Alt Left: Even the Rich Have to Support Socialism Sometimes

From the Internet:

When the UK went to war in 1914, they discovered that their soldiers were so undernourished and unfit to fight for the Empire, that a series of ‘social reforms’ were enacted to improve the lot of the working class (or cannon fodder).

Actually this is a serious problem in Latin America. There the rich are so selfish and cocky that they won’t even pay for a proper army! When the Peruvian Army was fighting the Shining Path, many didn’t even have proper uniforms or boots. They were often short of ammunition. Soldiers used to man checkpoints to shake down motorists just so they could get money to survive.

You see how cocky and arrogant the rich are? They were so sure that they could defeat the Revolution that refused to even fund an army to fight them! Also note how selfish the rich are. They won’t pay a nickel in taxes for anything, not even for an army to defeat a revolution which would have taken away everything they had!

Looks like the British rich were more sensible than the Peruvian rich. I think it goes to show you that socialism is coming one way or another whether the rich or anyone else likes it or not. That’s more or less one of the laws of Marxism, and if we define socialism as even social democracy or a safety net, it’s obvious that it’s always going to get here one way or another.

The rich always push for total free market economics and getting rid of all safety nets, social democratic programs and even the very state itself (even the army – see above).

According to Marxist laws, the more they move in that direction, the more the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer, and as the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, inevitably, you end up with some sort of left or socialist like backlash. It’s so consistent that you could indeed call it a law of political science, which is exactly what it is.

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.

Street Crime in Latin America

Rahul: What I noticed about crime in South America was that in most areas crime isn’t really prevalent, however cities just yank up the crime rates. And the cities are very very bad. In the rural areas, a lot of drug production happens, in the cities, the drug shit happens. Oh, and gang rivalries and violence certainly help in increasing the crime rates.

Chavistas studying the issues think it started with the drug production and dealing in the area. Drug production and dealing is going on all over the region, and a lot of crime is associated with it. Yes the crime in poor parts of Venezuelan cities is very bad, but in the wealthier areas, it’s not that dangerous.
Other cities in Latin America are similar. Colon, Panama supposedly has a very high crime rate and it’s a real shithole.
A lot of Black Caribbean countries are serious shitholes of violent crime.
There is a lot of crime in the rural parts of Mexico though because that is where the drug cartels are.
Lima, Peru, has a lot of crime. Hold onto your wallet or get a money-belt, better yet. Watch out for your purse. Pickpockets, petty thieves and purse-snatchers are everywhere, especially in tourist areas.
Crime has been horrific in Brazilian cities like Rio and Sao Paolo forever now, of course.
There is a lot of street crime in Latin America. You need to be very careful of your surroundings and who you are associating with, especially at night.

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.
 

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.

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.

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.

Mexicans and South Americans and the Influence of Spain

I had an Argentine girlfriend for a while. While she was disappointed that I was not a machista, she really liked the fact that I was an intellectual. She said I was “un hombre de letres,” or “a man of letters.” It is a really cool phrase to describe a writer, but it is seldom used anymore. It seemed that Argentine women liked intellectuals. I also knew a Peruvian woman and she was really jazzed that I was an intellectual too. She really respected an intellectual man, but then she was also a university student.
Whereas Mexicans seem to delight in ignorance and contempt of education, on the other hand, South Americans seem to really respect an intellectual man. I am guessing it is due to more Spanish influence down in Latin America.
I have always felt that South America had much more influence of Spain in their culture. A respect for intellectual men would be a byproduct of Spanish influence since intellectual men are highly respected in Spain.
I knew a woman from Colombia, and she and her associates had strong influence from Spain. She was a member of the upper class, and she spent about half her time in Spain! She had a very Castillian accent, but it was also very sexy and sounded sort of French or Catalan. But a lot of Colombian women have crazy sexy accents. I think it is a rather sensual culture.
She and her family and friends were extremely polite almost to the point of being a parody of politeness. Colombians seem like the nicest, most hyper-polite people on Earth. What I don’t get is how the nicest people on Earth spend so much of their time slaughtering each other.
They were all very much into intellectual culture and arty circles. Her brother was a well known artist, and she was his agent. She hated the FARC and other Colombian guerrillas, but she also implied that there were guerrilla sympathizers in the art circles in which she ran.
I also met a Peruvian upper class woman who also told me that she spent a lot of her time in Spain. It’s almost as if Spain is a 2nd home to a lot of these upper class South Americans.
On the contrary, I do not think the influence of Spain is great in Mexican culture today, but perhaps I am wrong. They seem to have washed a lot of that away in preference for some sort of genuine homegrown Mexican culture.

A Look at the Bora Language

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 Bora language in terms of how difficult it would be for an English speaker to learn it.

Huitotoan
Proto-Bora-Muinane

Bora, a Wintotoan language spoken in Peru and Colombia near the border between the two countries, has a mind-boggling 350 different noun classes. The noun classifier system is actually highly productive and is often used to create new nouns. New nouns can be created very easily, and their meanings are often semantically transparent. In some noun classifier systems, classifiers can be stacked one upon the other. In these cases, typically the last one is used for agreement purposes. The classifier system effectively replaces much derivational morphology on the noun and noun compounding processes that other languages use to expand the meanings of nominals.

Bora also is a tonal language, but it has only two tones. In addition, nearly all consonantal phonemes have phonemic aspirated and palatalized counterparts. The agreement structure in the language is also quite convoluted.

Bora 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.

United Snakes Indicts Sendero Leaders on Dubious Charges

Here.
This is truly insane. Apparently US law now extends all over the whole world! Commit a crime in Timbuktu, and you just violated American law! This proves what I have been saying all along, that Uncle Satan is the Dictator of the World.
The crimes are providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization. Fine, that is a law in the United States, but it only applies to US citizens activities here or elsewhere and obviously it doesn’t apply to anyone else. Where does the US get off indicting Peruvians for things they did in Peru in the course of a civil war?
This is truly terrifying. America is definitely now the dictator of the entire planet. Crazy.
I know some of you are bothered by the anti-US rhetoric. Yesterday was July 4, so I deliberately did not write any anti-US posts day out of respect. Now I am wondering why I even bothered. Hell, I should have posted virulent anti-US posts all day long just to rub it in.

A Look at Some Spanish Dialects

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When Is It Going to Start Working Anyway?

A commenter asks:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When is it supposed to start working anyway?

I Thought the FARC Was “Near Defeat”?

Repost from the old site. A bit dated, but good nonetheless.Here on Robert Lindsay, we do support the FARC and the ELN unequivocally.

This is one hardass rebel army. The US corporate media says they still have 7,000 men under arms, down from 17,000, and in my opinion, their militia numbers in the 100,000’s. I strongly disagree with the 7,000 number, and I think the actual number of FARC troops is probably at least 18,000. They have a presence all over the nation and in several surrounding countries too.

It’s true that they have been dealing with the most intensive military offensive against any rebel group in the history of Latin America, and in recent days, suffered the loss of some top commanders. But they will weather these changes. As soon as a top commander dies or is killed or captured, there is someone else waiting to take his place.

James Brittain notes that the FARC has recently waged some of its most impressive attacks in a long time.

A reporter noted in 2004 that there is an unstated fear that the guerrillas could overrun Colombia’s major cities at any time. As a way of dealing with this, the venal and murderous Colombian ruling class periodically issues proclamations touting the weakness of the FARC, how they are near defeat, how they are suffering from massive defections, etc.

During Plan Colombia and Plan Patriota from 2000-2006, the Colombian regime repeatedly said that the FARC was near defeat. Analysis indicates that instead, attacks have grown over time. During 2008, the US media got into the act, crowing that the FARC was “near defeat”. But this year, the FARC attacked Colombia’s most important oil infrastructure facility and wiped out entire Colombian military battalions.

Between the 29th of April and the 6th of May, 2008, the FARC carried out repeated attacks on Colombia’s largest oil pipeline and halted the export of up to 3 million barrels of oil. At the same time, the FARC attacked various transportation routes crucial to the flow of military supplies and the movement of oil in Colombia’s north.

An essential bridge was destroyed in Cesar Province, preventing the movement of troops and paramilitaries. In Norte de Santander, the FARC attacked forces guarding the Caño-Limón Pipeline.

These last attacks were just hours after the US Ambassador visited the region and crowed about the near-defeat of the FARC. On May 3, 2008, Colombia deployed a battalion to the region to resume the flow of oil. The battalion was quickly destroyed by the FARC, which kept attacking the pipeline for another 2 days.

On May 27, 2008, the FARC attacked Colombia’s largest coal mine, derailing 40 wagons out of a 110 wagon train carrying 110 tons of coal. Further attacks hampered Colombia’s ability to engage in foreign trade by shutting down many export routes.

The North was thought to be relatively free of the FARC in recent years, as their center of operation was said to be in the South, but these attacks proved that wrong. In 2007, when the FARC was “near defeated”, somehow the number of internal refugees grew by 38%. Colombia now has the second largest number of internal refugees in the world, 4.1 million, second to Sudan.

The FARC has auxiliaries in all neighboring countries, the FARE in Ecuador, the FARV in Venezuela (demobilized but ready to fight if need be), the FARB in the Dog’s Head of Brazil, and the FARP in Peru.

The FARP has expanded all the way down to central Peru lately, where they have had great success forming base communities with peasants who hate the state but are disgusted by Sendero’s brutality. Many former Senderistas in Peru, up to 1,000, have signed on with the FARP. FARP has linked up with the devastated remains of the MRTA in San Martin Province and sent the MRTA leftovers back to Colombia for armed training.

They have also linked up with what is left of Sendero, a considerably less radicalized organization. A column of Senderistas from the Huallaga Valley was also seen marching off to Colombia. In Peru, the FARC troops are uniformed, healthy, well-armed and supplied, with modern communications equipment and brimming with confidence.

They come into the villages and offer basic necessities and health care to peasants who are pleased to see them and find them impressive compared to the ragtag guerrillas they are used to. Just because Sendero has been badly hammered does not mean that the people of Peru are not in a revolutionary mood.

The FARC also operates R & R bases in Panama and operates all across northern Brazil to southern Guyana, where they tax gold mining operations. This is one way the FARC has reacted to the largest offensive ever launched against any Latin American guerrilla group – they have expanded to all of the surrounding countries.

80% of Colombians live in poverty while a greedy and sociopathic oligarchy bleeds the country dry. There is no democracy in Colombia. Anyone opposing the state from the Left can be killed at any time.

When members of the FARC put down their arms to run for office in the 1980’s and formed the Patriotic Union, they were massacred like flies. Years later, 5,000 UP activists lay dead, and the party was disbanded. This is how the Colombian regime responds to challenges from the Left, even unarmed. With bullets. Until that changes, war will go on.

Colombia is currently one of the US’ top allies in the world, and the US’ top ally in Latin America. It’s unfortunate that US’ best friend in the region is such a murderous and fascist state, but it speaks volumes about the nature of the US state itself.

Ian Welsh, “The Depression and the Future”

From Ian Welsh’s glorious blog:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Interesting NE Asian Phenotype

Repost from the old site.
White Nationalists like to go on and on and on about the glorious color of their skin: white. For some odd reason, this white skin is superior to darker-colored skins of folks who evolved in hotter zones. Truth is, darker skin color is a perfectly rational evolutionary response to high rates of UV radiation in areas where it is very hot.
And in some areas of the globe, people can have fairly light skins if they stay out of the sun, but they get dark quite easily if they go out in the sun. Italians and Greeks come to mind. Here are photos of Italians, Greeks and Spaniards who have stayed out of sun, and then the same folks after they got tanned.
The same page also shows identical phenotypes commonly seen as European-only, like Nordics, Mediterraneans and Alpines, in both their European and extra-European forms from Arabia, North Africa and Central Asia. Often the darker skin you see in a lot of Southern Europeans is nothing but a tan.
On the other hand, Northern Europeans, and possibly other Northern types, don’t tan very well (they often burn) and even when they do, they don’t get all that dark. The very dark skin of Blacks, Papuans, Melanesians, some Aborigines and some South Indians is simply a result of evolving in those parts of the Earth where the sun shines brightest of all.
But Whites ought to give up the fantasy of about their white skin being best of all – because other races have some very white skin too. See the Korean woman in the photo below for example.

A Korean woman. She has a shade of White on her skin that is lacking in almost all Caucasians – it is probably only seen in Ireland and Scotland and it’s probably even lacking in Sweden and Norway. But this very White phenotype seen in some Koreans and Northern Chinese differs from that of European Whites in that it is more glossy. European White skin looks more chalky or powdery.
This phenotype also has skin that looks more like porcelain and is reflective of light. The very light European skin tends to be less light-reflective.

Here’s a pretty cool chart showing degrees of skin lightness versus darkness around the world.

UV radiation chart along with zones of skin color. Zone 1 has the darkest skin of all . Zone 2, which includes Italians and Spaniards, has skin that tans easily. Zone 3 contains light skin that enables residents to absorb as much Vitamin D as possible from the sun due to lack of sunlight at higher latitudes.
Note that there is also pretty high UV radiation in parts of South America (Peru), in the heart of Mexico, in Southwest Arabia (especially Yemen), in Southern India and Sri Lanka and in Indonesia, Malaysia, Southern Philippines and New Guinea. Indonesians and Malaysians are known for being darker than many other SE Asian groups.
According to this chart, the darkest people of all are Blacks from Mozambique and Cameroon in Africa and Aborigines from Darwin in North Australia. A look at the same chart, much expanded, in the original paper, shows that the next darkest are Blacks, the Okavango in Namibia and the Sara in Chad (Table 6, p. 19). The chart shows that the lightest people are in Netherlands, followed by Germany and then the northern parts of the UK.
Note on the map that Tibet and parts of the Amazon should have some very dark-skinned people, but those who live there are lighter than you would expect based on UV. The paper suggests that the Tibetans are lighter because it is so cold there that most of their body is covered up all the time and only the face is uncovered.
The face is lighter to collect what Vitamin D it can as so much of the body cannot collect Vitamin D due to clothing. The Amazonian Indians are known to be shade-seeking and the paper suggests that this may account for their lighter skin.

Most Whites don’t really have White skin anyway. I am looking at my own skin here as I type, and it looks more pink than White.

References

Jablonski, N. and Chaplin, G. (2000) The Evolution of Human Skin Coloration. Journal of Human Evolution. Available on this blog here.

Great Commie Blogs

Repost from the old site.
Two totally great Commie blogs – People’s Movement Support Group and Machetera .
PMSG is out of India with an emphasis on support for the Maoist revolutionaries in India along with the separatists in the Northeast (India’s armed Maoists tend to support the northeastern separatists), and it’s almost all translated stuff from the world press, but there is a strong emphasis on armed Leftwing revolutionary movements.
Thankfully, he is not a fanatic – he supports Cuba, the Maoists in Nepal and especially in India, the FARC in Colombia, the EPR and EZLN in Mexico, the MRTA in Peru and the NPA Maoists in Philippines. In Palestine, he supports the PFLP! What is interesting about this is that in many cases orthodox Maoists do not support non-Maoists like the FARC or Cuba or surely the MRTA on grounds that they are not Commie enough.
Yay!
He also supports armed separatists in the Basque Country, Kurdistan, Ireland ( IRA), Sri Lanka and in India’s Northeast.
If there are leftwing maniacs anywhere on Earth with guns and bombs, he backs them up 100% (other than Sendero Luminoso). That’s some real consistency and style.
Living here in the US, one thing you notice right away is that almost every single human being you meet (who has an opinion on the issue) absolutely hates all guerrillas anywhere on Earth. This is true even for almost all US liberals, and even, incredibly, for many US Leftists.
The line of the average American is clear: All guerrillas are evil. They are all terrorists. In particular, Americans seem to really hate any kind of armed separatists or separatists of any type. This is kind of odd in that we were birthed via revolution, and there is no reason to fear separatism here as there isn’t any armed separatism in the US (or anywhere in the Americas) and probably never will be.
So Americans have turned into some of the biggest state-fetishists on Earth. Only the state can have guns. Only the state must have a monopoly on violence. All guerrillas are terrorists, terrorists are evil, and they all need to be killed to preserve the civilized world. All separatists are scum, states alone have the right to draw borders, and self-determination will never be allowed to anyone.
Death squads are fine and dandy, and every state is a democracy, no matter how murderous. The people never have the right to take up arms against any state anywhere, unless I guess it is Communist.
In other words, Americans have turned their backs completely on the noble spirit of the American revolution and have become the philosophical heirs to King George’s colonists. We have also become Israelis. They are colonists too. See any connections yet?
Machetera is definitely a blog after my heart. I get called a Stalinist a lot on here, but that’s not necessarily true. I do defend Stalin in some ways, mostly just to counteract the nonsense about “the biggest murderer that ever lived”, by pointing out the many great, humanitarian and life-saving things he did. He also killed a lot of people, and I think it many cases that was just plain wrong or even flat out evil.
Honestly, I would really prefer that we Lefties stopped killing people once we got into power. Other than the obvious moral questions, it has given the Right a gigantic shot in the arm by portraying us a the biggest murderers that ever lived. This has been so successful that many people around the world are frightened to let the hard Left back into power due to fear that they may start killing people.
So it is that I am a big fan of Castro’s Cuba, a place where the state has hardly killed a single political prisoner since 1970. They put a few in jail, but that’s not the same thing. By the way, I think the Cubans should go out of their way to treat the jailed political prisoners well, if only to deprive the anti-Commies of their propaganda snacks.
On the Majority Rights (careful – very nasty WN blog) blog a while back I was called a Castroite. That’s not a bad portrayal of me.
There is such a thing, and the Castroite philosophy, a Left, and sometimes an armed Left, that is particular to Latin America, is quite well portrayed on Machetera. So if you want to see what a Castroite looks like, head on over. They’ve actually long had conflicts with anarchists, Maoists and even some Trotskyites.
The Castroite philosophy could be best seen in the revolutionary movements that arose in Latin America in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Prior to that, there were a number of small bands in Peru, Bolivia and Venezuela that were wiped out. These were often influenced by Regis Debray’s flawed foco philosophy of armed revolution. Che’s fated project in Bolivia in 1966 is another example.
The ELN and the FARC in Colombia are very much Castroite (especially the ELN), with the ELN having a very strong Catholic liberation theology flavor. The FARC is probably a bit more rooted in an indigenous Colombian Left with roots in that nation’s particular history.
There are now branches of the FARC in Ecuador (FARE), Brazil (FARB), Panama (FARC), Venezuela (FARV) and Peru (FARP). The FARC extend all the way to Guyana, where they tax the gold mines. In 1984, the MRTA Castroites arose in Peru, but were eventually eclipsed by the Shining Path.
The Sandinistas of Nicaragua, the FMLN of El Salvador and the URNG of El Salvador and various small guerrilla bands in Honduras in the 1980’s were all Castroites, and the FMLN and the Sandinistas still have Castroite roots, though they have moved to the Right.
Chavez in Venezuela, Correa in Ecuador and Morales in Bolivia are very much in this special tradition.
There are many aspects to Castroism, and it is hard to put it down succinctly. Typically, many are Catholics and there is a lack of hostility to religion. They are less anti-Semitic than most Latin American Catholics (anti-Semitism is big in a continent with few Jews), in part because some of their leaders have been Jewish.
They tend to be much more pragmatic than Maoists, and are often prone to be called revisionists by the latter. There is a strong anti-Yankee and anti-US strain. The cult of Che Guevara is very important. The role of the peasants is very strong, but not in a Maoist sense.
The role of urban workers is somewhat important but not crucial, in part because the area is not well industrialized. But the industrial and professional unions are strongly supported.
There is a lacks of sexual puritanicalism that typified many existing Communist states. There is a significant de-emphasis on the Indian Question (while it is recognized nevertheless. This in contrast to Sendero, who raised the Indian Question to prime status. There is a very flexible ideology that often incorporates electoral democracy and mixed economies.
Class is much more important than race or sex, though the Woman Question is important. Female guerrillas often make up very large percentages of fighters, and in guerrilla ranks all aspects of Latin American machismo that oppresses women are banned.
Machetera is characterized by support for Cuba. Along the way, there are also shout-outs for Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and Rafael Correa in Ecuador. The PFLP in Palestine have always had a fondness for Che Guevara and Cuba, and Cuba has long supported the PLO. Furthermore, she is a fine writer, witty and smart.

In the Shining Path of Ann Dunham

Repost from the old site.
It’s a lie that Sendero Luminoso never had much support. Simon Strong’s 1992 book gives the lie to that quite well. In the 18 months following Fujimori’s seizure of power, an unbelievable 1.5 million Peruvians were arrested on charges of being members of or collaborating with the Shining Path.
Surveys done at the height of their power indicated that they had the passive support of about 50% of the very poorest in society, with the full support of 16%. Really, to win any revolution you probably need 30% support, but the Bolsheviks did it with a lot less.
In the American Revolution, few Americans know that only 1/3 of Americans support George Washington’s bands, another 1/3 were basically traitors supporting the English crown and another 1/3 were pragmatic fence-sitters waiting to see which side was going to win before they decided who to support.
Most people don’t realize that in most civil wars you have a huge percentage of fence-sitters who are mostly just trying to stay alive.
Sendero had support even in the churches and in the military. They completely blew it in a lot of ways though, and though they still operate, they are a shadow of what they formerly were.
In my post, Sendero Fades and FARC Rises in Peru, I elaborate how Sendero has faded in Peru only to be replaced by the FARC of Colombia, who have been moving far down into Peru for some time now, and have been doing well with peasants fed up with Sendero’s mad violence.
The remains of the MRTA (yes, they still exist also) are up in the far north of Peru in San Martin Province where they always had their main base. Many former rebels from Sendero and the MRTA have basically left those groups and marched off to Colombia for retraining as members of the FARC.
This is part of a FARC regional strategy to expand into the countries surrounding it – there is the FARE in Ecuador, the FARV in Venezuela (which may have 2-3,000 members), the FARB that operates in the Dog’s Head region on the Brazilian border of Colombia and I believe the FARP that operates in Peru.
This article from La Rouche Publications (no, I do not endorse them) while a bit over the top, has an excellent roundup and analysis of the Sendero phenomenon. Particularly interesting is the huge support they had in the Peruvian diaspora in Europe, the US and Mexico, with a mind-numbing array of organizations.
In the US, the support was run by the Maoists in the RCP, a large US Maoist group. RCP’s homepage is here, and they actually run some decent articles, though I don’t support Communism in the US or anywhere else in the First World at the moment – I support some variety of socialism instead, and that can even mean social democracy.
El Diario International is the international paper of Sendero, or at least what remains of it. What is amazing is that this Belgium-based paper still prints a lot of issues, at least on the Net. It’s chock full of brand-new raving articles all the time.
I don’t read Spanish very well, but maybe someone who does could check it out and come back and report to us in the comments. El Diario del Hoy was Sendero’s paper in Peru, but it’s long been shut down. I think it reappears clandestinely from time to time.
I have read tons of Sendero propaganda and position statements. These people are completely off the deep end. All existing Communist states are “revisionist” (not real Communists but instead reformist traitors to the movement), and that includes North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos and of course China. They despise both Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Evo Morales of Bolivia. Chavez is pegged as some sort of “corporatist fascist”.
Sendero does support other armed Maoists like the revolutionaries in the Philippines, Nepal and India (but their most recent editorial condemns the Nepalese Maoists for “capitulation”). The Nepalese revolutionaries have done very well, the NPA in the Philippines is a vast organization, and the Indian Maoists are expanding like mad in the east. I don’t have a problem with any of these three movements.
Their position statements, and regular publications of their Red Sun Magazine (both here) are some of the rantingest, ravingest Commie stuff out there (Red Sun (Sol Rojo) 29 in Spanish, Red Sun 29 English supplement). As Peruvian society is evil and the system is a pile of garbage, Peruvian reality drove Senderistas insane. The crazier and more wicked the society, the crazier and more wicked the guerrilla reaction.
The La Rouche link (forget the nonsense about how Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch support Sendero, and forget anything about the UK – LaRouchies have always been insane on the subject of the Crown) makes clear the link between Sendero and radical anthropologists and academics, in particular psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, historians, teachers and agronomists.
The role of anthropologists , both Peruvian and even foreign, as essentially the brainchildren of Sendero is especially glaring.
Just for the record, this blog supports the ELN and FARC in Colombia, and supported the MRTA in Peru, but cannot support the project of Sendero.
The link with anthropologists is especially interesting in that Obama’s mother was an anthro, and she has been decried as an America-hater, and this America-hatred of hers can be seen supposedly in both Obama and his wife.
Though I do not care about whether or not Obama and his wife hate America, I think these latest America-hating charges may well be fatal for his campaign, especially with White ethnic working class types (Reagan Democrats), independents and Republicans who were voting for Obama for some bizarre reason.
This Asia Times piece by Spengler is worth reading along those lines. Though I am not a big fan of Spengler, he is definitely worth reading. He tells it like it is all right.
I’m for whichever Dem, the Black or the woman, can beat the Republican clown. At this point it’s starting to look like the lady. Women all over the country are fired up and hopping mad about the sexist BS directed at Hillary all through this whole campaign. A bunch of yahoo alpha male dogs showed up at one of Hilary’s appearances in New Hampshire and yelped, “Iron my shirts!”
Jeez.
Good for American women for standing up to this sexist crap. Everyone should stand up for their rights, and I applaud my sisters. This blog will never attack Hilary on sexist grounds.

George Habash, a Revolutionary Life

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

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

CPGB-ML Tribute to Habash

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Andoni continued:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes

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

The Real Reason for the Shining Path

Repost from the old site.
Rightwing anti-Communists (and for that matter, Centrist and liberal US anti-Communists also) have some very peculiar attitudes about Communism, shaped by the Cold War. Communism, it appears, is some strange, evil and insane system, a crazy, idiotic and totally failed economic and social system that brought nothing but misery, hunger, starvation and poverty to the world, while bringing nothing good.
The alternative was capitalism, which would at some point conquer hunger, poverty, starvation and all that. Capitalism is always supposed to conquer these things at some point in the future. Capitalist polemicists usually say, “Just give it some time…”
With the neoliberalism that has been pushed since 1980 and has brought nothing but misery and impoverishment to billions and caused many millions of deaths, we have always been told that it would start working pretty soon now…maybe next year…victory is right around the corner. The truth is that after 25 years of neoliberalism, the verdict is in and a long report has documented it quite well.
Nearly everywhere it has been tried, neoliberalism has benefited the top 20% of the population (often greatly) and screwed the bottom 80%.
Even in the US, from 1980-1992, the top 20% gained income (the top 1% had an incredible gain) while the bottom 80% (everyone with individual income of less than $56,000/yr) of the US population actually lost money. A similar scenario unfolded in Britain.
Neoliberalism, nearly everywhere, resulted in lowered economic growth rates, massive debt, plunging wages and living standards for the majority, reductions in access to health and eduction, and reductions in many health and education metrics like infant mortality, life expectancy and the percentage of children in school at various ages.
This is because neo-liberalism mandated massive cuts in all social services, especially education and health care. The outcome was foretold. The truth about neoliberalism is that it has always been a scam in which the West, especially Western banks, corporations and investors, ripped off the rest of the World blind and the people were always left holding the bag.
Nevertheless, the ripoff artists keep trying to sell their neoliberal snake oil around the world, but more and more nations are no longer buying. Most of the countries of Latin America have tired of the “checks in the mail” neoliberal snipe hunt, and collectively, they are trying, in their own often-limited ways, to dislodge themselves from the grip of the neoliberal plague.
Even mainstream economists admit that Latin America (macroeconomically) did not benefit from the neoliberal fad. Recently, Argentina paid off its foreign debt and said no more. In Venezuela, Chavez is trying to forge a completely new path that is, instead of the Communism his detractors libel him with, in truth nothing more than a reformation of capitalism.
President Lula in Brazil has been hampered by the death grip of both investor capital and the markets; he has not been able to do much at all. Uruguay has elected a strident Leftist, but it is not known what he can do given his restraints.
Chile, after the utter failure of Pinochet’s radical free market economics (something the free market crazies have never owned up to), has elected a socialist and a woman as President, Bachelet. It is not known what she can do in terms of progress, but Chile still has an education and health sector that is in pretty good shape and sports good metrics to show for it.
In Ecuador, Rafael Correa is President, and he has formed an alliance with Chavez. It remains to be seen what he can do in terms of progress, as his options, as usual, are limited.
In Bolivia, Evo Morales, an Indian, has won a very close election in a country where a small White elite has always run roughshod over the majority Indian population. His options are also limited, but Morales’ rhetoric has at least been almost as radical as Chavez’.
A major problem in Bolivia is the mestizos in the East of the country (Santa Cruz Province) who despise the Indians the West as inferior while they sit on top of Bolivia’s rich natural gas deposits. They are making noises about succession, but they will never try it.
In Mexico, AMLO (Lopez-Obrador), a Leftist, actually won the election, but due to the usual fraud, the PAN (a rightwing Catholic party that rose out of the religious hot war in Mexico in the 1920’s that left 70,000 dead) now holds the presidency. Felipe Calderon is the PAN President and he won’t do a damned thing to solve the problems that have caused an incredible 12% of Mexico’s population to move to the US.
As an example of such problems, the family of one man, Carlos Slim, the head of the private Mexican phone monopoly, controls 50% of the wealth in the entire country. That is why America is being overrun by illegal aliens.
There has been some resistance to this semi-feudal order.
A very radical movement has tried to overthrow the corrupt and brutal dictatorial government of Oaxaca state. The Zapatistas* are still alive, and recently a Leftist group, the EPL*, has started to blow stuff up again, after disappearing for three years.
In Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega was re-elected, but he appears to have softened his rhetoric to the point where he cannot do much. Still, he has formed an alliance with Chavez. Nicaragua, now the second poorest country in Latin America, lies in corrupt ruins.
Support for the considerably neutered Sandinistas is higher than reported in the ruling class media – although Ortega had 35% support, his rival, a Sandinista attacking Ortega from the Left, had another 20% of the vote, so the whole Left vote was a 55% majority, not 35% as the corporate media would have you believe.
Under the Sandinistas, Nicaragua went from one of the worst to one of the best in Central America for literacy and health care figures. In 1990, Violeta Chamorro, adored by the whole US political spectrum, including the Cruise Missile liberals of the US Democratic Party, won the election.
Right away, she ended free education, requiring students to spend $35 a year on uniforms, a fee that immediately threw large numbers of kids out of school. Most have yet to return. She also got rid of free health care, so most of the population is without health care again. The health and education figures for the nation have shown the expected collapse.
It is interesting that Democratic Party liberals are apparently overjoyed about this situation, showing the bankruptcy of their ideology.
Most of the rest of the continent is collapsed in the usual ruins. 1 million people die every year from hunger in Latin America, and this has been going on for decades. How come this stuff never makes it to the “Worst Killers in Recent History” contests?
The anti-Communist line about Communism divorces it from its concrete realities in the sort of totally rotten social and economic systems that have spawned peasant revolutions for centuries before Karl Marx was even born.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990’s and the fall of the Warsaw Pact, rightwingers rejoiced. It was the “end of history”, said Francis Fukuyama. The era of peasant revolts was over. Never again would humanity have to worry about any Marxist, Leftist, worker, peasant, or even populist revolution.
Capitalism was here to say, in all of its forms, from most enlightened to most hideous, and no one could do a damn thing about it!
Well, that is nonsense. Anti-Communists say that revolutions happen for no reason at all, other than the insane desire of Communist madmen to seize power and impose their failed system on an unwilling population. They say that revolutions do not arise from horrible social and economic systems – they arise from sick Marxist pathology.
Get rid of Marxism, they say, and capitalism can run wild on humanity again. Perhaps we can even re-instate feudalism and slavery while we are at it. After all, they were both great for business.
Amidst the deafening racket of nonsense, a series of economic figures looms up at us like a ghost from the recent Peruvian past.
In back of those figures, 15 years later in 1980, like an Inca God rising up from the grave to slay the Spanish invaders 450 years after they waded ashore, is the frightening shadow of the Peruvian Shining Path*, another “totally insane” Marxist group that arose “for no reason whatsoever other than sheer evil”.
Yet the figures below show us why a revolution, even one as insane as Sendero Luminoso, was inevitable:
From the Peruvian National Planning Institute in Bejar, Peru, in 1965, we learn that the 24,000 families of the White ruling class in Lima had an income of $62,000/yr*.
The entire rest of the country had an average family income of $157.
The Indians of the Sierra, who even now have a life expectancy of only 45 years, had an average family income of only $10 a year.
*All figures in 1965 US dollars.
Most people agree that things have only gotten worse in Peru since then. Look at those figures above and tell that that is not kindling and kerosene for bloody revolution. The match was called Sendero, and someone was going to toss a match sooner or later.
There were centuries in Peru before 1965, four of them, and they build on our tale. From 1526 (when the Spaniards came to Peru) to 1630, the Indian population declined from 13 million to 600,000 – a loss of 95% of the population. It was a Holocaust, and I don’t care how many crazy Jews scream “anti-Semite” at me for stealing their pet word.
For the next three centuries, the Indians were tied to the land like serfs, bonded in debt peonage in a feudal estate society. This continued until well into the 1970’s. The jungle Indians were enslaved and killed for sport starting in the 1800’s and continuing until 50 years or so ago.
It is 1980. The bump and lurch of the dialectic, from Hegel to Marx to Mariategui to Guzman, has brought us here, to Sendero’s nightmare. The weight of 450 years of oppression, enslavement and genocide buckled the roof of the sick system and created the Sendero virus, which infected much of the country and nearly killed the host.
But given history, it could not have been any other way.

This is an example, from the city of Cherboksary, Russia, of the most failed economic system ever known to mankind – Communism. The fountains you see are inferior and worthless – totally failed fountains, if you will.
The buildings in the background as are complete failures as buildings, since they are dull and boring. Those buildings are called “socialist housing” and everyone in the West agrees that this type of housing does not work. What works much better are the capitalist slums in the pictures to follow.
The river is quite clean and this is another example of complete failure. Much better are the black rivers of capitalist slums, stinking with garbage, animal corpses and raw sewage. Why? Because diseases and smells are exciting! Who wants to be bored, anyway?
Even the bright greenery in the foreground in a total failure – it’s much better to have live amidst the mounds of garbage you see below. Capitalist slums, with their thrill a minute and constant search for food, are the only way to go.
A slum in Brazil. This is the successful system that works. Much better than that failed, dull socialist housing above, no? When are you moving in, reader?
Men pick through a garbage dump, probably in Nairobi. Slums in Nairobi make up 6% of the city yet house 60% of the population. In many parts of the capitalist third world, human beings actually live in these garbage dumps. They often suffer from continuous infections and sores.
Slums of Nairobi. This is the only viable system on Earth, capitalism. All of the alternatives, especially Communism, are failed and don’t work. As you can see, this system works great.
Communist housing fails because it is dull, boring and lifeless. It is much better to live in lively, exciting surroundings like this Nairobi slum, where I assure you there is never a dull movement. How dare those evil Commies try to move these people into “failed” Soviet-style high-rises!
An excellent example of capitalist education from Africa. Capitalism hates education, everywhere and at all times, because the capitalists can’t make any money off of it, and the capitalists all send their kids to fancy private schools, hence they resent paying for a system they do not even use. So capitalism, under neoliberalism, has predictably devastated education systems around the Third World.
Who needs to get educated anyway? The problem of the 3rd World is too many kids! Besides, Black people are so dumb that all attempts to educate them are a waste of time, or so The Bell Curve told me.
Slums of Brazil. The problem is these Brazilians have too damn many kids! Yet the evidence shows that Brazil’s birthrate is actually below replacement level. Never matter, in that case, the poor should quit having babies altogether!
Somehow, Westerners always find a way to blame the victim.
Of course, Brazil having the worst rich-poor gap on Earth could not have anything to do with this situation, now would it? By 2020, 40% of the world will live in these awesome slums. Cool! At least they won’t have to suffer from Communism or any of that failed stuff.
The charming slums of Brazil. Rio de Janeiro is home to 12 million people – 4 million of them in 800 different favelas, or slums. All of these slums are run by gangs of drug dealers, who engage in continuous battles with each other and the police, that is, when they are not engaging in armed robberies, kidnappings and homicides. Recent articles in the Western press have hailed the dramatic improvements in these slums. As you can see here, they are so much better than they used to be!
Residents of a slum in Nairobi trudge through the garbage on their way home. Nairobi has an out of control crime rate, but of course that has nothing to do with the fact that these folks live in slums. It is because the criminals are evil and commit crimes for no reason at all. Furthermore, they are Black, and Black people are genetically natural born criminals. They’re just a race of Bad Seeds, and nothing can be done about them at all.
The wonderful slums of Mumbai again! This is the high tech economy that is taking the world by storm, the envy of the planet. Check out that high tech dishwasher this girl is using – I bet it was designed by those IT professionals down in Bangalore! Go, India go!
The truth about India is, of course, more tragic than Tom Friedman (see below) can figure out. By 1985, capitalism was killing between between 2.92 and 4 million every year in India, and 1.76 million were being killed in Bangladesh. That is 5.25 million people being killed by capitalism every year in just those two countries alone. But wait a minute! Capitalism doesn’t kill anyone. Stalin and Mao were the worst killers of the 20th century, dontcha know?
Since Communism doesn’t work, we have to go with the only alternative, the system that works, capitalism. This photo shows you just how great it works in Mumbai, India. Noam Chomsky reports that, comparing China and India, which had similar developmental figures in 1949, there have been 100 million excess deaths in Indian from 1947-1979.
This clearly shows the superiority of Chinese Communism, at least when it comes to saving lives. Note that China’s superior figures even include all of those killed by Maoism, which may number over 20 million people. But Maoism saved far more, and China set a world record with the fastest doubling of life expectancy by any country, going from 32 in 1949 to 65 in 1976, surpassing Joseph Stalin’s record set in 1956.
Now in China, gone heavily over to capitalism, millions are dying from lack of health care alone. Getting back to India, recent figures show that there are 4 million excess deaths in India every single year. Gideon Polya calculates that excess infant mortality alone, compared to a model of Sri Lanka, kills 2.7 million Indians per year.
Slums of Mumbai. 6 million people – 60% of the population – live on only 6% of the land. Pundits all across the West, especially Thomas Friedman in The World is Flat, rave about India’s booming economy . India’s capitalism is praised all across the West. As you can see here, it really works great!
Working backwards and forwards from Chomsky’s figures above of 4 million deaths per year in India from capitalism, which he got from Indian economist Amratya Sen, we can guess that capitalism may have killed 170 million Indians since 1949 as compared to the Chinese model. But wait, aren’t Communists the worst killers of them all?
Don’t like the way I do figures? Try these instead then. Capitalism kills 14 million people every single year just by starvation, mostly in South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Afghanistan).

*This blog does not support the project of Sendero Luminoso, as they kill people who are completely innocent. It does support the Zapatistas and the EPL in Mexico.

Sendero Fades and FARC Rises in Peru

Repost from the old site.
Web Archive is your friend.
What wonderful dead Internet things it has managed to preserve for us, little snapshots long expired, such as Argentine Jewish journalist Uki Goni’s interview with Nicholas Shakespeare, author of the novel The Dancer Upstairs, based on the Shining Path* insurgency.
The novel was later made into a movie. Goni asks Shakespeare about the years he spent in Peru searching for Abimael Guzman (Presidente Gonzalo, leader of the Shining Path).
He never found him of course, but he did find a man who he said was the real brains behind the Sendero Luminoso movement, anthropologist Efrain Morote Best, former rector at the University of San Cristobal of Huamanga in Ayacucho, Peru from 1962-1968. This is where philosophy professor Guzman started his movement.
Many of the administrators, professors and students at the university were the nucleus of the movement, and Shining Path probably started 20 years before they burned ballot boxes in Chuschi, Ayacucho, on May 17, 1980, almost exactly 200 years after the last Inca rebel, Tupac Amaru, on May 17, 1781, was drawn and quartered by Spaniards, the four pieces then buried at far corners of Peru.
The Chuschi ballots burning was an inauspicious affair. At 2 AM, five masked youths and one adult entered the office of the registrar, tied him up, burned the ballots and registry and retreated into the night. The attack had been led by a schoolteacher. The incident was scarcely even noted in the press. But the single spark to light the prairie fire had been lit.
The correlation with the execution of Tupac Amaru was not accidental, yet this little-noted fact has hardly been noticed by anyone who studied the insurgency. But it has profound implications for understanding the movement.
Best’s son was the head on the military wing of Sendero and was the 2nd in command of the group. His brother and sister were also members. All were arrested and are serving sentences in prison. Best himself died in 1992. Shakespeare describes meeting Best in his hideout in northern Lima, surrounded by books and classical records, and coming face to face with the first truly evil man he had ever met.
Drinking coffee in Best’s home and talking for three hours, Shakespeare was shaking the whole time. Best had “no emotions”, while Gonzalo had “no personality” – an ascetic, humorless brainy type who bragged that he drank a bottle of mineral water on his honeymoon – this was his idea of a wild time.
Shakespeare’s interview paints Sendero as calculating and completely evil, a new Khmer Rouge. I do not necessarily agree with that, but I never supported them either. I believe that Sendero rejected Pol Pot’s back to nature Year Zero agrarianism, and surely they had nothing against intellectuals.
Indeed, it was a product of Mestizo intellectuals from the neglected provinces, victims of omnipresent racism and discrimination at the hands of the White ruling class.
Most of the cadres were young Mestizos, male and female, high school to college age, from the big cities on the coast and the provinces. Later there were many supporters amongst settlers in the jungle, amongst the ever-oppressed Indians in the Highlands, some jungle Indians and the urban poor and working class in Lima.
Shakespeare acts as if Sendero cared not one bit about the Indians. This is not true. The funeral of Edith Lagos, a fighter killed in 1982, drew over 30,000 (in a city of 70,000 people) – mostly Indians – to her funeral in Ayacucho, the capital of the province where it all began. The huge crowd had defied a ban on her funeral.
Furthermore, Lagos (rare photos of the strikingly beautiful Lagos here and here) had recently graduated from a Catholic high school run by nuns in Ayacucho. She had been a model student at the high school.
Earlier, her parents had sent her to Lima to study to be an attorney. She often skipped school to watch movies from India, because, she said, she liked to cry. When she was not doing that, she was meeting with trade union workers in the city and talking revolution.
She was rapidly recruited into the Shining Path and her rousing speeches electrified Indians throughout the Southern Sierra. At age 17, she was already a guerrilla commander. Lagos was captured several times by government forces. There is a photo of her in government custody in 1981, face swollen by beatings, 18 year old eyes already hard with determination. By now, Sendero held the northern third of Ayacucho.
On May 2, 1982, in one of Sendero’s most impressive actions, 500 Senderistas raided and took over the university city of Huamanga, a city of 80,000 people. They blew up the local jail and liberated 304 Senderistas, including Lagos. They held the city for a short time, confiscated every weapon in sight, and left.
After that, Sendero went on the offensive in Ayacucho. Bridges, electrical towers, police stations, barracks, banks and businesses were attacked. Three months later, President Belaunde declared a state of emergency in nine districts in the southern Andes and put them under military control. At the end of 1983, 8,000 peasants lay dead. Maybe 5% were Senderistas. The war was on.
Once, with other fighters, she blew a hole in the Ayacucho jail and liberated all of the Senderista prisoners. In the months before her death, a legend was born, the heroic Robin Hood guerrilla, a female Che Guevara. In the market of Huancayo, Edith Lagos wooden statues were already being sold, a young woman standing before a budding tree.
Legend* has it she was wounded in a shootout with authorities soon afterwards, apparently taken prisoner while alive, raped, tortured and finally bayoneted to death by government forces. She was all of 19 years old. This was pretty typical behavior by government forces.
In contrast, Sendero often tended to wounded government soldiers’ wounds, took them prisoner, and asked them to defect from the security forces or join Sendero.
Her father was asked to come to Andahualyas to identify the body. He came, picked up the body and took it back to Ayacucho. All along the way, the procession was repeatedly stopped as throngs of peasants poured into the road to mourn their dead heroine.
Her funeral and mass were held in the main Catholic (Lagos was a Catholic, as were most of rank and file Senderistas and even some of the leadership – Abimael Guzman himself is said to be Catholic) cathedral in Ayacucho, where her coffin was draped with a hammer and sickle flag inside church, an odd sight.
There is a rare videotape of the funeral. The chapel is packed with peasants, storeowners, government workers, all dressed in Indian garb. As her coffin is borne out of the church, a rousing, clapping chant rises from the crowd as it presses forward and drapes a hammer and sickle flag over her coffin: “Commandante Edith presente! The people will never forget your spilled blood!”
The crowd circled the square three times, each time swelling the crowd as more and more people poured out of their homes to join the march. Marching into the cemetery was a solid wall of humanity. The Shining Path banner rode on the outstretched arms of the crowd.
There are those who swear that Abimael Guzman himself was in the crowd. He may as well have been. The commanding officer of the police had ordered all of his men to stay inside during the procession.
Lagos is still regarded as a heroine by the local Indians at the time and for a long time afterwards. Her grave become a local shrine. Three times, government death squads blew up her grave to kill her vision. Three times, her father painstakingly rebuilt it, even though after the first blast there was not that much to put in there.
Each time he rebuilds it, he rewrites the poem that Lagos had composed before her death as her epitaph. Every year on the anniversary of her death, her mother brings a bouquet of yellow broom flowers to put on the grave, Sendero’s symbol of resistance. Even now, Edith Lagos banners, poems and sculptures festoon the city of Huamanga. The myth of Commandante Edith lives.
Lagos’ funeral, along with reports that many Catholics, including nuns and priests, supported the Shining Path, also gives the lie to the anti-Sendero line that “Sendero deliberately targeted the Church”, while at the same time accentuating the dramatic role that women played in the Shining Path.
In 1993, an organizational chart of the top leadership of Sendero showed 12 men and 11 women.
The widow of one of Peru’s most famous novelists, Jose Maria Arguedas, Sybila Arredondo, was arrested as a member of Sendero, sending shock waves through Peruvian society. Arguedas, a mestizo born in the Andes, captured the true spirit of the Peruvian Indian better than perhaps any other Peruvian author. He died a suicide in 1969.
1/3 of Sendero’s members and leadership were female. One of Peru’s top ballerinas was an associate of the top Sendero leadership and was one of those arrested with Guzman in 1992.
Clearly, the notion that Sendero oppressed women in general, widely made after the group killed Maria Elena Moyano, “Mother Courage”, in 1991, is without merit. Further, Moyano was killed, albeit brutally, for organizing counterinsurgency patrols and turning in supporters and members of Sendero to the police. As such, she was no longer a civilian.
The very name of the group was the Peruvian Communist Party en el Sendero Luminoso de (in the shining path of) Jose Carlos Mariategui. Mariategui, who wrote his most famous work in 1928, was one of the Peru’s most famous Marxist thinkers.
He was particularly important for highlighting the Woman question and Indian question. He was also a Catholic and was particularly harsh about the way that the Marxists in Peru at the time criticized the spiritual beliefs of the peasants. For an extensive review of the role of Catholic believers in many Communist parties and movements in the 20th century, see this fascinating web page.
One cannot really understand Sendero without knowing about Mariategui. So from the start, Sendero raised feminism and the liberation of the Indians as two of their banners.
Simon Strong’s Shining Path (1992) is the finest book ever written on the movement. He spent a lot of time in Peru and concluded that at the time, the movement had a huge amount of support, even among the military, the Catholic church, teachers, students, workers, peasants, the urban poor and exiles.
They also had massive support among the Ashaninka Indians in the Amazon, and also with some other tribes. The notions that Sendero held 1000’s of Indians “prisoner“, or that they massacred scores of unarmed jungle Indians, are total nonsense. At the time Strong wrote his book, the movement was at the peak of their popularity. Later that year, Guzman was captured, and it has been all downhill ever since.
But the general assessment of anti-Sendero authors, that Sendero either had no understanding of, or was hostile to, Peruvian values and traditions is just not true.
I also disagree with the standard assessment that Sendero is widely despised in Peru. Many people do have ambivalent feelings about them, true.
When the media writes about the flap about Cameron Diaz infuriating Peruvians with her Maoist “Serve the People” purse (the rightwing blogosphere has had an idiotic field day with this, but I seriously doubt that Diaz supports or supported Sendero, so the whole affair is just the usual rightwing character assassination), the Peruvians they refer to are elite, the only ones the media ever talks to.
No one else in Peru matters or has a voice.
At the moment, Sendero is fairly unpopular, even among those who formerly supported them. These same people also despise the government, the system, and the White elite who exploit them. But Sendero was so vicious and crazy, killing so many people, including the masses and other Leftists, that they left a bad taste in the mouths of many.
These people have not given up on revolution by any means. After all, the Peruvian system is worthless, insane and evil, and it should be destroyed. It is only reasonable that such an insane and evil system should produce an insane and evil insurgency – Sendero.
Now, Guzman and his fellow leaders sue for peace in prison, while a few holdouts under Comrade Artemio wage armed struggle, mostly in Ayacucho, the Huallaga Valley, the Satipo River area and Huanuco. A few years back, they were recruiting in the squalid slums of Lima once again.
These days, a more intelligent group of guerrillas is in Peru – the FARC* of Colombia. A massive, wealthy movement with deep roots in the Colombian poor, especially the rural poor, FARC has been spreading out lately down into the Ucayali River area in the jungle. They are primarily in the area of Yurimangas and north.
They have been spotted as far south as the Apurimac River near Ayacucho (where Sendero is still active) and even in Lima. They are very well-supplied, upbeat, loaded with cell phones and radios, very well-disciplined and are making deep inroads in Peru.
They give medical care, food, cooking utensils and field tools to the people and don’t bother a soul. They are quite popular with the masses they are interacting with, who see them as better than Sendero.
Many former supporters and members of Sendero have lined up with the FARC in Peru. Earlier this year, a column of Senderistas went back to Colombia, probably for training. FARC has been urging Sendero to join with FARC and modify their line.
Another column of the remaining leadership of the MRTA* (Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement) from around Tarapoto and Moyobamba in San Martin Province (their longtime headquarters – photo here) also left for Colombia around the same time – FARC is trying to join together remnants of both Sendero and MRTA with FARC in Peru – a very interesting and possibly fruitful plan.
For a great webpage on Tarapoto, complete with awesome pics, by an American woman who spent some time there, see here.
The notion that the MRTA was finished after the hostage raid in 1998 is not true – as the century turned, they continued to build the movement in every province of Peru. One of the problems with the MRTA is that they never had much money. Even around Taratopo, where they had a lot of support, they were a sorry sight, often sickly, pale, thin, and broke, wearing ragged clothes.
Compared to that impotent picture, and Sendero’s madness and brutality, many of Peru’s peasants think that the FARC are just dandy. Even in Colombia, the FARC has been much more sane and less brutal towards the masses than Sendero was.
As such, you can now go into areas of Colombia where everyone for miles around is in the FARC in one way or another, every villager in every town, every ragged farmer in every field with a gun hidden in his clothes, every woman in apron cooking in her kitchen. And it has been this way for decades in Colombia in these areas. This is the reality of FARC’s roots in rural Colombia.
The interview with Shakespeare, who is hostile to revolution, nevertheless makes clear that Peru is one nasty place. It is the most racist country he has ever been to, Shakespeare opines. Sure it is.
If someone from a lower class (or caste, really) asks a white elite for the time of day in Lima, the rich man will not even speak to the lower-class person. In fact, he won’t speak to him virtually no matter what he wants. The Indians have been killed, enslaved, raped, abused, ignored and basically slaughtered with hunger, disease and out and out murder since Pizarro stepped ashore in 1521.
Shakespeare went to Ayacucho, where a white man had been murdered by Indians a week before. Everywhere he goes, the Indians whisper pistaco – the name for a mysterious white giant that murders Indians for their fat which he uses to run Western industry. Pistaco does not exist, but the Indians think he does.
Shakespeare said that Sendero started a myth that Tupac Amaru’s body, quartered and buried over 200 years before, was slowly growing underground and would regenerate as he rose with Sendero’s victory. The materialist Sendero would never make up such a story. The story could only come from the Indians themselves, and I am sure they believed it.
And in many ways, Peru today is the same as at any time in the decades and centuries after Pizarro waded ashore 500 years ago. Until that changes, Peru will always be in a revolutionary situation.
Peru created Sendero; it could not have grown in any sane or decent society. If Best was evil, so was the land that made him. The crimes of the Sendero Frankenstein rest in large part with its creator, the horror called Peruvian society itself.
Sendero carried out 96 actions last year, about 2 a week; clearly, it is still alive, though nowadays they are fighting to get their leaders and cadres released and negotiate and end to the war – reasonable demands that no Peruvian state will cotton to. A few years back, they were recruiting again in Lima’s horrid shantytowns (photo here).
Meanwhile, FARC expands with great success across Peru.
They combine this success with a group in Venezuela, FARV – Revolutionary Armed Forces of Venezuela – (which has 2,000-3,000 members but has not engaged in many actions yet) and another group in Ecuador called FARE – Revolutionary Armed Forces of Ecuador – mostly in the border area with Putamayo and just building a movement now.
FARB – Revolutionary Armed Forces of Brazil – exists in the Dog’s Head region of Brazil where Peru, Brazil and Colombia all come together, building a movement once again.
FARC also uses the border areas in Panama as an R and R area. The local Cuna Indians of the Darien are quite cooperative, but the Panamanian state has murdered some of them for allowing FARC to stay with them, though FARC has never done a thing in Panama.
Recently, FARC has been spotted all the way over in far northern Guyana, where they are trying to tax the gold mining operations. This sighting implies that FARC also has a presence all across far northern Brazil.
US media reports place FARC operatives recently in Bolivia, where they were giving political advice to groups associated with the new president Enrique Morales before his election.
Despite recent offensives by the Colombian state, FARC is alive and well and expanding across much of Latin America. This as the radical version of Sendero peters out.
Revolution is a bloody thing. If states don’t want 12 year old kids carrying AK-47’s professing revolution while roaming their slums*, they need only create a semblance of a decent society.
There is no end of history, and you can only push a man so far before he rises up to strike you back.
*A Salvadoran man I met in a San Mateo, California restaurant in 2001 told me he saw a 12 yr old boy in the San Salvador slums carrying an automatic weapon and chanting revolutionary slogans in 1969. He went home and told his family, and his parents resolved to sent him out of the country, saying that revolution was surely on its way. Their omniscience was keen. 11 years later, it exploded in full force via the FMLN*.
*This blog strongly supported the FMLN in El Salvador to the point of contributing money to their weapons fund. We also strongly support the FARC in Colombia, all of its regional split-offs and the MRTA in Peru. We do not support the project of Sendero Luminoso as they kill people who are completely innocent. All support for groups is with certain reservations.

"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.

Cool Page On Social Democracy

Repost from the old site.
This is a really cool page on the Social Democratic Party of America. There are several social democratic parties in the US, and no, rightwing fuckwads, they are not much like the Democratic Party at all. A lot of them don’t even like the Democratic Party. Social democracy means a lot of things all over the world.
There is a Socialist International of socialist parties all over the world, and I support that organization. Even a lot of Communists don’t necessarily hate it. A lot of us on the Left support all sorts of socialist models, from Communism to social democracy even all the way to the US Democratic Party.
Your average US rightwing shithead can’t seem to figure that out, but then, they subscribe to a philosophy that is narrow-minded and stupid in both intent and praxis.
Truth is, as you can see by this page, there is not a lot of love lost between at least this social democratic party and Communists. To say that they are one and the same just shows that you are a stupid rightwing asshole. No serious political scientist would make such a statement.
I don’t necessarily agree with this party in their critique of Cuba, Belarus and other countries ruled by Communist-type regimes, but hey, it’s a big tent here on the Left.
There are all sorts of social democratic parties all over the world. As you can see, they are major parties in Slovenia, Japan, Croatia, Czechoslovakia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Romania, Ukraine, Iceland, Austria, Serbia, Poland , Paraguay, Portugal, Finland, Cameroon, Guatemala, Tajikistan, Macedonia, France, Italy, Sweden, Belarus, Denmark and all sorts of other places.
I have varying opinions on how well they are doing; I think that the ones in Europe have done a pretty good job. But I have a pretty low opinion of Lula’s PT in Brazil, Bachelet’s Socialist Party in Chile, the UK Labor Party (An imperialist socialist party?), and I doubt if this new Guatemalan party is going to get much done.
The Peruvian social democrats have a particularly horrible record. The Sandinistas in Nicaragua will not be able to get much done either. Cristina Merkel is having a hard time getting a lot of her agenda through in Argentina.
Social democracy seems to work best in highly developed and wealthy countries, as you can see above. In the poor Third World, they haven’t been able to do much to change the reactionary and backwards nature of society, nor to alleviate poverty, nor to do much of anything.
I think in a lot of cases there may be a necessity for revolutionary change, either via the way of the gun, or possibly peacefully in a more civilized society via the Hugo Chavez model.
In Europe, the ruling classes and the Right were completely destroyed in World War 2, which left millions of rightists and fascists dead and left the whole rightwing movement scattered and discredited. Hence social democracy was able to make a lot of headway with a defeated and more or less rendered-civilized and neutered Right.
Further, society itself changed in that even the wealthy, the upper middle classes, the middle classes, and corporate executives began to support social democracy.
In part this social pact was due to massive pressure from the Left which caused the European Right and business classes to sue for peace via a Social Compact. Also, society itself changed and social democracy became the dominant model for all classes.
Something similar occurred in Japan. The Right was destroyed by the war, and those that were not dead were discredited and humiliated.
In Eastern Europe, decades of Communism may have left a distaste for Communism but not for social democracy. Once again, most of the rightists were simply slaughtered, the rest were in jail or discredited, and society itself was well-molded along socialist lines for decades.
In Latin America, faced with a much more backwards, venal, dishonest, amoral, criminal, corrupt, and murderous upper class and upper middle class intent on staying in power at all costs, social democracy has had a really hard time getting much done. It’s fascinating that the US has allowed social democracy to flower in Europe, but has smashed every glimmer of it in Latin America as “Communism” or “dictatorship”.
Socialist parties in India (the Congress Party) have failed for similar reasons as the ones in Latin America. Social democracy in Sri Lanka has a good record.
In most of the Arab World, there is a more or less socialist model in place, no matter what the governments call themselves. Radical free market capitalism is contrary to Arab society and to Islam itself, hence it is not likely to succeed in any Arab or Islamic society.
Cambodia is run by a socialist party. So is Burma, but most socialists want nothing to do with them.
Contrary to rightwing bullshit, socialism in the form of social democracy has not failed at all. It is not a failed or discredited model or any of that.
Social democratic parties have sadly had a really hard time getting off the ground in the United States. For the most part, this is because America is extremely rightwing for a developed country. It is no exaggeration to say that the US is the most reactionary developed country on Earth, in both its leadership and in its citizens. This is 100% the fault of US Whites, and always has been.
There’s been a decades-long propaganda war against socialism in which the word “socialism” was deviously married to word “Communism”. Americans being a bunch of morons, and basically very rightwing in their natures, swallowed the whole thing. But in the mid-1970’s, things were different.
We had had over a decade of fairly progressive politics, even under Republicans, and leaders of major US corporations got together, agitated and worried. They said that if something is not done now, we are going to have a European-style social democracy in the US. This began a years-long project to set up and fund a series rightwing foundations and think tanks in the US.
They are still going strong, and have tremendous influence on US politics due to their ability to churn out papers, speakers and conferences on issues almost immediately. They have deep ties to the reactionary corporate media and quickly popped onto TV and the front page and kept there as long as the Right wants or needs any issue to be spotlighted.
It is true that there is a tradition of radical individualism in the US, but that’s only among White people. This may have been slightly reasonable at some point if you were Davey Crockett building a cabin in the woods, but those days are long gone.
One great thing about the loss of a White majority in the US (which will be both good and bad) is that US non-Whites, in particular Hispanics and Blacks, are much more sympathetic to at least Democratic Party politics and possibly social democracy.
On the other hand, reactionary politics have such a deep hold on this country that even some younger Blacks and Hispanics, once they start making some money, adopt some form of reactionary politics, typically nowadays along the lines of the faddish but ultra-rightwing libertarianism. This is discouraging, and shows that a non-Whites in the US are not necessarily a progressive bloc.
Another thing to note is that despite the hostile rhetoric some US social democratic parties take towards the Democratic Party, we already have a lot of social democracy here in the US, brought to us actually by both political parties.
The Right, meaning White America, has been savagely slashing away at this social democracy for decades now, but even so, it’s a Hell of a lot better record than the social democratic parties in Argentina, Chile, Peru, Guatemala, Jamaica and Brazil, which in my opinion have failed to varying degrees.
If Americans were anything like Europeans, social democracy ought to be an easy play here in the US. But for one thing, White Americans’ opposition to high taxation is going to make this a difficult project.
White Americans’ opposition to socialism and social democracy is rooted in a lot of things, but one of the main things is race. It’s all about taking the hard-earned tax dollars of White Americans and giving them to worthless gangbanging, welfare-addicted, drug-abusing Hispanics and Black criminals, scumbags and lowlifes.
Truth is that this simple-minded mindset has devastated a lot of hardworking working-class lower to mid-income Whites, but White America just can’t see that.
White Americans don’t have much in the way of racial solidarity. If there is anything, there is solidarity based on class and that’s it. Whites in the suburbs think that low-income and working class Whites, whom they refer to as White trash, can fuck off. While White American politics are indeed often rooted in race, they are also rooted in class too, and the two can be contradictory.
Life is complicated.

Some Recent Failures of Neoclassical Economics

Have you noticed that practically all these neoclassical types do is lie? There’s a reason for that. Their theory is good for the rich and the upper middle class only, and it’s crap for everyone else. They can’t come out and say that, so they have to lie to the 80% of the population who is going to get screwed by their rentier and banker class philosophy and tell them that it’s good for them.
This is similar to the modus operandi of conservatism. As conservatism is always and everywhere a philosophy of the plutocrats that benefits them and some upper middle class folks and hurts everyone else, they can’t very well be honest about the nature of their class war project. This is why conservatives, everywhere and Earth and all down through the past, have always lied. Conservatism is dishonest because it must be. A philosophy that benefits the top 20% while harming the bottom 80% is going to be difficult to sell to the masses if you are honest about, although Americans may well just go for it, as they are just that stupid.
Analyses of neoliberalism in the past few decades around the world showed that it tended to benefit about the top 20% of society and harm about the bottom 80% of society. That is, there is a huge wealth transfer from the bottom 80% to the top 20%. It resulted in damage or collapse of health and education figures in most places where it was tried, and the resulting death toll is surely in the many millions. This is why so many nations have been trying to chuck it lately.
Even major ruling class organs like Time Magazine admitted that decades of neoliberalism in recent years in Latin America had largely failed.
Neoclassical economics killed 15 million people in Russia alone in the 1990’s.
Neoclassical economics has failed to lift people out of poverty. Peru and India have implemented neoliberal policies in recent years. After years of high growth in Peru, the poverty rate remained flat at 51%. In India, after 16 years of high economic growth, the malnutrition rate was flat at 51%. Neoclassical economics is trickle down supply side economics, and we all know that doesn’t work.
The neoclassicals caused the recent financial crisis that took out the US economy and nearly took down the world’s economy with it.
Neoclassical economics destroyed Latvia, leading to a 20% loss of GDP, 2/3 as great as the Great Depression in the US. Housing values collapsed, losing 70% of their value. Wages were deliberately collapsed by the neoclassical government. They deliberately reduced public sector wages 30% and are now trying to spread it to the private sector. So it appears that one of the goals of neoclassicalism in Latvia is the destruction of wages.
Hoover’s neoclassical economics only deepened and worsened the Great Depression in the US.
Neoclassical economics caused a depression in Ireland with 10% loss of GDP.
The top neoclassical economists, including Hayek and Friedman, went down to Chile and advised Pinochet on how to run his economy. They implemented the most radical experiment in neoclassical economics that has ever been tried. The result was one of the worst economic depressions in modern history. However, at the end of Pinochet’s term, workers had lost 1/3 of their wages, and there was a massive wealth transfer from the bottom 2/3 to the top 1/3. Hayek and Friedman both said that neoclassical economics was so bad for workers and ordinary people that the only way to put it in was via a dictatorship. This is why both Hayek and Friedman were huge cheerleaders for the murderous Pinochet.
The countries that got creamed worst in the financial crisis were those that had followed neoclassical theories in their financial system.
Iceland underwent possibly one of the most radical experiments in neoclassical restructuring of its financial sector. The result was that when the crash hit, Iceland was ruined. Its three largest banks went bankrupt, and there was a run on banks. Iceland itself was effectively bankrupt. The banking collapse was the worst suffered by any state in recent history.
The Icelandic stock exchange collapsed and lost 90% of its value. Sure, let’s privatize social security! If Iceland had privatized social security, your social security check would have lost 90% of its value. Instead of getting $1000/month, you would get $100/month.
The cost of the crisis exceeded 75% of the nation’s GDP. Since then, Iceland has been in recession, with a 5.5% loss in GDP, but it is expected to fall by 10%, meaning that Iceland will go into a depression. 500,000 depositors outside of Iceland could not access their money for some time. A giant German bank, BayernLB, nearly collapsed and had to be bailed out by taxpayers. Pensions collapsed and lost 20% of their value. Inflation is expected to run up to 75% this year.

Conservatives Promote Stupidity, How and Why

In the comments, Matt astutely notes about Republicans’ willful promotion of stupidity:

Rob, You may remember how conservatives at one time were writing all those books about how l “liberal” education policies were making American children stoopid (Closing of the American Mind, Don’t Know Much About…, Cultural Literacy). Whether their idea of the causation was correct or not, they were right; Americans are stoopid. But you’ll notice they’ve mostly shut up about it. They must have figured out that the poorly educated and the willfully ignorant were their base.

Good point Matt. Of course that’s their base.
Sure, a lot of people who vote Democrat aren’t very smart, but that’s just the way they are, and nothing can be done about it. Anyway, the Democratic Party in general is not hostile to science and does not promote complete and utter stupidity, except when they parrot GOP ideas and concepts.
What’s funny is that I’m sure the guys running the GOP are very smart people. No doubt they are often very intellectual guys. But they willfully peddle Stupid Juice by tankload to the masses, and they know full well what they are doing. It’s disgusting, but there’s a method to their madness. If they could get people to vote rightwing by peddling intelligence, I’m sure they would do that instead.
What’s disturbing is that conservatives have always promoted ignorance and stupidity everywhere they’ve been in power and at all times. The priests of the Middle Ages would not let the Bible be translated, because they didn’t want their flocks to learn to read. The Taliban burn down girls’ schools. The Nazis burned books.
When Fujimori seized power in Peru, he shut down most of the nation’s universities as hotbeds of subversion. The army raided the universities, ransakcked them, tore them to pieces, raided libraries and destroyed all the books, on and on. The universities were later reopened, and students shuffled back to campus, appalled at their trashed schools. Funding for the universities was gutted, and the books in the libraries were never replaced.
Curiously, Peruvian polls consistently show that a majority of Peruvians support Fujimori, so I guess Peruvians are even more retarded than Americans. At least we don’t send in the army to tear down UCLA and burn all the books in the library while the population cheers. Not yet anyway. I guess that’s in the future.
A similar thing happened in El Salvador under rightwing rule. The universities were shuttered as hotbeds of subversion.
Under Pinochet in Chile, funding for the public schools was gutted, and your average Chilean public school now is literally falling apart. The wealthy send their kids to public schools, so they don’t care. Not quite pro-stupidity, more like “we don’t want the masses educated.”
The same happened in Argentina, where funding for the public schools was incredibly transferred to private schools, leaving the public schools tottering and and decrepit. This is essentially what the Right in the US wants to do with their vouchers scheme.
The ruling elites have always feared that an educated population would figure out the rich people’s scam and cut off some of the loot or transfer some to themselves, so conservatives everywhere and at all times have attacked the education of the masses. The motto of conservatives is that the dumber the people are, the easier they will be for us to manipulate.
I am ashamed to admit that the worst Communists who ever lived, the Khmer Rogue, deliberately targeted any urban person with an education. They often signaled out those who worse glasses for execution. One wonders how much the national IQ went down during Khmer Rogue rule.
Mao executed intellectual dissidents during the 100 Flowers Campaign. During the Cultural Revolution, Mao shuttered universities and sent students to the work the fields with the peasants. The argument was that intellectual students were a privileged elite.
Stalin’s purges in the 1930’s disproportionately targeted the intellectual leadership of various ethnicities who he distrusted.
Otherwise, Communists have been some of the most pro-educational governments in the history of man, but we do have some shameful backsliding.
Any time your government is mass imprisoning and/or executing the intellectuals of society, it seems to me that the state is engaging in some pretty retarded behavior.
Here’s a plan! Let’s put all the smart people in prison! Better yet, let’s kill all the smart people! Duh. No better way to run your society into the ground.

Why America Sucks

All the voters are White. Of course the country is a reactionary nightmare.

As you can see, the overwhelming majority of US voters are White. It is US White voters and only US White voters who have sent America down the conservative and reactionary sewer pipe in the last 30 years. An operation that is yet ongoing, and that seems to be gaining quite a bit of steam. In the 2006 election, it was even worse. 79% of the voters were White.

The electorate also is overwhelmingly White.

The voter pool is also overwhelmingly White. So the argument that Blacks and Hispanics don’t turn out to vote is washed up. Even if they all turned out to vote, it wouldn’t matter much. It would only shift the electorate maybe -3% away from the reactionary Whites.

As long as America is overwhelmingly White, it will be a terrifyingly reactionary and backwards place, the laughingstock of the Western World. There is nothing inherently reactionary about White people. In Europe, they are reliably socialist. Someone show me a reactionary and non-socialist country in Europe please? In New Zealand and Australia, Whites are quite socialist, whatever their limitations in recent days with the horror specter of Mr. Howard.

In Latin America, it is true, Whites are reactionary, extremely so. Even in Uruguay and Argentina, they are reactionary. But these countries also have a revolutionary White Left that in the past has given the White elites the bullets and bombs they so richly deserve.

Argentina today, though a reactionary and Third World mess like the rest of the continent, at least has a Leftist President. A real Leftist, not an Obama rightwinger. The Argentine elite is alarmed about the Communist takeover of Argentina, Commies being coded as “fascists,” and are openly calling for the return of the fascist dictatorship. Fascist Argentines bashing Left opponents as fascists while calling for the return of Argentine fascism. Typical fascist obfuscation and mind-warping.

They claim that Kirchner had Commie “brownshirts” in the streets who have taken over entire zones. The Commie Kirchner is supposedly trying to “censor the media” by breaking up the reactionary media monopolies that own nearly the entire media of the land. But why should the Right own 90% of the media? By what rights? Capitalist rights? Hell with that.

Media should be delineated democratically according to predilection. If 30% of the population is Left, then 30% of the media should be Left. If that can’t be done, part of the Right media should be confiscated, at gunpoint if possible, and then turned over to folks representing 30% of the population. It’s only right and proper.

Uruguay elected a former Left wing guerrilla, but I’m not sure how much will change, as he is dedicated to following the neoliberal suicide model. Is Uruguay a more socialist state than the USA? An interesting question.

Costa Rica is a pretty socialist place, which is interesting since anti-Communist fools and liars always uphold Costa Rica on their social figures, comparing it to Cuba on the grounds that Cuba is not so hot. What these congenital liars don’t realize (Or maybe they do!) is that all of Costa Rica’s great figures are attributable to Costa Rican social democracy.

Those are the countries in which Whites are a majority.

In the rest of Latin America, Whites are a minority, and they are frighteningly conservative to reactionary. They have generally stayed in power through repression, fraud, imprisoning, assaulting, kidnapping, torturing and murdering the opposition. White elites have done this in most countries in the region: Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia, Venezuela, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Mexico.

The implication is that Whites will only support any kind of socialism where they are a good, solid majority. They are only 65% of the US now, so this may be why they are headed this way.

The entire rightwing movement in the US for the last 30 years has been coming from Whites. Has it been coming from Hispanics? Of course not. Has it been coming from Blacks? Please. Has it been coming from Jews? Pull the other one. Has it been coming from Asians? Forget it.

So when you read that “the voters” are furious with Obama and support all sorts of reactionary monstrosities in opposition to him, it’s US Whites, and only US Whites, who are leading this Tea Party opposition wave to Obama. And much of it is undoubtedly racist, no matter how much they scream that it’s not.

US Whites, as a % of  the population, are declining. Every 2-3 years, they decline another 1%. That’s a pretty shocking decline. Progressives ought to celebrate White decline, in spite of all the negative consequences that go along with it. If Whites were progressive people, we could reliably oppose White decline. But they aren’t, and they will never be.

The other day, my mother (smartest women on Earth) told me that in the lifetime of my brother and I, we will live to see the US become a more progressive country. If all goes according to plan, I will take off around 2035 or so. The reason for this, she said, is the decline of Whites.

White nationalists have told me that a declining White America will lead to a more progressive place. Their reasoning for this is curious, and doesn’t make much sense. One guy told me that as Whites decline further and further, they will get more and more radical. As they dip below 40%, they will take up arms against any progressive regime seen as non-White. What he’s saying is that Whites will grow more violent and militant as they decline. I find this dubious. He also said that a majority non-White American government would be too incompetent to install a reliable and functioning sort of socialism. I find that dubious as well.

Will Hispanics, Blacks, Jews and Asians continue to be reliably progressive into the future? It’s an interesting question. Majority-Indian, mulatto and mestizo places like Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Panama are quite backwards and rightwing. A White minority in all places continues to rule to the detriment of everyone else. Usually they enforce their rule at gunpoint and often with deadly force. But they get the votes of mestizos, Indians and mulattos to do this.

In the Caribbean, Black and mulatto elites have treated their own people horribly. This is particularly the case in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Most of the Black Caribbean is not very socialist, with the exception of Cuba. But Dominica is an equitable country, and Trinidad and Tobago has a decent amount of socialism. Socialism was arrested in Jamaica with the US assault on Manley, a White socialist.

The record in Black Africa is not good in terms of socialism. North African Arab states are much more socialist than Black Africa. True, there is not much to divide in the first place, but still. Even Black African countries that have fallen into some money are still horribly rightwing. Gabon, a wealthy African country, has nightmarish levels of poverty, malnutrition, maternal mortality, child and infant mortality. Apparently, as has always been the case in Africa, a tiny Black elite has grabbed control over the economy for themselves and possibly their tribe and is locking out everyone else.

Given that mestizos, mulattos and Blacks have a poor record of setting up socialist systems in their own lands, one wonders just how socialist they will be here in the US as they grow in numbers. So far, they have been realiably socialist, but what will the future bring.

The model in mulatto, mestizo and Black countries is typically astounding gaps between the rich and the poor, horrifying levels of poverty, and often an enraged, militant and sometimes armed but cash-starved Left minority battling the elite for power. In these countries, poverty is a big deal, the opposite of the US. So there, all parties, from Right to Left, run on reducing poverty and fighting for the poor, with a few overtly fascist exceptions in Guatemala, El Salvador, (Honduras?) and Colombia and a strange overtly rightwing government in Chile, increasingly a US model state in Latin America.

The Right has the entire media spectrum. In Honduras, a 99% mestizo country, a reactionary and murderous elite owns 99+% of the media. This is typical across the region. The assumption is that the non-White masses are simply badly brainwashed.

The ignorant mestizo, mulatto and Black electorate tends to vote for parties that often have progressive sounding names. In many cases, these parties are said to be overtly socialist parties. This is especially the case in the Caribbean, where almost every party has a socialist-sounding name. So down there, the Right calls themselves socialists, progressives and populists fighting for the poor while they implement reaction.

A similar dynamic is seen in Africa, where most parties have socialist-sounding names.

In other words, the US model of reactionary parties having open reactionary images, programs and politics is nonexistent in most of Latin America and Africa. No one would vote for it. In fact, it’s anathema in most of the world! It’s nearly nonexistent also in Arabia, South Asia, Europe, SE Asia and NE Asia. Turkey does have an overtly rightwing government.

Other than Turkey, show me one overtly reactionary party along the lines of the US Republican Party in power in any of these places.

One wonders if the model of the US reactionaries will change in the future with White decline. Will we see the rise of a backwards mestizo, mulatto or Black elite looking for votes possibly on an ethnic basis. Will we see the rise of fake populism and fake socialism, where the Right will operate rightwing parties with socialist and progressive sounding names campaigning on poverty reduction and helping the have-nots, to get the non-White vote? Will the Republican Party model of an openly and brazenly reactionary party become nonviable as non-Whites refuse to support it, according the model in the rest of the world?

The Rich Are the Enemy (Always and Forever)

“Behind every great fortune is a great theft.”

-Honore de Balzac.

Well of course. The greatest French caffeine addict of all time was onto something.

Marx hinted at the same. If you read Marx carefully, it’s apparent that every bill in your billfold has a history drenched in blood. Blood, theft, mass murder, conquest, genocide, slavery. But no! The rich earned every penny. Earned it with whips, bullets, swords and mass graves, sure.

I keep getting fascists trying to recruit me to fascism. I guess they don’t understand the meaning of the word socialist. Socialism is all about democracy, if not politically, then at least economically, or a movement towards a more egalitarian distribution of income. Fascism at its best is pro-elite and pro-aristocracy. Fascism can never be democratic either economically or politically, though the jury is still out on the Third Positionists.

And why would I support Third Positionism? Third Positionism is racist socialism at best. It’s socialism for Whites. Fuck that. I’m a liberal for Chrissake. We don’t do racist hate, socialist or otherwise. Take it somewhere else!

The rich will always and forever be the enemies of the socialists.

Socialists who make alliance with the rich, the class enemy, have left the fold.

The Socialist International is full of these fake socialists nowadays. This fake bourgeois socialism, the socialism of APRA in Peru, Frelimo in Mozambique and the outrage called New Labor in the UK, is the “socialism” of Obama. In other words, Obama’s socialism is not even socialism at all. It’s not even liberalism. I don’t know what it is. I think it’s an attempt at pro-corporate liberalism, which is a joke on its face, as it’s impossible.

This is Obamanomics in a nutshell:

Obama: Hey! I have a plan!

Liberals: What is it, oh Godhead?

Obama: Look! Let’s get the rich and the corporations to work with us to redistribute income and create a more just society! I talk to them all the time! I can get them to go along with my plan! I promise.

Smart liberals: WTF.

Dumb liberals: Show us the way, master!

Look Obama, you dipshit, if your goal is progress (progressive politics), you don’t enlist your class enemies in the project. Hint: They aren’t on board for the ride.

More on Joran van der Sloot

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAsREwm8YoI&feature=channel]

Pretty amazing find. Joran van der Sloot made a video of his coffee shop in Thailand and posted it to Youtube!

He went to Thailand and opened up his own coffee shop very quickly. You can see him at 2:43 in the video, surrounded by friends, holding a drink, wearing a baseball cap backwards, with a white shirt and green shorts. He made a bunch of good friends very quickly after landing in Thailand. Typical of a psychopath. They can make many friends very quickly anywhere they go. Their friends often like them very much and hang around with them due to the confidence and charm of the psychopath and the fringe benefits hanging around him gets you.

He bought the coffee shop with money he made trafficking Thai girls. Students hung out there, and he used the coffee shop to recruit new girls to prostitution.

In Thailand, he apparently enrolled at Rangsit University as a cover, then set up a company called DD Consulting, a fake modeling agency apparently designed to recruit underage Thai women into prostitution. By day, he played the role of a student, complete with a student visa, but it was all fake. At night, he prowled the bars with his business cards finding girls to prostitute. He even had business cards printed up with his company on them.

He then apparently trafficked them to the Netherlands on fake promises of being strippers in the best clubs in the Netherlands. He told the girls they would get $15,000/month once they were in the Netherlands. They never saw a dime. Once there, they were trafficked as sex slaves. He received a $13,000 finder’s fee for each one. In Thailand, he went by a fake name, Murphy Jenkins. So the man is also a sex trafficker.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SK_l3C0dSrk]

Here is a video of him trying to trick two Thai women into prostitution. He has two Dutch male accomplices with him.

Two of the Thai women that he trafficked have vanished, and no one knows where they are. They may be dead.

Thai police are investigating him in relation to the two disappeared Thai girls and have requested access to him in the Peruvian prison where he now resides.

Dutch police investigated him for sex trafficking, but dropped the investigation due to lack of evidence. This is typical of a true psychopath, almost worming away from the law. They are very good at covering their tracks and can often lie their way out of trouble. They pay off people, change their story so much that even the cops can’t think straight anymore, do whatever it takes. Then they dash to other parts of the globe, get a fake name and vanish again.

He spent most of 2009 flitting around the globe playing in poker tournaments. He won $12,000 at a tournament in Macau. He met a young woman in the casino and invited her back up to his room, where he assaulted her. Sound familiar? She is now cooperating with Macau police, and the Macau cops are working with their colleagues in Peru.

Here is Joran van der Sloot’s Youtube page! Amazing. Criminals have their own Youtube pages. Too much, man. There are plenty of comments on the page, including some from beautiful young women telling him how much they like or love him. These charismatic psychopaths often have hoards of female followers, and they can get women anywhere they go. If you go to Ted Bundy videos on Youtube, you will see many comments by young women saying that they love him or that they would have sex with him if he were alive. One said she would do him, but only if she had a weapon with her.

Is Joran van der Sloot a psychopath or a sociopath? He is clearly a psychopath, not a sociopath. His psychopathy is a result either of being born that way or a combination of that and something in his early environment.

Let’s look at his Youtube page for clues about his psychopathy:

If I would have to describe myself as an animal it would be a snake however I want to be a lion and one day I will be a lion.

Of course. A snake, then a lion. Psychopath. Sure he’s a snake. All psychopaths are. Sure he wants to be a lion and rule the roost. All psychopaths do.

Favorite TV shows are crime shows. Of course. Favorite music? Gangsta rap. Sure. If you read the short intro, you will see that there is a certain slickness, phoniness, and lack of depth to his prose. This is a characteristic of the psychopath. They literally make it up as they go along, and they are about as “deep” as any other wild animal.

In the Peruvian case, it looks like he slipped her a date rape drug, GHB. An empty packet of the drug was found in her car. Then he probably led her up to his room and tried to assault her. She was just coming out as a lesbian, and she probably did not want to do it, so he probably got furious and killed her. He may have also killed her for her money, since she won a lot gambling that night. The story about her finding stories about him on his computer and locking him out of his room are probably just more in the endless series of Joran lies.

I figure with Natalie Holloway, it was the same MO. Met her at a casino, got her drunk and slipped her a date rape drug. On the beach, she may well have gone into seizures from the GHB combined with the alcohol. Then she died on the beach. He freaked out because he caused her death by slipping her the GHB when she was drunk, so he disposed of the body at sea with the help of his buddies. She’s sleeping with the fishes and will never be found. The ocean is a damn fucking good place to dump a body! Can hardly think of a better one. Large lakes like the Great Lakes are pretty good too.

He didn’t exactly murder Natalie, but he’s responsible for her death by slipping her the dangerous GHB which killed her.