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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alt Left: Who Kills More – US Liberal Interventionists or US Alt Right Nazis and White Supremacists?

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

Right. I banned him. He’s an Alt Right guy. They’re not with us. He hates the Left, so he’s not welcome here. Though I appreciate his anti-military, anti-corporate and especially anti-imperialist notions. I’d like to see more of the Alt Right take this up. I’m willing to make alliances with these guys. Yeah, they’re racists, but so what? How many people do these Alt Right guys kill and hurt every year? Almost zero.

How about liberal Democratic Party interventionists (imperialists)? US sanctions on Venezuela alone have already killed 100,000 people. We started a war in Iraq that killed 1.4 million people. We started another war in Afghanistan that killed 1.1 million people. And we are up to our necks with our ISIS and Al Qaeda allies in Syria, where we started a war that has killed 500,000 people.

Numbers of dead:

IS Liberal interventionists: 3 million over 20 years.

US Alt Right Nazis and racists: 30? over the same period.

Whose worse? Nazis and racists suck but I will ally with anti-military, anti-corporate, and especially anti-imperialist Alt Right White Supremacists over these liberal interventionist woketards any day of the week. Anyway the woke liberal interventionists literally kill 100,000 times as many people as Alt Right racists and Nazis.

Alt Left: Lying Western Media about “Clashes” in Lebanon

Did you notice that as soon as Victoria Nuland showed up in Beirut, snipers on rooftops appeared and started shooting at Hezbollah and Amal people? There were no “clashes” in Beirut, but the entire Western media is lying  to you about that. There were demonstrations by Hezbollah and Amal supporters in Beirut over a judge assigned to investigate something that never even happened in the first place – a stash of fertilizer blew up in the Beirut harbor. But everyone in Lebanon and even Iran has gone along with the lie that this is what happened because it’s better for everyone that way.

What really happened was the Jews dropped a nuclear bomb on Beirut and then set up a vast lie about a how a fertilizer stash blew up. The whole world officially went along with it. Not one nation dared to tell the truth  about what  happened. This is what the Malay Prime Minister Malathir meant when he said, “The Jews (Israel) control the world by proxy.” See anyone calling them on dropping that bomb? See anyone ever going against the ridiculous story that was put out? Of course not. Well, that’s what happens when you have the world damn world in the palm of your hand and everyone is either owned by you or afraid of you.

The Lebanese Forces are a Christian Phalangist movement whose members formed a proxy army allied with Israel when the Jews occupied Southern Lebanon. Their ideological mentor loved Hitler and had photographs of him in his high school locker. The current leader is a former general named Gaega. They are strongly pro-US and in my opinion they are more responsible than anyone else for bringing fascism to Lebanon.

About half of the Lebanese Christians are out and out Christian fascists. They have extreme hate for Muslims and especially for Iran, Hezbollah, and more than anything else, the Palestinians. These are the people who murdered 3,500 people in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in 1982 while Ariel Sharon, head of the Jewish Army, watched with binoculars from a nearby building to make sure resistance to the killers didn’t get out of hand.

They are funded by Saudi Arabia due to the fact that they both hate the Shia and Iran. The Lebanese Forces put snipers on rooftops and fired on the above Hezbollah and Amal demonstrators, killing 6 and wounding 60 more. After this, Hezbollah and Amal militias arrived on the scene and started shooting back. Somehow this gets called “clashes.” Not one Western media report mentioned the Lebanese Forces fascists.

Not even one. That is because the entire Western media is in bed with fascist elements around the world in Ukraine, Lebanon, Venezuela, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Israel, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Peru, El Salvador, and Haiti. Mostly this is due to economic support for fascist elites and a democratic left. In a few places like Ukraine and Lebanon it is down to US geopolitical war against Iran and Russia which we have dragged our European slaves into.

On the other hand, arguably fascist states in Eastern Europe in Hungary and Poland are savagely attacked for not going along with the Western woke project.

If you notice, the snipers started shooting as soon as (((Victoria Nuland))) showed up. Mysterious snipers have a tendency to start shooting from roofs everywhere this walking malignancy shows up. Based on that, I think the US and maybe Israel had a hand in these snipers. Mostly I blame the Saudis. I’d say it was a US-Saudi plot to start a civil war in Lebanon with possibly input from Israel.

The US, the Saudis, and mysterious fascist snipers shooting at Shia Muslims to overthrow a pro-Hezbollah/Iran and anti-Israel government.

Alt Left: Mysterious NATO/CIA/Deep State/Jihadist or Fascist Snipers on Roofs That Shoot Both Sides During Unrest to Cause Chaos or Overthrow Regimes

Remember in Ukraine where mysterious snipers appeared when (((Victoria Nuland))) showed up and shot both the pro-Russian Berkut police and anti-Russian pro-Nazi protesters? That was a pure NATO operation, 100% of the way. The snipers were Lithuanians and Georgians and they were trained at a NATO base in Poland. The Georgians have been recorded as admitting that they sniped on both sides. Interviews with them can be found on Youtube.

The Lithuanians were holed up in a high tower and disguised as classical musicians. Some were female. They were photographed leaving Ukraine after the attacks with their guns in their instrument cases. The Ukrainian pro-Russian police were blamed but all of the bullets came from guns that they did not have as per an investigation by a commission of the Ukrainian Nazi government.

NATO, the CIA, the EU, and mysterious fascist snipers shooting both sides to install a fascist government and overthrow a pro-Russian one.

Mysterious NATO Jihadist Snipers Shooting Both Sides in Syria

Recall that in the Syrian Civil War, the war started with Saudi jihadist gunmen smuggled in with weapons stored in mosques who opened fire on both Syrian police, who were unarmed, and demonstrators. Reports indicate that NATO was deeply involved in this Saudi operation, as NATO helped them smuggle the weapons and vehicles across the border.

The Syrian police were blamed, but they had no guns. This was the demo that started the Syrian Civil War. So the Syrian conflict was violent from the very start. Within three weeks of the demos, there were already armed attacks on the Syrian Army. The scene continued for months with mysterious snipers on roofs targeting both police and protesters in cities in Syria.

Once again, NATO, the US, the CIA, and mysterious jihadist snipers shooting both sides to get rid of a Shia pro-Iranian and anti-Israel government.

Mysterious (NATO?) Snipers Shooting Both Sides in Egypt

During the Egyptian Revolution, snipers appeared on roofs attacking both police and protesters. There were rumors of NATO involvement here. Apparently the objective here was to get rid of the Mubarak government,  which had become a thorn in the side of the US.

NATO and mysterious snipers shooting both sides.

Mysterious CIA and Fascist Snipers Shooting Police and Protesters in Venezuela

During the coup against Chavez in 2002, rightwing fascist snipers on bridges attacked both protestors and police. Venezuelan police were blamed. NATO and the EU have long supported the armed fascist opposition in Venezuela.

The CIA and fascist snipers shooting cops and protestors to overthrow a Left government.

Mysterious (NATO?) Snipers Shooting Police and Protesters on Both Sides in Thailand

During the Thai civil unrest, mysterious snipers appeared on rooftops and shot both police and protestors. NATO was once again blamed. I’m not sure what the rationale here was, but the West was supporting one of the sides, either the red shirts or the yellow shirts, I have no idea.

It looks like this “mysterious snipers on roofs often shooting both sides, including police and protesters” thing is a CIA/NATO thing linked to US Deep State operations all over the globe. It looks like the Saudis are also involved, as are European fascist states like Georgia, the Baltics, and Poland. The goal is unclear but in most cases it is to start civil wars, increase unrest, and many cases, to overthrow regimes the US does not like.

Wherever Ms. (((Nuland))) goes, snipers on rooftops mysteriously appear, and they just so happen to promote US objectives. The objective in Lebanon was to drag Hezbollah into a civil war. The Western media are already lying like snakes about this, saying that the fighting was the result of “clashes” without laying blame on the US and Israel-supported Christian fascist Lebanese Forces who started it.

Alt Left: Nothing Worse Than a Fed

Tamerlane: FBI is even worse when compared to the police.

They definitely have more psychopaths than sociopaths in their ranks, possibly due to being 1 SD more intelligent than cops in terms of IQ, on average.

They enjoy using the powers the state gives them in creating plots and targeting vulnerable members of society. Sometimes the sick fucks run COINTELPRO just for the fun of it.

They also seem to employ a different kind of psychopath, the more sneaky and cowardly variety.

I’m not ecstatic about cops in general. I guess I feel about them the way I do about Jews and Blacks. I don’t really like them as a group, but I like a lot of individuals from the group. I just don’t like the group as a whole, as a collective. But all of those groups have perfectly fine people in them. And my longest relationship of 5 1/2 years was with a Jewish woman. And she agreed with most everything I said about Jews too. There are cops and there are pigs. There are Blacks and there are niggers. There are Jews and there are kikes. Two different things.

I really hate feds. There are some who only go after serial killers and child killers and murderers in general and whatnot, and I’m just fine with those.

Not real keen on the rest of them.

Not only that, but the FBI works with the CIA on their shenanigans. The FBI framed Libya for the Lockerbie bombing. Libya absolutely did not do that Lockerbie bombing. That’s settled by now. But the FBI deliberately framed Libya because the FBI is like the CIA in that they are crooked spooks who work for US foreign policy.

In Brazil, the FBI assisted in the “lawfare” that took down Brazil’s Lula. They made up false charges about him out of whole cloth and put him in prison for made-up charges. The FBI worked directly with Brazil’s fascist government (fascists love fascists) to frame Lula.

The Feds and the FBI worked with the Venezuelan fascist opposition to cook up the fake drug trafficking charges against the Maduro administration in Venezuela.

They were the ones who arrested the Chinese head of Huawei, Ms. Meng, on completely fabricated charges that wouldn’t matter even if they were true because she’s accused of violating US sanctions against Iran whereby US law somehow extends all over the globe! The US is trying to extradite a top ranking member of the Maduro administration for violating US sanctions against Venezuela. Since when does US law extend to Venezuela? Or Iran? All of those “violating US sanctions charges against foreigners are insane and in my opinion against international law.

I believe that a lot of these Muslim “terror plots” were frame-ups where the federal informants cooked up plots in order to entrap people. I wonder how many of those plots were even real as in not cooked up the fed pig informant.

The FBI was deeply involved in the assassination of Martin Luther King. That’s just a fact. J. Edgar Hoover was a crook. If he wanted you dead, you were dead.

Federal laws are ridiculous and stupid, way worse even then chickenshit state laws. The sentencing guidelines are insane. The recommended terms are far in excess of anything sensible.

Besides, if those fed pigs want to get you, they will get you. You do not want to have the FBI or any fed pigs for that matter coming after you in life. Local cops are bad enough, but you can often live with them, or at least I can. They’re negotiable. You can’t negotiate with feds. If they want you gone, you’re gone. I’ve never had any dealings with the FBI or other fed pigs in my life and I never want to. The farther away you stay from those guys, the better. I hate federal prosecutors too. I can’t believe that chickenshit charges they cook up against people all the time. Ridiculous.

They will come into your home, turn it upside down, and then sift through your whole life going back forever. I figure most people are breaking some sort of chickenshit law most of the time. And if you do a data dump on a lot of people’s lives, you can probably cook up some chickenshit charge against them. And if it’s a federal crime, I guarantee that the sentence for that crime is absurdly excessive.

I really despise all feds (except the homicide detective feds discussed above). Those are the worst pigs of all by far. Can’t stand them!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You know that’s got to be worth something.

Outside of the homeland, there is nothing.

– A famous Baath Party intellectual from Iraq

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

SISP Conference 2021, Online, 9-11 September 2021

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

Grigoris Markou

Postdoctoral researcher, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Abstract

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

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

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

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

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

Alt Left: The Catholic Church in Latin America

Do you think churches, private schools should pay property taxes? In Latin America, the Catholic Church probably doesn’t pay property taxes and usually supports the Far right conservatives that you and me greatly despise. I think the Catholic Church plays a big role in upholding the oligarchy land power in Latin America do you agree?

Um I’m not sure to what extent that is true. There’s also a lot of Liberation Theology being preached all over Latin America. Keep that in mind. The Vatican used to look dimly at it, but it’s very common at the parish and lay worker level. In Latin America you have murals of leftwing guerrillas waging battle led by Jesus Christ holding an automatic weapon. The mural will have leftwing slogans written all over it. There is a strain of Liberation Theology that can be seen as “Jesus Christ with a machine gun leading a guerrilla column into a war against the rich.”

The Sandinistas had a lot of church people on their side. One of their leaders was a former priest.

In Colombia, the priests helped the leftwing guerrillas. The ELN guerrillas were founded by Camilo Torres, a priest preaching Liberation Theology, the original “priest with an automatic weapon.” The ELN still has deep roots in the church. A lot of the churches in FARC territory support the FARC.

An Irish priest from the US led a guerrilla column in Honduras in 1983 until he was killed.

Same in El Salvador. The Salvadoran guerrillas had deep roots in the church. Remember when the death squads assassinated the five top priests in the country in 1989 for being “the brains behind the guerillas?” Remember when Bishop Romero was assassinated in 1980 for preaching Liberation Theology? The FMLN Leftist guerrillas in El Salvador were practicing Catholics.

The Chavistas in Venezuela are Catholics and Chavez was a practicing Catholic.

Towards the end of his life, Fidel Castro said he was a “cultural Catholic.” There is a lot of “Catholic Communist” thinking coming out of Cuba these days and now many Communist Party members are believers who attend mass. There were also many “Communist Catholics” in the Czech Republic.

Aristide of Haiti was a priest.

The Leftist leader of Paraguay was a former priest.

In Peru, a lot of priests at the parish level even supported the Shining Path!

Remember Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker newspaper? In the US, the Church has often been quite liberal.

It all depends on the country.

Yes, the church hierarchy traditionally supported the elites in part of a deal to let the elites take power and lay off the church, but this all changed with the advent of Gustavo Gutierrez “Theology of Liberation” published in 1965 advocating “the preferential option of the poor.”

A lot of the militarizes down there back in the 1980’s used to have this attitude of the Church as being a hotbed of Communist subversion.

Catholicism lends itself to both rightwing and leftwing thinking due to the nature of the Church. Church doctrine can be interpreted either towards the Right or Left depending on which type of thinking you wish to emphasize.

Protestantism tends to have a rightwing bias pretty much baked into it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Marxist just barely won the Presidency in Peru.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alt Left: Fascist States around the World in the Past Century

I will be leaving World War 2, where many such regimes were created in  Europe, out of this discussion because I don’t understand it well.

A discussion of fascism is very important because the Republican Party is already a fascist political party in the sense of a rightwing authoritarian party along Latin American oligarchy lines.

The Type of State the Republicans Are Aiming At

Similar regimes were installed in Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Iran, Turkey (a Mussolinist + Nazi extrerminationist model), Greece, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Zaire, Kenya, Liberia, Indonesia (a classic Mussolinist model), Philippines, South Korea, Brunei, Taiwan, South Vietnam, Thailand, Nepal, Gabon, Angola, and South Africa, not to mention the many such regimes installed in Latin America, where the rightwing authoritarian or dictatorship regime has become a classic model. Many of these had a fake democratic facade over what was basically a dictatorship.

Nazi extreminationism with an ethnic component has been installed in Turkey and possibly Azerbaijan. Those models are governing to this day in the fake Croatian and Serbian states inside Bosnia. The present Croatian and Serbian regimes have overtones of WW2 like fascism, as does Hungary under Orban. Nazi-style exterminationist regimes, albeit with Communists and leftwingers substituted for Jews, have been installed in Iran, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea, and Taiwan in the past.

One could argue that Israel is now a Mussolinist style fascist government, albeit with a facade of democracy in which various fascist parties compete to rule the fascist state.

Rightwing Authoritarian Models in Latin America in the Last Century

It’s not so much the Nazi, National Socialist or classic fascist models of World War 2, although Trump and Berlusconi do resemble Mussolini, and Berlusconi created a classic Mussolinist fascist state in Brazil along the lines of the previous years of Operation Condor in Pinochet’s Chile, Velasco’s Argentina, the generals’ Brazil, Salazar’s Paraguay, the Uruguayan dictatorship, and Banzer’s Bolivia.

Somewhat different but similar “kill the Communists” regimes were created in Ecuador in the 1980’s, Fujimora and Belaunde’s Peru, Venezuela in the late 80’s, Uribe and many others’ Colombia (where it has become the only form of the state and Uribismo is almost a classic fascist Mussolinist model), Somoza’s Nicaragua, Bautista’s Cuba, Trujillo’s Dominican Republican, Rios Montt’s Guatemala, and ARENA, D’Aubisson, and Duarte’s El Salvador, Haiti under the Duvaliers, where it became a model followed to this day, and the present government of the generals in Honduras.

The model has not yet been installed in much of the Caribbean, Belize, Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, and the Guyanas, but it’s been generalized as the classic model in Latin America in general for over a century now. There are rumblings now to create another rightwing authoritarian regime in Peru and Mexico.

Counterrevolution is ongoing in Nicaragua, Cuba, and Venezuela and has succeeded recently in Ecuador, Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia, and Haiti. There were recent rumblings in Argentina, where the large landowners (who were never broken up as there was no land reform)  were making threats of a coup if their riches were touched. There were failed attempts recently in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Bolivia. Another attempt is ongoing in Venezuela and Nicaragua.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alt Left: Why We Fight (PFLP version)

The great “Conversation between the Sword and the Neck interview with Ghassan Kanafani, the great Palestinian revolutionary of the PFLP. He was one of the founders of the organization. He was a revolutionary who never held a gun. His weapon was the pen. He was also a great poet and novelist. He was assassinated by the Zionist Entity on this day in Beirut, Jerusalem in 1972. This is a very famous interview that was done with him by some sellout Western journalist. It is so perfect.

Anyone on the Left and anyone in particular who believes in the Black freedom struggle of the Panthers, etc. against racism, etc. should support the Palestinian movement. This is a movement for liberation by a colonized people and Black and Hispanic people really should support all such movements, since in they were all colonized people at one point or another.

Everyone on the Left who wonders about the validity of this struggle, an essential struggle for basic civil rights, should pay close attention to this video. It will answer all of your basic questions about the conflict right there. Also if you have some liberal worries about the Palestinians being backwards and reactionary and the Israelis being progressive and modern, remember what Stalin said about the necessity of forming alliances with just about everyone against imperialism.

Stalin formed alliances with many backwards and socially reactionary people such as Muslims in his war against imperialism. “If they are against imperialism, then we need to ally with them,” was his mindset. Also, keep in mind that peasants and working class people all over the world are often deeply backwards and socially reactionary or even barbaric. This does not mean, as the anarchists claim, that they are fascists!

The workers must be supported in all cases. Their backwards views are unfortunate but they are for them to own and do with what they will. If the progressive forces capture a country, social revolutions can unfold in which the working people are gently brought into a more modern and less barbarous mindset. This worked very well in many places such as the USSR, China, Vietnam, Laos, Cuba, and Venezuela. It was always a pretty easy sell to gently bring people along to the ideas that women and other oppressed peoples were in need of their basic rights.

This business of “We must support Israel because Palestinians are backwards and don’t give women basic rights” is liberal bourgeois imperialism – the “imperialism of human rights.” It is essential to the worldview of liberal Democrat “humanitarian bombers” like Joe Biden and Samantha Power. It’s just another imperialist trick! Don’t fall for it!

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

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

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

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

The CIA supported Pol Pot.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alt Left: Rural Land Reforms: An Overview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A land reform was definitely done in Iran.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The land reform was incomplete in Venezuela.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is a critique of the book:

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

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

From the article.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

However, neoliberalism doesn’t work either:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From D and E:

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

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

Guys like D and E are still writing today:

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

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

In other words, they faked the data.

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

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

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

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

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

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

See? They’re making it up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alt Left: The US Imperialist Regime Change Playbook: Engage in Violent and Seditious Activities Towards the Targeted Government, Provoke Repression, and then Impose Sanctions, Fund Contras, or Sponsor a Fascist Coup to “Restore Order and Democracy”

In Venezuela and Nicaragua, the US staged violent riots with armed insurgents that attempted to overthrow the government, and then slammed sanctions on the governments when they cracked down on the seditious traitors. Obviously when you crack down on seditious traitors, it’s hard to be real democratic about it, as you start to throw lots of traitors in jail, shut down their treasonous organizations and political parties, forbid the seditious political parties and politicians from running for office again, and often have to start censoring the media because of the frankly murderous lies that the opposition yellow press prints, which actually results in getting a lot of people killed.

During these seditious coup attempts, the reporting is completely dishonest in the US and about as fake as you can get. Outrageous acts of murder committed by the putschists are breathlessly reported by the treasonous local and overseas US press and having been committed by the government, working people into a fever pitch. Opposition fascist liars flood social media, riling everyone up.

But do you see how they provoke repression? This is the imperialist playbook. Provoke repression with illegal and seditious activities, and then scream dictatorship when the law enforcement arms of the state try to restore some order. Wave after wave of sanctions were slammed on the Nicaraguan government by Democrats and Republicans both. When it comes to support for imperialism and alliance with the forces of violent revolutionary fascism and reaction around the world along with rightwing and fascist dictatorships in power, support for fascist states and forces is a bipartisan affair.

The US supports the fascist opposition in Mexico, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru, Belarus, and Ukraine. The US supports the fascist states of Turkey, Israel, India, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Brazil, Honduras, and Haiti and opposes the anti-fascist forces fighting against them. Face it, America loves rightwing dictatorships and fascist governments and opposition forces.

Alt Left: The Nicaraguan Violence of 2017 Was Actually a US-Sponsored Fascist Coup Attempt

I was following the fascist coup in Nicaragua in 2017, which was written up as some righteous civil disturbances and riots against a brutal and vicious leftwing Sandinista dictatorship run by Daniel Ortega and his wife Rosario. Really it was just a fascist coup attempt by the 27% of the population opposed to Ortega. That figure is about right for Latin America. The opposition to the Chavistas in Venezuela amounts to 27% of the population. Furthermore, 70% of Venezuelans openly state that they are Chavistas. As long as people keep saying that, the Right will never win.

There was one report after another of outrageous murders and attempted murders by the government. They all shocked me in their depravity.

The government had set an opposition radio station on fire, killing everyone inside!

Whoops. It turns out that the fascists had set a government radio station on fire, killing 10 government employees inside.

There were regular riots at the universities, where rich brats were said to be barricaded inside against murderous government forces inside.

I did some research and it was actually..

Whoops! The fascist students who had taken control of the university and were attacking the government forces and supporters.

Everything I read turned out to be the exact opposite of the way it was reported.

Government forces set a house on fire, killing a family of four inside!

Whoops! It turned out that this took place in an opposition controlled neighborhood where government forces were not present and were instead five miles away. Opposition rioters had raided a two story house full of Sandinista supporters and set it on fire, killing a family inside.

Roadblocks with armed insurgents were set up all over the country. People coming by were questioned, and government supporters and employees were taken out of their cars, beaten, tortured, and sometimes killed.

Finally, there was a fake human rights report issued by Amnesty International that got everything wrong and attributed almost all of the violence and deaths to the government, when really it was the other way around, and 80% of such was attributed to the opposition. Amnesty International, a disgusting imperialist organization that works hand in hand with the US government nearly as an arm of the CIA, got most of their data from the fascist organizations among the insurgents.

Slowly but surely, the government took the country back. When it was all over, 300-400 people were dead. The government was pretty reasonable considering that they were dealing with an attempted by armed mobs of rioters representing only 25% of the population trying to overthrow the democratically elected government with violence.

Most other countries would have been much more brutal. Nicaragua didn’t even arrest that many people, and most of those traitors have already been released. Out of 4,000 opposition organizations, four were shut down by the government for the obvious role they played in the sedition. The US reacted with outrage to this and said that the Sandinista government, which typically got favorable ratings of 70-80%, was a dictatorship.

The openly seditious media was allowed to continue to publish, even though most of them should have been shut down. The openly treasonous political parties that engaged in an attempt to overthrow the government by force were not shut down and were allowed to continue to run for office. I would have shut them all down.

Alt Left: The Left Won in Peru!

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

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

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

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

 

Alt Left: The Left Won in Mexico

AMLO’s leftwing party won a majority of the legislature just the other day. He hasn’t been a very Lefty president. He ran as one but I don’t think he has been governing as one. But just to show you that Mexico is a part of Latin America, the rich and middle class raised a huge uproar over this man’s victory. And so has the US and especially the US media.

And an overtly fascist and putschist reactionary elite of the Mexican ultra-rich, associated with the most conservative strands of the Catholic Church and social conservatism, appeared on the scene calling for a fascist coup to overthrow the “dictator” AMLO. US papers have been full of articles about how AMLO is a “dictator” and has authoritarian tendencies. Apparently it’s complete nonsense. Even the more honest members of the opposition say there’s obviously nothing undemocratic about him. He’s as democratic as any Mexican President and perhaps more so.

Also, there’s been wild cartel-related mass violence and homicide raging across Mexico for 20 years now. These break into all out warfare between gangs and the police and army, who are often on the take and working for the gangs. The gangs also kill journalists or local politicians who get in their way. The same insanity has continued under AMLO, possibly even at a lower level, and while it was barely mentioned before, not AMLO is letting the cartels spin out of control and is allowing violence and homicide to rage across the land. For this reason he needs to be ousted.

But they get people all riled up about this more or less lies. Anyway, crime is rarely a state’s fault and once crime goes completely out of control, there’s not a whole lot you can do about it short of imposing an extreme totalitarian and authoritarian dictatorship. In El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, and Brazil the mass crime and high homicide rates have nothing to do with the governments. They occur under both left and rightwing governments.

Leftwing governments leave and rightwingers come in and the crime stays the same. The opposite happens and crime stays the same. But heavy crime is only weaponized against leftwing governments. Crime in Venezuela is just as bad as in rightwing El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, but only in Venezuela has it been the fault of the governments. All of those governments have tried everything they could, but when crime goes completely out of control, there’s not much the state can do short of outright dictatorship.

I was shocked but then not so much. Of course the Mexican Right is fascist. It’s just that they haven’t had a real Left government in since Cardenas in 1936. The ghosts of the Revolution are dead and the party of the Revolution, the PRI, turned corrupt and rather un-revolutionary, though the basic changes of the revolution were allowed to remain unchanged.

When the PRI couldn’t win an election, they simply stole them. The Leftist PRD, running Cardenas descendant, won the election in 1986, but the PRI declared the election flawed and said it had to be counted over. The government retreated for two weeks and said nothing. When it was over, a PRD victory had suddenly turned into a PRI win. In other words, they stole it. The “liberal” New York Times cheered it on and said there had been massive fraud in favor of Cardenas while it cheered for the “democracy” of the PRI stealing an election.

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

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

Modern Western Liberalism: Liberalism at Home, Fascism Abroad

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

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

Everything Is the Opposite of What It Really Is

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

Elections That Never Make Sense

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sanctions

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

Syria

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

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

I researched every one of those massacres in depth.

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

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

The Ties Between Fascism and US Imperialism Are Deep

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

Alt Left: Right and Left in Islamic and Catholic Societies

If you’re not careful, the media will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and cheering the people doing the oppressing.

Malcolm X

This is precisely the function of the media in a capitalist society. The Chinese media is not like this because, duh, China is not a capitalist country! Nor is the Iranian media because Iran is not a capitalist country. In fact, Iran is almost something like “Islamic Communism.” I’m not wild about Ayatollah Khomeini, but he did have a strong social justice streak.

The Revolution was populist, pro-independence, and anti-imperialist. Iran is almost based on a Muslim version of Liberation Theology or “the preferential option of the poor.” The social safety net is huge in Iran. Also, much of the economy is run by the state. It’s actually run by religious charities, often with ties to the military and the IRGC. I believe these religious charities do not operate at a profit. Small businesses are not bothered at all, as in all Muslim countries. I was reading Ayatollah Khameini’s tweets for a while on Twitter, and I could have been reading Che Guevara. Basically the same message.

Islam is just not friendly to neoliberal economics or radical individualism. It is a very collectivist religion in a very collectivist society.

Neoliberalism hasn’t caught on much of anywhere in the Muslim world other than Indonesia and the Southern Philippines, and they had to murder 1 million Communists in cold blood to get there in Indonesia and the Moros have always rejected Catholic rule in both a political and economic sense. it is notable that the Maoist NPA are also huge in Mindanao, home of the Moros.

Pakistan, too, has inherited the selfish economics and even feudalism in land tenure straight from Indian Hinduism. They even have caste, which would be considered an aberration in any decent Muslim society.

All of the Arab countries are basically socialist at least in name, and that was never a hard sell there. It’s true that 100 years ago, the Arab lands were mostly feudal in nature, with big landowners and peasants in debt bondage. They rich had co-opted the religious authorities like they always do, and the mullahs preached that Islamic feudalism was right and proper because the Prophet had said, “It is normal that some are rich and some are poor.” But it was always a hard sell, and it had a very weak foundation.

After independence, socialism was instituted in most if not all Arab countries at least in name. In particular, huge land reforms were done in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, and Palestine. I assume something like that was done in Algeria too. It was a very easy sell, and everyone went along with it without a hitch. The mullahs quickly changed from support for feudalism to support for socialism.

Hamas rules Gaza and I was shocked at how huge the social safety net is. The many religious charities run the safety net, which is distributed under the rubric of Islam. This is done instead of the state doling it out.

Mohammad himself didn’t have much to say about economics, but he wasn’t a neoliberal capitalist or a feudalist.

In Christian societies, the rich have utter contempt and hatred for the poor, who they regard as little more than human garbage. If you want to see this philosophy in action, look at the classism in Latin America. As all Muslims are part of the umma, and hence, as all are brothers and sisters, it is simply unconscionable that wealthy Muslims would be able to openly hate poor Muslims. You simply cannot treat your fellow Muslims like that. It’s not officially haram but it might as well be.

European Style Fascism in the Middle East

It is instructive that the only place in the Arab world where neoliberal economics and in particular Libertarianism took hold was in Lebanon, and even there, it was only among Catholic Maronites. Most Arab Christians look east to Antioch (and before that, Constantinople) to the Eastern Orthodox church, which is really just the eastern wing of Catholicism.

The Maronites, though, deride Antioch and instead look to Rome. They see themselves as European people instead of Arabs. Many deny that they are Arabs and instead refer to themselves as “Phoenicians.” It is interesting that the only real classical fascism in the Arab World  took hold in the Lebanese Maronites, where the Gameyels imported it from Europe in the 1930’s.

The Jews of Israel also developed a very European form of fascism starting with Jabotinsky and his book The Iron Wall in 1921. This man was an open fascist. He is considered to be the spiritual father of the Likud Party. During the 1940’s, the armed Jewish rebels split into leftwingers who were almost Communists and rightwingers who were more or less fascists.

The Kahanists today look a lot like a European fascist party. And in fact, the entire Israeli rightwing around Likud, etc. looks pretty fascist in a European sense. So Israeli Jews are really Jewish fascists or fascist Jews. It has never been an easy ride for liberal and secular US Jews to support the Orthodox religious fanatics and rightwingers if not out and out fascists in the Likud, etc. in Israel. This was always completely unstable, and after that latest war, it’s finally starting to fall apart. But the seeds of destruction were already there.

But note that the Jews of Israel very much look to the West and see themselves as Europeans (which many are for all intents and purposes). They align themselves with the Judeo-Christian European society that many of them came from.

Half of Israeli Jews are Mizrachi Jews from the Arab World, and they have always had a Judeo-Islamic culture. However, when they moved to Israel, this was dismantled by perhaps not entirely. They rejected it due to the association of Arabs and Islam with the enemy, which is correct.

Economics and Catholicism

This radical classism and near-feudalism in Latin America was supported by the Catholic Church, which was always a very rightwing institution because they were always in bed with the rich. There were always Left splits in Catholicism like Dorothy Day and The Catholic Worker. The Catholic clergy in the US has tended to be quite leftwing.

There is a long history of “Catholic Communism” in the Philippines, Czechoslovakia, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, the Basque Country, France, Italy, Haiti, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador, Chile, Cuba, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina, and Uruguay. The IRA was a leftwing Catholic armed group. A lot of priests were caught hiding IRA cadre. So was the ETA in the Basque Country of Spain.

Catholic Leftism never caught on in Poland and Lithuania due to hatred of Russia and the USSR. Nevertheless, both are more or less socialist countries.

Even today there is an active “Catholic Communist” movement in Cuba that is very lively. In Honduras and Colombia, Catholic priests actually led guerrilla bands. Liberation Theoloy is something like “Jesus Christ with an AK-47.” The Leftist who recently took power in Paraguay was a former Catholic priest.

The ELN was founded by a priest, Camilo Torres, and many Catholic clergy even supported the Shining Path! Edith Lagos, a 20 year old woman, was the leader of a very early Shining Path column in Peru. She was killed in 1980 and the entire town of Ayacucho, 30,0000 people, came out for her funeral which was held at midnight. The lines of mourners stretched through the whole city. All of the priests in town blessed her body, and she was given a proper Catholic funeral.

I believe that the PT or Workers Party of Brazil has a large Liberation Theology component. The Catholic clergy had an excellent relationship with the FARC in Colombia. Of course, the Catholic clergy played a big role in Venezeula, and Hugo Chavez himself was a practicing Catholic. The FMLN Salvadoran rebels were explicitly Catholic, as were the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. One of the Sandinists’ top leaders, Tomas Borge, was a Catholic priest. Jean-Paul Aristide in Haiti was a Catholic priest. Catholic believers are now allowed to join the Communist Party in Cuba, and near the end of his life, Fidel Castro said he was a “cultural Catholic.”

After Vatican 2 and Liberation Theology began to spread out via the seminal documents written by Gustavo Gutierrez in Brazil, “A Theology of Liberation,” otherwise known as “exercising the preferential option for the poor,” it began to spread in Latin America. It started with local priests and especially Catholic lay workers in impoverished areas and then slowly spread. Even today, Catholic layworkers and especially seminaries are very leftwing, while the Vatican itself is not. A lot of seminaries are hotbeds of homosexuality, and the gay priests and lay workers are quite open about it. It is estimated that 15% of Catholic priests are gay.

Alt Left: Why Has a Sexual Preference for Pedophilia Been Wired into So Many Men?

21% of all men are more attracted to girls under 13 than they are to mature females!

I realize that figure is shocking, but bear with me. It’s been born out by study after study. The studies compared male reactions to females under 13 with reactions to females 16+.

Whenever anything is that common, there is probably a genetic tendency for it. Also, age preference in males cannot be corrected by any experimental means. Things that cannot be corrected in the lab are usually thought to be hardwired and biologically based.

So why are 20% (!) of all men basically preferential pedophiles?

It appears that there is a genetic preference for pubertal age girls that has been encoded in males and is present in a sizeable minority of them. The reasons for this are up for grabs, but among the Yanonamo Indians of Venezuela, men usually grab a wife at age 12 and often fight other men for girls that age. Sex may not take place for a few years later, but at least they nab them very young.

Perhaps there was a preference to select pubertal girls and sequester them away from other men for a bit until they became fully fertile at age 16, at which time she would be locked into that man and all of her children would be his.

Historically, early life was indeed short, nasty, and brutish, and perhaps primitive life still is. By age 40, every Yanonamo man has committed at least one homicide of another man. If you’re a pacifist you simply don’t make it to age 40. You die young, killed by other men. Kill or be killed. The law of the jungle.

Alt Left: Lousy People Make Lousy Countries

If you want to know just how shitty a group of people are, just give them their own country and see what they do when they get a hold of it. Israel is the nation of the Jews. It’s one of the worst countries on Earth. What does that tell you? Turkey is the nation of the Turks, the Gulf Arab countries are the countries of the Gulf Arabs, and India is the country of the Indians. Three of the worst countries on Earth by far, in the running with (((that shitty little country))).

Israel sucks because it’s full of Jews, and this is how Jews act if you give them a country.

Turkey sucks because it’s full of Turks, and this is how Turks act if you give them a country.

Gulf Arab countries suck because they’re full of Gulf Arabs, and this is how Gulf Arabs act if you give them countries.

India sucks because it’s full of Indians, and this is how Indians act if you give them a country.

Why does Mexico blow? Because it’s full of Mexicans, that’s why.

What other reason could there be? Every nation is created by the people who make it up. If the people suck, you get a crappy country. If the people are decent, you tend to get a pretty good country. The only times this might not be true is when the majority oppose the state, but that’s not the case in any of the above nations except Bahrain, where the majority Shia oppose the awful government.

Colombia sucks because it’s full of Colombians.

Guatemala sucks because it’s full of Guatemalans.

El Salvador blows because it’s full of Salvadorans.

Honduras sucks because it’s full of Hondurans (although to be fair, most of the people oppose the state).

Haiti sucks because it’s full of Haitians. Now, I happen to like Haitians in a political sense because 92% of them are Lavalas, and they almost all hate their horrible government, but it’s still true that Haiti is full of some pretty low quality people.

Brazil blows because it’s full of Brazilians, a half good and half bad people. Looks like the majority tips bad though because they just voted in a picture- perfect model of Mussolini.

And don’t give me this: “Oh the people are wonderful! It’s just their terrible government!”

But people aren’t set in stone. Germans and Japanese used to be the worst people on Earth, and now they’re some of the best. But I’m not quite so hopeful about some others. Haitians, for instance, may be problematic for a long time. But electing a Lavalas leader would sure be a step forward.

Alt Left: The Chameleon-Like Nature of Fascism

I wrote this in objection to a paper under review right now on Academia by a Left professor of Somatic Psychology, a PhD and a very smart man, who quotes Wilhelm Reich, a Jewish pro-sex and anti-fascist writer, as saying that fascists are out of touch with their bodies. Presumably antifascists are in touch with their bodies and not repressed. Apparently sexual repression and being out of touch with your body is part of the genesis of fascism. I don’t agree. Here is my response, in part.

I think that quoting Reich on fascism is not the greatest idea. He’s not the best person to ask about fascist theory. The modern intellectual descendants of Reich (the Cultural Left) don’t have a very good view of fascism.

Further, Reich was an extreme sexual libertine who may have molested his sister and raped his maids as a boy. Reich’s sexual libertinism was rejected by all Communists in the last century and is still condemned in existing Communist countries. So Reich’s critique is ill-formed, as the Communists were just as bad as the fascists when it came to Reich’s libertinism.

Fascists are sexually repressed? I don’t know. I’ve run into some MAGA women lately who are ridiculously libertine to the point of being degenerate or depraved. They’re about this far from becoming out and out porn stars. Yet fascists they are. A friend used to be an actor in the porn industry. He told me that the industry is full of conservatives. I’m aware of a few pornstars who were basically White Supremacists.

Donald Trump’s fascism was nearly a “pornographic fascism.” He cavorted with pornstars, cheated on all of his wives, made lewd remarks about his own daughter and the teenage underage daughters of his friends, reportedly attended sex orgies, and may have raped a 13 year old girl and forced a 12 and 13 year old girl to have sex with each other. He’s as libertine as Reich, yet he’s a fascist.

Better definitions are coming out of serious scholars of the Left. There area number of modern scholars who are trying to pin down exactly what fascism is. Almost all are operating from the Left. Among these superb modern theorists of fascism are David Neiwert who blogs at Daily Kos, the authors of a blog called Three Way Fight (not sure if it’s still up), along with excellent political scientists working out of the universities.

Better older analyses of fascism also come from Lenin and especially from Trotsky, who wrote some of the best essays on fascism ever written.

A “popular dictatorship against the Left” seems to be the best definition. “Palingetic nationalism” is another, referring to the bird that rises from the ashes in mythology. Fascism appeals to “the everyman,” “the man on the street” – “the shirtless ones” of Peronist fame. That’s the appeal – to your “basic man” and “basic woman.” It also appeals to strong primitive drives of aggression, violence, projection of failures onto outsiders, expansionism, often imperialism, an opposition to liberalism and democracy. It also opposes equality and in favor of hierarchy.

Fascism involves a reverence for sacred violence bordering on the religious, a worship of “the greatness of the ancestors,” a dialogue to restore “the glory days of yore” from the ruins of the “degenerate present”, ruined by liberals, democracy, anti-nationals, nation-haters, and traitors.

Fascism has historically supported a return to traditional values and a rejection of degenerate modernism, but as we can see in the “pornographic fascism” of Donald Trump, that’s not necessarily the case anymore.

Fascism also always advocated a return to traditional male female role models, but that need to be a hindrance to basic equal de jure rights for women, as seen in the many successful MAGA women and the many often-religious MAGA men who love and cherish their wives.

Fascism has typically targeted minorities and has been racist. People think that fascism is inherently anti-Semitic, yet many early Zionists such as Jabotinsky were open fascists and supported the fascist movement in Europe. Some of the early Israeli guerrillas were Jabotinskist fascists.

I’d argue that Israel has been fascist from Day One, but certainly with the coming of Sharon and Netanyahu, the ideological descendants of Jabotinskyist fascism, Israel became literally a fascist country. Jacobinsky is the hero and spiritual founder of the Likud Party. He was an early Zionist who wrote a book in 1921 called The Iron Wall. He and his followers were strong supporters of the fascist parties in Europe in the 1920’s and 30’s. Some of the early Zionist guerrilla organizations were Jabotinskyist fascists.

In Lebanon, the Gemayalist Phalangists named after a general named Gemayal, are an actual literal fascist party. Even their name is fascist as phalange is a popular name for fascist parties. They are Christian Maronites who see themselves as transplanted Europeans, descendants of “Phoenicians,” who despise Arabs and Islam. They are also the most pro-Israel party in Lebanon. This founder of this party had photos of Hitler in his school locker when he was in high school and the party’s ideology is modeled on the classic European fascism of the 30’s.

Israeli fascism is not anti-Semitic at all, and many White Supremacists actually support Israel as the model for the racist state they wish to set up. Many dislike Jews in the Diaspora who are seen as anti-national, but have no problem with the fascist Jews in Israel and see them as fellow fascists.

A number of the anti-immigrant Right parties in Europe are pro-Israel, including the National Front in France, the AfD in Germany, and the neo-Nazi party in Austria! They often like Israel because of its strong anti-Muslim orientation. Along the same lines, the Muslim-hating Hindu nationalist fascists ruling India in the form of the BJP party, are very pro-Israel.

The pro-fascist Spanish and Italian conservatives, remnants of former large fascist movements in those countries, are pro-Israel. The fascist Saudis, Bahrainis, Egyptians, Moroccans, and Ermiratis are now pro-Israel. They’ve always been Rightists so it’s no surprise. So philosemitic fascism is absolutely possible and even existing.

Arab nationalists have always been quite fascist despite their Leftist trappings. Saddam was a fascist, as was Hafez Assad. Some think Bashar Assad is a fascist. The North African leaders, all Arab Nationalists, were fascists in the sense that they tried to destroy the Berbers’ identity and make everyone into an Arab. The Assads and Saddam also attacked Kurds and Assyrians, in both cases in attempts to turn everyone into an Arab. Saddam also attacked Turkmen. And he discriminated against Iraqis of Iranian background in the South so much that he threw hundreds of thousands of them out of the country.

The Moroccan fascists are even expansionists, having invaded Spanish Sahara. The Indonesian fascists committed genocide in East Timor and Aceh and in the entire country against Communists when they unleashed a genocide in 1965 that murdered 1 million Communist in less than a couple of months. It was as bad as the Rwandan genocide.

All of these are examples of “Muslim fascists,” so fascism and Islam are quite compatible.

There seems to be a view in the West that fascism must be White Supremacist and of course it must be anti-Semitic.

None of the above were White Supremacists. They were all non-Whites, and none were self-haters.

Also as you can see above, fascism need not be anti-Semitic.

I also listed a number of fascist and anti-Islamic movements, rightwing dictatorships along with the post-fascist conservatives in Spain and Italy. The former fascist followers of Mussolini and Franco simply melted into the rightwing movements of both countries. In Spain it was the Conservative Party, a party with fascist roots.The Francoists simply changed clothes and melted into the Conservative Party. Francoism is still extremely popular, mostly in the form of anti-separatism, these days. I’ve been to their very popular websites.

Burlusconi in Italy has inherited the descendants of fascism in Italy. A fascist and racist separatist and somewhat White Supremacist movement has formed in Northern Italy. They are White Supremacists in the sense that  they claim the are Celts or “pure Whites” and they despise Southern Italians as de facto “niggers.”

A friend in Italy told me that fascism was still very popular in Italy to this very day, although it was also widely hated as the Left in Italy is often Far Left or almost Communist. There are cities in Sicily were the leftwingers are all Communists and the rightwingers are all fascists. They engage in street battles all the time.

My friend told me that the Red Brigades, an anti-fascist Far Left group of Communists that attacked the state, was extremely popular in Northern Italy, particularly in Vicenzia Province where he lived. His sister was a strong supporter of the Red Brigades, and she came from a normal middle class background in Trieste.

Fascism is said to be anti-Muslim, yet we have Islamic fascism in Turkey, Azerbaijan, Brunei, Morocco, and probably the Taliban in Afghanistan. Turkey and Azerbaijan are classic fascists of the 1930’s type, however they have married this to Ottoman imperialism and Islamic jihadism, particularly the genocidal variety that held sway in Turkey from 1880 until 1940.

That the Taliban are a new sort of fascism was an argument of the Leftists at Three Way Fight. I’m not sure I agree with that. Other Muslim fascists used to rule in Indonesia,  Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Iran. Above I listed more Muslim fascists in the Arab World, who might better be described as rightwing dictatorships.

Fascism is chameleon-like and changes shape endlessly to mirror and capture whatever times it is in. I can even see chameleon-like fascists adopting yoga, meditation, and bodywork, the “Left” body psychology mechanisms the author refers to. Hitler was a vegetarian and a good animal rights supporter, if terrible in so many other ways.

This aspect of fascism of what makes this political mercury blob so hard to pin down. Indeed, many fascists pose as anti-Nazis and anti-fascists and accuse anti-fascists of being fascists! I’ve seen this with my own eyes.

Problem is the Modern Left starts talking about fascism, and it immediately degenerates into propaganda and nonsense where we push views that line up whatever biases our Left formation is pushing du jour. The Cultural Left, which is almost devoid of intelligence or intellectual honesty of any sort, in particular cannot be relied upon, as almost everything coming out of there is propaganda and a lie in some form or another. For instance, the Cultural Left argues that White Supremacists, anti-feminists (or what feminists would call misogynists), homophobes, and transphobes are all “fascists.”

That’s utter nonsense as none of this Identity Stuff has anything to do with the Left in the first place, as the Left is only about economics and many Communists of the last century were in fact social conservatives described under the epithets above. Many of the antifascist fighters fighting in the Allies in World War 2 were White Supremacists, racists (in particular, racist against Blacks), “misogynists” (or at the very least strong sexists), and virulent homophobes. Trannies didn’t exist back then, but they would have been hated much worse than gays.

The very racist White Southern Democrats of that time absolutely despised Hitler, Mussolini, and the rest of the European fascists along with the Japanese, who were promoting a sort of “fascist militarism.”

The Cultural Left would have us believe that Stalin, Mao, Castro, Hoxha, Deng, Ho Chi Minh, the Bulgarian Communists, etc. were all fascists because they were social conservatives. Homosexuality was banned as a bourgeois vice in the Eastern Blog. The Shining Path executed homosexuals and cocaine abusers (another bourgeois vice). The Khmer Rogue were terribly racist. I don’t think anyone will deny that they were Communists.

Even Strasserites are Communists, granted they were odd ones. Further, Strasser had no biological race-based objection to Jews. He had an economic objection. And he wasn’t the best anti-Semite. He kept asking the others why they were so overboard on the Jewish Question.

Stalin wasn’t the best on women’s rights.

The Bulgarian Communists had opinions on race that would be considered Nazism nowadays.

As noted, homosexuality was banned in all of the Communist World. Castro put them in labor camps. The Communist Party of the Russian Federation even today doesn’t have the best policy on gays nor on Jews for that matter. I’m pretty sure they are Communists.

Trans people were not even acknowledged by any Communist country ever.

We have to completely rethink our view of fascism.

It is perfectly possible to have a libertine fascism in a porn-drenched society, which is what we just went through with Trump. MAGA folks are not repressed at all in my observation. They’re not out of touch with their bodies. The Sex Revolution of the 60’s which I was a part of took care of that.

MAGA fascism even allowed for equal rights for women. MAGA women do not appear to be discriminated against legally. A lot of them made a lot of money and held high positions.

Fascism has always been homophobic, yet the Nazi brownshirts were full of homosexuals, and I’ve talked to many gay MAGA types.

I assure you that there are gay MAGA folks. I’ve talked to a number of them. Mitch McConnell is a lifelong homosexual. He’s as fascist as they come. The first brownshirts were full of homosexuals. The Republican Convention welcomed an open fascist, the founder of Ebay, to their convention. They gave him a standing ovation.

I’m aware of Neo-Nazis to this day who are open homosexuals. James O’Meara was one. A number of White Supremacists have been outed as closeted gays. One was murdered by his young Black boyfriend. A friend used to be involved in these groups and he told me that was a LOT of homosexuality in this scene.

Brazilian fascist integralism was multi-racial and formally anti-racist, populist to the core. But Bolsonaro does not come from this milieu; he represents an actual throwback in some ways to classical European fascism of the 1930’s.

Fascism has traditionally been racist, but Black and Indian fascism is a real thing. I believe that fascism knows no color. The Tonton Macoutes of Haiti were black fascists. The Black Hutu government in Rwanda was fascist, as was Mobutu in Zaire and Samuel Doe in Liberia.

A fascist indigenist Indian rights activist is running for President in Ecuador. He’s pulled support from Cultural Left morons who support his Identity Politics while overlooking his fascism, a typical error of IP types, who are the a scourge of the Left.

Obviously modern fascism opposes transsexualism, but that’s not necessarily the case into the future. Caitlin Jenner, a fully-transitioned transwoman, is MAGA.

In the future we may see even forms of fascism that offer equal rights to gays and maybe even transsexuals.

Alt Left: The Death of Social Democracy in Europe

If you haven’t noticed, there’s no more social democracy or democratic socialism in Europe. Probably the only thing left is Belarus, Moldova, Turkey, and Russia. Possibly Iceland because they told the banks to go pound sand. Greece elected a Leftist government, Syriza, that quickly went full-blown neoliberal, reportedly out of necessity. What has happened to social democracy is something that any Marxist could have predicted – the incompatibility of even trying to have any sort of socialist society in the midst of a capitalist economy.

The fate of social democracy is the what has always been the fate of social liberalism in the US and its counterpart in Canada and Australia. All of these variants have never been anything but reactionary on foreign policy – smashing the slightest sign of liberalism anywhere in the world if it even dared to peek its head out. Many governments in Latin America were overthrown for the crime of raising the minimum wage.

And most of these were overthrown by “liberal” Democratic governments. Bill Clinton set the stage for the overthrow of Aristide. Aristide’s crime? He dared to raise the minimum wage. He had investments in some factories there. So did Hilary. Hilary overthrew Honduras. The crime? Raising the minimum wage.

Even FDR, the most progressive President of the 20th century, was a raving reactionary freak on foreign policy. “Somoza may be a sonofabitch, but he’s our sonofabitch.”

Teddy Roosevelt was progressive at home but an imperialist brute overseas. “Walk softly and carry a big stick.”

The standard formula for all of these countries has always been some form of liberalism at home combined with hard right or ultra right policies that favored rightwing dictatorships, death squads, the genocide of the Left, and out and out fascism overseas. Liberal at home, reactionary abroad. And now Joe Biden, one of the most liberal Presidents in modern memory, is already treading down the same worn path.

And now the social democracies have undergone the same transformation that social liberalism, etc. has had from the start. One gets the feeling that liberalism or socialism at home in a capitalist country will always have to co-exist with ultra-right, pro-fascist politics overseas. In other words, a foreign policy of imperialism.

Most of Europe is whored to the ultra-rightwing NATO. The EU is for all intents and purposes the civilian state and NATO is the Defense Ministry of that state. Even Sweden, Denmark, and Norway are hard right countries when it comes to their NATO alliance. Finnish foreign policy has always been rightwing, a legacy of their hatred for Russia. Dutch, French, British, and Spanish foreign policy have been horribly rightwing forever now under social democratic and conservative governments both. Indeed in Europe, there is little difference between the two.

Spain strides around Latin America like a brute. Apparently they still think they rule the place as they once did.Most of this involves threats, arm-twisting, sanctions and whatnot every time countries try to assert more control over their resources, which are inevitably being exploited by Spanish corporations. Bolivia’s nationalization of oil and gas is instructive in this regard. The social democratic Spanish government was just as reactionary as the conservative one.

The French are cruel and colonialist towards their former colonies and do not allow any independent governments to form there, especially in Africa. The French and Canadians were deeply involved in the overthrow of Aristide in Haiti, apparently for the crime of raising the minimum wage. In addition, France is still demanding that Haiti repay it for its losses when the slaves of Haiti were freed and the slave-holding families were massacred. France is a social democracy.

The Dutch held a phony inquest in the M17 false flag shootdown where a Ukrainian fighter jet shot down an airliner in order to blame it on Russia. The EU was also deeply involved in this plot and especially the coverup. As were the British and in particular the BBC, the official organ of the British state. The British stole $4 million in gold from Venezuela by confiscating it. British foreign policy mimics US foreign policy in every reactionary thing we do. The UK is a social democracy.

Italy led the charge against Qaddafi and helped steal billions of his gold reserves. Italian corporations also quickly tried to get on Libya’s oil. Italy is a social democracy.

100% of the EU is sanctioning Venezuela for the crime of trying to create a social democracy in America’s backyard. No socialist country would ever sanction Venezuela. Same with Nicaragua. They’re all sanctioning Nicaragua too. Nicaragua’s even less socialist than Venezuela and Norway’s probably a lot more socialist than Venezuela.

So you see, these countries may have some sort of socialism at home (increasingly threadbare) but in foreign policy, it’s straight up full-blown reaction and imperialism, support for rightwing dictatorships and out and out fascists. The reason is simple. The economies of all EU countries are based on their multinational corporations.

Multinational corporations want nothing but rightwing dictatorship, preferably fascist, when they cannot elect hard Right democratic states. These corporations will not tolerate the slightest socialism or even liberalism overseas because they all operate on a predatory model towards the Third World.

Hence the foreign policy of all of the EU “socialist” countries is all about what’s good for the corporations that run their economies. Their corporations wish to go abroad and rape, ruin, exploit, destroy, and stripmine the economies of the Third World by exploiting their resources such that the corporations get almost everything and the countries themselves barely get a nickel.

This has always been the model and it always will be the model. So the EU social democracies have the same problem of the Democratic Party – while they can be leftwing at home to some extent, they all go hard rightwing and pro-fascist and rightwing dictatorship overseas due to their fealty to the corporations that run their economies.

Jewish Hypocrisy on Race Is Astounding

Polar Bear: Jews and Gentiles are conditioned to side with Jews.

Well, Jews are not wonderful and special and perfect just because they got genocided. Lots of groups got genocided. Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks, Cambodians, American Indian tribes, Aboriginals, Moiriori, Chechens, Gypsies, Herero, Congolese, Hutus, Yezidis, East Timorese, Hindus in Bangladesh, got genocided. Have they turned into diabolical monsters because of it like the Jews did? I don’t see why getting genocided gives Jews the right to turn into the worst human beings on Earth. All that does is make people think maybe they deserved it.

I don’t think the world has the stomach for any more Jew-killing. It’s been going on a pretty long time, and this last go-round was a doozy. In fact, it was so bad that I think that all mass-Jew-killing is off the table for probably centuries into the future. No one wants a repeat of the Holocaust.

Why should I automatically side with Jews? Because they got killed in the Holocaust! This is going to sound cruel, but boo hoo! I’m sad that y’all got massacred, but now that you’ve turned into human monsters, I’m not going  to support you because bad people did something terrible to your people. By the way, you are now playing the role of the bad people doing terrible things to others.

Israel is a dyed in the wool racist state to the very core of its being. The racism or bigotry is enshrouded in virtually every law and code in the country. The other correlate is apartheid South Africa, which it seems to have been modeled on. It is also very similar to the Jim Crow laws that Blacks were forced to live under not just in the US South but in many places in Latin America. You never knew that Jim Crow was in place in other places too, did you? I know for a fact that there was legal segregation in Cuba until after the Revolution. And there was de facto legal segregation of coastal Blacks in Ecuador.

Israel is probably one of the most openly and brazenly racist countries on Earth. Why do they get to be racist monsters? Because they got killed in the Holocaust! Boo hoo. It doesn’t give you the right to turn into racist kleptomaniacs. No one gets to be racist monsters or terrible people. I don’t care what got done to them. You don’t get to turn bad in revenge because something bad got done to you.

Jews drive me up the wall.  They are absolutely committed to flooding all White Christian countries with non-Whites and non-Christians. Why? Because when the White  Christian population gets below 50%, a Nazi type regime can never come into power. I wouldn’t be too sure about that. Some Arab Muslim countries were pretty cruel to their Jews in the last 75 years. Be careful what you wish for.

They  scream and yell about racism of all types, but they exaggerate it by a factor of 10, and they make mountains out of molehills. It’s all done to demonize White Christians as racist devils. You know why they do this? Revenge. It’s revenge for the Holocaust. And part of it may be resentment because there was some legal discrimination against Jews for a while in the US.

As a counterpart to the argument about Blacks, the Jews seem to have prospered pretty well in spite of all of that discrimination. So there may be revenge for the anti-Jewish discrimination we put them through. A famous Jewish psychiatrist, Stanley
Rothman, in the 1960’s diagnosed the basic Jewish character as Paranoid-Masochistic Character. The masochistic part means they love being victims. I say you can take anything away from a Jew, but never take away his sense of victimhood. He will fight for that for his dear life. It’s literally the most important thing in his life. It’s his fuel for living.

The paranoid part is obvious. Jews are paranoid. You look at a Jew wrong and you just like those people who threw them in the ovens. They spend most of their lives all revved up about what their enemies trying to do them and how they are poor, pitiful victims. That’s a Hell of a way to live your life.

The young Jewish men Rothman saw were very angry at US society. Most of their rage focused on WASP’s. Coded, that means White Christians. Traditionally, WASP’s were the ruling class in the US, but that has probably not been true for a long time if we speak of mere White Anglo Saxon Protestants. The US ruling class for some time now has consisted of all White Christians. They were full of rage and hatred for WASP’s and harbored an extreme desire to get revenge on the WASP’s that had supposedly been holding the Jews back. So here you can maybe see the antagonistic position that a lot of Jews take towards White Christians.

Jews scream all the time about how wonderful all the non-Whites are, especially Blacks and Hispanics, but they won’t be caught dead living within 10 miles of any of them. But if we complain about crime, litter, or graffiti, we’re evil racist scum, and we need to get canceled.

Cancel culture was started by the Jews. So was Identity Politics. The Jews are the original Identity Politics group.

This above is raw, naked hypocrisy. They scream at us for being racists for complaining that some Black guy stole our car. They won’t shut up about how evil and racist White Christians are. But they won’t live anywhere near these minorities because they know full well how crime-prone they are and all of the pathologies that typically follow large numbers of these people.

So our countries all get flooded with non-Whites and non-Christians for the benefit of the Jews and the detriment of the White Christian sons and daughters of the land. Why? Because that’s good for the Jews.

But we’re all Nazis so we deserve it.

And Israel gets to be one of the most racist countries on Earth because…? Because why? Because they got killed in the Holocaust! See what hypocrites they are? Anti-racist, White-hating fanatics in the Diaspora hypocritically proclaiming their love of all non-Whites whom they disdain so much that they won’t even live near them. And in Israel, they’re as racist as a Southern cracker in the 1950’s. Why? Because that’s good for the Jews.

See how they think? Everything’s all about them. It’s all about what’s good for them. If it’s good for them, we have to do it, no matter if it’s bad for everyone else, no matter that it’s in direct contradiction to whatever they’re pushing on the other side of the world. What if we all went through life maximizing what’s good for us? It wouldn’t be a very pretty world.

Repost: Englishes, Portugueses, and Chineses

In the comments to a previous post, Goyta made several comments. First of all he noted that the differences between Brazilian and European Portuguese are considerable, especially when a Brazilian hears a less educated, working class or rural Portuguese.

He also said that when European Portuguese are interviewed on Brazilian TV, Brazilians wish they had subtitles. Wanting to have subtitles when you see a video of someone speaking is actually a symptom that you are dealing with another language. He said the differences are particularly severe when it comes to IT. He said he cannot understand 99% of what is written in a European Portuguese IT magazine, whereas with a regular publication, he can get 99% of it.

It does appear that the differences between European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese are pretty significant, more significant than the differences between US and British English.

On other hand, I find Hibernian English spoken in Ireland to be nearly incomprehensible, though it is said to be just a dialect of English. It’s clearly been influenced extensively by the Irish language. Scots, the regional English spoken in Scotland and exemplified by the movie Trainspotting , is actually a completely separate language from English. That movie actually needed subtitles. On the other hand, there is a Scottish English dialect that is not Scots that is pretty intelligible.

We can always understand British English no matter who is writing it. Same with understanding spoken Australian and New Zealand (Kiwi) English. British English is often written a bit differently in slang expressions, but we pick them up. The formal writing is totally understandable.

There have been huge fights on Wikipedia between British English and US English speakers with complaints from the Brits of bullying by the Americans. There was an attempt to fork the English Wiki into Br and US versions but it failed. Wikipedia demands that you have an ISO code in order to get a Wikipedia and ISO codes only come from SIL, who publishes Ethnologue. I petitioned for a few new languages a couple of years ago and they all got shot down.

There is an ongoing war between European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese on the Portuguese Wikipedia with complaints from the European Portuguese of bullying on the part of the Brazilians. Gotya noted that he, a Brazilian, could not read Portuguese IT materials. This is unfortunate. All written British is intelligible to us. We can read anything written in the UK, though most of our reading material here is from the US. I can read The Economist and The New Standard and The Spectator with no problems at all.

As a Californian, I speak completely normally, of course, and have no accent whatsoever! Haha. We can understand the Midwest accent perfectly, though it can be different. It sounds “flat”. They also insert rhotic consonants before some consonants at the end of a word and the raising of the preceding vowel – “wash” becomes “worsh”.

The Oklahoma accent is different and sometimes it can be hard to understand. I heard some people speaking Oklahoman in the doctor’s office the other day for a minute or so I thought they were speaking a foreign language! Of course they were mumbling too. Then I asked them where they were from and they said Oklahoma. At that point, I had caught onto their accent and could understand them perfectly.

I do not know why the Texan accent is said to be hard to understand. We understand it perfectly, but it sounds funny. We make a lot of jokes about it. George Bush has a strong Texan accent. There is also an Arkansas accent (Arkies) that is different but understandable. This is also the source of jokes. In this part of California there are many Whites who still speak Arkie and Okie. They are the descendants of those who came out here from the Dust Bowl in the 1930’s. Steinbeck wrote a book about this called The Grapes of Wrath.

Other than that, there are no accents in the West.

There is some sort of a Kentucky-Tennessee accent, but I am not sure if they differ. This is also a source of jokes. It’s sort of a general Appalachian accent, and it’s the source of jokes about inbred hillbillies and whatnot.

The Southern accent is well-known but usually understandable. My brother went to live in Alabama though and he said that the workers in the factory he worked at were often completely unintelligible. The Blacks were worse than the Whites, and they had separate accents. He has imitated their incomprehensible accent to me and it’s pretty hilarious.

I have heard poor Blacks from Memphis on the Cops show who were completely unintelligible to me. People with more money and status tended to be more comprehensible. I sometimes have a hard time understanding a Mississippi or Alabama accent, but it’s no problem. Our Southern politicians all have thick Southern accents.

Cajun English from Louisiana is often unintelligible to us, but the people with more money and status are quite intelligible.

There is also a Black accent from the coast of South Carolina called Gullah that is hard to understand. The Blacks from around there speak something like it and you can pick it out if you are sharp. It has a pretty, lilting sound to it. It’s different from the standard Southern accent and is sort of charming.
Moving up the coast, there is a Virginia accent that is softer, pleasant and charming.

There is the famous New York accent, which to us laid back Californians sounds horribly rude, obnoxious, loud and belligerent. Some forms of it also sound ignorant – these tend to be associated with working class Whites in Brooklyn and the Bronx.

One thing they do is to glide and lengthen rhotic consonants – “New York” becomes New Yawwk” “Brooklyn” becomes “Bwwoklyn”.

A similar accent seems to be spoken in New Jersey, but it may be different. One again, it involves lenition of rhotic consonants, in this case turning them into dipthongs with long vowels. “New Jersey” becomes “New Joiisey”. This is also a source of jokes.
There is a Boston accent which is completely understandable. Ted Kennedy speaks that. It involves the lenition of hard consonants into glides and the end of a word – “car” becomes “caw”.

I believe there is a sort of a slow drawl from Vermont and New Hampshire too. Those people, especially the older men, are known for not talking much. Men of few words.

Some Blacks around here still talk with thick Black accents that sound Southern even though they were born in the Central Valley.
There is also an “Ebonics” English (for lack of a better word) that is spoken here by sort of ghettoish or semi-ghettoish Blacks. It is frankly, almost completely unintelligible. They seem like they are talking with their mouths full, mumbling and speaking extremely fast, running all of the sounds together.

Everyone who talks like this can also speak Standard English thank God, and they can quickly move in and out of that Ebonics talk when you talk to them. It’s sort of a language for them to talk so that we can’t understand them, I think. To us, it sounds sloppy, low class and ghetto, but it reportedly a full-fledged language.
The Blacks in the Caribbean do not speak English! That makes me feel good because I can hardly understand a word they say. Each island has its own form of Creole English which is a completely separate language.

I think that Indian English (Chichi derogatorily) and West African English need to be split into separate languages because they are often incomprehensible to us. This is a case of regional Englishes evolving on their own. Further, West African English often differs a lot in its written form.

Indian English is often so mangled in its written form that it is incomprehensible, but more educated writers are comprehensible. The tendency to drop articles is very annoying and makes written Indian English sound ignorant to us. Don’t mess with our damned useless articles!

Reading about the Chinese languages, there are efforts underway to get speakers to speak proper Putonghua, whatever that means. Speakers from different parts of China still speak Putonghua with an accent that can be heavy at times.

Here in the US, we do not have this problem. Even our politicians still speak in heavy regional accents, and no one cares. We can always understand them. There is no national effort to get everyone to speak proper English that involves wiping out regional accents, though I understand that in the corporate world, they are offering classes to help people get rid of Southern accents, which are stereotyped as sounding backwards, ignorant and racist. I think this is sad. Our regional accents are what makes this country great.

Goyta also notes that Brazilians are starting to speak Spanish and the neighboring Spanish speaking countries are starting to speak Portuguese. When I was dealing with them 5-10 years ago, most Brazilians did not speak much Spanish (They acted like it was extremely low on their list of priorities) and Spanish speakers had zero interest in learning Portuguese (In fact, they regarded the suggestion as offensive and preposterous!)

Goyta notes that with regional integration, more Portuguese are speaking Spanish and more Spanish speakers from nearby countries are learning Portuguese. Spanish is becoming a prerequisite to getting a good job in Brazil. This is good as it’s good to see Latin Americans getting together.

It is also true that in China there has been a big fight over Chinese language classification. The unificationist – fascist types, associated with the Communist government (and actually with the Nationalist government before also – this is really a Chinese elite project) insist that there is only one Chinese language.
This goes along with racism of Northern Chinese against Southern Chinese and to some extent vice versa. This racism is most evident in the Cantonese vs Mandarin war in China.

Cantonese speakers say that they speak the real Chinese and that Northern Chinese speak a bastardized tongue derived from the old Manchu language. Cantonese speakers also resent that a Northern Chinese was turned into the national tongue and imposed on them against their will. They also say that Northern Chinese are really from the South and that the real NE Asians are the Mongolians, Koreans, Manchu, Japanese, etc. Genetic studies show that this is not the case.

Northern Chinese say that Southern Chinese are not real Chinese and their blood is “contaminated” with Tai types like the Tai, Zhuang, Vietnamese, etc. There is probably something to this.
Although Putonghua is the only official language in China and there is a war going on against the regional Chineses, enforcement has been held off against Cantonese. And Cantonese  areas are still where you will hear the least Putonghua and the most regional Chinese in all spheres of life. Cantonese is also allowed on the radio and TV, whereas regional Chineses had previously banned from the media.

The Putonghua-only campaign has been too successful and regional Chineses are being wiped out. There is now a regionalism movement arising in China to promote and retain regional Chineses.

I think that the Putonghua campaign has been good, but that China should promote bilingualism. The Putonghua campaign has not yet been successful. As of 2001, only 53% of Chinese could speak Putonghua, but it has probably risen a lot since then as the government is really pushing this hard.

China clearly needs a language that they can all speak. For its entire history, many Chinese have not been able to speak to each other, including folks from one village to the next if you go to the southeast and the central coast. Provinces like Fujian, Jiangxi, Jiangsu, Henan and Hunan are notoriously multilingual.

Most of these places have a lot of very high mountains, and transportation was typically very poor. Even today, you can scarcely get around by vehicle and you sometimes have to walk from one place to the next, sometimes for dozens of miles! Bottom line is they were very isolated from each other.

These places also retained a tradition of being hideouts for “hillbilly” types where there was a lot of unemployment and many folks turned to crime. Also criminals fled to the mountains where they could hide. Upshot was that due to all of this, and people seen as backwards, lazy, stupid and thieving, people from the rest of China had no interest in going to these places anyway.
When people left these parts of China to go to big cities, they were stereotyped in a way similar to how ghetto Blacks and Browns are in the US. This made them want to stay in their mountains.

Repost: Are Amerindians Related to Polynesians?

Are Amerindians Related to Polynesians?

Regarding the post on the Moriori, a commenter asks if any of the Amerindians, in particular the South American Amerindians, are related to Polynesians. They are not.

All of the Amerindians go back to the area where Mongolia, Russia, and China all come together – the Altai Mountains east to Lake Baikal. Another smaller group comes from the area around the mouth of the Amur River where China, Russia, and North Korea meet.

Click to enlarge. The Lower Amur region of Russia can be seen to the left of Sakhalin Island. On this map, tribes residing in the Lower Amur region include the Negidal, Ulchi, Nivkhi, Oroch, Udeghe and the Nanai.

Click to enlarge. There is no evidence that South American Amerindians, or any Amerindians, are primarily Polynesian. As you can see in this chart, Pacific Islanders and Amerindians are on completely different ends of the evolutionary spectrum. Amerindians are closer to NE Asians (Japanese, Koreans and Northern Chinese) and Caucasians than they are to Polynesians. Polynesians are closer to Aborigines and Papuans than they are to Amerindians or NE Asians.

However, a Polynesian gene has been found in some tribes on the Pacific Coast of Peru and Chile. It’s theorized that Polynesians must have landed there at some point, but it wasn’t a big settlement. Going back 7-9,000 years ago, all Amerindians looked like Polynesians. The closest match to the Kennewick Man’s (Who is not Caucasian!) skull is nothing other than the Moriori whom we just discussed.

However, that does not mean that Polynesians were in the New World then. 9,000 yrs ago, there were no Polynesians. We are talking about races that no longer exist.

It’s probable that some of the Ainuid ancestors of the Polynesians resembled the Ainuid ancestors of these ancient Amerindians. In the chart above, the Ainu are one of the links between the SE Asians, NE Asians, Australians and Amerindians.

The Ainu types are really the clue to this whole puzzle. Ainu types or Ainu types transitioning to pure Mongoloids were generalized over much of Asia back in those days.

References

Powell, Joseph F. and Rose, Jerome C. 2004. “Chapter 2, Report on the Osteological Assessment of the “Kennewick Man” Skeleton (CENWW.97.Kennewick),” in McManamon, F.P. Kennewick Man. Washington, DC: US Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Archeology Program.

Alt Left: The Assassination of Politician Jorge Eliécer Gaitán in Colombia in 1948

This is the information contained in the huge update I just made in this post. I just updated the post with a lot of information about the assassination of Jorge Eliécer Gaitán in 1948 which led to the massive riots called The Bogotazo, after which a decade of mass killings called La Violencia took place. The assassination of Gaitan, even more than the banana workers strike, jump-started the movement of the armed Colombian Left in the form of the Colombian guerrillas.

In 1948 in Colombia, a very popular presidential candidate, Jorge Eliécer Gaitán of the Liberal Party, was assassinated for the same reason that given for the overthrow of Arbenz of Guatemala seven years later. The Liberal Party was one of two fascist parties of the oligarchy, along with the Conservative Party. See below for more on them.

The Liberal Party was anything but. Yet Gaitán was an interesting figure, part of a socialist movement in the party who advocated very popular candidate who promised major changes in Colombian society a battle against social, political, and economic inequality. He was also a feminist who advocated the uplift of the status of Colombian woman in society. In addition, he broached the subject of land reform, a hot button issue in Colombia.

In fact, as in so many other places in Latin America such as Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador, the endless Leftist guerrilla war against the government is more of a fight over land than anything else. To this day, the Colombian oligarchy has refused to do a land reform, in part because this is where most of their money comes from.

Even Venezuela has had only partial success at a land reform, as it has proven too difficult to break up the big estates or latifundias. Instead, since much of the land lies idle and fallow, peasants have conducted land invasions of fallowed land in the latifundias, which has resulted in a lot of conflict.

Death squads funded by the latifundia oligarchs have murdered over 150 peasant leaders since Chavez came in over the last 20 years. Parts of the Chavista Movement have been aligned with the rural rich for whatever reason, and they have been involved in repressing these peasant movements also.

He was murdered by the Colombian oligarchy or ruling class, which has stayed in power by mass murder for 75 years now. They were even massacring people earlier, as there was a mass slaughter of striking workers at banana plantations in the northwest in a place called La Magdalena in 1928.

Even this early, the US was waging a Cold War against the USSR. The US became very alarmed by the strike, as the plantations were owned by the US United Fruit Company. United Fruit and the US government described the strikers as subversives and Communists. The US threatened to invade if the strike was not put down by the Colombian government.

Under orders from United Fruit, the Colombian military attacked the workers. Many striking workers were killed. The event was memorialized by Gabriel Garcia Marquez in his famous novel 100 Years of Solitude. The event was a watershed in Colombian politics, as an actual Colombian Left was formed around this time.

Gaitan was an excellent speaker and his rallies drew large crowds of union members and poor people. He was characterized as a demagogue, like Juan Peron, who was already rising to power in Argentina. He was also a budding nationalist. He was criticized by the Conservative Party, the right wing of the Liberal Party, and even the Communist Party, which regarded him as a competitor for the interests of the workers.

In 1933, he split with the Liberal Party and formed the Unión Nacional Izquierdista Revolucionaria (National Leftist Revolutionary Union). In 1946, he proposed a Gaitanista Program. It advocated many things:

Development agencies for the advancement of the social, political, and economic advancement of peasants in the countryside. Policies to redistribute wealth in Colombia. Nationalization of public services, a progressive income tax, and the development of a national economy. A land reform and new pro-labor laws.

In terms of foreign policy, it advocated an economic union of Latin American countries so they could serve the interests of their people instead of that of the oligarchies and foreign carpetbagging corporations. His project could be best described as anti-plutocratic and anti-imperialist.

He was assassinated in 1948 by a “lone gunman,” Juan Roa Sierra, along the lines of Lee Harvey Oswald. Two ex-CIA agents have confessed that it was really the CIA that was behind the operation. The assassin took orders from two named CIA agents and the assassination plan was called Operation Pantomime.

This was probably one of the first of countless assassinations of liberal and leftwing figures the world over by the CIA undertaken as part of the Cold War. Sierra visited Gaitan in his office in  the morning and at 1 PM, he shot Gaitan dead.

An enraged mob then set upon Sierra, who was protected by an Army colonel. He was chased to a store where  he holed up. The mob smashed into the store and dragged him outside. He was beaten and stabbed so many times that his corpse was unrecognizable.

At the time of his assassination, a meeting of the Pan-American Conference led by US Secretary of State George Marshall. At this meeting, all members of the group agreed that fighting Communism was their number one concern.

The despicable Organization of American States or OAS, a fake organization of Latin American countries that is actually run by the US and serves to promote the interests of the US and its neo-colonies in Latin America.

At the same time, the Latin American Youth Congress was taking place. It been organized by Fidel Castro of Cuba and was funded by Juan Peron of Argentina. A young Gabriel Garcia Marquez was a law student at the time and was eating lunch at the time  Gaitan was killed. He rushed to the scene and arrived just in time to see Sierra lynched by the mob. He memorialized the event in his book, Living to Tell the Tale.

It is possible that Gaitan, like Oswald and Sirhan Sirhan and James Earl Ray, was a patsy for an assassination carried out by the US Deep State in the case of the former and by the FBI itself in the case of Ray. Gaitan suffered from schizophrenia, could not fire a gun properly, the gun in his hand was not capable of firing accurately, and he was standing quite a distance away from Gaitan while the murder occurred at a short distance. Further, Sierra was not seen anywhere near the assassination. The first time  he was spotted, he was in between two police officers.

The Colombian government quickly blamed the USSR and the Colombian Communist Party for the murder. They also tied in the young Fidel Castro with the plot. This version seems very unlikely.

Notice that this CIA assassination took place under “liberal Democrat” Harry Truman.

The murder of this candidate was followed by a wild  riot known as the Bogotazo. Many of the rioters were armed and the riots left much of downtown Bogota in ruins. The riots left 1,800 people dead. This was part of a larger reign of violence in the countryside which had started in 1930. By 1948, Bogota was full of peasants fleeing the violence in the countryside.