Alt Left: The Neoliberal Ghost of Pinochet Is Finally Being Exorcised from Chile

The Neoliberal Ghost of Pinochet Is Finally Being Exorcised from Chile

More than 46 years of initially military-imposed neoliberalism in Chile has finally exploded into widespread frustration, protest, and violence. This neoliberalism culminated in 2017 with twelve businessmen, among them Chilean President Sebastián Piñera, monopolizing at least 17% of the national GDP, demonstrating the huge gap in wealth equity.

There is little doubt why the latest protests have exploded violently, with 18 dead so far – Piñera had declared war on his own people to protect his lucrative monopoly racket.

It is without surprise he had declared war. The aggressive neoliberalism that has dominated Chile since the 1973 Chilean coup d’état when socialist President Salvador Allende was killed and eventually replaced by neoliberal Augusto Pinochet with the backing and blessing of U.S. President Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, the CIA, and the so-called “Chicago Boys” neoliberal economic team.

Although the so-called communist threat was defeated in Chile, it was not until 1990 that the kinder face of neoliberalism returned to the country with the first democratic election taking place since the coup. The return to democracy did not equate to any changes in the economic system.

The appearance of GDP growth in the South American country created the mythology of the Chilean miracle, ‘thanks’ to the Chicago Boys, the group of young Chilean economists who studied at the University of Chicago under the adviser to U.S. President Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, professor Milton Friedman.

They were the so-called economic liberators and advised Pinochet on applying complete free-market policies – essentially to privatize state-owned industries and companies and to open the economy.

The pernicious globalist model was applied and deemed a miracle because of significant GDP growth. However, this was only to the benefit of shareholders and private companies and did not reflect the average Chilean’s experience. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Gini coefficient value, a method to measure wealth distribution, stood at a record 0.50 in 2017, one of the highest inequality coefficients in the world.

This is because the incomes of the richest 10 percent of Chile are 26 times higher than the incomes of the poorest 10 percent of the population. This is partly also due to an unfair taxation system that creates a massive tax burden on the poor, as Chile’s government earns less from income taxes than any other country in the 35-member OECD.

Despite praise for the supposed fantastic economic performance, almost a third of Chilean workers are employed in part-time jobs, with one in two Chileans having low literacy skills according to the OECD.

And now as Chile literally burns and 18 people are dead, we cannot forget that former president Michelle Bachelet grotesquely dedicated lessons on “human rights” against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. Although Piñera has apologized, he did not do so for his declaration of war against the people but rather for decades of unresolved problems, which he  followed with an announcement for a new social and economic program.

A reversal of the crippling neoliberal economic system? Highly doubtful and probably more a Band-Aid option.

Neoliberal propagandist Enrique Krauze Kleinbort – accused of the coup attempt to overthrow Mexican President López Obrador – proclaimed that Chile was ‘the role model’ for Latin American economic growth. If inequality is considered a ‘role model,’ it shows that the oligarchs of Latin America have not recognized the growing trend of violent opposition to neoliberalism as the recent case in Ecuador demonstrates.

The very fact that Piñera attempted to increase transportation and energy costs in Chile demonstrates his lack of knowledge about international outrage to neoliberalism.

The French Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests) in France began their actions 12 months ago, which soon spread across Europe, when neoliberal President Emmanuel Macron attempted to increase gasoline taxes. In 2018, Brazilian truck drivers blocked roads in a demand for a decrease in diesel prices. Mexico in 2017 saw a 20% rise in fuel prices that exploded into riots.

However, the attempted increase in transportation and energy costs was only the spark that lit the fire. As Piñera the man who is part of a monopoly over the Chilean economy, was forced to admit this is an explosion after decades worth of frustration, neglect, and abuse.

Candida Cecilia Morel, the wife of the billionaire Piñera, sent a WhatsApp message that was leaked in the media in which she comments on the violence and the protests shaking her country, and it certainly does show the disconnect that the elite of Chile have with the common Chilean.

The message said that “we are absolutely overwhelmed, it is like a foreign invasion, alien,” and that “we will have to decrease our privileges and share with others.” Her suggestion to decrease “privileges” is a stark reminder of Charles Dickens 1800’s Britain.

With such elitist comments and referring to Chileans as aliens, there is little wonder that there has been little calm despite Piñera’s half-done apology and promises of more neoliberalism with a softer punch.

Although circles close to the Chilean Presidency affirm that the disturbances and destabilization are orchestrated from abroad, it is unlikely to be true. We can of course expect that Venezuela will be the scapegoat by some Chilean oligarchs just as the oligarchs in Ecuador and Colombia have done, but there remains little evidence that this is the case.

Rather, as Piñera has had to attest, decades of neoliberalism is the cause of the disturbances. Perhaps inspired by events in Ecuador, it appears that the Chilean people are finally exercising the neoliberal ghost of Pinochet from its country.

It appears that the violence will not end unless the Chilean president makes drastic changes to the Chilean economy. Whether he does this remains to be seen.

This article was originally published on InfoBrics.

Paul Antonopoulos is a Research Fellow at the Center for Syncretic Studies.


Racism in Latin America, with an Emphasis on Anti-Black Racism

Tulio: It seems the Latin America right is mostly dominated by whites. I yet to see many dark brown Amerindian leaders of right wing movements in Latin America. They seem to be all people of European descent.

Yep. White people act pretty horrific down there.
I know you don’t like Chavez, but he is the hero of the Blacks and Browns down there. The opposition is mostly White and light-skinned. During the recent rioting, the opposition attacked some Black Venezuelans on the assumption that they were Chavez supporters and set them on fire in the streets.
The Opposition habitually called Chavez a mono or a monkey. He was a zambo, a mixture of Black, White, Indian. This mixture is pretty common in Venezuela, Colombia and Panama. I have read interviews with members of the opposition. One was an unmarried White upper class man in his late 20’s who lived at home. He said he felt so insulted every time he saw Chavez because it was like his people (upper middle class Whites) were being ruled by their maids and gardeners. The idea that this proud White man should be ruled by his inferiors was infuriating.
Peru is an extremely racist society. Now it’s mostly against the Indians, it’s true. They hardly have any Blacks. There was recently a case of a beautiful Black woman who tried to get into an exclusive nightclub in the wealthy Miramar District of Lima and she was turned away at the door. I guess they had a “No Blacks” policy.
Chile is incredibly racist against Indians, and they are supposedly one of the most progressive countries down there. I had a friend whose father had worked in Allende’s administration. He was a sociology major and he was doing some work with the Mapuche Indians who  live in the South. But his racism against those Indians was off the charts. Chileans are extremely racist Peruvians, and most of it is wrapped around the idea that Peruvians have much more Indian blood than the Chileans do, though the average White Chilean is ~25% Indian.
I’m not sure how racist things are in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia or Brazil. Some people say that Colombian Whites are extremely racist against Blacks, but others said it’s not the case.
Actually in Latin America there is the phenomenon of social race. A wealthy Latin American told me that even Black Latin Americans can be completely accepted in wealthy White circles if they only have enough money.
This phenomenon is called social race. It is especially prominent in places like Brazil. So a wealthy Black Brazilian can be effectively “White” and a poor White in a favela (there are many Whites in favelas) is effectively Black or mixed race (a wigger).
Racism is forbidden by law in Brazil but it still exists. I think there was a case recently where a White woman was in an elevator and she would not let a Black person in the elevator with her. It generated a lot of controversy. Nevertheless, there is a racial hierarchy. White women are regarded as wives and mothers but not so much as sex objects. In fact, they are too pure for that. Black women are regarded as unattractive. Their only use is maybe to be your maid. However, mixed race mulatta women are the most highly prized of all, and even White men see them as the sexiest women of all. They are sexualized as sex objects.
I had a White Brazilian woman who was my friend for a while. She mostly spoke Portuguese so it was hard to talk to her. I told her, “You try not to be racist against Blacks here, but it’s hard.” She agreed with me, and said, “Yes, I agree, we try not to be racist too, but it’s hard. We Whites have a saying here in Brazil, ‘If a Black doesn’t steal from you when he’s coming, he steals from you when he’s going.” In other words, if he doesn’t steal from you when he’s walking in the door, he will definitely steal from you when he is walking out the door. So even down there Blacks are regarded as thieves.
There’s not a lot of racism in the Caribbean because there are almost no Whites. However, the mulattos in Dominican Republic are extremely racist against the Blacks in Haiti. They still enslave them, for Chrissake.
Mexico, I am not sure, but in barrio culture here, low class Hispanics are much more racist against “mayate” Blacks than Whites are. The mestizos are openly racist, much more so than the Whites who probably think open racism is uncouth as Mexican Whites are very into being proper, mannered people. In there is open racism against Blacks in Mexico at least in the media. Further, the Mexican media is ~100% White. I have told Mexican-Americans that they are 4% Black and they don’t believe me. They also act a bit insulted. But it’s true. Every regular mestizo Mexican you meet is ~4% Black. The population just bred in with the Blacks and practically wiped them out except for a few around Veracruz. They simply bred them out of existence and everyone ended up with a bit of Black in them.

Conservatives Are Murderous and Hate Democracy All over the World and at All Times

The Murderous, Democracy-Hating Latin American Right

The murderousness of the Chilean, Peruvian, Ecuadorian, and Argentine Right is in the past, but you never know when they will spring up again.

  • There was talk on the Argentine Right of calling for a coup when the last president talked about regulating the agricultural sector. They run that country like a mafia and no one dares to touch them. The Argentine Right worked with Wall Street to bankrupt the country and ruin the economy so they could win an election.
  • The Paraguayan Right overthrew the government with a judicial coup.
  • The Ecuadorian Right attempted an armed police coup several years ago.
  • The Peruvian Right staged a coup 25 years ago.
  • The Chilean Right only allowed a weak democracy 18 years ago.
  • The Honduran Right staged a military coup to get rid of a democratically elected president. Since then, death squads have murdered 1,000 people.
  • Aristide was overthrown by US sponsored coup 23 years ago, and they haven’t had any democracy since because Aristide’s party is banned from running. The last time they ran, they won 92% of the vote. After the coup, death squads rampaged through the population, murdering 3,000 members of Aristide’s party.
  • The rightwing Brazilian legislature overthrew the Left government based on a complete lie and they jailed the former president on a completely fake charge based on a bribe that he didn’t even accept! I mean they simply overthrew a democratically elected government with a parliamentary coup. They do this stuff all the time down there with either judicial, parliamentary or military coups.

The Latin American Right hates democracy.
If you wonder why the Left goes authoritarian down there, well, this is what happens if you try to do it democratically. They try to do it democratically, they wage coups and economic wars against you, start terrorist riots destroying you cities, murder the members of your government and political parties, start contra wars, or if they are in power, run death squads and slaughter the members of your parties.
I mean if they block all efforts at peaceful change, why not just put in a Left dictatorship? By the way, this is why Lenin said peaceful efforts towards socialism were doomed to fail because power never surrenders without a fight. He called such efforts parliamentary cretinism. I don’t agree with that, but I see the point.
The main point is that everywhere on Earth, the Right hates democracy and they are determined never to allow any Left governments to take power. Things are a bit different in Europe, North Africa, the Arab World, and Central Asia, but once you start getting over to South Asia, once again, they won’t give it up without a fight.

The Murderous, Democracy-Hating Right in Southeast and East Asia

  • Thailand overthrew a Left government with a judicial coup and the middle class rioters called yellow shirts destroying the country.
  • Indonesia staged a fake coup so they could murder 1 million Communist Party members.
  • The Philippines runs death squads that slaughter the Left.
  • The Taiwanese state consolidated its power after 1949 when they fled to they island by murdering hundreds of thousands of Leftists.
  • South Korea also killed hundreds of thousands of Leftists from 1945-1950 before the Korean War even started.
  • Between 1954-1960, Communists tried to take power peacefully in South Vietnam, but the government murdered 80,000 of them. They kept asking the North Vietnamese for permission to take up arms but it was never granted. Finally, in 1960, Ho gave them permission to take up arms.

Intellectual Cultures Around the World That Are Superior to America's

One thing I have noticed is that people from other cultures acknowledge the existence of intelligence far more than Americans.
Arabs, South Indians, Afghans, Pakistanis, Iranians, Turks, Khmer, and especially Chinese people have extreme reverence for intelligence and education.
If they spend any time with me at all, almost all of them act like they are almost stunned to the point of fainting by the breadth of my knowledge. They simply don’t believe that I learned it all from reading. I must have lived in these countries that I talk about.
Mexicans come from a complete retard culture in Mexico itself, but the less intelligent ones, especially if they were born in Mexico, often acknowledge that some people are wicked smart. If they were born here, they were born into Mexican-American culture, one of the most retarded and ferociously anti-intellectual cultures on Earth. Like I said, even Mexico has a more intellectual culture than US Mexican Americans. Mexico’s higher level culture is even more intellectual than that of America itself.
When you get down to South Americans, they are much more likely to acknowledge that intelligence is a thing and a good thing at at that. This is because South America in places like Colombia, Peru, Chile, Uruguay, and Argentina have retained a lot of the intellectual culture of Old Spain, including a reverence for literature and what my Argentine girlfriend called “men of letters.” Peruvians and Argentines in particular are very intellectual and especially literary.
Brazil’s culture is pretty stupid, but at the higher levels where people are much Whiter, it is highly intellectual and often very educated. In particular they take pride in their knowledge of the Portuguese language, which is not an easy language to completely master at all. The extreme hedonism of Brazilian culture, even among White Brazilians, somewhat masks the intellectual culture of the Whiter Brazilians.

The Success of America's Longstanding Propaganda War Against the Concept of Socialism

Socialism, the very concept, especially in its social democratic and democratic socialist varieties, is the ho-hum status quo on most of the planet.
The war on the very concept of socialism has probably been worse in the US than anywhere else in the West. It has a 3rd World death squad tinpot dictatorship feel about it. I keep wondering when the rightwing death squads are going to show up in the US. They show up everywhere else in states with a US-style reactionary and Left-hating culture.
The difference between the US war on socialism and the war on socialism waged in various death squad democracies is that the war on socialism has been more successful in the US than anywhere else on Earth other than Colombia, but the Left is armed to the teeth there. The war on socialism was just as bad if not worse due to the death squads and all of the imprisonments, beatings, tortures, murders and genocides all over Latin America and in the Philippines and Indonesia.
These countries differ from the US however in that all those Latin American countries and SE Asian countries have gone Left in recent years.
Even in the Philippines, Duterte calls himself a socialist and had friendly relations with the Maoist NPA  guerrillas when he held office in Mindanao.
In Indonesia, the female elected President recently ran on a socialist ticket.
To the south, Mexico has been officially socialist since the Revolution. The Left in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Colombia, Peru, and Argentina was armed to teeth and fought vicious wars against reactionary regimes. That has to count for something.
In El Salvador, the former Left guerrillas are now running the country.
In Honduras, a leftwinger was recently elected President only to be ousted in a coup sponsored by the CIA and Hillary Clinton.
Nicaragua of course had a successful Leftist revolution, and those revolutionaries have been holding office now there for quite some time.
Haiti elected a Leftist in Jean Bertrande Aristide, only to be ousted by Bush Administration officials via a contra death squad army from the Dominican Republic. Aristide himself was arrested at gunpoint in his mansion by armed Blackwater mercenaries acting under the command of the Pentagon.
A number of the island states in the Caribbean have gone Left in recent years and most were members of the Chavista Bolivarian Movement. Most political parties in the Caribbean have words like Left, Socialist, Workers, Progressive, etc. in their party names regardless of their ideology because any party that wants to get anywhere in the Caribbean has to at least dress  itself up in Left garb.
Grenada had a successful Leftist revolution that was subsequently overthrown on illegal grounds by Reagan.
Venezuela of course has been voting Leftist since 1999 when the Chavistas took power. They have never left.
In Ecuador, a Leftist, Rafael Correa, ruled for many years. Recently a man named Lenin Moreno ran on a Leftist ticket of continuing Correa’s Left reforms, but as soon as he got into office, he immediately shifted gears and went hard Right.
Right-wing parties run as fake Leftists all the time in Latin America because generally rightwingers running on a rightwing agenda cannot get elected down there because most Latin Americans hate rightwingers and don’t want them in power. Hence the Right obtains power by contra wars and fascist mob violence in the streets, waging wars on economies and currencies, judicial, legislative, and military coups, and even open fraud.
The definition of conservatism is aristocratic rule. It is the antithesis of rule by the people or democratic rule.
The definition of liberalism is democratic rule by the people, not the aristocrats.
Not many Latin Americans want to be ruled by aristocrats, so the Right down there has to seize power by extra-democratic means.
The Opposition in Venezuela recently ran on an openly social democratic platform, but most people thought it was fake they would turn Right as soon as they got in.
In Brazil, the Left has been running the country for some time under the PT or Worker’s Party until it was removed by a rightwing legislature in an outrageous legislative coup. They even imprisoned a former president, Lula, on fake corruption charges. A female president was recently elected who was an armed urban guerrilla in the 1960’s.
In Paraguay, a Leftist former priest was elected President, only to be removed in an outrageous legislative coup.
In Chile, not only was Leftist Allende elected in the 70’s, the Left was not only armed  all through Pinochet’s rule and once came close to assassinating him. In recent years, a socialist named Michele Bachelet has won a number of elections.
In Bolivia, Leftist Evo Morales has been in power for a long time.
Uruguay recently elected a Leftist, a former armed urban guerrilla in the 1970’s.
Argentina recently elected two Leftist presidents, the Kirchner, a husband and wife. A rightwiger was recently elected after a rightwing Jewish billionaire named Singer obtained a court judgement against Argentina in a US court. That judgement bankrupted the economy, so you could say that the Right destroyed the economy in order to get elected.
So with the exception of Peru, Costa Rica, Panama, and the Guyanas, all other countries have since gone full Left at one time or another recently. Costa Rica’s already a social democracy, and Peru had an ultra-radical murderous Left for a very long time. Panama’s been reactionary since the CIA murdered Omar Torrijos by sabotaging his helicopter and killing him via a fake copter crash. The Dominican Republic and Jamaica have not gone Left since the 60’s and 70’s.
But the war on socialism has been so much more successful here in the US than even in the above named backwards countries because even the world norm of social democracy was so demonized here in the US that it never even got off the ground.
In some ways, the US is one of the most rightwing countries on Earth at least in terms of political economy.
 

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

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

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

Should the Rich and the Reactionaries Be Given Rights?

Sisera: So what does that mean then? You believe rich people are inherently oppressors who don’t deserve rights but then White men are okay?

Most of them are oppressors, of course. Don’t you even understand class politics or the nature of capitalism at all. Those rich people who are pursuing their economic self interests in the class war, well of course they are our oppressors. The oppressors of me and mine anyway. I suppose they see us as oppressors.
Marxist theory doesn’t say that anyway. It just says that when the rich pursue their self interests in the class war, everyone who’s not rich gets fucked. You want to call that oppression? You are welcome to. If you side with the rich, you are an idiot. Why would you side with your class enemies. Most of them are oppressors, of course. Don’t you even understand class politics or the nature of capitalism at all.
Those rich people who are pursuing their economic self interests in the class war, well of course they are our oppressors. The oppressors of me and mine anyway. I suppose they see us as oppressors. Marxist theory doesn’t say that anyway. It just says that when the rich pursue their self interests in the class war, everyone who’s not rich gets fucked. You want to call that oppression? You are welcome to. If you side with the rich, you are an idiot. Why would you side with your class enemies?
The rich are our class enemies. Does that mean they oppress us? I dunno. When they’re in power, they screw us over. All of the rich hate democracy, lie like rugs, and support violence, murder, terror, genocide, coups, and dictatorships anywhere the people take power.
Personally, I think all conservatives and reactionaries are pure filth. I wish they would all drop dead tomorrow. That way they would be where they belong: in graves. They’re nothing but pure garbage. Show me a reactionary or conservative anywhere on Earth that’s actually a human and not a lying, sadistic, murderous piece of scum. There aren’t any!
In a democratic society, of course the rich get their rights, but they abuse the fuck out of them, and anytime they people take power, the rich start using violence, coups, death squads, rioting, judicial and legislative coups, etc. to get their way. We let the rich take power all the time. They won’t let us take power at all. I’m glad the Chinese Communists took away the rights of the reactionaries.
Look what would happen if they had rights? See Venezuela, Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, Honduras, Haiti, Brazil, Paraguay, Colombia, Nicaragua, Indonesia, Philippines? That’s what happens when you give the rich and the reactionaries any rights at all. Right now they would be burning China to the ground like they are doing to Venezuela and Nicaragua because they are furious that a people’s government got put in.
If that’s the way they are always, always, always going to act, why give them rights? So they can destroy your country and take down any democratically elected government they don’t believe in?
They try to destroy by antidemocratic means any people’s or popular government any time it gets in.
And when they take power themselves, they usually put in a dictatorship.
This is what happens if they don’t get their way and the people elect a democratically elected people’s government:
Attempted coups by street violence: Nicaragua, Ukraine, Syria, and Thailand.
Attempted coups by economic warfare: Venezuela, North Korea, Iran, Syria, and Nicaragua.
Coups by legislative means: Paraguay and Brazil.
Attempted legislative coup: Venezuela.
Coups by judicial means: Brazil.
Coups by direct overthrow of the state: Honduras, Haiti, Venezuela, and Egypt.
Attempted coups by direct overthrow of the state: Ecuador and Bolivia.
Coup by insurgency: Haiti.
Attempted coup by insurgency: Syria.
Coups by direct invasion: Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Panama, Libya, and Grenada.
This is what happens every time they get into power, especially if they take over a people’s government: 
Right-wing death squad authoritarian regime installed: Honduras*, El Salvador, Argentina, Brazil*, Guatemala*, Chile, Philippines*, Uruguay, Bolivia, Indonesia*, and Ukraine*.
No I don’t have a problem taking away rights from reactionary fucks! Why should we give them rights? Give me one reason! One! One reason!

Why the US Working Class Is Not Radicalized

Radicalized meaning having any sort of working class or class consciousness at all. Radicalized meaning pro-worker. Yes, believe it or not, the US working class is not even pro-worker. The US working class is actually anti-worker!
The problem is that we do not have a tradition of working class radicalism here as in Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. Working class people in all of those countries are radicalized and pro-worker with a high state of class consciousness and they usually vote for pro-worker political parties.
Mexicans, however, are profoundly depoliticized.
Nevertheless, you can argue as my mother does when I asked her why the Central American revolutions were not spreading to Mexico, to which she responded that “The Mexicans already had their revolution.” And though the Left neglects to see it this way, the Mexican Revolution was definitely one of the great leftwing revolutions of the 20th Century, at least as good as the Russian Revolution and without many of the problems. Most people don’t realize how horrible feudal life was in Mexico before the Mexican Revolution. If I told you what it was like, you would quit reading and call me a liar. It was that bad.
In Latin America, your average proletarian, working class person, who, let’s face it, is not real smart, is often ideologically Leftist, as they have been politicized by powerful leftwing movements. There are no powerful leftwing movements in the US to do this, so the non-White working classes are not radicalized. They are liberalized but not radicalized.
The White working classes are actually ideologically Rightist, which makes no sense at all of course.
However, I have met many Salvadorans here. I tell them that I used to support the FMLN revolutionaries down there and that I even used to contribute to their weapons fund. It’s actually true. I would meet a guy in a sleazy Salvadoran bar in Lafayette Park and give him a check to some weird cryptic organization. They are hesitant at first but then they break into wide smiles. Even those who did not support the FMLN don’t really care that I did. That movement was radical Left but had huge support across society because Salvadoran society is very unfair.

73% of Venezuelans Continue to Support Chavismo

Tulio: Robert, I have two friends from Venezuela, a married couple, the female is white, the male is dark brown. I assure you they are not racist, they have never called me “mono” and they have been completely and 100% kind to me as long as I’ve known them. I have even visited them and stayed in their home, and they have visited me and stayed in mine. Never seen their bank account but I’m pretty sure they are not rich.
They are probably middle class by Venezuelan definition. They are 100% opposed to Chavismo. I don’t even know where they fall on the left-right continuum per se. They really don’t even talk much politics with me outside of opposing the condition their country is in. They are now living in Santiago, Chile where they worked and resided since the rise of Chavez, but frequently go to Venezuela to see family. I’m not an expert of Venezuelan internal affairs by any means. I’ve gotten a lot of my info directly from them.
Neither of them seem “right wing” to me in any sense that I understand the term. They seem to want nothing more than a stable, functional and non-authoritarian government. I also see massive marches in Caracas. I can’t believe all those tens of thousands of people are rich, right wingers. When I see close up photos of the crowd, they look like just ordinary Venezuelans to me. You seem to be painting a broad brush here and assuming anyone against Chavismo is a hard right-winger

Any Venezuelan who has the money to travel out of the country to the US or back and forth to Chile all the time, all by plane, is by definition not middle class. I would call those people upper middle class.
There will never be a government like they want in there as long as Chavismo is in because the Opposition will always be rioting in the streets and tearing stuff up like they have been doing ever since he got in. These people say they want a non-authoritarian government, but they supported the coup against Chavez. The first things the putschists did was to dissolve Congress, the National Assembly and Courts and put in martial law. They put a dictatorship in as soon as the coup took power.
The poster’s friends say they want a non-authoritarian state, but they support the extreme dictatorship that took power in the coup. The Opposition riots in the streets and calls for a coup every time they lose an election. This is because every time they lose an election, they insist against all evidence that it was stolen from them. Their calculus is that the only legitimate elections are the ones that they win. If the other side wins, it’s automatically stolen due to fraud, and we need to have a military coup to put “democracy” back in power. That ideology does not sound very democratic to me.  To the Opposition,  the definition of democracy is “when we win.” The definition of dictatorship is “when the other side wins.” Sound like a democratic project?

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A decptively large Opposition crowd in Venezuela. You will not find one working class, low income or poor person in that crowd. Everyone is middle class to rich. And no matter how big that crowd is, the Chavista march will always be a lot bigger. That crowd represents 27% of the population. That’s called a minority movement.

They lack majority support. That crowd is the upper class, the upper middle class and unfortunately a lot of the middle class. There are a lot of middle class people in those crowds.
This is where the poster is getting his ideology from. Them and their lies. The Venezuelan Opposition is out of their minds. They are not rational and they are not honest. They lie constantly. They are as bad as Trump and the Trumpster Republicans, and in fact, both movements are very similar.
The project of the Opposition is extreme rightwing. I told you that they regularly call Chavez mono and that they removed Bolivar’s portrait because he was a bit too swarthy and not White enough and replaced it with a more proper Nordic one. The poster’s friends may not be racist reactionaries, but a lot of the people in the Opposition are very racist, and the poster’s friends are not denouncing that. I guess they are OK with it.
The project of the Opposition is to dismantle all of Chavismo and to go back to the way it was.
They are going to take it all down – the free health care, the free education, the neighborhood councils and circles, the public housing, the redistribution of oil income to the people, the cheap government-subsidized food and household goods to the people, the free houses given to the people, the public spending on infrastructure, the whole nine yards. Before Chavez came in, you never went to the doctor, the dentist or the eye doctor because you could not afford it. You either got over the medical issue or you died. Raw sewage ran down the streets of the shantytowns on the hills. In 1989, 91% of the people could afford only one meal a day and that was the same percentage of people in poverty. Venezuela had always been like this since Independence. The oligarchy had always been in charge and had never lifted one damn finger for the people.
All of the opposition politicians want to go back to that. All of them. The poster’s friends may not realize this, or perhaps they do not care. The Latin American middle class has always lined up with the Extreme Right project of the rich and the oligarchs, much to their detriment. This is because they consider the opposition to that  project to be Communists, and they think that is worse.
In Latin America, it’s Commies or Fascists. That’s your choice. Pick your poison. That’s because moderation or a Centrist project never works down there. The problems are too severe, and Centrist projects never touch the power of the oligarchs, so nothing ever changes.
Venezuela has never been more democratic than under Chavez. Venezuela has the freest press in Latin America. The authoritarian dictatorship crap is another big fat lie the Opposition made up.
73% of the Venezuelan people continue to support the Chavista Project because it’s the only one that’s for the people. The Opposition has no numbers. Those people you see marching above are part of the 27% opposition, and that is why they never win. I would also point out that pro-government marches happen at the same time as those Opposition marches, and they are almost always much bigger. You just never read about them in the Western media.
Those 73% are not stupid. They remember life back when the oligarchy ruled. They know that the Opposition wants to go directly back to that and not change one thing. This has been their project from Day One. Yes, it is a very far right, reactionary project. Compared to what the Opposition wants, most of the people want to stay with Chavismo.

Venezuela: The Lies Never Stop

Tulio: Left wing economics aren’t working out in Latin America either. Let’s face it, Latin America is dysfunctional whether it’s run by the left or right. I know Robert is a Chavista and all but the results speak for itself. They are probably a few clicks away from outright civil war.

The poster’s problem is that he gets all his Venezuela news from the Western media. You will not read one true thing about that country in the Western media. It is an all out propaganda war from Day One. If you want to read the truth about Venezuela, go to Venezuelanalysis. It’s all straight up 100% facts there, no spin. And many articles are quite critical of the government.
Yes, it is a civil war because the Right is running through the streets rioting, killing people, burning down buildings, buses and police cars. Let me ask you something. Suppose when Obama was in, Republicans went on a rampage all over the US, rioting, burning stuff down, killing people, firing guns, setting up snipers, setting off bombs, throwing grenades, killing lots of cops. Would you blame Obama for that? Because that is exactly what the commenter is doing.
This is part of the Right’s project down there. They lost the election, so they are trying to overthrow the government by force. What exactly is the state supposedly do about what is in effect a rightwing insurgency?
What they are trying to do is to create so much chaos that the military steps in and does a rightwing coup. Barring that, they are creating so much chaos and disorder that the US steps in with the military, invades and overthrows the Chavistas in the name of humanitarian intervention. It’s the exact same scheme we pulled in Syria when we turned ISIS and Al Qaeda loose on secular regime.
The US government’s official policy in Venezuela now is regime change. Mattis himself said so. The riots, destruction, arson, murders and political assassinations are all being coordinated with the US. We are the cause of all that violence down there.
There are no poor results of Chavismo. Things were booming along for many years. The rightwing has been sabotaging and boycotting the economy since Day One.
Norway is far more socialist than Venezuela. China is orders of magnitude more socialist than Venezuela. There’s nothing socialist at all about Venezuela. The economy is 100% capitalist controlled.
All Chavismo did was take a lot of that oil revenue and spend it on the people. If you think that’s a failed model, I do not know what to say to you.
After the oil price crashed, the government could no longer cover up for the business sector’s sabotage of the economy.
There are shortages? How can there be shortages in a 100% capitalist controlled economy? Answer me that. There cannot be. If there are shortages, why don’t they import some food? Why don’t they make some stuff that is in shortage?
The business sector is refusing to import products, and they are refusing to make products in short supply.
You need to go study how Kissinger and Nixon blew up the Chilean economy. They did the exact same thing, down to the letter. This is the Chilean Model down to the letter.

“We will make the Chilean economy scream.
–  Henry Kissinger.

Every week they seize huge warehouses full of products that are being hoarded by the capitalists in order to create artificial shortages. You heard of a shortage of syringes? A warehouse full of 21 million syringes was recently seized. If you read the Venezuelan papers, these seizures happen all the time, maybe every other day.
Why is there inflation? The capitalists have caused artificial shortages by hoarding stuff, refusing to produce stuff and refusing to import stuff. These artificial shortages of course caused inflation.
This economic sabotage has been going on from Day One, but when the oil prices were high, the government could cover up for the Economic War by importing their own products and selling them to people for cheap. Hence the state covered up all the artificial shortages caused by the refusal to import and manufacture products. When the oil price crashed, the state no longer had the money to import goods to cover up for the shortages, and furthermore, the Economic War went into high gear.
Furthermore, since Maduro has come in, he has made a hard turn to the Right from Chavez. His administration of full of rightwingers and representatives of the business sector. He caves to opposition demands over and over. They are always demanding hikes in the controlled prices, and he keeps raising them. No matter how much they raise the prices, the capitalists do not produce one more item. It’s all a scam.
Keep in mind that the economic crash has occurred against the background of a hard right turn in the government under a government that is now about 50% rightwingers and people from the business community. They can’t get a handle on things either. Did you hear what I said?
The economy crashed as the government turned Right and filled the executive with people from the business sector. According to the poster’s logic, rightwing economics is responsible for the crash.
That’s not really true either. Neither Right nor Left economics is responsible for the crash. The ministers from the business community can’t control the problems either. No one can.
There is a problem with currency, but that was created by the capitalists too. Currency controls were put in because the capitalists were taking all their money out of the country. No country can put up with that for long. So currency controls were put in, but that causes a black market in currency.
Price controls were put in because the capitalists staged a lockout strike that caused horrible shortages and sent prices skyrocketing.
Incidentally, despite currency controls, the business community still takes $50 billion out of the country every year. Do you know how much more they would take out if the currency controls were taken off?  The system would probably collapse.
The fake excuse all along was that price controls make it so the producing the price controlled products is not worthwhile. This is their fake excuse for the shortages. Now the price controls have been almost completely lifted, and they are still refusing to make stuff or import stuff. What’s their fake excuse now?
I agree that the standard Communist model caused a lot of economic problems, but the lie is that Venezuela is a Communist country like Cuba or the USSR, and this is the cause of all the problems. It’s caused by “socialist failure.” Why isn’t socialism failing in Europe? Why isn’t it failing in China? Why isn’t it failing in most of the world that runs social democratic systems?
The Chavistas were simply trying to produce a European style social democracy in Venezuela. Even that’s too much for the Venezuelan elite.
I will have you know that the rightwing Venezuelans the poster cheers for are some of the racist people on Earth. The commenter is Black. I assure you that the people he cheers for hate him because he is Black. Their word for Chavez was Mono. That means monkey. They call him monkey because his White blood is mixed with Indian and Black.
When they came into power, the first thing they did was take down the portrait of Bolivar because they said he looked too dark. They put up a new portrait that showed him as White as a Swede. These are the racists that this Black commenter is supporting.
The government is screwing up badly by not floating the currency, but that’s not a Right versus Left thing so it’s not a fault of Left economics. It would be a very unpopular decision, and Maduro is a weak and not very good leader and he does not have the balls to put in.
Hence I agree that the problems in part are caused by failures of the regime, but those failures having nothing to do with Right or Left economics. They’re not dealing with the currency problems, and that’s a failure on their part, but it has nothing to do with capitalism or socialism or any of that.
The price controls were put in to fight inflation. The Right screams about inflation and about price controls. They took all the price controls off, and the prices went way up. Now they are screaming because the prices went up. They criticize the problem, and they attack the solution to the problem.
You can’t win with these people.
I agree that the Communist model leaves a lot to be desired, and the lie is that the problems of Cuba and the USSR are being replicated in Venezuela. It’s a lie because Venezuela never even made it to social democracy. Venezuela is a capitalist country through and through.
I will ban any posters who attack Venezuela as a failure of Left economics because it’s nothing of the sort. Now if  you want to talk about problems with the Cuban model, go for it.
 

Casteism Compared to Ordinary Discrimination

Jason Y writes:

Certain families are in the USA, not East Indian but regular Americans, are divided into uppity and so, so and poorer groups. The poorer groups might live in a trailer, are more likely to smoke cigarettes and do drugs.
So the question is, “Why criticize India, when people in the USA divide themselves harshly by caste, simply cause those who don’t do illegal drugs, smoke cigarettes, or are involved in a rough culture, cannot mesh well health worshipping Yuppie types? Conflict in inevitable.
Have you ever been around real Yuppies or whatever they’re called? Well, for one thing, they’re incredibly bossy and preachy. They try to parent even other adults like they’re not of sound mind when they are. They’re into overkill on parenting, not even letting kids drink soda or play video games, also controlling all their time so that the kids cannot even breathe. 😆

I haven’t met too many yuppies who were as insular and uppity as those Gujaratis. I mean they will not even talk to a non-Gujarati as far as I can tell. How many yuppies are like that.
There is no casteism in the US. In fact, all racial discrimination is illegal and the US has a department that goes after job discrimination and if your business is big enough, believe me they do go after this. Also housing discrimation is illegal in the US, however, the funds have been gutted for this.
The US is one of the least racist multicultural countries on Earth. Name some other multicultural countries that have less racism than the US. I am waiting.
You cannot compare casteism to much of anything else on the face of the Earth. It is quite different. The only comparison might be the Jim Crow South or Apartheid South Africa or maybe Israel. I want you people on here to tell me about some other countries where any sort of racial or ethnic discrimination is anything close to casteism. I cannot think of any right off the bat. The situation of Koreans and Burakamin in Japan is not good, and the Buraku situation is basically a caste one, but is it anything like caste in India?
PS. You cannot use caste in Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh to compare to caste in India as it is all the same thing.
The Shia are not treated well in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, but is it close to the casteism of India?
Yes there is discrimination against Whites in South Africa, but does the situation of Whites resemble that of Dalits?
There is severe discrimination against Haitians in Dominican Republic, but is it as bad as Indian caste?
There is some pretty serious discrimination against Muslims in Myanmar right now that is on the level of casteism perhaps.
The Pygmies and Albinos are treated horribly in Africa. Perhaps that is on the level of caste in India.
Yes there is discrimination and racism against Indians in Chile, but is it on the level of Indian caste? I think not. There is similar but much worse discrimination against Indians in Peru, but it’s mostly the Whites who do it, and it’s not as bad as Indian caste. Also the new President is an Indian and he doesn’t support this discrimination at all.
I would agree that the slaves in Mauritania and other parts of Africa is a very similar situation to casteism in India. In fact, Dalits may have it better than African slaves.
This whole Indian line of saying that “all nations have caste” is just insane. The Indian caste system goes far beyond whatever sort of racism and discrimination exists in most parts of the world. There’s just no comparison.
I would also like to point out that Jason Y here, a liberal, is running interference for and whitewashing one of the most vicious and evil systems of discrimination on Earth. That’s not very liberal of him.

If It's Not Economic War, What Then Is Causing the Shortages in Venezuela?

RL: “The shortages of these goods is occurring because the private sector is refusing to make/import them or make/import enough of them.”
Tulio: I’d need further proof of that. The free market should handle such issues. If one manufacturing of widgets is withholding production that’s an opportunity for another to open up and take his market share.

Well, why isn’t the Venezuelan free market operating as it should then? Does the commenter have any theories on what is causing all of these shortages? If it’s not economic warfare, then what the Hell is causing the shortages? You can’t just shoot down theories you don’t like. You have to shoot them down and then offer another theory instead. What does the commenter think is causing all of these shortages in a capitalist-run economy?
Got any theories?
Hint: The business class is trying to take down the Chavistas by creating an economic crisis and using that crisis to take out the Chavistas.
Has the commenter studied what happened when the US got together with the Chilean business class to wage an economic war and make the Chilean economy scream in order to create an economic crisis that they could use as an excuse to stage a coup against Allende? If you study what happened during the economic war that was waged on Allende, you will see that what is happening in Venezuela is almost exactly the same thing that was done in Chile.
Further, members of the Bolivian business community are quoted on the record as being furious that Evo Morales came into power and vowed to take him out with any means they had. Reporters asked them how they would take down the Morales government, and the business leaders stated that they would wage economic war, stop or slow down all production, create massive shortages and an economic crisis, and then use that to take down the Morales government.
So with the evidence from Chile 1970-1973 and the recent comments by Latin American capitalists in Bolivia, we see that economic warfare to get rid of leftwing governments is very much part of the playbook for the Latin American ruling classes and business sectors.
There are price controls on a lot of the goods. You can make a modest profit on the price controlled goods, and the government keeps raising the price controls all the time under pressure from business. But ever since those price controls went in, the entire business sector has refused to produce or import any price controlled products. Only some basic products are price controlled. Most things you find in the stores are not price controlled.
They would produce something similar to the price controlled product but not quite the same. Rice was price controlled, but the capitalists started importing some special rice products that were not controlled where they could make a huge profit. Chicken was price controlled, but the capitalists just started producing some other sort of chicken (rotisserie chicken?) that was not controlled that got a much larger profit.
This caused terrible problems for a while, but finally the state said, “Ok, you capitalists do not want to produce these price controlled products, then we the state will import them.” So for quite a few years, the state used oil money to import all of the products that were price controlled. This worked very well for a long time, and the shelves were full. The capitalists produced or imported more expensive high profit goods, and the state imported price controlled staples.
However, this all came crashing down with the oil price crash. The state is now broke and can no longer import all of the price controlled staple goods. And the business sector has refused to produce or import price controlled staples ever since the controls went in. So there’s a big reason for the shortages right there.
If the capitalists import products, they can make much more money smuggling the goods to Colombia or selling them on the black market as opposed to selling them on the shelves of Venezuelan stores, so that’s what they do with a lot of imported goods. And any goods they produce may also be smuggled to Colombia or sold on the black market because you can make a much higher profit that way instead of selling them to legitimate outlets.
Also the capitalists need dollars to import products. So they get dollars from the state to import things. So the businesses are always going to the state asking for these cheap dollars saying they want them to import things that are in shortage. So the government gives them the dollars to import things, but instead of using them to import the products in shortage, they play money games with the cheap dollars on the currency markets in the black market.
Also a lot of capitalists have simply stopped making much of anything and instead are playing games with money by speculating in the currency market in the black market, where huge profits may be obtained by selling cheap state dollars at the black market price.

Polynesians and Amerindians

Found on the Net.

AMERICAN INDIAN HLA GENES ON EASTER ISLAND
Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 19 March 2012 vol. 367 no. 1590 812-819
The Polynesian Gene Pool: An Early Contribution by Amerindians to Easter Island
Erik Thorsby
Abstract. It is now generally accepted that Polynesia was first settled by peoples from Southeast Asia. An alternative that eastern parts of Polynesia were first inhabited by Amerindians has found little support. There are, however, many indications of a ‘prehistoric’ (i.e. before Polynesia was discovered by Europeans) contact between Polynesia and the Americas, but genetic evidence of a prehistoric Amerindian contribution to the Polynesian gene pool has been lacking.
We recently carried out genomic HLA (human leucocyte antigen) typing as well as typing for mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y chromosome markers of blood samples collected in 1971 and 2008 from reputedly non-admixed Easter Islanders. All individuals carried HLA alleles and mtDNA types previously found in Polynesia, and most of the males carried Y chromosome markers of Polynesian origin (a few had European Y chromosome markers), further supporting an initial Polynesian population on Easter Island.
The HLA investigations revealed, however, that some individuals also carried HLA alleles which have previously almost only been found in Amerindians. We could trace the introduction of these Amerindian alleles to before the Peruvian slave trades, i.e. before the 1860s, and provide suggestive evidence that they were introduced already in prehistoric time. Our results demonstrate an early Amerindian contribution to the Polynesian gene pool on Easter Island, and illustrate the usefulness of typing for immunogenetic markers such as HLA to complement mtDNA and Y chromosome analyses in anthropological investigations.
Comment: Erik Thorsby’s study appears to be the first clear documentation of a genetic contribution of Amerindians to Polynesians that happened prior to the Peruvian slave trade in the 19th century. He detected two Amerindian-specific HLA alleles (A02:12 and B39:05) among unadmixed Easter Islanders. These alleles complement the otherwise-typical Polynesian pool of Easter Islanders. It’s unlikely that these alleles were more widespread in Polynesia in the past (as Thor Heyerdahl would want to have it).
Thorsby offers a better explanation: in accordance with the findings of chicken remains with Polynesian mtDNA in El Arenal, Southern Chile and the suggestive evidence of pre-Columbian Polynesian ancestry in Mocha Island, Chile, he writes, “There is strong evidence that Polynesians had been in South America early, i.e. in pre-Columbian time. After having arrived in South America, some of them may have returned to Polynesia, including Easter Island, not only taking the sweet potato and bottle gourd, etc., but also some native Americans with them.”

I agree with the findings of this study. This is correct. Polynesians, the greatest mariners of the Ancient World, seem to have sailed all the way from Easter Island to Southern Chile and then sailed all the way back again. They probably picked up some Amerindians to take back with them along with the tuber and gourd. And it looks like they brought some chickens with them to South America.
Polynesians were the most amazing mariners. They had no modern steering instruments. They steered their ships by the stars!
Their genesis of course is from the Lapita people who originated in Taiwan. These people sailed from Taiwan to the Philippines and from there to Indonesia, New Guinea, Melanesia, Micronesia and then Polynesia.

Chile and the US – No Comparison

Tulio writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tulio writes:

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

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

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

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

Women’s rights are abysmal.

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

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

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

Letter from Chile

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

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

Isabel writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Look ast Some Tucanoan Languages: Tuyuca and Cuneo

Method and Conclusion. See here.

Results. A ratings system was designed in terms of how difficult it would be for an English-language speaker to learn the language. In the case of English, English was judged according to how hard it would be for a non-English speaker to learn the language. Speaking, reading and writing were all considered.

Ratings: Languages are rated 1-6, easiest to hardest. 1 = easiest, 2 = moderately easy to average, 3 = average to moderately difficult, 4 = very difficult, 5 = extremely difficult, 6 = most difficult of all. Ratings are impressionistic.

Time needed. Time needed for an English language speaker to learn the language “reasonably well”: Level 1 languages = 3 months-1 year. Level 2 languages = 6 months-1 year. Level 3 languages = 1-2 years. Level 4 languages = 2 years. Level 5 languages = 3-4 years, but some may take longer. Level 6 languages = more than 4 years.

This post will look at the Tuyuca and Cuneo languages in terms of how difficult it would be for an English speaker to learn it.

Tucanoan
Eastern Tucanoan
Bará-Tuyuka

Tuyuca is a Tucanoan language spoken in by 450 people in the department of Vaupés in Colombia. An article in The Economist magazine concluded that it was the hardest language on Earth to learn.

It has a simple sound system, but it’s agglutinative, and agglutinative languages are pretty hard. For instance, hóabãsiriga means I don’t know how to write. It has two forms of 1st person plural, I and you (inclusive) and I and the others (exclusive). It has between 50-140 noun classes, including strange ones like bark that does not cling closely to a tree, which can be extended to mean baggy trousers or wet plywood that has begun to fall apart.

Like Yamana, a nearly extinct Amerindian language of Chile, Tuyuca marks for evidentiality, that is, how it is that you know something. For instance:

Diga ape-wi. = “The boy played soccer.” (I actually saw him playing).
Diga ape-hiyi.
= “The boy played soccer.” (I assume he was playing soccer, though I did not actually see it firsthand).

Evidential marking is obligatory on all Tuyuca verbs, and it forces you to think about how you know whatever it is you know.

Tuyuca definitely gets a 6 rating!

Central Tucanoan

Cubeo, a language spoken in the Vaupes of Colombia, has a small closed class of adjective roots similar to Juǀʼhoan:

ɨra – “big/large
kɨhĩ
– “small
bãbã
– “new/young
bɨkɨ
– “old/great
bẽa
– “good/beautiful
ãbẽ
– “bad/ugly”

However, verbs can function as adjectives, and the adjective roots can either turn into nouns themselves or they can take the inflections of either nouns or verbs. Wild!

Similar to how the grammar of Tariana has been influenced by Tucano languages, the grammar of Tucanoan Cubeo has been influenced by neighboring Arawakan languages. The grammar has been described as either SOV or OVS. That would mean that the following:

“The man the ball hit.”
“The ball hit the man.”

Both mean the same thing: “The man hit the ball.”

OVS languages are quite rare.

Morphemes belong to one of four classes:

  1. Nasal (many roots, as well as suffixes like -xã  = associative)
  2. Oral (many roots, as well as suffixes like -pe  = similarity, -du = frustrative)
  3. Unmarked (only suffixes, e.g. -re  = in/direct object)
  4. Oral/Nasal (some roots and some suffixes) /bãˈkaxa-/(mãˈkaxa-) – “to defecate” and -kebã = “suppose”

Just by looking at any given consonant-initial suffix, it is impossible to determine which of the first three categories it belongs to. They must be learned one by one.

Cubeo has nasal assimilation, common to many Amazonian languages. In some of these, nasalization is best analyzed at the syllable level – some syllables are nasal and others are not.

dĩ-bI-ko
/dĩ-bĩ-ko/
nĩmĩko = “She recently went.”

The underlying form dĩ-bI-ko is realized on the surface as nĩmĩko. The ĩ in dĩ-bI-ko nasalizes the d to the right of it along with the the b and and the I to the right of it, so nasal spreading works in both directions. However, it is blocked from the third syllable because k is part of a class of non-nasalizable consonants.

Pretty difficult language.

Cuneo gets a 6 rating, hardest of all.

TPP Ignores Global Warming and Allows Murder of Labor Union Organizers

I plan on posting a number of articles abut this catastrophic TPP agreement that sadly looks like it is going to become law. I can’t even begin to tell you how horrific this trade agreement is. In a nutshell, it does away with all governments and makes it so corporations rule the world. Any government that passes any law that limits current or future profits of a corporation could be sued on the grounds that that law was a “trade barrier.” The corporation can sue in a kangaroo court made up of corporate types for damages,and the corporation will always win and the governments will always lose.

Government have had to pay out many millions of dollars to corporations for passing laws that limited their profits under NAFTA. And yes, all laws dealing global warming can also be challenged by this Frankenstein of a bill.

As you can see, it encourages the murder of labor leaders, union members and organizers because killing union members would not be a violation of the Labor Section of the agreement. The parts of the TPP dealing with labor and the environment are written in boilerplate and are entirely voluntary, while the sections that allow corporations to rule our lives in written in very strict legalese.

It’s worse than a catastrophe. It’s an out and out nightmare, and it’s the end of representative government as we know it. All governments will become irrelevant, and in their places, we will all be ruled by corporations. In other words, multinational corporations will become our de facto governments. It is stunning how crazy that is.

All the Republicans are for it.

Of course the Democratic Party is down with this agreement all the way. Obama is pushing it like crazy. There was a brief uprising a few months ago when it looked like the bill might not get through the Congress because so many Democrats were against it. This was followed by maniacal lobbying on the part of corporate lobbyists and an all-out propaganda blitz by the US media, 100% of which (note that we have a “free” press) supported the bill.

The “liberal” New York Times came out very strongly in favor of it and said that Obama’s legacy would ride on whether he could get this bill through or not. In other words, according to the “liberal” New York Times, if Obama could not get the bill through, then that would mean that his Presidency was a failure. So the Times threatened Obama with complete humiliation and damage to his mark in history if he could not get the TPP through.

Note that the entire “liberal” media came out in favor of this monstrosity. Note that “liberal” Obama came out in favor of it. I know some Democratic Party stalwarts who seem to support this nightmare bill. They think that people who oppose it are “extremist nuts.”

These people support anything that Obama does. If Obama is for it, then they support it. He can push the most reactionary stuff you could imagine, and these stalwarts will never oppose Obama or any other Democrat for one second. We really need to get away from this insane partisanship, as it is irrational.

To these folks, everything Republicans do its bad and everything Democrats do is good. Unfortunately, once you take that POV, Democrats are free to act as rightwing as they want to, and their moronic stalwarts will support everything they do because it’s treason to oppose a Democrat.

I will be posting more abuo9t this awful and insane trade agreement in the coming days, but this will be good for a starter.

TPP Ignores Global Warming and Allows Murder of Labor Union Organizers

by Eric Zeusse, from Global Research

U.S. President Barack Obama’s capstone to his Presidency, his proposed megalithic international ‘trade’ treaties, are finally coming into their home-stretch, with the Pacific deal finally being made public on Thursday November 5th.

The final Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) proposed treaty would leave each signatory nation liable to be sued by any international corporation that objects to any new regulation, or increase in regulation, regarding climate change, otherwise known as global warming. In no terminology is that phenomenon even so much as just mentioned in the “Environment” chapter.

Regarding labor issues, including slavery, the “Labour” chapter of the TPP contains merely platitudes. (Obama allowed Malaysia into the compact despite its notoriously poor record of non-enforcement of its ban on slavery, because he wants the U.S. to control the Strait of Malacca in order to impede China’s economic and military expansion; it’s part of Obama’s anti-China policy. Almost everything that he does has different motives than the ones his rhetoric claims.)

Throughout, the treaty would place international corporations in ever-increasing control over all regulations regarding workers’ rights, the environment, product safety, and consumer protection. But the environmental and labor sections are particularly blatant insults to the public — a craven homage to the top stockholders in international corporations. The World’s Richest 80 people own the same amount of wealth as the world’s bottom 50%; and Obama represents those and other super-rich and their friends and servants in the lobbying and other associated industries. But he also represents the even richer people who aren’t even on that list, such as King Salman of Saudi Arabia, the world’s richest person. It’s people such as that who will be the real beneficiaries of Obama’s ‘trade’ treaties. The public will be harmed, enormously, wherever these treaties become law.

The full meaning of the terms that are set forth in the TPP agreement won’t be publicly known for at least four years, but the explicit terms that were made public on November 5th, and that will be presented to the 12 participating nations for signing, are entirely consistent with what had been expected on the basis of Wikileaks and other earlier published information.

The 12 participating nations are: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, and Vietnam. Three countries were excluded by U.S. President Obama, because the U.S. doesn’t yet control them and they are instead viewed as being not allied with the main axis of U.S. international power: U.S., Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and Israel. Those three outright-excluded countries are Russia, China, and India. (India, of course, has hostile relations with Pakistan, which is Sunni and therefore part of the Saudi-Qatar-Turkey portion of the U.S. international core, basically the Sunni portion of the core. By contrast, Russia and China have been determinedly independent of the U.S., and are therefore treated by President Obama as being hostile nations: he wants instead to isolate them, to choke off their access to markets, as much as possible. This same motivation also factored largely in his coup to take control of Ukraine, through which Russia’s gas passes on its way into the EU, the world’s largest gas-market.)

6 nations that Obama had invited into the TPP were ultimately unwilling to accept Obama’s terms and so were excluded when the final text was published: Colombia, Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, South Korea, and Indonesia.

The phrases “global warming” and “climate change” don’t appear anywhere in the entire TPP document, nor does “climate” nor “warming” — it’s an area that’s entirely left to international corporations in each one of the separate participating nations to assault as much as they wish in order to gain competitive advantage against all of the other corporations that operate in the given nation: i.e., something for each corporation to sacrifice in order to be able to lower the given company’s costs. That raises its profit-margin. This also means that if any international corporation claims to be subjected in any participating nation, to global-warming regulation or enforcement which poses a barrier or impediment to that corporation’s profits, then that corporation may sue that given nation, and fines might be assessed against that nation (i.e., against its taxpayers) for such regulation or enforcement. National publics are no longer sovereign.

The “Labour” chapter is a string of platitudes, such as, “Article 19.7: Corporate Social Responsibility: Each Party shall endeavor to encourage enterprises to voluntarily adopt corporate social responsibility initiatives on labor issues that have been endorsed or supported by that Party.”

President Obama’s Trade Representative, his longtime personal friend Michael Froman, organized and largely wrote Obama’s proposed trade treaties: TPP for the Pacific, and TTIP and TISA for the Atlantic. Froman told the AFL-CIO and U.S. Senators that when countries such as Colombia systematically murder labor-union organizers, it’s no violation of workers’ rights — nothing that’s of any concern to the U.S. regarding this country’s international trade policies or the enforcement of them. On 22 April 2015, Huffington Post, one of the few U.S. news media to report honestly on these treaties, bannered AFL-CIO’s Trumka: USTR Told Us Murder Isn’t a Violation, and Michael McAuliff reported that, “Defenders of the White House push for sweeping trade deals argue they include tough enforcement of labor standards. But a top union leader scoffed at such claims Tuesday, revealing that [Obama] administration officials have said privately that they don’t consider even the killings of labor organizers to be violations of those pacts.”

In other words: This is, and will be, the low level of the playing-field that U.S. workers will be competing against in TPP etc., just as it is already, in the far-smaller existing NAFTA (which Hillary Clinton had helped to pass in Congress during the early 1990s). (Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama, all campaigned for the Presidency by attacking Republicans for pushing such ‘trade’ deals. Their actions when they gain power, contradict their words. America and virtually the entire world has become rule of a suckered public, by perhaps as many as a thousand psychopathic aristocrats who own the international corporations and ‘news’ media, and who regularly do business with each other though they wall themselves off from the public.

Typically, at their level, it makes no real difference which country their passport is from.) “Trumka said that even after the Obama administration crafted an agreement to tighten labor protections four years ago, some 105 labor organizers have been killed, and more than 1,300 have been threatened with death.” The Obama Administration is ignoring the tightened regulations that it itself had managed to get nominally implemented on paper. “Pressed for details about Trumka’s assertion that murder doesn’t count as a violation of labor rules, Thea Lee, the AFL-CIO deputy chief of staff, told HuffPost that USTR officials said in at least two meetings where she was present that killing and brutalizing organizers would not be considered interfering with labor rights under the terms of the trade measures.”

Furthermore: “’We documented five or six murders of Guatemalan trade unionists that the government had failed to effectively investigate or prosecute,’ Lee said. ‘The USTR told us that the murders of trade unionists or violence against trade unionists was not a violation of the labor chapter.’”

That U.S. Trade Representative, Michael Froman, is the same person Obama has negotiating with foreign governments, and with international corporations, both Obama’s TPP, and his TTIP & TISA.

The most important chapter in the TPP treaty is “Dispute Settlement,” which sets forth the means by which corporations will sue countries for alleged violations of their stockholders ‘rights’ to extract profits from operations of those corporations in the signatory countries. The underlying assumption here is that the rights of international stockholders take precedence over the rights (even over the sovereignty rights) of the citizens of any participating country.

Instead of these suits being judged according to any nation’s laws, they are allowed to be addressed only by means of private arbitration “Panels.” The Dispute Settlement chapter contains “Article 28.9: Composition of Panels.” Section #1 there is simply: “The panel shall comprise three members.” Each of the two Parties will appoint a member; one for the suing corporation, and the other for the sued nation; and both of those members will then jointly select a third member “from the roster established pursuant to Article 28.10.3”; and this third member will automatically “serve as chair.”

Article 28.10.3 says that anyone who possesses “expertise or experience in law, international trade, other matters covered by this Agreement, or the resolution of disputes arising under international trade agreements” may be selected for the roster, so long as the individual meets vague criteria such as that they “be independent of, and not be affiliated with or take instructions from, any Party.” No penalty is laid out for anyone on the roster who lies about any of that. Basically, anyone may become a person on the roster, even non-lawyers may, and even corrupt individuals may, especially because there are no penalties for anyone on the roster, none at all is stated.

Then, “Article 28.19,” section 8: “If a monetary assessment is to be paid to the complaining Party, then it shall be paid in U.S. currency, or in an equivalent amount of the currency of the responding Party or in another currency agreed to by the disputing Parties.”

There is no appeals-process. If a nation gets fined and yet believes that something was wrong with the panel’s decision, there is no recourse. No matter how much a particular decision might happen to have been arrived at in contradiction of that nation’s laws and courts and legal precedents, the panels’ decisions aren’t appealable in any national legal system. Whatever precedents might become established from these panels’ subsequent record of decisions will constitute no part of any nation’s legal system, but instead create an entirely new forming body of case-law in an evolving international government which consists of international corporations and their panelists, and of whatever other panelists are acceptable to those corporate panelists. Voters have no representation, they’re merely sued. Stockholders have representation, they do the suing, of the various nations’ taxpayers, for ‘violating’ the ‘rights’ of stockholders.

The roster of authorized panelists available to be chosen by any corporation’s panelists in conjunction with by any nation’s panelists, is customarily composed of individuals who move back and forth between government and private-sector roles, through a “revolving door,” so that on both ends of that, the ultimate control is with the owners of the controlling blocs of stock in various international corporations. This is the newly evolving world government. It will not block any nation from legislating protections of workers, or of consumers, or of the environment; it will simply hold a power to extract from any participating nation’s taxpayers fines for ‘violating’ the ‘rights’ of stockholders in international corporations. Citizens will increasingly be held under the axe, and the top stockholders in international corporations will be holding it. This isn’t the type of world government that was anticipated by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, the founders of the U.N., and by the other early (pre-1954) proponents of world government. But, since 1954, the plans for this anti-democratic form of emerging world government were laid; and, now, those plans are the ones that are being placed into effect.

Thus, on 26 October 2015, the United Nations Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, the international legal expert Alfred de Zayas, headlined, UN Expert Calls for Abolition of Investor-State Dispute Settlement Arbitrations. That’s the system, otherwise called “ISDS,” which already exists in a few much smaller international-trade treaties, and which is now being introduced on the largest scale ever in TPP and in Obama’s other proposed treaties. The U.N. press release, calling for its “abolition” or explicit outlawing, said:

In his fourth report to the UN General Assembly, Mr. de Zayas focuses on the adverse human rights impacts of free trade and investment agreements and calls for the abolition of Investor-State dispute settlement mechanism (ISDS) that accompanies most of these agreements.

“Over the past twenty-five years bilateral international treaties and free trade agreements with investor-state-dispute-settlement have adversely impacted the international order and undermined fundamental principles of the UN, State sovereignty, democracy and the rule of law. It prompts moral vertigo in the unbiased observer,” he noted.

Far from contributing to human rights and development, ISDS has compromised the State’s regulatory functions and resulted in growing inequality among States and within them,” the expert stated.

Earlier, on 5 May 2015, I headlined, “UN Lawyer Calls TTP & TTIP ‘A Dystopian future in Which Corporations and not Democratically Elected Governments Call the Shots’.” I close now by repeating the opening of that report:

The Obama-proposed international-trade deals, if passed into law, will lead to “a dystopian future in which corporations and not democratically elected governments call the shots,” says Alfred De Zayas, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order.

These two mammoth trade-pacts, one (TTIP) for Atlantic nations, and the other (TTP) for Pacific nations excluding China (since Obama is against China), would transfer regulations of corporations to corporations themselves, and away from democratically elected governments. Regulation of working conditions and of the environment, as well as of product-safety including toxic foods and poisonous air and other consumer issues, would be placed into the hands of panels whose members will be appointed by large international corporations. Their decisions will remove the power of democratically elected governments to control these things. “Red tape” that’s imposed by elected national governments would be eliminated — replaced by the international mega-corporate version.

De Zayas was quoted in Britain’s Guardian on May 4th as saying also that, “The bottom line is that these agreements must be revised, modified or terminated,”because they would vastly harm publics everywhere, even though they would enormously benefit the top executives of corporations by giving them control as a sort of corporate-imposed world government, answerable to the people who control those corporations.

Does Radical Capitalism Work Anywhere?

Capitalist Caucasian wrote:

Whites thrive under capitalism. Asians thrive under both, and blacks cannot thrive on any economic system, but totalitarian, authoritarian communism does the job of not letting a black society burn to shit. Like black Muslims, for example. Or the fact that some of the smartest, well behaved nigs are Nation of Islam members.

Not really true. Look at the 19th Century White world in the beginnings of industrialization and tell me things were thriving. Or the Potato Famine. Look at how the gangster capitalists have looted the Ukraine since 1991. Latvia went radical free market and the economy collapsed worse than the Depression and all that remains is a hollowed out shell. Estonia lies in ruins. Greece and maybe Ireland are disaster areas.
Europe was feudal until WW1, and Eastern Europe was feudal until WW2. The life expectancy in capitalist Albania in 1949 was 32 years. With the return to capitalism in Russia, there was an economic crash three times worse than the Great Depression, life expectancy collapsed, gangsters inside and outside the country stripped the place bare, and 15 million people died, more than Stalin killed.
Radical capitalists came to power in Chile and Argentina, two White countries, ran the economies into the ground and murdered 15,000 people in Chile and 30,000 in Argentina.
Capitalists caused all of these messes.
Whites don’t do so great under radical capitalism either. Nobody does. The thriving White world you are talking about is mostly not run by Libertarian neoclassical free marketeers. Most of those countries are run by social democrats who call themselves socialists and are members of the Socialist International.
Asians do well under well under capitalism? In 1949, China was ruined by war and warlords, the nation was under feudal rule, and life expectancy was 32 years.
Not sure which Asians you are talking about? Filipinos and Indonesians do not seem to be doing well under radical capitalism. The only real hardcore free market Asian states are Hong Kong and Singapore. All the rest are either socialist to some degree or becoming that way.
Blacks do pretty well under both Islam and Communism. At the very least, the resulting societies are orderly, well-behaved, calm and have little crime and chaos. Sometimes I think Black people need the “stern father” approach.

All You Need to Know About the Latin American Left

I used to have a girlfriend who was an Argentine. She couldn’t really speak English very well, but she worked for her parents’ business so it was no big deal. She was by no means a Leftist, but she was somewhat sympathetic to them in a way that almost no American ever is. For instance, if you mention the Latin American Left and the exterminations to which they were subjected to to an American, liberal, centrist of conservative, they will simply say, “They were Communists! Kill them all! Kill all Communists!” So that’s basically the scope of the very interesting debate in America, world homeland of Freedom of Speech (TM) where there is for all intents and purposes no debate whatsoever on the major questions of society.*
One night we were discussing the Dirty War, backed 100% by Satan Himself, Henry Kissinger. The Dirty War lasted from 1978-1983 and took place after a coup put a military dictatorship in place. There had been a guerrilla war shortly before the coup, but it was more or less over after the new government took power. The coup was hatched in the CIA and was US-backed 100%. In the course of 5 years, approximately 30,000 Argentines, all on the Left, were murdered in cold blood, often by vicious means. Jews were also persecuted by a savagely anti-Semitic regime following the Nazi line that Jews = Communists. Many of those killed were taken up in airplanes blindfolded and tossed into the Atlantic Ocean. Many women were killed, and many of those were mothers. In those cases, the women’s children were confiscated by the state and adopted into the families of the rich who were supporting the slaughter. This entire slaughter was part of a US-supported massacre in the Southern Core called “Operation Condor” in which Leftists were slaughtered in Uruguay, Chile, Argentina and Bolivia.
There are different reports about exactly who was killed. Some say that most of those killed were armed guerrillas, but the insurgency was pretty much dead by the time General Videla took over anyway, so this is doubtful. Others say that those killed were mostly just unarmed members of the Left – students, professors, workers, peasants, human rights and community workers, and Catholic laypeople.
As we were discussing this, she mentioned her horror at the slaughter. Once again, in the US,  land of Freedom of Speech (TM), you cannot do this without being labeled a Communist. However, Latin American banana republics actually have more free speech that America does simply because they have a wider acceptable range of opinion. She said and I quote:

Well, you see, the Latin American Left were dreamers. They had the dream of a better world. And in Latin America, that is a dangerous thing.

That’s really all you need to know about the Latin American Left, their struggles, and the US-backed massacres to which they were subjected by the colonial master of the continent, the United States of America.
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Saul Landau, Presente!

Comrade Saul Landau has died. He wrote a lot of great articles on Cuba, which is mostly what I remember him for. His views of Cuba were not starry-eyed, and he really told it like it is. He also made a number of movies, none of which I have ever seen. He was a great man.
Below is a fairly decent article from the horrific New York Times. I was expecting a hatchet piece, but apparently that was not to be.

Saul Landau, a determinedly leftist documentary filmmaker and writer whose passion for asking what he called “the most intrusive questions” yielded penetrating cinematic profiles of leaders like Fidel Castro and Salvador Allende, died on Monday at his home in Alameda, Calif. He was 77.
The cause was bladder cancer, his daughter Julia Landau said.
Mr. Landau aspired to marshal art and literature to illuminate social and political problems, and his point of view was almost always apparent. In the 1980s, he wrote essays berating the administration of Ronald Reagan for trying to depose the leftist government in Nicaragua, and recently he urged the United States not to become involved in Syria.
He said he saw no difference between documentary and fictional films. In both, he said, a director manipulates light and sound to put across a vision. “One has to simulate reality,” he said in 2005 in an interview with The Capital Times in Madison, Wis. “The other one says, ‘Here’s reality,’ whether it is or isn’t.”
Mr. Landau emerged from the roiling New Left politics of the 1960s to make more than 40 documentaries, including six about Mr. Castro. One of them, “Fidel,” released in 1969, was a rare intimate look at the Cuban leader. It shows him arguing with a finger-wagging peasant woman, visiting his nursery school and playing baseball and striking out.
“I found Fidel a sympathetic figure and a hell of a good actor,” Mr. Landau told The Washington Post in 1982.
His most acclaimed film was “Paul Jacobs and the Nuclear Gang,” which he directed with Jack Willis in 1980. With cinematography by Haskell Wexler, the documentary, broadcast on PBS, told of the cover-up of health hazards from a 1957 nuclear-bomb test in Utah. The film won an Emmy Award and a George Polk Award.
The title referred to Mr. Landau’s friend Paul Jacobs, a journalist who died of cancer — believed to have been caused by radiation exposure — before the film was completed.
Other films by Mr. Landau portray poverty in big-city slums, the destruction of indigenous Mexican culture, the inner workings of the C.I.A., torture in Brazil and life inside a San Francisco jail. Most have a leftist political edge that some saw as propagandistic, but Mr. Landau characterized the films as educational.
“All my films try to teach people without preaching too hard,” he said. “I try not to be too tendentious.”
Mr. Landau released two films relating to Mr. Allende, the Chilean who had become Latin America’s first democratically elected socialist president the year before. One was an interview with Mr. Allende.
The other film, “Que Hacer!” (1970) — the title is a translation of the title of Lenin’s book “What Is to Be Done?” — is a fictional movie, a playful spy story with music concerning a C.I.A. case officer in Chile. There are two casts: a Chilean one directed by Raul Ruiz and an American one directed by Mr. Landau and Nina Serrano, his wife at the time. Country Joe McDonald performed and produced the music. The film won awards at film festivals in Cannes, Venice and Mannheim, Germany.
Orlando Letelier, Chile’s ambassador to the United States, invited Mr. Landau to screen it at the Chilean Embassy in Washington, and they became friends. A few years later, Gen. Augusto Pinochet overthrew the Allende government and imprisoned Mr. Letelier.
Mr. Landau worked with other international supporters to win Mr. Letelier’s release and to arrange a job for him at the Institute for Policy Studies, a left-wing research organization in Washington Mr. Landau had joined in 1972. In 1976, Pinochet agents used a car bomb to kill Mr. Letelier and another institute worker. In 1980, Mr. Landau and John Dinges published a book about the case, “Assassination on Embassy Row,” documenting the Pinochet government’s ties to the killings.
Mr. Landau was at least as prolific a writer as he was a filmmaker. He wrote 14 books and thousands of newspaper and magazine articles and reviews.
Saul Irwin Landau was born on Jan. 15, 1936, a few blocks from Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, and grew up playing stickball in the streets. His father was a pharmacist who had fled pogroms in Ukraine to come to New York in 1920. His mother was a teacher.
As a youth, Mr. Landau once abandoned school to hitchhike across America. When he returned, his mother urged him to take the test for the academically elite Stuyvesant High School. He passed, and went on to perform brilliantly there.
The summer after he graduated, he met Ms. Serrano at a camp in the Catskills, where he was the fry cook and she the drama teacher. Ms. Serrano, who became a published poet, encouraged his interest in leftist politics and a bohemian lifestyle, according to their daughter Valerie Landau.
Ms. Serrano also accompanied Mr. Landau when he went to the University of Wisconsin. When a dean found out that they were living together, he threatened to expel Mr. Landau (Ms. Serrano was not a student then) if they did not marry. They did.
At Wisconsin, Mr. Landau got involved in a so-called Joe Must Go club, which advocated the recall of Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin over his demagogic attacks on people he accused of being Communists.
After earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history at Wisconsin, Mr. Landau became a researcher for C. Wright Mills, the sociologist, traveling with him to Western Europe, the Soviet Union and Cuba.
Moving to Northern California with Ms. Serrano, he worked toward a doctorate at Stanford but did not complete the studies. In San Francisco, they gravitated to the Beat poets and the emerging New Left movement. Mr. Landau joined Students for a Democratic Society and helped organize the leftist magazines Ramparts and Mother Jones.
He also joined the San Francisco Mime Troupe, for which he wrote a parody of a minstrel show, “A Minstrel Show, or Civil Rights in a Cracker Barrel.” Performers in the show, which satirized racial perceptions, appeared in blackface. The show traveled to New York and elsewhere.
“Through the entire evening there is really nothing to laugh at, no matter how funny it is,” Richard F. Shepard wrote in The New York Times. “There is the ominous theme of what hypocrisy and oppression breed.”
In 1966 Mr. Landau got a job as a reporter at KQED-TV, San Francisco’s public television station, and a year later went to Cuba to make a news documentary. Mr. Castro liked it, and invited Mr. Landau to return to do an in-depth documentary about him. Mr. Landau’s marriage to Ms. Serrano ended in divorce. Besides his daughters Valerie and Julia, he is survived by a son, Greg, and two other daughters, Carmen and Marie; his second wife, Rebecca Switzer; seven grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
“You want to do what you can while you’re on this earth,” Mr. Landau said in 2006. “Otherwise the alternative is to go shopping.”

Refuting a Lie: The Pinochet Friedmanite Neoliberal Economic Miracle

As you can see, there was no economic miracle under Pinochet. For all of that time, Chile was quite a bit below even the rest of the continent.
As you can see, there was no economic miracle under Pinochet. For all of that time, Chile was quite a bit below even the rest of the continent. The Pinochet years are in grey.

As you can see, there was no economic miracle under Pinochet. What there was was a typical radical neoliberal massive transfer of wealth from the working classes (the bottom 2/3 of society) to the upper classes (the upper 1/3 of society. The end result was one of the most disgustingly racist and classist societies on the face of the Earth.
Also note that the Chilean economy takes off after Pinochet left and many of his neoliberal reforms were dismantled. Chile surpasses the Latin American average in 1995, around the time that Chile starting electing Socialists again. Great economic growth occurred under the Socialists.
Note also that the Chilean economy had started to decline already under Allende. This was due to a capital strikes and radical measures that the United Snakes undertook to destroy Allende’s economy. As Henry (Satan) Kissinger (The Consummate American) said at the time: We are going to make the Chilean economy scream. Similar capital strikes have been occurring in Venezuela for a long time now.
There were endless fake strikes (capital strikes) and stupid demos by “housewives” really just women from the upper classes. They marched out into their tony neighborhoods and beat pots and pans together for months on end. The lamestream corporate media in the US gave this endless drooling coverage. The same nonsense has recently occurred in Venezuela when more “housewives” (read rich bitches) poured out onto the streets to beat their pots and pans together once again to protest the radical democracy of Hugo Chavez and his replacement.
The CIA (Evil Central) planted endless fake stories in the Chilean media about Soviet submarines off the coast and Soviet militias in training camps all over Chile being poised for a radical Bolshevik takeover. It was all lies of course (just about anything the CIA says about anything is probably a lie) but it worked pretty well on a lot of gullible Chileans.

A Look at Some Spanish Dialects

One thing that is interesting once you learn to speak Spanish fairly well is that you can start to pick up the differences in various Spanish dialects. I am told that people who don’t know Spanish well can’t pick up the differences at all. Hearing a divergent Spanish dialect is a very strange experience. You hear Spanish words, but the accent is so off and weird that you think that they can’t possibly be speaking Spanish. A frequent mistake it to think that they are thinking some closely related Romance language like Catalan, French, Portuguese or Italian.

I’ve written about this before, but now that we have more Hispanics and even Mexican nationals reading the blog, maybe we can get some good feedback.

Mexican Spanish is fairly uniform at least around these parts. However, there are some differences.

Oaxacan Spanish: I have heard older Oaxacan Indians speaking a very strange and harsh form of Spanish. I assume it was some Oaxacan Indian Spanish.

Morelos Spanish: Spoken in the state of Morelos near just south of Mexico City. I heard a woman speaking this to her kid. She looked very White, and for some reason I thought she was Iranian. I listened to her for several minutes and I was sure she must have been speaking Farsi. However, she told me she was speaking Morelos Spanish. I looked it up on the Net and it is a distinctive dialect.

Jalisco Spanish: Spoken in the coastal state of Jalisco. This does seem different from the other varieties of Mexican Spanish. I heard a White looking guy speaking it in the store and I asked him what language he was speaking. He was speaking Jalisco Spanish. It had a very European sound to it – like Castillian or Catalan.

Veracruz Spanish: I was in a store and there was a guy on the phone speaking some strange language. There were Spanish words but the accent was insane. After a bit, I said, “No way are you speaking Spanish.” The guy practically fell over himself laughing and he said he was indeed. He looked sort of South Indian, so I thought he was speaking some Indian language like Hindi.

He said he spoke regular Spanish, but he came from the Caribbean coast of Mexico, and he was talking to someone from there, and he was speaking Mexican Caribbean Spanish. This is the most whacked version of Mexican Spanish I have ever heard.

Guatemalan Spanish: A neighbor speaks this. It’s Spanish all right, but it’s not Mexican Spanish at all. Has an odd but recognizable accent. And she speaks incredibly fast and slurs her words together in the worst way.

Salvadoran Spanish: Different from Mexican Spanish, but not dramatically so. It’s immediately identifiable as Spanish.

Puerto Rican Spanish: Caribbean Spanish in general is just nuts. I heard a group of mixed race folks speaking it at a store. I listened for a while, very confused. Then I walked over to them and asked if they were speaking Portuguese, because that was what it sounded like. They said they were speaking Puerto Rican Spanish. The mixed race group had not a trace of racism, and among them were some of the most dignified looking Blacks or mulattoes I have ever seen. A quiet dignity you rarely see in US Blacks.

Colombian Spanish: One of the strangest Spanishes of them all. I knew an upper class Colombian woman from the Zona Rosa in the north of Bogota. She spent about half her time in Spain. She had the sexiest, most breathiest Spanish I have ever heard, almost like a super sexy French accent. It was also very European sounding. It had a very Castillian and almost French flavor to it. I heard her sister talk too, and she talked exactly the same way.

She used to write me emails, and I couldn’t make heads or toes of the Spanish because it was so full of figures of speech, slangs and colloquialisms. Running it through a translator was useless. For all intents and purposes, she wasn’t even writing in Spanish.

I was at a store and a group of Colombians was in line, all young adults. I heard Spanish words, but the accent was so whacked that I thought it had to be something else. I approached them and asked if they were speaking Italian, because that is what it sounded like. They laughed and said they were speaking Colombian Spanish.

Once again, this was a very sensual language. The 30-something beauty talking to me seemed like she was openly flirting with me, but finally I thought that was just how she talked. They were all talking like they were either heading to an orgy or just got back from one, but once again, I think that was the way they talked all the time. These people live in their bodies, fully sensual, and the language pumps right out of their emotional heart. The words seem to sway and move with their bodies. One sexy language!

I recently heard another woman speaking Colombian Spanish, this time from the Caribbean coast. A fruity, delightful language with words that sway in the sun on the golden sands. A sound as juicy as papayas, mangoes and bananas. You want to reach out and grab the words as they fly through the air and take a bite of them.

Peruvian Spanish: I knew some Peruvian women and used to talk to them a lot. The Spanish is not too crazy accentwise, but it has a ton of slangs in it. They didn’t really speak English, so they couldn’t explain what the slangs meant. One thing was that they spoke very, very fast! I kept telling them to slow down, but they could not seem to slow it down no matter how many times you asked. Peruvian has only one speed – very fast.

Chilean Spanish: Sounds very Castillian, but it’s immediately recognizable as Spanish. One problem is the mountain of slang in this dialect. I don’t think there is any Spanish that has as much slang as Chilean. It’s literally chock full of all kinds of weird slangs. They are also the pickiest Spanish speakers I have ever met. Almost like the French, almost correcting your Spanish. Most Spanish speakers are very gracious, but Chileans want you to speak it right!

Argentine Spanish: This is one weird Spanish. You hear it spoken and you hear Spanish words, but the people speaking it look like Europeans and the accent sounds Italian! Or sometimes it sounds like some other European language – Catalan, French or Castillian. This is one insanely whacked out Spanish!

Catalonian Spanish: I heard a group speaking this, and I thought no way is that Spanish. I asked them what they were speaking, and they said Spanish. They said they were from Catalonia. Their Spanish sounded like Catalan! It didn’t sound like Spanish at all. This was one of the bizarrest Spanishes I have ever heard.

More on Laissez Faire Economics

Repost from the old site.

In the comments section, James Schipper makes some interesting comments about laissez faire economics and libertarianism in general. His comments are in italics, mine are follow in normal font.

JS: Laissez-faire usually means short-term gain for a small minority and short-term pain for a large majority, medium-term gain for a larger minority and medium-term pain for a smaller majority and only long-term gain for the majority.

RL: I don’t agree with this at all. The case of neoliberalism seems to show us that the gains never do filter down to anyone below the top 20%. This is what the neoliberal advocates keep saying – “Give it time, give it time.” But no matter how much time you give it, it never seems to work. We are now 28 years into a neoliberal revolution in the US, and have things gotten any better for any larger majority?

Of course not. Things just seem to get worse and worse. Neoliberalism only accomplishes massive wealth transfers from the bottom 80% to the top 20%. It’s designed to do that in perpetuity, since class war never ends in capitalism, even in fascism.

JS: The Chicago boys are actually right in that speculative bubbles are only possible if the government engages in massive monetary expansion or allows the banks to do so. This means that the most essential part of government regulation in a modern economy is the regulation of credit and the currency. Too much money and credit = inflation and speculation.

RL: The problem here is that these Chicago Boys characters have been cheering on every single speculative bubble that ever existed, and they created quite a few of them themselves. Their libertarian project in Chile ended in massive failure such that even Pinochet had to step in with major government intervention to save the economy. Huge intervention by the state was the only thing that saved the economy.

In Russia, the Boys succeeded in looting the nation, transferring the money out of the country, engineering a Depression 3.5 times worse than the US Depression and killing 15 million Russians. The Chicago Boys and their acolytes were behind the Asian Flu crashes in the late 1990’s too.

The only way to prevent speculative bubbles is through government regulation of an economy, and the Chicago Boys apparently oppose all such. The business sector, whom the Chicago Boys represent, always supports a loose money policy during the good times in order to facilitate the cheap money necessary for economic expansion and of course speculation.

Furthermore, the US capitalist class, nor any other capitalist class, would never support the Chicago Boys’ apparent prescription here – getting rid of the Fed’s regulation of the money supply. Business loves and needs the Fed, despite all of its rants against socialism. Anyway, the role of a central bank is overestimated. Even in a state without a strong central bank regulating money, you can still get massive speculative inflows. This was the case with the nations harmed by the Asian Flu.

The Fed itself is run by economists who are themselves working hand in hand with Big Business and are generally followers of Chicago School Economics. The only thing the rich care about is inflation, and business everywhere on Earth has cheered on every speculative bubble that ever existed. They can’t get enough of them.

To blame these bubbles on a reactionary government institution called the Fed, implying the Fed is some kind of socialist institution (though its recent actions have indeed been socialist) is beyond perverse.

What’s deadly to business and the rich is inflation. The rich hate inflation because it cuts into their incomes. Most rich people don’t even work at all. They just kick back and live off rents and equities. Nothing cuts into their lazy money more than inflation. Further, inflation engenders demands for wage increases, which is why business hates it so much. It also increases costs for supplies, which they may or may not be able to pass on.

In order to stop inflation from hurting the rich and business, the Fed fights inflation by throwing millions of Americans out of work, since inflation and unemployment are two ends of a scale. As unemployment gets “too low”, workers start getting “uppity” and demanding wage increases. This is deadly to capitalism, so the Fed responds by deliberately increasing unemployment and throwing millions out of work.

If you take a university course in capitalist economics, they will tell you that capitalism operates on the premise of “the benefits of mass unemployment”. The benefits lie in the disciplining of the worker. The notion that mass unemployment has any benefits at all is enough to turn my stomach against capitalism.

Further, I’m not enamored of any Austrian economist.

JS: Too much money and credit = inflation and speculation.

RL: Problem here probably being that the Fed cares little about speculation (although it does worry about it a bit – witness Alan Greenspan’s famous “irrational exuberance” comments a while back) but cares a lot about inflation.

Speculation does not necessarily lead to increases in core inflation, but it surely runs up some prices. Housing market, oil and dot com stock speculation surely created bubbles in those sectors, but in the case of housing and dot com’s, did not effect core inflation.

JS: As to the New Deal, it was a colossal failure.

RL: I can’t comment on this. The general analysis here in the US is that the New Deal saved US capitalism from Revolution, hence it was painful but worth it. This analysis comes from the more enlightened among capitalist sectors themselves.

Of course Western Europe and the Asian Tigers were not built on laissez faire. Even today that Japan, Singapore and Korea have extreme government intervention in the economy in terms of state planning of the economy. That’s often termed corporatism.

It’s not like Gosplan where the social economy is planned down to the # of eggs you will eat in a year. Instead this sort of economic guidance actually works. Government works with firms to help them compete against foreign sectors, goosing some sectors while letting others wilt.

No country with a mostly private education system and a poor public education system has ever produced any kind of an educated population.

Up here in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, we have many roads that are private. The country never got around to making them county roads. Without exception, they are horrible. In many cases, there are expensive homes and properties lining these roads. The homes sell for about ~$300,000+ now. Most people living there have some money and they are not poor at all.

Thing is, everyone would have to get together to pitch in to fix the road and maintain it. People, even well to do folks, can never seem to get together to do that, so you have a horrific road. It’s really strange to try to drive down a nightmarish road while looking at very nice, fancy houses with new cars on either side.

Mary Bottari, “ALEC Exposed: Milton Friedman’s Little Shop of Horrors”

Here.

A great article from the Huffington Post that redeems my faith in the online publication. Ariana Huffington recently sold out to a slimy corporation, so I figured that the Left content would be destroyed by the corporate censors, but strangely enough, that has not yet happened.

This article discusses Milton Friedman, who was supposedly a Libertarian, but in practice, was actually a fascist because he supported the Chilean Pinochet dictatorship. Friedman famously said that no citizenry would ever vote in his Libertarian society for the corporations and the rich, so it would have to be put in via a dictatorship. This is why he praised the Chilean model. As an anti-democratic, far right individual, we arrive at the disturbing conclusion that Milton Friedman was a fascist.

Friedman was also a great believer in Disaster Capitalism, that is, the use of periodic crises to push through radical far rightwing and austerity measures to devastate state spending, tax revenues and state regulation of business. In addition, it could be used to facilitate huge wealth transfers from the poor and the middle class to the upper middle class, the rich and the corporations. Wrecking the union sector was also part of the game. In addition, the crises would force the state to sell off much of its property and land to the private sector. Friedman on the benefits of a crisis:

Only a crisis — actual or perceived — produces real changes. When the crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable.

Many governments in Latin America followed Friedman’s advice in the past 30 years. The result was the devastation of the public sector and public spending and the crushing of unions and dissenters. There was huge wealth transfer from the bottom 80% of the population to upper middle class, the rich and corporations. States auctioned everything but the very air itself for pennies on the dollar to rapacious corporations. The death rate was surely in the tens of millions and health care and education were wrecked to serve the rich and the corporations.

Widespread economic destruction followed as it always does. Even Time Magazine agreed that neoliberalism had utterly failed in Latin America. This crap went on for 20-30 years before the Latin Americans said they had enough. The result was the voting in of Left politicians such as Hugo Chavez who opposed the failed neoliberal model .

Now the very same Shock Doctrine is being used to drive the same radical neoliberal changes in the US as failed so utterly in Latin America. The crisis was caused by lack of regulation in the financial and real estate sector. Deregulation is part of the Friedman agenda, so Friedmanism really caused the economic collapse in the first place. The economic collapse compounded with decades of insane supply side economics caused a collapse in tax revenues at all levels of government, which starved government of revenue and resulted in huge budget deficits.

Republicans used these deficits to push through radical changes, including even more tax cuts to further deprive the state of revenues and make the deficits even worse, constitutional amendments to prevent the raising of revenues needed for any kind of budget sanity, the destruction of critical social services, union busting and the privatization of virtually every state function, including the public schools. Mass privatization, especially of the public schools, had long been a Friedman prerogative.

At the state level, this mad slash and burn agenda is led by a gang of corporate fascists called American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC.

The website Alecexposed unveils the corporate fascist agenda of ALEC for all to see.

I would like to point out that the Democrats are no angels in this regard. In fact, Barack Obama and his buddy, Rahm Emmanuel, are both radical Friedmanites. Emmanuel has long been a proponent of using crises to push through radical austerity measures to destroy public spending and grant huge tax breaks to the rich and corporations. He famously said in this regard, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”

Barack Obama is also a radical Friedmanite who believes in Disaster Capitalism. About the recent economic crisis, he said it was a “great opportunity” to begin the destruction of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid that Obama has longed for since the day he entered office.

Types of Libertarian Morons

All Libertarians are morons; there are just different types of stupid.

America is probably one of the only countries in the world where Libertarianism has any kind of sway at all, although I understand that for some reason, it is relatively popular in Costa Rica for some reason, possibly because the country is heavily White. Whites are the only race on Earth who will heavily go in for Libertarianism, because Whites are much more selfish and individualistic than any other race. European, Australian, Canadian, and New Zealander Whites are not prone to selfishness of individualism.

Selfish and individualistic politics is popular among White elites in Latin America, but only in places where Whites are a minority.

In Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, where Whites or near-Whites are more or less a majority, selfish and individualistic politics is far less popular, since your average White person there is just an ordinary working class person, not a member of an elite group.

Nevertheless, the Cone nations have been ruled by a particularly vicious White elite for a long time. This elite has spent much of the last 40 years slaughtering the working class Whites of the Cone countries in order to maintain their outrageous and feudal-style wealth. As a consequence, White politics in the Cone is polarized into Hard Left and Hard Right, in a way similar to some Mediterranean countries like Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Small government is popular with White elites, as this philosophy in general is only popular with elites around the world. The German Social Democrats used to have a saying, “Only the rich can afford a poor state.” Of course this is true, and this is why the rich the world over, especially in the 3rd World, tend to favor a minimal state. Hatred of taxation is also typical of elites the world over, particularly in the 3rd World.

In general, ordinary people the world over do not favor small government or hate taxation. In that sense, Americans, particularly White Americans, are very strange. The views of White Americasns are more typical of world elites than the ordinary working class people of the world. It’s as if your ordinary working class White person identifies more with his class enemies, the rich, than with his own class. Working class Whites also see themselves as elites, which is odd, since they are not elites, and in fact they are extremely oppressed by their own elites.

This strange philosophy probably has its roots in the Frontier Ethic, the break from colonialism, and the radical individualism that has long characterized White American culture.

As America becomes increasingly non-White, this view will decline. Asians are not radical individualists, and Asian nations are not characterized by small government and low taxation. Hispanics and Blacks are collectivist peoples who also have no interest in small government and low taxation. Black nations are like Asian nations in that there is no interest in Libertarian-style governance.

These trends show no sign of changing in the future. Even as Asians, Hispanics and Blacks make good money and move up in the world, they retain their collectivist roots.

The future does not look good for Libertarian types in the US in the long term, though they may make some gains in the short term.

The future looks bleak for Libertarianism in the world at large, as most nations have no interest in small government or low taxation.

Seen more properly, the vast majority of the world’s people, and the overwhelming majority of the working class, are collectivist people.

 

The Paradox of Capitalist Regulation

Repost from the old site.

James Schipper writes in the comments section:

The historical record shows that wage increases eventually follow productivity growth. For instance, in 1960 South Korea was dirt-poor, and naturally wages were extremely low. By 1990, SK had become a prosperous country, due to massive productivity growth, and wages were also much higher.

As workers become much more productive on average, they become more valuable to employers, who are therefore willing to pay them higher wages, for the same reason that a dairy farmer is willing to pay a higher price for a cow which gives 10,000 liters of milk per year than for a cow which gives 5,000 liters per year.

It seems to be true that wage increases in the US have not kept pace with productivity growth in the last 3 decades. I have no explanation for it.

It can’t be doubted that the transition to a market economy in Russia was handled very badly. Such major changes should be introduced gradually. Just compare China’s performance with Russia’s in the 1990’s.

The problem with Chile between 1973 and 1983 was that the country was completely opened to foreign economic influences almost overnight while the exchange rate was kept fixed. They liberalized the entire foreign sector, except the exchange rate. If they had also brought in flexible exchange rates, the results would have been less catastrophic.

I hate neoliberalism as much as you, but I’m a moderate economic liberal. I believe that durable prosperity is not possible without considerable private ownership of the means of production and free markets. The motto should be: the market when possible and the state when necessary.

The Chicago boys are like a doctor who always prescribes the same medicine and then argues that the medicine wasn’t taken properly when some patients get worse.

Inflation is not bad for all capitalists. As a rule, inflation, or at least unexpected inflation, is bad for lenders and good for borrowers. Most companies are borrowers. Inflation tends to reduce the real wealth of lenders and increase the real wealth of borrowers.

Suppose that I lend you 10,000 for a year at 5% interest and on the assumption that inflation for the coming year will be 0%. Instead, inflation is 20%. After a year, I get my 10,000 back, but their real value is only 8,000. I lost 2,000 and you gained 2,000.

It is a libertarian myth that big government equals oppressive government. In what way do I become less free because in Canada the state provides most health care for free? I can’t just demand any treatment that I like, but I wouldn’t be able to that either if I were privately insured.

There is something fraudulent about neoliberalism. They constantly talk about freedom, but what they really mean is that they are opposed to economic egalitarianism. The freedom that they are most interested in is the freedom to make lots of money. Still, hostility to neoliberalism should not blind us toward the virtues of free enterprise, which are considerable.

I respond:

I really dislike capitalism, but I am the first to admit that pure socialism has some very serious problems. Socialism has done great at building economies for a while, but after a few decades, it starts bogging down into bureaucracy. Furthermore, while alleviating poverty, we have only been able to provide a low standard of living for the people. Social capital only goes so far – people want stuff too.

My attitude is that some capitalism may be necessary, like death and disease, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good thing by any means. Lots of nasty stuff is necessary.

Class war is continuous under capitalism.

Owners are continuously waging war against workers to take more of the profits generated by their enterprises. If there is X amount of profits from an enterprise, owners must decide how much to take out for themselves and how much to give to workers. Clearly they wish to give as little as possible to workers. So there is a battle between workers and owners to divvy up the profits from the enterprise.

Owners oppose increased % of profits going to workers since that means less for them, so they are always trying to cut down on the workers’ % to get more for themselves. The tendency among capitalists would be to take 100% of productivity increases if they could get away with it. The only reason that workers get any % of productivity increases at all is when they organize to fight for it.

During the period you mention, the South Korean labor movement emerged and became extremely combative. This is probably the reason for the wage increases you mention. Capitalists will never give a wage increase just to be nice. Their whole project, in part, is to screw the worker to the greatest extent possible and even kill him if they can get away with it.

Indeed, capitalists kill millions of workers every year in the world, which is exactly what their project is designed to do. Workers and management are de facto enemies in capitalism, and if workers do not organize, they don’t get much of anything.

I’m sure there were productivity increases in housing construction from 1975 to today and the prices of houses have certainly gone through the roof. At the same time, wages for construction workers have probably collapsed by anywhere from 50-80%. 100% of that vast surplus and probable productivity increase went into the hands of owners. Workers got less than zero. In a time of booming profits and probable productivity raises, instead of getting even a meager slice, they got a massive pay cut.

Builders reaped massive benefits from declining wages and from increased prices for their homes. Many industries have seen declining wages in the US since 1980 due in part to the busting of unions and their replacement typically with illegal immigrant or H-1B guest worker labor.

During a 15-year period in Guatemala from 1948-1963, the economy grew by 5% per year. During that same period, the % of the population living in poverty actually increased from 87% to 93%. 5% economic growth over 15 years equals a 75% increase in the size of the economy. 0% of the benefits of this economic growth went to the vast majority of the population.

This is how capitalism is supposed to work.

Every capitalist on Earth wants to live in a country like that – where owners, the rich and the upper middle class reap all or almost all of the benefits from economic growth and the workers get little, nothing, or even lose money. To avoid this, workers must organize into unions, since workers usually never get anything from capitalists without a fight. In the the 3rd World where murders of trade unionists are par for the course, it’s often a deadly fight.

I repeat, capitalism is evil, but pure socialism doesn’t seem to work very well.

I don’t have much issues with small businesses, who often seem to really care about their employees and consumers (customers) and even in some cases, the environment and the society they live in. But Organized Small Business is always profoundly reactionary.

But big business is just bad. Whatever benefits it gives us in terms of jobs and decent products, good service or reduced prices is typically vastly outweighed by the havoc it wreaks on society, the environment, the workers and consumers.

It’s true that regulation and organized workers and consumers can ameliorate a lot of this downside, but in capitalist nations, the capitalist classes buy all the media and institute a Gramscian cultural hegemony over society with their media and cultural control. At the same time, they use their money and media and cultural power to buy the state itself which ideally ought to be regulating them in the interests of workers, consumers, the environment and society itself.

So you have a state that will do nothing in the face of the bulldozer of capital. The result is a flattened social society, a wrecked public sector, slums, homelessness, disease, early death, environmental devastation, harmed consumers and crippled workers and nothing in government to stop any of this.

The housing crisis is a case in point. Contra your assertion that the New Deal failed (which is actually rightwing revisionism against the New Deal), in fact, the New Deal, in particular the financial reforms – the FDIC which restored confidence in the banks, the SEC that regulated the stock market and Fannie Mae to bring back the mortgage market – is what finally got the economy going again.

This was one of the greatest accomplishments the US government ever did, it was wholly socialist in nature, and it was opposed ferociously by the Republican Party and the entire US business sector at the time. After Roosevelt rammed it through anyway, the business class vowed to wage struggle, for decades if they had to, to overturn these things.

Finally, by the 1990’s, much of this regulatory structure had been whittled away.

Whittling away this structure had been a project of Capital since this regulatory apparatus had been put in place. Now that the regulation is a shadow of its former self, we have another Depression-like phenomena with the housing crisis, all the way to failed banks, bank runs, loss of deposits, etc. As one might expect.

This is the problem. The only way to keep capitalism from being completely nightmarish is to regulate it, and the capitalist sector reflexively fights to the death any attempts to regulate it.

Furthermore, they grab the media and culture itself to brainwash gullible workers and consumers to support their elitist agenda and to get the workers, consumers and society itself to oppose their own interests and support the contrary interests of Capital. Then they grab the state itself and prevent it from enacting those very regulations necessary for a civilized capitalism.

This is one of my primary problems with capitalism. Regulation is mandatory to keep capitalism halfway civilized, but the nature of the capitalist system, as described above, works in such a way as to make such regulation often extremely difficult or impossible.

Does Multilingualism Equal Separatism?

Repost from the old site.

Sorry for the long post, readers, but I have been working on this piece off and on for months now. It’s not something I just banged out. For one thing, this is the only list that I know of on the Net that lists all of the countries of the world and shows how many languages are spoken there in an easy to access format. Not even Wikipedia has that (yet).

Whether or not states have the right to secede is an interesting question. The libertarian Volokh Conspiracy takes that on in this nice set of posts. We will not deal with that here; instead, we will take on the idea that linguistic diversity automatically leads to secession.

There is a notion floating around among fetishists of the state that there can be no linguistic diversity within the nation, as it will lead to inevitable separatism. In this post, I shall disprove that with empirical data. First, we will list the states in the world, along with how many languages are spoken in that state.

States with a significant separatist movement are noted with an asterisk. As you can see if you look down the list, there does not seem to be much of a link between multilingualism and separatism. There does seem to be a trend in that direction in Europe, though.

Afterward, I will discuss the nature of the separatist conflicts in many of these states to try to see if there is any language connection. In most cases, there is little or nothing there.

I fully expect the myth of multilingualism = separatism to persist after the publication of this post, unfortunately.

St Helena                        1
British Indian Ocean Territories 1
Pitcairn Island                  1
Estonia                          1
Maldives                         1
North Korea                      1
South Korea                      1
Cayman Islands                   1
Bermuda                          1
Belarus                          1
Martinique                       2
St Lucia                         2
St Vincent & the Grenadines      2
Barbados                         2
Virgin Islands                   2
British Virgin Islands           2
Gibraltar                        2
Antigua and Barbuda              2
Saint Kitts and Nevis            2
Montserrat                       2
Anguilla                         2
Marshall Islands                 2
Cuba                             2
Turks and Caicos                 2
Guam                             2
Tokelau                          2
Samoa                            2
American Samoa                   2
Niue                             2
Jamaica                          2
Cape Verde Islands               2
Icelandic                        2
Maltese                          2
Maltese                          2
Vatican State                    2
Haiti                            2
Kiribati                         2
Tuvalu                           2
Bahamas                          2
Puerto Rico                      2
Kyrgyzstan                       3
Rwanda                           3
Nauru                            3
Turkmenistan                     3
Luxembourg                       3
Monaco                           3
Burundi                          3
Seychelles                       3
Grenada                          3
Bahrain                          3
Tonga                            3
Qatar                            3
Kuwait                           3
Dominica                         3
Liechtenstein                    3
Andorra                          3
Reunion                          3
Dominican Republic               3
Netherlands Antilles             4
Northern Mariana Islands         4
Palestinian West Bank & Gaza     4
Palau                            4
Mayotte                          4
Cyprus*                          4
Bosnia and Herzegovina*          4
Slovenia and Herzegovina*        4
Swaziland                        4
Sao Tome and Principe            4
Guadalupe                        4
Saudi Arabia                     5
Cook Islands                     5
Latvia                           5
Lesotho                          5
Djibouti                         5
Ireland                          5
Moldova                          5
Armenia                          6
Mauritius                        6
Lebanon                          6
Mauritania                       6
Croatia                          6
Kazakhstan                       7
Kazakhstan                       7
Albania                          7
Portugal                         7
Uzbekistan                       7
Sri Lanka*                       7
United Arab Emirates             7
Comoros                          7
Belize                           8
Tunisia                          8
Denmark                          8
Yemen                            8
Morocco*                         9
Austria                          9
Jordan                           9
Macedonia                        9
Tajikistan                       9
French Polynesia                 9
Gambia                           9
Belgium                          9
Libya                            9
Fiji                             10
Slovakia                         10
Ukraine                          10
Egypt                            11
Bulgaria                         11
Norway                           11
Poland                           11
Serbia and Montenegro            11
Eritrea                          12
Georgia*                         12
Finland*                         12
Switzerland*                     12
Hungary*                         12
United Kingdom*                  12
Mongolia                         13
Spain                            13
Somalia*                         13
Oman                             13
Madagascar                       13
Malawi                           14
Equatorial Guinea                14
Mali                             14
Azerbaijan                       14
Japan                            15
Syria*                           15
Romania*                         15
Sweden*                          15
Netherlands*                     15
Greece                           16
Brunei                           17
Algeria                          18
Micronesia                       18
East Timor                       19
Zimbabwe                         19
Niger                            21
Singapore                        21
Cambodia                         21
Iraq*                            21
Guinea-Bissau                    21
Taiwan                           22
Bhutan                           24
Sierra Leone                     24
South Africa                     24
Germany                          28
Namibia                          28
Botswana                         28
France                           29
Liberia                          30
Israel                           33
Italy                            33
Guinea                           34
Turkey*                          34
Senegal                          36
Bangladesh                       39
New Caledonia                    39
Togo                             39
Angola*                          41
Gabon                            41
Zambia                           41
Mozambique                       43
Uganda                           43
Afghanistan                      47
Guatemala                        54
Benin                            54
Kenya                            61
Congo                            62
Burkina Faso                     68
Central African Republic         69
Solomon Islands                  70
Thailand*                        74
Iran*                            77
Cote D'Ivoire                    78
Ghana                            79
Laos                             82
Ethiopia*                        84
Canada*                          85
Russia*                          101
Vietnam                          102
Myanmar*                         108
Vanuatu                          109
Nepal                            126
Tanzania                         128
Chad                             132
Sudan*                           134
Malaysia                         140
United States*                   162
Philippines*                     171
Pakistan*                        171
Democratic Republic of Congo     214
Australia                        227
China*                           235
Cameroon*                        279
Mexico                           291
India*                           415
Nigeria                          510
Indonesia*                       737
Papua New Guinea*                820

*Starred states have a separatist problem, but most are not about language. Most date back to the very formation of an often-illegitimate state.

Canada definitely has a conflict that is rooted in language, but it is also rooted in differential histories as English and French colonies. The Quebec nightmare is always brought up by state fetishists, ethnic nationalists and other racists and nationalists who hate minorities as the inevitable result of any situation whereby a state has more than one language within its borders.

This post is designed to give the lie to this view.

Cyprus’ problem has to do with two nations, Greeks and Turks, who hate each other. The history for this lies in centuries of conflict between Christianity and Islam, culminating in the genocide of 350,000 Greeks in Turkey from 1916-1923.

Morocco’s conflict has nothing to do with language. Spanish Sahara was a Spanish colony in Africa. After the Spanish left in the early 1950’s, Morocco invaded the country and colonized it, claiming in some irredentist way that the land had always been a part of Morocco. The residents beg to differ and say that they are a separate state.

An idiotic conflict ensued in which Morocco the colonizer has been elevated to one of the most sanctioned nations of all by the UN. Yes, Israel is not the only one; there are other international scofflaws out there. In this conflict, as might be expected, US imperialism has supported Moroccan colonialism.

This Moroccan colonialism has now become settler-colonialism, as colonialism often does. You average Moroccan goes livid if you mention their colony. He hates Israel, but Morocco is nothing but an Arab Muslim Israel. If men had a dollar for every drop of hypocrisy, we would be a world of millionaires.

There are numerous separatist conflicts in Somalia. As Somalians have refused to perform their adult responsibilities and form a state, numerous parts of this exercise in anarchism in praxis (Why are the anarchists not cheering this on?) are walking away from the burning house. Who could blame them?

These splits seem to have little to do with language. One, Somaliland, was a former British colony and has a different culture than the rest of Somalia. Somaliland is now de facto independent, as Somalia, being a glorious exercise in anarchism, of course lacks an army to enforce its borders, or to do anything.

Jubaland has also split, but this has nothing to do with language. Instead, this may be rooted in a 36-year period in which it was a British colony. Soon after this period, they had their own postage stamps as an Italian colony.

There is at least one serious separatist conflict in Ethiopia in the Ogaden region, which is mostly populated by ethnic Somalis. Apparently this region used to be part of Somaliland, and Ethiopia probably has little claim to the region. This conflict has little do with language and more to do with conflicts rooted in colonialism and the illegitimate borders of states.

There is also a conflict in the Oromo region of Ethiopia that is not going very far lately. These people have been fighting colonialism since Ethiopia was a colony and since then have been fighting against independent Ethiopia, something they never went along with. Language has a role here, but the colonization of a people by various imperial states plays a larger one.

There was a war in Southern Sudan that has now ended with the possibility that the area may secede.

There is a genocidal conflict in Darfur that the world is ignoring because it involves Arabs killing Blacks as they have always done in this part of the world, and the world only gets upset when Jews kill Muslims, not when Muslims kill Muslims.

This conflict has to do with the Sudanese Arabs treating the Darfurians with utter contempt – they regard them as slaves, as they have always been to these racist Arabs.

The conflict in Southern Sudan involved a region in rebellion in which many languages were spoken. The South Sudanese are also niggers to the racist Arabs, plus they are Christian and animist infidels to be converted by the sword by Sudanese Arab Muslims. Every time a non-Muslim area has tried to split off from or acted uppity with a Muslim state they were part of, the Muslims have responded with a jihad against and genocide of the infidels.

This conflict has nothing to do with language; instead it is a war of Arab Muslim religious fanatics against Christian and animist infidels.

There is a separatist movement in the South Cameroons in the nation of Cameroon in Africa. This conflict is rooted in colonialism. During the colonial era, South Cameroons was a de facto separate state. Many different languages are spoken here, as is the case in Cameroon itself. They may have a separate culture too, but this is just another case of separatism rooted in colonialism. The movement seems to be unarmed.

There is a separatist conflict in Angola in a region called Cabinda, which was always a separate Portuguese colony from Angola.

As this area holds 60% of Angola’s oil, it’s doubtful that Angola will let it go, although almost all of Angola’s oil wealth is being stolen anyway by US transnationals and a tiny elite while 90% of the country starves, has no medicine and lives unemployed amid shacks along former roads now barely passable.

The Cabindans do claim to have a separate culture, but language does not seem to be playing much role here – instead, oil and colonialism are.

Syria does have a Kurdish separatist movement, as does Iran, Iraq, and Turkey – every state that has a significant number of Kurds. This conflict goes back to the post-World War 1 breakup of the Ottoman Empire. The Kurds, with thousands of years of history as a people, nominally independent for much of that time, were denied a state and sold out.

The new fake state called Turkey carved up part of Kurdistan, another part was donated to the British colony in Iraq and another to the French colony in Syria, as the Allies carved up the remains of the Empire like hungry guests at a feast.

This conflict is more about colonialism and extreme discrimination than language, though the Kurds do speak their own tongue. There is also a Kurdish separatist conflict in Iran, but I don’t know much about the history of the Iranian Kurds.

There is also an Assyrian separatist movement in Iraq and possibly in Syria. The movement is unarmed. The Assyrians have been horribly persecuted by Arab nationalist racists in the region, in part because they are Christians. They have been targeted by Islamo-Nazis in Iraq during this Iraq War with a ferocity that can only be described as genocidal.

The Kurds have long persecuted the Assyrians in Iraqi Kurdistan. There have been regular homicides of Assyrians in the north, up around the Mosul region. This is just related to the general way that Muslims treat Christian minorities in many Muslim states – they persecute them and even kill them. There is also a lot of land theft going on.

While the Kurdish struggle is worthwhile, it is becoming infected with the usual nationalist evil that afflicts all ethnic nationalism. This results in everyone who is not a Kurdish Sunni Muslim being subjected to varying degrees of persecution, disenfranchisement and discrimination. It’s a nasty part of the world.

In Syria, the Assyrians live up near the Turkish and Iraqi borders. Arab nationalist racists have been stealing their land for decades now and relocating the Assyrians to model villages, where they languish in poverty. Assad’s regime is not so secular and progressive as one might suspect.

There is a separatist conflict in Bougainville in New Guinea. I am sure that many different tongues are spoken on that island, as there are 800 different tongues spoken in Papua New Guinea. The conflict is rooted in the fact that Bougainville is rich in copper, but almost all of this wealth is stolen by Papua New Guinea and US multinationals, so the Bougainville people see little of it. Language has little or nothing to do with it.

There are separatist movements in the Ahwaz and Balochistan regions of Iran, along with the aforementioned Kurdish movement. It is true that different languages are spoken in these regions, but that has little to do with the conflict.

Arabic is spoken in Khuzestan, the land of the Iranian Arabs. This land has been part of Persia for around 2,000 years as the former land of Elam. The Arabs complain that they are treated poorly by the Persians, and that they get little revenue to their region even though they are sitting on a vast puddle of oil and natural gas.

Iran should not be expected to part with this land, as it is the source of much of their oil and gas wealth. Many or most Iranians speak Arabic anyway, so there is not much of a language issue. Further, Arab culture is promoted by the Islamist regime even at the expense of Iranian culture, much to the chagrin of Iranian nationalists.

The Ahwaz have been and are being exploited by viciously racist Arab nationalists in Iraq, and also by US imperialism, and most particularly lately, British imperialism, as the British never seem to have given up the colonial habit. This conflict is not about language at all. Most Ahwaz don’t even want to separate anyway; they just want to be treated like humans by the Iranians.

Many of Iran’s 8% Sunni population lives in Balochistan. The region has maybe 2% of Iran’s population and is utterly neglected by Iran. Sunnis are treated with extreme racist contempt by the Shia Supremacists who run Iran. This conflict has to do with the fight between the Shia and Sunni wings of Islam and little or nothing to do with language.

There is a separatist movement in Iran to split off Iranian Azerbaijan and merge it with Azerbaijan proper. This movement probably has little to do with language and more to do with just irredentism. The movement is not going to go very far because most Iranian Azeris do not support it.

Iranian Azeris actually form a ruling class in Iran and occupy most of the positions of power in the government. They also control a lot of the business sector and seem to have a higher income than other Iranians. This movement has been co-opted by pan-Turkish fascists for opportunistic reasons, but it’s not really going anywhere. The CIA is now cynically trying to stir it up with little success. The movement is peaceful.

There is a Baloch insurgency in Pakistan, but language has little to do with it. These fiercely independent people sit on top of a very rich land which is ruthlessly exploited by Punjabis from the north. They get little or no return from this natural gas wealth. Further, this region never really consented to being included in the Pakistani state that was carved willy-nilly out of India in 1947.

It is true that there are regions in the Caucasus that are rebelling against Russia. Given the brutal and bloody history of Russian imperial colonization of this region and the near-continuous rebellious state of the Muslims resident there, one wants to say they are rebelling against Imperial Russia.

Chechnya is the worst case, but Ingushetia is not much better, and things are bad in Dagestan too. There is also fighting in Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay-Cherkessia. These non-Chechen regions are getting increasingly radicalized as consequence of the Chechen War. There has also been a deliberate strategy on the part of the Chechens to expand the conflict over to the other parts of the Caucasus.

Past rebellions were often pan-Caucasian also. Although very different languages are spoken in these areas, different languages are still spoken all across Russia. Language has little to do with these conflicts, as they have more to do with Russian imperialism and colonization of these lands and the near 200-year violent resistance of these fierce Muslim mountain tribes to being colonized by Slavic infidels.

There is not much separatism in the rest of Russia.

Tuva reserves the right to split away, but this is rooted in their prior history as an independent state within the USSR (Tell me how that works?) for two decades until 1944, when Stalin reconquered it as a result of the conflict with the Nazis. The Tuvans accepted peacefully.

Yes, the Tuvans speak a different tongue, but so do all of the Siberian nations, and most of those are still with Russia. Language has little to do with the Tuvan matter.

There is also separatism in the Bashkir Republic and Adygea in Russia. These have not really gone anywhere. Only 21% of the residents of
Adygea speak Circassian, and they see themselves as overrun by Russian-speaking immigrants. This conflict may have something to do with language. The Adygean conflict is also peripherally related the pan-Caucasian struggle above.

In the Bashkir Republic, the problem is more one of a different religion – Islam, as most Bashkirs are Muslim. It is not known to what degree language has played in the struggle, but it may be a factor. The Bashkirs also see themselves as overrun by Russian-speaking immigrants. It is dubious that the Bashkirs will be able to split off, as the result will be a separate nation surrounded on all sides by Russia.

The Adygean, Tuvan and Bashkir struggles are all peaceful.

The conflict in Georgia is complex. A province called Abkhazia has split off and formed their own de facto state, which has been supported with extreme cynicism by up and coming imperialist Russia, the same clown state that just threatened to go to war to defend the territorial integrity of their genocidal Serbian buddies. South Ossetia has also split off and wants to join Russia.

Both of these reasonable acts prompted horrible and insane wars as Georgia sought to preserve its territorial integrity, though it has scarcely been a state since 1990, and neither territory ever consented to being part of Georgia.

The Ossetians and Abkhazians do speak separate languages, and I am not certain why they want to break away, but I do not think that language has much to do with it. All parties to these conflicts are majority Orthodox Christians.

Myanmar is a hotbed of nations in rebellion against the state. Burma was carved out of British East India in 1947. Part of Burma had actually been part of British India itself, while the rest was a separate colony called Burma. No sooner was the ink dry on the declaration of independence than most of these nations in rebellion announced that they were not part of the deal.

Bloody rebellions have gone on ever since, and language has little or nothing to do with any of them. They are situated instead on the illegitimacy of not only the borders of the Burmese state, but of the state itself.

Thailand does have a separatist movement, but it is Islamic. They had a separate state down there until the early 1800’s when they were apparently conquered by Thais. I believe they do speak a different language down there, but it is not much different from Thai, and I don’t think language has anything to do with this conflict.

There is a conflict in the Philippines that is much like the one in Thailand. Muslims in Mindanao have never accepted Christian rule from Manila and are in open arms against the state. Yes, they speak different languages down in Mindanao, but they also speak Tagalog, the language of the land.

This just a war of Muslims seceding because they refuse to be ruled by infidels. Besides, this region has a long history of independence, de facto and otherwise, from the state. The Moro insurgency has little to nothing to do with language.

There are separatist conflicts in Indonesia. The one in Aceh seems to have petered out. Aceh never agreed to join the fake state of Indonesia that was carved out of the Dutch East Indies when the Dutch left in 1949.

West Papua is a colony of Indonesia. It was invaded by Indonesia with the full support of US imperialism in 1965. The Indonesians then commenced to murder 100,000 Papuans over the next 40 years. There are many languages spoken in West Papua, but that has nothing to do with the conflict. West Papuans are a racially distinct people divided into vast numbers of tribes, each with a separate culture.

They have no connection racially or culturally with the rest of Indonesia and do not wish to be part of the state. They were not a part of the state when it was declared in 1949 and were only incorporated after an Indonesian invasion of their land in 1965. Subsequently, Indonesia has planted lots of settler-colonists in West Papua.

There is also a conflict in the South Moluccas , but it has more to do with religion than anything else, since there is a large number of Christians in this area. The South Moluccans were always reluctant to become a part of the new fake Indonesian state that emerged after independence anyway, and I believe there was some fighting for a while there. The South Moluccan struggle has generally been peaceful ever since.

Indonesia is the Israel of Southeast Asia, a settler-colonial state. The only difference is that the Indonesians are vastly more murderous and cruel than the Israelis.

There are conflicts in Tibet and East Turkestan in China. In the case of Tibet, this is a colony of China that China has no jurisdiction over. The East Turkestan fight is another case of Muslims rebelling against infidel rule. Yes, different languages are spoken here, but this is the case all over China.

Language is involved in the East Turkestan conflict in that Chinese have seriously repressed the Uighur language, but I don’t think it plays much role in Tibet.

There is also a separatist movement in Inner Mongolia in China. I do not think that language has much to do with this, and I believe that China’s claim to Inner Mongolia may be somewhat dubious. This movement is unarmed and not very organized.

There are conflicts all over India, but they don’t have much to do with language.

The Kashmir conflict is not about language but instead is rooted in the nature of the partition of India after the British left in 1947. 90% of Kashmiris wanted to go to Pakistan, but the ruler of Kashmir was a Hindu, and he demanded to stay in India.

The UN quickly ruled that Kashmir had to be granted a vote in its future, but this vote was never allowed by India. As such, India is another world-leading rogue and scofflaw state on a par with Israel and Indonesia. Now the Kashmir mess has been complicated by the larger conflict between India and Pakistan, and until that is all sorted out, there will be no resolution to this mess.

Obviously India has no right whatsoever to rule this area, and the Kashmir cause ought to be taken up by all progressives the same way that the Palestinian one is.

There are many conflicts in the northeast, where most of the people are Asians who are racially, often religiously and certainly culturally distinct from the rest of Indians.

None of these regions agreed to join India when India, the biggest fake state that has ever existed, was carved out of 5,000 separate princely states in 1947. Each of these states had the right to decide its own future to be a part of India or not. As it turned out, India just annexed the vast majority of them and quickly invaded the few that said no.

“Bharat India”, as Indian nationalist fools call it, as a state, is one of the silliest concepts around. India has no jurisdiction over any of those parts of India in separatist rebellion, if you ask me. Language has little to do with these conflicts.

Over 800 languages are spoken in India anyway, each state has its own language, and most regions are not in rebellion over this. Multilingualism with English and Hindi to cement it together has worked just fine in most of India.

Sri Lanka’s conflict does involve language, but more importantly it involves centuries of extreme discrimination by ruling Buddhist Sinhalese against minority Hindu Tamils. Don’t treat your minorities like crap, and maybe they will not take up arms against you.

The rebellion in the Basque country of Spain and France is about language, as is Catalonian nationalism.

IRA Irish nationalism and the Scottish and Welsh independence movements have nothing to do with language, as most of these languages are not in good shape anyway.

The Corsicans are in rebellion against France, and language may play a role. There is an independence movement in Brittany in France also, and language seems to play a role here, or at least the desire to revive the language, which seems to be dying.

There is a possibility that Belgium may split into Flanders and Wallonia, and language does play a huge role in this conflict. One group speaks French and the other Dutch.

There is a movement in Scania, a part of Sweden, to split away from Sweden. Language seems to have nothing to do with it.

There is a Hungarian separatist movement, or actually, a national reunification or pan-Hungarian movement, in Romania. It isn’t going anywhere, and it unlikely to succeed. Hungarians in Romania have not been treated well and are a large segment of the population. This fact probably drives the separatism more than language.

There are many other small conflicts in Europe that I chose not to go into due to limitations on time and the fact that I am getting tired of writing this post! Perhaps I can deal with them at a later time. Language definitely plays a role in almost all of these conflicts. None of them are violent though.

To say that there are separatists in French Polynesia is not correct. This is an anti-colonial movement that deserves the support of anti-colonial activists the world over. The entire world, evidenced by the UN itself, has rejected colonialism. Only France, the UK and the US retain colonies. That right there is notable, as all three are clearly imperialist countries. In this modern age, the value of retaining colonies is dubious.

These days, colonizers pour more money into colonies than they get out of them. France probably keeps Polynesia due to colonial pride and also as a place to test nuclear weapons and maintain military bases. As the era of French imperialism on a grand scale has clearly passed, France needs to renounce its fantasies of being a glorious imperial power along with its anachronistic colonies.

Yes, there is a Mapuche separatist movement in Chile, but it is not going anywhere soon, or ever.

It has little to do with language. The Mapudungan language is not even in very good shape, and the leaders of this movement are a bunch of morons. Microsoft recently unveiled a Mapudungan language version of Microsoft Windows. You would think that the Mapuche would be ecstatic. Not so! They were furious. Why? Oh, I forget. Some Identity Politics madness.

This movement has everything to do with the history of Chile. Like Argentina and Uruguay, Chile was one of the Spanish colonies that was settled en masse late. For centuries, a small colonial bastion battled the brave Mapuche warriors, but were held at bay by this skilled and militaristic tribe.

Finally, in the late 1800’s, a fanatical and genocidal war was waged on the Mapuche in one of those wonderful “national reunification” missions so popular in the 1800’s (recall Italy’s wars of national reunification around this same time). By the 1870’s, the Mapuche were defeated and suffered a devastating loss of life.

Yet all those centuries of only a few Spanish colonists and lots of Indians had made their mark, and at least 70% of Chileans are mestizos, though they are mostly White (about 80% White on average). The Mapuche subsequently made a comeback and today number about 9% of the population.

Because they held out so long and so many of them survived, they are one of the most militant Amerindian groups in the Americas. They are an interesting people, light-skinned and attractive, though a left-wing Chilean I knew used to chortle about how hideously ugly they were.

Hawaiian separatism is another movement that has a lot to do with colonialism and imperialism and little to do with language. The Hawaiian language, despite some notable recent successes, is not in very good shape. The Hawaiian independence movement offers nothing to non-Hawaiians (I guess only native Hawaiians get to be citizens!) and is doomed to fail.

Hawaiians are about 22% of the population, and they are the only ones that support the independence movement. No one else supports it. It’s not going anywhere. The movers and shakers on the island (Non-Hawaiians for the most part!) all think it’s ridiculous.

There are separatists in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh, but I doubt that language has much to do with it. Like the myriad other separatist struggles in the NE of India, these people are ethnically Asians and as such are not the same ethnicity as the Caucasians who make up the vast majority of the population of this wreck of a state.

This is another conflict that is rooted in a newly independent fake state. The Chittagong Hill Tracts were incorporated into Bangladesh after its independence from Pakistan in 1971. As a fake new state, the peoples of Bangladesh had a right to be consulted on whether or not they wished to be a part of it. The CHT peoples immediately said that they wanted no part of this new state.

At partition, the population was 98.5% Asian. They were Buddhists, Hindus and animists. Since then, the fascist Bangladesh state has sent Bengali Muslim settler-colonists to the region. The conflict is shot through with racism and religious bigotry, as Muslim Bengalis have rampaged through the region, killing people randomly and destroying stuff as they see fit. Language does not seem to have much to do with this conflict.

I don’t know much about the separatist struggle of the Moi in Vietnam, but I think it is more a movement for autonomy than anything else. The Moi are Montagnards and have probably suffered discrimination at the hands of the state along with the rest of the Montagnards.

Zanzibar separatism in Tanzania seems to have nothing whatsoever to do with language, but has a lot more to do with geography. Zanzibar is a nice island off the coast of Tanzania which probably wants nothing to do with the mess of a Tanzanian state.

The conflict also has a lot to do with race. Most residents of Zanzibar are either Arabs or descendants of unions between Arabs and Africans. In particular, they deny that they are Black Africans. I bet that is the root of the conflict right there.

There were some Talysh separatists in Azerbaijan a while back, but the movement seems to be over. I am not sure what was driving them, but language doesn’t seem to have been a big part of it. Just another case of new members of a fake new state refusing to go along for the ride.

There were some Gagauz separatists in Moldova a while back, but the movement appears to have died down. Language does seem to have played a role here, as the Gagauz speak a Turkic tongue totally unrelated to the Romance-speaking Moldovans.

Realistically, it’s just another case of a fake new state emerging and some members of the new state saying they don’t want to be a part of it, and the leaders of the fake new state suddenly invoking inviolability of borders in a state with no history!

In summary, as we saw above, once we get into Europe, language does play a greater role in separatist conflict, but most of these European conflicts are not violent. In the rest of the world, language plays little to no role in the vast majority of separatist conflicts.

The paranoid and frankly fascist notion voiced by rightwing nationalists the world over that any linguistic diversity in the world within states must be crushed as it will inevitably lead to separatism at best or armed separatism at worst is not supported by the facts.

When Is It Going to Start Working Anyway?

A commenter asks:

I know there’s probably a lot of info on the web about the various armed conflict/s in Latin America, but do you have any good websites (in English) that are specifically about the rhetoric of the Latin American Rich? And about their actual policies that lead to so many people trying to revolt against them?

I know you’ve mentioned them in your posts, but not all that much. It would be great if you had links to a detailed, extensive database of such information.

Hi, Upside Down World  in the blogroll is an excellent resource, just off the top of my head. You know, 100 years ago, 50 years ago, 30 years ago, 10 years ago, yesterday, Latin America was mired in the most horrific poverty amid the most wild wealth. I’m not sure what the rich were saying then. Now here it is, up to 100 years later, and nothing much has changed.

I think in the past it was just “Kill the Commies!” The rich ran the show, had pro-rich military dictatorships for years to decades, when that didn’t work stole elections, and controlled all the media. The masses were utterly downtrodden, but what could you do?

Every now and then the peons would get restless, and the Marines would be sent down there to repress the overwhelming majority of the people and reinstate rich rule. In Haiti, the US stayed for decades. Cuba was nearly a US colony. We invaded the Dominican Republic. Sometimes people fought back. You had the anti-US Sandino rebellion against the Marines in Nicaragua.

Anytime the people got the least bit uppity, there would be a coup or a US invasion, followed by mass death squad terror. This happened in Guatemala in 1954, Brazil in 1964, Dominican Republic in 1965, Bolivia in 1970, Chile in 1973, Argentina in 1978, and Peru in 1992. This would often be followed by years to decades of state terror, the purpose of which apparently was to say, “Don’t even think of trying this again!”

In 1932 in El Salvador there was a peasant uprising led by Farabundo Marti. It was crushed, and 2% of the population, 30,000 people, were murdered in only about a month in something called the Matanza. Whole towns and villages were slaughtered. US warships patrolled off the coast the whole time to help things go smoothly. After that, people got rid of their Indian clothes, quit speaking Indian and turned into Ladinos, because the Indians were specifically targeted in the massacre. That was enough to keep the people down for about 40 years or so.

The Western provinces, where the Matanza took place, were still very conservative even during the Civil War 50 years later. Mass terror works.

But things have changed now. Now they say that neoliberal capitalism (the rule of the rich) is the way to prosperity for everyone. Socialism or rule of the poor is a dictatorship and leads to mass poverty.

Now the rich say that the way of the rich will “lift all the boats.” A rising tide lifts all boats and all of that. It’s supply side economics. Problem is that Latin America has been engaging in supply side economics and the politics and economics of the rich since Day One. Who is it lifting out of poverty, anyway?

Main thing is that they don’t want to spend one dime to help the poor the in any way whatsoever. Doing so will ruin the economy, and we can’t have that. You can’t raise taxes, tax the rich or the corporations, raise the minimum wage or engage in any state spending. All of this is Communism, and it will “ruin the economy.”

They also engage in a lot of capital strikes now. With the election of Humala in Peru the other day, the stock market lost 20% of its value. Most of those countries are under IMF austerity programs and are limited in what they can do. Also, they need foreign investment, and the foreigners (the West) demand a neoliberal, economics of the rich, climate in the country. If you put in pro-poor policies, the investors bail. It’s hard to get much progressive policy done. Even the new Left leaders down there have their hands tied.

But the economics of the rich isn’t working down there. They’ve been doing it for 200 years.

When is it supposed to start working anyway?

Ian Welsh, “The Depression and the Future”

From Ian Welsh’s glorious blog:

Ok, everyone’s talking about the oncoming recession. What it is is the second downleg of the depression we’ve been in since the financial crisis.

All of this has been baked in since 2009. Since January 2009, when Barack Obama announced his stimulus, which was not just too small, but put together so badly that it was evident it would not kick the economy out of the doldrums.

The stimulus would be seen to fail (it doesn’t matter how many jobs it “saved” what matters if it created a good economy.) Meanwhile Obama made it clear he had no intention of restructuring the economy, shutting down any of the major banks or of disrupting the paper for oil securitization game.

So, anyway, what’s happened since 2009 was baked into the cake. What is happening is what anyone halfway competent should have expected to happen and that includes the massive wave of austerity in the developed world, the high commodity prices, and the continued liquidation of public assets to feed private greed.

If anything it’s slightly worse than I expected. I would have hoped that some nation other than Iceland would prove to have enough guts to tell the vultures to fuck themselves, but apparently we’re all eunuchs or morons these days, and the Greeks still aren’t rioting amongst the mansions of the rich, I notice. So who cares what they think, anyway?

I suppose it’s tiresome to keep saying “I told you so”. Certainly I’m tired of it, but the point is that this could all be predicted, was all predicted (well, not all, I didn’t get the revolutions in Arab countries, though I know someone who did and the clues were there.)

Assume that what is happening is, essentially, what your lords and masters are at least ok with having happen. If they weren’t, it wouldn’t be happening. This isn’t a case of incompetence, they didn’t even try to make this stuff not happen.

The future you’ve got coming from you is a future of unconventional oil extraction: aka fracking. The play is to get back to cheapish oil and make that run for as long as it can. That is what WILL happen. That is baked into the cake. The only economy these people want to run is an petro economy.

They will do whatever it takes to run one and continue to use their position in control of legacy capital to extract rent and tax the future. There will be more controls on so-called intellectual property (a contradiction in terms if there ever was one). There will be more security theater. There will be more austerity, which means taking public assets and turning them into what appear to be revenue producing private assets.

This will go on until the last drop of cheapish conventional oil has been pumped and the last suburb built. Americans, and apparently the developed world, will do whatever is required to see this happen. They will kill whoever they have to kill. That’s what the developed world is, now. This is only compounded by stupidity like Germany going off nuclear without a clear plan of how to replace the energy. Remember, boys and girls, yes, there is blood mixed in with that oil. A lot of it.

This the future, the next goodish economy will come from unconventional extraction. Not sure how long that will last. It will come at great environmental and health costs, but Americans will give up anything to keep the petro-economy going, so, so be it.

What’s this gonna mean for you? The good jobs are going to keep getting scarcer, and if you aren’t willing to do evil (work for any insurance company, anything defense related, most good paying education jobs, most good paying healthcare jobs, virtually all financial industry jobs, etc…) then they will essentially non-existent.

Real wages after real inflation will continue to trundle down. Even inflation adjusted wages as measured by the BLS may show declines. Employment WILL NOT recover in your lifetime if you are over 40. That doesn’t mean there won’t be ups and down, but it won’t have a long sustained up. Financial markets will continue to be a rigged game, and if you want to play, realize you need to play as if the game is rigged, not as if you’re in a free market.

Unless you can pay premium, the quality of everything you buy will continue to go downhill. Want a good burger? Closing in on $8. Want a shitty fastfood burger?  $2 or less. Public transportation will get worse, more libraries will close. The cops will make less calls and be less helpful. The schools will be worse in most places and keep getting worse. Eventually Medicare will be slashed to the bone, and so will SS. Not necessarily destroyed, but so weakened they might as well be.

It’s gonna be a long 20 to 30 years folks. Does this have to be the future? In theory, no. In practice, well, yes, apparently it does.

I keep running Ian Welsh’s pieces because he is one of the finest writers currently writing. He needs to be on TV, in the newspapers or in the newsmagazines, but no wait. That will never happen. They are all owned by the rich. I have decided that I am going to limit my intake of the newspapers of the rich, the newsmagazines of the rich, the radio stations of the rich and the TV stations of the rich.

The rich are my deadly enemies. It’s a war to the death – us and them. I will fight them to the death and then I will dance on their graves forever and a day.

I really don’t understand the rich. They want to rip up the safety net? Got it, they don’t need it.

Destroy public education? Sure, their kids all go to private schools.

Close the libraries? I don’t get it. The rich don’t go to libraries?

Close all the parks? I don’t get it. The rich don’t go to parks? They have private parks and country clubs to go to?

Shut down the state and national parks and national forests? I don’t get it. The rich don’t go on vacation? They don’t go to national forests, national parks, or state parks? Someone clue me in here.

Shut down public transit? Sure, the rich don’t use it.

Destroy all funding for infrastructure? I don’t get it. The rich don’t drive on highways? They don’t drive over bridges?

The model here is Latin America. Latin America, a continent that has been wrecked by the rich from Day One. All of Latin America’s problems are due to rich rule. The public schools are wrecked – the rich won’t pay for them. The highways and infrastructure are a joke. I never understood this until I heard that the Latin American rich simply buy 4-wheel drives to drive over their shit roads. They would rather do this than pay for a road.

Libraries in ruins? No problem, the Latin American rich don’t care about libraries. So where do they get their books?

Medical care in ruins? Who cares, the Latin American rich go to private clinics.

Parks decrepit, falling apart, or closed? In Latin America, this is the case. National parks are horribly underfunded, decrepit or closed. I guess the rich just don’t care?

Even housing standards. After the glorious Pinochet (Tulio’s hero) came into Chile and afterwards, the housing standards put in by Allende were rolled back. That more buildings did not fall down in the Chilean earthquake is largely due to the housing standards that were put in by Allende.

After Pinochet, new governments rolled back these standards or mostly just looked the other way while typical Latin American capitalist criminals violated building codes. As a result, many more buildings were damaged in the earthquake than would have been otherwise. This I don’t get at all. The Latin American rich are such skinflints that they would rather skirt a building code to save a few bucks, and then risk having the building fall down or getting hurt or killed? All the personal risk is worth it to save a buck or two? What scumbags!

The Latin American rich don’t believe in hooking up their countries with electricity. Much of the country lacks power, but they don’t care. They all have generators!

Horrible pollution runs in the public water supply, but they don’t give a fuck. A cholera epidemic rages through Peru, but the rich don’t care. Why not? They all drink bottled water?

The part about the cops I get. Here in California, even the police are cutting back. They often won’t even come out. This is the case in Latin America. In Peru, the cops are so poorly paid that they often stage holdups on the road to get money. I don’t get this. Don’t the Latin American rich worry about crime. I have heard that many of them hire private bodyguards. They’d rather hire private bodyguards than pay for cops?

The Latin American rich won’t even pay for a decent military. During the Civil War in Peru, the soldiers didn’t even have proper boots or uniforms. The rich could not be bothered to pay for them. Now that’s a callous ruling class! So cheap that they won’t even fund the army that keeps them in power. “Oh well,” they figure, “The revolution will always be defeated somehow. We won’t need to pay for an army.”

George Habash, a Revolutionary Life

Repost from the old site.
The following tribute to George Habash, leader of the Palestinian Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) was delivered to a meeting organized by the CPGB-ML in Central London on Saturday 10 February 2008. The Communist Party Great Britain Marxist-Leninist, basically a hardline pro-Stalin group, last time I checked. This document is interesting for various reasons.
For one, it shows that hardline Communist rhetoric in the style of the former USSR is still popular. The PFLP are lauded for being a hardline Marxist-Leninist organization. It’s hard to say whether they still are or not, as they seem to be downplaying this in recent years, and no one really knows what Communism even means anymore.
It is true that there was a Communist state in South Yemen, but I am not sure if they accomplished much down there.
One of the biggest heroes of the Arab Left is Gamel Nasser, leader of Egypt. One great thing that he did do was to initiate a land reform. Most Arab states probably do not have feudal or semi-feudal land relations in the countryside anymore, but Egypt did in the 1950’s. 10% of landowners owned most land, and 25% of landowners owned almost all of the land.
The vast majority of the rural population was reduced to the status of landless laborers or sharecroppers in debt peonage on the land of the landlords.
Nasser was able to break up the large estates by buying them up via the government and giving the land to the sharecroppers. It was one of the great progressive events in modern Arab history. Back in the day in Yemen, you would go into the houses of the poor in South Yemen and see Nasser’s picture on the wall – they knew he was a hero to the Arab poor, and mostly for the land reform.
Unfortunately, land reform was not enough. Population was exploding and Egypt desperately needed to put more farmland into production. Hence the Aswan Dam, a necessary evil.
But even this did not solve the problems, as the rural poor continued to pour into the cities to look for nonexistent work. The landowners were bought off by assuring them a place in industry, which was and is heavily corrupt and tied in with the state. But the Egyptian economy was so shaky that the rich didn’t really feel like investing in it.
Socialism was and is a pretty easy sell across the Arab World, in part due to Islam. Islam is a pretty socialist religion, although fundamentalists will argue the point with you and point out that the Koran says that there are those who have more and those who have less and this is ok. Nevertheless, the Koran is hardly a raging individualist tract.
Nor are the deserts of the Arab World suited for individualism. In such an environment, the every man for himself libertarian is lost and probably dead quite quickly. One must form alliances or one will be destroyed. One must work cooperatively or the elements will take your life. In a world of perennial scarcity, mass hoarding by a few means death for many more.
Hence, in the past century, most independent Arab states have opted for some kind of socialism. Where the states could not do it, the religious or militant groups did. There is no hatred of welfare or government as we have it in the individualist US. Socialism is simply normal and free market libertarianism is seen as a bizarre and cruel aberration.
Nevertheless, in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and probably other places, the clergy did resist land reforms on the grounds that they were un-Islamic. Iraq, newly emerging from semi-feudal relations in the 1960’s, saw the Iraqi Communist Party become one of the largest parties in the country. It was particularly popular with poor Shia who flooded in from the countryside and poured into what later became Sadr City.
At that time, the Shia clergy were widely regarded as corrupt. They were tied in with large landowners, often involved in money-making scams, and were noted for enticing women into sexual relationships with them.
One of the few great things that the Shah of Iran did was to institute a land reform to realign the semi-feudal relations in the Iranian countryside. It went off pretty well, but some ethnic groups opposed it and hence were persecuted.
The tone of the Communist Party Great Britain Marxist-Leninist in the statement below is what might be called Stalinist or anti-revisionist.
Anti-revisionists hold that the problems with Communist states came from them leaving the path of true Communism and diluting their economies with capitalist relations. I do not know how much there is to that, so I can’t comment on revisionism. But even staunch Marxist sites nowadays post long pieces stating flat out that the Soviet model failed.
The North Star Compass is a pretty interesting site. It’s run by former Communists from the East Bloc and the USSR, and it is dedicated to the reestablishing of the Soviet Union as a socialist state. For these folks, Gorbachev was enemy #1. There are quite a few interesting essays there, and for those who think that Putin is a Communist, these guys really hate Putin.
For those who think that Russian Communists are all racists and anti-Semites, note that the North Star Compass despises the newly emerging fascist threat in the USSR.
There are many Trotskyite sites on the Net. The Trotskyites used to be totally nuts on the question of “Stalinists”. Can you believe that they supported the German attack on the USSR and opposed the Soviet army’s war in Afghanistan?
Trotskyites seem to have calmed down a lot lately. Many of them are supporting the Nepalese Maoists and the Colombian FARC. They even support Cuba. Usually this is measured with a tone that these states and movements would be better off if they adopted Trotskyism. Truth is that it is possible that Trotskyism has hardly even be tried anywhere, except possibly in the USSR from 1917-1922.
Trotskyites have a reputation as the ultimate splitters, and in the Philippines they have, incredibly, taken up arms alongside the feudal and fascist state against the Maoist NPA. In Defense of Marxism is a good example of a Trotskyite site.
It seems that many Communists nowadays in the West are Trotskyites of some sort. No one really knows what to make of them, and many Stalinists just laugh about them and regard them as irrelevant. Western Trotskyites seem to have a lot of money for some reason, and often put up nice websites. Non-Trotskyite Communist sites often have mild critiques of Trotskyism as some sort of irrelevant hairsplitting movement.
Western Trotskyites were heavily Jewish in the West until 1967 or possibly earlier. World Trotskyism opposed Israel in the Six Day War and Jewish Trotskyites consequently defected en masse. Many seem to have made their way into the neoconservative movement.
There are a variety of reasons for the heavy Jewish presence in Trotskyism, and that Trotsky himself was Jewish cannot be ignored. Trots have tended to oppose both Stalinism and Maoism as horribly brutal ideologies that committed atrocious human rights violations. Trotskyism has been a serious movement only in the West and it has tended to flounder in the rest of the world.
One of the Trots’ main points is that a rapid buildup of urban industry is essential for the development of a modern socialist state. Trots are almost the opposite of the Maoists and their emphasis on the peasantry.
There are sites that basically uphold the former USSR and even Stalin, but they are often angry at Maoists, whom they accuse of adventurism. In India, Maoists are killing traditional Communists in the state of Bengal, a state that has been run by pro-Soviet Communists for about 30 years now.
Marxism-Leninism Today is an example of a pro-USSR, pro-Cuba, anti-Maoist site. They support the CPI-M (Communist Party India-Marxist) in Bengal and are not too happy with the Indian Maoists for killing their comrades.
Here is a cool site by a Georgian artist who is the grandson of Joseph Stalin, showing the Stalin family tree among other things.
Stalinism.ru is a site run by Russian Stalinists, but if you can’t read Russian, it’s not for you.
The National Bolshevik Party is some sort of a bizarre marriage of Stalinism and racial nationalism (I don’t want to say Nazism, but I fear that is what it is). It’s Russian too, but check out the scary party image, complete with Nordic lettering, and the background on the homepage. Lots of related links at the bottom – looks like they have chapters all over the place.
Another great site, coming from a somewhat different point of view, a Maoist one, is the Single Spark. Although Maoists are often described as ultra-Stalinists, Maoists and Stalinists are not necessarily the same thing.
The Maoists have always been the real bomb-throwers on the Far Left.
Despite Cold War rhetoric, pro-Soviet Communists often did not take up armed struggle until all peaceful avenues for change were blocked, and the Left was up against a death squad state. Otherwise, the idea was to try to gain power through parliamentary means, despite Lenin’s denouncements of “parliamentary cretinism”.
If the state was reasonably democratic and not killing the Left, the pro-Soviets often argued that “an objectively revolutionary situation did not exist”. On the other hand, Maoists tend to reject all bourgeois democracy as invalid, particularly in very backward societies with mass extreme poverty and accompanying disease, hunger and premature death.
Hence, Maoists have launched insurgencies against formally democratic states as Peru, Sri Lanka, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Philippines, Nepal and India in recent years. In most of these cases, the pro-Soviet Left decided to sit out armed struggle, and the Maoists were denounced as adventurists irresponsibly taking up arms in spite of a lack of an objectively revolutionary situation.
In Peru, the war launched by the Shining Path led to a state that was less and less democratic and soon became just another Death Squad State. Thus in 1984, the pro-Cuban Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) took a vote and decided that “an objectively revolutionary situation existed” and opted to take up arms.
Another difference is that despite Cold War rhetoric, Maoists are often a lot more vicious than the Castroites and pro-Soviet rebels. Maoists have no qualms about killing “class enemies” – anyone prominent advocating rightwing politics or abusive landowners – whereas the Castroites often try to take the high ground in guerrilla war.
Examples in Latin America are the Castroite ELN in Colombia, URNG in Guatemala, FSLN in Nicaragua, FMLN in El Salvador, the aforementioned MRTA, and the FARC in Colombia. Despite crap from anti-Communists and the US government, all these groups have tried pretty hard to abide by the rules of war. At any rate, the overwhelming majority of grotesque human rights violations in each of these conflicts were committed by the state.
On the other hand, the Maoist Sendero Luminoso was a profoundly savage and cruel guerrilla group, though they almost seized power.
Communism doesn’t mean that much anymore. Cuba allows religious believers to join the party, and there are millions of liberation theology Leftist Catholics in Latin America and the Philippines. The Chinese and Vietnamese Communists have introduced major elements of capitalism into their economies, while retaining a great deal of socialism at the same time.
Over the course of a few years, from 2003 to 2005 and 2006, the Nepalese Maoists underwent a sea change in politics. They went from hardline Maoists railing against revisionists and opposing anything but the dictatorship of the proletariat, to an embrace of multiparty democracy and a mixed economy and measured critiques of Mao, Lenin and Stalin as outdated for the needs and realities of today.
I think this is fantastic. I care nothing about dogma. I just want results, and I don’t really care how you get there – capitalism, socialism, communism or whatever. If Marxism is indeed an ever-evolving science (which, if it is a science, it must be) then there must be no treating its elementary texts as some sort of religious books.
The works of Marx, Lenin, Mao and others must be regarded as the works of men, not Gods, positing theories. These theories must be tested in praxis to see how well they test out, as in any empirical investigation. The theories of these mortals will either test out or they will not, and if not, we need to adjust them accordingly.
We know what our goals are; all that is at stake is how to get there.
Let us listen to top leader Prachanda and other Nepalese Maoist leaders, from the Single Spark site:

Since MLM is a progressive science, the people’s war calls for ideology and leadership that is capable to complete a new People’s War in the 21st century. Our Party’s CC Extended Meeting last September held that the ideologies of Lenin and Mao have become old and inadequate to lead the present international revolution.
The political and organizational report passed by the meeting says, ‘The proletariat revolutionaries of the 21st century need to pay their serious attention towards that fact that in today’s ground reality, Lenin and Mao’s analysis of imperialism and various notions relation to proletariat strategies based on it have lagged behind.’
As Marxism was born in an age of competitive capitalism, the strategies and working policy formulated during the times of Marx had become old when they arrived at Lenin’s times of imperialism and proletariat revolution.
Similarly, the ideologies developed by Lenin and Mao at the initial phase of international imperialism and proletariat revolution have become inadequate and lagged behind at the present imperialistic phase. Therefore, ‘the main issue is to develop MLM in the 21st century and to determine a new proletariat strategy.1
The second [wrong trend] …is not to concentrate on how
revolutionary struggle can be developed in one’s country by developing correct strategy and tactics, but to talk more of world revolution, enjoy classical debate, eulogize strategy and tactic of the past successful revolutions, teach other fraternal parties as if they know everything about the concrete situation in that country and stick to what Lenin and Mao had said before. This trend represents dogmatism.2
What we think is that situation has undergone a considerable
change, so the communist revolutionaries must not stick to what Lenin had said about insurrection and what Mao had said on Protracted People’s War.3
Q. You have envisioned a people’s republic, no?
Prachanda: Mao Zedong’s People’s Republic cannot fulfill the needs of today’s world. It cannot address today’s political awareness appropriately. Mao said cooperative party theory; we called it competitive party theory. We have said let’s move ahead from the conventional People’s Republic and develop it as per the specialties of the 21st century.
Q. You do not follow the old concept of communism?
Prachanda: Definitely not. What happened without competition? In the USSR, Stalin gave no place to competition and went ahead in a monolithic way. What was the result?4
Does Communism make sense today?
P: It’s a big question, starting with Marx, Lenin and Mao Zedong, who wanted to apply the Marxist teachings in semi colonial countries. Now, we still need Marxism, but in accordance to the needs of the 21st century. We have to apply Marxist science in a very new context, understanding social, economic and also technological changes, without dogmatism and without sectarianism.
We are trying to develop a completely new concept, different from what happened in the past century. When we are in the government, our experiment will surprise everybody.
This will happen only if foreign investors trust a communist government…
P: Yes, I know. We cannot ignore the whole process of liberalization in the world. So, we will apply mixed economics to this country. Right now, we are not saying that we plan a total socialist economy, though we will not blindly follow western liberalism. We have some national priorities and we will welcome foreign investors, using capital from abroad for the well being of Nepal.5
Though Mao made some bold experiments to revive and develop socialist democracy, his efforts did not result in any qualitative advance. Why did socialist democracy ultimately fail? Why did it have to bear the stigma of ‘totalitarianism’ from its adversaries? If the revolutionary communists of the 21st century have ‘to win the battle for democracy’, as Marx and Engels had declared in the famous Communist Manifesto, we must dare to question the past practice in socialist democracy and take some bold initiatives.6.
All selections from this document7.

CPGB-ML Tribute to Habash

In his 1944 speech, “Serve the People”, Comrade Mao Zedong said these famous words:

All men must die, but death can vary in its significance. The ancient Chinese writer Szuma Chien said: ‘Though death befalls all men alike, it may be weightier than Mount Tai or lighter than a feather.’ To die for the people is weightier than Mount Tai, but to work for the fascists and die for the exploiters and oppressors is lighter than a feather.

Today, the heroic Palestinian people are continuing to resist, whether in the breaking of the barrier with Egypt to alleviate the genocidal siege of Gaza, or in the martyrdom operation at Dimona, the nuclear site where imperialism and its stooges do not demand inspections, to express a sense of grief at the loss of Al-Hakim, Dr George Habash, one of the greatest leaders of the Palestinian people, and, more importantly, to celebrate his glorious life and give real political vitality and clarity to the essential work of building solidarity with the Palestinian people in the British working class and in the anti-war and other progressive movements.

Nice memorial poster of PFLP leader George Habash. In all of the obits in the US news, few detailed the reason for the radicalization of Habash. At university in Lebanon, he was apolitical and preferred to play guitar. He raced home during the “Israeli War of Independence” to his home in Lydda. Jewish militias attacked the town and forced 95% of the city to flee.
Most were Palestinian Christians. His sister died of typhoid fever during the siege of the town and Habash buried her in the backyard. He blamed the Jews for blocking access to the hospital that could have saved her. There were some notorious massacres of Palestinians during the attack on Lydda, including the execution of many young men in a mosque.
The Jews forced Habash and others to line up and leave their homes and all of their possessions. One man asked if he could return to get the keys to his house and for making this request, he was shot dead in front of Habash’s eyes. From that point on, the apolitical future doctor was transformed into a revolutionary.


Comrade George Habash, who has passed away at the age of 82, gave more than six decades of his life to the revolution. He was born into a prosperous Greek Orthodox family in the Palestinian city of Lydda.
At that time, the Palestinian people were under the rule of the British colonial mandate, which was systematically preparing the way for the creation of a Zionist settler colonial state, which, in the words of Sir Roland Storrs, the first British governor of Jerusalem in the 1920s, would form “for England a ‘little loyal Jewish Ulster’ in a sea of potentially hostile Arabism”.
In the summer of 1948, whilst studying medicine in Beirut, George went back home to help organise resistance to the Zionist catastrophe that was sweeping over the Palestinian people, driving them from their ancestral homes and lands into exile and dispossession.
At this time, he and his whole family, along with 95 percent of the inhabitants of his native city, were forced out at gunpoint by the Zionist terrorists and ethnic cleansers commanded by Yitzhak Rabin. Years later, Habash was to observe:

It is a sight I shall never forget. Thousands of human beings expelled from their homes, running, crying, shouting in terror. After seeing such a thing, you cannot but become a revolutionary.

During al-Nakba, the catastrophe, more than 700,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes and lands, made stateless and refugees.
Graduating as the first in his class, Dr Habash eschewed the chance to pursue a lucrative career, opting instead to open a people’s clinic offering free treatment and a school for refugees in the Jordanian capital, Amman.
Around this same time, he and his comrades founded the Arab Nationalist Movement (ANM), the first pan-Arab movement to take up armed struggle against colonialism and to win back the lost lands.
The significance of the ANM should not be underestimated. Not only was it to be the root of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP); from its ranks also came revolutionary forces in many parts of the Arab homeland, including the National Liberation Front in Aden and South Yemen, which not only defeated British imperialism in a revolutionary armed struggle to win national liberation, but, later as the Yemen Socialist Party, leading the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, stood in the vanguard of to date the only real attempt to build an Arab socialist state on the basis of the scientific principles of Marxism-Leninism and the dictatorship of the proletariat.
In the 1960s, Comrade Habash, like many other anti-imperialist fighters then, before and since, came to accept that the liberation struggle of the oppressed people, if it was to be crowned with success and carried through to the end, needed to be based on Marxism-Leninism. Lamis Andoni, an analyst for al-Jazeera, who knew Comrade Habash well, expressed matters this way in his tribute to his friend:

He belonged to a generation influenced by Franz Fanon, Mao Zedong, General Vo Nguyen Giap and later by Che Guevara. In their views, colonialism epitomised systematic, institutional violence and subjugation of people under its control …
In the early 1960s, George Habash, already a paediatrician in Amman known for treating the poor for free, endorsed Marxism as he grew convinced that the national struggle should not be separate from the struggle for social justice.

After the founding of the PFLP in December 1967, following the Arabs’ bitter defeat in the June 1967 war, Habash declared that the struggle was “not merely to free Palestine from the Zionists but also to free the Arab world from remnants” of Western colonial rule. All Arab revolutionaries, he said, “must be Marxist, because Marxism is the expression of the aspirations of the working class”.
In a 1969 interview, he declared:

By 1967, we had understood the undeniable truth, that to liberate Palestine we have to follow the Chinese and Vietnamese examples.

Indeed, Comrade Habash paid close attention not only to the Chinese and Vietnamese revolutions, but to the experience of all the socialist countries and the revolutionary movement in all parts of the world.
Cuba and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea were also two countries close to his heart and with which he and the PFLP forged tight bonds of active solidarity. In the memorial hall for Comrade Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang, the Korean comrades proudly display the several awards and medals presented to their great leader by the PFLP over the years.
Under Habash’s leadership, the PFLP forged close and active ties of combat solidarity with national liberation movements in all parts of the world – the ANC in South Africa, the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, and the Irish Republican Movement, to name but a few, embracing training, material assistance, joint operations and moral encouragement.
In the September 1970 hijackings that gave the PFLP worldwide fame, Leila Khaled was joined by Patrick Arguello Ryan, a militant of the Sandinista National Liberation Front and the only martyr of those operations.
In 1983, after the Nicaraguan revolution, the Sandinistas commemorated Arguello by renaming the Geothermal Plant at Momotombo in his honour. A poster still available on the PFLP website describes Arguello as the “symbol of common Nicaraguan/Palestinian struggle”.
Comrade Habash sought to translate into reality, and himself embodied, these inspiring words of Che Guevara, which go to the very essence of proletarian internationalism:

Let the flag under which we fight be the sacred cause of the liberation of humanity so that to die under the colours of Vietnam, Venezuela, Guatemala, Bolivia, Brazil will be equally glorious and desirable for a Latin American, an Asian, an African and even a European.

Comrades, The Palestinian revolution is a complex and difficult one, throwing up many challenges and inevitably differences of view. Equally inevitably, Comrade Habash often found himself embroiled in internal controversy, particularly in terms of the sometimes painful compromises, concessions and retreats that have been forced on the Palestinian people at various times.
But what shines out is the fact that he never lost sight of the importance of unity in the national liberation movement.
In their own tribute to their leader, the PFLP put matters this way:

In 1987, with the outbreak of the great Intifada, Dr. Habash called for upholding Palestinian national unity, and convening the Palestinian National Congress in Algeria in 1988.
Comrade Al-Hakim always understood national unity as a necessary condition for the continuation of the struggle and the national liberation movement, whether in Beirut during internal fighting among Palestinians and after as well, recognising that the internal contradictions among Palestinians could not be solved through military mechanisms, but rather through the democratic processes of the liberation movement.

Lamis Andoni, to whom we have already referred, wrote:

‘His message to the Palestinians was to restore our unity,’ Issam Al Taher, a senior aide, who saw him a day before his death said.‘Unity, unity, unity — that was his only message,’ said Al Taher.

Andoni notes of the relationship between George Habash and Yasser Arafat:

The two men never severed ties and continued a complex relationship of camaraderie and rivalry until the end.

Andoni continued:

Tall and handsome, Habash exuded a certain charisma that disarmed his distracters who admired his persistence but criticised what they saw as rigidity. A stroke that partially paralysed half of his body changed his appearance later but did not affect his ardour for the cause.It was that Habash that I saw and met for the first time in Tunis in 1983. The PLO was expelled from Beirut too and most its leaders moved to this northern Mediterranean capital of Tunisia. Habash moved to Damascus, Syria instead.
On that day the PLO was holding a meeting. Most of the leaders had arrived and then there was a stir and silence. Habash entered slowly on crutches, hampered and subdued by his physical disability.
The hall, filled with hardened fighters, stood on their feet while Arafat hugged Habash and escorted him to his seat.

Of the final period of Habash’s life, Andoni notes:

He would get so distressed during conversations discussing the events in Palestine and most recently in Iraq, that his wife, and closest friend Hilda, would interfere to stop it.When Israel besieged Arafat in 2002 in his compound in Ramallah, Habash stood by his rival. When Arafat died, amid Palestinian suspicion that Israel may have been involved, Habash deeply mourned him.
The few times I was able to see him over the last three years, he never stopped monitoring and learning every detail about Palestinian life. His physical ailment deepened the sense of soulful pain he internalised.
Those who were with him during his last days recall how disturbed he was by the rift between Fatah and Hamas. He opposed the strategy of Mahmoud Abbas, the current Palestinian president, of accommodating US and Israeli demands but did not endorse Hamas’ military take over of Gaza.
His main concern was the damage brought upon the Palestinians by the most serious internal rift in their history.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the mourning for Comrade Habash has transcended the differences in the Palestinian ranks. President Mahmoud Abbas declared three days of national mourning, noting that Habash had dedicated his life to struggling for his people. Hamas leader Ismail Haneya said, “Dr. George Habash spent all his life struggling for the cause of the Palestinian people.”
Islamic Jihad described him as a “real leader” and other Palestinian organisations paying their tributes included the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Palestine Popular Struggle Front, who said that his path was and is one of liberation for the Palestinian and Arab people.
In its December 1967 Founding Statement, the PFLP declared:

The masses are the authority, the guide, and the resistance leadership from which victory will be achieved in the end. It is necessary to recruit the popular masses and mobilise them as active participants and leaders …
The only language that the enemy understands is the language of revolutionary violence …
The slogan of our masses must be resistance until victory, rooted in the heart with our feet planted on the ground in deep commitment to our land. Today, the Popular Front is hailing our masses with this call. This is the appeal. We must repeat it every day, through every breakthrough bullet and the fall of each martyr, that the land of Palestine today belongs to all the masses.
Every area of our land belongs to our masses who have defended it against the presence of the usurper, every piece of land, every rock and stone, our masses will not abandon one inch of them because they belong to the legions of the poor and hungry and displaced persons …
The struggle of the Palestinian people is linked with the struggle of the forces of revolution and progress in the world, the format of the coalition that we face requires a corresponding … coalition including all the forces of anti-imperialism in every part of the world.

Much more can be said on the life, work and legacy of Comrade Habash, but in summary these are some of the things he advocated and taught:
• That the fundamental way to liberation lies through armed struggle and people’s war based on the masses.
• That for the struggle to be successful and carried through to the end it needs to be based on Marxism-Leninism, the scientific world outlook of the working class.
• That the oppressed peoples must uphold proletarian internationalism in their struggle for liberation, based on militant unity within and between the three major currents of the world revolutionary process, the socialist countries, the national liberation movements, and the working-class movement in the imperialist heartlands.
• That the liberation of the nation necessitated the principled and democratic unity of all the forces of the nation, even though major differences will also exist and must be struggled over.
Clearly, all these are not just lessons for the Palestinian people alone.
In June 2000, age and ill health led Comrade Habash to step back from the day-to-day leadership of the PFLP. Giving an inspiring speech on that occasion, in many respects he wrote his own epitaph. He told his comrades:

What I have lived through over the course of these militant decades, and the rich experience I have acquired, is not a matter to be taken for granted. It is your right, and the right of coming generations to review the content and lessons of this experience with all of its many successes and failures.

As befits a man who gave all of his own life and strength to the revolution, Comrade Habash said of the martyrs, the prisoners and his comrades, and it is with Comrade Habash’s own words, from his farewell address, Palestine Between Dreams and Reality, that we conclude this tribute:

I remember each of the martyrs, one by one, and without exception – those martyrs to whom we are indebted, for whom we must continue the struggle, holding fast to the dream and holding fast to hope, and protecting the rights of the people for whom they shed their blood. Their children and their families have a right to be honoured and cared for. This is the least we can do for those blazing stars in the skies of our homeland.I also remember now the heroic prisoners in the jails of the occupation and the prisons of the Palestinian Authority – those militants who remind us morning and night of our patriotic duty by the fact that they are still there behind bars and by the fact that the occupation still squats on our chests. Each prisoner deserves the noblest signs of respect …
Now permit me to express my gratitude to all the comrades who have worked with me and helped me, whether in the Arab Nationalist Movement or in the Popular Front. They stood beside me during the hardest conditions and the darkest of times, and they were a great help and support for me. Without them I would not have been able to carry out my responsibilities.
They have been true comrades, in all that the word implies. Those comrades helped to create a congenial atmosphere, an environment of political, theoretical, and intellectual interaction that enabled me to do all that was required. Those comrades have a big place in my heart and mind.
I offer all my thanks and appreciation to each one of them by name. In addition, to the comrades who vigilantly guarded me, looking out for my safety, all these long years, I offer my gratitude …
As a last word, I feel it necessary to say that I know well that the goals for which I worked and struggled have not yet been attained. And I cannot say how or when they will be attained. But on the other hand, I know in light of my study of the march of history in general, and of Arab and Palestinian history in particular, that they will be attained.
In spite of this bitter truth, I leave my task as General Secretary of the Front with a contented mind and conscience. My conscience is content because I did my duty and worked with the greatest possible effort and with complete and deep sincerity. My mind is content because throughout my working years, I continually based myself on the practice of self-criticism.
It is important to say also that I will pay close attention to all your observations and assessments of the course taken by the Popular Front while I was its General Secretary. I must emphasise that with the same close attention, if not with greater attention, I will follow and take to heart the observations and assessments of the Palestinian and Arab people on this course and my role in it.
My aim in this closing speech has been to say to you – and not only to you, but to all the detainees, or those who experienced detention, to the families of the martyrs, to the children of the martyrs, to those who were wounded, to all who sacrificed and gave for the cause – that your sacrifice has not been in vain.
The just goals and legitimate rights which they have struggled and given their lives for will be attained, sooner or later. I say again that I don’t know when, but they will be attained.
And my aim, again and again, is to emphasise the need for you to persist in the struggle to serve our people, for the good of all Palestinians and Arabs – the good that lies in a just and legitimate cause, as it does in the realisation of the good for all those who are oppressed and wronged.
You must always be of calm mind, and of contented conscience, with a strong resolve and a steel will, for you have been and still are in the camp of justice and progress, the camp whose just goals will be attained and which will inevitably attain its legitimate rights. For these are the lessons of history and reality, and no right is lost as long as there is someone fighting for it.

Notes

1. Ashok. (May 2006). Our Experiences of Ten Tumultuous Years of People’s War, The Worker#10, pp. 68-73. On Lenin and Mao, p. 71.
2. Basanta. (May 2006). International Dimension of Prachanda Path. The Worker #10, pp. 82-90.
3. Ibid. On Models: Page 87.
4. Kishor Nepal. (June 2006). Prachanda Interview. Maoist Revolution Digest.
5. Alessandro Gilioli. (Early November 2006). Prachanda: Our Revolution Won . L’espresso, Italy. Excerpts.
6. Prachanda. (November 18, 2006). Democracy: The Forbidden Fruit or Nectar for Progress? Speech at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi.
7. MLM Revolutionary Study Group in the U.S. (Dec. 21, 2006). Assessing Recent Developments in Nepal: A Bibliography on the State, a Peaceful Transition to Socialism, Democracy and Dictatorship, Negotiations and Their Relevance to the International Communist Movement in the 21st Century.