In guerrilla wars nowadays, all guerrilla groups who the US says are enemies are labeled by the US as being pawns of some dastardly foreign power. The revolutionaries themselves are deprived of all agency and reduced to mere puppets who carry out orders from some large state sponsor. The puppets probably don’t even want to do these attacks! They’re probably being being forced to by their diabolical patrons!
In the Latin American revolutions of recent years, all of the revolutionaries were deprived of agency and reduced to mere puppets, first of Satanic Cuba and ultimately from the Devil itself, the USSR. Of course these revolutions were not started by internal politics, vast differences between the rich and poor, grotesquely unfair systems, murderous death squad states who torture and murder any dissidents on the Left!
Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Colombia were all wonderful countries. There weren’t any starving masses living in tin shacks with no water, sewage systems, jobs, or access to medical care, education, transportation or even money to buy food or anything like that!
You see, all the countries got let off the hook, and the US got to say that it wasn’t the horrific conditions inside the far rightwing country that were producing the obvious armed Left guerillas that such states often logically produce. The guerrillas were just idiots, useful ones to be sure, or even puppets on a string. Everything’s fine in these countries, and not one single progressive change needed to be made.
Instead this was just Castro’s Cuba – boo, hiss – exporting revolution to these poor innocent Latin American countries who are trying their best to serve their people! Oh, poor countries! These sad, pathetic, ignorant guerrillas are being made into pawns and puppets of malign Commies against their will! Oh, poor guerillas!
And ultimately of course the revolutions were all coming from the USSR. The motive was always nothing more than Soviet expansionism. The Soviets were trying to export Communism all over the world to every country, rich and poor, leftwing and right, those who served their people and those who left them to die without a nickel! Bad Soviets! They were so mean!
In other words, all leftwing revolutions had nothing to do with the objective conditions inside the country. They were all caused by the deplorable Soviets exporting their depraved Communism the world over.
By saying that the Houthis are just Iranian puppets, useful idiots, and fools without any gripe who are mercenaries on the payroll of the Iranians, we are saying that conditions are just fine in Yemen, and the Houthis took arms for no reason.
According to the US and various Sunni Arab states in the region, the Houthis are revolutionary pro-Iranian crazies who are trying to take over the country as part of a sneaky Iranian project to take over all of the Arab countries, oppress and lord it over them, steal their resources and leave them penniless, and worst of all, force all of them all to convert to Shiism.
See how this “puppets of X regime” nonsense plays out? It’s usually nothing but a flat-out lie. Most civil wars happen for a reason. What sort of reason? An internal reason based on the objective conditions in that country, conditions that the guerrillas think are wrong or unfair – that’s what reason. Of course guns don’t grow on trees, and most guerrillas need to have state sponsors in order to acquire their weaponry. They have to buy them somewhere.
Tulio: Robert, do you have any thoughts on Bolsanaro? Looks like Brazil is about to take a hard right turn toward fascism. Steven Bannon is down there advising him. The thought of that fucker makes me physically ill.
He’s a monster, of course. I had no idea that half of Brazil’s population were reactionary Rightist maniacs. He’s worse than Trump. I have met two Brazilian Rightists and they were out and out monsters. Both absolutely hated democracy. One was a Brazilian Jew and the other is the former commenter Santoculto.
They’re murderous, as bad as the Bolivian, Venezuelan, Salvadoran, and Nicaraguan Right. They’re not as murderous as the Haitian, Guatemalan, Honduran, and Colombian Right, but they definitely kill people. A Black woman who organized in the Brazilian favelas was recently murdered by the Right government that is in power now.
This Bolsonaro had as part of his project putting on trial and executing all of the former armed rebels from the 1960’s. He has the support of the reactionary military in that. Thing is though, the last president was a former urban guerrilla from the 1960’s and her government was full of former guerrillas, so he’s openly advocating the trial and execution of most of the former government.
Socialism, the very concept, especially in its social democratic and democratic socialist varieties, is the ho-hum status quo on most of the planet.
The war on the very concept of socialism has probably been worse in the US than anywhere else in the West. It has a 3rd World death squad tinpot dictatorship feel about it. I keep wondering when the rightwing death squads are going to show up in the US. They show up everywhere else in states with a US-style reactionary and Left-hating culture.
The difference between the US war on socialism and the war on socialism waged in various death squad democracies is that the war on socialism has been more successful in the US than anywhere else on Earth other than Colombia, but the Left is armed to the teeth there. The war on socialism was just as bad if not worse due to the death squads and all of the imprisonments, beatings, tortures, murders and genocides all over Latin America and in the Philippines and Indonesia.
These countries differ from the US however in that all those Latin American countries and SE Asian countries have gone Left in recent years.
Even in the Philippines, Duterte calls himself a socialist and had friendly relations with the Maoist NPA guerrillas when he held office in Mindanao.
In Indonesia, the female elected President recently ran on a socialist ticket.
To the south, Mexico has been officially socialist since the Revolution. The Left in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Colombia, Peru, and Argentina was armed to teeth and fought vicious wars against reactionary regimes. That has to count for something.
In El Salvador, the former Left guerrillas are now running the country.
In Honduras, a leftwinger was recently elected President only to be ousted in a coup sponsored by the CIA and Hillary Clinton.
Nicaragua of course had a successful Leftist revolution, and those revolutionaries have been holding office now there for quite some time.
Haiti elected a Leftist in Jean Bertrande Aristide, only to be ousted by Bush Administration officials via a contra death squad army from the Dominican Republic. Aristide himself was arrested at gunpoint in his mansion by armed Blackwater mercenaries acting under the command of the Pentagon.
A number of the island states in the Caribbean have gone Left in recent years and most were members of the Chavista Bolivarian Movement. Most political parties in the Caribbean have words like Left, Socialist, Workers, Progressive, etc. in their party names regardless of their ideology because any party that wants to get anywhere in the Caribbean has to at least dress itself up in Left garb.
Grenada had a successful Leftist revolution that was subsequently overthrown on illegal grounds by Reagan.
Venezuela of course has been voting Leftist since 1999 when the Chavistas took power. They have never left.
In Ecuador, a Leftist, Rafael Correa, ruled for many years. Recently a man named Lenin Moreno ran on a Leftist ticket of continuing Correa’s Left reforms, but as soon as he got into office, he immediately shifted gears and went hard Right.
Right-wing parties run as fake Leftists all the time in Latin America because generally rightwingers running on a rightwing agenda cannot get elected down there because most Latin Americans hate rightwingers and don’t want them in power. Hence the Right obtains power by contra wars and fascist mob violence in the streets, waging wars on economies and currencies, judicial, legislative, and military coups, and even open fraud. The definition of conservatism is aristocratic rule. It is the antithesis of rule by the people or democratic rule. The definition of liberalism is democratic rule by the people, not the aristocrats.
Not many Latin Americans want to be ruled by aristocrats, so the Right down there has to seize power by extra-democratic means.
The Opposition in Venezuela recently ran on an openly social democratic platform, but most people thought it was fake they would turn Right as soon as they got in.
In Brazil, the Left has been running the country for some time under the PT or Worker’s Party until it was removed by a rightwing legislature in an outrageous legislative coup. They even imprisoned a former president, Lula, on fake corruption charges. A female president was recently elected who was an armed urban guerrilla in the 1960’s.
In Paraguay, a Leftist former priest was elected President, only to be removed in an outrageous legislative coup.
In Chile, not only was Leftist Allende elected in the 70’s, the Left was not only armed all through Pinochet’s rule and once came close to assassinating him. In recent years, a socialist named Michele Bachelet has won a number of elections.
In Bolivia, Leftist Evo Morales has been in power for a long time.
Uruguay recently elected a Leftist, a former armed urban guerrilla in the 1970’s.
Argentina recently elected two Leftist presidents, the Kirchner, a husband and wife. A rightwiger was recently elected after a rightwing Jewish billionaire named Singer obtained a court judgement against Argentina in a US court. That judgement bankrupted the economy, so you could say that the Right destroyed the economy in order to get elected.
So with the exception of Peru, Costa Rica, Panama, and the Guyanas, all other countries have since gone full Left at one time or another recently. Costa Rica’s already a social democracy, and Peru had an ultra-radical murderous Left for a very long time. Panama’s been reactionary since the CIA murdered Omar Torrijos by sabotaging his helicopter and killing him via a fake copter crash. The Dominican Republic and Jamaica have not gone Left since the 60’s and 70’s.
But the war on socialism has been so much more successful here in the US than even in the above named backwards countries because even the world norm of social democracy was so demonized here in the US that it never even got off the ground.
In some ways, the US is one of the most rightwing countries on Earth at least in terms of political economy.
I would however say that this mostly applies to Mexican-Americans. I am not even sure if it applies to Mexicans in Mexico because there is actually a High Culture in Mexico. In Mexico City there is opera and the main paper has a large book review section every week. In other words, a true highbrow intellectual culture, right in the heart of Mexico. It goes without saying that the members of this highbrow culture are White or a lot Whiter than average Mexicans. But in Mexico, White and people involved in highbrow White Mexican culture extends all the way down to 60-70% White. These people have an idea of lowbrow culture as being “naco.” Naco is also associated with quite a bit of Indian blood. In Mexico, it’s not whether you have Indian blood or not. It’s more a matter of just how much Indian blood you have. I have never thought that Indians were particularly dangerous. Even the racist Latin American Whites that I read on Stormfront (I read 1,000 pages of their threads) said that Indians were fairly harmless. They said that they could get loud, rude and verbally violent, but it didn’t often expand beyond that. One said, “You have give an Indian a handful of tortillas and a six pack, and he’s good for the night. He goes off quietly and you never hear from him again.” On the other hand these Latin American Whites were scathing in their views of Latin American Blacks, who they viewed as very violent and downright dangerous as Hell. It is interesting to note that in Latin America, the existing Blacks are often quite mixed with not only White but also Indian. The result – a White – Indian – Black mix like Hugo Chavez and many others in the far north and the east of Latin America (Venezuela, Colombia and Brazil ) and the far south of Central America (Panama) and parts of the Caribbean (Puerto Rico) – is called a Zambo. This term is a source of some ridicule among Latin American Whites like Chileans or Peruvians (some of the worst Whites in Latin America) as a term for a mystery casserole of a human so badly mixed that they are nearly indescribable, but a lot of Zambos are quite beautiful. Cali, Colombia is a Zambo city and the women of Cali are said to be the most beautiful in all of Latin America.
The high culture of Mexico City compares starkly with the rest of Mexico.
Your typical Mexican mestizo is a pretty lowbrow person – he’s probably never read a book in his life nor does he wish to. Nevertheless, even the lowliest cook in a corner market knows how to read and write. They definitely teach you that in Mexican schools and most Mexicans have been to school.
And most Mexicans from Mexico, even a lowly corner cook like I mentioned, know something about Mexican history – the Civil War of course and even the clerical contra rebellion afterwards ~1930 that most Americans have never heard of. Every Mexican knows who Emilio Zapata and Benito Juarez are. I was stunned at how many of these very uneducated people had even heard of Frieda Kahlo. How many Americans know who she was?
How many Chicanos know even a parallel basics of US 20th Century history? And you will never meet a Mexican-American who knows who Frieda Kahlo is nor do they care to find out.
Beyond that, we descend even lower to Mexican Indians, who not only don’t read books but may not even know what a book is. Mestizos believe in some strange saints in their profoundly syncretic Catholicism, but when you get out to the Indian villages, people actually still believe in witches. As you can see, the descent from High Culture down to beyond lowbrow is a steep one indeed. You will nearly break a leg walking too quickly down that slope.
The South Americans I have met in the US are not so anti-intellectual as the Chicanos below. South America after all has a much better High Culture than Mesoamerica. South American High Culture is so intact because the culture of Spain still lingers down there to a great degree while it has nearly vanished from Mesoamerica. I have talked to rich people in Lima and Bogota who literally spent half the year in Spain. Literally.
I had an Argentine girlfriend once. She often called me Senor instead of my first name (imagine an American girlfriend routinely referring to you as sir) and was in stunned awe of the fact that I was an hombre de letras or a “man of letters.” Intellectualism is a big deal in Argentina.
The Salvadorans and Nicaraguans I have met in the US were highly politicized, and I was shocked at how smart they were. You think you are dealing with another “ignorant Mexican in a mini-mart” until you start them off on politics, and they start rattling away and soon leave you in the dust. Every Salvadoran I have ever met has heard of La Matanza (The Massacre), and that happened in 1932. And I’ve not met one yet who could not tell me who Farabundo Marti was (see La Matanza above). How many Americans know who Farabundo Marti was?
Most Americans don’t have the slightest idea what either of those things are. It just goes to show that you can take a society with an IQ like Chicanos and supercharge them politically and possibly even culturally if the objective conditions are right. The Colombians, Peruvians, and Chileans I met here and outside the US (not to mention the Argentine woman) had a shockingly deep knowledge of politics for an ordinary person, and the Latin Americans were often as learned as a Spaniard or at least wished to be.
How many Americans know who Tupac Amaro was? But the young Peruvian woman I knew all about him and even knew quite a bit about his wife, who is a proto-feminist hero down there to some mestiza and indigena women..
I never asked her who Jose Carlos Mariategui was, but I am sure she could have told me all about him too. Another Peruvian woman I met knew all about Jose Arguedas and his famous novel The Fox Above and Below, which ties in with Mariategui, if you think about it. Arguedas was one of the most famous figures in Peruvian literature and his own daughter, incredibly enough, sat on the central committee of the Shining Path. Sendero was about indigenismo and to a lesser extent feminismo than anything else.
They even his name in the formal long name of their group – El Partido Comunista del Peru en la luz del pasado sendero luminoso del Jose Carlos Mariategui or The Communist Party of Peru in the Light of the Shining Path of Jose Carlos Mariategui.
Here is a recent comment from a half-Mexican American who agrees with most everything I have said about these people.
As a half-Hispanic raised with Hispanics, I mostly agree with this. My Mexican mother who immigrated illegally to the US paid tens of thousands for in-vitro fertilization, and that’s what pulled me out the ditch. This was evidently high-quality sperm because I still managed to turn out above average.
The people around me were impressed that I actually liked to read and learn. When I was young, the other Hispanics were amused that I could memorize the times tables and recite miscellanea about science and history, besides being capable of drawing dragons properly.
To give you context, my mother has been living in the US for over 25 years, and still does not understand a drop of English. They have a culture which consists of strong work-ethic (never missing a day of work and so on) followed by self-induced brain death post 9-to-5. They just watch mindless television and do not learn.
I discovered my own origins at the age of ten. I also achieved standard atheism at the age of nine (which I consider a standard benchmark for the ability to display rudimentary acts of rationality.) Then it took me years of hard work to unwire all the Catholic stupidity in my mother’s brain. This culture has no concept of logical reasoning, so her mind kept swinging in repetitive loops whenever I tried to carefully and methodically pin her down to the implications of specific arguments.
I succeeded in that endeavor, and am now in the process of teaching her where she is actually standing by explaining the crucial insights of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. People may laugh at the fact that she didn’t know the Earth was a sphere orbiting the sun, but yet most ‘educated’ humans alive today are just as ignorant about reality. For example, by not knowing that there is no universal now sweeping forward, or by holding the belief that we are made of little billiard ball particles bouncing around.
In my experience, whites at least fake like they want to learn. They’ll say “Oh yeah, that’s cool. Schrodinger’s cat is dead and alive… lol… because it’s all probabilistic, hur dur” or something. Of course, they don’t know jack-shit and also prefer to consume mindless media, but their culture says it’s okay to be smart. Hispanics just don’t give a shit. A lack of intellectual culture is their biggest setback.
The ghetto lower-middle income schools I went to were torture. The kids couldn’t do basic algebra; the teachers were underachieving whites who couldn’t get higher paying jobs in other districts or who preferred having less responsibility because black and hispanic parents wouldn’t bitch to them about grades, or have any expectations whatsoever really. And the teachers made no secret about this, they outright told us this was the reason.
Also, what you say about Mexicans bringing Mexico is absolutely true. I stayed in La Villita when I went to university in Chicago because some kind family members we barely knew were willing to rent super cheap. As I walked through the dirty streets past yet another leather boot store blasting trumpet music I almost felt ashamed, like ‘How could Mexicans escape to a new country and yet prefer to make it Mexico again?”
Sisera: So what does that mean then? You believe rich people are inherently oppressors who don’t deserve rights but then White men are okay?
I dunno. There are some North Koreans worth up to $100,000. The party doesn’t seem to care much. There are many rich Chavistas and the Ortegas have plenty of money. There are some Cubans who are living quite well now – marble counter-tops and floors, etc. The state doesn’t care.
I suppose a good CP would just argue that moneyed people can be kept around as long as they support the party and the basic socialist nature of the system. Progressive rich people are not unknown. The father of the famous terrorist Carlos was a life member of the Venezuelan Communist Party and a millionaire.
Do the Chinese Communists (Chicoms) believe that the rich are inherently oppressive? I doubt it as the party is full of millionaires. There is even a billionaire in the party now pushing the rightwing politics of all billionaires everywhere. I think they ought to throw him out of the party.
Mao said reactionary and capitalist elements would be springing up in the party all the time, and you to wage more or less constant cultural revolution to keep the rightwingers from taking over the party. That’s one of the pillars of Maoism that distinguishes it from other Marxisms.
Then Deng came along, aaand… Mao was right.
Sisera: I guess he would say you believe the philosophy but just not how it is being applied.
You should know by now that fanatical anti-Communists are almost always wildly irrational, typically pathological liars and usually reactionary shits. You should know by now that fanatical anti-Communists are almost always wildly irrational, typically pathological liars and usually reactionary shits.
Not that Communism is great or that there is no rational reason to oppose Communism of course. There is a rational way to oppose Communism, but most anti-Commies don’t seem to abide by it much.
I mean there ought to be space for pro-free speech, pro civil liberties liberals and progressives who are anti-Communists, but they never seem to pop up much.
I mean, Communists do violate a lot of civil rights and there are some serious problems with democracy in Communist states.
Witness the recent violent demonstrations in Vietnam for instance. Those demos are arguably leftwing or at least nationalist demonstrations protesting against objectively rightwing policy by the Vietnamese Communist government to set up more free enterprise zones with 99 year leases. The protesters fear that these will quickly be bought up by rich Chinese and Vietnam will just become a Chinese colony again as it was for centuries. I would support the protesters in this case, but here you see a Communist government enacting rightwing policy in the face of a Leftist opposition by the people. There’s a serious lack of democracy there.
Those of us who oppose police state tactics, support freedom of speech and assembly, extensive civil liberties, etc. would find that these values of ours are not supported by Communists at all.
But there are not a lot of good liberal or progressive rights-based people among the anti-Communists for whatever reason.
Hardline anti-Commies almost always tend to be conservatives or reactionaries, and I include the Democratic Party in the conservatives here.
Typically as you get further left, a lot of social democratic parties don’t really care about Communism. They are not going to implement it of course, but a lot of them think if you do, that’s your business. A lot of social democratic governments in Europe supported Cuba, the USSR and the Sandinistas and a lot even supported the FARC. The social democratic revolutionary PRI government of Mexico had warm relations with Cuba and Nicaragua. They even supported the FMLN guerrillas in El Salvador. They were headquartered in Mexico City. But the modern PRI is not even social democratic anymore, or its gone over the European garbage of rightwing social democracy.
Of course all the real left social democrats are gone now, and the only “social democrats” left are rightwing jerkoffs. Many of the parties in the Socialist International now would be characterized by this new rightwing social democracy. The fact that social democrats around the world have all become rightwingers and more or less neoliberals shows me that the Marxists were correct about social democracy. They always said it was bankrupt and unworkable. I think it worked fine for a while, but it probably always had the rightwing seeds of its own destruction planted within it somehow, and now they are bearing fruit.
Perhaps some of my commenters can elucidate the rightwing trend in social democracy, the reasons for it, and whether social democracy was doomed from the very starts, as I suspect, weighted down with its own contradictions.
Sisera: So what does that mean then? You believe rich people are inherently oppressors who don’t deserve rights but then White men are okay?
Most of them are oppressors, of course. Don’t you even understand class politics or the nature of capitalism at all. Those rich people who are pursuing their economic self interests in the class war, well of course they are our oppressors. The oppressors of me and mine anyway. I suppose they see us as oppressors.
Marxist theory doesn’t say that anyway. It just says that when the rich pursue their self interests in the class war, everyone who’s not rich gets fucked. You want to call that oppression? You are welcome to. If you side with the rich, you are an idiot. Why would you side with your class enemies. Most of them are oppressors, of course. Don’t you even understand class politics or the nature of capitalism at all.
Those rich people who are pursuing their economic self interests in the class war, well of course they are our oppressors. The oppressors of me and mine anyway. I suppose they see us as oppressors. Marxist theory doesn’t say that anyway. It just says that when the rich pursue their self interests in the class war, everyone who’s not rich gets fucked. You want to call that oppression? You are welcome to. If you side with the rich, you are an idiot. Why would you side with your class enemies?
The rich are our class enemies. Does that mean they oppress us? I dunno. When they’re in power, they screw us over. All of the rich hate democracy, lie like rugs, and support violence, murder, terror, genocide, coups, and dictatorships anywhere the people take power.
Personally, I think all conservatives and reactionaries are pure filth. I wish they would all drop dead tomorrow. That way they would be where they belong: in graves. They’re nothing but pure garbage. Show me a reactionary or conservative anywhere on Earth that’s actually a human and not a lying, sadistic, murderous piece of scum. There aren’t any!
In a democratic society, of course the rich get their rights, but they abuse the fuck out of them, and anytime they people take power, the rich start using violence, coups, death squads, rioting, judicial and legislative coups, etc. to get their way. We let the rich take power all the time. They won’t let us take power at all. I’m glad the Chinese Communists took away the rights of the reactionaries.
Look what would happen if they had rights? See Venezuela, Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, Honduras, Haiti, Brazil, Paraguay, Colombia, Nicaragua, Indonesia, Philippines? That’s what happens when you give the rich and the reactionaries any rights at all. Right now they would be burning China to the ground like they are doing to Venezuela and Nicaragua because they are furious that a people’s government got put in.
If that’s the way they are always, always, always going to act, why give them rights? So they can destroy your country and take down any democratically elected government they don’t believe in?
They try to destroy by antidemocratic means any people’s or popular government any time it gets in.
And when they take power themselves, they usually put in a dictatorship. This is what happens if they don’t get their way and the people elect a democratically elected people’s government:
Attempted coups by street violence: Nicaragua, Ukraine, Syria, and Thailand.
Attempted coups by economic warfare: Venezuela, North Korea, Iran, Syria, and Nicaragua.
Coups by legislative means: Paraguay and Brazil.
Attempted legislative coup: Venezuela.
Coups by judicial means: Brazil.
Coups by direct overthrow of the state: Honduras, Haiti, Venezuela, and Egypt.
Attempted coups by direct overthrow of the state: Ecuador and Bolivia.
Coup by insurgency: Haiti.
Attempted coup by insurgency: Syria.
Coups by direct invasion: Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Panama, Libya, and Grenada. This is what happens every time they get into power, especially if they take over a people’s government:
Right-wing death squad authoritarian regime installed: Honduras*, El Salvador, Argentina, Brazil*, Guatemala*, Chile, Philippines*, Uruguay, Bolivia, Indonesia*, and Ukraine*. No I don’t have a problem taking away rights from reactionary fucks! Why should we give them rights? Give me one reason! One! One reason!
Radicalized meaning having any sort of working class or class consciousness at all. Radicalized meaning pro-worker. Yes, believe it or not, the US working class is not even pro-worker. The US working class is actually anti-worker!
The problem is that we do not have a tradition of working class radicalism here as in Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. Working class people in all of those countries are radicalized and pro-worker with a high state of class consciousness and they usually vote for pro-worker political parties.
Mexicans, however, are profoundly depoliticized.
Nevertheless, you can argue as my mother does when I asked her why the Central American revolutions were not spreading to Mexico, to which she responded that “The Mexicans already had their revolution.” And though the Left neglects to see it this way, the Mexican Revolution was definitely one of the great leftwing revolutions of the 20th Century, at least as good as the Russian Revolution and without many of the problems. Most people don’t realize how horrible feudal life was in Mexico before the Mexican Revolution. If I told you what it was like, you would quit reading and call me a liar. It was that bad.
In Latin America, your average proletarian, working class person, who, let’s face it, is not real smart, is often ideologically Leftist, as they have been politicized by powerful leftwing movements. There are no powerful leftwing movements in the US to do this, so the non-White working classes are not radicalized. They are liberalized but not radicalized.
The White working classes are actually ideologically Rightist, which makes no sense at all of course.
However, I have met many Salvadorans here. I tell them that I used to support the FMLN revolutionaries down there and that I even used to contribute to their weapons fund. It’s actually true. I would meet a guy in a sleazy Salvadoran bar in Lafayette Park and give him a check to some weird cryptic organization. They are hesitant at first but then they break into wide smiles. Even those who did not support the FMLN don’t really care that I did. That movement was radical Left but had huge support across society because Salvadoran society is very unfair.
What socialists are not “elitist”? Aside from the “revolutionary masses”, all those who fancy leading/instructing them are and must be “elitists”.
It’s people who need a mission, something that will make them heroes, and are too intelligent to find that kind of gratification doing jobs even for 120 IQ people.
Of course this is true. It’s always been true. It’s surely true with Leninists and Communists. It always bothered me that Communist Party membership was limited to say, 6% of society. Every time I saw that, I felt pained. Why only 6%? How can you ever limit party membership to such a low number without that 6% becoming an elite in fact if not in essence? Assuming a person is sufficiently revolutionary, why can’t they join the party? And if they start lagging or going reactionary, just pull their membership. No problem there. Communists aren’t exactly democrats anyway.
Are the masses really that stupid and unaware of their own needs that only the top 6% of society is capable of addressing those needs, as 94% of them are class cucks who will always oppose their own interests?
If you read early Marxists, they were quite clear that the masses didn’t know what the Hell they were doing, had no idea of what their needs or even wants were, and were very easily swayed to support their class enemies on the basis of nationalism, jingoism, tribalism, racism, sexism, values conservatism, or religion.
They had no idea what they were doing and were incapable of figuring out what was best for them, so a paternalistic yet benevolent socialist elite (vanguard) was needed to show them the way. Granted, that may be the case, but it always seemed insulting towards the masses.
And even after years or decades of Communism, the masses are still as retarded as ever? After all those revolutionary classes and sessions, and they haven’t transformed in the slightest? That seemed so dubious to me.
The Chavistas, Sandinistas and others were trying to get away from that. I believe anyone can join the Sandinista Party, and members were often poor urban workers or peasants. The FMLN party in El Salvador is the same. Both of those parties managed to sell their project very well to the masses. Of course they were helped by decades of ruling class brutality and dictatorship that showed even the most blind of the masses that the ruling classes could never possibly be their friends in any formation or guise.
The Chavistas in Venezuela are much the same. In fact, the party itself is a grassroots party such that the grassroots nearly control the party direction, and those at the top are nearly beholden to those at the bottom, a complete transformation of typical human political relations, or probably of typical human relations in just about anything for that matter.
That’s not quite Direct Democracy, but it’s getting awful close.
Four leftwing Latin American nations quit the OAS defense treaty, asking for changes in the document. The OAS has always been the whore of the US, a sickening and reactionary organization. They threw Cuba out for no good reason long ago. These heroic Latin American nations are doing what should have been done long ago. The OAS is just shit, a Cold War creation of the Yankee dogs. Get rid of it already.
Yankee go home!
The nations are Nicaragua, led by the Sandinista hero Daniel Ortega, Venezuela, led by Hugo Chavez, Ecuador, led by Rafael Correa and Bolivia, led by Evo Morales.
I am reminded of the words of the former Sandinista national anthem:
Augusto Sandino. Led a guerrilla war in Nicaragua against the US Marine occupiers of the US colony of Nicaragua. We never caught him. The US Marines were sent down there to make a colony out of Nicaragua to preserve the interests of US big business, which was to keep Nicaragua as a US colony and keep the Nicaraugan people subject, starving, poor and barefoot and enslaved to America.
He’s perhaps the greatest hero of the vast majority of Nicaraguans, and he is revered as a hero all over Latin America for fighting the US imperialists.
The Sandinistas took their name after the hero. Imperialist America never forgets her slights and never forgives the heroes who stand up against her imperial meddling and bullying. The Sandinista national anthem had lyrics that went something like, “America, enemy of mankind.” I love it!
I know there’s probably a lot of info on the web about the various armed conflict/s in Latin America, but do you have any good websites (in English) that are specifically about the rhetoric of the Latin American Rich? And about their actual policies that lead to so many people trying to revolt against them?
I know you’ve mentioned them in your posts, but not all that much. It would be great if you had links to a detailed, extensive database of such information.
Hi, Upside Down World in the blogroll is an excellent resource, just off the top of my head. You know, 100 years ago, 50 years ago, 30 years ago, 10 years ago, yesterday, Latin America was mired in the most horrific poverty amid the most wild wealth. I’m not sure what the rich were saying then. Now here it is, up to 100 years later, and nothing much has changed.
I think in the past it was just “Kill the Commies!” The rich ran the show, had pro-rich military dictatorships for years to decades, when that didn’t work stole elections, and controlled all the media. The masses were utterly downtrodden, but what could you do?
Every now and then the peons would get restless, and the Marines would be sent down there to repress the overwhelming majority of the people and reinstate rich rule. In Haiti, the US stayed for decades. Cuba was nearly a US colony. We invaded the Dominican Republic. Sometimes people fought back. You had the anti-US Sandino rebellion against the Marines in Nicaragua.
Anytime the people got the least bit uppity, there would be a coup or a US invasion, followed by mass death squad terror. This happened in Guatemala in 1954, Brazil in 1964, Dominican Republic in 1965, Bolivia in 1970, Chile in 1973, Argentina in 1978, and Peru in 1992. This would often be followed by years to decades of state terror, the purpose of which apparently was to say, “Don’t even think of trying this again!”
In 1932 in El Salvador there was a peasant uprising led by Farabundo Marti. It was crushed, and 2% of the population, 30,000 people, were murdered in only about a month in something called the Matanza. Whole towns and villages were slaughtered. US warships patrolled off the coast the whole time to help things go smoothly. After that, people got rid of their Indian clothes, quit speaking Indian and turned into Ladinos, because the Indians were specifically targeted in the massacre. That was enough to keep the people down for about 40 years or so.
The Western provinces, where the Matanza took place, were still very conservative even during the Civil War 50 years later. Mass terror works.
But things have changed now. Now they say that neoliberal capitalism (the rule of the rich) is the way to prosperity for everyone. Socialism or rule of the poor is a dictatorship and leads to mass poverty.
Now the rich say that the way of the rich will “lift all the boats.” A rising tide lifts all boats and all of that. It’s supply side economics. Problem is that Latin America has been engaging in supply side economics and the politics and economics of the rich since Day One. Who is it lifting out of poverty, anyway?
Main thing is that they don’t want to spend one dime to help the poor the in any way whatsoever. Doing so will ruin the economy, and we can’t have that. You can’t raise taxes, tax the rich or the corporations, raise the minimum wage or engage in any state spending. All of this is Communism, and it will “ruin the economy.”
They also engage in a lot of capital strikes now. With the election of Humala in Peru the other day, the stock market lost 20% of its value. Most of those countries are under IMF austerity programs and are limited in what they can do. Also, they need foreign investment, and the foreigners (the West) demand a neoliberal, economics of the rich, climate in the country. If you put in pro-poor policies, the investors bail. It’s hard to get much progressive policy done. Even the new Left leaders down there have their hands tied.
But the economics of the rich isn’t working down there. They’ve been doing it for 200 years.
Repost from the old site.
In a response to my post, The Paradox of Capitalist Regulation, brilliant British commenter huy suggests that capitalists nowadays are enlightened enough to see that public health and education are needed for the workforce. I argue otherwise below. Huy:
I would say that history has taught capitalism that free education and law and order run by the state is essential for capitalism to work, as without those things capitalism fails.It looks like capitalism is learning across the globe that free and equal health provided by the state is also essential for capitalism to run (from a free market economic point of view).
Socialism wants national health and education for the benefit of the people, while capitalism wants national health and education for the benefit of the market and growth of the economy, An economy with higher-skilled, more versatile workers who are in good health is a more productive one.
I consider myself vey leftwing and technocratic, and I’m deeply in favour of the free market, but only if the state provides good free education and health for all, minimum wage, poverty benefits, unemployment benefits and the chance for adults to get apprenticeships and qualifications for free when ever they need to or want to (within reason) so as to allow the lower-skilled workers to keep up with the fast pace of the free market and all the job cuts and creations that come with it.
The free market is humanity’s best hope for destroying poverty, but only if it is galvanized by the state properly, whereby social mobility and equal opportunity and social justice and lack of social deprivation is followed through. This makes both moral and economic sense.
If you look at the 3rd World, the capitalist classes there do not want public education and they certainly do not want state health care. Even here in the US, the capitalist class has waged all-out war on public education and national health care through the Republican Party, although the Democratic Party also now seems to oppose national health care.
In parts of the world where national health care has been put in, the capitalists and their rightwing parties quickly wage ideological warfare to get rid of it.
Europe is an unusual case, probably due to circumstances discussed in my earlier post, For Justice, A River of Blood.
Europe was a very rightwing place in the 1930’s. WW2 completely destroyed most of the European Right, defeated all rightwing governments, killed, wounded or imprisoned many of the rightwingers themselves, destroyed or made illegal their organizations and dissolved much of their wealth and power, and more importantly, humiliated them and completely discredited rightwing ideology.
As a consequence, the Right was in disarray for decades after WW2 in Europe, and they have not yet regained their power. After the war, there was a Cold War threat from the USSR and from Left groups all over the rest of Europe.
In order to co-opt the Soviet model and the West European Left, the ruling classes in Europe cut deals with workers, consumers and society in which a Social Contract was erected in the form of a socialism called variously the social market or social democracy. Due to the decimation and discrediting of the European Right, even European elites and media bought into social democratic ideology.
Hence we see in France large Leftwing papers like Liberation, huge Euro-Communist parties getting 10-30% of the vote and even ruling states in Italy. A Gramscian cultural hegemony was constructed by the Left in post-war Europe, such that the media and culture itself promoted social democracy as the normal way for a society to operate.
Elites in Scandinavia formed collegial relations with Communist and Leftist states and Leftist guerrillas on the basis that they were all socialists. For instance, Scandinavian governments had friendly relations with Sandinista Nicaragua, Cuba and Vietnam, along with the FMLN and FARC guerrillas in El Salvador and Colombia.
Scandinavian governments gave generous aid to the Third World, often in pro-people forms with no capitalist or reactionary strings attached. This had the effect of taking the wind out of the sails of West European Communists. In a relatively just social democratic society, most saw little need for revolution.
In Europe, even the capitalists have gone along with national health care, although in the UK they have been whittling away at it since Thatcher. European executives love their free national health care and paid six week vacations.
However, in much of the rest of the world, capitalists have rolled back national health and education. In China, national health care is apparently gone as a right. In Russia, too, it scarcely exists anymore, while education has been decimated along with educated persons and professions.
In some East European states like Bulgaria, health care has been devastated. The first thing the hero of both US parties, Nicaraguan President Violeta Chamorro, did when the Sandinistas were voted out was to get rid of free public education and free national health care.
In Canada right now, the rightwing party and the business class have declared war on the national health care system (an ongoing project for a good 15 years or so now), but it is popular, so they have to tread lightly.
If the business classes in the US supported public education and national health care, we would not have a decades-long war against both of them waged by the party of business, the Republican Party, and supported by the business class in its entirety. It is true that some more enlightened US capitalists (especially big businesses) do support public education and even national health care, but they are an exception.
In this sense, the US small business class is even more reactionary than US big businesses. The US small business class supported Ross Perot and Ron Paul and are often far to the Right of the corporate guys.
This rightwing populism can and does lead to fascism. Small business and the petit bourgeois were the army behind fascism in Nazi Germany and have led many far-right movements in the US too.
The petit bourgeois resents the plutocratic elites for screwing them, but on the other hand also resents the working classes for being unionized and making good money via union wages. They feel oppressed by both groups.
Also, many petit bourgeois did not go to college, so they resent those white collar workers (seen as intellectuals and professionals) who got degrees and the resulting higher-paying jobs.
The petit bourgeois work in offices, banks and stores as clerks, tellers, low-ranking managers, etc. This class sector is often equated with something like the lower middle class. They often have no class consciousness at all, which is why they are often fodder for the Far Right.
What you are advocating above, huy, is not the free market at all, since the free market advocates getting rid of most to all government spending and regulation. Instead, you are advocating for socialism in one of its many forms. This form being the social market or social democracy.
I am a strong supporter of social democracy along the lines of the European model. The social market is a regulated capitalism with many government programs as a safety net and considerable government involvement in and even ownership of parts of the economy. In Sweden, 93% of the economy is private, but almost everyone, including managers and office workers, is unionized.
Government involvement in the economy takes the form of industry guidance as a corporatist element. Ownership of aspects of the economy takes the form of ownership of large industries like aircraft and ship building, national airlines, vehicle manufacturing, national rail, etc. It’s worked quite well.
Keep in mind that capitalists are loath to invest in industries like ship building in which it may take 100 years to make your first profit. These industries need to be state-run for a long time.
Further, passenger rail is almost never profitable for the private sector, so they just don’t run passenger trains. Since it operates at a loss as its nature, it must be run by the state.
This is what is so sick about the endless demands on Amtrak to make a profit – it is almost impossible for Amtrak to make a profit, because large passenger rail networks almost never do. In order to profit, they would have to charge so much money that they would hardly get any passengers.
In the same way, city buses never run at a profit either, hence we never see the private sector running passenger buses inside cities. Do you see any private rail lines running passenger rail in any areas of the US? Of course not.
Why? Because it’s not profitable. Passenger rail must be run by the state for it to exist at all. Demands for Amtrak to run a profit are perverse, dishonest and wrong. How many Americans think Amtrak needs to run a profit? Of those with an opinion, possibly most. This is what rightwing propaganda will do to you.
Repost from the old site.
This is part 2 of our series on Canada, the place we liberals and leftwingers keep talking about moving to since Bush came in, but can’t seem to get up the nerve to do it (I know plenty of libs who talk about it, and not one that did it). Canadians are just like us, except far less fundamentalist and way more liberal. Other than that, they are white, rich, good-looking, materialistic capitalists just like us Americans.
Since these Canadian posts seem to cause rightwing outbursts telling me, “America, love it or leave it”, I think I need to address that silly issue. Excuse me, but I was born here; I didn’t willingly immigrate here from someplace else. I came of age in the 1970’s, the pinnacle of progressive achievement in the US.
It was the era of Roe v Wade; recreational drugs; casual sex; decriminalization of marijuana; Jerry Moonbeam Brown governing my California, and George McGovern – one of the most leftwing candidates to run for US President in the past century – garnering an incredible 38% of the vote. It was actually cool/hip to be a liberal back then; it seemed like everyone was.
Only nerds and dorks and guys who seemed like they couldn’t get laid or women you wouldn’t want to touch were conservatives. Zealous Christians were regarded as weirdos, lamers, party-poopers and fuddy-duddies who never got laid and didn’t know how to party.
After that…came…backlash. I could see it already forming in early 1978 with the embryonic Christian Right, on the bus coming back from Aspen with the ski club, while the fun-hating, dour-faced, never-smiling Christians hassled me about the beloved bong in my hand.
Then came Ronald Raygun, a far rightwinger who blindsided America and took us full speed down Reaction Street 100 miles an hour. The Reagan Democrats, a group of suicidal members of the US working class, became a phenomenon to be dealt with.
At the end of the Reagan-Bush years, a massive wealth transfer had taken place – the middle and lower classes had been robbed blind and they didn’t have a clue; in fact, they were in love with the robber who bled them white and hung them out to dry. An entire society had Stockholm Syndrome, where the hostages revere and identify with their abusive captors.
Between 1980-1992, the top 20% of the US population (those making family incomes of over $120,000/yr in 1992) made out quite well (the top 1% outrageously well) while the entire bottom 80% (those with family incomes below 120,000/yr) had lost money – lots of it.
We liberals armed ourselves with these figures and went around telling the robbery victims how they got ripped off. We (at least I) were met with disbelief. The heist victims stubbornly told me that they intended to keep on voting for the thieves who were cleaning them out. They told me this while sputtering angrily at poor people, who didn’t have the slightest thing to do with their plight.
The reason they were couldn’t make ends meet, they told me straight-faced, was not because of a devious ruling-class plot to drain their bank accounts, it was all because of some pitiful poor people who were barely even surviving and hadn’t even see the victims’ checkbooks, much less lifted them to kite checks.
By 1992, people started to figure things out. People are not dumb – they knew they were getting ripped off. But the people ripping them off – the Republican Party – fooled the ignorant US working and middle classes into voting for the very cat burglars who were robbing them blind.
Financial sanity, formerly a bipartisan project, was thrown in the trash bin as Reagan deliberately ran up record deficits in the 1980’s. Reagan’s supporters decided that deficits did not matter, or believed malevolent Republican lies that Democrats caused the deficits, not Republicans.
Then when Bill Clinton came in, suddenly deficits and the debt were the crowning issues of the day, while under Reagan they were greeted with a shoulder shrug. Now Bush is in – the most financially reckless President we have ever had – and suddenly deficits don’t matter anymore all over again. It’s stuff like that that makes us think conservatives are either wicked, or brain-dead, or both.
Under Raygun, spending on mindless defense skyrocketed, we fought one of the stupidest wars we have ever fought (Grenada), we attacked the Nicaraguan people and slaughtered 50,000 of them because the Nicaraguan government thought kids should go to school and poor peasants should get a bit of food to eat and see a doctor now and then.
We funded genocidal, sadistic, diabolical death squads all over the world (mostly Latin America) while we waged full-blown assault on the environment and on science itself as the government and society at large cultivated ignorance into a cherished fetish.
And all the while, white racism, Christian fundamentalism, class resentment, and general stupidity and ignorance became US government policy and societal memes. Every four years, tens of millions of American voter-lemmings went into the voting booth and ran right off the cliff, voting directly against their economic self interests.
The reactionary nightmare is now 30 years old, with a brief sort-of respite under Bill Clinton the Triangulator.
When I say Canada sits up there, smug and happy, a symbol of “America Done Right”, that doesn’t mean I need to move to Canada, dammit. It means I think America needs to be more like Canada. Now that may be a vain hope, but it springs from patriotism – a desire to make one’s country a better place – not treason, the desire to harm the homeland.
Repost from the old site.
Interesting article at a neat website called Double Standards. Most of my media consumption is this sickening garbage called US media. One of the major annoying this about this US media addiction habit of mine is that the media is lying to me all the time. I don’t mind being lied to if I can figure out that I am being lied to. This is where I object. I can’t often tell that the US media is lying to me.
One thing that is clear is that the joke of a liberal media, not to mention a Communist media, in the US is some kind of a cruel. But head on over to American Renaissance (the racist right) or, really, any standard US conservative sites and you will find that many conservatives, in addition to being soulless pricks, are also stark raving bats insane.
They actually believe that there is a liberal media somewhere in the US, and many believe that the US media is actually socialist or Communist. There is not one speck of truth to this nonsense. There are five main US news stations – ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and CNN. Not one of these could be said to be liberal in any way.
No major US newspaper is liberal and none of the three major US newsmagazines – Time, Newsweek or US News and World Report – is liberal at all. There is but one liberal radio station and one liberal-Left radio station on my dial, and both are partly paid for by public funds. One of them has to go on continuous fund drives because it does not accept advertisements.
There are some liberal – Left magazines out there, but not many, and most are not large circulation. With the increased Gramscian hegemony of conservative ideas lately, more and more magazines have moved to the Right – The New Republic starting in 1980, The Atlantic sometime in the 1990’s, Esquire at some unknown point.
Any true liberal media, first and foremost, would support the rights of ordinary persons and workers over that of the rich and capital. By that yardstick, there is not a single major liberal media outlet anywhere in the US. All US newspapers, newsmagazines, TV stations and large radio stations are hostile to everyone but business, the upper middle class and the wealthy.
They use their media monopoly to flood America with propaganda in favor of the class interests of the rich and the upper middle classes and capital. This propaganda is objectively and demonstrably hostile to the interests of the majorities of the following groups: middle class, the working class, low-income persons, consumers, the environment, minority groups, the elderly, the disabled, women and small children.
Yet almost no one in these groups is able to ascertain the agenda they are being fed. Instead, the vast majority of members of the above groups actually believe the propaganda of the US media – the propaganda that is directed by their class enemies at them and their class. This was what Gramsci was talking about, and in this way, the media under most capitalist systems is de facto controlled. Chomsky has also written a lot on this. In Europe, at least there are leftwing papers like Liberacion in France.
I assume that the continental media may be supportive of European social democracy, a form of capitalism is attempts to redistribute capitalist profits via government to all classes and groups. Can any of my continental readers help me on this one?
In Argentina, there is a large leftwing daily, and the Sandinista press continues in Nicaragua.
The situation in India and Venezuela are typical for the media under capitalism.
When Chavez took power, there were perhaps 5-10 large dailies in the state. There were also 5-10 major TV stations and some large newsmagazines. Every single one of these major media outlets was owned by the upper 1% of Venezuelan society and reflected their class interests in a cruel and soulless manner. All of these media outlets cooperated with imperialism in the coup that tried to remove Chavez from office.
For this reason, I supported Chavez shutting down the worst offender; but really, he ought to shut down any and every reactionary outlet that supported the coup. On the other hand, this would bring him widespread approbation that might make his situation even worse.
In India, almost all of the media is of course owned by the top 1% of earners. What I find baffling is that when I tell folks that when the wealthiest 1% owns the media, almost all of them will use that media to propagandize in favor of the interests of their top 1% class, I get a lot of resistance. Your average person refuses to believe that media barons actually do this.
Not only is Indian media owned by a tiny elite that continues to live in palaces like Rajas while tens of millions of Indians live on the street, and the system kills at least 4 million people every year, but the overwhelming majority of owners and top editors are members of the higher castes.
Here in the US, almost all reporting on India is done by Indian-American reporters. Dalit (untouchable) activists say that the overwhelming majority of Indian-American reporters for the US media are members of higher castes. Hence you almost never read anything in the US press about the horrible and wicked caste system in India.
I have only touched on the question of whether or not media can be said to be democratic in the US, or for that matter in any capitalist state. There are many more questions raised about the impoverished state of US democracy in the linked article – I would emphasize the money-based elections that characterize not only the US, but most capitalist states.
I don’t necessarily agree with all of his points, but it sure is great to read articles like this somewhere! God bless the Internet.
Repost from the old site.
Two totally great Commie blogs – People’s Movement Support Group and Machetera .
PMSG is out of India with an emphasis on support for the Maoist revolutionaries in India along with the separatists in the Northeast (India’s armed Maoists tend to support the northeastern separatists), and it’s almost all translated stuff from the world press, but there is a strong emphasis on armed Leftwing revolutionary movements.
Thankfully, he is not a fanatic – he supports Cuba, the Maoists in Nepal and especially in India, the FARC in Colombia, the EPR and EZLN in Mexico, the MRTA in Peru and the NPA Maoists in Philippines. In Palestine, he supports the PFLP! What is interesting about this is that in many cases orthodox Maoists do not support non-Maoists like the FARC or Cuba or surely the MRTA on grounds that they are not Commie enough.
He also supports armed separatists in the Basque Country, Kurdistan, Ireland ( IRA), Sri Lanka and in India’s Northeast.
If there are leftwing maniacs anywhere on Earth with guns and bombs, he backs them up 100% (other than Sendero Luminoso). That’s some real consistency and style.
Living here in the US, one thing you notice right away is that almost every single human being you meet (who has an opinion on the issue) absolutely hates all guerrillas anywhere on Earth. This is true even for almost all US liberals, and even, incredibly, for many US Leftists.
The line of the average American is clear: All guerrillas are evil. They are all terrorists. In particular, Americans seem to really hate any kind of armed separatists or separatists of any type. This is kind of odd in that we were birthed via revolution, and there is no reason to fear separatism here as there isn’t any armed separatism in the US (or anywhere in the Americas) and probably never will be.
So Americans have turned into some of the biggest state-fetishists on Earth. Only the state can have guns. Only the state must have a monopoly on violence. All guerrillas are terrorists, terrorists are evil, and they all need to be killed to preserve the civilized world. All separatists are scum, states alone have the right to draw borders, and self-determination will never be allowed to anyone.
Death squads are fine and dandy, and every state is a democracy, no matter how murderous. The people never have the right to take up arms against any state anywhere, unless I guess it is Communist.
In other words, Americans have turned their backs completely on the noble spirit of the American revolution and have become the philosophical heirs to King George’s colonists. We have also become Israelis. They are colonists too. See any connections yet? Machetera is definitely a blog after my heart. I get called a Stalinist a lot on here, but that’s not necessarily true. I do defend Stalin in some ways, mostly just to counteract the nonsense about “the biggest murderer that ever lived”, by pointing out the many great, humanitarian and life-saving things he did. He also killed a lot of people, and I think it many cases that was just plain wrong or even flat out evil.
Honestly, I would really prefer that we Lefties stopped killing people once we got into power. Other than the obvious moral questions, it has given the Right a gigantic shot in the arm by portraying us a the biggest murderers that ever lived. This has been so successful that many people around the world are frightened to let the hard Left back into power due to fear that they may start killing people.
So it is that I am a big fan of Castro’s Cuba, a place where the state has hardly killed a single political prisoner since 1970. They put a few in jail, but that’s not the same thing. By the way, I think the Cubans should go out of their way to treat the jailed political prisoners well, if only to deprive the anti-Commies of their propaganda snacks.
On the Majority Rights (careful – very nasty WN blog) blog a while back I was called a Castroite. That’s not a bad portrayal of me.
There is such a thing, and the Castroite philosophy, a Left, and sometimes an armed Left, that is particular to Latin America, is quite well portrayed on Machetera. So if you want to see what a Castroite looks like, head on over. They’ve actually long had conflicts with anarchists, Maoists and even some Trotskyites.
The Castroite philosophy could be best seen in the revolutionary movements that arose in Latin America in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Prior to that, there were a number of small bands in Peru, Bolivia and Venezuela that were wiped out. These were often influenced by Regis Debray’s flawed foco philosophy of armed revolution. Che’s fated project in Bolivia in 1966 is another example.
The ELN and the FARC in Colombia are very much Castroite (especially the ELN), with the ELN having a very strong Catholic liberation theology flavor. The FARC is probably a bit more rooted in an indigenous Colombian Left with roots in that nation’s particular history.
There are now branches of the FARC in Ecuador (FARE), Brazil (FARB), Panama (FARC), Venezuela (FARV) and Peru (FARP). The FARC extend all the way to Guyana, where they tax the gold mines. In 1984, the MRTA Castroites arose in Peru, but were eventually eclipsed by the Shining Path.
The Sandinistas of Nicaragua, the FMLN of El Salvador and the URNG of El Salvador and various small guerrilla bands in Honduras in the 1980’s were all Castroites, and the FMLN and the Sandinistas still have Castroite roots, though they have moved to the Right.
Chavez in Venezuela, Correa in Ecuador and Morales in Bolivia are very much in this special tradition.
There are many aspects to Castroism, and it is hard to put it down succinctly. Typically, many are Catholics and there is a lack of hostility to religion. They are less anti-Semitic than most Latin American Catholics (anti-Semitism is big in a continent with few Jews), in part because some of their leaders have been Jewish.
They tend to be much more pragmatic than Maoists, and are often prone to be called revisionists by the latter. There is a strong anti-Yankee and anti-US strain. The cult of Che Guevara is very important. The role of the peasants is very strong, but not in a Maoist sense.
The role of urban workers is somewhat important but not crucial, in part because the area is not well industrialized. But the industrial and professional unions are strongly supported.
There is a lacks of sexual puritanicalism that typified many existing Communist states. There is a significant de-emphasis on the Indian Question (while it is recognized nevertheless. This in contrast to Sendero, who raised the Indian Question to prime status. There is a very flexible ideology that often incorporates electoral democracy and mixed economies.
Class is much more important than race or sex, though the Woman Question is important. Female guerrillas often make up very large percentages of fighters, and in guerrilla ranks all aspects of Latin American machismo that oppresses women are banned. Machetera is characterized by support for Cuba. Along the way, there are also shout-outs for Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and Rafael Correa in Ecuador. The PFLP in Palestine have always had a fondness for Che Guevara and Cuba, and Cuba has long supported the PLO. Furthermore, she is a fine writer, witty and smart.
Repost from the old site. The following tribute to George Habash, leader of the Palestinian Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) was delivered to a meeting organized by the CPGB-ML in Central London on Saturday 10 February 2008. The Communist Party Great Britain Marxist-Leninist, basically a hardline pro-Stalin group, last time I checked. This document is interesting for various reasons.
For one, it shows that hardline Communist rhetoric in the style of the former USSR is still popular. The PFLP are lauded for being a hardline Marxist-Leninist organization. It’s hard to say whether they still are or not, as they seem to be downplaying this in recent years, and no one really knows what Communism even means anymore.
It is true that there was a Communist state in South Yemen, but I am not sure if they accomplished much down there.
One of the biggest heroes of the Arab Left is Gamel Nasser, leader of Egypt. One great thing that he did do was to initiate a land reform. Most Arab states probably do not have feudal or semi-feudal land relations in the countryside anymore, but Egypt did in the 1950’s. 10% of landowners owned most land, and 25% of landowners owned almost all of the land.
The vast majority of the rural population was reduced to the status of landless laborers or sharecroppers in debt peonage on the land of the landlords.
Nasser was able to break up the large estates by buying them up via the government and giving the land to the sharecroppers. It was one of the great progressive events in modern Arab history. Back in the day in Yemen, you would go into the houses of the poor in South Yemen and see Nasser’s picture on the wall – they knew he was a hero to the Arab poor, and mostly for the land reform.
Unfortunately, land reform was not enough. Population was exploding and Egypt desperately needed to put more farmland into production. Hence the Aswan Dam, a necessary evil.
But even this did not solve the problems, as the rural poor continued to pour into the cities to look for nonexistent work. The landowners were bought off by assuring them a place in industry, which was and is heavily corrupt and tied in with the state. But the Egyptian economy was so shaky that the rich didn’t really feel like investing in it.
Socialism was and is a pretty easy sell across the Arab World, in part due to Islam. Islam is a pretty socialist religion, although fundamentalists will argue the point with you and point out that the Koran says that there are those who have more and those who have less and this is ok. Nevertheless, the Koran is hardly a raging individualist tract.
Nor are the deserts of the Arab World suited for individualism. In such an environment, the every man for himself libertarian is lost and probably dead quite quickly. One must form alliances or one will be destroyed. One must work cooperatively or the elements will take your life. In a world of perennial scarcity, mass hoarding by a few means death for many more.
Hence, in the past century, most independent Arab states have opted for some kind of socialism. Where the states could not do it, the religious or militant groups did. There is no hatred of welfare or government as we have it in the individualist US. Socialism is simply normal and free market libertarianism is seen as a bizarre and cruel aberration.
Nevertheless, in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and probably other places, the clergy did resist land reforms on the grounds that they were un-Islamic. Iraq, newly emerging from semi-feudal relations in the 1960’s, saw the Iraqi Communist Party become one of the largest parties in the country. It was particularly popular with poor Shia who flooded in from the countryside and poured into what later became Sadr City.
At that time, the Shia clergy were widely regarded as corrupt. They were tied in with large landowners, often involved in money-making scams, and were noted for enticing women into sexual relationships with them.
One of the few great things that the Shah of Iran did was to institute a land reform to realign the semi-feudal relations in the Iranian countryside. It went off pretty well, but some ethnic groups opposed it and hence were persecuted.
The tone of the Communist Party Great Britain Marxist-Leninist in the statement below is what might be called Stalinist or anti-revisionist.
Anti-revisionists hold that the problems with Communist states came from them leaving the path of true Communism and diluting their economies with capitalist relations. I do not know how much there is to that, so I can’t comment on revisionism. But even staunch Marxist sites nowadays post long pieces stating flat out that the Soviet model failed.
The North Star Compass is a pretty interesting site. It’s run by former Communists from the East Bloc and the USSR, and it is dedicated to the reestablishing of the Soviet Union as a socialist state. For these folks, Gorbachev was enemy #1. There are quite a few interesting essays there, and for those who think that Putin is a Communist, these guys really hate Putin.
For those who think that Russian Communists are all racists and anti-Semites, note that the North Star Compass despises the newly emerging fascist threat in the USSR.
There are many Trotskyite sites on the Net. The Trotskyites used to be totally nuts on the question of “Stalinists”. Can you believe that they supported the German attack on the USSR and opposed the Soviet army’s war in Afghanistan?
Trotskyites seem to have calmed down a lot lately. Many of them are supporting the Nepalese Maoists and the Colombian FARC. They even support Cuba. Usually this is measured with a tone that these states and movements would be better off if they adopted Trotskyism. Truth is that it is possible that Trotskyism has hardly even be tried anywhere, except possibly in the USSR from 1917-1922.
Trotskyites have a reputation as the ultimate splitters, and in the Philippines they have, incredibly, taken up arms alongside the feudal and fascist state against the Maoist NPA. In Defense of Marxism is a good example of a Trotskyite site.
It seems that many Communists nowadays in the West are Trotskyites of some sort. No one really knows what to make of them, and many Stalinists just laugh about them and regard them as irrelevant. Western Trotskyites seem to have a lot of money for some reason, and often put up nice websites. Non-Trotskyite Communist sites often have mild critiques of Trotskyism as some sort of irrelevant hairsplitting movement.
Western Trotskyites were heavily Jewish in the West until 1967 or possibly earlier. World Trotskyism opposed Israel in the Six Day War and Jewish Trotskyites consequently defected en masse. Many seem to have made their way into the neoconservative movement.
There are a variety of reasons for the heavy Jewish presence in Trotskyism, and that Trotsky himself was Jewish cannot be ignored. Trots have tended to oppose both Stalinism and Maoism as horribly brutal ideologies that committed atrocious human rights violations. Trotskyism has been a serious movement only in the West and it has tended to flounder in the rest of the world.
One of the Trots’ main points is that a rapid buildup of urban industry is essential for the development of a modern socialist state. Trots are almost the opposite of the Maoists and their emphasis on the peasantry.
There are sites that basically uphold the former USSR and even Stalin, but they are often angry at Maoists, whom they accuse of adventurism. In India, Maoists are killing traditional Communists in the state of Bengal, a state that has been run by pro-Soviet Communists for about 30 years now. Marxism-Leninism Today is an example of a pro-USSR, pro-Cuba, anti-Maoist site. They support the CPI-M (Communist Party India-Marxist) in Bengal and are not too happy with the Indian Maoists for killing their comrades.
Here is a cool site by a Georgian artist who is the grandson of Joseph Stalin, showing the Stalin family tree among other things. Stalinism.ru is a site run by Russian Stalinists, but if you can’t read Russian, it’s not for you.
The National Bolshevik Party is some sort of a bizarre marriage of Stalinism and racial nationalism (I don’t want to say Nazism, but I fear that is what it is). It’s Russian too, but check out the scary party image, complete with Nordic lettering, and the background on the homepage. Lots of related links at the bottom – looks like they have chapters all over the place.
Another great site, coming from a somewhat different point of view, a Maoist one, is the Single Spark. Although Maoists are often described as ultra-Stalinists, Maoists and Stalinists are not necessarily the same thing.
The Maoists have always been the real bomb-throwers on the Far Left.
Despite Cold War rhetoric, pro-Soviet Communists often did not take up armed struggle until all peaceful avenues for change were blocked, and the Left was up against a death squad state. Otherwise, the idea was to try to gain power through parliamentary means, despite Lenin’s denouncements of “parliamentary cretinism”.
If the state was reasonably democratic and not killing the Left, the pro-Soviets often argued that “an objectively revolutionary situation did not exist”. On the other hand, Maoists tend to reject all bourgeois democracy as invalid, particularly in very backward societies with mass extreme poverty and accompanying disease, hunger and premature death.
Hence, Maoists have launched insurgencies against formally democratic states as Peru, Sri Lanka, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Philippines, Nepal and India in recent years. In most of these cases, the pro-Soviet Left decided to sit out armed struggle, and the Maoists were denounced as adventurists irresponsibly taking up arms in spite of a lack of an objectively revolutionary situation.
In Peru, the war launched by the Shining Path led to a state that was less and less democratic and soon became just another Death Squad State. Thus in 1984, the pro-Cuban Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) took a vote and decided that “an objectively revolutionary situation existed” and opted to take up arms.
Another difference is that despite Cold War rhetoric, Maoists are often a lot more vicious than the Castroites and pro-Soviet rebels. Maoists have no qualms about killing “class enemies” – anyone prominent advocating rightwing politics or abusive landowners – whereas the Castroites often try to take the high ground in guerrilla war.
Examples in Latin America are the Castroite ELN in Colombia, URNG in Guatemala, FSLN in Nicaragua, FMLN in El Salvador, the aforementioned MRTA, and the FARC in Colombia. Despite crap from anti-Communists and the US government, all these groups have tried pretty hard to abide by the rules of war. At any rate, the overwhelming majority of grotesque human rights violations in each of these conflicts were committed by the state.
On the other hand, the Maoist Sendero Luminoso was a profoundly savage and cruel guerrilla group, though they almost seized power.
Communism doesn’t mean that much anymore. Cuba allows religious believers to join the party, and there are millions of liberation theology Leftist Catholics in Latin America and the Philippines. The Chinese and Vietnamese Communists have introduced major elements of capitalism into their economies, while retaining a great deal of socialism at the same time.
Over the course of a few years, from 2003 to 2005 and 2006, the Nepalese Maoists underwent a sea change in politics. They went from hardline Maoists railing against revisionists and opposing anything but the dictatorship of the proletariat, to an embrace of multiparty democracy and a mixed economy and measured critiques of Mao, Lenin and Stalin as outdated for the needs and realities of today.
I think this is fantastic. I care nothing about dogma. I just want results, and I don’t really care how you get there – capitalism, socialism, communism or whatever. If Marxism is indeed an ever-evolving science (which, if it is a science, it must be) then there must be no treating its elementary texts as some sort of religious books.
The works of Marx, Lenin, Mao and others must be regarded as the works of men, not Gods, positing theories. These theories must be tested in praxis to see how well they test out, as in any empirical investigation. The theories of these mortals will either test out or they will not, and if not, we need to adjust them accordingly.
We know what our goals are; all that is at stake is how to get there.
Let us listen to top leader Prachanda and other Nepalese Maoist leaders, from the Single Spark site:
Since MLM is a progressive science, the people’s war calls for ideology and leadership that is capable to complete a new People’s War in the 21st century. Our Party’s CC Extended Meeting last September held that the ideologies of Lenin and Mao have become old and inadequate to lead the present international revolution.
The political and organizational report passed by the meeting says, ‘The proletariat revolutionaries of the 21st century need to pay their serious attention towards that fact that in today’s ground reality, Lenin and Mao’s analysis of imperialism and various notions relation to proletariat strategies based on it have lagged behind.’
As Marxism was born in an age of competitive capitalism, the strategies and working policy formulated during the times of Marx had become old when they arrived at Lenin’s times of imperialism and proletariat revolution.
Similarly, the ideologies developed by Lenin and Mao at the initial phase of international imperialism and proletariat revolution have become inadequate and lagged behind at the present imperialistic phase. Therefore, ‘the main issue is to develop MLM in the 21st century and to determine a new proletariat strategy.1
The second [wrong trend] …is not to concentrate on how
revolutionary struggle can be developed in one’s country by developing correct strategy and tactics, but to talk more of world revolution, enjoy classical debate, eulogize strategy and tactic of the past successful revolutions, teach other fraternal parties as if they know everything about the concrete situation in that country and stick to what Lenin and Mao had said before. This trend represents dogmatism.2
What we think is that situation has undergone a considerable
change, so the communist revolutionaries must not stick to what Lenin had said about insurrection and what Mao had said on Protracted People’s War.3
Q. You have envisioned a people’s republic, no?
Prachanda: Mao Zedong’s People’s Republic cannot fulfill the needs of today’s world. It cannot address today’s political awareness appropriately. Mao said cooperative party theory; we called it competitive party theory. We have said let’s move ahead from the conventional People’s Republic and develop it as per the specialties of the 21st century.
Q. You do not follow the old concept of communism?
Prachanda: Definitely not. What happened without competition? In the USSR, Stalin gave no place to competition and went ahead in a monolithic way. What was the result?4
Does Communism make sense today?
P: It’s a big question, starting with Marx, Lenin and Mao Zedong, who wanted to apply the Marxist teachings in semi colonial countries. Now, we still need Marxism, but in accordance to the needs of the 21st century. We have to apply Marxist science in a very new context, understanding social, economic and also technological changes, without dogmatism and without sectarianism.
We are trying to develop a completely new concept, different from what happened in the past century. When we are in the government, our experiment will surprise everybody.
This will happen only if foreign investors trust a communist government…
P: Yes, I know. We cannot ignore the whole process of liberalization in the world. So, we will apply mixed economics to this country. Right now, we are not saying that we plan a total socialist economy, though we will not blindly follow western liberalism. We have some national priorities and we will welcome foreign investors, using capital from abroad for the well being of Nepal.5
Though Mao made some bold experiments to revive and develop socialist democracy, his efforts did not result in any qualitative advance. Why did socialist democracy ultimately fail? Why did it have to bear the stigma of ‘totalitarianism’ from its adversaries? If the revolutionary communists of the 21st century have ‘to win the battle for democracy’, as Marx and Engels had declared in the famous Communist Manifesto, we must dare to question the past practice in socialist democracy and take some bold initiatives.6.
All selections from this document7.
CPGB-ML Tribute to Habash
In his 1944 speech, “Serve the People”, Comrade Mao Zedong said these famous words:
All men must die, but death can vary in its significance. The ancient Chinese writer Szuma Chien said: ‘Though death befalls all men alike, it may be weightier than Mount Tai or lighter than a feather.’ To die for the people is weightier than Mount Tai, but to work for the fascists and die for the exploiters and oppressors is lighter than a feather.
Today, the heroic Palestinian people are continuing to resist, whether in the breaking of the barrier with Egypt to alleviate the genocidal siege of Gaza, or in the martyrdom operation at Dimona, the nuclear site where imperialism and its stooges do not demand inspections, to express a sense of grief at the loss of Al-Hakim, Dr George Habash, one of the greatest leaders of the Palestinian people, and, more importantly, to celebrate his glorious life and give real political vitality and clarity to the essential work of building solidarity with the Palestinian people in the British working class and in the anti-war and other progressive movements.
Nice memorial poster of PFLP leader George Habash. In all of the obits in the US news, few detailed the reason for the radicalization of Habash. At university in Lebanon, he was apolitical and preferred to play guitar. He raced home during the “Israeli War of Independence” to his home in Lydda. Jewish militias attacked the town and forced 95% of the city to flee.
Most were Palestinian Christians. His sister died of typhoid fever during the siege of the town and Habash buried her in the backyard. He blamed the Jews for blocking access to the hospital that could have saved her. There were some notorious massacres of Palestinians during the attack on Lydda, including the execution of many young men in a mosque.
The Jews forced Habash and others to line up and leave their homes and all of their possessions. One man asked if he could return to get the keys to his house and for making this request, he was shot dead in front of Habash’s eyes. From that point on, the apolitical future doctor was transformed into a revolutionary.
Comrade George Habash, who has passed away at the age of 82, gave more than six decades of his life to the revolution. He was born into a prosperous Greek Orthodox family in the Palestinian city of Lydda.
At that time, the Palestinian people were under the rule of the British colonial mandate, which was systematically preparing the way for the creation of a Zionist settler colonial state, which, in the words of Sir Roland Storrs, the first British governor of Jerusalem in the 1920s, would form “for England a ‘little loyal Jewish Ulster’ in a sea of potentially hostile Arabism”.
In the summer of 1948, whilst studying medicine in Beirut, George went back home to help organise resistance to the Zionist catastrophe that was sweeping over the Palestinian people, driving them from their ancestral homes and lands into exile and dispossession.
At this time, he and his whole family, along with 95 percent of the inhabitants of his native city, were forced out at gunpoint by the Zionist terrorists and ethnic cleansers commanded by Yitzhak Rabin. Years later, Habash was to observe:
It is a sight I shall never forget. Thousands of human beings expelled from their homes, running, crying, shouting in terror. After seeing such a thing, you cannot but become a revolutionary.
During al-Nakba, the catastrophe, more than 700,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes and lands, made stateless and refugees.
Graduating as the first in his class, Dr Habash eschewed the chance to pursue a lucrative career, opting instead to open a people’s clinic offering free treatment and a school for refugees in the Jordanian capital, Amman.
Around this same time, he and his comrades founded the Arab Nationalist Movement (ANM), the first pan-Arab movement to take up armed struggle against colonialism and to win back the lost lands.
The significance of the ANM should not be underestimated. Not only was it to be the root of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP); from its ranks also came revolutionary forces in many parts of the Arab homeland, including the National Liberation Front in Aden and South Yemen, which not only defeated British imperialism in a revolutionary armed struggle to win national liberation, but, later as the Yemen Socialist Party, leading the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, stood in the vanguard of to date the only real attempt to build an Arab socialist state on the basis of the scientific principles of Marxism-Leninism and the dictatorship of the proletariat.
In the 1960s, Comrade Habash, like many other anti-imperialist fighters then, before and since, came to accept that the liberation struggle of the oppressed people, if it was to be crowned with success and carried through to the end, needed to be based on Marxism-Leninism. Lamis Andoni, an analyst for al-Jazeera, who knew Comrade Habash well, expressed matters this way in his tribute to his friend:
He belonged to a generation influenced by Franz Fanon, Mao Zedong, General Vo Nguyen Giap and later by Che Guevara. In their views, colonialism epitomised systematic, institutional violence and subjugation of people under its control …
In the early 1960s, George Habash, already a paediatrician in Amman known for treating the poor for free, endorsed Marxism as he grew convinced that the national struggle should not be separate from the struggle for social justice.
After the founding of the PFLP in December 1967, following the Arabs’ bitter defeat in the June 1967 war, Habash declared that the struggle was “not merely to free Palestine from the Zionists but also to free the Arab world from remnants” of Western colonial rule. All Arab revolutionaries, he said, “must be Marxist, because Marxism is the expression of the aspirations of the working class”.
In a 1969 interview, he declared:
By 1967, we had understood the undeniable truth, that to liberate Palestine we have to follow the Chinese and Vietnamese examples.
Indeed, Comrade Habash paid close attention not only to the Chinese and Vietnamese revolutions, but to the experience of all the socialist countries and the revolutionary movement in all parts of the world.
Cuba and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea were also two countries close to his heart and with which he and the PFLP forged tight bonds of active solidarity. In the memorial hall for Comrade Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang, the Korean comrades proudly display the several awards and medals presented to their great leader by the PFLP over the years.
Under Habash’s leadership, the PFLP forged close and active ties of combat solidarity with national liberation movements in all parts of the world – the ANC in South Africa, the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, and the Irish Republican Movement, to name but a few, embracing training, material assistance, joint operations and moral encouragement.
In the September 1970 hijackings that gave the PFLP worldwide fame, Leila Khaled was joined by Patrick Arguello Ryan, a militant of the Sandinista National Liberation Front and the only martyr of those operations.
In 1983, after the Nicaraguan revolution, the Sandinistas commemorated Arguello by renaming the Geothermal Plant at Momotombo in his honour. A poster still available on the PFLP website describes Arguello as the “symbol of common Nicaraguan/Palestinian struggle”.
Comrade Habash sought to translate into reality, and himself embodied, these inspiring words of Che Guevara, which go to the very essence of proletarian internationalism:
Let the flag under which we fight be the sacred cause of the liberation of humanity so that to die under the colours of Vietnam, Venezuela, Guatemala, Bolivia, Brazil will be equally glorious and desirable for a Latin American, an Asian, an African and even a European.
Comrades, The Palestinian revolution is a complex and difficult one, throwing up many challenges and inevitably differences of view. Equally inevitably, Comrade Habash often found himself embroiled in internal controversy, particularly in terms of the sometimes painful compromises, concessions and retreats that have been forced on the Palestinian people at various times.
But what shines out is the fact that he never lost sight of the importance of unity in the national liberation movement.
In their own tribute to their leader, the PFLP put matters this way:
In 1987, with the outbreak of the great Intifada, Dr. Habash called for upholding Palestinian national unity, and convening the Palestinian National Congress in Algeria in 1988.
Comrade Al-Hakim always understood national unity as a necessary condition for the continuation of the struggle and the national liberation movement, whether in Beirut during internal fighting among Palestinians and after as well, recognising that the internal contradictions among Palestinians could not be solved through military mechanisms, but rather through the democratic processes of the liberation movement.
Lamis Andoni, to whom we have already referred, wrote:
‘His message to the Palestinians was to restore our unity,’ Issam Al Taher, a senior aide, who saw him a day before his death said.‘Unity, unity, unity — that was his only message,’ said Al Taher.
Andoni notes of the relationship between George Habash and Yasser Arafat:
The two men never severed ties and continued a complex relationship of camaraderie and rivalry until the end.
Tall and handsome, Habash exuded a certain charisma that disarmed his distracters who admired his persistence but criticised what they saw as rigidity. A stroke that partially paralysed half of his body changed his appearance later but did not affect his ardour for the cause.It was that Habash that I saw and met for the first time in Tunis in 1983. The PLO was expelled from Beirut too and most its leaders moved to this northern Mediterranean capital of Tunisia. Habash moved to Damascus, Syria instead.
On that day the PLO was holding a meeting. Most of the leaders had arrived and then there was a stir and silence. Habash entered slowly on crutches, hampered and subdued by his physical disability.
The hall, filled with hardened fighters, stood on their feet while Arafat hugged Habash and escorted him to his seat.
Of the final period of Habash’s life, Andoni notes:
He would get so distressed during conversations discussing the events in Palestine and most recently in Iraq, that his wife, and closest friend Hilda, would interfere to stop it.When Israel besieged Arafat in 2002 in his compound in Ramallah, Habash stood by his rival. When Arafat died, amid Palestinian suspicion that Israel may have been involved, Habash deeply mourned him.
The few times I was able to see him over the last three years, he never stopped monitoring and learning every detail about Palestinian life. His physical ailment deepened the sense of soulful pain he internalised.
Those who were with him during his last days recall how disturbed he was by the rift between Fatah and Hamas. He opposed the strategy of Mahmoud Abbas, the current Palestinian president, of accommodating US and Israeli demands but did not endorse Hamas’ military take over of Gaza.
His main concern was the damage brought upon the Palestinians by the most serious internal rift in their history.
It is not surprising, therefore, that the mourning for Comrade Habash has transcended the differences in the Palestinian ranks. President Mahmoud Abbas declared three days of national mourning, noting that Habash had dedicated his life to struggling for his people. Hamas leader Ismail Haneya said, “Dr. George Habash spent all his life struggling for the cause of the Palestinian people.”
Islamic Jihad described him as a “real leader” and other Palestinian organisations paying their tributes included the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Palestine Popular Struggle Front, who said that his path was and is one of liberation for the Palestinian and Arab people.
In its December 1967 Founding Statement, the PFLP declared:
The masses are the authority, the guide, and the resistance leadership from which victory will be achieved in the end. It is necessary to recruit the popular masses and mobilise them as active participants and leaders …
The only language that the enemy understands is the language of revolutionary violence …
The slogan of our masses must be resistance until victory, rooted in the heart with our feet planted on the ground in deep commitment to our land. Today, the Popular Front is hailing our masses with this call. This is the appeal. We must repeat it every day, through every breakthrough bullet and the fall of each martyr, that the land of Palestine today belongs to all the masses.
Every area of our land belongs to our masses who have defended it against the presence of the usurper, every piece of land, every rock and stone, our masses will not abandon one inch of them because they belong to the legions of the poor and hungry and displaced persons …
The struggle of the Palestinian people is linked with the struggle of the forces of revolution and progress in the world, the format of the coalition that we face requires a corresponding … coalition including all the forces of anti-imperialism in every part of the world.
Much more can be said on the life, work and legacy of Comrade Habash, but in summary these are some of the things he advocated and taught:
• That the fundamental way to liberation lies through armed struggle and people’s war based on the masses.
• That for the struggle to be successful and carried through to the end it needs to be based on Marxism-Leninism, the scientific world outlook of the working class.
• That the oppressed peoples must uphold proletarian internationalism in their struggle for liberation, based on militant unity within and between the three major currents of the world revolutionary process, the socialist countries, the national liberation movements, and the working-class movement in the imperialist heartlands.
• That the liberation of the nation necessitated the principled and democratic unity of all the forces of the nation, even though major differences will also exist and must be struggled over.
Clearly, all these are not just lessons for the Palestinian people alone.
In June 2000, age and ill health led Comrade Habash to step back from the day-to-day leadership of the PFLP. Giving an inspiring speech on that occasion, in many respects he wrote his own epitaph. He told his comrades:
What I have lived through over the course of these militant decades, and the rich experience I have acquired, is not a matter to be taken for granted. It is your right, and the right of coming generations to review the content and lessons of this experience with all of its many successes and failures.
As befits a man who gave all of his own life and strength to the revolution, Comrade Habash said of the martyrs, the prisoners and his comrades, and it is with Comrade Habash’s own words, from his farewell address, Palestine Between Dreams and Reality, that we conclude this tribute:
I remember each of the martyrs, one by one, and without exception – those martyrs to whom we are indebted, for whom we must continue the struggle, holding fast to the dream and holding fast to hope, and protecting the rights of the people for whom they shed their blood. Their children and their families have a right to be honoured and cared for. This is the least we can do for those blazing stars in the skies of our homeland.I also remember now the heroic prisoners in the jails of the occupation and the prisons of the Palestinian Authority – those militants who remind us morning and night of our patriotic duty by the fact that they are still there behind bars and by the fact that the occupation still squats on our chests. Each prisoner deserves the noblest signs of respect …
Now permit me to express my gratitude to all the comrades who have worked with me and helped me, whether in the Arab Nationalist Movement or in the Popular Front. They stood beside me during the hardest conditions and the darkest of times, and they were a great help and support for me. Without them I would not have been able to carry out my responsibilities.
They have been true comrades, in all that the word implies. Those comrades helped to create a congenial atmosphere, an environment of political, theoretical, and intellectual interaction that enabled me to do all that was required. Those comrades have a big place in my heart and mind.
I offer all my thanks and appreciation to each one of them by name. In addition, to the comrades who vigilantly guarded me, looking out for my safety, all these long years, I offer my gratitude …
As a last word, I feel it necessary to say that I know well that the goals for which I worked and struggled have not yet been attained. And I cannot say how or when they will be attained. But on the other hand, I know in light of my study of the march of history in general, and of Arab and Palestinian history in particular, that they will be attained.
In spite of this bitter truth, I leave my task as General Secretary of the Front with a contented mind and conscience. My conscience is content because I did my duty and worked with the greatest possible effort and with complete and deep sincerity. My mind is content because throughout my working years, I continually based myself on the practice of self-criticism.
It is important to say also that I will pay close attention to all your observations and assessments of the course taken by the Popular Front while I was its General Secretary. I must emphasise that with the same close attention, if not with greater attention, I will follow and take to heart the observations and assessments of the Palestinian and Arab people on this course and my role in it.
My aim in this closing speech has been to say to you – and not only to you, but to all the detainees, or those who experienced detention, to the families of the martyrs, to the children of the martyrs, to those who were wounded, to all who sacrificed and gave for the cause – that your sacrifice has not been in vain.
The just goals and legitimate rights which they have struggled and given their lives for will be attained, sooner or later. I say again that I don’t know when, but they will be attained.
And my aim, again and again, is to emphasise the need for you to persist in the struggle to serve our people, for the good of all Palestinians and Arabs – the good that lies in a just and legitimate cause, as it does in the realisation of the good for all those who are oppressed and wronged.
You must always be of calm mind, and of contented conscience, with a strong resolve and a steel will, for you have been and still are in the camp of justice and progress, the camp whose just goals will be attained and which will inevitably attain its legitimate rights. For these are the lessons of history and reality, and no right is lost as long as there is someone fighting for it.
Repost from the old site.
Rightwing anti-Communists (and for that matter, Centrist and liberal US anti-Communists also) have some very peculiar attitudes about Communism, shaped by the Cold War. Communism, it appears, is some strange, evil and insane system, a crazy, idiotic and totally failed economic and social system that brought nothing but misery, hunger, starvation and poverty to the world, while bringing nothing good.
The alternative was capitalism, which would at some point conquer hunger, poverty, starvation and all that. Capitalism is always supposed to conquer these things at some point in the future. Capitalist polemicists usually say, “Just give it some time…”
With the neoliberalism that has been pushed since 1980 and has brought nothing but misery and impoverishment to billions and caused many millions of deaths, we have always been told that it would start working pretty soon now…maybe next year…victory is right around the corner. The truth is that after 25 years of neoliberalism, the verdict is in and a long report has documented it quite well.
Nearly everywhere it has been tried, neoliberalism has benefited the top 20% of the population (often greatly) and screwed the bottom 80%.
Even in the US, from 1980-1992, the top 20% gained income (the top 1% had an incredible gain) while the bottom 80% (everyone with individual income of less than $56,000/yr) of the US population actually lost money. A similar scenario unfolded in Britain.
Neoliberalism, nearly everywhere, resulted in lowered economic growth rates, massive debt, plunging wages and living standards for the majority, reductions in access to health and eduction, and reductions in many health and education metrics like infant mortality, life expectancy and the percentage of children in school at various ages.
This is because neo-liberalism mandated massive cuts in all social services, especially education and health care. The outcome was foretold. The truth about neoliberalism is that it has always been a scam in which the West, especially Western banks, corporations and investors, ripped off the rest of the World blind and the people were always left holding the bag.
Nevertheless, the ripoff artists keep trying to sell their neoliberal snake oil around the world, but more and more nations are no longer buying. Most of the countries of Latin America have tired of the “checks in the mail” neoliberal snipe hunt, and collectively, they are trying, in their own often-limited ways, to dislodge themselves from the grip of the neoliberal plague.
Even mainstream economists admit that Latin America (macroeconomically) did not benefit from the neoliberal fad. Recently, Argentina paid off its foreign debt and said no more. In Venezuela, Chavez is trying to forge a completely new path that is, instead of the Communism his detractors libel him with, in truth nothing more than a reformation of capitalism.
President Lula in Brazil has been hampered by the death grip of both investor capital and the markets; he has not been able to do much at all. Uruguay has elected a strident Leftist, but it is not known what he can do given his restraints.
Chile, after the utter failure of Pinochet’s radical free market economics (something the free market crazies have never owned up to), has elected a socialist and a woman as President, Bachelet. It is not known what she can do in terms of progress, but Chile still has an education and health sector that is in pretty good shape and sports good metrics to show for it.
In Ecuador, Rafael Correa is President, and he has formed an alliance with Chavez. It remains to be seen what he can do in terms of progress, as his options, as usual, are limited.
In Bolivia, Evo Morales, an Indian, has won a very close election in a country where a small White elite has always run roughshod over the majority Indian population. His options are also limited, but Morales’ rhetoric has at least been almost as radical as Chavez’.
A major problem in Bolivia is the mestizos in the East of the country (Santa Cruz Province) who despise the Indians the West as inferior while they sit on top of Bolivia’s rich natural gas deposits. They are making noises about succession, but they will never try it.
In Mexico, AMLO (Lopez-Obrador), a Leftist, actually won the election, but due to the usual fraud, the PAN (a rightwing Catholic party that rose out of the religious hot war in Mexico in the 1920’s that left 70,000 dead) now holds the presidency. Felipe Calderon is the PAN President and he won’t do a damned thing to solve the problems that have caused an incredible 12% of Mexico’s population to move to the US.
As an example of such problems, the family of one man, Carlos Slim, the head of the private Mexican phone monopoly, controls 50% of the wealth in the entire country. That is why America is being overrun by illegal aliens.
There has been some resistance to this semi-feudal order.
A very radical movement has tried to overthrow the corrupt and brutal dictatorial government of Oaxaca state. The Zapatistas* are still alive, and recently a Leftist group, the EPL*, has started to blow stuff up again, after disappearing for three years.
In Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega was re-elected, but he appears to have softened his rhetoric to the point where he cannot do much. Still, he has formed an alliance with Chavez. Nicaragua, now the second poorest country in Latin America, lies in corrupt ruins.
Support for the considerably neutered Sandinistas is higher than reported in the ruling class media – although Ortega had 35% support, his rival, a Sandinista attacking Ortega from the Left, had another 20% of the vote, so the whole Left vote was a 55% majority, not 35% as the corporate media would have you believe.
Under the Sandinistas, Nicaragua went from one of the worst to one of the best in Central America for literacy and health care figures. In 1990, Violeta Chamorro, adored by the whole US political spectrum, including the Cruise Missile liberals of the US Democratic Party, won the election.
Right away, she ended free education, requiring students to spend $35 a year on uniforms, a fee that immediately threw large numbers of kids out of school. Most have yet to return. She also got rid of free health care, so most of the population is without health care again. The health and education figures for the nation have shown the expected collapse.
It is interesting that Democratic Party liberals are apparently overjoyed about this situation, showing the bankruptcy of their ideology.
Most of the rest of the continent is collapsed in the usual ruins. 1 million people die every year from hunger in Latin America, and this has been going on for decades. How come this stuff never makes it to the “Worst Killers in Recent History” contests?
The anti-Communist line about Communism divorces it from its concrete realities in the sort of totally rotten social and economic systems that have spawned peasant revolutions for centuries before Karl Marx was even born.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990’s and the fall of the Warsaw Pact, rightwingers rejoiced. It was the “end of history”, said Francis Fukuyama. The era of peasant revolts was over. Never again would humanity have to worry about any Marxist, Leftist, worker, peasant, or even populist revolution.
Capitalism was here to say, in all of its forms, from most enlightened to most hideous, and no one could do a damn thing about it!
Well, that is nonsense. Anti-Communists say that revolutions happen for no reason at all, other than the insane desire of Communist madmen to seize power and impose their failed system on an unwilling population. They say that revolutions do not arise from horrible social and economic systems – they arise from sick Marxist pathology.
Get rid of Marxism, they say, and capitalism can run wild on humanity again. Perhaps we can even re-instate feudalism and slavery while we are at it. After all, they were both great for business.
Amidst the deafening racket of nonsense, a series of economic figures looms up at us like a ghost from the recent Peruvian past.
In back of those figures, 15 years later in 1980, like an Inca God rising up from the grave to slay the Spanish invaders 450 years after they waded ashore, is the frightening shadow of the Peruvian Shining Path*, another “totally insane” Marxist group that arose “for no reason whatsoever other than sheer evil”.
Yet the figures below show us why a revolution, even one as insane as Sendero Luminoso, was inevitable:
From the Peruvian National Planning Institute in Bejar, Peru, in 1965, we learn that the 24,000 families of the White ruling class in Lima had an income of $62,000/yr*.
The entire rest of the country had an average family income of $157.
The Indians of the Sierra, who even now have a life expectancy of only 45 years, had an average family income of only $10 a year.
*All figures in 1965 US dollars.
Most people agree that things have only gotten worse in Peru since then. Look at those figures above and tell that that is not kindling and kerosene for bloody revolution. The match was called Sendero, and someone was going to toss a match sooner or later.
There were centuries in Peru before 1965, four of them, and they build on our tale. From 1526 (when the Spaniards came to Peru) to 1630, the Indian population declined from 13 million to 600,000 – a loss of 95% of the population. It was a Holocaust, and I don’t care how many crazy Jews scream “anti-Semite” at me for stealing their pet word.
For the next three centuries, the Indians were tied to the land like serfs, bonded in debt peonage in a feudal estate society. This continued until well into the 1970’s. The jungle Indians were enslaved and killed for sport starting in the 1800’s and continuing until 50 years or so ago.
It is 1980. The bump and lurch of the dialectic, from Hegel to Marx to Mariategui to Guzman, has brought us here, to Sendero’s nightmare. The weight of 450 years of oppression, enslavement and genocide buckled the roof of the sick system and created the Sendero virus, which infected much of the country and nearly killed the host.
But given history, it could not have been any other way.
This is an example, from the city of Cherboksary, Russia, of the most failed economic system ever known to mankind – Communism. The fountains you see are inferior and worthless – totally failed fountains, if you will.
The buildings in the background as are complete failures as buildings, since they are dull and boring. Those buildings are called “socialist housing” and everyone in the West agrees that this type of housing does not work. What works much better are the capitalist slums in the pictures to follow.
The river is quite clean and this is another example of complete failure. Much better are the black rivers of capitalist slums, stinking with garbage, animal corpses and raw sewage. Why? Because diseases and smells are exciting! Who wants to be bored, anyway?
Even the bright greenery in the foreground in a total failure – it’s much better to have live amidst the mounds of garbage you see below. Capitalist slums, with their thrill a minute and constant search for food, are the only way to go. A slum in Brazil. This is the successful system that works. Much better than that failed, dull socialist housing above, no? When are you moving in, reader? Men pick through a garbage dump, probably in Nairobi. Slums in Nairobi make up 6% of the city yet house 60% of the population. In many parts of the capitalist third world, human beings actually live in these garbage dumps. They often suffer from continuous infections and sores. Slums of Nairobi. This is the only viable system on Earth, capitalism. All of the alternatives, especially Communism, are failed and don’t work. As you can see, this system works great. Communist housing fails because it is dull, boring and lifeless. It is much better to live in lively, exciting surroundings like this Nairobi slum, where I assure you there is never a dull movement. How dare those evil Commies try to move these people into “failed” Soviet-style high-rises! An excellent example of capitalist education from Africa. Capitalism hates education, everywhere and at all times, because the capitalists can’t make any money off of it, and the capitalists all send their kids to fancy private schools, hence they resent paying for a system they do not even use. So capitalism, under neoliberalism, has predictably devastated education systems around the Third World.
Who needs to get educated anyway? The problem of the 3rd World is too many kids! Besides, Black people are so dumb that all attempts to educate them are a waste of time, or so The Bell Curve told me. Slums of Brazil. The problem is these Brazilians have too damn many kids! Yet the evidence shows that Brazil’s birthrate is actually below replacement level. Never matter, in that case, the poor should quit having babies altogether!
Somehow, Westerners always find a way to blame the victim.
Of course, Brazil having the worst rich-poor gap on Earth could not have anything to do with this situation, now would it? By 2020, 40% of the world will live in these awesome slums. Cool! At least they won’t have to suffer from Communism or any of that failed stuff. The charming slums of Brazil. Rio de Janeiro is home to 12 million people – 4 million of them in 800 different favelas, or slums. All of these slums are run by gangs of drug dealers, who engage in continuous battles with each other and the police, that is, when they are not engaging in armed robberies, kidnappings and homicides. Recent articles in the Western press have hailed the dramatic improvements in these slums. As you can see here, they are so much better than they used to be! Residents of a slum in Nairobi trudge through the garbage on their way home. Nairobi has an out of control crime rate, but of course that has nothing to do with the fact that these folks live in slums. It is because the criminals are evil and commit crimes for no reason at all. Furthermore, they are Black, and Black people are genetically natural born criminals. They’re just a race of Bad Seeds, and nothing can be done about them at all. The wonderful slums of Mumbai again! This is the high tech economy that is taking the world by storm, the envy of the planet. Check out that high tech dishwasher this girl is using – I bet it was designed by those IT professionals down in Bangalore! Go, India go!
The truth about India is, of course, more tragic than Tom Friedman (see below) can figure out. By 1985, capitalism was killing between between 2.92 and 4 million every year in India, and 1.76 million were being killed in Bangladesh. That is 5.25 million people being killed by capitalism every year in just those two countries alone. But wait a minute! Capitalism doesn’t kill anyone. Stalin and Mao were the worst killers of the 20th century, dontcha know? Since Communism doesn’t work, we have to go with the only alternative, the system that works, capitalism. This photo shows you just how great it works in Mumbai, India. Noam Chomsky reports that, comparing China and India, which had similar developmental figures in 1949, there have been 100 million excess deaths in Indian from 1947-1979.
This clearly shows the superiority of Chinese Communism, at least when it comes to saving lives. Note that China’s superior figures even include all of those killed by Maoism, which may number over 20 million people. But Maoism saved far more, and China set a world record with the fastest doubling of life expectancy by any country, going from 32 in 1949 to 65 in 1976, surpassing Joseph Stalin’s record set in 1956.
Now in China, gone heavily over to capitalism, millions are dying from lack of health care alone. Getting back to India, recent figures show that there are 4 million excess deaths in India every single year. Gideon Polya calculates that excess infant mortality alone, compared to a model of Sri Lanka, kills 2.7 million Indians per year. Slums of Mumbai. 6 million people – 60% of the population – live on only 6% of the land. Pundits all across the West, especially Thomas Friedman in The World is Flat, rave about India’s booming economy . India’s capitalism is praised all across the West. As you can see here, it really works great!
Working backwards and forwards from Chomsky’s figures above of 4 million deaths per year in India from capitalism, which he got from Indian economist Amratya Sen, we can guess that capitalism may have killed 170 million Indians since 1949 as compared to the Chinese model. But wait, aren’t Communists the worst killers of them all?
Don’t like the way I do figures? Try these instead then. Capitalism kills 14 million people every single year just by starvation, mostly in South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Afghanistan).
*This blog does not support the project of Sendero Luminoso, as they kill people who are completely innocent. It does support the Zapatistas and the EPL in Mexico.
An excellent analysis of the current scene in Latin America by Marxist James Petras. We often wonder what exactly is going on here or there in the world. For the answer in Latin America, Petras answers a number of important questions. What’s amazing is I can’t find one single area in which he’s wrong in his analysis below. Hence, this analysis is immaculate. If any of you can find anywhere below where he is wrong, let us know. A good tutorial on the Latin American politico-economic scene. Warning: Runs 45 pages.
Political Power and the World Market
The twin nemesis of Latin America’s quest for more equitable and dynamic development, US imperial and local oligarchic power have been subject to profound changes over the past decade. New capitalist classes both at home and abroad have redefined Latin America’s relation to world markets, seized opportunities to stimulate growth and forged cross class coalitions linking overseas investors, agro-mineral exporters, national industrialists with a broad array of trade unions, and in some countries peasant and Indian social movements.
Parallel to these changes in Latin America, a new militarist and financial political configuration engaged in prolonged wars, colonial occupations and widespread speculation has weakened the structural economic links – dominance – between US imperial economic interests and Latin America’s dynamic socio-economic classes.
In the present conjuncture, these basic changes in the respective class structures – in the US and Latin America – define the contours, constraints and ‘reach’ of the imperial classes as well as the potential autonomy of action of Latin America’s leading socio-economic classes.
Notions which freeze Latin America in a time warp such as “500 years of exploitation” or which conflate earlier decades of US political-economic dominance with the present, have failed to take account of recent class dynamics, including popular insurrections, mass electoral mobilizations and failed imperial-centered economic models which have redefined the power equation between the US and Latin America.
Equally important, fundamental changes in market relations and market competition has lessened US influence in the world market and opened major growth opportunities for new and established sectors of Latin America’s capitalist class, especially its dynamic export sectors.
Understanding imperialism, especially the US variant, requires focusing on class relations, within and between countries and regions, the changing balance of power as well as the impact of fundamental changes in world market relations. Equally important the private economic institutions of imperialism (banks, multi-national corporations, investors) are contingent on the composition and policies of the imperial state.
Insofar as the state defines its priorities in military and ideological terms and acts accordingly, by channeling resources in prolonged wars, the imperial policymakers weakens their capacity to sustain, finance and promote overseas private economic interests.
As we shall analyze and discuss in the following sections, the US has suffered a relative loss of political and economic power over key Latin American regimes and markets as its military commitments have widened and deepened over time. The result is a Latin American political configuration which has changed dramatically over the past two decades.
Latin American Political-Economic Configurations and US Imperialism
The upsurge of social movements, the subsequent ascent of center-left political regimes,the dynamic economic growth of Asian economies and the consequent sharp increase in prices of commodities in the world market has changed the configuration of political power in Latin America and between the latter and the US between 2000-2010.
While the US exercised almost absolute hegemony during the period 1980-1999, the rise of a militarist caste promoting prolonged imperial wars in the Middle East and South Asia and the rise of relatively independent national-popular and social-liberal regimes in Latin America has produced a broad spectrum of governments with greater autonomy of action.
Depending on the criteria we use, Latin American countries have moved beyond the orbit of US hegemony. For example, if we examine trade and investment, all the major countries, independent of ideology, have to a greater or lesser degree diversified their markets, trading and investment partners. If we examine political alignments, we find that all the major countries have joined UNASUR, a regional political organization that excludes the US.
If we examine policy divergences from the US on major regional issues, such as the US embargo on Cuba, its efforts to isolate Venezuela, its proposed military bases in Colombia, Washington remains in splendid isolation, to the point that the new Colombian President Santos, chooses to “postpone” implementation in favor of maximizing billion dollar trade and diplomatic ties with Venezuela.
If we focus on ideological divergence between the US and Latin America, particularly on global issues of free trade, military coups and intervention, we find a variety of positions. For example, Brazil opposes US sanctions against Iran and supports the latter’s program of uranium enrichment for peaceful uses. If we focus on joint US-Latin American military exercises and support for the Haitian occupation, most Latin countries – with the exception of Venezuela – participate.
If we examine the issue of bilateral trade and regional trade agreements, the US proposals on the latter were voted down, while several countries pursue (so far with little success) the former. On a rather fluid measure of ‘affinity for neo-liberal’ ideology, in which a mixture of elements of statism, deregulated markets and social welfare co-exist in varying degrees, we can draw up a tentative 4 fold division between “left”, “center left”, “center right” and “right”.
On the “left” we can include Venezuela and Bolivia which have expanded the public sector, economic regulations and social spending.
On the “center-left” we can include Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador which have increased social spending, public investment and increased employment, wages and reduced poverty, while vastly increasing private national and foreign investment in agro-mineral export sectors.
On the center-right we can include Uruguay, Chile and Paraguay, which embrace free market doctrines, with mild poverty programs and an open door to foreign investment.
On the right we find Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru, Honduras, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, all of whom line up with Washington on most ideological issues, even as they may be diversifying trade ties with Asia and Venezuela.
Internal shifts in class power within Latin America and the US have spurred divergences. Latin America has witnessed greater policy influence by a more ‘globalist elite’ less tied to the US, and an emerging ‘nationalist bourgeoisie’, and greater pressure from reformist working class and public employees trade union. In contrast within the US industrial capital has lost influence to the financial sector and exerts little influence in shaping economic policy toward Latin America, beyond rearguard ‘protectionist’ measures and state subsidies.
The US ruling political elite, highly militarized and Zionized, shows little capacity to engage in launching any major new initiatives toward recapturing markets in Latin America, preferring massive military expenditures on wars and paying tribute to their Israeli mentors.
As a result of major socio-political shifts within the US and Latin America and the singular importance of dynamic changes in the world market, there are four axis of power operating in the Western Hemisphere.
The emerging economic power of Brazil and the growth of intra-regional trade within and between Latin American economies.
The dynamic expansion of Asian trade, investment and markets leading to a long term, large scale shift toward greater economic diversification.
The substantial financial flows from the US to Latin America in the form of “hot money” with destabilizing effects, as well as continued substantial investment, trade and military ties.
The European Union, Russia and the Middle East as real and potential influences in particular settings, depending on the countries and time frame.
Of these 4 ‘vectors of power’, the most significant in recent times in reshaping Latin America’s relation to the US and more importantly in opening up prospects for 21st century capitalist growth, is the boom in commodity prices and demand – the dynamic of the world market. On the ‘negative side’, the prolonged US-EU economic crises has limited trade and investment growth and encouraged greater Latin American integration and expansion of regional markets.
A serious threat to Latin America’s growth, autonomy and stability is found in the US currency devaluation and subsequent overvaluing of Latin currencies (especially Brazil) imposing constraints on industrial exports and prejudicing the manufacturing sector. Equally important US and EU manipulation of interest rates – downward – has driven speculative capital toward higher interest rates in Latin America, creating destabilizing “bubbles” which can derail the economies.
US Empire Strikes Back: Protectionism, Devaluation and Unilateralism
By the middle of 2010 it was clear that the US economy was losing the competitive battle for markets around the world and was unable to reduce its trade and fiscal deficit within the existing global free trade regime. The Obama regime, led by Federal Reserve head Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Geithner unilaterally launched a thinly disguised trade war, effectively devaluing the dollar and lowering interest rates on bonds in order to increase exports and in effect ‘overvalue’ the currency of their competitors.
In other words the Obama regime resorted to a virile “bugger your neighbor policies”, which outraged world economic leaders, provoking Brazilian economic leaders to speak of a “currency war”. Contrary to Washington’s rhetoric of “greater co-operation”, the Obama regime was resorting to protectionist policies designed to alienate the leading economic powers in the region.
No longer in a position to impose non-reciprocal trade agreements to US advantage, Washington is engaged in currency manipulation in order to increase market shares at the expense of the highly competitive emerging economies of Latin America and Asia, as well as Germany.
Equally prejudicial to Latin America, the Federal Reserve’s lowering of interest rates leads to heavy borrowing in the US in order to speculate in high interest countries like Brazil. The consequences are disastrous, as a flood of “hot money”, speculative funds flow into Latin America, especially Brazil, overvaluing the currency and provoking a speculative bubble in bonds and real estate, while encouraging excess liquidity and public and private consumer debt.
Equally damaging the overvalued currencies price industrial and manufacturing out of world market competition, threatening to “de-industrialize” the economies and further their dependency on agro-mineral exports. US resort to unilateral protectionism tells us that the decline in US economic power has reached a point where it struggles to compete with Latin America rather than to reassert its former dominant position.
Protectionism is a defense mechanism of an empire in decline. While Washington can pretend otherwise, the weapons it chooses to arrest its loss of competitiveness in the short run, sets in motion a process of growing Latin America integration and increased trade with Asian economies, which will deepen Latin America’s economic independence from US control.
Latin America’s Center-Left and the US: Economic Ties Trump Geopolitical Strategies
The consolidation of Latin America’s center-left regimes has had major consequences for US policy, namely a reconciliation between arch-adversary Venezuela and Washington’s foremost ally, Colombia. The power of the market, in this case over $4 billion in Colombian exports to Venezuela, has trumped the dubious advantage (if any) of being Washington’s military launching pad in Latin America.
The election of Lula’s chosen candidate Dilma Rousseff as President of Brazil, the likely re-election of Chavez in Venezuela and Cristina Fernandez in Argentina, means that Washington has little leverage to reverse the dynamic diversification and greater autonomy of Latin America’s leading economies.
Moreover, as the political rapprochement between Venezuela and Colombia, including the mutual extradition of Colombian guerrillas and drug traffickers demonstrates, closer economic relations are accompanied by warmer political relations, including a tacit pact in which Colombia abjures from supporting the rightwing opposition in Venezuela, while the latter does likewise toward the Left opposition to Santos.
The larger meaning of this obscuring of ideological boundaries is that Latin America’s economic integration advances at the expense of US prompted ideological divisions. The net result will be the further exclusion and diminution of the US as the dominant actor in the Southern Hemisphere. At the same time it should be remembered that we are writing about greater capitalist integration, which means the continued marginalization of class based trade unions and social movements from strategic economic policy making positions.
In other words, the decline of US hegemony is not matched by an increase in working class or popular power. As both decline, the big winner is the rising business class, mostly, but not exclusively the agro-mineral, financial and manufacturing elites linked to the Latin American and Asian markets.
The prime destabilization danger now includes US currency wars, the growing potentially volatile extractive exports and the high levels of dependence on China’s (and Asian) appetite for raw materials.
Imperial Wars, Free Trade and the Lumpen Legacy of 1990’s
One of the paradoxes leading to the current eclipse of US hegemony in Latin America is found in the very military and economic successes in the 1990’s. A broad swathe of North and Central American and the Andean countries has witnessed the rise of what we call “lumpen political-economic power” which has devastated the formal economy and legitimate political authority.
The concept of “lumpen” is derived from ‘lupus’ or Latin for ‘wolf’ a metaphor for a ‘predatory’ actor, or in our context, the rise of a political and economic class which preys upon the public and private resources and institutions of an economy and society. The lumpen power elites are based on the creation of a dual system of legitimate and illegitimate political authority backed by the instruments of coercion and violence.
The emergence and formation of a powerful lumpen class of predatory capitalists and their accompanying military entourage is what we refer to in writing of the “process of lumpenization”. Today “lumpenization” no longer merely entails the overt violent organizers of illicit production, processing and distribution of drugs but an entire array of ‘offspring’ economic activity (kidnapping, immigrant smugglers, etc.) as well as large scale long term interaction with ‘legitimate’ economic institutions and sectors, including banking, real estate, agriculture, retail shopping centers, tourist complexes, to name a few.
Money laundering of illicit funds is an important growth sector, especially providing important flows of capital to and from major US and Latin American financial institutions. Today over three-quarters of Mexico’s territory and governance is contested by over 30,000 organized armed lumpen led by centralized political-economic formations. Central America is a major transit point, production center and terrain for bloody lumpen struggles for power and revenue collection.
Colombia is the major center for ‘raw material production’of drugs, marketing,and import and export center under the leadership of powerful lumpen capitalists with long standing ties to the governing political, military and economic elite. The lumpen economy has supply chains further south in Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay and distribution networks through Venezuela and Brazil as well as multi-billion dollar money laundering and financial links in the Caribbean, the US, Uruguay and Argentina.
Several important issues to keep in mind in discussing the lumpen political economy.These include: (1)the growth in size, scope and significance over the past 20 years (2) the increasing economic importance as the ‘legitimate’ economy goes into crises (both cause and consequence) (3) the increasing public cynicism as previously thought of “legitimate” economic and political actors (capitalists) engage in multi-billion dollar financial swindles and are “bailed” out by political leaders.
The ‘boom’ in lumpen political-economic growth can be dated to the end of the 1980’s and early 1990’s, coinciding with several major historical events in the region.
These include: the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement; the US-oligarchy defeat of the revolutionary movements in Central America and the demobilization but not disarmament of the paramilitary and armed militia; the total militarization and paramilitarization of Colombia especially with the advent of Plan Colombia (2001) and the end of peace negotiations; the deregulation of the US financial system in the mid 1990’s and the growth of a financial bubble economy.
What is striking about all the countries and regions experiencing ‘deep lumpenization’, is the profound disarticulation of their economies and smashing of their social fabric due to free trade agreements with the US (Mexico and Central America) and the large scale US military intervention during their civil wars (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia).
The US politico-military intervention left millions without work and worse, destroyed the possibility of reformist or revolutionary political alliances coming to power and carrying out meaningful structural changes.
The restoration of US backed neo-liberal-militarist collaborator regimes left the young unemployed peasants and workers with three choices: (1)submit to degradation and poverty (2) emigrate to North America or Europe (3) join one or another of the narco-trafficking organizations, as a risky but lucrative route out of poverty.
The timing of the rise and dynamic growth of lumpen power coincides with the imposition of US free trade and political victories in the aforementioned regions. From the early 1990’s forward lumpen power spreads across the region fueled by NAFTA decimating the Mexican small producers and the US imposed Central American “peace accords” which effectively destroyed the chances of socio-economic change and dismantled but did not disarm the militias and paramilitary gunmen.
Case Studies of Lumpen Dual Power: Mexico
Mexico, unlike the other major economies of Latin America did not experience any popular upheavals or center-left electoral outcomes during the late 1990’s or early 2000. Unlike Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Ecuador, in which new center-left regimes came to power imposing regulatory controls on financial speculation, Mexico witnessed electoral fraud and signed off on NAFTA, deepening its ties to Wall Street. As a result it experienced a series of financial shocks, undermining its capacity to launch a more diversified trading and investment model.
Unlike Argentina which launched state directed employment generating investment policies, Mexico, under US tutelage, relied on emigration and overseas remittances to compensate for the loss of millions of jobs in agriculture , small and medium manufacturing activity and retail sales.
While popular uprisings and mobilization in Latin America led to the rise of center-left regimes capable of securing greater independence in economic policy from the US and the IMF, the Mexican elite literally stole elections in 1988 and 2006, blocking the possibility of an alternative model. It successfully repressed alternative peasant movements in Chiapas, Oaxaca and Guerrero unlike the successes in Bolivia and Ecuador.
While the center-left regimes captured the economic surplus from the agro-mineral sectors and increased public and private investment in production and social spending, Mexico witnessed massive illegal and legal outflows of investments into speculative ventures in the US: an outflow of over $55 billion between 2006-2010.
Regional migration within Latin America fueled by high growth, led to rising income; overseas immigration depleted Mexico of skilled and unskilled labor; in some cases ‘return migration’ from the US of deported gang members, with arms and drug networks fueled the growth of lumpen power . With the severe recession, US immigration policy led to the closing of the border, the massive deportation of Mexican immigrants and the decline of the major source of foreign earnings: remittances.
Pervasive and deep corruption throughout the cupula of the Mexican political and economic system, combined with the decline of the legitimate economy, the absence of channels for popular redress and Washington’s insistence that militarization and not social investments was the solution to rising crime, led to the huge influx of young recruits to the growing network of lumpen-capitalist directed narco enterprises.
With almost all US and Mexican financial institutions and arms vendors as willing partners and an unlimited pool of young recruits with a ‘lean and hungry look’, Mexico evolved into a fiercely contested terrain between a half dozen rival lumpen organizations,and the Mexican military, with nearly 30,000 deaths between 2006-2010.
Lumpenization: Central America
Drug gangs dominate the streets of the major cities and countryside of all the countries which were militarized during the US backed counter-revolutionary wars between the 1960’s to early 1990’s. US proxy military dictators and their civilian clients, in El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras decimated civil society and particularly the mass popular organizations.
In El Salvador over 75,000 people were killed and hundreds of thousands were uprooted, driven across borders or into urban shanty towns.
In Guatemala over 200,000 mostly Mayan Indians were murdered by the US trained “special forces” and over 450 villages were obliterated in the course of a scorched earth policy.
In Nicaragua, the Somoza dictatorship and the subsequent US financed and trained counter-revolutionary (“contra”) mercenary army killed and maimed close to 100,000 people and devastated the economy.
In Honduras, the US embassy promoted and financed in-country and cross-border counter-insurgency operations which killed, uprooted and forced thousands of Honduran peasants into exile.
Highly militarized Central American societies, in which US funded and armed death squads murdered with impunity, in which the economy of small producers was shattered and ‘normal’ market activity was subject to military assaults, led to the growth of illegal crops, drug and people smuggling. With the so-called “peace agreements”, the leaders of the insurgents became “institutionalized”in elite electoral politics,while large numbers of unemployed ex-guerrillas and demobilized death squad militia members found no place in the status quo.
The neo-liberal order imposed by the US client rulers with its free market ideology built “fortress neighborhoods”, hired an army of private “security” guards, while the productive bases of small scale agriculture was destroyed. Millions of Central Americans faced the familiar “routes out of poverty”: outmigration, forming or joining criminal gangs, or attempting to find an economic niche in an unpromising environment.
Outmigration for semi-educated former members of armed bands led to their early entrée into armed groups, deportation back to Central America, swelling the ranks of narco traffickers in their “home country”. Highly repressive immigration policies implemented in the new millennium closed the escape valve for most Central Americans fleeing violence and poverty.
Former guerrilla fighters and their families, abandoned by their former leaders embedded in electoral parties, turned their military experience toward carving a new living, as security guards for the rich, or as armed traffickers competing for ‘market shares’ with and against the discharged deathsquad militia members.
Between 2000-2010, the annual number of homicides exceeded the number of deaths suffered during the worst period of the civil wars of the 1980s. US imposed peace agreements and the neo-liberal order which resulted, led to the total lumpenization of the economy and polity throughout the region, the practice of electoral politics and even the election of “center-left” politicos in El Salvador and Nicaragua notwithstanding.
Lumpenization was a direct consequence of the ‘scorched earth’ and ‘mass uprooting’ counter-insurgency policies which were central to US re-establishing dominance in the region. Economic and personal insecurity and social misery were the price paid by imperial Washington to prevent a popular revolution.
Case Study: Colombia
The ties between the world centers of finance and the most degenerate and blood curdling ruler in the Western Hemisphere were most evident in the slavishly laudatory puff-pieces published in the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal in praise of President Alvaro Uribe, while over 3 million Colombians were driven off their lands, several thousands were murdered, over a thousand trade unionists, journalists and human rights activists were killed.
Two thirds of his Congressional backers were financed by narco-traffickers. Incarcerated deathsquad leaders identified top military officials as their primary supporters. All of Colombia’s Presidents collaborated closely with US military missions and all were financed and associated with the multi-billion dollar drug cartels, even as the Pentagon claimed to be engaged in a “war against drug trafficking”.
Landlords and their financial and real estate backers organized private militias, which terrorized, uprooted and killed hundreds of thousands of peasants, others fled to the urban slums, or across the border to neighboring countries. Others joined the guerrillas, and still others were recruited by the death squads and military.
With the advance of the guerrilla armies and then President Pastrana’s opening to peace negotiations, President Clinton launched a $5 billion dollar military scheme, “Plan Colombia” to quadruple Colombia’s air and ground forces and deathsquads.
With Washington’s backing, Alvaro Uribe, a notorious narco-deathsquad politico, so identified by US officials, took power and launched a massive scorched earth policy, murdering and displacing millions of peasants and urban slum dwellers in an effort to undermine the vast network of community organizations sympathetic to the agrarian reform, public investment and anti-military program of the guerrilla movements.
Mass terror and population flight emptied whole swathes of the countryside; livelihoods were destroyed and landlords in alliance with drug cartel bosses and Generals seized millions of acres of land. For the financial and respectable mass media, the massification of terror mattered not: the insurgents were ‘contained’, driven back, put on the defensive. They trumpeted the killing of key guerrilla leaders: foreign corporate property was secure.
Rule by Uribe, the military and the narco-death squads secured US power and influence and created an ideal “jumping off” location for destabilizing the democratically elected Venezuelan President Chavez. The latter was especially important by the mid 2000’s when Washington’s internal assets attempted coup and lockout were resoundingly defeated in 2002-03.
Having gained strategic territorial advantage over the guerrillas, Washington in collaboration with Uribe moved to shift the balance of power between the narco-deathsquads and the state: a disarmament and demobilization and amnesty was proclaimed. The result was detailed revelations of the deep structural links between narco-deathsquads and the Uribe police state regime, up to and including family members and cabinet ministers.
While ‘nominally’ the cartels are in retreat, in fact, they have become decentralized .Equally important top politicos and military officials continue to collaborate in the production, processing and shipping of billion dollar cocaine exports … with major US banks laundering illicit funds.
Rule of Lumpen-Capitalism in the Imperial System
Drug trafficking has deep roots in the economies of North and South America and has profound ramifications throughout their societies. One cannot understand the tremendous growth of US banking and financial centers if not for the $25 to $50 billion dollar yearly income and transfers from laundering drug funds and double that amount from illegal money transfers by business and political leaders directly and indirectly benefiting from the drug trade.
Lumpen capitalists, their collaborators, facilitators paramilitary mercenaries and military partners play a major political role in sustaining the imperial system. Washington’s major influence and principle area of dominance resides in those countries where lumpen power and deathsquad operations are most prevalent, namely Central America, Colombia and Mexico.
Both phenomena are derived from US designed ‘scorched earth’ counter-insurgency strategies that prevented alterations, modifications or reforms of the neo-liberal order and blocked the successful emergence of social movements and center-left regimes as took place in most of Latin America.
The contemporary imperial system relies on lumpen capitalists, their economic networks and military formations in practically every major area of conflict even as these collaborators are constant areas of friction.
As in Afghanistan and Iraq today and in Central America in the recent past and in Latin America under the military dictatorships, the US relies on drug traffickers, military gangsters engaged in extortion, kidnapping, property seizures and the pillage of public property and treasury to destroy popular movements, to divide and conquer communities and above all to terrorize the general public and civil society.
The singular growth of the financial sector especially in the US is in part the result of its being the massive recipient of large scale sustained flows of ‘plunder capital’ by lumpen rulers and their economic partners via ‘political crony’ privatizations, foreign loans which never entered the local economy and other such forms of pillage characteristic of ‘predator’ classes.
The deep structural affinities between Wall Street speculators and Latin lumpen-capitalists provided the backdrop for the ascendancy of a new class of lumpen financiers in the imperial financial centers: bogus bonds, mortgage swindles, falsified assessments by stock ratings agencies, trillion dollar raids on state treasuries define the heart and soul of contemporary imperialism.
If it is true that the promotion and financing of lumpen warlord capitalists was an essential defense mechanism at the periphery of the empire to contain popular insurgencies, it is also true that the growth of lumpen capitalism severely weakened the very core of the imperial economy, namely its productive and export sectors leading to uncontrollable deficits, out of control speculative bubbles and massive and sustained reductions of living standards and incomes.
Lumpen classes were both the agencies for consolidating the empire and its undoing: tactical gains at the periphery led to strategic losses in the imperial centers. Imperial policymakers resort to terrorist formations resulted from their incapacity to resolve internal contradictions within a legal, electoral framework.
The high domestic political cost of long term warfare led inevitably to the recruitment of mercenary lumpen armies who extracted an economic tribute for questionable loyalty. Lacking any popular constituency, mercenary armies rely on terror to secure circumstantial submission. Having secured control, local warlords preside over the rapid and massive growth of drugs and other lumpen economic practices.
The alliance of empire and lumpen capitalists against modern secular and traditional insurgencies, brings together high technology weaponry and primitive clan based religious-ethnic racists in Iraq and Afghanistan and deracinated psychopaths in the case of Colombia, Mexico and Central America.
For Washington military and political supremacy and territorial conquests take priority over economic gain. In the case of Colombia the scorched earth policy undermined production and lucrative trade with Venezuela. Imperial ascendancy had similar consequences in Asia, the Middle East and Central America.
When Lumpen Power becomes a Problem for the Imperial State
Lumpen capitalism develops a dynamic of its own, independent of its role as an imperial instrument for destroying popular insurgency. It challenges imperial collaborator regimes. It displaces, threatens, or cajoles foreign and domestic capitalists. In the extreme, it establishes a private army, seizes territorial control, recruits and trains networks of intelligence agents within the armed forces and police, undermining imperial influence.
In a word lumpen organized military capitalism threatens the security of imperial hegemony: newly emerging predators threaten the established collaborators. The imperial attempts to use and dispose of lumpen counterinsurgency forces has failed; the demobilized paras become the professional gunmen of a “third force” – neither imperial nor insurgent.
The decimation of the reformist center-left option, which took hold in Latin America, precludes a socio-economic alternative capable of integrating the young combative unemployed, stimulating the productive economy, diversifying markets and escaping the pitfalls of a US centered neo-liberal order.
The divergence of priorities and strategies between Latin America’s center-left and Washington has as much to do with economic and class interests as it has with ideological agendas. For the US security means defeating the rising power of lumpen military economic formations in their remaining ‘power bases’. For Latin America, security concerns are secondary to diversifying and boosting market shares within Latin America and overseas.
Lumpen power is currently under the political control of domestic rulers in Latin America; it is out of control in US clients. The US solution is military; the Latin approach is greater growth; social expenditures and police repression especially in Brazil. The Latin solution has greater attraction, evident in Colombia’s break with the US military base and encirclement strategy toward Venezuela. Colombia’s new President opted for $8 billion dollar trade deals with Venezuela’s Chavez over and against costly million dollar military base agreements with the US.
Clearly the US economic decline in Latin America as a direct result of its reliance on military and lumpen power, is in full force. The driving force of accelerated decline is not popular insurgency but the attraction and lucrative opportunities of the economic marketplace within Latin America and beyond for the local ruling classes. Insofar as militarism defines the policies and strategies of the US Empire there is no remedy for the challenges of lumpen power in its ‘backyard’. And Washington has nothing on offer to recapture a dominant presence in Latin America.
The world market is defeating the empire. Latin America’s twenty-first century capitalists are leading the way to further decline in imperial power.
Repost from the old site.
This is a really cool page on the Social Democratic Party of America. There are several social democratic parties in the US, and no, rightwing fuckwads, they are not much like the Democratic Party at all. A lot of them don’t even like the Democratic Party. Social democracy means a lot of things all over the world.
There is a Socialist International of socialist parties all over the world, and I support that organization. Even a lot of Communists don’t necessarily hate it. A lot of us on the Left support all sorts of socialist models, from Communism to social democracy even all the way to the US Democratic Party.
Your average US rightwing shithead can’t seem to figure that out, but then, they subscribe to a philosophy that is narrow-minded and stupid in both intent and praxis.
Truth is, as you can see by this page, there is not a lot of love lost between at least this social democratic party and Communists. To say that they are one and the same just shows that you are a stupid rightwing asshole. No serious political scientist would make such a statement.
I don’t necessarily agree with this party in their critique of Cuba, Belarus and other countries ruled by Communist-type regimes, but hey, it’s a big tent here on the Left.
There are all sorts of social democratic parties all over the world. As you can see, they are major parties in Slovenia, Japan, Croatia, Czechoslovakia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Romania, Ukraine, Iceland, Austria, Serbia, Poland , Paraguay, Portugal, Finland, Cameroon, Guatemala, Tajikistan, Macedonia, France, Italy, Sweden, Belarus, Denmark and all sorts of other places.
I have varying opinions on how well they are doing; I think that the ones in Europe have done a pretty good job. But I have a pretty low opinion of Lula’s PT in Brazil, Bachelet’s Socialist Party in Chile, the UK Labor Party (An imperialist socialist party?), and I doubt if this new Guatemalan party is going to get much done.
The Peruvian social democrats have a particularly horrible record. The Sandinistas in Nicaragua will not be able to get much done either. Cristina Merkel is having a hard time getting a lot of her agenda through in Argentina.
Social democracy seems to work best in highly developed and wealthy countries, as you can see above. In the poor Third World, they haven’t been able to do much to change the reactionary and backwards nature of society, nor to alleviate poverty, nor to do much of anything.
I think in a lot of cases there may be a necessity for revolutionary change, either via the way of the gun, or possibly peacefully in a more civilized society via the Hugo Chavez model.
In Europe, the ruling classes and the Right were completely destroyed in World War 2, which left millions of rightists and fascists dead and left the whole rightwing movement scattered and discredited. Hence social democracy was able to make a lot of headway with a defeated and more or less rendered-civilized and neutered Right.
Further, society itself changed in that even the wealthy, the upper middle classes, the middle classes, and corporate executives began to support social democracy.
In part this social pact was due to massive pressure from the Left which caused the European Right and business classes to sue for peace via a Social Compact. Also, society itself changed and social democracy became the dominant model for all classes.
Something similar occurred in Japan. The Right was destroyed by the war, and those that were not dead were discredited and humiliated.
In Eastern Europe, decades of Communism may have left a distaste for Communism but not for social democracy. Once again, most of the rightists were simply slaughtered, the rest were in jail or discredited, and society itself was well-molded along socialist lines for decades.
In Latin America, faced with a much more backwards, venal, dishonest, amoral, criminal, corrupt, and murderous upper class and upper middle class intent on staying in power at all costs, social democracy has had a really hard time getting much done. It’s fascinating that the US has allowed social democracy to flower in Europe, but has smashed every glimmer of it in Latin America as “Communism” or “dictatorship”.
Socialist parties in India (the Congress Party) have failed for similar reasons as the ones in Latin America. Social democracy in Sri Lanka has a good record.
In most of the Arab World, there is a more or less socialist model in place, no matter what the governments call themselves. Radical free market capitalism is contrary to Arab society and to Islam itself, hence it is not likely to succeed in any Arab or Islamic society.
Cambodia is run by a socialist party. So is Burma, but most socialists want nothing to do with them.
Contrary to rightwing bullshit, socialism in the form of social democracy has not failed at all. It is not a failed or discredited model or any of that.
Social democratic parties have sadly had a really hard time getting off the ground in the United States. For the most part, this is because America is extremely rightwing for a developed country. It is no exaggeration to say that the US is the most reactionary developed country on Earth, in both its leadership and in its citizens. This is 100% the fault of US Whites, and always has been.
There’s been a decades-long propaganda war against socialism in which the word “socialism” was deviously married to word “Communism”. Americans being a bunch of morons, and basically very rightwing in their natures, swallowed the whole thing. But in the mid-1970’s, things were different.
We had had over a decade of fairly progressive politics, even under Republicans, and leaders of major US corporations got together, agitated and worried. They said that if something is not done now, we are going to have a European-style social democracy in the US. This began a years-long project to set up and fund a series rightwing foundations and think tanks in the US.
They are still going strong, and have tremendous influence on US politics due to their ability to churn out papers, speakers and conferences on issues almost immediately. They have deep ties to the reactionary corporate media and quickly popped onto TV and the front page and kept there as long as the Right wants or needs any issue to be spotlighted.
It is true that there is a tradition of radical individualism in the US, but that’s only among White people. This may have been slightly reasonable at some point if you were Davey Crockett building a cabin in the woods, but those days are long gone.
One great thing about the loss of a White majority in the US (which will be both good and bad) is that US non-Whites, in particular Hispanics and Blacks, are much more sympathetic to at least Democratic Party politics and possibly social democracy.
On the other hand, reactionary politics have such a deep hold on this country that even some younger Blacks and Hispanics, once they start making some money, adopt some form of reactionary politics, typically nowadays along the lines of the faddish but ultra-rightwing libertarianism. This is discouraging, and shows that a non-Whites in the US are not necessarily a progressive bloc.
Another thing to note is that despite the hostile rhetoric some US social democratic parties take towards the Democratic Party, we already have a lot of social democracy here in the US, brought to us actually by both political parties.
The Right, meaning White America, has been savagely slashing away at this social democracy for decades now, but even so, it’s a Hell of a lot better record than the social democratic parties in Argentina, Chile, Peru, Guatemala, Jamaica and Brazil, which in my opinion have failed to varying degrees.
If Americans were anything like Europeans, social democracy ought to be an easy play here in the US. But for one thing, White Americans’ opposition to high taxation is going to make this a difficult project.
White Americans’ opposition to socialism and social democracy is rooted in a lot of things, but one of the main things is race. It’s all about taking the hard-earned tax dollars of White Americans and giving them to worthless gangbanging, welfare-addicted, drug-abusing Hispanics and Black criminals, scumbags and lowlifes.
Truth is that this simple-minded mindset has devastated a lot of hardworking working-class lower to mid-income Whites, but White America just can’t see that.
White Americans don’t have much in the way of racial solidarity. If there is anything, there is solidarity based on class and that’s it. Whites in the suburbs think that low-income and working class Whites, whom they refer to as White trash, can fuck off. While White American politics are indeed often rooted in race, they are also rooted in class too, and the two can be contradictory.
Life is complicated.
AJ asks about the rebellions in the Northeast of India, which have been going on nonstop since the birth of the state.
The imperialist state of India has no right to any of those lands. All of those places refused to join India in 1947. They only joined after India attacked them militarily or threatened to. Most of those states have been in armed rebellion ever since.
How come we never hear about it? Do you think it is because they are brown, so journalists don’t want to paint them as imperialists?
They have no right to Kashmir either.
The imperialist state of the USA, along with almost all other (objectively fascist) states on Earth, is generally opposed to separatism. Only Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba and a few other places give support to any separatists. It’s because all states stick together, and the enemy of all states is the separatists. On this line, I am with the anarchists. Most of these separatist rebellions are justified, and I support them. But no state wants to break up.
Mostly the various imperialist states of the world at best cynically support the separatism of their enemies and the often brutal of separatism of their allies. There are no good people in politics. Most politicians are sociopathic, and most states are sociopathic by nature.
The only reasonable position is a principled one. Either separatism is generally justified or it is never justified. To support the separatism of your enemies on moral grounds while promoting the brutal suppression of separatists by your allies is the most cynical and disgusting politics. Of course a Jew gave a name to it: Realpolitik. But before Kissinger there was Machiavelli.
I will say that one great thing about Whites is that we are the only race civilized enough to break up our states on civil grounds without committing mass genocides like all the other barbarian races do. Only Whites could have broken up the USSR (one of the greatest acts of emancipation and liberation of the 20th Century), only Whites could have broken up Czechoslovakia, and only Whites are willing to break up the UK and Canada.
Uncle Milton, as typical of his contrary nature, disputes my contention that most nations on Earth are run by social democratic parties or are social democracies.
The US, the Baltics, Colombia, the Philippines, the UK and Chile are exceptions.
May I ask how do you define Social Democracy…? Almost every Latin America country (Brazil, Bolivia, Venezuela for example..) has a higher (worse – less egalitarian) Gini index than not only the US and UK but also the Philippines. Nicaragua (43.1) is the exception but is quite close to the PI (44.5).
The UK’s Gini index is better than New Zealand’s and matches Italy while it only a smidgen about Australia and Ireland.
As for the Baltics, Latvia and Estonia are at the same level as Italy.
(By the way I do understand these figures are subject to question..in the examples above I am using the UN’s estimates.. the CIA estimates place the UK at the same level as Switzerland)
I would think that income equality would be a pretty important (but not the solely import…) measure of a Social Democracy.
I said most countries on Earth are run by socialist or populist parties. I only list those countries – The US, the Baltics, the UK, Colombia, Chile, the Philippines and Somalia – that are run by parties that are explicitly hostile to socialism and are open advocates of neoclassical economics. If you can find anymore, let me know. Liberal, socialist, Communist, progressive and populist parties run the planet! Rightwing parties hostile to socialism which promote neoclassical economics are a tiny minority. Socialism rules the Earth!
Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua are run by socialist parties. They have made efforts to reduce the Gini coefficient of course, but their efforts are attacked in the US, and there are usually assassination attempts and coup attempts against them in their countries.
I don’t give a fuck about Gini coefficient. The US’ social democracy is anemic compared to that of the New Zealand and Italy. What matters are the benefits afforded to the people. They are excellent in New Zealand and Italy and anemic in the US. Income distribution ain’t everything. Gini coefficient is not that important in a state that provides no benefits.
The Baltic states are some of the few states on Earth run by conservatives that are openly hostile to all forms of socialism and are open advocates of neoclassical economics.
Repost from the old site.
In the comments section, Scott, who is a White nationalist, discusses the disconnect between multiculturalism and socialism or social democracy.
Yes, we do allow White nationalists, even anti-Black ones, on the board, but every time a cute Black woman shows up on the board, we force them to kiss her. On the lips. On penalty of banning. None have left yet. Brown sugar, how come you taste so good? Scott says:
Look at the countries that have the highest index of egalitarianism in the West: Iceland, Norway, Sweden (used to have more). The inhabitants are all pretty closely related to one another. I’ll spot my sibling $100 cash.
It’s basically the same thing but in a less dramatic way in such countries, but when other nationalities come in because of the aforementioned ethnostates’ welfare system, as seek to take advantage of it, the whole system gets messed up. Find me an ethnically diverse country with a social democracy.
Scott is right. Does the UK count as a multicultural country? If it does, it’s growing a nasty White racist – fascist party of reaction to the diversity in the BNP.
Does Venezuela count? If Venezuela counts, I would say that Venezuela is a country riven with violence, tension and class war. There seems to be a racial angle, but in the upper class and upper middle class, it’s really more about class than race. Nevertheless, it’s clear that the oligarchy is much more light-skinned than the Underclass that supports Chavez.
Is multicultural Russia a social democracy? Maybe so, but it’s riven from one end to the other with horrible racism.
Do Communist states like China and Cuba count? Maybe so, but those countries, probably due to the class warfare (in the case of both) and combined class/race warfare (in the case of Cuba) inherent in their societies, needed full, bloody Communist revolutions to institute any kind of socialist system.
Vietnam and Laos are multiethnic countries, but the Lao and the Vietnamese are the overwhelming majority. They also needed Communist revolutions to put in socialism.
I would say Sri Lanka. They have a pretty good social democracy there, and the ruling party is a member of the Socialist International. There’s also a horribly vicious civil war going on, because that “socialist” party in power has never done much to help the Tamils.
Socialist parties in Chile, Argentina and Brazil haven’t been able to get much done. In Chile and Argentina the problem is probably much more class than race. In Brazil, surely it’s both race and class together. The socialists in Ecuador and Bolivia are trying to get something done, but Bolivia is riven with a horrific class/race division and it’s almost civil war there.
I don’t think that the socialist parties in Nicaragua and Guatemala will be able to get much done. Both nations had Leftist revolutions for decades, in the case of Nicaragua followed by a revolutionary government and more civil war, this time counterrevolutionary. Nicaragua was always more about class than race, but the oligarchy is light-skinned. In Guatemala, the situation is very much about both class and race riven together. One thing becomes clear in this analysis.
The only way to peacefully vote in a socialist or social democratic government is to have a relatively homogeneous society. Typically a White society. As diversity and multiculturalism increases, even in White European countries, White racist/fascist groups rise up for various reasons and racial violence against minorities becomes common.
In multiethnic or deeply class-riven nations (Note how often the two are conflated!), socialism, social democracy or movements towards them is typically accompanied by either outright civil war, de facto civil war, tremendous open class war in terms of coups, attempted coups, lockout strikes, riots, imperialist interventions, class-based separatist movements, and much violence.
In other places, socialist governments are not able to get much done due to deep class and race-based conflicts and the threat of violence from dominant ethnics and/or classes.
In other places, long civil wars eventually installed Communist regimes in multiethnic countries and ethnic conflict subsided or stopped. Short of installing a Communist regime, multiethnic countries moving towards socialism are likely to experience a lot of internal violence and chaos.
If diversity is so bad for socialism, why do socialists in the West keep pushing it? Good question.
Belarus: Dictatorship or Democracy? A Review of Stewart Parker’s Book: The Last Soviet Republic. Originally Published on Globalresearch.ca
by Gearóid Ó Colmáin
August 24, 2010
Since the pronouncement of former US Secretary of State Condolezza Rice in 2008 calling the democratically elected president of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko “Europe’s last dictator”, the image and reputation of this noble country has been fanatically tarnished by the mainstream media.
The irony here is that Belarus is indeed deeply familiar with the iniquities of dictatorship. They, more than any other country, suffered the worst of Nazi atrocities during World War 11.
Belarus has always been a multicultural country with Jews, Christians and Muslims living side by side for centuries. This deep tolerance for cultural and religious differences is still celebrated in Belarus today. Yet the European Union, Israel and the United States, never cease from spreading atrocious lies and disinformation concerning the Republic of Belarus.
Belarus has generally received scant coverage from alternative and left-wing media, which is rather surprising considering the fact that Fidel Castro has awarded Alexander Lukashenko with the order of Jose Marti, the highest honour bestowed upon friends of the Cuban people. In a recent visit to Belarus, the president of Venezuela Hugo Chavez praised Belarus as a model of socialist development, one which Venezuela should emulate.
Yet there is a paucity of books and articles about this country and its “controversial” leader. One notable exception to this hiatus comes from Stewart Parker who published a clear and revealing book on Belarus and the policies of Alexander Lukashenko in particular.
For readers seeking an insight into this fascinating country, Parker’s The Last Soviet Republic: Alexander Lukashenko’s Belarus (2007) is a brilliant exposé of the lies and distortions emanating from the European Union and the US concerning “human rights” violations in Belarus and the absence of “democracy.” What follows is an attempt to summarize and evaluate the findings of this valuable study.
Alexander Lukashenko came to power after a landslide victory in 1994. A former director in a collective farm during the USSR era, Lukashenko was one of the few Belarusian politicians to oppose the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1990. Although the Belarusian leader had always been an outspoken critic of the USSR’s corruption, he remained committed to Marxism-Leninism, and opposed the rampant privatization proposed by Boris Yeltsin and his followers.
In the final years of the Soviet regime, Lukashenko, then a deputy to the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, formed a group called “Communists for Democracy.” Lukashenko argued that the real problem in the USSR was the decline in democratic participation and the parasitism and corruption of the ruling bureaucracy. He also advocated more autonomy for the USSR’s constituent Republics.
Belarus had always been the most advanced Soviet Republics, with high achievements in education and science. In spite of economic stagnation and increasing corruption in other republics of the USSR, Belarus’s state planning had continued to yield impressive results, with economic growth continuing throughout the Brezhnev era. In 1993 Lukashenko was appointed head of an “anti-corruption committee.”
One of the numerous myths repeatedly circulated since the fall of the USSR is that a majority of the Soviet people wanted free market capitalism. This was certainly not the case in Soviet Republic of Belarus. It was Alexander Lukashenko’s defence of Soviet values, together with his outspoken criticisms of the Communist Party of the USSR and the apparatchiks of the soviet regime that earned him the respect and confidence of the Belarusian people. In 1994 Lukashenko was elected President of Belarus with over 80 percent of the votes.
Finding a place for Belarus in the post-Soviet chaos was a difficult task for the young president. One of the first issues concerned the national flag. The BPF, a nationalist party, wanted to restore the white, red and white flag of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which had been the national flag under the puppet regime of the German empire in 1918. It was also used by the collaborators with the Nazi Wehrmacht during World War II. The people finally settled for maintaining the Soviet flag minus the hammer and sickle. Radio Free Europe later lamented the dropping of the Nazi collaboration flag as a “heavy blow to democratic forces.”
In the intervening years since the fall of the USSR and the rise of Lukashenko, over 15 billion dollars had been siphoned out of the country. Privatization and the lifting of price controls had caused inflation to soar, with prices rising 432 times. The Soviet economy was being replaced by mafia gangsters. Western “freedom” and “democracy” was taking its toll!
Through a series of referenda Lukashenko was able to set in motion a democratic social program which has made Belarus one of the most prosperous and least corrupt countries in Eastern Europe. Just like Venezuela, a clause in the constitution decided by a referendum permits the indefinite re-election of the president should the Belarusian people wish to do so.
Over 80 percent of industry in Belarus remains in public ownership. In 1996 the unemployment figure in the country amounted to 4 percent. Lukashenko’s administration has since reduced this figure to little over 1 percent, one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world. Industrial output rose by 9.7 percent in 2004. Wages have been increasing significantly every year since Lukashenko’s accession to power.
Economic growth in Socialist Belarus has been so impressive that even the World Bank and the IMF have had to acknowledge this incontrovertible fact. In June 2005, the World Bank published a report titled Belarus: Window of Opportunity, which admitted that the Belarusian economy was growing steadily, while the IMF admitted that Belarus had significant wage increases coupled with low government debt. Good news for Belarus, bad news for the World Bank and IMF, whom Lukashenko, speaking before the Russian Duma in 1999, had called “a pack of swindlers.”
In a world where the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer, Belarus offers real hope that economics does not have to function that way.
According to the system developed by the Italian statistician Corrado Gini, known as the Gini coefficient, Belarus ranks as the most equal country on earth. The Gini coefficient for Belarus in 2005 was 0.217, the lowest out of 113 countries. In Belarus, the lowest income is only five times lower than the highest income. This means that the notion of “corporate greed” one hears about in the United States and Europe is virtually nonexistent in the Republic of Belarus.
Belarus also comes out on top in education. Adult literacy in Belarus is the highest in the CIS nations at 99.7%. This is because Belarus spends more money on education than most other nations. Over 10% of the Belarusian state budget goes into education. This surpasses all other CIS countries, the USA and most European countries.
In contrast to Western “democracies” where social security is being systematically destroyed to sustain the financial oligarchies, male workers in Belarus retire at 60, while women retire at 55 with full pension entitlements.
Needless to say, the attitude of the EU and the United States nomenclatura, that is to say, the self-proclaimed “international community,” is that Belarus is not a “democracy.” Media disinformation has backed this hostility of European and US elites to Belarus by publishing an impressive quantity of lies. At the 60th session of the United Nations General Assembly in 2005, President Lukashenko put the US “human rights” obsession thus:
If there are no pretexts for intervention – imaginary ones are created. To this end a very convenient banner was chosen, democracy and human rights, and not in the original sense of the rule of people and personal dignity, but solely and exclusively in the interpretation of the US leadership.
In order to promote the US “interpretation” of human rights, President Clinton sent Michael Kozak to Belarus in 2000. Kozak distinguished himself during the 1970s in the Iran/contra scandal where he was instrumental in organising the sale of arms to the contra terrorists in Nicaragua in exchange for cocaine, which the CIA sold to poor Americans on the streets of Los Angeles, the same poor people who would subsequently be incarcerated for “possession of narcotics.”
While poor people were forced to make military uniforms in US prisons for their drug convictions, Kozak was one of Washington’s key handlers of Daniel Noriega, a CIA narcotrafficker and dictator of Panama. Clinton had deep confidence in Kozak’s democratic credentials, as he himself was governor of Arkansas, where the CIA operation was conducted from. The US-funded terrorist campaign in Nicaragua cost the lives of over 30,000 people, most of them civilians. Kozak had the perfect credentials for spreading “democracy” American style in socialist Belarus.
Upon his arrival in Minsk, US ambassador Micheal Kozak, Clinton’s former CIA gun-for-drugs terrorist handler, now US “pro-democracy” diplomat, was quick to make contact with his European counterparts. Representing the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe was Hans Georg Wieck. Wieck worked closely with Kozak to groom “opposition” candidates in Belarus suitable to Washington and Brussels.
When Lukashenko won another landslide victory in the presidential elections of 2001, the OSCE condemned the elections as unfair without producing a shred of evidence to corroborate their claims.
After the 9-11 attacks in New York, the US showed the real motives behind the “global war on terror” when Senator John McCain declared:
Alexander Lukashenko’s Belarus cannot long survive in a world where the United States and Russia enjoy a strategic partnership and the United States is serious about its commitment to end outlaw regimes whose conduct threatens us…September 11th opened our eyes to the status of Belarus as a national security threat.
McCain was referring to the sale of arms by Belarus to the CIA’s disobedient puppet dictator Saddam Hussein, a claim denied by President Lukashenko. Here we see the US accusing other countries of crimes which it itself committed for years when it sold arms to the Iraqi dictator. But the real crime committed by Lukashenko was his progressive social policies, which were setting a bad example for other countries strangled by the financial interests of the US global oligarchy; US “national security” meaning the security of the financial elite, and “global war on terror” meaning global war on freedom.
But the US was determined to launch its global terror campaign against any state that dared to resist casino capitalism. Belarus and Lukashenko himself would pay a heavy price for standing up to the IMF and the World Bank. In 2004 the United States proceeded to take action with the passing of the Belarus Democracy Act, calling for sanctions against Belarus and funding for “pro-democracy” groups.
Most opposition groups in Belarus today receive funding from the United States government, paid for by cash-strapped US tax payers. This funding almost culminated in the so-called “Denim Revolution” in 2006, a CIA-funded attempt to arouse popular opposition to the Lukashenko government in order to replace it with a pro-US regime. However, unlike their neighbours in other Eastern European countries, the Belarusians did not take the US bait, and Lukashenko stayed in power.
After the failure of the “Denim Revolution,” the EU imposed a travel ban on Lukashenko and 30 ministers, preventing them from traveling to any part of the EU. This shows the extent of the anxiety among the EU elite in the face of Belarus’s popular democracy.
Stewart Parker sites a number of poignant examples in his book which reveal the extent of systematic anti-democratic interference in Belarusian affairs by the United States and their vassal states in Europe. What is particularly “totalitarian” about socialist Belarus is not the Belarusian state, but rather the way in which that state is portrayed by the so-called democratic authorities of the EU and the US.
The absurdities promoted by the mainstream media come from all sides. Lukashenko has been accused of anti-Semitism, in spite of the fact that the thriving Jewish community in the country seem to be unaware of this fact. In fact, the chief Rabbi of Belarus has praised the Belarussian president for his support of the Jewish community, yet the EU, the US and Israel insist that Lukashenko is “anti-Semitic” and also opposes “free media.”
The Belarus government has been accused of internet censorship and media control. More lies! The Open Net Initiative carried out a study after the “disputed” elections of 2006 to see if the claims about Internet censorship were true. They “found no evidence of systematic and comprehensive interference with the Net. Any regime-directed tampering that may have taken place was fairly subtle, causing disruptions to access, but never turning off the alternative information tap.”
Another slander against the Belarusian president came from Russia’s “free media.” In 1995, Dr. Marcus Zeiner interviewed Lukashenko for the German newspaper Handelsblatt. The interview with Dr. Martin Zeiner was cleverly mistranslated to include positive references to Hitler. This was confirmed by the interviewer himself who subsequently said “a tape of the interview had been quoted out of context and with the sequence of comments altered.”
The BBC continues to propagate this lie about Lukashenko, which only serves to prove the desperation of the corporate media in the face of popular leaders whose policies threaten their empire of lies.
Stewart Parker’s book The Last Soviet Republic is an indispensable guide to a country and leader the bourgeois media does not want you to know about. It is, to my knowledge, the only comprehensive study of a country that only receives attention when vicious opportunities for anti-socialist propaganda present themselves.
We have much to learn from this brave little country that sacrificed so much to defeat the forces of fascism of Europe’s past and is now menaced by those same fascist forces which have resurfaced today in the name of “human rights,” “democracy” and “freedom.” In a world dominated by the ideology of the financial elite, those who stand for the common man and woman are beaten down ruthlessly. Alexander Lukashenko stands for democracy, human rights and freedom, which is why the corporate media call him a “dictator.”
Hacienda, a supporter of neoliberal capitalism, says worker run companies could not survive the competition against capitalist firms in Silicon Valley:
There are no worker run firms in Silicon Valley.There aren’t any, because they couldn’t survive the competition. That’s seems to be the flaw of worker run firms. They can’t compete.
There’s no reason why a worker run could not survive against capitalist firms. I’m having a hard time imagining why they could not.
The cooperative sector in the US, the rest of the West, Cuba, Nicaragua, Vietnam, China and lots of places, does just fine. Most of China’s firms that are kicking the world’s ass are actually publically owned firms, often run by labor collectives or small municipalities. And co-ops have been going like gangbusters in Western Europe for ages. Don’t sell it short. It’s run just like any other firm, accept that the workers get the profits as owners instead of management.
Tito’s worker run firms did very well for a long time, but there was a flaw. Given the choice of reinvesting in the firm or taking the profits home in their pockets, workers usually decided to take them home, thinking short-term. Eventually, the plants collapsed through lack of upkeep.
The Mondragon Cooperatives in the Basque Region have been running great for years.
Mondragon has gotten away from the Yugoslavian problem in that large banks actually own the plants and run them. They make the decisions about how much to reinvest and how much to pay out to workers. In Mondragon, workers hire and fire their own managers. You would think they would fire anyone who made them work and only hire those who let them slack off, but it has not worked that way at all.
FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), a very powerful guerrilla group, also has branches in other nations.
FARE (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Ecuador) operates in Ecuador, mostly in Sucumbios. See my other post for more on them.
FARB (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Brazil) operates in the Dog’s Head of Brazil on the Colombian border. They don’t do much there militarily as it is just a rear base. Mostly they resupply there from Brazilian merchants. The area is sparsely populated jungle. FARC also ranges across the northern part of Brazil all the way to the border of Brazil and Guyana, where they tax the gold mining businesses.
FARV (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Venezuela) is just the FARC in Venezuela. They have about 2,000-3,000 people under arms. It’s hard to say what they do there. It seems Venezuela is mostly a rear guard base, and Hugo Chavez definitely supports the FARC and leaves them alone in Venezuela.
Colombian paramilitaries are now starting to operate in the border area too, and things are getting messy. Also, about 200 peasants have been murdered by Venezuelan death squads in the past decade. The death squads are run by wealthy landowners, usually cattle ranchers, and opposition politicians. It’s really the Opposition who are the killers in Venezuela, not Chavez.
The killings stem from land conflicts, as most of the land in that part of Venezuela is owned by a tiny group of big landowners and most of the population are rural peasants. Peasants stage land takeovers in the typical Latin American style. Chavez has started to buy out some landowners and give land to peasant and Indian communities, but the process is slow.
FARV are mostly Venezuelans, a militia that is armed and pro-Chavez. They do little, but are mostly there in case of a rightwing coup or anti-Chavez invasion, in which case they will take up arms to defend Chavez.
FARP (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Peru): This is the FARC in Peru. They have been active down there for a few years now, mostly in the north around Loreto Province, but they have been active all the way down to Pucallpa in Ucayali. They use it as a rearguard base, but are also forming deep relations with the peasants. They buy stuff from peasants and give them things that the peasants need. They are quite popular in the area, whereas Sendero Luminoso were widely hated for their brutality against the poor.
In addition, FARP has recruited 1,200 new members all across Peru in the last few years. Many of these people are former Shining Path members who quit the group or were released from prison. They’ve soured on Sendero due to the brutal tactics and have taken up with FARP instead. FARP carries out no armed activities in Peru, though they are said to be very well equipped and supplied. They are also taxing coca crops being grown in the part of Peru right across the border from Colombia. This area is a wild jungle.
FARC in Panama: FARC has long used the Darien Gap region of Panama as a rear base. There are occasional shootouts with Panamanian security forces. There are now death squads in Panama murdering Indians for “cooperating with the FARC.” The FARC just stay in Indian villages and buy stuff from the Indians, that’s all. It’s just an R & R area.
FARC in Bolivia: There are rumors that the FARC has been in Bolivia training militias aligned with President Evo Morales, but there is no hard evidence that this is true.
FARC in Paraguay: There are allegations that FARC has helped train the EPP, a new Paraguayan guerrilla group, though there is no hard evidence.
FARC in Nicaragua: The FARC has a long relationship with the Sandinistas of Nicaragua. Large stashes of FARC money and guns have been seized there, but the FARC carries out no armed activities. Nicaragua is just used as a place to buy guns and amass funds.
That article is a lie. The law that passed made the stations fill out a bunch of paperwork so they could be monitored better. Just routine bureaucratic stuff. Those opposition stations deliberately refused to fill out that paperwork, knowing full well that they would get shut down. They basically shut themselves down on purpose in order to make Chavez look like a dictator. I believe that most of those stations have been reinstated after they filled out their paperwork.
The “yanking the advertisements off the air” is not true. The law limits the stations to one ad break per 30 minutes. I’m not sure what the purpose of that is, but it applies to all stations, pro-government, anti- and neutral.
The part about “forcing them to carry Chavez speeches” isn’t really true. They do want all of the media to have to carry important government announcements. During the coup, for instance, the government was constantly sending out announcements regarding this or that, mostly in opposition to the coup. The Opposition media completely blocked out all government statements and showed soaps and sports nonstop instead. No one could figure out what was going on because the Opposition had all the media.
So, yeah, they have to carry some government statements, but not that many. If you think about it, every time Obama gives a speech, all the US stations are all over it, right? Including Fox? But down there, they just lock out all government statements like they don’t exist. That doesn’t seem fair or right.
The law that the MSM is complaining about so much is a pretty reasonable media responsibility law, similar to that in many countries. I believe it is almost identical to the law in Canada, for instance.
The draft law the piece referred to is troubling, but Chavez himself opposed it. It was the Chavista legislature that proposed that. The Attorney General’s statement was also disturbing, but the law never got passed anyway. You know, some dictatorship, the Chavistas can’t even pass their own laws!
I don’t agree with a lot of the government’s hard line on the media, and at times, I wish they would just blow the Opposition media off. I know they’re assholes, but so what? Let the dogs bark.
Globovision is still on the air 7 months after that article was written, but I think they are moving to cable.
On the regular airwaves, 25% of the stations are pro-government, 20% are Opposition, and 55% are neutral. The neutral ones carry both pro- and anti-Chavez people, often in equal numbers, and they have some of the most ferocious anti-Chavez folks as regular guests.
The article is not correct that Venezuela is the worst in the Hemisphere. In Colombia, they just murder the Opposition media, so it frankly barely even exists. In Peru, there is a law called “apology for terrorism.” It’s used pretty broadly.
In Colombia, Peru, Chile, Panama, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, there is no opposition media that I’m aware of. The elite has almost the entire media spectrum. I’m not sure of the situation in Mexico, Ecuador, Paraguay, Bolivia and Uruguay, but the elite seems to have most to all of the media in those places too. There is a Left media in Argentina, but it’s one daily paper. There is probably some Left media in Brazil, mostly newspapers. In Argentina and Brazil, the elite control TV. There is opposition media in Nicaragua from the Sandinistas.
So really, Venezuela is probably one of the few places in the Hemisphere, along with Nicaragua, Bolivia and Ecuador, where there is a ferocious and vibrant Opposition media at all. Keep in mind that the elite control the media in Latin America. They almost always control the state too, so in essence there’s never any opposition media in Latin America, except when a leftwing, anti-elite government comes in. Then the entire media spectrum of the nation lines up against the state. So the strange truth is that Venezuela has one of the loudest, most belligerent, most vibrant and most powerful opposition medias in the region.
What Chavez is trying to do is to get away from the elite media model towards community radio and TV. He has been giving out licenses by the handful for community radio and TV stations. It’s true that most of these smaller stations support him, since most communities support him, but community stations in anti-Chavez regions have anti-Chavez community media. Even the Chavez-supporting community media is often extremely critical of the regime, when they feel that they are screwing up. Someone needs to keep the government on its toes.
What he’s doing is democratizing the media space, moving away from the typical model in capitalism where an elite, say the top 1% of the population, owns nearly the entire media spectrum, print and non-print. A better model is a democratic media.
The “mounting economic problems” in Venezuela are due to the worldwide recession or depression that the US elite set off with their financial machinations and fraud. Venezuela is experiencing the same thing that everyone else is, it’s not Chavez’ fault. During Chavez’ term, the economy has grown like gangbusters.
The commenter also refers to this article to claim that “Hugo Chavez is a dictator.” This was the defeat of the proposed Constitution rewrite. There were good and bad aspects of it. The bit about censoring the media in a national emergency was an attempt to make sure the situation that occurred during the coup would not recur. I supported his bid to run for life. If Venezuelans want to keep re-electing him over and over, let them. That sounds like democracy to me.
I think the bit about seizing private property was for economic sabotage. A lot of the capitalist food producers are engaging in economic sabotage to try to bring down the regime, and it’s hard to figure out how to deal with them!
The inflation is occurring, or was occurring in 2007 at the time the article was written, due to an overheated economy that is growing too fast. You know, the same guy who is ruining the economy is also presiding over an economy that is growing so wildly it is getting inflationary? The “student opposition” is like the “student opposition to FARC” in Colombia. Rightwing students from moneyed classes are rallying at their expensive private universities. Yeah, some “student movement.” Just like the 60’s, huh?
The main thing is that Chavez’ constitutional reform was defeated. How is that a dictator puts his laws up for vote and the people vote them down? What kind of dictatorship is that? A lot of Chavistas voted against that law, and I don’t blame them.
I admit that Chavez bothers me at times with his polarizing rhetoric and bombastic blathering. The guy’s a demagogue, let’s face it. But so is Castro, so was Daniel Ortega, so was Juan Peron. Latin Americans love their caudillos and their demagogues.
Very nice article sums up very well the great changes that occurred in China on October 1, 1949. The author finds that almost every Chinese woman he meets his joyous about the Chinese Revolution. Why? It was the greatest movement for he liberation of women that has ever occurred in the history of the world.
On that day, for instance, Mao issued a decree forbidding forever the binding of feet, a practice that was rampant under Chiang’s Nationalist government. Arranged marriages were ended and women received 1/2 of their husband’s property.
As Mao put it, “China stood up.” Indeed.
Were the Revolution never to have taken place, surely Chinese women would still have bound feet, would get screwed (literally in marriage) and would suffer form arranged marriages. In the rural areas, education and health care would be rare to nonexistent, just as it is in India today.
Mao also tried to stop wife-beating, an ancient tradition in China. His methods were ingenius. Mao ordered women all across China to order the men in the villages to stop beating women. If they did not stop, there would be consequences.
Many men did not stop, so party cadres in the villages told Chinese women to gather up their farm implements and raid the houses of the beaters and beat them up with farm tools. So all across China, in 100’s of thousands of villages, women armed with hoes and shovels stormed into houses and beat up men who were beating their wives. Wife-beating quickly dropped to a low level, though unfortunately it still continues today.
The Chinese government is said to be capitalist, but that is not really true. The latest government educational decree sent teachers to all villages with over 200 residents.
In the 3rd World, capitalist countries don’t do things like that. The reigning neoliberal model says the less the state spends on education, the better, as it is regarded as a waste of society’s money that would be better spent by the public sector. Instead, private schools are encouraged.
The US “liberal”mass media cheers the closing of schools in the Third World and government issuance of nonpayable school fees. When the Sandinistas were thrown out of office in 1990, the entire US media stood up and cheered. Nearly all legislators of both US parties (the “liberal” Democrats nearly more than the Republicans) roared their approval for the defeat of the Sandinistas.
The ultra-reactionary Violeta Chamorro got down to business very quickly. One of the first things she did was to close health clinics all over Nicaragua. Next she issued a $30/year fee that parents had to pay for every student in the public schools. This was unpayable for huge numbers of parents, so swarms of students all over Nicaragua quickly dropped out of school. I assume that that’s still the case today.
It is for such things that the entire US media cheers. Floods of students being thrown out of schools all over the land because they can’t pay the bills. Countless health clinics closing all over the land, leaving poor 3rd Worlders with no medical treatment. Both parties, “liberal” Democrats and Republicans, roar their approval of such atrocities.
The World Bank and the IMF, both of which are controlled both by US imperialism and also by World Jewry, imposes similar conditions all through the 3rd World. In order to get a loan, government spending must be slashed to the bone, especially health and education spending. Subsidies to poor for anything, for food, transportation, utilities, anything, are ordered to be slashed or ended altogether.
Prices for food, utilities, transportation, you name it, rocket upward and taxes are raised on the poorest of the poor. At the same time, taxes on business and the rich are gutted or eliminated and poor country must be opened up to economic colonization by corporations from the rich nations, often US corporations.
Careful studies have shown that IMF/World Bank policies have resulted in declining education and health figures across the board. The best estimates show that these sanctions have killed millions over the past couple of decades, and possibly continue to kill millions every year. So US imperialism and World Jewry are probably deliberately killing millions every year in the 3rd World through structural adjustment alone.
So any government that massively increases education to its people in these days must be a socialist nation, since capitalist countries by their nature do not do such things.
In the US, on Wikipedia and among reactionaries everywhere, there’s a new line out: the Chinese Revolution failed. Next time someone tells you that, think again.
Updated June 25, 2014. This article is 64 pages long, so be warned.
I’ve been reading a lot about this issue because I find it fascinating. Of course the media is going to feed you a lot of crap, nonsense and lies about this situation, so where do we go to really learn about it? Maybe I should ask some Latin Americans? That isn’t going to work. Most of the Latin Americans I have met are from the middle and upper classes, and almost all of them insist that there is no racism in their particular country. That sounds dubious! So, where shall we go to get the straight-up ugly truth?
No better place than Stormfront, the home of Nazi White nationalist maniacs! True, they are not very nice people, but I figured that if there were any Latin Americans on there, they would definitely tell it like it is.
Indeed there is a Latin American forum on Stormfront, and it is populated by lots of Latin American Whites. I learned a lot there, reading probably over 1,200 pages over a few days, but I’m not going to link to any of the comments because why link to Stormfront?
The truth will be very depressing to White nationalists, and it surely destroys some of their cherished myths. One of them is that racial separatism is possible. Apparently it is not.
Another is that as a White population shrinks, separatism becomes more of an urgent reality for a larger number of Whites. The truth, as we see in Latin America, is quite the opposite. As the White population shrinks down below 50%, unbelievably, White ethnocentrism declines accordingly, and the impulse to separate becomes less and less.
First of all, many or probably most White nationalist types in the US are Nordicist idiots who think that Latin American Whites are not “pure Whites.” Regardless of the truth of this, Latin American Whites have a more lax view of Whiteness. To them, if you have White ancestry, and if you look White and you act White, you are White. This strikes me as very reasonable.
During colonial times, children of a criollo (pure Spaniard, or White) and a castizo (1/4 Indian, 3/4 White) was considered to be criollo, or White. This person would have been 12% Indian and would probably have a strong White phenotype. It is likely that this standard is still employed in Latin America today.
The Latin American system classes all European Meds as White: Portuguese, Spaniards, Italians, Romanians, Greeks and Yugoslavs. Also, White Arabs, especially Lebanese and Syrian Christians, are also considered White. Latin American Whites also consider Armenians and Georgians to be White.
How many Whites are there in Latin America? That’s a very interesting question. Many figures are tossed about. I figure the best figure is around 170 million+ Whites in Latin America.
What was interesting on the forum is the way that they described Latin American Whites. According to them, the average White down there is very, very racist in US terms.
In Argentina, the general belief is that they are White and not a part of the rest of Latin America as a result, and there is open contempt, at least in private, for mestizos and mulattos*, not to mention Indians. The general belief, contrary to the US, is that dark = ugly. Indians are ugly, Whites are beautiful.
Latin American Whites do not necessarily despise mestizos, though some certainly do, and this feeling is more pronounced in some countries than in others. In many cases, Whites do not dislike mestizos of the same social class. However, the contempt for Indians is a hallmark of the mindset of Latin American Whites pretty much across the board.
In the US, the feeling is quite the opposite. Indians are not regarded as ugly, and Indian women have long been fetishized by White men as sex objects. Indian men are not seen as ugly either. We pretty much like Indians here in the US.
Similarly, Whiteness is highly prized all over Latin America in both Whites and non-Whites, whereas in the US, many Hispanics, typically Chicanos, get angry if you suggest that they are White or part-White. This is seen as an insult to them.
In Latin America, Indians are widely despised by Whites, there is no way of getting around that obvious fact, and no amount of denial and lying will make it go away.
Let us look at Mexico. It is a common Mexican lie that there is no racism in Mexico. This lie is usually perpetrated by mestizos and Whites. I doubt many Indians would tell you that.
Among the Mexican upper class, with the males at least, there is once again a belief that Indian women are ugly.
Nevertheless, Mexican politics means that most Mexican Whites say they are mestizos, deny their Whiteness, and hate the US. These are traditions of Mexican society.
Mexico decided a while back to deal with the race issue by formulating a lie that said that every Mexican was a mestizo, and that’s that. That lie is called mestizaje, and it is said to be the essence of Mexicanness.
There is another lie about Mexican society, this one about Blacks. A friend went on a tour of Mexico and was informed that the large Black population had simply disappeared.
The truth is that they were “bred out.” They were bred into the population so heavily that the average mestizo now is 4% Black, and that percentage is fairly uniform across the mestizo population. There are few Blacks remaining in Mexico, but there are some down by Veracruz.
Denial of Whiteness goes along with mestizaje .
Hatred of the US (the gringos), is part of Mexican culture for a long time now.
These same Mexicans, who deny their Whiteness, insist they are mestizos and hate the gringos, the men anyway will have nothing to do with a woman that is pure Indian or maybe mostly Indian. On the other hand, they date, sleep with and gladly breed with mestizos, especially the lighter ones. They will often deny this by saying that the mestiza is White like they are, or not like the household help, or whatever.
These same Mexican Whites are also very happy to have mestizos and Indians moving into the Whiter parts of Mexico, as this means more low wage labor and more customers to buy their stuff. White consciousness in Mexico is essentially about zero. The same White Mexicans who will insist that they are mestizos and not White will get angry if you call them indio. Indio is a big insult to any White Mexican.
Nevertheless, there is little overt racism in Mexico between mestizos and Whites, perhaps due to the homogenizing effect of mestizaje. However, there is some discrimination in employment to the extent that lighter skin makes it easier to get a good job than darker skin.
Light skin, eyes and hair are valued traits, but they are not necessary to get along in society. However, there is considerable racism against Indians. In addition, most White and mestizo Mexicans have a deep and abiding hatred for Blacks, whom they call pinche mayates (fucking niggers).
In recent years, the number of White Mexicans marrying mestizos has been very high. In Mexico, mestizos often want to marry White according to the tradition of mejorando la raza, literally, “improving the race.” Mestizo men are said to have an extreme fetish for blonde White women.
It is true that if you watch Mexican TV, you might think Mexico is 90% White. However, this is mostly true for the largest two networks, and it is often not the case with local or regional networks, where you see many mestizos. Mexican mestizos have conflicted feelings towards White Mexicans, and some of them have extreme anti-Spanish and anti-European feelings. Typically, if they are males, they would also do anything to get their hands on a White woman.
The history of White Mexico is quite interesting. Forum posters say that Mexico was around 37% White as late as independence. That’s fascinating.
What’s happened since then is more and more breeding with mestizos and possibly even Indians, such that the percentage of White Mexicans is now about 8% and declining all the time. That percentage is controversial. Some Mexicans say the true number is as low as 5%. 61% of the population are mestizos of all sorts of varieties, and 30% are either Indian or mostly Indian.
There are up to 10 million Whites in Mexico. Areas of Mexico that were 90% White in the past are now maybe 30-40% White.
Historically and to this day, most of the Whites lived in the northeast, but they are also scattered throughout the country. Nuevo León in the northeast used to be overwhelmingly White until a vast migration of Indians and mestizos from the South swamped it. Afterward, very heavy mixing occurred, and Nuevo León is no longer a White state. Most of the Whites in Nuevo León live in the large city of San Pedro.
But there are still small towns in the mountains of Nuevo León which are, bizarrely enough, all-White towns. Many people in these towns have blond hair and blue eyes.
The original plan for Nuevo León was to create a separate Spanish colony, separate from New Spain, but it never came to fruition. This state is prosperous and plays a very important role in the Mexican economy.
According to posters, along with the claim that Mexico was 40% White in colonial times is the notion it was a very nice country back then (assuming you were White of course) and that it has subsequently declined into what posters called a cesspool as it grew darker in the next nearly two centuries. Posters felt the situation was hopeless for Mexican Whites, and it was projected they would become extinct or nearly so with a century.
With Mexican-Americans, things are a bit different. I have seen very White Hispanics who act angry if you tell them they look White. Many of them do not even realize that Hispanics are mixed with White and Indian. The levels of White-hatred among US Hispanics seems to be quite high, probably as a result of US culture. Within the Chicano community, some Whiter Chicanos complain of a lot of mistreatment, often due to envy. Costa Rica is a very interesting case, and the % of Whites in Costa Rica is very much in dispute. Costa Rica initially experienced a huge massacre of Indians in the context of conquest and enslavement, and the White population remained small at maybe 20,000 until independence. Costa Rica was always one of the poorest, if not the poorest, of the Spanish colonies.
Nevertheless, this population had become much less White during colonization, since the Spaniards brought few women with them. Most male Indians were either killed or exported to Peru. Hence, the colonists bred with Indian women. This continued all through the 1500’s and 1600’s. Later on there was an input of Black slaves from Jamaica. By independence, these people were about 55% White.
The Central Valley region, where Whites initially settled, is still as White as Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil and Antioquia in Colombia, two heavily-White enclaves in Latin America. This region may be 90% White.
After independence, the government had a policy of importing White workers from Europe, and this continued until about 1950 or so. This resulted in mass breeding with the original Costa Ricans, hence the original group became lighter over time. This is why Costa Rica traditionally has been such a White place.
As late as 1960, Costa Rica was probably 90% White.
However, in recent years, a large influx of mestizo illegal immigrants from Nicaragua, Colombia and other places has come into the country. There are 4 million native Costa Ricans in the country, but there are also 1.5 million Nicaraguans and 1.3 million Colombians. 99% of the Nicaraguans are mestizos.
The Colombians are regarded as “the Jews of Costa Rica” in that, once they go into a business sector, they tend to quickly dominate it. Hence, Colombians are somewhat resented in Costa Rica. Downtown San Jose now looks like Mexico City. Crime has risen along with the mass illegal immigration.
In addition, on the Caribbean Coast, there are now many Jamaican Blacks, possibly also illegal immigrants. In coastal cities, people tend to be mixed-race. In the inland cities, most people are White. In recent decades, many mestizos have appeared among native Costa Ricans, as the Whites there are starting to breed in with mestizos. In some places, a majority of Whites are now married to mestizos.
Nevertheless, the upper class is still overwhelmingly White, as this photo set of Costa Rican Presidents shows. And Costa Rica is still a mostly-White country. The population is 73% white, 17% Mestizo, 4% mulatto, 3% Black, 1% Chinese and 1% Indian. Officially, 85% of the population identifies as White, but that includes a certain number of light mestizos. There are 3 million Whites in Costa Rica.
Costa Rican Whites are quite racist and openly dislike Indians and Blacks, in keeping with the Latin American standard. They have fewer problems with mestizos, unless the person is a heavily-Indian mestizo.
A sort of Latin American version of PC nonsense along the lines of Mexico’s mestizaje has recently become de rigeour in Costa Rica. The notion is, “We are all White.” In addition, the usual anti-White nonsense history familiar to any American is now taught at all high schools. Most Whites are drinking the Nonsense Koolaid, and White consciousness is now very low. Honduras has the tiniest White population in Latin America; only 1% of the population is White. There was long a tiny White population on the Cays Islands off the Honduran coast, descendants of English and Dutch immigrants. They always spoke British English. The Cays have been owned by Honduras since 1850, but this colony never married Blacks or mulattos out of tradition.
At some point, this group become seriously inbred, and many of them migrated to the US in order to spread out and ameliorate their genetic issues.
The situation of Cuban Whites is also very interesting. Cuba was an 74% White country at the time of the Revolution in 1957. The reason was similar to that of Costa Rica. Cuba was originally quite Black (they were all slaves) but there was huge immigration from Spain in the 1800’s, mostly from Galicia (northwest Spain). Quite a few also came from Catalonia.
Hence, at the time of the Revolution, 85% of Cuban Whites were Spanish, 10% French and the next largest group was Italians. The remainder included Scottish, Irish, English, Germans and Hungarians.
The rest included 12% Blacks and 14% mixed race. Although Havana has always been darker, the rest of the country was heavily White, and some parts still are. Whites tend to be concentrated in Western Cuba, the tobacco-growing region. Since tobacco did not use slave labor, there were fewer slaves in this region.
There was little breeding between Whites and Blacks because Cuba was a very racist society, something the anti-Castro Cubans deny. Part of the reason for this was high White race consciousness in Cuban Whites. Another aspect was that breeding with Blacks would be like breeding with your former slaves, as many White Cubans were slaveholders. This was seen as insulting and degrading to Whites.
After Castro, most of the Whites took off, and they keep on leaving. Cuba is now 37% White by government statistics. Cuba has 3.4 million Whites. Many of the remaining Whites are older. Further, the Revolution resulted in mass interbreeding between Whites and Blacks for some reason, such that there is now a huge mulatto population in Cuba.
Cuban Whites go back to Cuba now and say that their beautiful White homes are now inhabited by Blacks and mulattos, and this infuriates them. They insist that after Castro, they are going to go back and take over all their White property from the Blacks and mulattos. This is probably a fantasy.
As you can see, there is a heavy racist element in the whole anti-Castro movement.
Cuban-Americans were described as still very racist, and most want nothing to do with Blacks or mulattos at all. In South Florida, you will rarely if ever see a White Cuban-American woman with a Black man. It is just not done. Further, there is a lot of housing discrimination in Miami as racist Cuban Whites refuse to rent to mestizos or mulattos.
The situation in the Dominican Republic was described as dire. Posters said that maybe 16% of the population was White and it was declining all the time. The D.R. has 1.6 million Whites.
The DR has always been a much darker place than Cuba or Puerto Rico. Dominicans have long looked down on Haitians as Blacks, and most Dominicans will tell you they are mulattos no matter how much Black they have in them. In part, this is a way of distinguishing themselves from Haitians.
Soon after the Haitian Revolution in 1804, Haitians invaded the Dominican Republic. The Haitians quickly turned this into a nonstop rape-athon of the Dominican women. Anyone who was lighter-skinned such as Whites and mulattos was quickly killed, and the Dominican Blacks were enslaved by the Haitians. That is why to this day, Dominicans hate Haitians so much, over 200 years later.
Most remaining DR Whites are in the areas of Santo Domingo, the capital, and Cibao and Bani. These were tobacco-growing regions, and tobacco did not need huge armies of slaves to work on it. Hence, tobacco growers were often small landowners. The lack of slaves meant that there was much less interbreeding between Whites and Blacks.
The situation in Puerto Rico was very confusing, although it seemed as if maybe the population is 62% mulatto, 18% White, 18% Black and 2% Asian. Nevertheless, 80.5% of the population identifies as White, but most of those are probably mulattos or light mulattos. Forum posters said that Puerto Rico was once much Whiter, and indeed, there was a movement around 60 years ago among White Puerto Ricans for independence, and after independence, reunion with Spain as a colony.
Some White Puerto Ricans in the US are race-conscious. Even in the US, it is not common for a White Puerto Rican woman to date a Black man. However, in Puerto Rico, things are different. A number of non-Whites try to marry White in a mejorando la raza gambit. Kinky African hair is devalued as pelo malo or “bad hair.” Many Puerto Rican Whites are quite racist by US standards. Slurs and jokes about Blacks are commonplace.
There was racial apartheid in Puerto Rico until 1898. Until that time, Blacks were not allowed to own businesses or be doctors, lawyers or engineers. Up until the 1960’s, banks would not hire Blacks, and Blacks were not allowed into some clubs.
Since the 1960’s, salsa music has been promoted. Most Whites dislike this “African” music and want nothing to do with it, but it is extremely popular with Blacks and mulattos. Upper middle class areas are 95% White, but they are right next to lower class areas such as housing projects. 99% of the people in the projects are Blacks and mulattos. The projects are full of problems, and theft is rampant. Upscale White areas are often gated to keep out non-White criminals.
There is a serious illegal immigration problem consisting of Blacks and darker mulattos from the Dominican Republic.
White Puerto Ricans have a very dim view of the US Puerto Rican community, whom they generally describe as “trash.” They say most of them are Blacks and mulattos and act worse than the non-Whites on the island. White Puerto Ricans usually do not live in Puerto Rican enclaves in the US and instead tend to be spread out.
Unbelievably, there is even a tiny number of Whites in Haiti of all places. Haiti is 96% Black, with the rest being a tiny number of mulattos and some Whites. The White population is only .015%. Port Au Prince is about 2.5% White. A number of the Whites are Christian Arabs from Syria and Lebanon.
The original Whites were massacred in 1804 during a rebellion led by a Black named Desallines. Almost all 25,000 of the White slaveholders and their families were killed in the uprising, which ended slavery in Haiti once and for all.
Considering the Whites were slaveowners, as a revolutionary I support Desallines’ Rebellion, but they should not have killed minors or mentally disabled Whites. There was one case where they killed a screaming crazy White woman who was well-known to be mentally ill. Some of the Blacks wanted to save her, but the mob had their way.
The rebellion also ended colonialism in Haiti. With 25,000 Frenchmen dead, France said goodbye and good luck to the colony. France has been furious at Haiti ever since.
After the Whites were either killed or left in 1804, the place quickly fell apart, and the Blacks begged the Whites to return. Some Whites did return, but in 1805, a Black leader ordered all of the Whites to be tortured to death.
It’s hard to believe, but one of the big vote-getters in one of the recent fake elections in Haiti was a White man named Charles Baker (photo).
The rest of the Caribbean has very few Whites left, and those that remain, posters on the forum report, have very much of a siege mentality. Barbados (4% White) is a good example. The Whites here are English, Scottish and Irish for the most part and have a high level of White consciousness.
There is also a group of very light-skinned mulattos in the Caribbean – especially in the Grenadines and St. Kitts – who see themselves as White or near-White. They refuse to marry Blacks and will only marry “high yellows”, “redbones” or “Portagees.” I assume that those are words for very light-skinned mulattos. Some even have White features like green eyes.
In Barbados, the Grenadines and St. Kitts, there also remain small White communities who seldom intermarry. They only marry White out of tradition. Along with this is a refusal to date or even socialize with Blacks and mulattos. For this, they have long been accused of racism.
The Bahamas has a 7% White population, mostly in certain areas. White consciousness is very high here, the highest in the region. Officially, the number is 12%, but that number is too high and includes many light mulattos. St. Barts, unbelievably, is a majority-White island in the Caribbean – the only one. Most are descendants of French from Normandy and Brittany. However, it is now being flooded with Black immigrants from neighboring French islands who are looking for work. Bermuda is 34% White. Whites keep to themselves here and don’t socialize much with Blacks. White consciousness is very high here also, second to the Bahamas. The Whites are British. Martinique is 5% White, almost all from France (it is a French colony). Jamaica is only .01% White, and there is a large mulatto population. However, Kingston is about 4.5% White. The White community has been steadily declining over the years, and many White males are breeding with mulattas. The White community here is said to be barely holding on. The remaining young Whites often present a “wigger” appearance with long dreadlocks, smoke ganja and the same Jamaican creole as the Blacks. Curiously, the remaining White females almost always marry Whites.
The Cayman Islands still have quite a few Whites (10%), especially on the western half of Cayman Brac. Officially, Whites are 20%, but once again that includes many light mulattos. 80% of the population is mulatto.
All through the Caribbean, the White birth rate is low, about the same as in the US. The birth rate for the Blacks and mulattos is much higher. Although White communities are hanging on in the Caribbean, posters acknowledge that they are “culturally Africanized” to some degree due to living near Blacks for so many years. Colombia has a large White population estimated at around 22%, which means there are 10 million Whites in Colombia, as many as in Mexico. However, the Whites here typically have some Indian and Black blood, so it is more of a social race concept. Further, a Colombian White often has brothers or sisters that are quite a bit darker than he is, relics of a long history of interbreeding here. The rest of the population is 54% mestizo, 14% mulatto, 6% Black, 3% zambo (defined below) and 2% Indian.
Antioquia Province is one of the Whitest places in Latin America along with Southern Brazil and Costa Rica’s Central Valley. This region is 80% White, and White Antioquians are known as paisas. Antioquia is 1% Indian, and the rest are Blacks and mulattos. There was little interbreeding with the Indians since the Indians were so violent that they did not accept newcomers.
The capital of Antioquia is Medellin, and this is also a very White city, but recently many Blacks, mulattos and Indians have been moving to the city from other parts of Colombia, so it is not as White as it used to be.
Manizales is another majority-White city. The Whites are mostly Spaniards, but curiously, in Barranquilla and Santander, there are many Germans. Colombia received a very large input of Black slaves.
There is a lot of racism in employment here, and the dumb blonde gets the job over the competent Black with a degree. Everything here is all about appearances both genetic and personal – your height, weight, clothing – and above all else, social class. Other than that, some say that race relations are generally pretty good, keeping with the trend in the most heavily mixed Latin American countries such as Mexico, Venezuela and Brazil.
However, others say that racism is still a very serious problem in Colombia. 30 years ago, it was not uncommon to see signs in Colombia saying saying, “House For Rent. No Blacks.” To this day, it is very common for Afro-Colombians to be turned away from upscale establishments on account of their color.
Whites are about 20% of the population of Venezuela (5.2 million Whites), but they have very low levels of race consciousness. Most of the population at all levels does not bother much with race, as class is much more important than race in this country. It is quite common to see mulatto or mestizo parents having a kid who looks quite White. That is the degree of the historical racial interbreeding in this nation. Venezuela, like Mexico, is one of more racially egalitarian states in the region.
There is a vast population of Blacks, mulattos and zambos. (Zambos are mixed Black-Indians) in the country, especially in certain areas. Venezuela also received a large number of Black slaves.
Ecuador is a profoundly racist society, as you often see in South American countries where the White % gets low. Although official figures put the White population at 10.4%, the actual number is around 5%. There are 650,000 Whites in Ecuador. They are about as racist as Peruvian Whites. They have utter contempt for Indians and Blacks, and they have nothing to do with other non-Whites.
Similar to how it was in the Jim Crow South, non-Whites are not allowed to eat in White restaurants, or if they are, they must use a separate set of dishes. Whites often wash their faces and hands after dealing with a non-White, as if they had been dirtied.
Official figures show that Ecuador is 65% mestizo and 25% Indian, but social race is amply on display here, and if we go by actual genetics instead, the figures are probably reversed – 66% Indian and 26% mestizo. 3% of the population is Black, all on the coast. As in Bolivia, Ecuadorian Whites said that the Indians in Ecuador hate everyone who is not Indian and want to throw them all out of the country.
The racial history of Ecuador is pretty nasty. Slavery lasted in various odd forms all the way until 1930, and de facto White rule was ongoing until the 1970’s. Non-Whites were not allowed to have any significant government or military posts until that time. In the 1970’s, a progressive regime allowed non-Whites into the officer corps. The nation is very racially stratified, and Whites, Blacks, mulattos, mestizos and Indians all pretty much marry their own.
From 1809 to 1905, Chinese and Jews were banned from entering Ecuador, and there was something resembling an actual racial apartheid structure in place.
In the early 1900’s, a progressive mestizo president came aboard and initiated a series of major changes. At the time, the White population was 30%, but it has since dropped from 30% to 5% in a mere century. The progressive reforms involved a major land reform that broke up the White latifundias (vast estates) and distributed the lands to the Indians and mestizos. Many of the original stock of Spanish and British Whites returned to Europe in disgust due to these changes.
In the 1920’s, a significant wave of German immigration came to the country. Presently, Germans make up the largest % of Ecuadorian Whites, followed by Spaniards, British and a small number of Lebanese. Many of the Germans are Nazi supporters.
One would think that there would be hardly any Whites in a country like Peru, yet 12% of Peruvians are White. Official figures are 15% according to the CIA, but the last racial census in 1940 showed only 3.7% Whites. The true % of Whites in Peru is quite confused. I think the % of Whites is probably around 12% though, since I have met four Peruvians in the US (all in the LA area), and 3 of them were White. I’ve met five on the Internet, and two of those were White. So out of my limited encounters with Peruvians, 40% of those I encountered were White.
This gives us 3.5 million Whites in Peru.
The rest of the population is 45% Indian and 37% mestizo. The mestizos here seem to be more Indian than in places like Mexico and Chile.
Peru is an incredibly racist society, and Lima is regarded as the most racist city in Latin America. If a mestizo or Indian stops a White on the street of Lima and asks directions, the White will usually refuse to speak to them. The Whites there have the attitude, “We don’t even talk to these people”, who they refer to as cholos.
Even mestizos experience a lot of racial discrimination, and this experience was one of the reasons so many young Peruvian mestizos became cadres in Sendero Luminoso. My perception is that the average Peruvian mestizo has a lot of Indian blood, possibly even mostly or pure Indian.
Social race is rampant here, and if you take off your Indian clothes, move out of the village to a big city and quit speaking Quechua, you can automagically transform yourself into a mestizo.
Many light or upper class mestizos identify as White and desperately want to be White, and many are admitted into White social circles. A lot of these people have high levels of cognitive dissonance. You may hear an obviously mestizo upper middle class mestizo point to a lower class mestizo as dark as they are and curse the “cholo de mierda” (shitty cholo).
Posters said that the rest of the mestizos who are not trying to identify as Whites really hate Whites and don’t try to hide it at all. Race relations in Peru appear to be catastrophic.
Although official figures put the number of Whites in Bolivia at 15%, the actual number is smaller at 8%. 65% are Indians, and 27% are mestizos. There are 1 million Whites in Bolivia. The Whites tend to live in the Western part of country. Race relations there were described as horrible, and Whites were often targets of abuse and verbal and even physical aggression by Indians.
The Indians were said to have a grudge against the Whites going back centuries to the Conquest. Posters said that the Indians consider the whole country theirs, hate everyone who is not Indian and want to throw all non-Whites out of the country.
Whites have traditionally tried to marry only other Whites, but lately some young Whites are starting to date Indians and Blacks, much to the consternation of their more traditional relatives. Whites do not really hate mestizos, though out of tradition, they do not date or marry them. Furthermore, the mestizos often hate the Indians just as much as the Whites do.
Posters described White Bolivians as living in fear. Expressions of White ethnocentrism invite attacks, robberies and even homicides, so Whites tend to keep their heads down. The feeling among Bolivian Whites is that they are losing their country. Many White Bolivians are taking off, often migrating to Southern Brazil.
About 50% of Brazil is White, which leaves us with 80 million Whites, although this figure is extremely controversial since it gets into the “Who is White?” mess.
The official figures showing 54% White in Brazil are from government surveys and are a bit high. This means that 54% of the population identifies as White, but many of those might not be seen as White in the US.
The reason the government number is higher is because it relies in self-report, and many Brazilians who are light-skinned but not really White see themselves as White and identify as White.
The rest are Blacks, mulattos, Indians, caboclos (mestizos) and zambos. Something like 42% of the population is mixed race – this includes various forms of mulattos, mestizos and zambos – however, almost all of these are mixed with Black, and few Brazilians have obvious Indian admixture. The Indian admixture is most prevalent in the Northeast.
Census figures say only about 7% are Black, but those figures are based on self-report, so they are erroneous since many Blacks claim to be mulattos. The Blacks are mostly in the northeast. Anyway, about 29% of the population are actual mulattos.
This means that Brazil has a Black and part-Black population of 36%, or 70 million, making it the second largest Black population on Earth after Nigeria. If Black Brazil were a nation, it would be the second largest Black country on Earth.
About 13% of the population, or 25 million people, are caboclos or mestizos.
A tiny .5% are Indian.
There are possibly 96 million Whites in Brazil, meaning that Brazil has one of the largest White populations in the world. The stunning truth is that Brazil has more Whites than most European countries. If Brazil’s Whites were a country, it would be one of the largest White countries on Earth.
Southeastern Brazil is still very White, especially Rio Grande do Sul. The three southern states – Rio Grande do Sul, Paraná and Santa Catarina – are the Whitest ones; in addition, the state of São Paolo is still majority White, but it is much less White than the southern states.
São Paolo used to be overwhelmingly White, but lately it has been flooded with non-Whites from the northeast and other areas. The city of São Paolo now is heavily non-White (75%), but many of the smaller cities in São Paolo state are still very White. Other southeastern states like Rio de Janiero and Espirto Santo were 70-80% White in the 1940’s, but are now less than 50% White due to mass immigration of mulattos from the northeast.
A recent government survey found that the South is 85% White and that Rio Grande do Sul was 92% White, but that does not seem to be the case anymore with the heavy internal migration that has been moving to the area from the Northeast and Rio. The figure was already an overestimate due to the faulty nature of the poll, and the present figures are that the South is about 65% White.
In Rio Grande do Sul, Blacks and mulattos are concentrated in the southern part of the state near the Argentine border. In Parana, they live near the Paraguayan border.
The Whites are mostly Germans and Italians (71%). Brazil has the largest Italian community (27 million) outside of Italy, although the Argentines would argue with that and try to claim that title for themselves. Italians live in São Paolo, the South and parts of Minas Gerias. Most of the Italians are from Northern Italy. Portuguese (24%) make up another large group, and Spaniards (mostly Galicians) make up a somewhat smaller group.
French, Poles, Dutch, Ukrainians, Swedes, Belgians, Croatians, Lithuanians, Jews, Russians, Romanians, Lebanese and Syrians are a yet smaller sector.
West of Curitiba there are 100% Italian cities. There are also cities that are completely German. In these places, the newspapers, menus, schools – everything – is in Italian or German, and Portuguese is a second language.
The White South has its roots in history. There were few Indians in this part of Brazil for some reason, so they were easily overrun and routed. The main industry of the South has always been cattle ranching, and there is no need to import Black slaves for that. Further, there were few of the plantations that characterized the North.
This is also one of the wealthiest regions of the country. The separatist movement in the South claims that the majority of the taxes paid to the Central Government come from the three White states in the South.
The explicitly racial White Separatist movement in the South has little support, but the more general non-racial separatist movement that intends to split off the three White states from the rest of Brazil has varying levels of support in the South. A recent poll in Rio Grande do Sul found 60% support for secession in that state. However, secessionist movements are outlawed by the Constitution and in order to form a political party, the secessionist movement would have to be supported by X% of voters up in a large number of states, possibly nine states.
Nevertheless, whatever support there is does not translate into votes, and the secessionist candidate last time did not even win .1% of the vote. The secessionist movement looks like a joke from here.
I do not support this secessionist movement. It reminds me of Padanian separatists in Italy, Ahwaz separatists in Iran and Bolivian separatists in eastern Bolivia. There is no reason why a state should let the wealthiest region lop itself off, make off with all the loot, make a new state, and leave the old state broke and holding the bag.
Due to the wealth of the region, the white parts of Brazil were flooded with immigrants from other parts of Brazil, especially the impoverished and mostly Black northeast. This migration lasted only from the 1950’s to the 1980’s and affected only the state of Sao Paolo. In addition, many were flooding in from Rio, which is an extremely racially mixed city. Posters seemed to think this was a disaster, as the new migrants will soon start breeding with the Whites in the South.
Brazilian Whites were said to have a low level of White consciousness, and many think that a lot of mestizos and mulattos are actually White. Hence, many will willingly breed with non-Whites, probably especially with mestizos and mulattos. However, there are definitely some hardcore Nazi types in the South, though probably not very many.
Brazilian soaps are almost always about White families. Blacks play minor supporting roles, running a juice stand on the beach, practicing voodoo and giving practical advice to the Whites. The reason Brazilian TV is so White is because research has shown that mostly Black/mulatto Brazilian viewers do not want to see Blacks or mulattos on TV.
There is still racial discrimination in Brazil to the extent that if you are lighter it is easier to get a good job than if you are darker, but Brazilians like Mexicans labor under the lie that they have beaten racism. This is a problem in that it makes existing racism hard to deal with. If there is no racism and everyone gets along fine, anyone bringing up racism charges is a troublemaker and a liar who is trying to set the races against each other.
Furthermore, studies show that Blacks are bullied at school by Whites who call them the equivalent of “nigger.” Blacks are almost never hired by Brazilian firms for good white-collar jobs, and those few Blacks that have such jobs are almost always hired by foreign firms.
The truth is that privileged Brazilian Whites simply refuse to work for a Black boss or have Black superiors. That would be like your slaves lording it over you. The Whites have a very good privileged system there, and they don’t want to share with Blacks at all.
On the other hand, the discrimination is really more economic than genetic, and social race is all the rage. Black and mulatto cops will stop and search groups of Black and mulatto males (racial profiling) but will not stop groups of Whites. Why? The darker guys are often up to no good.
A wealthy Black is only respected if he dresses the part and has the proper wealthy adornments. Furthermore, he needs a White woman, preferably a blond. The first thing Black futbol stars do when they hit the big-time is grab a blond to marry.
Yet a White man, even if he dresses down, is considered to be automatically OK. But a rich Black man dressing down would be considered just another low-class Black up to no good. Much also is made of education and speech. Most Whites are well-educated and speak a refined Portuguese. Blacks are usually poorly-educated and speak a slangy, low-class dialect something like a Portuguese Ebonics.
But not all Whites are rich, and there are many poor Whites in the South. The favelas of the South are filled with Whites, and there are White beggars on the streets. Blacks in the South have been elected governors of states and mayors of large cities, and the South was the first place Blacks got civil rights. Studies show that the best place for a Black to live is in the White South due to the wealth of the region.
Nevertheless, the upper class Whites of the South are extremely racist by US standards. They dislike people with dark skin and regard them as inferior. There is not much anti-Semitism because there are only a few Jews (12,000) in the region
The racial history of Brazil is very interesting.
Originally, the Indian tribes were nearly bred out of existence. They sent over the dregs of Portuguese society. Due to the harsh nature of the region they were going to, the colonists were nearly all men. They few women on board the ships were generally prostitutes. Most decent women did not want to put up with the rigors of colonization. It meant a long sea voyage on a ship full of males in an environment of poor hygiene. When you stepped off the ship, the new land was all jungle, with unpleasant tropical weather, many jungle diseases and no hospitals. In addition, the new settlements were under continuous attack by hostile Indians.
One famous such colonist was named Diogo Álvares. The Tupinambá Indians referred to him as Caramurú, his Indian name. He singlehandedly fathered 200 children by many different Indian women. Essentially, most of the coastal Brazilian Indian tribes were simply fucked out of existence. Interbreeding with Indians continued even up until the late 1800’s, and it was not unusual for a White man to father up to 20 children with different Indian women.
Hence, the true settlement of the country occurred due to voluntary immigration from Europe or the importation of African slaves, mostly from the Portuguese colony of Angola.
White women were so heavily valued by Portugal that the law stipulated that they were not allowed to leave the country without the signed permission of their husbands or fathers, in shades of a practice that continues today in Arab lands. Unbelievably, this law remained on the books until 1975!
Since there was a shortage of women, many men brought their own wives from Europe, or arranged marriages in Europe, or tried their luck with the yearly importation of Crown’s Orphans, orphan girls gathered from all over Europe and imported to Brazil to become brides for male colonists. Yet there were still not enough women. So many men had sex with their female Black slaves, resulting in a large mulatto population.
In the late 1800’s after slavery was abolished (1888) the government undertook a “Whitening” or Branqueamento project that was shockingly called just that. The idea was that Brazil was a mostly Black country, and that mostly Black meant disaster for the future (Racial thinking was extremely common at the time).
Hence a huge effort was made to encourage Europeans to immigrate to Brazil. This effort went on for some time and attracted many immigrants from Italy, Germany, other parts of Europe, and even Japan.
In 1923, a Brazilian Congressman famously said, “The Black eclipse will have passed entirely in 70 years.” He was referring to the disappearance of Blacks in Brazil as an ethnic entity, presumably replaced with some sort of mulatto or zambo.
In 1945, the country’s official immigration policy openly stated the need to “develop within the country’s ethnic composition the most convenient characteristics of its European descent.”
As recently as 25 years ago (1988), an assistant to the governor of São Paolo actually suggested mass birth control for Blacks, Indians and mixed-race people as a eugenic measure.
This official explicitly racial thinking is pretty much a thing of the past. Posters said that Lula is a mulatto (though he looks White to me), and racism is now actually illegal in the country (whatever that means), though the law is hardly enforced and even those convicted get a slap on the wrist.
Furthermore, there is a very large amount of interbreeding going on in Brazil, even in the Far South. Down there, this mostly involves White women breeding with Black and mulatto men. In the rest of Brazil, all sorts of racial interbreeding is going on, described as epidemic.
In general, this is mostly going on with lower class Whites. The middle and upper class Whites still do not mix with non-Whites all that much.
White Brazilians felt that the situation for Whites in Brazil was dire, even in the South. Uruguay is easily the Whitest country in Latin America. A government survey taken 10 years ago came up with figures of 93% White, 6% Black, .4% Indian and .4% Asian. The Blacks, like in Brazil, are almost all mulattos. There were only a few Indians here, and they were mostly quickly massacred. There are 3 million Whites in Uruguay.
The economy has always revolved around cattle-raising, and there is no need for Black labor for that. However, the economy is now in terrible shape, and many of the middle classes are leaving. Whites have a low level of consciousness here, and this is probably the PC capital of Latin America. There are strong cultural connections to Argentina, stronger than between the US and Canada. Argentina is still the largest White country in Latin America. 97% of the population identifies as White, but as probably 80% of Argentine mestizos identify as White, that figure is confusing. The population is still about 80% White (though estimates vary from 75-85%), the rest being mestizo. This gives us 32 million Whites in Argentina.
However, this is a decline from 1970, when the country was 90% White. Further, there are millions of illegal immigrants who are not being counted and who will probably be legalized soon. There are 30 million Whites in Argentina.
The largest White group are Italians at 60%, followed by Spaniards (mostly Basques and Galicians) at 20% and then Germans at 10%. Argentina has the largest Basque, Galician and Catalan populations outside of Spain. The other 10% of the White population is made up of Swiss, French, Irish, English, Russians, Belgians and Dutch in that order.
German and Irish Argentines mostly segregate themselves from those of Spanish and Italian descent, but many Argentines are some mixture of German, Spanish and Italian anyway. There is a certain amount of German supremacist Nordicism in the German community along with very high levels of support for Nazism.
Only about 1% are Indians. They killed most of the Indians very quickly during colonization, so there were not many Indians to breed with. Argentina’s Indians live in the arid northwest up near Bolivia and Chile in their own communities and don’t bother anyone.
There was a large Black population in the 1800’s in Buenos Aires, but they seem to have vanished into thin air. Argentine legend says they fled the country due to persistent discrimination, but that seems a little dubious. They were probably just bred into the population, and the Argentine gene pool is now 3% Black. In the northwest (Jujuy and Salta), mestizos are the majority. This area is also being heavily flooded by illegals from Bolivia. The northeast near the border with Brazil is also heavily mestizo.
Since the 1990’s, there has been a huge illegal immigrant invasion of mestizos and Indians from Bolivia (by far the largest group), Peru, Paraguay and Chile. There are other immigrants coming in from Asia, mostly Korea but also some from China. Immigrants, almost all mestizos and Indians, are continuing to pour into Argentina at the rate of 200,000/yr. The government does nothing to stop it, and recently gave citizenship to millions of mestizos and Indians from Bolivia.
The illegals from Bolivia and Peru are regarded by White Argentines as troublesome people who commit a lot of crime, engage in street protests and riots, and have no interest in assimilating.
In addition, the heavily-Indian illegals from Peru and Bolivia have an extremely high birthrate in Argentina of 6+ children per woman. The girls start getting pregnant at age 14-15. On the other hand, White Argentine women are only having 1-2 kids at most.
The posters were complaining about this and saying that the non-White immigration situation in Argentina was far worse than in the US and that in 20-30 years from now, White Argentina may be just a memory.
Posters said that White Argentines were very racist at least in US terms. Most were said to be sympathetic to Nazism and fascism, and this is why so many Nazis fled to this area after World War 2.
However, the fascist military dictatorship, which flaunted Nazi imagery, nostalgia and anti-Semitism, pretty much ruined things in terms of overt White consciousness in the country. To be strongly pro-White now is to be a Nazi or pro-dictatorship, and this is not acceptable in polite society since the dictatorship was so unpopular.
There is also still an extremely high level of anti-Semitism in Argentina, at least as compared to the US. White Argentines complain privately about how Jews and non-Whites are wrecking the place, but have a “What can you do about it?” attitude.
The mestizos of Argentina are very light, and at some point it gets really hard to tell who is a light mestizo and who is White. The mestizos identify as Whites and say they are White.
The reason for this is that the huge immigration from Europe to Argentina lightened the Argentine mestizo population, similar to what occurred in Costa Rica. Also there has been a dramatic increase in White-mestizo breeding in the past few generations, something that was previously rare.
In addition, a correlative to US hip-hop culture called cumbia villera has recently showed up. It is based on the culture of Argentina’s mestizo and Indian ghettos, and the topics and mindset of the music resemble rap – songs about killing people, selling dope, treating women like crap, etc.
Most Argentine Whites are horrified by this trend, but a lot of young Whites are getting into because it’s “cool”, the same way a lot of young Whites are getting into Black rap music. Young Argentine Whites who are into villera music are also starting to date mestizos. As in the US, it’s White females going for the darker, thuggish types. There the young White women go for mestizo villera types, and here young White women go for Black rapper types.
At the same time, there is an increasing trend among Argentine Whites to say that they have a little bit of Argentine Indian in them, sort of like the way many White Americans say that they have a little bit of Cherokee. This is seen as progressive, liberal and hip.
I mentioned above that most Argentines are quite racist and are contemptuous, at least in private, of mestizos, Indians, mulattos and Blacks. It works the other way too. Argentines say that many Mexican, Caribbean and Colombian mestizos, mulattos and zambos really hate Argentines. Some hate Argentines and Chileans more than gringos. They call Argentines “Nazis” even though Argentines have never done anything to them. However, many of these same folks would love to get into Argentina.
The situation in Chile is very confusing. It’s not really a White country. It’s more of a light-Mestizo country. 60% of Chileans are (generally light) Mestizos, 33% are White (usually with some Indian admixture) and 7% are Indian. However, on appearance, half of Chileans appear White. Blacks are only 1%. This gives us 6 million Whites in Chile. The Whites tend to live in Santiago and in the south of the country.
Mixing occurred early in Chile, as it really took a long time to defeat the Indians; they really put up a hard fight here. They were not totally defeated until the 1880’s or so, and after that, they were not exterminated, but their population was seriously reduced. There were not many White colonists in Chile, and the few who were there were often soldiers. Mass breeding occurred between White soldiers and Indian females. This constituted the basic stock of the nation.
The initial White stock was mostly English and Spaniard. The Spaniards were mostly from Castille, Andalusia and the Basque region. Later, many immigrants arrived from Europe, and there are large German, Italian and Croatian colonies in the South. White Chileans are also Swiss, British (often Scots Irish) and French. Among the Germans, there is high support for Nazism.
The lower classes tend to be a bit darker shade of mestizo (25% Indian), but not much. The upper classes are somewhat lighter mestizos (15% Indian). All mestizos and Whites in Chile identify as White and say they are White. Whiteness is something that is highly valued by society, and Indianness and mestizaje is devalued. Chilean TV is like Mexican TV – just about everyone on it is White.
However, Chile is experiencing the same problem as Argentina, a mass invasion of darker mestizo illegal immigrants from Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador, mostly the first two, beginning in 2000. Further, many of the White Argentines who settled there after the recent crisis are going home.
Along with the mass immigration of Peruvian and Bolivian Indians and mestizos has come a serious wave of street crime. The local Chilean Indians are not much of a problem. They live isolated in their own communities and leave other people alone. White Chileans will happily breed with mestizos and even Indians. Often it’s a White girl and a mestizo or Indian man. White consciousness is pretty low in Chile. Posters lament that the racial situation in Chile looks dire.
Many posters commented that mestizos and Indians in Latin America really hate Whites. Although this is a typical White nationalist claim everywhere (that all non-Whites hate Whites), there may be something to it in Latin America. One said he had heard Indians and mestizos saying that they were going to take power all over Latin America and throw all the Whites back to Europe.
All posters felt that Lula in Brazil, Chavez in Venezuela, Morales in Bolivia and Castro in Cuba were anti-White Leftist politicians.
Lula was seen as anti-White for initiating affirmative action for non-Whites for the first time in Brazil. Chavez was accused of “ethnically cleansing” Whites from the country, but that seems like nonsense. What’s going on actually is that wealthier Whites are leaving Venezuela due to Chavez’ socialist policies. Morales was accused of wanting to take over all the Whites’ property and give it to Indians and mestizos.
All over Latin America, the Indian, mestizo and anti-White cause was seen as being led by Communists for various reasons. Some of the reasons given were quite dubious. It’s probable that these Leftists are simply being driven to ameliorate the vastly inequitable situation in their countries.
One poster noted that in spite of the profound racism, at least in his part of Latin America (apparently Peru), Indians and mestizos of both sexes were constantly trying to marry White or at least have babies by Whites.
This went so far as males misleadingly impregnating White women, females misleadingly allowing themselves to be impregnated by White men, ingratiating themselves to and flattering Whites, etc.
The poster said they want to marry White to “wash themselves.” I find it dubious that mestizos and Indians have that much self-hatred, but it’s possible.
All of his aunts and uncles married mestizos, and none of the marriages turned out well.
He described Indians and mestizos as aggressive, abusive (usually verbally but sometimes physically), and unable to control their emotions well. None of the mixed race offspring of his relatives did well in school. All of his White relatives now have mixed feelings about their part-White kids, and to some extent, they are ashamed of their offspring due to their mixed blood, poor grades and mestizo values.
While most posters lamented the historical fact that the original White settlers to Latin America had bred in heavily with Indians and to some extent Blacks, others attempted to rationalize it. As one put it, it was either Indian and Black women or homosexuality/bestiality.
Some posters attempted to explain why White men had bred in so heavily with Indian women. One described it as a natural match. Indians being racially Mongoloid or Asian, Indian women are similar to Asian women. Indian women, similar to Asian women, were described as very submissive, and White men liked this quantity very much. The poster noted that in the US you see many White male/Asian female couples for the same reason. A Caucasian male and a Mongoloid female appears to be a natural mix. Each party gets what they want out of the relationship.
Another poster said that many White males continue to breed with Indians, Blacks, mulattas and mestizas because these women are not laboring under the same sexually repressive strictures that White women in the region are. The life of a moneyed White woman in the region is somewhat restricted sexually, as she feels bound by the Madonna/whore dichotomy characteristic of Hispanic culture.
However, in the White women in poorer classes and with non-White women are much freer sexually. As one poster put it, “Indian and Black women spread their legs very easily, and many White men are tempted by this.”
All posters felt that the future for Whites in Latin America was hopeless. Continued immigration of non-Whites, high birth rates of non-Whites combined with low birth rates of Whites, along with continuing and accelerating intermarriage of Whites with non-Whites, meant a slow darkening of the White population and its eventual diminishment to low numbers.
Various proposals were suggested to “take back our countries,” but all were rejected as hopeless.
One suggestion was mass emigration to Uruguay, seen as one of the last holdouts for Whites in Latin America. This was rejected as impractical, mainly due to the small size of the country.
A while back, there was a “move to Argentina” movement, but that didn’t seem to catch on either since most White Latin Americans love their home countries and don’t want to leave. Another problem was that Argentina’s economy was very bad.
There were many threads about leaving Latin America and moving to Whiter places, especially Europe.
Some radicals offered militant proposals. One was to declare a White nationalist state in Southern Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, separate from Brazil, and presumably evict all the non-Whites.
From that base, the new state would expand across the rest of Brazil, pushing the Blacks and mulattos into Northeastern Brazil. Then the Blacks would be shipped to Central Africa and the mulattos would be shipped to Angola. This proposal seems unlikely to come to fruition.
The White State in the Southern Cone, expansionist or not, is a pipe dream for other reasons. Part of the problem is that Brazilians and Argentines, even the Whites, hate each other. I’m not sure what it’s all about, maybe soccer. Also they speak two different languages and have very different cultures. Further, even White Brazilians are very nationalistic and would probably never want to leave Brazil.
A union of Uruguay and Argentina would actually be possible due to deep cultural connections between the two, but it would not be good for the White state, since Uruguay is PC Central in Latin America. It would be like annexing a gigantic Spanish-speaking Massachusetts.
I saw in these threads the future of the US. America will become much more mixed and Spanish-speaking. The history of the continent is one of the marriage of the two great races, the White and the Indian, and the language of the marriage was Iberian. We missed out on it here, since so many Indians died, White immigration was so huge, and most colonists were from Britain. Also, White colonists here brought women along.
Soon the US will become just another Latin American country, that is, we will finally become part of the continent of the Americas. In other words, the unusual and continentally anomalous experiment of “America” will slowly end, and we will finally join the Americas.
*Although the word mulatto is offensive to Blacks and mixed race people, I am going to use this word because that is the way that Black-White mixed race folks are referred to in Latin America. Further, “mixed race” is a seriously idiotic way to describe Black-White mixes. If you think this website is valuable to you, please consider a contribution to support the continuation of the site.
Repost from the old site. This article has produced a tremendous amount of controversy, angry comments, and even, oddly enough, virulent hate mail. I guess I hit some raw nerves. I stand by my comments that these cities are some of the worst in the world, and, in doing further research on the Net, have found only further support for my thesis. Some of these cities, such as Bogotá, for instance, have large wealthy districts that are apparently quite pleasant. If one is rich, one can make a nice life just about anywhere on the globe. But this is not important – what is important is how the majority live.
The title is a play on the line, “Nice place to visit, wouldn’t want to live there”, said about many less-than-desirable tourist locales. This post is about the worst places on Earth to visit, and probably to live too. The ratings were based on research done on the Internet in various places, including here and here.
I’m going to focus on the places that are dirty, smelly, crime-ridden, trashy, rip-off havens, unsanitary and dangerous (Third World), and avoid places that are merely depressing, unsightly, rude, etc. (First World). Why? Because I live in the US, and those Third World qualities are going to be the most disturbing to me. I’m also avoiding active war zones because everyone knows they are horrible.
To be fair to the “Third Worldists” out there, I noted that many people slammed various places in France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Finland, South Korea, Ireland Italy, the US, Great Britain and Australia for various reasons, mostly because they are said to be unfriendly, depressing, tacky, cheesy, boring, etc.
Detroit seemed to top the list as worst US city, along with Newark (though it had one fan), East St. Louis and New Haven (though some liked New Haven) were runners-up. Various small towns in the Rockies (especially Idaho) and Texas also were listed. For some reason, a lot of people hate Vancouver, BC in Canada.
To my thinking, many of the horrible cities below point out the catastrophe of Latin American, Indian, Indonesian and Philippine capitalism. In much of Africa, capitalism doesn’t seem to working very well.
For all its faults, impoverished Cuba certainly does not resemble any of these Latin American hellholes in any way, shape or form. I don’t think that capitalism in the First World is failing, but looking at many of the cities below, it’s hard to argue that capitalism is doing anything but failing in those places.
Some of the winners in the Loser Destination Contest: Colon, Panama: A dirty, crime-ridden disaster of a city. The most dangerous city in Latin America, full of residents who seem like they would just as soon knife you as say hello. Other than the free trade zone, the entire city seems to be sprawling slum. Colon has no redeeming qualities. This city topped many worst lists. Guayaquil and Quito, Ecuador: Guayaquil is horrible. A stinking, steaming, downright dangerous heap of a city with miles of slums. With armies of glowering gang members, this place is dangerous even in mid-day. There are garbage dumps everywhere with corpses laying out in plain sight and guns going off all the time. Quito is similar. Guayaquil topped many worst city lists. Johannesburg, South Africa: How sad that this country now has one of the worst violent crime rates on Earth. Although popular with tourists, this city is downright dangerous. This city also topped many worst lists. This blog supports the Mandela government, but the problems of this tragic nation seem insurmountable.
***** Lagos, Nigeria, or the whole country: This city, and even the whole country, seems to top everyone’s list. Garbage is everywhere, the city stinks, the poverty is horrible, animals are slaughtered on the streets, and it seems that at least half the population wakes up every morning thinking, “Who can I rip off today?” Up to 90% of the economy may be “underground”, off the books, or crime-related in some way or another.
Nigeria has what must be the worst government on Earth and the country is rated the second most corrupt on Earth. The national airlines are dangerous and not recommended. The ripoff attempts often start as soon as you land at the airport and won’t let up until you leave.
It’s best to assume that most, if not all, Nigerians you meet in Lagos are out to rip you off in some way or another and then proceed from there. The city is full of impostors, and you really do not know if anyone is really who they say they are. The police and Customs officials are all crooks and so is 99% of the government.
Most bank and post office employees are also crooked. Imagine waiting in line at the post office, and a group of swaggering gangsters with fake ID’s strut in to pick up their stolen goods reshipped from overseas. They go straight to the front of the line ahead of everyone else, pick up their stolen property, and walk away laughing, having paid off the Post Office clerks. Welcome to Nigeria.
There are Internet cafes all over the city, where 150,000 full-time Internet scammers ply their trade in plain view of anyone to see, and the government doesn’t bat an eye or lift one finger to stop them. In many cafes, 80% or more of the patrons are Internet scammers. Nigeria is now world-famous for Internet scams. Even out-of-work TV newscasters scam away in the cafes, trying to steal from Americans.
The scammers started out with the famous 419 email scams but have now branched out into lottery, romance, auction, roommate, orphanage and check-cashing scams. The scams are continuously evolving, and Nigerian con artists are widely acknowledged to be some of the best in the world, as they have been practicing the art for decades now.
On highways outside of Lagos, you can see numerous vehicles wrecked on the side of the road, or even in the middle of the road, some with dead bodies still in them or beside them. Thieves pick through the wreckage and rifle the corpses looking for stuff to steal. All of the roads are dangerous, as armed robbers often set up roadblocks to shake down travelers.
Nigeria is now a world center for counterfeit pharmaceuticals, credit card fraud and drug dealing, and a district of Lagos, Oluwole, is now a world center for top-notch forgery.
The FBI and the US Merchant Risk Council recently came to Nigeria and inspected 40 packages coming into the country from the US to check for stolen goods. 39 of the 40 packages contained stolen property.
When the agents arrived at a Lagos neighborhood and tried to arrest an 18-year-old boy for reshipping scams that targeted US merchants, much of the neighborhood – up to 100 people – rushed out of their homes to defend the local punk from Big Bad Whitey.
Although the country is awash in oil, the power goes out all the time because the government power company is so crooked. The power company has either stolen all of its own budget money or the power comes in, but the crooked company resells it on the side.
As with elsewhere in Africa, Whitey is blamed for all the troubles here. Hatred of Whitey is higher in Nigeria than in much of the rest of Black Africa and the White visitor will definitely feel it.
The degeneration of Nigerian society is complete, and the culture appears near collapse. Mobs lynch thieves in the street and kill them in public for as meager a crime as stealing a cellphone, yet crime rages on anyway. Anyone can just up and say they own your house, put it on the market and sell it and you are out a house. Law enforcement, courts and anything resembling government seem to be nonexistent.
****** Lima, Peru: When they tell you to visit Peru, they don’t mean the nightmarish capital. There are teeming slums as far as the eye can see, horrible crime (although not a lot of violent crime), pickpockets everywhere, and on top of all that, the sun never comes out. The fog mixes with the smog and the filthy streets to make a toxic brew. Lima made many worst lists.
But it has its fans, and the upscale Miraflores district is said to be nice. The execrable Shining Path took up their nihilistic, deranged war in this country for a reason – because Peru is a rotten heap of a country.
****** Medan (Sumatra), Jakarta, Surabaya, Indonesia: Jakarta is a reeking city with terrible pollution, open sewers and wrenching poverty. Medan seemed to top many lists for worst city on Earth, though it has a few fans. It’s hot, dirty and polluted, with factories, thieves and leering, menacing men everywhere. There is also nowhere to stay, not that you would want to stay anyway. Besides Medan, the rest of Sumatra is much better.
The river running through Surabaya is so polluted you might vomit walking across the bridge. As you suppress your gag reflex, you will look down and notice that people are actually washing their clothes in this river.
***** Mumbai, Patna (Bihar), Calcutta, all large Indian cities, India: Indian cities are very dirty and teeming with some of the most miserably poor and wretched people you will ever see, but at least there is not a lot of crime. The Hindu religion keeps crime down because believers fear they will be punished by returning in the next life as something terrible, like one of the huge rats you see scurrying about. Mumbai has pollution that is so bad that people actually get lung cancer from breathing the air. Mumbai, a stinking and sometimes dangerous city, made many worst city lists. Patna is the sorry capital of Bihar, the poorest state in India. It’s dirty and miserable, and it’s almost impossible to even get a taxi to get you out of town, which means it’s hard to leave the place. Calcutta is generally agreed to be one of the worst cities in India.
***** Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shenyang, China: Deadly pollution, mostly from coal. Bucharest, all of Romania: Stalinist pollution covers the whole country and everyone seems depressed. Bali (in particular Kuta Beach), Indonesia: Hopes so high, reality so low. It seems everyone is out to rip you off. Surly locals hungry for money. Dangerous roads, nightmarish traffic, rude, leering men. When it rains, the sewers flood into the streets. Very high crime rate, hustlers everywhere. Most of the rest of Indonesia is pretty nice. Kuta is a tourist trap gone to Hell.
**** Manila, Philippines: A crime-ridden hellhole. There are armed guards everywhere, especially in front of banks due to constant bank robberies. Their nemeses, criminal gangs armed to the teeth, roam streets filled with prostitutes and transvestites.
It’s a town where everyone seems like they are out to rip you off in one way or other, and the hotel workers and cab drivers are all crooked. The latest advice is to have your Filipino friend meet you at the airport and head straight to their place, thereby avoiding all the ripoffs and con artists that seem to descend on every tourist. Traffic is horrible, and pollution is so bad it kills people. But some people don’t mind it.
**** Gdansk, Poland: Combine a high crime rate and daylight robberies with totally crooked, thieving officials, and you get this Polish city. However, a number of others said it’s just fine.
**** Mexico City, Villahermosa, Mexico: Mexico City is a dirty, polluted city suffering an insane, surreal epidemic of street crime, especially violent crime. Add 20 million people, stir well, bring to a boil, cover with a lid of otherworldly smog, and simmer.
Reportedly, tons of human waste are blown into the air every day, and much of the population has constant respiratory infections. The sewer system is reportedly above ground and more or less runs through lots of neighborhoods where many people are residing. Villahermosa is a Mad Max-style, violent, crime-ridden disgrace of a city. There are stabbings and shootings galore here, even with a 10 PM curfew in place.
***** Tangier, Morocco: This is a dangerous place with lots of street crime. That’s unusual for a North African country, but Tangier is so close to Europe that it is almost a part of Europe.
***** Cairo, Egypt: Cairo has horrible pollution, smells terrible, there is trash everywhere, nothing works, there are armies of miserably poor people and it boasts some outrageously awful traffic. In the souks there are huge rats and wild, mangy scavenging dogs running about in plain sight. There seems no escape from aggressive, pestering hawkers. On top of all that, all the Customs officials are criminals.
The crime rate is fairly low, though. Thank President Hosni Mubarak. 25 years ago, Cairo was one of the great world cities.
***** Bangkok, Thailand: This gigantic city has pollution so bad you need to wear a mask over your face. However, some folks like this city and say it has many positive attributes.
***** Brindisi, Naples, Italy: No one seems to like Brindisi. It’s a sad, dirty, polluted and ugly city, with hostile, brawling, drunken locals, hungry stray dogs, belligerent drivers, horrible traffic, and miles of soul-killing tenements.
You would think that despite all of that, being genuine Italians, they could still manage to make a decent pizza. Forget it: even the pizza is terrible. Brindisi topped many worst lists, although it has a couple of fans.
I had never even heard of Brindisi and had to look it up on a map. It’s located in southern Italy on the East Coast, southeast of Naples. Naples has a great deal of crime, and many think this city is overrated as a tourist destination, although others say that, despite the drawbacks, it has its joys. All of southern Italy has a lot of crime, but it’s mostly property crime.
***** Athens, Piraeus, or the whole country, Greece: Greece, especially Athens, gets mixed reviews. A lot of people really hate Athens; others don’t. The detractors say the city is dirty, ugly, depressing, polluted, and covered with garbage and traffic. I was surprised that Athens made the list, as I had always thought it was a wonderful city.
The port city of Piraeus is a nasty place. The whole city smells like a giant sewage treatment plant, and the ocean offshore has a sickening color to it.
**** Suburbs of Paris, France: These tragic towns, full of hostile Arab immigrants angrily refusing to assimilate to French culture or join French society, are a sign that the French model is not working well, at least for some folks.
There is a terribly high crime rate here, and cops and firemen often won’t go there because they get attacked as soon as they show up. These mournful towns are packed with angry, unemployed young Arab men who like to seriously riot every year or so, or even more often if the mood strikes them. Lately, they have been staging mini-riots every night. If only 100 cars are burned, that’s a good night.
Otherwise, Paris, of course, is one of the world’s great cities. But that doesn’t mean you might not walk into a subway station reeking of urine and see junkies shooting up in plain sight. But still, Paris is a must on any serious travelers’ list.
****** Brussels, Belgium: As with Paris, the districts with many Arab immigrants are quite dangerous and unpleasant, but the rest of the city is as nice as any big city. Abidjan, Ivory Coast: With one of the worst crime rates in Africa (although it has plenty of competition), this city topped many worst lists.
***** Bangui, Central African Republic: One of the worst cities in Africa, as bad as Lagos. The crime rate is totally insane. The locals will try to steal everything you own and even a contingent of armed guards will not be enough to protect you.
Your hotel room will feel like a war zone. This fiendish city made a number of worst city lists. Lonely Planet’s guidebook more or less tells you to avoid this city altogether. Here is a harrowing report of a visit to Bangui.
***** Bamako, Mali: Mali has one of the worst governments in Africa, admittedly a race with a lot of competition. Bamako is a sick joke of a town, where the tourist surcharge is rigorously enforced, and the ridiculous, potholed streets are undriveable by any vehicle. Guatemala City, Guatemala: A totally dangerous, dirty, polluted, terminal patient of a city, full of scary, heavily armed teenage soldiers. The soldiers are there to keep the teeming, crime-ridden slums that stretch as far as the eye can see, from overrunning the place. But this city has a few fans. Belize City, Belize: This sweltering, miserable, impoverished, crime-ridden, very dangerous city is built on a swamp, with a jungle for a backyard. The beggars are aggressive and even menacing, and shady characters shadow you on the streets as you walk about. Cops are nowhere to be seen. This is one of the worst cities in the Americas. But the rest of the country is a great place to vacation.
***** Sao Paolo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil:Sao Paulo is the industrial engine of Brazil. This major city is full of garbage and very dangerous. There are hustlers as far as the eye can see, chaotic streets that render maps useless, not enough cops and Godawful traffic. Rio de Janeiro, the popular tourist destination with the killer skyline perfect for any postcard, is a deceptive place. It’s a very dangerous city with lots of violent crime. Street gangs armed to the teeth regularly shoot it out in military-style wars with the cops.
Death squads of off-duty cops funded by local businessmen roam the streets at night, murdering homeless, drug-addicted street kids and petty criminals with impunity in a sickening “social cleanup” campaign.
There are pickpockets and muggers all about, often in menacing, youthful gangs (especially on the famous beach) and they frequently operate in broad daylight. A dystopian horrorshow of a city.
****** Nairobi, Kenya: Unfortunately, this city is seriously crime-ridden. Even locals admit that violent crime has reached catastrophic proportions. Caracas, Barquisimeto, or the whole country, Venezuela: The crime is very bad here, sadly, and there is garbage everywhere you look. This blog supports Hugo Chavez, but crime in Venezuela is a tragic, long-standing problem with no quick fixes. Guinea-Bissau: There is no water, no electricity, no place to stay, and the only hotel is half-demolished. San‘a’, Yemen: In a Dickensenian touch, children are actually chained up here in order to beg! Moynaq and Nukus, Uzbekistan: These two cities broiling in a merciless desert have been ruined and turned into ecological dead zones by Stalinist pollution.
***** San Pedro Sulu, Honduras: This sad town has a horrible amount of crime. Swarms of locals will attack you on the bus, trying to steal your luggage. You will have to fight them off if you wish to retain your suitcase.
Like the rest of this wreck of a country, it’s full of US gang members gone home to Honduras. People here are very poor and desperate. If you can make it to the nice part of town and afford to stay there, though, you can be quite safe.
***** Dakar, Senegal: According to some, this large West African city has horrible street crime – it is very dangerous. They say if you don’t have armed guards with you, don’t even go outside your hotel room.
However, others report that they spent a week there and found it to be safe, in fact safer than many American cities. Violent crime is reportedly rare, and the country is one of the most stable in Africa, and has been that way since independence.
***** Port Au Prince, Haiti: This filthy, degraded, extremely dangerous and desperately poor mess of a city is best avoided at all costs. It sports open sewers, enslaved children, riots, killings and lots of other fun things. This blog did support President Aristide’s efforts to improve the tragedy of a nation called Haiti. Lome, Togo: Criminals are as common as mosquitoes here, walking around fearlessly in broad daylight in this terrible city full of miserable people and crooked taxi drivers.
***** Istanbul, Turkey: The 200% tourist markup is fully in force in this dirty, ugly city full of harassing, hawking, hostile locals and crumbling buildings, and you can scarcely find a merchant who does not enforce it. There is also a lot of crime here, including some violent crime, unusual for a Muslim city. The weather is lousy, but there are some pretty mosques to visit. However, Istanbul does have a fan or two.
The rest of the country is a great place to visit, has many fans and is one of the world’s top tourist destinations. Best bet for Turkey is just to head to the tourist spots and blow off Istanbul altogether.
***** Phnom Penh, Kampuchea: This city has become a very dangerous, crime-ridden place. The gangs of little girl prostitutes add a particularly poignant touch.
***** Bogotá, Colombia or really the whole country: Bogotá is one of the most dangerous places in the Americas but there seems to be agreement that Colon, Lima and Guayaquil are worse. Really, all of Colombia is dangerous as Hell, to be honest.
This comment about Bogotá was recently rebutted by a Bogotán blogger, with more comments here. His post aggressively taking issue with this entry is in Spanish, but my Spanish is good enough to get the gist of it. Also I am getting a lot of comments coming in from Bogotáns on the Internet aggressively objecting to the content.
The sole issue that these Defenders of Bogotá are taking issue with is my contention that the city is a very dangerous place. To be honest, Bogotá used to have a truly horrible reputation for crime, but in recent years, there has been a huge effort put into cracking down on street crime. For some more agreement that Bogota is dangerous, see here, here, here and here.
I will now attempt to prove that. There are twice as many murders in Colombia as in the US, and the US has seven times as many people. That means that the murder rate in Colombia is an outrageous 14 times that of the US, and the US is considered to have a high murder rate for the developed world.
Colombia has the highest murder rate on Earth, with Washington, DC and Johannesburg not far behind, but in the case of Colombia, we are talking about a whole country, not some festering city. Out of every 100,000 people, 60-70 will be killed every year. Defenders may try to argue that this is due to a simmering civil war, but 75% of the 25,000 homicides are merely of the criminal variety.
On an average day in Colombia, there are 2 bank robberies, 8 highway robberies, 72 murders and 204 assaults or muggings. You have a greater chance of being murdered in Colombia than you do of dying of cancer! Death squads made up of soldiers and off-duty cops roam the streets, murdering drug-addicted, petty criminal street kids, transvestites, homosexuals and prostitutes.
In fact, probably more prostitutes and homosexuals are murdered per capita in Colombia than even in the most barbarian parts of the Muslim World. Want to fly a plane in Colombia? Don’t. There have been 138 plane crashes since World War 2, with 2,745 deaths.
One of the most popular things in Bogotá is scopolamine. This drug is used by crooks to disable their victims so they can rip them off. It is sprayed in the face, dumped in your drink or spiked into a cigarette. Bogotá hospitals receive an incredible 2,000 scopolamine victims every month, or an astounding 66 a day. The drug knocks you out and can cause medical problems.
Colombia has one of the world’s worst road systems. Many roads are not even marked. Drivers are reckless and many cars don’t have headlights at night. Cows have a tendency to wander into the road.
Taxis are totally dangerous and are best avoided, if possible. Women are advised to avoid all taxis at night. Anyone is advised to avoid any taxi that already has someone in it.
In many cases, this is a criminal accomplice of the thuggish driver. In addition to getting scopolamine sprayed in your face, another popular scam is the “jump-start”: you are told that the taxi has stalled and asked to get out and help push. As you do so, the taxi driver leaves with your luggage.
Buses are also best avoided. Thieves haunt the buses, waiting for you to fall asleep, at which point, they rip you off. Certain bus lines are frequented by thieves offering drugged gum, sweets, food and cigarettes. After the drug knocks you out, they rob you blind. In addition to theft and druggings, kidnapping and extortion are also rife on buses.
In view of all of the above, it is nothing short of amazing that all of these Colombians are angrily protesting my characterization of their country as dangerous. Or perhaps they doth protest too much?
***** Managua, Nicaragua: This dirty, crime-ridden, dangerous disaster of a city has a bombed-out look about it. This blog supports Daniel Ortega and his Sandinista Party and prays that they can ameliorate this mess.
***** San Salvador, El Salvador: See Managua. Full of dangerous former LA gang members. Death squads roam the streets, slaughtering gangsters by the dozen, but for every one you kill, it seems five more pop up in his place.
This blog supports the FMLN’s efforts to reform this ruined land, but the crime here has become so terrible, one wonders if anything short of an act of God could make things better. In fact, I used to make contributions too the FMLN’s weapons fund via an FMLN agent in Los Angeles during the 1980’s.
***** Detroit, New Haven, Newark, Gary (Indiana), Hammond (Indiana), USA: Detroit topped all lists as the worst city in the US. An ugly, dangerous, depressing and filthy city with a downtown that looks like a war zone – a despairing district surrounded by miles of crumbling, abandoned industrial buildings, torn-down fences and rusting cars. Newark is similar, with few to no redeeming qualities. It’s a frightening, polluted city with a postwar look of miles of weedy, trash-strewn vacant lots where crumbling apartment buildings have been torn down. It’s also a dangerous city with a high crime rate. New Haven, despite the presence of Yale University, is similar. There are legions of homeless, begging drug users clogging the streets, and the crime rate is very high due to hordes of crack-dealing gangs shooting it out on the streets. Congress and Columbus Avenues are notorious for drive-by shootings, drug dealing and muggings.
It is reportedly the HIV capital of the East Coast due to IV drug use. A lot of the more respectable people have been moving out for some time now. Although much of the city is quite ugly, New Haven does have its bright spots, thanks to Yale. There are nice parts of town, parks, trees, etc. Gary is yet another postindustrial Rust Belt train wreck of a town. A grimy town full of abandoned factories, overgrown lots, rusting fences, graffiti, barred windows and vomit. Go downtown and see tall buildings all boarded up, with no vehicles in sight and unhinged stoplights swaying in the wind – for all practical purposes, a ghost town. This was once a vibrant, working-class city, and now it looks like Road Warrior. Hammond is similar, a suicidally depressing city lined with shuttered factories on the shores of Lake Michigan. Yet another Rust Belt post-industrial ruin.
***** Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic: A collapsing, dirty, crime-ridden hellhole. Osaka, Japan: I never would have thought that this city would make the list but according to my friend Tumerica, she says it is the worst city she has ever lived in. I tagged her with the title of this story. In blogging, tagging mean you are supposed to write on the topic – kind of like, “Tag, you’re it.” I will let her explain why Osaka is such a crappy place in her post here.