You guys wonder why some of us are socialists. Well, here ya go.
As you can see, Cuban socialism beats all of its capitalist competitors in administering COVID-19 vaccines to the largest number of people in the shortest period of time. And keep in mind that the US has, I believe, a GNP 15 times bigger than Cuba’s and it still totally failed in this competition. In addition, many of those countries have social democracies with attendant socialized medicine, but even that didn’t seem to do very well against socialist planning in the health sector. Cuba beat the UK, Europe and North America as a whole, and the combined groups of high and upper middle low income countries.
I don’t have anything against socialized medicine in social democracies, but it does seem to fair worse against a pure Communist system. And in the UK and parts of Europe, public health is under relentless attack by the capitalists under the rubric of austerity and budget cuts.
The UK in particular has been devastated by these cuts which the Tories have been doing for decades now. Nevertheless, the idiot Brits appear to be ready to march off to vote Tory once again in the next election. The entire media combined to promote the Tories and destroy Labor’s left candidate. The current candidate is a centrist named Starmer and he’s so bad, he loses to pathetic Tories like the clown Boris Johnson. But hey, at least Starmer cleaned out the antisemites in the party! That’s all that matters, right Jews. You all would rather have a damned Tory government than a left Labor government unfriendly to your precious little hate state over there.
I’m not sure about the rest of Europe, but I know that public health has been devastated in Greece. The Left Syriza ran on an anti-austerity program but changed and went Centrist as soon as they got in, supposedly due to “forces beyond their control.”
This shows how hard it is to change the system absent an actual revolution as happened in Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. Without a truly revolutionary party as we had and have in those countries, the forces of capitalism will simply assert themselves and any Left candidate will be boxed in. This is already happening to Castillo in Peru, who finds his options limited more and more every week by the forces of the military, the big capitalists, the media, and the population in media, which is really all the same thing and could be called the Peruvian oligarchy or in US terms, the Peruvian Deep State.
And we can see how this is happening in the US as Biden progressively scales down his promises. At first he rejected Sanders’ Medicare for All, though it has majority support. Then he rejected Sanders’ free college education, a staple in many countries, including places like Mexico! In its stead he offered free community college. Well, he just got rid of that, too. What’s next, Joe? Free ice cream on Sunday?
Really, I don’t blame him. America is still a terrifyingly reactionary country, and in fact it is nearly a fascist country as about half the population is perfectly willing to vote for fascism and the Republican party is now an undemocratic authoritarian fascist party along the lines of the Latin American Right. It follows because the Latin American Right is run by the oligarchies that run those countries, and increasingly, the US is also an oligarchy and is no longer a democracy at all.
Nor are our elections free and fair. They’ve been hopelessly corrupted since the advent of computerized voting and gerrymandering and serious obstacles placed in the way of voting means that we are absolutely not a democratic country anymore.
Democratic countries do not allow partisan gerrymandering, attempts to steal elections, obstacles placed to discourage voting, and open theft of elections via computerized voting machines. I wonder if we ever had a democracy in this blighted country. Perhaps from 1965-2000, we had a pretty democratic system, but under Reagan, the Justice Department under Sessions interfered to keep voting restrictions against Blacks in while putting Blacks who worked for voting rights in jail. The FBI did this, if you can believe that. And you wonder why I despise feds so much.
Rambo: Your friend there is wrong, Highbrow. Fascism is NOT dead. Just look around the world. Trying my best not to spout clichés, it’s very much alive and well. Maybe that’s what Highbrow has been trying to remind people of.
Right. I banned him. He’s an Alt Right guy. They’re not with us. He hates the Left, so he’s not welcome here. Though I appreciate his anti-military, anti-corporate and especially anti-imperialist notions. I’d like to see more of the Alt Right take this up. I’m willing to make alliances with these guys. Yeah, they’re racists, but so what? How many people do these Alt Right guys kill and hurt every year? Almost zero.
How about liberal Democratic Party interventionists (imperialists)? US sanctions on Venezuela alone have already killed 100,000 people. We started a war in Iraq that killed 1.4 million people. We started another war in Afghanistan that killed 1.1 million people. And we are up to our necks with our ISIS and Al Qaeda allies in Syria, where we started a war that has killed 500,000 people.
Numbers of dead:
IS Liberal interventionists: 3 million over 20 years.
US Alt Right Nazis and racists: 30? over the same period.
Whose worse? Nazis and racists suck but I will ally with anti-military, anti-corporate, and especially anti-imperialist Alt Right White Supremacists over these liberal interventionist woketards any day of the week. Anyway the woke liberal interventionists literally kill 100,000 times as many people as Alt Right racists and Nazis.
First of all, all that is happening is normalization. Most if not all of those countries had no relationship with Israel at all. In fact, they all refused to even recognize that Israel even existed. Most of them were officially at war with Israel since 1947! Syria and Lebanon are still officially at war with Israel. No peace treaty was ever signed.
So all these countries did was recognize that Israel existed! And in some places, ended the state of war that had been going on for over 70 years. They also vowed to set up embassies in each other’s countries. In some cases, there are now regular flights between the two countries.
None of this is remarkable and hostile countries all over the world recognize each other, have embassies, flights, etc.
Now the Emiratis have taken this to the next level, but they’re just into it for the money. All they care about is money. Getting in with the Jews is seen as an obvious way to increase their wealth.
All of these countries had to be threatened and bribed to make these moves. All of these happened after the Abrahamic Accords, the worst peace deal by far ever offered by Israel. In fact, there were no accords at all. The US and Israel just laid out a fake peace plan and said, “Here it is. Here are the new accords!” No Palestinian signed that document. So it’s not an accord at all, as no opposing sides agreed to anything.
The Emiratis and Bahrainis were bribed by Trump with billions in military aid to normalize relations with Israel.
Morocco was bribed by the US recognizing Morocco’s outrageous annexation of Spanish Sahara. Didn’t take much to get them to go over.
Sudan was bribed by taking them off the fake “state sponsors of terrorism” list, which is nothing but a fake enterprise anyway made of lies and sleazy scams. So all of these regimes had to be bribed big-time to even recognize Israel’s existence in the first place.
In addition, all of these regimes are dictatorships!
Sudan is a military dictatorship and the people have demonstrated against normalization.
Bahrain and UAE are dictatorships. There have been large demos in Bahrain against normalization, but the police have broken them up.
Morocco is a royalist dictatorship run by a king. There have been large demos in Morocco against normalization.
Surveys of Arab countries show that ~two-thirds or more of their populations oppose normalization of relations with Israel. The lowest I saw was 57% in UAE. The point is that none of this normalization would happen if these countries were democracies.
There was a small conference in Kurdistan of Iraqi leaders advocating normalization of relations with Israel. The Kurds have been with Israel forever now. There were a few Iraqis there, but most of the traitors were Kurds. When word got out, the Iraqi government exploded and issued arrest warrants for everyone who attended the meeting and spoke. It is illegal in Iraq to advocate for normalized relations with Israel. This is rather typical. In Algeria it is illegal for Algerians to travel to Israel. Similar travel bans may exist in other places.
*Except where otherwise noted, “the Jews” below means Israel or the Jews of Israel, not the Diaspora. Diaspora Jews will be referred to as such.
Mungamunga: I’ll point out the obvious: A look at European history reveals that Christians aren’t any more merciful than anyone else. Its main use in this context is to give Christians the assumed moral authority to be appalled at other people doing what they themselves have been doing for centuries. I’d point out examples like King Leopold of Belgium in historically recent times, but that would be piling on.
I will admit that the NT valorizes mercy, etc. for those who want to practice it, and the OT basically doesn’t. If anything, the fact that Christians had a founder and a text teaching mercy and yet still failed spectacularly to practice it makes them look worse if anything.
At least we are supposed to be merciful. Are the Jews? Look at how they act!
I’m thinking though that that’s why the West has been so appalled at the behavior of the Jews (Israel). The way the Jews act offends our sensibilities. Robert Fisk was reporting from there one time and he said it’s about a difference in values – the Jews value Old Testament values of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. This is where I got the whole idea for this essay – from his article.
I’m having a hard time understanding why the West is so terrible and unmerciful these days.
The West is leading edge of all sorts of rights-based movements that could be argued are based on mercy. Do the Jews believe in equal rights? Hell no. Look at how they act.
The most humane prison conditions are found in the West. Do the Jews believe in humane prisons? Are you kidding?
There are countries in the West that literally have no homeless. Do the Jews believe in helping the homeless? Hell, no. One could argue that the Palestinians are the ultimate “homeless” people – the Gods of Homelessness as it were. Are the Jews building houses for these homeless folks? Hell, no. They are tearing them down and stealing everything of theirs that isn’t tied down.
Even the Jewish “Left” in Israel is shot through and through with OT values. Granted the Jews in the Diaspora act pretty good, but they are secularized and largely removed from the Jewish religion. Their behavior is based on Reform Judaism, a bake your own cake approach to Judaism where you pick and choose what you want to believe and and throw out in the Jewish religion.
“Reform Judaism: Leading the Way to a Better World”
This has resulted in a lot of Diaspora Jews pushing a Left idea that the Jews were chosen by God to lead Gentiles to a better world. I believe this is a bit insulting as it implies that we Christians can’t do it on own, but maybe that’s true and anyway I’m not one to quibble with the idea of leading the way to a better world. The basic concept is great. This is the Judaism of, say, Bernie Sanders. He’s been quoted many times to that effect. It is this impulse that has been behind most of the Jewish-led rights movements in the Diaspora for the last century.
It’s pretty obvious that the behavior of the Jews in Israel – “Jewy” Jews or Super Jews if you want to call them that because they are really Jewish – is not based on such an expansive “lead the Gentiles to a better world” way of thinking. However the Jewish Left in Israel is “progressive except for Palestine” – that is, they buy into the basic package of Reform Judaism of leading the way to a better world when it comes to everything else, but they are fascist monsters when it comes to their treatment of the Arabs. These Left Jews are already heading outside of standard Orthodox Judaism, which one can argue is the true or at least pure Jewish faith undiluted.
Marxism as an “Additive Factor” to the Rights and Mercy Based Approach to Christianity
Another huge justice-based approach has come from Marxism, which in a lot of ways has mirrored a Christian rights-based approach to mercy and fairness. No society ever treated national minorities as well as the USSR did and China does. Sure, Europe is doing this too, but this is also flowing out not just Christianity but the extent to which the Christian-based societies have had their Mercy quotient doubled by the addition of right-based Marxism to rights and Mercy-based Christianity. This is particularly powerful.
I think the Marxists were wrong to attack Christianity. It is the only religion that seems compatible with Marxism. The Jews? Forget it. They can’t do it. The Jewish Marxists in the West and the USSR all left the religion. Muslims? Muslims and Marxism don’t mix real well. It hasn’t worked out very well there, although those societies are based on “socialism for Muslims” as you point out. To that extent, the Jews also have done very well at pushing a “socialism for Jews only” in Israel.
To the Extent Christian Societies are Unmerciful, This Impulse Is Backed Up by Quoting the OT, not the NT
Our failures in the past are not particularly relevant, especially since most of that shitty behavior was backed up by quoting the Old Testament.
If you notice, all of the unmerciful stuff is being pushed by Republicans, who base it on – guess what? The Old Testament! When do you hear a Republican quoting the OT?
The Christian societies of Latin America have been deeply unmerciful, but the Left there has been based on an extreme rights and justice based approach. A lot of this is coming out of an extremely NT-based Catholic philosophy called Liberation Theology that prioritizes “the preferential option of the poor.” You see any of that in Israel? The darling of the Jewish “Left” in Israel now is fully behind Prime Minister Bennett, who openly brags about how many Arabs he has killed and says that the Palestinians will never be free. He’s as reactionary as Netanyahu.
Mungamunga: I would also note that to the extent that mercy, etc. was an ideal in Christian societies, it mainly was practiced among members of the in-group. Jews and Muslims do the same things for each other. That’s the nature of humans as a social species.
Nowadays the West is very merciful towards Muslims, Jews, etc. They have more rights in the West as minorities than they do anywhere else, where they are sometimes not treated real well. How about the Jews and the Muslims? How do they treat religious minorities? Not real well! The Christians are the only people who even try to treat religious minorities well.
A Strictly Theological Argument
In fact, I would argue that the OT isn’t even Christianity anymore. If you asked me, I would say the OT is simply Judaism. It’s not even our religion. And this is true in a theological sense.
I was mostly arguing in a theological sense and I’d prefer to keep it to that. By Christian doctrine, all of the Christians were originally Jews, bound by the Law. We also had Israel. Israel and the Law. The greatest Jew in history, Jesus Christ, came to us, possibly from the spiritual world above, to free us from the Law. In place of the Law, Jesus brought Mercy with a capital M.
The Jews, now Christians, were freed from the Law and ordered to live according to the new religion, the Religion of Mercy. At the same time as they lost the Law, they also lost Israel. So the Jews don’t get Israel anymore by Christian thinking. Instead of them getting, the “Church became the New Israel” in a theological sense. The promised land, the homeland, instead of Israel, became the Church itself. Instead of “next year in Jerusalem,” it became “next year in the Church.”
In addition, with the advent of Jesus and Mercy, the OT itself was “replaced” by the NT. That’s what Replacement Theology is all about. The OT isn’t even relevant to us Christians anymore, except perhaps as an historical document about our less than civilized roots. To me, Christianity is just the NT. We might as well throw out the OT. It’s just Judaism anyway.
Mungamunga: Its main use in this context is to give Christians the assumed moral authority to be appalled at other people doing what they themselves have been doing for centuries.
Sure, but we don’t do this anymore is the argument. And we don’t. Rest of the world following suit? Not so much. But where they are, many of them are aping the West, to their credit.
Mungamunga: I can’t really blame anyone for this, because the Christian ethic demands complete self-abnegation, or you’ve already failed. Turn the other cheek. If someone steals from you, give them more than they stole.
This part of Christianity does not fly. I’ll give you that all right. The problem with Christianity is that it requires you to be “too good.” Most of us are just not “good” enough to be these good Christians that we are supposed to be. We are too sinful in a Christian sense or one could argue survival-based instead of subjection and surrender based. For those who could not be good Christians, they had other options. Atheism, Judaism perhaps, Islam, or a warped OT version of Christianity that frankly doesn’t require you to be nearly as good or at least not so self-destructive and supplicant.
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.
Another really cool comment from a commenter on psychopathy, in this case from a Left perspective. I’m so glad some of my commenters have figured out I’m a Leftie. I am. I’m a really, really weird Leftie, but I’m basically a Leftie. There’s nothing in any form of US conservatism that appeals to me and the Democrats are far better than the Republicans, though my complaint is they are not left enough. On the other hand, I am rather socially conservative for a Leftie, but I have a feeling a lot of us are like that.
In Manuel’s previous post about his own country, Venezuela, where 70% of the citizens state openly that they are Chavistas (polls show that 70% of the population support the Chavista program), and hence Leftists, indicated nevertheless that this country is terribly patriarchal and most of the men and women for that matter are very socially conservative. I’d even venture so far as to call them backwards.
I’m thinking there are lot more “Conservative Left” types out there. I can see quite a few in Nicaragua. There seem to be a lot in Russia and the former USSR, Eastern Europe, Turkey, North Africa, the Basque Country, the Arab World, and especially in China. Conservative Left people are still on the Left. We will vote left most everywhere on Earth. We’re just not down with whatever the latest PC, SJW, woke lunacy of the week is, that’s all.
Manuel Rodriguez: Putting that aside, there is something else I wanted to talk about. Let’s talk about psychopathy from a leftist perspective! This is an angle that nobody seems to take.
I realized that just like patriarchy and capitalism go together, so are psychopathy and capitalism almost bedfellows. The values that capitalism promotes feed into psychopathy allow encourage it to resonate through society almost as an unseen force like gravity. The end products of individualism socially rewarded in capitalism, even though they maximizing one’s material wealth either morally or not and using other people to get it. Capitalism defends its interests from perceived threats with violence, often extreme violence, via endlessly creative methods.
One thing I always wondered about was how psychopathy might effect leftist and revolutionary processes. I thought of cases where a “dictator” type climbs up the social ladder and reaches the top. These people seem to be pretty brutal and in some cases, they have lived like kings via the labor of their countrymen. This same mechanism, these same types are easily able to infiltrate and advance in political parties to where they can climb the social hierarchy, often leading to these people becoming extremely corrupt.
Whenever psychopathy is brought up, there is always someone who points out who psychopathy can be beneficial to society in the case of controlled psychopaths in the police and military. This led me to wonder whether controlled psychopaths may have a role to play in revolutionary processes.
On the whole though, I think psychopaths, controlled and uncontrolled, do more harm than good.
This is a repost from some time ago. The old posts are nor formatted properly, so they are very difficult to read. A lot of them are pretty cool for reposts though. This is an interview with a leader of the Bhutanese Maoists who are beginning an armed insurgency against the Bhutanese state.
A little background: Actually, in some ways, this is a racial conflict. About 100 years ago, many Nepalese moved into Southern Bhutan as immigrants. Apparently this immigration was completely legal, as in they were not illegal immigrants. The majority of the people in Bhutan were more Mongoloid Asian types, Buddhists who phenotypically resemble Tibetans and speak a Tibeto-Burman language. The Nepalese were Hindus speaking Nepali, an Indo-European language.
Phenotypically, Nepalese are very unusual. They are on the border between Caucasians and Asians. Some more resemble Caucasians and some more resemble Asians. Most of the ones who moved into Southern Bhutan were more Caucasian types. Anyway, at some point, they become 60% of the population of Bhutan! But the state continued to be ruled by the ethnic Bhutanese Tibetan-type Buddhists.
A few decades ago, for some unknown reason, the monarchy simply ethnically cleansed most of the Nepalese out of the country and so ended up with a more mono-ethnic and monocultural state. Furthermore, the Nepalese were forbidden from returning. They have been festering in refugee camps ever since, and have been growing more and more radical.
Soon a Maoist party was born and it developed a huge following in the camps. Very huge! In the past few years, they have began an armed struggle inside Bhutan, but there have only been a few incidents. Apparently they are laying the groundwork for people’s war, which they claim they have not yet began.
Sushil claims that the Bhutanese state is feudal or semi-feudal, and I think he is probably correct. The entire region remains feudal to semi-feudal – India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and even Afghanistan. The feudalism tends to cut across ethnic and religious boundaries and seems to be a regionalism. Recall that Tibetan was actually feudal until the Maoists took over in 1949 and overthrew the feudal monarchy.
In this region, the feudal monarchs usually use religion, as such folks always do and have always done, to enforce feudalism. The Hindu monarchs in Nepal claimed tied closely into their Hindu Gods. More or less the same with the Dalai Lamas in Tibet, similar to the divinely appointed religous-political monarchs that ruled in Europe for so long.
I figure if you throw a bunch of humans on an island, after a while, the strongest will kill and or subject the weaker ones. Some total prick will rise up, call himself ruler – king – whatever, somehow gather up 90% of the wealth for him and his asshole buddies, found a fucking religion in which somehow he has an umbilical cord to God, and then use the Man-God game to enforce elite rule over his impoverished subjects. That’s the way humans operate.
This group has connections to Maoists in Nepal who now form a huge portion of the government (40%). They also have connections to Maoists in India who are increasingly tearing up the countryside. I do not think that this insurgency will be settling down anytime soon, but unless they make deep connections to the ethnic Tibeto-Burman types who are now the majority in the country, it’s never going to win.
An Interview with Comrade Sushil of the Communist Party of Bhutan (Marxist-Leninist- Maoist), the party which is waging armed struggle against the Monarchy in Bhutan. Talks about tactics, strategy and aims of the party.
———— ——— ——— ——— –
Saturday, May 23, 2009
The following Interview was conducted at some point in the previous few weeks. It occurred somewhere in the area of the Indian-Bhutan border.
Lal Salam Blog: Thank you very much for meeting with me. So are you from Bhutan?
Comrade Sushil: Yes, from Bhutan.
Lal Salam Blog: From the Bhutanese refugee camps?
Comrade Sushil: Uhh, actually people think that all our party are from the refugees, but i am from Bhutan. I have spent allot of time in India, working, but then also in Bhutan and then in Nepal working for the party as well.
Lal Salam Blog: So you are a cadre of the Communist Party Bhutan (Marxist Leninist Maoists)?
Comrade Sushil: Yes i am a member of the Communist Party of Bhutan (Marxist Leninist Maoist). I have been a member since 2003 and i have worked actively as a whole timer since the same year. I joined the party from within Bhutan.
Lal Salam Blog: What is the history of the Party?
Comrade Sushil: The CPB (MLM) was established on the 7th of November 2001, and the announcement of the Party was on the 22nd of April 2003. From this time the party has been working with the exploited people in Bhutan. The people are all exploited by the regime, so our party has been working with all the people, mainly in rural areas, but in urban areas also. Mostly we work with the people in the villages.
Lal Salam Blog: So what are the problems in Bhutan? What sort of oppressions are forced on the people of Bhutan?
Comrade Sushil: The biggest problem is the feudal monarchy. Because of this monarchy the problems are created. Peoples standard of living has been kept backwards because of the Monarchy. In a third world country like Bhutan, this is because of feudalism. This feudalism is the main problem of Bhutan. This is why the Communist Party, our glorious party, is working to overthrow the regime, and to overthrow feudalism.
Lal Salam Blog: So the goal of the Party for now is to throw out feudalism from Bhutan?
Comrade Sushil: Definitely. The main aim of our party is to overthrow feudalism and to establish the peoples rule in Bhutan.
Lal Salam Blog: So you would like to establish a People’s State in Bhutan? Is that what you would have replace the King?
Comrade Sushil: We should not understand like this. We should replace the king with a Proletarian Dictatorship. Our aim, our hope, no our dream is to establish a New Democratic Socialism. Only after that can we achieve our ultimate goal, which is to achieve communism. It is not only our goal to throw out the king and overthrow feudalism in Bhutan, but to establish a peaceful society that can achieve socialism and communism.
Lal Salam Blog: Last year your party started a Peoples War in Bhutan…
Comrade Sushil: No. We have not initiated a protracted peoples war in Bhutan. Since our parties establishment we have however had many rural peoples class struggles and these struggles have used different means. In different ways we have launched many struggles and programs, and we have the aim of reaching a level where we can launch a Protracted Peoples War.
Last year we did initiate some armed struggles, which is only a factor of the rural class struggle. Much of the media proclaimed this as the beginning of the Peoples War, but we are not at that phase. We are trying to reach the level of Peoples War, but we have not yet reached it, and are preparing for it. We do not know how long this will take, it will depend on many factors.
Lal Salam Blog: So there will be more attacks, more bombs and more armed actions in the future?
Comrade Sushil: Certainly. We are preparing for this. There will be more armed struggle. Without the armed struggle, we cannot change the situation in our country. We cannot change the state power. We will one day take the state power, but for now we are in preparation, making networks with the peasants and in the cities, training, preparing for the struggle.
Lal Salam Blog: Do you think Peoples War can be successful? Bhutan is already a very brutal state. As many as a sixth of the population lives in exile and the state has beaten, attacked, arrested and even raped and murdered those it perceives to be political activists?
Comrade Sushil: Our parties thought is that only by waging the armed struggle and the Peoples War can we win the liberation of our exploited people. I believe so. Thousands of people have been evicted from Bhutan, we are very aware of this. Why were they evicted? They were evicted after political activism and movements. They were evicted because the people in the southern belt had a high political consciousness. This is totally not a refugee problem, this is a political problem. It is a problem of a brutal monarchy and a restrictive feudal system. Without destroying these institutions we cannot solve these problems.
Our party is launching this armed struggle to liberate the exploited people and we know that one day we will be successful. This is a long term plan, it will take many preparations, and without this and without correct politics we cannot be successful. We have this ideology, the Marxist-Leninist- Maoist and this is a political weapon. With this weapon we believe that one day we will be successful.
Lal Salam Blog: So have you learnt much from the experiences of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and their experiences in Nepal? Are there close or special links between your parties?
Comrade Sushil: We do not have special or direct links with this party. But, and also like communists all around the world, in Peru, India or the Philippines we have ideological links. These places all have communist parties leading revolution through the armed struggle, and with all of them we have ideological links and an ideological relationship.
That means we support them ideologically and they support us ideologically. We have a relationship with the CP Nepal (Maoist) , but also with the CP India (Maoist) who are also waging an armed struggle. We don’t receive any physical support, or anything like that, but we should understand that we are all communists, and we are all internationalists, and we receive and give moral support.
Lal Salam Blog: What does your party think about Prachanda Path and the Nepali Maoists synthesis? It has been controversial to some international communists.
Comrade Sushil: About this Prachanda Path. It is something we should study. And also it is not only a thing to be studied, it has shown it has the ability to guide workers actions. I don’t want to comment more because the ideological things i have had not sufficiently studied, and till now our party has not discussed at length Prachanda Path.
Lal Salam Blog: The Maoists in Nepal have given up their Peoples War and taken a new tactic in pursuing the Constituent Assembly elections. Is this a correct tactic in your parties opinion?
Comrade Sushil: In regards to the UCPN (M) we do not think that they have given up their goals. We think they are pursuing another way, another tactic to establish a peoples state. We don’t think they have established the proletarian dictatorship. So we, our party, does not think that they have achieve state power. We too will go for a Constituent Assembly at first, and only after that can we step or jump or leap forward to a New Democratic revolution.
In the context of the Maoists we don’t think they have state power, and are still struggling for it. It is a fact that the future shows you which path you must take, you can only pick your path depending on the concrete situation you face. We will also move for a constituent assembly elections and a new state, but without establishing the proletarian people at the center of this new state then it cannot reach higher and improve the lives of the people. We think that the Maoists of Nepal face similar situations to us, and have similar actions, so we will continue to watch closely.
Lal Salam Blog: So a Constituent Assembly is a tactic that you are interested in for change in Bhutan?
Comrade Sushil: Actually it is the tactics and strategy of communist parties in the third world. Third world countries are semi-colonial and semi-feudal. So without a New Democratic Socialism stage we cannot reach socialism. So we are in this revolution, it is a peasant revolution we can say. So to reach our aims, to some extent we should aim for a Constituent Assembly, and this is our main slogan and the main aim of the present situation in our revolution.
That is not our only slogan, and out only goal, and it isn’t the only thing that we campaign around with the peasants and people of Bhutan. And we don’t want or aspire to another bourgeois constitution, but we need a constitution that is in favor of the oppressed and poor people of Bhutan.
Lal Salam Blog: Last year the government of Bhutan held elections, in a very restricted and controlled way, but the western media still presented this as a opening up and of “democracy”. If there was to be a more open electoral system, would the CPB (MLM) pursue peaceful politics through elections?
Comrade Sushil: WE think there is only one path to real democracy in Bhutan. We don’t believe in the current “democracy” this is well known. And we don’t think that this system can lead to real democracy. The international community has its formula and they see votes and call it democracy- but there is no such thing in Bhutan and it is not possible to impose a real democracy from the outside into Bhutan.
Any “democracy” that the regime brings into practice itself will be done in such a way so that real power continues to be restricted and kept in the hands of the old order, and not in the hands of the mass of exploited people, so that this “democracy” could not be used against the regime. Even if the regime cast out the king, it would not fundamentally change it. Our party will not make compromises with that order. We wont co-operate with their agenda, we have another agenda that is contradiction to theirs.
We are going to establish the rule of all the people while they just want to exploit them. There is this contradiction between the people and the regime. Our party struggles because of that. If they were to try and set up a “democracy” for then when we should not be a part of it. When i say this it does not mean that we are militarists. The people want peace, and don’t want to live in terror but this regime suppresses and exploits the people, they already live in terror. It is not a hobby to carry out armed struggle, it is our only option the liberation of our people.
Lal Salam Blog: Bhutan is such a tiny country, and it has very close relations, with India in particular. If you care to reach peoples war, do you think India would interfere to defend its interests?
Comrade Sushil: On this the whole party is very much conscious. But in the present situation India is not so dangerous to Bhutan. China is quite dangerous. 11,500 square kilometers of Bhutan’s lands have been occupied and taken by China. So we are surrounded by two very large and powerful countries, who are always looking to interfere into Bhutan. They have two ways of interfering. Political intervention and direct intervention. There are Indian Army camps established in Bhutan. There are several big barracks. We have known this but we don’t think they will intervene directly.
Maybe at some point in the future. There will be political intervention, and we can try to counter this with our allies by rousing grassroots support for our cause in India. We are already doing this. If they try to intervene militarily it will be a heavy cost for them, a bloody and long civil war. Also the regime and the fuedalists don’t want this. They want to defend their borders, protect his kingdom. We also want to establish the sovereignty of Bhutan, so we will always fight foreign influence, from India as well as China.
Lal Salam Blog: I understand that your party has allot of support amongst the refugees in Nepal.
Comrade Sushil: We are not just a party for the refugees. We have support where ever our people are.
Lal Salam Blog: So in India, Nepal and Bhutan?
Comrade Sushil: Yes.
Lal Salam Blog: And your party does work amongst all the communities of Bhutan and across the whole country, not just in the southern Belt that is largely Nepali speaking?
Comrade Sushil: The southern belt is not only Nepali speaking, but there are people from many communities there as well. Myself i haven’t been to the north as yet, our party does work there, but i have been working in the south and also in the east. In allot of people, and in the media there is allot of confusion. The CPB (MLM) is not just a party in the refugee camps, and not just Nepali speaking. We have cadres of many ethnic backgrounds, and our party works all over Bhutan.
Lal Salam Blog: For the refugees in Nepal is it true your party favors repatriation in Bhutan rather then resettlement in third countries?
Comrade Sushil: It is not that our party policy is just to return people to Bhutan. It is not a solution. Liberating the people of Bhutan is the only real and long term solution to this problem. We are not for resettlement, and we are not for repatriation in Bhutan without changing anything else. Moving people around like they are animals is not a solution. That is our position. There needs to be a political solution to this, and only then can the refugees get their rights.
Some people have said our party was created to agitate for the repatriation of refugees, this is not the case. Our party was established within Bhutan and amongst the people. We are in favour of all the oppressed people.Only understanding the problem of the refugees as a problem of the political structure of Bhutan that we can find a solution. Our party was not established for the refugees, but for all the Bhutanese.
Ah, yes. Joe (Finger to the Wind) Biden. But yes, he has always been a moderate. He was the most conservative Dem running.
He’s governing much more to the left now than he’s ever been though because he is mirroring the changes in his party. The party has gone quite a bit to the Left since 2016. Biden’s always been the ultimate Centrist. That’s what a Centrist does – he moves left when his party moves left and he moves right when the party goes in that direction.
The party has been split during the Trump years between the Hillary-Biden wing and the Bernie-Squad wing, with a lot of in-betweens. The two factions hate each other so much they nearly want to kill each other.
However, they seem to have buried their differences for now and rallied round Biden for the purpose of ending Trump, who they feared and hated nearly as much as a vampire. In fact most saw him as just that – a bloodsucking entity so anathema that you want to hold up a literal cross to keep it at bay.
The US Left actually hates Biden, but they tend to be largely outside of Democratic Party circles. They especially despise him on foreign policy, where he has simply continued Trumpism.
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.
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.
Critical Race Theory or CRT is much in the news these days. Unfortunately, the lying about it, almost totally on the part of the Left, has been as bad as a 100 year flood.
But let’s take a look at just where CRT started. Its onset was in 1976 with the publications of papers from Black legal scholar Derrick J. Bell.
He noticed that anti-discrimination laws got passed, so discrimination, at least overt discrimination, was over. This was acknowledged by Bell himself. Many people had assumed that once discriminatory barriers against Blacks were lifted, they would match Whites in various areas where they were serious discrepancies. But the problem persisted. I would say the problems persisted because discrimination wasn’t the cause of all of it anyway, but people were still troubled because anti-discrimination laws didn’t fix the problem.
Blacks were still behind in so many areas. This caused a lot of reflection by antiracist scholars. First, they assumed that all discrepancies between Blacks and Whites were due to racism, something which has never been proven! But it was a comforting thing for these people to believe. So what was causing the discrepancies? What gave? Obviously the problem could not have been Blacks themselves due to some deficiency either inherent or acquired on their own part. It had to be some type of racism! But since overt racism had vanished or been reduced to low levels, what sort of racism was this? Clearly, it had to be some weird type of invisible racism that people cannot even see, sort of a ghost racism.
This is where he and his cohorts came up with the weird notions of invisible racism such as societal, structural, and institutional racism, the theories of which are all nonfalsifiable and therefore junk theory because all theory must be falsifiable.
Except in the social sciences, but they usually aren’t doing science there anyway. Instead they are doing politics. You are either doing Politics or Science. If you aren’t doing Science, you are doing Politics and vice versa. The variability of humans and the fact that social issues are so bound up in politics and extreme emotion means that empiricism is often an afterthought if not doomed from birth in the social sciences. The extreme emotion that theories of the social sciences provoke is because these theories are about people. Humans tend to get pretty emotional about any scientific ideas involving themselves. You might say it hits a bit too close to home.
The problem is that the extreme emotional atmosphere in which the social sciences operate tends to doom any empirical enterprises. It’s hard to come up with a positivist conclusion about much of anything when everyone’s shouting at each other. And of course politics is dishonest by its very nature and its practitioners tend to be at least somewhat psychopathic. Politics is as sleazy and dirty as life gets. Once your science gets infected with politics, just kiss it goodbye. The quest for knowledge is dramatically slowed by all the lying and infighting if not arrested altogether. Karl Popper himself made some remarks along these lines in 1934 when he said that when science starts defending all of its paradigms to death, this is the end of knowledge creation.
So the problem with CRT is not that CRT is not true. Yes it is not true or at least it cannot be shown to be true, which is the same thing. But the problem with CRT is so much worse than that. CRT is such bad theory that it’s not even wrong.
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.
White nationalists are constantly fearmongering that the future of the US is South Africa.
Let’s look at some statistics:
Percentage Whites Blacks Other
US 62 13 25
South Africa 9 88 3
Tell you what. When the Black population of the US nears 88%, come talk to me about how we are turning into South Africa. Until then, it’s just more White nationalist lunacy and idiocy and even, I might add, mental disorder (paranoia).
Instead, look south. Yes, yes, yes look to Latin America. A 100X yes! However, I cannot find a Latin American country which will resemble the US in the future. Look at California. Our state is probably the future of the country. Liberal Democrats, basically, and trending left. We’re almost going social democrat here; we’re hardly even liberals anymore!
Other than that, a number of our cities have degraded somewhat because as a city goes from White to Hispanic, there is a decline, though not a great one. It becomes a fairly upgraded version of Mexico. But crime is pretty low and behavior is pretty civilized. Be careful who you make friends with because a lot of Hispanics are not ok. They don’t bother strangers. The gang feuds are often not major problems, and they leave Whites out of it, as we are not in their wars.
Most Hispanics IMHO consider themselves honorary Whites or almost Whites. They don’t look at us as aliens. They all came from countries were Whites are just another meaningless ethnic group. Most don’t hate Whites at all.
Where a city goes full Mexican, it essentially collapses and turns into Mexico. As long as there is a base of at least 10% Whites to keep the lights on, collapse is averted. Hispanics need Whites. They can’t really cut it without us.
Other than that, there is a sense of alienation in Hispanic cities as if one is living in a foreign country in your own land, along with foreign mariachi music and a fairly foreign and quite socially conservative culture. The men are very macho so if you act masculine, you’re one of them. It’s a patriarchal society, so if you’re a man, you’re now part of the ruling group.
Spanish is spoken everywhere, so you might want to learn a phrase or two. You speak two sentences of their language, and they treat you like family and almost try to hug you. I speak Spanish fairly well so they love me.
Plus I don’t hate Hispanics. I’ve almost become an honorary Mexican myself. Mexican after all is not a racial group. Most of them are pretty nice people, especially the recent immigrants who hardly speak a word of English. I speak Spanish to them so they treat me like a hero.
There’s little feminism because most Hispanics hate feminism (social conservatives). Gays are very toned town too if they exist at all because the culture doesn’t like it. Young Hispanic gays in cities like mine usually just take off for some gay Mecca. Homosexual behavior in straight men, common among Whites if not hip, is extremely frowned upon. You call a man a fag here, and you will get hit! However, among 2nd and especially 3rd generation young Hispanics, all of this is changing, and there is a lot of SJWism, BLM support, and acceptance of sexual weirdness.
Overall, Hispanics are not the greatest thing since sliced bread, but you can live with them, or at least I can. I will not live with Blacks, that is, cities with large Black populations. Get out of here with that noise.
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.
He is commenting on my post here. Full Democracy in the US Will Be a Boon for Democrats and a Catastrophe for Republicans.
What I meant is an Alt Left notion of “The system is too far gone for reform. Let’s tear it all down and start over again from scratch,” which is exactly how I feel about my country.
However, I meant just the basic political system and culture. However, that would indeed take a “Cultural Revolution” if you will. And many countries had them. We had a huge cultural revolution in the 1960’s. It’s not all about Red Guards.
The sickness is baked far too deeply into the system. The State Department, the Executive and Legislature Branches themselves, the legalization of mass bribery and corruption via money-based elections, the Pentagon, the CIA, and even the FBI – they all need a wipe it out and start over again cleansing.
Look at how hard it will be to dismantle even US imperialism. Imperialism is baked into US society from top to bottom. 500 military bases overseas? Sanctions? Embargoes? Economic warfare? US control of the world monetary system via the dollar as fiat currency? The sickness of the weapons for oil deal with the Gulf Arabs, the alliance with fascist Turkey, NATO its very self (which is controlled by the US), on and on.
For instance, few know this, but the CIA is baked into all of US society at the levels of the elite class and the corporations. The elite class (the rich), the corporations, the powerful lobbies, ethnic and commodity-based, the Pentagon, the Treasury Department, the Commerce Department are all baked in with the national security state and its vast intelligence arm consisting of 17 different out of control agencies with a $30 billion budgets for scullduggery, lying, cheating, thieving, murder, and overthrowing other countries via coups of all sorts, including the fake color revolutions.
These are the people who killed Kennedy.
These are the people who run this country. The oil barons in Texas, the Silicon Valley uber-rich, the capitalist bastards on Wall Street and at the Wall Street Journal, the sick and twisted FIRE sector, the last of which basically a parasitic and non-prodcutive form of wealth creation via speculation or as I call it “a giant casino in the sky.”
That’s the US economy now – a giant casino in the sky for rich people. All the rest of us? We can go pound sand. That or get rich, which is usually accomplished by mass lying, cheating, and thieving on an individual level. We are now virtually governed by corporations and billionaires. We have billionaires taking over NASA for their own sleazy ends. We’ve outsourced everything to the billionaires and the corporations.
When you study the Kennedy Assassination, you realize that there was a vast group of people either in on it or supportive of it, and many of them have talked. A friend had lunch with LBJ’s attorney, who said Kennedy was killed by “the foreign policy establishment of the United States.” And that right there is the Deep State, and not only that, but the Deep State also encompasses all of the above via the support of the rich and the corporations for US foreign policy.
The Pentagon and the CIA work for Exxon and Elon Musk, not you and me. We overthrow foreign governments for the Richard Bransons and the Chevrons, not for you and me. How does it feel to join the US Army and become the personal army of and risk your life for Monsanto and Rex Tillerson? You died in a US war? Sucker! You died for Jeff Bezos and the Blackrock Group! You proud of yourself now, wherever you are, chump?
Because the rot and evil is so “baked in” to the system, it is going to be very hard to change. Look what happens in Latin America where they try to do similar cleansings of the oligarchies and diseased societies they created. You get coups, economic warfare, sanctions, embargoes, propaganda wars, assassination attempts, lockout strikes, color revolutions, stolen elections, lawfare, guarimbas, contra armies engaging on counterrevolution, on and on.
I am absolutely certain that at least some of those will happen if we try to do a do-over on America. The big guns are just not going to like it, and they will do everything in their power to stop it.
I agree with you wholeheartedly. I am especially irked when I hear so many ne’erdowells whining about their beloved Trump having been defrauded of his sure win election by the evil globalists and America’s now being in great danger to suffer a Mao-style Cultural Revolution at the hands of the “ultra-Left”.
Such a degree of abuse of words might terminate faster than we think, as English as an international communication tool fit for intelligent exchange of ideas. First of all, how come the Republican Party is “red” and any state refusing it “blue”: that seems to go together well with the US being the only country refusing to go metric.
Had America been endowed even with a tolerably good semblance of democratic system as used to be usual in Europe and still is here and there, Trump would have had no chance to be anything more than a backwater talk show animator and maybe the governor of Missouri or Louisiana turning that state into a laughingstock for the nation and triggering that state to go full radical Socialist Left the election after. Trump was imposed onto America thanks to its stochastic electoral system.
The system looks like that of the old Republic of Venice (which was more or less a kind of rigged from behind roulette-like game of chance, with the difference they claimed of chance and not of the people’s will) against a definite majority’s will by both the financial forces revolving around the Goldman Sachs bank and Netanyahu.
Netanyahu is Trump’s alter ego in the Old World (Russia playing a subsidiary role in that enterprise). He was actually a kind of Israeli governor directly imposed at international level against America’s own Zionist, but still to intelligent oligarchy just as a reminder to the nation that they are no longer sovereign and are to be treated like any African dependency where no intelligent people need apply from now on.
Alt-Right fell for that trap, bar very few thinking people. In a certain sense, Trump has been America’s first real “black” president.
They fear for a Mao-style Cultural Revolution to happen by the American ultra-Leftist forces. For the time being I see nobody on the American horizon still trying and succeeding in part to impose the cult of his personality as a kind of savior or Emperor Cyrus rather than Orange-Hue-Tan.
He is in the real position (though not in mental capacity, and probably not in mental disposition neither, as he doesn’t give a damn for his adoring crowd) to head a Cultural Counterrevolution to be followed by a Great Leap Backwards leading to the transformation of the US into the Neo-Medieval Republic of Gilead as described by Margaret Atwood in Handmaid’s Tale.
Actually I have also come on my own to your own conclusion: The US is indeed in great need of some Mao-like Old Far Left Cultural Revolution that should do away with all “olderies” and force all conservatives to acknowledge at last, through violent behavioral psychiatric techniques if need be, that there is absolutely nothing worth conserving in the US and that all has to be rebuilt from zero, and preferably from Ground Zero.
There is no single historical non-fake monument worth preserving except North Harlem’s Cloisters: the few other ones of decent colonial style have been all demolished to make room for cheaper and cheaper built and dearer and dearer sold condos, except a few that were built by slavers still having descendants caring for their property, but that kind of historical monument is rather to be classified with Holocaust Museums in my opinion.
The general infrastructure is in such a state of disrepair that bombing it all first would probably come out cheaper than getting back a working one. Most cities of the Rust Belt are already kind of bombed, so why not finish the job? There is nothing worth fireworks in the background; instead, there is everything worth fireworks in the structure.
As it is a Cultural Revolution we are talking about here, my opinion is that at the present moment no university is worth preserving. That is an euphemism: There is rather an emergency case for burning them all down, while what needs to be taught could be taught for free on the internet, preferably from as far overseas as possible. The diplomas emitted by them should be all declared void as has been done with Trump University sheepskins. Showing one in order to get any job should be an offense.
Among the olderies to be done away with first are the American religions: they are 100% crap. Their buildings should have one use – lodging and feeding the homeless. If they are no good for that purpose, they should be used as quarries for construction material by the homeless. As a general rule a new Homestead Act should apply: the first who sees a university building or a religious building that doesn’t serve the poor, let him take the ground and material for his own physical needs as if it were a vacant lot in conquered territory.
By what kind of economic miracle has America, which used to be the chief manufactured goods exporter of the world and won two world wars as such, turned into a chief exporter of only religion and mega-churches only (if we except the military sector from our equation, which is concentrated in the former Slaving South)? Has America so many saints, sages, and masterworks of timeless wisdom to be exported to the planet?
There should be only one single tax: Henry George ** 2. His equation was by the square of the value of real estate owned per owner or co-owner, which would make collectivization the only survivable solution while preserving personal liberty.
Activities not resulting in the production of physical goods, including religion, law, education, and medicine, should be declared out of reach of any lucrative enterprise and the attempt to make them lucrative classified together with prostitution. That is, either they are practiced for free as leisure, or they are charities (for real needy ones), or they are public services.
Damn, what’s this all about? The country’s economy is in a state of collapse mostly due to a massive embargo that has been placed on it by the (((US))), which is trying to force Lebanon to throw Hezbollah out of the government. Problem: Hezbollah and its allies won 65% in the last election and control that many seats in the Legislature, so they US is demanding that 1/3 of the government throw out 2/3 of the duly and popularly elected government. It’s not going to work. Hezbollah is a permanent fixture in Lebanon with an easy support of 2/3 of the populations, including huge numbers of Lebanese Christians.
The Christians are actually split in half. Half are with Hezbollah and half are against them. The Sunnis are much more united against Hezbollah. The Sunnis in Lebanon are just awful. Total traitors and they are all with the Saudis – they are essentially the pawns of the Saudis and their raison d etre is hatred of Lebanon’s Shia, Iran, and the Shia of the Arab World.
There are articles in Israeli papers with the Israeli government saying that they need to make a massive humanitarian intervention in Lebanon to save the day, but that’s not going to go over very well since the whole reason the economy has collapsed is due to Israel.
The banks of Lebanon have been locked out of the rest of the world’s banking system by the US and France due to ties with Hezbollah. All banks in Lebanon has extensive monetary ties with Hezbollah due to the organization’s massive presence in Lebanese society. So the finance sector has been locked out of the world economy and the result has been an economic collapse.
All of this was done by (((Donald Trump))), by the way.
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.
Look, you either support democracy or you don’t. To be fair though, I don’t think there are many, or any for that matter, governments anywhere on the face of the Earth who give two shits about democracy. If there are any, raise your hands and be counted. Further, I’m not sure if there are any NGO’s anywhere on the planet who give two shits about democracy. Is there one person anywhere on this Earth who cares about democracy. Note that if you support democracy, you need to support it in all cases (hopefully) and you need to oppose all anti-democratic regimes everywhere on principle.
I don’t think there are any states that follow this principle, nor do I believe there is one organization anywhere that follows this principle. Are there any persons anywhere who believe in this? I’m seriously wondering.
Look! If you don’t give two shits about democracy, fine! But you need to stop yelling about your imperial “restore democracy” projects. And you silly Americans need to quit getting behind these imperial “democracy restoration” projects. They’ve never been about restoring democracy anyway. Anyone ought to know that by now.
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.
"It's not a conflict! It's a liberation movement fighting for justice" Ghassan Kanafani was born on 8/4/1936 in Acre. He was an author and a leader of PFLP. On 8 July 1972, he was assassinated by the Israeli Mossad in Beirut, Lebanon.#FreePalestinepic.twitter.com/PFLHBijAfo
The great “Conversation between the Sword and the Neck interview with Ghassan Kanafani, the great Palestinian revolutionary of the PFLP. He was one of the founders of the organization. He was a revolutionary who never held a gun. His weapon was the pen. He was also a great poet and novelist. He was assassinated by the Zionist Entity on this day in Beirut, Jerusalem in 1972. This is a very famous interview that was done with him by some sellout Western journalist. It is so perfect.
Anyone on the Left and anyone in particular who believes in the Black freedom struggle of the Panthers, etc. against racism, etc. should support the Palestinian movement. This is a movement for liberation by a colonized people and Black and Hispanic people really should support all such movements, since in they were all colonized people at one point or another.
Everyone on the Left who wonders about the validity of this struggle, an essential struggle for basic civil rights, should pay close attention to this video. It will answer all of your basic questions about the conflict right there. Also if you have some liberal worries about the Palestinians being backwards and reactionary and the Israelis being progressive and modern, remember what Stalin said about the necessity of forming alliances with just about everyone against imperialism.
Stalin formed alliances with many backwards and socially reactionary people such as Muslims in his war against imperialism. “If they are against imperialism, then we need to ally with them,” was his mindset. Also, keep in mind that peasants and working class people all over the world are often deeply backwards and socially reactionary or even barbaric. This does not mean, as the anarchists claim, that they are fascists!
The workers must be supported in all cases. Their backwards views are unfortunate but they are for them to own and do with what they will. If the progressive forces capture a country, social revolutions can unfold in which the working people are gently brought into a more modern and less barbarous mindset. This worked very well in many places such as the USSR, China, Vietnam, Laos, Cuba, and Venezuela. It was always a pretty easy sell to gently bring people along to the ideas that women and other oppressed peoples were in need of their basic rights.
This business of “We must support Israel because Palestinians are backwards and don’t give women basic rights” is liberal bourgeois imperialism – the “imperialism of human rights.” It is essential to the worldview of liberal Democrat “humanitarian bombers” like Joe Biden and Samantha Power. It’s just another imperialist trick! Don’t fall for it!
I have contacts very close to the whole Resistance Bloc and I can tell you flat out that a lot of the material published by corporate media is just false. I know people close to Hezbollah, Iran, the Houthis, the Iraqi militias, and the Iranian and Iraqi governments. They’re journalists with great access.
During this war, rockets were shot from Lebanon. The corporate media began insisting that the rockets had been fired by Hezbollah. First of all, Hezbollah did not shoot any rockets out of Lebanon. They wanted to stay out of this fight. Also, Hamas themselves did not want Hezbollah to join in.
Instead, Hamas asked permission from Hezbollah to launch rockets, mortars, etc. from Lebanon. Hamas has many activists in Southern Lebanon, probably associated with the refugee camps. The request was granted. Five rockets were launched. They were all Grad missiles! As they were Grads, they probably came from Syria. A couple of rockets were fired from Syria days ago. I don’t know who did it, but it wasn’t the government.
The point here is very important. Assad gave those missiles to Hamas in Lebanon to shoot at Lebanon. And he probably gave whoever shot those missiles from Syria at Israel permission. This is very important. What this means is that Assad was getting his revenge for years of attacks against his army in Syria. This war was also used by Iran to get revenge on Israel, often via Syria, for all of the attacks Israel has made against Iran recently. Iran and Syria used this Hamas war to get their revenge on Israel.
In an important sense, every one of those 4,400 rockets came from Syria, and to an even greater extent, Iran. You would think this would be a great line for the corporate media to play on, but they completely missed it as did the US and Israeli governments. This war was really Iran (and to a lesser extent) Syria versus Israel. Of course the Palestinian role was essential also and they were a major source of the combatants, but to overlook the vengeance Iran and Syria got out of this war is a huge mistake.
A drone was at first thought to be launched from Jordan and shot down over Israel. Later examination showed it had been launched from Iraq by the Shia militias parts of the Iraqi Army.
Vast crowds massed at the Jordanian border trying to cross into Israel. Police held them back but the Jordanian police were completely in favor of the demonstrators. It’s false to say that Jordan is pro-Israel. Sure, the government is but that’s because it’s a dictatorship. If they had elections there, a vehemently anti-Israel government would be voted in very fast. 65% of the citizens are Palestinian refugees from the war in 1967. The rest are conservative Bedouins who are basically Islamists. They don’t like Israel much either.
Three infiltrators got in. These are just local Palestinian Jordanians try to sneak in to Israel. They all say they want to go to Jerusalem. I know that one Palestinian in Jordan somehow made it to Gaza and was very happy that he had returned to Palestine. He was killed in the war, but he had gained his wish and he died happy.
Also, Hamas reported that one of their suicide submarines bombed a gas platform off the coast. A platform off of Haifa caught fire. Israel said the cause was an accidental explosion, but we still don’t know yet if it was hit by one of these suicide subs. Israeli Shin Bet intelligence somehow knew nothing about this submarine, so their intel is not as good as you think.
Mossad does not work in Gaza, as Israel considers Gaza part of Israel and Shin Bet is the intelligence force for Israel proper. Mossad only works overseas in Lebanon, Iran, Syria, Qatar, Iraq, and UAE.
A missile that hit a building in Beersheba killed 2 civilians and wounded 15 more. The building was a small factory that employed overseas workers. That must have been a big missile that hit that building, considering the damage it did.
In the course of a single day, there were eight IDF troops wounded, two seriously, in the Gaza Belt or Gaza Envelope. In Kissifum, an IDF helicopter crashed. possibly hit by a rocket. At Nahal Oz, several soldiers were wounded, probably by a mortar barrage. The helicopter that crashed was coming to evacuate the wounded soldiers. These mortar barrages were being launched by a number of groups, not just Hamas.
The DFLP and PFLP, two explicitly Marxist or leftwing groups, were launching quite a few rockets and mortars, mostly shorter range. Hamas and Islamic Jihad seem to have the long range missiles and rockets. Surprisingly, the DFLP and especially the PFLP are very popular in Gaza, which is interesting as they are both basically Communists.
The Salah al Din Brigades are (Popular Resistance Committees) Fatah rejectionists. Fatah, the armed wing of the PLO, gave up armed struggle and surrendered to Israel. However, many members of Fatah rejected this surrender and split off to form their own groups. The Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigades, especially large in the West Bank, was the largest of these. AAMB is explicitly secular.
The Popular Resistance Committees were groups of Fatah rejectionists in Gaza. The Salah al Din Brigades is their armed faction. They tend to be more Islamist than Fatah proper. They have quite a bit of weaponry and fired a lot of rockets and mortars in this war, mostly short-range. SADB is the third largest group in Gaza after Hamas (13,000 members) and Islamic Jihad (7,000 members).
A new group called Palestinian Mujahedin or PM is ideologically close to Islamic Jihad Hamas. They also shot some missiles. This is one of the smaller groups in Gaza.
The PFLP-GC is a secular group founded by Ahmad Jibril that is secular. They are very close to Syria almost to the point of being Syrian-controlled. They have a fair amount of support in Gaza but they do not have a large force or arsenal.
The “resistance” in Gaza actually consists of 17 different groups. One is a Hamas cutout, then there are DFLP, PFLP, PFLP-GC, SADB, AAMB, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and PM. I was only able to find names for nine of them. Most of the rest seem to be Fatah rejectionists, secular.
They all work together, Communist atheists right alongside Hamas and Islamic Jihad Islamists.
This whole war was cynically started by Netanyahu in order to stay out of jail, and it worked. He’d been stoking the flames for these wars since he came into office in 2009. Really most of the Israeli public is aligned with either Netanyahu’s Likud Party or similar parties like the one Bennett is a member of that are just as bad if not worse. The Israeli Left, including the Labor Party, has basically collapsed.
The uprising among Israeli Arabs in Israel proper was an utter catastrophe for Israel. Netanyahu said it was a worse problem than the rockets from Gaza.
The whole Arab population of Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza was in open revolt along with large sections of Arabs in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen. There was also a huge outcry in Pakistan.
This was due to a accumulation mostly of 11 years of Likudism and worse. This is where it led. There were huge riots in Jerusalem. Entire Arab cities all across Israel shut down one day for a general strike. Gangs of Arabs rioted all across Israel and in the north, they were even gathered along major highways where they threw rocks. It was dangerous to go anywhere in Israel during this war. In the first week of the war, 1,000 arrests of Israeli Arabs were made, 500 for attempted murder. So 500 Israeli Arabs, basically an army, all tried to kill Jews in the last week. Disastrous!
Of course Hamas decided to attack. Neither they nor any of the rest of the Resistance takes orders from Iran. The corporate media is wrong about that. They go to Iran if they want to do attacks, and Iran gives them a list of attacks that they might do that Iran would be ok with. Then they can do them. For really crazy attacks, they have to get ok’d by Iran first, and they get shot down a lot. If they do decide to do an attack, Iran may help plan and carry it out.
Iran helped plan that Houthi attack on Aramco. Also there are Iranian and Hezbollah advisors in the Houthis. The Houthis are just the former Yemeni Army, and they have huge factories, mostly underground, where they are churning out all these drones and missiles. They use Iranian prototypes and then modify them from there. Iran and Hezbollah, especially Hez, help them make the drones and missiles.
The “Iraqi militias” are just the Iraqi Army! They are not attacking the US directly usually. Instead, member of those militias take leave and go off on their own and form little resistance groups and moonlight as guerrillas while being soldiers the rest of the time. The militias have plausible deniability, as they are not doing or planning the attacks. However, anyone in Iraq who tried to crack down on those resistance groups would be stopped. You can’t. They’re too popular and wield too much power. No one can go against them.
Also, these grouplets contain moonlighting Iraqi Army from outside the militias people and Federal Police members. Munitions are probably Iraqi Army stuff.
Hezbollah was in contact with Islamic Jihad and Hamas in Lebanon every hour since this started. Later, we heard that Hezbollah used drones to help the Gaza resistance avoid Israeli attacks. I have also heard that much of the tunnel infrastructure is intact. Most of it is 90 feet underground and as such, it is going to be very hard to for conventional bombs to get at those tunnels. They will either require a ground invasion or the use of mini-nukes to take them out.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad make their own stuff now in underground factories. Some is Iranian smuggled in. It is very easy for Iranian weaponry to get into Gaza. Only a week after a war, Iran was already busy resupplying the Palestinians with money and weapons.
Once again as with Ansar Allah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad use Iranian prototypes and then make local knockoffs. Iran and Hezbollah help them a lot in these underground factories to make these munitions, and they helped, especially Hezbollah, helped build the tunnels.
The decision to launch this attack was Hamas’ alone. But once it started Iran and Hez gave them moral support.
The Palestinians have their own agenda so they did not launch this war for Syria and Iran, but in a way this is a multiple front war. Israel was attacked from Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Gaza and the West Bank was in open rebellion with a number of towns in the West Bank becoming “liberated zones” by Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, normally quiescent but now resurrected and the main force in the West Bank. They’re secular.
During the war, there were many attacks every day in the West Bank: 5-10 shooting,, 1-2 attempted or completed ramming or stabbing, ~20 firebomb, and 80 fireworks! Some Israeli soldiers are even fled the front briefly. They felt under siege. A checkpoint was abandoned by fleeing troops and briefly taken over by AAMB.
Also all of these rockets and missiles that everyone has all come from Iran in one way or another. Even the weapons that the Commie groups have. The AA weapons, antitank guns and automatic weapons are all Iranian. Some is smuggled in. The smuggling route goes from:
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.”
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.
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.
I was following the fascist coup in Nicaragua in 2017, which was written up as some righteous civil disturbances and riots against a brutal and vicious leftwing Sandinista dictatorship run by Daniel Ortega and his wife Rosario. Really it was just a fascist coup attempt by the 27% of the population opposed to Ortega. That figure is about right for Latin America. The opposition to the Chavistas in Venezuela amounts to 27% of the population. Furthermore, 70% of Venezuelans openly state that they are Chavistas. As long as people keep saying that, the Right will never win.
There was one report after another of outrageous murders and attempted murders by the government. They all shocked me in their depravity.
The government had set an opposition radio station on fire, killing everyone inside!
Whoops. It turns out that the fascists had set a government radio station on fire, killing 10 government employees inside.
There were regular riots at the universities, where rich brats were said to be barricaded inside against murderous government forces inside.
I did some research and it was actually..
Whoops! The fascist students who had taken control of the university and were attacking the government forces and supporters.
Everything I read turned out to be the exact opposite of the way it was reported.
Government forces set a house on fire, killing a family of four inside!
Whoops! It turned out that this took place in an opposition controlled neighborhood where government forces were not present and were instead five miles away. Opposition rioters had raided a two story house full of Sandinista supporters and set it on fire, killing a family inside.
Roadblocks with armed insurgents were set up all over the country. People coming by were questioned, and government supporters and employees were taken out of their cars, beaten, tortured, and sometimes killed.
Finally, there was a fake human rights report issued by Amnesty International that got everything wrong and attributed almost all of the violence and deaths to the government, when really it was the other way around, and 80% of such was attributed to the opposition. Amnesty International, a disgusting imperialist organization that works hand in hand with the US government nearly as an arm of the CIA, got most of their data from the fascist organizations among the insurgents.
Slowly but surely, the government took the country back. When it was all over, 300-400 people were dead. The government was pretty reasonable considering that they were dealing with an attempted by armed mobs of rioters representing only 25% of the population trying to overthrow the democratically elected government with violence.
Most other countries would have been much more brutal. Nicaragua didn’t even arrest that many people, and most of those traitors have already been released. Out of 4,000 opposition organizations, four were shut down by the government for the obvious role they played in the sedition. The US reacted with outrage to this and said that the Sandinista government, which typically got favorable ratings of 70-80%, was a dictatorship.
The openly seditious media was allowed to continue to publish, even though most of them should have been shut down. The openly treasonous political parties that engaged in an attempt to overthrow the government by force were not shut down and were allowed to continue to run for office. I would have shut them all down.