Cyndi Lauper, “Money Changes Everything”

Came out about the same time as the previous song, and Lauper was also a bit of a punk and quite probably a riot grrrl precursor. She was a feminist icon back when feminist was not a dirty word.

This is from a concert in Houston in 1984 or 1985. Notice the orgiastic, uninhibited, Dionysian act of total abandonment on the part of the lead singer. This is the true spirit of rock and roll, but you don’t see it a whole lot. It was there from the very start with Elvis and Chuck Berry and especially Little Richard. We lost the thread there for a while but picked it back up again with the Stooges, Iggy Pop, Wayne County and the Electric Chairs, the New York Dolls, Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers and of course with punk rock.

Rock is about cutting it all loose, letting it all hang out, complete abandonment of the senses to pure nature. There’s no place in rock and roll but sanctimonious twits or Neo-Puritans.

I have a lot of young readers on here. If you want to know one truth that will follow you everywhere all through life it is this: money changes everything. You can sit back and plug that sentence into so many questions you have about the world and it explains so many things. I can’t even go into it now. Suffice to say that at least here in the US, yep, money changes everything.

This makes a lot more sense than saying that money is good (capitalism) or maybe not so good (anti-capitalism). More than that, it is simply a “change agent” that when applied to various situations, explains so much of modern human life. Look around you next time you go out into the world and when you see things that don’t make so much sense, just think, “Money changes everything,” and see how many green lights you get. I bet you can drive all the way home without stopping.

Money is a “change agent,” and a very unusual and powerful one at that. It is also something that is almost never discussed on polite day to day society, which seems to be an odd taboo considering that America is all about money.

I dated a Middle Eastern Christian woman for a while, an Assyrian Christian from Iran. She didn’t like Muslims but she hated Israel too. And she wasn’t real keen about Jews either. We were talking about the US and I said this is a Christian country and she laughed at me and shook her head. “I’m a Christian. I know a Christian country when I see one. America is not a Christian country. America is a Jewish country.

The only thing that matters in this country is money. I’ve written many posts where I have said that America is indeed a Jewish country and I think this is part of the reason I am saying this. We are not Jewish in religion. Instead, we are Jewish in spirit. Almost all of the Christians in the US are not Christian in spirit. Instead, they are Jewish in spirit. Which is possibly why American Christianity has been so pro-Jewish and pro-Israel for so long. If the real religion of America is money, then what is the religion of the Jews?

“Money is the jealous God of Israel. The religion of the Jews is the religion of hucksterism.”

– Karl Marx, “On the Jewish Question” 1845.

Bingo! Like I keep saying, America is a Jewish country, full of 330 million Jews. I’m not saying that is either a good or bad thing, that depends on your opinion. I am simply stating it as fact, do with it what you will.

She said, “I’m sorry, baby, I’m leaving you tonight.
I found someone new, he’s waitin’ in the car outside.”
“Ah honey, how could you do it?
We swore each other everlasting love.”
She said, “Well yeah, I know, but when we did
There was one thing we weren’t really thinking of and that’s money.”

Money changes everything
I said “Money, money changes everything.
We think we know what we’re doin’.
That don’t mean a thing.
It’s all in the past now.
Money changes everything.”

They shake your hand and they smile
And they buy you a drink
They say, “We’ll be your friends.
We’ll stick with you till the end.”
Ah, but everybody’s only looking out for themselves
And you say, “Well, who can you trust?”
I’ll tell you, “It’s just nobody else’s money.”

Money changes everything
I said, “Money, money changes everything.
Ya think ya know what ya doin’.
We don’t hold the strings.
It’s all in the past now.
Money changes everything.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.”

Money, Money changes everything
I said, “Money, money changes everything.
We think we know what we’re doing.
We don’t know a thing.
It’s all in the past now.
Money changes everything.
Hey, yeah, yeah”

Money changes everything
Money changes everything now
Money changes everything
Money changes everything
Money changes everything
Money

Alt Left: John Lennon and Yoko Ono, “Merry Christmas (War Is Over)”

John and Yoko in their full-blown hippie phase and the height of the hippie era in the US in 1971. I was a freshman in high school, and I didn’t think much of hippies. In fact, the next year I worked for CREEP (The Committee to Re-elect the President) for the Nixon campaign.

This was the infamous campaign organization that was behind the paranoid Watergate mess. And that whole mess was caused by anti-Communist paranoid McCarthyite fanatics (of which Nixon was one). The broke into the DNC headquarters because they thought the Democrats were Communists!

What’s an insane anti-Communist campaign in the US without a few gusanos (Cuban exiles)? Not much! And sure enough, crazy gusanos played a huge role in this idiotic break-in because gusanos like their compatriots in Venezuela, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay, are some of the most flat-out deranged anti-Communist fanatics on the planet. The rest of the world doesn’t have much resembling this type, although Hong Kongers are similar. There are plenty in the Baltics and the former East Bloc and in the Ukraine and Belarus. There are probably some in the Philippines too.

Believe it or not, the entire rest of the world doesn’t give two shits about Communism or socialism or any of that. Probably because almost the entire rest of the world is already socialist in one form or another. Latin America is odd as a far rightwing outlier, the last holdout against socialism.

Anyway, John and Yoko released this as a single. The backing singers were done by the Harlem Children’s Choir, and boy were they good! Hey, Black ghettos can produce a lot of decent and talented people. The whole problem with places like that is not that everyone is lousy but more than there are way too many lousy people. I’ve met some of the finest, more morally upstanding folks in the ghetto when I used to teach there. They were often older, of course, but I also met some young ones. They’re often very religious.

Hardcore Christianity seems to be pretty good for Black people. This may be what keeps crime rates artificially low in the Black South, especially the rural South, as opposed to the cities. Also the South is where is actually an authentic and true Black culture or even Black civilization if you will in the US, with deep roots. You see it most in the rural areas, and yes, there is a lot of religion, but a lot of Southern Blacks act really, really good. So good that they would surprise you. And a lot of those smaller Black towns actually function pretty well. I don’t think Blacks up north ever created decent cultures. Even in Harlem, they mostly just created ghettos.

Happy Christmas, Kyoko
Happy Christmas, Julian

So this is Christmas
And what have you done?
Another year over
A new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young
A very merry Christmas
And a happy new year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
(War is over if you want it)
For the rich and the poor ones
The road is so long
(War is over now)

And so happy Christmas
For black and for whites
(War is over if you want it)
For the yellow and red ones
Let’s stop all the fight
(War is over now)
A very merry Christmas
And a happy new year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
And what have we done?
(War is over if you want it)
Another year over
A new one just begun
(War is over if you want it)

And so this is Christmas
We hope you have fun
(War is over if you want it)
The near and the dear one
The old and the young
(War is over now)
A very merry Christmas
And a Happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

War is over
If you want it
War is over now
Happy Christmas!
Happy Christmas!
Happy Christmas!

(War is over if you want it)
The near and the dear one
The old and the young
(War is over now)
A very merry Christmas
And a Happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

War is over
If you want it
War is over now

Alt Left: On Capital Flight

James Schipper: It is certainly possible to transfer savings abroad, and that is not beneficial for ordinary citizens, but a lot of what rich people do is not beneficial to ordinary people. More important than what rich people do abroad is the income distribution.

Suppose that Ruritania is a closed economy. In a closed economy there can’t be capital flight of course. Let’s further suppose that the richest 10% of Ruritanians have 64% of national income. The average income of the richest 10% is than 16 times higher than the average income of the remaining 90%. To a social-democrat like me, that certainly would be highly undesirable, but there is no capital flight to worry about.

Capitalists can certainly carry out an investors’ strike. If they really dislike or distrust a leftwing government, they can refuse to invest, but that is possible also in a closed economy. We shouldn’t become obsessed with balance-of-payment problems.

Concerns about balance-of payment are mainly justified when a country has limited export capacity but has to import a lot of essentials. In such a case, it may not only be necessary to have rigid controls on capital outflows but also to restrict the import of luxuries. If a family has limited income, then it should not allow dad to buy expensive cigars or mom to buy designer cloths.

Let’s take 4 rich Peruvians, Pedro, Pablo, Diego and Carlos. Each year, Pedro transfers 25,000 USD to a foreign bank. Pablo imports luxuries worth 25,000 USD each year. Diego employs 5 Peruvian servants with that amount. Carlos adds 25,000 to his Peruvian savings account each year.

There is no difference between Pedro and Pablo. Diego employs Peruvians, but the services produced by those employees are for him. Those 5 servants could be providing services for ordinary Peruvians. It is never enough to look at job creation. We should also look at what those jobs produce and for whom. Carlos is the only one who is doing what rich people should be doing: saving money in order to reduce conspicuous consumption and free up resources for investment.

If capital flight is no big deal, why do nations get so upset about it. Venezuela was losing $50 billion a year to capital flight, money that could have been invested in the economy. It was all going straight to Miami and Houston. Venezuela was so upset about this that they put in capital controls to keep people from moving money out of the country. But every time you do that, you seem to end up with an underground money economy and a dual exchange rate.

Capital flight -> capital controls -> dual exchange rates with black market exchange rate diabolically manipulated by the opposition in Houston precisely to ruin the economy -> fixed exchange rate instead of floating the exchange rate -> wild inflation.

And the capitalists went on strike anyway an refused to put any money into the economy. They ran their factories and firms at 50% capacity and stockpiled and even destroyed goods in order to create artificial shortages to wreck the economy.So they stopped the capital flight but not the capital strike.

The capitalists wave the threat of capital flight over the head of any leftwing government like a Sword of Damocles. They just did it was Castillo in Peru, and it forced him to reign in many of his more leftwing proposals. The main thing they need to do in Peru is nationalize the mining business. Mining is extremely profitable in Peru but all of the money goes to foreign corporate carpetbaggers and parasites and the Peruvians themselves hardly get a nickel.

Castillo merely threatened to renegotiate the contracts with the foreign companies so Peru got more of the money, and the oligarchy went nuts. That is because while the foreign-owned mining industry is disastrous for your average Peruvian, the Peruvian oligarchy, like most in the region, is a comprador oligarchy. They make a lot of money off of those mining contracts somehow or other, don’t ask me how. No matter how much the country itself is getting screwed by foreign corporations raping the country, somehow the oligarchy always positions itself between the corporations and the nation and makes money off of the pillage.

They Peruvian oligarchy said if you try to do the tiniest leftwing thing, we will take all our money out of the country. They also said that that would tank the stock market. That is another sword they wave over our heads. “We will tank the stock market!” They’re basically terrorists. “If you don’t give us what we want, we will use these economic bombs to blow up the economy!

Alt Left: Conservative Arguments against Deficits

Found on the Net:

In 2011, the Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman characterized conservative discourse on budget deficits in terms of “bond vigilantes” and the “confidence fairy.” Unless governments cut their deficits, the bond vigilantes will put the screws to them by forcing up interest rates. But if they do cut, the confidence fairy will reward them by stimulating private spending more than the cuts depress it.

In other words, like all conservative economics, it’s nonsense. Or superstition. Or magic. Or they know it’s a big fat lie and they won’t admit it. Probably the latter.

Not to mention that there are no true conservatives anywhere on Earth who even believe in anti-deficit theory in the first place. All modern conservatives, given the chance in office, will balloon deficits wildly. In the US, this is due to another scam. Conservatives deliberately blow up deficits to cause an artificial debt crisis. Then the lying dogs start screaming about the deficits that they themselves created (without acknowledging that they created them) and demanding the destruction of most if not all social spending to fight the deficit crisis. The fact that they got away from this scam for decades is outrageous.

The corporate media of course is in on the whole scam and never blew the whistle on them even once. Americans, who are profoundly idiotic in terms of political economics, finally started to catch onto this scam under Trump a full 40 years after it was implemented under silver-tongued Scammer-in-Chief Ronald Reagan. In terms of political economics, Americans are some of the dumbest people on Earth. All over the world, people vote their class interests. Only in the US and a few other places such as Hong Kong and Colombia do they not do so. Americans are the ultimate class cucks.

Venezuealans and Nicaraguans, dumb spics in most Americans’ minds, have a far greater sense of political economics and class consciousness. No way on Earth could you put a scam like this over them. They won’t fall for it. It’s rather pathetic when dumb spics are vastly more intelligent on political economics than Americans are.

I guess Brazilians and Colombians are dumb enough to fall for it. But Peruvians, Paraguayans, Argentines, and increasingly Chileans ain’t falling for this crap anymore. Neither are Hondurans. Or apparently Mexicans. Salvadorans supposedly have great class consciousness but they just voted in a rightwinger named Bukele. Guatemalans are permanently class cucked and confused, possibly terrorized into supporting rightwing economics, though most of them don’t seem to have a clue about politics or economics. Ecuadorians are apparently easily fooled.

Outside the Western Hemisphere, no one falls for this crap except in the UK for whatever weird reasons they have. The Baltics became extremely class cucked as a reaction against Communism and it was deadly for them. Indians seem pretty class cucked. At any rate, if they have any money at all, they go hard rightwing on economics. You can’t put this scam over anywhere in the Arab World. They won’t stand for it. The Arab World is run by populists. Nor could you in Turkey.

For that matter, in most of the former USSR, it’s not possible to class-scam people. 70 years of the USSR guaranteed that class consciousness is pounded into the sense of all workers. This is what rightwing idiots don’t get about the fall of the USSR. They didn’t end up with this neoliberal paradise full of class cucks that they wanted. Instead, they ended up with a permanently militant working class and a permanently socialist or social democratic state. You can change the form (the state) but you can’t change the contents (what’s in people’s minds).

Alt Left: Neuveau Fascism in South America and Europe

Manuel Rodriguez: Back to politics. What is going on in Bolivia is worrying me. We have fascist squads lynching “undesirables” like peasants. We also see that there have been placed barricades with rubbish and tires that block vehicle mobilization, causing people to be fed up and remove the barricades. You know what this all reminds me? The guarimbas of 2014 in Venezuela and Nicaragua. I can see where this is going.

————————–
Separate: There is an tendency that is pretty worrying going on at least in Latin America.

The people are tired of the structural inequalities from the neoliberal policies of the right, causing them to lose in elections whenever they appear as they are, and the people are conscious enough.

The mutation consisted on swapping in the public’s mind the Traditional Right image with Center-Right, which seems like a more popular alternative. The complementary tactic is for thee Center-Right to dress up as the Center-Left, which in reality are already prepared sell-outs whose main purpose is try to divert votes from the Left to help the Right win.

The media did their thing, which was to help Center-Left Boric would win over the Leftist Jadue. The whole purpose of Center-Left Yaku Pérez’ candidacy was to make the Leftist Andrés Arauz lose.

That strategy seems to be being recently changing. They are changing the Center-Right for populist Trump-style fascist Far Right candidates. The most worrying thing is that they are getting a lot of support from the population. Bolsonaro is an classic example. Jose Antonio Kast is a more recent example. It seems that Vamos in Argentina is going to win in the parliament.

I would like to point out that the election in Ecuador was profoundly unfair. First of all, the main opposition party kept getting banned, and its leaders all have warrants out for their arrest on fake charges. This “lawfare” is similar to what was done in Brazil. By the way, the FBI greatly assisted the Brazilian fascists in the lawfare against the Left down there. The US is also engaging in lawfare against Venezuela.

Vamos are Argentine fascists?

Obviously Bolsonaro is a fascist, and Kast is clearly a Pinochet-style Chilean fascist.

Why are people voting fascist? I don’t get it. Although Chile and Argentine both have deep fascist blocs in each country, in my opinion mostly because those are majority-White countries. Brazil is also a majority-White country, which may be why they are going fascist too.

In Latin America nowadays, where you lack a White majority, fascism is hard to install because Latin non-Whites hate fascism. They’ve had quite enough of it. However, they do support it in Colombia. On the other hand, Colombia is also a fairly White country. Fascist roots in Colombia go back to Independence. The country simply has developed a culture of popular fascism for whatever reason. Turkey is very similar. The people get no benefit for voting fascist, but they keep doing it anyway.

There are fascist governments in non-White Haiti, Honduras, and Paraguay, but all of those are dictatorships. The Right seized power with fascist coups – armed in Haiti and Honduras and legislative in Paraguay – and they have ruled by dictatorship ever since.

In the Americas, Whiteness is associated with rightwing authoritarianism and fascism. In Europe this is not the case, but Whites are a huge majority over there. It appears that Whites go fascist when they are in the minority, but Argentina and Chile are majority-White, so I don’t get it.

Really any population descended from the Catholic Spaniards divides into the typical Far Right-Far versus Left Collectivist pattern. This pattern is also seen in Greece, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Lebanon, all Mediterranean countries. This is also seen now somewhat in France. Spain, France, and Italy are Catholic, Greece is Orthodox, Turkey is Muslim, and Lebanon is mostly Catholic and Muslim. Mediterranean countries are collectivist, so politics tends to be collectivist. Islam, Catholicism, and Orthodox Christianity are collectivist religions.

Left collectivism is Communism and socialism, while Right collectivism is fascism.

The Catholic East European fascism in Poland and Hungary is different and has a Catholic socially conservative and anti-Communist tint. Liberation theology never took hold in Eastern Europe except in Czechia, where there is a long tradition of “Catholic Communism.”

In Ukraine, the Baltics, and Belarus, the fascism is simply Nazism, pure and simple. Ukraine and Belarus are Orthodox, and the Baltics are Catholic (Lithuania) and Protestant (Latvia and Estonia). The Nazism here stems from World War and the independence movements in these countries making alliances with the Nazi occupiers who promised them independence. The Communists in turn were seen as anti-nationalists who thwarted these nations independence dreams. See below for more on that.

In Orthodox Georgia and Russia, fascism nationalist – ethnic nationalist in Georgia or simply nationalist or “Russian Empire nationalist” in Russia.

Protestant Northern Europe is more individualistic. The Right there is just about dead except in the UK and the Baltics. The Right in the UK is a pale copy of US politics. See below for the anti-Communist roots of the Right in the Baltics.

The Right in the northern individualist parts of Europe is mostly anti-Muslim. It’s conservatism is toned down like all politics in Northern Europe is toned down, so it’s not really fascist, instead a type of Woke Anti-Islam. Otherwise they are very left on social issues. One of their leaders in the Netherlands was a gay man. And they support a more socialist economics, but this is the case for both the Right and Left in most of Europe proper other than the Baltics.

The Economic Right is only popular in the UK, where the political economics mirrors the US, and in Czechia, the Baltics, Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia. In all of these places except the UK, it is an anti-Communist reaction where many people are angry about living under Communism in the past, so they have gone to extreme Right economics as an overreaction.

In Estonia and Latvia, support for the economic Right has been disastrous and has almost destroyed both countries. The Economic Right has little power in Russia and Belarus, with only 10-20% support. It is in power in Ukraine but only because Ukraine has outlawed the parties of half the population, the Russian-speakers. In the Baltics and Ukraine, the anger towards Communism is because the Communists stifled independence movements, though it was Communists who set them free. Anti-Communism is also part of Hungarian and Polish fascism. Anti-Communism in both countries often had an odd socialist tinge.

Alt Left: Socialism for the Win!

Socialism beating all capitalist countries!

You guys wonder why some of us are socialists. Well, here ya go.

As you can see, Cuban socialism beats all of its capitalist competitors in administering COVID-19 vaccines to the largest number of people in the shortest period of time. And keep in mind that the US has, I believe, a GNP 15 times bigger than Cuba’s and it still totally failed in this competition. In addition, many of those countries have social democracies with attendant socialized medicine, but even that didn’t seem to do very well against socialist planning in the health sector. Cuba beat the UK, Europe and North America as a whole, and the combined groups of high and upper middle low income countries.

I don’t have anything against socialized medicine in social democracies, but it does seem to fair worse against a pure Communist system. And in the UK and parts of Europe, public health is under relentless attack by the capitalists under the rubric of austerity and budget cuts.

The UK in particular has been devastated by these cuts which the Tories have been doing for decades now. Nevertheless, the idiot Brits appear to be ready to march off to vote Tory once again in the next election. The entire media combined to promote the Tories and destroy Labor’s left candidate. The current candidate is a centrist named Starmer and he’s so bad, he loses to pathetic Tories like the clown Boris Johnson. But hey, at least Starmer cleaned out the antisemites in the party! That’s all that matters, right Jews. You all would rather have a damned Tory government than a left Labor government unfriendly to your precious little hate state over there.

I’m not sure about the rest of Europe, but I know that public health has been devastated in Greece. The Left Syriza ran on an anti-austerity program but changed and went Centrist as soon as they got in, supposedly due to “forces beyond their control.”

This shows how hard it is to change the system absent an actual revolution as happened in Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. Without a truly revolutionary party as we had and have in those countries, the forces of capitalism will simply assert themselves and any Left candidate will be boxed in. This is already happening to Castillo in Peru, who finds his options limited more and more every week by the forces of the military, the big capitalists, the media, and the population in media, which is really all the same thing and could be called the Peruvian oligarchy or in US terms, the Peruvian Deep State.

And we can see how this is happening in the US as Biden progressively scales down his promises. At first he rejected Sanders’ Medicare for All, though it has majority support. Then he rejected Sanders’ free college education, a staple in many countries, including places like Mexico! In its stead he offered free community college. Well, he just got rid of that, too. What’s next, Joe? Free ice cream on Sunday?

Really, I don’t blame him. America is still a terrifyingly reactionary country, and in fact it is nearly a fascist country as about half the population is perfectly willing to vote for fascism and the Republican party is now an undemocratic authoritarian fascist party along the lines of the Latin American Right. It follows because the Latin American Right is run by the oligarchies that run those countries, and increasingly, the US is also an oligarchy and is no longer a democracy at all.

Nor are our elections free and fair. They’ve been hopelessly corrupted since the advent of computerized voting and gerrymandering and serious obstacles placed in the way of voting means that we are absolutely not a democratic country anymore.

Democratic countries do not allow partisan gerrymandering, attempts to steal elections, obstacles placed to discourage voting, and open theft of elections via computerized voting machines. I wonder if we ever had a democracy in this blighted country. Perhaps from 1965-2000, we had a pretty democratic system, but under Reagan, the Justice Department under Sessions interfered to keep voting restrictions against Blacks in while putting Blacks who worked for voting rights in jail. The FBI did this, if you can believe that. And you wonder why I despise feds so much.

The Destruction of the Langues d’Oil Was a Deliberate Project

I got this from a paper on Academia. We see many typical arguments here against the use of dialects and sub-languages of the main prescriptive official language – that speaking them indicates that one is rural, uneducated, backwards, stupid, and not modern, cool, hip, urban, intelligent, and educated. Hence this process of wanting to dissociate with the old backwards ways and associate with the new modern ways continues today.

I was involved for a bit with a German woman in the US. She spoken Hessian, which is actually a separate language under the rubric of High German or Standard German. It is spoken in the Hesse, a wine-growing region in the central-west. She still spoke Hessian, but she told me it was not popular for the reasons above – it meant you were backwards, stupid and uneducated.

She also said something interesting about mutual intelligibility.

We see also the unifying effect of the Jacobin French Revolution, one of the most progressive revolutions the world had seen up until that time. In fact the American and French revolutions were modeled on each other. This was a progressive, modernizing revolution the likes of which had never been seen before. Egalite, liberte, and fraternite – Equality, freedom, and fraternity. It was also quite anti-religious, giving rise to something called laicism or extreme secularism in France.

The idea was to unify all Frenchmen under a single language. The local patois in addition to the other languages non-related to French such as Flemish, Basque, Catalan, the various Occitan and Arpetin languages, Breton, Alsatian, Moselle Franconian, etc. were seen as impeding in particular the fraternite or assimilitory aspects of the Revolution. They also kept people backwards, stupid and perhaps even promoted inequality and lack of freedom, both of which were associated with the ancien regime.

We also see how the local patois were tied into the land, the landscape, the stars, the times of day, the seasons, the foods, the plants and animals, the very lifeblood of the people. To uproot the patois would be to destroy people’s intimate connection with all of these things.

As all of these earthly connections were considered the realm of savagery – after all, the modern man was to liberate himself from the natural world and rule over or move beyond it – the civilization versus savagery motif also came into play. As you can see, lack of patois was seen as due to healthier lives, better food and water, more human interaction, and more money and higher level of civilization. Patois was associated with poor food and water, even poor weather, lack of sociability, poverty, and lack of integration into the monied economy.

As you can see, the development of capitalism in France also played a role here. The rural areas were to be forced into the capitalist mode whether they wanted to or not.

In epistemological terms the aim of Modernity is unequivocally to do away with the Old World, and the French Revolution provided precisely that opportunity. In order to align nature with productive forces, existing environmental regulations had to be done away with at the end of the 18th century (Chappey & Vincent, 2019, p. 109).

Not coincidentally it was also at that same period, from 1790 on, that the Revolutionary governments of France sought to survey the use of ‘patois’ in order to uproot them and replace them with the language of Reason (Certeau, Julia, & Revel, 1975) or at least a revolutionary version of it (Steuckardt, 2011). In line with the Ideologues’ project, this linguistic project was devised to gain knowledge and use this knowledge to transform (and improve) living conditions in the country.

So next, language.

Nowhere is the pre-modern vernacular connection between language and what we now call ‘nature’ better expressed than in a response given to Grégoire’s 1790 survey on patois by the Société des Amis de la Constitutions of Perpignan, in the Catalan-speaking part of France. Asked about how to eradicate the local patois, they retorted:

To destroy it, one would have to destroy the sun, the freshness of the nights, the kind of foods, the quality of waters, man in its entirety. (Certeau et al., 1975, p. 182).

Conversely, in a 1776 account of life in Burgundy, Rétif de la Bretonne accounted for the lack of patois in the village of Nitry in contrast with surrounding areas by resorting to natural explanations: purer air, better grains producing better bread, dairy products, superior eggs, and animal flesh. All those elements were then correlated with the practice of commerce, which brought inhabitants in contact with other localities and generated the need to speak politely (Certeau et al., 1975, pp. 277–278).

In the next village of Saci [where patois was apparently still spoken] one mile away, however, stagnant waters caused the air to be “devouring,” and the local inhabitants to be “heavy, ruminative, and taciturn” (ibid. 278).

In France, the patois are forms of non-language that index a state of wilderness and superstition and point to the savage (Certeau et al., 1975, Chapter 8) – forms of knowledge and practices which were to be uprooted pointing to an absence of a rational outlook on the world and a lack of industriousness (Bonneuil & Fressoz, 2016) and lust for more money over time.

In that particular view, the patois are immediately transparent forms of language: they are isomorphous with nature and with emotions. Along with the ways of life of their speakers and mores, they are susceptible to description in the natural science sense of the term: mere mechanical facts to be described (Certeau et al., 1975, p. 154). In this representation, mores are opposed to civilization (ibid. 155), rurality to urban life, and patois to language; access to language is thus tantamount to access to civilization.

Alt Left: Karl Marx, “The Genesis of Capital”: The Creation of Capitalism and Its Link to Modern Land Reform

This fascinating document is available in booklet form as it is only ~35 pages. It is an excerpt from the larger Capital volume. It’s not an easy read but it’s not impossible either.

Some of the writing is gorgeous. I read one sentence to my very anti-Communist liberal Democrat father and he swooned over the prose. That one sentence was both perfect and beautiful, though it dealt with some terrible.

In many places, this is forceful – see the fencing of the Commons in the 1300’s, done deliberately to force the peasants into the capitalist mode or production. Indeed theorists said that if the peasants could not be shoved into capitalism, there would be no capitalism, for their would be no workers. It was essential to destroy the peasants ability to live off the land for themselves in order to force them into worse circumstances as industrial workers.

We see this very same rhetoric employed today in India – where it is argued that the tribals in Chattisargh and other places must be uprooted from the lands, have their lands stolen from them to give to mining and forest industries, and forced into the capitalist mode in cities in order to properly develop the economy. It is argued that India cannot develop its economy until the Adivasis have been destroyed. Note that as with the ancient peasants, the Adivasis will live much poorer lives in the cities than the were in the rural areas.

In Colombia, we see something very similar. In Colombia, small farmers own a lot of land. They are able to subsist off this land and they do not need to participate in the larger economy. They grow enough food for themselves and some city people. The process of the Colombian revolution and the genocidal response of the Colombian oligarchy to it is all throwing the peasants off of these small plots, stealing their land at gunpoint (the paramilitaries are used for this), and terrorizing or killing them if they refuse to hand over their land.

The land is then confiscated by latifundias or large landowners who by and large control the Colombian economy. They grow coffee, bananas, etc. and raise cattle for export, generating money for the economy in the process.

In fact, this process has been going on all over Latin America for over 200 years as sort of a slow-motion process of ethnic cleansing and land theft. Smalholders are able to live off the land in Colombia, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Colombia, Paraguay, and Brazil, and this is seen as unacceptable as they only grow food for themselves and possibly for city-dwellers but the produce cannot be exported.

These countries wish to develop an export model of agriculture based on the large scale production of food crops for export mostly to the US. In return, their ability to produce their own food is destroyed, in my opinion, rendering their economies completely backwards. The people are then rendered vulnerable to the purchase of imported food from the US, often packaged or canned food that is not very good for you.

As you can see, the country gets screwed and the US wins both ways. By destroying the basis for feeding themselves, the US wins an export market for its processed foods. By replacing these with food crops for export to the US, the US gets to make money by importing and selling these food crops. In return the country gains nothing.

Only a small landholding and import-export elite (maybe 20% of the population) gains and the vast majority of the poorer people lose as they can no longer feed themselves, no longer own land and are self-supporting, have to resort to unhealthy foods that they need much of their income to purchase, and they also are rendered much poorer as low wage proletariat in the slums of the large cities.

And in the process, of course, the country generates a revolutionary movement, often an armed one.

This can be seen in areas of Colombia. In one particular part of Southern Colombia, most of the rural peasantry had been thrown off the land and most of the land was now held by a few large landowners who were raising cattle on the land. The peasants had been terrorized off of their stolen land and formed ghettos in a large city nearby, which increased the poverty rate and the slump percentage of the city by a lot. Here they were poor, unhealthy, poorly fed and clothed, living in slums in shacks with no sewage systems, clean water or electricity.

These slums began to generate a lot of street crime as they tend to do. Outside of the cities on the main roads, there were soldiers and paramilitaries everywhere and one went from one armed roadblock to the other. Curiously enough, a large guerrilla movement had developed among the few remaining peasants and in teeming slums. Armed guerrillas extorted the latifundias for money that they called “war taxes.” The latifundias now paid a lot of money for paramilitaries to patrol their lands.

In the slums, an urban guerrilla movement was developing. Police, soldiers and paramilitary members were attacked with bombs, RPG’s and automatic weapons all the time and took significant casualties. The war had now moved to the city where there was no war before. Bomb and gun attacks hit city police stations on a regular basis. Death squads and army units roamed the land and the unarmed Left in the form or human rights activists, labor union members and organizers, community organizers and activists, environmentalists, campesino organizations, organizations of slum-dwellers and indigineous leaders were murdered and tortured to death on a regular basis.

The idiot US and the West see this as a process of “Communist guerrillas trying to subvert Colombian democracy, shoot their way into power, and set up a murderous Communist dictatorship which will destroy freedom and prosperity in Colombia”. The vast majority of Americans and others in the West actually buy this bullshit. Many on the Left refuse to support the Colombian guerrilla, insisting that they are anachronistic and that they should try to seek power peacefully. However, since the FARC disarmed, former members and members of newly formed political parties have been massacred like flies. So state terror blocks all road to peaceful change, leaving no alternative but the way of the gun.

Obviously the ridiculous analysis of this situation that Westerners believe has no basis in reality. The Western media cheers on the genocidal Colombian state and says that the Colombian democracy is waging a war against irrational and bloodthirsty terrorism, typically linked with drug trafficking to describe them as criminals and destroy their legitimacy.

As long as this process goes on, Colombia’s economy will stay forever backwards.

It is necessary to do a land reform in the rural areas before any country can prosper economically. Indeed this “socialist” project of land reform which the US spent decades in the Cold War slaughtering millions of people to stop was actually implemented by the US in Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan in order to fend off a Communist threat. Oddly enough, it ended up creating the basis for subsequent booming development in those places.

Land reform was and is the basis for the Communist and Leftist revolutions and guerrilla forces in South Vietnam, Thailand, Colombia, Nepal, Peru, Cuba, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Paraguay in the past 55-65 years, with some of the revolutions happening later 40 years ago. In Paraguay this process has just started several years ago when a FARC split has taken up arms agains the state.

Alt Left: Fascism, In Its Many and Varied Forms, Continues to Rampage Across the Planet

Rambo: Your friend there is wrong, Highbrow. Fascism is NOT dead. Just look around the world. Trying my best not to spout clichés, it’s very much alive and well. Maybe that’s what Highbrow has been trying to remind people of.

Yes, and fascism now is taking dramatically different forms than it has in the past. In general, fascism is political process set up by capitalists when they are facing a serious threat from the Left. Any rightwing authoritarian regime or dictatorship against the Left, especially a popular one, can only be seen as fascist.

Therefore, there were many fascist regimes in the world in the last 75 years. States in bold house current fascist regimes. States in normal print indicate past fascist regimes:

In Latin America in Guatemala until 1995, El Salvador until 1992, Honduras, Nicaragua until 1979, Haiti, Colombia, Brazil, Peru under Fujimori in the 1990’s, Ecuador, Bolivia under Hugo Banzer in the 1950’s and briefly last year, Argentina under Videla and Uruguay under the generals in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Paraguay, and Chile under Pinochet, but also in Spain under Franco until 1975, Portugal under Salazar until 1974, Croatia and Serbia after the Balkans War, Greece under the generals in the late 1960’s, Ukraine, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Pakistan under Zia in the 1980’s, India, Iran under the Shah until 1979, Liberia under Samuel Doe in the 1980’s, Zaire under Mobutu, South Africa under apartheid, Rhodesia under Ian Smith, Morocco under the king, Brunei under the Sultan, the Philippines, Vietnam under Thieu and Diem, Thailand Burma under the generals, Indonesia under Soekarno, South Korea under Singhman Rhee in the 1950’s until 1980, Taiwan in the 1950’s until 1980 and China in the late 1940’s under Chiang Kai Chek, and Fiji.

Incipient fascism is creeping in the US, the UK, Israel, Poland, and Hungary.

There is presently strong fascist opposition in Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Argentina, Peru, Belarus, Lebanon, and Hong Kong.

Pro-fascist democracies exist in the Dominican Republic, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Georgia in particular and frankly, in the entire EU and NATO because the EU and NATO are supporting the fascist opposition in Latin America, the fascist government in Ukraine, and the fascist opposition in Belarus these days.

There are arguments that the Taliban is fascist, but I’m not buying it. I’m also not buying arguments about “Islamo-fascism.” Nor do I think China, North Korea, Belarus, or Russia are fascist.

More on Moral Differences Between Christianity and Judaism

*Except where otherwise noted, “the Jews” below means Israel or the Jews of Israel, not the Diaspora. Diaspora Jews will be referred to as such.

Mungamunga: I’ll point out the obvious: A look at European history reveals that Christians aren’t any more merciful than anyone else. Its main use in this context is to give Christians the assumed moral authority to be appalled at other people doing what they themselves have been doing for centuries. I’d point out examples like King Leopold of Belgium in historically recent times, but that would be piling on.

I will admit that the NT valorizes mercy, etc. for those who want to practice it, and the OT basically doesn’t. If anything, the fact that Christians had a founder and a text teaching mercy and yet still failed spectacularly to practice it makes them look worse if anything.

At least we are supposed to be merciful. Are the Jews? Look at how they act!

I’m thinking though that that’s why the West has been so appalled at the behavior of the Jews (Israel). The way the Jews act offends our sensibilities. Robert Fisk was reporting from there one time and he said it’s about a difference in values – the Jews value Old Testament values of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. This is where I got the whole idea for this essay – from his article.

I’m having a hard time understanding why the West is so terrible and unmerciful these days.

The West is leading edge of all sorts of rights-based movements that could be argued are based on mercy. Do the Jews believe in equal rights? Hell no. Look at how they act.

The most humane prison conditions are found in the West. Do the Jews believe in humane prisons? Are you kidding?

There are countries in the West that literally have no homeless. Do the Jews believe in helping the homeless? Hell, no. One could argue that the Palestinians are the ultimate “homeless” people – the Gods of Homelessness as it were. Are the Jews building houses for these homeless folks? Hell, no. They are tearing them down and stealing everything of theirs that isn’t tied down.

Even the Jewish “Left” in Israel is shot through and through with OT values. Granted the Jews in the Diaspora act pretty good, but they are secularized and largely removed from the Jewish religion. Their behavior is based on Reform Judaism, a bake your own cake approach to Judaism where you pick and choose what you want to believe and and throw out in the Jewish religion.

“Reform Judaism: Leading the Way to a Better World”

This has resulted in a lot of Diaspora Jews pushing a Left idea that the Jews were chosen by God to lead Gentiles to a better world. I believe this is a bit insulting as it implies that we Christians can’t do it on own, but maybe that’s true and anyway I’m not one to quibble with the idea of leading the way to a better world. The basic concept is great. This is the Judaism of, say, Bernie Sanders. He’s been quoted many times to that effect. It is this impulse that has been behind most of the Jewish-led rights movements in the Diaspora for the last century.

It’s pretty obvious that the behavior of the Jews in Israel – “Jewy” Jews or Super Jews if you want to call them that because they are really Jewish – is not based on such an expansive “lead the Gentiles to a better world” way of thinking. However the Jewish Left in Israel is “progressive except for Palestine” – that is, they buy into the basic package of Reform Judaism of leading the way to a better world when it comes to everything else, but they are fascist monsters when it comes to their treatment of the Arabs. These Left Jews are already heading outside of standard Orthodox Judaism, which one can argue is the true or at least pure Jewish faith undiluted.

Marxism as an “Additive Factor” to the Rights and Mercy Based Approach to Christianity

Another huge justice-based approach has come from Marxism, which in a lot of ways has mirrored a Christian rights-based approach to mercy and fairness. No society ever treated national minorities as well as the USSR did and China does. Sure, Europe is doing this too, but this is also flowing out not just Christianity but the extent to which the Christian-based societies have had their Mercy quotient doubled by the addition of right-based Marxism to rights and Mercy-based Christianity. This is particularly powerful.

I think the Marxists were wrong to attack Christianity. It is the only religion that seems compatible with Marxism. The Jews? Forget it. They can’t do it. The Jewish Marxists in the West and the USSR all left the religion. Muslims? Muslims and Marxism don’t mix real well. It hasn’t worked out very well there, although those societies are based on “socialism for Muslims” as you point out. To that extent, the Jews also have done very well at pushing a “socialism for Jews only” in Israel.

To the Extent Christian Societies are Unmerciful, This Impulse Is Backed Up by Quoting the OT, not the NT

Our failures in the past are not particularly relevant, especially since most of that shitty behavior was backed up by quoting the Old Testament.

If you notice, all of the unmerciful stuff is being pushed by Republicans, who base it on – guess what? The Old Testament! When do you hear a Republican quoting the OT?

The Christian societies of Latin America have been deeply unmerciful, but the Left there has been based on an extreme rights and justice based approach. A lot of this is coming out of an extremely NT-based Catholic philosophy called Liberation Theology that prioritizes “the preferential option of the poor.” You see any of that in Israel? The darling of the Jewish “Left” in Israel now is fully behind Prime Minister Bennett, who openly brags about how many Arabs he has killed and says that the Palestinians will never be free. He’s as reactionary as Netanyahu.

Mungamunga: I would also note that to the extent that mercy, etc. was an ideal in Christian societies, it mainly was practiced among members of the in-group. Jews and Muslims do the same things for each other. That’s the nature of humans as a social species.

Nowadays the West is very merciful towards Muslims, Jews, etc. They have more rights in the West as minorities than they do anywhere else, where they are sometimes not treated real well. How about the Jews and the Muslims? How do they treat religious minorities? Not real well! The Christians are the only people who even try to treat religious minorities well.

A Strictly Theological Argument

In fact, I would argue that the OT isn’t even Christianity anymore. If you asked me, I would say the OT is simply Judaism. It’s not even our religion. And this is true in a theological sense.

I was mostly arguing in a theological sense and I’d prefer to keep it to that. By Christian doctrine, all of the Christians were originally Jews, bound by the Law. We also had Israel. Israel and the Law. The greatest Jew in history, Jesus Christ, came to us, possibly from the spiritual world above, to free us from the Law. In place of the Law, Jesus brought Mercy with a capital M.

The Jews, now Christians, were freed from the Law and ordered to live according to the new religion, the Religion of Mercy. At the same time as they lost the Law, they also lost Israel. So the Jews don’t get Israel anymore by Christian thinking. Instead of them getting, the “Church became the New Israel” in a theological sense. The promised land, the homeland, instead of Israel, became the Church itself. Instead of “next year in Jerusalem,” it became “next year in the Church.”

In addition, with the advent of Jesus and Mercy, the OT itself was “replaced” by the NT. That’s what Replacement Theology is all about. The OT isn’t even relevant to us Christians anymore, except perhaps as an historical document about our less than civilized roots. To me, Christianity is just the NT. We might as well throw out the OT. It’s just Judaism anyway.

Mungamunga: Its main use in this context is to give Christians the assumed moral authority to be appalled at other people doing what they themselves have been doing for centuries.

Sure, but we don’t do this anymore is the argument. And we don’t. Rest of the world following suit? Not so much. But where they are, many of them are aping the West, to their credit.

Mungamunga: I can’t really blame anyone for this, because the Christian ethic demands complete self-abnegation, or you’ve already failed. Turn the other cheek. If someone steals from you, give them more than they stole.

This part of Christianity does not fly. I’ll give you that all right. The problem with Christianity is that it requires you to be “too good.” Most of us are just not “good” enough to be these good Christians that we are supposed to be. We are too sinful in a Christian sense or one could argue survival-based instead of subjection and surrender based. For those who could not be good Christians, they had other options. Atheism, Judaism perhaps, Islam, or a warped OT version of Christianity that frankly doesn’t require you to be nearly as good or at least not so self-destructive and supplicant.

Alt Left: The Syriza Party in Greece: Anatomy of a Sellout

Interesting abstract from Academia. All papers on Academia can be downloaded and reprinted for free. Syriza was the radial left hope for Europe in the wake of the 2008 Depression in which Greece was hit perhaps worst of all. The Right says it was because of Greece’s tax and spend policies, but Greece’s taxes are not high, nor is it’s social democracy particularly robust. The true problem is massive corruption of the political classes at all ends of the spectrum combined with an absolute failure of the wealthy classes to pay as much as one nickel in taxes. In other words, The Latin American Disease (in part) because Latin America suffers from exactly these problems more than anything else.

Syriza had a very powerful voice in opposition to the Austerity Regime demanded by the EU out of Germany (Germany basically runs the EU and lays down the law). There were two ways out of the debt crisis. Either go into crisis austerity and sell off a good portion of their public lands and enterprises, or simply default on their debt and start all over again. Perhaps both would have been equally painful, but I think default would have been best.

As is, a good portion of Greece’s public lands and public enterprises (the health care system, national parks, electric grid, hydropower, a number of actual islands of the country itself) were sold off the lowest of capitalist parasites. Anyone think the national parks, electric grid, health care system, hydropower, and even the very islands of the nation itself will be any better off now that they are in the hands of a lot of greedheads? They’re not. Nothing good ever happens with any of these sell-offs of private enterprises.

Worse, the selling off of the very partrimony of Greece itself was combined with the worst austerity, elimination of health care and all social programs for the masses combined with massive job losses so the masses of unemployed could not count on any state help now that they could not pay their bills. In other words, the Greeks got the worst of both worlds. Austerity and selloff and they gained nothing at all other than emptied pockets and rifled and ransacked goods.

No one could pay for medical care or hospital beds either. Many people were thrown out of their homes because they could not pay the rent and shantytowns of former workers and even middle class people sprung up all over Greece. Some political parties, even the far Right Golden Dawn to their credit, stepped in to try to provide the social help that the state would not.

This was followed by the election of Syriza, which campaigned on not paying the debt and opposing austerity. As soon as they got in power, they quickly changed their tune. I don’t think they sold out so much as they did not have the guts to go through with the program. No doubt there were massive pressures on them to go through the standard austerity model. At any rate, Syriza did not default on its debt like Argentina and Iceland did (to little effect on their economies), and they implemented austerity with full force. They sold out the masses completely.

As they stayed in power, they moved more and more to the right. Now that they are out of power, they have moved even further to the right. There is a new rightwing government called New Democracy in charge about which I know little, except I assume they’re not real great. Syriza is now utterly unable to offer an alternative to ND, while ND has apparently completely failed in the COVID epidemic as most rightwing governments everywhere did, no doubt leaving many corpses in its wake.

We have the standard Latin American model here where the Right (call it the Conservatives in Colombia or ARENA in El Salvador) “the right wing of the oligarchy” is absolutely toxic, but the Left (call it the Liberals in Colombia, the AD and APRA “social democratic” traitors in Venezuela and Peru), etc. are simply the “liberal wing of the oligarchy,” which in practice means virtually no change at all.

AD in Venezuela has combined with the fascist Right to overthrow the Chavistas, backing every coup attempt of various flavors against the government. For all intents and purposes, they’re not much different from Guaido. AD was always just a party to split up the loot from the oil rents from the state oil company amongst the oligarchs and the upper middle class management of the company.

This is very discouraging and it sounds like Thatcher’s TINA (There is No Alternative) response to neoliberalism. Perhaps there is no alternative to neoliberalism and austerity in the EU model, which has always been based on neoliberal orthodoxy. Note that debt cannot exceed 3% of GNP in any given year. That’s far too low an amount of public spending to run a country decently. There was no reason to put that in other than for neoliberal orthodoxy which despises all public spending for whatever rationale they have for doing that, either ideological, war of ideas, or economic.

If the situation in the EU is TINA, then Brexit is the way to go. Greece and a few others have been threatening to do that, but the NATO fascist military alliance (NATO has always been run by the US) is the imperialist glue that holds the EU economic community together. A neoliberal economic community held together by a fascist imperialist army. What else is new? Straight out of Milton Friedman (“Neoliberalism cannot be imposed democratically; it must be imposed by dictatorship”) himself. It is very hard to leave NATO. Notice even the Brits didn’t do that. NATO may be an abusive spouse for many of the nations inside the alliance, but if so, most NATO countries are Stockholmed wives.

I don’t know what to say except that this is yet another sellout of the Left.

For all of their faults, the governments of Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, and Argentina have refused to go this route. At the moment, Peru is also challenging this model. The penalty has been repeated coup attempts in most these countries, economic wars, and sanctions, but at least they didn’t sell out. I still think this sort of resistance is the way to go, painful or not.

Our existences have dignity or they are worthless. The EU model is the death of dignity. At least with the Pink Tide, those nations can hold their heads up amidst the ruins and say

At least we are free. We may be poor but at least we are free.

You know that’s got to be worth something.

Outside of the homeland, there is nothing.

– A famous Baath Party intellectual from Iraq

Whatever beefs I had with Saddam, and I had plenty; Hell, at least he was a nationalist in a time when such patriots are scarce and viewed as traitors to the International Globalist Elite based on multinational corporate rule over the rule of actual states. Governments are increasingly irrelevant now that billionaires and corporations have more money and power than many actual countries.

SISP Conference 2021, Online, 9-11 September 2021

SYRIZA back in opposition (2019-2021): Towards a new political direction?

Grigoris Markou

Postdoctoral researcher, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Abstract

SYRIZA’s spectacular rise to power through a radical political proposal and a strong populist discourse has been the field of study of a large number of political scientists in recent years. Alexis Tsipras (Syriza’s leader) in opposition and in power expressed a strong inclusionary populist discourse, placing popular classes at a central position and opposing the political and economic establishment of the country and Europe.

SYRIZA, during its second term began to change its physiognomy, abandoning gradually its radicalism and embracing a typed of “political realism” and consensus, while it began to soften its populist intensity and passion. After the end of its rule (2019), it became clear that SYRIZA’s populism had nothing to do with the populist intensity and passion of the previous years.

SYRIZA (2019-present) continued to maintain some populist slogans and a kind of anti-elitism (e.g. “the many” against “the establishment”), but to a lesser extent.

Furthermore, a huge gap has been created between the party and the popular classes. SYRIZA can’t persuade, mobilize and lead the people against the right-wing government of New Democracy in a period of intense social discontent with the management of the pandemic and the economy by the Greek government and at a time when popular demands for democracy, justice, and labor protection are emerging.

In this presentation, I will present the main characteristics of SYRIZA’s political discourse after its defeat in the 2019 national election, attempting to find if the party continues to express a populist discourse or not through discourse analysis while underlining its new political direction. Furthermore, I will examine the reasons the rapid transformation of the party in a more mainstream and “realistic” direction.

What Are the Causes of Antisemitism?

Jews Out-compete Gentiles, Probably Due to Superior Genetics

I do think that Jews outcompete non-Jews, mostly due to intelligence, and this contributes to antisemitism. And they do tend to hire and promote their own, while exempting themselves from anti-discrimination statutes. I think the Jews are simply superior intellectually, and this allows them to out-compete non-Jews, get more and better jobs, gain wealth, control and monopolize industries, etc.

I will say that Jews act a lot better nowadays. I’ve read how US Jews behaved 100 years ago, and US Gentiles had no choice but to counter Jewish ethnic warfare with anti-Semitism. This is unfortunate and sad. But Jews don’t seem to be doing this so much anymore these days. Control over newspaper media and Hollywood was in fact a Jewish conspiracy, but it was not done to be evil or control the world. Instead it was simply done out of paranoia, the ever-present Jewish mindset.

Jews Took Over the Media and Hollywood Out of Paranoia, Not Evil and a Desire for Money and Power

In the late 1800’s, many US papers were openly racist and White Supremacist. They didn’t say much about Jews, but Jews don’t like it when White Gentiles get racist because that tends to circle back on the Jews at some point. So some very wealthy Jews got together and bought up some big papers to take them out of the hands of the racists. The Ochs and Sulzerberger takeover of The Times worked this way.

Jewish ownership of the media used to be a lot worse. Now it’s just conglomerates and billionaires buying up papers. Yet the media still engages in the same behavior that anti-Semites condemned when the “Jewish media” did it. This suggests that the problem is not a Jewish media but more of a general attitude that US media have in common regardless of ethnicity.

Same thing in movies. In the early days of the movies, Birth of the Nation and other movies came out that glorified White Supremacism, in the case of BOTN, the KKK. The Jews were alarmed and figured it would circle back on them some day. Four Jews who came from an area within a 100 mile radius in Galicia got together and pretty much bought up Hollywood, once again to keep it out of the hands of the racists.

It stayed this way for a long time. This is changing now, though some aspects are still quite Jewish, such as TV. However, the movies are diverse. In particular, some Italian directors have now set up huge studios, and they don’t typically hire vast numbers of Jews for their movies. A stroll through the credits will show you that.

Sure, there are still plenty of Jews in Hollywood at all levels, but they don’t exactly run the place anymore. Once again, the movie people engage in behavior via their movies that is exactly the same as the messages antisemites accused “Jewish Hollywood” of pushing, hence the problem again seems to be not so much with “Jewish Hollywood” as with a “general Hollywood way of looking at the world.”

How Stupid Does a Gentile Country Have to Be to Let a Tiny Pissant Tribe of Jews Take Over Their Country?

Lastly, antisemites complain about Jews taking over a few Gentile countries in some way. Note that this takeover has mostly been in order to get the government to support Israel because that’s the only common cause they have. Otherwise, Jews hardly concur on anything. Two Jews, three opinions.

Be that as it may, but how stupid do Gentiles have to be to let 2% of the population, a minority not including them, take over the country? If they had any sense, they wouldn’t allow it. I have no sympathy for Gentiles who let some tiny pissant tribe of humans take over their country. They’re fools and they got what they deserved. They handed the Jews the keys to the castle, and the Jews said thanks and walked right in. What did anyone expect them to do? If it was a hostile takeover, it was a consensual one.

The Main Reason for Antisemitism: The Jews Created and Maintain the Left

The antisemite line is that liberalism, the Left, socialism, and Communism are all Jewish plots. In that case, I say let’s hear it for the Jews!

No matter the negative aspects of Jews, we on the Left owe a tremendous debt to the Jews, for the Jewish virtually birthed and raised the Modern Left to maturity, and they continue to support it to this day, although the growth far Right Jewish Fascism in Israel and to some extent in the US has somewhat put a damper on that. True, the liberal Jews in the US supported the Jewish fascists in Israel, but they oppose fascism everywhere else, including here. Jews are some of the leaders in the pro-democracy and anti-fascism movements in the US today. I don’t know what we would do without them.

Jews, Especially Jewish Males, Are Highly Aggressive, Even Thuggish People

I do think a valid critique of Jews is that many are very aggressive people, especially the males. They have a reputation for rudeness, obnoxiousness, ruthlessness, zero-sum games, playing hardball, fighting dirty, throwing out all the rules, and an Old Testament eye for an eye mindset in contradiction to Mercy ideally inherent, though often not present, in Christian societies.

Many of the big Jews in academia and business have a thuggish character. I’ve been told by Jews themselves that this is all down to a culture that demands absolute success or else with no room left for not succeeding. This ends up creating a very aggressive person determined to succeed at all costs with a concomitant terror of failure.

Perhaps aggressive folks are well-liked in our hyper-capitalist society where such belligerent and Machiavellian folks prosper to the heights, but I’m an introvert, and they rub me the wrong way. But that’s no reason to hate or discriminate against anyone. I don’t hate aggressive people. I simply choose not to be around them. Them over there, me here. A divorce.

No ethnic group is perfect and for all of the flaws of the Jews, I think they have tremendous good qualities (see the Jews and the Left above) which may or may not outweigh the bad depending on your views. There are some ethnic groups out there who have what I call “all of the bad qualities of Jews and none of the good ones.” They are truly insufferable.

Alt Left: Psychopathy and the Left

Another really cool comment from a commenter on psychopathy, in this case from a Left perspective. I’m so glad some of my commenters have figured out I’m a Leftie. I am. I’m a really, really weird Leftie, but I’m basically a Leftie. There’s nothing in any form of US conservatism that appeals to me and the Democrats are far better than the Republicans, though my complaint is they are not left enough. On the other hand, I am rather socially conservative for a Leftie, but I have a feeling a lot of us are like that.

In Manuel’s previous post about his own country, Venezuela, where 70% of the citizens state openly that they are Chavistas (polls show that 70% of the population support the Chavista program), and hence Leftists, indicated nevertheless that this country is terribly patriarchal and most of the men and women for that matter are very socially conservative. I’d even venture so far as to call them backwards.

I’m thinking there are lot more “Conservative Left” types out there. I can see quite a few in Nicaragua. There seem to be a lot in Russia and the former USSR, Eastern Europe, Turkey, North Africa, the Basque Country, the Arab World, and especially in China. Conservative Left people are still on the Left. We will vote left most everywhere on Earth. We’re just not down with whatever the latest PC, SJW, woke lunacy of the week is, that’s all.

Manuel Rodriguez: Putting that aside, there is something else I wanted to talk about. Let’s talk about psychopathy from a leftist perspective! This is an angle that nobody seems to take.

I realized that just like patriarchy and capitalism go together, so are psychopathy and capitalism almost bedfellows. The values that capitalism promotes feed into psychopathy allow encourage it to resonate through society almost as an unseen force like gravity. The end products of individualism socially rewarded in capitalism, even though they maximizing one’s material wealth either morally or not and using other people to get it. Capitalism defends its interests from perceived threats with violence, often extreme violence, via endlessly creative methods.

One thing I always wondered about was how psychopathy might effect leftist and revolutionary processes. I thought of cases where a “dictator” type climbs up the social ladder and reaches the top. These people seem to be pretty brutal and in some cases, they have lived like kings via the labor of their countrymen. This same mechanism, these same types are easily able to infiltrate and advance in political parties to where they can climb the social hierarchy, often leading to these people becoming extremely corrupt.

Whenever psychopathy is brought up, there is always someone who points out who psychopathy can be beneficial to society in the case of controlled psychopaths in the police and military. This led me to wonder whether controlled psychopaths may have a role to play in revolutionary processes.

On the whole though, I think psychopaths, controlled and uncontrolled, do more harm than good.

Repost: A Quick Overview of Some Types of Internet Scams

Same thing, reformatting and reposting some old posts. Hope you enjoy.

I don’t talk about it much on here, but I had a Yahoo group with over 1,200 members to fight scammers out of Nigeria and West Africa. We focused on the love scammers. These are people, often males or gangs of males, who use fake pictures of men or women, often stolen from porn or model sites, to engage in fake Internet romances with Westerners, the purpose of which is to get money out of them. In many cases, the scam can go on for years or until all of the money is drained.

Nigeria is Ground Zero for romance scamming, and Ghana is second. Many Ghanaian scammers are Nigerians. It’s also spread to Benin. These are the same scumbags who started off with the famous 419 scams and now are branching out.

They are now into romance scams, fake renter scams, fake buyer scams, fake auction buyer scams, and fake seller scams (especially beetles from the Cameroon).

The fake renter scam works something like the guy is going to rent your place but somehow needs money fronted to him. He never shows up for the room, and you lose the money.

Fake buyer scams involve the use of stolen credit cards to buy stuff in the West and have it shipped to West Africa. Merchants report that out of every 10,000 credit card requests from West Africa, not even one will be legit. The culture of lying, stealing, and general scumminess is so pervasive in West Africa that most credit card companies have banned the whole area from getting any cards. Fake buyer scams also involve overpayment schemes.

They write you a $10,000 check.

But the item is only worth $4,000.

The check is no good. You deposit it and send the $4,000 back to the guy Western Union.

3 weeks later the check goes bad and you lose $4,000.

Similar schemes involving expertly forged money orders, especially US postal money orders, are common. You cash the money order, keep 20% for yourself, and send the rest WU to West Africa.

In 3 weeks it goes bad, and now you owe $5,000 or whatever.

And the banks do want to get paid. Banks will often just cash any shitty check for you without even checking to see if it’s any good. They have actually fought legislation to require them to figure out if the check is any good before they cash it. This would be time-consuming and harm their capitalist bottom line.

Auction buyer scams are similar to overpayment scams. I believe that they also set up fake seller schemes. You send the money and the stuff never shows up.

The beetle scams were interesting. There are actually lots of guys who are so weird that they actually collect beetles. They pin them to boards and whatnot. I guess it’s more honorable than politics or pitching prime loans. Anyway, Cameroon has an incredible amount of beetles, including some of the hugest and rarest beetles on Earth. The West Africans quickly infiltrated the beetle lists on the Net and offered to sell these rare beetles. Lots of folks shelled out $100’s for them, and of course they never showed up.

The West Africans have now fanned out all over the world and operate out of many places, doing their scams. The Nigerians are notorious and hated all over Africa by their fellow Blacks for being a nation of liars, thieves, crooks, and all around scumbuckets. There are now expat Nigerian gangs in Libya, Egypt, Spain, Netherlands, the UK, Switzerland, etc.

Nigerians have swarmed in the Balearic Islands of Spain, where if you go into the cafes, it’s all Nigerians, and probably 90%+ of them are engaging in Internet crime. They are in the Gulf States, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, and now China. Everywhere they go, the Nigerians are head over heels in crime, usually confidence games and cons.

In Nigeria itself, in many of the cafes, many to all of the people in there are criminals sitting there all day and nite trying to rip off Westerners. One of our informants saw a famous local TV newscaster who had lost his job in the cafe trying to steal from Americans.

There is now a tremendous amount of romance scamming coming out of the Philippines. They scam in the open, use their real faces and real names, and shamelessly rip off every American guy they can find. These are usually young Filipinas promising love or marriage to American males. The law enforcement system in the Philippines is terminally broken, and LE does not even bother to arrest or prosecute the scammers. Philippines is starting to seem like as much of a failed state as an African nation.

There is also a lot of Internet crime coming out of Russia, including romance scamming. The romance scammers are the Russian Mafia operating out of Mari-El Republic. Dating sites are saturated with fake Russian chicks promising to marry you. They hire college students, male and female, to write letters to the Western male suckers and draw them in. Female coeds man the phones 24-7. When you call up your Russian lover girl, Natasha answers the phone and pretends to be whoever she needs to be. End of the scam is she needs airfare to come marry you. You fork it over and she never shows.

The Russians to their credit have busted some of the scammers. There have been several arrest roll-ups, and hundreds of crooks have been arrested, but the scamming goes on. With the return of capitalism, Russia has turned into one of the world’s most horrible epicenters of Organized Crime, Internet Crime, scams, and ripoffs.

There are also many scams, including romance, rental, and auction scams, coming out of Eastern Europe. The return of capitalism has also turned much of this area into crime-flooded pestholes, and Organized Crime practically runs the show in many places. Little is known about these criminals, but the auction scams are mostly run by “Romanians.” Investigation revealed that all or nearly all of these “Romanians” were actually Gypsies, possibly the most criminal ethnic group on the planet.

Alt Left: Repost: Interview With a Bhutanese Maoist Leader

This is a repost from some time ago. The old posts are nor formatted properly, so they are very difficult to read. A lot of them are pretty cool for reposts though. This is an interview with a leader of the Bhutanese Maoists who are beginning an armed insurgency against the Bhutanese state.

A little background: Actually, in some ways, this is a racial conflict. About 100 years ago, many Nepalese moved into Southern Bhutan as immigrants. Apparently this immigration was completely legal, as in they were not illegal immigrants. The majority of the people in Bhutan were more Mongoloid Asian types, Buddhists who phenotypically resemble Tibetans and speak a Tibeto-Burman language. The Nepalese were Hindus speaking Nepali, an Indo-European language.

Phenotypically, Nepalese are very unusual. They are on the border between Caucasians and Asians. Some more resemble Caucasians and some more resemble Asians. Most of the ones who moved into Southern Bhutan were more Caucasian types. Anyway, at some point, they become 60% of the population of Bhutan! But the state continued to be ruled by the ethnic Bhutanese Tibetan-type Buddhists.

A few decades ago, for some unknown reason, the monarchy simply ethnically cleansed most of the Nepalese out of the country and so ended up with a more mono-ethnic and monocultural state. Furthermore, the Nepalese were forbidden from returning. They have been festering in refugee camps ever since, and have been growing more and more radical.

Soon a Maoist party was born and it developed a huge following in the camps. Very huge! In the past few years, they have began an armed struggle inside Bhutan, but there have only been a few incidents. Apparently they are laying the groundwork for people’s war, which they claim they have not yet began.

Sushil claims that the Bhutanese state is feudal or semi-feudal, and I think he is probably correct. The entire region remains feudal to semi-feudal – India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and even Afghanistan. The feudalism tends to cut across ethnic and religious boundaries and seems to be a regionalism. Recall that Tibetan was actually feudal until the Maoists took over in 1949 and overthrew the feudal monarchy.

In this region, the feudal monarchs usually use religion, as such folks always do and have always done, to enforce feudalism. The Hindu monarchs in Nepal claimed tied closely into their Hindu Gods. More or less the same with the Dalai Lamas in Tibet, similar to the divinely appointed religous-political monarchs that ruled in Europe for so long.

I figure if you throw a bunch of humans on an island, after a while, the strongest will kill and or subject the weaker ones. Some total prick will rise up, call himself ruler – king – whatever, somehow gather up 90% of the wealth for him and his asshole buddies, found a fucking religion in which somehow he has an umbilical cord to God, and then use the Man-God game to enforce elite rule over his impoverished subjects. That’s the way humans operate.

This group has connections to Maoists in Nepal who now form a huge portion of the government (40%). They also have connections to Maoists in India who are increasingly tearing up the countryside. I do not think that this insurgency will be settling down anytime soon, but unless they make deep connections to the ethnic Tibeto-Burman types who are now the majority in the country, it’s never going to win.

An Interview with Comrade Sushil of the Communist Party of Bhutan (Marxist-Leninist- Maoist), the party which is waging armed struggle against the Monarchy in Bhutan. Talks about tactics, strategy and aims of the party.

———— ——— ——— ——— –

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The following Interview was conducted at some point in the previous few weeks. It occurred somewhere in the area of the Indian-Bhutan border.

Lal Salam Blog: Thank you very much for meeting with me. So are you from Bhutan?

Comrade Sushil: Yes, from Bhutan.

Lal Salam Blog: From the Bhutanese refugee camps?

Comrade Sushil: Uhh, actually people think that all our party are from the refugees, but i am from Bhutan. I have spent allot of time in India, working, but then also in Bhutan and then in Nepal working for the party as well.

Lal Salam Blog: So you are a cadre of the Communist Party Bhutan (Marxist Leninist Maoists)?

Comrade Sushil: Yes i am a member of the Communist Party of Bhutan (Marxist Leninist Maoist). I have been a member since 2003 and i have worked actively as a whole timer since the same year. I joined the party from within Bhutan.

Lal Salam Blog: What is the history of the Party?

Comrade Sushil: The CPB (MLM) was established on the 7th of November 2001, and the announcement of the Party was on the 22nd of April 2003. From this time the party has been working with the exploited people in Bhutan. The people are all exploited by the regime, so our party has been working with all the people, mainly in rural areas, but in urban areas also. Mostly we work with the people in the villages.

Lal Salam Blog: So what are the problems in Bhutan? What sort of oppressions are forced on the people of Bhutan?

Comrade Sushil: The biggest problem is the feudal monarchy. Because of this monarchy the problems are created. Peoples standard of living has been kept backwards because of the Monarchy. In a third world country like Bhutan, this is because of feudalism. This feudalism is the main problem of Bhutan. This is why the Communist Party, our glorious party, is working to overthrow the regime, and to overthrow feudalism.

Lal Salam Blog: So the goal of the Party for now is to throw out feudalism from Bhutan?

Comrade Sushil: Definitely. The main aim of our party is to overthrow feudalism and to establish the peoples rule in Bhutan.

Lal Salam Blog: So you would like to establish a People’s State in Bhutan? Is that what you would have replace the King?

Comrade Sushil: We should not understand like this. We should replace the king with a Proletarian Dictatorship. Our aim, our hope, no our dream is to establish a New Democratic Socialism. Only after that can we achieve our ultimate goal, which is to achieve communism. It is not only our goal to throw out the king and overthrow feudalism in Bhutan, but to establish a peaceful society that can achieve socialism and communism.

Lal Salam Blog: Last year your party started a Peoples War in Bhutan…

Comrade Sushil: No. We have not initiated a protracted peoples war in Bhutan. Since our parties establishment we have however had many rural peoples class struggles and these struggles have used different means. In different ways we have launched many struggles and programs, and we have the aim of reaching a level where we can launch a Protracted Peoples War.

Last year we did initiate some armed struggles, which is only a factor of the rural class struggle. Much of the media proclaimed this as the beginning of the Peoples War, but we are not at that phase. We are trying to reach the level of Peoples War, but we have not yet reached it, and are preparing for it. We do not know how long this will take, it will depend on many factors.

Lal Salam Blog: So there will be more attacks, more bombs and more armed actions in the future?

Comrade Sushil: Certainly. We are preparing for this. There will be more armed struggle. Without the armed struggle, we cannot change the situation in our country. We cannot change the state power. We will one day take the state power, but for now we are in preparation, making networks with the peasants and in the cities, training, preparing for the struggle.

Lal Salam Blog: Do you think Peoples War can be successful? Bhutan is already a very brutal state. As many as a sixth of the population lives in exile and the state has beaten, attacked, arrested and even raped and murdered those it perceives to be political activists?

Comrade Sushil: Our parties thought is that only by waging the armed struggle and the Peoples War can we win the liberation of our exploited people. I believe so. Thousands of people have been evicted from Bhutan, we are very aware of this. Why were they evicted? They were evicted after political activism and movements. They were evicted because the people in the southern belt had a high political consciousness. This is totally not a refugee problem, this is a political problem. It is a problem of a brutal monarchy and a restrictive feudal system. Without destroying these institutions we cannot solve these problems.

Our party is launching this armed struggle to liberate the exploited people and we know that one day we will be successful. This is a long term plan, it will take many preparations, and without this and without correct politics we cannot be successful. We have this ideology, the Marxist-Leninist- Maoist and this is a political weapon. With this weapon we believe that one day we will be successful.

Lal Salam Blog: So have you learnt much from the experiences of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and their experiences in Nepal? Are there close or special links between your parties?

Comrade Sushil: We do not have special or direct links with this party. But, and also like communists all around the world, in Peru, India or the Philippines we have ideological links. These places all have communist parties leading revolution through the armed struggle, and with all of them we have ideological links and an ideological relationship.

That means we support them ideologically and they support us ideologically. We have a relationship with the CP Nepal (Maoist) , but also with the CP India (Maoist) who are also waging an armed struggle. We don’t receive any physical support, or anything like that, but we should understand that we are all communists, and we are all internationalists, and we receive and give moral support.

Lal Salam Blog: What does your party think about Prachanda Path and the Nepali Maoists synthesis? It has been controversial to some international communists.

Comrade Sushil: About this Prachanda Path. It is something we should study. And also it is not only a thing to be studied, it has shown it has the ability to guide workers actions. I don’t want to comment more because the ideological things i have had not sufficiently studied, and till now our party has not discussed at length Prachanda Path.

Lal Salam Blog: The Maoists in Nepal have given up their Peoples War and taken a new tactic in pursuing the Constituent Assembly elections. Is this a correct tactic in your parties opinion?

Comrade Sushil: In regards to the UCPN (M) we do not think that they have given up their goals. We think they are pursuing another way, another tactic to establish a peoples state. We don’t think they have established the proletarian dictatorship. So we, our party, does not think that they have achieve state power. We too will go for a Constituent Assembly at first, and only after that can we step or jump or leap forward to a New Democratic revolution.

In the context of the Maoists we don’t think they have state power, and are still struggling for it. It is a fact that the future shows you which path you must take, you can only pick your path depending on the concrete situation you face. We will also move for a constituent assembly elections and a new state, but without establishing the proletarian people at the center of this new state then it cannot reach higher and improve the lives of the people. We think that the Maoists of Nepal face similar situations to us, and have similar actions, so we will continue to watch closely.

Lal Salam Blog: So a Constituent Assembly is a tactic that you are interested in for change in Bhutan?

Comrade Sushil: Actually it is the tactics and strategy of communist parties in the third world. Third world countries are semi-colonial and semi-feudal. So without a New Democratic Socialism stage we cannot reach socialism. So we are in this revolution, it is a peasant revolution we can say. So to reach our aims, to some extent we should aim for a Constituent Assembly, and this is our main slogan and the main aim of the present situation in our revolution.

That is not our only slogan, and out only goal, and it isn’t the only thing that we campaign around with the peasants and people of Bhutan. And we don’t want or aspire to another bourgeois constitution, but we need a constitution that is in favor of the oppressed and poor people of Bhutan.

Lal Salam Blog: Last year the government of Bhutan held elections, in a very restricted and controlled way, but the western media still presented this as a opening up and of “democracy”. If there was to be a more open electoral system, would the CPB (MLM) pursue peaceful politics through elections?

Comrade Sushil: WE think there is only one path to real democracy in Bhutan. We don’t believe in the current “democracy” this is well known. And we don’t think that this system can lead to real democracy. The international community has its formula and they see votes and call it democracy- but there is no such thing in Bhutan and it is not possible to impose a real democracy from the outside into Bhutan.

Any “democracy” that the regime brings into practice itself will be done in such a way so that real power continues to be restricted and kept in the hands of the old order, and not in the hands of the mass of exploited people, so that this “democracy” could not be used against the regime. Even if the regime cast out the king, it would not fundamentally change it. Our party will not make compromises with that order. We wont co-operate with their agenda, we have another agenda that is contradiction to theirs.

We are going to establish the rule of all the people while they just want to exploit them. There is this contradiction between the people and the regime. Our party struggles because of that. If they were to try and set up a “democracy” for then when we should not be a part of it. When i say this it does not mean that we are militarists. The people want peace, and don’t want to live in terror but this regime suppresses and exploits the people, they already live in terror. It is not a hobby to carry out armed struggle, it is our only option the liberation of our people.

Lal Salam Blog: Bhutan is such a tiny country, and it has very close relations, with India in particular. If you care to reach peoples war, do you think India would interfere to defend its interests?

Comrade Sushil: On this the whole party is very much conscious. But in the present situation India is not so dangerous to Bhutan. China is quite dangerous. 11,500 square kilometers of Bhutan’s lands have been occupied and taken by China. So we are surrounded by two very large and powerful countries, who are always looking to interfere into Bhutan. They have two ways of interfering. Political intervention and direct intervention. There are Indian Army camps established in Bhutan. There are several big barracks. We have known this but we don’t think they will intervene directly.

Maybe at some point in the future. There will be political intervention, and we can try to counter this with our allies by rousing grassroots support for our cause in India. We are already doing this. If they try to intervene militarily it will be a heavy cost for them, a bloody and long civil war. Also the regime and the fuedalists don’t want this. They want to defend their borders, protect his kingdom. We also want to establish the sovereignty of Bhutan, so we will always fight foreign influence, from India as well as China.

Lal Salam Blog: I understand that your party has allot of support amongst the refugees in Nepal.

Comrade Sushil: We are not just a party for the refugees. We have support where ever our people are.

Lal Salam Blog: So in India, Nepal and Bhutan?

Comrade Sushil: Yes.

Lal Salam Blog: And your party does work amongst all the communities of Bhutan and across the whole country, not just in the southern Belt that is largely Nepali speaking?

Comrade Sushil: The southern belt is not only Nepali speaking, but there are people from many communities there as well. Myself i haven’t been to the north as yet, our party does work there, but i have been working in the south and also in the east. In allot of people, and in the media there is allot of confusion. The CPB (MLM) is not just a party in the refugee camps, and not just Nepali speaking. We have cadres of many ethnic backgrounds, and our party works all over Bhutan.

Lal Salam Blog: For the refugees in Nepal is it true your party favors repatriation in Bhutan rather then resettlement in third countries?

Comrade Sushil: It is not that our party policy is just to return people to Bhutan. It is not a solution. Liberating the people of Bhutan is the only real and long term solution to this problem. We are not for resettlement, and we are not for repatriation in Bhutan without changing anything else. Moving people around like they are animals is not a solution. That is our position. There needs to be a political solution to this, and only then can the refugees get their rights.

Some people have said our party was created to agitate for the repatriation of refugees, this is not the case. Our party was established within Bhutan and amongst the people. We are in favour of all the oppressed people.Only understanding the problem of the refugees as a problem of the political structure of Bhutan that we can find a solution. Our party was not established for the refugees, but for all the Bhutanese.

Alt Left: The People Choose Democracy over Aristocratic Rule in Latin America

Down in Latin America, once the Left takes over the state, they prove to be so popular with the poor majority that the oligarchic parties of authoritarian Right shrink to ~27% support on average. The Venezuelan and Nicaraguan opposition parties routinely poll ~25-30%.

The Right literally cannot win in places that have tasted socialism like Nicaragua and Venezuela. The only way they win is by cheating, election fraud/rigging, and coups of various kinds – electoral, lockout, economic, legislative, judicial, and military. Or they run as Leftists and then turn hard right the minute they get in like Lenin Moreno in Ecuador.

In other places, people seem to be rejecting aristocratic rule.

A majority in Colombia seems poised to elect a fairly leftwing politician.

A literal Marxist, a Palestinian Chilean, has been leading polls in Chile for some time now.

A Marxist just barely won the Presidency in Peru.

The rightwing coup in Bolivia was overthrown, and the Left won handily again.

Argentina has been electing the leftwing Peronist Fernandez dynasty for some time now. The only way the Right won last time was because rightwing banksters on Wall Street deliberately crashed the economy so the Right got in on the protest vote.

In Paraguay, the last democratic election elected a Leftist, a former priest. He was overthrown in a legislative coup, and it’s been a rightwing dictatorship ever since.

Honduras elected a leftwinger, and a moderate one at that, in its last democratic election. The US immediately sponsored a coup, and it has been a rightwing military dictatorship ever since.

The Left has been winning in various Caribbean islands for some time.

Haiti has been under one form or another of rightwing dictatorship ever since US Special Forces removed President Aristide at gunpoint in a military coup. Aristide’s party, Lavalas, was extremely popular and got 92% of the vote in the last election. The only way the Right has stayed in power since then is by outlawing the Lavalas Party and banning Aristide from returning.

The fascist Bolsonaro is now unpopular, and the moderately leftwing Workers Party is now ahead in the polls. The PT was removed in a judicial coup via lawfare with the help of the US FBI (I knew there was a reason I hated feds). The President and Vice President were literally put in prison on completely fake charges. This is the only Bolsonaro got in. However, Brazil definitely has a significant base for fascism as in Colombia for whatever reason.

Lopez Obrador or AMLO for short won the recent election in Mexico, a country long marred by extreme election fraud. He’s the most leftwing president in some time. However, he has governed from the Center. Nevertheless, the Mexican oligarchy (with deep ties to the Catholic Church) nevertheless has been threatening a coup ever since he took office.

The Right only won in Ecuador last time around because Lenin Moreno banned the leftwing party and exiled its leader, Correa. The government has stated that he will be jailed if he returns. The charges are faked. The Right only won last time around because the election was grossly unfair. There was no actual election fraud in terms of altering the vote, but the campaigning leading up to the election was grotesquely unfair.

Cuba, A Failed State?

President Biden insists that Cuba is a failed state.

Nope.

They have the best education system in Latin America.

The highest rate of physicians to population on Earth.

A medical system so good that extremely rightwing anti-Communist fanatics all over Latin America gave been flying there for years. A lot of people now fly there for medical tourism, but the state charges them.

Cuba is a world leader in the medical technology field, and it competes well against capitalist corporations.

They still make the best cigars on Earth.

A very high % of the people have university degrees and advanced degrees.

This tiny island with noting under a total blockade just marketed an excellent Coronavirus vaccine, and it has four more in the pipeline.

Its COVID rate and death rate is the lowest in Latin America.

It has the highest number of agronomists per capita on Earth.

Some people are making good money with their small restaurants, especially the ones they set up in their homes or as bed and breakfasts. There are parts that are so prosperous you would think you were in Europe.

They’ve eliminated rural poverty.

And best of all, Cuba is beating the US in life expectancy and infant mortality! Pathetic! Cubans live longer and have less important mortality than we do, a country that is nine times wealthier!

Tell me again how great US capitalism is. We are an order of magnitude wealthier, and they’re beating us in essential health figures. US capitalism is pathetic! We’re getting our butt kicked by some tiny, impoverished, blockaded island! If our system is so great, why can’t we beat Cuba?

Alt Left: Francis Miville on the Need for a Do-over of the American System

He is commenting on my post here. Full Democracy in the US Will Be a Boon for Democrats and a Catastrophe for Republicans.

What I meant is an Alt Left notion of “The system is too far gone for reform. Let’s tear it all down and start over again from scratch,” which is exactly how I feel about my country.

However, I meant just the basic political system and culture. However, that would indeed take a “Cultural Revolution” if you will. And many countries had them. We had a huge cultural revolution in the 1960’s. It’s not all about Red Guards.

The sickness is baked far too deeply into the system. The State Department, the Executive and Legislature Branches themselves, the legalization of mass bribery and corruption via money-based elections, the Pentagon, the CIA, and even the FBI – they all need a wipe it out and start over again cleansing.

Look at how hard it will be to dismantle even US imperialism. Imperialism is baked into US society from top to bottom. 500 military bases overseas? Sanctions? Embargoes? Economic warfare? US control of the world monetary system via the dollar as fiat currency? The sickness of the weapons for oil deal with the Gulf Arabs, the alliance with fascist Turkey, NATO its very self (which is controlled by the US), on and on.

For instance, few know this, but the CIA is baked into all of US society at the levels of the elite class and the corporations. The elite class (the rich), the corporations, the powerful lobbies, ethnic and commodity-based, the Pentagon, the Treasury Department, the Commerce Department are all baked in with the national security state and its vast intelligence arm consisting of 17 different out of control agencies with a $30 billion budgets for scullduggery, lying, cheating, thieving, murder, and overthrowing other countries via coups of all sorts, including the fake color revolutions.

These are the people who killed Kennedy.

These are the people who run this country. The oil barons in Texas, the Silicon Valley uber-rich, the capitalist bastards on Wall Street and at the Wall Street Journal, the sick and twisted FIRE sector, the last of which basically a parasitic and non-prodcutive form of wealth creation via speculation or as I call it “a giant casino in the sky.”

That’s the US economy now – a giant casino in the sky for rich people. All the rest of us? We can go pound sand. That or get rich, which is usually accomplished by mass lying, cheating, and thieving on an individual level. We are now virtually governed by corporations and billionaires. We have billionaires taking over NASA for their own sleazy ends. We’ve outsourced everything to the billionaires and the corporations.

When you study the Kennedy Assassination, you realize that there was a vast group of people either in on it or supportive of it, and many of them have talked. A friend had lunch with LBJ’s attorney, who said Kennedy was killed by “the foreign policy establishment of the United States.” And that right there is the Deep State, and not only that, but the Deep State also encompasses all of the above via the support of the rich and the corporations for US foreign policy.

The Pentagon and the CIA work for Exxon and Elon Musk, not you and me. We overthrow foreign governments for the Richard Bransons and the Chevrons, not for you and me. How does it feel to join the US Army and become the personal army of and risk your life for Monsanto and Rex Tillerson? You died in a US war? Sucker! You died for Jeff Bezos and the Blackrock Group! You proud of yourself now, wherever you are, chump?

Because the rot and evil is so “baked in” to the system, it is going to be very hard to change. Look what happens in Latin America where they try to do similar cleansings of the oligarchies and diseased societies they created. You get coups, economic warfare, sanctions, embargoes, propaganda wars, assassination attempts, lockout strikes, color revolutions, stolen elections, lawfare, guarimbas, contra armies engaging on counterrevolution, on and on.

I am absolutely certain that at least some of those will happen if we try to do a do-over on America. The big guns are just not going to like it, and they will do everything in their power to stop it.

I agree with you wholeheartedly. I am especially irked when I hear so many ne’erdowells whining about their beloved Trump having been defrauded of his sure win election by the evil globalists and America’s now being in great danger to suffer a Mao-style Cultural Revolution at the hands of the “ultra-Left”.

Such a degree of abuse of words might terminate faster than we think, as English as an international communication tool fit for intelligent exchange of ideas. First of all, how come the Republican Party is “red” and any state refusing it “blue”: that seems to go together well with the US being the only country refusing to go metric.

Had America been endowed even with a tolerably good semblance of democratic system as used to be usual in Europe and still is here and there, Trump would have had no chance to be anything more than a backwater talk show animator and maybe the governor of Missouri or Louisiana turning that state into a laughingstock for the nation and triggering that state to go full radical Socialist Left the election after. Trump was imposed onto America thanks to its stochastic electoral system.

The system looks like that of the old Republic of Venice (which was more or less a kind of rigged from behind roulette-like game of chance, with the difference they claimed of chance and not of the people’s will) against a definite majority’s will by both the financial forces revolving around the Goldman Sachs bank and Netanyahu.

Netanyahu is Trump’s alter ego in the Old World (Russia playing a subsidiary role in that enterprise). He was actually a kind of Israeli governor directly imposed at international level against America’s own Zionist, but still to intelligent oligarchy just as a reminder to the nation that they are no longer sovereign and are to be treated like any African dependency where no intelligent people need apply from now on.

Alt-Right fell for that trap, bar very few thinking people. In a certain sense, Trump has been America’s first real “black” president.

They fear for a Mao-style Cultural Revolution to happen by the American ultra-Leftist forces. For the time being I see nobody on the American horizon still trying and succeeding in part to impose the cult of his personality as a kind of savior or Emperor Cyrus rather than Orange-Hue-Tan.

He is in the real position (though not in mental capacity, and probably not in mental disposition neither, as he doesn’t give a damn for his adoring crowd) to head a Cultural Counterrevolution to be followed by a Great Leap Backwards leading to the transformation of the US into the Neo-Medieval Republic of Gilead as described by Margaret Atwood in Handmaid’s Tale.

Actually I have also come on my own to your own conclusion: The US is indeed in great need of some Mao-like Old Far Left Cultural Revolution that should do away with all “olderies” and force all conservatives to acknowledge at last, through violent behavioral psychiatric techniques if need be, that there is absolutely nothing worth conserving in the US and that all has to be rebuilt from zero, and preferably from Ground Zero.

There is no single historical non-fake monument worth preserving except North Harlem’s Cloisters: the few other ones of decent colonial style have been all demolished to make room for cheaper and cheaper built and dearer and dearer sold condos, except a few that were built by slavers still having descendants caring for their property, but that kind of historical monument is rather to be classified with Holocaust Museums in my opinion.

The general infrastructure is in such a state of disrepair that bombing it all first would probably come out cheaper than getting back a working one. Most cities of the Rust Belt are already kind of bombed, so why not finish the job? There is nothing worth fireworks in the background; instead, there is everything worth fireworks in the structure.

As it is a Cultural Revolution we are talking about here, my opinion is that at the present moment no university is worth preserving. That is an euphemism: There is rather an emergency case for burning them all down, while what needs to be taught could be taught for free on the internet, preferably from as far overseas as possible. The diplomas emitted by them should be all declared void as has been done with Trump University sheepskins. Showing one in order to get any job should be an offense.

Among the olderies to be done away with first are the American religions: they are 100% crap. Their buildings should have one use – lodging and feeding the homeless. If they are no good for that purpose, they should be used as quarries for construction material by the homeless. As a general rule a new Homestead Act should apply: the first who sees a university building or a religious building that doesn’t serve the poor, let him take the ground and material for his own physical needs as if it were a vacant lot in conquered territory.

By what kind of economic miracle has America, which used to be the chief manufactured goods exporter of the world and won two world wars as such, turned into a chief exporter of only religion and mega-churches only (if we except the military sector from our equation, which is concentrated in the former Slaving South)? Has America so many saints, sages, and masterworks of timeless wisdom to be exported to the planet?

There should be only one single tax: Henry George ** 2. His equation was by the square of the value of real estate owned per owner or co-owner, which would make collectivization the only survivable solution while preserving personal liberty.

Activities not resulting in the production of physical goods, including religion, law, education, and medicine, should be declared out of reach of any lucrative enterprise and the attempt to make them lucrative classified together with prostitution. That is, either they are practiced for free as leisure, or they are charities (for real needy ones), or they are public services.

Alt Left: Chaos in Lebanon

Damn, what’s this all about? The country’s economy is in a state of collapse mostly due to a massive embargo that has been placed on it by the (((US))), which is trying to force Lebanon to throw Hezbollah out of the government. Problem: Hezbollah and its allies won 65% in the last election and control that many seats in the Legislature, so they US is demanding that 1/3 of the government throw out 2/3 of the duly and popularly elected government. It’s not going to work. Hezbollah is a permanent fixture in Lebanon with an easy support of 2/3 of the populations, including huge numbers of Lebanese Christians.

The Christians are actually split in half. Half are with Hezbollah and half are against them. The Sunnis are much more united against Hezbollah. The Sunnis in Lebanon are just awful. Total traitors and they are all with the Saudis – they are essentially the pawns of the Saudis and their raison d etre is hatred of Lebanon’s Shia, Iran, and the Shia of the Arab World.

There are articles in Israeli papers with the Israeli government saying that they need to make a massive humanitarian intervention in Lebanon to save the day, but that’s not going to go over very well since the whole reason the economy has collapsed is due to Israel.

The banks of Lebanon have been locked out of the rest of the world’s banking system by the US and France due to ties with Hezbollah. All banks in Lebanon has extensive monetary ties with Hezbollah due to the organization’s massive presence in Lebanese society. So the finance sector has been locked out of the world economy and the result has been an economic collapse.

All of this was done by (((Donald Trump))), by the way.

Alt Left: Cornel West Is a Great Man

He’s even good on race. Like most true Leftists, he’s not into Identity Politics too much on race. His main focus in economics. He’s not an SJW or anything like that. He thinks Black racial politics are basically a huge waste of time and that’s exactly what they are.

Alt Left: Malcolm X on Gusanos (Worms) or Anti-Castro Cubans

I have to say that in a lot of ways, Malcolm really as a great man. Notice to the gusanos rioting now in Cuba. The people are not with them at all, trust me. Only 10,000 demonstrated all over the island. Most of them were young people, often teenagers, and some were marginal elements, often lumpens, typically criminals or those who refuse to work. There were some bourgeois elements in Havana.

In the town where the demonstrations originated, even there, they were not the majority. Much larger pro-government groups went out to confront he vendepatrias (countrysellers) at every demonstration. In the town where they claimed to take over the Young Communists headquarters, even there, their crowd of 200 was outnumbered by a crowd of 400.

There are very serious problems in Cuba, but 100% of them have to do with the blockade. The things that the contras want will not solve any problems and their heroes in the US and in the Latin American Right are the ones who caused all these problems in the first place. Cuba’s income has collapsed by 80% due to COVID. They have a very hard time importing much of anything due to the embargo and anything they do import has to go through third parties, etc. and the markups end up being considerable.

So Cuba is not able to engage with the world on a free trade basis at all. For instance, the electricity plants have not been maintained since 2014 because the embargo prevents the importation of spare parts. Cuba could not import any ventilators for COVID due to the blockade which covers all medicines and medical supplies and most foods, so they had to build their own.

This tiny country, blockaded by the whole world, was able to build their own ventilators. Cuba’s rate of saving hospitalized COVID patients is very high despite a serious shortage of drugs. The country has made five different COVID vaccines. The first, with an efficacy rate of 93%, has just been released for emergency use. Nevertheless, the epidemic is hitting them very hard and they have had to expand medical facilities because existing ones were not adequate to cover the problem.

But the new facilities and the overwhelming of the hospitals due to COVID overwhelmed the electricity system. The heat added to the strain. Workers came from all over the country and worked all week to get one substation running, but the temporary fixes usually only last for a month.

Food and medicine has collapsed because of the economic collapse and the embargo preventing Cuba from buying these things on the open market. You have to stand in line for hours for basic necessities. Furthermore, an opening of the economy to market conditions has resulted in a lifting of price controls. The result has been that prices have risen 3X. So you can see that moving towards capitalism caused inflation to skyrocket in Cuba.

Furthermore, most goods are now available only at special currency stores, but most people do not have access to that special currency. The regular currency stores are empty. The result has been that huge mafias have developed who buy things wholesale from the special currency stores and then resell them in the regular currency, but they are marked up by up to 3X. However, there are up to 500,000 of these criminals in Cuba now and there doesn’t seem to be much to do about them. The cops don’t even really try to stop them.

The truth is that since most people only have access to regular currency, the existence of these resellers and mafias seems to be inevitable as that is the only way that ordinary people can buy what they want. There are a lot of complaints about these special stores and the state currency manipulations that they are a result of, but the currency decisions seem to be based on sound, if rather capitalist, economics. I don’t know what can be done about the problem of these stores.

I really don’t know what the Cuban government could do to make any of the problems of the country go away. Can someone please tell me what the government should do to go about making even one of these problems they have better?

Most Cubans know capitalism up front, and they explicitly dislike the very idea of it. They don’t even like the US model. And the Latin American models of capitalism don’t like very enticing compared to what Cubans already have. Even the Dominican Republic, Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, and even Uruguay seem pretty awful compared to Cuba.

For one thing, there is almost no crime in Cuba and the drug use and sales rate is very low. There is almost no drug smuggling. There are no street gangs to speak of, nor are there any beggars in the streets.

During the decade when Nicaragua switched to capitalism, the roads were full of potholes and were nearly undriveable, children carried their chairs to school every day because the school had no chairs for the students, the streets were lined with dirty, hungry children and the first word out of their mouths was to ask you for a coin. Now that Ortega and the Sandinistas are back, all of that is gone. Nicaraguans have lived under both the Sandinistas and their capitalist rightwing enemies and they majority do not want the Right to come back into power any time soon. They have seen how the Right acts when they are in power.

If they let them back in, they will do the same thing all over again. The Venezuelans are the same way. The Right has only ever espoused dismantling every since achievement of the Chavistas. However, 70% of the population support the Chavista project and describe themselves as Chavistas. With a population of 70% Chavistas and an opposition that has pledged to dismantle the entire project, is there any wonder that the Chavistas win by ~70% every time? Why wouldn’t they?

And Nicaragua is sending very few immigrants to the US. The Central American immigrants flooding “the misery, crime, violence, and poverty” of the region are all coming from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. They are not coming from Nicaragua. There’s a reason for that. Also, Nicaragua has had very low rates of COVID cases and deaths, while at least Guatemala was utterly devastated by the disease.

It is true that there are contras in Cuba. It’s certainly not illegal to be a contra and they are quite easy to find. Contras represent ~14% of the population because that is how many people voted agains the last Constitution. The contras calling for a US fake humanitarian intervention and invasion are certainly much less than that.

Guaido, the Venezuelan contra, had 4% support last I heard. His project of sanctions and US invasion has 12% support. Sanctions themselves have only 18% support. The general opposition has ~27% support.

The Right has ruled Haiti since 1994 when Lavalas was overthrown by the US and Aristide was forced into exile. Aristide won 92% of the vote the last time he ran. That’s how many Haitians supported and support Lavalas. All of the US-installed regimes ever since have had the support of ~8% of the population.

The opposition in Nicaragua also has ~25%. The last poll had them at 23%. However, the position of the contras who tried to overthrow the government with a violent coup in 2018 has only 15% support. The latest poll shows Ortega winning 77%-23% against the opposition.

It is not true that the opposition is being forbidden from running. Some people who took money from the US to stage a violent attempt to overthrow the government have been arrested. Others have had their political privileges revoked for life. This is exactly what should happen to all of the Venezuelan coup-mongers, and some are already under house arrest or have been banned from politics for 15 years. None of these Nicaraguan coup plotters were candidates for any political party.

The US has been trying to insert these traitors in the political parties since 2018, but no party will take them. These are not politicians. They are not even associated with any political party. In fact, there are 17 different political parties running against the Sandinistas in the upcoming election. It’s perfectly legal to be in the opposition in Nicaragua. You only must follow the laws. As in Venezuela, the Nicaraguan contras are only ~25% of the population and they can never win at the ballot box, so they try to overthrow the government by force again.

The thing is that the contras in Cuba are all reactionaries. They wave American flags and they all want to go to neoliberalism. They are rioting because COVID is peaking in Cuba, but even there, Florida, a very wealthy capitalist state in the US, has had twice as many cases per capita and five times as many deaths per capita. In the Latin American countries that the US-flag waving mercenaries emulate, COVID death rates are 10, 20, and 50X higher than in the US.

Even in the “successful” Latin American countries like Chile, COVID has been disastrous. By the way, Chile is hardly a model for Latin America. The place is a disaster.

It’s not some groovy West European social democracy. There are no groovy West European social democracies in Latin America. The people who are trying to emulate just that are Maduro, Ortega, Correa, Fernandez, Lula, Morales, and the recent winner in Peru, Castillo – the ones who are being called Communist Pink Tide countries. An actual Communist is ahead in the polls in Chile and a moderate Leftist appears poised to win even in Colombia, the last holdout of the populist Right.

All of these people who have already served in power have either all been overthrown by the US or there have been attempts to overthrow them.

The US only tolerates hard Right regimes in Latin America. This has always been the case. Part of the problem is that Latin America never had Social Contracts as Europe did. The oligarchs and the Right have always been reactionary and fascist and are to this day.

In contrast, in Europe, the true reactionaries and fascists are all but defeated, and social democracy rules the day. Latin American style Rightists do not exist in Europe. The only thing close to that economically was in Eastern Europe in the Baltics, and these places failed horrifically with the 2008 Depression. Even Poland and the Czech Republic are not so rightwing as everyone thinks.

The most rightwing government in Europe is in the UK, and they are to the Left of the Democratic Party.

Republican Party-Latin American Right economics is unpopular all over the world.

I will grant that it is popular in a few places. It retains majority support in Colombia, but with the recent riots and the genocidal response of the regime to them, this seems to be ending. In Hong Kong and Singapore, two very wealthy more or less “fake states” – fake because these states cannot be replicated elsewhere – rightwing economics remains popular. However, the working classes in Hong Kong mostly support China and hate the rightwing government, and in Singapore, the main opposition party has Marxist roots.

The way of the world seems to be socialism or at least some kind of socialism, at the very least some variety of social democracy. Neoliberalism is disliked or even hated on most of the planet. Bottom line is nobody likes it and nobody wants it. In places where it gets polled as in Latin America, it has the support of 8-27% of the population, with an average of 26% support for the project in general which declines to 8-18% when it comes to the coup-mongering Right that calls for sanctions, violent coups and US interventions. This is the political demographic of the oligarchs and their supporters.

It’s minority now and appears to be minority for quite some time into the future. Economic conservatism and conservatism in general believe in rule by the aristocracy or oligarchy. Liberalism by contrast means rule by democracy or rule by the people. As the aristocrats, oligarchs and their supporters are always a minority – 25-30% seems to be a good ballpark figure, they generally hate democracy and tend to rely on antidemocratic means of getting in and staying in power.

Alt Left: Argument: There Is No Peaceful Road to Socialism

Transformer: I saw this on Facebook with a discussion about Communism and this is a statement from a Libertarian:

The Marxist delusion of no government always leads to absolute tyranny. The anarcho-communists sweep away tolerably governments and pave the way for the Stalins, Maos, Pol Pots, Castros, Mugabes, Chavezes, etc. It’s not that they justify Stalinism, but that they justify measures that always result in Stalinism, and they still don’t have a clue as to why that keeps happening.

I disagree with his statement that the governments before these revolutions were tolerable.

The CIA supported Pol Pot.

Yes, the US supported Pol Pot the whole time they were in and for many years afterwards as guerrillas.

You are certainly free as a liberal to Leftist to oppose Marxism. A lot of people on the Left, especially liberals, are against Marxist dictatorships. There’s a good argument against them. They’re not exactly democratic.

Chavez was not a dictator at all. Venezuela under Chavez was one of the most democratic countries on Earth. Mugabe wasn’t really a dictator. The opposition always ran in every election, and Mugabe always got the most votes not counting fraud. Same thing in Russia. Putin always gets the most votes whether he steals a few or not. Same thing in Belarus. The opposition runs every time and Lukashenko always gets 75-80% of the actual counted votes. There was no fraud in the last election.

There’s never been any serious electoral fraud in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Haiti, Iran, Syria, or Peru or most places the US has alleged that massive electoral fraud allowed the Left to win. I can’t recall the last time the Left anywhere on Earth had to steal an election to win. It’s usually the Right who does that.

Anarcoms have never completed a successful revolution. The no government thing is supposed to be way off in the future and it’s never happened anywhere. The “Stalinism” is just the dictatorship of the proletariat. It’s part of Marxist theory. It’s not an aberration or anything. Look at Honduras, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Zimbabwe, Guatemala, El Salvador, Haiti, Bolivia, Guyana, Peru, Mexico, Italy, Ecuador, Brazil, Chile, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Iran, etc.

There’s no peaceful way to put the Left in power. Anytime a Left government comes in, there’s this nonstop war to overthrow it, usually culminating in a rightwing fascist coup. They always ruin the economy, first and foremost. This is why orthodox Marxists regard the peaceful road to socialism as either a sick joke or a great idea that is not possible in the real world. Lenin called advocates of the peaceful road to socialism “parliamentary cretins.”

Alt Left: Rural Land Reforms: An Overview

What’s odd is that imperialism went along with land reforms in a lot of other places such as Europe and the Middle East. All of the Middle East has done a land reform.

That was one thing the wave of Arab nationalist leaders who came to power in 1950-1970 did right away, including the Baath in Iraq and Syria, Yemen, Nasser in Egypt, the FLN in Algeria, Tunisia, and Qaddafi in Libya.

I believe there was some type of land reform done in Palestine too. If you read Ghassan Kanafani, the Palestinian Leftist, in the 1930’s, he talked about how terribly exploited the Arab fellahin or peasants were in Palestine.

If you went to Yemen in the 1960’s, there was a portrait of Nasser in every house.

I’m not sure if a land reform was ever done in Morocco. It’s been ruled by a fairly rightwing king for a long time.

A land reform was probably done in Lebanon, but I don’t have details. Likewise with Jordan.

Nothing grows in the Gulf anyway, so there’s no need for a reform.

I’m not sure about Sudan or Mauritania, but I doubt much grows in Mauritania except date palms.

In all of these places, land reform was a very easy sell for whatever reason, probably because neoliberal capitalism seems to be antithetical to Islam itself. The feudal lords of the former Ottoman Empire had tried to justify feudalism on the basis that in the Koran it says something like, “Some are rich and some are poor, and this is a natural thing” but that never went over too well.

The idea that in an Islamic country, the rich Muslims were viciously exploit the poor Muslims is nearly haram on its face. You just can’t do that. All Muslims are part of the ummah. All the Muslim men are your brothers and all the Muslim women are your sisters. Also individualism never made it to any part of the Muslim World other than the Hindu variety in Pakistan and Bangladesh, but that’s not really the same radical individualism that we have in the West. It’s just an ancient caste based system.

The first thing the Communists did in Eastern Europe was to do a land reform. You will never hear it here in the West, but until 1960, the Communist regimes in the East were very popular with industrial workers and also with the peasants.

In most of the world, peasants and rural dwellers are leftwingers. This is even the case in Western Europe in France.

The US is odd in that it’s farmers are so reactionary. That goes against the usual trend.

Yes, farmers are said to be conservatives, but that usually just means social conservatism. In most of the world, peasants are literally Alt Left: left on economics and right on social and cultural issues.

A land reform was definitely done in Iran.

Obviously one was done in the USSR, and the large landowners have not yet consolidated themselves in the former USSR, mostly because everybody hates them. Large landowners have taken over some of the state farms in Russia, but for whatever reason, they are not very productive. In fact, many of the state farms are still in existence. I am not sure what sort of arrangement they have now.

50% of the food in the Russia comes from small farms, typically grown on dachas. Dachas were vacation homes that were given to all Soviet workers. They were also given a bit of land, enough to grow some crops on. After 1991, all workers were allowed to keep their dachas and small plots. This was a great idea because most of the produce in Russia is coming right off of these farms.

After World War 2, the US supported land reforms in some places as a way of heading off a Communist threat. This is one great thing about the Communists. So many great steps of social progress were only done out of fear or terror that if these were not done, the Communists would take over. Now that that threat is gone, one wonders what motivation the oligarchs have to give up anything.

In particular, land reforms were done in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. They went over very easily. And in fact, the subsequent economic growth occurred right on the back of these reforms. There is a good argument that you can never develop a proper economy without first doing a land reform.

First of all, you need to get rid of the problem of rural poverty.

Second of all, you need to feed your own people. Large landowners in these countries typically grow food for export or simply fallow the land and keep it as an income base or a source of wealth.

When crops are grown for export, there is a problem in that the nation does not grow enough food to feed its people. This is a problem in Cuba and Venezuela right now, and it should not be. These are very fertile countries and there is no need to import food, but they have gotten hooked on some sort of “crack” of importing their food for whatever reason, possibly because most of their farmland was being used to grow crops for export.

When a nation can feed itself, this means it can feed its urban workers. This is extremely important and it is part of the reason that Stalin went at such breakneck speed in his collectivization. He had to feed his urban workers so he could industrialize because even back then, he was looking into the future and seeing that he was going to have to fight Hitler.

I’m not quite sure why, but no country seems to be able to properly industrialize and develop as long as the problem of rural poverty exists.

And once you are feeding your own people, you have solved a lot of other problems. Money that would be wasted importing inferior food from the West, especially the US, can now be spent on actual development of a national economy. The elimination of rural poverty gets rid of a constant revolutionary bur in the side of the state.

The US has always opposed land reform in Latin America because large US corporations are usually involved in growing foods for export down there. See Dole Pineapple in Guatemala. We want all of their agricultural land to go for export crops so US corporations can grow those crops or make money importing them. And we do not want them to grow their own food. That way there won’t be so much land for export crops which we need to make money off of.

Also, we want them to spend all of their food money importing lousy processed food from the US. So we make money on food both ways – importing food from crops grown for export to the US and in exporting processed food to the Latin America. This processed food is not very good for you and it is implicated in a lot of health problems in these places.

This is why the US opposes most efforts at land reform in the Americas.

An exception was made in El Salvador. After 200,000 people died, the US and the Salvadoran oligarchs were forced to the negotiating table and a land reform was one of the first things they pushed. I recall a piece written soon afterwards where the reporter went out to the rural areas and interviewed recipients of the land reform. They basically said, “Well, at least we can eat now. It wasn’t like that before.”

In semi-feudal countries, there is debt bondage whereby large landowners rent out their land to sharecroppers or peasants who never seem to get out of debt. This is a very primitive form of development.

The Philippines is notable that there has never been a land reform. And of course they have a vicious Communist insurgency.

Nor has there been one in Colombia, Guatemala, Haiti, Paraguay, Honduras, or Argentina. The first five countries are horribly screwed up. Colombia and Paraguay have active armed leftwing guerrillas, and Guatemala did for many years. Haiti is a disaster. Honduras has a vicious rightwing dictatorship that has murdered over 1,000 people.

Argentina is mostly urbanized, but the landed rural elite still runs the country. Any talk at all of land reform or even taxation of large estates as was done recently under Christine Fernandez, and the ruling class starts making ominous threats of a coup. I assume something similar is going on in Uruguay. Those countries are urbanized though, so large landownership is not such a problem.

I’m not sure if there has ever been a land reform in Brazil, but there is no dearth of large landowners.

The fact that Colombia, Guatemala, and Haiti are so backwards is largely because there has never been a land reform.

The land reform was incomplete in Venezuela.

It is interesting that every country that fails to do a land reform seems to end up with a Communist or Leftist insurgency at some point or another. It’s almost without fail. This goes to show you that most Communist insurgencies in the Third World are over the most basic things dating all the way back to French Revolution: land and bread (food).

As far as land reforms go, they were done in Mexico, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Venezuela, and Peru.

I’m not sure about Uruguay, Ecuador, Bolivia, Panama, Jamaica, Belize, the Guyanas, Chile, and most of the Caribbean.

And I’m not sure if one ever got done in the Dominican Republic after Bosch.

In El Salvador, 200,000 had to die in order for a land reform to take place. Roberto D’Aubission, the godfather of the Salvadoran death squads and the most favored visitor at the US Embassy, once said that “We will have to kill 200,000 people in order to prevent socialism in El Salvador.” What he meant by socialism was land reform.

It is notable that no land reform was ever done in India, nor in Pakistan or even Bangladesh. I had a friend whose parents were large feudal landowners in Pakistan who rented out land to farmers who ended up in debt peonage. In 1986, 14 million people a year were dying of starvation related diseases in the capitalist world. Most of that was in South Asia in Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India. Most of these deaths were attributed to the problem of the private ownership of land.

There is a problem with the private ownership of land. In the US, we think this is sacrosanct, but on a worldwide basis, it doesn’t work very well. What do you need all that land for? What do you need more than, say, an acre and a house? Nothing, unless you are a farmer.

In China, all land is owned by the state. All homeowners lease the land, often on 100 year leases. I’m not sure how it works in the countryside.

In Mexico, much of the land is owned by the state also, a product of the land reform that occurred after the Revolution. One of the major demands of the Revolution was land reform. Pre-revolution, most peasants usually lived like serfs. The state land in Mexico is called ejidos.

If you ever can’t make it in the city, if you become unemployed or homeless, you can always go out to the countryside and take up residence in an ejido, which are something like communal lands that are formed by the group that makes up the ejido. You join this group, work the land, and get a share of the crop. At least you have enough food to eat. So in Mexico the ejidos are a stopgap measure.

In China too, if you can’t make it in the city, you can always go back to the rural areas, take up residence, and work the land. At least you will have enough to food to eat. It is illegal to be homeless in China. If you are homeless, the police pick you up and put you in shelters, which are something like college dorms. They also encourage you to go back to the countryside if you have relatives back there. In recent years, many people have moved from the countryside to the cities to make more money. Those that don’t make it can always move back to the farm.

There was debate a while back about privatizing state land, but it ran aground on the idea that the state ownership of land was necessary as a stopgap measure in the event of urban poverty. In addition, state ownership of land has prevented the development of a national oligarchy or plutocracy.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been adamant that the  development of a national oligarchy or plutocracy must be prevented at all costs. Once they develop, they are sort of like an infection in that they soon spread and take over society. The CCP has billionaire party members who are members of the People’s Assembly.

Guess what these “Communists” are advocating for? Reduction or elimination of taxes on the rich, massive reductions in social spending, state repression of labor, and the privatization of land along with most of the rest of the economy. I think this goes to show you that billionaires are the same everywhere. Whether in a Communist or capitalist country, a rightwing or leftwing country, billionaires always have precisely the same class interests that barely vary at all. It’s usually something like this:

Reduction or elimination of taxes on the rich, massive reductions in social spending, state repression of labor, and the privatization of land along with most of the rest of the economy.

This goes to show that class interests of various classes are nearly a  law in a mathematical sense and not even a theory of social science. This was what Marx was getting at when he spoke of the laws of economics. They are so predictable that we can almost class them with the laws, theorems, and corollaries of mathematics instead of the typical “true for now” theories of most of the sciences.

I have a feeling that a Hell of a lot more things are laws, too, especially in terms of basic human behavior. So many of these things seem almost unchangeable. Of course they would never apply to everyone, but it’s pretty obvious that they are general tendencies.

Alt Left: Capitalism Will Always Tend Towards Fascism: Does that Mean It Is Fatally Flawed?

DiscoCat: The Far Left has an explicit goal of ending capitalism. The Far Right does not. This is why when forced to choose between the Far Right and the Far Left, liberals, capitalists, industrialists, and plutocrats will always choose the Far Right.

It is precisely for this reason that the wealthy industrialists and plutocrats in Germany supported Hitler’s chancellorship campaign in 1931. They didn’t give a flying fuck about his nationalism, bigotry, warmongering, and antisemitism. Most of the plutocrats probably thought Hitler’s ravings were just harmless antics to galvanize his base. Whatever it takes to rile up the mindless cattle and garner their support. All they cared about is that he would let them keep their ownership of the factories and protect their interests from socialists and communists.

The plutocrats will always support fascism as a bulwark against socialism if they feel the latter’s gaining popularity among the masses. They usually don’t like fascism but they’re driven to support it by pure self-interest and pragmatism.

Thank you very much for this comment! And by the way, welcome to the site if you are new here!

I have felt this way a long time myself. I think it goes deeper than this though. Many of the leftwingers that got overthrown by fascists were just liberals who did some tinkering around the edges. Arbenz in Guatemala and many others such as Juan Bosch in the Dominican Republic were overthrown for trying to do a land reform. The leader of Honduras and Aristide in Haiti were overthrown by fascists for literally raising the minimum wage! That’s all they did. And Bill Clinton helped overthrow Aristide and Hitlery Clinton herself literally overthrew the leader of Honduras and installed a fascist coup that very quickly murdered 1,000 social activists.

This has happened many times. The new Peruvian leader has promised to do only very mild reforms and he’s already being called a Communist. The mild reformer of the PT, Lula, was overthrown in a judicial coup that was assisted by the FBI! I told you Feds are crap. Feds are the worst pigs of them all.

So I disagree where the poster says all of these people go fascist for fear that the Left will end capitalism. It appears that any threat to their profits at all is enough to cause the capitalists to put in a fascist regime. So I think the comment should be amended from fear of the overthrow of capitalism to the fear of any loss of profits and income at all.

A while back, I told my mother that down in Latin America, it is routine for the Right to murder trade unionists and union leaders. She shook her head and said, “That’s because down there, if you’re in a union, they think that means you’re a Communist.” I would point out that that was all done with the help of the US, especially the CIA.

The US has been murdering union members in Latin America for 60 years now, and probably even longer if you consider the Banana Revolt in the Uraba of Colombia in 1921. And every one of our Latin American interventions from 1910-1950 was done on the basis more or less of “kill the trade unionists,” among other things. The Sandinistas of Nicaragua are named after Augusto Sandino, the leader of Nicaraguan guerrillas who fought the US Marines in Nicaragua for many years.

That’s exactly correct. I’d like to add that not one thing has changed. Social activists including union members and leaders, are murdered every day in Colombia for years now.

Alt Left: “The Macroeconomics of Economic Populism in Latin America,” by Rudiger Dornbush and Sebastian Edwards

I didn’t actually read the book, but James Schipper did. Below I will quote from an article from NACLA that critiques the book well.

James Schipper: Perón came back from exile, and then won the election with a landslide. Unless the Argentines are complete political idiots, this demonstrates that he tried to accomplish something for the masses. Ordinary voters may not understand much about economics, but they usually sense who is on their side and who is not.

The US, Canada, Great Britain, and Australia are three Anglosphere countries that keep voting for rightwing economics despite themselves. The masses have been harmed by neoliberalism in all of these countries, but every four years, they march off and vote for it again. I think part of the problem is that ordinary people are voting against mass immigration and other leftwing stupidities in all of these countries. They don’t realize that neoliberalism comes as an add-on to anti-immigrant policies in the Anglosphere. Voters in the Anglosphere are political idiots.

You can see why people keep voting for the Chavistas in Venezuela. Sure, the economy is a mess, but no one blames the government. 70% of the population openly state that they are Chavistas. Things may be bad now but they know that the opposition is not their friend! This is why they keep voting for Ortega in Nicaragua, Lukashenko in Belarus, and Putin in Russia. These guys are on their side, and the voters can figure that out.

James Schipper: Many years ago, I read a book called The Macroeconomics of Populism in Latin America, in which it is explained how leftist populists in LA, despite their unquestioned commitment to improving the economic lot of the poorest segment of the population, often fail because they overreach.

Wikipedia has an article called Macroeconomic Populism, which explains briefly how overambitious economic populism can backfire.

I would agree that acting too fast too soon isn’t a great idea and a slower approach might work better. But we don’t see a lot of cases of economic stupidity like this nowadays in Latin America.

Yes, I think that book is not good. One man worked for the World Bank. Their basic attitude is “Don’t rely on government to try to fix economic problems and help the poor. It fails every time.” In other words, it’s hopeless. Massive inequality a problem? Sure. What to do? Nothing! Because everything you do is going to fail. I dunno.

Here is a critique of the book:

https://nacla.org/news/2012/4/20/latin-america-unravels-populist-putdown

The book is referred to in this book review of another book as “an outdated, far-right, academically dishonest book.”

From the article.

Rudiger Dornbush, and Sebastian Edwards, two University of Chicago-trained economists.

See? They were both trained at the University of Chicago. That’s the home of Milton Friedman, neoliberalism, the Chicago Boyz, the neoliberal whiz kids who caused so much destruction all over the world, especially in Latin America. UoC/Friedmanite economics doesn’t work. Period. It causes massive inequality, significant gains for the top 20% and a serious drop in income for the bottom 80%. This is exactly what happened from 1980-1992 under Reagan-Bush. Sure, if you are in the top 20%, I would say neoliberal economics is the way to go. But if you’re not, it’s economic suicide.

They complain about D and E’s portrayal of Chile:

The most astonishing example of the book’s studied ignorance happens to be one of the most indisputable and well-documented examples of U.S. intervention: Chile.

According to Chapter 7 of Dornbush and Edwards’ book, written by Felipe Larraín (currently Chile’s Finance Minister) and Patricio Meller, the “decline and full collapse of the [Allende coalition government] experiment during the years 1972-73 is a clear consequence of the ‘successful’ overexpansive policies implemented in 1971.”

Never mind that Nixon reacted to the 1970 elections determined to “smash Allende,” telling then-CIA director Richard Helms to “make the economy scream.” Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh details the earliest destabilization campaigns, carried out even before Allende took office:

Approval was granted for a last-minute increase of the propaganda activities designed to convince the Chilean Congress that an Allende election would mean financial chaos. Within two weeks, twenty-three journalists from at least ten countries were brought into Chile by the CIA, and they combined with CIA propaganda “assets” already in place to produce more than 700 articles and broadcasts both in and out of Chile before the congressional election – a staggering total whose ultimate influence cannot be measured.

By late September, a full-fledged bank panic had broken out in Santiago, and vast amounts of funds were being transferred abroad. Sales of durable goods, such as automobiles and household goods, fell precipitously; industrial production also dropped. Black-market activities soared as citizens sought to sell their valuables at discounted prices.

Ok that’s a case of capital flight. Venezuela had the same problem. All I can say is that it upholds Lenin’s idea that the peaceful road to socialism, while a great idea in theory, simply never works in real life because the capitalists simply sabotage the economy.

Larraín and Meller mention Nixon, Kissinger, Richard Helms, I.T.T., and/or Pepsi precisely zero times in their scholarly analysis. Whereas U.S. Ambassador to Chile Edward Korry threatened that “not a nut or bolt will be allowed to reach Chile under Allende,” doing “all within our power to condemn Chile and the Chileans to utmost deprivation and poverty.”

Like I said, they failed badly to include the US massive economic war it waged against Chile. The same exact program was used against Venezuela, with the same results. The sanctions on Zimbabwe and Nicaragua also caused hyperinflation.

The only hyperinflation I’ve seen lately was caused by capitalists waging economic war against the state or by US sanctions. Usually both are going on at the same time. In Venezuela, the capitalists won’t stop raising prices. They love the hyperinflation because they’ve used it to play the currency black market to make a bundle. And they deliberately created it by shutting down production and hoarding goods.

At one point, Maduro put the army in charge of enforcing price controls, and the inflation stabilized for a while, but then they were withdrawn and they went back up again. However, after floating the currency along with a drop in the value of real wages and a reduction of most people’s savings, inflation was subdued. I’d hate to see these guys’ analysis of Venezuela. In fact, Krugman is already saying that Venezuela and Argentina are modern cases of this macroeconomic populism.

The authors argue instead that all state efforts to create a decent economy will fail and the only thing that will work is neoliberalism.

The authors explain that “the message emerging from the papers in this book is clear: the use of macroeconomic policy to achieve distributive goals has historically led to failure, sorrow, and frustration.” That’s why they helpfully disabuse Latin America of its “naive confidence in the ability of governments to cure all social and economic ills.”

However, neoliberalism doesn’t work either:

Second, it is worth noting that Cambridge development economist Ha-Joon Chang has analyzed the effects of these supposedly self-defeating macro policies. He finds on the contrary that “developing countries did not do badly at all during the ‘bad old days’ of protectionism and state intervention in the 1960s and 70s. In fact, their economic growth performance during the period was far superior [3.1% in per capita GDP a year for Latin America] to that achieved since the 1980s under greater opening and deregulation [1.1% a year from 1980-2009].

…And even that rate was partly due to the rapid growth of countries in the region that had explicitly rejected neoliberal policies sometime earlier in the 2000s  – Argentina, Ecuador, Uruguay and Venezuela.” In fact, when Dornbush and Edwards published their book in 1991 denouncing “overly expansive” macro policies, Latin America and the Caribbean – largely compliant to IMF diktats at that point – had already averaged an entire decade of negative 0.3% growth rate per capita (1980-1990).

If you are going to read books about economics, I recommend Ha-Joon Chang. As you can see, neoliberalism in Latin America failed completely. Even its proponents admitted that it failed, but their attitude was the usual, “We didn’t give it time enough. Give it some more time and it will start working.” Yeah, right.

Larraín and Meller focus their attention exclusively on the macroeconomic policy errors of Allende’s Unidad Popular (UP) government. Its efforts to “increase real wages and to improve Chilean income distribution failed completely,” they contend, dryly adding that it “took eight years, up to 1981 (during the ‘peak of the boom’), for real wages to recover the level they had held in 1970 before the UP government.”

Larraín and Meller omit from this account Pinochet’s post-1973 reign of terror in which tens of thousands were imprisoned and killed and an economic policy during the dictatorship that led to virtually no growth in per capita income by 1986, 13 years after the coup.

See? Neoliberalism didn’t work either. It took until 11 years after Allende for real wages to reach the level they were under Allende. Then there was an economic crash. I believe it took until 1989 for wages to reach the level they were under Allende again. That’s just a complete failure of neoliberalism over 20 years.

Perhaps the paper’s most artful flourish is the cynical use of the impersonal, passive voice. Nixon directed a comprehensive program of economic sabotage literally bearing Secretary of State Kissinger’s signature. The U.S. funded all major anti-government strikes, the CIA penetrated all of Chile’s political parties, and it courted the military to foment a putsch.

From D and E:

Real wages dropped spectacularly, by -11.3% in 1972 and -38.6% in 1973. This last figure includes a 30% cut induced in the fourth quarter of 1973, after the military coup…[B]y the end of 1971 the signals of disequilibrium were clear for a dispassionate observer. Bottlenecks appeared in strength during 1972, and 1973 witnessed the collapse of the whole experiment. Political instability mounted, and a coup ultimately replaced the UP Government with a military junta [emphases mine].

It was all Allende’s fault. All of the economic sabotage and the economic war the US waged to make the economy scream? That did nothing at all! Seems like a very bad analysis.

Guys like D and E are still writing today:

Today, U.S. scholars carry on the dubious tradition of lambasting Latin American populism, whatever its prevailing definition. Due to South America’s general drift to the left in recent years, academics make increasingly strained attempts to “recognize” and discredit it. In an October 2011 paper entitled Decreasing Inequality Under Latin America’s ‘Social Democratic’ and ‘Populist’ Governments: Is the Difference Real?,”Juan Montecino of the Center for Economic and Policy Research highlights the “arbitrary and ill-defined nature” of this endeavor.

Montecino politely dismantles the findings of economists Darryl McLeod and Nora Lustig, who purport to show that “social democratic” regimes did better than “left-populist” ones in reducing inequality in recent years. He shows that their empirical results are reversed when one runs the same regressions using data from the Economic Commission for Latin America. The paper raises questions as to whether their categories capture “anything more than a general antipathy toward one group of governments.”

In other words, they faked the data.

Unsurprisingly, this antipathy is directed toward three of the four countries Ha-Joon Chang highlights for experiencing growth after rejecting neoliberal policies: Argentina, Ecuador, and Venezuela.

Their enemies now are those three countries. Simon Johnson attacks Latin American populism in the case of Argentina:

Johnson has referred to Argentina as “a country that struggles over many decades (and whose leaders frequently rail against the world) and for which episodes of reasonable prosperity and new economic models are punctuated by gut-wrenching crises.”

In the case of Argentina’s last gut-wrenching crisis in 2001, however, the “IMF’s fingerprints” were all over it, wrote macroeconomist Mark Weisbrot, CEPR’s co-director and Argentina expert, in late 2001. “It arranged massive amounts of loans – including $40 billion [in 2000] – to support the [overvalued] Argentine peso,” writes Weisbrot. Then it “made its loans conditional on a ‘zero-deficit’ policy for Argentine government.”

By doing so, the IMF was able to “convince most of the press that Argentina’s ‘profligate’ spending habits [were] the source of its troubles.” Finally, the IMF – an organization Tim Geithner recently considered essential for promoting U.S. foreign policy – implausibly claimed it had always been against the overvalued peso and that the loans were made in order to placate the Argentine government.

The IMF caused the problem with orthodox neoliberalism and then blamed the government for “profligate spending” because they ordered it to read zero-deficit, a goal which itself caused the crisis.

See? They’re making it up.

Second, Johnson seems to portray the country as wracked by serious, ongoing difficulties. But Weisbrot et al. demonstrate that since defaulting and devaluing, Argentina – widely considered ‘populist’ – expanded 94% from 2002–11 (the fastest growth in the hemisphere), reaching its pre-recession level of GDP in three years, tripling real social spending over seven years, reducing poverty and extreme poverty by two-thirds (using independent estimates of inflation), and achieving record levels of employment.

Their paper also demolishes the myth repeated by many economists – including McLeod and Lustig – that Argentina’s success was largely the effect of a serendipitous commodities boom.

See? Populism worked great in Argentina. It also worked great in Venezuela (before the economic war combined with the collapse in oil prices killed the economy), Ecuador, and Bolivia.

The devastating policies of the past in Latin America, as well as the more successful policies of vastly more independent governments over the past decade, are intimately tied up with Washington’s control over the hemisphere and the recent collapse of its influence – especially in South America. Roger Morris, a staffer at the National Security Council until mid-1970, clarified such considerations for Seymour Hersh:

“I don’t think anybody ever fully grasped that Henry [Kissinger] saw Allende as being a far more serious threat than Castro. If Latin America ever became unraveled, it never would happen with a Castro. Allende was a living example of democratic social reform in Latin America…Chile scared him.”

The devastating economics of the past in Latin America were caused by the US waging economic war on countries that practiced populist economics. This same populism has worked much better now because the influence of the US has greatly fallen in the continent.

The U.S. government has long imposed double standards on the permissibility of social reforms. While instrumental to Allende’s overthrow abroad, the Nixon administration could boast progressive domestic achievements, including the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Earned Income Tax Credit, widely considered one of the most important anti-poverty programs in U.S. history.

Similarly, Lyndon Johnson enacted Great Society programs at home but sent thousands of troops to the Dominican Republic in 1965 to quell an uprising demanding the restitution of the deposed social democratic president, Juan Bosch. A liberal wishing to implement land reforms, Bosch was the subject of an FBI espionage and interception operation authorized by J. Edgar Hoover in the months preceding the rebellion, as Bosch sat exiled in Puerto Rico.

See? Liberalism at home. Fascism abroad. That’s the policy prescription of the US under Democrats and liberal Republicans. Also note the FBI overthrew him. The FBI was deeply involved in the lawfare against Brazil that resulted in the false charges being filed against Lula that put him in prison. See? The FBI literally overthrew Lula in Brazil. The FBI are not just pigs; they’re the worst pigs of them all – feds. And it is a deeply political and always reactionary organization. Fuck the FBI.

Perhaps unknowingly, Johnson is simply keeping within the permissible framework of an intellectual culture that has always accommodated and justified Washington’s hypocrisy. To my knowledge, Johnson has yet to apply his support for “standing up to the banks…proposing a more responsible course of action than that preferred by the banking elite,” and “greater transparency in financial transactions” to the IMF, which has conducted most of its deliberations, meetings, and consultations in secret.

Simon Johnson is pro-IMF, like the authors of that book.

On the The New York Times website, he offhandedly dismisses Latin American populism with a reference to an outdated, far-right, academically dishonest book – all in an article that challenges the U.S. elite by praising populism. This is a compelling example of the imperial double standard that keeps “pro-populist” commentators from seeing what is going on in developing countries.

The book you are praising is referred to an “outdated, far-right, academically dishonest book.” I believe that is correct.

But even if the Times’ readers never learn of Latin America’s protracted struggle for self-determination against U.S. power, the region is now a breeding ground for the most constructive values associated with populism. More than a decade of successful revolts has allowed for the elections of independent left governments in most of South America and has brought enormous gains to the poor majority through greater economic sovereignty and democratic social reform. Or as Kissinger might put it, Latin America has unraveled.

See? For the last 20 years, excellent populist economic policies in Latin America have brought enormous gains for the poor majority. According to E and D, it should have been catastrophic.

Alt Left: Capitalism Is Unsustainable: Capitalism Has An Inevitable Tendency to Move Towards Fascism

Rightwing dictatorships and fascists are good for US corporations and the US rich. So the capitalists of the world will always support fascism when it comes down to it. Every corporation in the US will support fascism if push comes to shove. For this reason, capitalism seems unsustainable because capitalists feel that the Left has no right to rule, and when it comes down to it, they will always support fascism, rightwing dictatorships, and fascist putschist oppositions to any existing leftwing governments.

It is for this reason that I feel that capitalism, which I do not necessarily oppose on moral grounds, is unsustainable and dangerous if not an out and out menace because of the tendency of all capitalist states when posed with a threat from the Left to install a fascist state. In other words, at some time or another in most capitalist countries, a threat will always cause a rightwing or fascist dictatorship to be installed.

Because of capitalism’s inevitable tendency towards rightwing dictatorship and fascism and its basic contempt for democracy, I feel that capitalism itself is a problem, and capitalism itself is a danger if not a menace to democratic society and people who wish to live free of dictatorships of the rich and fascism. In other words, yeah, capitalism in the long run is unsustainable.

Alt Left: The Left Won in Peru!

Amazingly, the Left has finally won in Peru and it’s about time. Things had really come to a head there. The Shining Path insurgency had not taken place in a background. Peru spawned the worst leftwing insurgents because it had one of the worst systems on Earth. Similarly, few countries were more feudal or unequal than Cambodia in the 1970’s. People were distributed into five economic castes depending on income. People of lower castes were virtually forbidden from speaking to the higher caste people. The city people viciously exploited the rural areas, and the rural people hated the city people. Cambodia had one of the worst societies on Earth. So of course it spawned the worst Leftwing movement ever.

The Right, of course, in the form of the party of former dictator Fujimori’s daughter, is already screaming fraud. There was no fraud. Anyway, the election was run by the center-right former government, and they were dead-set against this Leftwing guy winning. The US government and media can be reliably predicated to chime in quickly that the election was fraudulent. You just wait. The rich in Lima are trembling and threatening to pull all their money out of the country. The Lima Stock Exchange (which probably should be shut down) is having conniptions. We will see how this plays out in coming days, but I’m not optimistic.

Thing is, every time the Left wins, the US insists that it’s automatically a dictatorship. Meanwhile, the US does everything it can to provoke the state into overreacting with constant coup threats and regular coup attempts and even actual coups, huge street riots that turn into virtual counterinsurgencies, a vicious rightwing opposition that is downright seditious and takes all of their money from the US, lockout strikes by the bosses, currency warfare by currency traders, economic warfare (make the economy scream a la Henry Kissinger) when businesses refuse to produce goods or simply stockpile them to drive prices up, creating inflationary crises.

That’s in addition to the capital strikes and mass capital outflow, which has to be stopped. Problem is the only way to stop it is with currency controls and sooner or later currency controls cause a currency black market and dual currencies, usually effecting the real currency badly. The black market currency rate is often deliberately tinkered with to create inflationary crises. This is what the treasonous Venezuelan rich did with their currency firms in Houston that set the black market rate at crazy prices that caused wild inflationary spinouts. Eventually the real currency has to be floated, which wipes out everyone’s saving and drives the cost of the currency down to a very low number.

 

Alt Left: The Playbook of US Imperialism: Everything They Say Is the Opposite of What Really Happened

This analysis is based on the theory that US imperialism and Western imperialism for that matter is basically fascist. Not that our societies are fascist themselves because we have managed to insulate ourselves from this. But European jerkoffs spend most of their time running around the globe trying to deny the Third World even the barest social democracy that has made Europe so livable.

Modern Western Liberalism: Liberalism at Home, Fascism Abroad

How else you can you explain how Europe attacked social democracy in Latin America in Mexico, Haiti, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Brazil, Bolivia, El Salvador, Honduras, Peru, and Colombia? Social democracy at home, fascism abroad. This is the project of the Europeans nowadays, and NATO spearheads this project. In the US it is similar, social liberalism at home, fascism abroad, at least for the Democratic Party. Canada has something between social liberalism and social democracy, and their politics is for this project at home and fascism abroad.

When reporting about hot button issues abroad in the West, keep in mind that everything you read about countries the West is hostile to is really the opposite of what really is or what really happened.

Everything Is the Opposite of What It Really Is

With fascists and fascist supporters like the US, everything is the opposite of what it really is.

Elections That Never Make Sense

Rightwing governments that use fraud to steal elections are restoring democracy.

Leftwing governments that win elections always win due to fraud because of course they cannot win any other way. As soon as they get in power, no matter how much freedom they allow, they are always authoritarian dictatorships. The elections that government has, even if they are models of fair elections, are always marred by massive fraud.

Rightwing governments that overturn these legitimate elections and steal them for the Right are always uncovering the massive fraud. The resulting election theft is called by the New York Times and US government “restoring democracy.”

When the Venezuelan fascist coup overthrew the democratic government of Hugo Chavez in 2002, the US government and the New York Times lauded the “restoration of democracy and end of dictatorship” that the fascist coup (the fascist coup was a restoration of democracy) against a democratic government (the democratic government was a dictatorship) represented.

The US/NATO Fascist Playbook: Mysterious Snipers Shooting at Both Sides

Fascist gangs usually supported by the US and/or NATO, a fascist military organization in Europe, open fire on both security forces and and either left or rightwing rioters. Fascist forces often fire on their own people and blame it on the government as a pretext for a coup to overthrow the government. This is what happened in the US-supported fascist Maidan Coup in Ukraine. When the fascist gangs open fire, the US turns it into leftwing security forces opening fire on leftwing mobs and security forces.

See the 2002 coup in Venezuela, where fascist gangs operating from overpasses shot and killed 32 people, all Chavista protestors or Chavista Venezuelan security forces, then feverishly blamed the government forces for shooting at their own supporters and comrades in arms. The US media tripped over itself reporting how the Left had opened fire on itself, massacring 32 of their own people. It took some time to straighten it all out.

Sanctions

The local fascists and the US also destroy the economy with economic war or sanctions, and then the US and the fascists scream that the Left government has destroyed the economy with its “socialist policies.” Of course it was really the economic war and the sanctions, but no matter. Even notice how all US articles on the Iranian and Venezuelan economies blame the government for the economic and social crisis that was deliberately caused by US sanctions?

Syria

In Syria, gangs of Al Qaeda-linked Islamists (Salafist Islamist like Al Qaeda and ISIS linked forces resemble fascists in many ways) raided villages full of government supporters and murdered everyone inside. Then these same forces screamed that the Syrian government had raided an opposition village and killed all the opposition people inside. The US and Western media then flooded the news with reports that the war criminal Assad has committed another massacre.

There have been 10-20 huge massacres of whole villages in the Syrian Civil War. The US, the West and the Islamists all claim that they were all done by Assad. If you go to Wikipedia and look up all of these massacres, it will tell you that they were all done by Assad.

I researched every one of those massacres in depth.

They were all done by the Free Syrian Army, who are Al Qaeda linked Islamists who burned down churches in every city and town they conquered. The villages massacred were inhabited by Sunni government supporters, Alawites, and Christians. All three groups were feverish supporters of the government. The US continues to state that all of these cases were massacres of opposition supporters by Assad’s forces.

That’s like I set your house on fire and then stand outside screaming about what an arsonist you are as you try to put out the fire. I call the fire department and they arrest you for arson while you’re hosing the building and thanking me, still holding kerosene and matches, for being such a good citizen as they walk by back to their trucks.

The Ties Between Fascism and US Imperialism Are Deep

This is basically how the US and all other forces linked to Western imperialism run their foreign policy. And every government in Europe that is a member of NATO, I’m talking to you. NATO is basically a fascist army. As you can see, the ties between fascism and imperialism are deep. In modern imperialism, the West goes around the world installing fascist and rightwing dictatorships and supporting fascist forces that are trying to overthrow leftwing governments. Not all of the governments it supports are fascists, but all are rightwing, at least in Latin America.

Alt Left: Yes, There is Little Classism in Muslim Countries (Because It’s Against Islam)

James Schipper: Was it really very different (highly classist) in Islam?

Yes, Islamic countries are just not like that.

I can’t think of any Arab country that is like that.

No North African country is like that.

Neither Malaysia nor Afghanistan nor the Caucasus nor Xinjiang nor the Stans is not like that. However, Afghanistan was feudal or semi-feudal until recently. That’s why Communism was fairly popular there. An outsider went there in the 1950’s, and he saw groups of young men chanting with their fists in the air, “Kill the rich!” I suppose the Communist revolution did a land reform and got rid of this feudal land tenure system.

Communism was an easy sell in Bosnia and Albania, but Islam is weak there.

Corruption is a bad problem in the Arab World and a rich elite bled Lebanon dry for decades, but they are widely hated, and there is little to no class hatred in Lebanon.

I can’t see any class hatred in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, Sudan, Somalia, Jordan, Yemen, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, or even in UAE.

I’ve never heard of any real classism in the Sahel, but no one there has any money anyway.

The only African countries with a history of classism were the apartheid states of Rhodesia and South Africa, but there it was racialized, and the classism was imported from Christian Europe. Classism among the Whites of these states themselves was not a problem.

Angola has become very unequal due to oil wealth, but the system is not popular, and most people are ending up poor. They had a successful Communist revolution that remained in power for a long time. The anti-Communist rebels didn’t even have much ideology. Jonas Savimbi of UNITA started out as a Maoist and switched to rightwing capitalist to get money from the West for his revolution.

Africa just doesn’t have a history of European classism. It was always a relatively egalitarian village society. Sure, the chiefs were rich, but they were supposed to provide for everyone.

All of the Gulf Arab states have such extensive social democracies that in a lot of cases, you hardly even have to work. Education and health care is free and housing may be subsidized. UAE is a very rich country and capitalism roars right along, but I don’t see a lot of class hatred. For one thing, everyone in the Gulf is well-off.

As I said, it was different before. Read Ghassan Khanafani (one of the founders of the PFLP) on the lives of fellahin or peasants in debt bondage in semi-feudal Palestine in the 1930’s. Nasser did a land reform in Egypt in the 50’s and he was a hero all over the Arab World. People said they went to Yemen in the 1960’s, and there were Nasser portraits everywhere in the homes of working class people. Nasser’s land reform set off a wave of land reforms in the Arab World. In Syria and Iraq, they were done by the socialist Baath Party. There was never much resistance to the Baath’s socialism. There were large state sectors and good social democracies. Even Saddam was basically a socialist.

Bangladesh is a problem. Pakistan has been discussed but it is Indianized and Hinduized. The same problem may be going on in Bangladesh. The class hatred is vicious in India, but it’s coded as caste hatred instead. So Pakistan and Bangladesh have a sort of Hinduized Islam. But the poverty and class hatred is not nearly as bad in those two states as it is in India and Nepal.

Bahrain and Indonesia are problems for whatever reasons but in Indonesia they had to kill 1 million Communists to get their crappy rightwing capitalist dictatorship. And in the last several years they have been led by a social democrat.

Turkey does have problems with its capitalist class in terms of exploitation of workers. After World War 2, there was a Communist revolution and the Commies almost won. However, there is a huge underground Leftist and Communist movement that regularly sets the factories and yachts of the rich on fire! They’re quite popular. The Kurdish PKK was also Left. Islam is rather weak in Turkey though, and Turkey is Europeanized. Erdogan is actually quite socialist. He’s more socialist than Biden. His brand is Islamism is heavy on the social justice end.

 

Alt Left: Christianity Is Anti-Capitalist?

Christianity Is Anti-Capitalist?

James Schipper: Still, theologically, Christianity is not a capitalism-friendly religion. There is nothing in the NT which encourages wealth accumulation or expresses admiration for the rich. In earlier times, there were very rich monasteries but also monastic orders which are committed to poverty, such as the Franciscans. These monasteries were rich for the same reason that Harvard and Yale are very rich. They became rich through donations and bequests.

Sure, theologically it may be so, but in practice, capitalism, extreme inequality, and class hatred have been accommodated in Christian countries quite easily.

You can say that Christianity is against capitalism all you want, but it hasn’t worked out that way in the West.

Social democracy was an easy sell in Europe, but the US is worse classwise than any European country. In the US we almost have a celebration of inequality and that’s somehow been accommodated with the Christianity, which seems weird. The Gospel of Wealth the Evangelicals practice here strikes me as downright heretical though. If Jesus was around, he’d reject it.

Feudalism lasted a long time in Europe, and early capitalism in England was horrible from the 1300’s-1800’s. England is terribly classist even today, but there’s a huge backlash. Thatcher was burned in effigy all over the UK when she died. Can you imagine that happening with Reagan in the US? The class hatred in the UK is pretty raw.

Classism in France was awful, but they killed their rich, and now it’s socialist.

Germany never had a vicious capitalist class. The Kaiser put in the first social democracy in the late 1800’s. It went over easily.

Italy’s never been all that classist, nor has Greece. After World War 2 in Italy, Communists were set to win local elections all over Italy but the US CIA got involved and there was massive election fraud that cheated them out of a victory. But Eurocommunists have been running states in Italy for decades, especially in the North. They’ve had a heavy emphasis on small business at the expense of big business and it’s worked great. I had a commenter on here who owned a small factory in a northern state and he loved the local Communist government. And he was a capitalist! In Greece, the Communists almost won a revolution.

I don’t think Eastern Europe has been classist. Communism went over easily there.

Communism went over easily in Yugoslavia too, though it was a modified form. It was also very popular. I know people who lived there, and they loved it. They almost won in Turkey too.

The Baltics are not classist and neither is Scandinavia. That area is all based on egalitarianism.

Spain and Portugal were classist, but there was a civil war in Spain, and it’s a pretty socialist country right now.

There was a Leftist Carnation Revolution in 1974 that overthrew Salazar’s fascism and a Leftist regime was nearly installed. It was very popular.