepal, p 74, MC Regmi).

Certain ethnic groups in Eastern Nepal had traditional rights to common land under the Kipat system. The Limbus in particular had these rights as quid pro quo for their agreement in 1774 to accept merger with Nepal under Narayan Shah’s sovereignty, which extracted a pledge that Kipat land would remain outside the Raikar system in perpetuity. This was never honored by succeeding shahs and particularly the later Rana regimes that relentlessly encroached upon these lands during the 19th and 20th centuries.
The Limbus suffered especially as literate and legally informed Brahmins exploited their skills to dispossess them of their traditional lands. It was comparable to the enclosures of Tudor and Georgian England, where the gentry used Acts of Parliaments to dispossess an equally unwitting rural people of their common lands.
Rai Kipat land was largely untouched, reflecting the uneven development in the extension of royal autocratic hegemony mingled with deliberate divide et impera strategy. It shows how oppression was relative, with some national minorities eventually binding to and serving Narayan’s state, even applying stratification by caste among their own peoples, acquiescent in their deities’ acceptance as avatars of the Hindu God, &c.

Caste and the Feudal State

When born in the same way – all are one. None superior –none inferior. What is the use of caste that discriminates between human beings?
– From Basavanna’s Vachanas, written by a 12th century Indian philosopher/statesman.

The modalities of tenure imposed by the first Shah were pivotal in creating the economic and political sinews of a strong central state and went hand-in-hand with the imposition of the Hindu caste system throughout the country. This showed that feudalism in Nepal, while it shared features with the European variety, was deeply rooted in the culture of Indian tributary societies which flourished in the Middle Kingdoms between the first and thirteenth centuries.
The caste system originated as a means for a colonizing group of light-skinned Indo-Aryans to distinguish themselves from the indigenous dark aboriginal peoples (Adivhasis) they were colonizing by establishing three Varnas (Varna denotes color) – Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaishaya in order of superiority.
However, according to scholars, by the time of Gupta Dynasty around 100 AD, this structure was recast as a socioeconomic hierarchy after large grants of land were given to the Brahmin priests, administrators, astrologers, temples and monastic institutions. This largesse had earlier been declared a sacred duty in the Dharmashastra, Hinduism’s foundational scripts where Brahmins are declared Pratigraha, the one caste entitled to receive gifts. There are further references along these lines in the epic poem Mahabharata.
The fourth caste, Shudras, were called forth during this period as an agricultural labor force in servile symbiosis with a rapidly expanding landlord class. Slaves at worst, chattel at best; a Shudra could be killed by a Brahmin with impunity. They were untouchables, subject to enforced endogamy and exclusion. The peasantry of contemporary village India are their descendants. Eventually a fifth category evolved, Dalits (Hindi for oppressed) which took over menial tasks connected with bodily waste, pollution and dirt – they and other tribal subgroups became the ‘Untouchables’.
This essentially was the system that Narayan Shah and his Gorkha warriors imposed upon Nepal, notwithstanding the Shah’s attempt at inclusivity by describing his Kingdom as ‘a garden of four castes and thirty-six subcastes’. No rosy description could, however, mask the reality of a ruthless struggle for land (intensified by salient, topographical fact that only 20% of the country’s area is cultivable) resulting in the new masters seizing the best land and extracting disproportionate produce as feudal rent.
Janjatis were accorded the same status as Shudras and Dalits, and aside from extractions of surplus and rent, had to provide free labor for specified periods and military service as necessary, under the Jhara Code, comparable to Corvee Labor in European feudalism. Hindu patriarchal law deprived Janjati village and farmstead women of property rights. This was accompanied by a sustained campaign to ban ethnic languages and culture that culminated in the Panchayat slogan: ‘One nation, one king, one language.’

Religion in Tributary/Feudal Society

In Kalikot, Hinduism has incurred into disfavor after the Maoist uprising, temples have been abandoned or even demolished. There was no use for them after the upper castes lost their land and moved to the city. In this place we had a temple of Dedhedu, and we were not allowed to enter the temple from this area onward. If we are not allowed to worship the idols that we ourselves made, then there is no point. We came to understand this and stopped maintaining the place.”
– Interview with Dalit Kalikot resident.

The Panchas did not add ‘One God’ to the attributes of the Khas nation as this was axiomatic to the state’s divine Hindu conception where religion was integral, functioning as means of ideological control over the laboring masses. It is strikingly similar to the role played by the pre-Reformation, Roman Catholic Church in European feudalism.
The Church of Rome preached that serfs were chattel, a property category introduced into the world as divine retribution for the original sin of Adam and Eve and carried from birth by their descendants. However, by virtuously accepting his/her lot and offering it up as penance in this life, a serf could attain a ‘state of grace’, ensuring admittance in the next life to Heaven at Dies Irae (Judgment Day). The Church was also a great land and serf owner and had a vested material interest in the temporal status quo. As is so often with organized religion, the basest of motives were tricked out as divinely inspired credo by ferocious, proselytizing clergy.
Their Hindu Brahmin homologues achieved the same end by teaching Shudras, Dalits, and other lower castes that their reward for accepting low caste in this life and creating good karma would be reincarnation into a higher one in the next. There is a potentially endless cycle of life, death and rebirth expressed in the concept of Samsara until the totality of Karma, achieved by soul’s migration through various physical manifestations is sufficient to achieve final mukti (liberation).
There are, of course, significant differences between Catholicism and Hinduism – one a transnational, centralized, corporate entity, the other a syncretic, subcontinental, decentralized network, but in credal terms of ‘justifying the ways of God to Man’ as mechanisms for strict hierarchical control, they were equally prescriptive. The Brahmins are as fanatical about  prohibiting intercaste marriage or upholding Sati as Catholic clerics were about burning heretics for denying the Trinity or Transubstantiation doctrines.
Each presented priestly castes functioning to reconcile the exploited and submerged masses to their inferior position by rationalizing the respective socioeconomic systems as ‘divinely ordained’ and eternal. The historian Kosambhi’s assessment below on role of caste in Hinduism could be equally applied to that of the Catholic Church in medieval Europe.

Caste is class at a primitive level of production, a religious method of forming a social consciousness in such a manner that the primary producer is deprived of his surplus with the minimum of coercion.
– D. D. Kosambhi, Combined Methods in Indology, p 59.

Consensus and Conquest

Whatever the arguments concerning the urban genesis of Indian feudalism (25) in the Gupta period (300-600 AD), there is no doubt that in Nepal it was driven from a central urban power in Kathmandu. Whereas towns and cities in Europe rose in opposition to the feudal countryside, in Nepal the city of Kathmandu was instrumental in superimposing a unified feudal system in a region, and the process was marked by an uneven impact upon urban and rural populations. For the former it was consolidation or even preservation, for the latter – a ’Big Bang’ whose reverberations, like the cosmic microwave background, are still detectable.
In this regard, the unification of the petty principalities, city states and major kingdoms within the Gandaki Basin of Central Nepal ranging from Pokhara to Kathmandu was facilitated by shared Indo-Aryan ethnicity, religion and language among the various protagonists. The regional ubiquity of Hindu upper castes – Brahmins, Chetris, Newaris, Thakuris and Rajputs – in various independent micropolities, petty principalities and kingdoms thus enabled Narayan Shah to develop a strategy that allowed for guile, diplomacy or force of arms to be juggled as necessary on a shared terrain as predominantly a manageable political or dynastic problem.
Most of the town and city statelets absorbed were, nolens volens, either feudal or proto-feudal, with rural lower castes and untouchables producing the agricultural surplus appropriated by urban higher castes.
Devout Hindus obviously welcomed the extension of the caste system that underpinned their privileged conditions of existence but were also roused by the Gorkhali King’s call to defend Hinduism against the Christian feringhees’ inexorable advance – Bible in one hand, rifle in the other. The warrior castes, forged in the wars against Buddhism and the later Mughal incursion, responded with particular fervor, ensuring them an influential position in the ruling elite thereafter.
For the Janjati Tibeto-Burman (26) peoples it was a military conquest by Indo-Aryans subjecting them to economic exploitation and cultural coercion. It created multifaceted oppression based on ethnicity, caste and gender that intensified under the Ranas who, led by Jonge Bahadur Rana, seized power in 1846. The Ranas were Rajput warriors (the name means, ‘field of battle’) raised originally by Narayan Shah, and their century-long rule was marked by persecution, corruption, and debauchery. In return for being left alone to plunder the country, a succession of mostly Shamsher Ranas developed a neocolonial relationship with the British that began seriously starting with the 1857 War of Independence.
Domestically, they used the Birta system extensively in order to seize more land, which increased rural deprivation and landlessness. Birta was particularly applied to award large tracts of the fertile Terai Plains to the Rana clan and other upper castes such as Thakhuris, Brahmins, Chhetris and Rajputs.
The 1854 Muluki Ain (Country/Civil Law) was essential to the process of freezing Nepal in the Middle Age. This set of laws derived from orthodox the Hindu sanctions and laws of the Dharmashastras, giving legal validation to the caste system by, inter alia, prohibiting intercaste mixing, regulating submission of peasants before landlords, and generally preserving the sociocultural and economic status quo. It also continued the tradition of Brahmins being exempt in law from capital or corporal punishment.
There was always resistance in some form to Rana autocracy – for example, the Gurung and Magar Risings in the 19th century and the mass movement inspired by a young widow, Yog Maya, a campaign for rural justice and against caste discrimination which lasted for two decades until the early 1930s. The response to any challenge to the existing order, whether socioeconomic or political, was always repression. In 1940 activists from the Prajaa Parisad (Citizens’ Council) Party were hung for daring to advocate a constitutional monarchy.
While the Ranas’ political grip was loosened after 1950, it has maintained military influence in the officer class and high command of the Nepalese Army, with the present Chief of Army Staff, J. B. Rana, one of the seven Ranas out of eleven occupants of the post since 1974.

Failure of Post-1950 Land Reforms

Towards the end of the uncertain 1950s’, Nehru’s duplicitous Delhi Compromise disintegrated, with the Ranas retiring from political, but not military, power. Nepali Congress and King Mahendra entered a struggle to determine ascendancy, as the democratically elected 1959 Koirala government tentatively began land reform with the twin aims of raising agricultural productivity and alleviating rural poverty.
This was undermined in 1960 by Mahendra’s military coup, proroguing parliament, banning political parties and trade unions, and beginning direct monarchical rule through a Panchayat system of ‘managed democracy’, and in 1962 implementing a pro-landlord program.
This provoked the American agronomist who had helped draft the previous NC administration’s progressive legislation complaining, in a 1963 letter,that landlords were an obstacle to reform because:

They opposed any attempt to improve the situation of tenants.
They were content with low productivity because it generated enough surplus that would be at risk from reform. They were pursuing narrow caste/class sectional interests at the expense of national prosperity and advancing the forces of agricultural production. (27)
Garibiko Bahas. Discussion on Poverty

However, by this time Mahendra had consolidated power with help of a ruling elite that included a significant tranche of landlords and therefore substantial reforms such as setting upper limits on land ownership, increasing access to land for marginalized groups, and greater legal protection for poorer tenants were rejected. Subsequently, his successors, kings and democrats alike, emulated this approach, paying lip service to land reform and radical transformation of the agricultural sector.
Probing Mahendra’s support for the landlords encapsulates the premise of this essay, limning a ruling elite that established its caste predominance by force majeure in 1769 and was still clinging to political power and economic privilege.
Looking at the composition of the landlord class extant at Mahendra’s accession provides a microcosm of Nepalese history, with soldiers and high civil servants from established Brahmin and Chetri castes forming a core of absentee landlords. This was leavened by in situ landlords who became the activists and officers (Panchas) of the Panchayat system and were instrumental in implementing the 1967 ‘Back to the Village’ campaign and generally eliminating rural opposition to the absolutist regime.
From 1964 on there were a succession of five Land Acts, none of which led to any perceptible change to the basic inequities suffered by the rural masses. Hopes for restructuring the sector were dashed when both NC and UML’s ‘Land to the Tiller’ policies failed to survive the transition from underground to legality, following the 1990 Andolan that humbled King Birendra and established for New Delhi a more amenable multiparty system.
The short-lived 1996 Adikhari UML-led coalition administration tried to pick up the pieces and set up the Badal Commission which recommended measures to increase access to land by hitherto marginalized rural peoples. Its recommendations fell with the government that commissioned it, and reform was off the agenda, as successive administrations preferred stasis to reform.
The NC-led Deuba regime, in 2002, did propose a program of radical change, ostensibly to aid poor farmers and tenants but which in reality turned out to be a political stratagem rather than a serious reform initiative, the purpose of which was to neutralize and outbid support for the Maoists’ truly radical rural agenda at the height of People’s War.
The only changes attempted by the many governments from 1990-2006 were guided by neoliberal policies enforced on loan-dependent Nepal by the IMF and World Bank. Permitting only market mechanisms, they enabled the landlord-moneyed class to acquire even more land through a Land Bank. Furthermore, land registration and government improvement grants were designed to benefit big Hindu landlords. Meanwhile, the governments resisted ceilings on land ownership aimed at sharing land more equably by creating tenancies among the hitherto landless and marginalized rural populations and also rejected improving rights and security of tenure for existing small and single family tenancies.

Failure of Post-1990 Land Reform

It was significant that the landlord class, following the collapse of the Panchayat system in 1990, flocked into the ranks of Nepali Congress, entrenching it further as a formidable conservative bloc, winning the 1991 election that, after a hiccup, saw the ferocious anti-communist GP Koirala installed as Prime Minister. He needed little urging to launch a harsh campaign of state repression against the urban Left and their Janjati allies in the countryside.
This commenced in April 1992 with police shooting demonstrators in Kathmandu and led remorselessly to the notorious 1995 Operation Romeo which subjected the western district of Rolpa to sustained police terror, lasting weeks and featuring arbitrary killing, rape and mass arrests, followed by detention and often torture. This insensate, brutal operation was decisive in swelling the ranks of a nascent Maobaadi (Maoist) PLA, and provided the spark that ignited a prairie fire of rural revolution marking the decade following 1996. Dr. Bhatterai provided an overview:

The most disadvantaged regions within the country include those inhabited by indigenous people since time immemorial. These regions, which were independent tribal states prior to the formation of the unified state in the latter half of the 18th century, have been reduced to the most backward and oppressed condition due to internal feudal exploitation and external semi-colonial oppression.
They have been left behind in the historical development process because of the blockade of their path to independent development and the imposition of sociocultural oppression along with economic oppression with the backing of the state, by forces that came from outside.
B. Bhatterai, Political Economy of People’s War, 1997, from PW in Nepal, Seddon-Karki, p 153)

It was no accident therefore, that the Maoists in 1996 chose to launch People’s War from rural West Nepal, beginning with the ransacking of an Agricultural Development Bank office located, with appropriate historical symmetry, in Gorkha District. Loan agreements lodged there, which extracted rent from tenant farmers by usurious repayments, were seized and torched, while ownership documents, held as collateral against the loans, were carefully retrieved and returned to respective titleholders.
It was no accident that land reform was a key element in 2006 negotiations for CPA, where Maoists wanted further confiscation of land from the big landlords without compensation and the application of ‘scientific management’ to agriculture. In so doing they were echoing longstanding communist aims of land reform, highlighted in the 40 demands promulgated in 1996 by CPN (M) and whose anticipated rejection was the trigger for People’s War.
Communists and anti-imperialists argue land reform is crucial for underdeveloped Third World countries if they are to gestate into modern genuinely independent societies. Forgetting the propaganda about it being the ‘world’s biggest democracy’, India is presently the world’s greatest failed state, with staggering levels of poverty and deprivation.
This stems from the failure to transform its inefficient feudal land system after independence, because, prior to it, Gandhi and Nehru had made an alliance with the feudal landlords and guaranteed their property and privilege. The much vaunted ‘Green Revolution’ of the 1960’s came and went without altering the systemic depressing reality noted by a leading economist:

Famines in India were very frequent during the period 1940’s to 1970’s. Due to faulty distribution of food and because farmers did not receive the true value of their labors, the majority of the population did not get enough food. Malnutrition and starvation were a huge problem.
Sen, A. Poverty and Famine, 1981

In 2008 the World Bank estimated the global poor at 1.29 billion, of whom 400 million were in India. Communist China by contrast expropriated its landlord class and created over 70,000 communes that overcame residual difficulties and not only eliminated famines by 1970, but also, against the background of the mid-1960’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, provided the springboard for Deng Xiaoping’s launching China in the direction of state capitalism (28) after 1976.
Other socialist countries have followed this path: DPRK, Vietnam, and Cuba. Even Japan, post-1945, under MacArthur’s US imperium – initiated land reform clearing away feudalism as precondition for a capitalist future and a bastion against the march of communism in Asia. In all cases it was intended as precursor to industrial development and national autonomy. It is the only way for semi-feudal (29) and feudal societies to advance beyond  subsistence agriculture – by planning, collectivization and ‘scientific management’ in order to expand reproduction and accumulate the surplus necessary to feed the urban populations.
It is especially crucial in supporting a growing working class engaged on infrastructural projects or in domestic industries that hopefully flourish when protected behind tariff walls.
The nature of the society shapes its revolution’s priorities; as Dr Bhatterai, then in camp of revolution, detailed:

In a semi-feudal agriculture based economy like Nepal, the New Democratic revolution means basically an agrarian revolution. Revolutionary land reform, is, therefore, the biggest and the most important economic program of the New Democratic revolution. (B Bhatterai, ibid, p 158)

Summary – Historical Constituents of Discord

The imposition of a feudal system from the urban center created unresolved contradictions in Nepalese society. These contradictions are intensifying under pressurized conditions effected by the modern global capitalist market, but their provenance lies in Narayan Shah’s successful, ruthless unification campaign. More conquest than consensus, it seeded the antagonisms that continue to flourish in a divided, heterogeneous society and are recapitulated below.
1). The urban and rural paradox, which saw an urban center dominating the countryside as was touched on earlier, was an inversion of European feudal experience where towns and cities grew in dynamic opposition to the stagnant nature of rustic society. This caused Marx to remark in the Communist Manifesto that the one thing you could thank the bourgeoisie for, was that they built cities and rescued the mass of the people from ‘rural idiocy’. On the contrary in Nepal, unification and comprehensive extension of Hindu feudalism/Brahminism was driven by an autocratic, central state that remains largely intact and unreformed.
As with many capital cities in the developing world, Kathmandu has also come to epitomize uneven development, with the city growing into a First World citadel, in a Third World society, a progression expedited because its ruling elites in politics, the civil service, the armed forces, business and, increasingly, the media have been suborned by global and regional imperialism, manifested in mixtures of military, economic and cultural Soft Power.
In today’s Nepal, continuing resentment of central power, even dressed up as ‘democracy’, is revealed in dissension between those defending it against federalists seeking to liberate national minorities in the regions.
The CPN (M) placed decentralization among its 40 demands in 1996, and it has since provided detailed policy necessary to establish a federal state. The major parliamentary parties are opposed, wanting to either retain power in the Kathmandu center or gerrymander a federal state that ensures continuing upper caste/class hegemony.
2). Narayan Shah’s triumph is echoed in the confrontation between Hindu Khas chauvinists and Janjati national minorities, with the former from the outset dressing up socioeconomic oppression of the latter in religious and linguist garb. The Rana record of attempting to stamp out the many ethnic languages and cultures is attested, but successive Shahs and soi disant democratic politicians were no better.
As late as 1994, the Adhikari UML administration launched a Sanskrit radio station and tried to make its teaching compulsory in schools. Something to note – Sanskrit, the root of all Indo-Aryan languages as Latin for the European ‘Romantics’, has no linguistic connection with any ethnic minority language in Nepal, and the strategy of its imposition was another cultural humiliation, provoking an anti-Sanskrit campaign led by Janjatis.
This event was a particularly salutary example of the gulf between the UML’s communist appellation and its political practice, which in this case was distinguished by arrogant, implicit Hindutvaism.
Reflecting back to the 1066 conquest of England, Marx, quoted earlier, noted that the Norman system was grafted onto a pre-existing embryonic form of Anglo-Saxon feudalism. It could also be said that the two peoples shared the Catholic faith, perhaps offset by the Papal blessing given to William, rewarding his Ultramontanist credentials and the Church’s temporal interest in extending this more efficient and proven pious Norman feudalism and its own theological-political hegemony.
However, even points of concurrence did not disguise a brutal invasion followed by a century of military oppression at the hands of a French-speaking army and a new nobility ensconced in castle, on expropriated land. The evolution of feudalism into the more benign form of manorialism and the consolidation of Royal and Papal power in England was greatly facilitated by fact that within four generations, the hitherto alien invaders, kings and nobles alike, had abandoned the French language for an evolving English one. This linguistic event was crucial to the formation of the modern English language and vital in establishing a cohesive national identity.
It was not, therefore, unification by force-of-arms at the behest of foreign invaders that has precluded a similar Nepalese national identity from appearing; rather it is the failure to heal the original divisions created between vaunting conqueror and resentful conquered.
3). Landlord and tenant antipathy is rooted in the appropriation and expropriation of land that continued until the second half of the 20th century. The abolition of feudal land tenure and its subsequent mutation from private use to private ownership under market conditions benefited upper caste landlords by enabling them to consolidate their lands, with access to capital giving them immediate preference in acquiring released former royal/state lands.
As shown previously, the pattern of land ownership has scarcely changed since the covetous Ranas and upper castes used the state and its repressive apparatus to monopolize swathes of it. Reforms such as setting ceilings on land holdings were either resisted or circumvented. Small tenants were given few protections, and they either fell prey to usurers or were driven into sharecropping and landlessness.
This last group have swollen to include almost 30% of the rural population, mainly Dalits, ethnics, Terai Muslims, and together they form a reservoir of cheap labor, first supplementing and then replacing Kamaiya bonded labor after its abolition in 2002. Thus the feudal landholders devolved into landlords, rentiers – often absentee – and usurers. Over 80% of this last category were drawn from this traditional rural elite (30) despite the Asian Development Bank’s attempts to break their monopoly of usury. Consequently feudal relations continue to dominate an increasingly proletarianized rural workforce.
4) The crucial component defining the relations of production in the tributary system established by Prithvi Narayan Shah was the rigorous application of the Hindu caste system and the enforcement of it on Buddhist, pantheist, or shamanist Janjatis. The ideas of the ruling class, as Marx observed, tend to constitute the dominant ideas in any society, and in the subcontinent, caste was the Brahmin elite’s mechanism for maintaining and rationalizing oppression and exploitation.
It expressed a fusion of ideological and economic function in a society characterized by the rigid hierarchy of caste and rendered immutable by divine genesis and command:

The rich man in his castle
The poor man at his gate
God made them high and low
And ordered their estate

This Christian hymn’s maxims are paralleled in the precepts of Hindu casteism as set forth, among other sources, by the God Krishna in the Bhavagad Gita:

“The caste system has been created by me…According to the differentiation of…Karma”
Ch 4, Verse 13
“…of (the castes) the duties are distributed according to the qualities born of their nature”
Ch 18, Verse 41

The continuing grip of this system, however informal, is evidence of residual feudal mindset and practice. A contemporary Brahmin is just as likely today to be a newspaper editor, political boss, professional, or civil servant, as a Pujaari (priest) or Jyotisi (astrologer), but this has not diluted the influence of the caste; rather it has equipped it to expand into the many crevices of power in contemporary civil societies.
In all events, the secular opinion-former or the Thulo Hakim (party godfather/boss), laagered in Kathmandu, is no less the arrogant, prescriptive Brahmin, than is the cleric, functioning as interlocutor between humanity and God, under the gold roof of Pashupatinath Temple, on the banks of the Bagmati River that flows through Kathmandu and from where Dalits, as with all temples, are barred from entering.
Caste in Nepal often overlaps with class, with Brahmins and Kshatriya morphing into bourgeoisie, and Dalits in their designated laboring and semi-skilled occupations recalibrating as workers and forming unions. Whatever the taxonomy, caste discrimination remains deeply ingrained in a society dominated by upper caste Hindus, despite the advent of multiparty democracy. Dalits and their organizations and unions have consistently supported the Maoists, seeing the revolution as the means of consigning the system into the dustbin of history.
In this respect the CPN (M) were decisive in purging caste-discriminatory practices in liberated base areas, setting an example that stills cries out for general application.
5). The creation of Nepal under the auspices of deeply patriarchal culture was a qualitative setback for gender equality as post-pubertal females under Hinduism were regarded as domestic chattel to serve and gratify male needs and reproduce the species.
This conflicted with the more liberated mores of Janjati societies based the villages and valleys of the hinterland. They represented the close-knit, gemeinschaft ideal, where survival in a harsh, unforgiving environment, was problematic for both sexes, precluding prejudice and requiring cooperation and mutual respect. Consequently women were influential in the community and could obtain and inherit property.
This was prohibited under Hindu religion and law; women were also stopped from working in the fields under this rubric and generally subject to humiliation and constraints that marked their low status. They suffered the twin oppressions of class and gender, expressed in economic, social and political forms.
The Maobaadi slogan was:

Working Women of the World, Unite. You Have Nothing to Lose but Your Double Chains!!

There is also significant empirical evidence that discrimination has deleterious health effects, especially to lower-caste women. Nepal is unique because female life expectancy has always lagged a few years behind that of males, an inversion of the normative death rate gender differential obtaining in most societies. Up to 2000, the country had one of the worst maternal mortality rates in the world – 875 per 100,000, and it is little better now.
Lower caste women suffer further sexual oppression, are subject to rape with impunity by high caste males and are forced into sex slavery and prostitution. Hindu women, especially in urban centers, are made to observe Teej (husband worship), and the fifth day Tihar (Nepal’s Deepawali) is set aside for Hindu sisters’ Bhai Tikka (brother worship).
However, People’s War raised a challenge to the subordination of women in Nepal; the CPN (M) was committed to female liberation, from Marx to Mao a consistent communist principle, and proved this in the red base areas. There were dramatic effects on women in these zones, both indirect and direct. In the first place the conflict caused male displacement into PLA and militia and accelerated the increasing flight of men into migrant work, leaving the work traditionally assigned to them, from plowing the fields to repairing roofs, to be carried on by females.
That many women enthusiastically took up these challenges and supported the revolutionary cause is further demonstrated by the fact that by the time of CPA, one-third of the 30,000 PLA ranks were women serving alongside men in the front line. As with caste, the Maoists promoted and enforced equality, in stark contrast to the patriarchal and chauvinist Hindu culture of towns and cities. Even these urban centers were affected, as there was an increase in women’s’ organizations and agitation which owed as much to the impact of cosmopolitan petit bourgeois feminism as it did to urban Maoist women engaging in those legal or semi-legal campaigns for women’s rights that were open to them.
However, there remains a long struggle for full equality between the sexes on the subcontinent. The appalling treatment of many, especially Dalit, women in India, highlights the worst effects of Hindu male chauvinism. It is also apparent in culture with the Soft Power of Bollywood and in politics with the election of a Hindutva BJP government showing that patriarchalism is systemic and pervasive on the subcontinent. For Nepal, it forms part of Narayan Shah’s enduring legacy, and for those of Indo-Aryan stock, secular or Hindu, male chauvinism is reinforced by cultural and political mores emanating from ‘Mother India’.

Patriots and Compradors

The major divide between patriots and compradors is not directly attributable to the first Shah but began with the deliberate neocolonialist turn taken by the military clan he had called forth as the monarchy’s Praetorian Guard, the Ranas. Following Jonge Bahadur’s precedent, their subservience to the British rendered direct colonization unnecessary.
In the light of the post-1857 rebellion which the Ranas helped the British put down, the new Raj was more concerned with consolidating what he held than advancing into new territory and he actually returned to Nepal parts of the Terai seized following the 1814-16 Anglo-Nepalese war and Sugauli Treaty.
While the Ranas suffered for their pro-British proclivities in 1950, with Nehru aiding the King and NC invasion, the returned Shahs from Tribhuvan to Gyenendra were always ambivalent towards India. Mahendra, for example, was quite willing to play the China card after its decisive military victory over India in 1962 by securing Peking’s aid in constructing a modern highway from the Tibetan border to Kathmandu. Birendra’s humbling in the events of 1990 Andolan was precipitated by an Indian blockade on Nepal that closed four out of the five major roads and quickly brought hunger to Kathmandu.
This was prompted by the King’s attempt to purchase anti-aircraft equipment from China without consultation with and the agreement of New Delhi. These and other royal stratagems were nevertheless exercises and attempts at national sovereignty opportunistically exploiting interstices in the bedrock of Nepalese general political, cultural and economic deference to India and pragmatic royal acceptance of India’s strategic interests as the regional superpower. This ambivalence continues today as even the two RPP royalist parties are divided by pro- and anti-Indian sentiment.
It is all the more surprising that, from Nehru onward, Indian administrations maintained a ‘Two Pillar’ policy towards Nepal following the collapse of the Delhi Compromise which supported the king and the political parties. It was never a rational option; attempting to balance the conflicting interests of Royalist absolutism and popular democratic sovereignty was destined to end with the victory of one group or another. Tigers want blood – not grass, and New Delhi appears naïve not to have understood this.
It was especially puzzling that it involved India, as mentioned, supporting frequently freewheeling monarchs and marginalizing its natural allies in NC, and latterly UML, who had followed their Indian CPI comrades onto the parliamentary road and establishment status.
New Delhi had a major geopolitical stake in ensuring a compliant regime in Nepal as a bulwark against the threatened proletarian expansionism of the PRC and yet tolerated often opportunist, awkward Nepalese monarchs who, in their turn, were trying to maintain neutrality and pursue and independent foreign policy. They were conscious of Narayan Shah’s warning that: ’Nepal was like a yam between two stones’, therefore, cunning and room for maneuver was required to avoid being crushed.
Why successive Indian administrations continued to tolerate an, at best, ambivalent monarchy, when it had much more congenial partners in waiting is puzzling, especially given that the policy was not abandoned until 2005, when New Delhi finally lost patience and facilitated talks in India allowing the prorogued seven parliamentary parties and the Maoists to forge an anti-Gyanendra alliance.
NC, after all, was created under Nehru’s aegis, and he effectively betrayed the party in the aftermath of the 1950 invasion, with first the Delhi Compromise and next with the subsequent Two Pillar policy.
It may be argued that as the supreme arbiter of power on domestic and international issues, Nehru’s quixotic and capricious nature – if not Brahmin presumption – led to unchallenged contradictions. But even that does not fully explain the persistence of this approach post-Nehru, especially after the 1990 Andolan, which New Delhi precipitated and again drew back from by agreeing to having King Birendra stay on condition of accepting constitutional status (yet crucially allowing him to keep control of the army) in a ‘parliamentary democracy’.
A former Indian diplomat turned critical establishment sage noted in exasperation in 2003:

“There is a serious inherent conflict between the interests of multiparty democracy based on the concept of popular sovereignty and the King’s political aspirations and self-perceived divine role to rule. Even in 1990 the coexistence between the King and the political parties was neither natural, nor sincere nor honest.” (31)
– S. D. Muni

As this essay has argued, it was obvious from 1990 on that the parliamentary parties, governments and upper castes were either supine or in active collusion with Indian interests against the interests of the nation. They stood in even greater neocolonial submission to India than the Ranas before the British Empire. Their anti-national character was reinforced by functioning as agents/functionaries/transmission belts for imperialism in all its manifestations.
There is no role for independent states under the present global imperium. The modern state was called forth by the European bourgeoisie during the early progressive birthing struggles against feudalism. These states later degenerated into a struggle between these new nations across the European continent. It was nationalism distinguished by a xenophobic hatred, intensified when rivalry spread from the continent to a world stage in the age of mercantilism and colonialism as each European power fought rivals for a ‘place in the sun’.
The aim of these various rampaging states was to either exterminate or exploit native peoples and by blocking independent development maintain their subjugation. The aim of the First World has always been to kick away the ladder of protection it climbed up, from under Third World countries preserving them as arenas for super-exploitation. If there are domestic capitalist sectors in underdeveloped countries, they are crushed by unfair competition or leveraged out by multinationals using the dominant financial and political institutions and instruments of international capitalism.
Since national capitalist sectors are not permitted in underdeveloped countries like Nepal, no national bourgeoisie can exist. Only one that is comprador can flourish. Individuals from upper caste/bourgeois backgrounds do at times betray their caste/class interest and join the struggle for national liberation, and their contribution is not negligible, but patriotism finds critical mass among the rural and urban working masses because it is materially intertwined with class interest and takes political counteroffensive against oppressive conditions created by international capital.
For the ‘wretched of the earth’, Fanon’s memorable, passionate characterization, in Nepal and other Shudra states of the present global dispensation, there is no ‘trickle-down’ from the engorging imperial heartlands. The much-touted benefits of capitalism are chimerical, a Coca-Cola sign on a Third World shanty mocking poverty inside.
The gap between a banker on Wall Street and a sharecropper in an Assamese paddy field is as wide and unbridgeable as that between a patrician Brahmin or Newari Thulo Hakim in the gated Lazimpat area of Kathmandu and a barelegged Dalit sanitation operative sifting city filth and inhabiting a hovel in a less salubrious quarter. Capitalist imperialism has overseen Brahmin and bourgeois class rule equalized by mutuality of greed and hierarchical praxis.

Material Basis of Social Contradiction

Just as Darwin discovered the law of development of organic nature, so Marx discovered the law of development of human history; the simple fact hitherto concealed by an overgrowth of ideology, that mankind must first of all eat, drink, have shelter and clothing, before it can pursue politics, science, art, religion, etc.; that therefore the production of the immediate material means of subsistence and consequently the degree of economic development attained by a given people or during a given epoch form the foundation upon which the state institutions, the legal conceptions, art, and even on ideas of religion, have been evolved,…..”
– F. Engels, Speech at the Graveside of Marx, 1883, Selected Works, Vol 3, p 162.)
“…an economic rationale can be provided for the origins of the Indian caste system as it can for European feudalism. All the great Eurasian civilizations being dependent on plow intensive agriculture needed some institutional means to tie labor…..Serfdom, indenture, slavery and the caste system were all ways to do so.”
D. Lal, The Abuse of History, p. 2.

The genesis of Nepal’s divisions principally lies in the system imposed by Narayan Shah after 1769. This was an economic process galvanized by political means, with a ruling elite extracting surplus from downtrodden peasantry in an agricultural society through control of the land. Following Professor R. S. Sharma’s taxonomy (32) of this phenomenon in India during the first millennium AD, the appellation feudalism is used. Asok Rudra created the term ‘Brahminism’ (33) to emphasize the unique nature of the Indian system, rejecting parallels with European feudalism.
What unites them, however, is mutual recognition that, whatever its discrete mechanisms and subsequent nomenclature, this was a tributary society. In other words, a type of pre-capitalist economic formation marked Eurasian history in this period. It was characterized by two main classes – first, a peasantry deployed in communal production, and second, a ruling class comprised of a priesthood, a nobility/military and an absolute monarchy that appropriated the surplus product/labor through control of land by repressive and extra-economic mechanisms
There were marked divergences in the forms taken by these societies in Europe, India and China, but all instantiate the level of class struggle at this historical stage, albeit subject to differential momentum, development trajectories and cultural configurations.
This is applying the methodology of historical materialism, précised in Engels’ quote above, which posits a sociopolitical superstructure arising from and sustained by an economic infrastructure which is appropriate to specific historical stages and the development of the forces of production therein. These successive modes of production encompass therefore not just the technological level of the productive forces but the corresponding relations of production under which they operate.
The conditions under which social formations organize immediate physical necessities such as food and shelter shape their culture and provide a dominant worldview consistent with specific modes of reproduction. There have been qualitatively distinct historical stages in systematizing preconditions of physical existence, each sustaining its appropriate ideology. Marx reasoned:

“The hand mill gives you society with the feudal lord; the steam mill, society with the industrial capitalist. The same men who establish social relations in conformity with their material productivity, produce also principles, ideas and categories, in conformity with their social relations.”(34)
– Karl Marx.

Therefore European feudalism gave rise to Roman Catholicism with all souls subsumed in the Corpus Christi (Body of Christ) and with divinely ordained functions complementing hierarchical society.
Capitalism, for its part, produces bourgeois individualism as an appropriate ideology for a dynamic or even unbridled society that is in constant flux.
Similarly the caste system on the Indian subcontinent, as has been argued earlier and noted by Lal above, is a socioeconomic phenomenon brought forward by exploitative elites applying superstitious doctrine to rationalize and mask their extraction of surplus. It is, as Dr. Ambedkar rightly concluded, a mechanism for the ‘social division of labor’ within an ’unequal hierarchy’.
Just as Hindu metaphysics spawned numerous avatars and manifestations of Para Brahman (the Supreme Being), increasing refinement in allocation of fixed, discrete socioeconomic functions gave rise to a plethora of subcastes and Jatis that remain determinate to this day, despite the impacts of urban cosmopolitanism and the phenomenon of many Dalits and lower castes forming their own organizations and joining trade unions. Hinduism’s credal syncretism contrasts strikingly with the rigidity of its hierarchical stratification by means of caste.
Religion is an ideological component within a general culture and along with political and legal systems is a constituent element of the superstructure which consistently corresponds to the economic base. It is called forth and shaped by ruling classes to serve the base and changes accordingly as it does. It cannot be otherwise. It is not economic determinism, acknowledging there is a reciprocal relationship between the two.
So, for example, changes to the social relations of production in the base give rise to distinct world views; while conversely, political activity in the superstructure such as revolutionary upheaval can transform the base. Feudalism gave way to capitalism, which reduced religion to residual role and developed education as mode of enculturation.
These are Blake’s “mind-forged manacles,” prefiguring Gramsci’s concept of hegemony in civil society, showing how a dominant class maintains ideological control over exploited classes and thereby complements its monopoly of the physical means of repression. Human societies have always commingled consent and coercion in varying combinations according to circumstances and history, but all rest on specific, sequential economic infrastructures that are ‘determinate in the last instance’:

“… According to the materialist conception of history, the ultimate determining factor is the production and reproduction of life.” (Engels to J. Bloch, 1890. ME Selected Works, Vol 3, p.487)

Conclusion

The ideal for any ruling class is where its ideology takes root and is accepted by the subordinate classes as expressing normative, eternal human verities. The lower classes then, as Marx held, “…share the illusion of that epoch” (35). In this essay I have argued that the brutal genesis of modern Nepal continues to engender resistance that precludes mass popular consent to such ‘illusion’ because its inceptional arrangements remain largely intact.
The caste system therefore remains pervasive and influential, if sotto voce, because the upper castes it benefits retain political and economic power, despite changes in polities from monarchy through the Ranas back to the return of monarchy and finally culminating in the multiparty parliamentary system, with each in turn representing a different modality of Brahminical predominance. This elite has lasted nearly two-hundred and fifty years, and it has managed to preserve a feudal/tributary mode beyond its epochal termination elsewhere.
Although circulation of money, small scale commodity production and burgeoning private property penetrated this society assisted by inherent Brahmin avariciousness mediated as hucksterism, it did not produce a strong national capitalist sector. Therefore, it was easily sold out by entrenched upper caste interests ready to accommodate the socioeconomic and geopolitical authority and objectives of India’s Brahminical oligarchs and international capitalism’s power elites and institutions.
Consequently the heirs of Narayan Shah via the neocolonial Ranas have mutated into today’s comprador ruling class, equally marked by cupidity, corruption and cultural capitulation.
The Seven Party Alliance was squeezed between Gyanendra’s royal coup complete with dissolution of parliament and banning of parties on the one hand and the Maoists, strengthened by the gains of Protracted People’s War, on the other. The parliamentary parties in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement gave formal assurances to the latter in order to defeat the former regarding restructuring the state and army.
In the following years, re-energized as a reactionary bloc and assisted/prompted by New Delhi and Washington, the same parties, led by NC and UML, decisively reneged on those commitments which they had conceded in a moment of weakness. Those promises, if translated into effective policies, would have effectively ended their role as Nepal’s traditional governing class functioning from the Kathmandu center.
Thus discord continues to disfigure Nepalese society and is characterized by a plurality of contradictions reflected variously as antipathy between landlord and tenant, Brahmin and Dalit, Khas Hindu and Janjati, comprador and patriot, casteist and egalitarian, capitalist and worker, patriarchalist and feminist, centralist and federalist, Maoist and Status Quoist.
They are all aspects and expressions of fundamental class antagonism, with a ruling elite on the right confronting the interests of the popular masses on the left.
Finally, I will conclude with a quote from an assessment made just after the 2006 CPA outlining the steps necessary to avoid a repetition of Protracted People’s War. It encapsulates the arguments made at greater length in the preceding pages. It is not from class warrior ‘usual suspects’ or any of more erudite and equally committed Nepalese specialists, but it hails from a well-meaning and of course well-funded Norwegian ‘Conflicts Resolution’ NGO:

The long-term conflict trends in Nepal are linked to whether or not one succeeds in replacing social, political and economic exclusion with more inclusive institutions, processes and practices. Continued exclusion on the basis of caste, ethnicity, gender or other means of distinction will provide the basis for continued armed conflict, including the possibility for further violence.
In political terms the key issue revolves around the ongoing efforts to establish legitimate political institutions accepted by all groups in society. In socioeconomic terms, this system will also have to, over time, succeed in becoming more genuinely redistributive that the current system.
In the short term, several factors might trigger increased violence in Nepal, including:
Increasing poverty: As noted above, the poverty and exclusion issue will remain central, in particular for the new regime when it will be established. Meanwhile, the government should succeed in providing at least some symbolic progress on the economic front in order to encourage belief in the system and indicate the way forward.
Ethnic mobilization: With widespread exclusion and discrimination still the norm across Nepali society, the danger will remain that some groups may mobilize on the basis of violence. This danger will grow unless the government and Maoists succeed in driving the negotiations forward and ensure redistribution in broad terms. (36)

These aims, necessary for Nayaa Nepal (New Nepal), have been either ignored or had their implementation blocked by a revived Brahminical status quo that despite its rampant corruption and its inability to provide functional government or generally represent the national interest still clings to power and privilege. Meanwhile the country decays and the people grow poorer while a younger generation takes up the challenge of the unfinished revolution.

“The old world is dying away, and the new world struggles to come forth: now is the time of monsters.” (Gramsci, A. State and Civil Society, Prison Notebooks, p 276)

Gramsci’s apercu applies to the present right/left impasse in Nepalese society – for the moment.

Postscript

In these poor, underdeveloped countries, where the rule is that the greatest wealth is surrounded by the greatest poverty, the army and the police constitute the pillars of the regime; an army and a police (another rule which must not be forgotten) which are advised by foreign experts.
The strength of the police force and the power of the army are proportionate to the stagnation in which the rest of the nation is sunk. By dint of yearly loans, concessions are snatched up by foreigners; scandals are numerous, ministers grow rich, their wives doll themselves up, the members of parliament feather their nests, and there is not a soul down to the simple policemen or the customs officer who does not join in the great procession of corruption.
– F. Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, 1961, p. 138)

At the turn of the millennium, the Royal Nepalese Army had a complement of approximately 35,000 front line personnel, and bolt-action 303 rifles (first issued to the British Army in 1892) were the standard infantry rifle. Now, post-2008, as the Nepalese Army is 105,000 strong the and standard issue weapon includes the much more deadly American M-16 fully automatic, state of the art, high-velocity, assault rifle, replacing the substandard, fault-prone INSAS light machine gun, India’s generic AK-47.
This results from Washington’s geopolitical strategy of encircling a rising China with a chain in which Nepal forms an important potential link. Egyptianizing the Nepalese Army was important in advancing this aim. Under the pretext of post 9/11 ‘War On Terror’, following the 2002 Powell mission to Kathmandu, Washington agreed to help Gyanendra by equating Maoist rebels with Jihadis in a spurious world ‘crusade’.
In the following years, except for the brief blip of Gyanendra’s absolutist rule, guns, guidance and greenbacks have flowed in to the army as US military advisors implemented a strategy of re-equipping the army. The US has supplied the army with improved weaponry. In the air, the US is supplying aerial reconnaissance and attack capability with helicopters and short take-off-landing aircraft (STOL). And the US has introduced counterinsurgency training. All of this for an army that, prior to being sent into serious action against the PLA following the pro-Maoist King Birendra’s assassination, was only experienced in UN peacekeeping duties in various hotspots.
Through the Office for Defense Cooperation, Nepal’s top military convene monthly at one of the two US Embassies in Kathmandu under the auspices of the US Commander in Chief – Pacific (CINPAC). (37) Many of the NA high command and officer class are Sandhurst trained, and like their Indian Army homologues are willing Koi Hais, the Indian colonial term for a native servant.
Collusion with Uncle Sam, allowing him a forward base in Nepal in return for practical assistance turning the NA into a primarily domestic counterinsurgency force, came easily with this pedigree.
Aside from the Pentagon’s infantry weaponizing of the NA, most of the army’s supplies have come from India. In 2013, India resumed its role of supplying most of the army’s other military requirements, including means for ground and air mobility. This followed an eight year break that had begun in protest against Gyanendra’s coup but was also motivated by suspicion and resentment at growing US presence in India’s traditional sphere of influence.
The recent unity of purpose between Washington and New Delhi in regard to Nepal is evidence of a broader and deeper economic and strategic partnership between the two countries. This has been extended into the military sphere with the Pentagon providing guidance for Operation Green Hunt, a counterinsurgency campaign launched in 2009 aimed at defeating Maoist and Adavasi rebels who are resisting the plunder of resources and destruction of their traditional lands by insatiable multinational corporations in the five states comprising India’s ‘Red Corridor’.
There is also a 40,000 strong paramilitary group, the Armed Police Force (APF). This group was originally set up under Deuba’s NC 2001 administration to offset Gyanendra’s NA monopoly of state repressive potential. With the advent of the republic, it morphed into common purpose with NA, giving the state nearly 150,00 armed personnel at its disposal. The UK, with twice the population of Nepal, has an army half its size of the NA.
Further, Britain’s imperial heritage marks it as a singularly bellicose state, permanently at war with someone somewhere, usually as faithful deputy in various American campaigns of international aggression.
Apart from the People’s War, the Nepalese Army fought a minor war in the 1970’s, routing a marauding Khampa rabble in Mustang Province that had been trained and primed by the CIA to cross into Tibet and continue America’s war-by-proxy against the People’s Republic. Nepal is not threatened by imminent military invasion from either of its neighbors and has a particularly casual arrangement of an open border with India without even a dedicated border guard. The Nepalese Army’s UN peacekeeping duties involve 4,000 personnel at most at any one time.
It is obvious that the NA and APF are primarily intended as forces for domestic repression; they are ostentatious and ubiquitous across the country, with six fixed army divisions straddling the regions, backed up by three mobile specialist brigades. They have used the years since 2006 to improve fortified positions and entrenchments in rural areas and are everywhere in urban centers. Katmandu City itself is like a military camp, with never less than 20,000 personnel in barracks dispersed across the City like chocolate chips in a cookie.
Soldiers regularly patrol streets and thoroughfares, man major chowks (public squares and intersections) and parade in Tudikhel Park, a private army marching ground in the center of the city which, apart from the national football stadium is the only grass covered area in Kathmandu. Strutting their stuff, the soldiery are designed as much to intimidate as impress.
The army is the elephant in the room in the Nepalese situation, and has been referenced throughout this paper for its role and influence at key points in Nepal’s history from its birth under Narayan Shah, to the early years of the 21st. century. In the last decade it has become bigger and better armed, equipped and trained than at any point in its history.
It proved politically decisive in forcing Gyanendra’s surrender that signaled the victory of the April 2006 Andolan, and crucially succeeded in overthrowing Prachanda’s administration when it attempted to enforce the CPA provision that the PLA regulars be integrated as a corps into the NA. The further seizure of PLA weapons from the UN cantonments in 2011 on paper cemented the Brahminical state’s monopoly of violence in Nepal.
Its comprador officer corps and high command, well-groomed by American and Indian patrons, have demonstrated in such interventions decisive executive ability; dumping a malfunctioning, hubristic King, blocking army reform, martialing the phony 2013 election, and holding an informal veto over policies or proposals inimical to the status quo.
The officer corps is dominated by Chetris and Thakuris and represents a military ascendancy formed under the banner of Narayan Shah. It stands ready for counterrevolution either as a state of emergency or military dictatorship as possible options should the existence of the state be problematic or in imminent danger of collapse. The State’s political class presents no coherent power, and in any event is presently sunk in corruption, paralyzed by the specific difficulty in getting the existing order ratified in a bogus constitution and its sheer general uselessness in providing clean, functioning government.

Unfinished Revolution

War hath determined us, and foil’d with loss
Irreparable: terms of peace yet none
Vouchsafed, or sought: for what peace will be given
To us enslaved, but custody severe,
And stripes, and arbitrary punishment Inflicted?
And what peace can we return,
But, to our power, hostility and hate,
Untamed reluctance, and revenge though slow
Yet ever plotting how the Conqueror least
May reap his conquest, and may least rejoice
In doing what we most in suffering feel?
Milton, Paradise Lost, Book 2, lines 330/40.

However, the People’s War may resume in some form based on the announcement in early December that barely two years after the CPN-M (Dashists) broke from the UCPN(M) (Cashists), the CPN-M (Dashists) haves also split, with a faction led by Biplav (Netra Bikram Chand) forming the CPN Maoist.
At the time of writing, the Two-Line Struggle’s policy differences that prefigured the rupture are not fully understood, but the new party is driven by what it perceives as the treachery and reversals of the eight wasted years since 2006 and declaring that if provisions given by SPA on behalf of the status quo are not honored then struggle will resume, and organs of dual power will be revived in re-established liberated zones.
The split does not appear as politically and ideologically rancorous as that between the Cashists and Dashists and may exhibit a generational difference regarding timing; Biplav and many around him are in their forties but have considerable battlefield experience from the People’s War. On the other hand, Kiran’s close comrades are in their fifties and sixties, and while many are primarily political figures, they also include active-service veterans.
Each party recognizes that the stalled revolution is certain to recommence at some point, but the lack of technical support makes any attempt in the short term to ‘go back into the jungle’ or resume any form of armed struggle against a new, domestically refocused, re-equipped, and expanded state repressive apparatus militarily inadvisable if not suicidal.
A more immediate likelihood is military and police repression of the party that, whatever its evident caution, has openly declared the task of completing the revolution, sooner rather than later. That is why its launch was held at a secure location in the Kathmandu Valley, but there was still a palpable sense of urgency behind Biplav’s opening statement that, failing the NC-led elite unblocking and implementing the reforms of the 12-point agreement of 2005 between the SPA and CPN (M) that were ratified the following year with the post-victory CPA, there would be a return to:

Armed struggle in order to protect national unity, integrity, sovereignty and rights of people. (38)

The Nepalese security establishment and its foreign advisers have every reason to take Biplav seriously. He was an effective military leader during the People’s War. With his close ally Khadga Bahadur Bishwkarma, Prakanda (Mighty) offered a vision of a reformed PLA with the creation of a youth wing in the CPN-M, the National Volunteers, that made a strong impression during the 2013 election boycott with uniform red T shirts and formation marching. It is a proto-army and significantly, most of its cadre have gone over to the new party.
State surveillance agencies will also note Kiran’s statement:

We will meet if Chand will raise arms and fight for people (39).

All of which makes a pre-emptive strike by security forces a rational option. It also demonstrates that the understanding that ‘political power comes out of the barrel of gun’ is the one point of agreement between implacable enemies. This is not only perceived in abstraction, an axiom that distills a precondition for establishment and maintenance of power in human society from its tribal origins to the contemporary nation-state, but it is directly informed and shaped by Nepal’s recent history since unification in the late 18th century.
The major and inescapable lesson is that violence was the midwife of the new state and has marked every significant subsequent upheaval since. From Prithvi Narayan Shah to Jonge Bahadur’s seizure of power in the Red Kot Massacre that established a century of brutal Rana despotism to the NC/Royalist 1950 invasion and uprising to Mahendra’s 1960 feudal coup to the People’s War and Andolans of the last decades to the 2001 assassination of Birendra which paved the way for Gyanendra – all of these events combine to confirm that there has never been any significant change in Nepal without the use of physical force.
All of the present political parties have their roots in violence; the RPP, NC, UML, UMF, and UCPN(M) all emerged sequentially from Nepal’s history through force of arms.
This paper commenced with Machiavelli’s comment on the right of the people to engage in struggle against the ruling class nobility of his time and so will conclude with an equally apposite rubric from the first great European political scientist. It expresses a truth understood by revolutionary communists everywhere on necessity for the revolution to have an experienced, disciplined, combat-ready armed wing, and is reflected in the author’s his rueful conclusion on witnessing the execution of the charismatic Florentine preacher Savonarola in 1498 following Rome’s condemnation of heresy:

That is why the visionary who has armed force on his side has always won through, while unarmed even your visionary is always the loser.
– Machiavelli, The Prince, p 23, Penguin ed.

Peter Tobin, December 2014

Citations/Footnotes

(1) Index Mundi, Nepal Economic Profile, 2014.
(2) Karobar National Economic Daily, 05/10/2013.
(3) Economist, “The Trouble With Ghee”, June, 2008.
(4) A political project to re-establish the conditions for capital accumulation and restore the power of economic elites.
See A Brief History of Neoliberalism, D. Harvey, p 19. Harvey provides further elaboration of neoliberalism’s elevation of market criteria over all aspects of life, particularly the shrinking of the state’s responsibility for welfare, economic planning, subsidies, &c. From the 1970’s on, it began dethroning Keynesian policies, with neoliberals believing that the Keynesians’ emphasis on state deficit spending as means of stimulating employment and production distorted the market and lacked fiscal rectitude. The phenomenon has also been described in popular parlance as, “Capitalism with its gloves off.”
(5) OPHI Country Briefing: Nepal,  2010.
(6) B. P. Bhurtel. 17/10/2013. “Rich Man’s World as Wealth Gap Grows in Nepal.” The Nation/Kathmandu Post.
(7) However, it can be argued that the link between bourgeois capitalism and bourgeois democracy is purely contingent, with neoliberal capitalism flourishing equally in dictatorships and democracies both. It is worth noting in this respect that Pinochet’s Chile was chosen by Washington as an experiment in extreme free market capitalism, dispatching Friedman monetarist acolytes of the ‘Chicago School’ to Santiago and placing them in charge of the Chilean economy.
This is not because contemporary transnational capital is neutral but because it has become a superior executive power reducing political systems and governments to irrelevance. A review in Le Monde, 10/10/2014, of the German scholar Wolfgang Streeck’s Du Temps Achete – La Crise Sans Cesse Ajournee Du Capitalisme Democratique (Borrowed Time – The Postponed Crisis of Capitalist Democracy) quotes his comment describing advancing global capital as class avatar:

“…elles est inapte a tout fonctionment democratique, par le fait qu’elle pratiquee en tres grande parti, en particulairement en europe, comme une politique international – sous la forme d’une diplomatie financiere interetatique.”
– Wolfgang Streeck. Borrowed Time – The Postponed Crisis of Capitalist Democracy.

A rough translation of which argues that it is incapable of functioning democratically, because it is, in fact a politically dominant power, especially in Europe, in the guise of interstate financial diplomacy. He uses the word ‘post-democracy’ to describe this stage of the present era.
(8) K. P. Prabhakaran Nair. February 2006. Grist for US Mills. GMWATCH. It is salutary to note that up until 2014, over 250,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide as a result of such policies reducing rural populations to immiseration and destitution.
(9) Republica (English language Nepalese daily newspaper) 07/09/2014.
(10) D. Gywali/A. Dixit. April, 2000. “How Not to Do a South Asian Treaty.” Himal South Asian.
(11) H. Yami/B. Bhatterai. 1996. Nationality Question in Nepal.
(12) ‘Kiran’ is a nom de guerre for Mohan Baidya. It means Ray of Light. All Maoist leaders adopted one during People’s War. ‘Prachanda’ (P. K. Dahal) means ‘Fierce’, ‘Biplav’, (N. B. Chand), means ‘Revolt’, &c.
(13) Colloquially known as ‘Dashists’ because of the –M in their name. Conversely, the UCPN (M), the party the Dashists split from, are called the ‘Cashists’ by their opponents because their leaders and many cadre were accused of falling before ‘sugar-coated enemy bullets’ after ‘coming out of the jungle’ and decamping to Kathmandu and corruption in 2006, following the CPA.
(14) 1991. “Caste and Ethnicity,” Ch. 7 in Nepal – A Country Study.
(15) R. Dangal. Administrative Culture in Nepal,  p.95, Table 9: Caste Distribution of Higher Civil Servants.
16) This needs an essay in itself! Briefly parliamentary/presidential, multiparty systems emerged as systems to meet needs of emerging bourgeois capitalist society in the West. The various parties represented class interests devising contingent institutional solutions. Part of Western hubris is claim their necessity in all circumstances.
It was applied unilaterally by an indigenous elite in many postcolonial situations. Apart from a democratic deficit, adoption of this project indicated loss of nerve and residual ideological colonization among otherwise resolute anticolonial political leaders of independence struggles such as Nehru, Nkrumah, Kenyatta, Kaunda, and Bandaranaike, &c).
But the main reason it proves ‘wholly unsuitable’ is total failure to provide effective governance in postcolonial situations anywhere and to have descended into nests of thieves and similar mechanisms of naked class aggrandizement when not replaced by sanctioned western ‘strongmen’ or red revolution.
Going hand in hand with capitalism and its contingent institutions demonstrated how indigenous elites were fostered and suborned by their colonial masters.
Marx, enthused, saw the inception of the program:

From the Indian natives, reluctantly and sparingly educated at Calcutta, under English superintendence, a fresh class is springing up endowed with the requirements for government and imbued with European science.
– Marx, Future Results of British Rule in India, 1853, M/E Selected Works p. 495.

Nehru is an exemplar of the success of this project:

“By education I am an Englishman, by views an internationalist, by culture a Muslim and Hindu only by an accident of birth.”

He epitomized Macaulay’s ‘Brown Englishmen’. His pretensions, along with his secularization of Hindutva, are set out in his 1943 magnum opus, The Discovery of India, (written in English of course) where he establishes the existence of a precolonial Hindu ‘golden age’ civilization and his particular ancestral call to restore its historic harmony expressed in language reflecting his Cambridge education in the classics with references to Pericles, Demosthenes, et al, although when required he could refer to:”..the old Vedantic spirit of the life force.”
(17) Fanon, Wretched of the Earth, p. 36. Marx benignly notes emerging use of education as conditioning and improvement mechanism, A hundred years later Fanon is responding to its deleterious postcolonial effect as the ideological component of a comprador class.
Vide (16) above re Nehru shows how this strata were eventually conditioned to reproduce bourgeois polity, albeit in ersatz, parodic form.
(18) WCPI, 2011. Transparency International,
(19):

…the peasantry constitutes the main army of the national movement…there is no national movement without the peasant army, nor can there be. That is what is meant when it is said that, in essence, the national question is a peasant question.
– J. V. Stalin, The National Question in Yugoslavia, Works, Vol 7, pp. 71-72.

(20) Prachanda’s short-lived 2008 administration might be excused, as it was forced out by a military coup orchestrated by New Delhi in league with NC & UML. But Bhatterai’s second ‘Maoist’ administration, 2011-13, had less excuse for being so supine.
(21) Ghurkhas are not an ethnic group but, according to their websites are a warrior caste claiming descent from the Hindu Rajputs and Brahmins of Northern India. Their valor, tenacity and loyalty deeply impressed the British enemy. After a successful invasion and defeat in 1814-16, the East India Company began recruitment into a specially created regiment that, in modern times, has been mainly drawn from the Rai, Limbhu, Magar and Gurung ethnic nationalities.
The added glory of Hindu provenance (possibly a retrospective embellishment), but their cry “Jaya mahakali – Ayo gurkhali!”  (“Glory to great Kali – Gurkhas are coming!”), shares an evocation of Kali as the goddess of destruction and death with the Rajputs, belonging to the Kshatriya warrior caste, spread across Northern India, many driven into Nepal by the Muslim invasion of North India.
In the Terai they became one of the ruling Bhadralok castes mutating into professional occupations as doctors, lawyers &c. Also Narayan Shah was from a Kshatriya jati, although he was pragmatic enough to recruit given national ethnicities into his army while raising up Hindu upper castes and establishing a divine Hindu Kingdom.
The Oxford English Dictionary gives the etymological root of Gurkha as:

 ORIGIN name of a locality, from Sanskrit goraksa ‘cowherd’ (from go ‘cow’ + raks – ‘protect’), used as an epithet of their patron.
Oxford English Dictionary

This lends credence to Gurkhas’ claims of provenance from Hindu warrior castes.
(22) J. Adhikari. 2008. Land Reform in Nepal, p. 23.
(23)  CPN (M). 1997. One Year of People’s War in Nepal. GS’s Report.
(24) J. Adhikari. Land Reform in Nepal, p 39.
(25) The early Marx claimed centralized despotism as the essential feature of the Asiatic Mode of Production – a pre-capitalist form that he believed existed in static, ossified, oriental societies.
He infamously commented:

Indian society has no history at all, at least no known history.
Marx – Future Results…ME Vol 1, p. 494. 1853.

and, while acknowledging the base motives of the English colonizers, he thought that imperialist incursion would, nolens volens, drag it into the modern world. However, after the first War of Independence in 1857 and subsequent study he revised AMP and undermined the despotic, stagnant society premise by declaring the uprising a ‘national revolt’, and expressed support for the insurgents. Though he never accepted that India, precolonial incursion, was feudal, he conceded that it could be described as in transition to feudalism.
In this respect he wrote in 1859:

In broad outlines, Asiatic, ancient, feudal, and modern bourgeois modes of production can be designated as progressive epochs in the economic formation of society.
Marx – Preface to Critique of Political Economy, ME Selected Works, Vol 1, p. 504, 1859

The concept has been an issue for polemic and debate among Marxists and communists and survives more as an analytic than a descriptive term. Whatever the taxonomy, Marx, by looking at the relations of production, outlined how an elite could appropriate surplus using the state as a mechanism for generalized exploitation. Dalits and Sudras stood before their Brahmin masters in the same relationship as a slave before a slaveowner, a serf before a lord, or a worker before an employer.
(26) These are linguistic categories used by modern ethnographers, and while there were obvious physical differences between the two groups that added to perception in the case of Nepal, they are not a racial classifications. For example, the other linguistic group in South India is Dravidian, with minimal physical differences between its speakers and those of the Indo-Aryan bloc.
(27) J. Adhikari. 2008. Land Reform in Nepal, p. 25.
(28) ‘State capitalism’ is as fraught a term as feudalism, with multiple definitions, inspired by political polemics not only expressed between left and right but also a lively source of debate within the left denoting ultimate political allegiance .
For the right, it can mean any state intervention either through ownership or control such the post-1945 policy of Dirigisme in France where, apart from extractive and heavy industry, private ownership dominated in a free market but was subject to indicative planning from a government setting national objectives.
It could also be applied to the Scandinavian and British mixed economy model that was discarded after the 1980’s. In the case of France, state intervention predated capitalism and the rise of the bourgeoisie, and in the form of Colbertism, was initiated under Louis IV’s first minister, J. B. Colbert.
The concept of ‘state monopoly capitalism’ has also been applied by left wing and extreme rightwing free marketeers to describe the state protection and support for the big corporations in the USA. The Military-Industrial Complex that emerged in the new triumphal global imperium following the Second World War is often cited as example because huge contracts are awarded rather than won, characterizing a cozy symbiotic relationship between business and the political functionaries of the American ruling class.
For anarchists, Neo-Trotskyites and the Ultra Left, it is what happened after 1917 in Russia and 1949 in China, or indeed anywhere else there has been a socialist revolution. It assumes that party apparatchiks and bureaucrats inevitably become a new ruling class, owing to their control of the means of production and the appropriation and direction of the resulting ‘social dividend’ (surplus value).
For Marxist-Leninists/Maoists it is what occurred in the USSR after Stalin’s death with Khrushchev’s failed attempts to follow Yugoslavia’s ‘market socialism’ and re-occurred with a vengeance in the PRC after Deng Xiaoping’s seizure of power in 1976.
Apologists for China’s system describe it as a ‘socialist market economy’, where the commanding heights of the economy, the banking sector and land are state owned and where the state is responsible for macroeconomic policy with microeconomic decisions left both to management of state enterprises and licensed capitalists operating as private companies in designated Special Economic Zones.
Therefore the political decision to allow free market mechanisms to determine price and allocations of goods and services with retention of profit by private companies, commentators opine, is more indicative of state capitalism especially when set against the background of scrapping the egalitarian, ‘Iron rice bowl’, full employment guarantee from the heroic period of socialist construction and mass mobilization. Therefore, it should be said that, like feudalism and indeed semi-feudalism, the concept of state capitalism is often used subjectively, indicating class or political orientation. See following note.
(29) ‘Semi-feudal’ obviously relates to accepting the thesis of pre-existing feudalism on the subcontinent, Samantabaad is the Hindi and Nepalese word for feudalism and derives from the nobility of the Gupta Period, which some historians claim led the emergence of feudal society in India. The Samantas were also influential during the Licchavi Dynasty (400-750 AD) who established the first central state in Nepal.
Even those who do accept the taxonomy applied recognize that it was a tributary society of a type that flourished the early city states, empires and later, nascent nation-states. European feudalism was one type of tributary society, with the exception that it enabled the growth of classes and productive forces that eventually burst its integument and established the capitalist society and mode of production.
Marx did not recognize this dynamic in the Orient, and his AMP was his initial response in distinguishing its ossified despotisms with those of medieval Europe. It was this formulation that, while recognizing the utter venality and brutality of the British, nevertheless led him describe them as unwitting agents of progress, in breaking down the ‘Chinese Walls’ of societies incapable of generating internal change.
Subsequently it has been argued that Indian society, pre-colonization, was subject to change, but that compared to Europe’s historical transformation it was imperceptible (as indeed was most of its history at that time). This had important political ramifications for Indian communists because they refused acknowledging any positive results from imperialist incursion and applying the term feudal to describe periods of Indian history implicitly underpins this position. Plus ‘Down with feudalism’ is less of a mouthful than, ‘Down with the Asiatic Mode of Production!
The notion of semi-feudalism follows this thesis because it posits transitional developments. In the case of Nepal, it is marked by backwardness of the productive forces, sharecropping, increased tenancies and the growth of usury. The last are linked, representing the dominance of money payment in feudal rent, reflecting generally growth of a market economy but specifically the transition of feudal owners into capitalist rentier landlords.
Semi-feudal is also used to describe relations of production continuing after their originating conditions of existing have changed, as expansion of agricultural capitalism has led to increasing numbers of landless and sharecroppers, who are objectively proletarianized but are learning to recognize residual feudal deference as subjective flight from their objective class reality. As descriptive tools, these terms are a continued source of argument not only between Marxists and bourgeois, but also intestinal within these respective groupings.
As a slogan, however, ‘Down with Feudalism’ and the commitment to abolish ‘neo/semi-feudalism’ is a political call to the oppressed to break free of feudal/exploitative relations in order to confront the reality of capitalist modes of employment and exploitation in the agricultural sector. (cf: Pushpa Lal’s CPN’s program and Mazumdar’s for the Naxalite struggle in 1960s.).
(30):

The informal rural credit markets of Nepal seem to be characterized by an aggregate constraint at the village level and oligopolistic collusion on price discrimination. Entries of new lenders are likely to be rare, due to high initial information cost. Lenders need to interact with the borrowers for a long period to be able to screen the borrowers and enforce payments….
Although it is reasonable to target poor households, the analysis indicates that one may as well target the higher priced segments. The analysis thus supports credit programs that target low status castes. Examples from Nepal are programs that target ethnic groups living in Terai. These households pay real interest rates that are almost double of the rates paid by high castes living in the hills.
– M. Hatlebakk. 2000. “Will More Credit Increase Interest Rates in Rural Nepal?” Technical Report and Recommendations, pp. 42-43. Nepal Rastra Bank.

(31) S. D. Muni. 2003. Maoist Insurgency in Nepal, p.61. Muni is perhaps too close to see the Brahminical tree from the wood, he is a pragmatic, secular ex-diplomat critical of and puzzled by the ambivalence of Nepalese policy that allowed King Mahendra, e.g. to block: “India’s legitimate and enlightened interests in Nepal.” (ibid, p 62).
His views are an apologia for Indian expansionism, pitting progressive capitalism against residual feudalism, which synchronically informed the position of Dr. Bhatterai, earning him the sobriquet of ‘Mr. India’ in anti-revisionist Maoist ranks. I would also speculate that the attitude towards the last divine Hindu monarchy was schizophrenic, with even ostensibly Westernized secularists like Nehru acknowledging the weight of Brahminical Chaturvarna tradition and unconsciously deferring to caste supremacy, however apparently exotic and uncongenial to a Cambridge-conditioned cosmopolitan world statesman.
Nehru was a Hindutva with an occidental humanist face. Successive Indian administrations, particularly Rajiv Gandhi’s administration, elided further into more open Hindutvaism, which, mixed with growing accommodation with Western capitalism in triumphalist form following the suicide of Gorbachev’s USSR and collapse of Soviet Bloc, was Modiism avant la lettre.
(32) R. S. Sharma, Indian Feudalism, 1965.
(33) A. Rudra, Non-Eurocentric Marxism and Indian Society, 1988.
(34) Marx. 1847. The Poverty of Philosophy, p.105.
(35) Marx, Feuerbach. 1846. Opposition of Materialist and Idealist Outlook, ibid, p 43.
(36) NORAD. 2007. Report on Conflict Sensitivities, pp. 67-68.
(37) Tobin, P. 2011. “Balance of Military Forces in Nepal” Beyond Highbrow – Robert Lindsay, website.
(38) http://www.ekantipur.com, Chand Announces CPN Maoist, 02/12/2014.
(39) Republica, D. B. Chhantyal, 06/12/2014.

References

Adhikhari, J. Land Reform in Nepal – Problem & Prospects.
Bhatterai, B. Monarchy vs. Democracy & Articles, Essays from People’s War.
Dangal, R. Administrative Culture in Nepal, 1991.
Fanon, F. The Wretched of the Earth.
Karki/Seddon, (eds.) The People’s War in Nepal – Left Perspective.
Kumar, A. The Black Economy in India.
Lecomte-Tilouine, M. (ed.) Revolution in Nepal, Collected Essays.
Marx/Engels, Selected Works. 3 Vols, Poverty of Philosophy, Anti-Durhring, Capital, Vols 1 &2.
Maxwell, N. India’s China War. 1970
Muni, S. D. Maoist Insurgency in Nepal.
Nehru, J. The Discovery of India.
Prinsep, H. T. The Gurkha War – 1814-16.
Regmi, M. C. Land Ownership in Nepal. 1976
Sharma, R. S. Indian Feudalism.
Thapa, D. A. Kingdom Under Siege – Nepal’s Maoist Insurgency – 1996-2003.
Upadhyaya, S. P. Indo-Nepal Trade Relations – 1858-1914 .

General

Rough Guide to Nepal.
Studies in Nepali History & Society, Vol. 15.

Reports/Commissions

NORAD (Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation) Report on Conflict Sensitivities in Nepal – 2007.
Transparency International. “Nepal.” World Perception Corruption Index – 2011.
UN Human Development Report – 2014.

Articles

Ambedkar, R. B. The Annihilation of Caste.
Basnyat, P. S. Nepalese Army in the History of Nepal.
Dak Bangla, Nepal’s Civil and Military Relations and the Maoist Insurgency.
Habib, I. Kosambi. Marxism & Indian History.
Lal, D. The Abuse of History.
Puniyami, R. Hiding the Truth About Caste.
Rajan, V. ‘Dalits’ and the Caste System in India.
Tobin, P. Balance of Military Forces in Nepal – in Relation to PLA Integration – 2011.

Newspapers/Journals/ Periodicals/Websites

Dak Bangla – website.
Democracy & Class Struggle – website.
Economist – magazine.
Himal – South Asia – magazine.
Himalayan – newspaper.
Kathmandu Post.
Nepal Monthly – magazine.
Red Front – One-off English language version of Krambaddha (Continuity) Pro-Kiran 2012 journal, editor, Prem Darnal, Bikalpa (Alternative).
Republica, newspaper.
Worker, English-language journal of CPN (Maoist).

More Answers to the Citrus Questions

Sam writes:

Must be the Persian Lime, as the other main lime is said to be called just “lime” in the US.
A factoid. Navel Oranges come from a mutation of a single plant in Brazil. All the rest are cuttings.
I’m guessing since these are crossings that all citrus varieties come from cuttings.
Let’s hope they don’t start having fungus problems like bananas. I can’t remember the name, but I remember when I was young bananas tasted better. All of that breed were killed off by fungus. They didn’t seem to rot as fast either. Bananas rot super fast now. I think the present breed is succumbing to fungus also and will not be around too long.
If you ever want to read about breeding plants and crossing them, Luther Burbank is good to read about. He wasn’t an academic, so academic types hate him, but he was a great plant breeder. He has made a stupendous amount of edible useful plants.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luther_Burbank
He’s got a lot of books at the internet archive. A couple.
https://archive.org/details/lutherburbankhis00willrich
https://archive.org/details/lutherburbankman00wick

Yes! Sam is correct! The other lime is indeed the Persian lime. Another part of the question asked where this Persian lime first appeared and when. Curiously, it did not first appear in Iran where one might expect to have shown up. Instead, the Persian Lime made its first appearance in…drum roll…Morocco! I am not sure when it first appeared, but it was in the recent past.
The other main citrus that appeared only in recent yeas is the grapefruit. It shows up first in the Caribbean around 1700! All of the others except the Persian lime go much further back than that.

Answers to the Citrus Questions

Noneofmany writes:

Actually, no one can really tell for certain which ancestral plants are responsible any given cultivar we know today except for very recent ones.
There are several American citrus plants like for instance clementine that started showing up in Texas and the panhandle in the last century whose origin is still debated.
That said the mandarin orange is likely the only really wild citrus fruit we eat today that hasn’t been totally altered beyond recognition. Although I do see Pomelo-flavored stuff here and there.
Citron and papeda are the other two ancestral species.
All oranges, grapefruits, and tangerines are essentially a cross between a mandarin orange (wild) and a pomelo, except many of them were perfected via cross-breeding back along there own lines.
Lemons and limes are the other side of the family. You can tell there ancestry lies with the citron and papeda.
That said I’m not even really sure anyone knows when or exactly where the the first lemons/limes were bred, as this event significantly predates the genesis of oranges and has virtually no known documentation or verbal history associated with it. Most likely it happened in Southeast Asia.
It bears mentioning that kumquats are not considered to be in the same family as other citrus. In fact many botanists deny that they are actually a citrus and say they are just a tiny family of plants that are very closely related. They were not made edible through hybridization – just selective breeding. Nevertheless they have now been crossed with mandarins. Wild types can still be found with edible berries. They’re not very tasty though as there mostly seed and pulp.
All citrus plants, like so many other plants used by man, are from a fairly primitive lineage of flowering plants like roses and magnolias.

These answers are superb!
In general, most of the fruits listed above like oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, tangerines and mandarins come from an area where Northeastern India, Myanmar and Yunnan, China all come together. To some extent Southeast Asia in general is also listed. In one case, Assam, India is listed as an origin. For a few of the fruits, other places like the Indian Ghats, Japan and Vietnam are also listed. But as you can see, they all come from that part of the world. This was discovered via genetic testing. So these fruits were created via hybrid breeding in that part of the world a long time ago. I know that human-created oranges are known from Southern China for thousands of years.
The commenter is correct. All citrus derives from mandarins, pomelos, citrons and papadas.
The other commenter is correct that one of the two main lime varieties is the Key Lime. But that is not where it comes from. The Florida Keys are simply one of the late places where it was cultivated, where it gained fame in particular for Key Lime Pie, which I like myself. The Key Lime ended up there after creation in the aforementioned part of East Asia. From there it went via the Middle East -> Sicily -> Sardinia -> Spain -> the West Indies -> Florida Keys.
Mandarin oranges are the only one of the above that is actually a native plant, correct.

  • However, we still do not know which one – grapefruit, orange, lemon, lime, tangerine – is a very recent breed. I will tell you that it goes back only to the 1700’s. And we would also like to know where it first showed up.
  • Although a commenter mentioned one of the two main lime varieties – Key Lime – we still do not know what the other main lime variety is. Any guesses? I think this is actually the most popular lime variety in the stores and is seen much more often than the Key Lime.

Where Do Citrus Fruits Come From?

I always wondered where these things grow wild, but it turns out that most of the cultivated varieties except one are hybrids. Some are ancient hybrids and others are more modern hybrids.
Questions:
Where do oranges, mandarin oranges, limes, grapefruits, tangerines and lemons ultimately come from for the most part (not including the modern hybrids)?
Which one of these – orange, mandarin orange, lime, grapefruit, tangerine, lemon – is actually a wild growing plant (and is actually one of the origin plants for the cultivated varieties)?
Name the four wild plants that all of the cultivated varieties derive from (hard question).
Name the two types of cultivated limes. Which is an ancient plant and which is a modern hybrid?
Which two are modern modern hybrids: orange, lemon, grapefruit, mandarin orange, or tangerine?

About Those "Jobs Americans Won't Do"

William writes:

Robert- the point was, and I believe you said this, that the notion of “There are no Jobs White men won’t do”, is not universal.
It’s a job, nonetheless. It verifies the “Mainstream Left” notion that illegals are doing the jobs the Whites won’t do TO AN EXTENT. It’s not universally true, of course, rather, it’s probably more often false than not true.

We don’t need these illegals for anything at all in my opinion. And if you cannot find Americans to do the job, I suppose you can always import some guest workers.
I am curious about that chicken plant story though. If they upped the wage to $17-18/hour, do you think some Whites or even legal Hispanics might have bitten the bait? They were probably offering $8 an hour to work in the chicken plant.
A lot of these places who “cannot find Americans” are just lying, as TJF points out. Silicon Valley screams that there are massive openings for programmers, and they demand more and more Hindu 1-B’s every year, but as TJF and many others have pointed out, the only reason they have a labor shortage is because they refuse to hire Americans.
Where I lived in the mountains, there were no jobs that White people would not do because all there were White people. No other races. There were some Indians, but they don’t work anyway. However, some of the older Indians worked at jobs like logger.
Whites were trashmen, dishwashers, roofers, painters, landscapers, construction workers, janitors, domestics (maids), you name it. My understanding is that these are all supposedly “jobs Whites won’t do.” But that’s a lie.
I now live in the Valley, and we do not need illegals for one damn thing out here.
Field work. Mostly done by legal immigrants and native born Hispanics. Yes, native-born Mexicans will work out in the fields. Actually I know some former bad boy gang associates/jailbirds/felons formerly headed in the wrong direction big time who are now working in the fields. It’s not uncommon for former Hispanic gang members to work in the fields. The work is a bit tiring, but it’s not really a bad job. It is just a hard physical job like construction or anything else.
The farmers are always screaming for more and more illegals and crying labor shortage, but it’s pretty much a lie. The UFW has pointed out that there is no labor shortage in the fields except that a lot of farmers refuse to hire workers who are members of the UFW union. The farmers are instead are looking for nonunion illegal aliens they can exploit the Hell out of.
There are illegals out there in the fields too, but they work right alongside native born Hispanics and Hispanic legal immigrants. A lot of the Mexican-Americans work in the fields because this is what they have always done.
Illegals have now taken over many of the jobs here, but they also work alongside native born Hispanics. They are doing the same jobs that the Whites were doing up in the mountains. I can’t think of any of those jobs that we would need illegals for because the native born Hispanics will gladly do all that work.
There are some packing plants in other areas around here. That might be sort of a nasty job, but I am sure that native born Hispanics would gladly work there. They will work just about anywhere. Mexicans and Mexican-Americans are not that particular when it comes to work.

"Southern Sweet Potatoes," by Alpha Unit

Pierre Gustave Toutant-Beauregard was a military officer who became the first brigadier general of the Confederate States Army. In 1987 at Louisiana State University Dr. Larry Rolston, an entomologist and Civil War enthusiast, came up with a high-yielding, disease-resistant strain of sweet potato that saved the sweet potato industry in Louisiana. He named his variety after General Beauregard, of St. Bernard Parish. It remains one of the most popular varieties.

Sweet potatoes, a type of morning glory, come in over 400 varieties grown around the world. Louisiana’s soil and climate are ideal for growing sweet potatoes. But Louisiana sweet potato growers have some great competition in Mississippi. The Mississippi Sweet Potato Council will tell you.

No other sweet potato can compare to the ones we grow in Mississippi. We produce premium Number One sweet potatoes bursting with flavor and freshness. The rich, fertile soils of North Mississippi make our sweet potatoes appealing both inside and out.

Last year Mississippi planted just over 23,000 acres of sweet potatoes. About 500 of those acres produced organic sweet potatoes, mostly for baby food. Ricky and Jamie Earp are second-generation sweet potato farmers who run the operation their father started in 1968 near Houlka in Chickasaw County. About 60 percent of their crop are Beauregards.

As with almost all other growers in the country, labor is of prime concern to the Earp brothers (pronounced ARP, as in “sharp”). But unlike so many other growers you talk to, the Earps say they have a reliable local labor supply made up of people who have worked with them consistently over the years. Jamie Earp says that his wife and Ricky’s wife also help in the business.

Sweet potato farming is not highly mechanized. About his labor force Jamie says:

For planting, we’ll need 20 to 22 workers for about two and a half weeks, and at harvest 30 workers for about eight weeks. We have three harvester machines, each requiring eight workers. Then there are those who run the tractors and forklifts and other operations. Some of those same people help out in packing and shipping throughout the year.

Danny Clark of Vardaman, Mississippi, is in the same business. He is a third-generation sweet potato farmer. He says that sweet potato production is very hands-on labor-intensive, and that a lot of growers in the area use H2A workers, who are mostly Hispanic and work seasonally. But like the Earps, he says that most of his labor is local, mostly women who have been with his operation for many years.

At harvest time he operates digging rigs that move through the field at less than 1 mph, scooping sweet potatoes onto conveyor belts on each side of a trailer, where an eight-person crew sorts them into bins according to grade. It’s still going to be a while, though, before the sweet potatoes are ready for market.

The thing about sweet potatoes is that you don’t want them “green.” If you eat a green sweet potato you might be convinced that you don’t like sweet potatoes. Between 15 and 20 percent of the sweet potato harvest in the US is washed, packed, and shipped immediately after harvesting. These freshly dug sweet potatoes aren’t very sweet or moist.

Unlike a lot of other freshly harvested produce, sweet potatoes have to “set up” to be really enjoyable. They are cured by storing them at 85-90 degrees F and about 90 percent humidity, for 5 to 10 days. This is when they start developing their sugar-creating enzymes. This process also heals any bruises or skinning that occurred during harvest and allows the sweet potatoes to be washed and packed with less outer damage.

Afterwards the sweet potatoes are stored at 55-60 degrees F for six to eight weeks. The sugars continue to come to life. In due time the harvest is ready for packing and shipping. When you get them home and put them in the oven, the sugars really kick in.

You can’t tell by looking at a sweet potato whether or not it’s been cured. But a lot of growers assure you that they only ship cured sweet potatoes – especially those sold from September to the end of the year, when they sell the most. Edmondson Farms of Vardaman says through their highly advanced storage method they can provide consistent and exceptional quality sweet potatoes year-round.

Edmondson grows mostly Beauregard sweet potatoes in northern Mississippi and in Oak Grove, Louisiana. They’ve clearly got the best of both worlds.

"Picking Blueberries Isn’t What It Used to Be," by Alpha Unit

People from Washington County, Maine, which borders the Canadian province of New Brunswick, will readily tell you about the natural beauty of the area – and about how friendly and hardworking the people are. But some of them will also tell you not to move there unless you don’t need to work.

Maine’s six “Rim Counties,” the rural counties just south of the Canadian border, are among the poorest counties in New England. Washington County has more unemployment and poverty than the rest. Paul Constant, who hails from Maine, says that the popular conception of Maine as nothing but lighthouses and lobsters is far from the truth. Once you get away from the relatively affluent parts of southern Maine, you see how tough it can really be to live there.

But Washington County, the poorest part of Maine, is special. It is the wild blueberry capital of the world.

Maine has 44,000 acres of wild blueberries that bring in about $250 million in annual revenue. Cultivated blueberries from other states dwarf the production of wild blueberries that grow on Washington County’s “barrens,” says Philip Conkling. These areas got their name because only blueberries and a few other plants could grow on the sandy soils left by the receding glacier. A spokeswoman for the Maine Wild Blueberry Commission told him that Maine grows a very special product but most people don’t know the difference between a wild blueberry and a cultivated one.

Philip Conkling offers a hint: the fat watery ones with less flavor are the cultivated ones.

In the summer of 1974 Conkling jumped at the chance to make some money raking blueberries at the Deblois barrens in Washington County, as part of a crew assembled by some neighbors who also owned blueberry land. He says that the wild blueberry harvest was the one time of year when just about anyone between six and 60 could earn a small pile of cash “to spend like a grasshopper or save for the coming winter.”

One week later I was in the back of Ralph Jr.’s two-ton, stake-body truck with a motley crew of neighbors, lurching off Highway 193 onto dirt roads that curved around endless vistas of blueberry fields on the barrens. When we stopped, Ralph handed me a bucket and a blueberry rake. He explained that when I had filled my bucket, I was to bring it over to a hand-cranked winnowing machine to separate the leaves and stems from the berries and then pour the berries carefully into wooden boxes. For this, I would make $2.50 a box. Seemed simple enough.

It turned out to be back-breaking work.

For generations most of the laborers in the blueberry fields were Native Americans, from the local Passamaquoddy tribe and Mi’kmaq from Canada. But with the expansion of the industry, blueberry farmers started hiring migrant workers to increase their labor force. Since the 1960s the harvest has been picked mainly by migrants, most of whom are Mexican, Mexican-American, Filipino-American, Jamaican, Haitian, Honduran, and Guatemalan. They work alongside Passamaquoddy and Mi’kmaq families.

Still, there are fewer migrant laborers in the barrens than there used to be. Since the 1990s growers have been using mechanical harvesters. Some blueberry operations are almost completely mechanized, and others are planning to make the transition. These machines can harvest about 10 times what a typical person can harvest with a hand-held blueberry rake.
Some analysts say that mechanization is the consequence of uncertainty over immigration reform. Without any long-term clarity on what the law will be, growers can’t easily plan for even five years ahead.

What about hiring native Mainers to replace migrant workers? Not really an option, according to some growers.

“There are people who say if we just paid more, Americans would do the work. But that’s a joke,” said Ed Flanagan, president of Jasper Wyman & Son Inc., Maine’s second-largest blueberry grower. Flanagan says hard-working pickers make as much as $20 an hour here, almost three times Maine’s minimum wage of $7.50.

Even though Washington County has high unemployment, the seasonal jobs in the blueberry fields find few takers among local residents.

Another grower works with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to make sure its seasonal staff are in the US legally, but a spokesman says every year it’s a gamble. “You never know if enough people are going to show up to get the job done,” he says.

Cuba’s Major Innovations

Santo Culto writes:

But the USSR could live without the West for most of its years. There are no excuses for creativity and wisdom.

Cuba for example has great territory, good natural resources, not to mention they could manage population growth. There are so many things they could do. The only explanation for not doing is that the Communists are too stupid to think of it. It is very psychopathic to think about the well-being ‘of the people’ and scare away the most creative people (specially the problem-solvers) when they take power in a nation.

Zbigniew Brzezinski is right in saying that communism eliminated the creative classes via exile or extermination from the former Soviet Union.

The USSR’s innovations in weaponry were legendary.

I know someone who owned Soviet products, and he told me that they were very well made. He still had an excellent radio that lasted 40 years. They often produced good products that lasted a very long time.

  • Cuba has made tremendous innovations in agronomy and biotechnology.
  • Cuba has more agronomists per capita than any other nation. They have also made some dramatic innovations or organic farming lately.
  • Cuba is now a world leader in biotech.
  • Cuba made dramatic innovations in the mining and manufacture of nickel.
  • Cuba also made major innovations in the planting, harvest, and manufacture of sugar cane.
  • Cuba has the best educated population in Latin America.
  • Cuban medicine is some of the best in Latin America. In fact it is so good that very rightwing rich people from all over the continent have been flying there for years to have sensitive operations done that they did not trust their own native doctors to do.

Few Cubans were exiled. Some writers and maybe artists and musicians were.

Cuban art, cinema, and literature are now very good. Cuba has always had some of the most fantastic musicians on the continent.

Few dissidents have been killed, and none have been killed since 1970. Even now dissidents are mostly left alone. Last time I checked there were 250 dissident groups on the island. Most are very small.

At the moment, some of the most prominent dissidents are openly funded from abroad and go to the US to give anti-government speeches. They run their own blogs that publish every day and have a large following, mostly off the island.

The most famous one is a young woman with her own blog who gets written up a lot in the media. She is a drama queen. Recently she was carrying on and on about how horrible the system was because it was impossible to get Blu-Ray disks on the island. This is the sort of thing that she bitches about. She gets arrested from time to time, and they typically put her in jail for one or two days and then release her. What a monstrous dictatorship they have in Cuba!

The dissidents are very unpopular in the island and have almost no support. Most people want change but support the present government, especially after recent reforms.

Part I: Robert Stark interviews Charles Lincoln about Cities

I listened to some of this. Charles is always good.

Here.

Charles Lincoln has a PhD in Anthropology, History, and Archaeology from Harvard University

Topics include:

The breaking down between the distinction between urban and rural societies.
Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World predictions about how people will live in the future.
How cities originally played the role of middlemen in an agricultural economy.
The destruction of the small village farming model.
The rise of dense cities in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.
The role that immigration played in the growth of American cities.
E. Michael Jones’s The Slaughter of Cities: Urban Renewal As Ethnic Cleansing.
How forced integration pushed the working and middle class out of cities.
The rise of suburbia and exurbia.
Whether it’s possible to have a thriving middle class within a dense city (ex. NY in the 1950’s, Japanese cities).
Why Charles does not view density as a source of inequality but rather a symptom.
How urbanization has led to a lack of self sufficiency.
How the ideal place to live for those with wealth has access to both cities and open space.

Crime: Eating a Hamburger. Punishment: Death Penalty

Man eats a hamburger. Outraged mob beats him to death for this heinous crime. Government defends the mob who beat the poor sod to the death.

India a such a wonderful modern country!

India…is a shithole. Bears repeating.

There Is No Such Thing As the Holodomor

Stary Wylk writes:

The Holodomor was starving Ukrainians through crop seizure, not mass deportations. Those came later.

The Holodomor never even happened. And murderous deportations were indeed part of the process that killed many people in that region in 1932.

The starvation was just as bad as in the Ukraine if not worse in a number of other places including the Lower Volga and western Kazakhstan. The Kazakhs supported Stalin, and the Russians of the Rostov were fanatical Stalin supporters. Also the Holodomor hit the east of the Ukraine where the Russians live very hard. Support for Stalin was and is still strong in this area. 1 million people died in Siberia. There were a lot of deaths in Moscow. Did Stalin unleash a “terror famine” in Eastern Ukraine, the Rostov, the Lower Don, western Kazakhstan, Siberia and even Moscow? Of course not.

There was no terror famine. There was a famine harvest. In one year, the harvest collapsed and was only 50% of normal.

You can argue why that happened.

Crops had to be seized because the Ukies were setting their crops on fire and piling them in the fields to get rained on until they molded. The kulaks killed half the livestock in the USSR in the years leading up to the Holodomor. This made things worse, as there was a shortage of horses to plow fields and livestock to eat.

Also the Ukies waged an insurgency where they were attacking the collective farms, burning crops, killing livestock and raping and murdering collective farm workers. At the height there were 20-30 attacks a day going on. All of this was going on in the context of the Holodomor. Actually many deaths occurred in the context of a vicious counterinsurgency campaign combined with some very cruel mass deportations of Ukies to Siberia. 390,000 Ukrainians were killed in this savage counterinsurgency/deportation campaign. If you want to add that to Stalin’s kill total, I would not object.

Ukraine suffered the most deaths, but that was where the harvest collapse was worst. 90% of food exports back from the state for famine relief went to the Ukraine that year.

There was no terror famine!

"Get Used To It – We Are Back, " by Nikolai Starikov

Pain Inflicting Techniques

by Nikolai Starikov for Vzgiad (Translated by the Russian Team)

The West is so used to this one-sided game that they seem genuinely surprised that Russia has responded to the West’s sanctions against her. That’s ok, let them get used to it. Live by the sword, die by the sword. That is only when we are talking about a battle sword and a “hot” war. If this is an economic war where the weapons are prohibitions and sanctions, the aggressor will end up getting more than he asked for. I unequivocally support the introduction of retaliatory sanctions against countries which in turn tried to “sanction” Russia.
Why? For many reasons:
– it is good for our economy and our producers;
– it is important for the self-respect of our people, who never failed to punish an offender, who never lost their sense of reality;
– it is necessary to foster respect for Russia not only inside the country but also beyond its borders.
Russia is a superpower; we regained this status after the reunification of Crimea. Therefore, the boorish attitude towards Russia as a guilty child who must be punished and taught a lesson is futile. From now on, any aggressor must get used to the fact that he will pay dearly for his aggression. Retribution will be measured by the degree of the aggression. The aggressor will pay dearly with his economy and income for economic aggression. He will pay dearly with his soldiers’ lives and the loss of freedom to maneuver in the international sphere for military aggression.
As has happened many times before, we didn’t start the confrontation. This is Russia who is being “punished” because … a war is going on near our borders after explicit and practically overt support of the coup d’état in Ukraine by the West. This is NATO that threatens to expand its infrastructure near our borders. This is our territory that is being shelled from the conflict zone.
The West itself is not in danger. Russia does not take any hostile actions towards the West near its borders. But we are being punished. Well, we will punish you. You need us more than we need you. From now on, not a single cannon has the right to shoot near our borders without our permission. The world should understand it and remember. That’s how it’s been from  Empress Elizabeth Petrovna to Leonid Brezhnev. No one has the right to shoot near our borders without our permission, and especially across it.
The whole European part of Eurasia is an area of our vital interests. Get used to it, gentlemen “partners”. That’s how it was, and that’s how it should be now. In the meantime, military and economic guns are shooting not only without our permission, but at us. Therefore, the shooters must and will be punished. Punished severely. That’s enough! Our kindness is mistakenly interpreted by the West as weakness.
It’s time to answer aggression and political pressure on Russia with pain inflicting techniques.
Just over a week ago in the article “Pain Inflicting Techniques in the Protection of Russia, I wrote the following:

It’s time for Russia to switch to a policy of pain inflicting techniques. Further continuation of the policy of peace only allows our enemies to increase their strength. We must stop simply smiling and respond to the attacks on us. Our actions should be faster and more painful than the blows of our opponents. As like in the ring, where against a heavyweight boxer, the weaker athlete can have only one advantage: speed. And deliver painful blows to the sensitive spots of a stronger opponent. What are the pain points of our geopolitical “partners”? You need to understand, evaluate and pick them out.

So that’s what happened. We understood, appreciated, and made our choice. And we have answered.
Already being banned:
According to the measures for implementation of the Presidential Executive Order No 560 of 6 August 2014 “On Adopting Special Economic Measures to Provide for Security of the Russian Federation” a 1-year ban has been introduced on the imports of agricultural products, raw materials, and foodstuffs from the following countries:
– United States Of America
– European Union countries
– Canada
– Australia
– The Kingdom Of Norway
The list includes:
1. chilled, fresh or frozen beef, pork, poultry, salted, dried, or smoked meat, fish and seafood.
2. milk and dairy products, vegetables, fruits and nuts, sausages and similar products, and other variety meat (including finished food products made on their basis).
3. processed foods, cheese, cottage cheese and other dairy products based of vegetative fats.
It needs to be emphasized that the RF’s embargo on products from the Western countries does not extend to baby food and individuals bringing in goods from countries on Russia’s sanctions list.
In addition, Russia has imposed a ban on the transit of Ukrainian airlines’ flights through its airspace.
“There is one solution which was issued by the government. We’re referring to the suspension of Ukrainian airlines’ transit flights through Russian airspace to a number of countries – Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia and Turkey,” said D.A. Medvedev.
The sanctions that can be further implemented:
1. An airspace ban against European and US airlines that fly over our airspace to Eastern Asia, namely, the Asia-Pacific Region.
2. Changing the so-called Russian airspace entry and exit points for European scheduled and charter flights. This will affect transportation costs and fare prices for the Western carriers.
“Our country is ready to revise the rules for using the trans-Siberian route, that is, to denounce the agreed upon modernization principles of the existing system,” stated the Prime Minister D.A. Medvedev. “This revision will apply in full to the EU countries. We will also discontinue talks with the US air authorities on the use of trans-Siberian routes.”
This response to the aggression is not only justified but is the only right step for Russia. However, Russia is ready to stop the confrontation and start a peaceful and mutually beneficial cooperation. Russia was forced to introduce sanctions in response to those countries which have declared economic sanctions against us. This is a clear signal to everybody else: Don’t even think about it! It’ll cost you. Note that our sanctions will remain valid for one year. It’s enough for our “partners” to feel the pain and change their minds. If this doesn’t work, the sanctions can be extended. We’ll introduce them to new sectors where they will hurt you most and will still be tolerable to us.
This is our country, and thus, the rules will also be ours. We have played by your rules long enough. Thank you, our dear partners, for abolishing your own rules. This has delivered us from the need to withdraw unilaterally.
You didn’t expect this?
Get used to it. We are back.
Nikolai Starikov is the co-chair of the all-Russian political party “Party of the Great Fatherland” (POF), writer, publicist.

Russia Strikes Back Hard Against the West!

From the Saker.
Thursday, August 7, 2014

You wanna be Uncle Sam’s bitch? Pay the price!

Dear friends,
I just took a short break from my life in “meatspace” to comment upon the great news of the day: Russia is introducing a full 12 months embargo on the import of beef, pork, fruits and vegetables, poultry, fish, cheese, milk and dairy products from the European Union, the United States, Australia, Canada and the Kingdom of Norway.
Russia is also introducing an airspace ban against European and US airlines that fly over Russian airspace to Eastern Asia, namely, the Asia-Pacific Region, and is considering changing the so-called Russian airspace entry and exit points for European scheduled and charter flights. Furthermore, Russia is ready to revise the rules of using the trans-Siberian routes and will also discontinue talks with the US air authorities on the use of the trans-Siberian routes.
Finally, starting this winter, Russia may revoke the additional rights issued by the Russian air authorities beyond the previous agreements. This is such an interesting and major development that it requires a much more subtle analysis than just the crude calculation of how much this might cost the EU or US. I will attempt no such calculation, but instead I would point out the following elements:
First, this is a typically Russian response. There is a basic rule which every Russian kid learns in school, in street fights, in the military or elsewhere: never promise and never threaten – just act. Unlike Western politicians who spent months threatening sanctions, the all the Russians did was to say, rather vaguely, that they reserve the right to reply. And then, BANG!, this wide and far-reaching embargo which, unlike the western sanctions, will have a major impact on the West, but even much more so on Russia (more about that in an instant).
This “no words & only action” tactic is designed to maximize deterrence of hostile acts: since the Russians do not clearly spell out what they could do in retaliation, God only knows what they could do next! 🙂 On top of that, to maximize insecurity, the Russians only said that these were the measures agreed upon but not when they would be introduced, partially or fully, and against whom. They also strongly implied that other measures were under consideration in the pipeline.
Second, the sanctions are wonderfully targeted. The Europeans have acted like spineless and brainless prostitutes in this entire business, they were opposed to sanctions from day 1, but they did not have the courage to tell that to Uncle Sam, so each time they ended up caving in. Russia’s message to the EU is simple: You wanna be Uncle Sam’s bitch? Pay the price! This embargo will especially hurt southern Europe (Spain, France, Italy, Greece) whose agricultural production will greatly suffer from it. These countries also happen to be the weakest in the EU. By hitting them, Russia is maximizing the inevitable friction inside the EU over sanctions against Russia.
Third, not only will EU carriers suffer from much higher costs and flight times on the very important Europe to Asia route, but the Asian carriers will not, giving the latter a double competitive advantage. How is that for a way to reward one side while hurting the other? The EU got one Russian airline in trouble over its flights to Crimea (Dobrolet) and for that the entire EU airlines community could end being at a huge disadvantage vis-à-vis its Asian counterparts.
Fourth, Russia used these sanctions to do something vital for the Russian economy. Let me explain: after the collapse of the USSR, Russian agriculture was in disarray, and Yeltsin only made things worse. Russian farmers simply could not compete against advanced western agro-industrial concerns which benefited from huge economies of scale and expensive and high-tech chemical and biological research, which had a full chain of production (often through large holdings) and a top quality marketing capability.
The Russian agricultural sector badly, desperately, needed barriers and tariffs to be protected form the western capitalist giants, and, instead Russia voluntarily abided by the terms of the WTO and then eventually became a member. Now Russia is using this total embargo to provide a crucially needed time for the Russian agriculture to invest and take up a much bigger share on the Russian market. Also, keep in mind that Russian products are GMO-free, and they have much less preservatives, antibiotics, colors, taste enhancers, or pesticides.
And since they are local, they don’t need to be brought in by using the kind of refrigeration/preservation techniques which typically make products taste like cardboard. In other words, Russian agricultural products taste much better, but that is not enough to complete. This embargo now gives them a powerful boost to invest, develop and conquer market shares.
Fifth, there are 100 countries which did not vote with the US on Crimea. The Russians have already announced that these are the countries with which Russia will trade to get whatever products it cannot produce endogenously. A nice reward for standing up to Uncle Sam.
Sixth, small but sweet: did you notice that EU sanctions were introduced for 3 months only, “to be reviewed” later? By introducing a 12 month embargo, Russia also sends a clear message: who do you think will benefit from this mess?
Seventh, it is plain wrong to calculate that EU country X was exporting for Y million dollars to Russia and to then conclude that the Russian embargo will cost Y million dollars to EU country X. Why is it wrong? Because the non-sale of these product with create a surplus which will then adversely affect the demand or, if the production is decreased, this will affect production costs (economies of scale). Conversely, for a hypothetical non-EU country Z a contract with Russia might mean enough cash to invest, modernize and become more competitive, not only in Russia, but on the world market, including the EU.
Eighth, the Baltic countries have played a particularly nasty role in the entire Ukrainian business and now some of their most profitable industries (such as fisheries), which were 90% dependent on Russia, will have to shut down. These countries are already a mess, but now they will hurt even more. Again, the message to them is simple: You wanna be Uncle Sam’s bitch? Pay the price!
Ninth, and this is really important, what is happening is a gradual decoupling of Russia from the western economies. The West severed some of the financial, military and aerospace ties; Russia severed the monetary, agricultural and industrial ones. Keep in mind that the US/EU market is a sinking one, affected by deep systemic problems and huge social issues. In a way, the perfect comparison is the Titanic whose orchestra continued to play music while the sink was sinking. Well, Russia is like a passenger who is told that the Titanic’s authorities have decided to disembark him at the next port. Well, gee, too bad, right?
Last, but most definitely not least, this trade-war, combined with the West’s hysterical Russophobia, is doing for Putin a better PR campaign than anything the Kremlin could have dreamed of.
All his PR people need to tell the Russian population is the truth: “We did everything right, we played it exactly by the book, we did everything we could to deescalate this crisis and all we asked for was to please not allow the genocide of our people in Novorussia – and what was the West’s response to that? An insane hate campaign, sanctions against us and unconditional support for the genocidal Nazis in Kiev”.
Furthermore, as somebody who carefully follows the Russian media, I can tell you that what is taking place today feels a lot like, paraphrasing Clausewitz, the “a continuation of WWII, but by other means”, in other words a struggle to the end between two regimes, two civilizations, which cannot coexist on the same planet and who are locked in struggle to death. In these circumstances, expect the Russian people to support Putin even more.
In other words, in a typical Judo move, Putin has used the momentum of the West’s Russia-bashing and Putin-bashing campaign to his advantage across the board: Russia will benefit from this economically and politically. Far from being threatened by some kind of “nationalistic Maidan” this winter, Putin’s regime is being strengthened by his handling of the crisis (his ratings are higher than ever before).
Yes, of course, the USA have shown they they have a very wide array of capabilities to hurt Russia, especially through a court system (in the US and EU) which is as subservient to the US Deep State as the courts in the DPRK are to their own “Dear Leader” in Pyongyang. And the total loss of the Ukrainian market (for both imports and exports) will also hurt Russia. Temporarily. But in the long wrong, this situation is immensely profitable for Russia.
In the meantime, the Maidan is burning again, Andriy Parubiy has resigned, a the Ukies are shelling hospitals and churches in Novorussia. What else is new?
As for Europe, it is shell-shocked and furious. Frankly, my own Schadenfreude knows no bounds this morning. Let these arrogant non-entities like Van Rompuy, Catherine Ashton, Angela Merkel or José Manuel Barroso deal with the shitstorm their stupidity and spinelessness have created.
In the USA, Jen Psaki seems to be under the impression that the Astrakhan region is on the Ukrainian border, while the Russian Defense Ministry plans to “open special accounts in social networks and video hosting resources so that the US State Department and the Pentagon will be able to receive unbiased information about Russian army’s actions”.
Will all that be enough to suggest to the EU leaders that they have put their money on the wrong horse?
The Saker

Rightwing Lie: China Is a Free Market Capitalist Country

I’m not a libertarian, my politics is best described as social democrat. I’m just a realist that understands what a spectacular failure the communist project has been.
“Mao built up and industrialized China.”
In 1988, average wages in China were about 3,00 Yuan, now it is 47,00 Yuan. Today’s China owes more to Deng Xiaoping than it does to that maniac Mao. China liberalized its economy but didn’t liberalize its politics. It’s a state capitalist economy, not communist by any means. I have first hand experience; I’m part-owner of a mid-size factory that produces goods for my company here. And have you ever been to Shanghai? The closest thing to capitalist paradise.

45% of the economy is still in public ownership. The government still owns all the land in China. You can only lease the land. You cannot buy it.
The system is set up so that the market is a tool which can be manipulated by the state any way they wish. They can even shut down whole industries if they want to. The market serves society and operates at the behest of the state in contrast to capitalist countries were society serves the market and the state is beholden to the capitalists, not the other way around. In China the market is a tool for the development for the productive forces only, not a form of politics as it is in most capitalist countries. In China the state runs the country and the market just makes stuff, as opposed to capitalist countries were the market not only makes stuff but also runs the state.
I know a number of Communists and Marxists who approve of what the CCP is doing in China. Even on Maoist boards, the CCP has a lot of supporters. That right there implies that there is something other than radical free market capitalism going on.
Almost all of the banking is done by large state banks. The government spends a tremendous amount of money on society in general and lately on developing the rural areas. I believe that all schooling continues to be free. The Chinese state is completely non-imperialist overseas. In fact it has extremely fraternal relations with North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Laos and Vietnam. No purely capitalist state would ever have friendly relations with those countries. If China were a pure capitalist state, they would be attacking all of those countries like the US does.
Much of the growth in the Chinese economy has actually taken place in enterprises that are actually formally run by labor collectives and small municipalities. Cities run enterprises within their boundaries and compete with other cities for workers. The better the enterprise does, the more money the workers get. Not exactly the sort of exploitation Marx discussed in the Labor Theory of Value.
All state firms are formally owned by their workers due to a Mao era law. All of the income from the firm goes to the workers themselves, but they are generally required to hand back 95% of it to reinvest it in the plant. Still, when the enterprise does better, their paycheck goes up. The #3 largest producer of TV’s in the world is a Chinese state factory. I thought public enterprises could not compete with private ones.
Capitalists in the West are yelling all the time that they are at an unfair advantage with their Chinese competitors due massive state subsidy of their Chinese competitors. But wait, I thought state subsidy made firms less competitive? How much superior are the capitalist firms when state-subsidized firms regularly kick their asses?
Although much of the collective system was dismantled in countryside when they got rid of the village communes (an action that has caused severe problems) they still have local irrigation boards that control much of the farmland infrastructure. Those small farmers do not make enough money to fund irrigation projects and they won’t cooperate on them anyway. So the state moved in, and the state spends a lot of money running all of the irrigation in agricultural China and it does a great job of it. You can see that the state plays a large role in Chinese agriculture.
There are homeless in much of the capitalist world, but there are no homeless in China. It is illegal to be homeless. If you are homeless, the cops will pick you up and put you into a shelter right away. If you are not from the city, then they send you back to your home in the countryside. Obviously the state plays a huge role in preventing homelessness. Most housing is state housing.
Due to the many rural people leaving to go the cities (which is causing a lot of problems) the state is spending a vast amount of money to improve the rural areas to keep the people on the farm. Does that sound like something a capitalist government would do? No capitalist government would ever spend a vast amount of money on its rural poor.
There have been 200 million excess deaths in India because India chose the capitalist road as opposed to the various socialist roads the Chinese have taken.
Malnutrition in India is 50% and in China it is 7%. The numbers were equal in 1949.
Chinese life expectancy was the same as India’s in 1949 and since then, Chinese live much longer than Indians. Those extra years add up to 3-4 million excess deaths occurring in India every year, purely due to India’s economic system.
60% of Indians shit out of doors, while only ~6% of Chinese have no toilet. The numbers were equal in 1949.
That China surpasses India in all of these regards is not the result of Chinese capitalism. It is the pure result of Chinese socialism.
Without the tremendous buildup of agricultural, educational and industrial bases of the economy, none of this growth could have taken place.

Chimps Are Evil and Stupid, and So Are Men

Chimps are flat out nasty, ugly beasts with little to redeem them. They are also pretty shortsighted and often downright stupid. It is downright frightening that these are our closest relatives in the animal world. What does that say about us!?

Chimpanzees are nastier than many people like to think. They kill monkeys and are pretty unpleasant to each other, too. Their sex lives would shock Queen Victoria, and their ethical universe, if they have such a thing, is much darker than our own. They live in groups, but the groups break and reform as their members quarrel. Terror makes their world go round. If two chimps need to pull a rope to get a tray of food, they will, but only if they are out of reach of one another. Otherwise, the dominant animal attacks its subordinate and neither of them gets anything. Anger and greed destroy the hope of reward.

And we humans are barely better, to each other or to our nearest mammalian relatives:

As men and women filled the world they killed off many of their kin. The Neanderthals were the first to go. Human habits have not changed since then. Now just a few remnants of our once extensive clan linger on. In a century or so we will be the only large primate (and almost the only large mammal) found outside farms or zoos. Almost all the apes will be extinct in the wild, some before they have been properly studied by science, and much of our biological heritage will be lost forever.

We are also foolish, great at destroying our patrimony but not so skilled at creating it where we need it most (after we ruined it):

Man has flayed his native planet for ten thousand years. Soil is hard to make but easy to destroy. A modern plough turns over hundreds of tons a day, far beyond the capacity of the most vigorous invertebrate. It digs down no more than a couple of feet, making a solid and impermeable layer at the depth of the blades. When heavy tractors roll across the surface their wheels compact loose earth into something like concrete, in which nothing will grow. Continued ploughing also breaks up the topmost layer and allows vast quantities to wash away. The farmers’ raw material is on the move, from hill to plain, from plain to river, and from land to sea.
The evidence is everywhere. My parents’ house overlooked the Dee Estuary (the Welsh rather than Scottish version). What was, a few centuries ago, a broad waterway has become a green field with a ditch in it, and the local council is much exercised about the rising sand that blows onto its roads. The reason lies in the fertile fields of Cheshire and North Wales. They have been ploughed again and again, and their goodness has disappeared downstream.

That’s just dumb. There’s got to be a better way to grow stuff.
All passages from The Darwin Archipelago by Steve Jones (2011).

More on the Development of Agriculture in Africa

A bit of an explanation of the paper for a layperson here.
Lucas Shoen writes:

Anyway, in your opinion, do (any?) you believe that the agrarian communities in parts of central and western Africa could of been attributed to the higher testosterone levels in modern American blacks (and thus prominence in athletic fields, etc.) Particularly if slaves were descended from these agrarian communities? It’s just something I was thinking up while reading that paper and some of the links that it sent me.

Yes, that is what I am thinking. All modern Negroids or Bantuid types apparently have large size, robust bodies and high testosterone. The Khoisan and Pygmies are hunter gatherers and have small size, child like features, low strength and low testosterone. Hunter gatherers everywhere tend to have low testosterone or lower testosterone than agricultural peoples.
Primitive agriculturalists in New Guinea also evolved high testosterone.
The reason is that in hunter gatherers, there is little competition for males as every female needs a man to survive (to hunt for them). So everyone just grabs a husband or wife at age 18 or 19, and everyone tends to get married. You don’t end up with a chief and his pals who monopolize all the women.
In Africa and New Guinea, you ended up with a system where the chief and his buddies monopolized most to all of the women via harems and a lot of the rest of the guys had little access to women. The chief and his buddies were the biggest, baddest, strongest, most psycho, most sociopathic guys around (high testosterone, large size, and robust body) so they beat out all the weaker guys.
The females mated with these guys en masse as in these type of societies, a female does not really need a man to survive. So the females can be choosy. Choosy females is bad for society since when allowed to choose, females pick big bad psycho type guys (bad boys) probably with large size, robust bodies, high testosterone, high aggression and maybe sociopathic traits.
The reason is that in hunter gatherers, there is little competition for males as every female needs a man to survive (to hunt for them). So everyone just grabs a husband or wife at age 18 or 19, and everyone tends to get married. You don’t end up with a chief and his pals who monopolize all the women.
In Africa and New Guinea, you ended up with a system where the chief and his buddies monopolized most to all of the women via harems and a lot of the rest of the guys had little access to women. The chief and his buddies were the biggest, baddest, strongest, most psycho, most sociopathic guys around (high testosterone, large size, and robust body) so they beat out all the weaker guys.
The females mated with these guys en masse as in these type of societies, a female does not really need a man to survive. So the females can be choosy. Choosy females is bad for society since when allowed to choose, females pick big bad psycho type guys (bad boys) probably with large size, robust bodies, high testosterone, high aggression and maybe sociopathic traits.

New Paper – The Development of Agriculture in Africa

New paper uploaded to academia.edu. Takes apart a racist lie against Black people that says that pre-contact Africans were hunter gatherers with no agriculture. In fact, agriculture in Africa was developed very early, possibly one of the earliest instances of agriculture on Earth. Also discusses the evolution of modern Negroids (Blacks) in terms of primitive agriculturalism.

Ex-Army on Mass Immigration

Ex-Army has a new post up reprinting one of my posts and putting up one of his own. Here it is:

Despite what they say, just about the entire political class is in favor of amnesty first of all, and then more and more and more immigration, legal and illegal. And you can extend that to the whole MAG (Media, Academia, Government). Now, they all want it for their own grubby little reasons, but they all say it will just improve the bejeezus out of the economy and everything else, to have unlimited hordes of uneducated, unskilled, Third-World immigrants pouring in over the border.
It seems that even an idiot could figure out that when you have an oversupply of a commodity (unskilled labor), the price (wages) of that commodity falls. When it falls far enough, unskilled Americans can’t afford to take the unskilled jobs, because they can get more money from welfare, so that’s what they do, and they get zero work experience, and stay unemployable forever.
Then the immigrants catch on to the deal, they go on welfare, and then we need to let a few million more uneducated, unskilled, Third-World immigrants in, and the cycle continues. Make no mistake about it, people. If you are a worker, or would like to be a worker, amnesty is going to hike your taxes and cut your pay.
The left, of course, couldn’t care less about actual working people. They think of them as a bunch of nasty Archie Bunkers who ought to lose their stupid jobs. Serve ’em right. Racist bigots.

There are some problems with this at it is typical of the contempt that US conservatives have for liberals, who according to them are just bad people with bad motives. But that’s where the Right goes wrong. US liberals are not bad people with bad motives. They are good people with good motives. They are “do-gooders.” Now, the Right can feel free to bash do-gooders all they want to, but after all, in doing so, they are displaying contempt for people for trying to do the right thing.

Despite what they say, just about the entire political class is in favor of amnesty first of all, and then more and more and more immigration, legal and illegal. And you can extend that to the whole MAG (Media, Academia, Government). Now, they all want it for their own grubby little reasons,

This is not exactly true. The entire US political class it not in favor of amnesty. They entire US Democratic Party is. The Republican Party is divided. Before, they were against amnesty, and it is in this way that I am a conservative, as I am against amnesty. The Republican Party is under extreme pressure to cave in on amnesty, and it is only the hardliners such as the Tea Partiers that are holding the line on this issue, but it keeps coming back like a whack a mole. The political class of the Republican Party is now 100% down with amnesty, and that’s why the monster keeps rearing its head over and over. Tragically, it is only the awful Tea Partiers that are saving the nation from this catastrophe.
Ex-Army is correct that the entire media class is pro-amnesty. Why this is is uncertain. Most reporters are liberals, and many are Jewish. Many newspapers are owned by Jews who have ethnic reasons for supporting mass immigration. Most other newspapers are simply owned by corporations who support mass immigration because of the wage-lowering and more consumers = more business effects.
Academia supports mass immigration because they are liberal do-gooders. They really believe that the whole world has a right to come here to better their lives and that it is cruel to keep them out. They have blinded themselves to the massive downside that this will have for us as a nation because they want to think of their causes are pure good causes that will not have any downside.

but they all say it will just improve the bejeezus out of the economy and everything else, to have unlimited hordes of uneducated, unskilled, Third-World immigrants pouring in over the border. It seems that even an idiot could figure out that when you have an oversupply of a commodity (unskilled labor), the price (wages) of that commodity falls.

It is true that both the Left and the Right all insist that mass immigration is the greatest thing for the economy since sliced bread. This is probably due to the more consumers = more business line.
However, something that is good for the economy is not necessarily good for labor. Obviously, mass importation of unskilled labor lowers the cost of that labor and ultimately depresses wages. We have seen it right here on the ground in California, and I don’t care how many lying studies they produce to show that mass immigration does not lower wages, we here in California know firsthand that it does.
The Right is overjoyed that mass immigration lowers wages. The Left simply denies that it does as that would go against their ideology, and they blind themselves to the downside of their projects for ego-defensive needs. Do-gooders can’t exactly be pushing things that have bad effects. Then they would not be do-gooders anymore. Instead they would be do-badders. In order to protect the ego from this attack, they deny that their agenda has bad effects.

When it falls far enough, unskilled Americans can’t afford to take the unskilled jobs, because they can get more money from welfare, so that’s what they do, and they get zero work experience, and stay unemployable forever.

The Right is obsessed with welfare. That’s what they are all about. All they talk about all day and all night is welfare. Which is a good reason for the Left to never discuss it at all. Discussing it at all makes you a rightwinger. The truth is that it does not pay more in the US to “go on welfare” than it does to work.
In some highly advanced welfare states such as Britain, under certain circumstances it did, especially if you were a single Mom raising kids as you got a child allowance. Get your kids on disability and into government housing, and you’re in like Flynn.
I knew a woman who was scamming the British system in order to stay home and raise her kids, who by now were teenagers. She flat out told me that in she was working the system to the extent that she would lose money if she went to work. We should design welfare states so that you always make more money if you go to work than if you stay on relief. That’s the only way a welfare state makes any kind of sense.
In the US, it’s never more profitable to “go on welfare” than it is to work. Forget it. First of all, in the US, you can’t just “go on welfare.” If you lose your job, you might get unemployment, but it’s a pittance, and it doesn’t last long. That’s all you get. You might be able to get some Food Stamps, but I don’t know anyone who refuses to work because the Food Stamps might end.
You can stand in line and wait for 2-3 years for Section 8 to open up, but I don’t know anyone who refuses to work because they will lose their Section 8. The system is designed to reward you for working. If your income falls low enough, you can get Medicaid, but I don’t know anyone who refuses to work because they won’t get Medicaid anymore.
If you don’t work, you can’t eat, pay your bills, drive your car, buy anything or pay your rent. If you don’t work in the US, you can’t survive, period, so everyone pretty much has to work at something. You can go on disability, but this is very hard, and if there is nothing wrong with you, you won’t get it. Even if there is something wrong with you, you will get turned down over and over before you get accepted. Then everyone will hate you for being on disability.
You always make more money working than being on disability. I do know people who stay on disability rather than work because if they go off, they lose their medical coverage, which is either Medicaid or Medicare. The problem is that there is no national health care system in the US due to conservative opposition. So the conservatives have created this problem for themselves. But the truth is that you can’t survive on disability even if you are really disabled as it pays so little. It doesn’t even pay enough to survive to be honest. No one is living it up on disability. Most are grubbing by in a very depressing existence at a near sub-survival level.
Many are working a bit on the side to supplement the disability, but most of them are not really capable of working fulltime anyway. Even those who stay on disability due to fears of losing medical care are not really capable of working as I see it. Most would not be hired by anyone, and if they were, they would soon be fired.

so that’s what they do, and they get zero work experience, and stay unemployable forever.

The number of people in the US that unemployable due to no work experience is very low. I have honestly never met one in my entire life. I know a person who was on disability for mental stuff, and they had never really worked. At one time, they got much better, and they got a job. They got fired after a few months, which is typical for people on disability for mental stuff, and then they deteriorated and apparently decided never to do that again. But they had landed a good government job even with no work experience because they had a university degree.
The Right loves to talk about “unemployable” people. Perhaps there are unemployable Americans. I haven’t the faintest idea. But I am not sure if I have ever met one, and most that I did meet were already collecting disability. The unemployable Americans due to no work experience must be very small in number.

Then the immigrants catch on to the deal, they go on welfare, and then we need to let a few million more uneducated, unskilled, Third-World immigrants in, and the cycle continues.

This is not true. Immigrants to the US do not “go on welfare.” They are banned from most social programs as it is, since they only take citizens. Most legal immigrants also don’t “go on welfare.” I have never met a single immigrant, legal or illegal, who was on any kind of welfare program of any type.
Most immigrants to the US have a very strong work ethic, often stronger than Americans. It is an endless rightwing trope that illegal aliens flood into the US “to go on welfare.” Go to any conservative anti-illegal website, and this is all they talk about. “They come here for the welfare!” And it’s the biggest lie on Earth. The number of illegal aliens who come to the US “to go on welfare” must by vanishingly small. First of all, that would be a very stupid reason to come to the US since illegals are not eligible for any programs, and those they are eligible for through their kids don’t even pay the bills.
It is certainly not true that millions of illegals “go on welfare” creating a labor shortage, necessitating importation of more illegals. The only way this is somewhat true is that if if you legalize illegals, many of them don’t want to work in the fields anymore, so you need to import more illegals to work in the fields. But it is simply not true that there is a labor shortage in US fields. I live in the biggest agricultural region in the US, and there is no farm worker labor shortage here. In fact, farm worker unemployment is around 15% at any given time as the work is seasonal.
Certainly there is no need for mass immigration to combat labor shortages. These labor shortages do not exist in the US and exist only in the lying mouths of US businessmen, particularly farmers and owners of high tech companies and their lying lackeys in media and politics. The fake labor shortages are constantly conjured up by US capitalists in order to import more immigrants and guest workers to drive down wages even further.

Make no mistake about it, people. If you are a worker, or would like to be a worker, amnesty is going to hike your taxes and cut your pay.

He is correct that mass immigration will cut your pay if you are worker, but probably only if you are a low skilled worker. Some workers such as tech workers are also being impacted. However, it will not raise your taxes. Conservatives like to say that everything on God’s green Earth is going to “raise your taxes.”
Lately, the Democratic Party has gotten in on it too, claiming that some rightwing projects are going to “raise your taxes.” This is stupid. Liberals should not be decrying anything that raises taxes. If you are a liberal and you bemoan things that are going to “raise your taxes” you’re not a liberal anymore. Liberals support taxes. We love taxation. We can’t get enough of it. Taxes in the US are far too low and need to be vastly increased, mostly on the rich and the corporations.
The truth is that almost no political project is going to “raise your taxes.” National health care would probably necessitate some sort of a tax increase, but it is uncertain how that would work out. Most projects that increase the size and scope of government functions need to be paid for in some way or another. Mass immigration does increase the costs to government as the immigrants cost more than they produce in taxation to pay for themselves. Immigrants simply don’t pay for themselves; they cost money.
The increased costs will probably just be dealt with by cutting more and more services and running up bigger and bigger deficits as raising taxes is a political death wish anymore. Bottom line is that illegals or mass immigration in general does not really raise your taxes. Instead they increase the costs of government, leading to large deficits and major cutbacks in state services.

The left, of course, couldn’t care less about actual working people. They think of them as a bunch of nasty Archie Bunkers who ought to lose their stupid jobs. Serve ’em right. Racist bigots.

This probably isn’t true. In my whole life I might have met one White leftist who felt this way. Your average middle class liberal likes proles about as much as rightwingers do. Like or dislike of the working class is a class issue, not a politics issue. Both rightwing and liberal middle class types don’t really care to hang out with proles all that much, as they both think they are low class.
But the only people I have ever met who had utter contempt for low wage workers were all rightwingers, and most of them were young men. It is hard to find a liberal who expresses contempt for working class people. I am not even sure that they exist.
Some of the rich have contempt for working class people, but those are mostly young rich males. Contempt for proles does not seem to be acceptable in US culture. As one moves further to the Left, you will find more sympathy for proles, so support for proles and working class people is actually a function of politics in a sense in that it is almost a requirement for being a true liberal or Leftist. There are liberals who are fairly rightwing for a liberal who are dubious about “the workers and peasants.” But they came from an upper class background, and they were not that liberal anyway. As they moved further to the Left with time, their support for and comfort with proles increased.
The problem is that most of the Right’s rhetoric is simply untrue. Most of their talking points are frankly falsehoods, but they are things that conservatives want to believe, as they want to believe that the world actually works in the twisted way that their vision says it does.
They don’t want to confront reality either. No one does, not the Left, not the Right, really nobody. It is much more comfortable to lie about the world than to see it for what it really is. When you see the world in realis, most of the ideology that you have carefully constructed over a lifetime is stripped bare and revealed to be either lies or nonsense, mostly set up to make you feel good about the world or your view of it in some way. Revealing your lifelong biases as a pack of lies is very painful, and most people just do not want to confront that monster, so they content themselves on comfortable illusions.

Setting the Record Straight on Soviet Agriculture

An interesting article argues that Soviet agriculture was not a failure at all, but was instead quite successful in certain ways.

Per Capita Consumption of Meat and Fish in 1980
in Kg.
            USSR   UK
Beef        11     12
Pork        23.5   6.1
Poultry     6.0    9.8
Fish        17     7.1
Total Meat  57.5   35
Fresh Fruit 37     30.7
Sugar       42.2   16.5

As you can see, in 1988, Soviet citizens ate almost 50% more meat than your average Brit. They ate 4 times more pork, 2 1/2 times more fish and about the same amount of beef. The Brits ate a bit more chicken. Soviet citizens ate a bit more fruit than Brits did, this amid typical complaints that fresh fruit was almost nonexistent in the USSR.
Yes, there were chronic shortages and long lines, and much was made of this. Even Soviets themselves were often frustrated by the food situation. But you can see that the shortages and lines were occurring in the context of some respectable levels of consumption.

Daily Per Capita Consumption Of Calories & Protein
In The Late 1960's
               Calories   Protein
               (Per Day) (Ounces Per Day)
United States  3,200      3.39
USSR           3,180      3.24
Britain        3,150      3.10
West Germany   2,960      2.86

There were shortages of meat in the 1980’s, but that was due to increased consumption, not declining output. In the 1960’s, there were meat surpluses, but meat was highly priced so it was an expensive item for most families. In the 1980’s, the price was the same as in the 1960’s but wages had increased by 2 1/2 times.
US rural life is characterized by harsh working conditions, poor housing, inadequate diets and low wages. Outside of the gulags, none of that was true of rural life in the USSR.

Per Capita Meat Consumption 1988
       Norway Sweden Japan
USSR   +      =-      2X

In 1988, Soviet meat consumption was higher than Norway, a bit lower than Sweden and twice that of Japan.
Since the 1960’s, Soviet food consumption had been running on a par with the developed world.

USSR vs US, 1989
Hogs      More
Sheep     More
Cattle    More
Wheat     Higher Production
Rye       Higher Production
Oats      Higher Production
Barley    Higher Production
Cotton    Higher Production
Potatoes  Higher Production
Sugar     Higher Production
Wool      Higher Production
Milk      Higher Production
Butter    Higher Production
Eggs      Higher Production
Fish      Higher Production

The need for grain imports post 1970 was not triggered by declining wheat production. Instead they were triggered by growing demand for and consumption of meat by the Soviet population along with increased income.
America is the largest importer of meat on Earth and is now a net importer of fruits, vegetables and fish. Does this mean that US agriculture in these areas has failed?
There are inefficiencies in both systems. In the US, farmers destroy hogs, burn grains and potatoes and leave crops to rot in the ground because prices are too low. In Europe, farmers dump crops along the side of the road and dump milk in ditches for the same reason, even though there are hungry people in most of these countries.
Combines miss 20% of the corn crop every year and it is left to rot. Due to market mechanisms, it is not profitable to glean the missed corn from the ground and harvest it by whatever means. It is true that capitalist agriculture is more efficient than socialist agriculture when it comes to minimizing labor costs. But from a workers’ POV, one wonders if that is such a great thing.
In the USSR, workers lived on their farms year round while in US agriculture, farm work tends to be seasonal. Therefore, it was more costly for the USSR to support rear-round agricultural workers at their farms. Nevertheless, this capitalist efficiency has a high cost in rural areas: chronic high underemployment and rural poverty rates.
It is true that the US farm worker was 7-8 times more productive than a Soviet worker, but this was mostly due to increased mechanization in the US. There were .73 trucks per worker in the US and only .056 trucks per worker in the USSR.
However, Soviet workers were 3-25% more productive than Italian workers, and their productivity was similar to that of many West European farmers.
Productivity and yields for all crops continued to grow during the entire Soviet period all the way up until the end. Much of this was accomplished by increased cultivation of arable (but often marginal) lands.
Yields per acre varied, but the US typically produced twice as much per acre as the USSR. Part of this was due to poor growing conditions in the USSR. However, cotton yields in the USSR were typically 50% higher than those of the US, and for several years, East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Hungary had wheat yields per acre nearly double the US rate.

The USSR Did Not Fail

It’s commonly argues that the USSR failed. I would argue that it did not fail at all; instead, it was a spectacular success. For instance, in pre-revolutionary Russia there were famines and starvation deaths, often countless ones, every single year. There was never enough food to go around. Safe drinking water was rare outside the cities. Hardly anyone had electricity.
Soon after the USSR was established, everyone had safe drinking water. The whole country was wired up. And after the collectivization famines of the early 1930’s, full food security was achieved for the first time in Russian memory. And Soviet citizens at the end of the USSR’s reign ate just as well as West Europeans, as noted in a previous post.
It depends on your definition of success.
In fact, since the return of capitalism, agricultural production of fruits, vegetables and livestock collapsed. Production of all these things was much higher in the USSR.
This is what I would call a “market failure.” Apparently the reason for this market failure is that farming has been privatized, and the oligarchs with all the money in Russia now do not see agriculture as a profitable medium, hence they refuse to invest in it as there’s no money in it. And the banks don’t want to loan for farmers as they see it as a risky loan.
The majority of farm production is now occurring on small family farms, not large concerns.