Interesting abstract from Academia. All papers on Academia can be downloaded and reprinted for free. Syriza was the radial left hope for Europe in the wake of the 2008 Depression in which Greece was hit perhaps worst of all. The Right says it was because of Greece’s tax and spend policies, but Greece’s taxes are not high, nor is it’s social democracy particularly robust. The true problem is massive corruption of the political classes at all ends of the spectrum combined with an absolute failure of the wealthy classes to pay as much as one nickel in taxes. In other words, The Latin American Disease (in part) because Latin America suffers from exactly these problems more than anything else.
Syriza had a very powerful voice in opposition to the Austerity Regime demanded by the EU out of Germany (Germany basically runs the EU and lays down the law). There were two ways out of the debt crisis. Either go into crisis austerity and sell off a good portion of their public lands and enterprises, or simply default on their debt and start all over again. Perhaps both would have been equally painful, but I think default would have been best.
As is, a good portion of Greece’s public lands and public enterprises (the health care system, national parks, electric grid, hydropower, a number of actual islands of the country itself) were sold off the lowest of capitalist parasites. Anyone think the national parks, electric grid, health care system, hydropower, and even the very islands of the nation itself will be any better off now that they are in the hands of a lot of greedheads? They’re not. Nothing good ever happens with any of these sell-offs of private enterprises.
Worse, the selling off of the very partrimony of Greece itself was combined with the worst austerity, elimination of health care and all social programs for the masses combined with massive job losses so the masses of unemployed could not count on any state help now that they could not pay their bills. In other words, the Greeks got the worst of both worlds. Austerity and selloff and they gained nothing at all other than emptied pockets and rifled and ransacked goods.
No one could pay for medical care or hospital beds either. Many people were thrown out of their homes because they could not pay the rent and shantytowns of former workers and even middle class people sprung up all over Greece. Some political parties, even the far Right Golden Dawn to their credit, stepped in to try to provide the social help that the state would not.
This was followed by the election of Syriza, which campaigned on not paying the debt and opposing austerity. As soon as they got in power, they quickly changed their tune. I don’t think they sold out so much as they did not have the guts to go through with the program. No doubt there were massive pressures on them to go through the standard austerity model. At any rate, Syriza did not default on its debt like Argentina and Iceland did (to little effect on their economies), and they implemented austerity with full force. They sold out the masses completely.
As they stayed in power, they moved more and more to the right. Now that they are out of power, they have moved even further to the right. There is a new rightwing government called New Democracy in charge about which I know little, except I assume they’re not real great. Syriza is now utterly unable to offer an alternative to ND, while ND has apparently completely failed in the COVID epidemic as most rightwing governments everywhere did, no doubt leaving many corpses in its wake.
We have the standard Latin American model here where the Right (call it the Conservatives in Colombia or ARENA in El Salvador) “the right wing of the oligarchy” is absolutely toxic, but the Left (call it the Liberals in Colombia, the AD and APRA “social democratic” traitors in Venezuela and Peru), etc. are simply the “liberal wing of the oligarchy,” which in practice means virtually no change at all.
AD in Venezuela has combined with the fascist Right to overthrow the Chavistas, backing every coup attempt of various flavors against the government. For all intents and purposes, they’re not much different from Guaido. AD was always just a party to split up the loot from the oil rents from the state oil company amongst the oligarchs and the upper middle class management of the company.
This is very discouraging and it sounds like Thatcher’s TINA (There is No Alternative) response to neoliberalism. Perhaps there is no alternative to neoliberalism and austerity in the EU model, which has always been based on neoliberal orthodoxy. Note that debt cannot exceed 3% of GNP in any given year. That’s far too low an amount of public spending to run a country decently. There was no reason to put that in other than for neoliberal orthodoxy which despises all public spending for whatever rationale they have for doing that, either ideological, war of ideas, or economic.
If the situation in the EU is TINA, then Brexit is the way to go. Greece and a few others have been threatening to do that, but the NATO fascist military alliance (NATO has always been run by the US) is the imperialist glue that holds the EU economic community together. A neoliberal economic community held together by a fascist imperialist army. What else is new? Straight out of Milton Friedman (“Neoliberalism cannot be imposed democratically; it must be imposed by dictatorship”) himself. It is very hard to leave NATO. Notice even the Brits didn’t do that. NATO may be an abusive spouse for many of the nations inside the alliance, but if so, most NATO countries are Stockholmed wives.
I don’t know what to say except that this is yet another sellout of the Left.
For all of their faults, the governments of Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, and Argentina have refused to go this route. At the moment, Peru is also challenging this model. The penalty has been repeated coup attempts in most these countries, economic wars, and sanctions, but at least they didn’t sell out. I still think this sort of resistance is the way to go, painful or not.
Our existences have dignity or they are worthless. The EU model is the death of dignity. At least with the Pink Tide, those nations can hold their heads up amidst the ruins and say
At least we are free. We may be poor but at least we are free.
You know that’s got to be worth something.
Outside of the homeland, there is nothing.
– A famous Baath Party intellectual from Iraq
Whatever beefs I had with Saddam, and I had plenty; Hell, at least he was a nationalist in a time when such patriots are scarce and viewed as traitors to the International Globalist Elite based on multinational corporate rule over the rule of actual states. Governments are increasingly irrelevant now that billionaires and corporations have more money and power than many actual countries.
SISP Conference 2021, Online, 9-11 September 2021
SYRIZA back in opposition (2019-2021): Towards a new political direction?
Postdoctoral researcher, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
SYRIZA’s spectacular rise to power through a radical political proposal and a strong populist discourse has been the field of study of a large number of political scientists in recent years. Alexis Tsipras (Syriza’s leader) in opposition and in power expressed a strong inclusionary populist discourse, placing popular classes at a central position and opposing the political and economic establishment of the country and Europe.
SYRIZA, during its second term began to change its physiognomy, abandoning gradually its radicalism and embracing a typed of “political realism” and consensus, while it began to soften its populist intensity and passion. After the end of its rule (2019), it became clear that SYRIZA’s populism had nothing to do with the populist intensity and passion of the previous years.
SYRIZA (2019-present) continued to maintain some populist slogans and a kind of anti-elitism (e.g. “the many” against “the establishment”), but to a lesser extent.
Furthermore, a huge gap has been created between the party and the popular classes. SYRIZA can’t persuade, mobilize and lead the people against the right-wing government of New Democracy in a period of intense social discontent with the management of the pandemic and the economy by the Greek government and at a time when popular demands for democracy, justice, and labor protection are emerging.
In this presentation, I will present the main characteristics of SYRIZA’s political discourse after its defeat in the 2019 national election, attempting to find if the party continues to express a populist discourse or not through discourse analysis while underlining its new political direction. Furthermore, I will examine the reasons the rapid transformation of the party in a more mainstream and “realistic” direction.
From a discussion I am in on Academia: Instead, so much of what is found out there on the Internet is rhetoric, propaganda & misinformation. And, of course that has fed into the Trump cult and others who seem to have reverted to a kind of feral being that can no longer be reasoned with and/or who cannot engage in a civil conversation.
These people remind me of nothing so much as the Latin American Right, and in fact, the US Right is now very much like the oligarchic Right of Latin America. I can’t think of any other rightwing movements elsewhere in the world that resemble the US Right.
Of course, the Right in Canada, the UK, and Australia are similar but much less virulent.
There is no evidence of this sort of a Right anywhere on the Continent, nor in the former USSR, nor in the Middle East. The ferocious unreasonableness of the US Right resembles the Lebanese Right and Gulf politics, but both are much more sectarian and even bigoted and racist.
It is absent in Central Asia except among Shahis and the Iranian opposition.
It also looks something like the armed Syrian Islamist opposition in terms of its wild irrationality and addiction to lying as a matter of course.
It is absent in South Asia.
It is not present in SE Asia. It is not present in the Philippines or Indonesia, nor does it exist in China, although the anti-Communist Chinese around the Epoch Times resemble the US Right a lot.
Really, the US Right is a fascism of the Latin American oligarchic authoritarian type. It’s all about the money, the loot, and class politics reign supreme.The extreme hatred of liberalism, the Left, social progress of any kind, and even democracy is also typical of the Latin American Right. I hate to use the f word but Trumpism is US fascism, period. Sinclair Lewis said when fascism came to America it would look exactly like this. That was 85 years ago.
Absolutely superb comment from a Hindu Brahmin on a very old post of mine. India and sadly Hinduism is simply antithetical to all Left and progressive values. I suppose Republicans would like them. After all, Republicans believe in rule by aristocracy.
I have long said that there are two philosophies, conservatism and liberalism, or the Right and the Left.
Conservatism or the Right believes in aristocratic rule. Worse – that aristocrats must rule, and there can be no exceptions to this clause. It’s the Divine Right of Kings all over again. Or, the Ancien Regime. Same thing. This thinking didn’t start with Hobbes’ Leviathan and its first opposition was not Locke. The contradiction between rulers and ruled, oppressors and oppressed, exploiters and exploited, rich and poor is as old as civilization itself. Conservatism believes that the Left has no right to rule. None, zero. Why do you think they steal elections and have coups every time the people take power and rule over the rich?
The opposite of conservatism is liberalism or the Left. Although it differs, liberalism believes in democratic rule, rule by the people, not the aristocrats. This is true all the way from US social liberalism to Communism.
India has conservatism and aristocratic rule baked right into its veins. It can literally never be a progressive country until they have a complete Cultural Revolution. And they may need to get rid of Hinduism, as it seems to be beyond reform.
Me being a Hindu Brahmin following extreme Orthodox beliefs, I can answer your question honestly. You may dislike Brahmins, seems we deserve this for the decadent beliefs we have produced in the Subcontinent which has destroyed the entire fabric of the region. Not all Brahmins practice priesthood; only a subsection of them do it.
I can tell you the reason that the Indian is such a hideous creature – Indian society itself operates in a hideous manner, and it’s the root of all filth that exists in India from corruption to hypocritical behavior. Indian culture boils down to religion. I perceive of religion and culture as different things, but most Indians have never had any cultural lineage. Nor do most Indians have any knowledge of any of their religious books. Almost every one of them was bought up watching religious movies portraying religious deities as pious and most godly.
That’s where most Indians get their religious education from. I can guarantee you pretty much 95 percent of them have never read even one Upanishads or Veda in their life. The reason is simple – education is limited to certain classes, and other classes were not simply allowed into Gurukuls.
After independence, the Hindu majority became bed partners with the British and formed their mythical nation of India. This needs to be emphasized: THERE WAS NO INDIA BEFORE 1947. It was a bunch of princely states always at war with each other. India is a British creation. It never existed prior to that. Never in the subcontinent’s history had Hindus had such power; they never controlled such a vast proportion of land that they control today. But they had a problem – most backward castes in India were simply illiterate and were separated by tribe and language – they even had their own tribal Gods.
Since 1947, Hinduism for the first time became the doctrine of the state – previously only Brahmins, Kshatriyas, and Vyshas were considered Hindu. Brahmins secretly believed that they were the only followers of Hinduism and had authority to enforce their dogma onto the other two varnas. But after Independence, they realized that the vast majority of Dalits and backward castes were simply too isolated from their dogma, and in a nation with many tribes, castes, tribal gods, and languages, it became impossible for Hindus to unite all of them under one umbrella.
Thus Hinduism was used as a state doctrine, and the state used its propaganda techniques to brainwash the nation with the Hindu Doctrine. After Independence most Indians were illiterate and had never seen the world outside. Hinduism was never a conquering force; it has always operated in treacherous ways since the Gupta period.
Whenever Hindus stretched themselves, their neighbors disliked them and resisted their ways of governance, so basically Hinduism and Hindus have brainwashed other castes with bullshit such as…“Crossing a river is a deadly sin as per the Upanishads,” which means moving to other lands is a sin, and every religious Hindu and caste must not cross the river and explore the world – most Indians were in a cocoon for almost 2,500 years.
None of them explored other nations, trade was minimal, and India was colonized repeatedly by other conquering forces since ancient Hellenic times.
Even after independence, for 40 years India was a backwards agrarian society mostly following a culture of “honor.” But in early 1990’s, something remarkable happened to India. For the first time the average Indian moved out of his filthy nation and saw the glory of other civilizations. But Indians are living in a paradox; they can’t understand why they are being taught that their culture is supreme since childhood and yet they are such a backward dirty nation. Having seen other great civilizations and their societies, most if not all of them have realized one fundamental thing – that they are the most degenerate people of all.
Now even the state and religious classes have apprehended the reality that other cultures and civilizations have created more productive societies than they have. The ruling class is aware that they have destroyed the nation; they are fully aware that they have fiddled for the past 50 years for some frivolous pride. But they have realized that it’s easy to keep all these different tribes under their control as long as they remain in impoverished and ignorant. Few may make their way out, but for our caste-based society which has lived for past 1,500 years feeding on others like a parasite, it’s hard to swallow the new liberation that young Indians are experiencing.
The Brahmin does not want the Dalit to read. The Brahmin does not want the Shudra to prosper. And this has become encoded in the genetics of the masses here. So it’s essential to create a sense of pride again, pride that must not be oriented towards social ethics but instead must be channeled into useless things which have no logical or rational nature. Like most Indians are proud to be Indians, but no one can even answer in few words what exactly they take “pride” in. Most are proud to be Hindus; they created one shallow story after another to rationalize their pride.
Most Indian schools are distributing Mein Kampf for college kids to create pride.
There is a reason for all these things, and there is a rationale behind the hideousness of the Hindutvas who spout their nonsense across Internet forums. The reasons are inherent insecurity, lack of creative ability, and most importantly, fear. Exactly, fear of colonization. It has happened repeatedly for past 1,500 years. That’s the reason why India is the largest importer of weapons. It will not even hesitate to use weapons on its own people, such the “Tribal adivasis” who are resisting the mining of their lands. India wants to show to the world that they are not insecure, at least outwardly. There must be a bandwagon of pride and chest thumping among Indians.
Most Indians are like beaten-down losers who have lost every game that they played but never learned to do better or tried to practice more. But we have learnt how to corrupt and progress. Now the only thing that matters to most of Hindutva Indians (most of whom are not Brahmins but call center operators who just copy/paste useless Hindu propaganda) is to show to this world that they are something or at least stand that they stand for something. It’s a pride stemming from insecurity, suspicion, a deep-seated inferiority complex, and ignorance. A kind of pride generated by continuous propaganda from movies, books, school curricula, and most importantly, the economic progress that occurred in the last 12-15 years.
This gave us a chance to migrate and look at industrious civilizations in West and apprehend their great cultures and values. But it also exposed Indians’ own filthy morality and hypocrisy. What to do? More propaganda. The recipe? Add Hindu mythology + economic progress + everyday propaganda in movies and soap operas + hatred towards neighboring countries and peoples (Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Muslims in general) + superpower myth articles in every tabloid. This has created the myopic view that most Indians have today.
Most of them don’t know anything they speak about. The clowns on Quora and YouTube are sending low IQ missiles stemming from an ill-seated inferiority complex and a desire to be involved on the world stage which never happens. We expats are fortunate in that we can still send money home to India while residing as long as possible in the progressive West, all the while continuously ridiculing Western women and their degenerate values while secretly fantasizing about the same Western women. This our new way of life. Call it parasitism or degeneracy but most of us have never had any culture, nor most of us have ever dreamt that there exists any place on Earth with equitable social values.
We have lived for the past 1,500 years by backstabbing and cheating each other. We preached hypocrisy and superstition and practiced the same. Our society only cared about personal glory – the more glorious you were, the more Godly you become in our eyes. And the only possible attribute that glorious person could have was the wealth he has amassed, and whether it came via business or cricket games matters not.
Wealth is all it counts in our society. It’s been this way for a very long time, but we don’t say it openly. For many centuries we have preached and practiced duplicity in life, family, relations, business, and love. And the result is before your eyes – a hypocritical duplicitous society which prides itself on morality, virtue, spirituality, and sympathy. But underneath the rug, we all know that we stink, are duplicitous and treacherous, and sometimes excel at nothing other than stabbing each other in the back.
Transformer: Hey Robert, I want to know what is the truth about the French Revolution? Conservatives criticize it for being a Communist, but did they have legitimate concerns? I sometimes read rightwing websites to get a feel of their point of view. I would like your response.
I haven’t read that piece, but I am certain that the fascists at Stormfront think of the French Revolution as the beginning of the Apocalypse. And in a lot of ways, the Revolution is seen as “apocalyptic” in terms of setting the stage for modern politics.
It was absolutely not a Communist revolution, but in a lot of ways, the Modern Western Left was born with Robespierre and all modern Western Leftists are his children. The Modern Western Right sees the French Revolution as their bete noire. It was much more extreme than the American Revolution.
The Left opinion is that it was a good idea until it got bloody and started murdering people like crazy. Then it got bad.
Conservatives starting with Edmund Burke himself have condemned the French Revolution as the ultimate in evil. Burke wrote a famous tract on the French Revolution. It’s considered a classic of conservatism. Burke may be seen as the father of modern conservatism, and all Western, particularly American, conservatives consider themselves the Children of Burke. One of the forefathers of modern fascism, De Maistre, also cut his teeth on tracts condemning the French Revolution.
The conservative movement sees the French Revolution as “when it all started going down hill.”
From the Left, the alternative is to twofold, one either supports (critically) French Revolution or you support the “ancien regime.” Clearly, modern conservatism is all about resurrecting the ancien regime that was overthrown in 1798. And the modern Left in part has been all about overthrowing the various forms of “ancien regime” that exist the world over.
Both the modern Left and Right in the West think of the French Revolution as “when the battle lines of the modern Right and Left were first drawn.”
Do you think churches, private schools should pay property taxes? In Latin America, the Catholic Church probably doesn’t pay property taxes and usually supports the Far right conservatives that you and me greatly despise. I think the Catholic Church plays a big role in upholding the oligarchy land power in Latin America do you agree?
Um I’m not sure to what extent that is true. There’s also a lot of Liberation Theology being preached all over Latin America. Keep that in mind. The Vatican used to look dimly at it, but it’s very common at the parish and lay worker level. In Latin America you have murals of leftwing guerrillas waging battle led by Jesus Christ holding an automatic weapon. The mural will have leftwing slogans written all over it. There is a strain of Liberation Theology that can be seen as “Jesus Christ with a machine gun leading a guerrilla column into a war against the rich.”
The Sandinistas had a lot of church people on their side. One of their leaders was a former priest.
In Colombia, the priests helped the leftwing guerrillas. The ELN guerrillas were founded by Camilo Torres, a priest preaching Liberation Theology, the original “priest with an automatic weapon.” The ELN still has deep roots in the church. A lot of the churches in FARC territory support the FARC.
An Irish priest from the US led a guerrilla column in Honduras in 1983 until he was killed.
Same in El Salvador. The Salvadoran guerrillas had deep roots in the church. Remember when the death squads assassinated the five top priests in the country in 1989 for being “the brains behind the guerillas?” Remember when Bishop Romero was assassinated in 1980 for preaching Liberation Theology? The FMLN Leftist guerrillas in El Salvador were practicing Catholics.
The Chavistas in Venezuela are Catholics and Chavez was a practicing Catholic.
Towards the end of his life, Fidel Castro said he was a “cultural Catholic.” There is a lot of “Catholic Communist” thinking coming out of Cuba these days and now many Communist Party members are believers who attend mass. There were also many “Communist Catholics” in the Czech Republic.
Aristide of Haiti was a priest.
The Leftist leader of Paraguay was a former priest.
In Peru, a lot of priests at the parish level even supported the Shining Path!
Remember Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker newspaper? In the US, the Church has often been quite liberal.
It all depends on the country.
Yes, the church hierarchy traditionally supported the elites in part of a deal to let the elites take power and lay off the church, but this all changed with the advent of Gustavo Gutierrez “Theology of Liberation” published in 1965 advocating “the preferential option of the poor.”
A lot of the militarizes down there back in the 1980’s used to have this attitude of the Church as being a hotbed of Communist subversion.
Catholicism lends itself to both rightwing and leftwing thinking due to the nature of the Church. Church doctrine can be interpreted either towards the Right or Left depending on which type of thinking you wish to emphasize.
Protestantism tends to have a rightwing bias pretty much baked into it.
Not too long now. Arizona, Texas and Florida are going to be firmly Blue in the not too distant future.
Guess what, the fantasy of the Demorats will be in their grasp, total control.
I guess the poster doesn’t like Democrats, but other than that, I’m afraid the poster is correct. If we do get total control as he puts it, I hope we don’t abuse it. We don’t like the Republicans when they act anti-democratic, so we shouldn’t do it either. Two wrongs and all that.
Arizona’s barely blue as it is and heading blue fast. In 10 years, Arizona will be as blue as Virginia.
Texas is barely red (2-3+ red) and teetering on the edge. It is slowly getting more and more blue with time. The thing is, the Republicans lose Texas and it’s all over. They will never win the Presidency again. If all of those electoral votes go blue, there’s no way they can cobble together 270 electors under the present political calculus. It’ll be code blue for the Republican Party. This is why the Republicans in Texas are so frantically trying to seal in a minority rule dictatorship for as long as they can.
And on a national level, that’s what’s with all of the vote suppression, the slowing down of the mail, and ultimately the attempted coup de etat in the capital on January 6. Not to mention that Trump tried everything he could to overturn the results of a democratic election and install himself instead in an electoral coup. That’s why Republicans packed the stolen Supreme Court with ultra-rightwing freaks, so the court could rule in hack rulings to allow a Republican minority rule dictatorship. That’s why they are packing the lower courts with the same.
That’s why the Florida Legislature overturned the amendment passed by the people enfranchising 775,000 felons and enabling them to vote.
That’s why Georgia just passed a law allowing the Republican legislature to throw out any county vote commissions that they want. These are the people who count and certify the votes. If they don’t like the outcome of the democratic vote in some county, they can simply fire the commission and put in their own Republican hacks and overthrow the Democratic win by declaring the Republican the winner even when he lost. That’s why the Republicans are working overtime to gerrymander as many legislative and House of Representatives seats as they can based on the latest census which was fraudulently counted by the Trump Administration.
All of this boils down to righting authoritarian rule or a rightwing dictatorship, basically along the Latin American model. Generally speaking, nowadays rightwing authoritarian regimes or dictatorships are referred to as fascist. Fascism means a rightwing dictatorship in current parlance.
So we see now that the Republican Party is now an openly fascist political party, modeling itself on the rightwing fascist minority rule parties in Latin America.
Back to Arizona and Texas. Both states are being swarmed with Californians. This is what is tipping both states blue. Almost no new conservatives are moving into either state.
Let’s look at Florida again. Florida is the ultimate purple state. Looking at polls, Florida strikes me as a very rightwing state. It doesn’t seem to be getting bluer or redder but if all those felons voted, Florida would be bluer.
An infusion of retiring mostly liberal northerners is balanced out by continuous infusions of rightwing Latin Americans, especially Cubans, Venezuelans, and to a lesser extent Nicaraguans. The continuous Latin Right infusions keep it purple, otherwise it would have gone blue some time ago. Also, the Cubans are moving to the Right, mostly the younger ones. They moved 16 points to the Right under Trump. In addition, the retirees, though they come from the liberal Northeast, may not be as liberal as you think because the type of retiree who moves to Florida is often attracted to the low state taxes, so Northeastern retirees may be more Republican than the ordinary Northeasterner.
Screw the votes. They’re all being stolen now anyway with voting machines since 2003 when voting went digital with Karl Rove and Jack Abramoff’s Help America Vote Act (HAVA). Since 2003, we have seen one bizarre poll failure after another and all of the failures are in one direction – Republican. Both pre-election and the even more accurate exit polls have been going off.
Prior to 2003, pre-election and exit polls had been so accurate that some people were suggesting that we do away with elections and just decide electoral contests on polling numbers. Then suddenly all of the polls started failing all over the country, and they’ve kept failing for 17 years. There’s no way that this is happening by chance, especially with all of the failures only going towards the Republicans. The only conclusion is that Republicans have been engaging in massive electoral fraud since 2003 by stealing elections with voting machines.
I calculated national polls for all 50 states and then plotted them against the 2016 results. The results were stunning. The entire country went 10 points blue from 2016-2020. Even the reddest states like Wyoming and West Virginia went ~10 points blue and of course, so did the bluest states. Some states like Ohio and Florida are reliably purple for decades for whatever reason.
But not even one single state got redder from 2016-2020.
The Republicans will either have to become a rightwing dictatorship and engage in minority rule (apparently that is the goal with all as outlined above) or they will have to move to the left with the rest of the country if they want to be relevant at all. Since 2000, the US electorate has moved on average 5-10 to the left. The only reason this has not shown up in voting is due to election fraud. The Republican Party either have to move left or die.
The problem is that that the Republican Party cannot move to the left. That’s because if Republicans move to the left, they won’t really be Republicans anymore. The Republican Party is one of the most rightwing major parties on Earth. It’s an outlier on a world scale. Most of the world is basically socialist in some way or another or at least social democratic.
Oligarchic political parties that represent the aristocracy instead of the people like the Republican Party are anti-democratic by their very nature because few majorities (other than Americans, oddly enough) anywhere wish to vote for a party that represents the aristocrats instead of the people. Which begs the question of why Americans routinely vote for aristocratic rule and reject democratic rule. Do tens of millions of Americans literally think they are aristocrats? Is that it?
Down in Latin America, once the Left takes over the state, they prove to be so popular with the poor majority that the oligarchic parties of authoritarian Right shrink to ~27% support on average. The Venezuelan and Nicaraguan opposition parties routinely poll ~25-30%.
The Right literally cannot win in places that have tasted socialism like Nicaragua and Venezuela. The only way they win is by cheating, election fraud/rigging, and coups of various kinds – electoral, lockout, economic, legislative, judicial, and military. Or they run as Leftists and then turn hard right the minute they get in like Lenin Moreno in Ecuador.
In other places, people seem to be rejecting aristocratic rule.
A majority in Colombia seems poised to elect a fairly leftwing politician.
A literal Marxist, a Palestinian Chilean, has been leading polls in Chile for some time now.
A Marxist just barely won the Presidency in Peru.
The rightwing coup in Bolivia was overthrown, and the Left won handily again.
Argentina has been electing the leftwing Peronist Fernandez dynasty for some time now. The only way the Right won last time was because rightwing banksters on Wall Street deliberately crashed the economy so the Right got in on the protest vote.
In Paraguay, the last democratic election elected a Leftist, a former priest. He was overthrown in a legislative coup, and it’s been a rightwing dictatorship ever since.
Honduras elected a leftwinger, and a moderate one at that, in its last democratic election. The US immediately sponsored a coup, and it has been a rightwing military dictatorship ever since.
The Left has been winning in various Caribbean islands for some time.
Haiti has been under one form or another of rightwing dictatorship ever since US Special Forces removed President Aristide at gunpoint in a military coup. Aristide’s party, Lavalas, was extremely popular and got 92% of the vote in the last election. The only way the Right has stayed in power since then is by outlawing the Lavalas Party and banning Aristide from returning.
The fascist Bolsonaro is now unpopular, and the moderately leftwing Workers Party is now ahead in the polls. The PT was removed in a judicial coup via lawfare with the help of the US FBI (I knew there was a reason I hated feds). The President and Vice President were literally put in prison on completely fake charges. This is the only Bolsonaro got in. However, Brazil definitely has a significant base for fascism as in Colombia for whatever reason.
Lopez Obrador or AMLO for short won the recent election in Mexico, a country long marred by extreme election fraud. He’s the most leftwing president in some time. However, he has governed from the Center. Nevertheless, the Mexican oligarchy (with deep ties to the Catholic Church) nevertheless has been threatening a coup ever since he took office.
The Right only won in Ecuador last time around because Lenin Moreno banned the leftwing party and exiled its leader, Correa. The government has stated that he will be jailed if he returns. The charges are faked. The Right only won last time around because the election was grossly unfair. There was no actual election fraud in terms of altering the vote, but the campaigning leading up to the election was grotesquely unfair.
Anti-vaxxers 10 years ago were leftwing hippies. Now most of those are apparently getting this COVID vaccine, or they’re quiet about it. But in fact, on the Hard Left, there is a lot of opposition to this COVID vaccine. I’m not sure if it’s as bad as on the Right, but it’s bad.
Normally, conservatives don’t get 1% of a shit about vaccines, God bless their microscopic hearts!
However, this COVID vaccine, like most things in this idiot polarized to death country, has been politicized in a completely asinine way that makes no sense.
The Roots of Conservative Opposition to the COVID Vaccine
Apparently this all has roots in the fact that conservatives don’t care about anything except for money and the economy. The economy = money. The definition of a conservative is someone who values money more than human life. And conservatives always, always kill people for money. Disgusting people!
So conservatives went against this disease itself due to the threat to the economy. They boxed themselves into a corner like morons, but they always do that. Because after the restrictions were all lifted, the only objection came down to vaccines. Conservatives had decided to lie about their motives and frame their pro-economy project as a phony “freedom and individual rights” issue. This is the fake basis on which they opposed all of those mask mandates and lockdowns.
So now all there is left is the vaccine. Normally conservatives would care nothing about any vaccine, but like I said, they backed themselves into a corner. They said there was no such thing as the disease, so they had to say the vaccine would be useless or even harmful. They were already way down the road to saying this whole disease was nonsense, and they could not change horses in the middle of the stream.
And this time they fell back once again on the lie that this all about individual freedoms, which conservatives never care about anyway. Look who packs and jails and prisons with chickenshit crimes? Conservatives!
Conservatives Are Authoritarians, Not Individualists
Conservatives are authoritarians. They actually not individualists! They are the opposite of individualists because individualists would score low on authoritarianism. But they hate government due to their love of money over all else because the state gets in the way of making money. So they are authoritarians who hate democracy and believe in minority rule like their brethren in Latin America while framing their hatred of the state as “individualism.”
Conservatives obey their leaders much more than liberals do. Conservatives are like dogs. Liberals are like cats. Liberals don’t obey. Conservatives do. And whatever nutball idea that comes down the pike and gets labeled conservative dogma, conservative puppies blindly follow it like kids after the Pied Piper. They are incapable of opposing a conservative agenda. If their leaders told them all to walk off a cliff, they would literally do just that. They can’t think for themselves. All they can do is follow the leader.
During the last couple of months, the situation in Palestine has escalated into a generalized uprising against Zionism, colonialism and apartheid. All of Israel’s and the local far-right’s attempts to crush the spirit of the Palestinian people have resulted in a unified mass resistance, for the first time in decades. The following text is a ground level report from an occupied land, discussing the course of the insurrection, as well as the counter-insurgency tactics, and Hamas’ role in the events.
For starters, could we have some info about you? As it would help us to better understand from what position you are talking.
I’m an anarchist based in Haifa, Occupied Palestine, so-called Israel. I live in an historical Palestinian city that faced a massive attack and terrorist aggression by Zionist militias in 1948 aimed at expelling the local indigenous population and colonizing the land. Since then, the Palestinians that remain live under an ethnic supremacist and apartheid system, and the refugees abroad are still aspiring to return. I come from a settler Jewish family, arriving on this land during the ’80s, and once I got the facts straight, I knew which position I should take.
Once again, bad news spread around the world from the Palestinian and Israeli territories. In a few words, what happened there?
We had a rough few months here. Not sure exactly where to start, but it’s good to concentrate on Jerusalem/Al-Quds that, as in many other uprisings, was the trigger. During April, settlers and cops provoked people in East Jerusalem, the Palestinian part of town, especially in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and the Al-Aqsa compound.
In order to get the background you need, know that from the Zionist occupation of 1948 to 1967, East Jerusalem was under the control of Jordan. Some of the neighborhoods were populated by Palestinian refugees escaping the Zionist invasion and Nakba of 1948. Sheikh Jarrah is one of them.
After the occupation of 1967, the Zionist state celebrated the “reunification” of Jerusalem each year, now a national holiday. Meanwhile, Jewish settlers arrived at the neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, much like the rest of the occupied West Bank, with clear plans of colonization and Judaization of the area.
In Sheikh Jarrah, an old Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem, settler organizations engaged in legal battles against local residents in the Israeli apartheid court system in efforts to evict local Palestinians and replace them with Jewish settlers, claiming the property used to be owned by Jews. A few families had already been evicted during 2008, 2009, and 2017, and now, a new court ruling puts an additional eight families under a threat of eviction, which is roughly 500 people. Jewish settlements exist in other neighborhoods in East Jerusalem as well, such as Silwan and Abu Tor.
In the Al-Aqsa compound, one of the holiest places to Islam, Israel placed barriers in Bab Al-‘Amud, one of the entrances to the mosque, in the beginning on the month of Ramadan in an effort to limit the number of worshipers and restrict movement. This act provoked outrage and days of rioting ensued in Bab Al-‘Amud and the main streets in East Jerusalem. The barriers were eventually removed.
Meanwhile, tensions in the city had escalated. Some Palestinian youth posted TikTok videos of them attacking Jews around the city, and Jewish far-right gangs mobilized to attack people suspected of being Arabs in the city center. Lehava, a far-right organization, led a racist ‘Death to Arabs’ march from the city center to Bab Al-‘Amud during the riots and were blocked by police on their way.
On May 10, during “Jerusalem Day”, the national holiday celebrating the occupation of the eastern part of the city in 1967, the annual ‘flag parade’ took place in the city, and right-wing participants were expected to enter the Muslim quarter in the old city and shout racist slurs under police protection as they do every year.
Israeli police invaded the Al-Aqsa mosque, and in the intense riots, dozens of cops and hundreds of protestors were injured. Around 5 pm, Hamas announced that Israel has 1 hour to evict all of its police forces from Sheikh Jarrah and Al-Aqsa compound. As this deadline passed, Hamas launched rockets into Israel, reaching Jerusalem. Israel in response announced a military operation in Gaza, and began to bombard the Gaza Strip with airstrikes in a massacre and destruction that lasted 12 days, until a ceasefire was reached on May 21.
Meanwhile, a generalized uprising took place amongst the Palestinians, including ’48 Palestinians living in the territories occupied in 1948 (i.e., so-called “Israel”), ’67 Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza, and refugee communities abroad. A united insurrection, with days of riots in Palestinian, Israeli, and mixed cities and villages, refugee camps in nearby countries, and Israeli embassies and consulates everywhere. A general strike was also announced on May 18 involving all of the Palestinians for the first time in decades.
What are the important facts or basics we need to know about the history of this conflict? Should we call it a conflict, actually?
It is a conflict as much as an attack by a nuclear superpower with one of the most advanced armies in the world backed by the strongest state on earth against a poor occupied civilian population without an army could be characterized as a “conflict”. This is an aggression, the ‘two sides’ are the oppressor and the oppressed, the colonizer and the colonized.
The asymmetrical nature of the situation is so inherent, it’s completely ridiculous in my opinion that people struggle with ‘complexities’ while entire neighborhoods are being erased in Gaza by Israeli military airstrikes, killing 250 people in less than two weeks while Gazans have primitive rockets, most of them falling in open fields or being neutralized by Iron Dome- Israel’s defense system. The 12 people killed on the Israeli side came from mostly from the lower classes of society – mainly migrant workers and even Palestinians, as was the case in the village of Dahamash, near Ramle.
To really understand the true nature of this ‘conflict’ one must understand the inherently racist and colonialist nature of Zionism. As the Zionist occupation armies invaded this land in 1948, it was rich with culture. In what’s known as the Nakba, literally ‘catastrophe’ in Arabic, entire villages were erased, massacres were committed, and hundreds of thousands of refugees driven away off their land. In the conquest for the Jewish homeland, a massive campaign of ethnic cleansing was committed. The indigenous population abroad in refugee camps in nearby countries and all over the world are still aspiring to return.
Those that managed to stay were subjected to realities of colonialism, racism, and discrimination. Laws such as the Absentee Property Act ruled that land and property of refugees fleeing Zionist aggression is now state property. The newly arrived Jewish immigrants were housed in those empty neighborhoods and towns. Military rule was imposed on the Palestinians who remained in Israel from 1948 to 1966 that imposed land restrictions, caused their expulsion from villages, and subjected them to curfews, detentions, and various other discriminatory actions, all with one aim: to increase the Jewish presence and cleanse the land of Palestinians as much as possible.
After the occupation of 1967, unlike the one of 1948, Israel decided not to annex the West Bank and Gaza Strip to its official territory but to keep it in an unclear ‘temporary status’. Even though the Israeli military control basically every facet of the Palestinians’ life there, they are not Israeli citizens, are under military law, and have no rights. The Jewish settlers living in settlements nearby are full Israeli citizens and are under civilian law. Israeli settlements divide the West Bank into small cantons, and the separation wall since 2003 is another tool of land theft. The wall does not go through the 1967 “Green Line” border, but goes inside villages, in many cases annexing land in favor of nearby Jewish settlements.
Since 2007, the Gaza Strip has been under siege as a tool of collective punishment for Hamas’ rule over the area. Despite Israel’s claim of withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005, it still controls its borders, water, and airspace. Gaza, one of the densest populated areas in the world with a population of over 2 million, has already been bombed numerous times in military operations (massacres) in recent years, leading to thousands of casualties and a deteriorating humanitarian catastrophe.
Israel is the leading front of settler-colonialism currently in the world, one of the ugliest examples of nation building as a way of solving the problems of minorities within the boundaries of the state. There won’t be an end in sight without decolonization, return of the refugees, and a truly shared and equal existence without Zionism and apartheid. The time to start building the basis for such a future is now.
How do the Palestinian people live and/or survive? Is this apartheid taking the scale of an ethnic cleansing or a genocide? What is HAMAS’ role?
Hundreds of people are facing eviction in East Jerusalem. Gaza is in ruins, is still under a siege, and is the largest open prison in the world. Total devastation and human tragedy. 250 were killed during the latest Israeli aggression. Clean water is scarce. Health facilities were damaged, including the only lab in Gaza for testing Covid-19 cases. The pandemic is on the rise. Electricity hours are limited. Tens of thousands are displaced with no home to come back to. Unemployment and poverty are exploding.
Inside so-called Israel, Palestinians are facing an intense state terror campaign, aimed at repressing any dissent and punishing those willing to resist. About 2,000 were arrested so far in the protests this month, with more arrests expected. In the West Bank, settlements and a racist separation wall continues to divide the land into small cantons, annex lands from Palestinian villages, and make life unbearable. The refugees are still unable to return.
Palestine has been experiencing an ongoing, uninterrupted ethnic cleansing campaign since 1948. The Nakba never ended. One settler in the Eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan made it very clear: “We won’t stop until East Jerusalem becomes like West Jerusalem. Jewish. The Palestinians have no place in this vision.”
But despite all of the hardship, people are still resisting. The Palestinians stood fast during the last uprising, proved their unity, and fought the Zionist state bravely, despite all the attempts to divide them and crush their spirit. The revolt proved to be courageous and uncontrollable. None of the youth fighting the police in Palestinian and mixed cities by erecting barricades and defending against fascist invasion were obedient to any party or political faction. The new generation of fighters on the street are immune to the pacification efforts from the regular collaborator’s forces, in the form of political parties, NGOs, and respectable community and religious ‘leaders’.
Hamas’ role in the story is exactly what the “Palestinian leadership” did during every wave of popular uprising: take over the situation and kill the appeal of mass insurrection. Just like the P.L.O. (Palestine Liberation Organization) during the first Intifada, once the militarist militias took over, the ‘professional revolutionaries’, the people became passive spectators of their own ‘liberation’. During the insurrection, the focus turned quickly to rockets launched in Gaza flying over Israeli cities, and the riots and protests largely died out. One can’t help but feel that Hamas interrupted the birth of a popular mass movement in the inner cities of the occupation that wasssssssssssssssssssssssssssss capable of creating real damage.
What about the Israelis? How do they react in this condition? Is there any far-right movement in society? Had Netanyahu the support of the people?
During the last uprising, there was a big far-right anti-Palestinian mobilization with fascist lynch mobs attacking Palestinians. In a now-infamous incident in Bat Yam, racist lynch mobs that tried to reach Jaffa rioted, smashed windows of businesses owned by Arabs, and attacked an Arab driver, all caught on live television. The police were not present. In Haifa, they stormed Palestinian neighborhoods, attacked passengers, damaged cars, threw stones at houses, and shouted racist slurs.
In Lydda, extremist settlers from the West Bank came to the city armed with guns despite the police announcing curfew in the city in the early days of the uprising and shot people, threw stones, set stores on fire, and attacked mosques and cemeteries. In a few cases the police stood by and did nothing. There is even documentation of them throwing stones at Palestinians from police lines. Those pogroms are well documented, but there are significantly more Palestinians arrested than far-right Jewish fascists.
To get into Israeli fascism and the local far-right movement would be quite a lengthy endeavor, let me just say the working class here is generally very right-wing and that Zionism has created a monster I’m not sure it can control. They are allowed to freely attack Palestinians to suppress generalized uprisings but have to disappear and go underground once exposed.
They are the direct consequence of Zionism, and it’s important for me to state that people use the far-right extremists as a way to avoid dealing with mainstream Zionism. It’s easy for liberal Israelis to get disgusted by right-wing assholes shouting death to Arabs in Jerusalem and then support IDF soldiers attacking Gaza during airstrikes, actually putting ‘death to Arabs’ into practice. In a state founded on ethnic cleansing backed by an inherently racist and colonialist ideology, one should not be surprised at the existence of racist pogromists and lynch mobs.
Netanyahu is quite a polarizing figure, but I’ll say he has the support of a huge chunk of Israeli society. But not everyone of course. During last summer, Jerusalem held some very big anti-Netanyahu demonstrations.
The “Anti-Bibi (Netanyahu’s nickname in Israel) Movement” got its momentum after corruption allegations were made public and a police investigation around these allegations is ongoing. Israel is currently in an electoral crisis after 4 elections in the last 2 years, and despite Bibi winning the largest number of votes in all of them, he was time and again unable to form a government due to Israel’s electoral system, and new elections were announced.
In the last elections held in March, Netanyahu once again got the largest number of votes, but again was unable to form a government, and the mandate went to his opponents – the rightwing Naftali Bennet and the centrist Yair Lapid, who would apparently share the government for two years each.
So for now, if things don’t change, it seems as though the anti-Bibi movement reached its goal. But things are not expected to go smoothly. Protests for and against the new government are polarizing the country, and things can go anywhere from here. There are even talks in the media about the possibility of political assassination, as the pro-Bibi camp is very unhappy about the course of events.
What about the persecuted and imprisoned people in so-called Israel? Who are they and what have they tried to do? Are there any movements against the state and the capital?
There was actually quite a long tradition of Israeli Jewish working class communities that calling for an end of the occupation. The Israeli Black Panthers, a group of young Mizrahi Jewish immigrants active in Jerusalem during the 70’s, were critical of Zionism and combined calls for an end to military rule of Palestinians in their demands for economic and social justice. Here in Haifa, there was also a famous Mizrahi revolt in the 50’s in the Wadi Salib neighborhood – by the way, an historical Palestinian neighborhood whose population got evicted during the Nakba.
After a police officer shot and injured a person in a local café, the residents rioted for days, demanding an end to police brutality and discrimination against Mizrahi Jews by the Ashkenazi elite. An end to military rule over the Arabs was one of the demands. There was a time in which solidarity with the Palestinians was part of the radical Mizrahi working class conscience. But this tradition is long gone. The “Mizrahi discourse” today has deteriorated into liberal “identity politics” nonsense, with demands like ‘representation’ of politicians in Parliament, more Mizrahi police officers, and putting the faces of famous Mizrahi people on currency bills.
It’s hard to explain how right wing the Israeli working class is. But people are still revolting.
During the last few years, there were some incidents of police officers shooting and killing Ethiopian Jewish youth. People went out to the streets and rioted all over the country, in many cases connecting it with the Black Lives Matter movement in the so-called US. There weren’t any clear solidarity messages with the Palestinians, but a pretty significant movement against army conscription grew out of the Ethiopian-Jewish protests, under the banner “Our blood is good only for wars”. That’s a big deal in a militaristic state like Israel in which the army is above all.
Also, connections are being made, and it’s hard to predict where social processes will take us. During the anti-Netanyahu protests last summer in Jerusalem, proletariat youth met each other on the street, with Ethiopians, Palestinians, Mizrahi, feminists, environmentalists etc. protesting side by side for the same interests. Despite how liberal the overall demonstrations were, on its far edges, communities that don’t usually get to see each other face to face and are ignorant of their shared interests finally got the chance to do so.
People are now making the connections between the deaths of Ethiopian Jewish youth like Salomon Teka and Yehuda Biagda with the deaths of Palestinians like Iyad Al-Halak and Munis Anabtawi, all of whom were murdered by police. It took a long time for this to happen. But of course I don’t want to paint the picture in more romantic colors than it actually is. It’s too early to discuss any movement that is willing to give up the state and capital amongst Israelis, and I doubt it will happen any time soon. The Palestinian resistance will remain the only truly revolutionary movement in the region.
The conversation about antisemitism and anti-Zionism is starting every time this crisis is arising. Do you accept these terms and if so, what is your opinion on them? Is there anything problematic in the use of these terms? Is the state of Israel using them in its blame-game and, on the other hand, is there such hate from any part of the Palestinians?
Just talked about it with some German comrades lately! I’m going to be completely honest with y’all here: I’m sick and tired of antisemitism being brought up every time the issue of Palestine is being raised. I doubt the honesty and integrity of anyone who, while entire neighborhoods are being erased with airstrikes and people are being evicted from their homes to be replaced by settlers, all he has to say is “Yes, but the Jews”.
We need to really focus right now. People are dying. Ethnic cleansing and colonization campaigns are ongoing. State repression and terror is at an all-time high. Gaza is a Hell on earth and the situation is unbearable. This is a human catastrophe. We don’t have the time to deal with false accusations. Don’t take the bait.
I’m not going to get into how anti-Zionism is different from antisemitism. It’s so old and well known that it’s boring and cliché at this point. Most people already know these things, and many of those who don’t won’t listen anyway. The Left goes around in circles about this because it’s apparently easier to deal with false ‘complexities’ and theoretical debates than to notice what’s happening in front of your eyes. Jewish people have been opposing Zionism since the very beginning, way before the state of Israel existed.
The nation-state form is a project of reinventing the mechanism needed to ‘purify’ and simplify the land of any diversity and complexity until nothing is left but a monolithic state identity. Just notice the language they use – “Israel has the right to defend itself.” States don’t have rights. They only have “rights” insofar as they protect their citizens, and we all know states don’t do that.
I honestly think that Israel is one of the worst things that has happened to Jewish people. It’s an extension of their historical ethnic cleansing from Europe, and a step backwards in many respects. By looking at Netanyahu’s relationship with figures like Trump and Bolsonaro, and the Israeli Right’s warm relationship with its European and American counterparts, you can clearly see that Zionism and antisemitism not only do not oppose each other, they go very well together. They complement each other.
Anyway, as for antisemitism in the solidarity movement, it exists and of course needs to be dealt with. Jewish and Palestinian comrades are aware of it and have been fighting it for decades. The BDS movement for example is strictly against any kind of racism including antisemitism and has been enforcing this policy against any bigots abusing their platform.
People need to gatekeep the solidarity movement against any kind of fascist bullshit like I saw comrades in Germany confronting Turkish fascists infiltrating a pro-Palestinian demonstration. That’s good and needs to happen more. It’s different from simply labeling the whole movement antisemitic. Fascists will take a hold in any platform they feel they can use to propagate their hate, and they infiltrate social movements constantly. It’s our job as antifascists to deny that to them.
As far as the Middle East goes, could we have a “political map” on the converging and conflicting state forces? Some Palestinians, for example, were requesting on social media the help of Pakistan. On the other hand, the state of Israel has the support of the U.S.A. What is your perspective on the world’s response concerning the never-ending violence and massacre in the area?
Geopolitics of course play a big part in inflaming the so-called “conflict”. After the so-called US became a superpower in the 1940’s, and Britain drew its forces out of the Middle East, there was a strong need for a new ‘regional cop’, a Western ally to keep local interests in check. Arab nationalism was a strong force at that time, and a pro-Western power was the logical “security” needed to keep “stability”, meaning American influence and control, over the resources of the region.
Israel impressed the US during the Nakba, with the American military describing it as “the strongest military force in the region after Turkey.” This perception received further confirmation in 1967 after Israel destroyed Nasser’s Egypt and eliminated Arab nationalism as a dominant power in the region.
Even further confirmation came in 1970 when Israel protected Jordan from a Syrian invasion, probably in order to protect oil fields. This tendency grew over the years. Today, Israel receives billions of dollars in military aid from the US annually, more aid than the US gives the entire African continent. To keep a strong Israel is a significant US strategic goal, which is another reason why the US repeatedly vetoes and blocks UN decisions concerning the Palestinians.
The Palestinians, on the other hand, are completely alone and constantly betrayed by their so-called ‘allies’. The Arab countries have long ago abandoned ‘Arab nationalism’ in favor of a neocolonial order of puppet dictators and Western influence.The “Arab Spring” might have given hope for a second, but generally speaking, new dictators replaced the old ones. The latest ‘peace agreement’ between Israel and the UAE shows the lengths neoliberal monarchies in the Middle East will go in normalizing Israel’s presence as long as business and free trade are protected and promoted.
Other state powers are completely opportunistic: The Soviets gave their support during the Cold War whenever it suited their interests. The Palestinians can’t even count on their own “leadership”, as the Palestinian Authority and Hamas are themselves corrupted dictators and opportunistic bureaucracies acting against their own people. The only real ally left is the people on the ground with the international solidarity movement willing to raise its voice and act against modern forms of apartheid, colonialism, and state terror.
Is there any message you want to send to the anarchists and antifascists around the world? How can we all show our solidarity to the Palestinians or the peace and freedom fighters in so-called Israel?
The Palestinians need help and support. They need action and solidarity. Comrades loving freedom from all over the world need to raise their voice for them. Target Israeli interests in your region. Join your local BDS chapter and call for a boycott. Organize direct action. Do anything you can to get the message across. Internationalist revolutionary solidarity is our strongest weapon against state terror and repression. “Comrades” who are silent – your silence is deafening.
Anything about the future?
Fuck “co-existence.” We need co-resistance. We need a joint insurrection of Israelis and Palestinians on the ground and refugees and their supporters abroad against colonialist Zionism and the apartheid regime. We need to create the basis of a new culture, of people capable of creating an autonomy in which people could meet each other on the streets and reinvent living together. We need to share this land as equals, to smash the visible and invisible borders of fear and control, and imagine politics beyond state terror. We need all of this to not be a fantasy but a reality of struggle, courage, and forming brave connections. May we see the day.
You can check the report I wrote to Crime, Inc. concerning the last uprising, in which I dive to some of the topics I mentioned here in details.
Latest Update (End of June): As the last Flag March was interrupted by Hamas rockets, the settlers decided to hold another one. After the riots and the last escalation, there was a big controversy, but the new government held by the new prime minister Naftali Bennet eventually allowed the march to take place on June 15, with thousands of settlers and right-wing activists raiding Jerusalem yelling racist slurs against Arabs and Muslims, all under full police protection as usual.
Numerous shouts of “Death to Arabs,” calls for burning of villages and a second Nakba, and slurs against the Muslim prophet Muhammad were recorded during the march. Small groups of Palestinian resistance on the outskirts of the route of the march were brutally suppressed by riot police. Hamas once again threatened Israel, and in response to the march launched explosive balloons to towns and agricultural fields near the Gaza border, causing fires. Israel in response attacked Gaza once again, this time under the new government, which is obviously the same as the old.
Present demographics in the US means that demographics is not on the side of the Republicans. Whites, the base of the Republican Party, continue to decline every year while the Hispanic population grows.
Even more important than that is a general movement of blue staters to red states and almost no movement in the other direction. Show me one red state that is losing population because it’s people are moving to blue states. There’s no such thing.
There’s more going on than that. Blue states have a far larger population than red states.
Virginia turned blue because Northerners kept moving down there for high paying jobs.
Georgia and North Carolina are on the same track for the same reason, and both may well in fact have gone over. Northeasterners have flooded to the Research Triangle in North Carolina, and Atlanta has been attracting floods of Northeasterners for a long time. The Republicans just stole a Senate seat in North Carolina due to mass election fraud, otherwise the Democrat would have won.
Florida is the only state resisting the trend towards blue due to continuous injections of rightwing Latin American immigrants and their offspring into the state.
New Hampshire has gone blue, probably due to invasion from more liberal NE states.
Pennsylvania is already history for the Republicans the same reason, mostly liberals moving out of the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area into the Philadelphia area.
Ohio and Iowa are on tied, but they have been tied for a long time, or at least Ohio has been.
Ohio swung hard to the right in 2016 or Trump in line with working class Whites voting Republican. But it swung back pretty hard in the other direction in 2020. In the last election, the electorate voted 51% Democrat. It’s only staying red due to massive election fraud and especially gerrymandering at the state Legislature level.
Iowa was a Democratic state that recently went red as part of a trend of working class White states going red, similar to Ohio, which it resembles. As in Ohio though, it swung back hard blue in the 2020 election. I’m convinced Democrats won the Senate seat there in 2020.
Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota are all long gone over to the Democrats despite massive election fraud on the part of Republicans. The legislatures of Michigan and especially Wisconsin remain in Republican hands due to massive gerrymandering by Republicans. In order to Democrats to win 51% of the Legislature, they would have to win 65% of the state vote, a near impossibility. The Republicans have gerrymandered themselves in for life.
Missouri and South Carolina are both trending blue, slowly but surely. Republicans only won by three points in South Carolina last election. I’m not sure why either state is going over unless it’s part of a general trend. Missouri used to be the bellweather state, but it went hard Right with the movement of the White working class in that direction in recent years, so it’s no longer a weathervane state. However, it swung somewhat back towards blue in 2020.
Colorado and New Mexico are solid blue now. In Colorado, this is due to mass influx of Californians to the state. New Mexico’s been fairly blue for some time and has only gotten more so.
Nevada’s pretty much gone for the Republicans for the same reason – Californians moving in. It’s been a traditionally conservative Republican state, but with so many Californians moving into the Reno and especially Las Vegas areas, it seems gone to the Republicans, although it’s still a bit close there.
Arizona appears barely blue now for the same reason – Californians flooding in to Tuscon and especially Phoenix – but it’s very much on the verge, and the legislature is still red, probably due to gerrymandering.
Blue states are getting bluer. I can’t think of one blue state that is becoming less blue.
Beyond that and even more ominous for Republicans is that almost all red states are getting less red with time. The average heavily-red state went a full ten percentage points blue in the last election, from Wyoming to West Virginia to Alabama. That’s terrifying from a Republican point of view.
The future looks ominous indeed for the Republican Party. The only way they can stay in power will be by stealing elections, which they are already good at, or moving to the left, which they almost cannot do because if the Republican Party moves left, it won’t be the Republican Party anymore.
It’s not so much racial demographics as mass movement from blue states to red states and almost zero movement in the other direction.
I’m very hip to Democratic Party internals, as I hang out on a site that is basically the site of the DNC itself or the Democratic Party base. Actually it is both. The site is run by a left DNC guy, and most on the site are the hardcore base on the Democratic Party. That means the left wing of the DNC, which isn’t really Left at all to real Lefties as people like me say AOC and Bernie are too rightwing! I kid you not and most Lefties agree with me. The left wing of the Democratic Party or DNC are now calling themselves “progressives” instead of “liberals,” but we on the real Left still don’t really like them. Progressive and liberals are quite different. Liberal Democrats can be shockingly rightwing. My Dad was a liberal Democrat his whole life and he was terribly rightwing on some things.
The only ones I really like are Ilhan Omar and Cori Bush. The base is a lot more leftwing than the elected officials are. The liberals, progressives, and Lefties in the party are all in on the SJW Cultural Left madness – there’s no compromise there and if you disagree you are a Nazi who needs a punch in the face. In a sense, the normal Democratic Party now is the same as antifa and BLM on cultural issues. Cultural issues are a lost cause. The Left won the culture war. The “conservative Democrats” formerly prominent before the election of JFK, are pretty much history. The modern example of one is Biden!
Same with Republicans. The base is a lot more rightwing than the elected officials, though this changed with Trump, as he was the candidate of the base of the Republican Party. That base is so rightwing that having its candidate President and seeing it up-close terrified quite a few liberal and moderate Republicans (especially Jewish Republicans) so much that they left the party or voted Democrat.
Quite a few Republicans left the party under Trump, and few new ones came in. People think they all went to the Democratic Party, but most went Independent because most Republicans, even Never Trumpers, have a low opinion of the Democrats and an “over my dead body” attitude towards joining the party but not towards voting for them in extreme situations, and Trump was an extreme situation to them.
Very few Democrats supported Trump. 5-10%. Most of the remaining Republicans voted Trump (90%) because everyone who hated him took off. The Independents were the true wild card recently and in recent elections, they trended moderate to conservative Democrat in voting, mostly due to an influx of former Republicans now voting Democrat.
The sad truth to Lefties like me is that most US Presidents end up being somewhere in the liberal Republican to conservative Democrat Center. Both of those categories are extinct – liberal Republicans are nearly extinct (but look at the governors of Vermont, Massachusetts, and Maryland) and conservative Democrats are a memory.
As I have an up front view of the base of the party and the DNC, I can tell you flat out that the left and right wings of the party completely hate each other. The DNC guys had to actually wade in and ban fights between the Bernie Crowd and the Hillary supporters on the site I’m on because they both basically wanted to murder each other. There was a lot more unity during Trump because most wings hated him so much and allied on that basis.
Now there is some rallying around Biden as a “Let’s all put our differences aside and rally round Biden” thing. Also, he is being pulled left by the direction of his own party now, so he’s not so bad as the left wing thought he was. Still, Biden was probably the most rightwing Democrat running in the primary last year. Yeah. This is how conservative Democrats now. You think that’s bad, you should see the liberal and progressive Democrats!
The leftwing base of the party and the DNC itself moved quite a bit left under Trump. Meanwhile the base and RNC moved very much to the right under Trump. So the Democrats are moving left, and the Republicans are moving right. It’s as if you have a rope that is being pulled by strong forces of men at each side in a tug of war. Sooner or later, it splits in the middle, and the people on each side fall down.
Warning: Long, runs to 57 pages. This article is intended at the moment more for the general audience than for specialists, but specialists may also find it of interest. At the moment, it is not properly formatted or edited to be of use for publication in an academic journal, but perhaps it could be published in such a format some day.
For background into what Historical Linguistics is, see this Wikipedia article. Basically it involves determining which languages are related to each other via various means and once that is determined, reconstructing a proto-language that the related languages descended from, along with, hopefully, regular sound correspondences which supposedly proves the relationship once and for all. The argument in Historical Linguistics now is between conservatives or splitters or progressives or lumpers.
Splitters say that the comparative method – described above as reconstructing a proto-language with regular sound correspondences – is necessary in order to prove that two or more languages are related. However, they also say, probably correctly, that this method is not useful beyond ~6,000 years. Any relationships beyond that time frame would not be provable by the comparative method and hence could never be proven. This effectively shuts down all research into long-range older language families.
Some lumpers say that this method is not necessary and instead relationships can be determined by simply looking at the two or more languages, a process called comparison or mass comparison. I point out below that comparison need not be cursory but could mean deep study of languages over 10, 15, or 20 years.
They tend to focus on core vocabulary, numerals, family terms, pronouns, and deictics, in addition to small morphological particles – all things that are rarely borrowed. Once they find a number of these items that resemble one another greater than chance, they say that the two languages are related because chance and borrowing are ruled out.
They say that this is the way to prove language relatedness, not the comparative method. The comparative method instead is used to learn interesting things about language families that have already been discovered via comparison, such as reconstructing proto-languages and finding regular sound correspondences.
Splitters say that comparison or mass comparison is not a valid way of proving that languages are related and that only the comparative method can be used to prove this. However, as noted, they set a 6,000- year time limit on the method needed to prove this, and this walls off a lot of potential knowledge and about ancient and long-range language relationships as unprovable and hence undiscoverable. In a way, they are shutting the door to new scientific discovery beyond a certain time frame by claiming that the method needed to make these discoveries doesn’t work beyond X thousand years.
Other lumpers disagree that the comparative method has a time limit on it and are attempting to use the comparative method to reconstruct ancient long-range language families and find regular sound correspondences between them. Unfortunately, most of their efforts are in vain as splitters are using increasingly strict criteria for proof of language relationship and hence are shooting down most if not all of these efforts being done “in the proper way.”
So they are saying that proof must be done in a certain way, but when people try to play by the rules and use that way to find proof, they keep moving the goalposts and using increasingly strict, petty, and quibbling methods to in general say that the relationship is not proven.
So the say, “You must use this tool for your proof!” And then people play fair and use the tool, and almost always say, “Sorry, you didn’t prove it!” It all feels like a game that is rigged to fail is most if not all cases.
Hence, the current trend of extreme conservatism in Historical Linguistics has set up rules seem to be designed to prevent the discovery of most if not all new language families, in particular long-range families older than 6-8,000 years.
I am quite certain that long-range language families such as Altaic (with either three families or five), Indo-Uralic, Uralic-Yukaghir, Hokan, Penutian, Mosan, Almosan, Japanese-Korean, Gulf, Yuki-Gulf, Elamite-Dravidian, Quechumaran, Austroasiatic-Hmong Mien, Coahuiltecan, North Caucasian, or Na-Dene will never be proven in my lifetime, and that’s not to mention the more extreme proposals such as Eurasiatic, Nostratic, Dene-Caucasian, Austric, and Amerind, although the evidence for the first and last of these is quite powerful.
There are simply too many emotions tied up in any of these proposals. Further, many linguists have spent a good part of their careers arguing against these proposals. It is doubtful that any amount of evidence will cause them to change their minds. Scientists, like any other humans, don’t like to be shown that they’re wrong.
Lyle Campbell, Maryanne Mithun, Mauricio Mixco, Sarah Grey Thomason, Joanna Nichols, William Poser, Peter Daniels, Dell Hymes, Larry Trask, Gerrit Dimmendaal, Donald Ringe, Juha Janhunen, William Bright, and Paul Sidwell are among the leaders of this new conservatism.
At first I was very angry at what these people were doing, especially the most egregious cases such as Campbell. Then I realized that people lie and misrepresent things all day long every single day in my life and that this behavior is fairly normal behavior in humans, especially in a mushy area like this one where hard truths are hard to come by and most stated facts are more properly matters of opinion or could be construed that way.
I realized that they are simply defending a scientific paradigm and that unfortunately, this is the rather underhanded and emotion-ridden environment that defending paradigms tends to produce.
Though to be completely honest, I should not be singling these people out because the current conservatism is simply consensus and acts as the current paradigm on the language relatedness question in Historical Linguistics. The people listed above are at the top of the profession and are often considered the best historical linguists. They write books on historical linguistics. A number are considered to be ultimate authorities on questions of language relatedness. They are simply the leading edge of the current conservative consensus and paradigm in the field.
Although granted, of all of them, Campbell seems to be the most extreme conservative. He is also one of the top historical linguists in the world. Mixco, Mithun, and Poser are about on the same level as Campbell.
Campbell, Mithun, Thomason, and Mixco are Americanists whose conservatism was set off by the publication of Joseph Greenberg’s Language in the Americas (LIA) in 1987.
All of the linguists above are noted for the excellent scholarship.
The conservatives who are denying most if not all new families are are called splitters.They tend to be very angry if not out and out abusive, engaging in bullying, mockery, ridicule, ostracization, and all of the usual techniques used in science against the proposers of a new paradigm.
The people who propose long-range families are called lumpers. Lumpers are heavily disparaged in the field nowadays such that almost no one wants to be known as a lumper or associated with such. However, many other historical linguists seem to be taking a more moderate fence-sitter stance where they are open to questions of new language families, including long-range families.
Among the long-range families that the moderates are open to considering nowadays are Indo-Uralic, Dene-Yenisien, and Austro-Tai. Some of the smaller long-range families in the Americas even have supporters among the most hardline of splitters. I’m even dubious about well-argued proposals such as Dene-Yenisien.
Thomason takes extreme umbrage to the notion that splitters have a bias that will not allow few if any new families to be discovered after Greenberg compared them with Malcolm Guthrie’s objections to Greenberg’s new classification of Bantu. However, after thinking this over for some time now, I now believe that Greenberg is correct. The splitters have their minds made up. They are going to allow few if any new families to be discovered. A few of them have caved a bit.
I also work in mental health, and it’s pretty obvious to me when something is not right about a scientific debate. I’ve been getting that vibe about the splitters versus lumpers debate from the very start. When a debate in science has degenerated into bias, ideology and ideologues, propaganda, politics, and in particular extreme emotion, it gives off a certain intuitive feel about it. This debate has felt this way from Day One. To put it simply, the debate simply doesn’t smell right. I have a feeling that science left the room along time ago here.
One thing I noticed was that people who have worked on one particular language or family for much of their careers are especially angry and aggressive about the notion that their family could possibly be related to anything else. Indeed famous linguists were remarking on this tendency as early as 1901. Among the reasons given was that they had their hands full already without new work to take on and a disinclination to see their language family related to anything else as this would deny its specialness.
Trask is forceful that Basque could not possibly have any outside relatives.
I saw a debate on the Net some years ago with Trask and a Spanish assistant holding court over a debate over the external relations of Basque. Those who argued for external relations were pushing a relationship with the Caucasian languages, which is possible though not proven in my opinion. Trask and his assistant were very angry and aggressive in holding down the fort. Apparently everything was a Spanish borrowing. The debate didn’t smell right at all.
With a background in psychology, I wonder what is going on here. One possibility is as Greenberg suggests and as was suggested back in 1901 – simple narcissism. When one specializes in a language family for a long time, it probably become blurred with the self such that the self and the family become married to each other, and it’s hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. Yourself and the family you’ve spent your career working on become one and same thing. If your family is not related to anything else, it’s special.
We all think we are special. This is the essence of human narcissism. To say that their favorite language has relatives is to deny its specialness almost as if to say that our egos were not real but were instead extensions of other people’s egos. Actually if you read Sartre or study modern particle physics, that’s not a bad theory, but most people bristle at the notion.
I met Korean and Japanese people when I was doing my Masters. Both beamed when they told me that their language had no known relatives. Of course that made it special in their eyes and played right into their ethnocentrism.
Another problem may be the trajectory of one’s career. If one has been arguing forcefully for 30 years that there are no known relations to your family, your reputation is going to take a huge hit if you have to agree that you were wrong all those years.
There is also a politics question.
Another reason is Politics. We are dealing here with a Paradigm. For a good description of a Scientific Paradigm, see Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Kuhn holds that science is by its nature very conservative, some sciences being more conservative than others. A Paradigm is set up when the field reaches a satisfactory consensus that a particular theory is correct. After a while, serious barriers go up to any challenges to overthrow the proven theory.
The challenges are first ignored, then ridiculed (often severely), then attacked (often ferociously) and then, if the challenge is successful, it is accepted (often slowly and grudgingly). Kuhn pointed out that defenders of the old theory are usually so reluctant to see the paradigm overthrown that we often must wait literally until their deaths to finally overthrow the paradigm. They defend it to their deathbeds. I suggest we are dealing with something more than pure empiricism here.
It is quite risky to challenge a paradigm in science. People’s careers have suffered from it. A supporter of Keynesian economics, then challenging the current paradigm in economics, could not get hired at any university in the US during the 1930’s.
In the splitters versus lumpers debate, we have been in the Anger phase for some time now. We seem to be settling out of it, as many are taking a fence-sitting position and arguing for attempts to resolve the debate to make it less heated.
The Paradigm here involves extreme skepticism about any new language families to the point that any new families are simply going to be rejected on all sorts of grounds. Paradigms involve politics at the academic level. When a Paradigm is set up in science, almost all scientists write and do research within the paradigm. Anything outside of the paradigm is derided as pseudoscience or worse.
The problem is that when a Paradigm in in effect, all scholars are supposed to publish within the Paradigm. Publishing outside the paradigm is regarded as evidence that one is a kook, a crank, is practicing pseudoscience, or that one is crazy or a fool. It is instructive in this debate to note that most of the prominent lumpers are independent scholars operating outside of the politics of academia.
I have had them tell me that the only reason they can take the lumper position that they do is because they are independent and don’t have a university job, so there are no repercussions if they are wrong. They told me that if they had a professorship, they would not be able to do this work. They have also told me that they know for a fact that certain splitters might jeopardize their jobs, careers, and especially their funding if they took a lumper position. This was given as one of the reasons for their dogmatic splitterism.
In addition, science works according to fads, or more properly, standard beliefs. The trends for these beliefs are set by the biggest names in the field. The biggest names in Linguistics are all splitters now. They are the trendsetters, especially in whatever specialty of Historical Linguistics you are working in. Everyone else in the field is dutifully following in their footsteps. As an up and coming young scholar, you are supposed to follow the proper trends and hypotheses of your field to uphold the consensus of scholars in your area of specialty. As you can see there is a lot more than simple empiricism going on here.
With my background, I look for psychological motivations anywhere I can find them. And science is no stranger to bias and emotional psychological motivations driving, or usually distorting it. We are human and humans have emotions. Emotion is the enemy of logic. Logic is the basis of empiricism. Hence, emotions are the enemy of science.
Scientists are supposed to remain objective, but alas, they are humans themselves and subject to all of the emotional psychological motivations that the rest of them are. Scientists are supposed to police themselves for bias, but that’s probably hard to do, especially if the bias is rooted in psychological processes or in particular if it is unconscious, as many such processes are.
Campbell’s case is an extreme one, but I believe it is simply motivated by internal psychological process inside of the man himself.
Campbell is driven by psychological complexes. His entire turn towards extreme conservatism in this debate was set off by the huge feud he had with Greenberg, and everything since has flowed from that. He took a very angry position that LIA was completely false and did his best to trash its reputation far and wide. This disparagement is still the order of the day, and Greenberg’s name is as good as mud in the field.
Then Campbell generalized his extreme splitterist reaction to LIA out to all of the language families in the world because if he allowed any new families elsewhere in the world, he might have to allow them in the Americas, and he could not countenance that. Note also that Campbell has gone out of his way to specifically attack Greenberg’s four-family split in his proposal for language families in Africa.
This proposal, done with Greenberg’s derided method of mass comparison, has had a successful result in Africa and has been proven with the test of time. Campbell cannot allow this because if he admits that Greenberg was right in Africa, he might have to accept that he might be right in the Americas too, and that’s beyond the pale. So in his recent works he has specifically set out to state that Afroasiatic, Nilo-Saharan, Niger-Kordofanian, and Khoisan – the four families of Greenberg’s classification – have not been proven to exist yet. The truth is exactly the opposite, but the psychological process here is bald and naked for all to see.
Here he specifically trashes these language families because they were discovered by Joseph Greenberg, Campbell’s bete noir. Campbell’s agenda is to show the Greenberg is a preposterous kook and crank, although he was one of the greatest linguists of the 20th century. Greenberg’s African work is regarded as true, and this poses a problem if Campbell is to characterize Greenberg as a charlatan.
If Greenberg was right about one thing, could he not be right about another? In order to lay the foundation for the theory that Greenberg’s method doesn’t work and that it cannot discover any language relationships, Campbell will have to deny the method ever had any successes. So he sets about to deny that Greenberg’s four African families are proven.
Splitters have come up with a repertoire of reasons to shoot down proposed language relations and most are pretty poor.
They rely on overuse of the borrowing, chance, sound symbolism, nursery word, and onomatopoeia explanations for non-relatedness. There is also an overuse of the comparative method with excessively strict standards being set up for etymologies and sound correspondences. In a number of cases, linguists are going back to the etymologies of their proto-languages and reducing them by up to half.
In the last 20 years, Uralicists have gone back over the original Proto-Uralic etymologies and gotten rid of fully half of them (from 2,000 down to 1,000) on a variety of very poor reasons, mostly irregular sound correspondences. It appears to me that while there were some obvious bad etymologies in there, most of the ones that were thrown out were perfectly good.
Irregular sound correspondences is a bad reason to throw out an etymology. Keep in mind that 50% of Indo-European etymologies have irregular correspondences. By the logic of Uralicists we should throw out half of IE etymologies then. If Campbell finds any irregular sound correspondences in any new proposal, he automatically rejects it on those grounds alone. What the Uralicists have done is vandalism.
This is not just conservatism. It is out and out Reaction. Worse, it is nearly a Conservative Revolution, which I won’t define further. It is akin to a city council declaring that all of the old, beautiful buildings in the city are going to be torn down because they were not constructed properly. Will they be rebuilt? Well, of course not. Most of the top Uralicists are involved in this silly and destructive project.
In a recent paper, George Starostin warned that the splitters were not just conservatives determined to stop all progress. He pointed out that there was actually a trend towards rejection and going backwards in time to dismantle families that have already set up on the grounds that they were not done perfectly enough. As we can see, his warning was prescient.
There are statements being made by moderates that both sides, the splitters and the lumpers, are being equally unreasonable. As one linguist said, the debate is between lazy lumpers (Just believe us, don’t demand that we prove it!) and angry splitters (Not only is this new family false, but all new families proposed from now on will also be shot down!). He suggested that they are both wrong and that the solution lies in a point in the middle. I don’t have a problem with this moderate centrist belief
The splitter notion itself rests on an obvious falsehood, that there are hundreds of language families in the world that have no possible relationship with each other.
According to Campbell, there are 160 language families and isolates in the Americas. The question is where did all of these entities come from. Keep in mind, in Linguistics, the standard view is that these 160 entities are not related to each other in any way, shape, or form. Thinking back, this means that language would have had to have developed in humans 160 times among the Amerindians alone.
The truth is that there was no polygenesis of language.
Sit back and think for a moment. How could language possibly have been independently developed more than one time? Obviously it arose in one group. How could it have arose in other groups too? It couldn’t and it didn’t. Did some of the original speakers go deaf, become mutes, forget all their language, and then have children, raising them without language, in which case the children devised language for themselves?
Children need comprehensible input to develop language. No language to hear in the environment, no language for the children to acquire on their own. With coclear implants, formerly deaf people are now able to hear for the first time. A woman got hers at age 32. Since she missed the Critical Period for language development, the window of which closes at age 8, she has not, even at this late date, been able to acquire language satisfactorily. She missed the boat. No input, no language.
Obviously language arose only once among humans. It had to. And hence, all human languages are related to each other de facto whether we can “prove” it by out fancy methods or not. In other words, all human languages are related. Those 160 language families and isolates in the Americas? All related. Now we may not be able to prove which languages they are related to specifically and most closely, but we know they are all related to each other.
In the physical sciences, including Evolutionary Psychology, many things are simply assumed because the alternate theories could not have happened. But we have no evidence of much of anything in Evolutionary Psychology or Evolutionary Anthropology. We know our ancestors lived in X place at Y times, but we have no idea what they were doing there. We can’t go back in time to prove that this or that happened.
Using the logic of linguists, since we cannot make time machines to go back in time and make theories about Evolutionary Anthropology and Evolutionary Psychology of these peoples, we can make no statements about this matter, as the only way to prove it would be to see it. In physics, there are particles that we have never seen. We have simply posited their existence because according to our theories, they have to exist. According to linguists, we could not posit the discovery of these particles unless we see it.
Contrary to popular rumor, everything in science does not have to be “proven” by this or that rigorous method. Many things are simply posited, as no real evidence for their existence exists, either because we were not there or because we can’t see them, or in the case of pure physics, we can’t even test out our theories. They exist simply because they have to according to our existing theories, and all competing theories fall down flat.
Well, the Americanists beg to disagree. Greenberg’s theory was so extreme and radical that the entire field erupted in outrage. None of their alternate theories, not even one of them, make the slightest bit of sense.
Despite the fact that these languages are obviously related to each other, in order to “officially prove it” we have to use a method called the comparative method whereby proto-languages and families are reconstructed and regular sound correspondences are shown between the languages being studied.
This is the only way that we can prove one language is related to another. That’s simply absurd for a few reasons.
First of all, I concur with Joanna Nichols that the comparative method does not really work on language families older than 6-8,000 years. Beyond that time, so many sound changes have taken place, semantics have been distorted, and terms fallen out of use that there’s not much of anything left to reconstruct. Furthermore, time has washed away any evidence of sound correspondences.
Although Nichols is a splitter, I have to commend her. First, she’s right above.
Second, realizing this, she says that the comparative method will always fail beyond this time frame. I believe she thinks then that we need to use new methods if we are to prove that long-range families exist. The method she suggests is “individual-identifying evidence,” which seems to be another way of saying odd morpheme paradigms that were probably not borrowed and are hardly existent outside of that family.
This harkens back to Edward Sapir’s “submerged features,” where he says we can prove the existence of language families by these small morphemic resemblances alone.
The rest of the field remain sticks in the mud. They say that we must use the comparative method to discover that languages are related because no other method exists. The problem is that as noted, as splitters themselves note, if the comparative method fails beyond 6,000 years back, all attempts to prove language families that old or older are bound to fail.
The splitters seem positively gleeful that according to their paradigm, few if any new language families will be discovered. This delight in nihilism seems odd and disturbing. What sort of science is gleeful that no new knowledge will be found? Even in the even that this is true, it’s depressing. Why get excited about something so negative?
Many language families in the world were discovered by Greenberg’s “mass comparison” or simply comparing one language to another, which should be called “comparison.” And in fact, many of the smaller language families in the world are still being posited by the means of comparison or mass comparison. Comparison need not be the broad, sweeping, forest for the trees, holistic method Greenberg employs. I argue that it means lining up languages and looking for common features. We could be lining up one language against another and that would also be “comparison.”
It need not be a shallow examination. One could examine a possible language for five, ten, fifteen, or twenty years.
After studying a pair or group of languages for some time, if one finds a group of core vocabulary items that resemble one another and are above the rate found by chance (7%), and after which borrowing has been ruled out (core vocabulary is rarely borrowed), then you have proof positive of a language family.
I fail to understand why examining a language or group of languages for a long period of time to find resemblances and try to rule out chance or borrowings is a ridiculous method. What’s so ridiculous about that? Sure, it’s nice to reconstruct and get nice sound correspondences going, but it’s not always necessary, especially in long-range comparisons when such methods are doomed to failure.
One more thing: if splitters say that the comparative method fails beyond 6,000 years, why do they keep putting long-range families to the test using the comparative method? After all, the result will always come up negative, right? What’s the point of doing a study you know will come up negative? Just to get your punches in?
There are a number of folks who have bought into the splitters’ arguments and are trying to discover long-range families by the comparative method of reconstructing the proto-language and finding regular sound correspondences between them. A number of them claim to have been successful. There have been attempts to reconstruct proto-languages and find regular sound correspondences with Altaic, Nostratic, Dene-Caucasian, Dene-Yenisien, Austro-Tai, Totonozoquean, and Uralo-Yukaghir.
Altaic, Nostratic, and Dene-Caucasian all have proto-languages reconstructed with good sound correspondences running through them. Altaic and Nostratic have etymological dictionaries containing many words, 2,300 proto-forms in the case of Altaic in a 1,000 page volume. Further, a considerable Nostratic proto-language was reconstructed by Dogopolsky and Illich-Svitych.
All of these efforts claim that they have proven their hypotheses. However, the splitters such as Campbell have rejected all of them. So you see, even when people follow the mandated method and play it by the book the way they are supposed to, the splitters will nearly always say that the efforts come up short. It’s a rigged game.
How about another question? If the comparative method fails is doomed beyond 6,000 years, why don’t we use another method to discover these relationships? The splitter rejoinder is that there is no other method. It’s the comparative method or nothing. But how do they know this? Can they prove that other methods can never be used to successfully discover a language relationship?
The following quotes are from a textbook or general text on Historical Linguistics by Lyle Campbell and Mario Mixco, A Glossary of Historical Linguistics. The purpose of this paper will be misrepresented as critics who will say that I am a lumper who is saying criticizing splitters for their opposition to known language families.
There is some of that here, but more than lumper propaganda, what I am trying to do here more than anything else is to show how Campbell and Mixco have been untruthful about linguistic specialist consensus regarding these families. In most cases, they are openly misrepresenting the state of consensus in the field.
As will be shown, Campbell and Mixco repeatedly seriously distort the state of consensus regarding many language families, particularly long-range ones. They usually favor a more negative and conservative view, saying that a family has little support when it has significant support and saying it is controversial when the consensus in the field is that the family is real. Campbell and Mixco engage in serious distortions of fact all through this text:
Campbell and Mixco:
Afroasiatic: Enjoys wide support among linguists, but it is not uncontroversial, especially with regard to which of the groups assumed to be genetically related to one another are to be considered true members of the phylum.
There is disagreement concerning Cushitic, and Omotic (formerly called Sidama or West Cushitic) is disputed; the great linguistic diversity within Omotic makes it a questionable entity for some. Chadic is held to be uncertain by others. Typological and areal problems contribute to these doubts. For example, some treat Cushitic and Omotic together as a linguistic area (Sprachbund) of seven families within Afroasiatic.
Campbell and Mixco are wrong. Afroasiatic is not controversial at all. There is widespread consensus that the family exists and that all of the subfamilies are correct.
The “we can’t reconstruct the numerals” argument is much in evidence here too. See the Altaic debate below for more on this. One argument against Altaic is “We can’t reconstruct the numerals.” However, Afroasiatic is a recognized family and not only has reconstruction itself proved difficult, but the numerals in particular are a gigantic mess. It seems that one does not need to have a fully reconstructed numeral set after all to have a proven language family.
There is consensus that Cushitic is a valid entity. Granted, there has been some question about Omotic, but in the last 10-15 years, consensus has settled on an agreement that Omotic is part of Afroasiatic.
The great diversity of Omotic is no surprise. Omotic is probably 13,000 years old! It’s amazing that there’s anything left at all after all that time.
Where do we get the idea that a language family cannot possibly be highly diverse? Chadic is also uncontroversial by consensus. I am not aware of any serious proposals to see Cushitic and Omotic as an Altaic-like Sprachbund of mass borrowings. Campbell and Mixco’s comments above are simply not correct. The only people questioning the validity of Afroasiatic or any of its components are Campbell and Mixco, and they are not an experts on the family.
Campbell and Mixco:
Berber is usually believed to be one of the branches of Afroasiatic.
This is far too pessimistic. Berber is recognized by consensus as being one of the branches of Afroasiatic.
Campbell and Mixco:
Niger-Kordofanian (now often just called Niger-Congo): A hypothesis of distant genetic relationship proposed by Joseph H. Greenberg in his classification of African languages. Estimated counts of Niger-Kordofanian languages vary from around 900 to 1,500 languages. Greenberg grouped ‘West Sudanic’ and Bantu into a single large family, which he called Niger-Congo, after the two major rivers, the Niger and the Congo ‘in whose basins these languages predominate’ (Greenberg 1963: 7).
This included the subfamilies already recognized earlier: (1) West Atlantic (to which Greenberg joined Fulani, in a Serer-Wolof-Fulani [Fulfulde] group), (2) Mande (Mandingo) (thirty-five to forty languages), (3) Gur (or Voltaic), (4) Kwa (with Togo Remnant) and (5) Benue-Congo (Benue-Cross), with the addition of (6) Adamawa-Eastern, which had not previously been classified with these languages and whose classification remains controversial.
For Greenberg, Bantu was but a subgroup of Benue-Congo, not a separate subfamily on its own. In 1963 he joined Niger-Congo and the ‘Kordofanian’ languages into a larger postulated phylum, which he called Niger-Kordofanian.
Niger-Kordofanian has numerous supporters but is not well established; the classification of several of the language groups Greenberg assigned to Niger-Kordofanian is rejected or revised, though most scholars accept some form of Niger-Congo as a valid grouping.
As Nurse (1997: 368) points out, it is on the basis of general similarities and the noun-class system that most scholars have accepted Niger-Congo, but ‘the fact remains that no one has yet attempted a rigorous demonstration of the genetic unity of Niger-Congo by means of the Comparative Method.’
There is consensus among scholars that Niger-Kordofanian is a real thing.
Campbell and Mixco:
Nilo-Saharan: One of Greenberg’s four large phyla in his classification of African languages. In dismantling the inaccurate and racially biased ‘Hamitic,’ of which Nilo-Hamitic was held to be part, Greenberg demonstrated the inadequacy of those former classifications and argued for the connection between Nilotic and Eastern Sudanic.
He noted that ‘the Nilotic languages seem to be predominantly isolating, tend to monosyllabism, and employ tonal distinctions’ (Greenberg 1963: 92). To the extent that this classification is based on commonplace shared typology and perhaps areally diffused traits, it does not have a firm foundation. Nilo-Saharan is disputed, and many are not convinced of the proposed genetic relationships. It is generally seen as Greenberg’s wastebasket phylum, into which he placed all the otherwise unaffiliated languages of Africa.
First of all, Nilo-Saharan is not classified based on its language typology which were perhaps areally diffused. There is also a great deal of the more typical evidence in favor of this language family. Second, it is not true that it lacks a firm foundation and that many are not convinced of its reality. The consensus among experts is that this family exists and the overwhelming majority of the subfamilies and isolates Greenberg put it in are correct.
Saying that it is a wastebasket phylum does not make sense because the Nilo-Saharan languages are only found in a certain part of Africa. If it was truly such a phylum, there would be languages from all over Africa placed in this family.
According to Roger Bench, a moderate, there is now consensus in the last 10-15 years that Nilo-Saharan is a real thing.
Consensus has formed that 75% of the languages and families Greenberg put in Nilo-Saharan form a valid family. Controversy remains about the other 25% including Songhay, the Gumhuz family, and a few isolates. Some say these are part of Nilo-Saharan but others say they are not. Nilo-Saharan probably has a great time depth of ~13,000 years at least, such that little probably remains to reconstruct. Reconstruction of Nilo-Saharan has proved difficult.
Yes, Campbell and Mixco say that Nilo-Saharan is not real, but they are not specialists.
Campbell and Mixco:
Khoisan: A proposed distant genetic relationship associated with Greenberg’s (1963) classification of African languages, which holds some thirty non-Bantu click languages of southern and eastern Africa to be genetically related to one another. Greenberg originally called his Khoisan grouping ‘the Click Languages’ but later changed this to a name based on a created compound of the Hottentots’ name for themselves, Khoi, and their name for the Bushmen, San.
Khoisan is the least accepted of Greenberg’s four African phyla. Several scholars agree in using the term ‘Khoisan’ not to reflect a genetic relationship among the languages but, rather, as a cover term for all the non-Bantu and non-Cushitic click languages.
Although it is probably true that Khoisan is the least accepted of Greenberg’s families, that’s not saying much, as it only means that 80% of experts accept its reality instead of 100%. I do not know who these several scholars are who feel that Khoisan is a typological area for click languages, but they do not seem to be specialists. Overall, Campbell and Mixco seriously distort consensus on Khoisan in this passage.
According to George Starostin, in the last 5-10 years, there is now consensus that Khoisan exists. There are five major Khoisan scholars, and four of them agree that Khoisan is real, with all of them including Sandawe and most including Hadza. There is one, Traill, who says it’s not real, but he is also a notorious Africanist splitter.
Campbell and Mixco:
Eurasiatic: Greenberg’s hypothesis of a distant genetic relationship that would group Indo-European, Uralic–Yukaghir, Altaic, Korean–Japanese–Ainu, Nivkh, Chukotian and Eskimo–Aleut as members of a very large ‘linguistic stock’. While there is considerable overlap in the putative members of Eurasiatic and Nostratic there are also significant differences. Eurasiatic has been sharply criticized and is largely rejected by specialists.
I have no doubt that Eurasiatic has been sharply criticized, but apart from a negative review in Language by Peter Daniels, the controversy seems quite muted compared to the furor over Amerind. I am also not sure that it is largely rejected by specialists. It probably is, but most of them have not even bothered to comment on it. I believe that this family is one of the best long-range proposals out there.
Based on the data from the pronouns alone, it’s obviously a real entity, though I would include Indo-European, Uralic-Yukaghir, Altaic including Japanese and Korean, Chukotian, and Eskimo-Aleut, leaving out Nivki for the time being and certainly leaving out Ainu. Nivki does seem to be a Eurasiatic language but it’s not a separate node. Instead it may be a part of the Chukotian family. Or even better yet, it seems to be part of a family connected to the New World via the Almosan family in the Americas.
I feel that Eurasiatic is a much more solid entity than Nostratic. Not that I am against Nostratic, but it’s more that Eurasiatic is a simple hypothesis to prove and with Nostratic, I’m much less sure of that. On the other hand, to the extent that Nostratic overlaps with Eurasiatic, it is surely correct.
Campbell and Mixco:
Indo-Anatolian: The hypothesis, associated with Edgar Sturtevant, that Hittite (or better said, the Anatolian languages, of which Hittite is the best known member) was the earliest Indo-European language to split off from the others. That is, this hypothesis would have Anatolian and Indo-European as sisters, two branches of a Proto-Indo-Hittite.
The more accepted view is that Anatolian is just one subgroup of Indo-European, albeit perhaps the first to have branched off, hence not ‘Indo-Hittite’ but just ‘Indo-European’ with Anatolian as one of its branches. In fact the two views differ very little in substance, since, in either case, Anatolian ends up being a subfamily distinct from the other branches and in the view of many the first to branch off the family.
The view that Anatolian is just another subgroup of IE is not the more accepted view. In fact, it has been rejected by specialists. Indo-Europeanists have told me that Indo-Anatolian is now the consensus among Indo-Europeanists, so Campbell and Mixco’s statement that Indo-Anatolian is a minority view is false.
Campbell and Mixco:
Nostratic (< Latin nostra ‘our’): A proposed distant genetic relationship that, as formulated in the 1960s by Illich-Svitych, would group Indo-European, Uralic, Altaic, Kartvelian, Dravidian and Hamito-Semitic (later Afroasiatic), though other versions of the hypothesis would include various other languages. Nostratic has a number of supporters, mostly associated with the Moscow school of Nostratic, though a majority of historical linguists do not accept the claims.
There are many problems with the evidence presented on behalf of the Nostratic hypothesis. In several instances the proposed reconstructions do not comply with typological expectations; numerous proposed cognates are lax in semantic associations, involve onomatopoeia, are forms too short to deny chance, include nursery forms and do not follow the sound correspondences formulated by supporters of Nostratic.
A large number of the putative cognate sets are considered problematic or doubtful even by its adherents. More than one-third of the sets are represented in only two of the putative Nostratic branches, though by its founder’s criteria, acceptable cases need to appear in at least three of the Nostratic language families. Numerous sets appear to involve borrowing. (See Campbell 1998, 1999.) It is for reasons of this sort that most historical linguists reject Nostratic.
It is probably correct that consensus among specialists is to reject Nostratic, but serious papers taking apart of the proposal seem to be lacking. Nevertheless, most dismiss it and it is beginning to enter into the emotionally charged terrain of Altaic and Amerind, particularly the former, and belief in it is becoming a thing of ridicule as it is for Altaic. Nevertheless, there have been a few excellent linguists doing work on this very long-range family for decades now.
Campbell and Mixco:
Indo-Uralic: The hypothesis that the Indo-European and Uralic language families are genetically related to one another. While there is some suggestive evidence for the hypothesis, it has not yet been possible to confirm the proposed relationship.
This summary seems too negative. Indo-Uralic is probably one of the most promising long-range proposals out there. I regard the relationship between the two as obvious, but to me it is only a smaller part of the larger Eurasiatic family. Frederick Kortland has done a lot of good work on this idea. Even some hardline splitters are open to this hypothesis.
Campbell and Mixco:
Altaic: While ‘Altaic’ is repeated in encyclopedias and handbooks most specialists in these languages no longer believe that the three traditional supposed Altaic groups, Turkic, Mongolian and Tungusic, are related. In spite of this, Altaic does have a few dedicated followers.
The most serious problems for the Altaic proposal are the extensive lexical borrowing across inner Asia and among the ‘Altaic’ languages, lack of significant numbers of convincing cognates, extensive areal diffusion and typologically commonplace traits presented as evidence of relationship.
The shared ‘Altaic’ traits typically cited include vowel harmony, relatively simple phoneme inventories, agglutination, their exclusively suffixing nature, (S)OV ([Subject]-Object-Verb) word order and the fact that their non-main clauses are mostly non-finite (participial) constructions.
These shared features are not only commonplace typological traits that occur with frequency in unrelated languages of the world and therefore could easily have developed independently, but they are also areal traits shared by a number of languages in surrounding regions the structural properties of which were not well-known when the hypothesis was first framed.
This one is still up in the air, but Campbell and Mixco are lying when they say that idea has been abandoned. Most US linguists regard it as a laughingstock, and if you say you believe in it you will experience intense bullying and taunting from them. Oddly enough, outside the US, in Europe in particular, Altaic is regarded as obviously true. However, notorious anti-Altaicist Alexander Vovin has camped out in Paris and is now spreading his nihilistic doctrine to Europeans there.
The problem is that almost all of the US linguists who will laugh in your face and call you an idiot if you believe in Altaic are not specialists in the language. However, I did a study of Altaic specialists, and 73% of them believe in some form of Altaic.
So the anti-Altaicists are pushing a massive lie – that critical consensus has completely abandoned Altaic and regards as a laughingstock, but their project is more Politics and Propaganda than Science. In particular, it’s a fad. So Altaic is in the preposterous position where almost all of the people who know nothing about it will laugh in your face and call you an idiot if you believe in it and the overwhelming majority of specialists will say it’s real.
Altaic must be the only nonexistent family that has an incredibly elaborate 1,000 page etymological dictionary, full reconstructions of the proto-languages, etymologies of over 2,000 Altaic terms, and elaborate sound correspondences running through it. The anti-Altaicists use the silly “we can’t reconstruct the numerals so it’s not real” line here.
Altaic is obviously true based on 1-2 person pronoun paradigms at an absolute minimum. The anti-Altaic argument of course, is preposterous. As noted, they dismiss a vast 1,000 page Etymological Dictionary with 2,300 reconstructed etymologies as a hallucinated work.
There are vast parallels in all three families at all levels, in particular in the Mongolic-Tungusic family, which gets a 100% with computer programs. The go-to argument here has always been that these changes are all due to borrowings, but for this to have occurred, borrowing would have had to occur between large far removed language families on such a vast scale the likes of which has never been seen anywhere on Earth.
The argument that entire 1-2 pronoun paradigms have been borrowed is particularly preposterous because 1-2 pronouns are almost never borrowed anyway, and there has never been a single case of on Earth of the borrowing of a 1-2 person pronoun paradigm, much less the borrowing of one at the proto-language level. So the anti-Altaicists are arguing that something that has never happened anywhere on Earth not only happened, but happened more than once among different proto-languages. So the anti-Altaic argument is that something that could not possibly have happened actually occurred.
This is the conclusion of every paper the splitters write. Something that has never occurred on Earth and probably could not possibly happen not only occurred, but occurred many times around the globe for thousands of years.
Many regard including Japonic and Koreanic in Altaic as dubious, although having looked over the data, I am certain that they are part of Altaic. But they seem to be further away from the traditional tripartite system than the traditional three families are to each other. If we follow the theory that Japanese and Korean have been split from Proto-Altaic for 8,000 years, this starts to make a lot more sense.
The ridiculous massive borrowings argument specifically fails for geographical reasons. Proto-Turkic was never next door to Proto-Mongolic and Proto-Tungusic. The Proto-Altaic homeland is in the Khingan Mountains in Western Manchuria and Eastern Mongolia. Tungusic split off from Altaic 5,300 years ago, leaving Proto-Turkic-Mongolic in Khingans. 3,400 years ago, Proto-Turkic broke from Proto-Turkic-Mongolic and headed west to Northern Kazakhstan and the southern part of the Western Siberian Plain, leaving Mongolic alone in the Khingans.
Proto-Transeurasian – Khingans 9,000 YBP
Proto-Korean – Liaojiang on the north shore of the Bohai Sea 8,000 YBP.
Proto-Japanese – Northern coast of the Shandong Peninsula on the southern shore of the Bohai Sea 8,000 YBP
Can someone explain to me how Mongolic and Tungusic borrow from Turkic 3,000 miles away in a different place at a different time in this scenario? Can someone explain to me how any of these proto-languages borrowed from each other at all, especially as they were in different places at different times?
Not only that but supposedly both Proto-Mongolic and Proto-Tungusic each borrowed from Proto-Turkic separately. These borrowings included massive amounts of core vocabulary in addition to an entire 1st and 2nd person pronoun paradigm.
Keep in mind that the borrowing of this paradigm, something that has never happened anywhere, supposedly occurred not just once but twice, between Proto-Tungusic 5,300 YBP on the Amur from Proto-Turkic in North Kazakhstan 3,000 miles away 2,000 later, and at the same time, between Proto-Mongolic in the Khingans and Proto-Turkic in Northern Kazakhstan 3,000 miles away. How exactly did this occur?
And can someone explain to me how Proto-Korean and Proto-Japanese borrow from either of the others under this scenario?
Campbell and Mixco:
Turkic: A family of about thirty languages, spoken across central Asia from China to Lithuania. The family has two branches: Chuvash (of the Volga region) and the non-Chuvash Turkic branch of relatively closely related languages. Some of the Turkic languages are Azeri, Kyrgyz, Tatar, Crimean Tatar, Uighur, Uzbek, Yakut, Tuvan, and Tofa. Turkic is often assigned to the ‘Altaic’ hypothesis, though specialists have largely abandoned Altaic.
As noted above, it is simply incorrect that specialists have largely abandoned Altaic. This is simply carefully crafted propaganda on the part of Campbell and Mixco. In fact, my own study showed that 73% of experts in these families felt that Altaic existed at least in some form, if only in a relationship with two out of the three-five languages.
Campbell and Mixco:
Some scholars classify Korean in a single family with Japanese; however, this is a controversial hypothesis. Korean is often said to belong with the Altaic hypothesis, often also with Japanese, though this is not widely supported.
Japonic-Koreanic has considerable support among specialists in these languages, although it is not universally accepted. Campbell and Mixco are excessively negative about the level of support for an expanded Altaic. In fact, an expanded Altaic which includes Japanese and Korean in some part of it has significant though probably not majority support. Perhaps 30-40% of specialists support it.
Proto-Japanic and Proto-Koreanic were both spoken in Northeastern China 8,000 YBP. Proto-Japonic was spoke on the north of the Shandong Peninsula and Proto-Koreanic was spoken across the Bohai Sea in Tianjin and especially across the Bohai Straights on the Liaodong Peninsula. They may have stayed here next to each other for 3,000 years until the Proto-Koreanics moved to the Korean Peninsula 5,000 YBP, displacing the Ainuid types there. Proto-Japonics probably stayed in Shandong until 2,3000 YBP when they left to populate Japan and the Ryukus, displacing the Ainu who were already there.
Campbell and Mixco:
Yeniseian, Yenisseian: Small language family of southern Siberia of which Ket (Khet) is the only surviving member. Yeniseian has no known broader relatives, though some have been hypothesized (see the Dené-Caucasian hypothesis).
Campbell and Mixco state and serious untruth here, including some weasel words. By discussing Dene-Caucasian in the same breath as relatives of Yenisien, they are able to deflect away from the more widely accepted proposal of a link between Yenisien in the Old World and Na-Dene in the New World. This is Edward Vajda’s Dene-Yenisien proposal.
The problem is that this long-range proposal has the support of many people, including splitter Johanna Nichols. Of the 17 experts who weighed in on Dene-Yenisien, 15 of them had a positive view of the hypothesis. Campbell and Mixco are the only two who are negative, but neither are experts on either family. All specialists in either or both families support the proposal. When 15 out of 17 is not enough, one wonders at what point the field reaches a consensus. Must we hold out for Campbell and Mixco’s approval for everything?
Campbell and Mixco:
Nivkh (also called Gilyak): A language isolate spoken in the northern part of Sakhalin Island and along the Amur River of Manchuria, in China. There have been various unsuccessful attempts to link Nivkh genetically with various other language groupings, including Eurasiatic and Nostratic.
Granted, there is no consensus on the affiliation of Nivkhi. However, a recent paper by Sergei Nikolaev proved to me that Nivkhi is related to Algonquian-Wakashan, a family of languages in the Americas. One of these languages is Wakashan, and there has been talk of links between Wakashan and the Old World for some time.
Michael Fortescue places Nivkhi in Chukotko-Kamchatkan. Greenberg places it is Eurasiatic as a separate node. But as Chukotko-Kamchatkan is part of Eurasiatic, they are both saying the same thing in a way. My theory is that Nivkhi is Eurasiatic, possibly related to Chukoto-Kamchatkan, and like Yeniseian, is also connected to languages in North America as some of the Nivkhi probably migrated to North America and became the American Indians. In this way, we can reconcile both hypotheses.
There are three specialist views on Nivkhi. One says it is Eurasiatic, the other that it is Chukotian, and the third that it is part of the Algonquian-Wakashan or Almosan family in the New World. Consensus is that Nivkhi is related to one of two other entities – other languages in Northeastern Asia or a New World Amerindian family. So expert consensus seems to have moved away from the view of Nivkhi as an isolate.
Campbell and Mixco:
Paleosiberian languages (also sometimes called Paleoasiatic, Hyperborean languages): A geographical (not genetic) designation for several otherwise unaffiliated languages (isolates) and small language families of Siberia.
Perhaps the main thing that unites these languages is that they are not Turkic, Russian or Tungusic, the better known languages of Siberia. Languages often listed as Paleosiberian are: Chukchi, Koryak, Kamchadal (Itelmen), Yukaghir, Yeniseian (Ket) and Nivkh (Gilyak). These have no known genetic relationship to one other.
Taken as a broad statement, of course this is true. However, Chukchi, Koryak, and Kamchadal or Itelmen are part of a family called Chukutko-Kamchatkan. This family has even been reconstructed. Campbell and Mixco’s statement that these languages have no known genetic relationship with each other is false.
Campbell and Mixco:
Austroasiatic: A proposed genetic relationship between Mon-Khmer and Munda, accepted as valid by many scholars but not by all.
The fact is that Austroasiatic is not a “proposed genetic relationship.” Instead it is now accepted by consensus. That there may be a few outliers who don’t believe in it is not important. I’m not aware of any linguists who doubt Austroasiatic other than Campbell and Mixco, and neither is a specialist. Austroasiatic-Hmong-Mien is the best long-range proposal for Austroasiatic, but it has probably not yet been proven. Austroasiatic is also part of the expanded version of the Austric hypothesis.
Campbell and Mixco:
Miao-Yao (also called Hmong-Mien): A language family spoken by the Miao and Yao peoples of southern China and Southeast Asia. Some proposals would classify Miao-Yao with Sino-Tibetan, others with Tai or Austronesian; none of these has much support.
This seems to be more weasel wording on the part of the authors. By listing Tai or Austronesian and Sino-Tibetan as possible relatives of Miao-Yao and then correctly dismissing it, they leave out a much better proposal linking Hmong-Mien to Austroasiatic.
This shows some promise, but the relationship is hard to see amidst all of the Chinese borrowing. As noted, the relationship between Hmong-Mien and Sino-Tibetan is one of borrowing. The relationship with Tai or Austronesian is part of Paul Benedict’s original Austric proposal. He later turned against this proposal and supported a more watered down Austric with Austronesian and Tai-Kadai, which seems to be nearing consensus support now.
Campbell and Mixco:
Austric: A mostly discounted hypothesis of distant genetic relationship proposed by Paul Benedict that would group together the Austronesian, Tai-Kadai and Miao-Yao.
More weasel wording. It is correct that Benedict’s original Austric (which also included Austroasiatic) was abandoned even by Benedict himself, a more watered down Austric that he later supported consisting of Austronesian and Tai-Kadai called Austro-Tai has much more support. They get around discussing the watered down Austro-Tai with good support by limiting Austric to Benedict’s own theory which even he rejected later in life. In this sense, they misrepresent the debate, probably deliberately.
In fact, evidence is building towards acceptance of Austro-Tai after papers by Weera Ostapirat and Laurence Sagart seem to have proved the case using the comparative method. Roger Blench also supports the concept. In addition, to Benedict, it is also supported by Lawrence Reid, Hui Li, and Lawrence Reid. It is opposed by Graham Thurgood, who is a specialist (he was my main academic advisor on my Master’s Degree in Linguistics). It is also opposed by Campbell and Mixco, but they are not specialists. Looking at expert opinion, we have seven arguing for the theory and one arguing against it. Specialist consensus then is that Austro-Tai is a real language family.
Even the larger version of Austric, including all of Benedict’s families plus Ainu and the South Indian isolate Nihali, has some supporters and some suggestive evidence that it may be correct.
Campbell and Mixco:
Tai-Kadai: A large language family, generally but not
universally accepted, of languages located in Southeast Asia and southern China. The family includes Tai, Kam-Sui, Kadai and various other languages. The genetic relatedness of several proposed Tai-Kadai languages is not yet settled.
Tai-Kadai is not “mostly but not universally accepted.” It is accepted by consensus as an existent language family. Perhaps whether some languages belong there is in doubt but the proposal itself is not controversial. Campbell and Mixco’s statement that Tai-Kadai remains controversial is a serious distortion of fact.
Campbell and Mixco:
Na-Dene: A disputed proposal of distant genetic relationship, put forward by Sapir, that would group Haida, Tlingit and Eyak-Athabaskan. There is considerable disagreement about whether Haida is related to the others. The relationship between Tlingit and Eyak-Athabaskan seems more likely, and some scholars misleadingly use the name ‘Na-Dené’ to mean a grouping of these two without Haida.
Levine and Michael Krauss, two top Na-Dene experts, are on record as opposing the addition of Haida to Na-Dene for 40 years. A recent conference about Edward Vajda’s Dene-Yenisien concluded that there was no evidence to include Haida in Na-Dene. However, a recent paper by Alexander Manaster-Ramer made the case that Haida is part of Na-Dene. This paper was enough to convince me. Further, the scholar with the most expertise on Haida has said that Haida is part of Na-Dene. So Campbell and Mixco are correct here that the subject is up in the air with both supporters and opponents.
The statement that a relationship between Tlingit and Eyak-Athabaskan seems “more than likely” is an understatement. I believe it is now linguistic consensus that Tlingit is part of Na-Dene, so Campbell and Mixco’s statement is not quite true.
Campbell and Mixco:
Tonkawa: An extinct language isolate of Texas. Proposals to link Tonkawa with the languages of the Coahuiltecan or Hokan-Coahuiltecan hypotheses have not generally been accepted.
I’m sure it is the case that Coahuiltecan and Hokan-Coahuiltecan affiliations of Tonkawa have been rejected. A Coahuiltecan connection was even denied by Manaster-Ramer, who recently proved that the family existed. That said, there are interesting parallels between Tonkawa and Coahuiltecan that I cannot explain. However, a recent paper by Manaster-Ramer made the much better case that Tonkawa was in fact Na-Dene.
Campbell and Mixco:
Amerind: The Amerind hypothesis is rejected by nearly all practicing American Indianists and by most historical linguists. Specialists maintain that valid methods do not at present permit classification of Native American languages into fewer than about 180 independent language families and isolates. Amerind has been highly criticized on various grounds.There is an excessive number of errors in Greenberg’s data.
Where Greenberg stops – after assembling superficial similarities and declaring them due to common ancestry – is where other linguists begin. Since such similarities can be due to chance similarity, borrowing, onomatopoeia, sound symbolism, nursery words (the mama, papa, nana, dada, caca sort), misanalysis, and much more, for a plausible proposal of remote linguistic relationship one must attempt to eliminate all other possible explanations, leaving a shared common ancestor as the most likely.
Greenberg made no attempt to eliminate these other explanations, and the similarities he amassed appear to be due mostly to accident and a combination of these other factors.
In various instances, Greenberg compared arbitrary segments of words, equated words with very different meanings (for example, ‘excrement/night/grass’), misidentified many languages, failed to analyze the morphology of some words and falsely analyzed that of others, neglected regular sound correspondences, failed to eliminate loanwords and misinterpreted well-established findings.
The Amerind ‘etymologies’ proposed are often limited to a very few languages of the many involved. Finnish, Japanese, Basque and other randomly chosen languages fit Greenberg’s Amerind data as well as or better than do any of the American Indian languages in his ‘etymologies’; Greenberg’s method has proven incapable of distinguishing implausible relationships from Amerind generally. In short, it is with good reason Amerind has been rejected.
The movement into the Americas came in three waves.
The first wave brought the Amerinds. It is here where the 160 language families reside. According to the reigning theory in Linguistics, this group of Amerindians came in one wave that spoke not only 160 different languages but spoke languages that came from 160 different language families, none of which were related to each other. These being language families which, by the way, we can find scarcely a trace of in the Old World.
The second wave was the Na-Dene people who came along the west coast and then went inland.
The last wave were the Inuits.
Greenberg simply lumped all of the 600 languages of the Americas into a single family. The argument was good, though I’m not sure he proved that every single one of those languages were all part of Amerind. But a lot of them were. The n-m- 1st and 2nd person pronouns are found in 450 of those languages. The ablauted t’ana, t’una, t’ina word, meaning respectively human child of either sex, all females including family terms, and all males including family terms are extremely common in Amerind.
So t’ana just means child. T’una means girl, woman, and includes various names for all sorts of female relatives – grandmother, cousin, aunt, niece, etc. T’ina means boy, man, and includes the family terms grandfather, brother-in-law, uncle, cousin, and nephew. This ablauted paradigm is found across a vast number of these Amerind languages, and it is nonexistent in the rest of the world.
Quite probably most to all of those languages having that term are part of a single family. What are the other arguments? That 300 languages independently innovated these terms, in this precise ablauted paradigm, on their own? What is the likelihood of that?
That these items occurring across such vast swathes of languages is due to chance? But this paradigm does not exist anywhere else, so how could it be due to chance? That these core vocabulary items were borrowed massively all across the Americas, when family terms like that are rarely borrowed? That’s not possible. None of the alternate theories make the slightest bit of sense.
Hence, the Amerind languages that have the n-m- pronoun paradigm and the t’ana, t’una, t’ina ablauted names for the sexes and the terms of family relations by sex are quite probably part of a huge language family. I’m well aware that a few of the languages having those terms could be due to chance. I’m pretty sure that about zero of those pronouns and few, if any, of those family terms were borrowed.
However, not all Amerind languages have either the pronoun paradigm or the ablauted sex term. In those cases, I’m unsure if those languages are all part of the same language. But if you can put those languages in families and reconstruct to the proto-languages and end up with the pronoun paradigm or the ablauted family term reconstructed in the proto-language of that family, I’m sure that family would be part of Amerind. That’s about all you have to do to prove relationship in Amerind.
Campbell and Mixco:
Penutian: A very large proposed distant genetic relationship in western North America, suggested originally by Dixon and Kroeber for the Californian language families Wintuan, Maiduan, Yokutsan, and Miwok-Costanoan. The name is based on words for ‘two’, something like pen in Wintuan, Maiduan, and Yokutsan, and uti in Miwok-Costanoan, joined to form Penutian.
Sapir, impressed with the hypothesis, attempted to add an Oregon Penutian (Takelma, Coos, Siuslaw, and ‘Yakonan’), Chinook, Tsimshian, a Plateau Penutian (Sahaptian, ‘Molala-Cayuse,’ and Klamath-Modoc) and a Mexican Penutian (Mixe-Zoquean and Huave).
The Penutian grouping has been influential, and later proposals have attempted to unite various languages from Alaska to Bolivia with it. Nevertheless, it had a shaky foundation based on extremely limited evidence, and, in spite of extensive later research, it did not prove possible to demonstrate any version of the Penutian hypothesis and several prominent Penutian specialists abandoned it. Today it remains controversial and unconfirmed, with some supporters but with many who doubt it.
The statement that today it “remains controversial and unconfirmed, with some supporters but with many who doubt it,” has no basis in fact. It is surely controversial and it is probably unconfirmed by linguistic consensus. Yes, it has a number of supporters, and there are quite a few who doubt it. However, among those who doubt it, none of them are specialists in these languages. Hence, we are dealing with an Altaic situation here, where the specialists believe in it but the non-specialists insist it’s nonsense.
In fact, the consensus among the specialists on these languages is that Penutian exists. A Penutian family comprising Maiduan, Utian (Miwok-Costanoan), Wintuan, Yokutsan, Coosan, Siuslaw, Takelma, and Kalapuyan andAlsean (Yakonan), Chinookan, Tsimshianic, Klamath-Modoc (Lutuami), Cayuse and Molala (Waiilatpuan), Sahaptian has been proven to my satisfaction. I am uncertain of the Penutian status of Mixe-Zoque and Huave (Mexican Penutian), although I believe that Huave and Mixe-Zoque are related to each other, albeit at a very deep time depth of 9,000 years.
Anti-Penutianists have not published a paper in a long time. The last one I remembered was published by William Shipley, and he’s been gone for a while. I am not aware of one expert on these languages who says Penutian does not exist.
Campbell and Mixco:
Cayuse-Molala: A genetic classification no longer believed that linked Cayuse (of Oregon and Washington) and Molala (of Oregon) in a single assumed family. The evidence for this was later shown to be wrong and the hypothesis was abandoned.
According to Campbell and Mixco, Cayuse is an isolate. I assume they see Molala as an isolate too. There probably is no Cayuse-Molala family, but Molala is part of Plateau Penutian, and Cayuse may be part of the same group. Plateau Penutian is part of the Penutian hypothesis, which appears to be true. By not mentioning these facts, Campbell and Mixco’s statement is quite misleading.
Campbell and Mixco:
Mosan: A now abandoned proposal of distant genetic relationship that would group Salishan, Wakashan and Chimakuan together.
Another part of this proposal was that Mosan was part of a larger family with Algonquian called Almosan. An excellent series of papers was published recently by Sergei Nikolaev that validated Almosan and proved to me that it was related to Nivkhi in the Old World.
Michael Fortescue argued a few years before that Mosan was a valid entity and that was related to the Old World language Nivkhi. Recently, Murray Gell-Mann, Ilia Peiros, and Georgiy Starostin also supported Almosan and grouped it with Chukotko-Kamchatkan and Nivkhi. David Beck recently argued that Mosan is a language area or Sprachbund instead of a genetic family.
So far we have four specialists arguing that Mosan exists, and one saying it does not. The consensus among specialists seems to be that Mosan is a valid language family. At any rate, Campbell and Mixco’s statement that this proposal is “now abandoned” is false.
For Almosan, we have four specialists saying it exists and two apparently saying it does not. Expert consensus on Almosan is optimistic.
Hokan: A controversial hypothesis of distant genetic relationship proposed by Dixon and Kroeber among certain languages of California; the original list included Shastan, Chimariko, Pomoan, Karok, and Yana, to which they soon added Esselen, Yuman, and later Chumashan, Salinan, Seri, and Tequistlatecan. Later scholars, especially Edward Sapir, proposed various additions to Hokan. Many ‘Hokan’ specialists doubt the validity of the hypothesis.
It is not true that many Hokan specialists “doubt the validity of the hypothesis.” I can’t remember the last time I saw an anti-Hokan paper. Yes, Campbell, Mixco, and Mithun say Hokan does not exist, but they are not specialists. The consensus among specialists such as Mikhail Zhikov, Terence Kaufman, and Marcelo Jokelsy is that Hokan exists. I have only found one specialist who disagrees with the Hokan hypothesis, and she merely doubts the existence of Ch’imáriko.
I believe that a Hokan family consisting of Karuk, Shasta-Palaihnihan, Ch’imáriko, Yana, Salinan, Pomoan, Yuman, Seri, and Tequistlatecan exists, although I would leave out Chumashan, Washo, and Jicaquean or Tolan. Chumashan is an isolate, and while Washo and Tolan may be Hokan at a very deep time depth, the few possible cognates are not enough to provide evidence of this. I am agnostic on Esselen, which is only known from a 350 word list collected by friars at a California mission.
I have not seen any evidence that Coahuiltecan is Hokan. There is some evidence, though not probative enough for me, that Lencan and Misumalpan may be Hokan. Nevertheless, Lencan and Misumalpan form a language family that has even been accepted by Campbell himself. This is the only long-range family proposal he has supported since the publication of LIA.
Although Campbell’s opinion on many hypotheses may be waved away as he is not an expert on that family or language, Lencan and Misumalpan are right up his alley as he is an expert in languages in Central America. He has focused mostly on Mayan, but he also knows the other languages of the region well.
Campbell and Mixco:
Cochimí–Yuman: A family of languages from Arizona, California and Baja California, with two branches, extinct Cochimí (of Baja California) and the Yuman subfamily (members of which are Kiliwa, Diegueño, Cocopa, Mojave, Maricopa, Paipai, and Walapai–Havasupai–Yavapai, among others). Cochimí–Yuman is often associated with the controversial Hokan hypothesis, though evidence is insufficient to embrace the proposed relationship.
The consensus among experts in the Cochimí–Yuman family, including Mikhail Zhikov and Terence Kaufman, is that it is part of the Hokan family. Campbell disbelieves in the association but he is not an expert. However, Mixco opposes the Hokan affinity of Cochimi-Yuman, and granted, he is actually a specialist on these languages. So among specialists, we have two who support the Hokan association and one who opposes it. The specialist consensus then would be that they are this association is a promising hypothesis, but it is not yet proven. This is different from Campbell and Mixco’s wording, which is more negative.
Campbell and Mixco:
Coahuiltecan: A hypothesis of distant genetic relationship that proposed to group some languages of south Texas and northern Mexico: Coahuilteco, Comecrudo and Cotoname, and sometimes also Tonkawa, Karankawa, Atakapa and Maratino (with Aranama and Solano assumed to be varieties of Coahuilteco).
Sapir proposed a broader classification of Hokan–Coahuiltecan, joining the Coahuiltecan proposal with the broader Hokan hypothesis, and placed this in his even larger Hokan–Siouan super-stock. None of these proposals has proven sufficiently robust to be accepted generally.
I am not aware of any specialists who have recently argued against the existence of Coahuiltecan. Yes, Campbell and Mixco do not accept it, but they are not specialists. A recent paper by Alexander Manaster-Ramer proved the existence of Coahuiltecan to my satisfaction. I believe that a Coahuiltecan family consisting of Comecrudo, Cotoname, Aranama, Solano,Mamulique, Garza, and Coahuilteco absolutely exists. Karankawa is probably a part of this family. I am not aware that any specialist is arguing against the existence of this family at the moment.
I do not think there is good evidence for other postulated languages such as Atakapa and Tonkowa. First of all, Tonkawa is probably Na-Dene as per another paper by Manaster-Ramer. Atakapa is part of the Gulf family. However, I am not yet convinced that Coahuiltecan is as member of the Hokan language family.
Campbell and Mixco:
Gulf: Hypothesis of a distant genetic relationship proposed by Mary R. Haas that would group Muskogean, Natchez, Tunica, Atakapa and Chitimacha, no longer supported by most linguists.
The notion that Gulf is no longer supported by most linguists is simply incorrect. There have only been four linguists who studied this family.
The first was Mary Haas, who also proposed a relationship with Yuki as Yuki-Gulf. Haas was always dubious about Chitimacha’s addition to Gulf.
Greenberg resurrected Yuki-Gulf in LIA.
Pam Munro is an expert on these languages. A while back she published a paper on Yuki-Gulf. I read that paper. The resemblances are so stunning between Muskogean, Natchez, Tunica, Atakapa and Chitimacha that I was shocked that anyone doubted the relationship. Furthermore, the relationship with Yuki and Wappo, a full 2,500 miles away in Northern California, was shocking.
The fourth was Geoffrey Kimball, who concluded that Gulf was probably a family but that this could not be proven.
There evidence for Gulf in Munro’s paper was good, and there even appeared to be sound correspondences running through the relationship. What was shocking about it was that Yuki and Wappo could not possibly have borrowed from Gulf because Gulf is in Louisiana 2,500 miles away. So how did all these resemblances come in? Chance is ruled out. Borrowing could not have happened. Therefore a relationship at least between Yuki and the Gulf languages is obvious.
Munro’s paper took the position that Greenberg’s Yuki-Gulf hypothesis was correct. However, there are some problems. First, Atakapa as part of Gulf has been controversial, in part because it has also been tied in with Coahuiltecan. Indeed there are resemblances between the two, and they were not spoken next to each other so borrowing can be ruled out.
Perhaps a way of solving the matter is to posit not only Yuki-Gulf but a larger family that includes Coahuiltecan as Greenberg does in LIA. I have no idea how justified this is, but there are certainly surprising resemblances between Atakapa and the Coahuiltecan languages.
Furthermore, whether or not Chitimacha is part of Gulf has been up in the air from the beginning when Haas published her paper. Recent papers have made the case that Chitimacha is related to Mesoamerican language families of Mexico such as Mixe-Zoque and Totonacan. These papers used the comparative method. Campbell has rejected this hypothesis.
That Tunica at the very least shows a close relationship with Muskogean is not even controversial. The idea has a long pedigree and is presently supported by all experts in this family.
Geoffrey Kimball examined the data recently and concluded that from the evidence, it appears that Gulf exists, but we will never be able to prove it, as he puts it. However, he stated that Tunica is almost certainly related to Muskogean. At this point, I would think that Tunica-Muskogean at the very least should be considered consensus among specialists.
Kimball’s paper had a number of problems, mostly that he was operating with a negative stance towards the existence of the family. Further, there were issues with his notions of sound symbolism and borrowing in the paper where his explanations made no sense at all.
Let’s evaluate Campbell and Mixco’s statement that Gulf is no longer supported by most linguists.
We have four specialists on record about whether or not a Gulf family exists.
Mary Haas: Positive, minus Chitimacha
Joseph Greenberg: Positive
Pamela Munro: Positive
Geoffrey Kimball: Probably exists but it’s not possible to prove it.
Brown et al: Chitimacha is a part of the Totonozoquean family, not the Gulf family. The other members of Gulf are not members of this family.
Three out of the four specialists on the Gulf family say that the Gulf family is a reality. The other feels it exists but cannot be proven. And there is uncertainty about whether Chitimacha is probably not part of Gulf. The consensus among experts is that Gulf is a real language family.
Campbell and Mixco’s statement that Gulf is no longer supported by most linguists is simply false.
Furthermore, I would like to point out that a good case can be made for the existence of a Totonozoquean family consisting of the Mixe-Zoque and Totonacan languages. Whether this is consensus among experts is somewhat up in the air.
Campbell and Mixco:
Macro-Gê: A proposed distant genetic relationship composed of several language families and isolates, many now extinct, along the Atlantic coast (primarily of Brazil). These include Chiquitano, Bororoan, Botocudoan, Rikbaktsa, the Gê family proper, Jeikó, Kamakanan, Maxakalían, Purian, Fulnío, Ofayé and Guató. Many are sympathetic to the hypothesis and several of these languages will very probably be demonstrated to be related to one another eventually, though others will probably need to be separated out.
This is much too pessimistic. Macro-Gê is not a proposed long range family -it is a large language family in South America accepted by consensus. It is not true that many are sympathetic to it; instead, the consensus is that it is correct. Nor is it correct to say that it will probably be demonstrated eventually. In fact, it is already an accepted reality.
Campbell and Mixco:
Quechumaran: Proposed distant genetic relationship that would join Quechuan and Aymaran. While considerable evidence has been gathered in support of the hypothesis, it is extremely difficult in this case to distinguish what may be inherited (and therefore evidence of a genetic relationship) from what may be diffused (and therefore not reliable evidence of a genetic connection).
It is true that there is no consensus on the existence of Quechumaran. The consensus seems to be as above that it is not yet proven. Those opposed to the idea throw out the usual borrowing scenario, but they have had to push the large number of borrowings in core vocabulary all the way back to Proto-Aymara and Proto-Quechua. In my opinion, “massive borrowing of core vocabulary at the proto-language level” is simply another word for genetics.
Gerald Clauson, the famous Turkologist opponent of Altaic, had to keep pushing his massive borrowings of core vocabulary further and further back until he eventually had the scenario taking place at the Proto-Turkic, Proto-Tungusic, and Proto-Mongolic levels. See above for my analysis on why these three proto-languages could not possibly have borrowed from each other as they were in different places in different times.
A similar problem exists with opponents of the Uralo-Yukaghir theory, in which they are also forced to deal with a large amount of core vocabulary dating back a long time. Hakkinen tried to solve this problem by pushing the borrowing all the way back to not just Proto-Uralic but Pre-Proto-Uralic. Pre-Proto-Uralic at 8,000 years to me means nothing less than Uralo-Yukaghir. What else could it mean? He has heavy borrowing of core vocabulary between Pre-Proto-Uralic and Proto-Yukaghir. That’s another way of saying genetics.
Campbell and Mixco:
Macro-Guaicuruan (also spelled Macro-Waykuruan, Macro-Waikuruan): A proposed distant genetic relationship that would join the Guaicuruan and Matacoan families of the Gran Chaco in South America in a larger-scale genetic classification. Grammatical similarities, for example in the pronominal systems, have suggested the relationship to some scholars, but the extremely limited lexical evidence raises doubts for others. Some would also add Charruan and Mascoyan to these in an even larger ‘Macro-Waikuruan cluster.’
It is not true that this is a proposed long-range family suggested by some by doubted by others. In fact, Macro-Guaicuruan is accepted by consensus and is as uncontroversial as Macro-Gê, Pama-Nyungan, and other such families. There is however debate about which families are members outside of the Guaicuruan and Mataguayo language families that make up the essence of the family. There have been suggestions to add Lule-Vilela and the Zamucoan, Charruan, and Mascoyan families to this family. I do not feel that these additions are yet warranted.
Campbell and Mixco:
Pama-Nyungan: A very large, widely spread language family of Australia, some 175 languages. The name comes from Kenneth Hale, based on the words pama ‘man’ in the far northeast and nyunga ‘man’ in the southwest. Languages assigned to Pama-Nyungan extend over four-fifths of Australia, most of the continent except northern areas.
Pama-Nyungan is accepted by most Australianists as a legitimate language family, but not uncritically and not universally. It is rejected by Dixon; it is held by others to be plausible but inconclusive based on current evidence. Some Pama-Nyungan languages are Lardil, Kayardilt, Yukulta, Yidiny, Dyirbal, Pitta-Pitta, Arrente, Warlpiri, Western Desert language(s), and there are many more.
Actually, consensus now is that this family of Australian languages does indeed exist. True, Dixon challenged the existence of Pama-Nyungan recently, but his opposition was so outrageous and it prompted a quick surge of papers from Australianists defending the existence of Pama-Nyungan. The notion that other Australianists feel that Pama-Nyungan is possible but presently inconclusive is not correct. I am not aware of a single Australianist other than Dixon who feels this way. Instead, Pama-Nyungan is about as uncontroversial as Macro-Gê, Afroasiatic, or Austroasiatic.
Campbell and Mixco:
‘Papuan’ languages: A term of convenience used to refer to the languages of the western Pacific, most in New Guinea (Papua New Guinea and the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Irian Jaya), that are neither Austronesian nor Australian. Papuan definitely does not refer to a genetic relationship among these languages for no such relationship can at present be shown.
That is, the term is defined negatively and does not imply a linguistic relationship. While most are spoken on the island of New Guinea, some are found in the Bismark Archipelago, Bougainville Island and the Solomon Islands to the east, and in Halmahera, Timor and the Alor Archipelago to the west.
There are some 800 Papuan languages divided in the a large number of mostly small language families and isolates not demonstrably related to one another.
For what it’s worth, this statement by Campbell and Mixco is correct.
Campbell and Mixco:
One large genetic grouping that has been posited for a number of Papuan languages is the Trans-New Guinea phylum, which is promising but not yet confirmed.
Trans-New Guinea is not “promising but not yet confirmed.” Instead it is an uncontroversial language family accepted by the consensus of all specialists.
Beck, David (1997). Mosan III: A Problem of Remote Common Proximity. International Conference on Salish (and Neighbo(u)ring) Languages.
Benedict, Paul K. (1942). “Thai, Kadai, and Indonesian: A New Alignment in Southeastern Asia.” American Anthropologist 44, 4: 576–601.
Benedict, Paul K. (1975). Austro-Thai Language and Culture, with a Glossary of Roots. New Haven: HRAF Press.
Blench, Roger (2008). The Prehistory of the Daic (Tai-Kadai) Speaking Peoples. Presented at the 12th EURASEAA Meeting in Leiden, the Netherlands, 1-5 September 2008.
Blench, Roger (2018). Tai-Kadai and Austronesian Are Related at Multiple Levels and Their Archaeological Interpretation (draft).
Blust, Robert (2014). “The Higher Phylogeny of Austronesian and the Position of Tai-Kadai: Another Look,” in The 14th International Symposium on Chinese Languages and Linguistics (IsCLL-14).
Campbell, Lyle and Marianne Mithun (Eds.) (1979). The Languages of Native America: An Historical and Comparative Assessment.
Campbell, Lyle and Mauricio J. Mixco (2007). A Glossary of Historical Linguistics. Edinburgh University Press.
Campbell, Lyle and William J. Poser (2008). Language Classification: History and Method. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Fortescue, M. (1998). Language Relations across Bering Strait: Reappraising the Archaeological and Linguistic Evidence. (Nivkhi is Mosan.)
Fortescue, Michael (2011). “The Relationship of Nivkh to Chukotko-Kamchatkan Revisited.” Lingua 121, 8: 1359-1376. (Nivkhi is Chukoto-Kamchatkan.)
Gell-Mann, Murray; Ilia Peiros, and George Starostin (2009). “Distant Language Relationship: The Current Perspective.” Journal of Language Relationship.
Greenberg, Joseph H. (2000). Indo-European and Its Closest Relatives: The Eurasiatic Language Family. Volume 1, Grammar. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Greenberg, Joseph H. (2002). Indo-European and Its Closest Relatives: The Eurasiatic Language Family. Volume 2, Lexicon. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Heine, Bernd (1992). African Languages. International Encyclopedia of Linguistics, ed. by William Bright, Vol. 1, pp. 31-36. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (No such thing as Nilo-Saharan.)
Krauss, Michael E. (1979). Na-Dene and Eskimo-Aleut. The Languages of Native America: Historical and comparative assessment, ed. by Lyle Campbell and Marianne Mithun, pp. 803-901. Austin: University of Texas Press. (Haida not part of Na-Dene.)
Levine, Robert D. (1979). Haida and Na-Dene: A New Look at the evidence. IJAL 45: 157-70. (Haida not part of Na-Dene.)
Mixco, Mauricio J. (1976). “Kiliwa Texts.” International Journal of American Linguistics Native American Text Series 1: 92-101
Mixco, Mauricio J. (1977). “The Linguistic Affiliation of the Ñakipa and Yakakwal of Lower California”. International Journal of American Linguistics 43: 189-200.
Nicola¨i, Robert (1990). Parent´es Linguistiques (`A Propos du Songhay). Paris: CNRS. (Dimmendaal says Songhay is Nilo-Saharan.)
Nikolaev, S. (2015). Toward the Reconstruction of Proto-Algonquian-Wakashan. Part 1: Proof of the Algonquian-Wakashan Relationship.
Nikolaev, S. (2016). Toward the Reconstruction of Proto-Algonquian-Wakashan. Part 2: Algonquian-Wakashan Sound Correspondences.
Ostapirat, Weera (2005). “Kra-Dai and Austronesian: Notes on Phonological Correspondences and Vocabulary Distribution,” in Laurent Sagart, Roger Blench and Alicia Sanchez-Mazas, eds. The Peopling of East Asia: Putting Together Archaeology, Linguistics, and Genetics, pp. 107-131. London: Routledge Curzon.
Ostapirat, Weera (2013). Austro-Tai Revisited. Paper Presented at the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society, 29-31 May 2013, Chulalongkorn University.
Reid, Lawrence A. (2006). “Austro-Tai Hypotheses.” In Keith Brown (Ed.), The Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, 2nd Edition, pp. 609–610.
Sagart, Laurent (2005b). “Tai-Kadai as a Subgroup of Austronesian,” in L. Sagart, R. Blench, and A. Sanchez-Mazas (Eds.), The Peopling of East Asia: Putting Together Archaeology, Linguistics, and Genetics, pp. 177-181.
Sagart, Laurent (2019). “A Model of the Origin of Kra-Dai Tones.” Cahiers de Linguistique Asie Orientale. 48, 1: 1–29.
Thurgood, Graham (1994). “Tai-Kadai and Austronesian: The Nature of the Relationship.” Oceanic Linguistics 33: 345-368.
I will be leaving World War 2, where many such regimes were created in Europe, out of this discussion because I don’t understand it well.
A discussion of fascism is very important because the Republican Party is already a fascist political party in the sense of a rightwing authoritarian party along Latin American oligarchy lines.
The Type of State the Republicans Are Aiming At
Similar regimes were installed in Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Iran, Turkey (a Mussolinist + Nazi extrerminationist model), Greece, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Zaire, Kenya, Liberia, Indonesia (a classic Mussolinist model), Philippines, South Korea, Brunei, Taiwan, South Vietnam, Thailand, Nepal, Gabon, Angola, and South Africa, not to mention the many such regimes installed in Latin America, where the rightwing authoritarian or dictatorship regime has become a classic model. Many of these had a fake democratic facade over what was basically a dictatorship.
Nazi extreminationism with an ethnic component has been installed in Turkey and possibly Azerbaijan. Those models are governing to this day in the fake Croatian and Serbian states inside Bosnia. The present Croatian and Serbian regimes have overtones of WW2 like fascism, as does Hungary under Orban. Nazi-style exterminationist regimes, albeit with Communists and leftwingers substituted for Jews, have been installed in Iran, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea, and Taiwan in the past.
One could argue that Israel is now a Mussolinist style fascist government, albeit with a facade of democracy in which various fascist parties compete to rule the fascist state.
Rightwing Authoritarian Models in Latin America in the Last Century
It’s not so much the Nazi, National Socialist or classic fascist models of World War 2, although Trump and Berlusconi do resemble Mussolini, and Berlusconi created a classic Mussolinist fascist state in Brazil along the lines of the previous years of Operation Condor in Pinochet’s Chile, Velasco’s Argentina, the generals’ Brazil, Salazar’s Paraguay, the Uruguayan dictatorship, and Banzer’s Bolivia.
Somewhat different but similar “kill the Communists” regimes were created in Ecuador in the 1980’s, Fujimora and Belaunde’s Peru, Venezuela in the late 80’s, Uribe and many others’ Colombia (where it has become the only form of the state and Uribismo is almost a classic fascist Mussolinist model), Somoza’s Nicaragua, Bautista’s Cuba, Trujillo’s Dominican Republican, Rios Montt’s Guatemala, and ARENA, D’Aubisson, and Duarte’s El Salvador, Haiti under the Duvaliers, where it became a model followed to this day, and the present government of the generals in Honduras.
The model has not yet been installed in much of the Caribbean, Belize, Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, and the Guyanas, but it’s been generalized as the classic model in Latin America in general for over a century now. There are rumblings now to create another rightwing authoritarian regime in Peru and Mexico.
Counterrevolution is ongoing in Nicaragua, Cuba, and Venezuela and has succeeded recently in Ecuador, Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia, and Haiti. There were recent rumblings in Argentina, where the large landowners (who were never broken up as there was no land reform) were making threats of a coup if their riches were touched. There were failed attempts recently in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Bolivia. Another attempt is ongoing in Venezuela and Nicaragua.
I have to say that in a lot of ways, Malcolm really as a great man. Notice to the gusanos rioting now in Cuba. The people are not with them at all, trust me. Only 10,000 demonstrated all over the island. Most of them were young people, often teenagers, and some were marginal elements, often lumpens, typically criminals or those who refuse to work. There were some bourgeois elements in Havana.
In the town where the demonstrations originated, even there, they were not the majority. Much larger pro-government groups went out to confront he vendepatrias (countrysellers) at every demonstration. In the town where they claimed to take over the Young Communists headquarters, even there, their crowd of 200 was outnumbered by a crowd of 400.
There are very serious problems in Cuba, but 100% of them have to do with the blockade. The things that the contras want will not solve any problems and their heroes in the US and in the Latin American Right are the ones who caused all these problems in the first place. Cuba’s income has collapsed by 80% due to COVID. They have a very hard time importing much of anything due to the embargo and anything they do import has to go through third parties, etc. and the markups end up being considerable.
So Cuba is not able to engage with the world on a free trade basis at all. For instance, the electricity plants have not been maintained since 2014 because the embargo prevents the importation of spare parts. Cuba could not import any ventilators for COVID due to the blockade which covers all medicines and medical supplies and most foods, so they had to build their own.
This tiny country, blockaded by the whole world, was able to build their own ventilators. Cuba’s rate of saving hospitalized COVID patients is very high despite a serious shortage of drugs. The country has made five different COVID vaccines. The first, with an efficacy rate of 93%, has just been released for emergency use. Nevertheless, the epidemic is hitting them very hard and they have had to expand medical facilities because existing ones were not adequate to cover the problem.
But the new facilities and the overwhelming of the hospitals due to COVID overwhelmed the electricity system. The heat added to the strain. Workers came from all over the country and worked all week to get one substation running, but the temporary fixes usually only last for a month.
Food and medicine has collapsed because of the economic collapse and the embargo preventing Cuba from buying these things on the open market. You have to stand in line for hours for basic necessities. Furthermore, an opening of the economy to market conditions has resulted in a lifting of price controls. The result has been that prices have risen 3X. So you can see that moving towards capitalism caused inflation to skyrocket in Cuba.
Furthermore, most goods are now available only at special currency stores, but most people do not have access to that special currency. The regular currency stores are empty. The result has been that huge mafias have developed who buy things wholesale from the special currency stores and then resell them in the regular currency, but they are marked up by up to 3X. However, there are up to 500,000 of these criminals in Cuba now and there doesn’t seem to be much to do about them. The cops don’t even really try to stop them.
The truth is that since most people only have access to regular currency, the existence of these resellers and mafias seems to be inevitable as that is the only way that ordinary people can buy what they want. There are a lot of complaints about these special stores and the state currency manipulations that they are a result of, but the currency decisions seem to be based on sound, if rather capitalist, economics. I don’t know what can be done about the problem of these stores.
I really don’t know what the Cuban government could do to make any of the problems of the country go away. Can someone please tell me what the government should do to go about making even one of these problems they have better?
Most Cubans know capitalism up front, and they explicitly dislike the very idea of it. They don’t even like the US model. And the Latin American models of capitalism don’t like very enticing compared to what Cubans already have. Even the Dominican Republic, Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, and even Uruguay seem pretty awful compared to Cuba.
For one thing, there is almost no crime in Cuba and the drug use and sales rate is very low. There is almost no drug smuggling. There are no street gangs to speak of, nor are there any beggars in the streets.
During the decade when Nicaragua switched to capitalism, the roads were full of potholes and were nearly undriveable, children carried their chairs to school every day because the school had no chairs for the students, the streets were lined with dirty, hungry children and the first word out of their mouths was to ask you for a coin. Now that Ortega and the Sandinistas are back, all of that is gone. Nicaraguans have lived under both the Sandinistas and their capitalist rightwing enemies and they majority do not want the Right to come back into power any time soon. They have seen how the Right acts when they are in power.
If they let them back in, they will do the same thing all over again. The Venezuelans are the same way. The Right has only ever espoused dismantling every since achievement of the Chavistas. However, 70% of the population support the Chavista project and describe themselves as Chavistas. With a population of 70% Chavistas and an opposition that has pledged to dismantle the entire project, is there any wonder that the Chavistas win by ~70% every time? Why wouldn’t they?
And Nicaragua is sending very few immigrants to the US. The Central American immigrants flooding “the misery, crime, violence, and poverty” of the region are all coming from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. They are not coming from Nicaragua. There’s a reason for that. Also, Nicaragua has had very low rates of COVID cases and deaths, while at least Guatemala was utterly devastated by the disease.
It is true that there are contras in Cuba. It’s certainly not illegal to be a contra and they are quite easy to find. Contras represent ~14% of the population because that is how many people voted agains the last Constitution. The contras calling for a US fake humanitarian intervention and invasion are certainly much less than that.
Guaido, the Venezuelan contra, had 4% support last I heard. His project of sanctions and US invasion has 12% support. Sanctions themselves have only 18% support. The general opposition has ~27% support.
The Right has ruled Haiti since 1994 when Lavalas was overthrown by the US and Aristide was forced into exile. Aristide won 92% of the vote the last time he ran. That’s how many Haitians supported and support Lavalas. All of the US-installed regimes ever since have had the support of ~8% of the population.
The opposition in Nicaragua also has ~25%. The last poll had them at 23%. However, the position of the contras who tried to overthrow the government with a violent coup in 2018 has only 15% support. The latest poll shows Ortega winning 77%-23% against the opposition.
It is not true that the opposition is being forbidden from running. Some people who took money from the US to stage a violent attempt to overthrow the government have been arrested. Others have had their political privileges revoked for life. This is exactly what should happen to all of the Venezuelan coup-mongers, and some are already under house arrest or have been banned from politics for 15 years. None of these Nicaraguan coup plotters were candidates for any political party.
The US has been trying to insert these traitors in the political parties since 2018, but no party will take them. These are not politicians. They are not even associated with any political party. In fact, there are 17 different political parties running against the Sandinistas in the upcoming election. It’s perfectly legal to be in the opposition in Nicaragua. You only must follow the laws. As in Venezuela, the Nicaraguan contras are only ~25% of the population and they can never win at the ballot box, so they try to overthrow the government by force again.
The thing is that the contras in Cuba are all reactionaries. They wave American flags and they all want to go to neoliberalism. They are rioting because COVID is peaking in Cuba, but even there, Florida, a very wealthy capitalist state in the US, has had twice as many cases per capita and five times as many deaths per capita. In the Latin American countries that the US-flag waving mercenaries emulate, COVID death rates are 10, 20, and 50X higher than in the US.
Even in the “successful” Latin American countries like Chile, COVID has been disastrous. By the way, Chile is hardly a model for Latin America. The place is a disaster.
It’s not some groovy West European social democracy. There are no groovy West European social democracies in Latin America. The people who are trying to emulate just that are Maduro, Ortega, Correa, Fernandez, Lula, Morales, and the recent winner in Peru, Castillo – the ones who are being called Communist Pink Tide countries. An actual Communist is ahead in the polls in Chile and a moderate Leftist appears poised to win even in Colombia, the last holdout of the populist Right.
All of these people who have already served in power have either all been overthrown by the US or there have been attempts to overthrow them.
The US only tolerates hard Right regimes in Latin America. This has always been the case. Part of the problem is that Latin America never had Social Contracts as Europe did. The oligarchs and the Right have always been reactionary and fascist and are to this day.
In contrast, in Europe, the true reactionaries and fascists are all but defeated, and social democracy rules the day. Latin American style Rightists do not exist in Europe. The only thing close to that economically was in Eastern Europe in the Baltics, and these places failed horrifically with the 2008 Depression. Even Poland and the Czech Republic are not so rightwing as everyone thinks.
The most rightwing government in Europe is in the UK, and they are to the Left of the Democratic Party.
Republican Party-Latin American Right economics is unpopular all over the world.
I will grant that it is popular in a few places. It retains majority support in Colombia, but with the recent riots and the genocidal response of the regime to them, this seems to be ending. In Hong Kong and Singapore, two very wealthy more or less “fake states” – fake because these states cannot be replicated elsewhere – rightwing economics remains popular. However, the working classes in Hong Kong mostly support China and hate the rightwing government, and in Singapore, the main opposition party has Marxist roots.
The way of the world seems to be socialism or at least some kind of socialism, at the very least some variety of social democracy. Neoliberalism is disliked or even hated on most of the planet. Bottom line is nobody likes it and nobody wants it. In places where it gets polled as in Latin America, it has the support of 8-27% of the population, with an average of 26% support for the project in general which declines to 8-18% when it comes to the coup-mongering Right that calls for sanctions, violent coups and US interventions. This is the political demographic of the oligarchs and their supporters.
It’s minority now and appears to be minority for quite some time into the future. Economic conservatism and conservatism in general believe in rule by the aristocracy or oligarchy. Liberalism by contrast means rule by democracy or rule by the people. As the aristocrats, oligarchs and their supporters are always a minority – 25-30% seems to be a good ballpark figure, they generally hate democracy and tend to rely on antidemocratic means of getting in and staying in power.
I do believe there are parties, groups, and individuals, in fact 10’s of millions of them, right here in the US who very much support democracy in the US itself. Those would be people associated with the Democratic Party and the Left in the US.
Few if any persons on the Right in the US support democracy, although there are a few. The reasoning is simple.
Full democracy implemented in the US, something we have never had and never even tried to have, would help the Democratic Party and the Left in the US quite a bit. So of course they support it. But they supported it even when majorities were voting Right to be fair.
Full democracy in the US, which as I noted we have never had one day of in this silly blighted land, would be a disaster for the Republican Party.
The country is far to the left of the Republican Party. Since 2005, Democrats have held a +10% support advantage among the US electorate. With the implementation of full democracy in the US, the Republican Party will never win another national election and they will probably never control Congress again either. The only way out of this jam is to move the Republican Party somewhat to the left in order to be in line with a left-moving population.
But that probably cannot be done because it goes against the basic foundations of the Republican Party itself. I’m not saying it couldn’t be done, but they would have to turn their back on over 100 years of Republican Party policy and go all the way back to Teddy Roosevelt.
Hell, at this point, a return to Richard Nixon or Eisenhower would be wonderful, but the party is too far gone to even do that. Instead of moving left with the electorate as they should if they wish to survive, every year they get increasingly rightwing to the point where the Republican is an actual anti-democratic rightwing authoritarian party. They now don’t support democracy at all. They support some form of Latin American style rightwing hard or soft dictatorship. It’s transformed itself into an actual Latin American-style fascist political political party.
Survival against All Odds Via Computerized Election Theft
The only reason the Republicans have been winning all of that time is because they’ve been stealing elections. No way on Earth could fifteen years of +10% Democratic advantage in the electorate coincide with massive Republican wins, especially at the state level. However, it coincides almost perfectly with the rise electronic voting in the US. Since the advent of US computer voting, we have seen massive poll and election poll failures across the US, the likes of which we have never been before in this country since the advent of sophisticated polling in 1946.
The only possible explanation for the massive and unprecedented failure in in pre-election and election precinct level polling is that the Republicans have been engaged in massive election theft via computer voting machines for the last 20 years. In fact, Karl Rove is on record admitting that the Republicans have been stealing elections via computer voting machines. He said he it’s within a few points, they can try to steal it because no one notices but if it’s more than that, they don’t even try.
2020 was the most brazen election theft in US history. Republicans tried to steal elections in Wisconsin and Michigan where they were down by 8-10 points and they almost won in both cases. So this shows that the Republicans are getting very desperate. Even if Democrats are ahead by 8-10 percentage points, Republicans will still try to steal it and no one in the Democratic Party or the media will ban at eye.
They will just blab on endlessly about poll failure. In this sense, the US Democratic Party fully deserves every terrible thing that has happened to it and in a larger sense, US Democrats deserve every shitty rightwing thing that has happened and will happen to this country for being so stupid and obtuse to refuse to recognize this obvious election theft being conducted right under their noses. I have no sympathy for the US Democratic Party. They can burn it to the ground for all I care, and while they are at it, burn every one of those corporate media companies to the ground too.
The system is too far gone for reform. I’m at the “burn it to the ground and start all over again from scratch” point now. Otherwise known as creative destruction. That’s an almost Maoist point of view. Sometimes things are just too far gone for petty reformism. You need to raze it all to the ground and start all over again with a complete political and cultural revolution.
Fascism: A Popular Palingetic Dictatorship against the Left
This is if we define fascism as any rightwing dictatorship or rightwing authoritarian system. I think it’s a good argument that any rightwing dictatorship is basically a fascist political system if we define fascism according to its excellent new definition of “a popular dictatorship against the Left.”
It also tends to have nationalist or ultranationalist palingetic properties in many cases, palingetic referring to a project along the lines of the mythic bird rising from the ashes that seeks to restore the blood and soil glory of the ancient nation before it was destroyed by insurgent anti-nationalists, typical liberals or minorities.
Trumpism, Erdoganism, and Hindutvadism: Three Fascist Ideologies
Viewed through this mirror, you can see how Trumpism, Erodgan’s Ottoman Islamism, and the BJP Hindutva regime in India are all classic fascist political parties. Note the strong support by the middle classes of all three projects, in particular the Hindutvadi one. Religion is wedded to religious bigotry in all three nations – Christianity (albeit in a mild form deeply associated with regressive Judaism) in Trump’s case, a religio-nationalist Islam in the case of Turkey and a religio-nationalist Hindusim in the case of India.
In the latter two cases, religious minorities are associated with treasonous insurgents who needed to be eliminated from the body politic, which they are seen as literally poisoning. In Trump’s case, the prejudice is not so much religious as it as against liberals and liberalism and apparently even democracy, the twin enemies of fascists everywhere dating all the way back to 1930’s Germany. Liberalism and democracy makes the nation soft and allows the national enemies, who happen to be minorities and liberals, to worm their way into the body politic and eat away at the nation itself like termites.
Transformer: I saw this on Facebook with a discussion about Communism and this is a statement from a Libertarian:
The Marxist delusion of no government always leads to absolute tyranny. The anarcho-communists sweep away tolerably governments and pave the way for the Stalins, Maos, Pol Pots, Castros, Mugabes, Chavezes, etc. It’s not that they justify Stalinism, but that they justify measures that always result in Stalinism, and they still don’t have a clue as to why that keeps happening.
I disagree with his statement that the governments before these revolutions were tolerable.
Yes, the US supported Pol Pot the whole time they were in and for many years afterwards as guerrillas.
You are certainly free as a liberal to Leftist to oppose Marxism. A lot of people on the Left, especially liberals, are against Marxist dictatorships. There’s a good argument against them. They’re not exactly democratic.
Chavez was not a dictator at all. Venezuela under Chavez was one of the most democratic countries on Earth. Mugabe wasn’t really a dictator. The opposition always ran in every election, and Mugabe always got the most votes not counting fraud. Same thing in Russia. Putin always gets the most votes whether he steals a few or not. Same thing in Belarus. The opposition runs every time and Lukashenko always gets 75-80% of the actual counted votes. There was no fraud in the last election.
There’s never been any serious electoral fraud in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Haiti, Iran, Syria, or Peru or most places the US has alleged that massive electoral fraud allowed the Left to win. I can’t recall the last time the Left anywhere on Earth had to steal an election to win. It’s usually the Right who does that.
Anarcoms have never completed a successful revolution. The no government thing is supposed to be way off in the future and it’s never happened anywhere. The “Stalinism” is just the dictatorship of the proletariat. It’s part of Marxist theory. It’s not an aberration or anything. Look at Honduras, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Zimbabwe, Guatemala, El Salvador, Haiti, Bolivia, Guyana, Peru, Mexico, Italy, Ecuador, Brazil, Chile, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Iran, etc.
There’s no peaceful way to put the Left in power. Anytime a Left government comes in, there’s this nonstop war to overthrow it, usually culminating in a rightwing fascist coup. They always ruin the economy, first and foremost. This is why orthodox Marxists regard the peaceful road to socialism as either a sick joke or a great idea that is not possible in the real world. Lenin called advocates of the peaceful road to socialism “parliamentary cretins.”
What’s odd is that imperialism went along with land reforms in a lot of other places such as Europe and the Middle East. All of the Middle East has done a land reform.
That was one thing the wave of Arab nationalist leaders who came to power in 1950-1970 did right away, including the Baath in Iraq and Syria, Yemen, Nasser in Egypt, the FLN in Algeria, Tunisia, and Qaddafi in Libya.
I believe there was some type of land reform done in Palestine too. If you read Ghassan Kanafani, the Palestinian Leftist, in the 1930’s, he talked about how terribly exploited the Arab fellahin or peasants were in Palestine.
If you went to Yemen in the 1960’s, there was a portrait of Nasser in every house.
I’m not sure if a land reform was ever done in Morocco. It’s been ruled by a fairly rightwing king for a long time.
A land reform was probably done in Lebanon, but I don’t have details. Likewise with Jordan.
Nothing grows in the Gulf anyway, so there’s no need for a reform.
I’m not sure about Sudan or Mauritania, but I doubt much grows in Mauritania except date palms.
In all of these places, land reform was a very easy sell for whatever reason, probably because neoliberal capitalism seems to be antithetical to Islam itself. The feudal lords of the former Ottoman Empire had tried to justify feudalism on the basis that in the Koran it says something like, “Some are rich and some are poor, and this is a natural thing” but that never went over too well.
The idea that in an Islamic country, the rich Muslims were viciously exploit the poor Muslims is nearly haram on its face. You just can’t do that. All Muslims are part of the ummah. All the Muslim men are your brothers and all the Muslim women are your sisters. Also individualism never made it to any part of the Muslim World other than the Hindu variety in Pakistan and Bangladesh, but that’s not really the same radical individualism that we have in the West. It’s just an ancient caste based system.
The first thing the Communists did in Eastern Europe was to do a land reform. You will never hear it here in the West, but until 1960, the Communist regimes in the East were very popular with industrial workers and also with the peasants.
In most of the world, peasants and rural dwellers are leftwingers. This is even the case in Western Europe in France.
The US is odd in that it’s farmers are so reactionary. That goes against the usual trend.
Yes, farmers are said to be conservatives, but that usually just means social conservatism. In most of the world, peasants are literally Alt Left: left on economics and right on social and cultural issues.
A land reform was definitely done in Iran.
Obviously one was done in the USSR, and the large landowners have not yet consolidated themselves in the former USSR, mostly because everybody hates them. Large landowners have taken over some of the state farms in Russia, but for whatever reason, they are not very productive. In fact, many of the state farms are still in existence. I am not sure what sort of arrangement they have now.
50% of the food in the Russia comes from small farms, typically grown on dachas. Dachas were vacation homes that were given to all Soviet workers. They were also given a bit of land, enough to grow some crops on. After 1991, all workers were allowed to keep their dachas and small plots. This was a great idea because most of the produce in Russia is coming right off of these farms.
After World War 2, the US supported land reforms in some places as a way of heading off a Communist threat. This is one great thing about the Communists. So many great steps of social progress were only done out of fear or terror that if these were not done, the Communists would take over. Now that that threat is gone, one wonders what motivation the oligarchs have to give up anything.
In particular, land reforms were done in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. They went over very easily. And in fact, the subsequent economic growth occurred right on the back of these reforms. There is a good argument that you can never develop a proper economy without first doing a land reform.
First of all, you need to get rid of the problem of rural poverty.
Second of all, you need to feed your own people. Large landowners in these countries typically grow food for export or simply fallow the land and keep it as an income base or a source of wealth.
When crops are grown for export, there is a problem in that the nation does not grow enough food to feed its people. This is a problem in Cuba and Venezuela right now, and it should not be. These are very fertile countries and there is no need to import food, but they have gotten hooked on some sort of “crack” of importing their food for whatever reason, possibly because most of their farmland was being used to grow crops for export.
When a nation can feed itself, this means it can feed its urban workers. This is extremely important and it is part of the reason that Stalin went at such breakneck speed in his collectivization. He had to feed his urban workers so he could industrialize because even back then, he was looking into the future and seeing that he was going to have to fight Hitler.
I’m not quite sure why, but no country seems to be able to properly industrialize and develop as long as the problem of rural poverty exists.
And once you are feeding your own people, you have solved a lot of other problems. Money that would be wasted importing inferior food from the West, especially the US, can now be spent on actual development of a national economy. The elimination of rural poverty gets rid of a constant revolutionary bur in the side of the state.
The US has always opposed land reform in Latin America because large US corporations are usually involved in growing foods for export down there. See Dole Pineapple in Guatemala. We want all of their agricultural land to go for export crops so US corporations can grow those crops or make money importing them. And we do not want them to grow their own food. That way there won’t be so much land for export crops which we need to make money off of.
Also, we want them to spend all of their food money importing lousy processed food from the US. So we make money on food both ways – importing food from crops grown for export to the US and in exporting processed food to the Latin America. This processed food is not very good for you and it is implicated in a lot of health problems in these places.
This is why the US opposes most efforts at land reform in the Americas.
An exception was made in El Salvador. After 200,000 people died, the US and the Salvadoran oligarchs were forced to the negotiating table and a land reform was one of the first things they pushed. I recall a piece written soon afterwards where the reporter went out to the rural areas and interviewed recipients of the land reform. They basically said, “Well, at least we can eat now. It wasn’t like that before.”
In semi-feudal countries, there is debt bondage whereby large landowners rent out their land to sharecroppers or peasants who never seem to get out of debt. This is a very primitive form of development.
The Philippines is notable that there has never been a land reform. And of course they have a vicious Communist insurgency.
Nor has there been one in Colombia, Guatemala, Haiti, Paraguay, Honduras, or Argentina. The first five countries are horribly screwed up. Colombia and Paraguay have active armed leftwing guerrillas, and Guatemala did for many years. Haiti is a disaster. Honduras has a vicious rightwing dictatorship that has murdered over 1,000 people.
Argentina is mostly urbanized, but the landed rural elite still runs the country. Any talk at all of land reform or even taxation of large estates as was done recently under Christine Fernandez, and the ruling class starts making ominous threats of a coup. I assume something similar is going on in Uruguay. Those countries are urbanized though, so large landownership is not such a problem.
I’m not sure if there has ever been a land reform in Brazil, but there is no dearth of large landowners.
The fact that Colombia, Guatemala, and Haiti are so backwards is largely because there has never been a land reform.
The land reform was incomplete in Venezuela.
It is interesting that every country that fails to do a land reform seems to end up with a Communist or Leftist insurgency at some point or another. It’s almost without fail. This goes to show you that most Communist insurgencies in the Third World are over the most basic things dating all the way back to French Revolution: land and bread (food).
As far as land reforms go, they were done in Mexico, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Venezuela, and Peru.
I’m not sure about Uruguay, Ecuador, Bolivia, Panama, Jamaica, Belize, the Guyanas, Chile, and most of the Caribbean.
And I’m not sure if one ever got done in the Dominican Republic after Bosch.
In El Salvador, 200,000 had to die in order for a land reform to take place. Roberto D’Aubission, the godfather of the Salvadoran death squads and the most favored visitor at the US Embassy, once said that “We will have to kill 200,000 people in order to prevent socialism in El Salvador.” What he meant by socialism was land reform.
It is notable that no land reform was ever done in India, nor in Pakistan or even Bangladesh. I had a friend whose parents were large feudal landowners in Pakistan who rented out land to farmers who ended up in debt peonage. In 1986, 14 million people a year were dying of starvation related diseases in the capitalist world. Most of that was in South Asia in Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India. Most of these deaths were attributed to the problem of the private ownership of land.
There is a problem with the private ownership of land. In the US, we think this is sacrosanct, but on a worldwide basis, it doesn’t work very well. What do you need all that land for? What do you need more than, say, an acre and a house? Nothing, unless you are a farmer.
In China, all land is owned by the state. All homeowners lease the land, often on 100 year leases. I’m not sure how it works in the countryside.
In Mexico, much of the land is owned by the state also, a product of the land reform that occurred after the Revolution. One of the major demands of the Revolution was land reform. Pre-revolution, most peasants usually lived like serfs. The state land in Mexico is called ejidos.
If you ever can’t make it in the city, if you become unemployed or homeless, you can always go out to the countryside and take up residence in an ejido, which are something like communal lands that are formed by the group that makes up the ejido. You join this group, work the land, and get a share of the crop. At least you have enough food to eat. So in Mexico the ejidos are a stopgap measure.
In China too, if you can’t make it in the city, you can always go back to the rural areas, take up residence, and work the land. At least you will have enough to food to eat. It is illegal to be homeless in China. If you are homeless, the police pick you up and put you in shelters, which are something like college dorms. They also encourage you to go back to the countryside if you have relatives back there. In recent years, many people have moved from the countryside to the cities to make more money. Those that don’t make it can always move back to the farm.
There was debate a while back about privatizing state land, but it ran aground on the idea that the state ownership of land was necessary as a stopgap measure in the event of urban poverty. In addition, state ownership of land has prevented the development of a national oligarchy or plutocracy.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been adamant that the development of a national oligarchy or plutocracy must be prevented at all costs. Once they develop, they are sort of like an infection in that they soon spread and take over society. The CCP has billionaire party members who are members of the People’s Assembly.
Guess what these “Communists” are advocating for? Reduction or elimination of taxes on the rich, massive reductions in social spending, state repression of labor, and the privatization of land along with most of the rest of the economy. I think this goes to show you that billionaires are the same everywhere. Whether in a Communist or capitalist country, a rightwing or leftwing country, billionaires always have precisely the same class interests that barely vary at all. It’s usually something like this:
Reduction or elimination of taxes on the rich, massive reductions in social spending, state repression of labor, and the privatization of land along with most of the rest of the economy.
This goes to show that class interests of various classes are nearly a law in a mathematical sense and not even a theory of social science. This was what Marx was getting at when he spoke of the laws of economics. They are so predictable that we can almost class them with the laws, theorems, and corollaries of mathematics instead of the typical “true for now” theories of most of the sciences.
I have a feeling that a Hell of a lot more things are laws, too, especially in terms of basic human behavior. So many of these things seem almost unchangeable. Of course they would never apply to everyone, but it’s pretty obvious that they are general tendencies.
DiscoCat: The Far Left has an explicit goal of ending capitalism. The Far Right does not. This is why when forced to choose between the Far Right and the Far Left, liberals, capitalists, industrialists, and plutocrats will always choose the Far Right.
It is precisely for this reason that the wealthy industrialists and plutocrats in Germany supported Hitler’s chancellorship campaign in 1931. They didn’t give a flying fuck about his nationalism, bigotry, warmongering, and antisemitism. Most of the plutocrats probably thought Hitler’s ravings were just harmless antics to galvanize his base. Whatever it takes to rile up the mindless cattle and garner their support. All they cared about is that he would let them keep their ownership of the factories and protect their interests from socialists and communists.
The plutocrats will always support fascism as a bulwark against socialism if they feel the latter’s gaining popularity among the masses. They usually don’t like fascism but they’re driven to support it by pure self-interest and pragmatism.
Thank you very much for this comment! And by the way, welcome to the site if you are new here!
I have felt this way a long time myself. I think it goes deeper than this though. Many of the leftwingers that got overthrown by fascists were just liberals who did some tinkering around the edges. Arbenz in Guatemala and many others such as Juan Bosch in the Dominican Republic were overthrown for trying to do a land reform. The leader of Honduras and Aristide in Haiti were overthrown by fascists for literally raising the minimum wage! That’s all they did. And Bill Clinton helped overthrow Aristide and Hitlery Clinton herself literally overthrew the leader of Honduras and installed a fascist coup that very quickly murdered 1,000 social activists.
This has happened many times. The new Peruvian leader has promised to do only very mild reforms and he’s already being called a Communist. The mild reformer of the PT, Lula, was overthrown in a judicial coup that was assisted by the FBI! I told you Feds are crap. Feds are the worst pigs of them all.
So I disagree where the poster says all of these people go fascist for fear that the Left will end capitalism. It appears that any threat to their profits at all is enough to cause the capitalists to put in a fascist regime. So I think the comment should be amended from fear of the overthrow of capitalism to the fear of any loss of profits and income at all.
A while back, I told my mother that down in Latin America, it is routine for the Right to murder trade unionists and union leaders. She shook her head and said, “That’s because down there, if you’re in a union, they think that means you’re a Communist.” I would point out that that was all done with the help of the US, especially the CIA.
The US has been murdering union members in Latin America for 60 years now, and probably even longer if you consider the Banana Revolt in the Uraba of Colombia in 1921. And every one of our Latin American interventions from 1910-1950 was done on the basis more or less of “kill the trade unionists,” among other things. The Sandinistas of Nicaragua are named after Augusto Sandino, the leader of Nicaraguan guerrillas who fought the US Marines in Nicaragua for many years.
That’s exactly correct. I’d like to add that not one thing has changed. Social activists including union members and leaders, are murdered every day in Colombia for years now.
I didn’t actually read the book, but James Schipper did. Below I will quote from an article from NACLA that critiques the book well.
James Schipper: Perón came back from exile, and then won the election with a landslide. Unless the Argentines are complete political idiots, this demonstrates that he tried to accomplish something for the masses. Ordinary voters may not understand much about economics, but they usually sense who is on their side and who is not.
The US, Canada, Great Britain, and Australia are three Anglosphere countries that keep voting for rightwing economics despite themselves. The masses have been harmed by neoliberalism in all of these countries, but every four years, they march off and vote for it again. I think part of the problem is that ordinary people are voting against mass immigration and other leftwing stupidities in all of these countries. They don’t realize that neoliberalism comes as an add-on to anti-immigrant policies in the Anglosphere. Voters in the Anglosphere are political idiots.
You can see why people keep voting for the Chavistas in Venezuela. Sure, the economy is a mess, but no one blames the government. 70% of the population openly state that they are Chavistas. Things may be bad now but they know that the opposition is not their friend! This is why they keep voting for Ortega in Nicaragua, Lukashenko in Belarus, and Putin in Russia. These guys are on their side, and the voters can figure that out.
James Schipper: Many years ago, I read a book called The Macroeconomics of Populism in Latin America, in which it is explained how leftist populists in LA, despite their unquestioned commitment to improving the economic lot of the poorest segment of the population, often fail because they overreach.
Wikipedia has an article called Macroeconomic Populism, which explains briefly how overambitious economic populism can backfire.
I would agree that acting too fast too soon isn’t a great idea and a slower approach might work better. But we don’t see a lot of cases of economic stupidity like this nowadays in Latin America.
Yes, I think that book is not good. One man worked for the World Bank. Their basic attitude is “Don’t rely on government to try to fix economic problems and help the poor. It fails every time.” In other words, it’s hopeless. Massive inequality a problem? Sure. What to do? Nothing! Because everything you do is going to fail. I dunno.
The book is referred to in this book review of another book as “an outdated, far-right, academically dishonest book.”
From the article.
Rudiger Dornbush, and Sebastian Edwards, two University of Chicago-trained economists.
See? They were both trained at the University of Chicago. That’s the home of Milton Friedman, neoliberalism, the Chicago Boyz, the neoliberal whiz kids who caused so much destruction all over the world, especially in Latin America. UoC/Friedmanite economics doesn’t work. Period. It causes massive inequality, significant gains for the top 20% and a serious drop in income for the bottom 80%. This is exactly what happened from 1980-1992 under Reagan-Bush. Sure, if you are in the top 20%, I would say neoliberal economics is the way to go. But if you’re not, it’s economic suicide.
They complain about D and E’s portrayal of Chile:
The most astonishing example of the book’s studied ignorance happens to be one of the most indisputable and well-documented examples of U.S. intervention: Chile.
According to Chapter 7 of Dornbush and Edwards’ book, written by Felipe Larraín (currently Chile’s Finance Minister) and Patricio Meller, the “decline and full collapse of the [Allende coalition government] experiment during the years 1972-73 is a clear consequence of the ‘successful’ overexpansive policies implemented in 1971.”
Never mind that Nixon reacted to the 1970 elections determined to “smash Allende,” telling then-CIA director Richard Helms to “make the economy scream.” Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh details the earliest destabilization campaigns, carried out even before Allende took office:
Approval was granted for a last-minute increase of the propaganda activities designed to convince the Chilean Congress that an Allende election would mean financial chaos. Within two weeks, twenty-three journalists from at least ten countries were brought into Chile by the CIA, and they combined with CIA propaganda “assets” already in place to produce more than 700 articles and broadcasts both in and out of Chile before the congressional election – a staggering total whose ultimate influence cannot be measured.
By late September, a full-fledged bank panic had broken out in Santiago, and vast amounts of funds were being transferred abroad. Sales of durable goods, such as automobiles and household goods, fell precipitously; industrial production also dropped. Black-market activities soared as citizens sought to sell their valuables at discounted prices.
Ok that’s a case of capital flight. Venezuela had the same problem. All I can say is that it upholds Lenin’s idea that the peaceful road to socialism, while a great idea in theory, simply never works in real life because the capitalists simply sabotage the economy.
Larraín and Meller mention Nixon, Kissinger, Richard Helms, I.T.T., and/or Pepsi precisely zero times in their scholarly analysis. Whereas U.S. Ambassador to Chile Edward Korry threatened that “not a nut or bolt will be allowed to reach Chile under Allende,” doing “all within our power to condemn Chile and the Chileans to utmost deprivation and poverty.”
Like I said, they failed badly to include the US massive economic war it waged against Chile. The same exact program was used against Venezuela, with the same results. The sanctions on Zimbabwe and Nicaragua also caused hyperinflation.
The only hyperinflation I’ve seen lately was caused by capitalists waging economic war against the state or by US sanctions. Usually both are going on at the same time. In Venezuela, the capitalists won’t stop raising prices. They love the hyperinflation because they’ve used it to play the currency black market to make a bundle. And they deliberately created it by shutting down production and hoarding goods.
At one point, Maduro put the army in charge of enforcing price controls, and the inflation stabilized for a while, but then they were withdrawn and they went back up again. However, after floating the currency along with a drop in the value of real wages and a reduction of most people’s savings, inflation was subdued. I’d hate to see these guys’ analysis of Venezuela. In fact, Krugman is already saying that Venezuela and Argentina are modern cases of this macroeconomic populism.
The authors argue instead that all state efforts to create a decent economy will fail and the only thing that will work is neoliberalism.
The authors explain that “the message emerging from the papers in this book is clear: the use of macroeconomic policy to achieve distributive goals has historically led to failure, sorrow, and frustration.” That’s why they helpfully disabuse Latin America of its “naive confidence in the ability of governments to cure all social and economic ills.”
However, neoliberalism doesn’t work either:
Second, it is worth noting that Cambridge development economist Ha-Joon Chang has analyzed the effects of these supposedly self-defeating macro policies. He finds on the contrary that “developing countries did not do badly at all during the ‘bad old days’ of protectionism and state intervention in the 1960s and 70s. In fact, their economic growth performance during the period was far superior [3.1% in per capita GDP a year for Latin America] to that achieved since the 1980s under greater opening and deregulation [1.1% a year from 1980-2009].
…And even that rate was partly due to the rapid growth of countries in the region that had explicitly rejected neoliberal policies sometime earlier in the 2000s – Argentina, Ecuador, Uruguay and Venezuela.” In fact, when Dornbush and Edwards published their book in 1991 denouncing “overly expansive” macro policies, Latin America and the Caribbean – largely compliant to IMF diktats at that point – had already averaged an entire decade of negative 0.3% growth rate per capita (1980-1990).
If you are going to read books about economics, I recommend Ha-Joon Chang. As you can see, neoliberalism in Latin America failed completely. Even its proponents admitted that it failed, but their attitude was the usual, “We didn’t give it time enough. Give it some more time and it will start working.” Yeah, right.
Larraín and Meller focus their attention exclusively on the macroeconomic policy errors of Allende’s Unidad Popular (UP) government. Its efforts to “increase real wages and to improve Chilean income distribution failed completely,” they contend, dryly adding that it “took eight years, up to 1981 (during the ‘peak of the boom’), for real wages to recover the level they had held in 1970 before the UP government.”
Larraín and Meller omit from this account Pinochet’s post-1973 reign of terror in which tens of thousands were imprisoned and killed and an economic policy during the dictatorship that led to virtually no growth in per capita income by 1986, 13 years after the coup.
See? Neoliberalism didn’t work either. It took until 11 years after Allende for real wages to reach the level they were under Allende. Then there was an economic crash. I believe it took until 1989 for wages to reach the level they were under Allende again. That’s just a complete failure of neoliberalism over 20 years.
Perhaps the paper’s most artful flourish is the cynical use of the impersonal, passive voice. Nixon directed a comprehensive program of economic sabotage literally bearing Secretary of State Kissinger’s signature. The U.S. funded all major anti-government strikes, the CIA penetrated all of Chile’s political parties, and it courted the military to foment a putsch.
From D and E:
Real wages dropped spectacularly, by -11.3% in 1972 and -38.6% in 1973. This last figure includes a 30% cut induced in the fourth quarter of 1973, after the military coup…[B]y the end of 1971 the signals of disequilibrium were clear for a dispassionate observer. Bottlenecks appeared in strength during 1972, and 1973 witnessed the collapse of the whole experiment. Political instability mounted, and a coup ultimately replaced the UP Government with a military junta [emphases mine].
It was all Allende’s fault. All of the economic sabotage and the economic war the US waged to make the economy scream? That did nothing at all! Seems like a very bad analysis.
Guys like D and E are still writing today:
Today, U.S. scholars carry on the dubious tradition of lambasting Latin American populism, whatever its prevailing definition. Due to South America’s general drift to the left in recent years, academics make increasingly strained attempts to “recognize” and discredit it. In an October 2011 paper entitled Decreasing Inequality Under Latin America’s ‘Social Democratic’ and ‘Populist’ Governments: Is the Difference Real?,”Juan Montecino of the Center for Economic and Policy Research highlights the “arbitrary and ill-defined nature” of this endeavor.
Montecino politely dismantles the findings of economists Darryl McLeod and Nora Lustig, who purport to show that “social democratic” regimes did better than “left-populist” ones in reducing inequality in recent years. He shows that their empirical results are reversed when one runs the same regressions using data from the Economic Commission for Latin America. The paper raises questions as to whether their categories capture “anything more than a general antipathy toward one group of governments.”
In other words, they faked the data.
Unsurprisingly, this antipathy is directed toward three of the four countries Ha-Joon Chang highlights for experiencing growth after rejecting neoliberal policies: Argentina, Ecuador, and Venezuela.
Their enemies now are those three countries. Simon Johnson attacks Latin American populism in the case of Argentina:
Johnson has referred to Argentina as “a country that struggles over many decades (and whose leaders frequently rail against the world) and for which episodes of reasonable prosperity and new economic models are punctuated by gut-wrenching crises.”
In the case of Argentina’s last gut-wrenching crisis in 2001, however, the “IMF’s fingerprints” were all over it, wrote macroeconomist Mark Weisbrot, CEPR’s co-director and Argentina expert, in late 2001. “It arranged massive amounts of loans – including $40 billion [in 2000] – to support the [overvalued] Argentine peso,” writes Weisbrot. Then it “made its loans conditional on a ‘zero-deficit’ policy for Argentine government.”
By doing so, the IMF was able to “convince most of the press that Argentina’s ‘profligate’ spending habits [were] the source of its troubles.” Finally, the IMF – an organization Tim Geithner recently considered essential for promoting U.S. foreign policy – implausibly claimed it had always been against the overvalued peso and that the loans were made in order to placate the Argentine government.
The IMF caused the problem with orthodox neoliberalism and then blamed the government for “profligate spending” because they ordered it to read zero-deficit, a goal which itself caused the crisis.
See? They’re making it up.
Second, Johnson seems to portray the country as wracked by serious, ongoing difficulties. But Weisbrot et al. demonstrate that since defaulting and devaluing, Argentina – widely considered ‘populist’ – expanded 94% from 2002–11 (the fastest growth in the hemisphere), reaching its pre-recession level of GDP in three years, tripling real social spending over seven years, reducing poverty and extreme poverty by two-thirds (using independent estimates of inflation), and achieving record levels of employment.
Their paper also demolishes the myth repeated by many economists – including McLeod and Lustig – that Argentina’s success was largely the effect of a serendipitous commodities boom.
See? Populism worked great in Argentina. It also worked great in Venezuela (before the economic war combined with the collapse in oil prices killed the economy), Ecuador, and Bolivia.
The devastating policies of the past in Latin America, as well as the more successful policies of vastly more independent governments over the past decade, are intimately tied up with Washington’s control over the hemisphere and the recent collapse of its influence – especially in South America. Roger Morris, a staffer at the National Security Council until mid-1970, clarified such considerations for Seymour Hersh:
“I don’t think anybody ever fully grasped that Henry [Kissinger] saw Allende as being a far more serious threat than Castro. If Latin America ever became unraveled, it never would happen with a Castro. Allende was a living example of democratic social reform in Latin America…Chile scared him.”
The devastating economics of the past in Latin America were caused by the US waging economic war on countries that practiced populist economics. This same populism has worked much better now because the influence of the US has greatly fallen in the continent.
The U.S. government has long imposed double standards on the permissibility of social reforms. While instrumental to Allende’s overthrow abroad, the Nixon administration could boast progressive domestic achievements, including the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Earned Income Tax Credit, widely considered one of the most important anti-poverty programs in U.S. history.
Similarly, Lyndon Johnson enacted Great Society programs at home but sent thousands of troops to the Dominican Republic in 1965 to quell an uprising demanding the restitution of the deposed social democratic president, Juan Bosch. A liberal wishing to implement land reforms, Bosch was the subject of an FBI espionage and interception operation authorized by J. Edgar Hoover in the months preceding the rebellion, as Bosch sat exiled in Puerto Rico.
See? Liberalism at home. Fascism abroad. That’s the policy prescription of the US under Democrats and liberal Republicans. Also note the FBI overthrew him. The FBI was deeply involved in the lawfare against Brazil that resulted in the false charges being filed against Lula that put him in prison. See? The FBI literally overthrew Lula in Brazil. The FBI are not just pigs; they’re the worst pigs of them all – feds. And it is a deeply political and always reactionary organization. Fuck the FBI.
Perhaps unknowingly, Johnson is simply keeping within the permissible framework of an intellectual culture that has always accommodated and justified Washington’s hypocrisy. To my knowledge, Johnson has yet to apply his support for “standing up to the banks…proposing a more responsible course of action than that preferred by the banking elite,” and “greater transparency in financial transactions” to the IMF, which has conducted most of its deliberations, meetings, and consultations in secret.
Simon Johnson is pro-IMF, like the authors of that book.
On the The New York Times website, he offhandedly dismisses Latin American populism with a reference to an outdated, far-right, academically dishonest book – all in an article that challenges the U.S. elite by praising populism. This is a compelling example of the imperial double standard that keeps “pro-populist” commentators from seeing what is going on in developing countries.
The book you are praising is referred to an “outdated, far-right, academically dishonest book.” I believe that is correct.
But even if the Times’ readers never learn of Latin America’s protracted struggle for self-determination against U.S. power, the region is now a breeding ground for the most constructive values associated with populism. More than a decade of successful revolts has allowed for the elections of independent left governments in most of South America and has brought enormous gains to the poor majority through greater economic sovereignty and democratic social reform. Or as Kissinger might put it, Latin America has unraveled.
See? For the last 20 years, excellent populist economic policies in Latin America have brought enormous gains for the poor majority. According to E and D, it should have been catastrophic.
Rightwing dictatorships and fascists are good for US corporations and the US rich. So the capitalists of the world will always support fascism when it comes down to it. Every corporation in the US will support fascism if push comes to shove. For this reason, capitalism seems unsustainable because capitalists feel that the Left has no right to rule, and when it comes down to it, they will always support fascism, rightwing dictatorships, and fascist putschist oppositions to any existing leftwing governments.
It is for this reason that I feel that capitalism, which I do not necessarily oppose on moral grounds, is unsustainable and dangerous if not an out and out menace because of the tendency of all capitalist states when posed with a threat from the Left to install a fascist state. In other words, at some time or another in most capitalist countries, a threat will always cause a rightwing or fascist dictatorship to be installed.
Because of capitalism’s inevitable tendency towards rightwing dictatorship and fascism and its basic contempt for democracy, I feel that capitalism itself is a problem, and capitalism itself is a danger if not a menace to democratic society and people who wish to live free of dictatorships of the rich and fascism. In other words, yeah, capitalism in the long run is unsustainable.
In Venezuela and Nicaragua, the US staged violent riots with armed insurgents that attempted to overthrow the government, and then slammed sanctions on the governments when they cracked down on the seditious traitors. Obviously when you crack down on seditious traitors, it’s hard to be real democratic about it, as you start to throw lots of traitors in jail, shut down their treasonous organizations and political parties, forbid the seditious political parties and politicians from running for office again, and often have to start censoring the media because of the frankly murderous lies that the opposition yellow press prints, which actually results in getting a lot of people killed.
During these seditious coup attempts, the reporting is completely dishonest in the US and about as fake as you can get. Outrageous acts of murder committed by the putschists are breathlessly reported by the treasonous local and overseas US press and having been committed by the government, working people into a fever pitch. Opposition fascist liars flood social media, riling everyone up.
But do you see how they provoke repression? This is the imperialist playbook. Provoke repression with illegal and seditious activities, and then scream dictatorship when the law enforcement arms of the state try to restore some order. Wave after wave of sanctions were slammed on the Nicaraguan government by Democrats and Republicans both. When it comes to support for imperialism and alliance with the forces of violent revolutionary fascism and reaction around the world along with rightwing and fascist dictatorships in power, support for fascist states and forces is a bipartisan affair.
The US supports the fascist opposition in Mexico, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru, Belarus, and Ukraine. The US supports the fascist states of Turkey, Israel, India, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Brazil, Honduras, and Haiti and opposes the anti-fascist forces fighting against them. Face it, America loves rightwing dictatorships and fascist governments and opposition forces.
Amazingly, the Left has finally won in Peru and it’s about time. Things had really come to a head there. The Shining Path insurgency had not taken place in a background. Peru spawned the worst leftwing insurgents because it had one of the worst systems on Earth. Similarly, few countries were more feudal or unequal than Cambodia in the 1970’s. People were distributed into five economic castes depending on income. People of lower castes were virtually forbidden from speaking to the higher caste people. The city people viciously exploited the rural areas, and the rural people hated the city people. Cambodia had one of the worst societies on Earth. So of course it spawned the worst Leftwing movement ever.
The Right, of course, in the form of the party of former dictator Fujimori’s daughter, is already screaming fraud. There was no fraud. Anyway, the election was run by the center-right former government, and they were dead-set against this Leftwing guy winning. The US government and media can be reliably predicated to chime in quickly that the election was fraudulent. You just wait. The rich in Lima are trembling and threatening to pull all their money out of the country. The Lima Stock Exchange (which probably should be shut down) is having conniptions. We will see how this plays out in coming days, but I’m not optimistic.
Thing is, every time the Left wins, the US insists that it’s automatically a dictatorship. Meanwhile, the US does everything it can to provoke the state into overreacting with constant coup threats and regular coup attempts and even actual coups, huge street riots that turn into virtual counterinsurgencies, a vicious rightwing opposition that is downright seditious and takes all of their money from the US, lockout strikes by the bosses, currency warfare by currency traders, economic warfare (make the economy scream a la Henry Kissinger) when businesses refuse to produce goods or simply stockpile them to drive prices up, creating inflationary crises.
That’s in addition to the capital strikes and mass capital outflow, which has to be stopped. Problem is the only way to stop it is with currency controls and sooner or later currency controls cause a currency black market and dual currencies, usually effecting the real currency badly. The black market currency rate is often deliberately tinkered with to create inflationary crises. This is what the treasonous Venezuelan rich did with their currency firms in Houston that set the black market rate at crazy prices that caused wild inflationary spinouts. Eventually the real currency has to be floated, which wipes out everyone’s saving and drives the cost of the currency down to a very low number.
AMLO’s leftwing party won a majority of the legislature just the other day. He hasn’t been a very Lefty president. He ran as one but I don’t think he has been governing as one. But just to show you that Mexico is a part of Latin America, the rich and middle class raised a huge uproar over this man’s victory. And so has the US and especially the US media.
And an overtly fascist and putschist reactionary elite of the Mexican ultra-rich, associated with the most conservative strands of the Catholic Church and social conservatism, appeared on the scene calling for a fascist coup to overthrow the “dictator” AMLO. US papers have been full of articles about how AMLO is a “dictator” and has authoritarian tendencies. Apparently it’s complete nonsense. Even the more honest members of the opposition say there’s obviously nothing undemocratic about him. He’s as democratic as any Mexican President and perhaps more so.
Also, there’s been wild cartel-related mass violence and homicide raging across Mexico for 20 years now. These break into all out warfare between gangs and the police and army, who are often on the take and working for the gangs. The gangs also kill journalists or local politicians who get in their way. The same insanity has continued under AMLO, possibly even at a lower level, and while it was barely mentioned before, not AMLO is letting the cartels spin out of control and is allowing violence and homicide to rage across the land. For this reason he needs to be ousted.
But they get people all riled up about this more or less lies. Anyway, crime is rarely a state’s fault and once crime goes completely out of control, there’s not a whole lot you can do about it short of imposing an extreme totalitarian and authoritarian dictatorship. In El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, and Brazil the mass crime and high homicide rates have nothing to do with the governments. They occur under both left and rightwing governments.
Leftwing governments leave and rightwingers come in and the crime stays the same. The opposite happens and crime stays the same. But heavy crime is only weaponized against leftwing governments. Crime in Venezuela is just as bad as in rightwing El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, but only in Venezuela has it been the fault of the governments. All of those governments have tried everything they could, but when crime goes completely out of control, there’s not much the state can do short of outright dictatorship.
I was shocked but then not so much. Of course the Mexican Right is fascist. It’s just that they haven’t had a real Left government in since Cardenas in 1936. The ghosts of the Revolution are dead and the party of the Revolution, the PRI, turned corrupt and rather un-revolutionary, though the basic changes of the revolution were allowed to remain unchanged.
When the PRI couldn’t win an election, they simply stole them. The Leftist PRD, running Cardenas descendant, won the election in 1986, but the PRI declared the election flawed and said it had to be counted over. The government retreated for two weeks and said nothing. When it was over, a PRD victory had suddenly turned into a PRI win. In other words, they stole it. The “liberal” New York Times cheered it on and said there had been massive fraud in favor of Cardenas while it cheered for the “democracy” of the PRI stealing an election.
This analysis is based on the theory that US imperialism and Western imperialism for that matter is basically fascist. Not that our societies are fascist themselves because we have managed to insulate ourselves from this. But European jerkoffs spend most of their time running around the globe trying to deny the Third World even the barest social democracy that has made Europe so livable.
Modern Western Liberalism: Liberalism at Home, Fascism Abroad
How else you can you explain how Europe attacked social democracy in Latin America in Mexico, Haiti, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Brazil, Bolivia, El Salvador, Honduras, Peru, and Colombia? Social democracy at home, fascism abroad. This is the project of the Europeans nowadays, and NATO spearheads this project. In the US it is similar, social liberalism at home, fascism abroad, at least for the Democratic Party. Canada has something between social liberalism and social democracy, and their politics is for this project at home and fascism abroad.
When reporting about hot button issues abroad in the West, keep in mind that everything you read about countries the West is hostile to is really the opposite of what really is or what really happened.
Everything Is the Opposite of What It Really Is
With fascists and fascist supporters like the US, everything is the opposite of what it really is.
Elections That Never Make Sense
Rightwing governments that use fraud to steal elections are restoring democracy.
Leftwing governments that win elections always win due to fraud because of course they cannot win any other way. As soon as they get in power, no matter how much freedom they allow, they are always authoritarian dictatorships. The elections that government has, even if they are models of fair elections, are always marred by massive fraud.
Rightwing governments that overturn these legitimate elections and steal them for the Right are always uncovering the massive fraud. The resulting election theft is called by the New York Times and US government “restoring democracy.”
When the Venezuelan fascist coup overthrew the democratic government of Hugo Chavez in 2002, the US government and the New York Times lauded the “restoration of democracy and end of dictatorship” that the fascist coup (the fascist coup was a restoration of democracy) against a democratic government (the democratic government was a dictatorship) represented.
The US/NATO Fascist Playbook: Mysterious Snipers Shooting at Both Sides
Fascist gangs usually supported by the US and/or NATO, a fascist military organization in Europe, open fire on both security forces and and either left or rightwing rioters. Fascist forces often fire on their own people and blame it on the government as a pretext for a coup to overthrow the government. This is what happened in the US-supported fascist Maidan Coup in Ukraine. When the fascist gangs open fire, the US turns it into leftwing security forces opening fire on leftwing mobs and security forces.
See the 2002 coup in Venezuela, where fascist gangs operating from overpasses shot and killed 32 people, all Chavista protestors or Chavista Venezuelan security forces, then feverishly blamed the government forces for shooting at their own supporters and comrades in arms. The US media tripped over itself reporting how the Left had opened fire on itself, massacring 32 of their own people. It took some time to straighten it all out.
The local fascists and the US also destroy the economy with economic war or sanctions, and then the US and the fascists scream that the Left government has destroyed the economy with its “socialist policies.” Of course it was really the economic war and the sanctions, but no matter. Even notice how all US articles on the Iranian and Venezuelan economies blame the government for the economic and social crisis that was deliberately caused by US sanctions?
In Syria, gangs of Al Qaeda-linked Islamists (Salafist Islamist like Al Qaeda and ISIS linked forces resemble fascists in many ways) raided villages full of government supporters and murdered everyone inside. Then these same forces screamed that the Syrian government had raided an opposition village and killed all the opposition people inside. The US and Western media then flooded the news with reports that the war criminal Assad has committed another massacre.
There have been 10-20 huge massacres of whole villages in the Syrian Civil War. The US, the West and the Islamists all claim that they were all done by Assad. If you go to Wikipedia and look up all of these massacres, it will tell you that they were all done by Assad.
I researched every one of those massacres in depth.
They were all done by the Free Syrian Army, who are Al Qaeda linked Islamists who burned down churches in every city and town they conquered. The villages massacred were inhabited by Sunni government supporters, Alawites, and Christians. All three groups were feverish supporters of the government. The US continues to state that all of these cases were massacres of opposition supporters by Assad’s forces.
That’s like I set your house on fire and then stand outside screaming about what an arsonist you are as you try to put out the fire. I call the fire department and they arrest you for arson while you’re hosing the building and thanking me, still holding kerosene and matches, for being such a good citizen as they walk by back to their trucks.
The Ties Between Fascism and US Imperialism Are Deep
This is basically how the US and all other forces linked to Western imperialism run their foreign policy. And every government in Europe that is a member of NATO, I’m talking to you. NATO is basically a fascist army. As you can see, the ties between fascism and imperialism are deep. In modern imperialism, the West goes around the world installing fascist and rightwing dictatorships and supporting fascist forces that are trying to overthrow leftwing governments. Not all of the governments it supports are fascists, but all are rightwing, at least in Latin America.
James Schipper: Was it really very different (highly classist) in Islam?
Yes, Islamic countries are just not like that.
I can’t think of any Arab country that is like that.
No North African country is like that.
Neither Malaysia nor Afghanistan nor the Caucasus nor Xinjiang nor the Stans is not like that. However, Afghanistan was feudal or semi-feudal until recently. That’s why Communism was fairly popular there. An outsider went there in the 1950’s, and he saw groups of young men chanting with their fists in the air, “Kill the rich!” I suppose the Communist revolution did a land reform and got rid of this feudal land tenure system.
Communism was an easy sell in Bosnia and Albania, but Islam is weak there.
Corruption is a bad problem in the Arab World and a rich elite bled Lebanon dry for decades, but they are widely hated, and there is little to no class hatred in Lebanon.
I can’t see any class hatred in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, Sudan, Somalia, Jordan, Yemen, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, or even in UAE.
I’ve never heard of any real classism in the Sahel, but no one there has any money anyway.
The only African countries with a history of classism were the apartheid states of Rhodesia and South Africa, but there it was racialized, and the classism was imported from Christian Europe. Classism among the Whites of these states themselves was not a problem.
Angola has become very unequal due to oil wealth, but the system is not popular, and most people are ending up poor. They had a successful Communist revolution that remained in power for a long time. The anti-Communist rebels didn’t even have much ideology. Jonas Savimbi of UNITA started out as a Maoist and switched to rightwing capitalist to get money from the West for his revolution.
Africa just doesn’t have a history of European classism. It was always a relatively egalitarian village society. Sure, the chiefs were rich, but they were supposed to provide for everyone.
All of the Gulf Arab states have such extensive social democracies that in a lot of cases, you hardly even have to work. Education and health care is free and housing may be subsidized. UAE is a very rich country and capitalism roars right along, but I don’t see a lot of class hatred. For one thing, everyone in the Gulf is well-off.
As I said, it was different before. Read Ghassan Khanafani (one of the founders of the PFLP) on the lives of fellahin or peasants in debt bondage in semi-feudal Palestine in the 1930’s. Nasser did a land reform in Egypt in the 50’s and he was a hero all over the Arab World. People said they went to Yemen in the 1960’s, and there were Nasser portraits everywhere in the homes of working class people. Nasser’s land reform set off a wave of land reforms in the Arab World. In Syria and Iraq, they were done by the socialist Baath Party. There was never much resistance to the Baath’s socialism. There were large state sectors and good social democracies. Even Saddam was basically a socialist.
Bangladesh is a problem. Pakistan has been discussed but it is Indianized and Hinduized. The same problem may be going on in Bangladesh. The class hatred is vicious in India, but it’s coded as caste hatred instead. So Pakistan and Bangladesh have a sort of Hinduized Islam. But the poverty and class hatred is not nearly as bad in those two states as it is in India and Nepal.
Bahrain and Indonesia are problems for whatever reasons but in Indonesia they had to kill 1 million Communists to get their crappy rightwing capitalist dictatorship. And in the last several years they have been led by a social democrat.
Turkey does have problems with its capitalist class in terms of exploitation of workers. After World War 2, there was a Communist revolution and the Commies almost won. However, there is a huge underground Leftist and Communist movement that regularly sets the factories and yachts of the rich on fire! They’re quite popular. The Kurdish PKK was also Left. Islam is rather weak in Turkey though, and Turkey is Europeanized. Erdogan is actually quite socialist. He’s more socialist than Biden. His brand is Islamism is heavy on the social justice end.
This is precisely the function of the media in a capitalist society. The Chinese media is not like this because, duh, China is not a capitalist country! Nor is the Iranian media because Iran is not a capitalist country. In fact, Iran is almost something like “Islamic Communism.” I’m not wild about Ayatollah Khomeini, but he did have a strong social justice streak.
The Revolution was populist, pro-independence, and anti-imperialist. Iran is almost based on a Muslim version of Liberation Theology or “the preferential option of the poor.” The social safety net is huge in Iran. Also, much of the economy is run by the state. It’s actually run by religious charities, often with ties to the military and the IRGC. I believe these religious charities do not operate at a profit. Small businesses are not bothered at all, as in all Muslim countries. I was reading Ayatollah Khameini’s tweets for a while on Twitter, and I could have been reading Che Guevara. Basically the same message.
Islam is just not friendly to neoliberal economics or radical individualism. It is a very collectivist religion in a very collectivist society.
Neoliberalism hasn’t caught on much of anywhere in the Muslim world other than Indonesia and the Southern Philippines, and they had to murder 1 million Communists in cold blood to get there in Indonesia and the Moros have always rejected Catholic rule in both a political and economic sense. it is notable that the Maoist NPA are also huge in Mindanao, home of the Moros.
Pakistan, too, has inherited the selfish economics and even feudalism in land tenure straight from Indian Hinduism. They even have caste, which would be considered an aberration in any decent Muslim society.
All of the Arab countries are basically socialist at least in name, and that was never a hard sell there. It’s true that 100 years ago, the Arab lands were mostly feudal in nature, with big landowners and peasants in debt bondage. They rich had co-opted the religious authorities like they always do, and the mullahs preached that Islamic feudalism was right and proper because the Prophet had said, “It is normal that some are rich and some are poor.” But it was always a hard sell, and it had a very weak foundation.
After independence, socialism was instituted in most if not all Arab countries at least in name. In particular, huge land reforms were done in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, and Palestine. I assume something like that was done in Algeria too. It was a very easy sell, and everyone went along with it without a hitch. The mullahs quickly changed from support for feudalism to support for socialism.
Hamas rules Gaza and I was shocked at how huge the social safety net is. The many religious charities run the safety net, which is distributed under the rubric of Islam. This is done instead of the state doling it out.
Mohammad himself didn’t have much to say about economics, but he wasn’t a neoliberal capitalist or a feudalist.
In Christian societies, the rich have utter contempt and hatred for the poor, who they regard as little more than human garbage. If you want to see this philosophy in action, look at the classism in Latin America. As all Muslims are part of the umma, and hence, as all are brothers and sisters, it is simply unconscionable that wealthy Muslims would be able to openly hate poor Muslims. You simply cannot treat your fellow Muslims like that. It’s not officially haram but it might as well be.
European Style Fascism in the Middle East
It is instructive that the only place in the Arab world where neoliberal economics and in particular Libertarianism took hold was in Lebanon, and even there, it was only among Catholic Maronites. Most Arab Christians look east to Antioch (and before that, Constantinople) to the Eastern Orthodox church, which is really just the eastern wing of Catholicism.
The Maronites, though, deride Antioch and instead look to Rome. They see themselves as European people instead of Arabs. Many deny that they are Arabs and instead refer to themselves as “Phoenicians.” It is interesting that the only real classical fascism in the Arab World took hold in the Lebanese Maronites, where the Gameyels imported it from Europe in the 1930’s.
The Jews of Israel also developed a very European form of fascism starting with Jabotinsky and his book The Iron Wall in 1921. This man was an open fascist. He is considered to be the spiritual father of the Likud Party. During the 1940’s, the armed Jewish rebels split into leftwingers who were almost Communists and rightwingers who were more or less fascists.
The Kahanists today look a lot like a European fascist party. And in fact, the entire Israeli rightwing around Likud, etc. looks pretty fascist in a European sense. So Israeli Jews are really Jewish fascists or fascist Jews. It has never been an easy ride for liberal and secular US Jews to support the Orthodox religious fanatics and rightwingers if not out and out fascists in the Likud, etc. in Israel. This was always completely unstable, and after that latest war, it’s finally starting to fall apart. But the seeds of destruction were already there.
But note that the Jews of Israel very much look to the West and see themselves as Europeans (which many are for all intents and purposes). They align themselves with the Judeo-Christian European society that many of them came from.
Half of Israeli Jews are Mizrachi Jews from the Arab World, and they have always had a Judeo-Islamic culture. However, when they moved to Israel, this was dismantled by perhaps not entirely. They rejected it due to the association of Arabs and Islam with the enemy, which is correct.
Economics and Catholicism
This radical classism and near-feudalism in Latin America was supported by the Catholic Church, which was always a very rightwing institution because they were always in bed with the rich. There were always Left splits in Catholicism like Dorothy Day and The Catholic Worker. The Catholic clergy in the US has tended to be quite leftwing.
There is a long history of “Catholic Communism” in the Philippines, Czechoslovakia, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, the Basque Country, France, Italy, Haiti, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador, Chile, Cuba, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina, and Uruguay. The IRA was a leftwing Catholic armed group. A lot of priests were caught hiding IRA cadre. So was the ETA in the Basque Country of Spain.
Catholic Leftism never caught on in Poland and Lithuania due to hatred of Russia and the USSR. Nevertheless, both are more or less socialist countries.
Even today there is an active “Catholic Communist” movement in Cuba that is very lively. In Honduras and Colombia, Catholic priests actually led guerrilla bands. Liberation Theoloy is something like “Jesus Christ with an AK-47.” The Leftist who recently took power in Paraguay was a former Catholic priest.
The ELN was founded by a priest, Camilo Torres, and many Catholic clergy even supported the Shining Path! Edith Lagos, a 20 year old woman, was the leader of a very early Shining Path column in Peru. She was killed in 1980 and the entire town of Ayacucho, 30,0000 people, came out for her funeral which was held at midnight. The lines of mourners stretched through the whole city. All of the priests in town blessed her body, and she was given a proper Catholic funeral.
I believe that the PT or Workers Party of Brazil has a large Liberation Theology component. The Catholic clergy had an excellent relationship with the FARC in Colombia. Of course, the Catholic clergy played a big role in Venezeula, and Hugo Chavez himself was a practicing Catholic. The FMLN Salvadoran rebels were explicitly Catholic, as were the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. One of the Sandinists’ top leaders, Tomas Borge, was a Catholic priest. Jean-Paul Aristide in Haiti was a Catholic priest. Catholic believers are now allowed to join the Communist Party in Cuba, and near the end of his life, Fidel Castro said he was a “cultural Catholic.”
After Vatican 2 and Liberation Theology began to spread out via the seminal documents written by Gustavo Gutierrez in Brazil, “A Theology of Liberation,” otherwise known as “exercising the preferential option for the poor,” it began to spread in Latin America. It started with local priests and especially Catholic lay workers in impoverished areas and then slowly spread. Even today, Catholic layworkers and especially seminaries are very leftwing, while the Vatican itself is not. A lot of seminaries are hotbeds of homosexuality, and the gay priests and lay workers are quite open about it. It is estimated that 15% of Catholic priests are gay.
Absolutely superb comment from Francis Melville on this post.
Well, the Democrats used to be the Victorian prudish ones during the whole Nineteenth Century and through Wilson, and remained so wherever their voting base was Catholic up to 1965 when the Vatican II Council turned the Catholic Church into a liberal thing on most issues that had to ally with liberal forces to get heard in the political arena.
After all, the moral base of the Democratic Party was established under Jackson, and it formed under the influence of the most Calvinistic and sectarian part of the American public opinion.
Up through Wilson, the Democratic Party was more clearly rightwing than the Republican on most issues, while the Republicans took pride in being centre of the road. Even when they came to be the party of Big Business, their principle was clear: separation between church and state and even more between bedroom and state.
They believed you were entitled to a religious life, however wacko, provided you kept it for yourself and never planned to use government to promote it, and you were therefore entitled to any kind of sex life, however un-American, provided you did not involve the Party institutions nor aggressed any non-consenting victim.
Sexual virtue signalling was a Democratic thing as everything populist in general has always been. The alignment changed during the 20th century with Prohibition and consequently progressive thinkers of European origin aligning themselves systematically with the Democratic Party, in particular when the main presenters of these progressive currents happened to be Jews.
But even during the 1950’s as the Catholic church had remained the last bulwark of anti-sexual moralism on the backdrop of a Protestant world which had then succumbed to Utilitarianism, most regressive laws passed by the state in sexual affairs were passed under a Democratic banner. Worse, the Catholic world, like also the Muslim and Hindu world of that time, having little to do with higher morality, was more open to homosexuality and pederasty than to any heterosexual romance, as the latter was deemed a far greater danger to family life.
The McCarthy Era was driven by Irish Catholicism, and Irish Catholics loved to present themselves as the only true representatives and saviors of American values.
Meanwhile, the Republicans were gradually morphing into the party of absolute egoism and negation of public good. Swingers as had been produced by the Sexual Revolution of late Sixties and early Seventies proved to be egoists to a supreme degree and chose to be Republicans Ayn Rand style, most contrary to the hope entertained by Marcuse and others that Sexual Liberation would be the first stepping stone out of capitalistic Puritanism into the Long March towards a more just society.
In general, sexually speaking, dominant males’ dream is not sexual free choice for all but for themselves only as a tiny group on the backdrop of a puritanical society guaranteeing them an endless supply of innocent female prey that will make an exception to the Puritanism only under economic duress and due to the prohibition of them being pursued by impoverished males.
Reagan Republicans’ alliance with Moral Majority is to be seen in that perspective, both inside the non-believing wing of the Republican Party and inside the Evangelist sects also, where the main preachers always copy the great polygamous Biblical patriarchs, while imposing Puritanism on the masses of their attendants that haven’t studied the Bible deeply enough to know and realize the game.
The fake Protestant Republicans made their show in pure contradiction with what the Republicans, even the very right-wing ones, had been through. Eisenhower embraced religion in pure contradiction with that party’s stance of refusal of any reference to religion in the political sphere.
Meanwhile, the Democrats were quietly reverting, under corporate donor pressure and especially under Zionist Jewish pressure, to what they had been in Dixie times – there is no need to look further. The Democratic Party never stopped being multicultural, and that included necessarily that religious identities of all sorts had never ceased to be the party of confusion between the political and the religious spheres.
Traditionally, it was the Catholic Church as a provider of militants from Irish and Latino backgrounds, but now that since Vatican II the Roman Church no longer wanted to play the same role as it used to, a Virtual Catholic Church has formed.
It is made up of an alliance of Whites claiming progressivism but practicing astrology and other occult sciences as to cater for their own spiritual needs and more colored people practicing non-Christian ultra-conservative religions such as Islam and Hinduism, and calling for the unification of the world under this undefined-but-more-totalitarian-than-ever faith.
Celts who leave Catholicism and revert back to some sort Druidism are always puritanical to the highest degree, as they equate sexual energy with ultimate financial capital and as always being against of any form of social justice scheme, since they believe in karma, not divine grace.
It must be first well-understood that contrary to what a superficial cultural cliché teaches about Germanic conqueror tribes enslaving peaceful Celtic ones, Germanic cultures have always fallen for hippie (long hair, self-indulgence, social redistribution in favor of workers and artists) values when left alone to themselves in small nations, and Celtic cultures for skinhead or Hell’s Angels values (shaven heads, androgynous look, food fascism under various pretexts, indifference to misery).
RL: It’s always been odd that Jews are the most liberal group in the US, yet they’ve been supporting what is obvious Jewish ethnic nationalist fascism all this time. Israel has been a far rightwing country for a long time now. The disconnect is jarring and it was probably always unsustainable.”
Rishi: You can say this for pretty much most ethnic groups. Indians are notoriously liberal in the West and far more conservative than any group when it comes to India and the BJP. They’re ethnic nationalists who are hardwired worse than the Nazis (and that’s saying something).
This is excellent. Thank you to Rishi! He just pointed out that Jews are not unusual in this regard and that this tendency is somewhat true of ethnic groups in general. I had thought of this before but never quite so explicitly. You learn something new every day! One thing he did not mention is for these same groups to be liberal when in the minority and conservative to fascist when in the majority. That’s not just true for these particular groups but it is true in general. Minorities tend to be liberal as they tend to be at least somewhat oppressed or at least feel different and a bit unwelcome or not truly a part of things.
Majorities tend to be more conservative as power creates bullies and a particularly arrogant type of bullying and domineering chauvinism.
They also tend to have privileges which they do not wish to give up. When you have nice things there is legitimate fear of having them taken away from you. When you have nothing, you have no such fear. Instead, you envy and hate everyone who has more than you to the point where you want to steal their stuff either covertly at night or openly with weapons. This the basic revolutionary spirit wired into all of humanity and ruling classes and groups are correct to fear it and worry about villagers with torches and their heads being put on pikes. Marx was absolutely correct when he pointed this out and it has always been true and always will be true. A peasant rebellion is a brutal thing.
A revolution…is not a picnic!
– Mao Zedong
It also causes them to fear weaker majorities taking power over them in their own homeland, which is particularly disturbing. Like if you live in a huge apartment complex with 100 people like you and 10 people from a different ethnic group move in and start lording it over the majority. This is what the Arabs go through in the West Bank. This is what Kurds go through in Turkey and Iran. Any time that happens, it’s pretty much just colonialism.
It’s always been odd that Jews are the most liberal group in the US, yet they’ve been supporting what is obvious Jewish ethnic nationalist fascism all this time. Israel has been a far rightwing country for a long time now. The disconnect is jarring and it was probably always unsustainable. The liberalism of Jews is odd especially odd given their extreme wealth, which by all rights should make them conservative. However, Jews associate conservatism with fundamentalist Christianity and they don’t like any kind of Christianity, fundie or otherwise.
In addition, US conservatives are very uptight and Jews are notoriously loose about sexual and other matters. In addition, the Jews were very poor when they came here and most were originally working class. The suffered all of the deprivations of an abused working class group in US cities suffered 100 years ago. Hence, a lot of them became active leftwingers. Jews in Russia supported liberalism and even Communism mostly as a reaction against anti-Semitism and the racism of Czarist society. Jews worldwide have been very influential in the Left. This started the day that Napoleon let them out of the ghettos. In contrast all of those centuries in the ghettos, Jews were a very conservative, typically wealthy minority with the usual rightwing politics of any group of rich people.