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

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

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

The Type of State the Republicans Are Aiming At

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

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

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

Rightwing Authoritarian Models in Latin America in the Last Century

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The CIA supported Pol Pot.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alt Left: Rural Land Reforms: An Overview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A land reform was definitely done in Iran.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The land reform was incomplete in Venezuela.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is a critique of the book:

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

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

From the article.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

However, neoliberalism doesn’t work either:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From D and E:

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

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

Guys like D and E are still writing today:

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

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

In other words, they faked the data.

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

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

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

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

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

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

See? They’re making it up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alt Left: Right and Left in Islamic and Catholic Societies

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

Malcolm X

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

European Style Fascism in the Middle East

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

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

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

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

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

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

Economics and Catholicism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Repost: Are Amerindians Related to Polynesians?

Are Amerindians Related to Polynesians?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

References

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

Alt Left: How the US Staged Fascist Coups in Many Countries the World Over in the Last 70 Years

After World War, the Cold War was started and the murderous Dulles Brothers Installed the Policy known as Containment. This was implemented between 1946-48. As part of this policy, the US overthrew nationalist, social democratic, and even liberal democratically elected governments all over the world as part of the “War on Communism.” We replaced them with rightwing dictatorships. Although it is arguable, in general all rightwing  authoritarian regimes or dictatorships are probably fascist. Rightwing dictatorship = fascism.

These regimes were found most of Central America in Guatemala after 1954, in El Salvador and Honduras since forever, and in Nicaragua under the Somozas.

They were found in all of South America at one time or another. We can see them in the generals after 1964 in Brazil, the democratic facade duopoly regimes in Venezuela in Colombia (especially after 1947 and again in 1964, Ecuador, Peru until the generals’ revolt in 1968, Bolivia under Banzer after 1953, Paraguay under Strausser, Argentina and Uruguay under the generals in the late 80’s and early 90’s, and Pinochet in Chile.

They were also seen in the Caribbean in Cuba under Bautista, the Dominican Republic under Trujillo, and Haiti under the Duvaliers.

In Southeast Asia, they were found in Thieu in South Vietnam, Sihanouk in Cambodia, the monarchy in Laos, the military regimes in Thailand, Suharto in Indonesia, the Sultan in Brunei, Marcos in the Philippines, and Taiwan under Chiang Kai Chek.

In Northeast Asia, a regime of this type was found in South Korea from 1947-on.

They were found South Asia with Pakistan under Generals like Zia, in Central Asia in the Shah of Iran, and in a sense, the Arab World with Saddam (Saddam was installed by the CIA), King Hassan in Morocco, the Gulf monarchies, and Jordan. Earlier, they were found in the monarchies in Libya and Egypt that were overthrown by Arab nationalists. Also, Israel played this sort of role with a democratic facade.

We also found them in the Near East in the military regimes in Turkey (especially Turgut Ozul) and for a while in Greece under the colonels in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.

NATO formed the backbone of a “rightwing dictatorship” in the background of Western Europe (especially Italy), where Operation Gladio NATO intelligence essentially ran most of those countries as a Deep State behind the scenes. These regimes were found in Spain under Franco and in Portugal under Salazar along with its colonies.

These regimes were not so much in evidence in Africa except in South Africa and Rhodesia and most prominently, Mobutu in Zaire and Samuel Doe in Liberia.

The fascist forms of these rightwing dictatorships varied, most being nonracist fascism but a few being racist fascists (Turkey), and others being Mussolinists (Suharto in Indonesia with his “pangesila”)

Alt Left: Repost: Whites Act a Lot Different When They Are in the Majority as Opposed to the Minority

This is actually a somewhat rewritten repost of an old post that people are still commenting on.

Whites can actually act pretty good when they are a majority. Blacks are actually treated quite well here in the US by the majority Whites in my opinion. We US Whites probably treat Blacks better than anybody else. Obviously that wasn’t always the case, and that’s unfortunate, but no one is convicted for life of anything, and redemption is always possible. In fact, were there no redemption, we humans would still be acting like complete animals.

But when Whites get in the minority as in Latin America, South Africa, and Rhodesia, they didn’t act very good. And that’s to say the least.

And in Latin America, there is pretty much no such thing as race. It’s a deracialized continent. Nevertheless, look at how White those vicious Latin American fascist elites are.

Nevertheless, I would like to point out that those elites get a lot of dark-skinned people to do their dirty work for them. The death squads in Central America were populated with lower middle class mestizos. The fascist street mobs in Nicaragua and Venezuela are quite dark-skinned. They look very mestizo. However, the ones in Venezuela were said to be criminals who were hired by the rich to riot in the streets.

And there are progressive Whites all over Latin America. Very leftwing light-skinned people are or were in top positions of government in Paraguay, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Venezuela, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Cuba, Jamaica, and Uruguay. The leftwing governments in Nicaragua, Venezuela, Argentina, and Cuba are full of Whites.

The leadership of the FMLN, URNG, FARC, ELN and Shining Path guerrillas  is or was often White. The same was true with the leadership of the guerrillas in Argentina, Uruguay, and Honduras in years past. Many of the rank and file in the FARC and ELN are White.

Typically the guerrillas in Latin America have or had a White leadership and a mestizo (and in some cases mulatto or zambo as in Colombia) rank and file. Sort of like the fascist Latin American White elites, right? The leadership is all White, but the rank and  file street fighters are mestizos.

The Whites lead, the mestizos follow. This is Latin America.

Alt Left: The Myth of White Racial Loyalty in the Americas (Or Probably Anywhere for That Matter)

Commenter: Like I said, those are exceptions. White men still largely go after White women even if given the choice between White and other races. The White guys who go after Asian girls, for example, are basically the ones that either can’t get a White woman, or they want a traditional and more loyal partner, as White women are a bunch of egotistical, feminist, unfaithful whores these days.

In all of the New World, there was massive interbreeding between the Whites who invaded and conquered the continent and the Indians still there. Interbreeding was massive all over the continent with the exception of Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay. White men were quite willing to breed with Indian women and vice versa. No problem at all.

An early visitor to Brazil found a White man with 13 Indian brides. Such sights were not uncommon. In fact, Whites had bred so deeply into Brazil’s population that a project called Blanqamiento or Whitening was initiated to bring a lot of Whites over to make Brazil White. It didn’t work very well. Your average Brazilian is 54% White, but the rest is mixed with Black and Indian. Pure Whites are ~20%. There were vast numbers of Black slaves in Brazil. They are almost gone now as only 6% of Brazilians are Black. The rest all bred in, mostly to White men.

Guyana is hugely mixed. Your average person is a mulatto, half-White and half Black.

Suriname is very similar.

All of the Caribbean is mostly Black due to the slave trade. However, there is White admixture.

The White invaders of Jamaica are nearly gone and Jamaican Blacks are 9% White.

Similar things have occurred elsewhere.

In the Dominican Republic, 20% are Whites, but the Whites have some Black admixture. The rest are mulattos, Black-White mixes.

The Bahamas is 12% White and the original Whites are almost gone.

On some islands there is nothing left of the Whites, but some people called redbones, a Black word for a light-skinned Black.

There are almost no Whites on Haiti, however there are a tiny few, mostly Arabs, and they form part of the elite. Of course the Whites were massacred. However, a mulatto elite with substantial White admixture has traditionally ruled the place.

Cuba had many Whites and still does. However, there are also many Blacks and a vast number of mulattos. The Cuban genome is 37% Black. This was a society that went straight from slavery to Jim Crow, and look at how Whitened the Blacks become anyway.

There are reports of vanishing Blacks all over the continent. There were quite a few Blacks in Mexico at Liberation, especially on the East Coast. 200 years later, there are almost none. The Black population disappeared. What happened was that they bred into the White and mestizo population such that most Mexicans have 3-5% Black in them now.

There were many Blacks in Argentina in the late 1800’s. They seem to have vanished. What happened was they were bred out, and now the average Argentine has 3% Black in them. And the average Argentine White is 18% Indian, so they are actually mestizos.

Chile is similar. Pure Whites are not common. The upper class is Whites who are 20% Indian. The middle and lower classes are mestizos who are 40% Indian.

Peru has a tiny White population and a huge mestizo population.

Upon Liberation, Mexico was 40% White. 200 years later, it is 11% White. There has been almost no net non-White immigration. The Whites just gradually bred into the Indians and the mestizos, mostly the latter. Even today Whites try to preserve their White ancestry, but White Mexican men keep marrying mestizos, especially light-skinned mestizos. White women have been much more loyal to their race than men in the US and Latin America.

El Salvador was 100% Indian. Now it is 2% Indian and almost all the rest are mestizos.

Guatemala is 2% White with a huge mestizo population.

Ecuador is 2% White with a huge mestizo population.

In Venezuela and Colombia, Whites are only 20-25%. All the rest are mixed, mostly White, Indian, and Black.

Nicaragua is ~5% White. Most of the rest are mestizos.

Honduras has few Whites and almost everyone is a mestizo.

Panama is heavily mixed with White, Black and Indian.

In the US, almost all Blacks were pure when imported. Now your average Black American is 25% White. Pure Blacks are nearly nonexistent. A team went out to study a group of rural Black loggers in Alabama because they were only 5% White, and this is so unusual. If you can trace your White ancestry back to Colonial America, you may well have Indian in you. If you go back to 1600’s America as I do, the chance is even greater. The American White genome is even 3% Black overall. Not sure of how much Indian we have in us.

Alt Left: Where Rightwing Economics Pushes Too Far (Always), There Inevitably Arises A Left Revolutionary Backlash

Of course in a number of places like Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Honduras, Ecuador the revolution was overthrown by mostly illegal means, but the Left is still very powerful in all of these places and no one likes the new rulers. Everywhere in Latin America where the Right is in power, the people are wretched if not up in literal arms. Nobody wants rightwing governments down there anymore. As we have seen in recent years pace Milton Friedman, rightwing regimes in Latin America can only be imposed by force anymore. The people have been lied to too many times and no one believes the rightwingers anymore.

The places that didn’t have one like Colombia, Peru, and Chile either have an armed Left or mass riots.

They almost had one in the UK. They had one in Greece, but the Left sold out.

They had one recently in Indonesia, and there may be one in the process in the Philippines.

Thailand had an aborted revolution via the Red Shirts, but it was thwarted.

They had a revolution in Nepal, but it was thwarted by the state putting in fake Communists.

The rest of the world is already more or less socialist so there’s no need for a revolution!

The Arab World, Central Asia, Africa, and most of Europe are already socialist, so there’s nothing to change.

The “rightwing populist” leaders coming to power in Russia, Poland, and Hungary are all socialists! Over there even the Right are socialist.

Neoliberal rightwing economics is dead all over the world, though its corpse is stirring violently.

Rightwing economics is only in power in the Baltics, parts of Latin America (Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, and Peru), the Caribbean (Haiti and the Dominican Republic), and the Philippines. It is unpopular in Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Chile, and Honduras. Peru is more stable, but there are constant labor riots led by unions, and there remains an armed Left in the mountains. It is unpopular in Haiti and I don’t understand DR politics. Where the Left remains in power as in Venezuela and Nicaragua, it has 70-80% support.

Hong Kong and Singapore are the Libertarian showcases, but neither is sustainable because they cannot be replicated worldwide, as all of their wealth is dependent on massive exploitation of the poorer countries and even surrounding areas. Housing is completely unaffordable for workers in both places as in all Libertarian countries. And Hong Kong is undergoing a revolution from the Left, as it is going Communist.

India is going neoliberal but they are doing via religion, so the foolish Hindus have had the blinders put over their eyes and are supporting it like the superstitious pinheads they are. Meanwhile India remains a socialist country as stated in its own Constitution, and where that lie has become too obvious, there is a Maoist revolution in the hinterlands to set things right.

Singapore is not as Libertarian as it seems. The state owns all land and almost all of the housing is public housing. National health care exists but it is a very poor model. A pro-Chinese Communist Party leftwing opposition party with Marxist roots is very popular. So as we can see, even the showcases are undergoing revolutionary reactions. There’s really no way around this. As rightwing reaction grows extreme, and equal and  opposite leftwing reaction forms in opposition to it. For every reaction there is an equal and opposite reaction. It’s social science, but it may as well be physics, n’est pas?

Can the whole world become Singapore and Hong Kong? Well, of course not. Singapore and Hong Kong are only rich because so much of the rest of the world is poor. The Third World makes $1/hour so the Singaporeans and Hong Kongers can drive BMW’s. Is this really so hard to figure out.

We can’t all be rich, you know? It would be like Lake Wobegon, where everyone is above average. It’s like saying the whole world could become the British Empire. It’s not even possible. Or it would be like having footraces where everyone comes in tied and there are no winners or losers. How likely is that to happen? 0% likely. It’s not even statistically possible, so it fails even as a mathematical proof. Physics envy? Not so fast, now. The social sciences are not as soft as people think. Laws and theorems can exist outside of a math classroom.

Alt Left: US-Style Individualistic (Laissez Faire Neoliberal or Neoclassical) Economics Tends to Fail Most Everywhere Outside the US Because Everyone Hates It

The only country in Latin America where an actual US-style neoliberal system took hold along with the typical class-cucked citizenry that goes along with it is Chile, and the neoliberalism had to be put in at gunpoint by a vicious dictatorship that murdered 15,000 Chileans after a CIA coup overthrew the Democratically elected Marxist government of Salvador Allende.

Neoliberal scholars such as Milton Friedman said that neoliberalism in these places would always have to be enforced at gunpoint by a rightwing dictatorship because otherwise a majority would never vote for it. The admission that a majority would never vote for such a system ought to be a profound tell – how good could this system be if no majority in these parts of the world would ever vote for it?

After Pinochet left, the neoliberal culture continued, but really it only infected the upper 1/3 of the population who benefited from Pinochetism, while the lower 2/3 hated it.

Chile to this day remains one of the most unequal countries on Earth with class conflict and hatred so thick that it breaks out into street violence all the time. In recent months the country has been shaken by leftwing insurrectionist riots against the rightwing government, a logical outcome, but it was already like this somewhat for 30 years after Pinochet left. Chile is a place like the Philippines where the classes hate each other so much that they pretty much want each other dead, literally. The class hate is so thick you can cut it with a knife.

Neoliberalism also caught on somewhat in the UK under Thatcher and later Conservative governments, probably the closest to a US rightwing style government on Earth. Even long after Thatcher left, she caused such cultural change that the top 1/3 of the population went over to neoliberalism.

The bottom 2/3 of course did not (see Chile above – a 1/3 benefit, 2/3 are harmed equation is typical of neoliberalism), and Thatcher was burned in effigy amidst violent riots in the poorer urban areas when she died.

Thatcher was also an extreme anti-environmentalist, and it is not yet known if the Earth accepted or rejected her body when it was placed inside of its body. One wondered the same thing about Reagan, the vicious anti-environmentalist. When he died, I wondered, “Will the Earth even accept his body when it is interred?”

Neoliberalism caught on in Ireland, where it did the usual damage. It’s not known why the population opted for this.

It caught on in the Baltics because they hate Russia and Communism so much that they are almost psychotic. Of course, like all such people, the Baltics tend to be quite fascist. In an extreme reaction against anything slightly smelling of Communism, including the mildest forms of socialism, the Baltics went to extreme neoliberalism in a knee-jerk, unthinking way.

The more neoliberal a country was the more it got ruined by the 2008 economic crash (and the more socialist it was – like China – the more it was protected), and the Baltics were devastated by the crash. Latvia was hit worst of all. 1/3 of the population fled its ruined economy, including almost all of the educated and skilled classes. Latvia remains in neoliberal ruins to this day.

Russia went neoliberal under Yeltsin, who opened fire on the nation’s Parliament when it defied him, murdering 600 people, including many legislators. In 1996, the Communist Party actually won the election, but Yeltsin stole it with the help of the US and suitcases literally packed with cash.

Russia was stripped bare and sold for 10 cents on the dollar to the worst capitalists, mostly of a (((certain type))) with the help of bankers in Germany and in the the US, where a (((certain type of people))) also delighted in the looting of their ancient enemy (see (((Jeffrey Sachs))) and (((the Chicago Boys))), back for another round after the Chile debacle), 15 million people died premature deaths. and the nation’s paternity stolen by a (((venal capitalist ruling class))) that was indistinguishable from (((Organized Crime))).

The huge reaction against the neoliberal rape of the land was the main thing that brought the nationalist Putin into power to try to repair the damage and heal the rape victim.

Neoliberalism has been imposed in Europe and many other parts of the world via austerity via bankers and the IMF and the World Bank, but austerity was hated everywhere it was put in – in Europe, Latin America, the Arab World, and even in Africa – and it caused mass riots and even the overthrow of quite a few governments everywhere it was imposed. It was the violent reaction to this austerity that directly led to the Pink Tide in Latin America that US bipartisan foreign policy has now rolled back.

Alt Left: Social Democracy Only Works in Homogeneous Societies Is Often but Not Completely True

RL:

The US and a handful of other countries are literally the only countries on this planet that regard social democracy with outrage and want nothing to do with it.

A commenter responds:

Mithridates: Yeah, I suspect much of this attitude stems from the ethnic divisions within the US that no one is ever allowed to talk about in any sort of frank or intellectually honest manner. Of course the Pluto/Mammon-worship inherent in the American mythos is a influential factor as well.

But let’s explore the first:

Basically, Ethnos A, the group responsible for most of the country’s productivity, is forced at gunpoint to redistribute a portion of their wealth to Ethnos B (and C in some regions), and a good portion of Ethnos B takes that money, pisses it away on all sorts of stupid instant gratification fuckery and doesn’t add much of anything to the country’s overall productivity; in fact, a sizable minority of Ethnos B behaves in public like zoo animals.

And then A’s gets called horrible bigots if they object to this, and especially if they object to being forced to live within shouting distance of B’s.

Most of the countries with working social democratic economic arrangements tend to have been ethnically homogeneous for most of the period when these systems were in place. And now these countries have tried the mass immigration experiment, and the same sort of shitty results is happening in those places that we here in the US have been experiencing for many decades now.

Natural Law says that humans are extra-clever social primates who are predisposed to be open to sharing among others they consider to be kin. There’s a certain other Ethnos I won’t mention by name or even a single-letter set of punctuation marks that exemplifies this principle very clearly.

Anyway, expecting all members of an Ethnos to consider the entire planet’s population of clever hominids to be a part of their kin group is quite an aberrant expectation; only weird ideologies can invert what to everyone else is a common sense understanding of Natural Law principles. And finally, loving one’s own kin does not necessarily mean hating other kin-groups.

Of course everyone has always known that this is the dirty little secret for Americans’ hostility to socialism. This is why all of the American White Nationalists are also hardline economic Rightists, Republicans and Libertarians despite this being bad for most Whites. Race trumps economics for a lot of folks. Whereas in Europe, most of the nationalist groups, even the White nationalists, are explicitly socialist.

You’d be pissed to, eh?

Actually I am fully aware of this argument, but I’m not pissed at all. For one thing, I have never been part of the wealthy White group, so Whites with money can go pound sand. They are my class enemies. I think in terms of economics. Screw race. Do the rich Whites want to help the poorer Whites? Of course not. So why should I support them. Also I know quite a few low-income Whites who use those redistributive programs that Whites hate so much.

On the other hand, I am not a typical White person. I am very hard to the Left; in fact, I am an out and out socialist.

Many countries have health care for all despite being ethnically diverse. However, in a lot of these countries, public health care and education is simply underfunded, so the dominant group, whoever they may be, simply goes to private hospitals and schools. India is an excellent example of this as is much of Latin America.

All of the Arab World has social democracy under the rubric of Islam, or in the case of Lebanon, ethnic peace, and Lebanon is unstable for ethnic/religious reasons. And some Arab countries with prominent religious of ethnic minorities are very unstable or at war.

All of North Africa has social democracy except Morocco, although minority Berbers are dealt with by denial of their existence and roping them into the main group, Arabs. Ethiopia has tremendous ethnic diversity and some religious diversity, but they have a good working socialist system. Eritrea is the same but the main divide there is religious rather than ethnic.

Zimbabwe has a good working system although it has many tribes. Argentina and formerly Bolivia and Ecuador has or had working social democracies, although all three countries had serious instabilities; in all cases the rich objecting to sharing with the poor and with a racial element in Bolivia. A number of countries in Latin America do have social democracies, but they don’t work very well because the rich don’t want to share with the poor.

In a number of those countries such as Peru, Venezuela, Brazil, Bolivia, Haiti,and Mexico also have an ethnic element in that the dominant rich group tends to be Whiter or lighter-skinned though not usually White per who don’t want to share with the poorer, darker, folks who are more mixed with Indian and in some cases Blacks.

A number of countries in Latin America have homogeneous populations, but the rich still don’t want to share with the poor, so that doesn’t solve everything. And historically speaking, most nations were quite homogeneous, nevertheless the rich still shared just about fuck all with everyone else and needed an actual revolution to be convinced to do so.

Russia and China has very good working social democracies although they have many minorities, although China and to some extent Russia has some ethnic warfare. Ukraine has a good system despite minorities and ethnic warfare. Vietnam, Cambodia, Bhutan, and Laos have good systems despite having anywhere to a couple to many ethnic minorities. Malaysia has a working social democracy and it has a large ethnic divide. Japan has minorities with an excellent social democracy.

Most of the former Soviet republics probably still have working systems although most have large minority populations.Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Iran have social democracies and minority groups. However, in Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Iran are currently embroiled in ethnic separatist wars.

Most of the countries with non-working systems are not only rightwing but also quite poor. Hong Kong is an exception. The government is very rightwing, but there are not ethnic problems. It’s all one ethnic group, but the rich ones hate the poor ones, just as it was traditionally.

Some are just poor. Most of Africa has social democracy, but it often doesn’t work well due to poverty. To some extent this is true in Pakistan, Mongolia, Yemen, Moldova, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Burma, and Thailand. It is also true in Ecuador, Guatemala, most of the Caribbean, Chile, and Paraguay. In these places, social democracy doesn’t work more due to poverty than to diversity.

Alt Left: Communism Is a Universal Movement Not Tied to Any Ethnicity

Communism appeals to all sorts of people on a basic level. Look at what Communism promises. It’s pretty clear that that’s something that a lot of humans would want, not any particular ethnicity or culture.

Polar Bear: NS Germany surely had a German spirit. Was Communism based on Russian farm culture or anything native? I often think it contrasts with warring Celtic tribes on the British Isles and Ireland. Maybe some of it is Slavic in nature.

I’m not sure. You know it took off in Mozambique, Grenada, Angola, Cuba, Afghanistan, China, Vietnam, Laos, Chile, Congo, Cambodia, Mongolia, and Yemen too, right?

And they almost won in Peru, El Salvador, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Greece, Turkey, and Colombia.

The CP was huge in Iraq – the  base of Moqtada Sadr’s movement is actually the old Iraqi CP! Most of Sadr’s followers and soldiers were former members of the Iraqi CP. It had huge memberships in Sadr City. Eurocoms were huge in France and Italy. The CP is in the ANC government in South Africa.

In addition, Communism  was very popular in Kazakhstan (Turkics), Tajikistan (Iranics), Uzbekistan (Turkics), Turkmenistan (Turkics), Kyrgyzstan (Turkics), Karelia, Mari-El and Udmurtia (Finno-Urigics), the Caucasus, Azerbaijan (Turkics), Armenia, among Siberian Turkics, Buryats (Mongolics), Tungusics, the Nivkhi (Japanese types), and the Chukchi (Inuit types).

I’m afraid there’s a little more to it than Slavicism. I do not believe it was ever very popular in Poland, the Baltics, Finland or Georgia though. Stalin once said that forcing Communism on the Poles was like putting a saddle on a cow.

Anyway, Marx was German and Engels was British. Rosa Luxembourg was German. Antonio Gramschi was Italian. Carlos Luis Mariategui and Edith Lagos were Peruvian. Manuel Marulanda Gabriel Garcia Marquez were Colombians. Gabriel Mistral was Chilean. Farbundo Marti and Roque Dalton were Salvadorans.

Augustino Sandino was Nicaraguan. Pablo Picasso was a Spaniard. Ho Chi Minh was Vietnamese. Mao Zedong was Chinese. Patrice Lumumba was Congolese. Samora Machel was Mozambican. Those are all very famous Communists who were non-Slavic.

We and our pals overthrew non-Commie Leftist nationalists in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, Panama, Mexico, Colombia, Paraguay, Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil, Guyana, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Portugal, Iraq, Iran, and Libya. We and our pals tried unsuccessfully to overthrow them in a number of other places.

Communism has universal appeal. It is nothing less than the dream of a better world. That is why in a way I was sad when the Eastern bloc collapsed because what collapsed with it was that most beautiful dream.

The Latin American Left believed in the dream of a better world. And in Latin America, that is a dangerous thing.

– Alejandra, an Argentine ex-girlfriend

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.