Alt Left: All That Glitters Is Not Capitalist: Various Types of Non-Capitalist Forms of Production That Work Well

Rahul:

I would argue that being pragmatic while being a communist is almost impossible. Communism doesn’t work, because humans are too greedy.

A mixture of a bunch of ideologies is probably the way to go.

If you are talking about hardcore Communism with the state running everything and no market or private enterprise as in the USSR, nobody wants to go back to that anyway. Even most Communists don’t want to go back to that.

But otherwise, you are just wrong. Most Communists nowadays see some sort of a role for a market. There are lots of ways to do this.

For instance, in Venezuela, various neighborhood groups and communities operate bread factories, farms, on and on. They sell the bread at a small reasonable profit to the community. The proceeds and profits are invested back into the enterprise and used to pay the salaries of the employees.

The farms and animal husbandry industries work along the same lines. A community will be organized as a commune. They will raise chickens for eggs or pigs or they will grow various crops.

They then sell the eggs, pigs, or crops to other communities for a reasonable profit. The proceeds and profits are invested back into the company, used to pay the salaries of the workers, and if there is anything left over, they are invested in the community itself – new sidewalks, new roads, a new health facility, water treatment, a community center, on and on.

The Venezuelan communes are considered to be a non-capitalist form of development.

Communists all around the world have supported this model. The Chinese Communists are operating a form of market socialism that utilizes a market mechanism. The Vietnamese Communists are doing the same. The Cuban Communists are doing something similar.

Most Communists also support the cooperative movement, where workers own the enterprise and compete against other firms, including capitalist firms. The enterprise either sinks or swims.

The proceeds and profits are best collected by a regional bank, which reinvests them in the enterprise, uses them to pay salaries, or even gives bonuses to the workers. So a very successful enterprise that made a lot of profits could end up having some workers who were making some good money if they were pocketing some of the profits.

When you give the workers the control over what to do with the money – whether to sink it back into the enterprise or to take it home as increased paychecks, workers tend to choose to take home the bigger checks. This is what happened with Yugoslavia’s otherwise very successful worker self-managed Communism.

The workers would not put enough money back into the firms to keep them going, and the firms would start to deteriorate to the point where they were no longer operative. So everyone was out of a job. But no worries as everyone got a bigger paycheck!

In the Mondragon Cooperatives in the Basque Country in Spain, a similar system has unfolded and has been successful for a long time now. There, the workers elect their own management, which is a great idea in my opinion. You would think that workers would elect management that let them slide and screw off, but they elect very good managers.

The decisions about what to do with the proceeds and profits – whether to sink them back into the enterprise or to take them home in higher worker wages – is left up to management and ultimately large regional banks.

These large regional banks are the ultimate owners of all of the Mondragon cooperatives. These are public banks so they are not run on the typical profit motive. They resemble more the customer-owned credit unions in the US which give much better customer service than the capitalist banks do.

I’m not even entirely sure that credit unions are a capitalist enterprise. How can you have a capitalist enterprise that is owned by the consumers of its service? That does not seem possible.

The banks tend to make the best decisions for the firm. Keep in mind that Mondragon cooperatives utilize a non-capitalist form of development.

The problem with Mondragon is that they have to compete against capitalist firms. So all of the cutthroat behaviors that capitalists engage in to reduce costs and maximize profits – exploitation of labor, shafting consumers, investors and the public at large – means that Mondragon is forced to some extent to lower their own costs however they can to keep pace with these firms.

So Mondragon is a non-capitalist system that is still privy to the logic of capitalism in which they are ensnared.

In North Korea in the far north of the country there is a lot of private gold mining going on now in new-found reserves. They are often just one man enterprises of small groups of men working together.

The state’s footprint up there is small, and the state has stepped aside and simply lets these miners mine whatever they want. They only ask for a 25% tax cut on all mining proceeds. As long as you give them your cut, it’s all good. Most of these miners would not be described as capitalists.

In North Korea and Cuba there are now farmer’s markets where farmers can bring their produce directly to farmer’s markets to sell to the public. These are generally not capitalist enterprises. These are just farmers selling the product of their labor to consumers (other workers) buying their crops. There’s no tendency to maximize profits, as the prices are set by the market.

The entire cooperative sector all around the world is a non-capitalist form of development. The workers actually own the firm so there is no exploitation of labor, which is the definition of capitalism. No exploitation, no capitalism.

In this way these cooperatives have gotten rid of the division between Labor and Capital which is the backbone of any capitalist system because capitalist systems work by marking up the products of workers’ labor and then adding onto it something called surplus value when is then pocketed by the capitalist as a profit.

So a worker producing a product that is paid say $20 in labor has his product taken by the owner of the firm, which then proceeds to mark up the worker’s labor cost to $25-30, and thereby make a profit. This is called the Labor Law of Value, and it has been proven to be the backbone of the capitalist system.

As you can see here, the worker is not getting the full value of the product he produced. He produced a product worth $25-30, and he only received $20 for it, with his owner taking the $5-10 surplus value and pocketing it as profit.

Independent contractors such as electricians, plumbers, painters, attorneys, physicians, accountants, etc. are not usually capitalists at all. Instead these are just workers – albeit highly paid workers – who are simply selling their labor time to  others, mostly workers, who purchase their labor time when they hire them or use their services.

Middlemen and traders who simply intervene between the producer and walnuts and the seller of say walnuts, adding on their profit, are not capitalists. Those are simply traders or merchants. They are not exploiting anyone. They can be thought of as a form of workers who act as go-betweens vis a vis producers and sellers, adding their small amount on as a fee for helping to get the two together.

Finance capital or people who buy and sell stocks are not usually capitalists. These are like people who trade in rare books, stamps, coins, precious metals, or anything else.

The stocks and bonds are like rare coins or precious metals. They simply try to buy them at a lower rate and sell them at a higher rate, which merchants have been doing forever even long before capitalism. They have no employees so they are not exploiting anyone.

Music groups and other performers, authors, artists, sculptors, etc. are mostly just workers who sell their labor time as performers or the product of their labor as books, paintings, sculpture, DVD’s, etc. Most of these people, even bands, do not hire employees.

Now granted the book publishers, record companies, galleries, etc. are marking up the labor time and labor products of these entertainment workers and taking the surplus value, hence they are capitalists.

A big rock music band can be thought of simply as performers (workers) who make a musical product and sell it to fans, mostly other workers, who enjoy their entertainment product so much they are willing to pay good money for it. So most bands, artists, authors, sculptors, etc. are not capitalists. They’re just workers for the most part marketing their labor time or the products of their labor time.

Now granted finance capital and speculative capital, while generally not capitalist, are nevertheless regarded as “parasitic” industries because they don’t produce anything.

They can be thought of as gigantic casinos in the sky (the stock market in particular can be seen this way). Speculative capital produces nothing and often has bad effects on society. Look at the wildly inflated housing markets on the US West Coast and in New York and Paris for example.

In China under what they call market socialism or socialism with Chinese characteristics, a Communist party cell sits on the board of directors of every large corporation. When corporations get a certain size the state usually takes them over in a sense. However, the managers have large leeway how to operate their company.

All private enterprises are underneath the state or the Communist Party. The CP sees the market or the private sector as a tool for the development of the productive forces. However, the capitalists are underneath the state. They have to do what the state says.

They have to adhere to 5-year plans. Yes, the 5-year plans that were said to be so devastating to the USSR and other Communist countries are working great in China.

The government, the party, and the private sector all work together on economic goals. In this way it is similar to the state capitalism of South Korea and Japan or even Nazi Germany.

That state capitalism is a non-capitalist form of development because the state works closely with the capitalists on economic goals which are supposed to serve the nation and not just the petty temporal demands of capital for maximal profits come Hell or high water, forget about consumers, workers, society, the environment or the nation.

Under state capitalism, the state controls the commanding heights of the economy. In Japan this boils down to a several huge banks which effectively run all economic development in Japan.

Nazi Germany was similar. Yes, you could have your corporation but you had to do what the state said, or they would just take you over and confiscate your firm. So the firms in Nazi Germany in effect all worked for the state.

In China, if firms do not follow guidelines and do as they are told, the state will simply go in and seize the firm, confiscating all of its assets. The state will then take over the firm or hand it over to  a more obedient capitalist. You see here that the state rules capital. Capital has to do what the state says.

Here in the US, the market is not a tool for the development of productive forces. Instead it is a form of politics. In other words, the market or the corporations basically run society. The market is over the state. The state has to do what the corporations demand, or the corporations will get rid of the state and put in a new state.

The state obeys the demands of capital and not the other way around. Capital, the market, and the corporations are our true rulers in the US. The government simply acts as if they are employees of capital. The state does not rule us except to the extent that it carries out ruling directives that Capital gives to the state to enforce on the people.

In China state firms are often run by local municipalities. So if we had their system,  say Los Angeles and San Fransisco might both have steel mills. These mills would then compete against each other and against private firms both domestic and foreign. It’s sink or swim for all public firms in China.

Firms that are more successful see their incomes rise and more workers move to those cities to be part of those enterprises.

The workers still officially own the enterprises, but the city takes 95% of the income that the enterprise brings in in the form of a paycheck for every worker. 95% of each workers paycheck is taken by the city and reinvested in the firm or in the city itself (similar to the Venezuelan model). The workers get 5% of their check to take home as pay.

Keep in mind that this can be a good paycheck, as cities running successful firms pay their workers more.

There are large cities in Southern China with 700,000 workers where 1/3 of the population works for one of the many enterprises that the city runs. The residents of the city, who are also workers for the city, have a say in how these firms are run.

For instance, they try to fight corruption, since it hurts the firms, which hurts the city, which hurts them in the end. So the firms of the city in a sense are under the control of the people who live and work in there in the sense that their input is used to make decisions about how to run the firms.

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.

The Menace of Trump's Alter Ego Bolsonaro in Brazil

Tulio: Robert, do you have any thoughts on Bolsanaro? Looks like Brazil is about to take a hard right turn toward fascism. Steven Bannon is down there advising him. The thought of that fucker makes me physically ill.

He’s a monster, of course. I had no idea that half of Brazil’s population were reactionary Rightist maniacs. He’s worse than Trump. I have met two Brazilian Rightists and they were out and out monsters. Both absolutely hated democracy. One was a Brazilian Jew and the other is the former commenter Santoculto.
They’re murderous, as bad as the Bolivian, Venezuelan, Salvadoran, and Nicaraguan Right. They’re not as murderous as the Haitian, Guatemalan, Honduran, and Colombian Right, but they definitely kill people. A Black woman who organized in the Brazilian favelas was recently murdered by the Right government that is in power now.
This Bolsonaro had as part of his project putting on trial and executing all of the former armed rebels from the 1960’s. He has the support of the reactionary military in that. Thing is though, the last president was a former urban guerrilla from the 1960’s and her government was full of former guerrillas, so he’s openly advocating the trial and execution of  most of the former government.

Alt Left: Praise for the Conservative Left

Although the SJW author of the piece that quotes Selbourne in the New Statesman attacks Selbourne, what Selbourne describes is nothing less than the Alt Left itself.
In a very early bulletin board post, a poster described my Alternative Left as conservative Leftists.” When Norman Mailer ran for mayor of New York in 1969, he called himself a left conservative. Mailer has continued to describe himself as a left conservative to this day.
Well, that’s exactly what we are.
We are somewhat socially conservative on the Cultural Left Freakshow, but we are Left on everything else. According to our dispensation, Selbourne would be Alt Left, as he despises the moronic SJW Left. And as he brilliantly points out, the unlimited freedoms (not really unlimited though as look at how SJW Feminism wants to stop heterosexual flirting, dating and sex) to be as weird and crazy as you want are really the freedoms of neoliberalism.
This is radical individualism taken to its ultimate without any regard for the good of society. And radical individualism in Culture goes right along with radical individualism is business and the rest of society. If government has to get out of the lives of all the SJW freaks, then obviously it has to get out of the lives of US business and the rich too, right?

Those who want the right to choose, and who object to moral or social restraint as ‘authoritarian’, cannot logically object to the rights of Capital to do whatever it wants also.

Capitalism runs on a culture of individualism, and radical individualism is the ultimate capitalist society. Capitalists say, “There is no such thing as society.”
And in a Cultural Left world where everyone is running around flying their freak flag du jour, there’s no society either. Everyone has a different hair color. Everyone has a different sexual micro-orientation and gender micro-identity.
Everyone is divided against everyone else. The women workers are egged on to hate the male workers. The Black workers are egged on to hate the White workers. The gay workers are encouraged to hate the straight workers. The tranny workers are prompted to hate the cisgender workers. Everyone hates everyone. No one works together on any societal goals because everyone hates each other too much.
Now that the working class is divided into factions at each other’s throats, society is demolished, all humans are atomized, and the capitalists can go on their merry rapacious way, destroying everything in their path, including whatever is left of society, like they always do.

In fact, we are now landed with a “Left” concept of freedom which is little different from Milton Friedman’s “right to choose”, a Libertarianism that has overshadowed the social in what used to be socialism. It is itself a market freedom; after all, self-restraint has less market worth than self-indulgence.

I like how he describes the Cultural Left as the free market of culture. That’s exactly what it is!

David Selbourne, in the left-of-center New Statesmen, writes::
With socialism at the end of its historical evolution, the “Left” now lacks a coherent sense of what progress is. It has only a ragbag of causes and issues, rational and irrational, urgent and idle: a politics of personal rights and ‘lifestyle choices’, of anti-racism and environmental protection, of multicultural separatism, individual identity and gender, and much else besides.
Neither rhyme nor reason — and certainly not socialist reason — can be made of it, especially when mere transgression is confused with progress.
In fact, we are now landed with a “Left” concept of freedom which is little different from Milton Friedman’s “right to choose”, a Libertarianism that has overshadowed the social in what used to be socialism. It is itself a market freedom; after all, self-restraint has less market worth than self-indulgence. Nor is today’s ‘freedom’n’liberty’, whether Right or ‘Left’, the freedom fought for in the Reformation or in the revolutionary overthrow of the anciens régimes. It is not the freedom for which the 19th-century emancipationists and the suffragettes struggled. It is the freedom to do what one wants and the devil take the hindmost. No wonder that the far Right is advancing.
There is ignorance too in this pseudo-Left Libertarianism. It is reactionary, not progressive, to promote the expansion of individual freedoms without regard to the interests of the social order as a whole. Those who want the right to choose, and who object to moral or social restraint as ‘authoritarian’, cannot logically object to the rights of Capital to do whatever it wants also. The rapacious equity trader has as much right to be free as you or me; these ‘rights’ differ only in scale and consequence, not in essence.

I would actually agree with the following, and this is why I am an extreme statist at heart because face facts, socialism is statism taken to its ultimate ends.
From the Libertarian author:

It grabbed the methods of conservatism, embracing state power as the means of planning permissable changes and preventing others.

We don’t hate the state. We love the state! The state is the people personified as a single governmental entity, acting in the interests of the people to whom it serves, as Mao points out.

“The effort to escape from State control has always been the sign of liberty; the effort to enforce State control has always been the sign of Conservative reaction.” For this reason: “Socialism, in so far as it postulates State control, is Conservative in thought.”
Oliver Brett, Defense of Liberty, 1922

Fine. We are conservatives then. We are the Conservative Left!

Professor E. Harris Harbison of Princeton, concurred: “The truly ‘radical’ movement of the later medieval and early modern period was the growth of economic individualism, not the appearance of a few communistic books, sects, and communities. Against the background of nineteenth century individualism, ‘radical’ is today almost synonymous with ‘socialist’ or ‘communist’. …It is essential to the understanding of utopian socialism to remember that when it first appeared in European history as a fairly consistent theory, it was very largely a reactionary protest against a new, ‘progressive’ and poorly understood economic movement, an appeal to turn the clock backward.”
Socialism and Modern Life, 1952

Fine, not a problem! I was always wondering when the Rightists and Libertarians would reclaim the word liberal.

Walter Lippman wrote: “…I insist that collectivism, which replaces the free market by coercive centralized authority, is reactionary in the exact sense of the word.”
Carl A. Keyser, Spare None: the Federal Octopus: How it Grew and Other Tales, 1972
 

Sounds good.
Liberal historically has never meant anything like US social liberalism. In most of the world, liberal is a dirty word. It’s synonymous with neoliberalism. Liberalism in economics means classical liberal or neoclassical economics. It’s Ricardo and Smith all the way to Mises and Hayek, without stopping.
In the rest of the world, it tends to mean the “free minds and free markets” garbage that American reactionary foreign policy claims to support in their lying propaganda. Note once again the tie-in of social freedoms with freedom of Capital. You want free elections, gay rights, feminism, porn, civil liberties and the rest? Fine, you have to let the market run free with no restictions from the state whatsoever.
According to this nonsense, you can’t have free minds without free markets, and you can’t have free markets without free minds. Any restrictions on the free market are automatically symptomatic of a dictatorship or authoritarian regime.
This is why every Left government on Earth immediately gets called a dictatorship by US foreign policy. Because to the sick American way, socialism in any way,  shape or form is automatically undemocratic and dictatorial by its very nature.
This nonsense places economics over politics as Economics Uber Alles. Here economics determines the nature of the state.
If the market is free, you have a democracy automatically, no questions asked. Never mind the death squads that just murdered 200,000 people and all the peaceful opposition, the election that was just stolen, the US sponsored coup to “restore democracy” that resulted in the 17 year long “democracy saving” dictatorship, the politicized police, army, judiciary, the rich owning all the media and rendering freedom of speech a sick joke, the money-based elections giving rise to the “democracy of the dollar” and the dictatorship over the people.
And if  you have any type of socialism, you automatically have a dictatorship. I suppose Norway and Sweden must be dictatorships then. Never mind that you have the freest and fairest elections on Earth as they have in Venezuela. No matter. Elections can never be free enough in a socialist country. Even if they are the freest and fairest elections on Earth, it’s automatically a dictatorship simply by dint of being socialist.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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.

Crime in Venezuela

How do you think Venezuela will handle crime? its extremely rampant, like 3.5 worse than Russia.

It’s like that all over the whole region and no one can fix it there either. Venezuela has had a very high crime rate forever, long before Chavez came in. This is another problem that long predates him. Frankly, most of it is in the poor barrios, so most people are not effected. They tried a thousand things under Chavez to lower crime, but nothing worked. The Opposition won’t be able to get a handle on it either and all of the Opposition’s shenanigans have only made crime a lot worse.
How come no one talks about the crime rates in Colombia, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, and El Salvador? And in the Caribbean for that matter? They are all up there with Venezuela’s and no one can fix it in those places either. Once your crime rate gets really high, it is not such an easy thing to get a handle on.

The Dutch Disease, an Economy Depended on Oil Revenues, and Other Problems of the Venezuelan Crisis

Thinking Mouse: What are your thoughts on allegations of mismanagement of resources in Venezuela? Having your government based on a good as volatile in price as oil (and especially when the gringos own and produce most of the oil) seems pretty stupid.

This is called the Dutch Disease and it is the cause of a lot of things including the chronic inflation that country has, which was never as bad as this though.
It’s been going on forever, but the Gulf states are all doing that too. Most oil countries do that. 97% of Venezuela’s income comes from oil. That didn’t change over the Chavez years. On the other hand, the Chavistas talk about it all the time.
There are supposedly efforts underway to develop the economy right now, but I am not sure how successful they are. It is not working to have the business class, aligned with the fascist Right, importing the food and manufactured goods.
NOT working. That’s what is causing the whole economic crisis right there because they started an economic war where they stopped producing a lot of the products that people needed most. However, they kept producing other products just fine.
There was no basis in raw materials to have those shortages in certain products. Those were simply manufactured crises by the business class refusing to import or manufacture various products.
They also hoarded a lot of products too, and they sent many other goods either to Colombia or directly to the black market instead of the real market. 1/3 of all imported goods so straight to Colombia. They do this because they can make more money smuggling to Colombia or selling on the black market.
So the government is saying we need to start making this stuff ourselves or growing and producing it ourselves. The government used to import all this stuff because the business class has been refusing to produce stuff forever, but with the drop in the price of oil (a conspiracy created by the US) the government could not do that anymore, so the crisis developed.
Around when Chavez died, there were two large attacks on the currency which may have exploded the Black market. And the black market is run by a opposition fascist in Louisiana who deliberately monkeys with the black market price of the dollar, jacking it up all the time. So the value of the black market dollar skyrocketed compared to the dollar at its normal exchange rate and this precipitated the whole crisis.
Incidentally, several opposition leaders have openly admitted that they are trying to destroy the economy in order to create a crisis and bring down the government.
The recent US sanctions made things even worse and were designed to make it impossible for Venezuela to get out of the crisis by cutting them off from the international banking system and making it hard for them to get loans and impossible for them to restructure their debt.
The government has needed forever to float the currency to get out of the crisis, but he refused to do that as it is a very difficult political decision to make and it would make a lot of their base mad. So they avoided doing this for years and hence perpetuated the crisis. Recently they created a New Bolivar that is not set on the dollar but is instead set at the price of oil. This is the same thing as floating the currency more or less, so we will see how it works.

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.
 

NATO, the WTO, and the Prospects for Resistance to US-EU Militarized Economic Hegemony (the Axis of Resistance)

Interesting comment from a reader.

Thinking Mouse: But the enemies of NATO are corrupt crooks at worst and non-pragmatic idealists at worst.
I think historical materialism influences morality too, we don’t posses our beliefs, but our beliefs posses us, and beliefs live upon the technology of an certain mode of production. On a positive note, the world does seem to become more multipolar with the emergence of China, Turkey, Japan, Russia, India and large parts of Africa. I don’t think these nations will get Independence, but just more fair deals with America thanks to their ability to defend themselves.
Eventually when technology and infrastructure spread across the world, will the proletariat take their fare share from the petit and normal bourgeoisie!
Africa might have large riots about tax evasion and the WTO´s forced laissez faire in 20-40 years, or maybe anti corruption will be more gradual.

First of all, I would like to thank the comrade for his excellent comment. It is smart and informed comments like these that make this site so great.
Who are the enemies of NATO? Venezuela, Russia, Belarus, Turkey, Syria, Iran? Anybody else? Who cares if they are corrupt? Nations have a right to self-determination. Anyway, a lot of NATO allies and even members are corrupt and even murderous or genocidal.

“China, Turkey, Japan, Russia, India and large parts of Africa”

Exactly. This is why Russia is so important. China is not allied with NATO at all. Isn’t Japan a de facto NATO ally or member? And isn’t India a NATO ally? Turkey is a NATO member that is now on the outs with the rest of the alliance. It’s still the Sick Man of Europe after all these centuries. I agree a lot of Europe seems to be not actively allied with NATO. What about Egypt and Sudan? Haven’t they signed on to the anti-Iran bullshit?

“Eventually when technology and infrastructure spread across the world, will the proletariat take their fare share from the petit and normal bourgeoisie!”

We can only hope, comrade! Or barring that, at least dream. Instead of ruling society, I think proletarians should aim for something a lot lower – simply getting something more like their fair share in society.

Africa might have large riots about tax evasion and the WTO´s forced laissez faire in 20-40 years, or maybe anti corruption will be more gradual.

Corruption is endemic in all of Black Africa, is it not? Tax evasion? You mean African elites do not pay their fair share? How long has the WTO been enforcing neoliberalism in Africa? I thought only the IMF could do that. Why would the riots be 30 years off instead of sooner?

More Support for My Theories about Hispanic Intelligence, Culture, Etc.

I would however say that this mostly applies to Mexican-Americans. I am not even sure if it applies to Mexicans in Mexico because there is actually a High Culture in Mexico. In Mexico City there is opera and the main paper has a large book review section every week. In other words, a true highbrow intellectual culture, right in the heart of Mexico. It goes without saying that the members of this highbrow culture are White or a lot Whiter than average Mexicans. But in Mexico, White and people involved in highbrow White Mexican culture extends all the way down to 60-70% White. These people have an idea of lowbrow culture as being “naco.” Naco is also associated with quite a bit of Indian blood. In Mexico, it’s not whether you have Indian blood or not. It’s more a matter of just how much Indian blood you have. I have never thought that Indians were particularly dangerous. Even the racist Latin American Whites that I read on Stormfront (I read 1,000 pages of their threads) said that Indians were fairly harmless. They said that they could get loud, rude and verbally violent, but it didn’t often expand beyond that. One said, “You have give an Indian a handful of tortillas and a six pack, and he’s good for the night. He goes off quietly and you never hear from him again.” On the other hand these Latin American Whites were scathing in their views of Latin American Blacks, who they viewed as very violent and downright dangerous as Hell. It is interesting to note that in Latin America, the existing Blacks are often quite mixed with not only White but also Indian. The result – a White – Indian – Black mix like Hugo Chavez and many others in the far north and the east of Latin America (Venezuela,  Colombia and Brazil ) and the far south of Central America (Panama) and parts of the Caribbean (Puerto Rico) – is called a Zambo. This term is a source of some ridicule among Latin American Whites like Chileans or Peruvians (some of the worst Whites in Latin America) as a term for a mystery casserole of a human so badly mixed that they are nearly indescribable, but a lot of Zambos are quite beautiful. Cali, Colombia is a Zambo city and the women of Cali are said to be the most beautiful in all of Latin America.
The high culture of Mexico City compares starkly with the rest of Mexico.
Your typical Mexican mestizo is a pretty lowbrow person – he’s probably never read a book in his life nor does he wish to. Nevertheless, even the lowliest cook in a corner market knows how to read and write. They definitely teach you that in Mexican schools and most Mexicans have been to school.
And most Mexicans from Mexico,  even a lowly corner cook like I mentioned, know something about Mexican history – the Civil War of course and even the clerical contra rebellion afterwards ~1930 that most Americans have never heard of. Every Mexican knows who Emilio Zapata and Benito Juarez are. I was stunned at how many of these very uneducated people had even heard of Frieda Kahlo. How many Americans know who she was?
How many Chicanos know even a parallel basics of US 20th Century history? And you will never meet a Mexican-American who knows who Frieda Kahlo is nor do they care to find out.
Beyond that, we descend even lower to Mexican Indians, who not only don’t read books but may not even know what a book is. Mestizos believe in some strange saints in their profoundly syncretic Catholicism, but when you get out to the Indian villages, people actually still believe in witches. As you can see, the descent from High Culture down to beyond lowbrow is a steep one indeed. You will nearly break a leg walking too quickly down that slope.
The South Americans I have met in the US are not so anti-intellectual as the Chicanos below. South America after all has a much better High Culture than Mesoamerica. South American High Culture is so intact because the culture of Spain still lingers down there to a great degree while it has nearly vanished from Mesoamerica. I have talked to rich people in Lima and Bogota who literally spent half the year in Spain. Literally.
I had an Argentine girlfriend once. She often called me Senor instead of my first name (imagine an American girlfriend routinely referring to you as sir) and was in stunned awe of the fact that I was an hombre de letras or a “man of letters.” Intellectualism is a big deal in Argentina.
The Salvadorans and Nicaraguans I have met in the US were highly politicized, and I was shocked at how smart they were. You think you are dealing with another “ignorant Mexican in a mini-mart” until you start them off on politics, and they start rattling away and soon leave you in the dust. Every Salvadoran I have ever met has heard of La Matanza (The Massacre), and that happened in 1932. And I’ve not met one yet who could not tell me who Farabundo Marti was (see La Matanza above).  How many Americans know who Farabundo Marti was?
Most Americans don’t have the slightest idea what either of those things are. It just goes to show that you can take a society with an IQ like Chicanos and supercharge them politically and possibly even culturally if the objective conditions are right. The Colombians, Peruvians, and Chileans I met here and outside the US (not to mention the Argentine woman) had a shockingly deep knowledge of politics for an ordinary person, and the Latin Americans were often as learned as a Spaniard or at least wished to be.
How many Americans know who Tupac Amaro was? But the young Peruvian woman I knew all about him and even knew quite a bit about his wife, who is a proto-feminist hero down there to some mestiza and indigena women..
I never asked her who Jose Carlos Mariategui was, but I am sure she could have told me all about him too. Another Peruvian woman I met knew all about Jose Arguedas and his famous novel The Fox Above and Below, which ties in with Mariategui, if you think about it. Arguedas was one of the most famous figures in Peruvian literature and his own daughter, incredibly enough, sat on the central committee of the Shining Path. Sendero was about indigenismo and to a lesser extent feminismo than anything else.
They even his name in the formal long name of their group – El Partido Comunista del Peru en la luz del pasado sendero luminoso del Jose Carlos Mariategui or The Communist Party of Peru in the Light of the Shining Path of Jose Carlos Mariategui.
Here is a recent comment from a half-Mexican American who agrees with most everything I have said about these people.

As a half-Hispanic raised with Hispanics, I mostly agree with this. My Mexican mother who immigrated illegally to the US paid tens of thousands for in-vitro fertilization, and that’s what pulled me out the ditch. This was evidently high-quality sperm because I still managed to turn out above average.
The people around me were impressed that I actually liked to read and learn. When I was young, the other Hispanics were amused that I could memorize the times tables and recite miscellanea about science and history, besides being capable of drawing dragons properly.
To give you context, my mother has been living in the US for over 25 years, and still does not understand a drop of English. They have a culture which consists of strong work-ethic (never missing a day of work and so on) followed by self-induced brain death post 9-to-5. They just watch mindless television and do not learn.
I discovered my own origins at the age of ten. I also achieved standard atheism at the age of nine (which I consider a standard benchmark for the ability to display rudimentary acts of rationality.) Then it took me years of hard work to unwire all the Catholic stupidity in my mother’s brain. This culture has no concept of logical reasoning, so her mind kept swinging in repetitive loops whenever I tried to carefully and methodically pin her down to the implications of specific arguments.
I succeeded in that endeavor, and am now in the process of teaching her where she is actually standing by explaining the crucial insights of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. People may laugh at the fact that she didn’t know the Earth was a sphere orbiting the sun, but yet most ‘educated’ humans alive today are just as ignorant about reality. For example, by not knowing that there is no universal now sweeping forward, or by holding the belief that we are made of little billiard ball particles bouncing around.
In my experience, whites at least fake like they want to learn. They’ll say “Oh yeah, that’s cool. Schrodinger’s cat is dead and alive… lol… because it’s all probabilistic, hur dur” or something. Of course, they don’t know jack-shit and also prefer to consume mindless media, but their culture says it’s okay to be smart. Hispanics just don’t give a shit. A lack of intellectual culture is their biggest setback.
The ghetto lower-middle income schools I went to were torture. The kids couldn’t do basic algebra; the teachers were underachieving whites who couldn’t get higher paying jobs in other districts or who preferred having less responsibility because black and hispanic parents wouldn’t bitch to them about grades, or have any expectations whatsoever really. And the teachers made no secret about this, they outright told us this was the reason.
Also, what you say about Mexicans bringing Mexico is absolutely true. I stayed in La Villita when I went to university in Chicago because some kind family members we barely knew were willing to rent super cheap. As I walked through the dirty streets past yet another leather boot store blasting trumpet music I almost felt ashamed, like ‘How could Mexicans escape to a new country and yet prefer to make it Mexico again?”

Mao Was Right

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

I dunno. There are some North Koreans worth up to $100,000. The party doesn’t seem to care much. There are many rich Chavistas and the Ortegas have plenty of money. There are some Cubans who are living quite well now – marble counter-tops and floors, etc. The state doesn’t care.
I suppose a good CP would just argue that moneyed people can be kept around as long as they support the party and the basic socialist nature of the system. Progressive rich people are not unknown. The father of the famous terrorist Carlos was a life member of the Venezuelan Communist Party and a millionaire.
Do the Chinese Communists (Chicoms) believe that the rich are inherently oppressive? I doubt it as the party is full of millionaires. There is even a billionaire in the party now pushing the rightwing politics of all billionaires everywhere. I think they ought to throw him out of the party.
Mao said reactionary and capitalist elements would be springing up in the party all the time, and you to wage more or less constant cultural revolution to keep the rightwingers from taking over the party. That’s one of the pillars of Maoism that distinguishes it from other Marxisms.
Then Deng came along, aaand…
Mao was right.

Should the Rich and the Reactionaries Be Given Rights?

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

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

The US Left: An Autopsy

James Schipper: Dear Robert
There is a real left in the US, the Politically Correct Left. Their darlings are the sexually abnormal, except pedophiles of course, colored people, and immigrants. To promote equality at home and to oppose imperialism abroad, which is traditional Leftism, is not a priority for today’s Leftism. Instead, we have the pursuit of diversity at home and the promotion of human rights abroad.
However, the pursuit of diversity is perfectly compatible with extreme inequality. If a CEO makes 200 times more than the companies lowest paid employee, but half of the CEO’s are female and 1/3 are non-white, then that is fine.
As to the promotion of human rights abroad, it is the modern equivalent of the White man’s burden. In practice, it means that the West will tell the rest what to do.

This is probably about right. The Cultural Left is the Left in the US. My previous post discussed Daily Kos, ground central for the left wing of the Democratic Party.
I talked about how awful they were on Venezuela, but they are just as bad on Syria and Russia. Sure, you can’t discuss the Israeli conflict, but you can sure support Israeli foreign policy in Syria.
I am quite sure that Iran is hated too.
Kos is somewhat sane on North Korea – they think that Trump threatening to attack a nuclear armed state is the height of insanity. Of course they will use their nuclear weapons if attacked. What do you expect them to do?
Well, one thing is for sure, and that’s that the Daily Kos and liberal Democrats in general support the Cultural Left to the hilt. That’s one thing they are quite Left on – culture. There is no species of nonheterosexual orientation or nonbinary gender that they will not shout the praises of to the skies.
And of course there is the continuous cheerleading for the dubious Black Lives Matter group and the Left’s favorite pets, the illegal immigrants.
There is also a lot of promotion of radical or gender feminism.
You don’t see a lot of White bashing or male bashing. Some Black, Brown, and feminist diarists write that sort of thing, but those diaries are not very popular, and the audience is mostly female or Black and Brown liberals. The male Kossacks generally stay off the hardline feminist diaries, and White Kossacks are not seen a lot on the radical Black and Brown diaries. After a while there, I decided that White liberal men were not as cucked as everyone says they are. They didn’t seem very interested in the male-bashing or White-bashing.
There even used to be some liberals on Daily Kos who were very much against illegal immigration. They tended to get shouted down, but they did have a voice. I believe recently Kos made a new policy that opposing illegal immigration on the site would result in a ban. It’s sad.
More liberals or more precisely those on the Left wing of US liberalism seem to have increasingly had it up to here with the Israelis. Even a number of liberal US Jews have finally had it with the Jewish state. Israel’s behavior gets more outrageous, belligerent and murderous by the day, and I would assume that as a liberal, even a Jewish liberal, it gets harder and harder to see these radical ethnic nationalists (the Jewish equivalent of Amrenners or Stormfronters) behave as violently and viciously as they do.
Syria is so much of a tougher sell, as the US Left and US liberalism has been doubling down on overthrowing Assad and even supporting Al Qaeda and ISIS in the process from Day One. However, even on Daily Kos, there are a few commenters who go against the Official Narrative on Syria. Maybe 20% of the total, but they are articulate and quite loud.
Even much of the actual US Left has been badly split on Syria. Alternet has been supporting overthrowing Assad, as has Pacifica radio and some authors on Counterpunch. On Alternet and Counterpunch, the readers are much more pro-Syria than the writers. Pacifica has faced a big backlash for its pro-intervention coverage. It’s more accurate to say that support for Assad’s regime has badly split the US Left than to say they have taken any coherent stand on the matter.

The Left Wing of the Democratic Party – Where Progressive Policy Goes to Die

Indra Varuna: Hey Robert! Off topic but you think of Vox? (the progressive website and not Voxday)
It’s look like a Democrat mouthpiece, they published a article against Venezuela and another that Israel shouldn’t be boycotted, but they’re progressive in almost everything.

I don’t know Vox very well. I think they are probably OK, but I don’t read them that much. I think the last I read there was a debate on the B-W IQ gap between Ezra Klein and Sam Harris. Pretty much a waste of a two-hour podcast. They’re probably pretty awful on Cultural Left stuff.
Vox is really just the bullshit Democratic Party, in particular the left wing of the Democratic Party, which is still shit in my opinion.
Go to Daily Kos sometime. Sign up for an account. I have a lifetime ban on Daily Kos for “anti-Semitism.” Really I just attacked the Israeli cancer that is metastasizing in Palestine.
Some Kossack wrote an article attacking Syria from a BS POV and I asked, “What’s the capital of your country, Tel Aviv?” I basically said, “You are not an American. You are just another dual loyalty / agent of a foreign power / dual citizen type.” Well the Kossacks flipped out, called me a ‘virulent anti-Semite” and permabanned me.
If you want to understand the cowardly and craven left wing of this pathetic party, go to Daily Kos and read around.
In a nutshell:
DK is split on Israel, but most Kossacks love Israel. However, a minority of Kossacks have had it up to here with the Israeli infestation and attack them ferociously. Kos put in a directive that all debate on the subject of Israel is banned. I suppose that is where it is now. Not catastrophic but not real great either.
The real problem is that Daily Kos is really (((Daily Kos))). Like most other entities in American life, Daily Kos is Jewed to the hilt. 60% of the Democratic Party’s money is Jewish money, and most of it comes with pro-Israeli strings attached.
You don’t read much about Venezuela on Daily Kos, but what you do read is pretty bad. I read one article that was pro-Venezuela, but the commenters were all bitterly against the piece, and one said it should be flagged and banned as opposing some Kos policy. In other words, if you support Venezuela, you are violating Daily Kos policy.
Keep in mind that even Sanders was horrific on Venezuela. He called Chavez a “Communist dictator.”
The truth is that the Left is the US is pretty much crap. The actual Left in the US is usually pretty OK, but the majority of the Left in the US are these maggots called “liberal Democrats” who are distinguished by the fact that there is almost nothing progressive about them.
The US Democratic Party has long been pretty good on domestic policy, but they have always been horrifically reactionary on foreign policy. Even my late father, a proud ADA Democrat, was a Cold War Democrat who was horribly reactionary on foreign policy. Also, since he had been in the Marines, he believed that the US military could absolutely do no wrong, and he supported the US military to the hilt no matter who they were bombing, shooting, killing and slaughtering at the moment. It didn’t matter. They were always right. You could not oppose the US military in his presence. He would almost threaten to hit you. It was that bad.
Bottom line is the US is pretty hopeless. There’s no real Left in the country, and the Democratic Party is pathetically reactionary on foreign policy. The very idea that liberal Democrats are are even leftwing in any way is pretty risible.

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.

Hillary Is Still Worse Than Trump on Militarism

From a year ago, but instructive nevertheless.
Sure, Trump is a horrifying hawk, and all of his promises about keeping us out of foreign wars have turned to crap. He has assembled one of the most hawkish cabinets one could imagine, including the terrifyingly insane John Bolton, the scariest man in America. Pompeo isn’t much better. Haley is catastrophic as UN ambassador.
Trump has already been far worse than Obama on war, especially in Syria. He has been much more bellicose than Obama on North Korea and Iran and even on Venezuela, on which he has threatened to launch an attack. He has also been much more hawkish on Russia, sending lethal military aid to Ukraine and attacking Russian forces a number of times in Syria.
His nominee for Secretary of State, Pompeo, recently bragged that the US had killed 200 Russians. It’s not true, and more about that later, but it’s a chilling thing to say.
In addition, since Trump came in, the rebels have made a number of miraculously precise artillery attacks on Russian forces and the Russian Embassy. A number of Russian soldiers, including some high ranking officers and even a general, were killed. A number of these Russia-killing attacks were by ISIS, and US advisers were known to be in the direct vicinity at the time. In fact, ISIS forces had just driven a convoy past US forces, and US forces had not done anything. A lot of people are saying that there is no way the rebels could have pulled such accurate high profile attacks on Russians that they did, and that the US must have helped them target these Russians.
So the US has already killed a number of Russians in Syria. Obama hadn’t killed one Russian. Trump, instead of being Putin’s pet, should instead by named The Russian Killer.
Trump removed all of the Rules of Engagement that Obama had put in for air strikes against ISIS. These rules had been quite strict and reasonable, but they had resulted in a number of civilian casualties. After removing the ROI’s, civilian casualties due to US strikes rose by 5-10 times. Trump killed a lot of Syrian civilians for no good reason.
However, Hillary’s comments about destroying Syria’s airfields go far beyond anything that Trump has even done so far, so as horrific as Trump has been on military matters, Hillary still probably would have been worse.
War Psychosis runs deep in US society, infecting all US elites across the spectrum and much of the clinically insane US population. We are simply a people who love war and get off on killing as many people as possible. We are a nation of bloodthirsty killers.

One Man Businesses Are Inherently Noncapitalist

Stalin Tonks: All this talk about donations and paywalls makes you sound like a capitalist, Robert. I am so disappointed in you.

First of all, I live in a capitalist country. You have to do what you have to do survive in whatever country you live in. If you want to survive in a capitalist country, you have to play by the rules of capitalism. And it’s not anti-socialist to be rich or to invest in or own businesses. For instance, the FMLN revolutionaries owned and invested in businesses, farms and ranches all over Latin America. All of the money went for revolution – guns, bombs, uniforms, supplies, wages for soldiers, etc. The father of the famous terrorist Carlos was a Venezuelan millionaire and Communist. That’s not a contradiction, and he doesn’t have to give all his money away. A Communist can be rich in a capitalist country. I would like to think he would do good things with his money though and not use it to rip off the people or exploit workers. Engels was a rich businessman.
I am not a capitalist. No exploitation, no capitalism. I am simply a worker selling his labor on the open market. All one man businesses are noncapitalist. It’s just one guy selling his labor on the market mostly to other workers. It’s workers paying other workers for some service. Also I am not marking anything up, although the profit motive and marking up products as a middleman is not necessarily capitalist and is completely compatible with socialism. I also feel that small businesses are an important part of a socialist country.
Anyway, I’m not really a Communist. I am just a socialist, and I am OK with social democracy where you have private businesses and even corporations and where up to 93% of the economy is private owned, as in Sweden for instance.
Democratic socialism allows a lot of capitalism in it. It just modified it and regulates it, and that is the socialist part as capitalists accept no limits whatsoever on their profits. Any state that limits the profits of Capital is automatically acting in a socialist manner. All regulation of business is inherently socialist. It has to be. Capitalists do not accept the state regulating their businesses to limit their profits in any way, shape or form. That’s their nature.

Fabricio Orjeda, Presente!

In support of one of my newest heroes, Fabricio Orjeda, leader of the FALN of Venezuela from 1962-1966. I also like this group, which I just learned about. They hardly killed a soul. Kidnapped a few people for ransom, including a US military colonel! Cool! That’s some real style. I like that! Back in those days, a lot of these groups kidnapped people and even robbed banks to get money for revolution. There were a number of groups in El Salvador in the 1970’s that did this quite a bit.
Hey come on. A revolution needs money. Get real. How you going to have a revolution without money?

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This photo makes it clear that Chavismo really is a racial movement. Note how dark most of the Chavistas are. There look to be maybe two fairly White looking people in that crowd. In contrast, the opposition is overwhelmingly White and light-skinned. Of course, Whites at 22% are the minority in Venezuela. Most of the rest are a mixture of Black, Indian and White for which is there is no name. Indian-White mixes are mestizos. White-Black mixes are mulattoes. Black-Indian mixes are called Zambos. Bet you never heard that one before. There is no word for White-Indian-Black mixes, unless you just want to call them “Brazilians.” White nationalist phrases like mystery meat are a bit cruel for my tastes, sorry. Haven’t you clowns heard of hybrid vigor? It’s not really anti-White. Nobody thinks that way in Latin America. It’s just that the Whites and lighter people have all the money, and for centuries, they monopolized the whole economy, stealing every nickel in the place without leaving  the vast majority even a pot to piss in. Everyone screams about the “evil Chavismo” and the “failed Venezuela.” Don’t these idiots realize that Venezuelan capitalism failed from 1823-1989, when Chavez came in? In 1990, in an oil rich country, 91% of the population lived in poverty and 89% could afford only one meal a day,  while 10% of the population luxuriated in unheard of riches. Think about it. Even if all the rich were White, this model was still failing over half the Whites in Venezuela. 60% of Venezuelan Whites were living in poverty when the Opposition ruled Venezuela. So much for the White rich paradise. Alt right White nationalists cheering for the ancien regime in Venezuela don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground. There’s no future in White workers making alliance with their deadliest of class enemies, the White Rich. And whatever you think of non-Whites, I think any sane and intelligent White nationalist would have to realize that the worst enemies of White workers are the White Rich. Blacks and Hispanics are quite a ways down the list. Only a fool makes alliance with his class enemies!

There was a march and a ceremony in Caracas recently honoring this great man. They reburied his remains in the National Pantheon, where he belongs.

73% of Venezuelans Continue to Support Chavismo

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

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

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

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

Venezuela: The Lies Never Stop

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

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

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

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

Some Comments on Shortages and Price Controls in the Venezuelan Economy

Sam: If you buy rice in Venezuela the smartest thing to do, not necessarily the most honest, is to immediately move it over the border and resell it for a huge profit. Then smuggle it back for another huge profit.

Of course that is exactly what is going on. Also an unbelievable amount of hoarding. The stores in the middle and upper class areas are full, stocked to the rafters, so the business community is supplying them just fine. It’s just the poor areas that they are not supplying.
The price controls were put in after the first time the Opposition tried to blow up the economy. They had a lockout strike where businesses all over the country simply closed their doors. Factories too. A lot of employees tried to invade businesses and factories to run them themselves, but it was hard. This so ruined the economy and caused such horrendous inflation that price controls were put in as a necessity to stop the inflation. So it’s the Opposition that created the conditions for the price controls.
The price controls worked just fine for many years. They were put in in 1993. It’s only when the oil price crashed that they became a problem.

Sam: Why don’t they try just subsidizing just the poor with enough money to buy basic rice and oil?

There are Bolivarians who are saying to get rid of the price controls. I agree with them.

Sam: Blaming the US for this not working is just stupid as I can easily see a way to game the system in seconds.

There is also a plot to blow up the economy. This would be the third such plot. The first two were defeated – lockout strike and oil strike – but this one is working very well. There is a ton of hoarding going on. The US has been behind all of these plots to blow up the economy.

Sam: Blaming the US for this not working is just stupid as I can easily see a way to game the system in seconds. Surely the people in Venezuela are not so stupid that they can’t see a way to game it also.

Yes, the business sector is just gaming the system. I cannot really blame them. Capital will just go wherever the profits are highest.
It also makes everyone into a criminal. If the only way you can get food is to game the system or deal with black marketeers then everyone will become complicit making everyone a criminal.
It’s not the only way to get food. The stores in the middle and upper class areas are full. And the stores in the poor areas are full too. Non price controlled stuff is often quite available. Perhaps it is expensive though. It is the cheap staples that are hard to get.

Reuters: But obtaining goods at those prices requires waiting in long lines that are increasingly the site of robberies or lootings.

The looting is exaggerated, and there are police guarding most of the lines.
You realize that every piece on Venezuela in the Western press is part of a propaganda war, right?

Debunking Myths about the Crisis in Venezuela: An Insider's Perspective

Via Venezuelanalysis. This is one of many posts that I will post laying out the continuous lies going on in the Western press all out war against Venezuela. One wonders what this war is even all about. Supposedly the Bolivarian government is a Communist, socialist or Marxist government.

Debunking Myths about the Crisis In Venezuela: an Insider’s Perspective

By Javier Hasse – Benzinga, July 26th 2016

Venezuelanalysis

After three years as a correspondent in Venezuela, BBC’s Daniel Pardo decided to share a look into five myths he’s identified in relation to the country’s situation, as perceived by people abroad. Those up-to-date with the news know that almost every mainstream media outlet paints a gloomy picture of famine, insecurity and censorship. But, how bad is the situation really?
1. There’s Famine
While it is true that some areas in Venezuela are experiencing food shortages, and most people (90 percent according to an Encovi poll) have declared they now eat less and worse, there is no such thing as a widespread famine.
According to U.N. criteria, a famine is defined by severe food scarcity in more than 20 percent of households, a global acute malnutrition rate above 30 percent and death rates above 0.02 percent — two deaths per 10,000 people per day. In comparison, the most pessimistic figures for Venezuela point toward 20 to 25 percent malnutrition rate and a death rate that does not even reach one person per 1 million people per day.
2. Venezuela and Cuba Are the Same
Pardo cited three main arguments people are using to argue that Venezuela has “Cubanized”: long lines to purchase rationed products, a dual economy and a militarized government. And, while there is some truth in these statements, Venezuela remains a capitalist economy with a still large private sector — and presence of international brands like McDonald’s Corporation MCD 0.67% and a large list of U.S. and Spanish banks.
Moreover, Venezuelans have free access to the Internet and the media; Facebook Inc FB 0.52%Netflix, Inc. NFLX 2.06%Twitter Inc TWTR 1.52% and Alphabet Inc GOOG 0.4% GOOGL 0.23%’s YouTube are available for everyone, opposite to Cuba. And, of course, Venezuelans can leave the country freely, which Cubans — arguably — cannot do.
It should be noted that none of the statements above imply contempt for the Cuban way, but are just a mere differentiation between two countries.
3. A Dictatorship Is Installed in Venezuela
While there is much debate among scholars regarding how to categorize Venezuela, one thing is pretty undisputed: It is not a traditional dictatorship — living in Latin America, I can assure you a dictatorship looks nothing like that!

 First off, Pardo explained, opposition exists (even though limited in its expressions, it’s there) and elections are conducted periodically — although results can be questioned. Now, agreeing on the fact that Venezuela is not a dictatorship is not the same as talking about a full-blown democracy — although the minimum criteria are met.
4. Everyone and Their Grandma Hates President Nicolás Maduro
Again, this is a straight-out lie. Maduro, like many Latin American (and world) leaders, is a polarizing figure. People tend to either love him or hate him; no grays. In this line, 20 to 30 percent of the country’s population supports the acting president, diverse polls have shown. However, analysts have argued these numbers are rigged, in the sense that many don’t dare to criticize the government, for fear of losing of housing, food and other benefits.
One way or another, “30 percent support is more than what the presidents of Brazil, Chile or Colombia boast nowadays,” Pardo added.
5. People Cannot Feel Safe In The Streets
While it is true that crime rates are quite high in Venezuela, people still go out, even at night, and most return home safely. However, one must keep a low profile, Pardo expounded. Showing riches or opulence are bad ideas, but this applies to almost every country in the world.

Lies about Venezuela: The "Socialist" Lie

The Bolivarian government of Venezuela is constantly said to be a communist, Marxist or especially socialist government. In fact, it is none of those things. The country has a capitalist economy. The government has used some Keynesian mechanisms to try to regulate the free market, which is exactly what gets done in many nations all over the world, especially in Europe, the Arab world, Africa, Japan Southeast Asia and Central Asia. The Keynesian model of regulated capitalism is one of the major models utilized on the planet today. So all you commenters screaming about Venezuela – I guess you are Libertarians who are opposed to Keynesian economics, correct?
It is constantly compared to Cuba and the USSR and the command economies that caused so many problems in those places. It is even suggested that the long lines are for “rationed products” just as they were in Cuba and the USSR.
Problems:
Economy: There is no command economy in Venezuela. There is no rationing of anything, much less food. Venezuela cannot be said to have a Communist, Marxist or even socialist economy unless you define socialist as social democracy. Yes, Venezuela is about as socialist as most European countries and so many other nations around the world that in one way or another are social democracies. So when you scream that the Venezuelan system is a “failed socialism,” what you are really saying is that social democracy is a failed system. You are saying “France and Sweden are Communist countries.” The insane conflating of social democracy and Communism makes you a…Libertarian, or better yet, a Republican.
The “socialism” that the media has been screaming about has really just been nothing more then Keynesianism – capital controls and price controls after all are simply Keynesian mechanisms utilized in order to regulate free market capitalism. So when you call Venezuela “failed socialism,” what you are saying is that Keynesianism is a failed system and that radical free market capitalism is the only viable solution. So you are an Ayn Randist. You’re Glenn Beck, Paul Ryan, Ron Paul and Milton Friedman.
There never was any socialism in Venezuela anymore than there is socialism in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait. In fact, the Gulf model was the “socialist” model that the Bolivarians were following. So when you scream and call Venezuela “failed socialism,” you are saying that the Gulf states are Communist countries. You are also saying that the Gulf economic system is “failed socialism.” Those economies look failed to you? Me either.
Nothing new about the Bolivarians. Everything the West has been screaming about has been the case for decades in that country. The oil company was nationalized by the pro-Western parties in 1974. I guess they must have been Communists. Only Commies nationalize oil companies.
For decades before Chavez came in, price controls were regularly used in Venezuela by the pro-Western parties. I assume they were utilized to try to deal with the inflation that has always been a problem down there. In fact, the pro-Western parties in that time even used currency controls. Nations all over the world use currency controls.
Venezuela has always had a serious inflation problem. Sure it is running 150% inflation now, but during the 1980’s before Chavez came in, inflation was averaging ~100%/year or between 50-150%. There’s nothing new there. Venezuela’s always had horrible inflation. Even the social democratic or socialist nature of the Bolivarians is nothing new. in fact, one of the two main opposition pro-Western parties, the AD, is a social democratic party or was the last time I checked. In fact, this leading party of the opposition is actually a member of the Socialist International! So if you want to complain about failed socialism and all that crap, why don’t you start with the opposition?

Latin America: Where All Political Parties Have Always Been Ruling Class Parties

A previous post pointed out how one of the biggest parties in the Venezuelan far rightwing opposition,the AD, is actually a socialist party or a social democratic party.
Of course the AD was a horrible social democratic party that put shame to the name of social democracy. But social democratic parties in Latin America have been pretty horrible for a long time. Check out the APRA in Peru or the PRI in Mexico. They suck.
Social democratic parties in Latin America are often just vehicles for the avaricious, vicious and often genocidal White ruling classes. Down there, most political parties from “Left” to “Right” have always been run by the monstrous and murderous White ruling classes.
Those parties don’t even differ all that much. Someone needs to tell me the difference between the two Colombian ruling class parties, the “Liberals” and the “Conservatives.” I am not sure I understand. Maybe the Church?

Socialists Are Generally Elitist, and That's Ok

Oops I did it again writes:

What socialists are not “elitist”? Aside from the “revolutionary masses”, all those who fancy leading/instructing them are and must be “elitists”.
It’s people who need a mission, something that will make them heroes, and are too intelligent to find that kind of gratification doing jobs even for 120 IQ people.

Of course this is true. It’s always been true. It’s surely true with Leninists and Communists. It always bothered me that Communist Party membership was limited to say, 6% of society. Every time I saw that, I felt pained. Why only 6%? How can you ever limit party membership to such a low number without that 6% becoming an elite in fact if not in essence? Assuming a person is sufficiently revolutionary, why can’t they join the party? And if they start lagging or going reactionary, just pull their membership. No problem there. Communists aren’t exactly democrats anyway.
Are the masses really that stupid and unaware of their own needs that only the top 6% of society is capable of addressing those needs, as 94% of them are class cucks who will always oppose their own interests?
If you read early Marxists, they were quite clear that the masses didn’t know what the Hell they were doing, had no idea of what their needs or even wants were, and were very easily swayed to support their class enemies on the basis of nationalism, jingoism, tribalism, racism, sexism, values conservatism, or religion.
They had no idea what they were doing and were incapable of figuring out what was best for them, so a paternalistic yet benevolent socialist elite (vanguard) was needed to show them the way. Granted, that may be the case, but it always seemed insulting towards the masses.
And even after years or decades of Communism, the masses are still as retarded as ever? After all those revolutionary classes and sessions, and they haven’t transformed in the slightest? That seemed so dubious to me.
The Chavistas, Sandinistas and others were trying to get away from that. I believe anyone can join the Sandinista Party, and members were often poor urban workers or peasants. The FMLN party in El Salvador is the same. Both of those parties managed to sell their project very well to the masses. Of course they were helped by decades of ruling class brutality and dictatorship that showed even the most blind of the masses that the ruling classes could never possibly be their friends in any formation or guise.
The Chavistas in Venezuela are much the same. In fact, the party itself is a grassroots party such that the grassroots nearly control the party direction, and those at the top are nearly beholden to those at the bottom, a complete transformation of typical human political relations, or probably of typical human relations in just about anything for that matter.
That’s not quite Direct Democracy, but it’s getting awful close.

Fake Figures, Incorrect Theories and Lies about Venezuela

That 500% inflation for Venezuela in the current year is false. That’s the figure that been bandied about the lying US press. That comes from one very controversial IMF report. However, that report’s conclusions have been rejected by most other economists. A panel of 12 economists agreed that the true figure for Venezuela’s economy this year is ~150%. That’s pretty bad, but it’s not 500%.
The figures on exchange rates are wrong. One government dollar does not equal 80 black market dollars. That exchange rate is only for money the government gives to importers to import goods from abroad.
The importers want those dollars cheap like that, that’s why the government gives them out so cheaply. This belies the arguments that the government rate does not begin to even cover costs because the companies will have to buy the goods at the black market rate overseas. That’s just not so. The government gives those dollars out cheaply as an incentive for the importers. If it was such a horrible deal, they would not give the dollars so cheaply.
The official exchange rate is 400 bolivars to the dollar. The black market rate is 1,000 bolivars to the dollar. So the black market rate is only 2.5X the official rate, which is hot nearly as bad as I had thought.
Many products are readily available and have been since the start of the shortages. The shortages are mostly of staples and sanitary necessities. For instance, milk is always in very short supply, but cheese and yogurt have been readily available since the start of the shortages.
Coffee beans are very difficult to buy in the stores. However, on every street corner is a little store or cafe where you can buy a cup of coffee, so coffee itself is obviously not in short supply. It’s just that the beans are not being sold to retail markets for sale on grocery shelves. If businesses can’t recoup their costs on sales of goods, how come they can apparently recoup their costs easily on yogurt and cheese but not on milk? How come they can recoup their costs just fine selling coffee beans to retail coffee shops that sell cups of coffee but they can’t recoup their costs on coffee beans sold to grocery stores. That makes no sense at all.
Studies have shown that food producers are producing just as much food in total numbers as before the shortages. So the argument that producers cannot recoup costs hence they have stopped manufacturing and importing things cannot be true because if it were true, food production would have plummeted. If total food production is as high now as it was before the shortages, surely businesses have no problems recouping their costs. And if production is the same now as before, why would there be shortages of staples. Obviously those shortages are artificially created.

America the Thug

From here.
I always knew that the OAS was a joke, a US-run organization, but I never knew quite how we went about it. Disgusting. This the way the US works all over the world, if you really want to know. I was brought up to think that we were always good guys. I guess that’s not so. Color me disappointed.

The New York Times has also championed attacks on Venezuela’s government by Luis Almagro, secretary general of the Organization of American States. Almagro was unable to win support for OAS action in support of his charges, and has been forced to retreat. For all its coverage of Venezuela, the Times did not find room to report the contents of a letter written to Almagro last November, recently released by its author and published in the centrist Caracas newspaper Ultimas Noticias (6/17/16). The letter, written by then-Uruguayan President Jose Mujica, whom Almagro served as foreign minister, expressed astonishment at his changes in position. “Luis,” he wrote:

You know that I have always supported and promoted you. You know that I quietly supported your candidacy for the OAS. I am sorry that the facts have repeatedly shown me that I was wrong. I don’t understand your silence on Haiti, Guatemala and Paraguay [the letter was written before the coup in Brazil] while you publish your letter in response to Venezuela.

How or why would a diplomat posted to the OAS change positions so dramatically? Perhaps an explanation comes from a Latin American diplomat who served as his country’s ambassador to that body.
“The US behaves at the Organization of American States exactly like the Corleone family,” said the diplomat, who asked not to be publicly identified. “The first time, they make you an offer: ‘After your tour of duty is up here, if you’d like to stay on in Washington, we can arrange a nice position for you at the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund.’
“If you don’t do what they want,” the diplomat said, “the second time, they threaten you. And if you still don’t do what they want, the third time they destroy you.”
When he was asked, “What do you mean by ‘destroy’?” he answered, “Believe me, you do not want to know what I mean by ‘destroy.’”

Chavismo Must Stop the Economic Bleeding

This is one of the most sensible articles I have read on the Venezuela economic crisis yet. The first three proposals will be bitter pills to swallow, but they need to be done. Apparently those subsidies, put in as popular redistribution methods by the government in which the government enacted subsidies enabling many things to be sold below cost with the state making up the difference, can no longer be afforded. They were great at a fantastic growth in the standard of living (before the economic crisis) of the lower classes, but they have to go.
The problem will be getting it through the Opposition controlled Legislature. The Opposition’s screams about the terrible state of the economy ring hollow because every time Maduro goes to the Legislature to offer plans to deal with the economic crisis, the Opposition refuses to enact any of them. That is correct. The Opposition refuses to do even one tiny thing to try to deal with the economic crisis. This is highly suggestive that they are part of the crisis themselves and that in part it is manufactured.
Obviously the Opposition wants the economy to tank as much as possible and for the crisis to go on as long as possible because they see the crisis as good propaganda that “Chavismo doesn’t work.” Also the crisis offers them a perfect chance to throw out the government. In this way, they are similar to US Republicans who blocked everything Obama tried to do apparently in an effort to make his Presidency fail.
You guys wonder why I hate capitalists and rightwingers. Well, the Venezuelan Opposition are capitalists and rightwingers. The US Republican Party are capitalists and rightwingers. If you ask me, capitalists and rightwingers are literally the worst people on Earth. I do not care how well capitalism works. That is not my concern. My problem is not so much with capitalism as with capitalists, the people who engage in the activity. The system can work reasonably well with a lot of socialism to make it go down easier, but the people who run the system are simply pond scum. They’re horrific and despicable human beings. I’m starting to see why Stalin shot them.

Chavismo Must Stop the Economic Bleeding

By Joe Emersberger – Telesur English
July 20th 2016

A special economic team convened by UNASUR, part of its effort to promote dialog between the Venezuelan opposition and Maduro’s government, has put together a detailed plan to lead Venezuela out of its worsening economic crisis. The key features of the plan are listed below:

  • A unification and clean float of the currency that should be implemented immediately.
  • Gradual lifting of price controls over an 18 month period.
  • Gradual lifting of all energy subsidies (not just gasoline) over an 18 month period.
  • Implement direct government subsidies to consumers, preferably universal subsidies, through an electronic discount card.
  • The indexing of all salaries to the monthly inflation rate for 18 months or until single digit inflation is achieved if that happens first.
  • A thorough and transparent audit of government assets so that non-strategic assets can be sold to finance the plan but also so that options for external financing become available.
  • The introduction of financial transaction and wealth taxes.

Implementation of an employment program to help people whose informal work (for example standing in lines to buy then resell price-controlled products) is eliminated through this plan. It would cost about 1 percent of GDP and would be financed with the taxes proposed above.
The first three proposals eliminate indirect subsidies which make certain products (and U.S. dollars) cheap for those lucky enough to get them. UNASUR’s team advises that the government support people’s incomes directly instead.
The first three proposals would be the most controversial to the Chavista base and to the Venezuelan left. The plan would be denounced by many as an IMF-style “paquetazo” as the IMF’s destructive policy recommendations have come to be known in Latin America. The left gained power throughout the region in the twenty-first century primarily because of the devastation caused by governments that followed IMF orders during the 1980-2000 period. It is not hard to see the huge political risk of doing things that look like backsliding or betrayal, but this plan is not in any way a return to IMF imposed neoliberalism.
Over the past three years, the costs of Venezuela’s indirect subsidies have not only skyrocketed, they have also largely failed to protect the poor, especially after oil prices collapsed near the end of 2014 but even for about a year before oil prices plummeted. UNASUR’s economic team estimates that Venezuela’s indirect subsidies cost the government anywhere from 11 to 17 percent of GDP.
To get a sense of how huge that is, consider that the United States presently spends about 3 percent of GDP on the Pentagon budget. The Venezuelan economy is being bled dry by massive indirect subsidies that do not work. UNASUR’s plan would stop the bleeding. It would replace outrageously costly and inefficient indirect subsidies with vastly more effective direct subsidies.
The UNASUR team does not address long term problems with Venezuela’s economy that have tended to confuse people about the immediate crisis it faces. Venezuela, like all developing countries, needs to diversify away from oil, and increase productivity generally in order to achieve the living standards of developed countries – at least key features of those living standards that should be strived for, like very low infant mortality.
In the Chavista era, the government has only had control over its state oil company, its main source of export revenue and hard currency, since about 2003, four years after the late Hugo Chavez was first took office. It took South Korea, a country not regarded as an ideological threat to the imperial powers, about 40 years to achieve the living standards of a rich country. It took Cuba about forty years to achieve a lower child mortality rate than the United States – a rich country that is a notorious laggard by that measure.
No “solidarity economy” that seeks to develop local production is going to begin to offset the hemorrhaging of 11 to 17 percent of GDP. There are many factors that go into successful long term planning and development, but no country striving to develop in the long term can afford incredibly wasteful and destabilizing polices in the present – especially in the context of a balance of payments crisis and low oil prices. Admonishing the Venezuelan government about long term planning and diversification is like talking to person with a serious stab wound about diet and exercise. The priority must be to stop the bleeding.
Venezuela’s Vice President has recently made remarks indicating that he understands and supports the nature of the UNASUR plan. It has never been totally clear if the government has allowed things to get so far out of hand as a result of political fears or from lack of understanding. People who have years of experience among grassroots Chavistas do not report that pressure from the government’s base will make them implement UNASUR’s plan. The base, it appears, do not know about the plan and would be probably misled about it by many grassroots leaders who would see it as a betrayal of Chavismo.
The government relies heavily on grassroots leaders during elections but that is no excuse for inaction. Moreover, as the UNASUR team points out, Venezuela has already made painful adjustments over the past few years through a huge reductions in imports. It could therefore very quickly deliver the benefits of implementing this plan, which is the best way to convince people that is necessary.
All around the world, people must really struggle to get any semblance of economic literacy. This is not a problem unique to Venezuela or to the left in Venezuela. The global economy was tanked in 2009 by massive housing bubbles in rich countries that “experts” failed to warn people about. Governments and big financial interests then took advantage of public ignorance again to make working people pay for the disaster.
People who care about the success of progressive change in Venezuela – and in Latin America – must do all they can to ensure that huge self-inflicted problems are avoided. Progressive governments will face extreme hostility abroad and at home during the best of times. They can least afford to make such serious mistakes.

The Maduro Election and the Riotous Aftermath

The Opposition got so inflamed by the media whipping up a frenzy that they went berserk and rioted all over the country. About 20 Chavistas were murdered. They burned down a number of the Free Clinics that the Chavistas had built in the poor neighborhoods and staffed with Cuban doctors. The Opposition hates those clinics more than anything else. A number of medical workers including nurses and physicians were murdered by the Opposition.
There were shots fired at the homes of a number of prominent Chavistas. It turned out that all of those inflammatory photos were fake. The ballot boxes in the ravine photo was from an election five years ago when the ballot boxes were simply discarded after the ballots were all counted. There were other logical explanations for all of the other fake stories and photos. The US press ran articles about the fake stolen election and the Opposition rioting because Maduro “stole the election.”
The Chavistas decided to do a recount to appease the Opposition and the US. The recount was counted by unbiased judges, and it was completely fair. Fully 60% of the votes were recounted. The recount vote matched the official vote tally perfectly. There was not even one single excess or subtracted vote. The judges stopped at 60% because they figured that if 60% of the votes were immaculate, obviously the election was fair, and there was no point counting anymore. The Opposition and the US then went on a huge campaign screaming that the recount had been unfair because they only counted 60% of the ballots. Ridiculous, huh?
The media and the Opposition had gotten their supporters so riled up with the endless lies about the fake stolen election that the Opposition rank and file went crazy and stated staging riots all over the country. The US said nothing other than that people were protesting the fake stolen elections.
The riots were very violent from Day One. The rioters were armed with guns, bombs, grenades and other arms. They set a number of fires. They destroyed a great deal of property. They put wires up at a lot of the intersections in the middle and upper class areas, effectively freezing traffic and causing huge traffic jams. A number of motorcyclists were killed when driving through the barriers by running into the wires that they could not see.
The Chavista police got involved, and while there were some excesses as there always are, any other police force on Earth would have been much more brutal about putting down the riots. The Chavista cops’ approach was almost dainty, very cautious, restrained and by the book. This is because the Chavistas knew that if there was any police brutality, the US would scream that the “brutal thug police of Chavista dictatorship” is brutalizing “poor innocent protestors.”
The US press uniformly falsely characterized the riots as peaceful demonstrations that were only made violent when brutal Chavista police tried to break them up. But as I noted, the Chavista cops were more restrained than any other police force on Earth would have been and the riots started out violent and stayed violent the whole time.
When it was all over, 42 people were dead. The US screamed about that figure for a long time, saying that Chavista police had “murdered 42 peaceful protestors.” Actually the majority of people killed were Chavista counter-protestors. A few police were also killed. A fair number of innocent bystanders were killed by the wires or stray bullets. Some of the Opposition protestors were killed but not a lot. Fatalities were pretty equally distributed among all participants in the rioting, including demonstrators on both sides, police and innocent bystanders. The Opposition rioters got off easy because they suffered a relatively lesser number of fatalities.
Due to the “horrible police violence that murdered 42 peaceful protestors,” Obama gave a lying speech where he said comically that Venezuela was one of the major military threats to the United States, up there with North Korea, Russia and Iran. This is stupid because the Chavistas have no military desires towards the US. Obama also slapped a number of sanctions on Venezuela for the “horrible police brutality” and “murders of the innocent.” That was a bum move because those police were more restrained than anyone else on Earth would have been, but no matter, to the US, they were still jackbooted murdering thugs.

The Shameful Behavior of the Venezuelan Opposition During the Elections of the Past 25 Years

The Opposition has tried to unseat the Chavistas in every election for over 25 years now. Until the most recent election, the Opposition lost every single time except once when they defeated a rewrite of the Constitution by 51-49%. The Opposition simply does not have the support of the majority and never has. Since they do not have majority support for their agenda, they have been trying extra-democratic means to unseat the Chavistas. When it comes to getting rid of the Chavistas, anything goes.
The Opposition tried to unseat Chavez himself many times, and he won 18 consecutive elections. They also had a recall vote that failed. The opposition periodically boycotted the elections, in fact, they boycotted the majority of the elections.
If the Opposition thought they were going to lose, they would start up a lying narrative that the elections were going to unfair and riddled with fraud. Good trick! If you are going to lose, accuse the winning side of electoral fraud! There is no electoral fraud, and the elections have all been free and fair as certified by many international observers. However, the US has screamed fraud and unfair election every time Chavez won. The US trick is that if Chavez wins, it’s always automatically fraud. The only time the US would say there was no fraud is if the Opposition ever won.
The election systems got better and better due to pressure on the Chavistas from the US. The Chavista electoral system is now the fairest election system on the face of the Earth. In the recent election that was won by Maduro, once again the Opposition screamed unfair and fraud all the way leading up to the election. The US also yelled fraud and unfair elections in the whole run-up to the elections. There was nothing unfair. Venezuela’s elections are the fairest on Earth. The US and the Opposition are just lying like they always do.
Finally Maduro won by a close vote, and the Opposition immediately screamed fraud. They made up all sort of lies about being intimidated as polling places and other nonsense. Then the entire Opposition press the next day ran many big stories screaming that the election had been a fraud. They used many dramatic photos, including a number of photos of Venezuelan ballot boxes discarded in ravines. The US also screamed that the elections were unfair and that Maduro cheated. The US began demanding that since Maduro won by such a close margin, that there needed to be a bicameral government with the Chavistas giving half the government to the Opposition. Bullshit or what?
All of this profoundly immoral and dishonest reporting, which amounted to entire papers written from front page to back with nothing but lies, false charges and made up stuff created an explosive situation in the country.