About Those “Worthless Social Science Degrees”

The argument that social science degrees are absolutely worthless for getting a job in modern society has been coming up for decades, but it has grown louder in the last ten years.

Supposedly these degrees are absolutely useless in terms of finding a job, so they are a  waste of money. Further, they are a waste of society’s money.

This argument mostly comes from conservatives, but some liberals have taken it up too. I’d like to point out that the roots of this argument lie in laissez faire free market neoliberal capitalism. So all of you making this argument are in bed with Milton Friedman. I hope you’re happy.

This is so because the only degrees that are said to be worthwhile are those degrees that are useful in a sociopathic hyper-individualistic anything goes free market economy such as we are blighted with here in the US.

The only degrees that are worthwhile are those that will get Bill Gates,  Jeff Bezos, Donald Trump, Betsy DeVos, Howard Schmidt, Jeffrey Epstein, Steve Jobs,  or other semi-sociopathic heartless maniac billionaires to hire you for whatever capitalist scam they are cooking up at the moment.

And everything else, everything that doesn’t allow you to be a cog in a lying, cheating, thieving corporate world, is completely and utterly useless. Because the Market is everything and everything is the Market.

In such a society it should not be surprising that conservatives, mostly conservative males, say that anything other than a math, science, tech, business or management degree is utterly worthless.

Japan is thinking of phasing out all of its social sciences in the next decade or two. There have been many calls to reduce or eliminate social science programs at US universities. These calls go right along with the total commodification of life that we are experiencing.

Furthermore, they display a contempt for knowledge and the scholarship needed to obtain it as a core value of human existence. Why are we here anyway? How about to learn? That would be one of my arguments. Not that most folks have any use for much learning, but the species as a whole does. It’s a value. No you can’t slap a dollar sticker on it and it often has little or no monetary value.  In modern society that means it is utterly worthless. Why? Because it doesn’t make a buck.

What Is the Foreign Policy of the White Nationalists?

White nationalists are isolationists. They see our continuous fighting, killing, dying, and destroying in the Middle East as nothing more than what they call “wars for the Jews.” Which, frankly, is exactly what they are. Wars for the Jews in Israel and their wealthy Jewish supporters in the US.

Most like Russia and want to make peace with that country. Most are hostile to picking fights with China. Most want to pull out of NATO. And they seem to be against our adventurism and coup-mongering in Venezuela. From what I can tell, they want to get rid of US imperialism all together in all its forms.

They hate the IMF and the World Bank as much as they hate the UN. They hate most trade agreements. They utterly despise neoconservatives or neocons, who they say are all Jews even though that is not quite the case.

They also hate US jingoists, who they scornfully call “patriotards.” I will say that their foreign policy is one thing I like about the White nationalists, although in general, they are pretty lousy people for hating whole races of humans the way they do.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy reading!

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

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

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

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

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

T. James

Cover JPEG

Preface

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter I – The New Working Class

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Such policies should include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter II Foreign Policy and the Military

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter III – Immigration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter IV – And the Rest

Regarding inertia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tough on Crime, Tough on the Causes of Crime

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Speaking to the People

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter V – Conclusions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alt Left: Praise for the Conservative Left

Although the SJW author of the piece that quotes Selbourne in the New Statesman attacks Selbourne, what Selbourne describes is nothing less than the Alt Left itself.
In a very early bulletin board post, a poster described my Alternative Left as conservative Leftists.” When Norman Mailer ran for mayor of New York in 1969, he called himself a left conservative. Mailer has continued to describe himself as a left conservative to this day.
Well, that’s exactly what we are.
We are somewhat socially conservative on the Cultural Left Freakshow, but we are Left on everything else. According to our dispensation, Selbourne would be Alt Left, as he despises the moronic SJW Left. And as he brilliantly points out, the unlimited freedoms (not really unlimited though as look at how SJW Feminism wants to stop heterosexual flirting, dating and sex) to be as weird and crazy as you want are really the freedoms of neoliberalism.
This is radical individualism taken to its ultimate without any regard for the good of society. And radical individualism in Culture goes right along with radical individualism is business and the rest of society. If government has to get out of the lives of all the SJW freaks, then obviously it has to get out of the lives of US business and the rich too, right?

Those who want the right to choose, and who object to moral or social restraint as ‘authoritarian’, cannot logically object to the rights of Capital to do whatever it wants also.

Capitalism runs on a culture of individualism, and radical individualism is the ultimate capitalist society. Capitalists say, “There is no such thing as society.”
And in a Cultural Left world where everyone is running around flying their freak flag du jour, there’s no society either. Everyone has a different hair color. Everyone has a different sexual micro-orientation and gender micro-identity.
Everyone is divided against everyone else. The women workers are egged on to hate the male workers. The Black workers are egged on to hate the White workers. The gay workers are encouraged to hate the straight workers. The tranny workers are prompted to hate the cisgender workers. Everyone hates everyone. No one works together on any societal goals because everyone hates each other too much.
Now that the working class is divided into factions at each other’s throats, society is demolished, all humans are atomized, and the capitalists can go on their merry rapacious way, destroying everything in their path, including whatever is left of society, like they always do.

In fact, we are now landed with a “Left” concept of freedom which is little different from Milton Friedman’s “right to choose”, a Libertarianism that has overshadowed the social in what used to be socialism. It is itself a market freedom; after all, self-restraint has less market worth than self-indulgence.

I like how he describes the Cultural Left as the free market of culture. That’s exactly what it is!

David Selbourne, in the left-of-center New Statesmen, writes::
With socialism at the end of its historical evolution, the “Left” now lacks a coherent sense of what progress is. It has only a ragbag of causes and issues, rational and irrational, urgent and idle: a politics of personal rights and ‘lifestyle choices’, of anti-racism and environmental protection, of multicultural separatism, individual identity and gender, and much else besides.
Neither rhyme nor reason — and certainly not socialist reason — can be made of it, especially when mere transgression is confused with progress.
In fact, we are now landed with a “Left” concept of freedom which is little different from Milton Friedman’s “right to choose”, a Libertarianism that has overshadowed the social in what used to be socialism. It is itself a market freedom; after all, self-restraint has less market worth than self-indulgence. Nor is today’s ‘freedom’n’liberty’, whether Right or ‘Left’, the freedom fought for in the Reformation or in the revolutionary overthrow of the anciens régimes. It is not the freedom for which the 19th-century emancipationists and the suffragettes struggled. It is the freedom to do what one wants and the devil take the hindmost. No wonder that the far Right is advancing.
There is ignorance too in this pseudo-Left Libertarianism. It is reactionary, not progressive, to promote the expansion of individual freedoms without regard to the interests of the social order as a whole. Those who want the right to choose, and who object to moral or social restraint as ‘authoritarian’, cannot logically object to the rights of Capital to do whatever it wants also. The rapacious equity trader has as much right to be free as you or me; these ‘rights’ differ only in scale and consequence, not in essence.

I would actually agree with the following, and this is why I am an extreme statist at heart because face facts, socialism is statism taken to its ultimate ends.
From the Libertarian author:

It grabbed the methods of conservatism, embracing state power as the means of planning permissable changes and preventing others.

We don’t hate the state. We love the state! The state is the people personified as a single governmental entity, acting in the interests of the people to whom it serves, as Mao points out.

“The effort to escape from State control has always been the sign of liberty; the effort to enforce State control has always been the sign of Conservative reaction.” For this reason: “Socialism, in so far as it postulates State control, is Conservative in thought.”
Oliver Brett, Defense of Liberty, 1922

Fine. We are conservatives then. We are the Conservative Left!

Professor E. Harris Harbison of Princeton, concurred: “The truly ‘radical’ movement of the later medieval and early modern period was the growth of economic individualism, not the appearance of a few communistic books, sects, and communities. Against the background of nineteenth century individualism, ‘radical’ is today almost synonymous with ‘socialist’ or ‘communist’. …It is essential to the understanding of utopian socialism to remember that when it first appeared in European history as a fairly consistent theory, it was very largely a reactionary protest against a new, ‘progressive’ and poorly understood economic movement, an appeal to turn the clock backward.”
Socialism and Modern Life, 1952

Fine, not a problem! I was always wondering when the Rightists and Libertarians would reclaim the word liberal.

Walter Lippman wrote: “…I insist that collectivism, which replaces the free market by coercive centralized authority, is reactionary in the exact sense of the word.”
Carl A. Keyser, Spare None: the Federal Octopus: How it Grew and Other Tales, 1972
 

Sounds good.
Liberal historically has never meant anything like US social liberalism. In most of the world, liberal is a dirty word. It’s synonymous with neoliberalism. Liberalism in economics means classical liberal or neoclassical economics. It’s Ricardo and Smith all the way to Mises and Hayek, without stopping.
In the rest of the world, it tends to mean the “free minds and free markets” garbage that American reactionary foreign policy claims to support in their lying propaganda. Note once again the tie-in of social freedoms with freedom of Capital. You want free elections, gay rights, feminism, porn, civil liberties and the rest? Fine, you have to let the market run free with no restictions from the state whatsoever.
According to this nonsense, you can’t have free minds without free markets, and you can’t have free markets without free minds. Any restrictions on the free market are automatically symptomatic of a dictatorship or authoritarian regime.
This is why every Left government on Earth immediately gets called a dictatorship by US foreign policy. Because to the sick American way, socialism in any way,  shape or form is automatically undemocratic and dictatorial by its very nature.
This nonsense places economics over politics as Economics Uber Alles. Here economics determines the nature of the state.
If the market is free, you have a democracy automatically, no questions asked. Never mind the death squads that just murdered 200,000 people and all the peaceful opposition, the election that was just stolen, the US sponsored coup to “restore democracy” that resulted in the 17 year long “democracy saving” dictatorship, the politicized police, army, judiciary, the rich owning all the media and rendering freedom of speech a sick joke, the money-based elections giving rise to the “democracy of the dollar” and the dictatorship over the people.
And if  you have any type of socialism, you automatically have a dictatorship. I suppose Norway and Sweden must be dictatorships then. Never mind that you have the freest and fairest elections on Earth as they have in Venezuela. No matter. Elections can never be free enough in a socialist country. Even if they are the freest and fairest elections on Earth, it’s automatically a dictatorship simply by dint of being socialist.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A Look at the Chinese Model of Communism – Market Socialism

You are starting to see a lot of articles in the capitalist press bashing China now, saying their economy is not as good as they say, that it cannot be sustained, and that it is headed for crash. They base this on a comparison to other Communist countries, but those economies fell behind far before China’s did.
China has sustained Communism under various forms, including presently under market socialism, for 70 years now. That’s as long as the Soviet Union, and the Soviets started stagnating a long time before that. China is an example of a smashing success for a Communist country, and the capitalist press is freaking out because that shows that their anti-Communist propaganda has been crap for all of these years.
Incidentally, Deng Xiaoping emphatically stated that he was a Communist. Deng’s idea was to create “a rich Communist country.”. In an interview in 2005, a top party official was asked if China was still committed to spreading Communism all over the world.
“Of course,” the minister beamed. “That is the purpose of the Communist party (CCP).”
Incidentally, China still has 5-year plans and the whole economy is planned. The business sector has to go along with the plan, and if you do not go along with it, they can confiscate your business. A party committee sits on the board of all large corporations. The government owns every inch of land in China. The state invests an incredible amount in the economy and also overseas where it makes vast investments. This is because some Chinese government companies are very profitable. A number of Chinese government companies are on the list of largest companies in the world.
Capitalists in the US openly complain that they cannot compete with Communist Chinese government  corporations, crying that they get subsidies so it’s not fair. So here we have US corporations openly admitting that they can’t compete with Chinese government Communist state-owned companies.
45% of the economy is state owned and it is very profitable. 87% of all investment in the economy is made by the state. This figure includes all Chinese private investment and all foreign investment.
Much of the state sector is owned by small municipalities, and this works very well. Further, cities compete against each other. For instance, City A’s steel mill will compete against City B’s steel mill, and both will compete against a private sector steel mill, if there is one. Successful enterprises bring in a lot of money to the city, which it uses to upgrade the city, which results in more workers moving there, which grows the economy more with more workers and more demand.
There are also still a number of pure Maoist villages in China that are run completely on a Maoist line. Everything is done as it was right out of the Mao era. I understand that they do very well, and there is a huge waiting list to move to those villages.
I did a lot of research on China recently, and the party is literally everywhere you look every time you turn around. The party itself still runs many enterprises all over the country, especially in the rural areas. There are party officials in every village and city, and they take a very active role in developing the municipality in every way, including culturally. They have an ear to the ground and are typically very popular in the villages and cities.
Party officials lobby the state to try to solve any urgent problem in the area. The government is always spending a lot of money all over China on public works, on fixing various environmental problems, or on really any societal problem or issue you can think of. This of course includes economic development, which tends to be state-led. I read synopses of many dissertations coming out of Chinese universities, and most were on how to deal with some particular societal problem or issue. Many others dealt with technology and industry. So a lot of the research on technology and industry that is driving economic development is coming straight out of state universities.
Instead of leaving it up to the private sector to deal with the problems in society, create public works, and even plan the economy, the government does all of that. Incidentally, the way the US leaves the planning of the economy, such as it is, up to the private sector is insane. All sensible economic planning in any nation will always be done by the state with a view towards allowing the country to prosper. Capitalists have no interest in whether the country profits or not, so they engage in no economic planning at all. Leaving economic planning up to the whims of the capitalists is economic malpractice.
There are 1,000 protests every day in China. Yes, there is corruption and there are government abuses, but if protests last long enough, the party usually gets alarmed and tries to do something about the problem because they don’t want serious unrest. This is party that does everything it can to serve the people and try to remain popular with citizens by giving them as much as they can and doing as much for them as possible. The party spends every single day of its rule literally trying to buy off unrest and keep its citizens satisfied.
It’s illegal to be homeless in China. If you end up homeless in China, they will try to put you in a homeless shelter, or if they cannot do that, they will send you back to your village because most homeless are rural migrants who moved to the city. The state is now investing a vast amount of money in the rural areas because these places have been neglected for a long time. The state still wants to own all the land because they want to keep the rural areas as a secure base where rural migrants to the city can always return if they fail in the city.
How can a government in which 45% of the economy is publicly owned, 87% of investment is done by the state, and every inch of land is owned by the state possibly be called as capitalist country? No serious political economist anywhere on Earth considers China to be a capitalist country. The only people who say that are ideologues and liars, which includes almost all political conservatives and most businessmen.
The state spends an unbelievable amount of money on public works all over the country all the time. Many projects that in the US have “conclusively proven” to be too costly to be implemented have been done in China quickly and easily. And China’s per capita income in less than 10% of ours.
Most ethnic minorities are still allowed to support their culture, and in most cases they are allowed to have education in their native language. In these areas, the native language is co-official with Mandarin.
In recent years, the Chinese government has begun to support a lot of the Chinese dialects, of which there are over 2,000 main ones, many of which are actually separate languages. Cantonese is still an official language in Hong Kong, and it is widely used in Guangdong. The other major Chinese languages or macrolanguages still have millions of tens of millions of speakers. Lately the Chinese government is telling people they can preserve their dialect as long as they also speak Mandarin. Many schools now have classes in the local dialect.
Cheap medical insurance is available and it covers 85% of costs. State medical centers are still very good. However, if you have a serious medical condition in China, you will quickly run out of money with no recourse.
This is a serious problem but it is much better than earlier in the Deng Era when millions were dying from lack of health care. However, the state still need to cover everyone. They got away from universal coverage  when they moved away from Maoism early in the Deng era. In addition, tens of thousands of schools, many of which were built during the Cultural Revolution, were closed early in the Deng era.
The introduction of a market had a lot of problems in the early days. The capitalist press was cheering wildly as thousands of schools were closed all over China, medical care was cut off from or reduced for hundreds of millions of people, while millions of Chinese died from lack of medical care. This was all cause for celebration! Isn’t capitalism wonderful? What’s millions of humans dying from lack of health care as long as a few rich people can buy ridiculously expensive, useless items that they don’t even need?
A recent good survey done by a Western polling firm found that 87% of the population supported the Communist Party.  The excesses of the Mao era, especially the Great Leap and the Cultural Revolution, have been widely discussed and the party has admitted that many errors were made and resolved not to do this again. These excesses are being blamed by the party on what they call “ultra-Leftism.”
The economic model of China is called Market Socialism and a lot of modern day Leftists and even Communists support it and agree that this is the way forward for the left and Communist movement. Like all words, the word Communism has no inherent meaning. It means whatever people who use it say it means. So the definition of Communism can clearly change with the times as Communists update their definitions of what the word means.
China cannot be called capitalist in any way. Their model is far more socialist than anything in any European social democracy. It also goes far beyond the US in the New Deal and of course beyond beyond the social liberalism and its more left analogue in Canada, not to mention beyond social democracy in Australia or New Zealand.
Interestingly, Japan is not a capitalist country. They don’t have neoliberalism. That country does not operate on the capitalist mode of development. Instead the resemblance is, I hate to say, to Nazi Germany. Nazi Germany also did not have a capitalist mode of development. I’m not sure what you call it, but it’s not capitalism. For instance, in Japan, the commanding heights of the economy, including almost all of the banks, is owned by the state.
The state still plans the economy. They plan the economy together with the business community and the state allocates a lot of funds and loans to areas of the economy it wishes to develop. There is probably a similar model in South Korea, which also is not capitalist and instead operates on a series of monopolies that are owned currently by large corporations and the government. The South Korean economy is also planned, and the plan is worked out by the government and the business sector working together.

Alt Left: Intersectionality Is Itself a System of Power

An absolutely essential piece by Ernest Everhard from the Alternative Left website sums up perfectly an Alt Left position on SJWism, Intersectionality or Intersectional Feminism. It’s a bit hard to read, but I understood 90%+ of it, so maybe you can understand a lot of it too. This is us. This is really us. This is an immaculate summary of exactly what the Alternative Left is all about. Please feel free to comment on this: this is a very important topic in this great movement we are trying to build here.

Intersectionality Is Itself a System of Power

Intersectionality is itself a system of power. It upholds the status quo and protects the powerful and privileged.
Recognizing this is the key difference between the alternative left and other current forms of political thought.
A fan of the Alternative Left Facebook page recently posed this question to me:

Have you considered that you might be postmodernist? The actual meaning of the term, not Peterson’s ridiculous conflation and confusion of it. It seems as if a lot of your philosophy relies on the rejections of meta-narratives.

At a glance, this seems an absurd question. Isn’t rejection of postmodernism integral to the alt-left? Doesn’t all that deconstruction and bafflegab distract from the hard and real work of class struggle? Isn’t a return to some semblance of economic realism, if not historical materialism, what we’re all about at the end of the day?
Not so fast. While I don’t think postmodernism is a tenable philosophy long term, it does make some good points. It’s like nihilism and other forms of radical skepticism. They’re nice places to visit, and doing so is a sign of intellectual growth, but you wouldn’t want to live there.
My quarrel with postmodernism is how it tends to be cherry picked by the intersectional left, the feminist theorists in particular. They’re quite good at using deconstruction to pick apart the texts of their opponents, and will exploit other postmodernist concepts such as “the death of the author” – the idea that textual interpretation by authorial intent is flawed – to license their tendency to simply read their own narrative into ideas that threaten them.
They use such notions as science being a western, patriarchal “way of knowing” as a legitimizing excuse to handwave otherwise proven claims of some biological basis in gender differences, for example.
Deconstruction, cognitive framing and other advanced linguistic concepts are devastating ideological weapons against those who are not aware of them. Intersectional theorists get a unique education in these concepts in the academic institutions wherein their views dominate. Institutions that are not cheap to attend and require significant baseline intelligence to be successful in. They’re therefore able to win debates against their less privileged opponents simply through framing and linguistic and cognitive gimmicks of this nature.
Ultimately, however, feminist theory’s apparent embrace of postmodernism is self serving pretense. Notice how their own theories are presented as if they were eternal truths, universally binding on all people under all circumstances. Cultural relativism is fine when it’s used to impose multiculturalism and diversity upon western cultural spaces, but has a funny way of disappearing when similar demands of tolerance are made of feminist theorists in turn.
Fixed and objective meaning of text based on authorial intent is not authoritative, since the author no doubt lives in a network of socially constructed systems of which he is barely aware. But not so the feminist critic.
Her views, and her views alone apparently, somehow transcend the context of the society that gave rise to them, and so are above questions of this nature and constitute an ultimate authority on par with divine revelation. No one is faster to declare epistemic superiority for their own points of view – standpoint theories so called – than college feminists who’ve studied the poststructuralists closer than anyone. If feminist theory is not a metanarrative, you tell me what is.
Who deconstructs feminist theory, one must ask?
Yeah, it’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it.
Herein lies a very central tenet of alternative leftism: that the brands of postmodern critical theory so prevalent on college campuses and that are the underlying ideologies of the SJW’s are actually conservative, not radical. They are in fact themselves systems of power, like the very notions of patriarchy and colonialism they so love to deconstruct.
This is quite naturally a counter intuitive concept when first exposed to it. Feminist theory, queer theory, critical race theory and so on – Intersectionality serving as a kind of one ring to rule them all and thus a useful term for referring to them collectively – is interpreted either as official party line and not to be questioned, in the case of the mainstream left.
Or else condemned as “Cultural Marxism” and taken at face value as advocacy for an artificial egalitarianism, in the case of the right. Neoreaction comes quite strangely closest to the truth in its denouncing of progressive ideology as “the Cathedral” – a vast Matrix like social construct comparable to the Christian church in the middle ages – the state religion to which everyone must pay homage, hence the term.

The Cathedral: It doesn’t challenge the aristocracy.
It is the aristocracy.

Neoreaction’s flaw, however, lies in the irony of its denunciation of progressivism in those terms. Isn’t a medieval form of social organization exactly what they want? The Church of the middle ages, far from being an institution for egalitarian social leveling, had a long history of supporting the aristocracy and running interference on behalf of the status quo, despite a good portion of what Christ actually taught, which may be where the confusion arises.
So it is with intersectionality. Despite its pretenses, and despite what were likely genuinely radical critiques at one time, current year intersectionality does not challenge privilege. It upholds privilege.
Do not misunderstand me, dear reader. I do not condone racism towards minorities, misogyny and homophobia. The left spearheaded the fight against those things for all the right reasons. And not merely because prejudice undermines working class solidarity, thought that is reason enough. To be left is to value equality, to some degree or another, and fair treatment regardless of what one is by accident of birth. Intersectionality itself was intended to be a manner of looking at how various different forms of oppression reinforce one another. This is not in itself a bad idea.
The problem is that intersectionality has evolved into something does not actually promote real social justice. Its lack of tolerance for dissent made it vulnerable to abuse on part of the unscrupulous, who were thereby attracted to intersectional feminist spaces.
They’ve co-opted social justice movements, and used them as tools to oppress people. It’s like Marxist Leninism 2.0 – a popular movement is appropriated and exploited by an elite vanguard professing to represent the interests of marginalized people, and using that to consolidate their own power. Cultural rather than political power this time, but the underlying mechanisms are quite a bit alike.
It’s also quite different from Marxism in one key aspect, and this is often overlooked by those on the right who equate intersectional ideas with Marxian leftism: intersectionality’s lack of emphasis on political economy. It is not merely that they simply don’t care about or are ignorant of the internal workings of the international economy or the political machines of the G7 nations.
Intersectionalists are rewarded by capital for framing privilege in terms of racial and sexual identity rather than in terms of wealth and political power. These rewards include expansion in academia, access to agenda setting mass media and favorable policy service. Ideological systems that truly threaten the status quo do not enjoy universally favorable media bias, moderator bias on major corporate social media platforms and an exalted status in academic institutions.
The state religion does not advocate for the truly marginalized within the polity.
It’s important that you divest yourself of the notion that intersectionalists truly represent the underclasses, including most women and people of color. They occupy a very different world than that of working single mothers or unemployed minority youths in the ghetto, or on their way to prison.
They occasionally will use real oppressions suffered by women and minorities while making the case for an increase in their own influence, but that is the only reason for which they ever seem to do so. If one takes their standpoint theories at all seriously, the plush halls of the academy and major media outlets are not the places we should be seeing credible voices of the oppressed and marginalized. Those voices are kept quite intentionally silent, because their demands will be for redressment of their economic hardships and lack of political representation.
Women who are turned off of men and family as a result of feminism, and men who are turned off of religion, community and nationalism as a result of anti western critical theory find themselves completely atomized and without an identity. This is central to the alt-right’s critique of modern liberalism and the abolition of borders.
But the real question is: who is the real beneficiary of all this? The far right will tell you that this is “cultural Marxism” and is necessary in order to groom the populace for the embrace of socialism.
That’s not what happened. If you do not believe that, observe how neoliberalism increased apace just as this so called cultural Marxism did. The emergence of political correctness coincided with Reagan in the US and Thatcher in the UK. If the idea was for feminism and multiculturalism to precede socialism, they could not have failed more miserably.
Atomized individuals turn to careerism and consumerism to fill the void, and they’re more easily replaced when cheaper cogs for the machine are found. So they’re more obedient and easily used in the workforce and more responsive to consumer trends. When other vectors of identity are removed, do the brands we work for and consume become the way we identify ourselves?
This seems to me to be the triumph of capitalism, and quite in line with the manner in which Marx believed capitalism would progress, abolishing relations based on kinship and reducing all human interaction to commodity exchange, rather than the triumph of Marxism itself that it’s so often described as by reactionaries.
Hard Fact: Social liberalism is the handmaiden of capital, not of revolution. And so capital became socially liberal when national economies became fully saturated and capital had to go global in order to keep up its expansion. The alt-right is hated in the capitalist press because capital must always seek new markets, and it was therefore in capital’s interest to globalize and promote diversity.
Observe one of the methods whereby Intersectionality preserves its hegemony: by seeking to get people who disagree with them fired from their jobs. Often with no recourse or due process whatsoever. In what world does leveraging the power of capital over labor so flagrantly and directly constitute anything that could be at all called left wing?
This is what was done to socialists and trade unionists back in the bad old days of blacklisting. This isn’t to say that removal of an offensive or hateful person from a workplace isn’t sometimes appropriate or necessary, but to use the threat of employment loss as a means of enforcing ideological conformity more broadly is something the left should not be supporting. We can question the rationality of workers supporting conservatism all we want. It won’t seem quite so irrational now that this ugly tactic has been normalized.
Another hard fact: Intersectionality relies on the absolute power that capital has over labor and consumers in order to successfully impose its will on the population, as it’s doing in geek culture, for instance. The capacity for populations to resist cultural and moral relativism imposed from above would be greatly increased if cultural and economic as well as political institutions were democratized and under some or another kind of social ownership.
Intersectionalists are a safe and nerfed form of “leftism.” One that attacks white male “neckbeards” and “dudebros” in places like 4chan while leaving the State Department, the military industrial complex and Wall Street lobbyists unscrutinized.
Activists and even radicals who truly want to challenge the status quo find their anger and vigor channeled into safe outlets that do not truly threaten the powers that be. Offensive statements by white male celebrities are made front page news by an intersectionalist movement that’s presented in the headlines as being radical and subversive – the resistance, so called. Offensives launched by the US military on the other side of the world in defense of petrodollar interests are kept more safely out of the public eye.
Intersectionality is a tool used by an educated elite to police the culture of the underclass, and to undermine the solidarity of that underclass by dividing it along racial and gender lines. We’ve seen this done time and again now: with Occupy Wall Street, with Bernie Sander’s campaign for the White House, now with the Democratic Socialists of America. Most leftist spaces on social media are completely overrun by intersectional dominance, even ones that profess to be Marxist or anarchist.
Intersectional activists have a curious way of coming to dominate leftist spaces, and maintain their power through dividing the left against itself and redirecting popular anger towards other segments of the left. Sometimes the target is white male leftists – brocialists, so called. Sometimes it’s white feminism, or TERF’s or straight feminism. Sometimes straight black males are called the white people of black people.
Sometimes cisgender gay males are driven out of LGBT spaces. Some or another activist has run afoul of the intersectionalist overlords and is publicly shamed, like in a Maoist struggle session or the young kids being banished from polygamous fundamentalist communities for the most trivial reasons.
But the real reasons aren’t so trivial: to maintain the power of the leadership over the flock. Ceaseless purity spiraling destroys the cohesiveness of the left. J. Edgar Hoover and his COINTELPRO could not have done a better job if they tried. Perhaps the FBI still is, and that’s what all this really is.
Like a puritanical religion, intersectionality promotes a guilt based morality that ceaselessly berates its followers for their ideological and lifestyle shortcomings. Theories of inherited privilege based on what people are by accident of birth become a moral burden comparable to original sin. People with a lot of internalized guilt do not take action to challenge their leaders. They punch down, not up.
Nearly any action a person may commit or even a thought they might think can be construed as oppressive in some way or anther. That combined with intersectionality’s taboo on questioning claims of oppression made by its activist leadership – who are above any kind of ethical or moral standards due to their supposed “marginalization” – results in a near cult like atmosphere in intersectional spaces. Not surprisingly, most people want nothing to do with this and thus nothing to do with the left overall. Who does that benefit, in the long run?
As mentioned previously, considerable education is needed to really understand their theories, and the intersectionalists themselves conveniently have a near hegemony within the academy itself. Hence, the relative absence of working class people in these self styled radical movements.
Which in turn makes the whole of the left easy for the right to denounce as “limousine liberals”, “champagne socialists” or the like. No more effective means of turning the working class off of the political left could be contrived. This makes McCarthyism look clumsy and amateurish. People who are rightly put off by intersectionality then defect quite willingly to conservatism as a protest against it. One almost wonders if this wasn’t the intent all along.
The problem is not with education itself, which is perfectly fine and good. But rather with the co-optation of education to serve elite interests. Something that the left was much more willing and able to call out prior to the capture of the humanities and social sciences by intersectionalists.
The ideology of intersectionality itself is constructed to be a closed system of thought, wherein disagreement with it is likened to actual oppressive behavior against a marginalized person. Allegations of racism or sexism – made with the backing of powerful media outlets – against lone individuals without recourse and no due process are effective and currently socially legitimate ways of marginalizing people. It’s a good way of removing someone who’s bringing up facts and ideas that the truly powerful don’t want publicly legitimized.
Far from emboldening the resistance, intersectionality keeps protest culture in line and ensures its continuity as a controlled opposition. One that allows the powers that be to claim that they allow and legitimize dissent – so long as it doesn’t really threaten them. One oligarch or another might get thrown under the bus due to his alleged racism or sexism here and there.
The oligarchy itself is thus made safer, for it submits itself to the appearance that it really is held to scrutiny and made accountable for its abuses. Surely the absurdity of a racist or sexist comment ruining a CEO while his abuse of his workers, defrauding of his shareholders and pollution of the environment as a matter of course going completely unnoticed highlights the absurd nature of intersectionality as a form of radicalism.
With leftism like intersectionality, who needs conservatism? It’s the ultimate metanarrative, and if the postmodernist techniques of deconstruction can be turned against it, that can only be a good thing. An essential thing, as a matter of fact.

NATO, the WTO, and the Prospects for Resistance to US-EU Militarized Economic Hegemony (the Axis of Resistance)

Interesting comment from a reader.

Thinking Mouse: But the enemies of NATO are corrupt crooks at worst and non-pragmatic idealists at worst.
I think historical materialism influences morality too, we don’t posses our beliefs, but our beliefs posses us, and beliefs live upon the technology of an certain mode of production. On a positive note, the world does seem to become more multipolar with the emergence of China, Turkey, Japan, Russia, India and large parts of Africa. I don’t think these nations will get Independence, but just more fair deals with America thanks to their ability to defend themselves.
Eventually when technology and infrastructure spread across the world, will the proletariat take their fare share from the petit and normal bourgeoisie!
Africa might have large riots about tax evasion and the WTO´s forced laissez faire in 20-40 years, or maybe anti corruption will be more gradual.

First of all, I would like to thank the comrade for his excellent comment. It is smart and informed comments like these that make this site so great.
Who are the enemies of NATO? Venezuela, Russia, Belarus, Turkey, Syria, Iran? Anybody else? Who cares if they are corrupt? Nations have a right to self-determination. Anyway, a lot of NATO allies and even members are corrupt and even murderous or genocidal.

“China, Turkey, Japan, Russia, India and large parts of Africa”

Exactly. This is why Russia is so important. China is not allied with NATO at all. Isn’t Japan a de facto NATO ally or member? And isn’t India a NATO ally? Turkey is a NATO member that is now on the outs with the rest of the alliance. It’s still the Sick Man of Europe after all these centuries. I agree a lot of Europe seems to be not actively allied with NATO. What about Egypt and Sudan? Haven’t they signed on to the anti-Iran bullshit?

“Eventually when technology and infrastructure spread across the world, will the proletariat take their fare share from the petit and normal bourgeoisie!”

We can only hope, comrade! Or barring that, at least dream. Instead of ruling society, I think proletarians should aim for something a lot lower – simply getting something more like their fair share in society.

Africa might have large riots about tax evasion and the WTO´s forced laissez faire in 20-40 years, or maybe anti corruption will be more gradual.

Corruption is endemic in all of Black Africa, is it not? Tax evasion? You mean African elites do not pay their fair share? How long has the WTO been enforcing neoliberalism in Africa? I thought only the IMF could do that. Why would the riots be 30 years off instead of sooner?

Socialism, Populism, and Neoliberalism in the Arab World

Sisera: The CIA’s coups have been out of control for decades, agreed.
But you support minority rule governments in the Middle East (Saddam Hussein, certainly and possibly Assad who is at least an ethnic minority. Hezbollah operated for years in a largely Christian country, etc.) because the alternative would mean Americans die in terror attacks from those countries becoming terror bases.
I don’t know that you could argue any Latin American oligarchy was more brutal than Saddam Hussein.
So you just value certain American interests that are different than his.

Saddam was brutal but he was a populist. He just didn’t tolerate any minority rebellions or opposition really. But in return for that he was a great socialist and populist leader who did great things for his people. Saddam’s rule was not oligarchic rule by a ruling class. Actually when the Ba’ath took power, they took out the local oligarchs, confiscated their land, imposed heavy taxation, nationalized many industries, etc.
Saddam was a man of the people. He was for the little guy, the average Joe Iraqi Workingman. You could also argue that Stalin and Mao were brutal in similar ways. Leftwing regimes can be pretty brutal. I am not one to dismiss that. But leftist and Communist regimes are not cases of ruling class rule or the rule by a small group of rich and capitalists over everyone else.
The whole time Hezbollah was around, Lebanon was a minority Christian country. It hasn’t been majority Christian since the 1960’s or maybe 1970’s. Anyway the Christians are not in opposition to Hezbollah. One of the Maronite leaders, Aoun, is in an alliance with Hezbollah. Hezbollah has Christian and Sunni militias in Christian and Sunni areas. The Greek Orthodox have always supported Hezbollah. It’s a populist movement. Hezbollah only came into existence because of the Israeli invasion.
You may be correct about Syria. Democracy may well vote in radical Islamists, and that would not be a pretty picture. The Syrian rebels give you a taste of what life would be like without Assad.  We already know what life in Iraq was like post-Saddam. A sheer Hell of a charnelhouse. Surely Saddam was better than what came after.
Assad is a populist. He works for everyone. It’s not a matter of the rich running the place and fucking everyone over. They just had elections for Parliament and 85% of the seats were run by Sunnis. The Sunnis run the business community. The army is full of Sunni generals. The minority rule thing is sort of dumb. Assad cuts everyone in because he has to. Anyway, if you go the democratic route in the Middle East, you end up with Islamists.
I actually do not mind popular or populist dictatorships that serve the people. That’s fine. Assad appears to have majority support too. It’s not like the majority want Assad gone and he just usurped them.
Saddam was difficult, but there were 1 million Shia Ba’ath Party members. Shia were persecuted not for being Shia but for being Islamists. Anyway, Saddam was the best choice. Look what happened when he was gone.
For whatever reason, the rich and the capitalists in the Arab World are not evil like in Latin America, the Philippines, Indonesia, etc. Everyone wants socialism in the Arab world. But Arab socialism allows businessmen to earn money, so everyone gets cut in. You don’t have hard-line socialism or Communism because you don’t have diabolical ruling classes like you have in Latin America. If the rich and the capitalists are willing to go along with a socialist or populist project, why can’t they have full rights?
Hezbollah does not control Lebanon. Anyway, Lebanon is minority rule and has been forever. Christians are guaranteed 50% of seats in Parliament but are only 30% of the population. Hezbollah is not a ruling class group. They are basically socialists like most Islamists.
You see, radical neoliberalism, Latin American style economic conservatism, Republican Party politics, etc. is a no seller in the Arab World. Literally nobody but nobody but nobody wants it. The only people proposing it are Lebanese Maronites because they are close to Europe and they are trying to distinguish themselves from Arabs by being individualists and different.
You can’t sell any sort of oligarchic rule, ruling class rule, economic conservatism of any of that in most Muslim countries. Because Mohammad, if you read him closely, was a pretty socialist fellow. Now the ruling classes in the Arab world used to be feudalists who worked the fellahin like serfs.
But the Arab nationalist revolutions that rocked the Arab world got rid of all of that. All rulers wiped out the feudal holdings and liberated the peasants. The large landowners tried to justify their rule by saying that Mohammad said there are rich and there are poor and that is fine. They got corrupt Muslims clergy to go along with this, similar to how the ruling classes get the Catholic Church to go along with the project of the rich.
This alliance was most notable in Iraq, but it existed in other places like Palestine. Egypt was largely feudal before Nasser. Nasser was not only an Arab nationalist but also a working class hero. Leftists all over the Arab World used to have pictures of Nasser on the walls. He too liberated the Muslim peasants. Feudal rule ended in Palestine in the 1930’s in the midst of an Arab nationalist revolution there.
Getting rid of oligarchic and feudal rule was easy in the Arab World because the masses never supported the oligarchs or feudalists. Rather, they hated them. So Arab socialism was an easy fit all over the region. Even the business communities gladly went along.

The Rich Only Support Democracy when the Elected State Serves their Class Interests, Otherwise They Try to Overthrow It

Zamfir: Thanks Robert. I appreciate the site, and it’s nice to feel welcome.
Obviously one problem in discussing this is that terms like ‘left’ and ‘right’ or ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ have been given all kinds of different meanings. If economic conservatism is identified with free market ideology then I’m pretty ambivalent about that, at best. And if it’s identified with support for whatever this internationalist economic system is that we have now, I’m against it.
I find it very weird that people who are conservative about social and cultural issues often support “economic conservatism” of that kind. It’s so clear that these things are incompatible! Anyway I certainly have no problem with socialism per se. I would only disagree with certain versions, or cases where I believe socialism ends up being destructive of healthy families and cultures (in much the same way that capitalism can be).
As for democracy I’m not sure what I think about it. I think I’m a reactionary to the extent that I don’t believe that democracy, or any other specific system or procedure, is always good or always essential to a good society. My sense is that some democracies or kinds of democracy are fine, while others are really bad. It all depends on some many factors aside from the system or procedure itself.
I do want a society where the interests of most people, including the poor, are taken into account fairly. But I don’t see any reason why that could never happen in a non-democratic state. Or, more precisely, for anything that’s good about some democracies, I don’t see why certain non-democratic regimes couldn’t also have those good things; it would all depend on other factors such as the culture and history of the people, their typical behavior and beliefs, etc.
So I guess I’d support coups against democratic regimes in some cases–though things would have to be pretty bad–and also against non-democratic regimes in some cases. I don’t think coups are always bad. (In fact, that’s one thing that seems silly about a lot of rigid ‘conservative’ ideology–the wish to preserve order and the status quo no matter how terrible it’s become…)
You say the rich don’t support democracy. I wonder if that’s true. Maybe they don’t support the ideal of democracy, for the reasons you mentioned. But, again, bearing in mind the looseness of terminology here, they sure do seem to support systems that we normally call “democratic”. Is the US a democracy in your view?
Are England or Ireland or Canada democracies? If so, then I don’t agree that the rich never want democracy. My sense is that they long ago figured out how to manipulate these kinds of systems to get the results they want. They manage the perceptions and values of the masses so that they always end up “freely choosing” the same garbage that the elites wanted all along.
A good question is whether this is an inevitable feature of democracy. (I don’t know the answer.) It could be that in any feasible form of democracy, no matter how close it gets to the ideal, you end up with powerful interests rigging the process to maximize their own wealth and power. And I don’t like that, because I want the interests of ordinary people to be taken into account. Ironically, then, I’m skeptical about many forms of democracy because I think the masses deserve to have a say.
So I’d be against democracy in cases where ‘democratic’ systems are hijacked by elites and used against the people. That’s what’s happening in most of the western world, I’d say. Not to say I’d support a coup in this situation–and certainly not if the point of the coup was to install an even more extreme form of exploitation. But I’m not entirely sure what to say about democracy. I think the reactionary critique has merit. (But then, don’t communists also criticize democracy for roughly similar reasons?)

The Communist view is that seeking power peacefully would be a great idea except the ruling classes will never allow it to happen. They say that power never gives up without a fight, and I believe that they are correct. Nevertheless, most Communists support Venezuela, Nicaragua and only leftwing democratic countries. But the Communists would say, “Look what happens why you try to take power peacefully. You get Nicaragua, Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Honduras, Haiti, and even Argentina.”
The ruling class will just overthrow the democratic Left state any way they can, always using anti-democratic means to do so. That’s why Lenin called people who supported the peaceful road to socialism “parliamentary cretins.” He thought it was a great idea but it would never work because the rich would never allow the Left to take power peacefully.
The Communist view is also that you never have democracy under capitalism anyway, as the capitalists and the rich always ending ruling the state one way or another through all sorts of means. And yes, the rich and the capitalists always take over all the media in any capitalist country as you said, they use it to shape the view of the people to support the class politics of the rich. Such support being called false consciousness.
Gramsci said that the ruling class took over the entire culture in capitalist countries and brainwashed the masses into supporting the project of the rich. They did this via cultural hegemony. Marx said that the culture of the rich is always the popular culture in any capitalist country. So the ruling class turns all of us into “little rich people” or “little capitalists” to support their project. They brainwash us into thinking we are the same class as the rich and that we are all capitalists ourselves, so we should support Capital. These are lies, but most Americans are easily fooled.
Ralph Nader called this “going corporate” or “thinking corporate.” He says that in the US, most people adopt the mindset of the corporations and think of themselves are part of the corporate structure whether they are or not. If everyone is part of the corporate structure, then what’s good for corporations is good for all of us, which is the project of the Republican Party, neoliberalism everywhere, the Latin American rich, etc. It’s a big fat lie, but people want to be rich and a lot of workers want to think of themselves are busy little capitalist money-making, go-getter, can-do, Bossterist entrepreneurs because it seems to cool to own your own business.
And the Communists would call this false consciousness and their argument would be that under capitalism, most people adopt false consciousness.
I think in the US, the rich see the tide coming and the rule of the rich is going to end so they want to lock in as much of the state as possible by stacking the courts, gutting the safety net, massive tax cuts that will be impossible to get rid of, and that Constitutional Convention they are two states away from getting where they want to rewrite the whole US Constitution to lock in rule by the rich for as long as possible. The rich see the writing on the wall. That’s why they came up with the computerized elections scam, so they could steal elections as long as people kept voting against the rich.
The gerrymandering of districts now makes it almost impossible to get rid of Republican majorities on state representatives in the House and in Senators and Assemblymen in the states. It’s all locked in.
So as the rich saw the tide turning and demographics moving against them, they instituted a full court press to do all sorts of extremely anti-democratic stuff to stay in power. If the people would just vote for them anyway, they would not have to do that, but apparently most Americans have now turned away from the politics of the rich, so the rich will have to lie, cheat, and steal to stay in power from now on.
Also they elected Donald Trump, by far the most corrupt, authoritarian and even outright fascist leader this country has ever had. And this follows too. Whenever there is a popular movement against the rich and the capitalists, the rich and the capitalists always, always, always resort of fascism to stay in power. This has been proven endlessly over time, even in Europe. Trotsky had some great things to say about this. Check out “Thermidor.” Trotsky truly understood what fascism was all about. It is a desperate last ditch move by the ruling class to seize power in the face of an uprising from the Left.
The rich and the capitalists are determined to stay in power, by hook or by crook, by any means necessary, and they will lie, cheat, steal and kill as many people as they have to just to keep the Left out of power. They simply will not allow the Left to rule. They must rule and if they are out of  power, they will use any antidemocratic means to get power back.
Which is the story of the CIA, the Pentagon and 100% of US foreign policy since 1945 and even before then. Read Samuel Butler.
I mean, we on the Left generally allow the Right to take power if they do so democratically. Sure they destroy everything like they always do, but most of us are committed to the democratic means of seeking power. Even most Communist parties will not take up arms against any rightwing government, saying they prefer to seek power by peaceful means. Typically, the CP will issue a statement that the nation is not in a revolutionary situation right now. There are objective conditions under which a nation is said to be in a revolutionary situation. I’m sure you can recall a few. It is then and only then that most CP’s will go underground and issue a call to take up arms.
Frankly, almost all Left insurgencies postwar were defensive. The Left allowed the Right to take power and then the Right started running around killing people. Usually the Left sat there for a while and let themselves get killed before taking up power. I know the Viet Cong just sat there from 1954-1960 while the rightwing Vietnamese government ran amok in the countryside, murdering 80,000 Communists in six years. They kept asking the North Vietnamese for permission to take up arms, but the North kept denying it.
The Colombian, Salvadoran and Guatemalan guerrillas only took up guns after the state had been running about murdering them unarmed for years. The Salvadoran guerrillas said they got tired of sitting in their homes waiting for the rightwing state to come kill them, and they decided that if the state was going to come kill them anyway, they might as well pick up a gun and defend themselves. They also took up arms because the Right kept stealing elections by fraud.
The Right had cut off all methods of seeking power peacefully, so the Left picked up guns. The message is if you elect a leftwing government, sooner or later the Right will overthrow it and then there will be a reign of terror where many Leftists will be murdered. Knowing that, if you were a Leftist in some country, would you not be afraid to put the Left in power knowing you stood a good chance of being murdered once the inevitable rightwing coup took place?
The Colombian and Honduran governments only stay in power by killing people. Lots of people. The Greek Communists only took up arms after the government had been killing them for some time.
Also once a Left government is overthrown by the rich and the capitalists, the new Rightist government institutes a reign of terror where they slaughter the defeated Left for many years. This went on for decades after 1954 in Guatemala, and it goes on still today. After Aristide was overthrown, the rightwing government murdered 3,000 of his supporters.
After Allende was overthrown, Pinochet murdered 15,000 people over a decade and a half. A threat from the Left prompted the Indonesian government to fake a Left coup and murder 1 million Communists in a couple of months. Even before the Korean War broke out, from 1948-1950, the South Korean government killed hundreds of thousands of Communists in the South.
As they withdrew when the North attacked, the South Koreans killed South Korean Communists everywhere they went. After the fascist coup in Argentina, the government decimated the Left, murdering 30,000 mostly unarmed supporters of the Left. The same thing happened in Bolivia with the Banzer Plan when Hugo Banzer took power after the tin miners briefly sought power. The new rightwing government in Brazil is already starting to murder members of the former Left ruling party. They’re not going to stop.
After the fascist coup in Ukraine, the Communist Party was outlawed and many of its members were murdered. War was declared on labor unions. Workers in one union were chained to a heater inside the building and the building was set on fire.
The party supported by half the population (the Russian speakers and their supporters) the Party of Regions, was outlawed, a number of its deputies were murdered and there were attempts to murder the leader of the party, lastly by setting his house on fire which set his neighbor’s house on fire instead. He fled to Russia. Now half the population and all of the Russian speakers had not party to represent them, which is why they took up arms. They were locked out of power.

Hardline or Fanatical Anti-Communism Is Nearly Always Reactionary

Sisera: I guess he would say you believe the philosophy but just not how it is being applied.

You should know by now that fanatical anti-Communists are almost always wildly irrational, typically pathological liars and usually reactionary shits. You should know by now that fanatical anti-Communists are almost always wildly irrational, typically pathological liars and usually reactionary shits.
Not that Communism is great or that there is no rational reason to oppose Communism of course. There is a rational way to oppose Communism, but most anti-Commies don’t seem to abide by it much.
I mean there ought to be space for pro-free speech, pro civil liberties liberals and progressives who are anti-Communists, but they never seem to pop up much.
I mean, Communists do violate a lot of civil rights and there are some serious problems with democracy in Communist states.
Witness the recent violent demonstrations in Vietnam for instance. Those demos are arguably leftwing or at least nationalist demonstrations protesting against objectively rightwing policy by the Vietnamese Communist government to set up more free enterprise zones with 99 year leases. The protesters fear that these will quickly be bought up by rich Chinese and Vietnam will just become a Chinese colony again as it was for centuries. I would support the protesters in this case, but here you see a Communist government enacting rightwing policy in the face of a Leftist opposition by the people. There’s a serious lack of democracy there.
Those of us who oppose police state tactics, support freedom of speech and assembly, extensive civil liberties, etc. would find that these values of ours are not supported by Communists at all.
But there are not a lot of good liberal or progressive rights-based people among the anti-Communists for whatever reason.
Hardline anti-Commies almost always tend to be conservatives or reactionaries, and I include the Democratic Party in the conservatives here.
Typically as you get further left, a lot of social democratic parties don’t really care about Communism. They are not going to implement it of course, but a lot of them think if you do, that’s your business. A lot of social democratic governments in Europe supported Cuba, the USSR and the Sandinistas and a lot even supported the FARC. The social democratic revolutionary PRI government of Mexico had warm relations with Cuba and Nicaragua. They even supported the FMLN guerrillas in El Salvador. They were headquartered in Mexico City. But the modern PRI is not even social democratic anymore, or its gone over the European garbage of rightwing social democracy.
Of course all the real left social democrats are gone now, and the only “social democrats” left are rightwing jerkoffs. Many of the parties in the Socialist International now would be characterized by this new rightwing social democracy. The fact that social democrats around the world have all become rightwingers and more or less neoliberals shows me that the Marxists were correct about social democracy. They always said it was bankrupt and unworkable. I think it worked fine for a while, but it probably always had the rightwing seeds of its own destruction planted within it somehow, and now they are bearing fruit.
Perhaps some of my commenters can elucidate the rightwing trend in social democracy, the reasons for it, and whether social democracy was doomed from the very starts, as I suspect, weighted down with its own contradictions.

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

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

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

Repost: Average IQ's of Liberals Versus Conservatives (with References)

Thought I would repost this with references. This finding is very robust in social science. Liberals are smart. Conservatives are idiots. That’s all there is to it, folks. But you knew that.

Jason Voorhees: Liberals in general have an IQ of 110 or above.

Quite an exaggeration. More like 105. 75% of the population has an IQ below 110. On the other hand, he is onto something.
We don’t call em conservatards for nothing, I guess.
Liberals are actually smarter than conservatives! Quite a bit smarter. And the more liberal you are, the smarter you. And the more conservative you are, the dumber you are. It’s a linear curve.

               IQ
Liberals       106
Centrists      99
Conservatives  96

Source

I would argue that the reason for that is that conservatism is basically stupid. So of course stupid people support it. Fiscal conservatism is intelligent if you are rich and possibly if you are upper middle class, but it’s idiotic for everyone else because only the top 20% make money under rightwing economics. The entire 80% of the population loses money.

Political ideology
Ha ha! Conservatives are stupid! Liberals are smart! Something we always knew. No wonder they are called conservatards. Neener neener. Conservatives are so stupid they probably spell dumb “dum.” LOL.

Rightwing economics is a massive wealth transfer system from the poor and middle classes to the upper middle class and the rich. It’s basically a scam. Pure class war. Incidentally this has been proved all over the 3rd World, especially in Latin America. Surveys in Latin America under the neoliberal decades of failure showed that only the top 20% benefited under rightwing economics. The entire bottom 80% lost money. Furthermore, death rates skyrocketed and education figures collapsed. Neoliberalism has killed many millions of people. We may not have yet found a good alternative to capitalism, but capitalism surely continues to kill as sure as night follows day.
Oh and there is a reason why liberals control most US institutions. Although the idea of a liberal media is pathetic, 89% of media whores, I mean journalists, call themselves liberal. But universities are liberal. The only major US institution that is not liberal is business, which is conservative for basically self-serving interests because conservatism serves to line their pockets better while it picks the pockets of the poor and middle class. Steal from the poor and give to the rich. Reverse Robin Hood. That’s conservatism in action. The fact that the people calling themselves Christians in the US support Reverse Robin Hood is truly pathetic. Obviously they know nothing about how the Main Man lived his life.

References

Carl, Noah. 2014. Verbal Intelligence Is Correlated with Socially and Economically Liberal Beliefs. Intelligence, Volume 44, Pages 142-148.
Stankov, Lazar. 2009. Conservatism and Cognitive Ability. Intelligence, Volume 37, Issue 3, Pages 294-304.
Thompson, James. November 29, 2015. US Academics: Lefty and Liberal Because of High IQ? Unz.com.

Average IQ's of Liberals Versus Conservatives

Jason Voorhees: Liberals in general have an IQ of 110 or above.

Quite an exaggeration. More like 105. 75% of the population has an IQ below 110. On the other hand, he is onto something.
We don’t call em conservatards for nothing, I guess.
Liberals are actually smarter than conservatives! Quite a bit smarter. And the more liberal you are, the smarter you. And the more conservative you are, the dumber you are. It’s a linear curve.

               IQ
Liberals       106
Centrists      99
Conservatives  96

Source

I would argue that the reason for that is that conservatism is basically stupid. So of course stupid people support it. Fiscal conservatism is intelligent if you are rich and possibly if you are upper middle class, but it’s idiotic for everyone else because only the top 20% make money under rightwing economics. The entire 80% of the population loses money.

Political ideology
Ha ha! Conservatives are stupid! Liberals are smart! Something we always knew. No wonder they are called conservatards. Neener neener. Conservatives are so stupid they probably spell dumb “dum.” LOL.

Rightwing economics is a massive wealth transfer system from the poor and middle classes to the upper middle class and the rich. It’s basically a scam. Pure class war. Incidentally this has been proved all over the 3rd World, especially in Latin America. Surveys in Latin America under the neoliberal decades of failure showed that only the top 20% benefited under rightwing economics. The entire bottom 80% lost money. Furthermore, death rates skyrocketed and education figures collapsed. Neoliberalism has killed many millions of people. We may not have yet found a good alternative to capitalism, but capitalism surely continues to kill as sure as night follows day.
Oh and there is a reason why liberals control most US institutions. Although the idea of a liberal media is pathetic, 89% of media whores, I mean journalists, call themselves liberal. But universities are liberal. The only major US institution that is not liberal is business, which is conservative for basically self-serving interests because conservatism serves to line their pockets better while it picks the pockets of the poor and middle class. Steal from the poor and give to the rich. Reverse Robin Hood. That’s conservatism in action. The fact that the people calling themselves Christians in the US support Reverse Robin Hood is truly pathetic. Obviously they know nothing about how the Main Man lived his life.

References

Carl, Noah. 2014. Verbal Intelligence Is Correlated with Socially and Economically Liberal Beliefs. Intelligence, Volume 44, Pages 142-148.
Stankov, Lazar. 2009. Conservatism and Cognitive Ability. Intelligence Volume 37, Issue 3, Pages 294-304.
Thompson, James. November 29, 2015. US Academics: Lefty and Liberal Because of High IQ? Unz.com.

Donald Trump, Psychopath and Grifter in Chief

Donald Trump is now going back on his promises to save US jobs. He just exported the jobs from the latest US arms deal to Saudi Arabia. Previously the weapons were to be made in the US, but Trump sold out US workers for a buck. The man cannot even be trusted on his major issues of keeping jobs in the country. Yes, Trump is renegotiating NAFTA, to make it worse! Worse for US workers, worse for the environment, worse for governments all across the US, worse for consumers, worse for everyone but corporations who stand to line their pockets while the rest of us get fleeced.
This man cannot be trusted to keep any of his promises. As a malignant narcissist, he is by definition a psychopath and experience with this man has shown that he is a grifter, a con man, a crook and basically nothing more than a white collar criminal. He has been lying, cheating, backstabbing, double-dealing and especially stealing his whole life. Most of the Trump real estate empire was built on nothing more than theft.
In fact, the real estate boom of the 1980’s and 1990’s was largely driven by what boils down to Organized Crime of the Donald Trump variety.
Donald Trump, Grifter in Chief.

Stop the DNC Before It Kills Again!

The Alt Left of course opposes the horrific DNC Clintonite wing of the Democratic Party which is on record for rolling back and even getting rid of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the whole nine yards. I have seen the DNC documents. Yep, the DNC is actually on record (in secret) of getting rid of the entire welfare state. They hoped to have gotten this seriously underway in the 2020’s, with heavy rollback by 2025 and full rollback by 2030. I am serious. The DNC is actually on record saying just that!
They say essentially that all of these things are on the wrong side of history, neoliberalism having won in 1990 with the collapse of the USSR. They sound exactly like rightwingers who equate the welfare state with “failed socialism” and Communism when they say that, and of course, DNC Clintonites are rightwingers.
These people are Corporate Democrats. That is the best and most sensible way to look at the DNC crowd, (((Debbie Wasserman))), (((Henry Kissinger))), (((Victoria Nuland))), (((Donald Kagan))), (((Robert Rubin))), (((Larry Summers))), Joe Biden, John Kerry, Obama, and the rest of the despicable Clintonite types. (((Dick Morris))), the poisoner of the well of Bill Clinton’s mind and inventor of triangulation, was always nothing but a Republican (and boy is he a fire-breathing one now) even when he was pretending to be a Democrat. The above are the neoconservatives and neoliberals who now run the Democratic Party.
Stop the DNC before it kills again!

Killary Clinton, Racketeering Gangster for Capitalism

Found on the Net:

Statement 1: The United States of America does not invade other countries to plunder and pillage. We don’t send our brave men and women around the world to steal oil, and that’s not even getting into the absurdity of what it would involve,” Hillary Clinton, 2016.
Statement 2: “Businesses like those represented here at this table create jobs, provide livelihoods, increase standards of living, give hope to individuals.. and what government should do, whether it’s in the United States or in Iraq is to be a good partner (to Big Business)Iraq is a business opportunity…” Hillary Clinton, Business Forum Promoting Commercial Opportunities in Iraq, 2011.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Hitlery’s lie in Statement 1 is completely proven to be false by her spill the beans confession below it. The starkness of this woman’s hypocrisy, lying and doublespeak are staggering.
From the same site:

Her contention that it is an “absurd” conspiracy theory that government and Big Business conspire together is undermined by her statement in 2011 that that is exactly what she thinks government should do… be a good “partner” for Big Business both in Iraq…at home.

Of course this fits right in with our previous piece on Smedley Butler talking about he was a gangster for corporate capitalism in Latin America 100 years ago.
More:

…Hillary Clinton is showing how desperate she is in the wake of her failing numbers and trust ratings among the public in this country. You can attribute that in part to the facts of her corruption slowly leaking out into the public view but you can also attribute that, I think, to her continually sticking to the bullshit line that the US never does anything overseas in any interests other than “humanitarian, democracy-building, freedom-seeking” intentions.
Even Republicans know the US isn’t the hooker with the heart of gold anymore. The taint of Bush/Cheney has spread like a cancer. Just ask Jeb about that one.
The fact that Hillary is still trying her best to serve as a racketeer and a gangster for capitalism is the one thing that holds her back more than any other aspect of her corrupt, soulless self and I would be willing to bet that is what lies at the heart of her extremely low trustworthiness ratings…
In short, she made this bed and now she has to lie in it naked and exposed for all to see what she really is: a war-mongering neocon who sold her soul to the MIC… She is a gangster and a racketeer, and she is for life. The only problem is, she’s a desperate gangster and racketeer and surrounded by a gaggle of other desperate gangsters and racketeers…

Exactly. That sums up this monster of a woman so well. Hitlery cannot be transformed. She’s incapable of change and she doesn’t care what the public or the voters think. She is out to promote her neoliberal, neoconservative corporate whore agenda and she doesn’t care whether any of us like it or not. She’s going to put her project in through Hell or high water and public opinion be damned.
Sort of like Obama…

Proposal for an Old Left

I am not proposing this myself but instead I am linking to and copying this over from Lord Keynes’ site, 21st Century Social Democracy.
I like Lord Keynes and his page, but I am wondering how his Old Left is different from my Alt Left or Ryan England’s Alt Left. We already know it’s different from Rabbit’s Alt Left.
I am thinking that maybe the Old Left is more concerned with economics and less worried about Cultural Left stuff. I am also thinking that perhaps the Old Left is not as conservative on the Cultural Left than mine and Ryan’s Alt Left. And of course, the Old Left doesn’t seem to want to touch race realism with a 10 foot pole and an 11 foot extension. Not that I blame them.
I don’t identify as Alt Left myself, but this Alt Left Facebook Page seems quite interesting, and free from some of the strange stuff I have seen on the Alt Left:

Alternative Left.

I think there is now a sensible Alt Left that has managed to divorce itself from the more extreme original movement.
It would be nice to have some Old Left (which can also be called the “Realist Left”) Facebook pages or social media forums too.
I am now tempted to try and set up an Old Left Facebook page or something like this.
As I have said before, my prediction is that many Millennials will abandon their SJW cults and Regressive Left nonsense in the coming years, but they will need some new left-wing politics to fall back on.
Lots of sensible Alt Left and Old Left points of view should be available for these people when the time comes so that they are not lost to the Right or Far Right.
So what is the Old Left/Realist Left political program? I would still distance an Old Left position from the sensible Alt Left, but there would probably be a lot of overlap, despite differences. E.g., in some respects, some Alt Left people seem to be much more hostile to the Cultural Left and socially conservative than even I am, for example. But respectful debate should be the order of the day here, not mutual hostility.
An Old Left politics I propose is as follows:

(1) The Old Left is vehemently anti-neoliberal and anti-globalization. It completely rejects neoclassical economics. An Old Left/Realist Left politics supports full employment, Keynesian macroeconomic policies and management of our economies, a high-wage economy, an industrial policy, managed trade in the national interest, a humane welfare state, perhaps even a return to some nationalized industries (this can be a legitimate topic for debate), an end to offshoring of our manufacturing and service jobs to the Third World, and an end to neoliberal vandalism and the sale of our national assets to foreigners.
An Old Left would support Left heterodox Post Keynesian economics and MMT, not Marxism or feeble and intellectually flawed Neoclassical Keynesianism.
(2) An Old Left/Real Left also vehemently rejects Libertarianism, anarcho-capitalism, and all ideological free market capitalism as poisonous and toxic ideologies.
(3) At the same time, the Old Left/Real Left politics vehemently rejects Cultural Leftism: this includes French Poststructuralism, Postmodernism and all their ridiculous and pernicious ideas such as truth relativism, cultural relativism, moral relativism, and divisive and extreme Identity Politics.
Of course, reasonable and sensible civil, legal and equity women’s rights and gay rights are fine, but not Cultural Leftist Identity Politics or endless cults of victimology.
In particular, the Old Left should be critical of Third Wave Feminism. End the witch-hunting which inevitably accompanies Cultural Leftism. Abandon the extreme social constructivism and the “blank slate” view of human beings, because it is simply not true: e.g., there are only two natural genders in genetically normal human beings, male and female, and discouraging encouraging this type of thing is neither healthy nor desirable. End the bizarre Cultural Leftist conspiracy theories that blame all our problems on the capitalist, white-male patriarchy and universal “institutional racism.”
(4) The Old Left should defend free speech and freedom of expression from Cultural Leftist and Politically Correct witch hunts, restrictions and hate speech laws. Free speech is sacred in a free society, and you will achieve nothing by demanding that governments silence people whose opinions you don’t like – except to dismantle more of our freedoms and set yourself up for having your own free speech taken away, especially if right-wing governments start imposing their own restrictions on free speech.
(5) The Old Left would be anti-imperialist and largely non-interventionist on foreign policy but not isolationist. Anyone proposing any intervention in the Third World would require a brutally strong burden of proof, and anything proposed must be legal under international law.
(6) An Old Left politics should be strongly pro-nuclear family and be able to address the serious issue of social breakdown, divorce, and single-parent families with humane policies free from right-wing viciousness or free market economics.
(7) An Old Left politics will end Open Borders and mass immigration and end the bizarre cult of “diversity,” which seems to think that multiculturalism is some great good in and of itself (which it most certainly is not). The Old Left recognizes that most people have a normal and natural wish to preserve their nations as homelands for their national culture and their people. Low-level immigration and reasonable refugee quotas are fine as long as minorities actually do remain a minority of the population and people who wish to stay assimilate and do not bring hostile and incompatible cultures.
(8) An Old Left politics will oppose regressive and illiberal Islamism and Islamization of our societies, promote the strong assimilation of immigrants who are here in the West, and abandon failed multiculturalism.
(9) An Old Left politics should be comfortable with healthy and sensible forms of cultural and civil nationalism.

But at the same time there is room for disagreement and open debate on individual issues and also on issues I have not mentioned instead of the intolerant witch hunting that characterizes the modern Left.
However, there do need to be core principles, as follows:

(1) Rejection of neoliberalism, globalization, neoclassical economics, libertarianism, anarcho-capitalism, and all ideological free market capitalism. Support for left heterodox Post Keynesian economics and MMT.
(2) Rejection of the extreme aspects of cultural leftism, namely, French Poststructuralism, Postmodernism, truth relativism, cultural relativism, moral relativism, SJWism, the cult of diversity, and divisive and extreme identity politics.
(3) rejection of open borders and mass immigration.

If you don’t reject these things, you ain’t Old Left or Alt Left. This is not the movement for you.

What is the Future of the Alt-Right/ Dark Enlightenment?

My Quora answer.
At this point, it can only grow. No one in the movement is going to leave, and obviously quite a few are going to join. All of the people appalled by them were never going to sign up anyway. They have a lot of publicity now and they will only get bigger in the future. A couple of other comments follow.

The question seems to be worded as though those things were synonyms. They are not. The Dark Enlightenment (DE) is a scientific critique on the fundamental premises of The (so-called) Enlightenment: specifically that human liberty and equality are unalloyed goods. Since it is obvious that human (racial, sexual, religious and ethnic) equality is patently false, and that liberty is not an unalloyed good (e.g., offering fertile opportunities for the rapacious to profiteer off the poor impulse control or future time orientation of others), the DE is not going to go away. While politically inconvenient truths about matters may be suppressed for a time (cf. heliocentrism), it is expensive and indeed a sign of collapsing legitimacy.
The “Alt-Right” has really come to mean the non-mainstream Dissident Right. It is a loose, often tumultuous, alliance of a wide variety of anti-progressive particularists—including paleoconservatives, paleolibertarians, neoreactionaries, anarcho-capitalists, separatists, southern nationalists, white nationalists, ethnic nationalists, identitarians, and even a few national socialists. It has no essential nature, therefore, to conform to, no central control, and cannot act in a coherent manner.
Various arms of the Dissident Right have their own plans to create institutions, and propagate their ideas in various ways. Some seek power within the existing political structure. Others see themselves primarily as Samizdat organizers.
If the progressive neoliberal establishment continues to collapse both the psycho-social and economic health of Western nations, dissident movements of all sorts may be expected to continue to attract followers, financial backing, and a modicum of power.

An excellent overview of the Dark Enlightenment, although I suspect he is whitewashing it. From what I know about the Dark Enlightenment as envisioned by Mencius Moldbug and Nick Land, British “accelerationist” British philosopher, it is not something I want anything to do with. In fact, it seems like my and hopefully most of your worst nightmare. I would say that if the Alt Left is about anything, it is about Enlightenment values, so this would right away put us at odds for opposing the Dark Enlightenment.

Dim obscurity. While a few events recently have brought them to the front, their ideology is toxic to the majority of people, and that will lead to them back to the fringe. There’s no real future, especially as more and more people learn that “alt-right” is largely a synonym for white supremacists and neo-Nazis. The new branding will not change the outcome.
I expect they’ll remain a nuisance online. But any sort of intellectual or cultural influence? Extremely unlikely.

This fellow seems to feel that the Alt Right will become a collapsing star and black hole of hatred and nihilism after burning so bright after a brief flash in the spotlight and the camera clicks. I am not so sure about that. How many Alt Righters will say, “Whoa, this movement is neo-Nazi! I never knew that. I’m out of here!” About zero. Everyone involved in this movement knows exactly what it is all about and none of them are taking off. I assume that there are quite a few newbies out there who would love to sign up. They ain’t going away anytime soon I am afraid.

Was Joseph Conrad a Neoliberal? Are We? A Contemporary Reading of Victory

I participated in a session with this fellow on Academia.edu. I believe the author is a professor at a university somewhere in the UK. I really liked this paper a lot. It’s a bit hard to understand, but if you concentrate, you should be able to understand. If I can understand it, at least some of you guys can too. It is an excellent overview of what exactly neoliberalism is and the effects it has on all of us all the way down to the anthropological, sociological and psychological.

Was Joseph Conrad a Neoliberal? Are We? A Contemporary Reading of Victory

by Simon During

Over the past decade or so “neoliberalism” has become a word to conjure with. It is easy to have reservations about its popularity since it seems to name both a general object — roughly, capitalist governmentality as we know it today — and a particular set of ideas that now have a well-researched intellectual history.

It also implies a judgment: few use the term except pejoratively. I myself do not share these worries however, since I think that using the word performs sterling analytic work on its own account even as it probably accentuates its concept’s rather blob-like qualities. Nonetheless in this talk I want somewhat to accede to those who resist neoliberalism’s analytic appeal by thinking about it quite narrowly — that is to say, in literary and intellectual historical terms.
I begin from the position, first, that neoliberalism is an offshoot of liberalism thought more generally; and second, that we in the academic humanities are ourselves inhabited by an occluded or displaced neoliberalism to which we need critically to adjust.1 Thus, writing as a
literary critic in particular, I want to follow one of my own discipline’s original protocols, namely to be sensitive to the ways in which the literary “tradition” changes as the present changes, in this case, as it is reshaped under that neoliberalism which abuts and inhabits us.2
To this end I want to present a reading of Joseph Conrad’s Victory (1916). To do this is not just to help preserve the received literary canon, and as such is, I like to think, a tiny act of resistance to neoliberalism on the grounds that neoliberalism is diminishing our capacity to affirm a canon at all. By maintaining a canon in the act of locating neoliberalism where it is not usually found, I’m trying to operate both inside and outside capitalism’s latest form.

***

1 Daniel Stedman-Jones, Masters of the Universe: Hayek, Friedman, and the Birth of Neoliberal Politics, Princeton: Princeton University Press 2014, p. 17.
2 This argument is made of course in T.S. Eliot’s seminal essay, “Tradition and the Individual Talent” (1921).
Let me begin with a brief and sweeping overview of liberalism’s longue durée.3 For our purposes we can fix on liberalism by noting that it has two central struts, one theoretical, the other historical. As generations of theorists have noted, the first strut is methodological individualism: liberal analysis begins with, and is addressed to, the autonomous individual rather than communities or histories.4
Methodological individualism of this kind is, for instance, what allowed Leo Strauss and J.P Macpherson to call even Thomas Hobbes a founder of liberalism.5 Liberalism’s second strut is the emphasis on freedom as the right to express and enact private beliefs with a minimum of state intervention. This view of freedom emerged in the seventeenth century among those who recommended that the sovereign state “tolerate” religious differences.
It marked a conceptual break in freedom’s history since freedom was now conceived of as an individual possession and right rather than as a condition proper to “civil associations” and bound to obligations.6 We need to remember, however, that methodological individualism does not imply liberal freedom, or vice versa. Indeed neoliberalism exposes the weakness of that association.
Early in the nineteenth century, liberalism became a progressivist political movement linked to enlightened values. But after about 1850, non-progressive or conservative liberalisms also appeared. Thus, as Jeffrey Church has argued, Arthur Schopenhauer, the post-Kantian
philosopher who arguably broke most spectacularly with enlightened humanist progressivism,
3 Among the library of works on liberalism’s history I have found two to be particularly useful for my purposes here: Domenico Losurdo’s Liberalism: a Counter-History, trans. Gregory Elliot. London: Verso 2014, and Amanda Anderson’s forthcoming Bleak Liberalism, Chicago, University of Chicago Press 2016.
4 Milan Zafirovski, Liberal Modernity and Its Adversaries: Freedom, Liberalism and Anti-Liberalism in the 21st Century, Amsterdam: Brill 2007, p. 116.
5 Van Mobley, “Two Liberalisms: the Contrasting Visions of Hobbes and Locke,” Humanitas, IX 1997: 6-34.
6 Quentin Skinner, Liberty before Liberalism, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1998, p. 23.
can be associated with liberalism.7
Likewise Schopenhauer’s sometime disciple, Friedrich Nietzsche, no progressivist, was, as Hugo Drochon has recently argued, also an antistatist who prophesied that in the future “private companies” will take over state business so as to protect private persons from one another.8 Liberalism’s conservative turn was, however, largely a result of socialism’s emergence as a political force after 1848, which enabled some left liberal fractions to dilute their individualism by accepting that “a thoroughly consistent individualism can work in harmony with socialism,” as Leonard Hobhouse put it.9
Conrad himself belonged to this moment. As a young man, for instance, he was appalled by the results of the 1885 election, the first in which both the British working class and the socialists participated.10 That election was contested not just by the Marxist Socialist Democratic Federation, but by radical Liberals who had allied themselves to the emergent socialist movement (not least Joseph Chamberlain who, as mayor of Birmingham, was developing so-called “municipal socialism” and who haunts Conrad’s work).11
The election went well for the Liberals who prevented the Tories from securing a clear Parliamentary majority. After learning this, Conrad, himself the son of a famous Polish liberal revolutionary, wrote to a friend, “the International Socialist Association are triumphant, and every
disreputable ragamuffin in Europe, feels that the day of universal brotherhood, despoliation and disorder is coming apace…Socialism must inevitably end in Caesarism.”12 That prophecy will resonate politically for the next century, splitting liberalism in two. As I say: on the one side, a
7 Jeffrey Church, Nietzsche’s Culture of Humanity: Beyond Aristocracy and Democracy in the Early Period, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2015, p. 226.
8 Hugo Drochon, Nietzsche’s Great Politics, Princeton: Princeton University Press 2016, p. 9.
9 L. T. Hobhouse, Liberalism, London: Williams and Norgate, 1911, p. 99.
10 It was at this point that one of neoliberalism’s almost forgotten ur-texts was written,Herbert Spencer’s Man against the State (1884).
11 For instance, he plays an important role in Conrad and Ford Madox Ford’s The Inheritors.
12 Joseph Conrad, The Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad, vol 1., ed. Frederick Karl and Laurence Davis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1983, p. 16.
 
progressivist, collectivist liberalism. On the other, an individualist liberalism of which neoliberalism is a continuation.
By around 1900, liberalism’s fusion with socialism was often (although not quite accurately) associated with Bismark’s Germany, which gave anti-socialist liberalism a geographical inflection. Against this, individualistic liberalism was associated with Britain. But this received British liberalism looked back less to Locke’s religiously tolerant Britain than to Richard Cobden’s Britain of maritime/imperial dominance and free trade.
Which is to say that liberalism’s fusion with socialism pushed socialism’s liberal enemies increasingly to think of freedom economically rather than politically — as in Ludwig von Mises influential 1922 book on socialism, which can be understood as a neoliberal urtext.13 By that point, too, individuals were already being positioned to become what Foucault calls “consumers of freedom.” 14
They were now less understood less as possessing a fundamental claim to freedom than as creating and participating in those institutions which enabled freedom in practice. Crucially after the first world war, in the work of von Mises and the so-called “Austrian school”, freedom was increasingly assigned to individual relations with an efficient market as equilibrium theory viewed markets. This turn to the market as freedom’s basis marked another significant historical departure: it is the condition of contemporary neoliberalism’s emergence.
Neoliberalism organized itself internationally as a movement only after world war two, and did so against both Keynesian economics and the welfare state. 15 It was still mainly ideologically motivated by a refusal to discriminate between welfarism and totalitarianism — a line of thought already apparent in Conrad’s equation of socialism with Caesarism of course. As
13 See Ludwig von Mises, Socialism: an Economic and Sociological Analysis, trans. J. Kahane. New Haven: Yale University Press 1951.
14 Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitics, p. 63. One key sign of this spread of this new freedom is Oliver Wendell Holmes’s famous appeal to the “free trade in ideas” in his 1919 dissent in Abrams v. the US, a judgment which joins together the market, intellectual expression and the juridical.
15 See Philip Mirowski and Dieter Plehwe (eds.), The Road from Mont Pèlerin, Cambridge: Harvard University Press 2009.
 
Friedrich Hayek urged: once states begin to intervene on free markets totalitarianism looms because the people’s psychological character changes: they become dependent.16 For thirty years (in part as confined by this argument), neoliberalism remained a minority movement, but
in the 1970s it began its quick ascent to ideological and economic dominance.
Cutting across a complex and unsettled debate, let me suggest that neoliberalism became powerful then because it provided implementable policy settings for Keynesianism’s (perceived) impasse in view the stagnation and instability of post-war, first-world welfarist, full-employment economies after 1) the Vietnam War, 2) the collapse of the Bretton Woods agreement; 3) OPEC’s cartelization, and 4) the postcolonial or “globalizing” opening up of world markets on the back of new transportation and computing technologies.17
In the global north neoliberalism was first implemented governmentally by parties on the left, led by James Callaghan in the UK, Jimmy Carter in the US, Bob Hawke and Paul Keating in Australia, and leading the way, David Lange and Roger Douglas in New Zealand.18 At this time, at the level of policy, it was urged more by economists than by ideologues insofar as these can be separated (and Hayek and Mises were both of course).
As we know, neoliberals then introduced policies to implement competition, deregulation, monetarism, privatization, tax reduction, a relative high level of unemployment, the winding back of the state’s participation in the economy and so on. This agenda quickly became captured by private
 
16 Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, p. 48.
17 This history is open to lively differences of opinion. The major books in the literature are: Michel Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the College de France 1978-1979, London: Picador 2010; Philip Mirowski, Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown, London: Verso 2014; Stedman-Jones, Masters of the Universe; Joseph Vogl, The Spectre of Capital, Stanford: Stanford University Press 2014; David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2007. My own understanding of this moment is informed by Stedman-Jones’s account in particular.
18 It is worth noting in this context that the left had itself long been a hatchery of neoliberal economic ideas just because liberalism’s absorption of socialism was matched by socialism’s absorption of liberalism. See Johanna Brockman, Markets in the name of Socialism: the Left-wing Origins of Neoliberalism, Stanford: Stanford University Press 2011 on the intellectual-historical side of this connection.
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interests, and from the eighties on, it was woven into new, highly surveilled and privatized, computing and media ecologies, indeed into what some optimists today call “cognitive capitalism”.19
In this situation, more or less unintended consequences proliferated, most obviously a rapid increase in economic inequality and the enforced insertion of internal markets and corporate structures in non-commercial institutions from hospitals to universities. Indeed, in winding back the welfare state, renouncing Keynesian and redistributionist economic policies, it lost its classical liberal flavor and was firmly absorbed into conservatism — a transformation which had been prepared for by Schopenhauer and Nietzsche.20
But two more concrete conceptual shifts also helped animate this particular fusion of conservatism and liberalism. First, postwar neoliberalism was aimed more at the enterprise than at the individual.21
Largely on the basis of van Mises’s Human Action (1940) as popularized by Gary Becker, the free, independent individual was refigured as “human capital” and thereby exposed instead to management and “leadership.” At the same time, via Peter Drucker’s concept of “knowledge worker,” which emphasized the importance of conceptual and communication skills to
economic production, postsecular management theories for which corporations were hierarchical but organic communities also gained entry into many neoliberal mindsets.22 At that
 
19 Yann Moulier Boutang, Cognitive Capitalism, trans. Ed Emery. Cambridge: Polity Press 2012.
20 Nietzsche and Schopenhauer’s influence is no doubt part of why neoliberalism emerged in Austria. Indeed the Austrian context in which contemporary neoliberalism emerged is worth understanding in more detail. In their early work, Hayek and Mises in particular were responding to “red Vienna” not just in relation to Otto Bauer’s Austromarxism but also in relation to its version of guild socialism associated with Hungarians like Karl Polanyi, with whom both Hayek and Mises entered into debate. See Lee Congdon, “The Sovereignty of Society: Karl Polanyi in Vienna,” in The Life and Work of Karl Polanyi, ed. Kari Polanyi-Levitt. Montreal: Black Rose Books 1990, 78-85.
21 Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitics, p. 225.
22 Drucker was another Austrian refugee who turned to capitalism against totalitarianism in the late thirties and his profoundly influential work on corporate management shadows neoliberal theory up until the 1970s.
 
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point, neoliberalism also became a quest to reshape as many institutions as possible as corporations.
At this point too Foucault’s consumers of freedom were becoming consumers full stop. To state this more carefully: at the level of ideology, to be free was now first and foremost deemed to be capable of enacting one’s preferences in consumer and labour markets. It would seem that preferences of this kind increasingly determined social status too, and, more invasively, they now increasingly shaped personalities just because practices of self were bound less and less to filiations and affiliations than to acts of choice.
This helped the market to subsume older gradated social and cultural structures of identity-formation, class difference and cultural capital. At this juncture, we encounter another significant unexpected consequence
within liberalism’s longue durée: i.e. the sixties cultural revolution’s reinforcement of neoliberalism.
This is a complex and controversial topic so let me just say here that, from the late seventies, neoliberal subjects who were individualized via their entrepreneurial disposition and economic and labour choices, encounters the subject of post-68 identity politics who had been emancipated from received social hierarchies and prejudices, and was now attached to a particular ethnicity, gender or sexuality as chosen or embraced by themselves as individuals. These two subject formations animated each other to the degree that both had, in their different ways, sloughed off older communal forms, hierarchies and values.
Governing this ménage of hedonism, productivity, insecurity and corporatization, neoliberalism today seems to have become insurmountable, and is, as I say, blob-like, merging out into institutions and practices generally, including those of our discipline. And it has done
this as a turn within liberal modernity’s longer political, intellectual and social genealogies and structures rather than as a break from them.
Nonetheless, three core, somewhat technical, propositions distinguish neoliberalism from liberalism more generally:

  1. First the claim, which belongs to the sociology of knowledge, that no individual or group can know the true value of anything at all.23 For neoliberals, that value — true or not — can only be assessed, where it can be assessed at all, under particular conditions: namely when it is available in a competitive and free market open to all individuals in a society based on private property. This is an argument against all elite and expert claims to superior knowledge and judgment: without prices, all assessments of value are mere opinion. In that way, market justice (i.e. the effects of competing in the market) can trump social justice. And in that way, for instance, neoliberalism finds an echo not just in negations of cultural authority and canonicity but in the idea that literary and aesthetic judgments are matters of private choice and opinion. In short, neoliberalism inhabits cultural democracy and vice versa. By the same stroke, it posits an absence — a mere structure of exchange—at society’s normative center.
  2. There is a direct relationship between the competitive market and freedom. Any attempt to limit free markets reduces freedom because it imposes upon all individuals a partial opinion about what is valuable. This particular understanding of freedom rests on the notion of the market as a spontaneous order — its being resistant to control and planning, its being embedded in a society which “no individual can completely survey” as Hayek put it.24 Not that this notion is itself original to neoliberalism: Foucault’s historiography of liberalism shows that, in the mid eighteenth century, this property of markets was thought of as “natural” and therefore needed to be protected
    from sovereign authority’s interference.25 But as Foucault and others have argued, neoliberalism emerges after World War 2 when the spontaneous market conditions of freedom are no longer viewed as natural (even if they remain immanently lawbound) but as governmentally produced.26
  3. Neoliberalism has specific ethical dimensions too. While it generally insists that individuals should be free to “follow their own values and preferences” (as Hayek put it) at least within the limits set by those rules and institutions which secure market stability, in fact individuals’ independence as well as their relation to market risk, provides the necessary condition for specific virtues and capacities. Most notably, in Hayek’s formulation, a neoliberal regime secures individuals’ self-sufficiency, honor and dignity and does so by the willingness of some to accept “material sacrifice,” or to “live dangerously” as Foucault put it, in a phrase he declared to be liberalism’s “motto”.27 This mix of risk-seeking existentialism and civic republicanism not only rebukes and prevents the kind of de-individualization supposedly associated with socialisms of the left and right, it is where neoliberalism and an older “Nietzschean” liberalism meet—with Michael Oakeshott’s work bearing special weight in this context.28 But as soon as neoliberalism itself becomes hegemonic in part by fusing with the spirit of 1968, this original ascetic, masculinist neoliberal ethic of freedom and risk comes to be supplemented and displaced by one based more on creativity, consumerist hedonism and entrepreneurialism aimed at augmenting choice.29

***

23 See Mirowski, Never Let a Serious Crisis, p. 55.
24 Friedrich von Hayek, The Road to Serfdom: Texts and Documents. The Definitive Edition, ed. Bruce Caldwell. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007, p. 212.
25 Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitics, p. 19.
26 This is argued in Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval’s The New Way of the World: on Neoliberal Society, London: Verso 2014. For the immanent lawboundedness in Hayek, see Miguel Vatter, The Republic of the Living: Biopolitics and the Critique of Civil Society, New York: Fordham University Press 2014: pps. 195-220. Vatter’s chapter “Free Markets and Republican
Constitutions in Hayek and Foucault” is excellent on how law is treated in neoliberal thought.
27 Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, p. 130. Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitics, p. 66.
28 See Andrew Norris’s forthcoming essay in Political Theory, “Michael Oakeshott’s Postulates of Individuality” for this. We might recall, too, that Foucault argues for similarities between the Frankfurt school and the early neoliberals on the grounds of their resistance to standardization, spectacle and so on. See The Birth of Biopolitics, p. 105.
 
I have indicated that Conrad belongs to the moment when socialist parties first contested democratic elections and which thus split liberalism, allowing one, then beleaguered, liberal fraction to begin to attach to conservatism. In this way then, he belongs to neoliberalism’s deep past (which is not to say, of course, that he should be understand as a proto-neoliberal himself). Let us now think about his novel Victory in this light.
The novel is set in late nineteenth-century Indonesia mainly among European settlers and entrepreneurs. Indonesia was then a Dutch colony itself undergoing a formal economic deregulation program, which would increase not just Dutch imperial profits but, among indigenous peoples, also trigger what was arguably human history’s most explosive population growth to date.30
Victory belongs to this world where imperialism encountered vibrant commercial activity driven by entrepreneurial interests, competition and risk. Thus, for instance, its central character, the nomadic, cosmopolitan, aristocratic Swedish intellectual, Axel Heyst, establishes a business— a coal mine — along with a ship-owning partner, while other characters manage hotels, orchestras and trading vessels. Victory is a novel about enterprises as well as about individuals.
But Conrad’s Indonesia is other to Europe as a realm of freedom. Importantly, however, its freedom is not quite liberal or neoliberal: it is also the freedom of a particular space. More precisely, it is the freedom of the sea: here, in effect Indonesia is oceanic. This formulation draws on Carl Schmitt’s post-war work on international law, which was implicitly
 
29 The history of that displacement is explored in Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello’s The New Spirit of Capitalism, trans. Gregory Elliott. London: Verso 2005.
30 Bram Peper, “Population Growth in Java in the 19th Century”, Population Studies, 24/1 (1970): 71-84.
 
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positioned against liberal and neoliberal theory. In his monograph The Nomos of the Earth (1950), Schmitt drew attention to the sea as a space of freedom just because national sovereignties and laws did not hold there.
But Schmitt’s implicit point was that liberal freedom needs to be thought about not just in terms of tolerance, recognition, rights or markets, but
geographically and historically inside the long history of violent sovereign appropriation of the globe’s land masses so that elemental freedom was enacted on the oceans where law and sovereignty had no reach. From this perspective, piracy, for instance, plays an important role in freedom’s history. And from this perspective the claim to reconcile radical freedom to the lawbound state is false: such freedom exists only where laws do not.
The sea, thought Schmitt’s way, is key to Conrad’s work. But, for him, the sea is also the home of economic liberalism, free-trade and the merchant marines by whom he had, of course, once been employed, and whose values he admired.31 Victory is a maritime tale set on waters which harbor such free trade at the same time as they form a Schmittean realm of freedom — and violence and risk — which effectively remains beyond the reach of sovereign law.
Let me step back at this point to sketch the novel’s plot. Victory’s central character Heyst is the son of an intellectual who late in life was converted from progressivism to a mode of weak Schopenhauerianism or what was then call pessimism.32 Heyst lives his father’s pessimism out: he is a disabused conservative liberal: “he claimed for mankind that right to
absolute moral and intellectual liberty of which he no longer believed them worthy.”33
Believing this, Heyst leaves Europe to “drift”— circulating through Burma, New Guinea, Timor and the Indonesian archipelagoes, simply gathering facts and observing. But, on an
 
31 For Conrad and trade in this region, see Andrew Francis, Culture and Commerce in Conrad’s Asian Fiction, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2015. For Conrad’s affiliations to free trade proper see my unpublished paper, “Democracy, Empire and the Politics of the Future in
Conrad’s Heart of Darkness”. This is available on this url.
32 Joseph Conrad, Victory, London: Methuen 1916, p. 197.
33 Conrad, Victory, pps. 92-93
 
12
impulse, while drifting through Timor he rescues a shipowner, Morrison, whose ship has been impounded by unscrupulous Portuguese authorities, and through that act of spontaneous generosity, becomes obligated to Morrison.
The two men end up establishing a coalmine in the remote Indonesian island of Samburan, backed by local Chinese as well as by European capital. The company soon collapses. Morison dies. And, living out his Schopenhauerian renunciation of the world, Heyst, the detached man, decides to stay on at the island alone except for one Chinese servant.
He does, however, sometimes visit the nearest Indonesian town, Surabaya, and it is while staying there in a hotel owned by Schomberg, a malicious, gossipy German, that he makes another spontaneous rescue. This time he saves a young woman, Lena, a member of a traveling “ladies orchestra,” who is being bullied by her bosses and in danger of abduction by Schomberg himself.
Heyst and Lena secretly escape back to his island, causing Schomberg to harbor a venomous resentment against Heyst. At this point Schomberg’s hotel is visited by a trio of sinister criminals: Jones, Ricardo and their servant Pedro. Taking advantage of Schomberg’s rage, they establish an illegal casino in his hotel. To rid himself of this risky enterprise, Schomberg advises them to go after Heyst in his island, falsely telling them that Heyst has hidden a fortune there. Jones and his gang take Schomberg’s advice but disaster awaits them.
The novel ends with Jones, Ricardo, Heyst, Lena all dead on Heyst’s island.
The novel, which hovers between commercial adventure romance and experimental modernism, is bound to neoliberalism’s trajectory in two main ways. First, it adheres to neoliberalism’s sociology of knowledge: here too there is no knowing center, no hierarchy of expertise, no possibility of detached holistic survey and calculation through which truth might command action. Heyst’s drifting, inconsequential fact-gathering, itself appears to illustrate that absence. As do the gossip and rumors which circulate in the place of informed knowledge, and which lead to disaster. Individuals and enterprises are, as it were, on their
13
own, beyond any centralized and delimited social body that might secure stability and grounded understandings. They are bound, rather, to self-interest and spontaneity.
This matters formally not simply because, in an approximately Jamesian mode, the narrative involves a series of points of view in which various characters’ perceptions, moods and interests intersect, but because the narration itself is told in a first person voice without being enunciated by a diegetical character.
That first person, then, functions as the shadow representative of a decentered community, largely focused on money, that is barely able to confer identity at all, a community, too, without known geographical or ideological limits just because the narrator, its implicit representative, has no location or substance. This narratorial indeterminacy can be understood as an index of liberalism at this globalizing historical juncture: a liberalism divesting itself of its own progressive histories, emancipatory hopes and institutions. A bare liberalism about to become neoliberalism, as we can proleptically say.
More importantly, the novel speaks to contemporary neoliberalism because it is about freedom. As we have begun to see, Heyst is committed to a freedom which is both the freedom of the sea, and a metaphysical condition which has detached itself, as far as is possible, from connections, obligations, determinations. This structures the remarkable formal
relationship around which the novel turns — i.e. Heyst’s being positioned as Jones’s double.
The generous Schopenhauerian is not just the demonic criminal’s opposite: he is also his twin. Both men are wandering, residual “gentlemen” detached from the European order, and thrown into, or committed to, a radical freedom which, on the one side, is a function of free trade, on the other, a condition of life lived beyond the legal and political institutions that order European societies, but also, importantly, are philosophical and ethical — a renunciation of the established ideological order for independence, courage and nomadism.
To put this rather differently: Heyst and Jones’s efforts to live in freedom — to comport themselves as free individuals — combines economic freedom — a freedom of exchange, competition and
 
14
entrepreneurial possibilities— with a state of nature as a line of flight (or emancipation) from received continental laws, values and social structures. Freedom, that is, which combines that which Carl Schmitt and the early neoliberals imagined, each in their own way.
The novel’s main point is that there is, in fact, nothing in this freedom to sustain true ethical substance. It is as if Schmittean freedom has smashed both liberal freedom and pessimistic asceticism, along with their ethical groundings. Or to come at the novel’s basic point from another direction: it is as if the absence at the heart of a free society has transmigrated into these characters’ selves. It is at that level that individual freedom cannot be separated from violence and risk and good from evil.
Without an instituted social structure, Heyst cannot stay true to himself: his commitment to freedom and renunciation is compromised because of his spontaneous acts of generosity and sympathy which lead to his and Lena’s death. On the other side, Jones, a homosexual shunned by respectable society, is afflicted by those key nineteenth-century affects, resentment and boredom as well as a quasi-Nietzschean contempt for “tameness”, which drive him towards living outside of society, at contigency’s mercy, and towards reckless, malevolent violence.
Heyst and Jones die together almost by accident, in deaths that reveal them not just as entangled with one another at existence’s threshold, but as both attuned to death, even in life. It now look as if while they lived they wanted to die. In that way, the novel makes it clear that the risk, disorder and emptiness which inhabit their striving for a radically liberal practice of life corrode distinctions not just between violence and renunciation, not just between good and evil, but also between life and death.
We can put it like this: the freedom that these characters claim and the risks that it entails and which bind them together are inclined more towards death than towards life, just on account of freedom’s own conditions of possibility, namely radical autonomy, absence of sovereign power, and maximum choice.

***

15
As I say, this is a reading of the novel which, at least in principle, helps to canonize Victory just because it claims that its form, plot and characters address versions of our current neoliberal social condition, and does so in metaphysically ambitious terms. Victory is a critique of freedom, I think.
Conrad is insisting that even in a liberal society devoted to free trade,
enterprises and markets, the law — and the sovereign state — comes first. It is, if one likes, beginning the work of detaching liberalism from freedom. To say this, however, is to ignore the most pressing question that this reading raises: to what degree should we today actually accede to Conrad’s ambivalent, pessimistic and conservative imagination of radical freedom?
How to judge that freedom’s renunciation of established hierarchies, collectivities and values whether for adventure, risk and spontaneity or for violence and death? It is a condition of the discipline’s neoliberal state that the only answer we can give to that question is that we can, each of us, answer that question any way that we choose.

What Is Social Liberalism?

Robert said:

RL: You have to at the very least support Social Liberalism.
Tulio: Do you mean Liberalism? Did you mean Fiscal Liberalism?

I do not mean fiscal liberalism at all. The heck with that. In most of the world, classic liberalism means neoliberalism or laissez faire economics. However, here in the US the left wing of the Democratic Party somehow ended up getting called liberals. Somehow out of all of this, the term Social Liberalism arose as an economic system. Bottom line is that Liberalism means something different in the US than it does in most of the rest of the world.
Social Liberalism is a confusing term, but this is what the liberals in the US push. In terms of economics, it means ideally the sort of economics and politics that liberal Democrats push – the New Deal, the Great Society and all of that. Pretty much Keynesian regulated capitalism with a good safety net. They just happen to call that economic system Social Liberalism. There is a similar system in Canada called something else but it is more leftwing. Both of them are headed away from the center towards Social Democracy, but Social Liberalism is nowhere near Social Democracy, it’s just headed in that direction. Social Democracy is a lot more Left than Social Liberalism.

"Time of Monsters," by Peter Tobin

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

Time of Monsters

by Peter Tobin

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

Nepal’s Brahminical State and Problems of Legitimacy

From Machiavelli:

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

To the present day:

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

Introduction

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

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

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

Economy and Society

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

Inequality and Poverty

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

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

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

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

The Politics of Water and Unequal Treaties

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

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

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

Constitution or Revolution?

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

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

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

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

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

The Caste System & Democratic Deficit

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

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

Maoist “New Nepal”

From Marx:

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

To the present day:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Class and Patriotism

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

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

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

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

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

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

Communist Politics: 1949-2014

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

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

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

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

1769 – The Dawn of the Hindu Kingdom

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

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

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

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

Land Tenure Post-1769

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

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

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

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

Caste and the Feudal State

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

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

Religion in Tributary/Feudal Society

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

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

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

Consensus and Conquest

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

Failure of Post-1950 Land Reforms

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

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

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

Failure of Post-1990 Land Reform

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summary – Historical Constituents of Discord

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Patriots and Compradors

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

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

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

Material Basis of Social Contradiction

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

Postscript

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

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

Unfinished Revolution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peter Tobin, December 2014

Citations/Footnotes

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

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

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

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

Nehru is an exemplar of the success of this project:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

References

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

General

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

Reports/Commissions

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

Articles

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

Newspapers/Journals/ Periodicals/Websites

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

Chavismo Must Stop the Economic Bleeding

This is one of the most sensible articles I have read on the Venezuela economic crisis yet. The first three proposals will be bitter pills to swallow, but they need to be done. Apparently those subsidies, put in as popular redistribution methods by the government in which the government enacted subsidies enabling many things to be sold below cost with the state making up the difference, can no longer be afforded. They were great at a fantastic growth in the standard of living (before the economic crisis) of the lower classes, but they have to go.
The problem will be getting it through the Opposition controlled Legislature. The Opposition’s screams about the terrible state of the economy ring hollow because every time Maduro goes to the Legislature to offer plans to deal with the economic crisis, the Opposition refuses to enact any of them. That is correct. The Opposition refuses to do even one tiny thing to try to deal with the economic crisis. This is highly suggestive that they are part of the crisis themselves and that in part it is manufactured.
Obviously the Opposition wants the economy to tank as much as possible and for the crisis to go on as long as possible because they see the crisis as good propaganda that “Chavismo doesn’t work.” Also the crisis offers them a perfect chance to throw out the government. In this way, they are similar to US Republicans who blocked everything Obama tried to do apparently in an effort to make his Presidency fail.
You guys wonder why I hate capitalists and rightwingers. Well, the Venezuelan Opposition are capitalists and rightwingers. The US Republican Party are capitalists and rightwingers. If you ask me, capitalists and rightwingers are literally the worst people on Earth. I do not care how well capitalism works. That is not my concern. My problem is not so much with capitalism as with capitalists, the people who engage in the activity. The system can work reasonably well with a lot of socialism to make it go down easier, but the people who run the system are simply pond scum. They’re horrific and despicable human beings. I’m starting to see why Stalin shot them.

Chavismo Must Stop the Economic Bleeding

By Joe Emersberger – Telesur English
July 20th 2016

A special economic team convened by UNASUR, part of its effort to promote dialog between the Venezuelan opposition and Maduro’s government, has put together a detailed plan to lead Venezuela out of its worsening economic crisis. The key features of the plan are listed below:

  • A unification and clean float of the currency that should be implemented immediately.
  • Gradual lifting of price controls over an 18 month period.
  • Gradual lifting of all energy subsidies (not just gasoline) over an 18 month period.
  • Implement direct government subsidies to consumers, preferably universal subsidies, through an electronic discount card.
  • The indexing of all salaries to the monthly inflation rate for 18 months or until single digit inflation is achieved if that happens first.
  • A thorough and transparent audit of government assets so that non-strategic assets can be sold to finance the plan but also so that options for external financing become available.
  • The introduction of financial transaction and wealth taxes.

Implementation of an employment program to help people whose informal work (for example standing in lines to buy then resell price-controlled products) is eliminated through this plan. It would cost about 1 percent of GDP and would be financed with the taxes proposed above.
The first three proposals eliminate indirect subsidies which make certain products (and U.S. dollars) cheap for those lucky enough to get them. UNASUR’s team advises that the government support people’s incomes directly instead.
The first three proposals would be the most controversial to the Chavista base and to the Venezuelan left. The plan would be denounced by many as an IMF-style “paquetazo” as the IMF’s destructive policy recommendations have come to be known in Latin America. The left gained power throughout the region in the twenty-first century primarily because of the devastation caused by governments that followed IMF orders during the 1980-2000 period. It is not hard to see the huge political risk of doing things that look like backsliding or betrayal, but this plan is not in any way a return to IMF imposed neoliberalism.
Over the past three years, the costs of Venezuela’s indirect subsidies have not only skyrocketed, they have also largely failed to protect the poor, especially after oil prices collapsed near the end of 2014 but even for about a year before oil prices plummeted. UNASUR’s economic team estimates that Venezuela’s indirect subsidies cost the government anywhere from 11 to 17 percent of GDP.
To get a sense of how huge that is, consider that the United States presently spends about 3 percent of GDP on the Pentagon budget. The Venezuelan economy is being bled dry by massive indirect subsidies that do not work. UNASUR’s plan would stop the bleeding. It would replace outrageously costly and inefficient indirect subsidies with vastly more effective direct subsidies.
The UNASUR team does not address long term problems with Venezuela’s economy that have tended to confuse people about the immediate crisis it faces. Venezuela, like all developing countries, needs to diversify away from oil, and increase productivity generally in order to achieve the living standards of developed countries – at least key features of those living standards that should be strived for, like very low infant mortality.
In the Chavista era, the government has only had control over its state oil company, its main source of export revenue and hard currency, since about 2003, four years after the late Hugo Chavez was first took office. It took South Korea, a country not regarded as an ideological threat to the imperial powers, about 40 years to achieve the living standards of a rich country. It took Cuba about forty years to achieve a lower child mortality rate than the United States – a rich country that is a notorious laggard by that measure.
No “solidarity economy” that seeks to develop local production is going to begin to offset the hemorrhaging of 11 to 17 percent of GDP. There are many factors that go into successful long term planning and development, but no country striving to develop in the long term can afford incredibly wasteful and destabilizing polices in the present – especially in the context of a balance of payments crisis and low oil prices. Admonishing the Venezuelan government about long term planning and diversification is like talking to person with a serious stab wound about diet and exercise. The priority must be to stop the bleeding.
Venezuela’s Vice President has recently made remarks indicating that he understands and supports the nature of the UNASUR plan. It has never been totally clear if the government has allowed things to get so far out of hand as a result of political fears or from lack of understanding. People who have years of experience among grassroots Chavistas do not report that pressure from the government’s base will make them implement UNASUR’s plan. The base, it appears, do not know about the plan and would be probably misled about it by many grassroots leaders who would see it as a betrayal of Chavismo.
The government relies heavily on grassroots leaders during elections but that is no excuse for inaction. Moreover, as the UNASUR team points out, Venezuela has already made painful adjustments over the past few years through a huge reductions in imports. It could therefore very quickly deliver the benefits of implementing this plan, which is the best way to convince people that is necessary.
All around the world, people must really struggle to get any semblance of economic literacy. This is not a problem unique to Venezuela or to the left in Venezuela. The global economy was tanked in 2009 by massive housing bubbles in rich countries that “experts” failed to warn people about. Governments and big financial interests then took advantage of public ignorance again to make working people pay for the disaster.
People who care about the success of progressive change in Venezuela – and in Latin America – must do all they can to ensure that huge self-inflicted problems are avoided. Progressive governments will face extreme hostility abroad and at home during the best of times. They can least afford to make such serious mistakes.

Mass Immigration and the Decline of California

Chinedu writes: The “California economy” is Silicon Valley and Hollywood. That’s it. A booming economy does not make a state great.
California has one of the most advanced and diverse economies in the world. It is hardly just Silicon Valley and Hollywood. Read the article I posted.

Screw the “booming economy.” It sure ain’t booming in a lot of this state, that’s for sure. And the state’s economy was going great all through the 1950’s and 1960’s and even 1970’s for that matter.
Everything’s not all down to “the economy” anyway. That’s neoliberal talk. Let me give you an example. In a 15 year period in the 1950’s and 1960’s, the Guatemalan economy grew by 5% per year. During that period, the poverty rate went from 87% to 93%. After all that growth, the poverty rate went up even more, and 90% of the people were not getting jack from the “booming economy.” This is sort of what is going on in California right now except on a much milder scale.
I am wondering if the commenter lived in this state in the 1950’s, 1960’s or 1970’s? If not, then he does not know what this place used to look like.
I would say it wasn’t worth it. Yes, we have a decent economy for some, but we used to have a good economy for most average folks. We have the second highest poverty rate in the US above only Mississippi if you figure in housing costs. Housing is not affordable. Even rents are not affordable. College used to be almost free in this state. Now it will cost $50-100,000 just to go to college. There’s serious overcrowding everywhere. There are ghettos, barrios and other assorted shitholes along with lots of poverty and gangs everywhere you turn around. None of this was going on before.
All the negatives were not worth it for a good economy that doesn’t even benefit most folks anyway. And anyway we had a great economy before. Now we still have a good economy, but only for a few instead of a lot, and we have a ton of new problems to boot.
Mass immigration has been a gigantic negative for California.

Anti-TPP Statement Taken out of Democratic Party Platform

Taken out to appease Obama and not to be seen as undermining him at this late date. Just as I suspected and wrote the other day.
Obama put heavy duty pressure on them to take it out and the delegates do not want to seem to be undermining a popular Democratic President this late in his term. Some of the delegates promoting neutral language in the platform are actually anti-TPP. Bernie has been pushing very hard to get anti-TPP language in the platform. He met with Obama the other day and pushed his point of view, however, Obama was adamant that the language must stay in.
Obama did say in a speech that free trade was causing lots of problems for workers in First World countries, but that their solutions like Brexit were not appropriate. This is good though because it is the first time that Obama has acknowledged that free trade is anything less than sugar and spice and everything nice for Western workers. We’re getting them to talk to the talk! Good! See, politics can work in the US, sort of…
Well what solutions should there be then, Obama? Obama says the solution to the problems posed to Western workers by free trade is apparently more free trade! These politicians crack me up; their discourse is so irrational! I can’t believe how many people are fooled by these silver-tongued clowns.
I now feel better about this and am less worried about Hillary trying to sneak the TPP through when she gets in. However, I know that Obama is going to try to do exactly that during the lame duck session of Congress coming up. Boy, Obama is really adamant about this TPP nightmare, isn’t he? As I wrote the other day, these elites just don’t get it. Or maybe they do get it, but they don’t care. They don’t care how opposed we are to their insane neoliberal globalization crap. It’s good for the corporations and the rich, so they don’t care if most of us are against it, and we can do pound sand. Breathtaking. The only solution for these arrogant aristocrats is to toss as many of them out of office as possible.

Trump Pounds Away at Clinton on Trade Deals

Here, here, and here.
Threatens to tear up NAFTA, pull out of the TPP, slam 35% tariffs on Mexico and China and file suit against China as a currency manipulator.
I must say that I strongly support everyone one of those things! Clinton has been silent in response, as she does not talk much about trade these days, although her campaign manager said the other day that she remains opposed to the TPP.
Nevertheless, the Hillary appointees on the Democratic Party Platform Committee for the coming convention have watered down just about everything good in the platform.
Particularly galling was the Clinton appointees’ refusal to take a stand on the TPP. The original platform said that the party opposed the TPP, but the Clintonites killed that and changed it to say that the Democratic Party holds a diversity of views on the subject. They did this, they said, so as not to undermine Obama’s push to pass the trade deal, which he will probably do in the lame duck session when no one has to worry about getting re-elected. So, let’s see, Clinton opposes the TPP, except her delegates said we need to support Obama’s efforts to pass the TPP! What?!
Clinton just doesn’t get it. Progressives are outraged by this language, saying that they are suspicious that Hillary is lying about the TPP like she does about so many things. They say she opposes it to win the election and then will pass it once she gets in. The Left wing of the party trusts Hillary not one bit, and I trust the woman about as far as I could throw her, which is not very far.
I am absolutely opposed to Trump and feel he must be defeated at all costs, but I hope he pounds away at Clinton on this trade issue relentlessly. Maybe he will knock some sense into her, who knows?
A major problem though is that in pushing this anti-trade agenda, Trump is alienating the entire corporate sector of the party, and the GOP is a corporate party if nothing else. Also free trade has been a party mainstay for decades now. How can Trump oppose the very corporations that are the backbone of the party? How can he oppose what is ideologically pounded into stone in the party?
This is what people mean when they say Trump is tearing the party apart, which is something delightful to see.

Burn in Hell, Globalization

That’s the message of Brexit.
Death to globalization, neoliberalism, corporate rule, horrific free trade agreements, races to the bottom, Triangulation, neoconservatism, invade the world/invite the world, trickle-down economics, austerity, financial conservatism, privatization, vouchers, wild inequality and the whole ball of dung.
Death to it all!
The people have spoken. They hate it. They don’t quite understand what they hate, of course, but the idiots are finally waking up and realizing that they’ve been getting screwed from 35 years of Reaganism/Thatcherism, a project which included the rightwing drift of leftwing parties in the West such as the Democratic Party and the Labour Party. Both parties are now corporatized but milder versions of the Republican and Tory Parties. That is correct: Clintonism and Blairism are part of the same neoliberal/globalization process as Reagan and Thatcher. In some ways, Obama is too, and Hillary is just Obama Part 2, except somewhat worse.
The idiots who run our countries don’t get it. Or maybe they are not that stupid. Anyway they either cannot read public opinion, or they do not want to, but elites in both countries are not going to change much of anything after the Brexit vote. The UK looks to become much more rightwing, which is odd as what caused the Brexit rage in the first place was British working class rage over 35 years of Thatcherite neoliberalism which has eviscerated their living standards.
The people know they are getting screwed, but they don’t quite know who is doing it to them. So they are lashing out, and this time many of them are heading to the Far Right. Of course this is typical, as whenever you have a serious crisis in capitalism, people either move to the Hard Left or to the Hard Right, as these are the only people offering solutions. Everyone in the Center is offering the status quo, which was what caused the crisis in the first place.
Problem is that the Hard Right isn’t going to do them much good. Donald Trump is very much a Hard rightwing Republican. His policies are not that different from those that got us in this mess in the first place. It’s still neoliberalism but without the globalization. It’s not going to work. The Right in the UK offers nothing at all. The Leave wing of the Tories is much more rightwing and economically conservative than the Remain faction.
It was rightwing economics that got us in this mess in the first place. That’s what these working classes all over the world are reacting against – righting economics, globalization, neoliberalism. It hardly makes sense that the solution to a problem caused by rightwing economics is more economics, this time, harder, faster.
You would think our leaders would be idiots to propose such a “solution,” but they are not as dumb as you think. These lowlifes who have been running our countries have been making out like bandits from this neoliberalism-globalization charade.
They are not going to quit doing it just because public opinion has swung against it.
They don’t care about public opinion anyway.
They do whatever they want, and the Hell with whatever the people think. We are nothing to them. They do not represent us at all. They represent only themselves and their class, and that’s it. Partly this is our own damn fault because we do not punish politicians who give us the finger and go ahead and do things that we are dead set against. We scream and yell that we are opposed to some issue, then they go ahead and do it anyway and when the election comes around, we march right off and vote for the very people who gave us the finger and did the opposite of what we demanded. We don’t hold politicians’ feet to the fire. Politicians do the opposite of what we want, and we go and vote for them anyway.
After that’s been going on for a while, politicians figure out that it doesn’t even matter what they do, as even though they go against popular opinion, they won’t be held accountable for it anyway, and the people they went against will just elect them again anyway. Get it? They get to do whatever they want to. Why? Because we are such a bunch of retarded monkeys that we let them, that’s why.
If these people are getting rich off the present system, they are obviously going to keep on doing until we force them to stop. This is the way these people think.
They don’t stop and say, “Hey look! The people are against neoliberalism and globalization! Let’s stop doing it!”
Instead they say, “Oh look. The people are against this. Let’s keep doing it anyway and hope we can somehow stay in office. Meanwhile let’s ramp up the lying, the propaganda and the tail-waging and all rest to distract the people and fool them.”
Or they will lie to themselves as the Republicans do and say, “No the people are not against neoliberalism and globalization. They are really against Obama and Obamacare and BLM and OWS and tranny bathrooms and gay marriage.”
Or they will say, “Oh look. The people re turning against neoliberalism and globalization. We need to do a better job of reaching out to the people on this issue (lying about it) and selling it to them (lying about it).” So they enlist the 100% controlled media to sell their snake oil for them with a fancy new ad campaign.
The take-home point here is that most politicians are ideologues. They don’t represent the people or serve the people or any of that. They represent their ideology, which is typically tied directly in with their class interests. In other words, their ideology is often all wrapped up in their money. Rich people don’t go against their class interests. They just don’t. They will pursue their class interests all the way to their own deaths, if it takes that.
Serving the people or representing the people would mean throwing out your ideology and supporting what your constituents want, not what you want. Capitalist minded politicians won’t do that because they never get rid of their ideology, or even modify it one inch. In fact, they will fight to the death for it. This is because going against their ideology means going against their money. You can hardly expect a rich man to go against his monetary interests.
As with so many things in human existence, this all boils down to follow the money.

Chile and the US – No Comparison

Tulio writes:

I don’t know man, the left really has not been successful in creating economic growth anywhere in Latin America. So I can’t blame them for going right down there. Blame that on the incompetence of the Latin American left.

How was the Latin American Left incompetent? I can’t think of one way that they were incompetent.

It was the Right that failed. Look at the neoliberalism of the 1990’s. It completely collapsed economic growth in Latin America. Most Latin Americans could give a f about economic growth. I think Colombia has the highest economic growth in the Hemisphere. What good is it doing them?

Economic growth in Latin America has typically benefited only the elites. The neoliberalism that the US pushed in the 1990’s and 2000’s impoverished most people and crashed economic growth. Only the top 20% in Latin America benefited from the neoliberalism that Washington and the Latin American Right pushes. In Chile, all rightwing economics did was engender a mass transfer of wealth from the bottom 2/3 of income bracket to the top 1/3 of the income bracket. Why support that?

Chile has not even really turned to the Right anyway. They’ve been electing Socialists from Allende’s party for the last 20 years of so. When was the last time a self-proclaimed Socialist was elected to the US? But those Socialists are not able to do all that much though the latest one claims she is different.

Most of the people in Chile probably do not support this rightwing bullshit. Chile is just like the US – the poor, working and middle classes all vote for the parties of the Rich, and they damage their own interests by doing so. There is a significant crowd who are now invested in this rightwing bullshit, but I doubt if it is the majority. Instead you have one of the most politically polarized populations on Earth.

Schoolkids stage demonstrations all the time about public schooling, which has been in essence defunded by the state. Your average Chilean public school now has a caved-in roof and ceiling that will never be repaired. These student demonstrations typically turn violent and have to be broken up by the police.

The class hatred in Chile is so thick you can cut it with a knife. This is what your rightwing dream politics gives you – one of the most unequal societies on Earth, mass transfers of wealth from everyone else to the upper middle class and the rich and defunding of public anything, especially the schools.

Also casual racism and classism of your average Chilean would knock your cocks off. I had a friend who was a Chilean university student in Santiago. His father had served in Allende’s government. He was a sociology student studying the Indians in the South. Nevertheless the racism and classism of this supposedly leftwing Chilean was off the charts from a US point of view. Apparently it is perfectly normal in Chile to think like a bigoted White aristocrat.

My understanding is that economic growth has been excellent under the Left regimes in Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela and even the Fake Left rightwingers Brazil.

As I said, most Latin Americans would give a flying f about economic growth. It’s never benefited them anyway. Most of them just want an improvement in their standard of living. And that is exactly what the new Left regimes down there have given them – Venezuela in particular is a standout.

I am not aware of any statistics that show that the Right in Latin America is doing any better growth-wise than the Left, and it wouldn’t matter anyway because under the Latin American Right, all of the economic growth only goes to the top 20% of the population, and everyone else loses money.

Tulio writes:

Yeah, it sounds no worse than the USA to be honest.

It’s nothing like the US at all. First of all, a large segment of the population are out and out fascists who support the fascist Pinochet, America’s favorite Latin American hero.This same segment also absolutely despises the Allende regime as what they see as the Regime of Satan. They hate his supporters today, and they pretty much want them dead.

A very large other segment of the population supported the Allende regime and hate Pinochet with a passion. There are regular demonstrations between Pinochet supporters among the rich and Allende supporters among the non-rich. These typically break out into wild riots where both sides physically assault each other.

You have a split population class- and politics-wise where the non-rich and the Left is basically the Radical Left and the rich and upper middle class are the Extreme Right, fascists for all intents and purposes. Society is completely polarized.

Women’s rights are abysmal.

The Indians of the South stage regular demonstrations about this or that injustice which typically turn violent.

The situation down there is so extreme that is nothing like the US at all. We hardly have any class hatred here. The Right is indeed the Hard Right, but they are not Pinochet-style fascists, though they are getting that way fast. The Left down here is not the Hard Left at all. The Left is represented by the Democratic Party, which is a somewhat liberal version of the Republican Party. We don’t have regular wild street battles between the Left and Right. The classism and racism in the US is nowhere near that of Chile.

Women’s rights in the US are excellent. The natives are politically neutered and are too drunk and stoned to get out of bed in the morning, much less demonstrate about anything.

Letter from Chile

Chile is supposed to be the dream state of the radical rightwing economic types that shows how neoliberalism and radical free market capitalism is the best system ever. They point to Chile and cheer about what a supposed success story it is. But I have always felt that Chile blows under this new model. If Chile is a the rightwing free marketeers’ showcase, then what can I say? They can have it. It ain’t no showcase to me. A showcase for what? What the Hell kind of a model is that?

I really enjoyed this letter from a commenter which sums up all of my feelings about Chile and also adds some new problems that I was not aware of. I also liked her writing style!

Isabel writes:

I lived in the States many years before relocating to Santiago in the early 80’s. I’ve lived here 30 years, so I know what it’s like. There is good and bad as everywhere else, and you just have to come to terms. A taxi driver once told me, “La tierra es buena pero la raza es mala”. I love living near the Andes, but Chilean society is screwed up.

For instance, everybody lies because they can’t be authentic — it’s taboo to be authentic here. Chileans are artists at making nice but once they (esp. males) are behind the wheel of a car, they become total A-holes. The driver with a bigger vehicle who is going a lot faster than you are has right of way.

Abusive practices are the norm. If you show assertiveness, watch out – you will have hidden enemies who will be sharpening their knives then gloating over your downfall.

In my opinion Pinochet was Darth Vader all right. The dictatorship ushered in the reign of evil, the untrammeled power of money.

They trumpet about how Chile is less corrupt than any other Latin American country, but this is just because they hide it better, and  the recent scandals are starting to uncover the dirt.

Appearances are everything here: modernity, progress are a smokescreen — look behind or underneath and you’ll find the cowering underclasses and a middle class under siege.

The powerless fight back with ingenious scams and byzantine violent tactics against the wealthy when they are weakest, like attacking women returning from the mall in their Mercedeses and Porsches at their electric gates.

I do fault the elites here for their selfishness, and yes, their stupidity. They refuse to understand that by holding back the progress of the underclasses and refusing to change their 19th century habits and attitudes, they are destroying the future of a beautiful country that could be a genuine beacon… they’re too addicted to the Just-Us mentality of the ex-colonized and white immigrants who’ve turned into internal colonizers, moneyed groups inside their exclusivist enclaves.

The Mapuche Nation is continually at war with the political and economic elites because these have pillaged and landgrabbed the south far worse than the Spaniards ever did. It really is shameful, the lack of conscience and egoism of the supposedly breast-beating devout Catholic wealthy of this country and the hypocrisy and brazen greed of the corporate classes.

The youth are fighting for free quality education, for dignity and respect — they had it under Allende. It’s shocking to see how the militarized police shoot teargas at schoolchildren and their parents, how they beat peacefully marching high school kids with their truncheons, and how the media blame the students for the violence when witnesses see the police themselves go out disguised as rioters.

Pinochet and the oligarchy have not ceased to hate Allende. They got their way, but they’ve been a total failure notwithstanding all the gleaming high-rises (and no thought for the resulting worsened traffic congestion and no provision of sidewalks where pedestrians can walk safely) and the faux macroeconomic growth and lowered poverty rates (while executives earn 500 times more than ordinary workers).

Foreigners agree that Santiago is a hostile city, nothing is done about air pollution, there are growing numbers of homeless, prices vary 50% or 100% depending on whether you live in a poor, unsafe municipality or in a tony one, builders destroy residential neighborhoods with malls and substandard high-rise apartment buildings that fewer and fewer can afford to rent in. Ritzy clinics provide lousy medical care when you do have an emergency.

Many dream of leaving Santiago, but most jobs are here, and services in other regions are under-financed or nonexistent.

I’m not even going to discuss the sorry state of women’s rights and the violence against women.

Something’s gotta give. We need a sea change in mentality. We need to put paid to savage capitalism, i.e., neoliberalism. The foundations of Chilean society laid down by elites with a social conscience and the ethos of service between the 1920’s and the 1960’s have been well-nigh demolished. The military coup was the start of the darkest period ever seen in this country, and we have yet to see how the light will return.

More Lies about Cuba: The Cuban Dissidents Have Mass Support

Santo Culto writes:

The idea that the dissidents are hated by the people who remained in Cuba, and that you Lindsay, can believe it, shows that many of these ”high Iq’s” seem to have serious problems of perception. Most dissidents have relatives who remained in Cuba. It’s almost like saying that the dissidents were hated in the former East Germany. Are not you ashamed to say such nonsense *

Even though many of Cuban dissidents were hated by (most, many, a lot of) ”Cubans” still would not be proof that Cuba is a good place.

Well, I’ll keep waiting for your answer as the government of Dilma Roussef, the ”presidenta”.

Lindsay, in which social class that fits you **

What you have done for the welfare of beings (human or otherwise) who are in need of help from others ** (if the answer is: ”I am rich” or ”I’m from upper middle class’ )

Speaking of the dissidents in Florida, most Cubans call them “gusanos.” Gusano means worm.  So most Cubans call the Miami exiles dissidents “worms.” They are said to all be working for the CIA to overthrow the system and hand the island back over the US to it can colonize, rape and ruin it again. Most of the big-name dissidents no longer have family in Cuba, and most of the people in Florida with relatives on the island are not hardcore dissidents.

In Cuba, almost everyone complains about the system. But the dissidents in Cuba have almost no support. Cuba had a popular revolution, and most of the people who hated it took off early on. The rest either liked the system or were born and grew up in it, and that’s all they know.

Anyone who studies Cuba at length knows that the dissidents in Cuba have almost no support and the ones in Florida are hated with a passion. Nobody likes them, and nobody wants them. The ones on the island are seen as spies and traitors who work for the US Interest Section, and that is exactly what most of them do.

Sure, a lot of people are not happy with quite a few aspects of the system, and there is quite a bit to complain about. But things have gotten dramatically better in Cuba in the past few years, and there is a lot less to complain about.

Yes people complain a lot and a lot of people want changes in the system. At the same time, almost everyone hates the dissident groups on the island who are seen as traitors who want to turn Cuba over to the hated Americans. And  probably the majority of Cubans are absolutely terrified of free market laissez-faire neoliberal capitalism and want nothing to do with it. They would rather keep the current system and make it work better.

The government probably has majority support now, and all Cubans on the island love Fidel Castro, who is seen as a national hero.

Some Cubans who have important jobs such as physicians are not allowed to leave the island because the state spent so much money educating them. You can’t take all that money from the state to get educated and then just take off for the West. At the very least you should be made to pay back th cost of your education.

There has been an “Orderly Departure Program” in Cuba that enables people to leave the island for many years. But you have to wait in line for six months to get out, and the 20,000 visas for going to the US are filled almost immediately.

Almost all Cubans who want to leave want to go to the US. Nowadays they are almost all economic refugees, and few are fleeing persecution. It is interesting that Cubans only want to go to the US, and almost none of them want to go to any of the “capitalist paradises” in Latin America. A lot also want to go to Spain, but once they get to Spain, life is usually not every good for whatever reason, and most of the Cuban exiles in Spain would just as soon go home.

Those morons who get on flimsy boats to go the US are not doing so because they were not allowed to leave. They are doing so because the 20,000 Visas for the US filled up very quickly, and they still want to go to the US anyway. As there is no legal way to go to the US that year, they have to hop on a raft. Our insane policy says that every Cuban who lands on US shores has to be taken in immediately even though they are obviously illegal immigrants. So they know they will get in if they make it to the shore, there are no more legal slots to get into the US, and they don’t want to go to any of the capitalist paradises in Latin America. That’s why you have all of these morons on rafts.

People say that no one wants to go to Cuba. This is not true. I understand that in recent years, many illegal immigrants from Jamaica and Haiti and have landed in eastern Cuba after sailing on rafts. Cuba took them all in even though they were illegals. 100% of the people who fled the capitalist paradises of Haiti and Jamaica for Cuba say that Cuba is a much better place to live.

Furthermore, name one Latin American country other than Argentina and Costa Rica that has a significant illegal immigrant problem. There are none. There are no capitalist paradises in Latin America that are so groovy that floods of immigrants want to go live in them for an improved life. So maybe few want to move to Cuba, but nobody wants to move to any other country in Latin America for a better life either.

Net Neutrality Is Gone in the EU

Here.

I can’t believe they did this. There is absolutely nothing progressive or leftwing about the EU. Getting rid of Net Neutrality is catastrophic for the people but it’s great for the elites, the Deep States, the rich and the corporations.

You see, in the West, the rich and corporations already have 100% of the MSM because under capitalism, freedom of the press belongs anyone who can own a media outlet. No one else has any freedom of press at all. The rich, the elites, the corporations and the Deep States already have 100% of the media in the West.

The one thing they do not control is the Net, and boy are they mad about that. Because, not to toot my horn, but the Net is a place that even a radial maniac like me who spins a narrative completely opposite to all the poison the rich, the elites, the corporations and the Deep States sell can still get a voice. My site loads as fast as Fox News or CNN.

But without Net Neutrality, the rich, the elites, the corporations and the Deep States would get to put everyone selling views they don’t like in the slow, slow, slow lane because it would be very expensive to get in the fast lane so it would be similar to the cost barriers to entry to the MSM.

So getting rid of Net Neutrality means that the Net would become just like the rest of the Western media shithole – completely controlled by the the rich, the elites, the corporations and the Deep States with 0% outlets for any dissenters from their controlled narrative.

Another problem with getting rid of Net Neutrality is that we may be seeing a lot of lobbying in the near future whereby service providers bribe ISP’s to restrict access to the services provided by competing companies, etc. Revolting, isn’t it?

Interestingly, three countries within the EU – Netherlands, Slovenia and Finland – already have a range of net neutrality rules enshrined in law.

Yes, and all three of these countries will have their Net Neutrality rules overturned by Brussels! The EU overturning countries’ sovereignty again. The EU looks more and more catastrophic by the day. I think the progressive project of the day is to get rid of the EU. If we have to ally with the Right to do so, so be it. Nazis are scumbags, but I would much rather ally with Nazis than pro-corporate, pro-rich supporters of multiculturalism, the Cultural Left Freakshow and radical neoliberalism – the Elite Project Du Jour at Deep State MSM outlets like like the New York Times. You know our elites really suck when Nazis look better in comparison!

A series of amendments to a regulation on how internet traffic is managed in Europe were all rejected by MEP’s.

See how the disgusting BBC spun that? That’s how the Corporate Cancer has been spinning Net Neutrality – by calling it “regulating the Internet.” They have been selling it to people on a fake platform of “don’t regulate the Internet.” But if there’s anything on Earth that’s crying for regulation, it’s the sewer called the Internet. Almost all of the problems of the Net are caused by the fact that it is totally unregulated.

I have never for one second thought that the BBC is a progressive media outlet.