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.

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.

Kill Your Children Well

According to Stewart, in those parts of Hawaii to which the influence of the missionaries had not penetrated, two-thirds of the infants born were murdered by their parents within the age of two years. In Tahiti, three women questioned by Mr. Williams acknowledged that they had killed twenty-one of their children between them. Another at the point of death confessed to him in an anguish of remorse that she had destroyed sixteen of her children.

Frazer, James George. 1922. The Belief in Immortality and the Worship of the Dead, Vol. 2 (of 3): The Belief Among the Polynesians, Chapter III: The Belief in Immortality among the Samoans, § 1. The Samoan Islands, Footnote 24. McMillan and Co.

Wow!

This is the typical life among those noble savages some folks on this blog cheer on. Hunter-gatherers had no birth control, so children came all the time. There’s just not enough food around for every woman to have 12-27 kids. It’s not going to work. And honestly, it’s better to kill one child who has barely seen life than to let the whole group die of starvation. The greater good and the lesser of two evils and all that.

Among the Ache of Paraguay, 100% of Ache children witness their mothers murdering one or more of their brothers or sisters, often before age four. You wonder what sort of effect that would have on someone.

Essentialists or Determinists, which include some psychoanalytic types, would say that certain things that a human experiences in life have inevitable damaging effects on the psyche. So if a child witnesses his mother murdering his toddler sibling, this will have an inevitable scarring effect on the psyche no matter what. Similarly, if a child is molested by an adult before some set age (which feminist crazies keep pushing upwards), there will be serious and inevitable damaging effects on the psyche of that child no matter what. Some things are just inherently damaging psychologically 100% of the time.

Culturalists would take another approach and say that the psychological effects of certain experiences depend on the culture.

So while seeing one’s toddler sibling being murdered by your own mother is no doubt rather traumatizing, if you grow up in a culture where all children witness these scenes, it simply because one or the norms of growing up in that society, children simply accept it as normal behavior and there is little if any psychological damage.

Similarly, there are hunter-gatherer cultures where almost all of the children are molested by adults before age 12. Generally there is no physical damage. Culturalists would say that if you grow up in a culture where all the kids get molested by adults, you simply accept that as normal behavior and the acts cause little if any harm.

Where do you stand, with the Determinists or with the Culturalists? Are some experiences inherently damaging to the psyche or is it all culture-dependent based on what your culture defines as normal behavior?

"Latin America’s Twenty First Century Capitalism and the US Empire," by Dr. James Petras

An excellent analysis of the current scene in Latin America by Marxist James Petras. We often wonder what exactly is going on here or there in the world. For the answer in Latin America, Petras answers a number of important questions. What’s amazing is I can’t find one single area in which he’s wrong in his analysis below. Hence, this analysis is immaculate. If any of you can find anywhere below where he is wrong, let us know. A good tutorial on the Latin American politico-economic scene. Warning: Runs 45 pages.

Political Power and the World Market

The twin nemesis of Latin America’s quest for more equitable and dynamic development, US imperial and local oligarchic power have been subject to profound changes over the past decade. New capitalist classes both at home and abroad have redefined Latin America’s relation to world markets, seized opportunities to stimulate growth and forged cross class coalitions linking overseas investors, agro-mineral exporters, national industrialists with a broad array of trade unions, and in some countries peasant and Indian social movements.
Parallel to these changes in Latin America, a new militarist and financial political configuration engaged in prolonged wars, colonial occupations and widespread speculation has weakened the structural economic links – dominance – between US imperial economic interests and Latin America’s dynamic socio-economic classes.
In the present conjuncture, these basic changes in the respective class structures – in the US and Latin America – define the contours, constraints and ‘reach’ of the imperial classes as well as the potential autonomy of action of Latin America’s leading socio-economic classes.
Notions which freeze Latin America in a time warp such as “500 years of exploitation” or which conflate earlier decades of US political-economic dominance with the present, have failed to take account of recent class dynamics, including popular insurrections, mass electoral mobilizations and failed imperial-centered economic models which have redefined the power equation between the US and Latin America.
Equally important, fundamental changes in market relations and market competition has lessened US influence in the world market and opened major growth opportunities for new and established sectors of Latin America’s capitalist class, especially its dynamic export sectors.
Understanding imperialism, especially the US variant, requires focusing on class relations, within and between countries and regions, the changing balance of power as well as the impact of fundamental changes in world market relations. Equally important the private economic institutions of imperialism (banks, multi-national corporations, investors) are contingent on the composition and policies of the imperial state.
Insofar as the state defines its priorities in military and ideological terms and acts accordingly, by channeling resources in prolonged wars, the imperial policymakers weakens their capacity to sustain, finance and promote overseas private economic interests.
As we shall analyze and discuss in the following sections, the US has suffered a relative loss of political and economic power over key Latin American regimes and markets as its military commitments have widened and deepened over time. The result is a Latin American political configuration which has changed dramatically over the past two decades.

Latin American Political-Economic Configurations and US Imperialism

The upsurge of social movements, the subsequent ascent of center-left political regimes,the dynamic economic growth of Asian economies and the consequent sharp increase in prices of commodities in the world market has changed the configuration of political power in Latin America and between the latter and the US between 2000-2010.
While the US exercised almost absolute hegemony during the period 1980-1999, the rise of a militarist caste promoting prolonged imperial wars in the Middle East and South Asia and the rise of relatively independent national-popular and social-liberal regimes in Latin America has produced a broad spectrum of governments with greater autonomy of action.
Depending on the criteria we use, Latin American countries have moved beyond the orbit of US hegemony. For example, if we examine trade and investment, all the major countries, independent of ideology, have to a greater or lesser degree diversified their markets, trading and investment partners. If we examine political alignments, we find that all the major countries have joined UNASUR, a regional political organization that excludes the US.
If we examine policy divergences from the US on major regional issues, such as the US embargo on Cuba, its efforts to isolate Venezuela, its proposed military bases in Colombia, Washington remains in splendid isolation, to the point that the new Colombian President Santos, chooses to “postpone” implementation in favor of maximizing billion dollar trade and diplomatic ties with Venezuela.
If we focus on ideological divergence between the US and Latin America, particularly on global issues of free trade, military coups and intervention, we find a variety of positions. For example, Brazil opposes US sanctions against Iran and supports the latter’s program of uranium enrichment for peaceful uses. If we focus on joint US-Latin American military exercises and support for the Haitian occupation, most Latin countries – with the exception of Venezuela – participate.
If we examine the issue of bilateral trade and regional trade agreements, the US proposals on the latter were voted down, while several countries pursue (so far with little success) the former. On a rather fluid measure of ‘affinity for neo-liberal’ ideology, in which a mixture of elements of statism, deregulated markets and social welfare co-exist in varying degrees, we can draw up a tentative 4 fold division between “left”, “center left”, “center right” and “right”.
On the “left” we can include Venezuela and Bolivia which have expanded the public sector, economic regulations and social spending.
 
On the “center-left” we can include Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador which have increased social spending, public investment and increased employment, wages and reduced poverty, while vastly increasing private national and foreign investment in agro-mineral export sectors.
On the center-right we can include Uruguay, Chile and Paraguay, which embrace free market doctrines, with mild poverty programs and an open door to foreign investment.
On the right we find Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru, Honduras, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, all of whom line up with Washington on most ideological issues, even as they may be diversifying trade ties with Asia and Venezuela.
Internal shifts in class power within Latin America and the US have spurred divergences. Latin America has witnessed greater policy influence by a more ‘globalist elite’ less tied to the US, and an emerging ‘nationalist bourgeoisie’, and greater pressure from reformist working class and public employees trade union. In contrast within the US industrial capital has lost influence to the financial sector and exerts little influence in shaping economic policy toward Latin America, beyond rearguard ‘protectionist’ measures and state subsidies.
The US ruling political elite, highly militarized and Zionized, shows little capacity to engage in launching any major new initiatives toward recapturing markets in Latin America, preferring massive military expenditures on wars and paying tribute to their Israeli mentors.
As a result of major socio-political shifts within the US and Latin America and the singular importance of dynamic changes in the world market, there are four axis of power operating in the Western Hemisphere.
The emerging economic power of Brazil and the growth of intra-regional trade within and between Latin American economies.
The dynamic expansion of Asian trade, investment and markets leading to a long term, large scale shift toward greater economic diversification.
The substantial financial flows from the US to Latin America in the form of “hot money” with destabilizing effects, as well as continued substantial investment, trade and military ties.
The European Union, Russia and the Middle East as real and potential influences in particular settings, depending on the countries and time frame.
Of these 4 ‘vectors of power’, the most significant in recent times in reshaping Latin America’s relation to the US and more importantly in opening up prospects for 21st century capitalist growth, is the boom in commodity prices and demand – the dynamic of the world market. On the ‘negative side’, the prolonged US-EU economic crises has limited trade and investment growth and encouraged greater Latin American integration and expansion of regional markets.
A serious threat to Latin America’s growth, autonomy and stability is found in the US currency devaluation and subsequent overvaluing of Latin currencies (especially Brazil) imposing constraints on industrial exports and prejudicing the manufacturing sector. Equally important US and EU manipulation of interest rates – downward – has driven speculative capital toward higher interest rates in Latin America, creating destabilizing “bubbles” which can derail the economies.

US Empire Strikes Back: Protectionism, Devaluation and Unilateralism

By the middle of 2010 it was clear that the US economy was losing the competitive battle for markets around the world and was unable to reduce its trade and fiscal deficit within the existing global free trade regime. The Obama regime, led by Federal Reserve head Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Geithner unilaterally launched a thinly disguised trade war, effectively devaluing the dollar and lowering interest rates on bonds in order to increase exports and in effect ‘overvalue’ the currency of their competitors.
In other words the Obama regime resorted to a virile “bugger your neighbor policies”, which outraged world economic leaders, provoking Brazilian economic leaders to speak of a “currency war”. Contrary to Washington’s rhetoric of “greater co-operation”, the Obama regime was resorting to protectionist policies designed to alienate the leading economic powers in the region.
No longer in a position to impose non-reciprocal trade agreements to US advantage, Washington is engaged in currency manipulation in order to increase market shares at the expense of the highly competitive emerging economies of Latin America and Asia, as well as Germany.
Equally prejudicial to Latin America, the Federal Reserve’s lowering of interest rates leads to heavy borrowing in the US in order to speculate in high interest countries like Brazil. The consequences are disastrous, as a flood of “hot money”, speculative funds flow into Latin America, especially Brazil, overvaluing the currency and provoking a speculative bubble in bonds and real estate, while encouraging excess liquidity and public and private consumer debt.
Equally damaging the overvalued currencies price industrial and manufacturing out of world market competition, threatening to “de-industrialize” the economies and further their dependency on agro-mineral exports. US resort to unilateral protectionism tells us that the decline in US economic power has reached a point where it struggles to compete with Latin America rather than to reassert its former dominant position.
Protectionism is a defense mechanism of an empire in decline. While Washington can pretend otherwise, the weapons it chooses to arrest its loss of competitiveness in the short run, sets in motion a process of growing Latin America integration and increased trade with Asian economies, which will deepen Latin America’s economic independence from US control.

Latin America’s Center-Left and the US: Economic Ties Trump Geopolitical Strategies

The consolidation of Latin America’s center-left regimes has had major consequences for US policy, namely a reconciliation between arch-adversary Venezuela and Washington’s foremost ally, Colombia. The power of the market, in this case over $4 billion in Colombian exports to Venezuela, has trumped the dubious advantage (if any) of being Washington’s military launching pad in Latin America.
The election of Lula’s chosen candidate Dilma Rousseff as President of Brazil, the likely re-election of Chavez in Venezuela and Cristina Fernandez in Argentina, means that Washington has little leverage to reverse the dynamic diversification and greater autonomy of Latin America’s leading economies.
Moreover, as the political rapprochement between Venezuela and Colombia, including the mutual extradition of Colombian guerrillas and drug traffickers demonstrates, closer economic relations are accompanied by warmer political relations, including a tacit pact in which Colombia abjures from supporting the rightwing opposition in Venezuela, while the latter does likewise toward the Left opposition to Santos.
The larger meaning of this obscuring of ideological boundaries is that Latin America’s economic integration advances at the expense of US prompted ideological divisions. The net result will be the further exclusion and diminution of the US as the dominant actor in the Southern Hemisphere. At the same time it should be remembered that we are writing about greater capitalist integration, which means the continued marginalization of class based trade unions and social movements from strategic economic policy making positions.
In other words, the decline of US hegemony is not matched by an increase in working class or popular power. As both decline, the big winner is the rising business class, mostly, but not exclusively the agro-mineral, financial and manufacturing elites linked to the Latin American and Asian markets.
The prime destabilization danger now includes US currency wars, the growing potentially volatile extractive exports and the high levels of dependence on China’s (and Asian) appetite for raw materials.
Imperial Wars, Free Trade and the Lumpen Legacy of 1990’s
One of the paradoxes leading to the current eclipse of US hegemony in Latin America is found in the very military and economic successes in the 1990’s. A broad swathe of North and Central American and the Andean countries has witnessed the rise of what we call “lumpen political-economic power” which has devastated the formal economy and legitimate political authority.
The concept of “lumpen” is derived from ‘lupus’ or Latin for ‘wolf’ a metaphor for a ‘predatory’ actor, or in our context, the rise of a political and economic class which preys upon the public and private resources and institutions of an economy and society. The lumpen power elites are based on the creation of a dual system of legitimate and illegitimate political authority backed by the instruments of coercion and violence.
The emergence and formation of a powerful lumpen class of predatory capitalists and their accompanying military entourage is what we refer to in writing of the “process of lumpenization”. Today “lumpenization” no longer merely entails the overt violent organizers of illicit production, processing and distribution of drugs but an entire array of ‘offspring’ economic activity (kidnapping, immigrant smugglers, etc.) as well as large scale long term interaction with ‘legitimate’ economic institutions and sectors, including banking, real estate, agriculture, retail shopping centers, tourist complexes, to name a few.
Money laundering of illicit funds is an important growth sector, especially providing important flows of capital to and from major US and Latin American financial institutions. Today over three-quarters of Mexico’s territory and governance is contested by over 30,000 organized armed lumpen led by centralized political-economic formations. Central America is a major transit point, production center and terrain for bloody lumpen struggles for power and revenue collection.
Colombia is the major center for ‘raw material production’of drugs, marketing,and import and export center under the leadership of powerful lumpen capitalists with long standing ties to the governing political, military and economic elite. The lumpen economy has supply chains further south in Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay and distribution networks through Venezuela and Brazil as well as multi-billion dollar money laundering and financial links in the Caribbean, the US, Uruguay and Argentina.
Several important issues to keep in mind in discussing the lumpen political economy.These include: (1)the growth in size, scope and significance over the past 20 years (2) the increasing economic importance as the ‘legitimate’ economy goes into crises (both cause and consequence) (3) the increasing public cynicism as previously thought of “legitimate” economic and political actors (capitalists) engage in multi-billion dollar financial swindles and are “bailed” out by political leaders.
The ‘boom’ in lumpen political-economic growth can be dated to the end of the 1980’s and early 1990’s, coinciding with several major historical events in the region.
These include: the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement; the US-oligarchy defeat of the revolutionary movements in Central America and the demobilization but not disarmament of the paramilitary and armed militia; the total militarization and paramilitarization of Colombia especially with the advent of Plan Colombia (2001) and the end of peace negotiations; the deregulation of the US financial system in the mid 1990’s and the growth of a financial bubble economy.
What is striking about all the countries and regions experiencing ‘deep lumpenization’, is the profound disarticulation of their economies and smashing of their social fabric due to free trade agreements with the US (Mexico and Central America) and the large scale US military intervention during their civil wars (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia).
The US politico-military intervention left millions without work and worse, destroyed the possibility of reformist or revolutionary political alliances coming to power and carrying out meaningful structural changes.
The restoration of US backed neo-liberal-militarist collaborator regimes left the young unemployed peasants and workers with three choices: (1)submit to degradation and poverty (2) emigrate to North America or Europe (3) join one or another of the narco-trafficking organizations, as a risky but lucrative route out of poverty.
The timing of the rise and dynamic growth of lumpen power coincides with the imposition of US free trade and political victories in the aforementioned regions. From the early 1990’s forward lumpen power spreads across the region fueled by NAFTA decimating the Mexican small producers and the US imposed Central American “peace accords” which effectively destroyed the chances of socio-economic change and dismantled but did not disarm the militias and paramilitary gunmen.

Case Studies of Lumpen Dual Power: Mexico

Mexico, unlike the other major economies of Latin America did not experience any popular upheavals or center-left electoral outcomes during the late 1990’s or early 2000. Unlike Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Ecuador, in which new center-left regimes came to power imposing regulatory controls on financial speculation, Mexico witnessed electoral fraud and signed off on NAFTA, deepening its ties to Wall Street. As a result it experienced a series of financial shocks, undermining its capacity to launch a more diversified trading and investment model.
Unlike Argentina which launched state directed employment generating investment policies, Mexico, under US tutelage, relied on emigration and overseas remittances to compensate for the loss of millions of jobs in agriculture , small and medium manufacturing activity and retail sales.
While popular uprisings and mobilization in Latin America led to the rise of center-left regimes capable of securing greater independence in economic policy from the US and the IMF, the Mexican elite literally stole elections in 1988 and 2006, blocking the possibility of an alternative model. It successfully repressed alternative peasant movements in Chiapas, Oaxaca and Guerrero unlike the successes in Bolivia and Ecuador.
While the center-left regimes captured the economic surplus from the agro-mineral sectors and increased public and private investment in production and social spending, Mexico witnessed massive illegal and legal outflows of investments into speculative ventures in the US: an outflow of over $55 billion between 2006-2010.
Regional migration within Latin America fueled by high growth, led to rising income; overseas immigration depleted Mexico of skilled and unskilled labor; in some cases ‘return migration’ from the US of deported gang members, with arms and drug networks fueled the growth of lumpen power . With the severe recession, US immigration policy led to the closing of the border, the massive deportation of Mexican immigrants and the decline of the major source of foreign earnings: remittances.
Pervasive and deep corruption throughout the cupula of the Mexican political and economic system, combined with the decline of the legitimate economy, the absence of channels for popular redress and Washington’s insistence that militarization and not social investments was the solution to rising crime, led to the huge influx of young recruits to the growing network of lumpen-capitalist directed narco enterprises.
With almost all US and Mexican financial institutions and arms vendors as willing partners and an unlimited pool of young recruits with a ‘lean and hungry look’, Mexico evolved into a fiercely contested terrain between a half dozen rival lumpen organizations,and the Mexican military, with nearly 30,000 deaths between 2006-2010.

Lumpenization: Central America

Drug gangs dominate the streets of the major cities and countryside of all the countries which were militarized during the US backed counter-revolutionary wars between the 1960’s to early 1990’s. US proxy military dictators and their civilian clients, in El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras decimated civil society and particularly the mass popular organizations.
In El Salvador over 75,000 people were killed and hundreds of thousands were uprooted, driven across borders or into urban shanty towns.
In Guatemala over 200,000 mostly Mayan Indians were murdered by the US trained “special forces” and over 450 villages were obliterated in the course of a scorched earth policy.
In Nicaragua, the Somoza dictatorship and the subsequent US financed and trained counter-revolutionary (“contra”) mercenary army killed and maimed close to 100,000 people and devastated the economy.
In Honduras, the US embassy promoted and financed in-country and cross-border counter-insurgency operations which killed, uprooted and forced thousands of Honduran peasants into exile.
Highly militarized Central American societies, in which US funded and armed death squads murdered with impunity, in which the economy of small producers was shattered and ‘normal’ market activity was subject to military assaults, led to the growth of illegal crops, drug and people smuggling. With the so-called “peace agreements”, the leaders of the insurgents became “institutionalized”in elite electoral politics,while large numbers of unemployed ex-guerrillas and demobilized death squad militia members found no place in the status quo.
The neo-liberal order imposed by the US client rulers with its free market ideology built “fortress neighborhoods”, hired an army of private “security” guards, while the productive bases of small scale agriculture was destroyed. Millions of Central Americans faced the familiar “routes out of poverty”: outmigration, forming or joining criminal gangs, or attempting to find an economic niche in an unpromising environment.
Outmigration for semi-educated former members of armed bands led to their early entrée into armed groups, deportation back to Central America, swelling the ranks of narco traffickers in their “home country”. Highly repressive immigration policies implemented in the new millennium closed the escape valve for most Central Americans fleeing violence and poverty.
Former guerrilla fighters and their families, abandoned by their former leaders embedded in electoral parties, turned their military experience toward carving a new living, as security guards for the rich, or as armed traffickers competing for ‘market shares’ with and against the discharged deathsquad militia members.
Between 2000-2010, the annual number of homicides exceeded the number of deaths suffered during the worst period of the civil wars of the 1980s. US imposed peace agreements and the neo-liberal order which resulted, led to the total lumpenization of the economy and polity throughout the region, the practice of electoral politics and even the election of “center-left” politicos in El Salvador and Nicaragua notwithstanding.
Lumpenization was a direct consequence of the ‘scorched earth’ and ‘mass uprooting’ counter-insurgency policies which were central to US re-establishing dominance in the region. Economic and personal insecurity and social misery were the price paid by imperial Washington to prevent a popular revolution.

Case Study: Colombia

The ties between the world centers of finance and the most degenerate and blood curdling ruler in the Western Hemisphere were most evident in the slavishly laudatory puff-pieces published in the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal in praise of President Alvaro Uribe, while over 3 million Colombians were driven off their lands, several thousands were murdered, over a thousand trade unionists, journalists and human rights activists were killed.
Two thirds of his Congressional backers were financed by narco-traffickers. Incarcerated deathsquad leaders identified top military officials as their primary supporters. All of Colombia’s Presidents collaborated closely with US military missions and all were financed and associated with the multi-billion dollar drug cartels, even as the Pentagon claimed to be engaged in a “war against drug trafficking”.
Landlords and their financial and real estate backers organized private militias, which terrorized, uprooted and killed hundreds of thousands of peasants, others fled to the urban slums, or across the border to neighboring countries. Others joined the guerrillas, and still others were recruited by the death squads and military.
With the advance of the guerrilla armies and then President Pastrana’s opening to peace negotiations, President Clinton launched a $5 billion dollar military scheme, “Plan Colombia” to quadruple Colombia’s air and ground forces and deathsquads.
With Washington’s backing, Alvaro Uribe, a notorious narco-deathsquad politico, so identified by US officials, took power and launched a massive scorched earth policy, murdering and displacing millions of peasants and urban slum dwellers in an effort to undermine the vast network of community organizations sympathetic to the agrarian reform, public investment and anti-military program of the guerrilla movements.
Mass terror and population flight emptied whole swathes of the countryside; livelihoods were destroyed and landlords in alliance with drug cartel bosses and Generals seized millions of acres of land. For the financial and respectable mass media, the massification of terror mattered not: the insurgents were ‘contained’, driven back, put on the defensive. They trumpeted the killing of key guerrilla leaders: foreign corporate property was secure.
Rule by Uribe, the military and the narco-death squads secured US power and influence and created an ideal “jumping off” location for destabilizing the democratically elected Venezuelan President Chavez. The latter was especially important by the mid 2000’s when Washington’s internal assets attempted coup and lockout were resoundingly defeated in 2002-03.
Having gained strategic territorial advantage over the guerrillas, Washington in collaboration with Uribe moved to shift the balance of power between the narco-deathsquads and the state: a disarmament and demobilization and amnesty was proclaimed. The result was detailed revelations of the deep structural links between narco-deathsquads and the Uribe police state regime, up to and including family members and cabinet ministers.
While ‘nominally’ the cartels are in retreat, in fact, they have become decentralized .Equally important top politicos and military officials continue to collaborate in the production, processing and shipping of billion dollar cocaine exports … with major US banks laundering illicit funds.

Rule of Lumpen-Capitalism in the Imperial System

Drug trafficking has deep roots in the economies of North and South America and has profound ramifications throughout their societies. One cannot understand the tremendous growth of US banking and financial centers if not for the $25 to $50 billion dollar yearly income and transfers from laundering drug funds and double that amount from illegal money transfers by business and political leaders directly and indirectly benefiting from the drug trade.
Lumpen capitalists, their collaborators, facilitators paramilitary mercenaries and military partners play a major political role in sustaining the imperial system. Washington’s major influence and principle area of dominance resides in those countries where lumpen power and deathsquad operations are most prevalent, namely Central America, Colombia and Mexico.
Both phenomena are derived from US designed ‘scorched earth’ counter-insurgency strategies that prevented alterations, modifications or reforms of the neo-liberal order and blocked the successful emergence of social movements and center-left regimes as took place in most of Latin America.
The contemporary imperial system relies on lumpen capitalists, their economic networks and military formations in practically every major area of conflict even as these collaborators are constant areas of friction.
As in Afghanistan and Iraq today and in Central America in the recent past and in Latin America under the military dictatorships, the US relies on drug traffickers, military gangsters engaged in extortion, kidnapping, property seizures and the pillage of public property and treasury to destroy popular movements, to divide and conquer communities and above all to terrorize the general public and civil society.
The singular growth of the financial sector especially in the US is in part the result of its being the massive recipient of large scale sustained flows of ‘plunder capital’ by lumpen rulers and their economic partners via ‘political crony’ privatizations, foreign loans which never entered the local economy and other such forms of pillage characteristic of ‘predator’ classes.
The deep structural affinities between Wall Street speculators and Latin lumpen-capitalists provided the backdrop for the ascendancy of a new class of lumpen financiers in the imperial financial centers: bogus bonds, mortgage swindles, falsified assessments by stock ratings agencies, trillion dollar raids on state treasuries define the heart and soul of contemporary imperialism.
If it is true that the promotion and financing of lumpen warlord capitalists was an essential defense mechanism at the periphery of the empire to contain popular insurgencies, it is also true that the growth of lumpen capitalism severely weakened the very core of the imperial economy, namely its productive and export sectors leading to uncontrollable deficits, out of control speculative bubbles and massive and sustained reductions of living standards and incomes.
Lumpen classes were both the agencies for consolidating the empire and its undoing: tactical gains at the periphery led to strategic losses in the imperial centers. Imperial policymakers resort to terrorist formations resulted from their incapacity to resolve internal contradictions within a legal, electoral framework.
The high domestic political cost of long term warfare led inevitably to the recruitment of mercenary lumpen armies who extracted an economic tribute for questionable loyalty. Lacking any popular constituency, mercenary armies rely on terror to secure circumstantial submission. Having secured control, local warlords preside over the rapid and massive growth of drugs and other lumpen economic practices.
The alliance of empire and lumpen capitalists against modern secular and traditional insurgencies, brings together high technology weaponry and primitive clan based religious-ethnic racists in Iraq and Afghanistan and deracinated psychopaths in the case of Colombia, Mexico and Central America.
For Washington military and political supremacy and territorial conquests take priority over economic gain. In the case of Colombia the scorched earth policy undermined production and lucrative trade with Venezuela. Imperial ascendancy had similar consequences in Asia, the Middle East and Central America.

When Lumpen Power becomes a Problem for the Imperial State

Lumpen capitalism develops a dynamic of its own, independent of its role as an imperial instrument for destroying popular insurgency. It challenges imperial collaborator regimes. It displaces, threatens, or cajoles foreign and domestic capitalists. In the extreme, it establishes a private army, seizes territorial control, recruits and trains networks of intelligence agents within the armed forces and police, undermining imperial influence.
In a word lumpen organized military capitalism threatens the security of imperial hegemony: newly emerging predators threaten the established collaborators. The imperial attempts to use and dispose of lumpen counterinsurgency forces has failed; the demobilized paras become the professional gunmen of a “third force” – neither imperial nor insurgent.
The decimation of the reformist center-left option, which took hold in Latin America, precludes a socio-economic alternative capable of integrating the young combative unemployed, stimulating the productive economy, diversifying markets and escaping the pitfalls of a US centered neo-liberal order.
The divergence of priorities and strategies between Latin America’s center-left and Washington has as much to do with economic and class interests as it has with ideological agendas. For the US security means defeating the rising power of lumpen military economic formations in their remaining ‘power bases’. For Latin America, security concerns are secondary to diversifying and boosting market shares within Latin America and overseas.
Lumpen power is currently under the political control of domestic rulers in Latin America; it is out of control in US clients. The US solution is military; the Latin approach is greater growth; social expenditures and police repression especially in Brazil. The Latin solution has greater attraction, evident in Colombia’s break with the US military base and encirclement strategy toward Venezuela. Colombia’s new President opted for $8 billion dollar trade deals with Venezuela’s Chavez over and against costly million dollar military base agreements with the US.
Clearly the US economic decline in Latin America as a direct result of its reliance on military and lumpen power, is in full force. The driving force of accelerated decline is not popular insurgency but the attraction and lucrative opportunities of the economic marketplace within Latin America and beyond for the local ruling classes. Insofar as militarism defines the policies and strategies of the US Empire there is no remedy for the challenges of lumpen power in its ‘backyard’. And Washington has nothing on offer to recapture a dominant presence in Latin America.
The world market is defeating the empire. Latin America’s twenty-first century capitalists are leading the way to further decline in imperial power.

What Has the Latin American New Left Accomplished?

Tulio wonders what good the Latin American Left has done down there. How bout we shoot the question back at him and ask what good the Latin American Right did for 190 years for the majorities? Answer: Zero.

But what have the results been? Has there been any meaningful progress that’s happened because of the rise of the left in Latin America that can be solely attributed to leftist economics and politics? I’m not here to attack the Latin left per se. I don’t mind them much so long as they aren’t on this hate America tip and blaming the United States for all their home grown problems e.g. Chavez. I’ve never heard any anti-American hate speech from Brazil, Argentina or Chile under Bachelet.The bottom line though is what have these left wing leaders actually done? Everything is still horribly corrupt, there’s still massive inequality, still no universal health coverage, millions still live in favelas, there’s still lots of crime in a place like Venezuela. So what is so great about these left-wing leaders?
Great, so we will live in a country like Cuba where there’s socialism yet everyone is still poor. Whoopie do. And that’s the best latin socialism has to offer.

Not really. Chile and Costa Rica both have socialism (social democracy) and they have some pretty good figures on life expectancy, infant mortality and whatnot. Comparable to the US or even better, with much lower per capita income too.
All Latin America has national health care last time I checked. Public hospitals are free, assuming they exist. There’s a lack of hospitals, doctors, medicine, etc, but in some places like Chile, Costa Rica or Trinidad and Tobago, public health care is pretty good. I doubt there is one country in Latin America that lacks free public health care. The US is pretty bizarre on world scale in lacking this.
As far as favelas, I know Chavez has been on massive spree building public housing and renovating other housing, fixing streets, wiring up areas for electricity and running plumbing lines. And he’s done a lot of land reforms, breaking up large estates and giving them to small farmers and co-ops. He has opened a tremendous number of new hospitals and clinics, often staffed with Cuban doctors. He’s opened up new state markets where the poor can buy subsidized food for affordable prices instead of practically starving like they were 20 years ago, when 80% of the country could only afford one meal a day. He’s using the oil wealth to help the Venezuelan people, whereas before it just went into the pockets of a corrupt elite.
Crime is a long-term problem in Venezuela and the region, and it’s not Chavez’ fault.
Corruption is a long-term problem in the region, due to Latino culture, and it will be there no matter what kind of regime is in.
Chavez has reduced income inequality and poverty more than anyone else in the region.
It’s great what Chavez is doing down there! Incredible!
We don’t need Cuban socialism. Canadian socialism would be fine.
Correa in Ecuador has done well, but he’s hampered by the oligarchy in what he can do. He threw the US out of the their Manta Military Base, he wrote a new Constitution and doubled health care spending.
Ortega just got in, and he’s not pushing a strong program, plus the oligarchy is against him.
Honduras had a coup.
The FMLN just got in in El Salvador and is unfortunately pursuing a moderate agenda. However, the Civil War Accords already broke up the big land estates and distributed land to small farmers and co-ops, similar to the Mexican Revolution. Whatever other problems you have down there, at least you can grow enough food to eat.
Brazil’s Lula reduced poverty dramatically there.
Morales has done some good things for Bolivia, for one thing nationalizing the gas and oil reserves. He also wrote a new Constitution.
Kirchener did a good job in Argentina. She blew off the debt. Her efforts at further reform have been hampered by the oligarchy. Lately, she’s been trying to break up the media oligopoly, but she’s running into a lot of static on that.
Bachelet in Chile did not do much. She was not pushing a very Left agenda.
The guy in Uruguay just got in and he’s a moderate.
Lugos in in Paraguay is new too, and he’s pushing a moderate line.
People pushing a moderate line are not likely to get much done, and in most cases, really good reforms to benefit the people have been hampered by the oligarchs.
But these are the best changes your average person in Latin America has ever seen.
What’s failed has been more or less 180 years of rightwing authoritarian oligarchic rule in the vast majority of Latin America. That’s what in general has never done the slightest damned thing for the people from Day One. People have had it with it, so they are starting to vote in some pro-people governments, in many places for the first time in history.

FARC Branches in Other Parts of Latin America

FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), a very powerful guerrilla group, also has branches in other nations.

FARE (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Ecuador) operates in Ecuador, mostly in Sucumbios. See my other post for more on them.

FARB (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Brazil) operates in the Dog’s Head of Brazil on the Colombian border. They don’t do much there militarily as it is just a rear base. Mostly they resupply there from Brazilian merchants. The area is sparsely populated jungle. FARC also ranges across the northern part of Brazil all the way to the border of Brazil and Guyana, where they tax the gold mining businesses.

FARV (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Venezuela) is just the FARC in Venezuela. They have about 2,000-3,000 people under arms. It’s hard to say what they do there. It seems Venezuela is mostly a rear guard base, and Hugo Chavez definitely supports the FARC and leaves them alone in Venezuela.

Colombian paramilitaries are now starting to operate in the border area too, and things are getting messy. Also, about 200 peasants have been murdered by Venezuelan death squads in the past decade. The death squads are run by wealthy landowners, usually cattle ranchers, and opposition politicians. It’s really the Opposition who are the killers in Venezuela, not Chavez.

The killings stem from land conflicts, as most of the land in that part of Venezuela is owned by a tiny group of big landowners and most of the population are rural peasants. Peasants stage land takeovers in the typical Latin American style. Chavez has started to buy out some landowners and give land to peasant and Indian communities, but the process is slow.

FARV are mostly Venezuelans, a militia that is armed and pro-Chavez. They do little, but are mostly there in case of a rightwing coup or anti-Chavez invasion, in which case they will take up arms to defend Chavez.

FARP (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Peru): This is the FARC in Peru. They have been active down there for a few years now, mostly in the north around Loreto Province, but they have been active all the way down to Pucallpa in Ucayali. They use it as a rearguard base, but are also forming deep relations with the peasants. They buy stuff from peasants and give them things that the peasants need. They are quite popular in the area, whereas Sendero Luminoso were widely hated for their brutality against the poor.

In addition, FARP has recruited 1,200 new members all across Peru in the last few years. Many of these people are former Shining Path members who quit the group or were released from prison. They’ve soured on Sendero due to the brutal tactics and have taken up with FARP instead. FARP carries out no armed activities in Peru, though they are said to be very well equipped and supplied. They are also taxing coca crops being grown in the part of Peru right across the border from Colombia. This area is a wild jungle.

FARC in Panama: FARC has long used the Darien Gap region of Panama as a rear base. There are occasional shootouts with Panamanian security forces. There are now death squads in Panama murdering Indians for “cooperating with the FARC.” The FARC just stay in Indian villages and buy stuff from the Indians, that’s all. It’s just an R & R area.

FARC in Bolivia: There are rumors that the FARC has been in Bolivia training militias aligned with President Evo Morales, but there is no hard evidence that this is true.

FARC in Paraguay: There are allegations that FARC has helped train the EPP, a new Paraguayan guerrilla group, though there is no hard evidence.

FARC in Nicaragua: The FARC has a long relationship with the Sandinistas of Nicaragua. Large stashes of FARC money and guns have been seized there, but the FARC carries out no armed activities. Nicaragua is just used as a place to buy guns and amass funds.

New Guerrilla Group in Paraguay – EPP (Paraguayan People’s Army)

Fascinating news.

A new guerrilla group has popped up in Paraguay in the past couple of years, and it’s now starting to make news in the worldwide media after ambushing and killing 4 people in the Concepcion Region of the Northeast on April 20, 2010. Reports are confused. First reports said that 1 cop and three workers were killed, but later reports say that 4 cops were killed in an ambush.

The group has deep roots in the landless peasants in the severely impoverished northeast, where there are frequent conflicts between landless peasants and large landowners, with the landowners regularly hiring death squads to kill peasants.

The same thing goes on in Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia (most notoriously) and Honduras. Other death squads continue to operate in Mexico, Haiti, El Salvador, Guatemala, Bolivia and Peru. In Ecuador, they exist, but mostly just issue threats. As you can see, rightwing death squads that target the Left are a fixture of Latin American society.

In Mexico, Haiti, El Salvador, Guatemala, Brazil, Venezuela, Honduras and Bolivia, the Left is more or less unarmed. In Peru and Colombia, the Left is armed and fights back. There are also very small guerrilla movements in Mexico. There is an armed Left in Ecuador, but they don’t seem to do much. I assume that if they repression continues as it is in Honduras, the Left is going to take up arms again. As it is, there is about one killing a day occurring since the US-sponsored coup.

Usually the killing continues for a while until the Left has enough, gets tired of waiting around for the government to come out and kill you, and decides to take up arms so the next time the state comes out to kill you, you can at least fight back. This is generally how what the US calls “Leftist terrorist groups” get their start – in self-defense.

In late December 2008, the EPP raided a military post in Concepcion Province, stole some weapons and set the post on fire.

Around 10 people were arrested early this year in Concepcion on charges of kidnapping a wealthy rancher and holding him for 94 days until he was released on $550,000 ransom.

The area of Concepcion where the guerrillas are operating is mostly thick jungle on the border with Brazil. The group wears camouflage uniforms, carries modern weapons and includes female fighters. The group is said to have about 60 members, meaning they are very small. The Paraguayan government says that they were trained by the Colombian FARC, which I find plausible.

This appears to be the same group that broke off from the leftwing Free Motherland Party (PPL). They were involved in the kidnapping and death of Ceclia Cubas, the daughter of a the daughter of a former Paraguayan president (1998/1999).

The group actually seems to have emerged in the past couple of years, though it’s been around for about 18 years. The group emerged in 1992 when some trainee priests were thrown out of the seminary for their radical views. They formed a group called the Movimiento Monseñor Romero, probably named after the Salvadoran bishop murdered with the help of the US in El Salvador in 1980.

The group’s aim was to build a with the aim of plotting a socialist revolution. The group’s heroes are Che Guevara, Regis Debray (founder of the foco guerrilla model) and Paraguayan national hero Mariscal Francisco Solano Lopez.

I would assume, since it was founded by priests, that Camilo Torres of 1965 Colombia, the original “priest with a machine gun” would also be a model. Torres was founder of the Colombian rebel group the ELN (National Liberation Army). The ELN is still very much alive despite what the media tells you, though they’ve been hit hard by President Uribe’s offensive. Their base in the far east by the Venezuelan border. Idiotically, the FARC attacks them for unknown reasons.

The Leftist President or Paraguay, Fernando Lugo, himself a former radical bishop, has declared a state of emergency in Concepcion, San Pedro and three other northern provinces after the latest attack and has sworn to wipe them out. We will see what happens next.

Linguistic Map of Latin America

Map of the major languages of Latin America

This is an interesting map, though on first thought it seems unnecessary.

First of all, it makes quite clear how Brazil stands out as the Portuguese speaking state in Latin America. One could argue that this makes them odd man out, but if we look in terms of population, Latin America has a population of 570 million. 192 million of those are Brazilians. So 34%, or fully 1/3, of Latin Americans speak Portuguese. So what at first looks like Brazil’s linguistic isolation may not be so isolating as it appears.

All the Spanish-speaking countries can communicate well with each other, and there is a “neutral Spanish” that any educated person can use when conversing with any other educated person from Hispanophone Latin America. As long as you are doing this, you will both be understood.

Getting down to regional dialects, things do get complicated. I understand that Chilean soap operas, spoken in the rich dialect of the Chilean street, are dubbed in the rest of South America because other South Americans can’t understand Chilean street Spanish. But they are  probably well understood in Argentina. There does seem to be a “Southern Cone Street Spanish” that is harder to pick up as the latitudes move northward.

Bolivian Spanish sounds strange, but it’s probably intelligible in South America. It heavily inflected with Indian languages.

There is a general Caribbean Spanish that can be hard to understand.

The language of the Colombian Caribbean coast can be hard for even other Colombians to understand.

Dominican Spanish is notorious for being hard to understand. First of all, it seems to be based on Canarian Spanish of the Canary Islands, which is a very strange form of Spanish. Into this base went a ton of African words, much more than in the rest of Latin America. Further, it is spoken very fast. Dominican Spanish is pretty baffling to other Spanish speakers, at least for a while. Nevertheless, there is a more neutral form of Dominican Spanish that is widely intelligible to other Hispanophones.

On the streets of Mexico City, a very hardcore slang has emerged, sort of a Mexico City Street Spanish, that is pretty hard to figure out outside of Mexico.

Latin America is interesting in that the rest of the world seems to be learning “English as the universal language,” while Latin America is lagging behind.

I know quite a few educated Latin Americans who barely speak a lick of English. Latin Americans live not so much  in the society of the Western Hemisphere, but more particularly in the society of Latin America. And Latin America is extremely Hispanophone. Everywhere you go, most everyone speaks Spanish. Spanish is a very highly developed modern language with words for everything. Why bother to learn English? What for? To talk to gringos?

However, at advanced university levels, such as Master’s Degree and particularly doctorate level, increasingly there are requirements to learn English.

One would think that Mexicans at least would be required to take some English in school, right? Forget it. First of all, Mexican schools are crap, and they are broke. The elite and upper middle class steal all the money in the country, and the Libertarian/Republican dream minimal state/free market economy hosts horribly defunded and decrepit schools. It’s not uncommon to meet 20 year old Mexicans who dropped out in the 2nd grade.

English is typically not offered in Mexican public schools. It’s only offered in private schools, which is of course where the moneyed class above sends their kids, which is why they won’t pay for public schools (They don’t use ’em), which is why the public schools are crap. I’m sure many more non-Hispanic Americans in the US are taking Spanish than Latin Americans are studying English.

Hispanophones also often do not bother to learn Portuguese. Some of the educated ones claim they can understand it without studying it, but I doubt it.

A lot of Brazilians say they can understand Spanish pretty well (I think they study Spanish more than Hispanophone Latins study Portuguese), but when you start talking to them in Spanish (which I do on a regular basis) it doesn’t seem to work very well. Want to talk to a Brazilian? Learn Portuguese!

As we can see on the map, both French Guyana and Haiti speak French.

I was talking about Haiti with my liberal Democrat Mom once. The general conversation was along the lines that Haiti was all screwed up. She said, “Well, they’re all Black, they’re dirt poor, and worst of all, they’re in the Western Hemisphere, but they all speak French!” Indeed. What do these funny Frencophones think they’re doing in our Anglophone, Hispanophone and Lusophone Hemisphere anyway?

Further, the language of Haiti is not really intelligible to French speakers. It makes about as much sense as hardcore Jamaican English does to us. However, the Haitian elite often speaks good French. They also say they understand Spanish, but I’ve tried to talk to them in Spanish, and it didn’t go anywhere. Often they don’t understand much English either. Want to talk a member of the Haitian upper class? Learn French!

So the Haitians are rather isolated in this Hemisphere, but I’m not sure if your average dirt poor Haitian cares. I suppose they could always talk to the Quebecois, but no one understands Quebecois either.

French Guyana is also a French speaking country. It’s still a colony, and it has a very nice standard of living. Nowadays, colonies don’t even want to go free anymore, as it means a standard of living crash.

As you can see, British Honduras speaks English. There are some other English speaking islands in the Caribbean and some French speaking islands too, but none are marked on the map.

Dutch has pretty much died out in the Western Hemisphere, but it used to be spoken widely in Suriname and the Dutch Caribbean.

The main language of Guyana is probably some English creole, but it’s not shown on the map.

Indian languages are still very widely spoken in Peru (Quechua), Bolivia (Aymara) and Paraguay (Guarani).

16-23 and 33-39

Repost from the old site.
Those are two figures for the ages at which something peaks in each of the sexes in human beings. Males peak at 16-23 and females peak at 33-39. After the male peak, there is a long slow decline down to some pretty low levels. For females, there is a decline, but not much of one, and the female level remains fairly high even into very old age, and I mean the 80’s.
We are talking sex, sex drive to be precise. Actually, they called it sexual responsiveness, and I am not sure what that means. It’s interesting that we think that elderly women are pretty much asexual beings, when their sex drive, or responsiveness, whatever that is, is only somewhat lower than it was at their peak.
People have whispered about this for some time, and if you have ever dated a ready and willing 35-40 year old woman, I think you know what I mean. They’re like the Eveready Bunny, once you wind them up and get them started, they want to go on all night, 7 AM rush hour be damned.
I am wondering what the evolutionary meaning of all of this is. Men are going to die young, so have the drive peak early, then if the guys dies, so what, maybe the woman can raise the kid on her own?
For the woman, in her prime child-bearing years, you don’t want the drive too high, or she will wander off with every guy who comes along. Later, as her looks decline into her 30’s, the male partner is tempted to wander in search of younger pastures.
Hence the female drive kicks into overdrive to dig the claws and squeeze him tight to home. She needs him around as a provider. Kids are grown and raised pretty much, but she still wants a man? What gives? And why does the female drive stay so high through life even into old age? What’s the advantage? Does an old cave woman have a hard time making it on her own, while an older cave guy can has more of a chance?
Higamous hogamous, women are monogamous. Higamous pigamous, men are polygamous. Neat little saying, but isn’t it more or less true across all cultures, all races and through all times? The woman must be coded to monogamy, for if she runs off with every Cave Man Dreamboat who strolls past the cave, the kids never get raised and they will die.
Males who sowed their oats far and wide impregnated more females than the “one woman man” types. The Lotharios couldn’t raise all those kids, and probably a lot of the kids died, but enough of them survived that his Casanova genes get passed on.
Or maybe many primitive societies like the typical village in New Guinea. One guy, the chief, has lots of wives. A lot of guys are losers in the New Guinea singles game and aren’t getting any at all. The Satyr-in-Chief is coded for promiscuity, and those are the randy genes he is handing down. After a while most of the guys are really horny all the time, even those who are striking out.
A lot of these Chief types are probably pretty sociopathic too, as are the guys who are just running around boffing every cavewoman in sight. Maybe after a while, the clan just gets together and kills the philandering bastard. But he’s already impregnated a number of females.
Hence, sociopathy, which doesn’t seem that adaptive, is passed on genetically and survives even today in the form of gansta rap, corporate executives and reptilian creatures called lawyers.
Much ink has been spilled about how humans are naturally monogamous, mostly by romantic types and women. But I doubt it, and I think this is an exercise in wishful thinking. Women tend towards serial monogamy at the very least. In a tribal situation, keeping the man around may not be so important if food is gathered and eaten communally.
Daddy goes out and hunts and kills animals with the guys, throws the meat in the pot and everyone eats. So he’s not with his baby-momma anymore, so what?
The kid is with Mom and there’s food for both, and that’s all that counts.
As an example of a swinging-style Paleolithics, let us look at the Ache, a tribe in Paraguay that was living in a pre-contact style until 1972 (Hill and Hurtado 1976). By age 30, your average Ache female had been married ten times, usually for about a year or so. A lot of the kids die.
The Ache were often not even really sure who the baby Daddy was. Whichever noble savage the Ache woman had been sleeping with the most in the month prior to her periods stopping was considered to be the Primary Father by the rule of probability.
Other randy tribesman she had slept with in the entire year prior to giving birth, including during pregnancy (!), are called Secondary Fathers. There might be a number of these guys. To the growing kid, all these guys are just known as dear old Dad. The Primary Father is likely to play a greater role in raising the child.
The reason for the two types of fathers is that the Ache, unfortunately, had not completely figured out the laws of impregnation. They were clear that the Primary Father played a necessary and sufficient role, known as “putting it (the baby) in her”. However, the other guys she had sex with, including during pregnancy, were thought to have somehow contributed some of their essence to the fetus. At least they didn’t believe in storks.
The tribe had also codified infanticide. Suppose Mommy had a 3 year old child. Then she has another kid. Well, maybe food is short, so she tells the 3 year old, “Hey look, we only have enough food for you and not enough for your baby brother you are so deathly jealous of. So I’m sure you will happy to know that I am going to take baby brother out tomorrow and kill him.”
Kid grows up knowing Mom killed his brother, but it doesn’t bother him much. It’s just life in the jungle, hey. There are worse threats. Nowadays, mental health professionals are convinced that having your Mom kill your baby brother when you were 3 years old would be a sufficient trauma to cause lasting psychological scars and would require extensive therapy. This is an empirical fact just how now?
Primitive people often have developed an excellent sense of memorizing distant visual objects. Bushmen, with otherwise very low IQ’s (57 IQ)1, are the world’s best at this. Then comes another very low IQ group (65 IQ)2, the Aborigines. Eskimos, with a much higher IQ of 94 – near the world average – have a similar advantage.
Looking at Ache life, we can see why. A major cause of mortality is the very thing Mom warned you about as a boy: not making it home before dark. For the Ache, if you are out in the jungle and you don’t make it back to the village by night, you may just die, as temperatures often plunge very low in the evenings.
Plus, sleeping out in the bush, you stand a good chance of being midnight snack for some jaguar. From which felinophobia may have developed?
The saga of the Ache inform us that the pathologies of the urban Underclass that so horrify middle-class Americans – feral males running around like dogs screwing and impregnating females far and wide and then not bothering to support any of them, women having several kids all by different fathers, and last and most incomprehensibly, mothers who murder their own children – may not be so alien and animalistic after all.
People who do these things are told to, “Quit acting like animals and start acting like humans!”. The terrifying thought being, “acting like humans” may be precisely what the Underclass is doing.
These behaviors may simply be genetically coded leftovers from our tribal past. Those of us who don’t stoop so low are just not giving in to our basest tribal urges. Those who do may be just “acting like normal Homo Sapiens”, discouraging as it seems.
On the streets of Detroit and in the jungles of Paraguay, life can be a short, nasty and brutish affair. In our folly, we look down at the Paleolithics. The cultured metrosexual Western man is merely the rudest tribesman in a mirror, and little less.

Notes

1. Over three separate studies.
2. Over 17 separate studies.

References

Hill, K. and M. Hurtado (1996) Ache Life History: The Ecology and Demography of a Foraging People . Aldine: Hawthorne, NY.

Native Peoples Adrift in the Modern World

Repost from the old site.
Note: This post has been accused, as usual, of racism. See here for my position statement on racism.
Recent news articles on the disgusting degeneration of many Polynesians in New Zealand into US Black-style gangbangers seems to be the case with many “indigenous peoples” in the world today.
They just do not seem to be cut out for modern, Western, high-tech society. In most cases, Whites came into their lands and either invaded and conquered them or merely colonized them, and took away their old way of life, which, limited as it may have been, was at least working for them.
A description of the Micronesians of Saipan from the interesting Saipan Sucks website (my notes) is instructive. Note this is just one American expat’s point of view, and does not represent my feelings about Micronesians, but instead represents those of the author of Saipan Sucks. I know nothing of Micronesians; I have only met one in my life, and he was just fine.

There is a very high rate of sexual molestation on Saipan, along with a very high rates of women having several kids, all by different men, and men fathering children by different women and never bothering to support any of them.
The locals basically refuse to work in any sort of productive occupations, and family-based corruption in politics is endemic. School performance is abysmal.
Spousal abuse is common. There is more incest and cousin marriage on Saipan than anywhere in the US. The police hardly bother to investigate any homicide cases, apparently since they are too incompetent to complete an investigation. The locals are profoundly racist against all Americans – especially White Americans.
The wealthy Micronesians on Saipan are almost all notorious thieves who stole every nickel they made. Theft and lying in all of the Mariana Islands is endemic, and the stealing is so bad that locals actually resort to bolting their furniture to the floor.
Micronesians feel they are racially superior to everyone, especially Filipinos, who are the most talented and hardest working people on the islands, as they are in much of that part of Asia.
Interestingly, the Filipino IQ of 89 is the same as the Micronesian IQ of 87. The suggestion is that the Micronesian IQ of 87 plays little or no role in much of the pathology above.

Although I have never been to Micronesia, I assume that this description is representative of the behaviors of far too many native Saipanese. Why do I think this? Because I have seen this same pattern here in the US with Native Americans and the Black and Hispanic underclasses.
This panoply of attitudes and pathologies is not limited to the Micronesians, but is common amongst many native peoples in our world, based on my observation.
These people used to hold traditional occupations at which they functioned well. Now, they can no longer do these jobs, and they are either not able to do or are not interested in doing modern work.
The following set of pathologies (in whole or in part) seems to be common amongst far too many indigenous peoples today:
Unwilling or unable for work in the modern economy, they become chronically unemployed, and are often regarded by others as lazy people who refuse to work, collect every welfare program they can, spend days sitting around doing nothing, and often drink to excess, or nowadays, take drugs. When they do work, their working style is often seen as irresponsible or lackadaisical.
They often do not do well in school, in part because many of them are not even used to being inside four walls, since they are used to spending much of their time outdoors. In their traditional life, there was no formal schooling, just learning by observation.
The family structure has typically been badly broken up for whatever reason, and child abuse of various forms is common. Women have kids by various different men and do not bother to marry any of them. Men for their part have children by various women and then refuse to support any of the kids.
Politics is characterized by a tribal, clan-based, often vicious and immoral scheme of ultra-corruption. Police and government officials are often lazy and incompetent.
Things like roads in Congo and water treatments plants in Saipan either never get built, as in Saipan where the natives apparently can’t figure out how to build one, or don’t get repaired, as in Congo where 90% of the country’s roads have vanished due to lack of repairs.
Bilingual programs founder when students are said to be literate in neither English nor their native language.
Crime spirals out of control as traditional village-based law enforcement systems are no longer operative, and impoverished and often unemployed natives are often confronted with mass wealth, waved right in their face.
Virulent anti-White or anti-East Indian racism takes hold due to resentment that these groups may have a higher standard of living, or may have settled or colonized their land in the past, along the painful realities of their own culture’s failure to succeed in the modern world combined with their observation of the others’ great success in negotiating that same modernity.
Indigenous people, selected via repeated famine to survive on very little food, are hit like a ton of bricks with the Western high-calorie, high-salt, high-fat diet, which they are not physiologically adapted for. The result is mass obesity, diabetes, hypertension, at least with some groups – Micronesians, Melanesians, Aborigines, Polynesians and North American Native Americans in particular.
The set of pathologies above is quite evident in many indigenous cultures, including Native Americans in the US and Canada, some Native Americans in South America (Amazon tribes in particular), native Siberians in Russia, Inuit in Canada, Alaska and Russia, Sub-Saharan African Blacks, Negritos in the Andaman Islands and the Philippines, Aborigines in Australia, Micronesians, Polynesians and urban Melanesians in New Guinea.
Some suggest that IQ may be a factor in this situation. These groups have the following average IQ’s (world average is also included):

Siberian Natives: 102.5 (est.)*
Inuit (Eskimo):   94
World Average:    92
Amerindians:      89
Polynesians:      88, but varies**
New Guinea:       86
Micronesians:     86
African Blacks:   70
Aborigines:       65

*Native Siberian IQ is not known, but Mongolian IQ is 102.5, and Siberians may be similar.
**Some Polynesian groups have higher IQ’s. The New Zealand Maori IQ is 93, the Cook Islands Maori IQ is 92 and the Samoan IQ is 90.5 The first two are right at the world average IQ, and the Samoan IQ is close to the average. Interestingly, the first two islands were settled later in the Polynesian expansion.
Siberian difficulties in adapting to modern life cannot be explained by IQ, nor can the problems of the Maori or the the Inuit. Average Polynesian, Micronesian, Amerindian and New Guinea IQ’s are not remarkably low, being only 3 points below the world average.
Many countries that seem to function quite well with the modern world, such as Cuba, Iran and many Arab and Latin American countries, have average IQ’s in the 86-88 range, but most of these peoples have been living in a more modern way for quite some time now. Few could be considered “indigenous peoples”.
It is true that the IQ’s of Aborigines and African Blacks are quite low.
In short, IQ is not sufficient to explain the problems that each of the groups above have in adaptation to our modern world.
In New Guinea, people living traditional lives in the mountains seem to do well, while the capital of Port Moresby is a crime-flooded, drunken urban catastrophe. In Samoa, traditional Western Samoa seems to do a lot better with their traditional lifestyle than American Samoa, where a Western way of life holds sway along with a very high crime rate.
Cook Islanders and New Zealand natives are both Maori. Cook Islanders have a functional society, as they still live a traditional life and have not yet been deluged with tourists. In contrast, the Maori situation in New Zealand is often regarded as catastrophic, with very rates of crime and the sorts of pathologies described above. Biologically and IQ-wise, the two groups are identical.
A few Andaman Islands Negritos have barely been contacted much at all (Sentinel Island), and they are doing quite well. Others have been contacted but still mostly live a traditional life, and they are doing less well but are still generally functional (the Onge and Jawara).
Some Andaman tribes who have been removed from traditional life seem to have completely lost their way, live on government reservations, are mired in the most deplorable pathology and even seem to be slowly going extinct (Greater Andamanese). For an overview, see George Weber’s great website.
A roughly similar situation holds with a number of tribes in the Amazon – the more they are left pretty much alone, the better off the are.
In regard to the difficulties in adaptation described above, let us note that in their traditional societies, these people typically never had vehicle roads (or vehicles), water treatment plants, schools, money-based societies with paid government employees and cops nor written languages.
In addition, marriage and divorce may have been a casual affair in many pre-contact societies. An excellent study1 of the pre-contact Northern Ache of Paraguay found that by age 30, the average Ache woman had been married and divorced 10 times (see page 13).
For decades, the Left has been offering an intellectually vapid, yet appealing, reason for these pathologies. “Western imperialism” or some such evil invaded and settled their lands, or colonized them, or looked at them wrong, or something. A long time ago. Like over 100 years ago.
Like most arguments of the Crazy Left, this argument sounds really cool until you start to look into it.
Many of these groups here never really got colonized in any real way, or at all, and in many cases, Whites did not even “take their land.” Lots of folks who were “colonized” or “got their land taken” recently still get on fine with modernity, including Basques, people of the Caucasus, Kurds, Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Ahwaz, Berbers, Tamils, Kashmiris, Assamese, Karen, Shan, Acehese, Saami, on and on.
Jews even got 75% of their population killed in Europe in one of the crimes of the century. Sure it was horrible, but the Jews picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and are now possibly the most successful ethnic group on Earth.
The pattern above raises interesting questions. A pattern of having multiple children by different men, where the men refuse to support the women, is the bane of many of these cultures above. Does it have roots in tribal society?
Was the Ache pattern of repeated marriages and divorces described above the norm in many tribal societies? Early travelers to Africa did report that marriages often did not seem to last long and that marriage, divorce and sex seemed to be all be casual enterprises.
In a tribal culture, where all food just gets tossed into the pot for everyone to eat, maybe it does not matter if a man does not provide specifically for his wife and kids, as long as the village provides for them. Children were often raised by groups of women while the men went off and hunted, fished or did whatever all day. By evening, the men would return, and then the intact families would spend some time together.
Since the children were being raised collectively by large groups of women – mothers, aunts, older cousins and sisters, grandmothers – there was little chance to get into trouble. At the first sign of trouble, one of the many women would be right there to put an end to it.
Curiously, studies in Israeli kibbutzes have shown that children raised this way have the lowest rates of antisocial behavior of any child-raising style.2
In our modern world, with many incompetent females raising children with no father around, or a father around only sporadically, with the woman overwhelmed, absent, working or on drugs or alcohol, kids are free to run wild. Lack of father figures and modern extended adolescence means the young males drift towards gangs in an effort to act like men.
I don’t really know what to do about any of this.
One idea is that a lot of these groups are not really cut out for modern life. Many of these people may do better if they lived more traditional lives, in traditional villages, with traditional styles of behavioral regulation (chief, elders, family or clan). Of course, the decision of whether to live a more Western or less Western life should be left completely up to the people themselves.
Western life is not for everyone, and we need to consider that for many indigenous peoples, it is not only harmful, but it is also deadly.
We can still provide them with medical care, make sure their structures and infrastructure are functional and intact, insure that they have water, plumbing and electricity, and provide them with food or supplementation if they need it. In many cases, they may need to return to a native diet or risk early death eating a Western diet.

Notes

1. Hill, K. and Hurtado, A.M. 1996. Ache Life History: The Ecology and Demography of a Foraging People. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.
2. Lykken, D.T. 1995. The Antisocial Personalities. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Assoc.